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The Best is Yet to Come

older woman prayingI borrowed this from Facebook awhile back. A Christian site had shared it and after I read it, I though this is what it’s all about. It’s not about what we accumulate in wealth while we are on this earth, it’s not about our social status or our reputation. It’s about what our reward will be when we have lived in faith, done what we could to lead others to Jesus, and the example we set for others as good Christians,

“THE BEST IS YET TO COME”
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order”, she contacted her pastor and asked him to come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she wanted read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

The woman requested that she be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave, when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing” she said excitedly. “What’s that” came the pastor’s reply. “ This is very important” the woman continued. “ I want to be buried with my fork in my right hand.” The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. “That surprises you , doesn’t it?” the woman asked. “Well to be honest, I’m puzzled at the request” said the pastor.

The woman explained, “in all my years of attending Church Socials and potluck dinners, I always remembered when the dishes for the main courses were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say” keep your fork”.
It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful and with substance. I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork’ then I want you to tell them “Keep your fork…the best is yet to come”

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this was would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew this woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing, and her bible, and her fork placed in the right hand. Over and over again, the pastor heard the questions “what’s with the fork” and over and over again he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people about the conversation he had shortly with the woman before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people about how he couldn’t stop thinking about the fork and told them they probably wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So when you reach down for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

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The Little Things

lakeWe live in a very fast paced world. Our technological advances have gone through the roof over the last decade alone. Computers, i Pads, iPods, cell phones, tablets, microwaves, computer controlled cars, trucks, planes, and drones just name a few. Cablenetworks with hundreds of channels and the capability to record any program for later viewing, smart phones that show you the face of who is calling, internet that allows you to search multiple sites at one time, moving from place to another in seconds are just a few others.

We stay busy from the time we wake up until we lay our heads back on our pillows for the night. Jobs, school, children, sports, shopping, cleaning, social events, doctor appointments, and with some church functions seem to keep our every minute filled with something to do.

We live in concrete jungles where sometimes you never see anything green or flowering, unless you live in a rural area. Building upon building stand in lines along the streets that are paved and lined with cars, some of them are towering high above the sidewalk as if reaching for the sky.

Streets are lined with stores, shops, schools, gyms, bars and restaurants, and this is the normal view for a vast majority of the world’s population. People walk out of their apartments, get in their cars, a taxi, and hop on a bus or subway to get to their appointments, jobs or extracurricular activities, and it all starts over again the very next day.robin

So how do you find those little peaceful moments, where everything is quiet and the world seems to disappear? How do you find the little things that matter the most? Maybe it’s taking a walk in the park, a drive in the country, or just a quiet spot by the water. It’s then that we notice the little things that can bring God back into the focus for us. It’s then that we stop and wonder about all that he has created, all that he is. It’s times like these that we remember just how great and wonderful he is.

It might be the robin that lands on your front step or the beautiful blue butterfly that all of sudden decides to land on your hand. Maybe it’s the soft breeze, blowing on your face when you take your lunch by a small pond in the park, or a lake or ocean nearby. It could be the crickets you hear on an evening walk, or the stars that start blinking once the sun has sunk beneath horizon.

blue butterlyMaybe it’s that pat on the back from a co-working or boss, saying “job well done”. Maybe it’s that prayer answered that was constantly on your mind. A giggling baby, a hand shake, a hug, “I love you” spontaneously said without forethought or effort, and that phone call from someone special that you have been waiting for are all of the little things that can make life so much more worth the effort and time.

It’s the little things in life that often seem to be the most important, and we need to take time to acknowledge them, embrace them, enjoy them and thank God for them.starry skies

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Pray Without Ceasing

older woman praying
I fully believe in the power of prayer. The more prayers said for a certain need, the more attention the Lord pays to that need. There are many times I have asked for prayer, not just for myself but so many others and so many circumstances. I have had prayers answered before I was even done praying.

Sometimes the answers are not what we really want, but they are always what the Lord determines are best. For example, my late husband Ken suffered from a severe cardio myopathy and diabetes mellitus, probably one of the worst types you can have. By the time both were discovered they were very advanced. He was given 6 months to a year to live. By the grace of God he actually lived five more years and continued to touch the hearts of many during that time.

I always believed that someday God would do a miraculous healing of his body and he could go on preaching the word, which he so loved to do. No matter how sick he felt he was at every Church service and even worked in the Church during the week in the food pantry and other positions where he felt close to God and could share Gods word.

The night before he passed away, as I talked to the doctor on the phone, I prayed that God would either heal him or take him home. I didn’t know how much more he could take. God took him home the next morning, not the answer I preferred. It was a non-Christian who finally pointed out to me that my prayer had been answered two fold, he took him home and he healed him because he gave him a new body.

I read prayer requests off and on all day on Facebook, and it is assumed that if you like the status, you are agreeing in prayer. Somehow or another, just liking the status, to me, doesn’t seem to be enough so I always leave a comment that I am praying, and then immediately I pray.

Several times I have put up prayer requests and am sometimes amazed at the responses I get from my Face Book family and friends. The prayers are usually answered in a short amount of time. Recently I made a prayer request that involved adults and children in three different states. The main concern was the safety of the children and the second concern was the path that the adults were following.

Praise God that some of these prayers have been answered. The children are in safe havens now, and one of the adults has been put in a place where they can get the help, encouragement and love that they so badly need. I am still lifting the other adults up in prayer and I know that those prayers will be answered, hopefully soon.

I often think of how many times David prayed to the Lord and understand now why he never stopped. No matter what is going on in your life, good or bad, pray without ceasing. Pray with thankfulness for all he has done for you, pray for what you need, not want, and pray for those that you know not only need help in many ways, but also need to know the lord.

Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Matthew 21:22 – And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing

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The Last Days

Hands holding the world2 Timothy 3: 1-9
One of Paul’s last Letters to Timothy
1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4.Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

Does any of this sound familiar? Look at our society today. Kids are rebelling against any kind of authority, and nothing is done about it. The cops or social services may come and take them out of the house for a few days, put them in a safe house or shelter, and then turn them loose again.

In any city at any time of the day, children, teens, and adults are walking around with cell phones stuck to their heads, or to their hands while they text. Accidents and deaths occur every day because of the attention given to these so called modern technologies and people barely get a slap on the hand for the grief and anguish they have caused.

Murders, rapes, burglaries, assaults and attacks are always in the news, yet the victims never really get their day in court because excuses are made for the actions of their attackers. They had a bad childhood, they were under duress, they were stressed, they didn’t have any role models, they have a mental illness, they were drunk or high, and the list goes on and on, and no one has to take full responsibility for their actions.

Christians are being attacked, not just in the Middle East but in Europe, Germany, Russia, China and America as well. Everyone turns a blind eye and does nothing about it. People attend church not for what they can learn, not to hear the word of God or to worship him, but to be entertained by the music, the video and the light shows. It’s more like going to a concert than attending a worship service in the house of God.

New churches are opened every day and new belief systems are introduced all the time. It is rumored on several blog sites that the Mormon Church has said there is no God, notice I said rumored, and now there are churches opening that are worshiping cannabis. More and more churches are preaching sermons about material wealth and less about a spiritual walk with the lord.

Everyone wants something, money, equal rights, property, acknowledgement, revenge or attention and are willing to step on as many heads and over as many bodies as they feel necessary, and we turn a blind eye as we walk down the street texting on our phones or scrolling through a social media site.

Yes, the last days are approaching quickly, and less and less people seem to care. It doesn’t seem to bother them that in a very short time they will have to stand in front of God and account for everything they did or everything they failed to do when they had the chance.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God…. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth

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Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go

Jesus with children 22 Samuel 14:29 15:12 : He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spread slander is a fool.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

 

What’s the mark of a successful man? Many of us gauge success by money in the bank, prestige in the community, fine homes, fine cars or what have you!

Measuring success this way, David led the pack! His riches were unlimited. He stood head and shoulders above the crowds when it came to fame. He lived in a palace! But I wonder how he rated himself in old age. Those he loved the most, his own sons, plotted his downfall because of their hatred. Absalom and Adonijah both tried to overthrow him and usurp the throne. Why? Was David so busy being a king that he forgot to be a father? Only Solomon seems to have loved and respected David.

One of the big problems of our day is career orientation. Fathers/mothers must climb the ladder of success or search for fulfillment beyond the range of family. Who’s tending the home fires? How many Absaloms and Adonijahs are we producing?

Our entire Christian culture rests upon the foundation of the family. Are we so ambition geared that we destroy those we hold most dear?

(Source: Devotions for Every Day, The Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio 1978)

As I read this, this morning, it made me think about all the racial and civil violence and protests that are going on; All the families that have been destroyed by the shootings of young men in communities that have a large volume of criminal actions.

Every parent wants to believe that their child is perfect, that they don’t lie, steal, cheat, harm people or harbor any kind of hatred or ill feelings toward anyone. This is so far from the truth. Society today dictates that you are poor if you can’t buy all the latest fashions, all the bling bling that sparkles, all the latest technology and electronics.

Many children are raised in families that are poor and have just given up trying to make anything better for their children. Many of them are willing to sit back, collect benefits, complain about their situation and blame everyone else that they can. The sad fact is they are passing down this ideology to their children, stifling the chance for that child to seek something better in their life.

That is one main reason so many of them turn toward crime. They’ve been taught that their plight in life is never going to get better. Instead of the parents trying to instill honor, love, affection, mercy, forgiveness and grace in their children, they are instilling hatred, bitterness, and to be vengeful. They are teaching them  that nothing is their fault, it is always someone else’s fault and they are not taught to be respectful to anyone. They aren’t teaching them to take a responsibility for their actions, and then they wonder why they are arrested, beat, shot or killed in the act of committing a crime.

I really get tired of hearing what a good person they were, how they were loved and love others, how they were so sweet and innocent and then you find out they have a record of criminal acts as long as your arm, that they were involved in violent acts and never showed any intent on correcting anything in their lives and I have no doubt that a lot of this relates back to how they were raised.

It’s time for society, especially you parents, to wake up and realize “Your child is not perfect” and they never will be just as you never will be. Maybe it’s time to step back and take a look at yourself “Parents”. Exactly what are you teaching your children as they grow up? I have one child and have raised several others, and I have many grandchildren, and I don’t consider any one of them perfect. They all have problems of one sort or another. Even though they chose different paths in life, the parents did try to instill good habits in them.

I came from a very poor family. We lived in the basement of a building that flooded every time it rained. My mom would put us on a bed and we would watch all the bugs float by. We ended up spending several years in Foster Homes because my father died and my mother got sick. But no one, not one parent, my mom, my dad, or any of my foster parents taught me that my plight in life was someone else fault.

I wasn’t taught that lying, cheating, stealing, or hurting someone was the right thing to do because I was poor. I was taught to respect authority whether it was my parents, grandparents or the police. I didn’t even know I was poor until someone told me.

It’s time for parents to quit letting society, their relatives, their friends, their neighbors dictate how to live and how to raise their children. It’s time for them to forget about the material things in life and start raising their children to be responsible, respectful, helpful, loving and giving adults.

Let me make one thing very clear “No particular race has a monopoly on this problem. It is prevalent nationwide and worldwide and is in every community, no matter what color, religion, or gender or social status you are.”

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True Prayer: Giving it All to God

older woman prayingI once heard a pastor say that if you weren’t sure how to pray, to picture Jesus sitting in a chair next to your bed like a friend would, and just talk to him as you would your friend. Think about it, Jesus is not just our lord, but our constant companion and friend.

Sometimes praying can be confusing. You might not be sure you are praying for the right things, especially where others are concerned. For example, you might be praying for what you think is right in their lives when you should be praying that god just works in their lives.

I try not to be judgmental. That doesn’t mean that I always succeed, especially when it comes to those family members that I know so well. It is very easy to look at a person’s past and assume they haven’t changed, especially when you are miles and miles away from them and unable to witness with your own eyes any changes they have made.

I pray off and on all day. Sometimes it is silly little things like “God give me the strength to open this jar so I don’t have to disturb someone else by asking them to do it.” Other times something may come to mind that is an urgent need and I may walk around praying for several minutes.

I am a bit OCD, aren’t we all in one way or another. Unfortunately this sometimes seeps into my prayers and I think that I have to give God exact instructions on how to answer certain prayers. I have caught myself doing this a couple of times and have been working on just giving it to God and letting it go, the same advice that I have given others but haven’t followed as often as I should.

Anyway, I started thinking about changing the way I pray. I searched through the bible and found several verses that give insight on how to pray (actually found a site that gives you 13 steps on learning how to pray) but after scrolling through it found out that I didn’t agree with what they said.

Matthew 6:6-8King James Version (KJV)
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

I changed up my prayers the other night and decided instead to just ask God to watch over and protect those I was praying about, to guide them and strengthen them, and to bless them as much as he has blessed me. It was time for me to follow my own advice and give it all to God.

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Materialistic Things

junk

Author: Lori Carter

I detest moving, but sometimes it is a necessity. We were at the last house for six years, probably the longest I have ever lived at one place in my life. We finally decided that we weren’t meant to be homeowners. It is just more than we can handle.

It was an older house that needed a whole lot more work than we were led to believe and after having a fourth plumbing problem in four years, we decided to let it go.

We found a nice little home for rent that is perfect for us. We decided ahead of time that we were going to weed things out a little, but in the end, even after the weeding, we seem to have collected a couple truckloads of “stuff”.

The hard part is finally over. We did it ourselves and it was a job, since Rich had to do most of the lifting. We got some help moving the appliances; we borrowed a dolly, and used my poor Isuzu to haul everything over to the new place. We did three to four loads a week for two weeks because we just mentally and physically could do no more, but we are finally moved in.

I look around me at the things we have collected. Rich’s stuff and my stuff, and I can honestly say there needs to be more weeding done. I just emptied a box in the kitchen that we brought over, and apparently didn’t go through first because I ended up throwing most of it out.

Are we hoarders? Maybe in a sense, but when you are raised poor you tend to collect little things that you might be able to re-purpose, like the porch pole that was going to get a birdhouse put on top or that silver “thingy” you wanted to make a wind chime out of.

If I ever have to move again, I have decided that if I can’t afford to have someone move me, I am just going to walk away from everything, rent a furnished place, and start all over again, because nothing I own, not one materialistic thing is worth the health or life of myself or anyone else.

After all, when I leave for my heavenly home, it is just so much junk that someone will have to throw out. Not one item will go with me. There is not one item I would even take if I could, for the Lord will be supplying all of my needs. A new body, a new home, a renewed spirit will all mine and I won’t want or need any materialistic thing.

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