"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

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Aside

Feelings

coasterWhy do we think that we have to feel something or it isn’t real?  Feelings are fickle and we even buy them by riding on roller coasters or going to scary movies.

Morris Albert wrote:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Teardrops rolling down on my face,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.

You know that within the year he met another woman that caused him to forget the feelings that he had for her in the first place.

We do this with God too.  I didn’t feel anything so it must not be real.  Or I can’t see Him and I only believe what I see.  You can’t see the wind but you can feel it – does that mess with you?

We can’t see God and so some dismiss Him out of hand.  But He is more real than anything that we see or feel orHoly Spirit understand.  He witnesses to us in the Autumn colors, the Spring flower, the majestic mountains and the snow flakes.  It is beyond random chance that these miracles could happen.

Open your heart and allow the Spirit of God to bring change and I promise that in time, the feeling will follow!

Aside

Religion is ugly . . .

church lady What time is it?

It is Sunday – time to go to church again, time to put on the fake smile and the nice clothes and pretend that  everything is all right.

It is time to watch Miss Anna walk around like she owns the church, greeting people and being pulled into her  little clique of insiders as she moves through the congregation.  She belongs and wants you to know it.

Time to dodge Miss Anna as she comes up with the beaming smile and asks, “How are you doing with Jesus?”   I never know what to say and I wonder if she is talking about my Jesus.  I never feel like I belong.  I feel like an  outsider even though I asked Jesus into my life ten years ago.

It is time to listen to another sermon about what is wrong with me.  Pastor seldom talks about Jesus.  I ask  myself, “Is this why Jesus died in such agony?  Is this why He descended into hell?  Is this why He rose again  from the dead – so He could provide us the freedom of resurrection life?

The only time I hear about the resurrection is Easter.

I don’t see anyone at church who is free.

Today’s Joy Message:

It is time to know that religion is ugly and cuts you off from the glory of God.  It is stupid and ignorant.  So how did we become religious?

Once upon a time, long ago, Adam committed treason and we were trapped in his Fall.  The enemy took the truth of God’s Word and twisted it forming a system in us called religion.  It teaches us how to kill God and failing that – how God wants to kill us.  Religion teaches that we earn a right standing with God through legalistic rules and regulations that are man-made.

In the beginning of time, God knew that we would need to be free from this deception of religion.  He provided the Way through Jesus Christ who spoke of the Kingdom of God and our Father God’s love for us.  He told us that God is good and only does good.  His Spirit still speaks to us today and fills us with His love.

God hates religion because it thinks it speaks for Him, but it doesn’t.

The  time will come when the self-appointed ‘holy’ people will want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they cast out demons and healed the sick, but He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If God can use a donkey, He can use a religious person to get a blessing to someone through the spoken Word about the God he doesn’t even know.  God always looks after His Word to perform it.

The traditional church is not the same as the true church which is the body of Christ.  They love each other and minister to one another and the world.

Time for today’s challenge.  Examine your church life – is it alive and active or is it man’s traditions void of life and love.

  • Are you a ‘church lady’ or ‘holy man’ who is really impressed with your own self?
  • Do you truly know God?
  •  Have you allowed the Lord to take over and help you really be the church yourself?
  • Are you free to listen to the voice of the Lord and then do what He says

The Resurrection of Christ – King Jesus Ministries.  An amazing teaching.

Aside

Legacy of Love

She is always so glad to see me when I come for a visit.  I am watching her grow old.  She held me when I was born,  kissed my hurts, held me when I cried and when I fell down.  She stood by me when I married – and divorced.  She never waivered when I went through the crazies between marriages.  She has always been here for me.

Her memory is not as good as it once was yet she remembers all the important stuff.  When I take her shopping the arthritis in her knees require a wheel chair and she goes at it with enthusiasm and wears me out.   I never thought she would live to her 96th year but on Christmas Eve this year, she will celebrate her birthday.

She loves the Lord and her family.  She prays for each of us as we go through all the ups and downs of life.  Her two daughters had a total of six children who have sixteen children and there are even some great-grandchildren that I have lost track of.  She loves each of us no matter what.  We have disappointed her, hurt her, made her proud, made her cry, and surprised her.  Nothing moves her.  We belong to her and that means that we are always loved and always prayed for.

I know that one day she won’t be here and I will miss her.  I am so thankful that she is my Mom.  I know that I have been blessed to have her for such a long time.  I don’t take it for granted.

She was born in 1916 and times were so much different then.  She lived with outhouses and wood burning stoves.  She worked for a bank in the depression and her boss embezzled money.  She married my Dad and they took their honeymoon to Sioux City, Iowa, and stayed in a hotel for $2.50 a night and wrote home that it was too rich for their blood and moved to another hotel across town.  They began their life together with $25.  The rented a farm and raised a few head of cattle which they milked.  They had chickens, pigs and lambs.  The horses worked the land.  Eventually they acquired and a steel wheeled tractor.  (I loved the farm.)

Daddy got recruited by a distant relative to become a salesman   We moved to town and life changed forever.  She worked to supplement the family income as a secretary, a manager of a sewing machine sales outlet and still managed to be there for my sister and me.

When Daddy started traveling on the road all week, she saw to it that when he got home on Friday night that there was a hot meal and a welcoming family to greet him.  They were known and loved by friends and neighbors.

We moved to the city in 1961.  I had left for college and it was shock not to go back to our comfortable small town.  She carried it all with grace.  In the 90’s, Daddy left to go home and be with the Lord.  She had been his care-giver as he had Emphysema.  He just wouldn’t give up smoking when he found out.  He lived to his early 80’s.  She missed him very much.

Four years ago she married a man (who has COPD).  They take care of each other and keep each other company.  They have had health concerns the last couple of years.  He beat cancer and she recovered from a broken hip.  She walks with a walker but struggles getting up and down on her old knees.  The picture at the top of this post is their wedding picture.

When I go visit, I try to help her with organization and this year, I wrapped Christmas presents.  She loves to give to others.  Every year she says, “This might be the last time,” and I always say, “You don’t know that!”  And we don’t.

When you look into the eyes of your loved ones, value them and each moment that you have them.  May you leave a legacy of love just like my Mom is doing with her life.

Aside

Repitition 101

When the Autumn colours began to riot over the hillsides, I took a ride to take in all the beauty.  I did this last year although I don’t think the variation in the hues were as beautiful.  As I drove, I thought, “What other things do I do year after year and day after day?”

There are a couple of special things that I get to do only once every four years.  Joe and I got engaged on February 29 and so it is a special day for us – every four years.  This year was our 8th celebration which translates into 32 years.

Another event, that happens only once every four years,  is the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States.  It is both a privilege and a responsibility.  This year, all of the choices are important and require prayer.

Year after year with the beautiful Autumn comes the fall!  Each year there are so many leaves from the big Oak trees in our yard and the neighbor’s that require mulching or burning.  It is a bitter-sweet activity as I know I am preparing for the Winter and colder weather.  On a happier note, I get to wear boots and sweaters which I like a lot!

Annually, I prepare for Christmas and spend many happy hours thinking of the greatest gift of all, the amazing Baby in a manger that grew up, just like we do, and became the One who put the upside down world right again.  Even more amazing, He redeemed each of us and when we embrace His gift, we are restored to the Kingdom.  It is also a time to reflect on my loved ones and to choose carefully gifts that will delight and encourage.  Last year, I made books for the children.

Another annual event is the Autumn Assembly of Prayer in Branson.  We pray, hear wonderful teaching, and connect with friends from around the world.  It is this week and I am anticipating it with joy.

Month after month, I pay bills.  Enough said.

Day after day, I straighten up the house, cook meals, make the bed, get ready for the day, have a quiet time, do laundry, blog, work, to to church, and enjoy friends and family.

As I reflect on all of the things that I do over and over again, there is a comfort in the repetition  but it is the serendipitous moments of the totally unexpected that bring delight and laughter spicing my life with joy.  Come to think of it, I have been there and done that before too!

Aside

Lessons from a Camping Trip

I had the  privilege of primitive camping with my daughter on the old farm that I lived on as a girl.  We don’t own it, but the land owner is generous in letting us set up our tent and have a camp fire   Rachel and I would hike the hills and take lawn chairs to sit out in the middle of creek and eat watermelon that had been cooled in the cold spring that fed the creek.  At night we could hear the coyotes in the distance and the lowing of the cows that grazed in the field nearby.  It was a magical time and we played awesome Christian music loud enough that it echoed through the hills.  My favorite title on that album was “The Trees of the Field.”  I could see those old oak trees dancing along the banks and clapping their branches in joy.

One night, we had a beautiful camp fire and God began to speak to us an allegory of the fire.  It went something like this:

The Fellowship of the Fire of God.

When a fire is started it needs bits of paper (the Word) to get it going.  It needs the wind of the Holy Spirit to fan the flames into greater brightness and as it begins to burn steadily, it needs the dead wood (those who didn’t know the light) to be brought into fellowship with the embers to give it new life.  When embers are scattered, they slowly lose the fire.

The more brightly burning logs that try to go it alone don’t have a chance of staying on fire – but add other embers of dry wood and a little paper (Word) and it will leap into a fiery pillar that shines light all around.  The fire left on its own, with no one to tend it and keep the coals together and feeding it by adding paper and old wood, will eventually die out as it consumes itself.

Then Father God taught us another lesson.  Birth of the Cold Spring:

Another day, we followed the cold spring to its head waters and saw where it creeps out of the earth – living pure water that you can drink and enjoy.  We listened attentively to the sound of the water.  It hurried down the canyon to join yet another spring and fed into the creek.

We had set up our camp at the place where the cold spring and the creek join as one.  When you look at the water, you can no longer can you tell where one ends and the other begins but when you are in the water however, the spring is very cold and the creek water is much warmer, but in just a few feet, it is all mixed together and it is one.

I pondered these lessons and this is what came to me.

The absolute absence of man and his influence draws us closer to our Creator.  We are able to stop and be silent and hear the sounds of God’s creation.  The woodpecker taps out his morning song in search of food.  The mourning dove sings her mournful sound reminding us that the fish are biting.  The cold spring laughing as it falls over an old tree brings joy to the heart.  The locust, crickets and birds add to the symphony.  There is barely a whisper of wind and the beautiful peace encompasses and fills us with the love of God.

The last night we saw the stars dazzle us with their beauty as they shone upon us in their full radiance seldom seen in our light polluted world.  Oh, how vast and limitless are the wonders of God.  How pleasing are His ways.

Aside

Clare Kaegi-Watts – Natural Illustrator and Poet

Once again, I want to showcase my friend Clare Kaegi-Watts and her beautiful poetry and art work.  I have known Clare for several years, and such is her humility, that I just found out the scope and quality of her work.   I quote from what I found on line at wallcoo.net:

“Clare Kaegi is an Artist/Illustrator, who has worked for some years, drawing character-filled outback dwellings and fulfilling her dream of ‘capturing’ nature on paper. Deeply impressed with the amazing work of other natural illustrators, Clare was determined to open up the possibilities for her own pen and ink work. Coming into contact with a technical pen in the late 1970’s a new world of possibilities opened that were once unachievable.

Armed now with a Rotring Isograph .13 Technical Pen and beautiful, rich, clear, colour inks, in quiet solitude Clare set to work to develop a style of pen and ink work that would breathe the beauty of rich, velvety colours, incredibly fine & complex detail but most of all, ‘life’. Every colour is mixed by the artist herself in order to obtain the desirable effect. The depth requires patience and an understanding of the quirky nature of these inks. A total disregard of the time-factor is also needed with each piece taking from a short one week, to a several months for some major pieces.”

She also has written some beautiful poetry which I am privileged to share with you here.  She loves the Lord Jesus with all her heart and pours her life out to others.

MY CROSS –

A Song of Love

Precious Jesus, Savior mine, whose blood was shed for me,
Whose beaten body, love’s sacrifice, was nailed to the Tree,
You told me clear, as clear could be
That I should follow Thee! –
“Take up YOUR cross this day, each day,
And walk this path with Me.”

“Take My yoke upon you, learn of Me,” You said.
“My yoke is easy, the burden’s light, for I’ve gone on ahead.
Trust in Me, take My hand,
Do not turn back instead,
But follow Me, give Me your faith
And I will bless your stand.”

I thought back through the years of darkness,
Guilt! Loneliness! The pain…
Then looking to the light ahead, my strength began to gain!
This cross You said that I should bear
And in Your sorrow share,
I gladly take this burden sweet –
And will follow anywhere!

O Jesus, blessed Savior, do not take from me
This cross that we both share,
But help my back grow straight and strong –
A greater weight to bear!

May I look upon this cross as glory for my LORD,
Each new day at dawn a promise made
To trust You and obey,
And to know Your blessing rests on me,
Your peace, Your joy, today.

O LORD, take not this cross from me;
Come walk with me, much closer, higher!
Jesus, give me stronger hands, Your strength
To hold this burden tighter.
And as I walk each mile with You
May my legs, my feet grow stronger.
For I can feel YOUR strength in me,
As my precious load grows lighter!

My Jesus, blessed Savior sweet, how rocky is that track!
Your immortal feet have walked upon –
For me no turning back.
You promised, if I’m faithful, there’s a place prepared for me.
If I take my cross and follow You,
This place of rest and joy I’ll see.

I know You gave this cross to me,
That YOUR life in me be wrought.
And I should learn to live for others, as here on earth You taught.
This cross I bear, to follow You, is little price to pay!–
For when I look upon the cross YOU bore,
It was there my soul was bought!

O Father, Abba Father, LORD! Our loving God and King,
Give me the strength to carry on,
And through my journey sing
PRAISES! To my Savior, great I AM
My worship, adoration, and Hosannas bring.
To You, my Alpha and Omega,
Friend,
My LORD –
My cross,
My trophies,
Love,
Praise,
Thanksgiving
ALL! –
Laid in humble worship
At Your Blessed Feet! –
My Lord, my God, my King.

Amen.

Aside

Reboot!

REBOOT!

Did you ever have a day when everything you did made you feel more and more irritated?  It is like something was just slamming the door on all of the peace that you had in the Spirit?  Well, I have had just such a day. 

As you might guess, much of the frustration has been with the internet and computer based issues.  I interacted with two different companies  on-line. 

One I didn’t get after paying for it.   Another encounter charged me a great deal of money for something that I didn’t think I was getting and certainly didn’t want. On the second issue, when I called to correct it, they told me it was non-refundable.  (The other issue is being resolved and was based on their own computer issue internally.) 

Now, it was just seconds after I pushed the submit button on the second charge that I realized what I had done and called to stop the payment.  The word non-refundable hit me and I felt waves of anger rise up on the inside of me.  I was on the phone about 20 minutes with long hold times listening to elevator music.  When I finally got to the floor supervisor, he wanted to appease me with a partial refund and a benefit that sounded good on the surface, but in reality was just a another waste of time. Without boring you with all the details, I hung up and called the credit card company and have been assured that I will be receiving a full refund. 

Which leads me to the point of this story.  Sometimes we cause problems due to our own interior operating system.  We don’t mean to be hurtful, but there are issues that we haven’t yielded up to the Lord for Him to handle.  We are doing it in our own strength and our personal “computer,’ no matter how sophisticated, is not able to perform properly without our Lord, the Great Systems Administrator, putting things right.  There is no malice in what we did.  We just caused problems for someone else, because we were running with a ‘ virus.’

But there are times that our actions are truly like malware.  We are in it to win it and we ‘con’ everyone along the way.  What we do is for our benefit alone and as far as we are concerned, it is ‘non-refundable.’  We are proud of our ability to put it over on someone else.  When this happens, it is time to re-boot the system or move toward system failure.

Take a deep breath, get your Bible and head to the prayer closet.  Lay out on the floor and cry out, “Help!   I am in way over my  head here.  I am hurting other people and I am hurting myself.  Rescue me from this mess!”  Read a favorite Scripture, quiet your spirit and rest in Him.  He is not mad at you.  He knows that you are flawed, but He is able.  Give Him a chance to change it all. 

Only Jesus Christ can rescue us from this life of sin and death!  Do you belong to Him?  If you belong to Him, He knows that you may try to run things on your own.  And He will step back and let you run under your own power until you give up and turn to Him. 

Once you realize that He really, REALLY loves you, you don’t want to run your life without Him.  He has sent the Holy Spirit to lead you and be your Comforter, Helper and Teacher.  All you have to do is listen to that still small voice.  It is the thought that you didn’t think – the solutions you could not have come up with in your old life. 

  What a privilege to yield to Him and live free.

If you don’t know Him, it isn’t hard.  The Bible says that those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved. Read John 3:16, 17. Find out how much He loves you and that He is just waiting for you to call out to Him. Each of us come to the realization of who He is in a different way. For me, I was driving down the road, listening to the radio preacher when God took over his voice and I knew for sure that He was real. I just began to say, “I’m sorry Jesus. I just didn’t know. I didn’t know.” So it isn’t a formula, it is a heart thing.   Ask Him to make Himself real and I promise that He will.

Are you frustrated with your actions and disappointed in your behavior?  Share your thoughts.

Confirming Scriptures:

John 3:16-17  16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [a]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

1 John 4:7-8    7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Psalm 116:4
Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”

Acts 2:21
‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Romans 10:13
for “ WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

1 Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

Romans 7:21-25 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

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