Thursday, February 28, 2013

Choose Wisely

A Shanghai solitaire using Mah Jong tiles, set...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is a computer game I enjoy playing in which tiles are stacked in various configurations.  Through a series of choices, pairs are first discovered and then eliminated from the stack.   As I choose the pairs, and watch to see if my choices result in all the pairs becoming eliminated, my mind turns to the thoughts of how our choices in life affect the outcome along the way.  We must all live with these choices, and it reminds me of a character in a movie, after seeing one villain being destroyed after his wrong choice, tell the hero, "He chose poorly."

When I realize I have made irreparable mistakes in my game -- and the game graciously alllows me to either restart or reshuffle -- I am reminded of how the Lord promises that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."  I think of how He takes my poor choices and, so very graciously, allows me to either restart or reshuffle as it were, in my own life. 

Sometimes I don't understand how He can take things and work them out "for good," but as I look back behind me at the path of my life, I see that He has managed to do just that.  Even the darkest of nights in my life He has somehow used to bring forth the most beautiful of songs.

It is so amazing to know that our God is not only a God of redemption, reclamation and restoration, but He is actively at work in those very venues in our own lives in this very day.  With the Lord, there is not a wasted moment.  What a testimony of mercy and grace!

"Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, 
from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Son of the Father, in truth and love. . ."
2 John 1:3

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trust the Light

As I was sitting here writing these posts, I was struggling to see the keys.  I miss the tiny light on my old laptop which would illuminate the keyboard.  It was a brilliant design and I don't understand why more computer companies don't include such a useful tool. 

Perhaps because I was writing in a place I don't normally write, or perhaps because I was writing at a time of day I don't normally write, but I turned to pick up my cup of coffee and realized that the whole time I had been squinting at the keyboard and struggling to see, a perfectly good lamp sat on the little table beside me.  All I had to do was reach over and push the button to turn it on.  How very simple was that?

I wish I could say that was the only moment of stupidity in my entire life, but there have been so many times when I have struggled to do things in my own power and abilities, when the Lord wanted me to just trust in the "Light of the World" living inside of me.  Our Lord does not want us to struggle and strive anymore than we want our own children to do so. 

The little lamp sitting by my chair just wanted me to trust it to do the work of illumination once I had faith in its ability, by pushing the switch.  The same is true with the Lord. we trust Him to be the power through which His Light shines through us.  His light, me the little lamp.

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, 
I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, 
but shall have the Light of Life." 
John 8:12

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Caution: Change Ahead

I have always joked that I don't like change unless I institute it, and in reality that is usually quite true.  Just ask the girls I work with who often tease me because I not only bring the same lunch every night to eat, but I eat it at the same time, and even eat the items in the same order each night.

I like things to be continue on in the same predictable way every day unless I decide I have thought up a better way.  But the Lord often has different plans and has a way of instituting His changes in my life.

The truth of the matter is that, for Christians, we are all in the process of being changed.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord," (2 Corinthians 3:18.)

It is the Lord's eternal purpose and design to conform all His sons and daughters into the the image of His One Son.  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren, (Romans 8:28,29).

So many of the changes we face in our lives might be part of that "conforming" work, to change our image from our reflection to the image of His, to make us more and more like Him.  Knowing this, I will not view change as such a bad thing, but will remember that our Lord uses these things to work them together, like the pieces of a puzzle, "for good."  

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, 
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: 
but we know that, when He shall appear, 
we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is." 
1John 3:2

Friday, February 22, 2013

In Focus

English: Reading glasses. ‪中文(繁體)‬: 老花眼鏡
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the last several years I have been one of those people who can't read anything or look at anything nearby without grabbing for my reading glasses.  This wouldn't annoy me except for the fact that while the reading glasses are perched on my nose two perfectly good contacts are resting on my eyeballs.

It seems my particular prescription caused me to have to "choose two" as I was told at the doctor's office.  I could not have distance, computer and close-up, I would have to pick two.  I chose distance and the computer and felt frustrated everytime I had to put on reading glasses for option number three.  Until last week.

I went for my yearly eye exam and my prescription had changed enough, I can now do without the reading glasses.  I have one eye which sees far to mid range.  My other eye sees mid to close. 

They say it takes your brain about a week or two to adjust to this form of vision correction, but my brain seemed to know what to do after about a day or two.  I don't think about it, I just look and it knows what to do.  I am thrilled to type this without wearing glasses.  I am thrilled to look up and immediately have things in focus.  I am just thrilled in general.

To me, it is amazing that my brain knows what to do when my eyes are seeing two very different things.  It is amazing that my brain can so quickly figure out which eye should see far and which eye should see close and that there is no lag time whatsoever.

There is no way someone will convince me that somehow this brain -- not just my brain, but everyone's brain, just happened to be.  Something this marvelous, this incredible, this adaptable did not just randomly come about from a stew of primordial soup.   It was designed and purposed by an even greater Brain and Mind, one that can never be fathomed. . .a "shoreless ocean."

 Shoreless Ocean, who can sound Thee?
Thine own eternity is round Thee,
     Majesty divine!
A.W. Tozer

"I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: 
marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." 
Psalm 139:14

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Free Refills

English: Restaurant SENSING Français : Restaur...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There have been times we have eaten at restaurants and the attentive waitstaff fills our glasses almost as soon as we can take a sip out of them.  Because our glasses are never even close to empty, we seem to consume much more beverage.

Today I heard someone say that we "are filled as we flow out."  In other words, the more we let the Lord work through us and flow out of us to others, the more we find ourselves filled within from the Lord.  If we never let anything flow out, then we have no need of refilling.

I know from personal experience, when we go places to do services, those are the places we seem to reap the greatest blessings.  Our purpose may be to go for the benefit of others, but in reality the Lord ministers so much to us in and through the people we are with in those places.  We go to give, but we receive so much blessing in return.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; 
good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, 
shall men give into your bosom. 
For with the same measure that ye mete 
withal it shall be measured to you again." 
Luke 6:38

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"I Must Be Really Special. . ."

Whenever our grandchildren come to visit, one thing our granddaughter Emma loves to do is to look at "her book." 

By that she is referring to a pink journal which I started for her before she was even born.  I have written in this journal for the last five years.  When her father was away in various training and deployments with the Marine Corps, I would put his letters for her in there.  Last Valentine's Day, he sent her a beautiful card full of pictures of Disney princesses, which she loves.

Emma loves to look at her "book," even though she can't yet read any of the words.  She especially loves to take out her father's letters and open up her card and have me read it to her.  This weekend, as she was looking at these things, she said, "I must be really special for my daddy to have sent me all of this!"

That was exactly the thought her daddy wanted her to have because she is very special to him, and to all of us, and she has the book to prove it.  Perhaps that's why she loves to look at it every time she is here.

One day, when she is older, she will be able to sit down and read all the things "Grannie Frannie" has written to her over the years in her book. She will read about things we have done that she has long since forgotten, which will remind her of just how much she is loved and just how "really special" she is to all of us.

As Christians, we each have a "book" that we can look at as well, and the pages of that book reveal to us that we are "really special" to the Lord.  Every page reveals the Lord Jesus and His great love for us.  We don't have to read very far to be reminded that His thoughts are always on us, that His love is shed abroad in our hearts, and that one day He is coming again to take us back to be with Him.  We can turn to those pages for comfort, for encouragment, for instruction, for wisdom, for correction, and simply to be reminded that our God loves us.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jackson and Little Bear

Cover of
 Little Bear's Trousers
This past Saturday night our grandchildren, Jackson and Emma, spent the night with us.  At bedtime I picked out the book, Little Bear's Trousers by Jane Hissey, to read to them.  After I had read the first page, six-year-old Jackson asked if he could read some, too, and I was amazed at how well he could read. 

I am quite sure at six my tongue could not skip easily over words like "scrambled," "disappear" and "direction," but Jackson read the words as if he had been born reading.

When Jackson began reading, his sister "scrambled" out of her bed and climbed between us to be part of the action.  Although she can't yet read, she could sense there was more to this story-time than just a bedtime story.

At one point the character's words in the story were presented in all-caps and I wondered if Jackson would recognize the significance.  Without hesitation he raised his voice to the perfect pitch as he read Little Bear's exclamation of dismay.  He had not only read the sentence perfectly, he also portrayed it that way as well.

Jackson's father tells me reads titles on the car stereo, signs on the road, virtually anything that has words, Jack tries to sound it out and read it.  It doesn't surprise me.  He comes from a family of people who love books, who love to read and whose lives are somewhat centered around words.

One reason Jack loves to read is because he knows words open up a whole new world of understanding to him.  Knowledge unattainable to him before he could read is now within his grasp and he wants to devour it all as quickly as possible. Considering that thought, is it any wonder that the Bible describes the Lord Jesus as "the Word"? 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1-4, 14
Once we see the Lord Jesus is indeed the "Word" for our lives we will, like Jackson, realize that we have within our grasp something more marvelous than we can imagine.  Jackson sees words as miracles, but the true miracle is that the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us".  The miracle is that ". . as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God," (John 1:12,13).

We  have within our grasp the written Word of God to devour and, as Christians, we have within our hearts the Living Word of God, full of grace and truth, the Life, the Light of men.  Let us have the same joy and diligence in learning these Words as little Jackson does his.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Don't Listen to Just Anyone

Sometimes you just have those moments.  Unfortunately, I had several of them Saturday morning at work.

Somehow I was convinced when I woke up Friday afternoon, preparing to work Friday night, that it was actually Saturday afternoon.  I was unable to completely shake that misconception all night long, which led to a series of actions which made me look completely and totally stupid, if not downright annoying.

Each night at work we have to adjust the staffing levels for the next shift according to the number of patients in the unit.  Sometimes the shift before us will preemptively decide which nurse will "take call" and stay home.  We aren't always sure if the nurse knows if she is to stay home or come in, so we call around 5:00a.m. to let them know. 

During the night we had experienced one of the very rare downtimes of our computerized documentation system. The same time we call to adjust staffing, the computers had come back up and we were putting in our documentation for the night.  The downtime, along with my misconception of the day of the week, is my excuse for what happened next.

Peggy had been marked to be "on-call" for the shift, not knowing if she knew, I called her to tell her, waking her up.  Peggy is one of those naturally good natured people and it's a good thing. 

Abut thirty minutes after I called Peggy, the Supervisor called to get our census and staffing and I looked at Sunday's staffing instead of Saturday's.  It was then I began thinking I had called off the wrong person.

I called Peggy again, who did not immediately answer this time, so I left a message to the effect she did have to come to work after all. 

It was not until I called Marcy to call her off, that the light bulb went off above my head.  It was indeed Saturday morning, not Sunday morning. Marcy was able to convince me that I had not only called Peggy in error, and called her in error as well.

So I once again called Peggy and left her another message:

"This is Frannie, I am completely stupid, don't listen to another message from me, and unless Karen (the other nurse working that night) calls you and tells you to come to work, STAY HOME!"

Later that morning, I received a text from Peggy stating that she found the messages hilarious and she was glad someone else did things like that as well.  As I said, Peggy is a truly good natured person.

My point in this long and embarrassing story is that we all encounter people in our lives who will tell us emphatically  that they know the truth for us, sometimes they may even tell us they know the Lord's truth for our lives, but in reality, they are themselves in deception.  I was certain I was in the right when I spoke to both Peggy (multiple times) and Marcy, but I was in a delusion regarding the day of the week.   What I was telling them could not be right because my most basic premise was not correct.

We do well to, as the Apostle John instructed us, to "try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,"  (1 John 4:1) .  There are many who are quite sure they are right, who are deceivers, being deceived themselves. There are many who are powerful, who receive their power from another source.  There are many who seem to be bright talents, but beware for even for "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."  Let us remember that those who truly come as servants of the One great Master will bear the characteristics of His yoke:

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  Matthew 11:29

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Gospel According to. . .Gunsmoke?

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other day my husband and I were watching television for a few minutes, because that's about all the time we spend watching TV these days, and he stopped surfing channels when he came to an old episode of Gunsmoke, just as it was going off.

There was just enough time left for us to see Marshall Dillon and Chester standing over an old man on the ground as the man vehemently declared how much he hated someone.  Then he died.  As the Marshall and Chester walked away, Chester made some comment and Marshall Dillon said, "Sometimes people hate others so much they become so twisted inside until they can't see the truth anymore."

I thought that was a pretty wise statement, and I'll bet we have all met people like that, people who seem so eaten up with their hate and bitterness that they couldn't see the truth if it crawled all over them.  This can be true in regard to spiritual things, political things and personal things. 

You see, bitterness starts off as tiny little thing.  It doesn't take much at all to get it started, but once rooted, it takes over the whole garden of our hearts.  Then it spreads and takes over the whole yard or our minds, and covers the whole house of our being.  The roots become huge underneath and almost impossible to destroy. 

Bitterness lives on almost nothing -- the slightest thing feeds it into a fury, and it takes great surgery by the Spirit of the Lord to remove it.

As Christians, we must always guard our hearts against the slightest root of bitterness being allowed to harbor in our hearts, for it will crowd out all that is tender and gentle and kind and good in our hearts.  We must actively grab that little plant by the roots and tear it out. The temptation of our flesh is to harbor that bitterness, to nurture it. . .after all it is usually caused by someone wounding or slighting us in some way.  But we must by faith choose instead to replace that root of bitterness with kindness, forgiveness and tenderheartedness. This is the path of peace.

 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;
 lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" 
Hebrews 12:14,15

 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, 
be put away from you, with all malice:  
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." 
Ephesians 4:31,32

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Little Dog

English: A stuffed dog.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was thinking this morning about the present I gave my husband for our first Valentine's Day thirty-six years ago.  It was a tiny stuffed dog just big enough to sit in the ashtray of his truck.  That little tricolor dog (I guess that was our first beagle,) sat there for years until it literally fell apart from exposure to the sun.

It made me think of how many people have received Valentine's Day gifts in the past that they can no longer remember.  Perhaps they can't even remember the people who gave them the gifts anymore!  The way we define love in this world, and especially in this culture, is so fleeting and so flippant, it's no wonder that people can't remember the names or faces of people they only recently professed to so adamantly adore.

There is One, however, who loves "with an everlasting love"

There is One who loves with a love so great, it will not only not die, it will never even wane.  There is One whose love purchased a gift of the highest price.

Our Lord loves us more than we can ever begin to imagine.  There is no love on this planet known to man that can begin to compare to the love He has for us.  And His love purchased our everlasing life at the price of His dear Son.

So no matter what Valentine's Day present does, or doesn't come your way today, you have been given a great gift by someone who has loved you, does love you, and will always love you more than anyone ever can love you. 

The Lord is giving you a gift today, and all you have to do is accept it by faith.  He loves you "with an everlasting love."

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life.  
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; 
but that the world through Him might be saved." 
John 3:16,17 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Parade of Two

Yesterday was Mardi Gras in our town.  The last parade was scheduled for 6:30p.m.  But we had a schedule of our own. 

Once a quarter, on the second Tuesday of the month, we help with a service at an area women's shelter downtown, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  During Mardi Gras, this is not in conflict with any parade route, because we can go in from back streets and avoid the barricades and crowds even if a parade is in progress.

Every second Tuesday of the month, however, we also provide music for the men's Rescue Mission, also downtown, but across town.   This meeting begins at 6:30p.m.  Once a quarter, these meetings fall back-to-back and we leave one and head straight to another. We always find it a blessing to leave a room full of singing women to go to a room full of singing men.

 It only presents a challenge on those years when the quarter for the women's meeting also falls on the night of Mardi Gras.  There is no way we can attend the meeting on one side of downtown and traverse barricaded streets --with a parade in progress -- to the other side of downtown, in time to begin the other meeting.

Knowing this is what would happen this week, we began praying about the situation several nights ago.  We needed a sure route through a crowded city, or a new route, or some way to make our way to the second meeting.

Monday came with 90% forecast for rain throughout the day and indeed it rained all day.  The rain continued Tuesday as well, but even though it rained most of the day, parades continued to roll.  I thought that the 6:30p.m. parade, the only parade we were concerned about, would surely not be cancelled if all the others had not.

We headed to our first meeting with the intention of finishing there and trying our best to get to the second.  Our experience in the past has been that most of the roads giving access to that street have been barricaded and blocked.

When we reached the major north-south thoroughfare of downtown, it was open.  The barricades were there, but the streets were not blocked with them.  In fact, someone at the previous meeting had told us the last parade of the day had been canceled.  The odd thing is, by this time, it wasn't even raining! As we started down this main thoroughfare, an ambulance pulled out in front of us, with lights and siren on, but moving slowly.  He was in front of us for most of our path.  It was as if we made a parade of two vehicles, as if we had our own escort to our second meeting.  We not only arrived on time, we were actually a little early!

It is amazing how often in our lives, we ask the Lord to work out details, we "cast all our cares upon Him" and then we seem to be surprised to see Him do exactly what we have asked Him to do.

"Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling His word:" 
Psalm 148:8

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Garden Hose

English: garden hose Deutsch: Gartenschlauch
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I heard a preacher yesterday mention a garden hose as an analogy in a sermon.  Immediately I thought of our garden hose on the side of our house. 

I have to admit, my use of the garden hose is limited to connecting it to the "slip-n-slide" for my grandchildren.  Apart from my tiny flower bed in the front of the house, I don't do much outdoor work.  A severe allergy to fire ants as well as an allergy to grass (imagine that, allergic to grass of all things!) kept me from my own yard for many years.  Finally, months of allergy shots allowed me to step outside without fear of anaphylatic shock.  Still, I have not cultivated those garden habits which many home-owners develop and don't have much of a love for gardens, flower beds or yards. 

I do know, though, that the hose has to be stretched to be utilized.  Coiled up on it's holder, it is essentially useless until the hose is stretched out.  I know that many people don't have kinks in their garden hose, but our hose has to have the kinks pulled out as well before the full water pressure can be felt at the nozzle.  I like to have that full water pressure, especially when using the hose to play with my grandchildren.

Sometimes the Lord has to stretch us out and "pull the kinks" out of us as well.  Over the years, we can develop wrong thinking about things or we can develop habits that are not in the best interest of our walk with Him.  The Lord has to stretch us so that we are willing to change that thinking or give up those habits.  I am one that does not like change unless I institute it, so sometimes He has to really pull on my "kinks" to make me useful in the way He desires me to be. 

The point is, the more pliable we are to His stretching, His pulling and His pointing of our nozzle, the more useful we will be to His purpose, which is really what we want, isn't it?  The bottom line is not about us, it is about Him and His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus.  So for His water to flow through me at the greatest pressure possible, I must submit to the stretching and pulling of me, the hose.

It is a wonderful thing to know that we have a Lord with whom we can be perfectly confident, and perfectly trustful when we submit ourselves unto Him.  His burden is easy and His yoke is light and He promises us rest.  He is abundantly more than we could ever ask or think.

"But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; 
we are the clay, and Thou our potter; 
and we all are the work of Thy hand." 
Isaiah 64:8

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Touch of the Master's Hand

Piano (1 of 1)
 (Photo credit: SpeakerX)
This Sunday morning in Sunday School we had a special blessing.  Alicia Waite played "Jesus I Am Resting, Resting" for us on the piano in the Fellowship Hall.  That piano is fairly old and I suspect it doesn't get much use.  I think it has one or two keys which may need a little work, yet when Alicia's fingers touched those keys, she made them sing.

The music coming from the old piano was not just the result of Alicia's effort that morning, it was the result of years of practice, years of study and as her father has often told us, years of lessons.  Alicia however, had to have applied herself well to present us with such a performance.  In fact, I have been greatly blessed every time I have ever heard her play.  I like to close my eyes and envision the notes as different colored bubbles floating around in the air, bouncing to the rhythm of the music.

Sometimes I feel like the old piano.  I know I have a "couple of keys" that need work.  Sometimes we may even feel as if we have been put in an out of the way place where we won't be used much anymore.  That doesn't mean the Lord doesn't want to use us.  It doesn't mean He doesn't intend for us to "sing" when touched by His fingers.  We are meant to be His instruments in this world for the blessing, encouragement and comfort of others, regardless of how tired, old or "out of tune" we feel.  We trust that through the touch of our Master's Hand, His strength will be made perfect in our weakness.

"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.   For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." Romans 6:11-14

The Touch of the Masters Hand 

by Myra 'Brooks' Welch

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
thought it scarcely worth his while 

to waste much time on the old violin,
but held it up with a smile; 

"What am I bidden, good folks," he cried,
"Who'll start the bidding for me?" "A dollar, a dollar"; then two!"

"Only two? Two dollars, and who'll make it three? 
Three dollars, once; three dollars twice; going for three.." 
But no, from the room, far back, 
a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; 
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, 
and tightening the loose strings, 
he played a melody
pure and sweet as caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer, 

with a voice that was quiet and low,
said; "What am I bid for the old violin?" 

And he held it up with the bow.
A thousand dollars, and who'll make it two? 

Two thousand! And who'll make it three? 
Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone," said he. 
The people cheered, but some of them cried, 
"We do not quite understnad what changed its worth." 
Swift came the reply: "The touch of a master's hand."

And many a man with life out of tune, 

and battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, 

much like the old violin, 
A "mess of pottage," a glass of wine; a game - and he travels on. 
"He is going" once, and "going twice, He's going and almost gone." 
But the Master  comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand 
the worth of a soul and the change that's wrought by the touch of the Master's hand.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Close Enough

As I write this, our little beagle (and I use the word "little" in the loosest connotation of the word) is snuggled up close beside me.  If we are sitting down, Sparrow loves to be next to us, but not just close to us. . .absolutely as close as she can be.  She will wiggle her body until she is firmly pressed up against us.

Sometimes she positions herself in a way so that she is guarranteed of getting a good backscratch out of the deal.  Most of the time, however, she just loves being as close as she can be to whichever one of us she can snuggle next to at the time.  She loves this scenario and so do we.

This past Sunday I heard a preacher discussing how to know the Lord's calling in our life.  He said that if we are not sure what the Lord has called us to do, we don't have to figure it out.  We simply draw as close to the Lord as you we can and He will draw close to us. 

When we are very close to someone, it is easy to hear what they have to say to us, even if they speak with a whisper -- or a still small voice.  If we don't know what the Lord wants us to do, then we should get as close to the Lord as possible and we will hear His voice, just as Sparrow can easily hear every thing I say when she is close to me.

Also, when we are as close to someone as it is possible to be, it is very easy for them to lead us.  When Sparrow is on a short lead, I don't have any problem leading her.  When I give her a long leash, she tends to find more things to distract her nose and to keep her from wanting to go the way I want her to go.

So in those times we are wondering what the Lord is doing in our lives, and which way we should turn, let us draw as close to the Lord as we can, and we will more easily hear that still, small voice.  We will sense His leading and direction and we will more surely know His will for our lives.

"Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."  James 4:8

Monday, February 4, 2013

You Can't Take It With You

You hear the phrase often, "You can't take it with you," and it is true, we leave this world just as empty handed as we come into it. But if you could take something with you into the next world, you would want to, wouldn't you?

I heard someone in church say tonight, "There are only two eternal things we touch in this life. . .other people and the Word of God."

The relationships we have with other people and our relationship with the Lord through the Scriptures carry over into our eternal lives.  If we have not entered into a relationship with the Lord, then we will know an eternal existence of pain and suffering in the lake of fire:

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."  Revelation 20:15

If however, we have entered into a relationship by faith with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have life everlasting.  In that life we will never again know hunger or thirst, sorrow or pain. 
We will also know all of those with whom we have made relationships here on earth who also know the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those relationships forged here will continue there for we are all part of one body of whom Christ is our Head.  Those relationships are something we can "take with us."
We can also take with us the knowledge of the Lord we have gained through His Word.  This is because we do not gain this by our own intelligence or diligence at studying, but by the illumination of the Holy Spirit who lives within our spirits.  The Lord Jesus told us that when the Comforter was to come He would "teach you all things."  That teaching is not primarily in our brains, but in our spirits, where His Spirit reveals the truths of God to us.  These are things we can "take with us."
So since there are things we can "take with us," let us focus our time on those things which are eternal.  Those things which are temporal, which fade away, let them fade, and let us value that which has eternal value.  As I have heard, "Only God and people are eternal, every thing else is just stuff."
"But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  Matthew :20,21

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Are You Sure?

I often post on the "Powder Room" from my tablet, especialy since the motherboard died in my husband's laptop and we now share a laptop.  When doing so, the four blogs I manage show up on the list of the Blogger mobile site.  After I have selected the publish button, a confirmation box will appear asking:

"Are you sure you want to publish this post?"

I can't tell you how many times, almost immediately after selecting the "yes" button, I  have realized I published the post to the wrong blog.  This almost always occurs with me publishing my husband's devotional "The Special of the Day. . .From the Orange Moon Cafe" to my Cafe Powder Room blog.

The confirmation box is there for a reason.  It is not an annoyance, although sometimes it seems that way.  It is a time for reflection, for making sure I am on the right page, for checking to make sure I am really doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I find it very frustrating when I have to delete the post and then repost it on the appropriate blog, especially when those actions could have been prevented by just a tiny bit of care on my part.

The Lord has given Christians "confirmation boxes" in our lives as well.  He has given us first of all the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us.  Sometimes we can know the sense of hesitation we feel in our spirits regarding something we are doing, or are planning to do, is a "confirmation box".  Perhaps our plans are just not what the Lord has for us.  Often, that is His Spirit's way of asking us, "Are you sure you are following the Lord's path in this?"

He has also given us His written Word.  Never will the Lord call us to do something which is contrary to His written Word.   We can be absolutely sure of that.  We can compare our thoughts, our plans, our desires with what is outlined in Scriptures to see how they line up.  If they are not on parallel paths, then we know which one is in error -- it will never be Him!

Finally, He has given us the wisdom and communion of fellow believers.  As we make ourselves accountable to each other -- in that spirit of lowliness and humility described by the Apostle Paul -- we can help to ensure that we each are following the Lord's path and avoiding the ditches on either side.  We do well to maintain close fellowship with other believers, to take advantage of their counsel and to seek their wisdom in times of question and turmoil.  As with my experience with the confirmation box, we must not only ask the questions, we must prayerfully listen to the answers as well.

Let us take my hastiness in pressing the publish button as a lesson.  When the Lord puts a confirmation box in our lives, let us slow down, take a look around and avail ourselves of those guides and helps He has placed in our lives.  Let us make sure our feet follow His path and not the path of our own making.

"Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies."  Psalm 27:11
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord:
and he delighteth in his way." Psalm 37:23