PIN IT

PLATITUDES AND THE LIKE

Platitudes may be a bit harsh for what I am led to say today, but it was the closest I could come to my point.

As a teacher I always do my research when approaching a new project; whether it be something I write, or something I paint...so...definition of platitude...
My thought revolves around the short statements; that are often sincerely and honestly made; often bits of scripture; which are ALWAYS true...but, of late I note that there are many from some folks (and, yes, I'm "guilty" of it as well at times, but I try not to...cuz of how I've noticed things...lol)  I believe these folks mean the very best...they want to remind us of something important or profound and they are trying to help.

I believe most platitudes are true...yes, that's why they've withstood the test of time...

Here is the rub for me...and for some who are struggling so desperately.  Sometimes, as in my case, I note they are said, and that is that.  My daughter one day said to me that she is weary of hearing "this too shall pass" or some such phrase like that...some such platitude. I bet I have said it to her!!  sigh... I UNDERSTOOD immediately what she meant!  She knows people mean well...but she is a mother of two very little tots (my glorious grandchildren whom I adore), and she is going through a very crazy time in life right now as any of us will remember if we had some of those little angels...when she is exhausted and trying to keep everything together amidst the chaos, the last thing she needs is a platitude...no matter how well meant!  Instead I imagine what might be better received is..."how about a free babysitting moment so you can catch your breath...maybe get a coffee or see your husband outside of your house?" WOW...now THAT is a blessing!  

I began to notice these well meant words that people sprinkle facebook and other social media sites with...and I felt led to say...SOMETIMES what we need is more than a few well chosen words or a pretty scripture...ALTHOUGH they are TRUE...sometimes it would be nice to get a phone call saying "I miss you" or "are you doing ok?"...and then be willing to listen...sometimes, people need THAT!

At the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer...I just wanted to be real for a moment...I NEED to say this...Life has been really REALLY challenging and heartbreaking and exhausting of late and maybe I can't say what it is, but I really REALLY need more than just the platitudes...and some gentle right now...and I bet there are LOTS and TONS and LOADS of folks out there who need the same...so, can we call this a small, tiny, public service reminder...sometimes those in pain need more than just a platitude...

THAT BEING SAID...I do LOVE one platitude that one friend reminded me of...because I know it was from the heart!  and...it's true...(smiley face inserted here...lol)
I perused through an article I found on line that I found interesting for the moment in time...if you want to read a bit...check out this perspective on Job in relation to platitudes...

AGAIN, I KNOW folks mean well, they are busy and their lives have things and, and, and...(insert here whatever came to your mind)...so, this was more just a kind reminder that actions speak louder than words...and some folks right in your own backyard might be having a crazy life period and might need more than just some pretty platitudes...

GOD BLESS!!


YOU CAN'T FORCE A THING. WELL, YOU CAN TRY, HOWEVER...


It's been awhile since I've felt led to write another post, but recently something happened to me that gave me pause.  I'm sure we have all had the experience at one time or another of being forced to do something.  How did it make you feel? Did it make you respect the one forcing you?  Did it make you want to do the thing even more?  Or, did it cause feelings of distress, anxiety, anger, perhaps even a little bit of fear?  I don't know about you, but in my case I've felt all of those things.  This event invaded my safe place in my life which made it feel even worse...I felt I had no where to go but away from the situation or to bed to sleep away the anxiety.  I'm not talking about insidious types of forcing of a sexual nature, that has it's own evil and not for this day.  I'm talking instead of those things we are forced to do from guilt or from the other person's sense of what should be done.  At the very least it makes one feel uncomfortable.  It has caused me to feel that way at my very core.  No one should ever do that to another.  Jesus' message for us is about free will.  He never forced anyone to come to Him, EVEN THOUGH IT IS GOOD FOR US AND WILL SAVE US.  Proverbs 16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directs his steps", Mark 8: 34 "And when He had called the people [unto Him] with His disciples also, He said unto them, Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.".  Jesus knocks, God says whomever will come to me...there is no forcing there! Our Father realized the value and rightness of choosing and coming freely. He loved us enough to not force us to Him.  This is a good example for all of us.

Forcing something on another person; trying to MAKE them do something is destructive at it's core.  It doesn't allow the other person to be who they are, and doesn't give an opportunity for respect of another's wishes, belief systems and feelings.  You've heard that old saying..."you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar.".  Tis true.  IF something is important enough, consider using kindness and understanding if you want someone to do something for you.  IF they feel free in the choice, they may CHOOSE to do the thing instead of being forced.  HOWEVER, if they do not choose it, do not resort to bullying, or treating them badly because they didn't choose your way of thinking. Would YOU want to be forced to do something that made you feel uncomfortable?  Of course not...treat others as you would want to be treated and you have a much better chance of being respected and appreciated.

Our God, who made us, knows us, and loves us in spite of ourselves even gave us the promise that He would not let you be tempted beyond what you could handle.  This is a great gift and promise!  That means He gives us a way of escape from the thing that would hurt us.  That is just how much He loves us and gives us free will to choose despite what He wants us to do.  I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."  If GOD knew some things would be more than you could bear, and God loved you enough to give you a GODLY way out, then how can we ignore that message for our own lives and try to force anyone to do something that may be more than they can bear at a given time in life?
This simple message is important for us to reflect on.  BY THE WAY...This does NOT refer to our commandments from our Lord.  He gave us guidelines and outright commands that, IF we come to Him he wants us to do.  To NOT do them would be sin.  If we commit to God, or under God then we have those good commandments if we want to be with Him. 


Try the kinder, gentler approach if you want something.  See just how much further you will get with another human if you respect them and their feelings in spite of differing abilities than yours!

GOD BLESS!

THE BIRTH OF A SINGLE MOTHER

I didn't set out in life to become a single mother.  I didn't choose it. I set out, like so many girls of my time, getting married and then having children; expecting a life time of shared responsibility in the life my husband and I had agreed upon and chosen.  I didn't choose the events that caused me to become a single mother.  But, there it was.  It became my life; my existence, BAM...RIGHT THEN! SMALL children and just ME as mother AND father.  Talk about a shock to every dream, every thought, every plan I ever had in my life before.  AND, I didn't have the luxury of time to adjust...I had two children who needed me immediately!  I had to find a job, I had to find a place to live and figure EVERYTHING out IMMEDIATELY.  I was lucky enough to have parents who loved us all so much, who were there to LOVE US... THAT was a saving grace, THAT was a blessing.  However, that didn't quell the terror of what I saw in my life from that moment.  It was a BIG, HUGE, SCARY life that was ahead, and I would make no other choice.  You see, I LOVED my children with all my heart...
I felt horrible for them; for what THEIR lives had turned in to so quickly.  My heart was SO broken for them.

THAT was another thing that happened IMMEDIATELY.  When you have this happen and you have children, you don't have the luxury of curling up into a little ball and hiding from the world; taking time to heal from events.  Your life steps into overdrive IMMEDIATELY, and you have to fall apart on your own time; which is very limited.  YES, I struggled, I fell apart, at times even on THEIR time, bless their hearts.  STILL I had two little ones who needed me, so I kept getting back up and wiping my face and trying some more. IT IS NEVER THE FAULT OF A CHILD...that is something EVERY child of a single mom should know!!  I can't say that enough!!!

There are NO scriptures specifically from God speaking to single mothers.  That is because it was NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY!  There are things He says to us when we need strength, when we are afraid, Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand., when we want to give up Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6, when we are tired Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” , when we become widows I Timothy 5:3-6, when we are wives, Proverbs 31, when we are to be chaste Romans 13:13, so many scriptures for all of these things, but there is no handbook on being a single mother specifically.


I learned VERY QUICKLY that the married friends that I had went away.  The women began to feel jealous.  They didn't want their husbands around a woman who was now "free".  They were uncomfortable.  The church we were attending asked me not to come back because they didn't know if my divorce was "scriptural"; despite my assurances to the contrary.  They wanted PROOF.  And so, in my deepest time of need, I was also abandoned by my church.

I moved us to a small town where there was a christian college so I could get a degree and a job where I COULD take better care of my children, and was judged there also.  I spent years taking my kids to church there; EVERY time the doors were open, where people would get up and move away from me.  My experience was only one of judgement against me.  More uncomfortable fear on their part, for a circumstance I did not choose.  I learned to be defensive.  I learned that love of friends was not mine.There was no luxury of time and grace from others in those early years.  I took a full load in school, extra jobs on the side, and yet was still around for my children.  I still did not have the luxury of "healing". There was little time for that.

What I have learned all these years later is that I will always be a single mother.  Those years alone with my children were HARD, they were LONELY, and, for me, it cemented, even MORE, my love and care for my children.  It was just US together; through thick and thin.  I will always have a fierce love for them; beyond anything I can even understand.  We lived all that together, and so, for me, they are MINE...my beautiful children.  It became very important to me that people knew they were mine.  That is a side effect of the life I was thrown in to.  I had no one else in my daily life, so they became even MORE important to me.  We had struggled together, they were MINE.  It shaped my personality then, as most horrific events do to people.  That is a burden I have...this fierce feeling.  I pray that children of a GODLY single mother understand that side effect, and are gentle in their love of their mother. She needs your understanding and grace now that you are grown with lives of your own!
Ephesians 6:1 - 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 
Proverbs 23:22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

I did not marry again until both my children had left home.  I married a man I dated for many years, but didn't really make a life past my single mother dynamic until many years later.  This is probably why I still feel like a single mother.  It is through no fault of my dear husband.

And now, the story today.  HERE is where a person can live in their heart if they love the Lord as I truly do.  I have come to understand that I did my very best!  Both my children are alive and well, with lives of their own.  They have happy times and struggles just like all of us do, but they didn't turn into murderers, or criminals or anything horrible. (like I was told they would when I was in college...the statistics, I was told, for children of a single mother weren't good) I know that one day, when their lives hold things important to them and they have experiences that will bring to light what it was like for us back then, that they may understand with a loving heart who their mother is.  I hope that they can appreciate that I DID do my VERY BEST for them.  I think they will.  BUT, I will continue my journey and feel proud that I gave them an understanding of the Lord, that He loves them so very much.  I may not ever be rich, but they can be if they choose.  I may not ever have what they may come to have, but I gave them a chance to live that life if they choose it.  I may not ever have  a lot of things...but I will have the knowledge that in a most devastating time I did my best and have NEVER, NEVER regretted taking them and loving them and raising them.  It was without question, my favorite thing I have ever accomplished!  I  KNOW I couldn't have done it without God.

SO for you kids out there of single mothers, PLEASE be kind in your thinking of them.  PLEASE try to understand that they love you so much, and they gave everything for you in the best way THEY could in the face of the most horrible of times...Give them grace, and please, NEVER replace them in your hearts with someone you WISH you had.  If you can, forgive them for not being EVERYTHING you might have deserved, please understand they were humans too; with needs and dreams and wishes and wants who did the best they could in a situation that God didn't plan for them!  I pray all of you children of single mothers had a mother that loved you as fiercely as I did and DO, my two.  If you didn't, I pray your lives are good now.   We can all learn to love and grow with God no matter what our circumstances may be.  THAT is the BEST HAPPY ENDING OF ALL!

I Peter 2: 1-25 (excerpt) So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

GOD BLESS!


PORTRAIT OF A GODLY MOTHER, FIRST IN A SERIES

I am a mother.  Among my other titles; which include Christian woman, wife, daughter, nana, sister, friend, artist, individual human being...you get the idea.  But, yes, I am a mother most surely.  I was given two beautiful children to love and raise, and that I did.  It wasn't easy in some of their growing up years as I was a single mother most of their lives...but it was my blessing, then and now. 
 
I love you my children.  I love you fiercely and eternally.  I love you so much it hurts, sometimes it REALLY TRULY PHYSICALLY HURTS!...my heart swells with pride, with fear for you at times, with understanding as you go through tough times.  I love you so much that I have to stop myself sometimes from running to "save" you like I did when you were little...because the wisdom that I have acquired over these many years since you were my little ones has taught me to let you grow and learn and BE your own persons...but STILL I want to jump in to help SO BADLY!  Did you know that is one of my hardest tasks?...to let you be the adult you grew in to...to let you learn like we all must do?  I'm still here, I still have commandments, but I've given you that Godly foundation...I need to get out of God's way and let you two work...
 
 
Did you know that God gave me instructions for raising you, for being your Godly mother?  Did you know that I have commandments from Him regarding YOU?  Yes...I do.  Let me tell you about them...what it feels like, what it looks like.
 
Did you know that I love you more than I love myself? YES I do.  This is the way to love...to love something more than self.  This is biblical principle! “Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His name.  Ye shall not go after other gods…”  Deuteronomy 6:13-14a
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I am commanded to teach you God's word.  “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”  Deuteronomy 6:7  I would not have left you to raise yourself.  It is my loving job to teach you God's word.  I am not perfect my children, that only belongs to Jesus, so when I fail it is for me to confess that and ask for forgiveness.
 
I am steadfast and diligent in my work, it is the right example and the way to help you to learn that it is not right to be lazy or idle. “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”  Proverbs 31:27.  Did you know that the woman spoken of it Proverbs 31, the one who goes out and buys a field, did you know that she does that for her HOUSEHOLD?  That is her first and main duty...to see to the needs of her family, her house.  It is my blessing to do that!  I understand now that I was your FIRST example of what a good Christian mother and wife should be. 
I love you SO very much my children.  I feel fiercely protective of you.  I would give you everything I had if it was best for you.  Please understand that it is very hard to let you be the adult you have become sometimes...I still have those feelings of fierceness for you.  God gave me those feelings from the time you were a reality in my mind. 
My promise is this:  I will continue to be a Christian mother.  I will continue to follow God's commandments to me.  I will ALWAYS and FOREVER love you with ALL MY HEART...You have me until I go to MY father in heaven, and even then my children, you will have my heart...  Be gentle with me when I need to help you learn more, when I need to give you that good Godly wisdom...know that I am following His words and instructions for me...I love you!  Mom


HOW GOD WANTS US TO MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES IN OUR LIVES! GETTING OFF THE WRONG TRACK...

 
Every single one of us; at one time or another, have  gotten off track in our lives.  We have all been in the bottom of a seemingly endless pit of despair or fear or anger...be honest; we ALL have been there.  Even our Lord was there during His time on this earth!  Have you ever been so low; so devastated, so destroyed from life that you sweat as drops of blood? Jesus did. Luke 22:44 "And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."

Jesus was there in the garden before Judas betrayed Him. He was in that dark place of fear and felt those feelings of abandonment.  ALL of his friends and followers abandoned Him.  They even fell asleep at His darkest time.  Really think about our Lord for a bit...HOW He must have felt; the fear, the exhaustion, the loneliness.  He went through that for US...He didn't do anything to bring on his darkest time, He suffered for us; so we could be in Heaven with Him one day.  WHAT A GIFT!


We have a promise that we are NOT alone, EVER.  Jesus was tempted in all things as we are.  Hebrews 4:15 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet He did not sin."  We have a chance to follow Jesus, who, for a time WAS A MAN; so strong that He went through the trials without sinning.  WHAT A ONE TO HONOR AND FOLLOW!! He KNOWS the sorrow, the fear, the utter loneliness. 

Jesus knows more than that...He knows what it is to be nailed so hideously onto a wooden cross...He KNOWS what it is to suffer an agonizing death.  We are NOT EVER ALONE! I love the words in Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” This was a time in history when the Israelites were coming into Canaan; a new land...after all the turmoil from Egypt...but, God's words are for us all; even today...How awesome is it that we have the promise that God is ALWAYS with us...we are not to be frightened or dismayed!  Imagine for a moment those feelings of safety we felt when with our parents or protectors...SAFE...THAT is what we have when we hold to God...He is ALWAYS there for us...He NEVER leaves us; it is WE who leave Him sometimes...sigh,  BUT, the path back to the safety of God's love and promises is ALWAYS there; WE can NEVER get too far away from Him that we can't come back in an instant!  Death is the only permanent separation...but, PLEASE don't let that happen! Come home to a safe place for your heart and soul...Make some positive changes and be ready to SEE what blessings God has to offer!

The first thing you need to do to make a positive change in your life is to DECIDE to. DECIDE that you are sick of the life you are living; full of frustration, despair, sorrow, loneliness, anger.  DECIDE that you want to have a better life.  God is in your corner, HE is waiting with outstretched arms to encircle you and help you find your way to a good life, a positive life!  It is not as easy as it sounds, I know.  We can so easily get "used" to the pain of a difficult life...we can get down and feel like this is the only way...CHANGE; even for the better is challenging, even scary, but we have a God in Heaven who is bigger than any scary thing here on earth.  He made you and He wants you to feel good, have a good life with Him in it!  Yes, change is hard, thinking differently can be hard; I've been there; at the bottom of the world, and I KNOW it is hard, but remember ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE with Christ Phil. 4:13 13 I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me." Hear that...Christ can strengthen us!!  AWESOME!

The second thing is to PRAY.  Pray that God help you with your decision.  Pray that He give you peace during this time.  PRAY for Him to give you direction.  PRAY that He help you understand the destructive things and people in your life that are keeping you in this pit, and for the STRENGTH to step out and dare to believe in a better life!  Use Jesus' example.  What did He do when he was afraid, lonely...He PRAYED.  God will not give you a stone if you ask for bread.  Remember we talked about this in my last post! and, BELIEVE that God is there and He will not leave you alone!




 
The third thing is to realize change will not happen all at once.  It is a process.  We didn't get to the depths of despair all at once; most likely, so it will take a little while to get to that positive existence.  It doesn't have to feel bad for a long time...but, give yourself a little break...let God work those great healing gifts as you go along.  You won't be alone, NOT FOR ONE SECOND of this process!! With your understanding that change; even a positive one is a process...this leads to what the process may look like.

The fourth thing is to GET SUPPORT!  Even Jesus, when He had prayed, went out to talk to the disciples that had fallen asleep.  He told them to be alert. DO NOT get support from those destructive folks who may cheer you along in your current life.  Find those people who love God, who truly LOVE you.  Your family, maybe a preacher, a Christian friend who won't just tell you what you want to hear, but is there to lift you up when you feel afraid.  Let these people guide you.  Find ones who are wiser...listen, find someone who has been there, they won't judge.  You don't need a whole football team, just a precious few to help you along!

The steps after this are to make decisions based upon your prayers, your soul searching about what is good to help you make a positive change.  Eliminate those things in your life that continue to drag you into that negative place...you may have to consider a move to a new area...you may need a different job, a new set of friends...WHATEVER it is PLEASE pray about making these changes...You cannot make a positive change when you are surrounded by things that weigh you down.  You need to think of yourself as a recovering __________.  You are recovering from a lifetime, or a period of time of despair and negative thinking; negative processes to try to get a temporary fix.  Think of yourself as more valuable than THAT person...you belong to God.  You were loved SO VERY MUCH that Jesus died for you...Keep that in your heart!  Just make ONE positive step at a time...don't try to do it all at once...but keep that PRAYERFUL heart...pray that God help you see clearly...SEE the people that truly love you and wish for your good...those souls on this earth that you may not even realize pray for YOU, love YOU, wish for YOUR good...these are gifts from the God who is there for you, sitting next to you every second of life...Imagine Him there...Imagine Him cheering you on; not judging you...but wishing for your GOOD, and that is to be with Him one day in Heaven!

You are NOT alone...we've all been there to some extent in our lives...we felt like you once; maybe several once's in our lives...but those of us who can SEE THAT BEAUTIFUL HORIZON; those of us who have a heart for God; WE are there...Please don't give up and live your life of loneliness and sorrow.  God has something SO MUCH BETTER for those that love Him and keep His commandments...they are for our GOOD you know...it feels awesome to have God there; cheering us on, and loving us when we fail from day to day.  Let today be the day you start to make those Godly positive changes in your life.  I am praying for you all!!  I am praying for me; that I do my best every single day, and that I let that be enough. Tomorrow is another day! 

GOD BLESS!

GOD'S ANSWER FOR WHEN LIFE CLOSES IN

Life; satan; is ever present in this world; waiting to destroy the very best in you that God has created.  When the troubles in life weigh you down there is a way to find peace and joy; and it is in the very God who loves you so very much!

When you feel burdened and soul weary repeat these words of Psalm 46:10.  Be still; don't react; don't fear what is before you at any difficult moment...first of all BE STILL and KNOW that God is in His heaven and all is going to be all right for you if you live in His beautiful comfort.

I remember a particularly painful time in my life not so long ago.  My heart was absolutely broken and my soul was in pain.  I felt so very small and ineffective.  I happened to be near an ocean on that particular day.  My husband and I were spending a few minutes at the beach before we boarded a plane to return home to our Colorado mountains and I sat down with the view of the waves crashing to the shore.  The sound was repetitive and strong.  The waves were beautiful and ever coming in...wave after wave.  In that moment of despair I prayed to God to help me find peace; to help me know it was going to be OK.

At that moment my Father; who loves me more than I will ever understand; gave me the peace I was asking for.  As I watched those waves coming in over and over it struck me that He is SO great; He is SO much BIGGER than our earthly sorrows.  He made this ocean.  He set the waves in motion; waves that are always there crashing over the land and moving back out; only to come in again.  It hit me in that moment that God is always the same; Malachi 3:6a "I the Lord do not change"...He is our ever present calm in a sea of sorrow that life can bring when satan plays with our minds, our souls, and our hearts; wanting to destroy us. GOD can bring all things back to it's intended rhythm if we will only let Him! Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
 
We as Christians have a promise from our Father that we will never be alone.  Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” These are powerful words that we so often move over so quickly...never stopping to let the full effect wash over our sore hearts and souls.  Imagine if your parent said this to you...would you feel better?  How much MORE does God love us?  His love is perfect and sure and ever there just waiting for us to hold on to!

We can DO some things to bring comfort in times of trial and sorrow.  Our God did NOT leave us empty handed.  We have practical things to do.  First of all we need to sit down and be still...think about the things in life that bring pain and fear and sorrow.  Are they actions of others that bring us to our knees?  If these people in our lives are destroying the best parts of us it is OK to put those away from our hearts.  We can walk away from toxic people. The gift you can give to them is to pray for them. Don't let others take away the joy that God gave you! God built into us a survival reaction.  It's when we do not listen to the Holy Spirit; a gift from God, that we get in trouble.  We say to ourselves that we should be able to deal with this person or behavior; we should think about their souls.  True; we should be thinking about souls, but there comes a time when Jesus said to shake the dust off of our feet. Matthew 10:14 : If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet."
IF those people are bringing us closer to sin; and we have given the seed of the word(I Cor. 3:6-7); and it has had no effect that we can see, what are we told to do? Matthew 7:6 ""Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you."

 
When we are overburdened and life is too heavy and we are drowning in life's troubles we have a perfect example in Jesus!  What did He do when he needed to rest?  He went away and prayed to His Father when He was on this earth. Luke 5:15-16 "Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."

 Can you imagine being bombarded like Jesus was? We have all FELT bombarded by life from time to time. The point is; when life got too much; our Lord got away and was quiet and prayed...WE HAVE THAT GIFT!  We have the avenue of prayer to the one who made us, to the one who loves us more than anyone on this earth...HE WILL NOT GIVE YOU A STONE...PRAY...take some time to get away and re-fill your soul.  GOD WILL NOT GIVE YOU A STONE! Matthew 7:9-11 "“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!"


One of my favorite verses is found in Philippians 4:6-9 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Think about this promise; this gift.  We aren't being chastised for being anxious.  Our Father is
reminding us that He is there; that we can pray to Him; that He will give us the peace that we do not understand! AWESOME!  And, a request...a WISE request...We are to think on those true and noble things...those things that are pure and right...THAT is the example; THAT is the THING we are to do...and the promise, the gift is peace! God is bigger than our sorrows; HE IS THERE...LET HIM BE THERE.  That is the gift; THAT is what we do when life closes in. 

GOD BLESS!
 

"THE CHOICES WE MAKE"

I woke up this morning with thoughts of the consequences; both good and bad; of the choices we all make...the choices I make.  My first conscious choice of this day was to get up early so I could write this blog post.  I could have stayed in bed; my sheets are SO SOFT, and it was cozy...but this was my chance to write before I work on a painting, before I go to work later.  The consequence of this first conscious choice was grogginess, others will be satisfaction that I did something productive (not that sleep isn't productive, but I'd had a good bit of that already), I might be sleepy later in the day...you get the point. Choices!  We are faced with them constantly. 

There are no great revelations in this blog post, just ruminations; just thoughts that might help choices to be made more carefully.  As I said earlier, our choices all come with consequences.  We have but this one life, and some choices may affect the rest of it.  It would seem to me that our choices; IF we want a life worth living, should be made with God's wisdom and not our own. Proverbs 3:5 - "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." After all, God made us, so who would be a better guide to make it through this life than He? Ephesians 2:10 - "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

I've not always thought about choices I make in life. It was the loss of several friends after the loss of my father last year that really brought this thought pattern home for me.  First my dad...that has been a hard one.  I am so proud of the man he was.  He was a man of dignity and grace.  He was honorable and honest.  He was my dad, and a great example. I miss him still...so much!  I don't know what caused his Leukemia, his Parkinson's, his lymphoma...was it environmental?  I don't know.  I don't know if choices for him or his parents about working in fields that had been heavily sprayed with insecticides would have made a difference.  No one knew back then, so there was not a choice for safety in people's understanding then, but you understand what it means that choices CAN affect life.  I had a friend who made a choice to climb on a ladder that must not have been very secure, or she wasn't very secure on her feet, as she fell and died. We have choices before us every day to make that can and will affect the rest of our lives.  Who we marry, what dangerous or illegal chemical we put in our bodies, whether to speed down a mountain or not...it is endless!  THINK FIRST...choose carefully, because we do not have a do over in life.  Use God as your guide! His way is good, ours is often fraught with pathways that lead to death; both physically sometimes, and also spiritually; which is the MOST important.  Proverbs 14:12 - "There is a path that seems right to a man, but in the end it is a road to death." God is our heavenly father, and He loves us, and He see's all things, so He is an awesome one to trust!

Joshua 24:15 - But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua was leading the Israelites into the promised land.  They were always choosing the wrong path; a path away from God.  He is giving them some sound wisdom that applies to us today...CHOOSE for yourselves, but know there are consequences of every choice! I know for me, I'd rather have a good consequence that leads to heaven and all God's blessings!


Sometimes, because we are human, we lean on our own understanding,  we choose a selfish path and we have hard consequences as a result. Perhaps we force a relationship and marry outside of God's wisdom; that consequence can be a life of stress and sorrow.  (and no, I did not marry the wrong person, I married the exact man that God knew I needed to marry to be the best Christian woman I can be...HOWEVER, I have no illusions...I have made plenty of unwise choices in life!!) (SIDE BAR: I'm laughing right now, because I wonder if my poor husband ever thinks he made a wonky choice?? I can be quite a little pistol! Pray for my poor hubby! HA) Using this as an example we STILL have good choices within that one that may not have been the wisest.  We can choose how we will behave within that relationship.  We can choose to be Godly, and in THAT choice we may affect a change within that relationship.  My point here is, IF we are walking in the light, and IF we love the Lord, we can change the affect of our choice on us in our attitude and our own actions.  We can find joy and happiness in our circumstances.  Look at Paul as he spoke the words James 1:2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  This tells us that even in the face of choices that may have produced a less than joyful consequence we can use it to produce in us a complete and joyful servant! YAY!  This can also apply to those things that happen in life that are not a product of our unwise choice...See how God is working in all things!


My simple point in all of this folks is that we are free moral agents in this world.  God is ALWAYS there, loving us, trying to guide us if we will but take time to listen and learn from His most perfect wisdom.  Try to think first before you choose.  Pray every day that you let God guide your choices and heart!  DON'T judge those who may have made a choice that causes pain and sorrow...LOVE that person, and above all look to yourself first...Look to your heart, let God give you wisdom...it's there; all we have to do is ask!!  James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

and remember...

GOD BLESS!!