In the last month we have had an election that has rocked our United States to the core.
I rarely talk politics and I really hardly ever bring up controversial topics.
This election has caused more friction between friends, coworkers and even family members, it has been staggering and disappointing to me to see the hard ‘opinions and words’ that people have said to one another.
The election is over. It is done.
I wish for people to deal with it and let go of their pre-conceived ideas of righteous arguments.
There is no argument worth losing a friend over.
No argument worth losing a family member over.
It is wasted energy and definitely not life giving or relationship building. The voting is over and we have a new President.
Let’s pray for him, and be faithful in our fundamental right of freedom of speech for in such a time as this we ask May God continue to bless America and keep us protected and safe.
[I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.]
1st Corinthians 1:10
In the last month we have had an election that has rocked our United States to the core.
Forty two years ago on March 10th we were blessed with a baby boy.
He was precious and new and tiny. A joy for us and a delight.
We were young and didn’t really know what to do as parents.
We had a tiny little house and he slept in a cradle my grandpa made for us, a wooden one on rockers. Oh those things really hurt when you ran into them with your toe in the middle of the night.
We named him Christopher; which means Christ-bearer.
We were so new at being parents and made so many mistakes.
Sometimes we were scared of the responsibility of being parents.
We wanted so much for our son.
He was such a joy to us and very life changing for it was the beginning of the three of us in our family.
He was extremely smart and talked many words at an early age.
Every day was a new challenge and we were so pleased, proud and tired too, for this little guy got up very early every morning.
I remember taking him to my grandma’s and grandpa’s house so she could cut his hair. We would have lunch and visit.
It was a great time of sharing and making memories.
A few months after he turned two we found out we were having our second baby. He was excited to be a big brother.
It has been such a joy to see our son grow up to be a Godly man.
Responsible and wise. After high school college became his plan.
Then he met his wife to be and they dated for 5 years.
Now they are married with three boys of their own.
He is a business man, a leader and police officer too.
Our prayers are always for his safety.
For his health, for his family and for his love to grow stronger in the Lord and in his marriage. Today I just want to say:
We love you son and wish you a happy birthday.
We have been so blessed and so proud to see you become the man you have become.
Fruit of the Spirit: A Deep Challenge
March 7, 2017
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”
When I read these words I find myself deeply challenged.
Is it possible to have any or all of these fruits? I read each one and ask myself, “do I have this and does it show?”
Love, means to care for and love those who I don’t often want to spend time with. Love…is hard. It is an action word.
It’s easy when we are with others we care for but that is not often the place we find ourselves in.
Joy, we can have deep joy in our lives and then it shows up in deep peace. Those who have joy inside them are often the most peaceful people one can meet.
Remember the song, “it is well with my soul?” When peace like a river, flowing and fulfilling it spills out into forbearance, which means patient endurance and self control.
Kindness, is to be kind and good and faithful. If you have ever met someone without kindness they often show lack of self control.
They are rude and not approachable. Gentleness and self control go together very well.
Living in the Spirit means I must take inventory of every word, every action and every behavior I show to others.
It is a good thing.
It is a wonderful challenge if we choose to grow in the Spirit.
When I was in high school one of my very good friends was in college and she was a mentor to me.
Often challenging me to look inside my heart and think deep and spiritual. She had cystic fibrosis and I would call her and often ask how she was and in the end she was the one asking me matters of the heart questions. She lived by the fruits of the spirit. Gentleness, compassion, goodness, patient endurance. Her disease didn’t destroy her attitude in fact it made it sweeter for she knew her time was short. I learned from her to and her modeling of what a Christian was. She prayed, she listened and she asked questions. I never felt shamed or discouraged with her, she had a way of lifting me up even within the midst of her own suffering.
If we can challenge each other to live by the fruit of the Spirit and to show our ‘kindness to others’ in these crazy times of meanness, I think we will have more opportunity to show others who are watching, the love of Jesus. We can learn to answer meanness from other peoples words with forgiveness and the act of being gentle.
This last voting season has caused a great stir among friends and family and there has been a spirit of ‘righteous’ behavior that I have not enjoyed.
Living by the Spirit means to show fruit of ‘kindness’… goodness and self control. We really do need to look inward and ask ourselves have we done these very well? No matter what opinion we choose to share if it is done in the wrong ‘way’ we lose all of our witness.
I pray we practice the art of discerning which fruit we will give our time and attention to.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.”
Are you ready for the challenge set before you?
Do you have a special place?
A place where it is your ‘peaceful place’ for your spirit and it renews you?
I do. I find when we get away to the beach; the wind and the waves and cool air refreshes my attitude.
In fact right now as I write I am in our travel trailer drinking my coffee and enjoying the quiet without noise or distractions.
Quiet is my peaceful place too.
There are many goals I have made to keep my writing schedule focused and on my calendar.
In fact my recent purchase is a small laptop so when we are out traveling I can keep at a steady pace.
Can’t wait for it to come to our home so I can learn it and begin a series for Easter.
Writing is my ‘hobby’ or a new way of journaling for me.
In saying that it is not often personal like a journal would be it; becomes more of a story telling or devotional thoughts to challenge the reader who is reading.
I appreciate those who are faithful to this quiet space of mine.
In the blogging world one should be a known name, or an author who has written a book in order to have faithful readers.
My husband keeps asking me when I am writing mine.
Good question, I haven’t been given the answer to that one yet.
The other hobby I am learning is the art of quilting.
Writing is a lot easier for me, but the reward of a new quilt made for someone special, is just like a ‘good writing piece’ it is something to be proud of and humbled by the gift of putting something together in a beautiful way.
So as I sit in this quiet place I have prayed that the words in this blog to be always challenging, always encouraging and always sharing the love of God to his people.
Without HIS leading this little blog space has no meaning for me.
the message version.
[Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.]
God began this journey of blogging and it will continue to be my life message until HE tells me to stop.
Have you ever known someone who really touched your heart in a deep way?
I have on a few occasions and it really is a life changing experience.
You begin to listen to their words, you begin to perhaps follow them as they go about their life.
They impacted you on some level. You desire more time to listen and learn from them.
I can count on one hand the few people who have made such a deep impact on my life.
Those who I can think of, were special. Worth remembering. Were authentic and very real.
The bible shows the word friend, 263 times so it seems rather significant to me that it is such a powerful word.
It is those kinds of people who challenge us to think about relationships.
I am not one who has a lot of deep friendships.
Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of people who are good ‘friends’.
Only those who ‘really fit into the’ special group, of ‘intimate friends’ are few.
Jesus when he was here training the disciples only had two or three who were ‘his special friends’.
We cannot cultivate and grow a good relationship when it is too large of a process for us.
My best friend lives about three hours from me, but what I find so special no matter how long it’s been since we see each other we always pick right up as if no time has ever passed.
She knows my heart and I know hers.
It is a good thing. It is comforting and very valued.
She is fighting for her life right now, with a serious illness and even though she looks very good physically, internally her body is fighting to stay here.
I am praying intensely for her journey, because I want her here with her family and me.
I challenge you to reach out to those who are in your address book or on your phone.
Is there someone you want to spend more time with, it takes effort to make it work.
A thought for you is to create and carve out some time for your ‘friend and you.’
It is a gift we can give each other. Our time.
For someday it might be gone and the opportunity will be over and really there is nothing more important.
A few verses for you to think on the subject.
[Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.] Proverbs 17:17
[God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in.] Psalm 25:14
[Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family] Proverbs 18:24
Most of all remember this:
[Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!] Proverbs 25:13
The age old question …
We just had Valentines day and some would say love is chocolates, roses and cards.
When I was working in a florist shop I saw men scramble to get the expected things to show how much they cared for someone.
I challenge you to think of the question.
In the word we find the love chapter we have already read about: 1st Corinthians 13:
[Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.]
I value these words. In our throw away society where promises are not kept and vows are minimized, this is a challenge for us all.
I see love as a commitment and choice.
We are admonished in the word:
[So be very careful to love the Lord your God] Joshua 23:11
[Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life] Psalm 23:6
When we love; we love with a commitment and a joy towards someone to pray for them, walk alongside and encourage them.
Remember love is patient and kind.
At one point in time in my 50’s somehow I contracted the mumps, my face was very swollen and I was very ill, my husband would ask what he could do to help me feel better.
I was a complete mess physically and even emotionally.
I didn’t need someone to fix it because no one could, I just wanted calm, and quiet and restful days so I could recover.
He respected that. It is a love ‘decision’ to look beyond our needs.
When he had his knee replaced, it was major and I am not a good nurse and I don’t do well when waiting on others.
I had to help because he couldn’t do some things.
Love: In sickness and in health, because we choose to.
[I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.] Psalm 31:7
God had placed within each of us the capacity to love.
It is our choice but it is also a part of who HE made us to be.
If you have never read The Velveteen Rabbit book by Margery Williams I would suggest it. Love is spoken there.
What is love? it is looking beyond our own ‘broken places’ to help one another navigate this journey of life.
For no one wants to go on it alone.
Today, February 22nd would have been my mother’s 85th birthday.
She passed away two years ago from Parkinson’s.
I wouldn’t say we were close for we had many years of distance between us.
She was a single mom and she did what she could to raise the three of us alone.
There were three daughters, I was the youngest.
Times were not often easy, and she learned from her life experiences how to parent.
There wasn’t a lot of money available as we were growing up but our home was always nice.
We had food and even though it might not have been what we wanted it kept us comfortable.
She didn’t have child support or food stamps back in those days, sometimes she worked two jobs.
She was not what I would call a warm and fuzzy mom, didn’t overly dote on us or not overly affectionate.
I would imagine with the pressure and weight of being a single mom she didn’t have a lot of left over energy.
We had chores and we were expected to get them done. I know now it was her way of keeping her home nice.
We were not allowed to leave huge messes, or be lazy.
As I have grown into a mature ‘mom and grandma’, I realize we all pour out of the cups we were given.
If our life experiences are limited that is what we pour out, to others.
Not saying anything bad or negative just truth.
I was at fault many times as a mom too, when my own children were growing up.
We all make mistakes as we learn the job of parenting.
It is what it is. A truth we all carry if we are to be honest.
The years were hard for her, she had many deep heart aches.
She probably would fit more of a Mother ‘name’ and not so much mom.
Like dad was not the Father type, he was dad.
Life came back to her in full circle when in her mid years our dad came back into the picture.
They were married when they passed away. Loving each other in their old ages.
It was a love story that was fractured and then healed.
It was a nice to see the devotion between them as I watched and observed in the care home.
He lived in a setting that was not ‘his choice’ in order for her to be cared for properly.
That is love. That is healing. That is for better and worse, in sickness and in health.
Till death parted them.
Today would have been her birthday, a day to remember. Happy birthday Mother.
The word Good, means:
Of a favorable character or tendency, that can be relied on, virtuous, right, commendable as in a good person with good conduct.
(2): kind, benevolent with good intentions, of the highest worth or reliability.
We sing a song at our church that says, “you’re a good good Father, that’s who you are.”
Every time we sing that song in church it just touches me so deeply.
Maybe because I have very little memory of my own dad.
I wouldn’t ever call him Father, that did not fit his personality.
He was dad. He was grandpa and great grandpa, his name was Nick.
I often feel like I missed a lot by not having a memory bank that I can draw from.
I don’t feel I am less than others who had a wonderful dad figure in their life; just feel sometimes that it would have been nice to have that ability to ask him questions, or have that knowing deep inside, that I was ‘special’ to him as HIS daughter.
It goes to the core of who we are, to know that we were loved.
Often I would hear the comment “she is such a daddies girl, and I could not relate.”
What did that mean?
In my room I have a picture of a little girl sitting near a window holding a pink rose, waiting.
Waiting. For him to return. That is how I felt for many years. Wondering and waiting.
He left when I was young. I didn’t ever have that experience of his ‘voice’ as I grew from a little girl to a teen.
No affirmations of who I was and no way of knowing in his heart how he felt.
When we met in my adult years I was around my mid 30’s and it was both odd and surreal to see him.
Then he would come visit us at our home in the country and it was strange for me to look out the window and say, “Oh dad’s here.”
It was nice. We were casual. No formalities and no rules. We had a ‘quiet understanding.’
I wish now that he is gone I could look out the window and say, “Oh dad’s here.”
I wish that I could talk to him and tell him things I missed while he was here.
In the quiet of this rainy day, I miss him.
When I went into the dictionary I found these assorted words.
benignity, (a good deed or favor; an instance of kindness:) (a kind or gracious act) benevolence (desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness:) humanity, generosity, charity, sympathy, compassion, tenderness.
As we look at the many meanings of the word kindness I am reminded how easy it is to do all of them.
Let’s see what the bible word say’s about it.
It is found 56 times throughout the old and new testaments.
[But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,]
[“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”]
[You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit] Job 10:12
[The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.]
[Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.] Colossians 3:12
Do we get it yet?
It is so easy even if one is not a believer, to be kind is something anyone can do. It takes little effort.
It requires little effort from us, and it seems like we are very blessed if we choose to be kind.
So often I see others not being kind and it is a great irritant to me, for I know there is no reason to not be.
Anyone can smile. Anyone can say a nice compliment. Anyone can hold a door open or offer to pay for a coffee.
As in everything what we do, remains a choice from our hearts towards one another.
It is a decision making. It really should become a lifestyle.
We don’t wake up and say to ourselves, “Today I am going to show kindness.”
No it should be so ingrained in us that it is as natural as breathing.
We have seen this quote more than once.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato
There is great truth in it.
Be kind because that is what makes you a wonderful human being.
Be kind because it is a gentle approach to others.
Be kind because it is NO excuse to be rude.
Be kind because some won’t expect it and be blessed by your decision.
Do you get it yet?
Be kind, it is a simple act of being human.
In the frustrated, often confusing world we live in, everyday we must decide how we are going to respond.
With a new President in office, there have been many people who unfriended friends, deserted relationships and even gone to the point of making bad comments or negative remarks on some blog writers sites or even facebook sites if one has one.
I used to be in grade school and it seems difficult for me to understand how grown adults can act sometimes.
We are not children.
In the New Testament it tells us: 1 Corinthians 13:11
[When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.]
This could go for a grown woman too.
We must not act childish like the ones who are yelling, screaming and criticizing what cannot be changed.
What is done, is done. Move forward and do what you can to be patriotic and proud of Our United States.
We really do have much to be proud of if we take a good long look.
I am returning to the love chapter in the New Testament.
In 1 Corinthians 13 it reads:
[Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.]
In another version the same verses read this way:
[4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.]
I value the words, patient and kind.
When I worked in a pharmacy we always had one old gentleman come in for his medication.
He was grumpy and irritable and really hard to deal with. I often was the one who helped him.
When he came in the door, I smiled at him, which often set him off guard.
Then he would gruffly say, ‘I need my meds’.
I would get them remembering his name at the same time showing him common courtesy.
Then when he finished I would say as he left, “have a great day” and he would always answer, “what’s left of it.”
Just a feisty old man, but in time as I continued to be kind, he softened and his gruffish old mannerisms stopped.
He learned I would treat him the same every day no matter what his behavior was towards me.
I think in this ‘crazy’ world full of arguments, the best way to handle them is to be kind.
It would be a good thing for us to remember:
[Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;]