Select Page

The gift of friendship adds value to your life

The gift of friendship is one that I do not take lightly.
We just got back from a trip to central Oregon to see my good friend and her husband.
Our boys used to play together and it has been a friendship of over 30 years.
It was a wonderful time of sharing with each other and also exploring a little of the area.
We went to the high desert museum which has been on my husband’s bucket list.
It was a hot day and to be inside some of the time was nice.
My friend and I have been close for many years. She is a gift to me.
As we have aged we have changed in our physical appearances and also our health.
Both of us are dealing with potential problems that should they get worse; we will need additional help.
We pray for each other and we encourage each other.
It is a friendship of comfort. There are no games and no hidden agenda’s.
It is a friendship that challenges the best in us to come out and the not so good to leave.
I value her and her wisdom and her ability to rise above her situations.
She is a warrior who survived losing her first husband, and who waited for over 7 years for the right ‘other’ man of her dreams to come into her life. She is happy and loved now.
She is classy and smart and I am so very glad to be a part of her life.
The gift of friendship is just that, a gift we unwrap carefully and then treasure.
It is something that creates in us a ‘feeling’ of value.
I believe in her and she believes in me. We pray for each other and always want the best for each other.
“Many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends leave footprints in your heart.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

A very different day for us at the parade

Last Saturday we had a very different day.
Our family went out just like many others to watch a local small town parade.
There were over a hundred entries between bands playing, people marching and floats of all kinds.
Our grand daughters were on a float for the soft ball team and our grandson’s were in the parade because of their karate class.
People of all ages were there to have fun and enjoy the small town feeling.
Just before the float our grand daughter’s were on; a church float in front of us had assorted ages of children.
At one point as the float moved by us a little girl who we later found out was six years old, fell off the float and was run over by the wheels of the flat bed truck.
People were screaming, hysteria was happening.
I covered my eyes so I didn’t watch everything although I did see her completely under the tires.
The driver then moved forward and then backed up to get her out from underneath the truck.
My oldest grandson told me about it after it happened.
As soon as they were able someone picked her up and ran her to the fire department that was about a quarter of a block away. Soon after that we heard a life flight helicopter descending and then ascending up into the air taking her to a children’s hospital. It all happened so fast.
My heart was sick, my stomach weakened by the visual of that little girl.
The atmosphere changed for all of us and it was really hard for me to get into the festive spirit of parade waves after that.
I just kept praying for that sweet little one.
Later that day or maybe it was the next day the family posted pictures of her in the hospital and she survived. MIRACULOUSLY.
God protected her completely and she was released to go home about three days later.
She was very bruised and very fragile but she survived with no broken bones or head trauma.
All I can say is we witnessed a miracle.
No one can ever tell me our God is not a God of miracles; because we witnessed first hand an amazing one.
It was such a relief to me and many others to know she survived.
I have been quiet here on this page; as I have had to take care of myself.
It just proves things can change in an instant without notice.
Her family gives all glory to God. She is truly a miracle.When I saw one of my grand daughter’s after this all happened she said to me, “grandma she will be ok when they ran her to the fire station she was crying, that means she had breath. You can’t cry without it.”
We could all breathe a little easier knowing she survived a most horrible accident.
Sunday at church I kept reframing the image of her on the ground, with angels surrounding her speaking whispering healing words to her.
It was an incredibly different day for many of us who were there at that parade and we hope we never experience it again.
(sharing this without permission of the family, it is only as I witnessed it.)

Kind words are like honey

[Kind words are like honey – they cheer you up and make you feel strong.] proverbs 16:24
I love the way this verse says, kind words cheer you and make you feel strong.
My best friend lives about three hours away from me but that doesn’t stop us from talking to each other. We will block out a two or three hour time in our day just for a phone call.
I always hang up feeling good, feeling empowered, better and I could say, stronger.
I think she does too. We are friends, and we build each other up.
When you have someone who believes in you that is a powerful gift to give yourself.
[Gracious speech is like clover honey — good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body.]
[She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.] proverbs 31:26
My friend is not only a retired school teacher she loves to teach and share the word of God and the ways it applies to our every day lives. She always brings encouragement to me, I love listening to her.
[By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,] Galatians 5:22 Oh the word faithfulness is powerful.
When you have had a long time friendship you become faithful to the meaning of friends.
You value them. You treasure them and want the best for them.
[As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.] Colossians 3:12 Just as we get up in the morning and choose what jeans to wear and what top will match; we can choose to clothe ourselves with the attributes of God too.
[Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor.] proverbs 21:21
To pursue something is to go after it, to do what it takes to get it done.
I think life and honor is a pretty good trade off for pursuing righteousness.
[He has told you, O mortal man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?] Micah 6:8
Such a good question. What does the Lord require?
To do justice, have kindness and be humble in your walk with God. Pretty simple.
[Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?] Romans 2:4b
I love this question. Don’t you know? It’s his kindness that will lead you to repent and want to be with him. It draws us to him.
Kind people make it easy for me to want to be with them. It is a safety net. A comfort zone.
It’s all about having compassion and tenderness; indulgent and considerate, helpful and thinking of others. Kind words are such an easy choice in the world we live in, where harshness and hatred is often spewed against one another.
[32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.]
Ephesians 4:32
Kind words are like honey, they cheer you up and make you feel strong. Let’s continue to ‘lift each other up’ as we go about our days of work or retirement.

May we always choose to use

May we always choose to use life giving words when communicating with others.
It is so often that we enter into conversations when we are out shopping, or in a group settings such as a church or work.
How easy it is to first listen so we know what is happening around us but also pay attention to who we are with.
To listen with the intention of fully hearing the words said and expressed from others.
We all know what we feel like when we express our feelings and then feel unheard.
It always goes back to what Pastor said, “words can be life building or they can tear down.”
Have you ever been around someone who is generally negative all the time?
They do not create a safe place for sharing matters from a heart.
The greatest gift we can give is to listen with the intention of understanding.
[kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.] proverbs 16:24
I tend to gravitate to kind people. You know them, they are considerate of others, they show appreciation, they are full of thanksgiving in attitude and behavior.
I keep thinking of the line that Pastor said, “The sad part is the words that could have given life and hope to someone is often not said to them.”
Have you ever had someone speak truth over you? affirming your heart dreams and goals?
It’s like a cheerleader saying, “you can do it, I believe in you.”
It is so easy to choose words that give life, it is also easy to listen and process how we are going to share with others. There is a saying around face book world that says we often listen to respond instead of listen to ‘hear’ what the other person is sharing.
[This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;] James 1:19
When I looked up the word hear it is found 1835 times in the bible.
The word listen is found 371 times, the word understand is found 256 times.
[“How long will you hunt for words? Show understanding and then we can talk.] Job 18:2
[“But if you have understanding, hear this; Listen to the sound of my words.] Job 34:16
The word speak is found 671 times in the bible.
So in the big picture of what I am trying to share is this, it is more important to hear in order to be in relationship with God and with others.
When I was in counseling my counselor would tell me he was listening to my words and also my body language. Both are important.
When someone comes to you and says “can we have coffee and talk sometime?”
They are actually saying, “will you make time for me to share with you, will you listen?”
It’s an excellent challenge and question. Ready for a cup of tea and conversation?

As we learn more from our Pastor Mike

As we learn more from our Pastor Mike on the series of The Increase.
This time he reminded us of the increase that comes from our words.
The power of our words spoken to ourselves and those around us; it can either build up or tear down depending on what we choose to say.
Words that build are affirming, positive and life giving.
[Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction.] proverbs 18:20
[The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.] proverbs 18:21
[Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.]
proverbs 13:3 Meaning those who guard their lips preserve their life.
[Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.] proverbs 16:24
It is up to us to speak life and health to those around us.
It really is very easy to speak encouragement to someone.
The sad part is the words that could have given life and hope to someone is often not said to them.
Pastor Mike said it is so important to check our words carefully before we say them.
Life words come from God and they are given to give hope and breath to us and those around us.
[The sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.] Isaiah 50:4
Every morning, he wakens me. Isn’t that an amazing promise?
He gives me words so that I in turn could use to comfort others.
Pastor said, “There are times in your life when God will speak to your spirit before it hits your mind.”
You must listen and pay attention!
There are six deadly ways we cannot hear.
1. when we choose to lie to others.
2. when we choose to blaspheme God or others.
3. when we choose to gossip about others [a gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.] proverbs 20:19 A gossip betrays a confidence, so avoid anyone who talks too much.
4. when we choose to curse using bad foul words.
5. when we choose to use perverse words. [let no unwholesome words come from you.] Ephesians 4:29
6. when we choose to use harsh words in anger.
There are six life giving ways we can grow from.
1. words of love – speak for those who have no voice.
2. words of encouragement – be affirming to each other.
3. Words of perspective -bring wisdom and knowledge.
4. Words of power. We have authority that we don’t often use.
5. words of worship. Praise and adoration.
6. words of confession and courage.
Pastor said, “If there are words that are destroying your growth do not allow them to stay.”
Ending prayer, “Lord align our hearts to yours, open our ears to listen and hear, create in us an awareness of you as you speak to us in a way that we can listen with courage and boldness.”
May we always give life giving words in all that we do or say. Amen

The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike

The next teaching we received from our Pastor Mike; is how we can see the increase of God’s glory by our willingness to show our fruit.
He’s not speaking about fruit such as apples, oranges or banana’s; he is speaking about the fruit of the Holy Spirit that lives within us if we are believers.
In Galatians 5:22 [But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.]
Then Pastor shared how a master gardener takes great care to tend to his ‘branches’ so it can bear better fruit. If the plant looks like it’s not well, it gets pruned so new growth can happen. No branch can bear fruit on it’s own it must be tenderly treated by the gardener.
This is so much like our relationship with the Lord.
As we grow and learn of him we become more in tune to His nature.
We watch and remain in awe as His glory is breaking into a very dark and dim world.
Remember darkness cannot live in light. we also know light produces life.
It is God’s glory breaking into and through our dark places, the places that keep us stuck.
The places in our hearts that need healing.
Jesus said: John 15:8 [“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings much glory to my Father.”]
The book of Luke says: [A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.
What you say flows from what is in your heart.]
He said it’s like the concept of raising up or lifting up, the word means Airo.
The branch gets lifted off the ground and lifted up so it can grow well.
That concept is for us too.
1. Increase through lifting
2. Increase through pruning
Pruning is not punishment it is to cultivate deeper and more meaningful growth.
The concept of pruning is very necessary, anyone who has ever done a garden realizes that it grows better when you cut back what is not needed.
Then Pastor said, “what you feed the most will grow the strongest.”
John 15:9 says: [“I have loved you as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.”]
So we are to remain, walking in His love, in the truth of who we are and who He is as we abide with Him in relationship.
Trusting in the process of pruning and releasing our fear of what is happening to us.
Our intimacy with God and His love for us is a heart issue. Our heart.
As we encounter and become more aware of His love for us, we allow a new awareness of the fruits of the Spirit and allow them to breakthrough our mind.
Matthew 7:20 [“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by it’s fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”]
Let us be sure our actions match what we share and proclaim.
Remember the saying, “your actions speak louder than your words?”
Yes it’s definitely something for us to think about as we think about this process.

.

 

 

More teaching notes from our Pastor

More teaching notes from our Pastor Mike on the series, “The Increase.”
I am two weeks behind so I am catching up as fast as I can.
This teaching is called, the increase through God’s glory.
He began with the thought that we live in a celebrity culture.
We get excited when we see them, and tend to point them out in an effort to ‘show’ them off.
In our church we have many of the Portland Trailblazers who attend off and on.
That would be a ‘celebrity’ we would observe and notice and of course they are tall and you really can’t miss them.
Our Pastor is their chaplain and a few coaches have attended with their families.
It is a type of celebrity status although they probably don’t appreciate that ‘kind’ of attention.
Especially off the court and in real life doing family things.
Pastor was saying, the word celebrity comes from the root ‘celebrate’ as in your birthday.
A day of celebration for your unique wonderful person who you are; where you are esteemed and honored.
He spoke of the idea that we can learn to come to church with an expectancy, a breaking forth of what God can manifest through himself to us.
He speaks of how we leave a legacy through who we are; just like God leaves a legacy to us through who HE IS in the brilliant display of His glory.
Then he shared the ‘visual’ of a dark room, and if you were holding a match that brilliance of the flame would enlighten the room. Darkness cannot stay in brilliance. It must leave.

When we see celebrities we often wonder if they have every opportunity to say, it’s not about me, it’s about the gifts given to me; would they do it? That is humility in it’s fullness.
Then he taught that God’s glory must be greater than ours.
1. His increase is MY increase through trusting in His power.
2. His glory is in His love for us.
3. His glory is in His legacy left for us.
Then in turn we can reveal all those for others who are watching us.
He taught us that the enemy (we all have one) will do everything he can to remove God’s glory from us.
He wants to convince us that WE are important and God is not so important to us.
Then Pastor said something I really listened to and clung onto.
“What you behold the most… You become.”
That is a very intense comment and something definitely to think about.
What we behold, what we esteem, what we place value on, WE become.
Makes perfect sense and certainly gives me something to challenge myself about in the next week.
I choose to be thankful that God created me to be a unique and special person.
I do not ever fail to say thank-you to the one who made me and continues to give me breath.
How about you? Are you beholding something that is unhealthy for you?
Is there something that needs to change?
It’s your choice what you want to become like. I pray we all make a good one.

A time for listening and learning

A time for listening and learning.
In the professional writing group I have joined there is a guest speaker every Tuesday
bringing to us new topics and new ideas.
What I am learning about as I listen; the whole point of writing is to become authentic, real and open.
Not spending a lot of time on meaningless words but to focus on words that have value.
Sharing the voice inside and the meaning so that there is no guess work as to what you are trying to share to the reader.
Learning to have white space and less words, listening to the content as you write.
They share the point that if you are a writer there is no down time.
When you have nothing to share and you feel dry and drained, all one has to do is look around, observe the world and discover stories to share.
I see that often if I go to the store, or mall or even church.
Stories of people that I can see, or share or discover.
I am sort of a people person, I love to ask questions and receive ‘personal answers.’
I am also a very private person, but when visiting I like to get into the real ‘words’ with them not the shallow parts of conversation.
The process of writing takes time, maturity and practice.
To take the risk and share and then be perhaps even vulnerable and real at the same time.
The most important part of writing is to remain faithful to the goal, intention and journey.
Everyone’s process is different. Everyone has stories to share and words to write.
It takes discipline and drive to get the words down and the paragraphs written.
Rejection or fear cannot hold you back. If you write with the intention of pleasing others you won’t write it or spend the time learning how to write it well.
This group is teaching me to be true to my message, vision and aspiration as a writer.
It has been money well spent.

Indepence day… a day that means freedom

Independence day is a day that reminds us of our freedom we have in this ‘United States of America.’
Typically it is a day for hotdogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, rodeo’s and parades.
We must also remember it is a day for celebration of our freedom.
God Bless America, we say with our lips but we must also believe it to be true.
God HAS blessed us and kept us safe.
We can be very thankful for that and for the testimony of our patriotic father’s before us.
Freedom always costs something. Someone has to pay the price.
Remember the veteran who is recovering from serving or is currently serving.
Remember the call to serve their country no matter what that eventually will mean.
Some come home physically and some come home in a box.
Each one of them paid a price so we can remain free.
Our country right now is in a political mess and I just want to say to everyone, be quiet.
Today we celebrate the independence day fourth of July.
Whether you have a family BBQ or a potluck dinner with friends.
Today we all can be thankful for the blessing we received.

 

The next teaching from our Pastor

The next teaching from our Pastor is a continuation of the topic ‘The Increase.’
This time it was our Pastor Scotty with his Scottish accent.
He begins with the statement, “When the season of your life is busy the best thing you can do is stop.
“Stop and breathe.” Read the verse in Psalm 46:10 {Be still and know that I am God.}
We will find increase when we stop.
Stopping our work to rest in God: Sabbath
Stopping our pursuit of people to be alone with God: Solitude
Stopping our words to listen to God: Silence
Stopping our actions to wait before God: Stillness
There is increase through taking a break and stopping as we lean into the lessons learned.
Scotty said, “stopping rejuvenates us, even God stopped and rested on the 7th day.”
Stopping raises us. It reminds us to remember the sabbath and keep it holy.
Stopping reminds us that we need rest. It creates a discipline within us to stop and be refreshed and to be renewed to restore our strength.
Silence reminds us of our identity and it reminds us of the work God has done within us.
Sabbath is God’s way of saying, stop, notice your limits and be sure to not burn out.
Stopping releases us into the freedom that God has given to us.
Stopping reorients us. Even Jesus went alone to pray often withdrawing to a lonely place to pray. {In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.} Mark 1:35
We are encouraged to make every effort to rest.
{ So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.} Hebrews 4:9,10,11
When we say, “be still and know” it is a heart and mind relational experience. Like when you say, I know her or him. Relationship status. The word still can also mean cease striving, stop your fighting, calm down, desist and learn in your quiet.
Stopping reveals God to us if we listen and pay attention.
(For example my husband and I go the beach weekly.
When I stop and listen; I feel and hear the majesty of our creator. I can’t help it, it is clear to me all around as I see the beauty.)
Finally stopping increases our transformation. Transformation meaning: a seemingly miraculous change in the appearance;change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
When we truly begin to take time for stopping we become increasingly more aware of our need for quiet, restful and peaceful moments.
Let us be still and know, that He is God.

{Unsure where image came from. Credit unknown.}