Sunday, May 10, 2015

Whew, It Is Over!

Yes, Mother's Day has come and gone, at least for another year.

How do I word this so I don't seem like an old crab? Well, here goes...hang on for my true feelings are going to come out. 

Mother's Day for many, many, many folks is not a happy day. Things in our world have changed since the card company came up with this 'brilliant' idea of Mother's Day to sell cards. There are mothers who have had children pass away, children who have had mothers pass away. I was just talking to a young girl a couple of weeks ago, her mother is addicted to drugs and now the young girl has moved in with her aunt for safety reasons. Several of us have mothers who have been deceased for many years, even though I am at peace about where she is, I am encouraged by the world to celebrate her life she had here on earth. We are told to wear 'white' roses if they are dead and 'red' ones if they are alive. Excuse me, but I like yellow roses actually!

My heart hurts when we attend church to honor mothers and young childless couples are sitting there. We were one of those couples once. It hurts and you try to hide the pain when they have all the mothers stand. No one notices, nor do they care. 

Families have suffered through divorce and the children are divided. No one is wanting to recognize that situation. It just depends on who gets the children on the holiday. 

Why does life itself need to be so cruel? Why is there pain when we should be happy? Even those that participate and celebrate have memories of family and friends who are hurting. Do we try to mask the pain? Or are we actually creating more pain? Do we ever think about who may be hurting? Should we care? 

Now don't get me wrong, I loved having my four children write, call and even facebook me with sweet and loving words. There are many mothers out there that are 'worthy to be praised' but none of us are the Proverbs 31 lady! 

Even though it is special to be remembered on 'one' day, it is more special to know they call or write because they WANT to, not because they 'need' to or 'have to' on a holiday. I love it when I receive a spontaneous phone call from one of the children or grandchildren just because they were thinking of me. 

My little 6 year old granddaughter likes to call and say her scripture verses to me! Now that will bless your heart! 

Mothers are special in God's eyes. God chose Mary to be the mother of His coming Son. The Son that would become her own Savior! The pain Mary went through, the ridicule she possibly had during the pregnancy, may have been one of the reasons she visited Elizabeth.Luke 1:39-45
Then, as this young mother watched her son grow, she had to realize he was special. Even if he told her what was to happen, she would not have been able to fully comprehend the pain and suffering of her child. 

We do know that Jesus recognized and loved his mother. Even from the cross, he looked down and showed his love and compassion for her, he wanted to make sure she was cared for by someone. He said,"Behold your mother!" John 19:25-29 

Mothers are jewels to behold, but let us not forget those who do not have that privilege. To each of you who are glad this day is over, I agree. 

But I am thankful for one thing, which is I do have a Father who loves me, who sent His Son, Jesus, to die for me.
So for no other reason, it was a day to celebrate! 

Thank you for allowing me to rant a bit today, but I just can't imagine I am the only one that feels this way. Comments? 

Blessings,
gs
 






 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Eternal Friends

We have some life long friends that we love very dearly. There are three couples that have been together for a long, long time, celebrating together, crying together and encouraging each other. My husband grew up with Billy and he even went with us on dates! They were close friends, living in the country and going to church together. Butch went to the army with my husband and has been a dear friend since then. Butch and Billy ended up marrying two girls that were friends at college.

We all were in each others weddings and have visited each other through the years. (Added together, we have all been married over 135 years!) Their children call us 'aunt' and 'uncle' and we love them all.

Since we retired, we have made it a routine to meet 'at least' once a month for a get together to plan our little trips. We spend a week together every two or three months. There is a lot of reminiscing, eating and a whole lot of laughter.

God has blessed us with these relationships here, but what really blesses our hearts is to know that it will not be over when we leave this earth...it is eternal! For you see, they all know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

What a joyous 'trip' it will be, when we all are reunited with family and children, together, in our heavenly home. We don't hesitate to tell others about our relationships together as friends and we are not embarrassed to pray together.

It makes me wonder, and feel sad, for those that don't have friends like these in their lives. I know we are extremely blessed. But how does this happen?

First, you need to make sure you are with the right crowd, Christians. Next, you need to learn to let the love of Christ flow between you. Third, learn to forgive and love people for who they are here....none of us are perfect. Lastly, enjoy the 'abundant' life God has given you...(not money, but living in Him) as in John 10:10.

If you don't have this kind of relationships in your life, look for them. Befriend someone, love on them. There is a lot of lonely folks in this world. I heard a preacher say once, "If you are lonely, go help someone. It will make you feel better and them too!"

I hope everyone that reads this, will be on that heavenly trip with us one day! I can't wait to introduce you to my friends and we will go together to see Jesus!

Blessings,
gs

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep....Really?

When I was young I said the 'Now I lay me down to sleep' prayer every night. I very rarely added anything to it, other than a great big "AMEN!" to the end, because I actually thought it a little scary to pray that I may die before I wake! 

However, I would snuggle up and think about fun times, like going to the river with my cousins, and I would fall fast asleep. Either out of the exhaustion of a child or the security of knowing I was in my own bed and home, I rarely woke up during the night.

While thinking about sleeping and how easily I still fall asleep (my husband says my head never touches the pillow before I am gone!), I thought about all those that slept in the scriptures. There are several folks that slept right through their own story in the bible!! One even fell out of the window while Paul was preaching and died! His name is mentioned, but would you want your name in the scriptures this way?!!

    Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Acts 20:9

Then we read where Jesus found His disciples in the Garden, not once, not twice, but three times, sleeping while He had been praying.  

"again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. And He came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners." Mark 14: 39-41

Then we see in Matthew 28 where even the guards tried to escape punishment by saying they were 'asleep' during the resurrection. 

You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day."

Now let us move to our modern church...yes, Sunday nappers. We have all felt drowsy or noticed others nodding off on Sundays. Just being still, quiet, warm and comfortable makes one drowsy? I am not condoning by any means, nor am I condemning, not my job! But,I am thankful no one has fell out of a window like Eutychus! 

But what about our sleeping on the 'job' of being a christian? Are we so tired of doing His work we fall asleep daily, not just on Sunday? I don't think I have ever walked as far as the disciples did on most days. I know I have never fed 5000 or more on any given day! I just can't imagine keeping up with Jesus in His ministry.

My husband sings a song "It is time to Get Up" goes like this: 

Church we can all learn a lesson, If we only just listen.
See I believe everything in God's Word, Is there for a reason.
Oh and the lesson I believe is this,That just like old Lazarus.
You and I were once dead in our Sin.
But then Jesus came in, And now we're alive in him
 
It's time to get up (wake up wake up)
And wipe the sleep out of your eyes
                        wipe the sleep out of your eyes

So that my father my be glorified, Let's Be Alive
It's time to get up (Wake up Wake up)
Church it's time to get up (wake up wake up)
I said it's time to get up (wake up wake up)
I said it's time to wake up (wake up wake up)
wake up

I believe one day soon, Jesus is coming back to gather His  children home.We need to be about the Father's business before that time comes. We don't know when that will be, but we do know one thing for certain....
  
Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
1 Corinthians 15:51

Blessings,
gs

                  
 



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hmmm...what shall I write?

When I sit down to write, I don't always know what is going to be on the paper or what the finished product is going to be. This morning I reminded myself, it is past due for a blog entry. Some have asked me about it, since they follow more closely than I realized.

Do I want to be a little lighthearted or serious today? Do I want to share stories of family or make a point about God? Easter is coming and the death and resurrection of Jesus is always a focus point for this time of year.

But the way I look at it, doesn't it all fall together all the time? Life itself can be lighthearted one moment and serious the next. We never know from one moment to the next what is going to be going on in our lives. 

Life itself is fragile, just like a piece of glass. We can see fingerprints, spots and streaks on glass. We clean it off with the best purchased, streak free cleanser. It is at that precise moment we see the permanent scratch which the cleanser will not remove. In our lives, we have times that have caused us grief, mostly by our own choices. We have spots and streaks of unhappiness. We clean up our life, pray and ask forgiveness, start over with new beginnings. Then, we feel the permanent ache that we have left in our life, just like the scratch on the glass.

But, look again, you can still see through that scratch on the piece of glass, your view is not blocked out completely, nor is the glass broken or useless. It is the same with our life. It is still useful if we would only move on, one step at a time. Then one day, we will realize laughter has bubbled up from deep within. 

It is the same with the Easter story, but we have forgotten something. Yes, the story we read is of Jesus' death on the cross for us. The story goes on to His resurrection, which is the power of our salvation. The Easter story should not end there for us! Jesus arose from that grave so He could come again! 

Family, yes, today I shall write about family. My brothers and sisters in Christ, my heavenly family, shall all be gathered up, from around the globe, to a grand reunion. It will be the day of great rejoicing to see that not only the spots and streaks are gone, but the brokenness of our earthly lives will be made whole. 

My rejoicing will be on that day when all my earthly children will join with us in that heavenly place. They shall meet my earthly parents and we shall all kneel at the feet of Jesus together. My prayers are that we pray together today for our children, grandchildren and family that have not accepted the free gift of salvation. That the Holy Spirit will touch their hearts and they will know that only He can cleanse and give the peace of eternal life in heaven. 

Hmmm....what shall I write? 
Blessings,
gs


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Encourager and the Tree

Early one morning, as I listened to the boys playing outside, I thanked God for the blessing of our children. I thanked Him for giving us a Christian husband and father and having a place they could always come to that was secure out of the storms of life. We had provided food, clothing and how to share, but most importantly, Who was God.

Then, as I listened more closely, through the second floor window, it seemed as if one of the boys was talking right outside. Now I knew this was impossible, since the younger ones were only four and five years old at the time. But it was so clear, one shouting to the other, it was like he was right there. I stopped what I was doing and ran to look out of the window!

There was Todd, the five year old, climbing for all he was worth, almost as high as I was on the second floor of the house. The big old, magnolia tree that sat in our front yard had been the perfect, shady place for them to play, but here was Todd, going higher and higher. Little brother, B.J., just stood underneath shouting up encouraging words, "Wow, you sure are getting high!"

Afraid to shout out to him and startle him, I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer simultaneously. Then, slowly, but firm and precise, I said, "Todd, what do you think you are doing up so high? You better get down before you fall."

I will never forget the 'full of confidence' look on that little fellow's face, as he asked proudly, "Mom, do you know Who God is?"

"Yes Todd, I know Who God is," I said as I nervously watched him dangle from a limb. "Well, Mom, you see all these sticks sticking out of this tree? (he was talking about the limbs)," he asked.

As he continued to climb he said, "Well, Mom, God put all these 'sticks' on this tree so little boys can climb it!"

My heart burst with fear and pride at the same time! How can I question God, when this little child has either more faith than me or no sense at all? I breathed in slowly, "Ok, Todd, if you fall...God is going to have to catch you!" His little smile shot across his face and he started to inch his way down the tree.

As he approached the bottom limbs, he jumped the rest of the way down and landed right in front of his little brother. They both were proud of themselves, one the climber and the other the encourager. I overheard the comment, "God made this tree just for us, didn't He?"

Well, I am not so sure about that, but the thought did occur to me that God does give us all our own tree to climb. Sometimes we climb it proudly, sometimes we need an encourager. In any event, we need to know that the 'sticks' can scratch, break and we can get hurt, but if it is God's tree for us, we are going to be safe and He will catch us if we fall.

The innocence of children and the simplest things of life could be lessons we all could learn from. I was just reading about Casting Crowns singer, Mark Hall, and his cancer surgery today. Mark has a big tree to climb right now and his family and friends are his encouragers. We need to keep them in our prayers.

We know of many who are going through hard times, death and grief, illnesses, finances, job loss and the lists go on and on...their tree gets higher and higher. Let us join together as Christian men and women and be the encouragers for those around us. Let the love of Christ pour out across this nation like never before! Let others look around and with wonder as the Glory of God washes over them. Let His Spirit fill the air and His Presence be felt across our land.

Col 3:16 " Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."

Let the 'sticks' on their tree, turn to blooms of love.


Let it be a sweet aroma to our Lord. 




Blessings,
gs

Friday, February 20, 2015

It Will Soon Be Over!

The weather is all anyone wants to talk about this week. How cold it is here in Alabama or how much snow Boston has gotten this year. Schools have been delayed a few hours or they have been dismissed early.  Always something to say about the weather, as we end our conversations with "Stay warm and be safe!" 

When I was young, I remember the cold winters in Alabama. We knew it was bad outside, when folks passed our house with 'clang, clang, clang' as they drove with chains on their tires. We used to rub the windows to look out to see people pushing their trucks, since there wasn't four wheel drive back then. 

Mother would put a chicken on the stove, the beginning of her famous stew. Then, cornbread would go into the old, treated with lard, cast iron skillet. The aroma would soon be filling the rooms of the house. Often my parents would go to pick up an elderly couple to come stay with us a few days, to keep them from going out on the bad roads. They would sit up late into the night playing Rook with them and eating Mama's stew. 

The weather will soon change and we will see the tops of the flowers starting to pop up through the soil, giving folks something else to talk about. 

Wonder why the conversations are not on God? Do our souls get cold like the winter? Do we go through times of 'drying up' and winterizing ourselves from Him? 

If every now and then, we just spoke a word of encouragement to someone instead of words of warning, "Stay warm and be safe" would it make a difference? 

Are we waiting on warmer weather to share the 'warm' love of Christ? Why do we Christians take a pause on being a Christian? Do we work at it too hard and then get tired, needing a break? 

Is the freeze on winter or our hearts? Is it maybe why winter is so long and lonely? 

James 4:8  "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

We must clear our minds, stay focused on Him. Be alert, like when we walk outside in the winter, watching for danger. 

Draw close to Him, as we pull up to the fire and feel the warmth, He is the warmth for our souls. 

Pray and encourage each other as you go, for we need to press on.
Springtime is coming, so is our Lord. Be ready. 

Blessings,
gs



Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday 13th Luck with God?

Well, today is Friday 13th and you have survived or your would not be reading this!  Do you really
believe in "Luck" or "Bad Luck" in life? When I found a four leaf clover (and I am good at finding them!) my mother would say, "The lucky part was that you found it!" That is so true and it kept me busy and quiet for hours on end! So was my mother the unlucky one when my search was over? 

Because we do not have the curtains drawn back to see what is taking place in heaven, we cannot always determine whether God’s active or passive will is involved in the events of our lives, but we do know that all things that take place are under the umbrella of His will, whether active or passive, and, therefore, nothing is a matter of mere chance. Now, when you are playing a game and roll the dice, is it God's will that you win or lose? I think those things could be controlled by Him, but in my heart I believe it would be inconsequential. 


Can God cause things to happen? I believe if we talked to Jonah, he would say that fish did not swallow and spit him out on his own! Thank goodness God had control of that! 
 
God’s passive will involves Him allowing, rather than causing, something to happen. Chapter1 of the book of Job illustrates this in what God allowed Satan to do in the life of Job. It is also involved in the evil that God allowed Joseph’s brothers to do to Joseph in order to accomplish a greater good, a good not apparent to Joseph until years later Genesis 50:20.


"What about 'karma'?" someone asked me. If you do good things, good things will come to you or if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you is the rationing of karma. Here are my thoughts on this: If you are obedient to God, you will be blessed and He will take care of you. If you are a child of God's and are not obedient, you will be disciplined by Him. You may not be swallowed by a fish like Jonah, but He will not bless you and bad things in life may come your way. 

God loves us so much, He wants to bless us and give us joy. He does not like to see us struggling through this world and all the evil in it. 

Now is the time to make this very clear. He does not want us to partake in sorcery, horoscopes, tarot card, or any kind of fortune telling. These things are of the devil and are an abomination to God Deuteronomy 18:9-12 .

We should look to Him to guide our ways, praying and reading His Word daily. He has a plan not to harm us, but to give us hope and a future!   Jeremiah 29:11 

Be bold and stand as a Christian everyday, especially when the world says 'watch out' for black cats, ladders and the 13th. It may be in fun and jest, however we need to pay attention to the examples we are setting. If we don't believe in luck, we probably shouldn't even joke about it. 

Now go out and have a great day, no matter what the date on the calendar says!
He is Lord everyday, trust Him for all things! 

Blessings,
gs