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





Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Daddy's Mad Dog Love

Many years ago (let's just leave it at 'many'!), I had a little red tricycle that I rode around and around our house. I had a path beat down in the grass where the front wheel went and I was determined to make that track wider everyday. When dinner (lunch for those of you not raised in the south) came, I would park my trike on a certain flat rock in the grass. That was my parking spot, just like my dad's old Chevy, which sat on the gravel drive in front of the house. We had our spots and knew exactly where our vehicles would be when we came back to them. I could jump right back on my tricycle and continue my rounds for the afternoon. 

I was probably about four years old then, not having a lot of chores or responsibilities yet, so I could really 'work' at marking my way. There was a lot of shade trees in the backyard and the little creek that flowed along the border of the yard. I was not allowed to go all the way to the creek, but could go close enough to ride through the shade and feel the cool breeze. So my afternoons, in hot Alabama, was rewarding in many ways. 


However, one afternoon, as I rounded the house and headed to the cool shade, I spotted something near the creek and in the trees. I slowed down and came to a stop, trying to figure out what was standing just ahead of me. It was a large, black dog and he was foaming at the mouth and showing his sharp teeth. His eyes looked really funny, like he did not even see me, but he tilted his head and seemed to hear me. I knew something was really wrong, I could feel it in my stomach. 

Jumping off the safe haven for me, my red tricycle, I ran up the steps and into the backdoor of the house. Once inside the house, I cried out, "There is a dog in the yard!" Seeing my terrified face and knowing I was not normally afraid of dogs, my Daddy jumped up! He ran to the door and just one look was enough. He grabbed his gun and told me to stay inside, as he went out the door. I remembered how scared I was, not only for me, but for my Daddy too. 

I heard a gunshot and covered my ears as I cried out! The terror in my soul was grief, pain and fear! 

Daddy came inside and called animal control. He said the dog was a 'mad dog, had rabies.' He said he was a dangerous animal. Suddenly, I felt the relief and the warmth of my Daddy's arms around me. I was secure and safe in the arms of the one who loved me. 

In this life, there are many times we go around and around in a routine of life. Our lives grow as the paths get wider, every now and then we stop to refuel, then we continue our routines. However, like the mad dog suddenly appeared, something interrupts our lives, and we are filled with fear, grief and terror. This can take the form of illness, death, loss of job, finances...so many things can stop our routine of going on our 'path'. 

Finally, we get off our 'path' and run to the Father. He tells us to step aside, He takes care of our problem, in whatever way His Plan is for us. But no matter what, we can be sure He will wrap His arms around us, give us the secure peace and comfort only He can give. He is the One Who loves us.

2 Thess. 3:16
"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you."

Yes, my Daddy was a great, big man in size and heart. But my God is bigger than my Daddy ever was, His arms and His love for me is bigger than my Daddy's (now that is a lot!). 

Do you have a situation you need the Father to take care of today? Do you have a request for prayer? Share with us when the Father has taken care of you....we would love to hear your stories! Just leave a comment here......

Blessings,
gs

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mama Required Manners

It is true I was born and raised in the south. It is true southern girls are taught manners from a young age, or at least in my mama's house. My Mama thought if you breathed air, you had a responsibility to do something for someone else and, least of all, clean up after yourself. I do believe my Mama could sniff out a speck of dust I missed, better than one of my daddy's old bloodhounds could sniff out a rabbit. 

We were taught to keep our rooms clean, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" she always reminded us. If pots and pans started to rattling in the kitchen we had better get in there to..."see if you can help your
Mama." Wiping the table and setting the plates and napkins out were always done by the 'help,' my sister and me. We always 'wiped' the table again after we ate and cleaned up the table. Remember, cleanliness is next to Godliness! It was a clean kitchen, Mama required it. 

She required other things in life, that southern girls 'ought' to do, like writing out 'thank yous' for the birthday gifts or Christmas gifts. There was once she made my sister write a thank you for a lady complimenting her dress at church! Mama said it was awfully nice of that lady to say such sweet things, she needs to be told how kind and thoughtful she had been. Oh yes, the notes had to be handwritten, since there was not such thing as facebook or text or twitter! 

The thought comes to me how special those written notes are to someone. Now that we have technology, most folks send an electronic message, if they send one at all. But the handwritten notes take time and sure mean a lot more than a mere 'smiley' on a phone. 

When we went to visit relatives or friends, we always cleaned up our plates and any mess we may have made, before we left. Mama's rule was: Leave the place nicer than you found it. Make up the beds, clean the dishes or anything else that needed to be done.

Now this was hard when we visited my Aunt Ruby in Florence, AL. Aunt Ruby never had any children and her house was spotless with little knick-knacks everywhere (which we were not allowed to touch.) I remember visiting there once and she was serving Brussel sprouts. Now to a 10 year old young, southern girl, you had to have your best manners on guard at her house, no matter what food was being served. Oh how I remember quietly spitting my Brussel sprouts out in my white, cloth napkin, trying to keep them from rolling out of my lap! When we were cleaning off the table, my Aunt Ruby simply picked up my napkin, holding it in a ball. I thought surely they were going to roll everywhere! I watched in fear. She walked to her pantry, opened up the little garbage lid, shook the little sprouts out of the napkin. When she turned back to look at me, she winked and placed the napkin with the others. She never said a word to Mama. I think Aunt Ruby was also raised a southern girl, she had that special twinkle in her eye!

We all have different backgrounds, but now that we are children of the King, don't we need to act like we are the family of God? We need to do like my Mama said, "Leave this a better place, than you found it." We need to be kindhearted, gentle, meek and all those things of the spirit, as we help one another. Isn't it good to belong to someone that cares enough about us, to still guide us and love us? He does!

“By wisdom a house is built, & through understanding it is established.”
Proverbs 24:3 



Blessings,
gs



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Get Connected!!

Thinking about all the reasons that things are moving so fast in life, I look at all the conveniences we have. Yes, we have clothes washers and dryers, vacuum cleaners and all the other easy ways to help us in our daily lives..but what about the media side of it? We have more channels on television now than we ever will have time to watch, we have phones that are so smart we can't keep up with the technology and then we have the wonderful world of texts, blogs and facebook. 

When looking at these things, we think they are all for good...to keep us in the 'know' of what is going on. They help us know where to get the best deal on a product and then tell us how to use it, even show us on Youtube! But do you realize how quickly all of this could be turned against us? What is good could immediately become evil. 

I was thinking about this when God started dealing with me, putting a desire to learn more about Him. Then, from somewhere deep within, it came to me, "Why not use social media for good?" That is when I decided to do a social media bible study on the Names of God on my facebook page. 

Oh yes, that has made me dig, research and really get into more than I thought was out there about God. Now I am posting a brief study on facebook, one to encourage and have others comment. It has been a delight to see the response! We can do this together from literally around the world. We do this in our own timeframe, see what God says, posting it publicly to help reach out to those that would like to be a part. Some people have work schedules, or obligations,where they can't go physically to classes, but we all can go online to read facebook! 

This has been an inspiration to me to see that others are seeking to knowing God better, building a closer relationship with Him. By learning His titles and names, we learn His nature and character. We can grow to be more like Him and feel His Presence in ways we have never understood before. 

In this fast pace world, it is a joy to see others speaking up on social media about God. Why not use it for good? The devil has already used it for himself, but we can spread the good news of Christ! We found we can post prayer requests and they have immediately responded with prayers to Him! What a hotline, prayer warriors coming together in one accord!

I am praising Him today for allowing me to be a part of these times, seeing the good that can come from technology. May we all keep up with the world, it is not going to slow down for us, in sharing the gospel of Christ. 

If you would like to come over to my facebook page and share, encourage, and be a part of this bible study,just click here.

God Bless,
gs