Monday, June 22, 2015

Life is Hard, Dying is Easy

The other evening we were sitting out on our southern, screened back porch enjoying the cool breeze that drifted through. We were watching the glow of the redness of the clouds, as they blocked the view of the setting sun. It was a peaceful time at the end of a busy day. 

What had began as a slow morning, with a simple cup of coffee kind of day, ended up being one of emotions spent and grief looming. 

Someone had drown in the lake close to our home and we were called to be with the family by the local sheriff's department. The family and friends were gathering at the marina, searching for clues and answers as the rescue team was searching for the body. 

How do you give hope in the time of crisis? How do you give comfort in difficult times? 

As we were sitting on the porch, I heard birds singing that evening. They were still in the trees, but yet were singing at the end of the day. 

This had been a busy day for God's creatures as well, looking for food for the little ones in the nest, but the day had ended for them. They were singing, welcoming the night and getting ready for a new day. 

Life can be difficult. Life can be hard. Life itself comes and it goes, often much to quickly. 

The father of the man who drown said some powerful words to me, words I will never forget. As I sat there with him, trying to give him comfort, he said to me, " We have it all mixed up here on this earth. Life is hard, dying is easy." This wise gentleman was a Christian, he knew the Lord as his Savior. He had hope of seeing his son again. Nothing else needed to be said. 

Words of wisdom from an elderly gentleman, spoken from the heart, was what gave a song to my spirit. The hope that was needed for a new day, was spoken moments after they recovered the body of his son. God has a way to ease things in our life, but let us not forget, He is our hope for tomorrow...whether it is in the living or the dying. 

Enjoy the day you have today, it may be hard, but with Him we will get through it. 

Living is hard, dying is easy.

"So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8 ESV



Blessings,
gs

Monday, June 8, 2015

What is Life?

These past few weeks we have had a female cardinal pecking away at the windows of our home. Not just one window, but windows in the rooms we happen to be in at the time. She moves from one end of the house to the other as we go about our lives. If I opened the window, I think she would come right in and sit with us. This beautiful creation, with the brightest orange beak you ever saw, has spent her days being busy and not accomplishing anything. 

The Webster's Dictionary describes life as "having an existence" and it says nothing about time itself. Life on earth, I now realize, is in the realm of time. It comes, lives, and dies. 

When I was a young girl, on more than one occasion, my mother said to me, "Life goes by faster the older you get." I am starting to realize what she was speaking about when she said this. Time does not speed up, but the business of our lives takes up more time.

Life as a youngster, in the summers on the farm, was the lazy, hazy days of being in those dreadful hay fields or the wonderful long days spent on the river fishing with my dad.  Those days were the hottest days in the hayfield and they seem to last forever. However, the days on the river were the best and I remember thinking they were the longest, even time for a nap now and then.

This past week we had our youngest grandchild here at the age of 5 months. She, of course, is the best baby, but she is growing so quickly. I look around and our children are not little anymore, but are all grown up with children of their own. It is times like these I remember mother's words of time passing faster as we get older. 

Life itself is a time to enjoy, breathing in every breath the good Lord has given us here on this earth. Take the time to slow down and enjoy those moments of laughter with family and friends. We need to let folks know we care about them, for one day they won't be here with us and we will remember how fast time goes. 

Do we spend the days idly pecking at the windows of life or do we spend it fulfilling what God has us to do, that which is glorifying to Him? This little bird is doing what it knows to do, but it does make me wonder why it does not leave and go to a nest somewhere. Is it trying to figure out what life is all about? That is what a lot of people do, flit around like a bird, trying to figure out life and what it is all about. Then they realize, time has passed and their lives are about over.  

One thing I do know is that life is eternal. Life may be just as a speck of time here on this earth, but it lasts for eternity. We need to figure out why we are here on this earth and get busy before our time has run out. 

Matt 6:25  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?"

Blessings,
gs 

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