Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Competition in Life

Men seem to be made to be competitive, at least in our family. I blame it on the 'Sanders blood' but it is really just being a man. I am sure God put an extra dose of  'challenge' in their genes! It even reflects in 'my dad can beat up you dad' syndrome.  

Just this morning, Denny and I were talking about it since he is always wanting to share his golf scores, good or bad, with me. To me, a non sportswoman, a game is just a game, a time for fun and fellowship. Men do not understand this I guess. 

The first of June our grandchildren came to our house and the four younger ones, ages 5-7, were playing Old Maids. I noticed the 'Old Maid' card lying on the table beside the sofa. When I saw the doomed card sitting there, I asked them about it. The six year old granddaughter said, "Nana, when Haleigh (age 5) drew the card, she started to cry, so we decided to take it out and let her draw again." The way they figured it, no one needed to 'lose' but whoever got rid of all their cards would 'win'. Now I must say, to be little children (my sweet grands!) they were pretty smart to figure this out on their own. 

When folks had babies, they taught them to 'share' but somewhere our world has changed. People have grown up to be greedy people, not only with things and money, but greedy with no respect to others. 

We notice it in public places, meetings, private homes and yes, even in church. We have actually had someone ask a visitor to move out of their pew! I thought this was just a joke, but believe me it does happen. If you slip into an open parking place and not see someone heading toward it, you may be committing suicide. We rarely see anyone helping others in public places anymore. 

Keep this in mind when you are waiting patiently (or impatiently) in line at the store and someone comes up to cut line. What about road rage when someone cuts in front of you? We need to be mindful of who we are and set the example Christ put before us.
"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets" - See more at: http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/sharing-101.html#sthash.wXH3F6i1.dpuf

Philppians 2:3-4
  "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

When others disagree, think before you speak. Is it worth a debate? I believe is standing up for what is right, but arguing rarely wins, it usually is like the Old Maid card, a loss. 

Be wise with your actions and your words, let others know you are a child of the King. 

Remember the Golden Rule of Matt 7:12:

  “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."

Blessings,
gs 

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It comes straight from the Lord our God, who led Paul to write: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" - See more at: http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/sharing-101.html#sthash.wXH3F6i1.dpuf
It comes straight from the Lord our God, who led Paul to write: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3–4) - See more at: http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/sharing-101.html#sthash.wXH3F6i1.dpuf

It comes straight from the Lord our God, who led Paul to write: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3–4) - See more at: http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/sharing-101.html#sthash.wXH3F6i1.dpuf



It comes straight from the Lord our God, who led Paul to write: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others" (Phil. 2:3–4) - See more at: http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/sharing-101.html#sthash.wXH3F6i1.dpuf

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

No Bucket List, Just FIRSTS!


There were a lot of 'firsts' in my life. Some I recall with whimsical smiles, others with sheer terror and then there are some I would like to forget. Most of the time, in my childhood, I was taught how to do the 'firsts' with the help of Mother or Daddy. 

Some of you will find it hard to believe, but I remember the first time my mother taught me how to "Make a bunny rabbit's ear with this shoe string, then wrap the other string around and tuck it in the hole." Tying my shoes, before velcro straps, took several attempts, all with mother nearby. 

Then, there was the day of the first bicycle ride. We never heard of training wheels, just daddy running along behind me holding on to the seat. He would eventually let go, I would ride a few feet, realize he wasn't there and over I would go. We did this up and down our neighbor's grassy backyard. They came out to watch and cheer as we went from one side of the yard to the other. I never did figure out if they were cheering for me or seeing my daddy run! But, then came the elated moment of the first trip across the yard all by myself! I did it!! 

Skip a few years to the hay field, where I first learned to drive the tractor and then the truck. I was only 13 years old and with daddy's help again, I managed to make it to the barn without losing a bale! Up and down the field I would drive, stopping to let the men throw the hay on the wagon as I tip-toed to hold the brake steady. They would then tell me to swing wide to make the turn. I was turning another 'first' and then backing into the barn was a real challenge, but with their help, I managed. 

My mother, being a good southern cook, taught me several things in the kitchen. One day she was going to show me how to make 'sausage gravy' because she knew my future husband loved it. The first thing, was to remember to use a seasoned cast iron skillet. Well, after adding flour to the grease, she said I had too much and needed to add a little grease. Then she told me it was too much grease, add a little flour. This continued until I had to get another cast iron skillet out and we had two, overflowing skillets of gravy! She laughed as she said, "This is a first, I have never made so much gravy!" She then went on to add that she sure hoped Denny liked gravy a lot, because he was going to have plenty! 

Firsts are still happening in my life today. Some people have bucket lists, I like 'firsts.' Bucket lists are for folks who think they must do something before they die. I like to think I always have another day for a 'first.' 

When we give life a chance and look back, we can either let a 'first' just happen, or we can pursue it. Sometimes we may do both, meet a new friend and go to lunch with them. This could make for a lasting friendship. 

I know life will come to an end, here on earth, and I don't care about a bucket list that may be only partially completed. When I step into heaven, that will be a 'first!' When I see the face of Jesus, that will be a 'first!' I will see Moses and Jacob, that will be a 'first!' I could go on and on for eternity doing 'firsts' and never tire of it. 

For today, I am looking for my first. It may be a phone call to a sick friend or a visit that should be done. A card that should be sent, or a simple thing as a smile at the store at a stranger. Firsts are waiting to happen!

When we do our first, let us be mindful that others are seeing us as representatives of Jesus. He may have done this before, but for you, it may be your 'first.' 

Ephesians 5:1 
"Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children."


As you go about your day, what 'first' are you going to do today, tomorrow and next week? 

Think about it! 

P.S. This is the first time I have written about this!! 

Blessings,
gs

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