Scripture Verse of the Day

Monday, February 8, 2016

Wearing Another's Heart on My Sleeve

Do you cry at movies?  Do you cry when you see or hear another person cry?  Do sad faces or voices affect you?  How about anger?  Joy or happiness?  What about uncertainty?  Do you feel their emotions, too? 

I've been told that I'm a rather empathetic person.  Not just sympathetic, but empathetic.  Pretty pathetic, huh?  I must say that I struggle with accepting my empathetic nature.  It is evidently a huge part of who I am.  In some ways, empathy can be quite helpful in relating with others.  In other ways, however, I see it as rather crippling trait for me and henders whatever help I might have been able to offer.
   
My church is richly blessed with Christians who are passionate about their faith.  These Christians not only talk the talk, they walk the walk.  These Christians can be better teachers that the preacher, and I happen to believe that our pastor is an amazing preacher!  Of our congregation, we have glorious members who make up our older generations.  These ladies and gentlemen are exemplary Christians ~ not only for Christ, but for themselves, their families, and out in their communities.  Many of us want to be just like them when we finish growing up.

There is one older couple, in particular, that I've had the extreme pleasure and honor to be in their company and get to know better than the others.  This couple has served tirelessly as teachers and instructors of history and the Bible, and they are so full of knowledge, love, and grace.  My Bible study group was particularly blessed in having this gentleman be our Bible study teacher  for quite a few years.  He officially retired a month or so ago, and we felt a compelling need to honor them with a special celebration luncheon.

The lunch was wonderful.  Then came time to share what we felt is so special about them ~ making sure they know how much we appreciate them.   I am telling you, these are some of the sweetest people you can ever get to know.  Our gentleman is a rare man who speaks with emotion ~ his heart is very frequently on his sleeve.  Over the years, he taught his lessons appropriately with his life experiences.  His tales enabled us to see a focus that went beyond the words on the pages of the lessons.  Among his experiences, he has blessed us with occasional glimpses into the true love he feels for his precious wife.  THESE particular displays of love are what endear him to us. What an example they are!  One of the stories remembered by us is a very early story in their relationship in which she was so sick that he thought he may lose her.  He has told and retold this memory so vividly that one could not help but believe we are first-hand witnesses to the power of faith in action.  He told the story again at this luncheon. Once again, *I'm* in tears.  I had to excuse myself for a bit because *I* was overwhelmed.  It is not that I did not want to hear the story again, but his heart is so tender and so sweet and so precious that I fail to understand what it is doing on MY sleeve!  It goes beyond the "acceptable" dab my teary eyes and continue listening.   It is so obvious that I do not have command of my own emotions.  How is it that I tend to take on others' emotions, as well?

"Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep."
~~Romans 12:15~~

I guess there is nothing wrong with me, but I cannot help but believe that sometimes my (??) emotions get away from me.  I feel like that, anyway.  I would not mind being more like Counselor Deanna Troi (Star Trek, The Next Generation), an empath who is able to feel and/or understand emotions of others without being so directly and personally affected.   There are some people who seem to be like that, but it's obvious I'm not one of them.  I guess it is too much to ask to be like a more fictional character??  ((I have hoped and prayed such, believe it or not))
  
Sometimes it does not have to be about a person around me who opens the teary flood gates.  Singing certain songs or hymns can be awfully overwhelming for me, as well.  Personalizing meaning either for myself or another person can do the same thing to me.

"Jesus wept."
~~John 11:35~~

Why did Jesus weep? Was it because Lazarus died?  I believe that may only be part of it. I believe that Jesus wept because he had compassion over the sisters who did not understand Him and what He can do.  I do not have the powers that Jesus has, but at least I believe Jesus had empathy towards the sisters' perceived loss.  Just as I believe He expresses joy when we experience joy, I believe that Jesus weeps for each one of us when we feel like failures or are otherwise inadequate in one way or another.  Through our iniquities, He is made strong.  He is our grace.  Our hearts are on His sleeve.   I need to learn HOW to let others' hearts be on mine.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Random Reflective Musings of 2014 into 2015

Wow. The year 2014 expediently draws to a close tonight. We're in for a fresh start...a fresh slate...a fresh beginning...a fresh realization that the year is mostly what we make of it, and it behooves us to look in the mirror and see what we can and, perhaps, should do differently to make 2015 the best year we can possibly ever have...or not...depending on how content you are with your station in life.

I'm not necessarily talking about New Year's Resolutions, although there is nothing wrong with that. New Year's Resolutions don't seem to resonate for me. However, I have some loose goals that I'd like to achieve, all with the knowledge that God is known to shake things up a bit in my life, sometimes for the seeming worse but, ultimately, for the better. Jeremiah 29:11-13 readily comes to mind:
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 
I've lost count how many times I've thought things were not going right, not going to *my* plan, but when I employ patience to ride the times out, things DO miraculously work out, and the results are better than I ever could've imagined. 

There's a lot to be said about changing what you can change and having the wisdom to accept what you cannot change. Nationally, we're living in religious and political upheaval affecting a variety of social facets, horrifically void of true balance. On both extremes, accusations and charges are hurled at each other, leaving the American people at a point in which something WILL give--the American people are on the brink of being fed up of being ignored and essentially abandoned. Globally? Oh, wow, where do I start? Sometimes the advent of the Internet (thanks, Al Gore, lol) is a horrible thing. Eeeeeeev-er-y-th-ing is on the Internet--the good, the bad, and the ugly. It's good that there is technology to find out what the bad guys are doing, but it's bad when you cannot do anything about the situations, especially when it deeply matters to you. The few-millennia-old Middle East conflicts that are enjoying another swell of resurgence are enough to make anyone fearful and crazy. Growing world battles affecting America is reaching another all-time high.Will there ever be an end? I believe in God's due time, there will be. I'm resting in that promise because there is nothing else I can do.
My all-time favorite passage that discusses what we should have on our minds comes from Philippians 4:4-9, but specifically verse 8:
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 
If I concentrated on the news the way some of my friends do, I would be committed into an insane asylum. No joke. I don't have it in me to be saturated by such horrible news, as seems prevalent in this world. That does not mean I'm devoid of news...not at all. I just tend to put up a filter that keeps negative news from staying on my mind. If there is any way I can help with bad news, I'm more than happy to do it, but when I can't, I can't afford to be worried about what I cannot try to change. Pray without ceasing. I think that's what Paul says. THAT I can do!

Amidst all the seeming evils in this world are people who make a positive difference in the lives of others. YouTube has been flooded with joyful moments that make you think, wonder, admire, laugh, and share. I think I've seen more animal YouTubes this year than reading all of National Geographic magazines I read as a kid, or watching all the Animal Planet shows combined. Animals are great teachers...sometimes not in such good ways, but teachers, nonetheless. Individually, but en masse,  people have really good hearts, and there's so much joy watching people be good to each other. I think the theme of 2014 in some ways is, Pay It Forward. People are interested in the well-being of others. People want to lift other's spirits when they can. One person may not make that much of a difference to many, but for many that one person makes all the difference in the world.

There are a few things I'd like to accomplish for 2015. There are a few places I'd like to go. There are a few things I'd like to learn. There are a few things that inspire me, and I'd like to be an inspiration to others. I like making people feel better, even if the only thing I can do is listen or say a prayer. In 2015, I'd like to do more of that. 
I'm content with my home life. There's always room for improvement, but I'm blessed in having a home when so many do not. Married life is good. Parenthood? Well, I could use some wisdom and grace to make me a better parent. With a teen and a tween in the house, things are liable to be a little bumpy in 2015, but I can put on my seatbelt and hang on like the next parent! I'm still entrusted to help raise them! (God help them, lol). I suspect my walk with my Lord will be a little challenging this year. I welcome the challenge. I may drag my feet in the gravel, but I'll eventually surrender and realize that this will help me have the best 2015 ever! My soul already prospers, now for my life to prosper, too, as in 3 John 2:


Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Have a most BLESSED and HAPPY NEW YEAR


Monday, December 22, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sigh, my typical Christmas activities haven't gone quite like I was hoping, but that's gonna be alright. There's not gonna be many goodies this year (I usually bake all kinds of cookies and breads--ain't happening). I don't have near the decorations up I normally do, but at least Hubby put out my Christmas lights. I HAVE gotten to enjoy my Christmas music. Some Christmas cards, believe it or not, are still waiting to be written! :O I still have no Christmas tree. Nuff said 'bout THAT! 

Still, with my list of "Not Done" slowly turning into, "Ain't Gonna Get Done," I've greatly enjoyed a wonderful season that's "technically" drawing to a close in just a coupla of days. Since the birth of my younger son twelve years ago tomorrow, Christmas season kind of explodes with his birthday celebration as well as that of Jesus' birthday celebration.. 

I can't even say that my work has slowed me down from enjoying this season. It's been very comfortably slow. I guess I've just not had the sense of urgency to get things done this year. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, I suppose. I've read more. I've listened more. I've given more attention to people than I usually do. So many people are hurting this year. They've lost loved ones. They've had hard times. They've been sick. Some of them have passed away. I pray for God's Comfort which seems soooo especially needed during this time of year. 

So what is it about Christmas that is so special to me? It's a celebration of when Jesus was born. No, he was most likely NOT "born" on December 25th, but that is what day was chosen by ancient Christians to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World. While the world lived on, a special Newborn Babe became born to Mary for Mankind  in the City of David, Bethlehem, celestially marked by a special star. Simeon and Anna recognized that He was born to die for us and our sins, go to hell and back, and be resurrected in reconciliation between God and Man. God loved the world so much that He GAVE His only begotten Son as a Gift of Salvation--a cleansing from sin and a cancellation of its wage, death.. Jesus momentarily gave up his glory to come humbly in human flesh to teach God's Love for each and every one of us. His coming marked the beginning of the end of the Law and the beginning of a new heart and Spirit containing His Grace and Truth. Because of Jesus, we have the ability to enjoy a resurrection into eternal life, as well.. 

I can't say that I constantly think on these things, but when I do, I am overwhelmed with joy, peace, and love that my Savior has for me. Yes, I can confidently say that He loves me. He loves you, too! 

There is a story about when Jesus visited sisters Martha and Mary. Martha became overly concerned about making sure that everything was done and done right to impress her company, but Mary merely sat at His feet to listen to Him. Jesus told Martha that she is worried too much and that Mary chose the needful thing at the time. The dishes can wait, the dust can become an art display, and I'm sure the laundry can use another tumble w/ a wet rag to dewrinkle before wearing. The cookies don't have to be made. The tree does not have to be up. The cards just might be ready for next year. And the music can always be played!  It may be more needful to contemplate what Christmas is really all about. It may be needful to share His love with others. It may be more needful to be a vessel of comfort for someone else in need, be it fulfilling a need for them or being encouragement to them. 

In the meantime, I wish each one of you a most blessed and MERRY CHRISTMAS.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

GOOD FRIDAY 2014

There are so many thoughts about Good Friday. Many perspectives weigh in on one of a Christian's most reverent holy day. 

A dear friend of mine said, last Sunday--Palm Sunday, her pastor asked a very thought-provoking question: This represents the LAST WEEK of Jesus' life on earth as the Son of man. If we knew that we only had a few days left to live, how would we spend them? Ouch. This is an excellent question. What if we knew what we had to face before we died? Could we do it? even if it was torturous?
I'm not about to sit here and tell you that I could undergo the torture our Saviour experienced between a possible Thursday and Friday before his crucifixion. I admit that I have a hard time standing accused of anything I did not do. If I did as I'm accused, I would like to think I'd be as the admonishing thief on the cross who reminded the scoffing thief that they are experiencing a just death, while Jesus was not. My threshold of pain is extremely weak, I'll readily admit. I could not endure the beatings and the scourging that took place during His trial. I am not physically strong. After becoming a walking pile of raw flesh, I could not comprehend ANY of His ability to carry his cross, with or without assistance. The crucifixion? What a final insult from mankind. I praise God that Jesus could see past all of this and ask of his Father, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." He knew The Divine Plan, and through His Father's might, was able to endure the sins of the world; past, present, and future; once and for all. He became the final sacrifice that did not just cover sins, but removed the bondage of sin once and for all.

Now comes the good news. The disciples had been with Jesus for a little over three years, and like the Israelites of the OT, and *I* today, they easily succumb to despair, hopelessness, and emptiness.What now? We gave up three years to follow This Man, and now He's dead. We gave up our livelihood to follow Jesus, and for what? Whether lack of faith or fleeting lack of memory (for me, oftentimes it's both), they have forgotten Jesus' Promise that He Will Rise Again on the Third Day!

I'm so thankful for that Third Day, Resurrection Day! It's the most marvelous day of all time and human history! The Man Who knew no sin became sin for all of mankind  He went into the depths of hell so that we would not have to. He paid the ultimate price for our sins, and resurrected victorious, just as He promised His disciples! As believers in Christ Jesus, WE are victorious, too! We have a place in heaven. We have eternal life. Our sins are pardoned, and Grace and Truth brings us "real life." Our spiritual life manifests into our physical life. Our born-again spirits enables us to share with others what it means to be a Christian. How has Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection affected your life? Will you spend your last few days rejoicing in what Jesus has done for you, for me, for all of mankind? 

If you knew these were your last days on earth, how would you spend them?

Monday, June 24, 2013

When Life and Faith Are "On the Line"

So many verses came to my mind as I anxiously watched Nik Wallenda walk a tightrope across the Grand Canyon. 

Left up to me, I would not have watched, and I tried not to. Looking back, that glaringly demonstrated just how little faith I had in His capabilities for Nik. I'm not alone. C'mon, admit it...YOU thought he was outta-his-mind N-U-T-S just like I did, a devout Christian. What a laugh. What a pathetic laugh.

So why DID I watch? I watched because I was watching my husband's reaction to all of this. My husband seems to enjoy watching potentially dangerous shows, and the more death-sure, the better! "We're all inevitably gonna die sometime!" I am SO not wired like that.


There was something very different about THIS show, though. This involved a Christian gentleman of deep, genuine, devout, and evidently divine faith with God ... such profound faith we've not seen since Daniel in the Lion's den or the Furnace. Hubby is a people watcher. He is fascinated by how people handle themselves through extraordinary circumstances. This particular envelop wasn't even thought of before, let alone pushed and done. Nik Wallenda was literally putting his LIFE and FAITH  on the line.

God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind.
LOL, while "sound mind" might've been in question here, it is wonderfully obvious that Nik has experienced Power and Love on his walk across the Grand Canyon. It was also obvious that God blessed him with a sense of amazing focus (this is the sound mind we need to speak more about,lol).
Rejoice ever more. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks. What better opportunity to do this than while doing this crazy stunt? I must say, though, it was VERY encouraging to listen to him chat with God. He DID give thanks to God for every little thing, any little thing he could think of...whatever crossed his mind, he gave thanks and praise. He was free about it, like this is an automatic practice for him. Out of the heart flows the issues of life. He did not speak panicked fear...he spoke confidence in His Saviour being with him literally every step of the way.
He had a few moments in which some outside  forces could have given him trouble. A few times he asked the Lord to quiet the winds. ..."What manner of man is this, that even the winds and seas obey Him?" Even to this day, we often forget that the Lord can and does control the winds and other elements on this earth. It is obvious that Nik has practiced and has first-hand knowledge that only the Lord can control his environmental conditions.
Nik was very realistic in knowing when his mind was attempting to play tricks on him, when he needed to talk to himself, when he needed to quiet and rest his mind and body for a few moments. His father was extremely encouraging, gently urging him on, that he was in good shape, reminding him that whatever particular situation is nothing new to him, just refocus. The communication between father and son was soothing and comfortable. The communication between Father and son was even more comfortable. 

When he reached near the end, I must readily admit (again, I know I'm not the only one!!) that everything I had just witnessed up to this point flew out the window the moment he stopped, air-kissed his family in celebration before he got to the last few feet and ran across the wire onto solid ground. Even my husband was extremely nervous about that last pseudo-stunt!! I mean, "DUDE, you're SO CLOSE...don't mess up NOW!!!!!"

Throughout it all, Hubby cheered him on, but he was also rooted in doubt that he could actually make it. Every step he took made him feel hopeful for him, but it also made him even more anxious for him, too! He reacted more about this event than anything I've ever seen him react.  He actually told me that he would feel absolutely horrible if he had died while doing this (a very rare response from him about death in general). I'm so very thankful for the 10-second delay that programming was supposedly set for in case anything tragic happened, but the entire time was extremely intense and almost unbearable. 

For me, watching this man of faith LIVING in faith, in face of what had to otherwise be insurmountable fear, was actually a pretty exhilarating experience! What was even more marvelous is the fact that Hubby watched, with his own eyes, a death-defying, divine-inspired, modern-day miracle, and HE KNEW IT! He actually said that, for all the training, knowledge, scientific studies, he saw that God had a Hand in this all along.  I am praying for some dialogue with him. In the meantime, I need to straighten some things out for myself, too.

So, what about me? Watching this evidence of extraordinary faith play out has made me painfully realize just how little my faith truly was. I had forgotten that God is involved in our ev-er-y-day, ordinary lives, with typically ordinary little problems and even little "need" for faith. How shameful. Father, please forgive me for wandering away from you. Jesus, please help my mind match my spirit in knowing that you ARE WITH ME EVERY STEP OF THE WAY in my life. I guess I thought of myself higher than I should've, as evidenced by someone who really and truly not only stepped out on faith, did something more miraculous than walking on water (which Jesus DID promise could happen!), but put his life and faith on the line for the world to see. To God be the Glory!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

I've heard this for years, "...in like a lion, out like a lamb...", and, of course, I realize they're referring to March's environment and atmosphere. The month of March often begins in quite a bluster of wind like a roaring lion and sometimes rain, and then things quiet down near the close of March as a contented lamb bleating in a field for its mother. 

During this time, I'm especially remembering that "lion" qualities and "lamb" qualities both are found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. He has an authoritative presence with a protective nature. He is also a humble being with a tender gentleness, obedient to carry out His Father's will for His life. 

Jesus' ministry was based on his audience. With those who required a stern rebuke, he was as firm and steadfast as a lion. With those who were broken and weak, he was a gentle and kind as a lamb. 

There is a prophesy that foretells the day in which a lion will lie down with the sheep. I can see that spiritually happening. One day we may actually see it really happen on this earth.
The end of THIS March happens to fall on Resurrection Day Sunday. On Good Friday, the Lamb of God was crucified to bear the sins of this world. Today, the Lion of Judah has returned to His place on the right hand of God, preparing a place for us who believe on Him and His Name, believing that He died for the sins of mankind, our personal ones included. 

May all of us enjoy a perpetual March, whether it comes in as a lion or goes out as a lamb. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January 2013

Here we are again. It's another year. 
Another new beginning. 
Another clean slate.
Another opportunity to aim high for a better life.

The year 2012 wasn't too bad of a year for me. Actually, it was a pretty decent year. I received many wonderful blessings. I got to participate in some things I've not been able to do for many years. I got to meet some really great people this year. 

Thankfully, my immediate family did not suffer loss last year. We all remained mostly healthy. Despite some wicked storms that have surrounded us last year, we still have a home. Hubby and I both had jobs all year last year (I was a little quiet in November, but I see that as a break I evidently needed). We made more trips to my folks' house (about 100 miles away) this year. I treasure those trips there because we already lost my husband's parents, and I want the boys to get to know mine for as long as they can. My parents get such a joy seeing us, especially their only grandchildren.

I do acknowledge that I have quite a few friends who struggled for much, if not all, of the year last year. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, who lost their jobs, who faced urgent medical issues with the subsequent mountain of medical bills. My heart goes out to those who lost their pets. My heart goes out to those who suffered heartache for unnamed reasons. My heart goes out to those who feel hopelessness is their lot in life. I continue to pray that their outlook changes for the better in 2013. 

There are some superstitious people who believe that 2013 will be bad luck. Well, I don't believe in "luck." Why anticipate an entire year will be doom and gloom simply because 13 happens to be a necessary number in our lives? In my opinion, that is no way to live. I believe that we have a huge contribution into how this year, or any year, for that matter, turns out for us. There are obviously unforeseeable events that can throw a monkey wrench into your plans (happens all the time for me, lol), but just start with a plan, and follow the path laid out for you to reach your goal. It can be done. As a Christian, I believe that God loves me and has my best interest at heart, whether it's joyful or grievous to me. Where there is sorrow at night (and sometimes the nights seem awfully long!), joy comes in the morning. Sometimes a loss means something better is about to take place, whether in this life or the next. We can make the plans, but I believe God really does order our footsteps. This comes to mind as I remember: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~~Jeremiah 29:11~~

I really haven't given much thought as to what I hope to accomplish this year. I have a few perpetual goals/resolutions...to lose weight and be healthy, to read my Bible through the year, to earn more money, to be able to let my boys participate in more activities, etc, etc, etc.........
However, I DO want to do something new this year. I read a post on Facebook (pictured above) about having a jar and filling it with great things that happen throughout the year. Either I need to find a HUGE jar, or by the end of the year I need to really mush those notes into the largest jar I own. ;) Either way, I'm actually looking forward to a great year, no matter what comes my way.

Here's to each of us enjoying a wonderful and Happy New Year of 2013. One of my favorite biblical "New Year" verses is Paul's greeting in 3 John 2~~

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.