Thursday, December 17, 2009

And now, a word from our Sponsor...

Are you stuck in a rut?
Feeling like you are hitting your head against the same brick wall day after day?
Can't seem to do what you really want to do?

Ready to have a little life in your life?
Try R & R! You will like it so much you will keep coming back for more!
R & R...good for the tough, rough, life!

....


"I'm so tired"
"My 'get up and go' got up and went"
"I just need to slow down and catch my breath, but it seems like everyone is yelling for more, More, MORE! What can I do?"

Does this sound like you?
Then go to the nearest QT for the 'pick me up' you need!
And remember: QT gets you through the rest of your day!

And now, for the REAL Word from our Sponsor...

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

"In repentance and rest (R & R) is your salvation,
in quietness and trust (QT) is your strength..."

So the next time you need a lot of Life and Energy to get you through your day, just head to Isaiah 30:15 and stop at the QT and do a little R&R!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

To Be Impressed, or Not To Be Impressed, That is the Question

I've been kinda down lately. I was just feeling like I might be recovering from my back surgery for a bad disc, only to find out I have osteoporosis in the vertebrae. Talk about no backbone! And try as I might, I just couldn't seem to get out of the heavy, binding, sadness of the changes I've gone through in the past couple of years. So this weekend I just wanted to stay in bed and let the changes go on without me. They were just too much trouble. Too painful. Too, well, old-feeling.

I shared my diagnosis with my mom. She told me to join the club. She's had a bad back for several years now. And my dad, too. I got my dad's bad discs, and my mom's bad bones, but no sympathy from that region.

My grandson asked how my back was doing. Ah! A sympathetic ear! I told him. He looked at me in a very sad way and said, "I guess that means I will have to wait on you to make cookies for a while longer..." Alas, still no sympathy.

Ok. To the Bible. I told God about my problems and requested a few answers. I opened to Isaiah..."Woe to you!!" Nope. That's not it.

I turned the TV to the Joyce Meyers program. Ahhh...SHE was talking about depression. That's where I'm at! I anticipate the comforting answer for my hurting, heavy, sad, old feeling....I should have known better.

Joyce was the one that told me to 'get over it' a long time ago. Her new catch phrase? "I'm not impressed!" It seems that whenever her husband is faced with a situation that could get him upset, he simply says 'I'm not impressed'. If you are 'impressed' with something, you can become 'oppressed' by it, which leads to being 'depressed' with it. So don't let it impress you and it can't depress you.

*sigh*

Guess I will just have to get over it.

I'm certainly not impressed with the sympathy OR the answers I'm getting!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Help for the Holidays

Dealing with Difficult Relatives
by Max Lucado

Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.

His own.

It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’.

“His family … went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

Jesus’ siblings thought their brother was a lunatic. They weren’t proud—they were embarrassed!

It’s worth noting that he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.

Each of us has a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our dearest friends will be our next of kin. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how he defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).

When Jesus’ brothers didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could provide what his physical family didn’t. If Jesus himself couldn’t force his family to share his convictions, what makes you think you can force yours?

Having your family’s approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn’t, this chapter has a happy ending.

What happened to Jesus’ family?

Mine with me a golden nugget hidden in a vein of the Book of Acts. “Then [the disciples] went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.… They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers” (Acts 1:12, 14, emphasis added).

What a change! The ones who mocked him now worship him. The ones who pitied him now pray for him. What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he’d suffocated his family with his demand for change?

He didn’t. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).

So don’t lose heart. God still changes families.

From He Still Moves Stones
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado


I truly am thankful for my family. I love each and every one of you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

POC


"Kenneth passed away October 14,2009. This image is one of many that I will remember him in his last days."

This picture and caption is from a very very dear friend of mine. His brother Kenneth Maynard is the subject of this photo. Through his great talent my friend captured not only the last moments of his dying brother, but a glimpse of Heaven in the sky.

I love you Jack...What you do and how you do it...I see Jesus in you and your family.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Bible Study

Bible Study.

Those two word conjure up a myriad of thoughts and emotions in me. Going back to the beginning ('it's a very good place to start'...sorry, Julie Andrews popped up), I can remember when I took home a chart with my name on it, from my 3rd grade Bible Class. I was to write what scriptures I read, and if I read my Bible every day. Then when I brought it back, filled to the brim of scriptures I had 'read', I received great praise (and sometimes candy) on my 'Bible Study habits'. Proud of what I had done, I would do it again the next week and UNDERLINE all the scripture I read in my Bible. That way, during our class time, when the teacher asked us to open up our Bible to a certain verse, I could pause at the underlined verses and hope that the person next to me would notice how much of my Bible was underlined and think I was really spiritual.

The next phase I remember was the debate phase. In junior high and high school, I would actually STUDY a topic that was being discussed in class so I could interject my opinion about it. And, of course, support my opinion with my underlined scriptures that I hoped others would notice.

Then there was the 'fix-it' stage that came when I got married and had children. I would search the scriptures to 'fix' whatever problem I had with spouse or kid. The 'children obey your parents' scripture was not only underlined but highlighted, as was the 'husbands love your wife'. I had scriptures about who you should play with, your language (which was quoted with my hands on my hips), your attitude (a BIG one with teens), and, of course, the 'do nots'...steal, cheat, murder, or poke your sister with your pen.

Thank goodness this morphed into a real study. But the drawback was the comparison of what I was reading to what the church was doing. The legalism I had grown to love was shattered with the grace and mercy I read about. I was suddenly thrust onto the unstable ground of 'not having the answer for everything'. I had my checklist, and it didn't include giving grace to those that didn't deserve it! (I studied many other issues: prayer, worship, etc. that I won't go into detail. But trust me, there were ALOT!) My (legalistic) pride in my 'Bible Study' was, to say the least, angry. How could the church get it all WRONG? It took almost all of God's patience, I imagine, to get me to the point of realizing that all people, me included, have sinned, and fallen, and need His son's righteousness. That forgiveness on my part, is not an option, but a requirement.

Finally (for now), my Bible Study has led me to a place that excludes my over-abundant pride. As I sat this morning, reading some of my underlined verses :), I was reading with an overwhelming desire to know God better. Every verse was alive with His presence. His love was plastered on each page. His grace and mercy flowing through each sentence. When I learned something new I was excited, because I knew He was speaking life to me. His book is full of every study a university could offer: history, science, civics, government, psychology, sociology, literature...and I get a lifetime of study to have a deeper relationship with the God of the universe. It's all about Him...and me becoming more like Him: loving, grace-filled, and merciful.

Wow! What a Bible Study!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Relatively Speaking...

Christ became one of us. He took the biggest pay cut in history. Gave up servants, power, and prestige. Chose to watch the people He loved die. Accepted the fact that every friend and family member He had would hurt Him, and not just a little bit but enough to kill Him. Decided he would love anyway. Chose to live in joy. Decided He would forgive everything. Decided He would die. Why? He choose this life to relate deeply with our lives, all of our lives, whether is was in joy, triumph, suffering, or dying.

He made a choice.

We make a choice to follow Him.

Even if we have pay cuts. Demotions. Betrayals. Sickness. Love. Joy. To forgive. Death. In these we become Him to others.

Our experiences in life should relate Jesus' choice to someone else. If we have lost our income we can relate to those who have lost incomes. Just like Jesus. If we have been betrayed by those we love we can relate to others who have been lied to. Like Jesus. If we hurt we can come along side with those that hurt. Like Jesus. If we love we can triumph with others that love. Like Jesus. Rejoicing? Throw a party for others who rejoice! (You get the idea.) Through great sickness we relate (in a way no well person can) to those who are sick. Like Jesus. And ultimately, through dying, we who are in Christ show Him more clearly to others who will join us in that physical death someday.

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Now, as Paul Harvey says, 'for the rest of the story':

"Therefore God exalted (Jesus) to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."...

"Whatever was to my profit I consider loss..for Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...having His righteousness...by faith. I (choose) to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,...to attain to the resurrection from the dead."

And on the way...

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

We are here to relate to Jesus, and like Jesus, to others. To the glory of God.

Who do you relate to in your walk of life?
Rejoice! Jesus is near.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Get used to disappointment" - Man in Black

The quote "Get used to disappointment" is from the movie Princess Bride and I use it not because of what the Man in Black said but for Inigo's reply: "okay." No argument, no questions, just acceptance that the Man in Black was not going to answer his question. And Inigo didn't know at that time whether the question would EVER be answered.

We, as Americans, have little patience with not knowing answers. There are big businesses that specialize in figuring out the answers to questions about the universe, the ocean, the environment, and the human body. We have the internet to instantly give us options on key words we plug into it. Gone are the days when we went to the library and tediously waded through a card index, miles of books, choosing one or two or ten references to our question, only to have to READ them. Then face disappointment that our answer was not there.

We are impatient with 'unknowns'.

Where does that leave us in God's universe? I have SO many questions I want answered! Now! And He is silent. I search books, the internet, pray, plead, whine, cry, throw fits of frustration and the One Creator of it all sits silent?!

God's presence in our lives and knowledge of His truth gives us options: Disappointment or submission. There are some things that we will just have to get comfortable not knowing. Some mysteries will NEVER be solved. Our faith must stretch and grow and give up the urgency of having to have all the answers, all the time.

John Eldredge put it this way, "The more comfortable we are with mystery in our journey, the more rest we will know along the way."

Our faith leads us to a 'reasonable' response: It hurts! But God is Lord of Lords and knows what he is doing. I don't understand! But God is King of Kings and I can trust Him.

God has authority and sovereignty in ALL things. For us to question Him is arrogant and disrespectful. It is demeaning to His reputation as our master and shows our ignorance.

Now before I get stoned for that last statement let me add: God is Good. With a capital 'G'. He is the imbodiment of Goodness. He is merciful, tender, gracious and forgiving and is big enough to take the questions we ask of Him. But we are also the created and should keep in mind Who is in charge. It will add calmness to our questioning.

Psalms 139.
('Let me sum up')
He knows us. Inside and out. He knows our darkness of sin, illness, situations; He shines through the darkness! We are WONDERFUL. He said so. He is with us all the time. We can confidently say in all humility 'Search me, God. Know my thoughts and questions. See if there is any offensive way in me. And lead me in the way...the everlasting way of your plan for me.'

And be comfortable in not knowing. 'Get used to disappointment'...'okay'...

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Life is in Your Hands

Remember your ancient history? God is there. The beginning of time to the end of time? God is there. Whatever was and whatever will be. God is there. His purpose will continue...forever. It is His pleasure. Whether we are talking about people locally or in foreign lands, whatever He has planned for them will happen. His plan is salvation. And it is here. Now. And so is He.

Our lives are in His hands.

Isaiah 46:9-13 (my paraphrase)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deadly sins vs Virtue - Guess who wins

In reading an article on how the brain processes sin, (Discovery Magazine) it was very interesting to note that God designed us with the ability to choose: a free will area of the brain. It is proven in all the tests. The scientists had almost 3 pages on how sin was perceived in our brains and what areas were 'lit up' by that sin and how pleasurable that sin was to the brain (and person). In the very last paragraph 'virtue' was studied. Amazingly virtue beat any sin in 'lighting up' the brain in a fireworks of pleasure.

"Jordan Grafman recently found that virtue literally is its own reward. Altruistic behavior sends reward-related brain systems into a pleasurable tizzy—even more so than the prospect of self-interested gain. “The big punch line is that all things being equal, your reward system fires off a lot more when you’re giving than when you’re taking,” says Grafman, who is chief of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Call it the dirty little secret about being good: It might be even more fun than being wicked."

Kinda makes you want to say 'DUH'...doesn't it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain, rain and more rain!



We had enough rain in our front yard to float a duck. Ok, he could wade in the front yard but it was still a lot of rain...almost 5 inches in 5 hours.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sharks

This is just fun! Thank you, Jean.

Sharks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Healing Power

My last post was almost not posted.

I thought, really, no one was reading my blogs anymore so why post this obscure nugget of Dennis Jernigan?

Poor poor me....little did I realize how God uses the obscure and poor, often in scriptures...often to their embarrassment.

So I am confessing my doubt and passing on where the nugget of Dennis' wound up: Terry Rush speaking on Healing Powers. We all have them...why not use them??

Link: Memorial Drive, Go to Resources, Sermons - audio, Healing Powers

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

My prayer is for those that need this, myself included...that God will bless them richly with the grace and mercy that can only come from Him. That forgiveness will be not only a thought in their minds, but a reality in their hearts...a heart that is held by Him even when they don't know it or feel it. That His love will wash over them and through them until they see only with the eyes of the Father what they truly are in Him. Beautiful. Wonderfully made. Forgiven. Redeemed. Safe. Alive with love. Adored by the maker of not only the world... but the maker of them.




Isaiah 61
The Year of the LORD's Favor
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Before the Day Slips Away

Last night when I was sleepin
You were watchin over me.
While I dreamt about tomorrow
You knew my every need.

Now another day is waitin
for me to make it thru
and there's no way that I can face it
without you.

Before the day slips away
I want to stop and say
I love you...I love you.
Before the world rushes in again
I want to stop and say
there's none above you.
There's none above you.

I'll just be still and know that you are God.
Be still and know that you are God.

There's somethin about the mornin,
the stillness of it all,
that cause' my heart to hear you
when you gently call.

Now another day is waitin
for me to make it thru
and there's no way that I can face it
without you.

Before the day slips away
I want to stop and say
I love you...I love you.
Before the world rushes in again
I want to stop and say
there's none above you.
There's none above you

I'll just be still and know that you are God.
Be still and know that you are God.

Here I am in your presence
where I long to be.
Alone with you in the silence.
Rain down your love
and your mercy.
Whisper softly
to me.

...


Before the day slips away
I want to stop and say
I love you...I love you.
Before the world rushes in again
I want to stop and say
there's none above you.
There's none above you.

I'll just be still and know that you are God.
Be still and know that you are God.


New Song

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Vacation

God gave me a great little vacation...ok an extended vacation...but it has been and is a good one.

Having had surgery on my back for a ruptured disc, I was confined to bed for 2 1/2 weeks, being able to get up for 20 minutes at a time to eat and check email and FB ;). While I was up I was required to wear a brace that is the newest in the line of anti-flattery attire. I still have 3 more weeks of brace wearing and generally 'taking it easy', then weeks of physical therapy.

So why was my vacation so great?

I have learned SO much from our God. He loves me. All the time. No matter what I do or what others around me do. That most of the problems I have are caused by my own selfishness. That I have a choice everyday to wake up and thank Him and praise Him for absolutely everything. Or not.

But that doesn't change one thing about the love He has for me. He is not the one that needs me...But I am the one that needs Him...desperately.

Once I get what He says about loving me, I cannot help but love those around me. All the time. No matter what they do or say. I must choose to deny my selfishness and live only in His love, with His love of others, and be in constant connection to His son Jesus, who was God on earth.

That the choice to live in Jesus is an all the time choice, not just a one time decision. Yes, I am saved and forgiven, but His kingdom and how I relate to it, shows my decision and loyalty. His kingdom is made of people. Good people, bad people, rich and poor people. All of them have one thing in common: They understand that they need Jesus to heal them into a relationship with our Father God. Who loves us. All the time. No matter what. And allow Jesus to use us as his own body to let others know how much God loves them.

And can change them. Change me. Into a person listening and ready for the next way God wants them...wants me...to show His love.

That the body of Jesus is alive and well! Made of wonderful people doing warfare by cooking meals, cleaning house, sending cards, visiting and calling...me...of all people! Thank you Jesus for showing your love through your body of loving people!

I ask forgiveness of all those that I have not shown the love of God in my actions. But really it is not about me. It is all about Him...changing me...changing you...into love warriors. Cross bearers.
Jesus' body on earth.

Talk about a great vacation! I am loving it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cat Lovers: Do you know what time it is?


If the "ehck ehck ehck" during the night at the foot of the bed didn't give it away...or the lining of new fur on your couch....or the strange floating fuzzy stuff in your morning coffee...maybe this picture will help you remember...
It's hairball time!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Treasure in Your Own Backyard

I went to an art show at church today...an art show at church? Yep. Doesn't happen every Sunday. In fact, I think this is the one and only art show that I have been to at church on a Sunday morning.

Let me just say I wish we had one every Sunday.

This show highlighted a wonderful, but very hidden talent of Paul Cameron. His drawings of everyday people and everyday things, document and time stamp a moment in life. He gives people a piece of their lives in a detailed sketching...something to remember the ordinary in a very special way. His humility in using his gift to encourage and uplift people of all ages and walks of life is absolutely wonderful...but almost too hidden.

I almost missed it.

His ministry was behind the scenes...until someone close to him decided it was time to salute him for his efforts. I am so glad they did. It allowed me to love a brother more deeply and see Jesus more clearly in him than I ever have before. Thank you, Paul, for loving the way you do!!!

I am so glad to go to a church where we are free to honor each other and let it be a visual reminder that God lives in each of us. It is like finding a treasure in your own backyard.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Razor Thin Road

I’m balancing on a razor thin road
Where despair and grief lie on each side
Waiting to grab me at the sign of a stumble
Or a fall

You said that the road to your palace so fair
Was narrow and pressing but it leads to where
You live in your glory with truth and no doubt
No tears no wrath no despair

As I balance my eyes look only to you
To the horizon where life will begin
Where death is no more and joy is complete
Where angels will sing and darkness retreats
And dancing and laughter and singing
Are all led by you in your glory

So my strength is renewed
My mind set at ease while balancing here on this razor thin road
For I see this is where you have put me to learn
Of your wonderful love your glorious grace
Your arms that uphold me and guide me
To lean only on you for my balance

Oh this wonderful place
Oh this glorious road that cuts to the bone and yet heals every wound
Like no place on earth
I find value and worth
on this razor thin road
To home.

Tammy Bowers
April 21, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"My hair looks like the grass outside!"


Hope he doesn't want it green when the grass starts growing...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name



This photo was taken one year ago on April 20. Those of you who know some of the things going on in our family, I would like to ask that you look at each member in the picture and say a prayer of blessing over them. I thank you for holding us up this past year and ask that you continue to do so. We need you. We need Him. Blessed be the God of our healing and salvation!

Blessed be your name in a land that is plentiful where your streams of abundance flow, blessed be your name.
Blessed be your name when I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be your name.
Blessed be your name when the sun's shining down on me, when the world's "all as it should be", blessed be your name.
Blessed be your name on a road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be your name.

Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise!
When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name!

You give and take away, You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say, "Lord, blessed be your name"!

Every blessing You pour out I turn back to praise!
When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be Your glorious name!

Words by Matt and Beth Redman

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Yesterday life once again 'happened' around here and we all went to bed feeling overwhelmed. I pulled my Bible over and read verse after verse, chapter after chapter, and still fell asleep holding up Jake, Zach and Daniel before God asking Him to take control. I awoke and took up where I had left off...but decided I really should take time to worship and tell God how He is in control and sovereign, wise, creator, etc, etc, etc. then...

"MEMA WAKE UP!!!" I am awake little one, I thought. Interceding for you... "MEMA WAKE UP!!!"

Then a quiet voice say "I'm awake".

Suddenly I realized that in my 'worship' I was actually trying to wake God to the fact that I (we) needed Him desperately. Guess He felt like me. Being shouted at to wake up when in fact He had been up a lot earlier than me already working, loving, healing. He said "I'm awake" and I really worshipped, trusting Him to take care of it all!

We serve a MIGHTY God!

I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip - he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you - the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Let us pray

A friend of mine called early this morning to ask me to pray for her and a situation she was in that needed God right in the middle of it. First of all...I am NOT a morning person. And trying to make my mind work with just a half a cup of coffee in me, well, it just doesn't work. At least that is what I would like to tell myself.

She wanted me to pray. It was a reasonable request from a sister I love. But my mind in its morning fog decided to say, 'sure..I will pray for you today..just not right now..I'm sleepy'. What power the Spirit had available at that moment was lost because I didn't stop, listen closely to my sister's heart, and bring that burden before our mediator Jesus right at that moment?!? She could have had a day of lightness knowing that Jesus heard her request instead of hoping I wouldn't forget to pray for her.

My heart is heavy now with the burden I left in her life because I said the proper Christian phrase 'I will pray' instead of the family of God phrase 'Dear Daddy, I love you. Thank you for hearing your children and carrying our burdens.'

Let us pray...together...now...while we still have now to pray.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Bowl Party With A Mature Twist








We had the BEST party Sunday with our small group 'watching' the game. Some comments made: "God wants MY team to win!" "Was that MY team that got in trouble?" "What just happened?" "I was for the other team until Terry's sermon this morning." "Why did they give them the ball back? It was THEIR turn!" (I could add more but you get the picture...)