Category Archives: Encouragement

Old Paths

path

The young man at the thrift store was quite serious when he said, “Oh my, you don’t see many of these anymore.” I had to chuckle. It’s not like I was purchasing an eight track player; it was a telephone, and it wasn’t even a rotary.

I don’t know about you, but technology is moving way too fast for my comfort – or my comprehension. Of course, I do enjoy my laptop, but this is honestly the most technologically advanced piece of equipment I own, and seeing that today’s electronics age even faster than doggie-years, it is pretty much a relic already. As far as cell phones go, I did finally move up to a $20 flip phone for my $15 a month pre-paid plan, but that was only after I dropped my last one on the floor and gave it a concussion. My children actually laughed at that one because it had an antenna –no, I am not kidding.

What can I say? I would rather be a Flintstone than a Jetson.¹

When it comes to my faith, I feel the same way. Clearly the church, as a whole, has elected to trade in their “antiquated” methods of reaching the lost for the flashier, “technologically correct” gizmos and gadgets, but as for me, I’m sticking with the prophet Jeremiah on this one:

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
(Jeremiah 6:16).

I happen to believe the “old paths” are the best ones, and hold to the old adage, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Besides, I get plenty worn-out trying to figure-out all this new stuff, so I relish the chance to find rest anywhere I can! Speaking of which, it is time for me to go read some Scripture on my iPad. Nah, I’m just kidding; I’m going to go read my Bible from an actual book, like they did in the good-old-days.

Blessings.

¹For those of you who live outside the United States, and have never seen the Flintstones or Jetsons; these were both television cartoons from the 1960’s. The former represented a family living in the primitive Stone Age, and the latter represented a family living in the futuristic Space Age.

pencil lady

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Backside of Nowhere

reaching hand

Just as I stopped at the traffic light, the Cathedral Quartet sang the following words: “On the back side of a place called nowhere, forgotten by humanity…” How appropriate, I thought with a chuckle, because that’s pretty much how it feels to be stopped at a red light in this city.

As I waited and waited ……..and waited, for the light to turn green, I joyfully sang along with the guys. I’m just glad they were on tape and couldn’t hear me. Truth is, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I do love to sing right along with any southern gospel music.

The words to the song were meaningful to me. “When they talked about potential, they did not refer to me…” Yes that was the story of my life before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Messiah. But everything changed “When He reached His hand to where I was….”

Can anyone relate? Have you, dear reader, despite your faith, ever felt that you were on the back side of nowhere, forgotten by humanity? I know you already know this, but today I just want to remind you that Jesus promised He would never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5).  He will reach his hands down to where you are, whether you are stuck at a red light – or stuck in one of life’s ruts.

That should make you want to sing with the Cathedrals and me, “So now you know the reason I lift my hands so willingly…..”

And we would all be in good company, for King David, when he was stuck in the wilderness, did just that, while singing the following Psalm:

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands  thy name. (63:4)

Out of Whack

deafness

My chiropractor informs me that my body is out of alignment, but I prefer the down-home phrase, out of whack, because I have lots of whackadoodle symptoms as a result. By the way, whackadoodle has recently been added to the Oxford dictionary, so I guess I’m not the only one who favors fun and quirky phrases.

Today, as my neck was being attended to, my lower back suddenly screamed PAIN! It is amazing how one part of the body can affect another part, one that is seemingly unrelated. Our bodies are incredibly complex, however, and every part is explicitly interconnected.

For example, my dentist believed a root canal might be in order, but an adjustment of my cranial plates eliminated the severe jaw pain. The nerves in my tooth are alive and well. Similarly, an elderly friend of mine was able to cancel his knee surgery after just one visit with my chiropractor. Turns out, there was nothing wrong with his knee; his pain was merely a symptom of his body being out of whack.

Dear friends, I am certain that our spiritual lives, in like manner, can be affected by misalignment. I could offer many examples, but I would rather leave you today with the following thoughts from the book of Proverbs, chapter 3, verses 1-8:

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones

 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.    3 John 1:2

Falling Rock

falling rock

As a child, I passed many an hour in the back of a station wagon, watching for a Native American chief named Falling Rock. My mother told such fanciful tales of the Chief and his many adventures. No wonder his fame had spread so rapidly that signs were posted across the country reminding travelers to keep an eye out for him.

On those long trips, I wanted nothing more than to spot Chief Falling Rock, mostly because he was so legendary and yet so elusive. I hunted for the Bigfoot monster for many years for the same reason. To this day, I haven’t seen either. No surprise there.

I’m not sure what age I was when reality hit; Falling Rock was obviously not an Indian chief. But I am thankful that my mother found creative ways to help me beat the road-trip blues. Heaven knows, imagining the exciting adventures of Chief Falling Rock was a lot more interesting than watching for literal rocks to fall. Back then, I could have written a whole book on the Chief’s exploits, and probably those of his whole tribe.

Childhood imagination is a wonderful thing. But there comes a time when we must all mature –a time when wisdom and understanding are crucial for guidance and protection!

Thankfully, the Lord has graciously erected many guidepost for us in His word.  Consider the following in the book of Proverbs:

My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones
Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
 and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
(2:1-11 NIV)

When I Sit in Darkness

sun

Have you ever been driving beneath a blackened sky, then suddenly came to a place where the sun pierced through the clouds so brightly that you could see little else? When I experienced this a few days ago, I was utterly filled with sheer delight. True, driving in that circumstance was a bit more challenging, but my thoughts were immediately turned to Jesus Christ, my soon-coming King!

I know that some of you can relate, and have also felt the exhilaration of watching an incredible brightness obliterate the darkness. Like me, you probably remembered, and  rejoiced at the very sure promise that soon, “… as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27). Indeed, His coming will be much brighter than anything we could ever imagine. The most glaring sunshine piercing the darkest sky could only pale in comparison.

This is all the more comforting, considering how very dark the world has become –dark with violent crime, terrorism and war, and every manner of evil. We are daily bombarded with reminders of how the darkness is quickly engulfing our world; yet we can patiently endure all if we faithfully hold fast to the words of the prophet, Micah:

Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. (7:7-8)

Amen.

Happy, Twirly-Dance

dance praise

King David danced before the Lord with all his might. Though I wasn’t alive to witness such a joyous sight, I am blessed to see my sweet little Maltese do pretty much the same thing every time I return home, even if I have only been gone for a very short time.

Everyone should be so loved!

A few days ago, I returned home thoroughly exhausted from running errands in the August heat. As usual, my sweet little fur baby, standing erect, paws upraised, welcomed me with her happy, “Mama’s home,” twirly-dance. My heart melted!

My fatigue melted-away also. There is something so very energizing about being showered with love and kisses from a beloved pet; and that doesn’t even compare to being cherished by another person.

Likewise, cherishing others, and showering them with love, is just as invigorating. Perhaps this is why worship melts all of our cares away. Whether we worship the Lord with a happy, twirly-dance or quietly on our knees, we always reap a blessing even though our worship was truly all about Him.

Dear reader, we are living in perilous times. Perhaps you are hurting and find it difficult to worship, let alone dance for joy. That’s okay. Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…” Thus, if the joy of your heart is ceased and your dance is turned into mourning (La 5:15), just know that the Lord will see you through this difficult time and there will come deliverance from sorrow; a time when you can proclaim, as did the Psalmist:

Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness (Psalms 30:11).

When that happens, dear reader, I hope your dance is a happy, twirly one. Like King David, may you dance before the Lord with all your might!

 

Psalms 150:4-6  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Disclaimer: My apologies for the following advertisement. I would like this site to be an advertisement-free site, but I have to pay a fee for this. I plan to do so in future, but for now, please know that I have nothing to do with advertisements &/or advertisement selection.

The Write Stuff

pencil

Someone must have torn a few pages out of my calendar, or so it seems, because spring just wrapped-up a few weeks ago and now summer is almost over. Consequently, I’ve been reevaluating all the ‘stuff’ that fills my days. What needs to stay, I’ve asked myself, and what needs to go; what needs to improve?

Writing has been on my mind a lot lately. I      haven’t done much of that all summer and truthfully, I’ve wondered why. After four years of devotional blogging, I figured I just needed a break, but that still, small voice inside my heart kept urging me to keep writing –to share the awesome love of God in a world gone crazy.

My intentions were good, but my discipline was lacking. Time kept flying with breakneck speed, and the pages stayed blank. Then it happened; the desire to write began to burn inside me again. Everywhere I turned there was another sign, another reminder, that writing was part of the ‘stuff’ that I am supposed to fill my days with.

Where do I start? I inquired of the LORD. “What do you want me to write about first?  His answer: to remind you, dear reader, that “Blessed are….” Jesus begins his ‘sermon on the mount’ by encouraging and instructing his listeners:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12).

Amen! I cannot think of a better message for today. May you, dear reader, be blessed, and may you ever be a blessing.

See you next week.

Fourteen Laps with Jesus

happy walker

Today I renewed my membership at the local fitness club and I’m trusting that I will actually use it enough to get my money’s worth this time. It’s not that I’m lazy; I’m just SDD (self-discipline deficient) at times.

Father’s day is a great day to go to the gym. I was there earlier and the place was nearly empty, which is really good for someone who is just starting the journey again. After all, it is a wee bit embarrassing to be huffing and puffing on level I when the person next to you is floating through level gazillion, with a mountain-high incline, and not even breaking a sweat.

After a mile on the treadmill, I walked ¾ of a mile on the track. There wasn’t another soul in sight –another sigh of relief. I don’t usually mind other folks on the track, just not on my start-back day. In fact, I once chatted with a woman for fourteen laps. Well, that’s not exactly true; I mostly just listened to her talk about Jesus all fourteen laps. Believe it or not, the walking track can be a spiritual place.

I would like to say that I took advantage of today’s quiet walk to converse with the LORD, but that wouldn’t be honest. Groaning, “Oh Lord, I’m out of shape,” isn’t exactly prayer. I did, however, remind myself, several times, that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  And so can you, dear reader.

Who knows, maybe someday  you’ll pass me in a marathon, or vice-versa, which would be a genuine miracle because I only plan on running if something is on fire. If nothing else, maybe someday we will meet in a fitness club, get acquainted and walk fourteen laps talkin ’bout Jesus.

Till then, run the good race and  be healthy, happy and blessed!

A Lesson from the Dollar Store

solar flower

My dear friend, Barbara, often blesses me with some small gift just to let me know she is thinking of me. Some time ago, she gave me a small, solar-powered flower; this little gal waves her two arm-like leaves, as though she were praising the Lord, every time the sun is shining brightly.

Yesterday, we were both waiving our arms. After all, life has been pretty good lately; my family has  a great deal to be thankful for. As I was meditating on God’s goodness and His faithfulness, the following song lyrics came to mind:

I’ve been on the mountain when the sun was shining bright, and I’ve been in the valley when the clouds were black as night…

In that moment, I heard that still small voice (see I Kings 19:11-13) gently convicting, “What about the dark times, do you praise me then?” To which I had to confess that lately I hadn’t –at least not as much, or as often, as I should.

I find it so easy to lift my hands, and heart, in praise when life is good, and all is well. To praise Him in the darkest hours is never quite as easy. But we can learn a lesson from King David. Though he was often distraught over many issues, and struggled with them, he always came back to praise. Unlike that little Dollar Store flower that only lifts its arms when the sun is shining brightly, David proclaimed:

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4

Then I recalled another part of the aforementioned song and remembered how many times these very words were true in my own life:

You know I’ve heard the battle raging, then I prayed till victory came. There have been times I really thought, Lord, you don’t even know my name. But I’ve been blessed and I’ve been down to where I didn’t know what to do, But in the times of joy or sorrow, Lord, I’ve learned to lean on you…..When I don’t know what to do, I have the faith you’re gonna see me through, to supply my every need; I lean on you!

What about you dear reader, are you currently walking through a dark valley? Your Heavenly Father, is right there beside you, waiting for you to lean on Him and find rest from all your burdens. Moreover, while you are waiting for the sun to shine brightly again, why not raise your hands and praise Him, with full assurance that He is going to see you through!

I Love Being A Housewife!

housewife

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD
Proverbs 18:22

For the record, I am not a “domestic engineer.” I am a housewife; and I am not ashamed of that wonderful title. Sadly, many women in today’s society are unjustly castigated for choosing to stay home and care for their families rather than having a “real career” or, at the very least, a part-time job to supplement the family income. Thus, the euphemism “domestic engineer” gradually supplanted the perceived stigma of the ordinary “housewife.”

That may be fine for some, but the greatest joy and satisfaction of my life is being a wife and a mother. I even like the sound of the word wife; it is a constant reminder of how very blessed I am to have married the love of my life –a man far too wonderful for words. Why, then, would I want to remove the word wife from the very thing that gives my life meaning?

In all honesty, I fall quite short of the Proverbs 31 woman, but I do consider myself to be a good wife and mother. And though I sometimes fail and disappoint, I love my family more than life itself; and thank God daily for the privelege of caring for them as the precious treasure that they are. Yes, I love being a housewife!

“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest — blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine.”
 ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre