Love

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow so of course, we see hearts, flowers, candy, and cards everywhere we look. The words, “Will you be my valentine” will be spoken many times. I have been thinking about the word love and what it represents. For most of us I think it represents a feeling or emotion. But, in fact, love is also an action word. We tend to toss it around a lot, don’t we? I can think of many times I’ve used the word love to describe something such as…

I love pizza, cheesecake, sunrises and sunsets; I love the beach, reading, and flowers, I love exercise (NO – wait, that’s my sister, not me – LOL).

Anyway, you get the point. We use the word love for so many things that sometimes we don’t really think about what love is at its truest form. What is love? Where did it begin? How can we love as deeply as we sometimes do? Is love just a feeling or does it result in action?

What is love?valentines day

” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Where did love begin?

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

How can we love as deeply as we sometimes do?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Is love just a feeling or does it result in action?

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life.” Matthew 20:18-19

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

We can love because God first loved us. He deserves our love in return. We don’t have to ask God “Will you be my valentine” because He’s always waiting on us to love and follow Him in true adoration and obedience. God offers His love to all. We just have to accept it.Be Mine

 

The Lions Den (2.7.20)

It’s been a while since I’ve read the story of Daniel in the Lions Den but as I was reading Daniel 6 this week, several lessons stood out to me. Daniel lions den

  • Envy and Jealousy
    • The administrators and satraps were jealous of Daniel. He was living a life pleasing to God and man and evidently he made them look bad. So, this led them to sin. They plotted and coerced the king (who valued Daniel and planned to set him over the whole kingdom) to issue an edict that anyone who prayed to any god or man during the next 30 days except to the king, would be thrown into the lions den.
  • Pride and Ego
    • The king, even though he must have known that Daniel prayed to, worshipped and followed God, the thought did not enter his mind. His ego was elevated as he thought of the honor he would receive.
  • Praise and Worship
    • Even when Daniel knew it could cost him his life,  he continued to pray openly and praise God. He not only kept his faith, he did not hide it.
  • Consequences
    • The king, even though it distressed him greatly, followed through with his edict and ordered Daniel in the Lion’s Den. He did, however, say to Daniel “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you.” (Daniel’s witness was evident)
  • Faithfulness
    • Daniel was faithful, even unto what appeared to be his death.
    • God was faithful and rescued Daniel while in the den of lions.
  • Blessings
    • The king issued a decree that in every  part of his kingdom, people would fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
    • This is an example of how our faithfulness can impact the lives of others, pointing them to God.

This certainly made me consider my witness as I go about my days. How about you?

Happy 4th of July!

Independence DayIt’s Independence Day/the 4th of July! This is a day where we all usually gather together with friends and family for fun and food, which is great. I have been thinking about this holiday though and what it really is celebrating. It’s celebrating our great country and more importantly, GOD – who made it all possible. So, as we gather together and enjoy the company of one another, let’s pause and thank God for the blessing of being able to gather together at all.

This song keeps singing in my head so I wanted to share the lyrics here.

“God Bless America”  By Irving Berlin

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, as we
raise our voices in a solemn prayer.

God Bless America, land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans white with foam.
God Bless America, my home sweet home.
God Bless America, my home sweet home.

2 chronicles 7.14

Do you remember the words to our Pledge of Allegiance? It is another remember of who is responsible for tPledge of allegiance boyhe blessings we have enjoyed in the United States of America. I pray we never forget and fool ourselves into thinking it was us. It’s all about Him – The One who created and sustains us. To God be the glory!

Have a wonderful holiday!

 

Fishing

I’ve never been excited about fishing. When we took our children fishing, I always took along a book and relaxed and read. My husband however, spent most of his time baiting hooks and taking off fish. Not too much fun for him. With five children, he was busy. And, since we fished off a boat, it could be a little scary with hooks flying about. fishingThankfully no one was ever injured.

This past week, we took three of our grandsons fishing. So here we were…fishing again (well, we were with those who were fishing). But, these boys were old enough to bait their own hooks and remove their own fish – if they caught anything. They were all excited and anxious to be the first to catch the big fish. Well, after a couple of hours, no one had caught a fish. There had been a few catches of moss but no fish. They had each lost a fishing lure but no fish. Well, those teenage boys moved from one spot to another. They switched bait. Back and forth they went. fish sleepingWhat a time. They were discouraged and disappointed but persevered. I never knew teenagers could be so patient! One plus was that it was so quiet, grandpa got a quick nap in. 

I started thinking about the passage in Matthew where Jesus called Simon (Peter) and Andrew to follow Him and they would become “fishers of men”.  When you fish, something has to lure the target (whether it is fish or men). Jesus was the lure (for a life lived to the fullest). He was the cure (for all that ails us or assails us). Our job as “fishers of men” is to lure people to Jesus. They must see Him living in and through us. If we are living as we should as followers of Christ, His light and His love will be seen in us. We are now the lure. Jesus is the catch!

There is someone else though who is fishing for men. His lure is temptation, self-gratification, sin itself. His name is Satan and he is after our souls. He lures us with many different kinds of bait, all tailor made for us (our weaknesses). He is crafty. He can even make it look like a good thing. He is a deceiver, a distractor, a liar! We must be on guard and not “take the bait”.  Just like the fish on this day with our grandsons, we must resist the urge to get “hooked” on whatever sin Satan puts in front of us. Just like a fish can end up in the frying pan, so can we. Taking his bait can be deadly.

fishers of menI will never look at fishing the same way again. It’s not boring; it is a life lesson. Whose bait/lure will I follow? Jesus or the evil one? The decision is mine (and yours). I want to fish for men with the love of Christ. I hope and pray my life reflects that choice.

Oh, by the way…there was a fish caught that day. Just when we were about to pack it all up, one of the boys caught a fish. They all got so excited that even though it started raining, they wanted to fish on…in hopes that they could all catch a fish (competition you know). But, it eventually rained so hard we had to go. No more fish caught that day. We had a fun anyway and I received a good visual lesson. Until next time…fish on!

06.21.19

 

Hope

{Well, I began this post two weeks ago and am just now getting back to it. Maybe my next post should be on procrastination!}

HOPE. What do you hope for? In what or whom do you hope?

Hope in God green grass

We had been searching for a used garden tiller for a few months. We had bought our tomato plants, but our garden plot wasn’t ready yet to receive them. So, we kept them in pots until they could be planted in their summer home. Then, thanks to our friends Pat and Terry, we got some wonderful compost for our garden soil. All that we needed now was a tiller to get it all in the ground. So, before renting a tiller, we searched once more. We found a couple of possibilities. One we could see right away, the other later that evening. So, off we went to check out the first one. The owner said he and his wife were downsizing due to his recent diagnosis of cancer. He also disclosed over the phone that sometimes the tiller would quilt running. But that if he unscrewed the gas cap and then screwed it back on, it would be off and running again. So, since my husband (Pete) is a handy guy, we decided it was worth a look.

We met Gary and Nancy at their beautiful home. I don’t say that lightly. It was almost breathtakingly beautiful. The property and house were gorgeous and sat on a shared pond. A lot of work has gone into the landscaping and I could have stayed there for hours just enjoying the surroundings. And, to you guys out there, they have a 5-car garage – a handy man’s dream. But that beautiful home took a lot of work to keep it that way. Gary and Nancy were both wonderfully friendly down-to earth people and we enjoyed talking with them.

Well, Gary took Pete out to his garden to try tilling. It started and ran like a champ. No issues. While they were playing in the dirt 😊, I talked with Nancy. She shared some things with me about their family and Gary’s illness. Their children live out of state and haven’t yet been told about Gary’s cancer. They are coming for a visit this summer and they plan to tell them in person. She said that they don’t talk about it much. They just go about their days trying to stay positive and hope (fingers crossed) for the best. There was no mention of God or faith. Just keeping their fingers crossed that everything turns out ok. I was sad that luck was all they were holding onto in this trying time.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15)

Well, the guys made a deal on the tiller and loaded it up. I felt strongly that God would want us to pray with/for them so I asked if they would mind if we prayed for Gary. They said no, they didn’t mind at all. So out by the pond, we all held hands and Pete and I prayed. Afterwards, Nancy had tears in her eyes and said that their friends had been past the evening before and prayed for them. Do you think God directs our paths? He sure does! (Proverbs 3:5-6)

As we were driving home, I said that I thought God sent us specifically there just to water the seeds of faith that had been planted by their friends the night before. There is a reason we had searched for so long for a tiller. The timing wasn’t right. In our minds, the time was late, but God’s timing is perfect!

A funny thing happened after we got home and unloaded the tiller though. We got it around back and Pete started to till the garden soil. I’m telling you it was like a comedy show! He started it and before he could even step back to the handles, it died. That went on and on and on for so long that we were laughing. I know his arms and shoulders hurt from pulling that cord so many times in a row. It would have been quicker and much less effort to just shovel the dirt and compost together! We believe God has a sense of humor and we had to laugh. Eventually though, the garden got tilled and the tomato plants put in the ground. As we watch the garden grow, we will remember to pray for our new friends Gary and Nancy. Thank you, God, for showing us that following You always leads to blessings.hope in God

I am thankful that my hope is in the Lord. What about yours?

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

05/20/19

 

Easter

The other day I was thinking about how our world celebrates Easter. We have an Easter bunny hiding eggs. We fill baskets with fake grass and chocolates. It seems like a very strange combination to me. I wonder how the bunny and eggs got together in the first place. After all, bunnies do not lay eggs and chickens do not have floppy ears. And, chocolate bunnies and eggs? Easterbunny_1Then we have Easter egg hunts. Someone hides the eggs and then the search is on. Children run to see who can find the first eggs and the most eggs. Then they crack them open to see the treasure inside. That treasure might be candy, a trinket or even money. We even have helicopters dropping eggs for kids to run and find. I wonder…what do any of these things have to do with the true meaning of Easter?

I’ve come up with a few connections. There are no bunnies, eggs or helicopters in the real Easter story. But, there certainly was a search launched and a treasure found. Jesus had been crucified and buried in a tomb. Some of the women who followed Him went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. They were searching (hunting if you will) for His body. And treasure, He was a treasure to them. However, they thought that treasure was gone.

Here is the account as written in Mark 16:1-8 “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” hempty-tomb-of-jesuse said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

Here is John’s account as written in John 20:1-18 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So, she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So, Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)  Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Matthew 28.5-6Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”

God assures us that if we seek Him, we will find Him.

Proverbs 8:17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

And don’t forget…Jesus first sought us.

Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

What love! So, on this Good Friday and the upcoming Easter (Resurrection) Sunday, let’s remember the Easter hunt with an everlasting gift/treasure – a relationship with our risen Savior – Jesus Christ!

He promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Remember, He sought us first – to save us from sin. What a glorious gift!

Hallelujah! He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

04/19/19

Imaginary Friends

Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were a child? I did not and in fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who did. But I have heard that many children do have imaginary friends. I guess that’s when imagination starts, in children. imaginary friendThe benefit of imaginary friends is that they are whatever you want them to be. They never have to get mad at you, they can always be by your side and agree with all you say and do. You can make them do the scary things that you are too afraid to try. They can take the blame whenever you get in trouble. You can be with them or ignore them whenever you want. It’s a one-sided relationship where you are totally in control. The trouble with that is…they are not really a friend at all. They are not real and true. You are just as alone as if you had never imagined them in the first place. In order to have a friend and be a friend, you must get to know the other person and allow them to know you. imaginary-friends - facebookThat takes effort and it takes time. Life is lonely with a friend who is only imaginary.

Do you know people who have a relationship with God like that? I guess the more important questions is…have you ever had that relationship with God? Where you imagine Him to be what you want, when you want? Pick him up when you need Him and then ignore Him when life seems to be going well? Is it a one-sided relationship where you do all the talking and no listening? Does this imaginary god love you just as you are but doesn’t want to work in you to make you better? That’s not real – that’s not God. He does love you just as you are but…He does want to work in and through you to make you better. He has a plan for you and it’s a plan for YOUR GOOD. The thing is, you can’t be in control. You can’t pick God up when you want and then drop Him when you want to go your own way. You must let God be God in your life. He’s not pushy; He gives all of us freedom of choice. We can choose to have an imaginary god or we can choose to follow the real, personal and only true God. What will you choose today? Imagination and deceit or reality and truth? Deceiving ourselves only leads to destruction.imaginary friend cartoon - God

I choose GOD! I pray that when I try to take control and make God what I want, I will quickly realize it and use my imagination for something beneficial, not making a false God. His will, not mine. He is God, I am not.

Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations”

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

04/01/19