Friday, March 30, 2012

A Balancing Act

Do you ever at times feel like your life is a balancing act and that at any moment things may come crashing down all around you? Sometimes I do! The other night as I washed some dishes and was "balancing" them in the drainer trying to get them all in there before I started drying them, I looked at them and thought how I try to do the same thing in so many other areas of my life. Funny how so many days I start out focused and then before I know it my mind...or my body...or going in a multitude of directions and I'm trying to balance it all together.
I've noticed that if I don't let my dirty dishes stack up then I don't have so many to wash and they fit well in the dish drainer. They just sit there until either they drain dry or I take a dish towel and dry them. If they are few enough in number they never attempt to slip and slide and fall on the floor! Sometimes my life is not too hectic and things stick together pretty well. But just as I have had pots and pans teeter and fall when I stack them too high, there are times one thing in my life falls from it's perch and seems to knock down a dozen more on it's way down! Maybe it would be better if I tried to do a little less and not spread myself so thin or stack up my projects so high!
As Christians, we need to ask the Lord what it is we need to be doing. He may want us to do more than we do now. He may want us to do less. If we will seek His counsel and then do His will, He will balance our lives for us! I have been guilty of trying to figure out things for myself and sometimes get myself in deeper water than I can handle, so to speak.
"A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the bag are his work." Proverbs 16:11
May God bless you as you seek to live a balanced life with Him!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hope for the Hopeless

Do you ever feel like you just want to throw up your hands and give up? Maybe you feel like there’s just no hope in a certain situation? Well, I hate to admit it but I have felt exactly that way! And usually it’s because I have taken my eyes off of God and what He can do and put them on myself and what I can not do! Big mistake! It will get me down in the dumps quicker than anything else I know of! But if I can ever just remember to meditate on one of my favorite things/words…HOPE…then I start feeling better right away!

This weekend I was reading from Romans 8 and Paul says in verses 24-25 “For we are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Oh yes! HOPE is such an important thing. More than just some emotion. More than something that can be seen! 2 Corinthians 4:18 says “…the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” So the things that I am seeing in my life that upset me and make me want to give up hope are actually just temporary. That gives me HOPE! And the things that I can’t see…my salvation, my spirit, my loved ones already in heaven, God…all these are eternal! That gives me HOPE!

I’m feeling better already just sharing this hope that we have through Jesus Christ! My goal for my life is this: “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” (Psalm 71:14) I pray this will be your goal also!

God bless you!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Never Give Up !

Early last Sunday morning our big black dog (aptly named Blackie) ran off like he was chasing a varmint of some kind and never came back…until today that is! Sadly, we had really just about given up on ever seeing him again.

Yesterday our six-year-old granddaughter Leah was visiting and it made her extremely sad that Blackie was not here for her to “leash” as she LOVES to take him walking with her on our long driveway. At one point while we were in the kitchen she looked over at me and said, “I’m just going to ask God to find Blackie and bring him back!” I told her that was a great idea and that in fact I had already been doing that. I’m absolutely sure she prayed for him yesterday and/or last night. So when Blackie showed up about noon today, Leah was one of the first persons I got in touch with to share the good news! I saw her later in town and she was grinning from ear to ear!

We think that poor Blackie got into a trap according to how his front paws look. He’s missing some fur on both paws but they don’t seem to be raw or sore. Benny thinks that probably whoever owns the traps let him go today when they checked them. I don’t think he had had anything to eat since Sunday because he looked so thin and was soooooo hungry ! I put a mixture of canned dog food and dry dog food in his bowl and went inside to get him some clean cool water. When I got back outdoors, he had licked his bowl clean and was whining for more! So I filled it up again! After that he seemed satisfied and ready to stretch out and take a nap in the sunshine. You could just look at him and see that he was so tired of where he’s been and so ready to be home to rest, be fed, and loved!

I started thinking about people who are in much the same shape as our Blackie was. They want “freedom” so badly that they run as fast as they can away from those who love and care about them and try to find pleasure in a “far country”. Some may be teens who have run away from home wanting to have more “freedom” to do as they please. Some may be grownups who have run away from a marriage hoping to find “greener grass” on the other side of the fence. When will we ever learn that most of the time the greenest grass you will find is growing over the top of a sewer!

Most of us have either been involved in running away from something we “thought” was tying us down or else we have friends or family who have run away. Maybe not really physically run away but they have become involved with things that have changed their lives drastically and not in a good way. Perhaps a defiant flirtation has thrown someone into leaving their spouse and children. Maybe a drug or alcohol addiction has taken its toll on body and soul. “Running away” can involve a multitude of things. Blackie thought he was getting his freedom when he took off running last Sunday morning. But actually he was unknowingly headed as fast as he could go towards what could have been his death. Even though he didn’t die, it most likely was the worst thing that’s ever happened to him! Sadly, when we run from God thinking we want the “freedom” the world gives, we’re actually headed as fast as we can toward destruction!

What is the answer? Just turn our backs and pretend we don’t see our friend, parent, child, spouse or ourselves getting ready to run? Never give up if you or someone you love is running from God’s best for them. As long as there is breath in their body, there is hope! Don’t give up! Leah never gave up on Blackie. She just turned it over to God. I have just thought over and over this afternoon that I need to remember that “with God all things are possible”! There are problems and situations in my life that I had just about given up on but now I see there’s still hope!

The chorus to a song kept coming to my mind today also. Part of it goes like this:
“He is able to deliver thee; He is able to deliver thee;
Tho by sin oppressed, Go to Him for rest,
Our God is able to deliver thee!”

I’ve seen this God ordained deliverance many times in my life. And when it happens to you, or to someone you love, just like our Blackie is so happy to be back where he belongs and is safe and cared for, you will also be so happy to be back under the safe care of the Saviour Who loves us so!

So never give up! Deliverance may be only hours away!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Saturdays With Mama

I’ve had Mama on my mind a lot this week. Maybe because it was forty-two years ago on March 3, 1970, that she passed away. I was a sixteen-year-old Junior at Ripley High School sitting in Mrs. Stanford’s Spanish class when Dr. Ketchum came to tell me Mama had passed away and to drive me home to be with Daddy. A sad day that was!

Yesterday I just got to thinking about Saturdays with Mama. Growing up we pretty much lived by a routine. Saturdays were no different. As far as being routine every week. But they were different from every other day and I’ll tell you why.

Because my Daddy was a barber and had his shop in Ripley, he came home for dinner at noon every day…every day except Saturday that is. Back in those days men got their hair cut at least every two weeks or so and he had his regular customers. A lot of them had to come on Saturday to get their hair cut because of their jobs during the week and so Daddy would just grab a bite to eat at a cafĂ© just down from the barber shop on Saturdays as he was usually so busy. And that’s why on Saturdays Mama didn’t have to cook dinner.

But I don’t remember her ever just taking the day off! She ran a tight ship in our home (as opposed to me and how I let things slide!) and Saturday was our day to clean house. Oh, not that it ever got all that dirty….it was just our routine! Every day the house was swept and dusted, the beds made and the dishes washed, dried, and put away. On Saturdays we did all that plus clean the bathrooms and mop and wax the floors. I loved working with my Mama. She was such a pleasant person to be around! When I was approaching my ninth birthday Mama had surgery for breast cancer. I can so well remember her putting her arm around me on one Saturday soon after that and telling me that I was going to be her special helper from then on. I would be in charge of the mopping! Wow! Instead of making me feel it was a drudgery she made me feel like it was an honor! She explained to me that after her surgery she could not use her left arm like before and that mopping would not be good for her.

Most of our Saturdays went like this: Up early for breakfast. Clean up kitchen. Get dressed. Make up beds. Sweep. Dust. Clean bathrooms. Mop. We tried to get done by 11:00 a.m. or thereabouts and then we would have our little lunch. (Usually this was done while the floors were drying) Sandwiches were what we like to have. They were special because we hardly ever had them any other time. In the winter we might have a grilled cheese…cut in half diagonally…with a steaming bowl of Campbell’s cream of tomato soup. Other times it might be an egg sandwich. Or in the summer time a tomato sandwich. But I think my very favorite was the pineapple sandwich! First we slathered mayonnaise on white bread. Then we would open a can of Dole’s pineapple slices, take out a slice, shake the juice off, and put between the slices of mayonnaise covered bread. Ahhh! Heavenly!

After we ate our light lunch and cleaned the kitchen, we cleaned ourselves up and changed clothes so we could go and do our weekly grocery shopping. Mama didn’t drive until I was a teenager so earlier than that we mostly did our grocery shopping at the Big Star Grocery. It was just a short walk across a vacant lot behind our house. We carried the groceries home in big brown paper bags. Then we put them all up where they belonged and I guess Mama probably started supper about then. I really only remember that the rest of my afternoon was free. In the winter time I might watch a Tarzan or Shirley Temple movie around 3:30. In the summer I played outside on my swing set or on my bike with my neighbors Pam and Beverly.

Mama would call me in for supper after Daddy got home and we would eat around the table in the kitchen. (We never had a dining room) After supper Mama would wash the dishes and I would dry them. And then it was time to start getting ready for Sunday. Take a bath and wash my hair. Get our Sunday clothes and shoes out. Lay out my Bible and Sunday school book. Get my pajamas on and go to Mama and say my prayers and kiss her goodnight. Go get in my soft bed, pull up the covers and fall asleep…secure in the knowledge that I was loved. And that’s what a Saturday with my Mama was like!

Just recalling all of this about Mama today brings to my mind some verses about the “Proverbs 31” Woman. “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” Proverbs 31:26-29 These verses truly describe how my Mama was. I am blessed to have been given a Mama such as this!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

When the Wind Blows

March.... the windy month is here! It’s the month for flying kites and for not worrying about your hair staying in place when you go outside!

The wind has many faces -- it can put a soft and gentle caress on your cheek or it can blow so strong it will make that same cheek turn red and chapped. The wind has its good side -- it can bring us cool relief from the heat in the summer time. But there's a bad side lurking to the wind too. Sometimes it will be a tornado wind that will wreak havoc on everything in its path.

"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." John 3: 8

In Matthew 7: 24-27, Jesus tells of two men who each built a house. One man built his house on the sand and the other built on a rock. Then the storms came. The "rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house.."
Both houses were subjected to the same winds and rain. Yet the verses say that the house built on the rock "fell not" but the house built on the sand "fell: and great was the fall of it."

You know, that's the way life is. Two people can experience almost equally difficult circumstances and yet one of them comes out so depressed he is ready to end his life while the other might be on shouting ground. What makes the difference? I believe we have the answer in God's Word. "And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer." Psalm 78: 35

If we have trusted in Christ as our Savior, then He is our rock and our hiding place. The only way to come out ahead in life is to have your foundation on the ROCK. "He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the ROCK of my salvation." Psalm 89: 26

I pray that you and I will let the “winds” in our lives blow us closer to God!