Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Letting Jesus Be Jesus

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my life was "letting Jesus be Jesus." There have been times when I have counted on a good Christian individual to be my deliverer rather than the Lord. Somehow I would replace someone lending me a helping hand with needing them to "deliver" me from a plight I was in at the time. Difficult as it is to admit ~ this happened several times in my past.

I had to learn again and again and again ~ the hard and painful way ~ that trusting a human being to be my Lord was futile. People can encourage us, and pray for us, and guide us to the Lord ~ but they are incapable of pulling us out of a problem we are in and keeping us out of it. Only God can do that. Only God will not grow weary with the job of overseeing us through thick and thin. Philippians 1:6 says Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Beth Moore put it well when she said, "People can help us but they can’t heal us. People can lift us but they can’t carry us. And on occasion people can pull us out of a pit, but they can’t keep us out of it." That is our Lord’s job ~ we need to let Jesus be Jesus ~ we need to let Him do a "work" in us.

And so for me it took a "granddaddy-of-a-situation" to finally teach me once and for all this valuable Biblical truth ~ above all to lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus.

Leaning, leaning
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sound of Music

In 1965, when I was just seven years old, my mother took me and my sisters to the drive-in to see The Sound of Music. I reckon it has been a favorite of mine ever since.

In the scene where Maria returns to the convent because she is afraid to face up to her feelings toward Mr. Von Trapp ~ she is asked to meet Mother Abbess in her office. She encourages Maria that she cannot run from her troubles. She says, "Maria, these walls were not meant to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live." She then begins quoting Psalm 121 in part. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber (verses 1-3).

You’ll have to admit that that is pretty profound "stuff" coming out of Hollywood. Of course it was way back in 1965 ~ over 40 years ago ~ but the movie is still quite popular today ~ which means those profound quotes are continuing to reach homes across the world.

I liked what Mother Abbess said about facing problems and just as importantly about living the life that you were born to live. And I like what God said (inspiring David to write) about how our help comes from Him ~ how He will not let us slip ~ and He isn’t going to go to sleep on the job either.

That small scene in the Abby that day is powerful. So much is said in those few lines of the script. May we keep in mind that we are born to live the life that God has called us to live ~ that our God is our help and fortress ~ and that our God never sleeps ~ He is there for us 24/7.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well, It’s Christmas Eve Eve

Yep, I meant to type Eve twice. It is the "eve" of Christmas Eve. For as long as I can remember it is my favorite day of the holiday season. It is not quite Christmas ~ I still have time to finish those special sugar cookies my family loves ~ I still have time to go out and pick up anything I might have forgotten (or in my case for this year ~ I still need to finish shopping ~ I’m just so thankful that Amazon.com was able to help me as much as they did!) ~ I still have time to send out a card or two ~ I still have time.

And that mentality certainly walks hand in hand with the way I have approached and am about to enter this very special time of year. I’ve slowed down considerably ~ trying to stroll through the hustle and bustle rather than dart frantically here and there. I've listened intently to the Christmas songs (Christian and secular). I’ve discovered that I won’t be humming "Santa Baby" anymore ~ that the description of the Grinch in "You Are A Mean One Mr. Grinch" is very vivid and he was a pretty sorry soul before his transformation ~ that "Breath of Heaven" is a Christmas song and one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard ~ that Mark Lowry sings "Mary Did You Know?" much better than anyone else.

I’ve spent more time watching some movies and shows with the family (it has always been hard for me to sit through a movie) and I continue to be convinced that the-older-the-better is still the way to go. The Walton’s Homecoming with Patricia Neal (a native of my state!) and Richard Thomas (my first love in the 70's ~ don’t laugh) is pure and fresh. In one episode on the Andy Griffith Show, Andy and a young lady (played by Gail Davis) sit on the front porch and sing a precious love song entitled "Down in the Valley" ~ it is one of the prettiest love songs I’ve ever heard. And I plan to watch It’s a Wonderful Life ~ again ~ but this time sticking with it from start to finish.:)

Slowing down this Christmas required me to consciously decide to do so. It has always been such a rush-rush situation for me ~ and in the end it is invariably anti-climatic because once that intense pace concludes it has always been a major let down.

I have truly tried to make this a different Christmas for myself and the family. In many ways I believe I have succeeded. At least I hope I have. I have determined that strolling through the preparation and festivities of Christmas has allowed me to see what is going on around me ~ to really listen to those Christmas lyrics instead of just knowing the tune ~ to appreciate the sweet spirit and cleanliness of the movies and shows of a time long, long gone by ~ to exert my energies in a way that hopefully I won’t feel that anti-climatic feeling anymore.

So I enter Christmas Eve Eve in a different place this year ~ and you know what ~ I like it. Merry Christmas!!! P.S. Just so you know, the beautiful home pictured above is not my house. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blessing Someone With A Blessing

It truly IS more blessed to give than to receive. This evening I had the opportunity to drop off some gifts to a family that our home school group had done a food pounding and gift drive for earlier this month. The food and grocery gift card donations were generous to say the least. Last week this single mother told me that she bagged up some of the food and took it to an even needier family near her. When she entered the home a little boy and girl became so excited saying such things as "Look, we have green beans. Green beans!" and "A cake mix ~ she brought us a cake mix."

The woman that we had blessed turn around and blessed someone else. She knew that this family was hungry and hardly had any money for food ~ and while she was suffering hard times she gave some of her blessing away to another. Now if that isn’t the joy of Christmas then I don’t know what is. It truly is a much greater experience to give than to open a gift to oneself. God calls us to take care of the weak and poor ~ and what a rewarding event it is.

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35

One Cute Blog

I know I'm kind of pitiful ~ changing my blog background so often. But you will have to admit that this one is kind of darling. I went to The Cutest Blog On The Block (where I always go) and noticed that there was a link for other free blog backgrounds. Eventually I made my way over to One Cute Blog and I gotta tell ya ~ there were some pretty ones over there. I chose the gingerbread man ~ I thought he was really cute. Listen it is 2:30 in the morning here in Kentucky ~ and I have insomnia. Maybe that's why I change my background so often ~ I'm bored. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I met a lady today ~ a clerk at a Christian bookstore ~ named Michelle. She was helping me find a book for a woman who has separated from her husband. At that time I did not tell her it was because of the destruction pornography had brought to the family. It seemed she knew many of the books first hand ~ for she kept saying "I’ve read this one and it is good" and "I’ve read that one and it really spoke to me." At first I didn’t notice her tear streaked cheeks and blood shot eyes. She told me ~ "I’ve found these books to be personally helpful. We all go through hard times, don’t we?" It was then that I told her how my friend’s life was forever altered because of her husband’s addiction. And Michelle quietly said, "I know."

As she walked with me up to the cash register, this total stranger told me how she had just received another phone call from her husband of twenty years and had broken down in the stock room of the store. She then said, "What is he thinking? It’s Christmas." At that moment my heart ached for yet another woman who is struggling this season as her husband has faltered under the temptation. I looked at her name tag and said "Michelle? My middle name is Michelle so I am going to remember your name." Total strangers ~ we embraced across the counter and promised to pray for each other. The whole thing just kind of broke my heart.

She is my sister in the Lord and the bond that formed in such a short time was heart warming and pitifully sad all at the same time. But it has encouraged me that we Christians must remain steadfast, we must stand firm. We must reach out to a hurting people ~ men and women ~ it is our call. There are SO MANY folk that are hurting ~ and may we not get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t notice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Joy To The World

Okay, okay, so my second song on the playlist is a bit perkier compared to music I usually play. I can see some of you smiling. You know, I do have my reasons for playing soft, slow moving, inspirational, and-at- times tear jerking music. I have my reasons.

You see, when I was growing up my father was a rock-n-roller. He fought alcoholism much of his life and all of my life ~ up until the time of his death. And for as long as I can remember I was raised on rock-n-roll. I know more secular songs then I can count ~ and quite a few that I don’t care to admit. I have many memories of the bass being turned up so loud that my bedroom floor rumbled under my feet.

So, I came to hate music with a beat - in particular rock-n-roll music. I desired a music that was calming ~ a music that would speak to my heart and soul. I know it sounds sappy but I am a sappy kind of gal. And, so, I fell in love with music that was gentle and soothing ~ for me that was and continues to be the epitome of beautiful music.

Over the years, some friends and relatives have teased me about not listening to secular music or even something they call "gospel rock" ~ but the rock of it all is too close to what I listened to my whole life. I simply have no desire to listen to it. I've had enough beat already to last me more than a lifetime. But I did decide to branch out tonight and play this really peppy Christmas song. It is simply beautiful! So ~ Joy to the World ~ joy that our Savior did come ~ joy that He saved my soul ~ joy that He continues to save souls ~ joy for good music!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blog Friends ~ You Make My Day

For those who follow my blog ~ you’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a bit on the serious side. I can laugh with the best of them ~ I can ~ I’m just not gifted in telling jokes, reliving a humorous moment, and such. My middle daugther ~ who is the comedian in the family ~ always looks at me seriously and says "Momma, just let me tell it." And she always does the better job. :) But I can have fun and enjoy folk ~ because I love people ~ so I reckon that is why I visit your blogs so you all will bring a smile to my face and even cause me to laugh out loud. Susan at Susan's Space does a particularly good job ~ for I consistently come away from her site with a big smile on my face. And today was no exception.

With that said, I would like to thank my friends in blogland for wonderful posts and plenty of happiness and cheer to share with the rest of us. You make my day!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snapshots of Joy

This past week I downloaded some graphics from a site entitled Snapshots of Joy. Her work is beautiful ~ to say the least. As you scroll through my blog you can see various pictures and posters that I downloaded for free.

This one was particularly touching to me and its art work quotes and reflects the writings of the prophet Isaiah (43:1-3). But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by they name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD they God, the Holy One of Israel, they Savior.

Oh what a love ~ with words that can hardly express how that makes me feel ~ that He calls me by name. Oh that I am His. Oh that He is with me through the waves of life ~ and I won’t sink. Oh that He is with me through the fiery trials of life ~ and I won’t be burned. What comfort, what joy, oh what love.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas Origin - Maybe.....

Last Christmas season I received an email about the origin of The Twelve Days of Christmas (Author Unknown). I tried to check it out ~ some believe in its authenticity ~ while others do not. No matter whether it is truth or an urban legend, I really liked it. If it isn't the origin of that old song, maybe it should have been. Read on and enjoy.

You're all familiar with the Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." To most it's a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. But it had a quite serious purpose when it was written. During the period of 1558 to 1829, Parliament had finally emancipated Catholics in England, and they were prohibited from ANY practice of their faith by law - private OR public. It was a crime to BE a Catholic. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith. It was a secret memory aid ~ for to be caught with anything in *writing* indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could lead to imprisonment or even worse ~ they could be hung (shortened by a head as they called it).

The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34).

The other symbols stand for the following:

2 Turtle Doves ~ The Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens ~ Faith, Hope and Charity, the three virtues

4 Calling Birds ~ The Four Gospels

5 Golden Rings ~ The first Five Books of the Old Testament

6 Geese A-laying ~ The six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming ~ The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

8 Maids A-milking ~ The eight beatitudes

9 Ladies Dancing ~ The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

10 Lords A-leaping ~ The Ten Commandments

11 Pipers Piping ~ The eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming ~ The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

So there you have it. True or not ~ I don't know ~ but an interesting read nonetheless. Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't Abandon Your Friends In A Time Of Need

In the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to draw very close to a friend of mine who is in need. At times in our lives we will hit a low spot. For this friend, she is in the greatest struggle of her life. The horrendous effects of pornography has ravaged her home. satan is doing that a lot these days ~ picking off Christians one by one ~ and his goal is to leave no survivors. This family has been no exception. What I've been reminded of is just how important it is to be there for people who need us.

We live in a fast paced world ~ it is so easy to be caught up in our own lives. And ~ unfortunately ~ some folk don't want to get involved. I've even seen others abandon a friend in their hour of need. I know I've had that experience myself. And it hurts like the dickens. God calls us to love one another no matter what. Jesus says in John 15; 12-13 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Christ has commanded us to love others as He loves us. And let me tell you ~ that is a a very great love to imitate. So reach out to those you know are in need ~ a phone call, a card, or even a visit ~ we can make a difference as we lay down our life for our friends.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

17 Shopping Days Left ~ I'm Really Not Worried

It is just 18 days until the big day set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth. And, um, I’m kind of not hardly even partially or minutely ready. And you know the strange thing about it all ~ I’m not worried about it. I’m not really sure why it took so many years ~ but this ~ my 50th birth year ~ I have finally arrived at being relatively calm about Christmas. I figure when I enter the final stretch it will all come together so I am really enjoying not getting uptight, not panicking as I hunt for just the right gift, not killing myself in my decorating....

Whether it should or should not have ~ something happened this year when I turned 50. I really stepped back and took a look at what I had to show for 5 decades of life. I saw myself running through the field ~ as a young girl ~ rounding up the pigs on a school morning ~ it seemed they always had an uncanny way of getting out right before the school bus arrived. I remember when I would climb one of the apple trees in the orchard and get to the highest branch possible so I could be alone and think ~ that was hard to do with what seemed like three pesky sisters back then. I saw myself sitting in the church choir at 12 years of age ~ my mother approaching me at the invitation of a good ole revival meeting and asking me the most important question of all time "If you died tonight do you know whether you would go to Heaven?"

And then there were the times I remember marching out onto the football field with my high school band ~ twirling my flag ~ or on one particular evening a huge cardboard bow painted yellow ~ we performed to "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole’ Oak Tree" that night. I know I’ve walked the wedding aisle in my mind many times this year ~ watching my dearly departed father cry like a baby as he linked his arm in mine. I saw myself waddling ~ nearly nine months pregnant ~ across the stage of the Singletary Center at the University of Kentucky to receive my master’s degree in education ~ but actually (and accidentally) I was walking with the doctorate recipients instead. My moma kidded me that I received two degrees that day.

I remember the birth of each daughter ~ and how they have grown up way too fast. I can see the day our eldest walked the wedding aisle herself and kissed her prince for the first time. I could go on and on........ but I think that somehow you get the picture. My life has passed before me so many times this year ~ some memories very sweet and others not so sweet. And all of these moments and so many more have helped to mold me into the person that I am today.

So with all of this pondering and walking down memory lane I’ve come to two conclusions. Life moves so quickly ~ it is so dawgone short ~ and we need to enjoy it ~ which is where I think my not getting uptight about the hustle and bustle of Christmas is coming from. And the other thing that I have concluded (been reminded of) ~ is that time is of essence ~ and only what we do for Christ will last. People so desperately need the Lord. And I think that a lot of them want Him too ~ they just don’t know how to get Him. And that is where we come in.

So, I’m planning on enjoying the next 18 days to the fullest ~ a little shopping here and there ~ making up some homemade fudge ~ sending out a Christmas card or two ~ but that which I want to do the most is tell someone about the greatest gift of all time ~ the LORD JESUS CHRIST. May I be as bold as lion!

Friday, December 5, 2008

In All Things ~ Don't Complain

I believe there are no coincidences in life ~ ever. I was driving down the road recently and something I had been reading about in the Bible just jumped into my head. And, I suppose, it was the parallel that was made in my mind and then in my heart that really got me to thinking.

I had been reading in the Book of Numbers about the Children of Israel and how God reacted to their complaining and murmuring as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. It displeased and disappointed Him that they didn’t trust Him enough to provide for them (Numbers 11:1). And it got me to thinking about when I complain - and how that must displease God. Frankly, it is an expression of disbelief toward God's order in my life. Complaining is unbelief in His Word ~ "For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). If I believe that the Lord is in control of my life and is working ALL THINGS for my good then I need to stop complaining and starting thanking Him for the plan He is working together for me.

Aw.... easy preaching and hard living you might be thinking. I’ll have to agree. But it was what came to my mind after that initial thought that caused me to really examine my heart. At first it was hard to remember but my thoughts began going back to different times in the past when I had given place to complaining and grumbling about my life. I remembered that when I started praising God for those "all things"(Romans 8:28) ~ when I began to show appreciation to God for guiding and leading me through this ole world despite the ups and downs ~ that those "all things" began to be taken care of in one way or another. (Psalm 50:14-15). A friend put it this way ~ "Grumbling and complaining only prolongs your agony. Praise moves God to change your situation."

Have you ever prayed for something so hard you can taste it? Well, that is where I am. And my heart needs to be right in order for God to move - however He may move. It won’t be easy but I’m going to try with God’s strength to be thankful in all things ~ it’s just the right thing to do.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings
Philippians 2:14

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comforting Words ~ Balm To The Soul

Can't you just hear the sweet, precious voice of Jesus saying Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1a). He was speaking to His disciples hours prior to Judas Iscariot betraying Him in the garden.

In verse two He says, I go to prepare a place for you ~ another precious promise from our Lord. Can't you feel the comfort in His words? 'Don't be troubled my child. I love you. I have to go but I am coming back some day. And where I am going ~ I will be getting things ready for your arrival.'

Verse three beautifully promises And if I go and prepare a place for you I WILL come again and receive you unto myself that where I am you may be also. I've found that as I get older I do think more of the glorious eternity that awaits me as a child of God. Sometimes I think I am more excited about going than I am about staying and leading others.

May we all keep our eyes on the prize - resting in knowing that we will spend forever with Christ and our Christian friends and family AS we fulfill the great commission to Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19).

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit
John 15:16

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Twas The Night Before Jesus Came

Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed.
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter.
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "it's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound.
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

~ Author Unknown

Monday, December 1, 2008

There Could Be A Worse Habit

Okay, so I'm bored and changed my background...... again. I can't seem to help myself. I think it stems from my love of pretty paper and school supplies. :) I'll have a half dozen different backgrounds before the holiday season is over. I figure there are far far worse things I could indulge in. :)