Archive | November 2012

No Trespassing

Bailey's Treasure Hunt_V

Bailey’s Treasure Hunt

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6:21

Dear Jesus,

I thought I’d tell You that I have buried my painful memories in a deep hole in an obscure part of my property, and I posted a “No Trespassing” sign. I hope You don’t plan on snooping around there or anything. I’ve been stuffing pain all my life and that is the way I deal with my problems in order to move forward.

That bag was full to overflowing after tragedy struck so I piled it in the back of my pick-up and buried it in my field. No one knows where it is except me . . . and obviously You do too. But leave it alone, please. It’s better that way. What good does it do to go digging around in the past? What’s happened has happened. It is what it is.

My Dear Child,

Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Remember the story in Matthew 13? This story is talking about storing our valuables in heaven rather than on earth, but memories are treasures too, even sad ones. The heart remembers and wants to go there to unlock the pain and deal with it; to be set free.

You asked that I not snoop around and I won’t; not without your consent. But remember that unearthing trash or treasure is one of My specialties. Together we can sort what is to be saved and what is to be tossed. Giving Me permission to help you will bring you to freedom and lasting peace. Think about it.

Love,

Jesus

~from Shattered by Suicide

*”Get on with your life”

I have heard this statement so many times from so many of us that I feel it is time to address it in my own way. Please join me with your own version if you like. Please forgive me if what you are about to read sounds harsh. I don’t mean to offend anyone. As always I welcome your comments, especially if what I have written is not truth to you.

To “get on with your life” said in some fashion ~ just what does that mean, exactly? Does one step over the problem as if it were a speed bump of annoyance or something like that? What if I said this to a recent widow ~ would I intend for her to cut short her mourning and send out signals that she is looking for a replacement? How ridiculous! What about a young couple anticipation the birth of their first child only to be told that the baby was born without a heartbeat. Would I dare presume to tell them to get back into the baby-making groove once again?

What about the recently divorced. Should this person be expected to get on with the business of finding a new mate, better than the last? What is our preoccupation with time? We did not create it? No. It is a gift and not always spent wisely, me thinks.

What about the parents who just buried their son, their one and only son who died of a drug overdose. Do I tell them to get over it, put it behind them and move on? Move on to what, exactly?

Moving on is getting up each morning and giving thanks for a new day in which to live and ease the life of someone else, if possible. At least be grateful that we have fresh air to breathe. The sun rises and sets no matter how my day has gone. There is faithfulness and steadfastness and order in my life even if my heart is in shambles.

God’s Spirit has made me. The breath of the Almighty gives me life.  Job 33:4        

If I had a  zapper, I would magically transport the offender of “juicy pearls”  into the next county to get them out of the griever’s face. No one has any business telling anyone to get on with their lives. If anyone has the right, it would be the God who created us all, but even He is too much of a Gentleman to say such things.

Ideally, we let words like this go in one ear and shoot out the other side so fast that they don’t have time to settle in and take root in our thoughts, because they don’t belong there. Phrases like “get on with your life” may be said in innocence or stupidity, but never by someone who has been there; who has lived through tragedy.

The folks that spout them are repeating what is whispered in their ear by the enemy of our souls. After the death of our beloved one, he sticks around to gloat and to see what more he can inflict on the grieving heart.

It’s time to kick the devil to the curb.

 

 

 

West meets East

English: 西九龍Union Square圓方商場 Category:Candy st...

Thanksgiving brought us many things to be thankful for, most of which is family. What a treat to have family members travel from far out west to spend a short weekend together. We made the most of the time with hugs, food, chatter and laughter making memories to savor.

What a sweet surprise to receive a special gift. A well-traveled box of See’s candy; the brand of choice among those who live closer to the Pacific than the Atlantic. Born a chocoholic, I would never turn down a box of chocolates, even if I do live in the state that’s proud to call Esther Price candy their favorite.

Being polite, we’d never consider tearing into the box with both hands while looking into the loving eyes of the givers. However, once we were alone, no holes barred. I am sad to report that it took all of two days to consume the entire box of chocolates and boy, were they good. We had a variety of chocolate-covered goodies with such divine names as: Old-Fashioned Molasses Chips, chewy Almond Squares, buttery Caramel, Butterscotch Squares, Walnut Squares, and more. It’s nasty to drool on the keyboard, so I’d better stop. But the memory of heavenly chocolate will be on my mind and the thought behind the gift.

Lest anyone think I have switched my preference after 30 years, I best keep my opinions to myself. Some people will say, “chocolate is chocolate” and they may be right. But when west meets east or east meets west, be it family or chocolate, it’s all good.

*Hand-plucked Kitty (The Candy Caper Christmas repost)

Stray Kitten

Stray Kitten – resembles Pipy

Pipy. I know what you’re thinking, what kind of a name is that? I have to agree, but there’s a story here. So perhaps I should start at the beginning. His full name is Pipsqueak, but he’s always been “Pipy”. He was so skinny – basically two pieces of hide attached to four legs. We were taking a walk near a soybean field when we heard this tiny, “meow”. We stopped. There was a rustling among the green, then out came this bit of fluff. Hearts melted, of course.

Poor little thing looked like he’d never seen a good meal since mom left. He had to be near death, but he had spunk. Instead of being afraid as most feral cats are, he dogged our steps, determined to be picked up. Well, that did it for my husband. He stroked him as we walked toward home, and I’m thinking, one dish of milk, buddy, and you are on your way, okay? No, I’m not heartless, just practical. At the time, we had a grown-up cat who had never had a good day since birth and she would be ready to “make his day” and he was too little to be subjected to her . . . right?

But that’s not what happened. Tiny kitten stuck around on the patio and cleaned up every dish we filled. Then came the box with soft stuffing for his “house”. He stayed. We loved on him and he lapped it up. So he got the name, “Pipsqueak”. Eventually Pipy met Samantha and the fur flew, but mostly hers. He just wanted to play and she wanted him to leave and never return and she never changed her mind.

But this little guy with all his antics kept us laughing when we did not want to laugh. You see, he showed up in our lives just a few weeks before our son killed himself. I just had to stop as I wrote these horrific words. Close my eyes. Take a deep breath and let it out. Such a hard sentence to write and probably always will be. I even offered the kitten to my son; thinking he would be a fun playmate since he lived alone, but he said “No”. Would Pipy have diverted his plans? We’ll never know. None the less, Pipy is our “God Kitty”.

Yes, this little guy who is huge now and rules over the other two cats, is still ornery and playful. Let me give you a couple of examples. He loves chocolate. He’s never had any that I know of, but he does his best to intercept any bites heading to my mouth. Hand faster than paw; know what I mean? One time, he found a zipped baggy of chocolates and couldn’t get it open, so he carried it to my husband and dropped it. Though he couldn’t talk, the message was clear. “Hey, ‘stupid servant’, open the bag. I want chocolate!” Of course we laughed at his determination, but chocolate is for the “servants”.

And then there was Christmas. More chocolate. This time a pretty dish filled with colorfully wrapped kisses. I covered it with a plastic grocery bag hoping to reduce the temptation over night. The next morning I was drying my hair when I thought I heard the thud of furry feet and the sound of something hitting the hall walls. Peeked out of the bathroom and couldn’t believe my eyes. There was Pipy; running around like a wild cat being chased by a “parachute” dumping its load of candy everywhere. I was doubled over with laughter. Useless to help the boy, I called to my husband who untangled a trembling kitty from the grocery bag parachute.

Yes, this little bundle “sent from heaven” kept us laughing at a time when tears were the order of the days and weeks and months. Thank You, God, for Your timing and for Your sense of humor.

 

*Revolving door

English: A cropped version of Antonio Ciseri's...

Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people

Bailey, our grey and white cat, has to be able to get in every room. If the door is shutting him out and I’m inside, he will whine. The most dangerous door is the one to the bathroom. If it is open a crack he will work at it until he is able to walk in, leaving the door wide open to “the public”. He doesn’t do anything, but turn around and leave. Never mind that I am in the tub at the time and it would be most inconvenient to close the door myself. Thankfully I don’t have people in my house most of the time.

Revolving door cat? So what. What’s the point?

Hmmm. Do I follow the same pattern in my life with matters of the heart? Come in, go out, like a revolving door? Don’t get too close. Don’t take chances, I may get hurt. Don’t get too emotionally involved. Do I scamper away from Christ too? He knocks. I open a crack and say, “Come back next week” or “I have guests now” or “I don’t buy from sales people” or “You can come in, but only for a minute”. The excuse list is endless.  But I don’t want to be like that. How about you?

Consider this conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate before Jesus’ execution:

 

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out . . .  John 18:37-38

The last sentence finishes and you can continue reading the story, but the point is ~ it appears that Pontius Pilate turned and walked away before Jesus had a chance to answer his question, “What is truth?”. Would the outcome have been any different for Pilate had he actually listened? Was his heart running away?

 

Please Jesus, help me to not run away from You. Sometimes I don’t even recognize when I am doing it, so gently nudge me or bonk me over the head, whichever gets my attention. I don’t want a revolving door relationship with anyone, especially You. I would rather stay seated at Your feet. Amen.

Thankfulness is contagious . . .

Green Prayer

Prayer of Thanks

Shall we spread it around? Just as a frown or a snide remark is contagious, but so are smiles and kind words and gratitude. In the holiday that is fast approaching, it is likely that we are thankful for what our forefathers went through to give us the bounty we have now ~ and likely are cooking and baking as we speak. May all of you exchange smiles around the table as you gather to share America’s abundant blessings with those you love.

Many will travel. Fortunately, we don’t have to. We have family coming to us. Our new family is gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving, delightedly using new china and silver. But more importantly, we are grateful to the God of heaven for the gift of family He has given us. We gather to share our blessings and pass them along. Yep. All this good stuff can be shared all year long and that’s a very good thing.

I can’t close without mentioning that there are folks who do not have family to celebrate with and will be searching for a soup kitchen where volunteers serve them a meal. There are others who are handicapped and struggle each day whether it is a holiday or not. May we reach out to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus wherever there’s a need.

I have not been writing regularly and I promise to do better. No, I have not been traveling around Europe. Instead, I chose to have a hammer toe repaired. Right now my foot is swollen from trying to walk on it while wearing a 50 # boot or so it feels. Toe has my mother’s hat pin sticking out of the end of it . . . surely not, but there’s a resemblance. But this is a temporary set back and I am grateful that God designed our bodies to heal themselves even as we age.

So for those of you who think you have nothing for which to be thankful. Take a moment and look back at how God has led and thank Him for always being there. Me too.

Thank God! Pray to Him by name!
    Tell everyone you meet what He has done!
Sing Him songs, belt out hymns,
    translate His wonders into music!
Honor His Holy Name with hallelujahs,
    you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works;
    be alert for signs of His presence.
Remember the world of wonders He has made,
    His miracles, and the verdicts He’s rendered—
        O seed of Abraham, His servant,
        O child of Jacob, His chosen.  Psalm 105:1-6

Seed of Abraham? That’s us!

 

DRAFT – More stitches . . . update, w/p, pub again

 

And God took another stitch or two; pulling the gold thread up, over and around the hurt and pain of one of His kids. He can hardly see to take a stitch for His eyes are brimming with tears.

One of His daughters pays Him a visit. She was all out of ideas. Everything she touched turned to powder. Empty, crushed, bruised and broken, she needed help and she knew just where to find it. The tapestry was not her thing anyway. Never the crafty one there was no beauty, at least that she could see. The colors were dull, the thread brittle and the whole mess smudged with life’s poor choices.            

Without a word, she leaned over the back of God’s chair and let her mess drop into His lap. Of course, He knew it was her before He even turned and smiled. Looking at His face was the last straw. Burying her face in her hands, she starts to weep.

“There, there,” whispers God. “Come. Sit be Me. We will have you fixed up in no time.” With that, she eagerly plopped down beside Him in His old,  comfy chair.

I’m so tired, she thought to herself. Just a quick nap. It’s so comfortable here.

It seemed like no time at all when she opened her eyes and looked at the most beautiful tapestry she had ever seen. It was simply breathtaking! God had meticulously woven intricate stitches of pure gold to cover the barren places in her soul. He always knew just what to do. Smiling at her, His eyes glistening with happy tears, He wrapped her in His tight embrace.

Refreshed, she could go on. From time to time, she would add more stitches to the beauty she clutched in her arms. There was more life to be lived.  Her life had begun again.

 

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.  Colossians 2:2                                                                     

Letter to My daughter

Peasant Woman Weeping While Recounting the Sta...

My Dear Daughter,

You are not so far away that I cannot reach out and touch you.  Each experience you deal with, I am right there.  I love you with an everlasting love and I will never change My mind.  I am the real deal and I know that many of My children who have taken care of you, have not been.  Life is not easy.  The road you must travel is a rough one, but I am right beside you.  I have often held you and carried you from place to place when you have been unable to do that by yourself.

Please let Me into your heart.  Please let Me give you the peace that I wish to give you.  Please let Me have the backpack you have been carrying so long.  Lay it down; it’s heavy and My burden is light. Besides, when you take one end and I take the other, the burden does not seem so heavy.

My daughter, I love you.  I need you.  You are the reason I came to die.  You are my treasured possession and I will not give you up!  When you have thoughts of suicide, that is not My voice speaking. There is a window open in your heart and the enemy has direct access and he is feeding you a pack of lies.  He speaks no truth at all.  Remember, he does not care how he destroys you; just as long as he does.

 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44

I am holding your hand and I have My arm around your shoulder and I have words to share.  Just read promises in My Word.  They are life-building!  They will help you see how much I love you…and the only thing I ask is that you allow Me to be in every room of your heart.  I cannot help if you close off rooms and not allow Me in.  I have all power, My daughter, and together we can get rid of all the “cans of poison”  that you have stored in your heart.  I know they are there and so do you.  I am here to help you get rid of every destructive thing in your life, if you choose to let Me.

Please trust Me, My daughter.  Let’s spend time together.  I am here to listen and guide and love you into wholeness.

All My Love for Eternity,

Jesus, Your Savior and Friend

After election thoughts . . .

Please note. I don’t live and breathe politics. When news guests begin to crunch the numbers, I glaze over. No stump speech; we’ve had enough of those, but I do have an opinion and this piece, by Roger Bothwell, got me thinking about whether or not we really think in this land of ours? Read on:
God is not Glorified by Ignorance
A 50ish looking man from India came into my hospital room each evening to take my blood pressure. On the way out he would always say, “Is there anything I can get for you?”  So one evening I responded, “Yes, Matthew, I would like a new Cadillac.”  To which he said, “What’s a Cadillac?”  He was serious so I asked how long had he been in America.  “Twenty-three years” was his astounding answer.  So I said, “Okay, I will take a new Buick.”  Again he claimed he had no idea what I was talking about.
How is it possible for someone to be in a culture for twenty-three years and be so unaware?  I found out he drove back and forth to work in his Toyota.  Did he not see other cars around him, especially when waiting for a traffic signal?  What about commercials on television?  He told me he had a TV and watched it.
 
I know that in John 17 Jesus spoke of being in the world but not of the world, but this seemed radical.  In Matthew 10 Jesus told us to be wise as serpents.  One cannot be wise if one is ignorant.  God is not glorified by uninformed servants.  If we are to be useful servants we need to be discerning of culture, especially if we have young people in our families.  They are immersed in their culture of clothes, music, etc.  We must understand people’s needs and know what to say and what not to say in troubled times.  Real wisdom is a knowledge filled head dedicated to understanding rules and the principles under-girding those rules.
~Roger Bothwell
Question: Does God concern Himself with our voting decisions? Does He care who runs our country? How about we answer these questions with a story from long ago recorded in 1 Samuel 8. You can read the details for yourself, so I will briefly summarize. When the prophet Samuel was getting old, the people of Israel asked Samuel to appoint them a king. This upset Samuel and He prayed to God about it. God told Samuel, ” It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their King (vs. 7).
Let’s unpack this quote for a moment. The people who had been led all this time by the God of heaven, would prefer to have an earthly king so that they would be like their neighbors. Heaven vs earthly. Hmmm. They would trade in the God of heaven who leads without error for a human who is full of errors and provides leadership based on what those around him tell him to do. He may or may not rely on the God of heaven for his instruction. His pride in his own ability may get in the way and though fallible, he leads his nation.
The people had experience with God’s leadership for generations. With the Best of the Best, why would they restlessly seek to be like the heathen nations? What comes to mind is, dah, what were they thinking?
Is it possible that we carry over ideas from previous generations? Do we carefully and prayerfully reason out who will be our best leader? Do we desire someone who impresses us with their looks and promises or do we soul search for something deeper for leadership? The Israelite’s had God as their leader and yet they desired a tall, dark and handsome Saul, who turned out to be a poor leader. How could they compare him with the God of heaven and turn God down? I shake my head, dumbfounded. How about you?

We read these stories of old for our learning. We don’t need to repeat their problems. They are all recorded to lead us toward God and to trust His leadership day by day. The leaders of our land will come and go, but the Leader of our lives will not. He stands forever. I choose to keep my thoughts on Him. I want to go home; to my real home. I want all my earthly brothers and sisters to go too, but there are many who won’t be interested. They will turn their backs on God; craving rather the sweets of this earth with their mouths already full of decay. The Bible says this will happen. The only question for me is, “Why?”

The narrow gate

Here are a couple of texts to chew on. Let’s be mindful that setting our sites on heaven is no easy journey. It calls for a love relationship with Jesus Christ.

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  Matthew 7:13

 

Reflections on Everyday Living

by Roy Lessin

I love this so much that I want to share it with you. It’s kind of like unpacking the Golden Rule into fun-size, easily digested pieces. I like lists and  examples. Perhaps you do to.

Ever wonder what you’ll say to your daughter before her wedding day? Ever consider the words of wisdom you want to share with your son when he leaves home for college? Ever think about the reflections on life you want to give to your grandchildren? Here are a few observations and thoughts about life that you may want to add to your collection. If you don’t have a collection of heart reflections gathered yet, perhaps this list will stir you to begin the process. Some thoughts are practical, some are simple, some are fun, but all are meant to make life richer and more rewarding.

  • When you greet people, look them in the eye. When they speak, give them your attention.
  • When someone speaks to you in anger, let your response be a soft answer.
  • Learn how to receive a compliment.
  • You can’t always be on the giving end. When others give to you, receive it with as much grace and kindness as is being extended.
  • Learn to laugh more – it’s great medicine.
  • Never need “a little more” in order to be content.
  • Three things to remember about people: their names, their birthdays, a few of their favorite things.
  • Find a place away from city lights and gaze into the heavens on a clear night.
  • Call or send a card for no reason.
  • If you don’t need it, do without it if it means going into debt.
  • Tithe – you can never out-give God.
  • Let people know you appreciate them for who they are and not just what they do.
  • Sing around the house. Church isn’t the only place to praise the Lord.
  • Fix a special meal, served on special china, for no special reason.
  • The best time to treat anything that needs maintenance  is “right now.”
  • Never allow what you possess to possess you.
  • Return the thing you borrow in better condition than you receive it.
  • Don’t ever forget to return the things you borrow, fix the things you break, pay the bills   you owe, take care of the things you own.
  • If you are not sure what to do in a given situation, ask, “What is the loving thing to do?”
  • Take a class in music appreciation.
  • Do something new with an old friend.
  • Guard trust in any relationship.
  • Don’t ever lose heart – God will never give up on you.
  • Never let your heart run out of thankfulness.
  • One place to “be like Jesus” is behind the wheel of your car.
  • Don’t feel inferior to anyone. God made only one of you.
  • When you do something, put everything you have into it.
  • Don’t carry around worry, fear or anxiety. They are the thieves of peace.
  • Hold things with an open palm.