August 30, 2014

Winter is NOT Forever

Once when my husband was unemployed (mind you, he was/is a faithful employee and worked hard for years for several companies until they saw fit to lay him off), we were living in my mother's basement because of circumstances beyond our control, I was having a hard time adjusting and cried out to the Lord. We had been ripped from our cozy home and I could not envision the time when we might get beyond our present situation to a new one. God provided a little devotional book based on the scriptural book of Job. During the course of the study that summer, I learned that seasons come and seasons go and Winter is NOT forever!

Recently, due to an painful illness that required of me patient waiting in an emergency room for several hours twice, I thought again of Job.
"So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes." (Job 2:7-8).
Job's wife and his friends could see he was greatly suffering, but they offered no hope and no comfort. Like me, they couldn't see the forest for the trees. Instead they said blamed God and eventually Job for his troubles. It's easy to get caught up in the blame game,  still,  Job repented of his foolish small thoughts and acknowledged that God is wiser and more powerful than he was.
 It occurred to me while I was impatiently waiting for the doctor to see me, that there were others in the hospital not so fortunate as I was. I would eventually get to go home that evening, but they were stuck there. I knew about that since I was there last summer in the same place!  My mind reverted to gratitude after that. I was also thankful I had only been afflicted with one thing, instead a series of heartbreaks like Job.
Along that line, I found several other things I could be grateful for while I was waiting  (Pollyanna's little glad game). You know, my mind is being renewed from the world's pattern of griping to the heavenly pattern of gratitude!  For instance, I was thankful for the little book I brought along to help pass the time. And I finished it! I was thankful that the nurse placed an IV in my left arm on the first try and that I could get something for the pain. I'm thankful that I live in the age of medical diagnosing equipment and antibiotics.
When it was necessary for the doctors to inflict more pain, I'm so thankful my compassionate hubbin came along side to kindly hold my hand instead of mocking me.
I'm also thankful for praying friends, for I don't know what I'd do without them and while I lay there on the examination table, it occurred to me that I could pray for the other patients as well as the nurses and doctors who were there to take care of me. Now I understand more fully the saying about someone: "having the patience of Job!" *smile*

August 23, 2014

Faith Promise


As I have mentioned before, I'm grateful for the beautiful, good, precious memories of childhood. One of the things I've been thinking of lately from my childhood days is a thing we called "Faith Promise" which is a simple covenant (contract; agreement) between God and myself -- he will provide and I will give.
Good stewardship indicates we give a tithe or 10 percent of our paycheck to the church to be used to provide a salary to the pastor and to keep the lights on in our church building and to provide Sunday School curriculum and many other things for the various ministries.
If I recall correctly, the concept of faith promise was that we trusted God to provide "found money" above and beyond our earnings and promise to give it for a designated special project at church. As a little girl without a regular paycheck to tithe from, this was something I eagerly anticipated being able to do. I walked around for years looking down at the ground hoping to find pennies to give. It wasn't until my teen years that my folks could afford an allowance for us or I could earn money by babysitting or mowing yards for neighbors. In fact, there was a special emphasis that this money could not be worked for, but had to come from unexpected sources. That's the faith part. I recall many testimonies about people finding extra cash in their pockets or purse that they didn't remember having or being given non-birthday gifts of money without a designated purpose or getting a check in the mail for overpayment on a bill or finding change in the bottom of the washing machine or dryer. It may have seemed silly to give so little at the time, but God can take a little and make a lot, such as in the story of 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed a crowd of five thousand.

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat."
But he answered, "You give them something to eat."
They said to him, "That would take eight months of a man's wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?"
"How many loaves do you have?" he asked, "Go and see."
When they found out, they said, "Five--and two fish."
Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand." ~ Mark 6:34-43.

So last weekend, I found a quarter in the parking lot at Walmart which to me was a bit unusual.Usually I see pennies (from heaven), so I thought it would be a good thing to designate it my Faith Promise. So I slipped the quarter into a giving envelope last Sunday and gave it in the offering labeled "Faith Promise. May God increase." I'm taking it on faith that God will provide miraculous sources of income for our congregation this year.

August 01, 2014

Ten Happy Things

Happiness Is . . .

1. Happiness is when there is harmony between family members, not discord.

2. Happiness is when friends ask for forgiveness after a quarrel.

3. Happiness is encouraging, kind, patient, and respectful people.

4. Happiness is a new baby in the family.

5. Happiness is making a new friend.

6. Happiness is finding a new "piece" to place into our family history "jigsaw puzzle."

7. Happiness is clever ideas I can put to use in our home.

8. Happiness is when all the appliances in our home work.

9. Happiness is healthy bodies.

10. Happiness is knowing the love of my Daddy Lord.