Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Merry Christmas

Yes, we survived the Thanksgiving holiday, and here we are in December. The weather has been incredibly nice—except for the last two days when the wind has had a bite to it. It has also been trying to chase us into the next state. I'm right on schedule for getting ready for the next major holiday. I'm three weeks behind. That's not a good state to be in, and it has nothing to do with the wind. I'm still looking for my six million dollars. I'm pretty sure I won't win the lottery, since I don't play the game, but having rambled thus far it is the season to be jolly and much much more.

"Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:"  (Isaiah 1:16-19 ASV)

I find looking at this time of the year to be one long holiday of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in November for our in-gathering of garden and field produce provided by Jehovah God. Thanksgiving of family and friends as we gather to share and in praise to God for the produce, for our blessings, and a looking forward to God's provisions for us in spiritual realms. December 25th may not be the actual 'birthday' of our Savior, but it is an opportunity to tell the story and rejoice at the miracle of God's redeeming grace and love. It is a good time to repent, to bow in humility and wonder at how an awesome God could care that much for us. It is a time of rejoicing, of giving presents to one another, of joyous greetings, and a merry heart.

"A cheerful heart is a good medicine..." (Proverbs 17:22 ASV)

This is a wish and prayer for family and friends to find not just peace, joy, hope, and salvation, but to find His peace, His joy, His hope, and His salvation for yourselves. God bless and 

Hallelujah! What A Savior!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Dust In The Wind

In times of grief we sometimes feel as if our heart is broken. We feel that we can't possibly go on another day the pain is so great. Yet as in the oldies song our heart does go on beating, the sun does rise, and...

 "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14 ASV)

As I've written before (and probably will again) the scripture often comes to my mind: 'I once was young, but now am old'. I've known the grief and sorrow of losing loved ones. I also recognize that just as people I've known and loved have passed from this life so will I pass from this life. Unless the Lord comes first. 

My grandmother Margaret passed away at the age of eighty-four. She had many quaint sayings. I've tried to pass her sayings and habits on to my children, and even now to my grandchildren. 

 I've noticed is that when people are quiet people, no one really knows what they are inside. Now, sometimes you can read the inside because the outside is like a newspaper; feelings and thoughts written all over the outside. Others are more subtle. Grandma never raised her voice, and 'whatever the little old man did was right', was a fact of life for most women in those days. Divorce was rare, and rightly so, but not everything the little old man did was 'right'.

Sometimes she had her rebellious moments, although they weren't always obvious. It's probably got a name, like passive aggressive behavior, but other than ornery little things she was easy to get along with. She said of herself "I'm just a little old woman trying to get along".

In doing some family research I've come across some family writings. One article was under the title (I believe) of something like Smith Family Logging. Part of the story talked about Great-great Grandfather Smith had gone blind, but he apparently wasn't to be relegated to a corner for the rest of his days. Someone had rigged up wires so he could get around outside, helping with whatnot, and chopping wood, I assume for heating in the house and etcetera. 

Many people go through life searching for their calling. We see all sorts of encouragement to stand out, and make a difference. In times past, my grandparents and others of their era, the real gem in life was to find one person, make a commitment to that person, love each other, and make life important to each other. 

Fretting about being someone special, or making great accomplishments takes time and talent away from your life. My grandmother never did anything above and beyond caring for her home and family. My mother thought grandma was so dumb. My mother, for all of her intelligence and talent didn't raise her own children, couldn't stay married, and in the end didn't make great accomplishments. Neither one were failures, but they both had to walk the valley of death. The only thing that remains of either of them for the future is their offspring. 

My sister and I are coming to our valley. She's never had children, and I've had enough for both of us. The Psalm has come true:  
                                     "God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a parched land." (Psalms 68:6 ASV)

Life is fragile. When we gather as a family I'm so thankful for each one. Forty-five years ago my husband and I were expecting our first child. I was pretty much solitary before then. Today we have twenty-two grandchildren. It is such a blessing to watch our children grow older, and they too can watch their children grow. And soon there will be another generation coming along. My mother, grandmother, and other ancestors are still influencing my children and touching my grandchildren.    

In reading about my Great great grandfather Smith I see myself, as I overcome physical limitations  which I wrestle with daily. Yet, thank God I'm not sitting bemoaning my problems, just as he found ways to be productive so am I. 

"The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but he shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm." (Isaiah 17:13 ASV)

Our names may be forgotten like whirling dust before the storm. My children may forget family heritage names. My great grand children will probably forget, but our heritage will continue in those who come behind. At this moment I am a bridge touching those before, and the next ones in line. Yet we are all like dust in the wind...

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Words We Use

Sunday November 5, we had a 'mass shooting' in a small Texas community church. So much carnage, yet two men stepped up and made a difference. Many have hailed them as 'heroes'. A few months ago there was a horrible flood in Texas. Many volunteers came in with boats, food, supplies, and comfort. These volunteers and many others in that incident were hailed as heroes. During the Las Vegas shootings as well, there were police officers, first responders, and even common citizens, who at great risk to themselves helped others, and were tagged as heroes as well.

The word hero is used a lot lately and with good reason. In the above incidents people have stepped in to help others for good purposes. In many of these instances the recipients of the blessings were strangers to the heroes involved. What is involved in being a hero?

Merriam Webster dictionary gives us this definition of Hero:1) a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability:2) an illustrious warrior:a person admired for achievements and noble qualities:3) one who shows great courage 4):the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work:the central figure in an event, period, or movement
In the first paragraph examples, parts of definitions two and three fit the mold.

  • Tomorrow is veterans' day. We often of late hear people say to our military, "Thank you for your service". Those in the military indeed have or are serving by protecting this country and its citizens. 
  • A hero can also be a leader in the community that has done, or accomplished an admirable task.
  • Completing a noble task with dignity and courage is noteworthy. Some times completing a task no matter how it comes out is noteworthy. Noblesse Oblige ~
  • Showing the courage of our convictions; putting our money, time, or something of ourselves where our mouth is.
  • However, sometimes a hero can be a simple person doing their every day tasks. A father or mother doing the everyday things in spite of their want to's. 
For example, the  season is upon us when the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" is shown often. George Bailey wants to travel the world. On his honeymoon he begins a journey to help his fellow humans. Denying himself he eventually comes full circle to where, after years he is repaid by his friends and neighbors. 
Heroes are not only out fighting battles, they are also found in the common lives around us. Yes, they are found on the literal front lines of battlefields, but also in the spiritual battles that rage amongst us at home. Some have wondered out loud in these days when violence seems to surge around us, even in the peaceful valleys of life, what can we do against this violence and hate? What can we do? During an interview a local "Pastor" mentioned in passing that our society has taken God out of everything. He was then asked if he thought that was the problem. His further answer was no, but we as Christians believe that we are in a spiritual battle and...

I would submit that his answer should have been, 'yes and' we are in a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of people. The violence that we see around us is because when we take God out of everything evil fills that void. When evil fills the void hatred, violence, and spiritual ugliness fills the society. Christians need to 
  • stand up,  God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of hope, and courage
  • speak up, Just as in the days when Chick Fillet was under attack and Christians flooded their restaurant in silent support, Christians or people who call themselves Christians are still the majority in this country.
  • step up, Far too long those who are taking this country down the socialist/communist pathway have had their day in the sun. Yes, many of us have grown used to letting Leroy run things. (Leroy is a generic name for anyone else). We don't want to disrupt our lives, so we allow 'other people' to run for government office, fill in the political spectrum. We have a whole mixed bag of characters some good, but many just opportunists in our political machine. 
"And what shall I more say? for the time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, waxed mighty in war, turned to flight armies of aliens." (Hebrews 11:32-34 ASV)
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Few Good Men?

The Marine slogan was at one time: WE'RE LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN. At least we knew what the Marines are looking for, but what about God?

This summer there has been quite a buzz about the second coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. I wouldn't at this time poke that hornets nest, but here are some thoughts on a related subject. There are many fanciful ideas about what the second coming will be like, but I offer the following  passage taken from the fifth chapter of Amos, one of the Old Testament minor prophets. Amos was not a professional prophet, nor a prophet's disciple, but a simple man from the land, a breeder of sheep. God, through this simple prophet warned the people that they needed to repent. They needed to turn to God and change their sinful ways.
  • Amos 5:18  Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light. 
  • 19)  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 
  • 20)  Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 
Amos, Verses 18 - 20 : The day of Jehovah shall be darkness not light; a day of sorrow not joy. This will be true for the second coming of Christ for those not prepared
  • 21)  I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 
  • 22)  Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 
  • 23)  Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 
Amos, Verses 21 - 23:  These contemporaries of Amos were keeping the letter of the law, but not the heart. 
  • 24)  But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 
  • 25)  Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 
  • 26)  Yea, ye have borne the tabernacle of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 
In place of Jehovah God, they had made themselves God. Keeping the letter of the law didn't please God under the Old Covenant:

 Hosea 6:6  "For I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings."

 Doing good works can be good, but it doesn't get a person into heaven. What does God desire today?

Matthew 9:13  "But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." 

Mark 3:35  "For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Hebrews 10:7  "Then said I, Lo, I am come (In the roll of the book it is written of me) To do thy will, O God."
     John 4:23  "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for such doth the Father seek to be his worshippers. (24)  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

    God wants the sacrifice—not of burnt offerings, meal offerings, or peace offerings, but of a broken and contrite heart and obedience:
    • But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:13 ASV)
    •   "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 7:21
    John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.

    John 20:28  Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
    What a Savior!

    Friday, October 13, 2017

    Watchman, What of the Night?

    "...Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: turn ye, come." (Isaiah 21:11-12 ASV)

    11. "(The Oracle Concerning Dumah.
    A voice crieth to me from Seir:)
    Watchman, what from the night?
    Watchman, what from the night?

    12. The watchman replieth: - 
    The morning cometh, and also the night.
    If ye will inquire, inquire ye: come again."

    There are many beautiful passages in God's word. Written in the Old Testament this passage is still a beacon for today. A watchman was a person stationed on the top of the city walls in order to 'watch' for the enemy. Today's watchmen are God's servants. 

    Why does God allow evil/bad things to happen? God's original world was created without spot or wrinkle. It didn't have evil, no sorrow, nor sin. That changed when humans chose to disobey God. Most of us understand that we are free to choose between doing right or doing wrong, and both of those choices have consequences for our selves--and sometimes for innocent others. Many in the world and this nation have chosen to turn their back on Jehovah. They choose to go their own way, and decide for themselves what is right or wrong.

    Romans 1:21  "because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. 22)  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," 

    Giving this people time for repentance, Jehovah has been long-suffering towards us: 

    Psalms 106:14  "But  (Israel) lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. 15) And he gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul." 

    This nation has been blessed exceedingly above and beyond other nations, yet we can see evil growing in our days. As long as we allow evil to grow—it will grow. 
    "Don't judge me, don't judge me, Judge that person behind the tree..."

    No one wants to be told the truth. Therefore they don't call on the watchman to warn them, or they don't listen when the watchman does call them. They allow evil, and they practice evil. As people before us have said, self rule will only work for those who have Christ and self discipline. That is one reason why we haven't been successful in exporting democracy. Laws don't control human behavior, or human feelings. Only self-discipline.

    The watchman replieth—the morning cometh:  The morning comes when there is a time to turn from evil and to choose good and right. There is a morning for repentance and salvation.

    "Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee." (Ephesians 5:14 ASV)

    1Thessalonians 5:1 "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that aught be written unto you. 2)  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3)  When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape. 4)  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief: 5)  for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; 6)  so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. 7)  For they that sleep sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. 8)  But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation." 

    "...and also the night." When the grace of God will have ended, and the judgement of God has begun. 

    1Thessalonians 5:9  "For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10)  who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." 

    Ezekiel 3:17  "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 
    ~Choose life~
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

    Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

    "Mirror, mirror, on the wall; Who's the fairest in the land... This is a line from Snow White made by the wicked queen preening in her mirror.

    Mirror: "a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image".

    We know what a mirror is, and we know what it is for. Most of us use a mirror more than once a day. We use it to check our hair, make up, beard, clothing—we want to know if we look right—on the outside.

    James 1:23 " For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror:"

    There are many who don't hear the Word, yet try to judge others as if they themselves are some great judge. Their standard is themself, and they believe that 'self' to be perfect. 

    Matthew 7:1  "Judge not, that ye be not judged." They throw around this scripture (apparently the only one they know) as if it is the whole of the Bible. They must believe that it will insulate them from the judgement day. But it won't.  John 7:24 "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."

    James 1:24  for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

    We look in the mirror to see what we look like on the outside. We want to look the best we can when we make our entrance into the public spectrum. Do we believe that a perfect 'outside' makes a perfect inside? Most people will admit they aren't perfect, but do we believe other people must be?

     When we look into history, if a historical person wasn't perfect does that make their contribution in history null and void? If it does we are in trouble.
    • The greatest event in history would still be recorded: hint Jesus is the only perfect person.
    •   If only perfect people and their contribution were to remain, history would be small. 
    • We are judging people of the past by our present. 
    • Our judgement by any standard is flawed. 
    Even with only one eye open peering into the mirror, none of us would be perfect. We have to be totally blind to think we are. Again, John 7:24 "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." Not that we can't judge at all, but judge with righteous judgement.

    When we look into the Word of God we find that none of us is righteous, no not one. Why do we judge ourselves by one standard and others by another standard? Or as Stephen M.R. Covey has said,
    “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.”
    James 1:25 "But he that looketh into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and so continueth, being not a hearer that forgetteth but a doer that worketh, this man shall be blessed in his doing."

    Too many have stopped looking into the perfect law, the perfect Word of God. They have stopped respecting God and are rejecting His Word as their guide for their lives. As a great prophet once said:
    "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 
    (Matthew 3:2 ASV)
    Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

    Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Each Day

    Monday is so exciting, being the first working day of the week, and Tuesday is as well. Since Monday was 'wash day', Tuesday was for ironing. The only place I remember Tuesday as ironing day was at my mother's home. Monday after the laundry was done, we would take the clothing to be ironed, lay it on a flat surface such as a table and sprinkle it with clean water. Then we would fold the outside in toward the middle (such as the sleeves on a shirt would be laid in the middle). Starting at one end  we would roll the article up and place it in a plastic bag or sack. After all of the 'ironing' was rolled up and in the sack, it would be placed in the bottom of the refrigerator over night. I don't remember starching the clothes, but we may have. I was only 5 and 6 when at that time frame. I've read that people used to wash starch into the clothing, but I just don't remember doing it. At five years old I began ironing on sheets, pillow cases, and handkerchiefs. When I was seven years and beyond, my sister and I returned to live with my Grandparents I had graduated to regular things such as shirts and dresses as well.
    I've included two pictures in this post. This one is of a wringer type washer and the rinse tubs. At the bottom is a picture of a refrigerator such as one that we would have had when I was young. More on that later. 

    At my grandparents house our wash day was different and so was our ironing day. When I was very small (my grandparents would have been 55 the year I was born, so when I was a five year old they would have been 60) I do remember the wringer washer set up on the front porch and my grandmother washing and hanging things on the clothes line. However, by the time I was 6 or 7 they were over 60 and pumping enough water to fill the wringer washer, heating it on the gas stove, and then carrying it out to the porch wasn't an easy task. At that time we began taking clothes in to the laundry mat on Saturday. We would put the clothes in the washers then go two doors down to Ed and Martha's locker and grocery store to do our shopping. That's where we had our meat butchered and stored, so we would go pick up our weekly allotment of meat and canned goods. There was a few fresh produce items, but not many. As we got old enough my cousin, Dakota and I would go across to the 'Drug Store' and read through the comic books. We got a 25 cent allowance which would cover the cost of one comic book and one cherry coke. After our time at the soda fountain at the Drug store we would go back to the laundry mat and help sort and fold the clothes coming out of the driers. We went home and did our chores and helped with supper. There would be three baskets of ironing, which we divided between my sister, my cousin, and myself. I don't remember sprinkling the clothes and putting them in the fridge at that point, but we may have done so. At some point we graduated to spray starch.

    "neither did we eat bread for nought at any man's hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you: not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you, that ye should imitate us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. For we hear of some that walk among you disorderly, that work not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing." 
    (2 Thessalonians 3:8-13 ASV)

    One of the tasks we have done for quite a number of years is to raise as much of our own food as is possible. God has blessed us in that we've lived 'country' most of our lives. Although we have lived carefully, and raised our own, when I can afford it we take our chickens (that we hand raise ourselves) to a butcher. About fifteen years ago I went to pick my chickens up from said butcher and one of the helpers, a middle-aged teen boy was helping me load them into the back of my vehicle. I asked him about his job, and he said it wasn't his favorite job in the world. My response was: it pays and it's honest, be thankful for it. Paul the Apostle was a tent maker. He wasn't hesitant to work with his hands, and he encourages others to work as well. The work we were busy with when I was young wasn't always easy, but it had it's rewards and blessings. Scripture encourages each of us to work willingly at whatever work we find to do. 

    Halelujah! What a Savior!