Construction Zone: Electrical Outlets

As long as I can remember I have been told to unplug a plug from an electrical outlet by holding on to the plug and gently pulling the plug from the outlet. That being said, my life doesn’t work that way. The only plugs that are gently unplugged are the ones that are in easy reach.

IMG_7344As I was packing my laptop computer recently, I wondered if I would need an electrical strip to give me extra distance for plugging my computer in. I forgot that we recently purchased a different type of electrical strip that the cord came from the side of the plug in the electrical socket instead of the top of the plug. I say that so that you will understand that when I pulled the electrical strip’s cord, it did not come out easily. I pulled with a little more strength and the plug came free along with the broken plate and broken socket. My husband was out of town, so when I called him early in the morning, his first response was not “Hello” it was “What’s wrong.” I told him what I had done and that I was afraid I was going to burn the house down. He assured me that everything would be ok and he could make repairs when he returned home.

Why is it that we do not heed the warning until it is too late? And then when we see the result of our action, we want someone to fix it so we do not reap the difficulty of our action. As a child I was told to come straight home from school (I lived in walking distance), don’t talk to strangers, and don’t get in a car with anyone I did not know. These warnings were to keep me safe from harm. My Mother wanted to be sure that I would be safe when I was alone or with friends.

sign-304093_1280.pngWhat warnings do we receive today? Don’t text and drive! Drive Safely! Observe Caution lights at railroad crossings. Do unto others….

God gives us warnings too. In James 1:19 He tells us to watch our tongue. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” In James 4:7 he warns us to “resist the devil” so that he will “flee from you.” We should heed the warning to confess our sins regularly. I John 1:9 ESV tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God also warns us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

God gives us a warning to forgive others. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.” (Colossians 3:13) “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)

Our God is so good. He will forgive us when we do not heed his warning, but we may still have to suffer the consequence. How much easier life would be if we kept close to his word and did things right the first time.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

Leaves

5 Timely Tips for a Successful Time with the Lord

I love the colors of summer. Beautiful green leaves swaying in the breeze high in the trees is such an amazing sight. I love watching the green leaves change from the soft, tiny, yellow-green colors of Spring into the dark green colors of Summer.

Along with the beauty of these wonderful leaves on these tall, stately trees comes my problem. My satellite receiver for my television system is in the only spot it could be placed at my home. Between the satellite that is sending the signal from high above the earth to my personal satellite receiver are these beautiful leaves of summer. My television reception gets bad once the leaves start coming out in spring. Once the leaves satellite-dish-870328_1280are fully formed, my tv reception goes from bad to worse. There are some work arounds but for most television stations, I have very little or no reception. It is not easy to get the tree limbs out of the way. My trees are so tall and stately. There is no easy way to trim back the tops of these trees to get the tv signal through to my home receiver. Oh my! Such a major problem for just a few tv shows. Before you tell me to use cable, I live beyond cable. We are checking into other options but still have satellite tv at this point.

Is there anything that gets in the way of your relationship with the Lord? Just as the leaves get in the way of my satellite system, things can get in the way of our relationship with our Lord. Does your mind ever wander during your quiet time? Do the prayers that you are sending up ever get pixilated like a distorted tv signal?

How can you keep your relationship with the Lord strong like a perfect satellite signal?

1. Get rid of the distractions. Set aside a special time to be alone with the Lord. Protect that time. Make this a part of your daily routine.

2. Set aside a special place to have your quiet time. A special place is important so that    everything you need will be waiting for you.

3. Have a plan for your bible study. Knowing what you are going to study saves time from not having to figure out what you are going to read.

4. Have commentaries or study guides available to help you as you read the scriptures. I find that if I use my phone to do this, I often get distracted and do not make good use of my time. If I need to use my phone for a reference, I try to shut out anything else that is open on my phone.

5. Have a prayer list. When you tell someone you will pray for them, do you really pray? A list keeps these people prominent in your thoughts.

As you spend time with the Lord, remember to keep the signal uninterrupted with nothing in its way. Ask the Lord to help with this so that your time with the Lord is used to its fullest.

Mark 1:35 tells us “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Luke 6:12 says “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

Luke 5:16 says “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

forest-3409907_1280

Don’t let anything get in the way!

 

Respect is Learned by Example

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

We lost another policeman.

I used to ask where did this one happen but it doesn’t really matter where, although this one was close to home. We are losing too many.

I knew the funeral was planned and that there was to be a processional, but I was going to be out of town. When we were headed back to the airport, my daughter showed me a picture that brought tears to my eyes. The picture was of a female deputy in her uniform, standing at attention in the rain, saluting as the procession of her fallen brother went by. 012419-wabc-umbrellaphoto-imgA gentleman had stepped up to hold an umbrella over her to shield her from the rain. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at this picture. To many she is a face without a name, but we know her name. She is a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a deputy. I have loved her since the day she was born. I realize that I do not understand the depth of her loss but I love her dearly. She was not able to go to the funeral but took her break during the funeral procession. As she saluted the procession in the rain, a gentleman opened his umbrella to protect her from the rain. What respect he showed to her. To the dear sweet face in the picture, my prayer for you is that the Lord will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8).

Greater love has no man than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV

I am so thankful for our men and women in uniform whether it be military, first responder, or police officer. I have honor and respect for each of you and your family. I know there were others standing along the procession route in the rain. I am thankful for the respect the man showed this young lady in uniform to hold an umbrella over her to shelter her from the rain. To this young lady whose name I know, I love you and I pray that The Lord will continue to “bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 ESV

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” Psalm 144:1-2 ESV

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.“ Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV

I Salute You.

adult-2893847__340

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

When Order Becomes Chaos

A new Year brings a clean slate with new beginnings in many areas of my life.

Every few years I get a new address book. This had to be the year. My old address book is coming apart, and several people have moved several times.

My creativity for adding new addresses to pages that already have addresses going in multiple directions, and on top of cracking white out, and with Post-it notes that have lost their stickiness, tells me that it is time to retire this address book for a new one. My plan was to actually have an address book that started out in alphabetical order.

I had scanned my address book at Christmas and added extra pages as work sheets for addresses that were in my phone and that my husband contributed, so I decided to make an Excel spread sheet. Great Idea. Since I have a new computer, I had to find Excel (but that is another story). I worked to make sure that all of my lists were included. This was sort of a yours, mine, and ours endeavor, but I felt like I was successful. I finally had all of the names in my list and I printed the spreadsheet.

diary-2080420_1280Now it was time to start the task of entering the names in my brand-new address book. As I completed the first page I realized that the names were not in alphabetical order. I looked back at my spreadsheet and realized that after all the work of getting all of the names in my computer list, I had forgotten to do that one last thing, to press the one button that would have placed all of the names in ABC order.

I had already messed up my address book but I thought I could fix the rest of the pages, just not the first page. Back to Excel I went and highlighted all of the names and pressed that one magic button that made all the names go in alphabetical order. I printed off the names so that they would be ready to be a guide for the order of my task.

After I completed all of the A names, I tried to flip over to the B tab. Little did I realize that my address book had been moved when I was about to begin my task, and all of my A names had been written on the P page. First of all, I am thankful that a friend introduced me to FriXion pens last year in bible study. They help to erase the mistakes I make when trying to write quickly when taking notes. I just decided to erase everything I had done in my address book and start over.

I know when I get to the P page, I will find remnants of the addresses of the people on the letter A pages but that is just the way it will have to be. My names will only be in order until I need to add someone else anyway. I am not going to try to be perfect. I am going to understand that just because it is a new address book, I do not have to have all of my “ducks in a row.” If I had done something wrong, God would forgive me if I asked Him to so why not forgive myself for something as petty as this? I am much too hard on myself. God sent Jesus to forgive me of my sins before I ever did anything wrong. He knew I would never measure up to the standard of perfection.

My address book is really pretty with its flowers on the outside and its beautiful tabs all lined up in a row, but once I spill a glass of tea or Diet Coke on it, the pages will not be so beautiful. It will not matter that the people on page P were once the people who are now on page A. They are just as important to me and will be loved just as much as if they were written there at the beginning.

I plan to spend this year trying to remember that it is important to do my best even if my best is not perfect. God made me and He loves me for who I am. I intend to enjoy this year even when order becomes chaos.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV 

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV 

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 16:1-6 ESV 

A Clear Image

Photography is a favorite hobby of mine. The first camera that I ever used was a box camera. I went to summer camp when I was very young and my mother sent her camera with me so that I could record the fun of camp. The Brownie camera had just made its kodak-2627941_1280debut, so my mother sent her old camera with me to camp. I thought my photographs that were captured on black and white film were beautiful. That was the beginning of my quest to capture moments in time. I remember when Kodak had a commercial with a song about taking pictures. The song asked, “Do you remember? Do you remember the times of your life?”

My photography has graduated from that box camera through the years to many other types of cameras. One of the first items that my then soon to be husband and I purchased together was a 110 camera with a flash. We were so proud of our camera. Because it was a cartridge, 110 film was easy to load. No more pulling a little bit of film from the canister to feed it and wind it just a little and then snap the back shut and wind a little more. Later in our marriage we used several types of 35 mm cameras. We have boxes of pictures and a file cabinet of packages of negatives that are a result of our love of taking pictures.

What is film? you may ask. Google it.

When digital cameras were available, we made the move from film to a camera card. Much of that technology has changed since then. We enjoy setting up backdrops in our home and taking special pictures. A lot of planning goes into those pictures.

beach-camera-cellphone-861099.jpgSo why do I like a camera when I have a phone that takes amazing pictures? Most people never think of cleaning the lens of the camera on their phone. Most people have little specks of dirt or grime that they may not see as they take their picture but it is there. Phones go everywhere with us. If the lens is not clean if affects the picture. Even the best camera only takes great pictures if the lens is clean. When we take pictures with our backgrounds and lights, I remember to check the camera lens because of the extra effort it takes to use a camera. I have to be sure the battery is charged and the camera card has enough space for the pictures I plan to take to record special moments. All that effort is for nothing if the lens is not clean.

Our life is like a camera that records the moments we experience. No matter what kind of camera or phone you have or what filters you use, the actual picture is only as good as the quality of your lens.

Is the lens of your life cloudy? When is the last time you have cleaned it?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This tells us that the lens of our life could never be clean enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Scripture tells us that David prayed “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me”. Psalm 51:10 ESV

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Romans 5:8 assures us “that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.

1 John 1:9 NIV tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

These scriptures tell me that Jesus will always be there to cleanse the lens of my life. He died for me so that I could live with Him for all eternity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next time you take a picture, remember to clean the lens of your camera and then, remember who cleanses the lens of your life. Take time to thank The Lord for his cleansing and the love he showed us when he died for us.

antique-aperture-blur-370659.jpg

Christmas Cards

Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. ~ Titus 3:15

I love to send Christmas Cards!

As I finished my Christmas Cards tonight, I was reminded of helping to get Christmas cards ready as a child. I can remember my Daddy addressing Christmas Cards when I was a little girl. He was the main letter writer of our family. This was long, long before email. Snail mail was the only way to connect with family and friends. My daddy had a brown leather address book that had the names and addresses of all of the family along with birth dates and phone numbers. The address book contained his beautiful handwriting. He was very careful to keep this precious book up to date. He would address cards to family members and then to friends. Some received a hand written note. He had this wonderful ink pen that no one was allowed to use. He had worked the point to exactly the way he wanted it. When he completed each  card he would call me into the dining room where he was writing the cards. He would tell me to stick out my tongue to lick the flap of the envelopes. I always thought that was fun. Then I would lick the stamp and place it on the front of the envelope. Postage was 4 cents that year.

card-celebration-christmas-749362Life has certainly changed just as Christmas cards have changed through the years. The envelopes come with those little strips that you pull off of the flap to keep from having to lick them. Stamps are 50 cents and have a self adhesive backing so they don’t have to be licked anymore. Even with all of the changes the sentiment on the card it still the same. Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth! Joy to the World! Jesus is Born! So why do I send Christmas cards when I can just post Merry Christmas on Facebook. I just can’t get away from my address book. All those precious people who have crossed my path. Yes, I have an address book in my phone but there is something about that precious book that holds the names and addresses of my family and the friends who touch my life. As I addressed my cards I had the opportunity to share a memory about each person or family and to reflect why they were special enough to have a place in my address book. I also had the opportunity to remember those whose names had been gently crossed through because they have gone to be with the Lord. Each card I addressed has been handled with care and a prayer spoken for each one who would receive a special card. For each name in my address book, I love and appreciate you all year-long, but especially at Christmas when your name is lovingly transferred to the front of a Christmas card with tender care.

blur-card-celebration-749355.jpg

The Giving Christmas

As I look back over the years, I have many wonderful memories of Christmas seasons that I have experienced. There have been Christmases as a child and then a teenager. When I was married, Christmas changed from just my family to include my husband’s family. Then came children and grandchildren. Each new Christmas experience has brought its on special times.

Christmas as a child was full of wonder and joy. There were gifts from Santa and gifts under the tree from my parents. I remember receiving skates and a scooter. There was always a doll from Santa. Even when I was too old for a doll, there was still a baby doll for me at Christmas.

I can remember trying to save my allowance so that I would have a little bit of money to buy gifts for my parents and my brothers. The gifts were never large but they were all I hobby-leisure-model-cars-33074.jpgcould get on a small allowance. The gifts would be a handkerchief for my mother and stationary for my Daddy. I would get little metal cars for my brothers. I was proud of my gifts and so happy to give them to each of my family members.

When I was in college, I had a part-time job at a bank. I remember saving back money from my paychecks so that I could buy “real” presents for Christmas. There was a clock that I thought was so beautiful at a store where my parents shopped for special gifts. The clock was encased in a glass dome. I thought it was the most beautiful clock I had ever loricron-anniversary-clock-95592-281x433.jpgseen. I purchased this clock for my parents for this very special Christmas. It was the first time that I really had the opportunity to buy them special gift. My parents loved the clock and kept it in a special place on the mantel even after it stopped working. They thought it was a beautiful decorative piece and kept it because it was a special gift from me.

When we were cleaning my parents’ home and getting it ready to sell after they had both gone to be with the Lord, I picked up the clock and began looking at it. I know it doesn’t work but it is a reminder of when I learned how wonderful it is to give to others. I will always remember that first Christmas that I had the opportunity to give and not just receive. I will keep this clock as a reminder of the love I felt for my parents that Christmas Day that became my first Giving Christmas.  I will always remember the joy that it gave me to give them a gift that for me was of great value. I know that it is not the cost of a gift that makes it special but the joy that it brings. This is a lesson that I experienced that Christmas season more than 45 years ago, but I remember it each year as I plan my gifts.

Acts 20:35b NIV tells us “It is more blessed to give than to receive. ”

As we think of Christmas, we cannot help but remember the most precious gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

My gift to my parents pales in comparison to the gift that God gave to us of eternal life with him forever. What an amazing God we have. My prayer this Christmas is to enjoy the spirit of giving throughout this season and to never forget the most wonderful gift I have ever received.

Gerard_van_Honthorst_001

 

Invisible Bugs

I had the opportunity to accompany my husband on a recent business trip. He had saved up air miles for me, so I was excited about a week at the beach. Since his usual hotel choice was not located in this area, he spent extra time selecting the place for our stay. He knows I like to stay right on the beach whenever possible because I do not have access to a car when he is on a business trip. He chose an Inn for our stay.

I had never stayed at an Inn, well, except for the Holiday Inn. My mind flashed to Hallmark movies on Nantucket or some island paradise. I thought it was going to be a fun adventure. When we checked in at the Inn, we were told about the amenities available to us. I was so ready for some beach time. Then, I was given a bottle of insect animal-beetle-biology-1114318repellant. I was told about the tiny little bugs that I would not be able to see but were on the beach early in the morning and late in the evening. I thought “oh great!” Not only would I have to be coated in sunscreen but I would need to have bug repellant also. I am not a fan of bugs. I don’t like fat bugs, skinny bugs, walking bugs, flying bugs, big bugs, or little bugs, and especially bugs I cannot see.

As I sat on the beach I would see tiny bugs, but I would know there were bugs that were even smaller than they were. I saw some ants but knew that the bugs were smaller. I didn’t let it spoil my trip bug-hand-insect-1119264but I was very aware of bugs. As I waited for the onslaught of the non-imaginary bugs that were going to attack me at any moment, I was reminded of how what seems like the tiniest of sin can attack.

We think of sin in categories such as being a big sin or a small sin or a sin with a capital “S”. When God sees sin, it is sin. There is no big sin or small sin. Romans 3:23 tells us “For all have sinned.” The Bible doesn’t tell us that there are degrees of sin. God would have told us if that were true and would have defined sin very carefully. God’s Word does not do that. As I thought about the tiny bugs and sin, I compared the tiny bugs to sneaky sins that kind of creep into your life or slip in a back door. The kind that make you think “I didn’t just do that” or “I didn’t just think that.”  God has convicted me lately to be careful what thoughts jump into my head. I want my thoughts to be pure and uplifting instead of critical or mean.

1 Peter 5:8 ESV says

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

So, watch out for those tiny bugs that you cannot see that bite before you know what is happening. Stay aware of the thoughts and activities that start out seemingly harmless but move quickly into a dangerous place. To protect yourself from sin, be sure to wear your spiritual insect repellant every day. The only place I have found spiritual insect repellant is in God’s Word. 

Ephesians 6:10-11  ESV tells us 

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”

 

The Moral to the story:

As we were packing up to come back home, my husband asked about the insect repellent. I told him that since I had not been on the beach early or late in the day I had not used it. He asked if I had read the ingredients and I told him that I had not. He said that it contained Hemp which is another name for Cannabis Oil. 

The next time someone offers me insect repellant to protect from invisible bugs, I am going to tell them that I don’t need any weed. I will take my chances with the bugs.

beach-dawn-dune-662994.jpg

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10

Rest

sleeping-1311784_1280

Locked Out!

Have you ever been locked out?

glass-984457_640I remember as a child that we would get locked out of the house. My Mother would break the window out of the back door to get us back in the house. Then we would go to the hardware store to get glass cut the right size for the replacement window. My Mother got us locked out so many times that she had her own putty knife to help with replacing the window.

car-keys-2653311_640I laugh at this funny memory but I did not think it was so funny when I realized my car had locked itself. I left my keys inside the car one night. I did not know the car had the feature to lock if keys were left in the car. We had not had the car very long at that time. I did not remember the door code. My husband was on a business trip and I could not get in touch with him. It took me several hours to get in my car.

Not long ago I was cooking a special dinner. I had made the dessert the day before. My bacon wrapped beans marinated in Catalina dressing were ready to cook. My ham was also ready to go in the preheated oven. I reached for the handle to the oven and it would not open. I tried again. It did not budge. What was going on? Why would my oven not Household Appliances in modern kitchenopen? After several tries, I called for my husband. Usually when he touches something I am having a problem with, the problem immediately goes away. Not this time. He pulled and tugged but sure enough, the door was locked. Then he did what any self-respecting husband would do – he Googled “Oven door will not open.” He found diagrams of the self-cleaning lock and how it could be bent to lock the door. After he finished with my oven door, it will never lock again!

As I reflected on the locked door, I was reminded of Revelation 3:20: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him.”

John 3:16 says; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Salvation is the key to the door of our heart. Jesus will never break a window or tug on the door to get inside of your life. He will wait for you to open the door and invite Him in. Jesus says to us in Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” All He is asking is for us to believe and open our heart to Him.

And then there is this: Romans 10:13 (NKJV) – “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Have you received salvation and opened the door of your heart to Jesus?

If not, say a prayer and unlock the door of your heart. Ask Jesus to come into your life.

pexels-photo-459303