It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. (Psalm 119:71NIV).
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Psalms 32:8
- Study God’s Word
- Change our thinking
- Spurring One Another On
I’m not sure I have ever read this verse and seen so many lessons. I need to ask myself or better yet ask the Lord which part of this verse do I need most today?
Why do we run from a good thing? What is it in the horse or mule that gives them such a wondering spirit? I don’t know much about the nature of a horse or mule but if I take it from this passage they sound like a creature that needs to be tethered or they wonder off to who knows where? It sounds like they don’t even know, they just wander away…around!
The Merriam Webster definition of wander is: 1: to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal; to go idly about : ramble. 2 : to follow a winding course : meander. 3 a : to go astray (as from a course) : stray. None of these sound like a good thing.
In my attempts at managing this diabetes stuff I have meandered and rambled in my attempts of a healthier life style. Frankly, I have been down right stubborn totally denying the truth of having this disease making it that much harder to reign it in! Lately, the Lord has allowed me to recognize where I need to be and not require that bit and bridle…so much! I recognize wise counsel in this area and take heed. Most of all, my favorite place to be is by His side, in His Word, surrounded by His love and grace. No need for bit and bridle here….well most of the time! Thank you, Father for instructing and teaching me which way to go! Blessings fellow equine!
What career would you realistically pursue if you wanted the most money?
What career would you realistically pursue if you wanted the biggest impact?
What career would you realistically pursue if you wanted to have the most fun?
What career offers the best mix? *James Clear’s newsletter,
I recently asked my supervisor to be allowed to work from home only because of my current, life season, mobility issues make it painfully difficult getting to and from work. The answer to working remotely has been “no” both times I’ve asked, explaining that my job description requires my presence as the office receptionist. For the past few months, I have contemplated retirement and in preparation of that possibility, I have begun to search the internet for a new, remote part-time job. Nothing I saw sounded as fun or the least bit as impactful as what I currently do!
As I read these questions from *James Clear’s newsletter, my mind reeled with the reality that the very job I am doing makes an amazing impact. Working alongside some of the best administrators and educators, we collectively strive to help a population of students achieve their career goals! It’s not just a time absorbing, paycheck providing, 9-5 job. (The most money question isn’t really relevant to me, so I don’t speak to that question.) AND, when challenged with the question about my job being “fun” I have to admit my job skill set and capabilities allows me to answer with a resounding, “Yes”! I love technology and software programs that keep organization, communication, and record-keeping flowing. I “get” to do this all day long with a laptop, and not one, but two large monitors in office digs that are just beautiful. Oh, and along with all this wonderful technology I have access to an amazing group of IT troubleshooting experts by just dialing HELP!
So, challenged with these questions of pursuing a fun and impactful career I took time to pause and reflect. I’ve concluded that no pursuit is required. I am already in the “best mix” and as far as the mobility issues, I purchased a scooter and, with a little extra effort of loading and unloading, I’m zooming to, around, and from work!
* Used by permission
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:20-21 NIV
Lately, I have been asked to continually pray for healing for loved ones. I know they ask so that they can have more time with their loved one and not have to experience life without them. My faith and love for God’s will in the matter demands I pray specifically for just that…God’s will. I never want to hurt my friends by not praying for their specific requests for healing. However, we must not ignore the very strong possibility that God is calling His child home. We must recognize our responsibility to include prayer for peace and comfort in preparation for departing this world and facing our creator God.
I wrote a story a few years ago called, “The Elephant in the Room” that speaks on the subject of finding peace and comfort in being prepared for death. I guess my heart continues to lead in that direction of offering prayers of peace and comfort about dying.
Recently, our church (along with thousands of others) prayed for healing for a young lady, with three children under the age of 19, but God said, “I have a different plan!” My son in law, Sam, and I sat discussing God’s decision after her home going was totally baffling. It seemed that God ignored so many people’s prayers for healing. I said, “I’d really like to have a conversation with God about His reasons for not healing our sister in the Lord”. Sam shared how he had prayed for healing for his dad years ago and God didn’t heal him either. Along with our grief for these loved ones we were confused, and questioned our faith and the God we so dearly love.
Then a word in due time came the very next Sunday when our Pastor, Sammy Foster, spoke on this very subject. You would think we had asked him to address our questions, but it was very obvious; we were not the only ones feeling this way.
If you have lost a precious loved one or are currently walking that imminent path questioning God about your unanswered prayers, Pastor Sammy so graciously addresses this topic in this message when “When God Feels Absent”… https://youtu.be/c-GsONl0eM8
As I stated earlier, I always include God’s will in my healing prayers. Pastor Sammy reminds us in such a powerful way that:
“You don’t have to understand the plan to trust God’s purpose.”
“Do not reduce the size of God in your minds eye!” and
“We gotta go with Jesus!”
Photo by Kathy Falke
When we arrived in the early morning the Epcot globe was silver. As we strolled the park at night it changed to such beautiful colors.
Not only did Disney provide spectacular fireworks, but the walls and spires changed colors and reflected images from Disney movies and cartoons.
Epcot Light Show
Epcot’s evening fireworks included water sprays and laser lights.
All We Can Ask or Imagine
At 68 years old I was finally seeing Disney! What a grand time the Lord blessed us with. I knew to expect a castle and Micky Mouse; but boy was I in for a treat, one amazing experience after another.
I am a techy hound. I love computers and apps and love to learn about the back-end and how everything works. As we road rides and watched the Disney Parade and viewed buildings and structures most people we’re awed by what they saw, I certainly joined them in what I saw, but my brain was also saying, “How did they do that?” It brought to mind in God’s Word, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power.” Ephesians 3:20
Disney and his “ imagineers” could certainly imagine fun and amazing things and there wasn’t a place in any park that didn’t excite, teach or inspire! They had an idea, planned it on paper and made it happen. They didn’t stop at fireworks over a castle, they created a light show reflected on the castle walls and spires reflecting images from Disney movies and cartoons and colors changing by the second. Our eyes didn’t know where to look first. The fireworks at Epcot included lighted water spray and laser lights. The Epcot globe, silver by day and multi-colored by night. Nothing was simply done. It was as if so many minds came up with all they each could imagine and instead of going with one or two they said, “let’s do it all”! Our God will do this in our lives as well! If God has laid a plan and/or purpose on your heart, ”go for it”! Stretch yourself and go just a bit further. Nothing we do for our Lord should be boring. If he gave a secular group of folks such imaginations and allowed it to delight and entertain, doesn’t it make sense that Christian ministry should inspire, providing growth, encouragement and excitement to do all we can think or imagine. It will be even “Immeasurably more” great than you can imagine! Go ahead and ask, his Word promises that he is able according to his will and power. Our God is so good and amazing!
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
What a friend!
A while ago I wrote a story called Familiar Church Home. It tells of our time in a church that so totally impacted our family that it was difficult to settle in any other church and feel, “home”.
Today,(as of my writing-4/8/2022) the pastor who served for 40 years in our “Familiar Church Home”, went home to be with the Lord. Our hearts are broken as we remember the wonderful sermons, special events, and joyful fellowship we enjoyed with our Godly spiritual guide, counselor, and friend.
I honestly believe that Fred and I are still married today (46 years) because Ken Meade interceded. I called him one day many years ago and said, “My bags are packed and sitting at the front door!” He said, “I’ll be right over!” I don’t even remember all the advice he gave us, he just listened and never took sides, although he did encourage Fred, with that amazing Ken smile that, “You really do need to balance the check book!”
Being the dreamer, planner, and idea person that I am, Ken always encouraged me, as long as it was within the bounds of scripture, he always encouraged the ideas I’d bring to him. Saying, “If there is anything you need, just let us (he and the church office) know.”
Just a year ago, I shared with Ken a new Faith-Filled Days movie I made for my By Faith Ministries web site. I had received permission from a young pianist to use his piano hymns to combine with our Faith-Filled Days picture-scriptures. I thought Ken would enjoy it being an amazing pianist himself. What a sweet, encouraging note he sent me on how, “it lifted him up and how he hoped that many people would benefit from my hard work, and most importantly, “praise our Heavenly Father with an increased dimension of FAITH.” He had such a special way of encouraging and stirring me up to good works.
I know that our friend, Ken Meade is with our Heavenly Father, and I rejoice in his home-going to be with Jesus, but the tears I shed are as much for myself and my familiar church home family. How we will miss his love, friendship, the encouragement he brought to our lives and the amazing way he represented Jesus. I thank God for such a friend as Ken. I pray I can always follow his example to encourage and love others.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, Hebrews 10:24
Sometime ago, I watched a video (Change Your Lens, Change Your Life– share your email and the link will be provided) by Dewitt Jones, a former photographer for National Geographic and a motivational speaker. I have enjoyed his film “Celebrate What’s Right with the World” for many years. I return to it from time to time to receive the message he brings. It’s funny that his gifts and talents include pictures and words. You know the old cliché “a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, today, I want to flip that on its ear and say that “a thousand words produces an amazing picture”.
Dewitt Jones has such an amazing way of saying things that speaks directly to my heart. As he shared the experience of a beautiful sunset he said, “It (the sun) was putting on its beautiful show and wasn’t waiting for him (Dewitt) to show up. The sun wasn’t waiting for his affirmation or applause. He could critique it all night and it would still do it again tomorrow.” I started to cry. Anyone who has enjoyed my stories over the years knows that one of the areas in which I struggle is applause and affirmation. Growing up I never received kudos, little long love, from my dad unless I had completed a chore or project to his approval. Unconditional love was not in his duffel bag of military fatherly provisions. Sadly, it created a spoiled rotten adult clamoring for the love of approval and recognition. I have read God’s Word, prayed, taken classes, listened to well known speakers, sermons and read other authors in my efforts to overcome this very debilitating characteristic with my old nature always finding its way back to this childhood crutch.
Today our pastor took me back to this struggle providing a thought I’d never considered. “Compliments don’t make me more competent.” God has been with me every step of the way and has taught me so many things through this journey with Him. I have written them down in my glorified journal (my website/ Facebook) but because I depend so much to others “likes” and compliments, the lack of them can paralyze me. I stop writing or posting because I think no one likes me or no one likes the message my stories convey, and the lack of their approval must represent God’s disapproval as well. The enemy of my soul knows this need of compliments and validation and he stops me dead in my tracks with the lack of them.
Today, my soul is filled to over-flowing that your approval of my stories, or this blog, is not what makes me competent. God put it on my heart years ago to write these things that he’s doing in my life and as Dewitt Jones and Pastor Sammy (Lighthouse Church) reminds me, “Your approval doesn’t make me competent and I do not need to wait for your affirmation or applause to naturally do what my God has purposed me.
October 30, 2021
We had our small group meeting this morning at 6 a.m. Today we discussed REPENT, again. Repeating the “repent” topic from weeks ago. The question posed from Psalms. 51:1-12 was: David seems to be rejoicing at the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. What would happen if you viewed repentance as an opportunity rather than a barrier? 1
My one-word answer was HOPE! And then I presented this question. “How do you think the story might have gone had Judas not killed himself?” Wow! In comparing Jesus’s care and concern for Peter in John 21:15-17 (do you love me, feed my sheep) how might have Jesus dialoged with Judas had Judas lived, allowing that very special conversation with Jesus?
Peter did not come to Jesus to say he was sorry or ask for forgiveness. Jesus, being filled with love, grace, and mercy, instituted that conversation with Peter, for his three-time denial of him. The thought of Jesus instituting conversation with Judas to cover him with His love, grace and mercy brought me to tears.
Take everything you know about Jesus, the reason for His coming, living, and dying. Take everything you know about the love, grace, mercy, and compassion, that He so graciously held out to Peter, and then hold that out to those who are lost, depressed, hopeless, and feeling totally alone. Present to them this question; “How do you think the story might have gone had Judas not killed himself?” “How do you think your story might go if you permit such amazing love, grace and merciful conversations with Jesus in your own life?”
Taking time to truly see Jesus as love personified will grant you the joy and privilege to see repentance as the greatest opportunity you will ever take.
1 Used by permission
Doing God’s Word is Good For You!
My faith in God’s Word has been a very big part of my life. When Coronavirus created a remote working environment, I sensed becoming very depressed. That made me feel guilty as I thought all I needed was my love and faith in Christ to overcome sadness. But when I read about “The Science” of Well-Being, offered free by Coursera/Yale University, I was intrigued. I committed to take the class and as lessons were presented, I’d search the scriptures to be sure to reinforce each lesson with God’s Word. I didn’t have to work hard to find them. Examples: Savoring– Philippians 4:8-9, Gratitude– Colossians 3:15-17 Create a Daily Gratitude Journal, Random Acts of Kindness– Ephesians 4:32 Galatians 5:22-23, Make A Social Connection, James 1:22, Romans 12:2
In our world of social distancing, isolation and self-quarantine it has been very easy to fall into the myriad of depressive symptoms, This study only reiterated what God’s Word teaches and gave me resources that challenged me to make greater efforts to “do” God’s Word (homework) not just read it. I had to get a little more creative to be in contact with others and live out my faith. My contentment and joy level increased dramatically! In the case of The Science of MY Well Being, science has only proved God’s Word true, but only when you do it, embrace it and walk it out by faith! It’s an ongoing, on purpose, daily decision! Your Best Health is in Doing God’s Word! Thank you for helping me learn that much deeper lesson during such challenging times.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11