Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happily Surprised.

You may not believe this, but I've never read Heidi before.  I started reading it this month, just as a diversion.  I was surprised, shocked even, to find that the author includes lengthy discussions on prayer, forgiveness, and God's sovereignty.  There is a recurring reference to the Prodigal Son story, too.  I was very happily surprised that what I thought would be just a fun diversion turned out to be edifying to my soul.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

While it is still called today.

The Bible calls us in many texts (Hebrews 3:13, 10:25, 12:16,  just to name a few) to encourage one another daily, and not to procrastinate.  Don't put off  'til tomorrow the good you could do today.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Friends

This is a picture I took of my friend's huge dog.  I was at my friend's house to celebrate both her birthday and that of another friend.  We all had dinner around the table and then went out (with some other friends of ours) to an ice cream parlor.  As I was driving home through the desert, driving home from the middle of nowhere where my friend lives, I was thinking about how kind God is to give us friendships that see us through foolish teenage years and then foolish young adult years, and years of marriages, babies, sicknesses, operations, trips to the E.R., all the trials that come into every life.  I am so thankful for the friends who lift me up in prayer, and who surround me with fun and support at all times.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Curtains, Liners, and Drapes . . . oh, my!

Well.  I had no clue how complicated curtains can be.  I have a house (not mine) with curtains that are way too long, so long that they are a trip hazard and need to be hemmed.  Now, there are three levels of difficulty with these curtains, and three of the curtains (the ones covering the windows) are in no hurry to be hemmed, but the curtains covering the sliding glass doors are on a pretty tight timeframe.  All need to be hemmed different lengths, ranging from just an inch or so, to over 3 feet.  The trickiest part is that the heavy curtains on one of the sliding glass doors is lined, which is problematic because, since the curtains all need to be washed (the previous owner's cat left a lot of hair on them), one part or the other (either the heavy curtain or the liner) may shrink, causing the whole curtain to come apart.  I suppose I will be having dreams (or nightmares) about curtains tonight.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sheep in Wolves' Clothing

Most Christians are familiar with the idea of wolves in sheep's clothing-false teachers coming into churches and acting, talking and looking like Christians, all the while spreading their false teachings to vulnerable Christians.  Out in the world, though, I see the opposite-pop psychologists and life coaches and gurus of all sorts teaching things that Jesus taught thousands of years ago.  These trendy new teachers try and pass off their teachings as their own, when really they are often just putting Jesus' teachings into their own words, hoping no one will notice.  I heard Oprah many years ago speaking and writing about the power of forgiveness . . . as if it were her idea.  But who was it that first taught us to forgive one another?  Jesus!  More recently, I have seen everyone praising the idea of practicing random acts of kindness.  Again, it was Jesus, thousands of years ago, who taught us to be kind to one another and do good.  Now, gratefulness is the big thing.  Just go into any bookstore, and you're sure to find a gratefulness journal.  Again, it was Jesus that taught us to always give thanks.  Just today, some kind driver gave up his right-of-way to let me go.  It was kind of him, and I'd be sure to "pay it forward."  I thought for a minute about the popular motto, "pay it forward."  Is that not just a re-wording of the story of the unmerciful servant in Matt. 18 (vv.  23-34)?  The king forgives his servant of a huge debt, and then that servant turns around and refuses to forgive a fellow servant a small debt.  This angers the king greatly.  The story is illustrating how we should act kindly to others-practice random acts of kindness-because of the great kindness God has shown to us.  I think the world's leading speakers and teachers and authors recognize the great wisdom in the teachings of Jesus, but they claim His teachings as their own since following the teachings of Jesus isn't cool in the world's estimation.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Gracious Legacy of a Faithful Woman

 Most Christian strive to be known for faithfulness and good deeds.  I've been blessed enough to know a number of faithful women who are full of good deeds.  This has been a most beautiful gift throughout my life.  I have learned many things from these faithful ladies, not the least of which is that you don't have to be a superwoman to be one.  Their secret is hardly a secret-just show up.  It's that easy.  Just show up. Even when you're tired, even if you'll have to leave early, even if your shoes don't match your belt.  Even if your casserole didn't turn out as lovely as you envisioned, go to the potluck anyway.  It will make a huge impact.  Your faithfulness will be noticed.  When you take the opportunities God gives you, you'll find that He gives you more opportunities.  The women in these pictures showed up for my mom, and they showed up again for me, at my mom's funeral.  I can't tell you the eternal impact these women have had on my life, as I've watched them just show up for me and for my mom and for other friends and for their own families.  Their lives weren't easy . . . none are, but there they were each week at church, some taking care of babies, some teaching me Bible stories.  These women are modern-day Dorcases (Acts 9), and they are my heroes and they model the faithful showing up that I want to do.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sin is not Static

Yesterday, I watched a movie called Redeemed.  (It is on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.)  It is about a businessman who becomes so distracted by a female co-worker that he makes some really bad business decisions and puts his entire company at risk.  He doesn't have an affair with the woman, he just lets thoughts of her fill his mind.  It all seems innocent, just like so many  thoughts that we let fill our minds.  When someone cuts me off on the freeway, I can get distracted and let those angry thoughts fill my mind, and then I might loose my focus and get into an accident.  Or when someone treats me unfairly, I might let bitter thoughts build in my mind, and those thoughts just fester and grow until they manifest themselves as ugly words that destroy a relationship and cause division.  Flirting with sin is never OK.  It is never innocent.  Don't be deceived.  Murder starts with just being angry, adultery starts with just letting your eyes wander, and destroyed relationships and hatred start when little feelings of bitterness (even when the feelings are justified) go unchecked.  Small little sins grow, fester, and balloon up and mushroom until they explode and make a huge mess that may be irreparable.  (Matt. 5:21,22 & 27,28, Heb. 12:15.)