Monthly Archives: July 2011
Sand and Surf
Sun shining on my face, sand between my toes
gentle breezes lift my hair there’s sunscreen on my nose.
The sound of waves as they kiss the shore and of the sea gulls cry
the feel of shells held in my hand, it makes me almost high.
I truly love this beach-y place of rest and relaxation
and get away as much as I can for even a small vacation.
And all too soon I know it will betime to go back home
and I will wonder once againjust where the time has flown.
But I’ll be back again, you see I cannot stay away
from sand and surf and gulf breezes where I love to come and play.
I take the shield of faith and I quench every fiery dart the enemy brings against me.
~ Ephesians 6:16
A friend of mine had this posted…and it made me think…The weapon used against the fiery darts of the enemy is the shield. It is almost always held in front of the heart…meaning that Satan is aiming at our heart…the things we love, the things we cherish, the things we hold deepest in our heart. Also, you must HOLD a shield…it isn’t something that you can just put around your neck and forget about it…you must HOLD ON TO YOUR FAITH…not “just wear it” around your neck or something….HOLD ONTO YOUR FAITH…for when the fiery darts come, you will need to hold on for certain! And, when in battle, the BEST PROTECTION is when the soldiers march side by side, their shields together; no darts can get through! I take this to mean that our faith is stronger when we are side by side with others that share our faith. If we stumble, they are their, on either side, to help back us up. To actually keep us from falling. We can lean on their strength when we are weak.
Lord, help me remember to always hold on to my faith; not just lean on it when I need it, but hold on to it, daily, and use it, as a shield, against the fiery darts that the enemy aims my way. Thank you, Lord, for the soldiers that march around me; my support system. And thank you, Lord, for leading the charge; for I know that with you leading, that the battle is already won! AMEN!
God Will Provide!!
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
The upcoming story took place almost a month ago:
Saturday was hectic; VERY hectic! My father-who has been widowed nearly a year- was to be married the next day (Sunday). To a wonderful, sweet woman. We all love her very much, and were very excited, looking forward to the wedding. Still, the days leading up to the wedding were stressful; deciding what to wear, making sure the car was cleaned out and ready to go, etc. So, Saturday morning, I let the dog outside to “do his business”- fully intending to be ready to take him to be boarded for the weekend, within the hour. But, he took off into the woods with a neighbor’s dog, and wouldn’t come back! I swear, that dog KNOWS when he is going to be boarded!! Finally, I left, went into town, and bought my shoes for the wedding. When I came back, still no Champ! I rode around looking for him, but finally gave up and came home to pack, but left the door open, in case he came back home. While I was packing, in he came; so I closed the door, grabbed the leash, and off we went; with only about an hour to spare, before the place we were boarding him at closed. On our way, Champ acted thirsty; so i took the lid off of my ice water, and let him drink some; yes, straight from my cup. I also didn’t put the lid back on; so I wouldn’t forget, and drink after him. About halfway there, I heard the sound no one ever wants to hear when driving; bump, bump, bump… I pulled off the road, looked, and, sure enough….a flat tire!!! ARUGHHH!!! So, I called my hubby, who was waiting to get his hair cut, and told him what happened. Being the man he is, he left the barber shop, (without getting his hair cut) and came to change my tire. I called the boarding place (Dog Days, in Alexandria; they are GREAT!) to let them know I would be running late. Then I started cleaning out my trunk, to get to the spare. In 100 degree heat. And kicking myself for not already having the trunk cleaned out…like my hubby had been after me to do for a while. Finally, the trunk was cleaned out, with the tire, jack, and tire tool by the car, waiting on hubby, and me in the car, with the air on full blast. Hubby showed up, began changing the tire, and the dog and I got into the other car and headed to Dog Days, calling to let them know I was on the way. I got to Dog Days in time, Gary got the tire changed and back home (did I mention it was 100 degrees?!?) so things were looking good. As I was walking from my car up to the house, Gary said, “Boy, I sure am glad you left your water in the car!” I froze in my tracks. Fighting back a grin, I asked him “Did you drink any of it?”
“Yeah-all of it!” he replied
“Did it taste ok?” I grinned.
“Yeah, it was great…why? he asked, suddenly wary. “Did the dog drink it?”
“Uh…yeah.” I said.
“Well, it was good-and I even ate the ice, too!”
You know, it may not always be the way we think it should be, but…God does provide!!
P.S….The wedding was wonderful!!! 🙂
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES: RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS
Confusion, frustration, hurt, and yes, at times, even anger-these are all parts of a relationship. Any relationship that we have invested ourselves in, whether it is with our spouse, children, family, or friends. If you are in a relationship, sooner or later, you will experience these feelings- sometimes, all within a few days of each other! And yet, in John chapter 15, verses 5-17, Christ Himself tells us that He is the vine, and we are the branches. What, exactly, does that mean? After doing a little research, I found out that vines are very tough; one of the toughest plants there is. They will grow almost anywhere; they are determined, and will often be found growing through wood, siding, gravel, even bricks. They can easily overtake anything in their path, covering it up completely (anyone out there ever seen kudzu?) This, to me, is like Christ; like His love for us. Determined. Persistent. Able to break through anything. With the ability to cover all. All our sin. All our failures. All our hopelessness. Yet, in these verses, Christ says He is the vine, and WE are the branches. The vine feeds the branches; nourishes them. Just as Christ does to us. But, what do the branches do? They supply the fruit, to others; to the world. We are to show the world-and each other-God’s love for us, and for them. By being kind. By loving our neighbor as ourselves. By lending a helping hand. By being there, when someone REALLY needs us. I have heard it said that, our relationship with God, and others, is displayed in the picture of the cross; one beam, stretching between Heaven and Earth, and the other stretching out horizontally. When our love for God, our relationship with Him is right, then our relationship with others will be right, also. Maybe not perfect, but in a place that will allow us to “roll with the punches”, overlook actions, words….to forgive.
“Lord, help me to remember to always put my relationship with You first, to make sure it is right, before I try to “fix” my relationships with others. Help me to remember that I am a branch off of you, and to show your love to others. Help me to be the kind of friend to others, that you are to me, and to ‘love my neighbor as myself’. Amen.”
What do you think of when you hear those 2 words? Years ago there were cute little cartoons that each started with “Love is…” Here are a few: Love is…cleaning up after him, again! Love is…when he still wants to look his best for you. Love is…trying hard not to kiss him when he’s driving. Love is…living for the present but not taking it for granted. These are all nice…and true. There are a lot of feelings, images, and ideas wrapped up in that tiny little word. Love-one small word, but such a big thing! What does it mean to you? According to the Bible, in I Corinthians 13, verses 1-13. Verse 1 tells us that, (paraphrased) that we can say beautiful things in beautiful ways, but if we don’t have love, it’s like a “resounding gong, or clanging cymbal”. That we can have all sorts of gifts of prophesy and know all sorts of mysteries, and have all of the knowledge of life, but if we don’t have love, we are nothing. We can have faith that moves mountains and do all sorts of good deeds, but if we do it without love, it is worth nothing. I guess it’s like when our spouse or our children do something we ask of them, but we know they are doing it very begrudgingly-without love-then the act looses its meaning.
My favorite part of this chapter is verse 4 through the first part of verse 8, then on to verse 13. “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
WOW! Well, I feel that I could use more patience, but there are others that tell me that I have lots of it! I am told I am kind (usually…although, I can have my moments when I am not!) I don’t usually envy people. I am not boastful, or proud. I am usually not rude, or self-seeking, or easily angered. Keeping records of wrongs? Uh-oh…Houston, we have a problem! Ask my husband…who, after 25 years of marriage, still tells the story of when I got mad at him for throwing out a tube of medicine. (Ok, so, I guess I made an impression!) Yes, to this day, I can still tell you WHERE I found it, WHAT kind of medicine it was, and WHAT it was used for! So, yes, I keep a record of wrongs…and yes, it’s something I very much need to work on! As well as many more things in this scripture! But I know that, the three things together; faith, hope, and love, will be what I need to become the person God wants me to be. Oh, and lots of work, too!
Several weeks ago I went through a time that was very difficult for me. My sister had two bad falls, and as a result, had 2 badly sprained ankles; one of which showed up as being broken, on the x-ray! She lives alone (except for her dog, her cat, and her new puppy) so she needed LOTS of help-which meant I was going back and forth to her house and helping her with things that needed doing; taking care of her, the pets, daily household chores, running errands for her- along with my part-time job as dispatcher at the fire department. Blessedly, I have a wonderful husband that took care of things at home (meals, dishes, washing clothes) so I didn’t have to worry about that. Still, I was tired, stressed, overworked, getting about 4-5 hours of sleep a night…and not sleeping well when I did sleep. As it turned out, my usual “support system” of friends each had their own issues to deal with during that time; one preparing for her wedding coming up in the next couple of weeks, while also working overtime. One was preparing for the soon to be birth of her first grandchild. Still another was in the final days of a divorce, AND in the process of moving her mother “back home”, across 3 states. And on and on it went; everyone I felt I could turn to had their plate full…so I didn’t turn to them. Having my usual support system “gone”, though, forced me to relay on God, and also to learn that I had another friends that wound up being very supportive, giving great advice, and, more than once, even letting me “cry on their shoulder”- from over 1000 miles away! I learned that my friendship with this person goes far deeper than I had ever imagined; and for that, and for just being there for me when I needed it the most, I’d like to say “Thank you!” You will never know how much it meant to me…ever. Philippians 1:3, “I thank my God every time I remember you.”
Things seem to be slowing down a bit now- my sister is healing nicely, and becoming more independent, and my time spent at her house is now much more productive.
As it turned out, Satan took the opportunity of me being stressed out to play on some of my greatest doubts and fears. But isn’t that just how he always operates? Attacking us at our most vulnerable areas when we are at our weakest. As the Bible says in I Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” This is why a good support system is vital, along with a daily walk with God. I will admit, my walk with God was pushed to the back burner, due to time restraints but that is EXACTLY when I should have been leaning on Him more, talking with Him, and reading His word even more diligently! Ok, lesson learned…I hope! “Dear Lord, remind me, when I am stressed, that I need you even more! Remind me that it’s those times when I need to draw closer to you. And thank you, Dear Lord, for wonderful friends, who are there for me…when I need it most. Amen.”
Proverbs 16:24 “Pleasant words are as honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
I’m Sorry. Words that are sometimes said too often-sometimes, not often enough. Sometimes, they come easily- almost too easy. “Sorry” we say, as we bump into someone. Other times, those two words can be difficult to speak. When we don’t feel we are in the wrong, for instance but we apologize in order to keep the peace. Then, those two little words can be very difficult to say. But when we KNOW we are in the wrong-when we have hurt those that we love the most; OH, THEN they seem inadequate, somehow. Not quite enough. We want to take back the hurtful words- or things- that were said or done. But we can’t. It’s like trying to but toothpaste back into a tube- impossible, and messy.
I often get my feelings hurt- but, also, often say-or do- something that hurts others. I want sensitivity, compassion, and thoughtfulness but often don’t display these same qualities to those I love most.
“Lord, help me to be sensitive to others ears, and hearts. Help me to say only what you would have me to say, and do only what you would have me to do. Make my words like honeycomb-sweet and healing- and not like vinegar-bitter and stinging. Amen”
I like compliments. No, I LOVE compliments! Not ones that are undeserving, of course-don’t compliment my looks when I’ve been working hard, sweating, and need a shower! Or, when I’ve cooked something that tastes just AWFUL!! But, when I am putting forth a real effort-and it turns out good- sure, compliment me! Please! I am married to a good man-a wonderful man! He is a good provider, hard worker, friendly, involved in the community and most importantly, a Godly, Christian man. However, he doesn’t dole out compliments not many, at least. Sometimes, that bothers me: especially after reading Solomon’s Song of Songs; MY GOODNESS!!! For instance, in chapter 7 verse 4:”…your neck is like an ivory tower” (sleek, long, graceful, like a swan) “Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbin” (like clear, deep pools of water”. Then, in verse 5, “…your hair is like royal tapestry” (beautiful, rich, glossy, with depth of low lights and high lights!) “the king is held captive by its tresses”. Verse 6 “How beautiful you are and how pleasing, o love, with your delights.” WOW!!! THAT’S a string of compliments-and a great big love!! However, our greatest compliment? The fact that Jesus died for us. He loves us, THAT much. He truly is, the “Lover of my Soul”.
Yes, compliments are nice-but knowing you are loved? Even better. Do I still like compliments? Of course. Do I still need them? Absolutely! (Are you listening, honey?;-) Am I working at bringing them both together? Yes! But, maybe by looking outside of myself, and helping others, I will grow to the point where it doesn’t matter quite as much.
“Lord, help me to be satisfied with the blessings you give to me. Help me see them as compliments from you-in a beautiful day, the song of a bird, a gentle breeze when I am working hard, or a friend with just the right words to say. Thank you, Lord, for truly being the ‘lover of my soul’. Amen.”