A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sparrows-Thankful Day 18

I don’t remember how I came to be the owner of a bird feeder. I was never the bird watching “type.” In fact, I used to think that people who watched birds must not have brains much bigger than a bird’s because I would see them dressed in camo and earthy tones out in the woods during deer hunting season as if they were just asking to be shot  I believe that a homeschooling project of some makeshift bird feeders-pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seed hung strategically in a tree outside our patio doors was what prompted me to want a bird feeder. The birds just captivated my attention.

We have many different types of birds that come to the feeder. There are the mouthy, brash, loud, pushy blue jays. Then there are the delicately adorned chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. My favorite, the proud and beautiful cardinal always come in pairs, a male and a female together. Then there are the masses, the many different kinds of sparrows, wrens and starlings. They all just kind of melt together because although beautiful in their own way individually, together they just look like a big mob.

Of all the birds that God could have used in the Bible to describe his care of mankind, he didn’t pick the blue jay who loudly proclaims with his screeching voice all the bird news for the day.  He didn’t choose the delicate and humble chickadee with it’s subtle beauty that causes it to catch your eye.  He didn’t choose the proud and stately cardinal who is not pushy but knows how to assert itself at the feeder. No, he chose the common, plain sparrow-those skittish, nervous types.

Probably if I was God looking down on the earth, all this humanity would just seem like a big mob, blobbing up the earth. But scripture tells us that God knows when even one of those sparrows falls to the earth. If the sparrows had names, and maybe they do in heaven, when one fell, God would know that Fred, Martha, or Alex had fallen to the ground. That is how meticulous God is in knowing and caring for his creation. I don’t have to be a Blue Jay or a Cardinal to catch God’s eye or his approval. That’s good because in the grand scheme of things I am barely a noticeable blip on the radar screen. I am part of that blob of humanity that is just like everyone else. There is nothing about me that would naturally stand out to God or others.

The Bible then goes on to say that God knows us down to the number of hairs on our head.  Imagine how much He cares for us beyond even His care for the sparrows of the earth! That’s pretty remarkable and amazing. God knows over 6 BILLION people by name and knows how many hairs each one has on their head! That is the God that is my shepherd, the one who watches over me with His mighty right arm, the one who goes to battle for me, the one who provides all my needs and hears all my prayers! He is a mighty God!

Monday, November 24, 2014

One Big God!-Thankful Day 17

Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.

Do you see how big God is?  I love these verses! He fills all in all. The heavens declare the glory of the Lord! Even the deepest of the deep cannot contain all of who He is. And yet, He cares for me.  He knows me!

When I walk the path at lunchtime and I say something to Him in prayer.  He hears me! And He responds with His presence as I walk. 

When I wake at night and I can’t get back to sleep and I stay my mind on Him, His takes to a place of rest that fills my heart and quiets my mind and I go back to sleep.

When my loved ones do things that scare me (hey, I do have teenagers you know), and my heart and mind begin to race and I’m struggling to catch my breath, His Word comes in small, quiet whispers as He reminds me of His promises and His power all at the same time.

When all around me the world rages on, inside my heart there is a song of praise to my God because He has overcome the world and He lives in me! Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world!

Fullness-Thankful Day 16

I have always and still do believe that busyness is state of mind.  We choose to think that we are busy.  I have always preferred to think of my life as full.  That is because almost every time I have verbally expressed that I’m busy, it’s because I’m frustrated. So I decided that since my days are usually stuffed with too many things to possibly get done, I’ve decided that they are full, not busy. For me, thinking of my life as full allows me to stuff one more thing into it, especially when it’s an important thing.  I hate putting true needs off because I’m too “busy” to help someone out. If someone needs me that day, and I say “I’m too busy”, that just doesn’t seem right to me. I rarely turn down a true need, no matter how “busy” I think I am, especially if it can involve ice cream. LOL! I don’t how many things have been solved over a good ice cream done at our local dairy. I thank God that my life is full because that means it’s full of people and relationships.  Plus fullness is a Biblical term.  Busy….not so much. God is a God of fullness.  He does everything completely. The whole earth is full of His glory! I like the word, and I like thinking of my life in those terms. 

Yes, I do get frustrated from time to time, more so since I have to be at work 9 hours a day, but when I really sit down and think about it, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some things that I thought were necessary really aren’t. They are just some standard that I have set for myself, or I have been challenged in by someone else who has never walked a mile in my shoes. I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I just allow God to order my day and He fills it full and with His fullness all at the same time. What could be better than that?

Sick Days-Thankful Day 15

As you noticed, I fell a little behind on my thankful posts. That’s because I got sick. I am thankful for sick days.  I’m not thankful for sickness. It was invented by the devil to kill, steal, and destroy God’s creation.  It does not come from God. God does not approve of it in any way or at any time, but He has to allow it because the devil does have some authority on this earth. I’m not going to go into the fact that it is God’s desire for us to always be well or that it is God’s will to heal every sickness every time...but it is.Just as it is not God’s will that any man should perish, but they do. God does not always get His way.

When we dairy farmed and even when we owned a lawn business, if I was sick a day, it didn’t matter. I had to work.  The cows have to be milked twice a day and there was no one to cover for me. Even when I worked for the lawn company, I mowed almost an entire month with a low grade fever from a bladder infection before I realized that I needed to see a doctor. If I didn’t work, the work didn’t get done and I didn’t get paid-not a good combination.

Now that I work for a manufacturing company, in an office where at least one person besides me knows my job, if I need a day to stay home and sleep, I can without any worries that the work will not get done. Then there is this added bonus called a benefit package that allows me to not only stay home and rest, but get paid the same as if I was at work.And there’s email that cloud based which allows me to check my email and send anything that is urgent to a co-worker so that when I return, I’m not overrun with urgent matters. Many people take this for granted, but not me. I’ve never had this before and it is, to me, a luxury for which I am very grateful.

Music-Thankful Day 14

I love music. I don’t walk around all day with earbuds pumping tunes in my ears, but I do love music.  I love to play and sing and listen to good music.  I love music with and without words. I believe that music was originally invented and inspired by God to worship Him, so God must like music too. It says that we will sing in heaven. They wrote and sang song in the temple in the Old Testament as well.

At my job people talk to me all day. By the end of some days I don’t want one more person to ask me for one more thing. I don’t want them to talk to me either. Funny though, I don’t mind to listen to music.  It’s soothing. Even though it is words, words set to music is different somehow.

The Word even instructs us to sing and  make melody in our hearts. There’s just nothing so wonderful as waking up with a song in your head.  It just gets your day off to a good start. Music can comfort, encourage and bring joy to a soul. Although there is so much “music”, and I use that term lightly, out there that is quite sickening, that doesn’t change the fact that Godly music is a gift from God and one that I am very thankful for.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ALL-Thankful Day 13

A very wise, intuitive, thoughtful, funny, spiritual, and extremely handsome man I know once brought to my attention how many times the Bible uses the word “all.”  In the KJV it is used 5,620 times.  That’s more times than the word “love” and “spirit” combined are used.  It’s even more times than the word “God” is used!

I love the “all” of scripture. I am so thankful that God did not put “some” where He put “all.”

Maybe you think that such a little word should not get so much attention, but what would you rather have, “some of God’s promises are yes and amen” or “all of God’s promises are yes and amen?” When speaking of troubles, which would you rather have, “the Lord delivers him out of some” or “the Lord delivers him out of them all?” When it comes to sin and sickness which would you rather have “he forgives some of our sin and heals some of our disease” or “he forgives all our sins and heals all our disease?” Are you getting it yet?

Many I know say they believe “all” the Word of God, but live as if they only believe some. They have let their experience dictate their theology instead of figuring out why their theology and experience don’t line up. I see this mostly with sickness.  The Bible is very clear that healing is part of the atonement.  And God did not say all sickness except certain kinds of cancer or heart disease.  He said “ALL.” I believe that’s what He meant. “But, you say,  so and so had faith and they died anyway. So it must have been God’s will.  We all have to die of something.” Jesus never said that. He didn’t leave Peter’s mother-in-law lay and say “Well, we all have to die of something.” He didn’t tell the  woman with the issue of blood, “Well, you have to go somehow. Why not this? Why not now?” He didn’t decide to leave the widow’s son in his casket because after all, he was already dead so it must have been God’s will. Jesus NEVER denied healing to  anyone who asked in faith. Perhaps the reason that we do not see the “alls” of scripture in our own lives is because we really do not have a proper understanding of faith.

We apply “all” when it comes to salvation because none of us want to part of the “some.” But when it pertains to healing, well, God must not have meant all.  He must have just said that in His excitement over saving all. He just “misspoke” as the politicians say when they lie in public.

Once I got involved in a discussion about God providing food for people. Someone was criticizing God for leaving poor innocent people starving in the Sudan. I disagreed with them. God does not leave people who are looking to Him in faith to starve.  I went on to come across 7 scriptures that supported this idea. The problem is that we receive nothing from God, according to James, unless it comes through faith. When we ask, we must ask in faith, without wavering. We must believe that God meant what He said and that He will do what He said. It doesn’t matter what we see or feel.  It only matters what God said. Granted, this is easier said than done but when we don’t see God’s promises fulfilled in our lives, the problem is not that His Word is untrue or faulty. It’s something in us! And the sooner that we realize and embrace the fact that we’re not all that spiritually, the sooner God can fix us and get His promises to us. God has mercy on whom He will have mercy, but He never ignores true, Biblical faith.  He can’t! Many die and starve, but they are not really looking to God heal. Their “if it be Thy will prayers” are useless. If you want something from God, you first need to know that it’s His will. So how can you pray the will of God in faith if you don’t know what His will is in the first place?  Take some time and determine what His will is. How do you know what it is?  His Word is His will. Find out what scripture says and believe it and expect to receive it. So did those people in Sudan need to die of starvation? I don’t believe so. I believe that if they had been looking to God in faith, He would have provided. He says that He will. Are His promises null and void?  Have they lost their power over time? I sincerely hope not because amidst all the promises that we choose ignore is also the promise of salvation to those who will believe. There are no “special” promises that are greater than the others.

Our receiving anything from God depends on our standing with God. God does not hear the prayer of the wicked. Therefore all they receive from God is His sovereign mercy.  However, the child of God receives not only God’s mercy, but His blessing. He hears our prayers.  He sees where our faith is and responds accordingly. Sometimes what we get from God is not His full promise but that is not because the promise is faulty. God can only work within our level of faith. Increase you faith and what you receive from God will increase as well. Jesus spoke very plainly about this. Read His Words.

So where are you today? Are you in need? What does the Bible say about that need? Are you troubled? God promises to deliver you out of them all! Are you needing healing?  He sent His Word and healed all our diseases. Are you afraid? God will deliver you out of all your fears! Are you feeling condemned? God will save all who call upon his name in faith.

The Little Guys-Thankful Day 12

I have two little guys in my life. They are ages 3 and 1. They are my grandsons.  They live close by which makes being a grandparent so rewarding. I can’t even describe the feelings I have when they are around. I love to just sit and watch them play and interact with people. I love the memories that they stir in my heart.  When I see their mother, giving the best years of her life to raise and nurture them the way she does, it warms my heart and makes me proud. She is such a good mother.

The boys, with their mannerisms, remind me so much of my boys when they were that age and I once again re-live how I loved them and nurtured them, just like my daughter does now. Those seemed like simpler days and it causes me to miss them, for the most part. Memories flash before my eyes and I long to grab my boys up in my arms and just hold them for a little while longer. (Of course, both my boys are taller than I am so that would be virtually impossible at this stage of the game.)  That doesn’t mean that I don’t love them the way my daughter obviously loves the little guys, in fact, in many ways I love them even more. Of course with teenagers, you can love them so much that you think you will burst but still not like the things they do sometimes. They translate that as Mom and Dad don’t love me anymore, but that is so untrue. My big guys were my world for so many years.  I, like my daughter, gave them my best years and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I just wish that they were a little more willing to receive the affection that I still have for them. I know it’s just a stage and that someday they will, so I just take all that affection and give it to my grandsons for now. ‘

My daughter has a blog called “It’s the Little Things.” It’s the little things in life that make up a life. And in this case, it’s those two little guys that make a whole lot of joy and love in mine and for that, I am very thankful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Night Watchman-Thankful Day 11

Last night was not a good night. I stupidly drank a glass of caffeinated ice tea for dinner and then drank a cup of caffeinated hot tea later in the evening.  When it came time to sleep, I just tossed and turned and tossed and turned. After 6 hours of tossing and turning, my mind started to get pretty squirrely. In my half awake/ half drowsy condition, all kinds of wild stuff made it’s way through my thoughts. I got up thinking that if I was fully awake, it would come back under my control and I could gather those thoughts, toss them out and get to sleep. Now this is not normal for me, and it felt a little weird. I have a feeling that the heart palpitations, the intense hot flashes, and the not normal stuff that’s been going on in my body the last 2 weeks played a part in me ending up in that condition. (Who doesn’t love menopause?)

Still, even knowing that I wasn’t going crazy or have dementia didn’t soften the craziness. My mind immediately went to the Word of God.  “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me.”  I climbed off the couch and stood up to insure that my mind was fully awake and I began to pray.  As I knelt by the couch, the presence of God settled into the living room and I knew that I was not alone in my struggle. In fact, the end of my struggle was there banishing all that was troubling me and all that was keeping me awake. I rose from the couch, returned to my bed, crawled under the soft quilt and drifted off to sleep.

When questioned about why we never shot a charity match hosted by a shooting club about 1 ½ hrs from our house, we told the organizer that we can’t shoot on Sundays. Her response was “well, God could take that day off.”  As I knelt by the couch, I was SO THANKFUL that God “neither sleeps nor slumbers” and He NEVER takes time off!  What if He had been “unavailable” last night?  What if I had been left alone to try to regulate my hormones and change the frantic thinking that they had caused?  I would be no better off than those in the world who we know are basically unsuccessful at it so they resort to drugs, alcohol, divorce, and even worse forms of destructive behavior.

God was for me the faithful night watchman. I am never alone. He is always there waiting for to help in time of need and He is able and willing to help in whatever way we need Him to.

Monday, November 10, 2014

No More Flat-Footed Reloads!--Thankful Day 10

As some of you know, I am involved in the shooting sports. IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) has lots of rules and procedures that it requires you to follow and replicates actual situations in which you might find yourself where lethal protection may be required. It attempts to prepare you for these situations so that you can defend yourself and any innocent people that may be around. A few years ago, they re-evaluated the rules and added what they called a flat-footed reload. What this meant was that if you ran out of cartridges during a course of fire you could not reload on the move.  You either had to stop and re-load or run to cover and reload. This caused quite a stir in the sport because let’s face it, it’s a stupid rule and one you would never follow if you were in an actual gun fight!  There’s even a saying about “getting caught flat-footed.”  It means that you are caught unprepared or taken by surprise. It’s a sports term used to remind players that they should be on their guard and ready to act, a fitting description for anyone that carries a gun.

If you watch movies at all, you are awed by actors moving from one position to another shooting as they go. If they run out of ammo, they simply drop their mag and continue shooting while getting to their desired spot. It would be absolutely stupid to stop in the open and reload.  Running with an empty gun is a better option, but who would do that when they had ammunition on their belt that they could be reloading while they are running? Standing flat-footed to reload would give your attacker a keen advantage and put you in a very vulnerable position. I received several procedural penalties while shooting in competition because I forgot to stop and reload, even if I was already behind cover.  It just felt awkward to do that and made no shooting sense whatsoever!

Fortunately, after a firestorm of complaints which resulted in some people just leaving the sport altogether, the powers that be decided to eliminate the flat-footed reload from the rules.  No more flat-footed reloads! YEA!!! It feels so good to write about it in the past tense! It feels even better to not have to think about it while I’m running and gunning!

To the Christian, sin is like a flat-footed reload. It tries to catch you by surprise when you are unprepared. If you do sin, that then leaves you vulnerable and open to attack and harm. It puts you in the vulnerable position of becoming the devil’s punching bag. Now, if you are saying to me “I sin every day” then you had better “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.”  A Christian does not have to nor should they sin everyday.  Sin should feel awkward to a sinner just like stopping in the open to reload feels to the shooter. Sure, I sin sometimes but I do not presumptuously sin everyday.  I make mistakes or get caught in a weak moment, but Christians should not have weak moments every day either.  God has “given us ALL things pertaining to life and Godliness.  It says “life.” The wages of sin is death, not life.  Godliness is simply the absence of sin. If you are a saint (a godly one), sin is absent. Grace is not the covering of sin.  Grace is the power to live above sin! God does not cover our sins.  He cleanses them away!  Jesus did not carry us to the cross.  He took our sin away from us and carried it to the cross.

“Would you be free from your burden of sin?Would you o're evil a victory win? Would you be free from your passion and pride?  Come for a cleansing to Calvary's Tide. There’s WONDERFUL power in the blood!” Surely God would not sacrifice His precious, perfect son so that we could remain what we were but call ourselves something different? We are NEW creatures.  We have the mind of Christ. Our desires change and become like His desires. In our flesh we cannot live right. That’s why we needed a Savior because we will, from scripture, clearly be judged for our deeds!  (Look it up! That’s what the Bible says!) Just wanting or wishing or desiring to live right is not enough.  We are what we do, plain and simple.

So today, I am thankful that I no longer have to stand in the open and try to reload either physically or spiritually. My ammo is on my belt. I have girded my loins with truth.  That is what keeps me from being caught unprepared in this spiritual battle we call life. Thank God for wonderful blood of Christ!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A BIG God! - Thankful Day 9

Today is Sunday! My favorite day! I look forward to church.  It's the highlight of my week.  My peoples are there. My family is there. My God is there in a special way that you just don't notice sometimes through the week.

Today the sermon was about convictions, persecution, and elevation and all sorts of Biblical terms like that.  i really enjoyed the sermon-and not only because I can't take my eyes off the handsome one doing the preaching. But as I was driving home, I just couldn't think about the text.  It was the story of the three Hebrew children in the firey furnace being delivered by God. I've heard many, many sermons through the years using these scriptures as the text. Today though, the most consuming thought of how big God is was what I came away with.  It wasn't even a main point of the sermon, but that's what followed me home.

That same God that delivered the Hebrew children has not changed one little bit since he walked in the midst of the furnance.  He would do it again today if the sitation presented itself and it would have the same effect. As I pondered this, I realized that I don't give God enought credit.  I don't think about His bigness that goes above and  beyond what I think it will take to take care of the particular need I am praying about. I don't remember that nothing is too difficult for God and that He does what He pleases. I forget that what pleases him is faith in His ability to meet any challenge and to win any battle. Sometimes Bible stories seem almost surreal and I forget that these were real people who were just like me and what God did for them He will do for anyone who believes Him the way they did.

Therein lies the key. I must believe like they did. I must know and place my full dependence on God and God alone.  When I do, He will move in the greatest of ways. I may not be in a furnace, but no matter where I am and in what situation I am, He is the same God that walked amongst the flames with Shadrac, Mishak and Abednigo. He is the same God that made sure they stepped out of that fire without even one hair on their head singed! And not only does He walk with me, He lives in me! What a thought! What a God!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Logging Out-Thankful Day 8

The first thing I do when I get to work is to log in to the telephone que so that I can receive sales calls from customers.  The last thing I do every night before leaving work for the day is to log out. In between, I spend the day working taking orders, fielding questions, handling problems and entering information into the database. My co-workers and I look forward to logging out everyday, so when it gets to  the last minute or two, we watch the clock and as soon as it hits the magic time, we quickly push the button before phone rings again, keeping us there past quitting time.

Before leaving work I yell to everyone there that has the great misfortune of having to stay there a half an hour longer than I have to “Good Night! I’ll see you tomorrow unless I write a bestseller, win the lottery or the Lord returns.” Through the year that I have worked there, I’ve had a smattering of reactions to my greeting but the truth of the matter is that the Lord is returning one of these days and the way things are going, it looks like it could be very soon.  I often wonder what my co-workers will think when I just “disappear” off the face of the earth never to be found or seen again! Will they remember my words? Will they ponder their spiritual state?

As Christians we are all going to log out someday. When the trumpet sounds we will disappear in the twinkling of an eye. BUT...until that day, we are here to work. We logged in on the day we were saved, and until the time comes for us to log out, we must work. There are days when I wish that it was the last minute of time as we know it and I was sitting with my finger over the log-out button just waiting for the magic moment when my work will be done but until that day, I will faithfully work doing my Master’s bidding. I am looking forward, so much, to life after logging out.  Some days Heaven just seems to near my heart aches to be there. What a blessed assurance I have in knowing that my hope is secure in the promises of God and He will not fail to “accomplish all that concerns me.”.  That is something to be thankful for!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fridays-Thankful Day 7

I’m not normally a person who lives for Fridays.  That would make the rest of the week miserable.  Besides every morning I can get out of bed and say “this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” But I do like that last day before a two day break that gets me closer to Sunday than all the other work days of the week. Sunday is certainly my favorite day.

At a staff meeting I attended they ask us what day was our favorite.  A few said Saturday, but most said some random day of the week, sadly, because it was the night that their favorite tv show was on. I felt bad for them that the highlight of their week was some lame tv show produced by Hollywood. I don’t like much of anything that comes out of Hollywood and what I do like is certainly not the highlight of my existence!

So today is Friday.  I will rejoice and be glad in it. Hopefully it will wind down a little early at work and I will be able to sort of ease into the weekend. We have a Friday tradition that most of our family looks forward to. This Friday the one son we see the least may join us. That would be fun! Tomorrow is full of fun and some charity activities and then SUNDAY!

I usually fly through Monday because Sunday was so good and before I know it, I’m back to Friday again!

I thank God for things to look forward to, that I can look at my future and smile while I rejoice in every day that He has made!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reasons to Celebrate-Thankful Day 6

Halloween has just passed.  I hate Halloween.  I have nothing against dressing up in funny costumes and certainly nothing against candy or the consumption thereof.  There are so many reasons why Christians should avoid promoting and celebrating Halloween. Just read up on the internet.  It’s all there.

It just makes sense to me that if you are going to celebrate something, it should be because it has some meaning that gives you a reason to celebrate. For instance, we have two birthdays coming up this month. I love those two boys and want to celebrate that they are in my life, so I will celebrate their birthdays.  I celebrate Christmas and Easter because I love Christ and want to celebrate Him. I celebrate 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and veterans day because I love America, those who have given of themselves to make America what it is, and all the blessings that being American provide. I’m not big on Valentines Day for reasons I will make clear shortly.

For me, everyday is a day to celebrate. No matter how bad the circumstances of the day may get, I have a reason to celebrate. When you are a Christian, everyday is Valentine’s Day. If I choose to focus my mind and pay attention, I can experience God’s love and presence everyday, no matter what I am going through.  When His grace floods in to my situation, it just washes everything away except the fact that He loves me and is working in my life.  That’s why Noah could pray in the belly of the whale, Paul and Silas could sing in prison, and the three Hebrew Children could step confidently into that fiery furnace.  As a Christian, every situation is a win-win situation because whether we live or die, it’s all good!  Grace abounds to us on earth and heaven awaits when earth’s journey is complete. The battle has already been fought and the victory obtained on our behalf! If that’s not reason to celebrate, then I don’t know what is!

I am so thankful that Christ has already won the victory.  I’ve read the end of the book and glory awaits! These passing days, in all their goodness and badness,are no more than a blip on the radar and compared to eternity, will mean very little in the grand scheme of things.  So if you are having a great day, rejoice and enjoy the grace and goodness of God.  If you’re having a bad day, remember that there is a better tomorrow awaiting and lean on the grace of God to help you keep things in perspective.  It will surely give you strength to endure and even overcome and that is reason to celebrate. And at all times remember that God is in control of your life and all that comes to it. Look for Him in every situation. You will find something to celebrate!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Emergency Room Comedy-Thankful Day 5

Sometimes life throws you things that you wouldn’t count as funny or valuable, like sudden trips to the emergency room after you step on a piece of glass and no one in your family or your group of friends is able to dig it out of your foot, even after several tries.

When my boys were small, I bought a product called Urine Away or some such descriptive name that came with a blacklight.  Evidently, you can turn out the lights and shine this light around the room and it will show you where there is urine so that you can spray Urine Away there and get rid of the smell.  First of all, I never recommend walking around in the dark in a bathroom shared by two growing boys unless you are in a hazmat suit. Secondly, as a mother, I needed to know where the smells were coming from but as a normal person, I was very sorry that I found out. I had nightmares dreaming about how that urine had gotten where I found it.

Anyway, back to the broken glass that eventually ended up in my foot. They need to come up with a system, such as Urine Away, to find shards of glass on floors when one gets broken.  They could call it Emergency Room Away.  They  could even charge $50.00 for it and I would buy it because that would be half what I had to pay to go to the emergency room, sit in an exam room that happened to have a broken tv remote and waste the last three hours of my weekend.  (What was more concerning was that the tv remote and nurse call button were all on the same unit.  I was tempted to push it just to see if I was as on my own as I felt, but I resisted.) So in order to change from watching Steeler football to a sappy Christmas movie, I had to get out of bed, limp to the tv on the wall, reach up and change the channel. Now I grew up doing this, so for me it was not that big of a stretch, but to those who have only used remotes to operate a tv, it would have been very frustrating.  I’m not even sure that my kids know that you can actually use your fingers and manually operate a television.

About the limping. It just doesn’t seem fair that the person in the emergency room with a foot injury should be the one with a broken remote. I could hear others happily flipping through the stations as their loved ones sat by their bed. Not me.  I had driven myself to the hospital with a chunk of glass in my right heel.  I avoided putting pressure on my heel because I didn’t want the glass to go further in so driving was a bit interesting.  I played in my head what I would say if I happen to get pulled over by a cop.  “Mam, where are you going in such a hurry?  What have you had to drink tonight?” “Ummmm...officer, I’m going to emergency room because I have an emergency.  I haven’t had anything to drink.  It must be the epson salt water that soaked into my system while I was softening up my skin so that someone could dig in my foot with a needle and tweezers to try to remove a chunk of a drinking glass that got broken (which by the way, sir, did not have anything alcoholic in it) that is causing my erratic driving. I decided that if he asked me why I was driving myself to the emergency room, I would just burst into tears and tell him that my family was too busy to do it which is kind of the explanation I got when I asked if someone could drive me. (Actually, I wasn’t real upset about having to drive myself until I realized that they were going to have to make another incision in my foot to get that glass out because it was in there pretty deep.  It was then that it dawned on me that I might not be able to drive myself home and the thought of being in the emergency exam room with a broken remote,  two cuts and a needle hole in my heel until someone’s schedule freed up enough to pick me up was just more than I could bear!)

To pass the time, I texted a friend. Now she and I go way back and we have spent more than one night in the emergency room together. It’s just tradition that when someone I love goes to the emergency room, I show up to provide some comic relief….oh and help of course. Of course! I told her not to bother since I figured that if I could drive myself to the emergency room I was probably going to live but she ignored me and came anyway. She brought her smart phone, which by the way worked way better than my hospital remote, and showed me this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP4zgb9H3Cg  When you get a chance, watch it.  If you haven’t been to the emergency room lately, it may amuse you but since we were sitting in the emergency room experiencing the same things this comedian talks about, we were laughing hysterically to the point that we thought the staff would come in to make sure we hadn’t found  some drugs somewhere. I was also secretly wishing that they had thrown a few of those blue pads under me because I wasn’t sure I could limp fast enough to make it to the bathroom while laughing so hard.

The foot is sore, but it will heal in a couple of days and it is completely glass-less! Yeah!

To sum this up.  I am so thankful for friends who will drop everything to come keep me company at the emergency room, even if I’m not there for a real “emergency.” I’m thankful for people who would bring something to cheer me while I waited for them to poke and probe and charge me out the wazoo for something I would have done myself for free if I could have gotten a good angle and had been able to see. There’s just nothing like knowing that you have people who love you enough to sit in an uncomfortable chair beside your bed for hours on end just because they want to even when your family and perhaps common sense would tell you that it’s not necessary. It might not have been necessary, but it sure was nice!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reruns-Thankful Day 4

I posted this a year or two ago….but it is still near the top of my things I’m thankful for list.

As I closed my Bible after reading this morning, I just pressed it to my chest and said "Lord, I'm so thankful for Your Word!"

 Everyday I'm so anxious to open it.  When I close it, I just feel different. I'm more at peace, more settled.  I feel full and satisfied yet more hungry, looking forward to the next time I read it all at the same time!  I'm so thankful for men, inspired by the Holy Spirit who took time to write it, for those who copied it and re-copied it all through history so that it would be preserved.  I'm humbled when I think that it cost people their lives to guard it, to keep it and to hide it as well as to publish it in a language that I could understand!  How could I ever treat it as common?  I'm thankful that Paul didn't waste his days languishing away in a Roman jail, but he used that time to write.  If he hadn't we'd be without a majority of the New Testament!  I'm thankful for the Jews that recorded and wrote down all the acts of God throughout history, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the acts of the Holy Spirit.

The Word is my truly my source.  When I am hungry Jesus beckons me to go there and a table is already spread just waiting for me to come and eat until I'm full.  When I'm frightened there are admonitions telling me "do not fear", at least enough for one every day of the year.  They call out to me and comfort my soul by reminding me that the one who said it is well able to handle anything that concerns me that day.  When I am hurting, His words soothe my soul, pouring out the oil, the balm that soothes, heals and restores. When I feel deserted, His Words surround me and that cloud of witnesses calls from it's pages to remind me that I am not alone.  When I've allowed unbelief to cloud my way and my strength to persevere is gone, His Word comes running to me and picks me up and runs the race right beside me reminding me to be strong and courageous for He is with me.

His Words are like cool water after a long, hard day in the hot sun.  It quenches the spiritual thirst in me.  And just as water strengthens and rejuvenates from the blistering heat, so His Word reaches and soaks into every fiber of my being and fills me up giving me strength and energy to continue on. The promises on those pages are sure.  They are a rock beneath my feet, a sure foundation.  They are guardrails to keep me on the straight and narrow path away from harm that awaits me if I wander.  They are the lamp that shines on the road I am to take and they are the light at the end of the tunnel, my destination, my great reward!

I'm so thankful that I don't have to wait til the next Sunday meeting, the next Bible study, the next chance meeting with another believer to receive all that I need at any given moment.  It's there sitting on my nightstand always working, always powerful, always true!  It's hidden in my heart by the Holy Spirit who brings it to my remembrance so that my mind is stayed and in peace.  It never ceases to amaze me at it's accuracy, it's pertinence, it's ability to pinpoint whatever is going on in my life and to give instruction, encouragement, and revelation.

Jesus said that "I and the Word are one."  What an incredible thought!  When I pick up that book, with it's worn cover, smudged pages and colorful markings, smelling of glue and tape that has put it back together so many times, I am conversing with Jesus Himself.  I'm hearing "power words" that are active and working in my life.

My Bible, the Word of God-truly the pearl of great price, truly a treasure worth selling all to have.

Thank you God for writing it all down for me but for not leaving me alone when I read it.  Of how many other books that we own can we say that "every time we read it, the author is sitting right there with us"?


Monday, November 3, 2014

NO Gravy Ladies-Thankful Day 3

I belong to 3 on-line groups for Pastor’s wives. Invariably they get to talking about situations and the people involved in those situations as well. It just seems that there are women in every church who seem to think that it’s their job to develop character in the Pastor’s wife by causing her trouble.  These women are referred to by the Pastor’s wives as “gravy ladies.” It seems that one particular Pastor’s wife did a dinner and one of the congregation members that was “helping” tipped the Pastor’s wife’s breaking point over insisting that she make gravy with the ham drippings, thus the term gravy lady.

I am so thankful that the only gravy lady I have in my life is the one who lovingly makes biscuits and gravy for breakfast once a month and shares it with the entire church! By the Lord’s providence, my church is just full of wonderful, Godly, loving women. I don’t wish that any of them would find another church.  What I really wish is that we all had more time to spend together. No matter what I attend at church, I never cease to leave feeling edified and encouraged. We’ve had gravy ladies in the past, but they don’t seem to hang around long because my church ladies just don’t put up with their ungodly behavior.

There will always be people in the church who like you more than others may like you.  That’s just the way it is, but I don’t think that there are any women in my church who would wish me harm or sadness or trouble in any way. Maybe you might think this normal, but if you have never been a Pastor’s wife, you might just be clueless to some things that come with the job and that go on during the week when you are not watching which I will not burden you with because this blog is all about being thankful!

And if you are a gravy lady, let me say two words.  STOP IT!  Pray for your Pastor’s wife and let the Holy Spirit do the correcting.  Until you have walked in her shoes, you really don’t know what you are talking about. Unwad your panties, drop to your knees, repent of your stinking attitude and self-righteousness, and genuinely pray for her. She directly affects your Pastor and he directly affects you-he should be anyway!  Stop shooting yourself in the foot! Stop being ungodly! Stop insisting on having your own way and if you really need to, make your own gravy! Better yet, cook the ham too so your Pastor’s wife doesn’t have to! Amen!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Focus!-Thankful Day 2

Life seemed very simple when I was growing up. We mostly minded our own affairs. There were no telephone answering machines or computers. We got our information from the then unbiased news networks-ABC, CBS, and NBC-but only at 5pm and 11pm. If something really serious happened like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon for the very first time, someone important being assassinated, earthquakes or some devastating natural disaster, an important event here or abroad or some other history making news, the news media would interrupt regularly scheduled programs like I Love Lucy, Star Trek, Mission Impossible, Emergency or whatever else was on to bring a short, 10-15 minute update once an hour and then “resume with our regularly scheduled program already in progress.”   A lot of what went on in the world we did not know and somehow we managed to survive-and quite well for that matter.

With the introduction of cable tv, we now know what is going on in every pocket and hidden space in the world, 24 hours a day. We know when someone in Hollywood burps or farts because let’s face it, we NEED to know everything the most messed up people in the world are doing.  In some ways, cable tv has expanded our lives in a good way. We can see and somewhat experience God’s creation that we might not otherwise get to see. We can know when terrible things are happening to good people, which gives opportunity to pray more-even though it also means that we experience the horror of it as well.

It’s caused me to think about knowing more and knowing less. When we constantly watch the news, we become fearful and depressed because frankly they never share the good things that are going on in the world. Filling our heads with mindless trivia, the dysfunctional antics of famous people, and watching “entertaining” shows means that we are constantly taking in information.  Then there’s all the titillating  “news” on the internet, half of which isn’t even true.What we don’t have time to do is really sit and process what we take in so we just keep taking it in and taking it in until our minds are awhirl with thoughts, fears, and questions. It can rob of sleep, time, meaningful conversation and the things in life that really matter.

There is something to be said to keeping up with what’s going on in the world. For instance, when a marauding group of Muslims are sweeping through the Middle East killing innocent men and boys, raping women, selling their daughters into sexual slavery, and beheading babies, that’s something we need to know. Those people need prayer! I know what it is to be in a dire situation, albeit I’ve never been in a situation that bad, but I know what it is to be in crisis and desperately need prayer. These kinds of things, as terrible as they are, are necessary to know. When we shield ourselves from the plight of mankind in remote or far away places and retreat into the eutopic lives we can so easily make for ourselves in America we become self-focused and small. There’s nothing smaller than a person whose prayers are always centered their own little world even if that world is family, children and friends. A world minded person is much happier, thankful, and content because they appreciate more all that they have. It helps us keep our lives simple because we see how much we have compared to the rest of the world and we don’t really see the need to get more.  It really does matter what we focus on.

Over the last year, I have really limited myself as to how much tv I watch and how much of the news media I expose myself to. I try to keep up with the major news stories and avoid all the news that is just a distraction.  I spend way less time on the computer, except for my writing job which requires I be on line, and I am giving more time to doing and spending time with others engaged in meaningful conversation.

We are no longer exempt from the evils of the world.  What we haven’t already created for ourselves is now reaching our shores.  We are no longer immune to the threats that the rest of world has sometimes grown accustomed to. Therefore, I feel a continuing and increasing call to prayer for those both home and abroad. I truly believe that time, as we know it, is quickly coming to a screeching halt and the return of the Lord is growing near. There are many who need to be saved before this happens, a few of which are my own blood relations. So I have made some adjustments to my world, expanding it in some areas and shrinking it in others.

The Apostle Paul was a world traveler.  He knew what was going on in the world. Yet he determined in his heart that there was really only one thing worth knowing-Christ! He told the Corinthians that he “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” I have come to the conclusion that when what we know best is Christ, we will know what to do with the rest of the stuff we know, be it good or bad. I may know less about what goes on in my world, but I will certainly know what to do with what I know of my world.

So today I am thankful for focus. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit guides my focus. I’m thankful that the main thing I have to focus on is good and true and perfect and lovely and powerful and able to do ANYTHING! Even with all that is wrong in the world, He is always right! And focusing on Him sets my sights on something bigger than this world. This world is dying a slow death. Creation even groans under the strain of it. But I will live beyond this world. In fact, my life really begins when I leave this world and knowing this makes living in this difficult world just a little easier.

God's Cell Phone Plan-Thankful Day 1

I never wanted a cell phone. I liked being unreachable at times. After a few years of swimming against the current, necessity demanded that I get a cell phone, so I did. When I had no cell phone and I needed to get in touch with someone, I would call or email them, fully knowing that they might not see my message right away and I was content with that. Now, however, it’s a little frustrating to not get an almost immediate response. Funny how new technology can change the way you think...not always for the better I might add. I have adjusted my thinking because I now understand why some people would rather text than talk and why some prefer to keep their phone on silent and check it at their own convenience.

What does this have to do with the subject at hand? God’s had his own cell phone-ish service in place since the creation of man. It’s called prayer! And why I don’t take more advantage of it than I do is a mystery to me. It is the most uncomplicated and effective form of communication there is.

The line of communication between God and man is simple to use. You don’t have to be clever enough to operate a smart phone to use it! God’s plan does not require that you buy minutes and does not limit the amount of use either. You must sign up for the plan though. It’s called salvation. That is the only requirement. Otherwise your prayers are not heard. And you must use the plan by faith. Faith is what keeps the lines open and operating correctly. Sometimes sinners will complain that God did not answer their prayers. I always tell them it’s because He didn’t hear them. He didn’t get the message! It’s out there floating around in the atmosphere somewhere. That’s not His fault. They didn’t sign up for His plan. That’s on them.

God’s cell phone is always on and He immediately answers every call. I love the verse in Daniel where God explains to Daniel, who is now 21 days weary of waiting on an answer, that from the moment Daniel prayed, God had dispatched the answer but the demonic host had held up the answer, had even taken the messenger hostage, and a battle had ensued in order to free the messenger and the answer. That reminds me that delay is not a “no” from God and to expect delays to prayers that glorify God and defeat the plans of the enemy. I have several prayers like that and I have been waiting for what seems like an eternity. And WHEN the answer comes, it will be glorious. I must persevere in them and not lose faint or lose hope in knowing that the were prayed in faith and according to God’s will, therefore they are “yes and amen!”

Prayers are an interesting thing. They are eternal. They have no expiration date. They don’t fade through time. They are never cancelled by God, although people can cancel out their own prayers through unbelief or wrong speaking. They are always answered by God according to the faith of the one offering them.

I have no scriptural basis for this but I believe that prayers leave a residue. In those times when my prayer tears have fallen in my Bible, the stains are still visible even after many months or years. Tear stains remain on pillow cases until laundered. I’ve even met people who I just knew had been soaked in prayer even though their lives gave no indication of it. I’ve heard the story of George Mueller and his prayers for his friends. Some got saved in his lifetime. One at his funeral. One after his funeral. I believe that it was because of his prayers. His prayers did not die with him. They lived on in the lives of his friends until they were answered.

The church that I attended when I first came to the Lord was turned into a charter school. I happened to get a job giving piano lessons there. One afternoon, my scheduled student went home ill and I wasn’t contacted so I moseyed into the auditorium/gym area. It had once been a sanctuary where the Spirit of God had moved freely. The kids in there were clueless, but the moment I walked into the room, it was like the room became the sanctuary again. I stood at the place where I had received Christ, where I had received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, where God had first plainly answered a nagging question from His Word straight to my heart, where I had witnessed my first tangible miracle, and the place where I had been water baptized. I could still feel the power of the presence of God in that room even though it had not been a church for nearly 10 years. Those things came alive in my heart and memory and tears filled my eyes as I recalled all the time I had spent in that place. It was long past but still very real.

Prayer means you are never alone. There is always someone to talk to and always someone to listen. Some people say that they need someone with skin at times, but if I recall correctly, Jesus is still in human form. He still has His skin on. And he understands anything we could possibly bring to him more than another human being. If you need someone with skin on, talk to Jesus, He still has skin. He is our High Priest, our intercessor and our Good Shepherd. Realize that you are talking to all wisdom and perfection. You are communicating with the highest being there is and He is listening to you! What a thought!

I think that prayer must be the most neglected and underestimated part of Christianity. I pray that God will show me the method and the power of prayer in a richer and fuller way.