Thursday, August 11, 2022

Keep it Simple

 


Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" ~Matthew 22: 37-39


Last week, I officially begin physical therapy at an outlet called Benchmark.  My coach, Stephanie, is nothing but helpful and encouraging as I try each new exercise she introduces.  The routines seem, on the surface, to be innocuous.  And I wonder - how can such simple movements lead to rehabilitation?  Will these really increase my strength, mobility and balance?

But as I pursue these routines and try new ones, I begin to realize that the simpler way is the best path to take.  Not just in physical exercise, but in spiritual exercise, too.  

Jesus main message to us is as simple and straightforward as it can get:  We are to love God first, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  Period.  No ifs, ands or buts.

No unnecessary complications.

Yes, the daily humbling of ourselves to follow these commandments may seem repetitive, but it is all working toward a greater good - honoring God in all things.  And who doesn't want to do that?

There's nothing wrong with reading devotionals, participating in Bible study or reading God's Word.  In fact, it's icing on the cake when we don't take our eyes off the real prize.

But, keeping it simple goes a long, long way in our journey with Jesus.  Let's not overcomplicate things when His message is so clear and concise.

Yes, let's keep it simple; simply about God.

Amen!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Don't Hesitate

 


But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:  "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." ~Isaiah 43:1


Here is my hand

Will you take it?

No fear in the journey

When we're together

Steps are not as steep

Detours make no difference

Miles turn into moments

Thirsts are quenched

Here is my hand

Will you take it?

The choice is yours

It always has been

But when you hesitate

You break my heart.

Amen

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Can We Know?

 


Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wonderful works of Him who is perfect in knowledge? ~Job 37:16


Can we know God?

Can we know the Lord?

The One perfect in knowledge?

His revelations

Are everywhere we look

When we pause, take time

To surrender to

His majesty; aware

Of the glory that

Belongs to Him alone.

And will to everlasting

Days, years, eternal

To guide finite days

And lead on forever

Until He brings us

Home to Him.

Amen

Monday, August 1, 2022

Starry, Starry Night


 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. ~Psalm 147:4

When we host our granddaughter, Virginia, for two weeks in June, we are surprised to learn that she has never been to a Cracker Barrel.  Wow!  Well, when I stop and think about it, it makes sense as her mom and dad are sticking to a budget, especially in these times of economic challenges for middle-class families.  So, it's up to Gammie and Papa to spoil Virginia just a little when we can.  Yes, that's hot chocolate!

We are not used to having to wait to be seated at a Cracker Barrel, no matter how busy they appear to be, but this time, the delay in seating is not due to volume, but to a lack of servers to attend efficiently to customers.  A sad sign of the times, indeed!  But we did take this opportunity to explore their iconic, one-of-a-kind country store.  Virginia is immediately taken by the variety of offerings.  And since she is such a fan of all things space, I'm not surprised when she falls in love with this star/moon headband.  She has me take a photo of it on her head as there were no mirrors there to check out how she looks in it.


I think she looks great, don't you?

Virginia loves the headband, but knowing how many gifts we've already gotten for her, she doesn't ask.  So, of course, this Gammie is determined to buy one to send as a birthday gift in July.

When we return home from our travels, I visit our local Cracker Barrel to purchase the headband and a NASA hat for Virginia and a Bible story book for Alexandra, whose birthday falls two days after Virginia's.






We also ordered the UNO sister game, DOS, for Alexandra, which she is truly excited about.  It is inadvertently helping her with math skills!


Oh, how I wish we could have been there to celebrate these girls' birthdays, but we are so happy to have the photos to enjoy and cherish.

And I hope that every time Virginia wears her starry crown . . .


she will recall the night sky she observed at the cabin.


And give thanks to the One who made it all happen!

Amen!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Free Indeed

 


Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. ~John 8:36

Give me liberty, or give me death. ~Patrick Henry, 1736 - 1799


In the late 1700s, in the fortuitous country that would become the United States of America, the ideals and values of a nation truly free because of God's grace, and His unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would become, miraculously, realized.  But not without our Founding Fathers being aware of, yet willing to sacrifice fortunes and ranks, lives and livelihoods, to see it happen.

Oppression under the Crown of England was tolerated by the colonies until it no longer served them or their interests - think taxation without representation and viewing American colonists as the great unwashed.  With so many of our unique freedoms taken for granted in today's society, it's easy to forget that our Founding Fathers were willing to pay whatever price was necessary to secure these freedoms for posterity.  Their wisdom was, inarguably, God-inspired.  For it is Christian values that rule the precepts both in our Constitution and in the most daring document in American history - The Declaration of Independence.

When I was feeling a bit despondent this last July 4th, because so many voices in the media were hell-bent on disparaging and delegitimatizing our Founding Fathers, I thankfully discovered this marvelous gem of a book, The 56 by Douglas MacKinnon.  Immediately, the information contained within boosted my spirits, and reminded me why we should, to this day, be proud of our conception as a nation, founded on our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

MacKinnon does an outstanding job of setting the stage for what is happening in the colonies when it's decided to convene a Constitutional convention as a first step in declaring from England.  He then goes on to detail the lives of all 56 men who courageously signed the Declaration.  An overwhelming majority of these delegates had substantial wealth, and stood to lose everything to the Crown for their traitorous actions.  Yet, to a man, each one was more than willing to take that risk.

I found myself both inspired and grateful as I read the brief biographies of each of our distinguished signers.  MacKinnon successfully fleshes out personalities, and makes readers feel as if they are in the same room with these giants of history.  Yes, The 56 is that good!

In light of this, I'm giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner who comments here.  Your name will be placed in a "hat," and I'll have Danny draw the name of the winner two weeks from now, and I'll announce that winner on the blog.

And if you don't win?  I do hope you will order this gem of a book for yourself, and then pass it along to friends and neighbors, or donate to your church library for the edification of others.

As President Reagan warned us decades ago:  "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

May we resolve to keep the lights of liberty shining!

Amen! 



About the author:

Douglas MacKinnon served as a writer in both the Reagan and Bush administrations.  He later joined the Pentagon where he had top secret government clearance.  His other books include Vengeance is Mine, and a memoir, Rolling Pennies in the Dark, all available on Amazon.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Never Alone

 


Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence? ~Psalm 139:7


As I've mentioned on the blog here and there, I'm not fully recovered from my bout with pneumonia last January.  I've come to accept the fact that it's simply going to take more time, and I have to be patient with myself and with the pace my body is taking.  Do I wish this process was faster?  Of course!  But I've learned, too, that if anything good is going to happen, it will be in God's time, and God's alone.

I have a visit with my doctor last Wednesday to ask lots of questions and get his take on my progress thus far.  One area of concern for me, as it has seemingly come on quickly and unexpectedly, is hair loss.  Yes, my hair has always been on the fine side, but not to the point where there are notable "partings" where there should be none.  Luckily, the hair growth supplement I've been taking for about a month and a half gets a thumbs up from Dr. S., who advises me to continue that regimen (the brand is Hairprin).  He doesn't think it's a result of any medication I was prescribed during my convalescence, and it does appear to be working.  Keep your fingers crossed!

The battery of blood test Dr. S. orders come back with little to no complications.  It seems I'm getting adequate nutrition in my system, and though my hips still ache, no red flag indicating arthritis pops up.  For the persistent discomfort and limited mobility, Dr. S. orders some physical therapy, which I begin next Monday.  Yes, I have been walking on the treadmill, but I know I need something more targeted toward the problem.  Suffice it to say, in the meantime, I'm thankful for handicap ramps!

Dr. S. also prescribes a visit to the imaging department to have a bone scan done.  It's been years since my last assessment.  I have been supplementing my diet with calcium and vitamin D, so I'm hoping for the best.

Some truly wonderful news, though, is the status of my blood pressure.  When I'm released from the hospital, my feet go through fits of swelling; so badly at times, that I can't even get my shoes on!  So, Dr. S. takes me off amlodipine, which is known to contribute to swelling, and switches me to a betablocker called Carvedilol.  The only side effect to this drug is occasional sleepiness.  It turns out, this is the culprit in my almost daily need for short naps.  Dr. S. tells me not to worry about it, and just enjoy the rest time.  Okay, I'll take it!  Especially, since my blood pressure reads at the most perfect score I've seen in years:  110/70!!!  Think quitting smoking has something to do with that?

Yet, through all of these changes, discoveries and adjustments, I've never felt alone in my struggles.  I've had the distinct conviction, day in and day out, of God's abiding presence right beside me, ready to give comfort, relieve worry, and calm my heart and mind.  There is no place I can go in this world where He cannot or will not be found.

So no matter what you're facing today, friends, know that you are loved and treasured by our Father in heaven.

You are never, ever alone.

Amen!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Living Waters

 


Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." ~John 4:10


Relief for aching feet

Tested by mountain

Terrain, determined to

Reach the summit

Achieve the goal set

In lowlands, where

Achieving the heights

Are only but dreams

Yet dreams with hope

Will prevail because

The power of living water

Courses through the veins

Conveying strength, resolve

To accept the blessing

A willing heart receives

When seeking God's promise

That living waters prevail.


Amen!




Keep it Simple

  Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and grea...