Monday, March 1, 2021

Breakfast with God

 


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark 1:35

The good Lord knows I'm not the type of person who gets up before the dawn in order to pray.  In the first fuzzy moments between getting out of bed and shuffling to the kitchen to start the coffee, my mind is anything but sharp and prepared to spend time with God.  All I can muster before the jolt of caffeine hits is a feeble, "Thank you, Lord, for this day."  I guess I could do worse!

After that, you can find me checking my morning email.  Okay, that doesn't sound very God-centered, but in a way, it is.  I have several verses of the day from multiple sources, and Christian inspirational blogs to turn to.  As I sip my Joe, my head clears, and my focus for the purposefully turns to God and His presence.

Once I've had my coffee and taken a shower, I'm fully awake and ready for breakfast - breakfast with God, that is.

I come by this precious devotional in a serendipitous way.  My dear blogging friend, Linda, announces a while back that she has to place her mother in an assisted living home, and that her mom has decided to give away some of her Christian books that she's already read and reread.  It is a first come, first served arrangement.  When I see the title, Breakfast with God, I know it is meant for me.  And as fortune would have it, Linda declares that the prize is mine.  Oh, happy day!

Now, with breakfast on the table and this devotional and my Bible close at hand, this is truly where a day filled with God's grace, peace and wisdom begins for me.  I cherish this time, as I'm usually the only one up at that time in the morning; all is quiet and still.

I can drink my fill of scripture, pray for those in need, and be ready to surrender another day to Jesus.

And if you'd like your own copy of Breakfast with God, it is still in print, and available on Amazon.

My practice may not be your idea of a morning routine or time spent in God's presence.  Please do share in the comments how and where you set aside time each day to savor God's loving presence.

Amen!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

All Show, But No Go?

 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

It is not unusual here in Georgia for our daffodils to sprout their green fronds around the first week in February.  Even though the temperatures remain quite daunting, they bravely herald the spring that is in the offing, providing hope for those of us ensconced in the winter doldrums.

So, why do I get so excited when I discover this daffodil budding?  It is a part of a row of flowers who faithfully produce green shoots, but never bloom.  All show, but no go.


Well, I won't say they never produce flowers, but it's only happened once in the sixteen years Danny and I have been married.  Once!

Not only are flowers forming on other stalks in this group, but the full-blown daffodil below is the very first of all the daffodils sprinkled throughout our yard to open its face to the springtime.




Just the sight of this infuses me with fresh hope, a much-needed commodity after the trials and troubles of this past year, and the beginning of this one.  These daffodils defy their history of dormancy, and vibrate with new life.  New beginnings.  New hope.

What I once saw as dead lives again.

All show becomes a go!


And I am filled to overflowing with the hope I have in God to fill us all with His joy and peace.

Amen!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Talent on Loan From God

 


"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five bags of gold.  See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master's happiness.'" ~Matthew 25:19-21

Rush Limbaugh, the greatest talk show host of all time, has passed from this earthly veil.  My heart is broken, shattered by his loss for so many of us, the loyal millions of listeners, who depended on his uplifting messages, inspiration, and unapologetic love for America to see us through the good times and the bad.  I wonder how many tears the Lord is now busy catching in His eternal bottle?  I'm sure it's more than the grains of sand on the shore.

I know there are some of you reading this who either didn't like Rush, or were indifferent to his opinions and observations solidly planted in reality.  I feel so sorry that you missed out on hearing America's Anchorman communicating honest, clear, and yes, sometimes humorous messages to his audience.  Truth be told, I've learned more from Rush about both sides of the existential battle between conservatives and liberals than I could have possibly hoped to glean from any other media outlet.  He understood liberals think better than they do themselves, and he was never reluctant to call out so-called conservatives when he though they strayed from the founding principles of our country.

Rush was an equal opportunity offender, and I loved him for that!

Yes, there are a plethora of memorable stories out there about Rush's career, how he got started in the business, and how he persevered through the tough times to build his EIB (Excellence in Broadcasting) Network into a force to be reckoned with.  I don't choose to make this the focus point of my post today.  Instead, I want to highlight the time when I'm on the receiving end of Rush's generosity toward the members of his audience.

I would send Rush personal messages from time to time via his website, letting him know how much my granddaughter, Virginia, was enjoying his Rush Revere series, how the little grands loved their Liberty stuffed horse, and assuring him that he was in my thoughts and prayers for healing from the cancer.  Much to my surprise last summer, a package arrives at our door.  It's from the EIB Network!

I know I didn't order anything recently, so I'm overwhelmed with curiosity as to what this parcel contains.  When I open it, these gifts are revealed.




Three T-shirts that actually fit me, though how Rush and his dear wife, Kathryn, could have known is beyond me.  This commemorative photo of Rush wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded at President Trump's last State of the Union address.


I will always cherish this . . .

God has taken our dear Rush into His heavenly arms much too soon, but who are we to question God's timing?

And it gives me great comfort to know that Rush, especially in this last year of his cancer battle, was never shy to share that he had a personal relationship with Jesus.  One could tell that by his day to day demeanor on air, but it became crystal clear in 2020, and he wanted his listeners to know about Jesus' saving grace.

Yes, Rush, you were always right to acknowledge that your incomparable talent was on loan from God, reminding us that all our talents and gifts are the same.  You are now walking side by side with Jesus, and I can hear Him saying, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

Rest in peace, Rush Hudson Limbaugh III.

Amen!


Thursday, February 18, 2021

God Knows His Plans

 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

At age 92, my mother may not have many future plans on her bucket list.  But still, her life is valuable in the eyes of the Lord.  It has broken my heart not to be with her in physical proximity, hugging her, cooking for her, spending the week at her home being daughter, companion, friend.

We are encouraged by the fact that all of us have gotten our first Covid vaccine shots.  The second ones are looming (Danny's already had his), and it looks like we will all be able to get together safely around March 20th.  What great news!  I can't ask for a better gift than to be able to be with my mother in a normal and natural way.

Mom and I have an established routine.  I give her a wake-up call every morning at 8:00.  Yes, Mom wears hearing aids, which she takes out at night, but seems to have no trouble hearing the ring from the cell phone next to her bed.

Until last Saturday.

My calls persist, off and on, from 8:00 until 9:45.  No answer!  In desperation, I contact my mother's neighbor, Mary, who has been a faithful and life-saving help when it comes to checking on Mom's well being.  Mary calls me when she is parked in the driveway.  The house is dark.  No light or movement detected.  And my fears run wild!

Has Mom met her Maker?  And I couldn't be there to say good-bye?  How will I handle this situation?  How can I travel safely there, and then execute all that needs to be done?  What is the best way to break the worst news to my children and grandchildren?  I cry out, "Lord, this is just too much!"

Mary calls again, asking me where my mother's bedroom is located in the house.  After I give her directives, it is not long before she reports back.  "I couldn't get a response when I rapped on her window, but when I returned to the kitchen door, the lights were on!  Your mother let me in.  She just overslept."

She just overslept?  And without hearing the repeated phone rings in any way, shape or form?  I am relieved beyond words, but also concerned beyond measure.  My mom's not getting any younger, and the sooner I can travel to her home and spend time with her, the better it will be for all of us.  Danged this horrid Covid!

The Lord knows His plans for all of us, and will enact those in His time.  I only hope and pray that Mom will be around for a few years longer, and that we may share the love and companionship in person as God intended.  And I give thanks to those folks, like Mary, who have made it their mission to be Mom's hands and feet during this turbulent and troubling season.  Mary, indeed, is the epitome of the Good Samaritan.

And for her, Lord, I give thanks, and upon her, I wish endless blessings!

Amen!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Everlasting Bond

 


I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. ~John 15:15

I adore this photo of granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and family cat, Henry.  Their joy and contentment radiate for all to see, and I can't help but smile whenever I gaze upon this duo.  Yes, Henry may only be a kitty, but to Virginia, he is a best friend, too!

And I'm sure that all of us, who have ever owned a pet, have experienced the unique bond that forms between human and animal.  There's nothing like it!  Dissimilar from human friendships, your cat or dog will never talk back, never turn its back on you, and will love you unconditionally.

Now, that's what I'd call a genuine BFF!

Such a shame that our friendships with other people don't come with the same guarantee.  One reason I leave Facebook is precisely because of this.  People whom I trust, think highly of, and yes, even love, part ways with me because of differing opinions.  As a person who values dialogue and the healthy exchange of ideas, I find this mind boggling.  Shouldn't friendship create the ties that bind?

In an ideal world - yes!

But that's something we won't realize until Jesus returns.

In the meantime, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus already calls us friends, just as He did His disciples.  He is always present to listen to our prayers, to provide a welcoming lap into which we can crawl up and feel safe, and will love us eternally and completely when we believe in Him.

The Lord doesn't hold our transgressions against us, but forgives us every time we earnestly repent.

I couldn't ask for a better friend that that.  Could you?

Henry is up there in years.  It will be a devastating day for Virginia when he crosses over the rainbow bridge, but not even death will erase the deep connection they share.

Just as nothing can separate us from the love that God, the Father, has demonstrated by giving us His precious Son.

That bond is everlasting.

Amen!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Propitious Smiles of Heaven

 


If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14

Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained:  And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.  ~George Washington - First Inaugural Address.

The year is 1963.  Our nation is grieving the tragic loss of President John F. Kennedy.  I am eight-years-old.

My parents decide to take us on the train to be with family in Massachusetts for the Christmas holidays.  But the trip is planned with a strategic stop in Washington, D.C.  Though time has faded some memories, I do recall a few vividly.  We stayed at the historic Mayflower Hotel.  We also trekked to the grave of JFK to observe the eternal flame glowing, the one of hope for the perseverance of this nation.  My poor Mary-Jane clad feet practically freeze off!

Yet another memory, shrouded in the past, resurfaces this week as I witness members of the Senate shredding the precepts of our Constitution.  During our D.C. stay, our parents take my brother and I to the National Archives Museum.  The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are displayed there, under protective glass, but still accessible to viewing.  I recall my father's words as if it were yesterday.

"Martha Jane, Billy, you are looking at America's Bible.  These are the documents that define our nation.  Don't ever forget that."

At that very moment, I feel an awe I can't put into words.  Yes, I believe what my dad has said, but it goes beyond that.  It points to our eternal God, because without Him and His precepts, this country would never have been founded in the way it was.  His blessings, His Word, gave birth to a nation of hope and promise.

A Judeo-Christian vision whose light cannot be quenched.

Or, so we thought.

What I witness the United States Senate do this week, voting to impeach a former president, who is now a private citizen, chills my blood.  This goes against every law and precept upon which our nation is founded.  They are not calling upon the "propitious smiles of Heaven," but forging ahead with their own selfish, self-serving interests, calling down the anger of God in the process.

The Lord of all knew what He was about when He created us "One Nation, Under God," and He is not pleased.  The divisiveness and rancor are not His doing, and in His mercy, He longs for us to repent of our many sins and return to Him with humble hearts.

This week, "America's Bible" is being desecrated.  What are we going to do about it?  How are we to proceed going forward?

Let us pray, long and hard, that God will prevail upon the wicked, causing them to see His light, and cleanse them from their evil ways.

May the Lord show mercy to us all.

Amen!

Monday, February 8, 2021

There is the Word

 


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God at the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. ~John 1:1-3


There is the Word

There is a choice

One stands eternal

Other one deceives

One would look

With eyes unjaded

On the obvious

Yet, obfuscated

Is the truth

By the liar

From the beginning

Awake, our souls

To learn, discern

The voice of the Lord

Cry out for mercy

Plead forgiveness

Embrace God's grace

And pass it on

To those who trespass

Amen!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Overflowing Hope

 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

In a recent post, I describe my frustration in not being able to be on the same timetable as my husband, Danny, when it comes to getting the Covid vaccination.  But wouldn't you know it?  The very day this blog posts, Danny finds me a shot at our local health department for the following Monday.  Talk about elated!

This is a drive-up-stay-in-your-car type of arrangement.  When we arrive, we can't believe our eyes.  Hundreds and hundreds of cars are in line ahead of us.  They are snaking around and around on a cone guarded path, edging ever closer to the finish line.  Think queues at Disney World when it comes to the most popular rides.

Once in this line, there's no escape; we just have to stick with it until the bitter end.

And believe me, it is a bitter one!

After almost an hour of inching along, we at long last reach the location where actual health workers visit your car and ask for your paperwork.  I comply, and a lengthy list is checked for my name.  "I'm sorry ma'am," says the man not bright enough to wear his mask properly.  "There was a glitch in our online system.  It registered 3,000 people when we only have 800 vaccines.  Don't worry, we'll be in touch."

Ever have the overwhelming urge to choke someone?  Yep!  All that time in a sinuous line with nothing to show for it.  Why in the world were these folks not checking people at the entrance, when those not qualifying could easily be turned away?  Oh, but wait, that makes sense, and this is the government.  I'm reminded of these words of warning:  "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."  Yeah, right.

My hope is momentarily dashed, but we refuse to give up in our quest to secure a vaccine for me.  I'm trusting God has a better plan as to where and when to get the shot.  Because even if the health department does contact me, I ain't goin' back there for love or money!

Hope reinvigorated by the knowledge of how many waiting lists Danny has placed me on, how thrilled we are to see that Publix is opening its registration window Tuesday of this week.  The only catch?  It starts at 6:00 a.m.!  That means getting up by 5:30 to be at the ready to dive in the moment an opportunity presents itself.

Danny and I are both on our computers, watching the site refresh about every minute, when he gets the go-ahead we've been waiting for.  Excitedly, he enters my information, and voila!  I'm in!  Pretty good considering there were only 210 slots available in our county.

So, on the day of this post's publication, I'll be receiving my first vaccine, with a second one already scheduled for March 5th.

And my hope is overflowing!

Amen!

As most of you know, I am no longer on Facebook or Twitter.  However, please feel free to share any of my posts on those venues, or send by email to family and friends.  Your support is so appreciated!


Monday, February 1, 2021

A Great Start

 


Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it. ~Proverbs 22:6

The 2020-2021 school year has been anything but easy to navigate.  I don't know how parents, who are both working, have managed to keep their children afloat in these rough waters.  I can't blame them for pushing school districts to open up their doors safely, and allow the kids to return to the classroom full time.  If I were in their shoes, based on the science available, I'd be doing the same thing.

Fortunately for my daughter, Sarah, and her three girls, Virginia, Savannah and Alexandra, learning at home has been working for all of them.  They actually have been attending school two days a week, with masks, of course, but on February 8th, they will finally, finally be able to go in person five days a week.

Here are some photos of what learning at home looks like:







The girls seem really happy, don't they?  And yes, they ARE actually doing all their lessons and making progress.  Savannah, who is in first grade, is reading like a whiz!  Although I can't share the video here, Sarah sends us one so we can listen to Savannah reading aloud.  Seems she loves books as much as her Gammie does!

Sarah, though, is a bit worried about how Alexandra will adjust to five days of actual school.  She is in kindergarten, and has yet to experience the full-meal-deal of classroom instruction since the school year began.  I assure Sarah that, with lots of encouragement, Alexandra will do just fine.  Kids are so much more flexible than we set-in-our-ways adults.

And Virginia?  Just what I'd expect from a fifth grader.  She isn't looking forward to getting up at the crack of dawn for five days a week instead of two.  I describe to her how early I had to rise for years when I was teaching, and suggest that she will adjust to her new routine before she knows it.  I'm not sure, though, whether this is enough to convince her.

But I am convinced of one thing:  Because of Sarah's and John's involvement with their education during these months, the girls have kept up with all their lessons.  No ground lost here!  And working on their own, they've also learned so much about self-discipline, a trait that will most definitely serve then will in the years to come.

Yes, I'd say my grands are off to a great start!

Amen!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Love Your Neighbor

 


He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" ~Luke 10:27

Last December, right before the yearly ritual of Christmas baking arrives, our Thermador oven goes on the fritz.  This is a top-of-the-line appliance that we splurge on because Danny, being the chief chef in the house, has put up with a run-of-the-mill Maytag for decades.  Yes, it is a definite upgrade, and one that gets lots of use and appreciation.

We purchase the stove in April of 2019.  A renegade fault is the last thing we expect with an appliance so new.  To make matters worse, the oven dies when Danny is preparing to bake pizza for our dinner along with a loaf of bread.  The inconvenience couldn't materialize at a more crucial moment.

We freeze the bread/pizza dough, and Danny immediately phones Best Buys where the unit was purchased.  Turns out, when they return the call, they are unauthorized to repair any Thermador product within the first two years of purchase.  We have to contact Thermador personally.

Once we do this, we are greeted genially, and guaranteed a visit from a service tech promptly.  I'm encouraged by this, but I'm also thinking how grateful I am that this is one Christmas when we won't be hosting loads of family members.  There is no timetable as to the oven's recovery, but we can at least rely on the stove top burners to work while we wait.

When Sheila, our service tech, arrives, she determines that, indeed, our heating element in the oven has failed.  She will have to order a part for it. >Sigh<  More waiting!

The part arrives in a couple of days, but when Sheila returns to install it, lo and behold, it is faulty!  Probably damaged in transit.  Now, it's back to the drawing board once more.

Two days before Christmas Eve, Thermador calls to tell us the heating element has arrived, but it will be after Christmas before it can be installed.  More disappointment!  I am so hoping to be able to bake at least one traditional Christmas favorite, a variation on the classic cheese straw, but hope is growing dim.

Then comes an unexpected and welcome call from Sheila.  "I will be more than happy to come on Christmas Eve morning to replace the part," she tells us.  "I can't bear the thought of anyone not being able to cook their Christmas meal."

Godsend!!!  Good as her word, Sheila arrives promptly the next morning, and our oven is saved!  We are so touched by her willingness to sacrifice her Christmas Eve for her customers, we hastily prepare a gift bag with the first two books of The Glade Series, plus a bonus check as a thank you.


Sheila certainly demonstrates what it means to love one's neighbor, and we pray that God will continue to bless her and her family.

May we all be that selfless.

And do those cheese straws (squares) get baked?  You bet they do!



Amen!

Monday, January 25, 2021

He Rules the Roost

 


. . . which God will bring about in his own time - God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.  To him be honor and might forever.  Amen. ~1 Timothy 6:15-16

If you've followed my blog for some time, you probably recall the photo above.  It's a mother turkey with her young one making another of their many visits to our yard to partake of the birdseed we scatter on the ground.  How we love it when they drop by!  They add an extra aspect of delight to our day.

Sadly, sometime in 2020, mama bird passes away, leaving a now grown son to fend for himself.  And by the looks of him in this photo, he's done pretty well!


We call this guy Major Tom from the lyrics made famous by David Bowie.  And although he doesn't frequent our yard anymore, he has boldly claimed an area in our neighborhood for his sole territory.  Not only that, but this either insanely stupid or incredibly crafty bird has decided that he is immune to the threat of oncoming vehicles.

I can't begin to describe how many times I'm wheeling out of the neighborhood only to find Major Tom smack dab in the middle of the road.  Not even an angry car horn phases him!  Instead, it seems to lure him even closer to the car.  No doubt, this turkey thinks he rules the roost, and will go to great lengths to prove it.

So, when my husband, Danny, spies this post on Facebook from the Kennesaw City Police, I simply have to share their hilarious description and photos of their recent encounter with this feathered perp.

Today on Moon Station Rd., we rolled up on what appeared to be a traffic jam in the area of Kennesaw S. Industrial.  After a quick investigation, we located the turkey that was holding up traffic . . . literally a turkey.


To protect the actual identification of the turkey, we will call him Tom.  As we attempted to make contact with Tom, he yelled something that sounded like a gobble and took off running.  As a patrol car caught up to Tom, he quickly realized he was no match for the Ford Explorer Interceptor; actually, it appeared he took a liking to it.




Tom began running alongside of the Explorer where we escorted him to a more suitable area for a turkey of his stature.  After a short rest from all the running, Tom received a verbal warning and was encouraged to stop playing in the roadway.

LOL!  It looks like even our police have acknowledged that Major Tom is a formidable character to be reckoned with!

Although many folks imagine they rule the roost, and they are the ones in control, that couldn't be further from the truth.  God is the blessed and only Ruler of the Roost.  King of kings and Lord of lords.  And everything in His creation, even Major Tom, are under His watchful eye and precious care.

Let us give thanks and praise and honor to the Lord each and every day, knowing that all we have and all we are is held in His loving hands.

Amen!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Refuge, Mercy, Hope

 


Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge.  I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the storms of destruction pass by. ~Psalm 57:1

Covid 19, the China virus, has stopped many of us in our tracks.  The promise and delivery of the vaccines have been cheered and celebrated by all of us.  But, how are they being distributed?

President Trump makes the right call to let the states administer their allotted doses in the best way they see fit.  Distribution is best done on the local, not federal, level, and I'm grateful for the wisdom he has shown in this circumstance.

However, when my husband, Danny, gets a notification from our hospital group here in Georgia that he can make an appointment for the vaccine, I am not included in that invitation.  We had so hoped to get the shot in the same time frame, but that is not to be.

Danny receives his first shot, with no complications, on January 13th.  Terrific news!  He is at greater risk from the virus, so we think this is why he is one of the first chosen.  Turns out, as we hear from other friends in our age group, this is not a deciding factor.  It seems to be random.  I need to wait my turn with a patience that is growing ever thin.

After contacting my doctor, hoping he can speed up the process, I learn that his office has no control over who will be chosen in the ranks of those aged 65 and older.  Quite troubling, to say the least.  So, Danny enters my information on an alternate waiting list, hoping that my name might pop up more efficiently and advantageously.  As I pen this post on Monday of this week, I am still in waiting mode.  Rats!

But I will not give up hope.

God knows I want to be able to visit with my aged mother as soon as I can, and to be allowed to travel to see daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, John, and the three grands over their spring break.  All it takes is immunity in time to make these dreams come true.

Until then, I will take shelter in the protective and healing wings of the Lord, who will keep me safe and secure.  He holds my life, and yours, in His hands.  He will not fail us ever!

I will take refuge in God, trust in His mercy, and hold out in hope.

Amen!

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Time is Near

 


Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. ~Revelation 1:3

One of my greatest joys during this pandemic is our weekly Face Time chats with my daughter, Sarah, and the three grands, Virginia (pictured above), Savannah and Alexandra.  While it can never be as satisfying as in-person connections, it certainly has been a comfort since we can't travel to be with them.

Our conversation the other week turns to my word of the year:  Hope.

"Have you ever heard of choosing one word for the New Year?"  I ask Virginia.

"No," she confirms.  "What word did you choose, Gammie?"

When I tell her, she responds without skipping a beat.  "What was your word for last year?  Apocalypse?"

Oh, how we enjoy some hearty laughter over this quip!  I don't even think I knew the word "apocalypse" when I was Virginia's age, much less how to use it in context.

And she is right.  2020 was a disaster on so many levels, not just for our country, but for the entire world.  Plagues (Covid), locusts, earthquakes, fires, cities destroyed by rioters . . . the list could go on, but you catch my drift.  Many Christians watched and waited.  Are these end times?  Is the apocalypse upon us?  Will Jesus soon return?

I look up "apocalypse" at dictionary.com.  Here is the definition in the way Virginia has implemented the word:  any universal or widespread destruction or disaster.  Yep, that fits the bill for 2020.

But there is also a biblical definition, one of hope and promise:  a prophetic revelation, especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil.

Did you catch that?  The forces of good permanently triumph.

I don't know about you, but that's the kind of apocalypse I want to experience!  And it will only happen when Jesus returns to claim His own.

John tells us the time is near.  But since God's time is vastly different than anything our human understanding can grasp, we cannot know the day nor the hour.

So, let's keep the faith.  Let us walk in love and pray for one another.  Let us trust that God will fulfill all His promises and prophesies when His time is right.

Amen!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Speak Up, Speak Out!

 


His (Gamaliel) speech persuaded them.  They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  The they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. ~Acts 5:40-42

No matter what side of the political aisle you stand on, the shut down of free speech by Twitter, Facebook and Google should shake you to the core.  Maybe, you're one of those who thinks President Trump deserves to be censored.  You don't like him; you never have and never will.  That's fine.  That's your opinion.

But if you understand the First Amendment of our Constitution, you should be profoundly worried and dismayed.  The freedom of speech that protects your opinion is supposed to apply to the millions of other American citizens who don't see eye-to-eye with you.  We are currently witnessing it being maligned and defiled in ways our Founding Fathers could never have envisioned.

There are serious and legitimate questions surrounding the outcome of this presidential election, and the subsequent run-off in Georgia, my home state.  Dominion voting machines, just recently implemented here, call into question, because they can be manipulated, how a traditionally red state flipped blue in both contests.  The vast majority of Georgia residents honor our freedom of speech, integrity of the vote, and the upholding of our Second Amendment.  How did things go so awry for a population that treasures God and country?

The simple answer?  Pre-meditated fraud!  Yes, call me a conspirator, but there is such overwhelming proof, I dare you to deny it.  Doubt?  Look beyond CNN, NBC, and even Fox to find the truth.  It's out there.

The question is:  Are you curious enough to look it up?  Or, maybe a better question would be:  How passionate are you about preserving America as founded?

As President Trump declared, "America will never be a socialist nation."  Do you want socialism?  Communism?  No future for the American Dream?  No bright and better future for your children and grandchildren?  That's what not questioning this election and fighting back will get you.

And if you have somehow been convinced that socialism is best for our country, please leave in the comments and example where this system has worked for any nation that has embraced it.

The apostles willingly suffered indignity, rejection and imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel,  God's truth.  In spite of the flogging and the directive not to preach the Good News, they never backed down.  They persevered in the face of seemingly impossible odds.  They knew in their hearts and souls that preaching the love and saving grace of Jesus was paramount to their mission.  And they refused to be deterred, no matter who it was that told them not to speak up and speak out.

Christians, the time to speak up and speak out is now!  How long have our churches been shut down because of this pandemic?  Will they stay that way in the next administration?  We must persevere, as these apostles did, to ensure the Word of God is not silenced by those who wish us ill.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have no power over God and His people.

Will you stand up for Christian principles?

Will you stand up for our one nation under God?

Amen.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Hope Prevails

 


Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. ~Romans 12:12


The naked trees

On crest of hill

Barren branches

Stark and still

Hold a promise

Not yet seen

Of leaves abundant

Season's green

To be revealed

In time and place

Hope prevails

And gains apace.


Amen!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Wait for the Lord (And the Order You Placed!)

 


Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. ~Psalm 27:14

It has literally been years since my husband, Danny, and I have exchanged Christmas gifts.  Historically, our gift to each other has been a get-away to a cabin in the mountains.  The arrival of the China Virus alters any hopes for travel, and on top of that, we've been pretty much isolated and insulated in our own "cabin" in the woods for all these long months.  Any trip we will take in the after-vaccine future will be to spend much needed time with the people we love.

That being said, we decide to exchange gifts in Christmas 2020.  Now, friends, you have to understand that Danny is one of the hardest people to buy for.  If he sees something on the internet that he perceives as a want, he goes ahead and orders it, as long as it's in his budget.  It's difficult to play one-up-man-ship with him on the best of days!

As November is winding down, I keep my antenna poised to discern any hints that might drop into my lap.  We are watching Fox News one evening, and Pete Hegseth's latest book, Modern Warriors, is featured.

Danny isn't much of a book reader, but he declares that this might be one he'd enjoy.  Duly noted!  I'm also conscious of his frustration in discovering new dishes to try as he is the ultimate chef at the Orlando Cafe.  So, after seeing some cooking segments on Fox by Steve Doocy, I decide that ordering his wife's and his latest, The Happy in a Hurry Cookbook, might fit the bill.


How convenient it is to order both of these gifts from the Fox News Shop!  That's what I surmise at the outset.  But, oh, how I am mistaken!

I place my order for both books on December 4th; that's got to be plenty of time to arrive for Christmas, right?  And to make it for Danny's birthday on the 19th?

Guess again!  Luckily, Modern Warriors shows up in good time, but the other book?  MIA!  Panicked, I turn around with fresh hope and order a T-shirt for Danny for good measure.


Hooray!  The inconsistent and unaccountably late mail does pay off with this order.  At least Danny has a birthday and Christmas gift just in the nick of time.

A few days ago, in giving up hope for the arrival of the cookbook, I turn to Amazon for a second shot, guaranteed to be delivered in two business days.  As Fox Shop has no tracking, I've lost confidence in the knowledge that the original gift will ever arrive.

I should have held out with the hope I've committed myself to this year.

Monday morning, January 4th, the long-awaited book arrives.  The order from Amazon is scheduled to get here the following day.  Oh, how I should have waited upon the Lord, trusting that He is at work in all things, and would see this through successfully!

So, in all of this, what have I learned?  I must never give up hope, even when circumstances say otherwise.  I should be content to wait upon God's timing in everything, knowing that His plans are for the best.  It is never advisable to act precipitously because something we've hoped for hasn't yet arrived, but to simply wait with patience and trust.

And what will I do with the second book?  Save it for my daughter, Sarah, as a future birthday gift.  Nothing is wasted in God's economy!

Amen!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Keep Hope Alive!

 


We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. ~1 Thessalonians 1:3

Hope.

What a marvelous and faith-filled word that is!

2020 teaches me more about patience and endurance than I ever thought possible, but through it all, I know that hope is the instrument that enables me to put one foot in front of the other through all the dark, bleak days that seem never-ending.

Toward the end of the year, the word "hope" keeps creeping into my consciousness.  I see it in friends' blogs; it speaks to my heart when I least expect it.  And when Danny and I light the candle of hope during the Advent season, the flame leaps up, virulent and vibrant, unique in its affirmation as the fire grows higher and heartier as it glows.

That sign seals the deal for me.

I'm assured, in every fiber of my being, that the Lord wishes me to live in hope for the year 2021.

So, what are my hopes?

Oh, I have so many, yet I'm sure God will help me realized these in His good time.

But I'd like to share this sentiment with you, dear friends.  When you hope in Christ Jesus, your hope will never be in vain.  He hears your prayers, your heart's desire, and He is mindful of your every need.  He will provide richly for all of us if we remain filled with hope in His promises.

As this New Year begins, I'm praying for each and every one of you to keep hope alive in your hearts.  God, our Father, has given us this precious gift, the ability to look beyond what is to what can be.  He is calling us to have faith, to share His love, and to always place our hopes in Him.

Amen!

Breakfast with God

  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ~Mark ...