Monday, January 26, 2009

How To Live

From my devotional readings this morning, I have been given some things to think about and put into practice.

Acts 9:31: The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. That's how we should be living in our daily walk with God through this journey of life. Fear in this application is another way of saying "respect" or "honor". If we give our respect to God, and honor Him by our lifestyle, we have no need to "fear", or be afraid, or worry, about the economy and the things facing us as a nation.

Our sermon yesterday was about seeking the kingdom of God first, and all "these things" (the things we need) will be taken care of. There's no reason for Christians to run around like chickens in a flutter over what might come, or how we will survive. When we honor God, we receive our comfort from the Holy Spirit. He gives us peace and assurance that it is well with our souls, and God is in control. What more can we ask for? Any more than that, and perhaps we would be out of the will of God. If we truly want to go it on our own, He will allow us to do that. But why would we want to?

To receive God's best, life is not about investing our money, but rather it is about investing our very lives. We do this by:

  1. Making time for family and friends - they are God's gifts to us.
  2. Being grateful for God's provision and protection. He is always there for us!
  3. Practicing contentment - Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLT) There are plenty of things that could get us down and discouraged, but we need not focus on the negative side of life...God has given us the ability to rise above that and choose to dwell on the beauty of life.

I'm going to visit Bob this morning. He has acute leukemia and has already outlived the number of days his doctor gave him. I can't imagine what it would be like to just wait to die, waking up each morning wondering if this was the day. Well, my last devotional reading this morning talked about "The Dying Words of Christians". Death for the Christian is just a "threshold to the palace of God" (Dr. Billy Graham's words). I can't imagine waiting in anticipation of walking across that threshold!! Especially if it is something I have believed in and waited for my whole life!

I am going to take Bob some chocolate chip/oatmeal/raisin cookies. I can't imagine what his first meal will be like in heaven! The Master Chef will far surpass the culinary skills of the finest of cruise ship chefs. And to dine with the saints of all the ages...the giants of the Bible, like Abraham, Moses, David, Apostle Paul. To have a hearty laugh with Jesus as He slips His arm across my shoulders. Death doesn't need to be a thing to dread or fear. It's like the best looking gift under the Christmas tree, all wrapped up and labeled with our name! We open the gift, and walla! We step across the threshold into eternal life. I'm going to ask Bob to give Mom and Dad a hug for me and tell them I can hardly wait to see them again!

Spending time in God's Word and on my face in His presence and in some good devotional books only inspires me to give to Him this day the best that I have. To serve Him by serving others. To love Him by loving others. To make my life count for something by investing my time and resources for Him. Wow...what an opportunity! Please join me!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Weary of Winter White

Maybe you're thinking I haven't been thinking much lately. Well...I just really don't have much to blog about. We are in Michigan. It is winter. The color we are wearing is white, and I'm weary of winter white. The newscaster said yesterday that in the last month we have only had 1% of our hours over the freezing point of 32 degrees...about six hours out of 556 hours. That tells you it's just been dog-gone cold up here. I haven't been walking the dogs or going out much at all. My car has got some engine problems, so hubby and I share his truck. We tend to make 1-2 trips off the campground per week. All of that to say, I'm tired of winter.

I've started reading a new stack of books...listed in the side bar. I also started playing games on the computer as an outlet. I'm enjoying Internet backgammon and spider solitaire, along with hearts and pinball. Does that give you a clue how desperate I am for social life? Grin. I've been trying to plan our next family trip for next fall or me a get-away to dream about.

So now I've posted why I am not doing much blogging...just not much going on. We have had a game night on the campgrounds the last two Friday nights. That gets us out of the house and together with other people stuck here in the winter. A large percentage of our residents are snowbirds and are fortunate enough to be down south in the winter...either Florida or Arizona. Our front desk clerk in the office has gone back to Florida for six weeks, so I will be filling in for her. That will fill in some of my hours, so I am grateful. Our trip to Florida occurs in June. My husband is a delegate to the Church of the Nazarene General Assembly in Orlando. Not my favorite time of the year to go to Florida, but I do enjoy having breaks from the campground!

We have special friends from Canada coming to visit us next weekend. That will be a treat for us! It's nice to have friends you have known across the years. We met them in Cleveland, TN, while I was attending seminary. Their boys and our sons are about the same age and we just enjoyed each other's company. They have been so good to visit us about every two years, when they are down in the states. We keep moving, so they try to keep up with us. However, we have now been here for five years. That's a long time for us! I keep thinking it's time to move back south, but my husband hasn't felt that nudge from God yet. And, hey, I definitely don't want to get ahead of God!! When I do that, I just tend to mess things up.

In all of my reading lately, I really haven't had anything special jump out at me to post. I will say that The Shack was a tremendous book. I didn't want it to end. I gave it to one of our sons, and now he is finished with it and sending it to our other son. The message that comes through loud in clear is that God loves us and believes in us no matter what we do with him. We tend to box God in and think we have him figured out, but we don't have the slightest understanding of how big he far reaching he full of grace he is. He's amazing. His love is amazing. His grace is amazing. I hope anyone who reads this has had or will have a personal encounter with him...he's life changing. He may not change where I am living right now, but that only tells me there are things for me to do right here.

We have some sad situations here on this campground with our 100 plus residents. Last year Don's only child died and left behind three grandsons, and within two months Don's wife died. Ouch. But Don has been devoting his time to helping others. In the summer he mowed. Last fall he picked up leaves. In this winter season he is out clearing out driveways with his snow blower. We now have Bob who just found out in this last month that he has leukemia and is expected to pass away very shortly. His 22 year old granddaughter died of lupus this week. His wife has lost a grandchild and is about to lose a husband. Tough situation. But in both of these situations, we all know God is in control, and God will be there for the hours we need him most. This campground community is like a family, and we are surrounded by brothers and sisters who care, who pray, who assist in any way they can. How blessed we are to live in such a setting! (lest I sounded like I was grumbling earlier...I just don't like long winters...that's why we moved south when Paul graduated from college in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).

Well, that's my rambling for now. Sounds like hubby and I are going to make one of those rare trips off the campground. It's 14 degrees out, with a wind-chill factor of 4 degrees. Another frigid weekend! Wherever you are, stay warm!

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Weather

Ain' no stoppin de snow! It be comin' down and comin' down, and pilin' up and pilin' up. Somebody somewhere better stop singin' da song, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" I'm agoin' stir-crazy in the cottage!

Took an early morning ride in the snow plow truck with the hubby...took two hours just to do the first initial cleanup, before the snow started in again! He spent most of the afternoon out plowing again. Tonight, after our community supper at the ILNC Dining Hall, he'll probably be out a third time.

I have shoveled the doggie path out twice today, and it's almost filled in again. Last year the snow got so high, our little doggies couldn't be seen when they were on the back side of the path, out near the fence. We haven't gotten that much snow...yet. It's supposed to keep this up all through tomorrow, so hard telling how much we'll end up with. I just know I've been perusing the vacation sights, wishing I could escape, but knowing we are here to stay this winter. Hey...two more months and we'll get a break. It's not really all that bad! (It just seems that way in the middle of it!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Snippets

Whew...the "holidays" are over! Thank the Lord!! I love the music and the lights and decorations and getting together with family and friends and making holiday meals and goodies...but after a while it becomes a bit too much. We start at Thanksgiving and go non-stop until the last gathering is over. This year I've been looking forward to getting on with the new year and just getting back to normal! Only...I love change. So I am hoping that normal for 2009 brings about some changes. Don't know what I am looking for, I just want to be accepting when it comes.

These are the winter slow down days where I do much more reading, watching Hallmark movies and videos, and I'm less active. I need spring to show up early so I can get myself back out walking three miles every day with the dogs, and picking up limbs and just enjoy being outside. As it is, I got some new "spikes" for my boots so I don't have to worry so much about slipping on the ice that's hiding under the snow. Although I must say that today's mist and warmer temperature may take care of most of the snow that is still lingering...except for the piles that were plowed out of the roads. However, rest assured, it's not over yet! And it's been so cold this winter...lots of wind.

My email and my blogging has slowed way down. Can't say that I've been in a big hurry to do either. One thing that remains constant, however, is my daily devotional/meditation time that I spend praying and reading through various books to see what God has to say to me. That's a daily must do...just to keep my balance and my relationship with my Lord up to date and vibrant.'s few things he has said to me lately from my reading:

  • Do not wear yourself out by trying to be all things to all people---quit looking for acceptance. Just honor God and live pleasing to Him, for in the end that truly is all that matters.
  • Sail day at a time...and you will reach your destiny!
  • Make Sundays holy...not hectic. Have a plan.
  • Don't quit...persevere...keep at it. Hang in there until the task is done. That's how you grow.
  • Be thankful for the hard things: disappointment, loneliness, trials...for they bring you closer to God as you seek His face in the midst of turmoil.
  • We all have a need to be needed. Not feeling needed leads to depression.
  • Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will... Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will triumph. (Isaiah 50: 4,7)