Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Gifts and Friends (friends are year round gifts!)

Well, I just finished off my Valentine box of candy...a box of chocolate covered cherries.  It was a dollar at the dollar store, so I splurged on myself as a celebration of Valentine's Day.  I bought my hubby his favorite candy bar - a large size Hershey's bar with almonds.  I also gave him the scrapbook I made for him a couple of weeks ago at the weekend scrap-booking event here at the camp.  He really liked it, as I knew he would.  It's filled with pictures of his passions:  family/trips, grandchildren, dogs, and ILNC camp.

I was able to purchase a table and four chairs on Craig's List this week.  I've been shopping for a table for quite a while, and decided for the price ($100) it was a good deal.  It will make a great craft table eventually when I am able to find the table I really want, and able to afford it!  I want a counter height table with a butterfly leaf.  I'm really picky about the style and the color and wood.  I found what I like at a local furniture store, but not ready to spend $600 on it.  Our previous table seated two of us...a little round one.  Now I have a table that seats six of us, which means now I can get back into entertaining once again.  

I consider the table and chairs another Valentine gift to me.  Therefore I needed to get something for my husband, and yesterday found the perfect gift.  He was with me, and he agreed it was what he wanted.  After all, it's Valentine's.  He wanted to be warm and cozy in bed, so he now has a dual controlled electric mattress pad.  He's happy.  Also bought him a couple of Henley style shirts that are warm and cozy.  It had been so long since we were out shopping at a mall together, it was almost nostalgia to do so.  Of course, we only went to Penney's, but still....  We don't eat out often either, so it was a treat to share some chicken fajita nachos at a local Mexican restaurant.  

On top of all that Valentine celebration/shopping...we also attended the ILNC annual Candle Lake Dinner on Friday night.  We had about 60 in attendance for the dinner and a concert afterwards by an Olivet Nazarene University brass trio.  So I think we did more than enough to share our hearts this Valentine time!!!

We were invited to a white chicken chili supper with our camp director friends from Georgia at their son's house the other night.  The chili was delicious, but it was nice to be with our friends again.  We don't see them very often since they live in Georgia, but when they do show up to visit their son and his family (and see their grandson!!), it's nice to be included in one of their family meals.  We usually hang out with this couple when we attend the annual Nazarene Camp Assn. conferences.  

We had a friend in for dinner today after church.  Afterwards she and I went to visit her brother at Alpha and Omega, a church organized housing complex for homeless men.  It is an interesting set-up, and I commend the church for having such a ministry.  They have a waiting list of men wanting to get in, but they are limited in how many they can house.  The men must meet certain qualifications, and keep certain rules.  Each day they must attend Bible study in the morning and in the evening (unless they are working), and they are given chores each day they must do.  So it's not a free ride, but it does provide ministry to each person, and assistance in so many ways.  I had never heard about it before my friend's brother was able to get in.  

I'm very sheltered from the world, it seems.  I worry about cats keeping fed and staying warm, when there are humans out there night after night freezing and starving to death.  That's why I get excited when I hear about ministries that are helping the less fortunate in life, giving them food and a bed and a new life by helping them find their way in this world again.

And that leads me to this week's devotional notes...a reminder of what God is teaching me through my daily readings from "The Word for You Today" and The Living Bible translation.

Continuing last week's theme:  "Become God's Friend":
I have called you friends  (John 15:15)

1.  Prayer

  • pray simple conversational prayers throughout the day rather than long complex prayers
  • when you discipline yourself to speak with God throughout the day, it will change your attitude and actions
  • it is not a feeling of God's presence that prompts you to pray, but rather an awareness that He is always with you
  • friendship with God brings answered prayers and abundant living
2.  Meditation
  • meditation strengthens your relationship with God, as it is focused thinking 
  • worry is being focused on a problem, mediation is being focused on the solution/God
3.  Honesty
  • be honest with God - share your true feelings with Him
  • God uses everything for good in our lives, so releasing resentment to Him is a step to wholeness
  • just as we want our friends to be open and honest with us and not mask their feelings, God wants a deeper intimacy with us
4.  Obedience
  • choose to obey God
  • What pleases the Lord more...sacrifices or is better to obey.  (I Sam. 15:22)
5.  Passion
  • you are as close to God as you desire and discipline yourself to be
  • friendship with God must become your passion
  • If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me.  (Jer. 29:13-14)

From Proverbs:

  • For the value of wisdom is far above rubies, nothing can be compared with it.
  • Wisdom and good judgment live together, for wisdom knows where to discover knowledge and understanding.  If anyone respects and fears God, he will hate evil, for wisdom hates pride, arrogance, corruption, and deceit of every kind.  (Prov. 8:12-13)
  • I, Wisdom, give good advice and common sense...  I love all who love me.   Those who search for me shall surely find me...  My paths are those of justice and right.  those who love and follow me are indeed wealthy.  I fill their treasures.  (Prov. 8:14-22)
  • For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life and wins approval from the Lord. (Prov. 8:33-36)

From Matthew:

  • For I was hungry, and you fed me; I was thirsty, and you gave me water; I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home; naked, and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me...when you did it to these my brothers, you were doing it to me!  (Matt. 25:35-36, 40)
  • Keep alert and pray.  Otherwise temptation will overpower you.  For the spirit indeed is willing, but how weak the body is! (Matt. 26:41)

From Psalms:

  • You alone are my God; my times are in your hands.  (Ps. 31:15)
  • Blessed is the Lord, for he has shown me that his never failing love protects me like the walls of a fort!  (Ps. 31:21)
  • Oh, love the Lord, all of you who are his people, for the Lord protects those who are loyal to him, but harshly punishes all who haughtily reject him.  So, cheer up!  Take courage if you are depending on the Lord.  (Ps. 31:23-24)
  • You are my hiding place from every storm of life; you even keep me from getting into trouble!  You surround me with songs of victory.  I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.  (Ps. 32:7-8)
  • ...abiding love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.  So rejoice in him, all those who are his, and shout for joy, all those who try to obey Him.  (Ps. 32:10-11)
  • But the eyes of the Lord are watching over those who fear him, who rely upon his steady love.  (Ps. 33:18)
  • We depend upon the Lord alone to save us.  Only he can help us; he protects us like a shield.  No wonder we are happy in the Lord!  For we are trusting him.  We trust his holy name.  Yes, Lord, let your constant love surround us.  For our hopes are in your alone.  (Ps. 33:20-22)
  • If you belong to the Lord, reverence him; for everyone who does this has everything he needs.  Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those of us who reverence the Lord will never lack any good thing.  (Ps. 34:9-10)

From Exodus:
  • Rest on the Sabbath, for it is holy.  (Ex 31:14)
  • For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested on the seventh day, and was refreshed.  (Ex 31:17)
  • say you are my friend, and that I have found favor before you; please, if this is really so, guide me clearly along the way you want me to travel so that I will understand you and walk acceptably before you.  (Ex. 33:12-13)
I would take time to make comments on my readings, but most verses speak for themselves, and they ministered to me as I read them.  My husband, my Valentine, is waiting to play Sequence.  He wants to get beat again!!  

Make time for your spouse this week in many special ways.  And if you don't have a spouse, make time for yourself.  Indulge yourself...get some flowers, some candy, have lunch with a friend, take a walk in the fresh air, do something special for someone else, and most of all, know that Jesus loves you and wants to spend time with you!

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