Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IOW: Think on These Things...

Debbie is hosting In Other Words at her blog Heart Choices. Visit her to read more posts for today's quote and to post your own.
The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. ~Rick Warren
Oh be careful little eyes what you see...

Oh be careful little ears what you hear...

How long are words, images, impressions with us? According to a required study skills I had in college, everything we take in is in our "memory forest." We don't lose any memories, just the ability to access them. If that is true, then everything we see, hear, do is with us forever.

Makes that little nursery school song much more serious and important to heed, doesn't it?

My life has been affected by words, at times profoundly. Let's explore the truth of Rick Warren's quote with a few examples from my own experiences:

Example 1 -
What was said by a parent who grew up with much worse abuse hefted his way than he sent mine: "Why did you do that? Are you stupid?"

What I thought: I can't do anything right. I must be stupid.

How I felt: Incompetent and worthless.

How I acted: I always suspected that any negative words had underlying meaning-that I really wasn't loved. I still have problems taking words at face value without trying to see if the person is saying more about me than his/her words. I was always striving for approval, never convinced that I had any abilities, never believing that my successes measured up...even when I spent 2 years of college on the president's and dean's list and graduated with a 3.9 GPA.

Example 2 -
What was said by a mean fellow 5th grader: "Don't look at me with those bug eyes!"

How I felt: Ashamed, nervous about my appearance. If my eyes are ugly, all of me must be too.

How I acted: Embarrassed whenever anyone noticed my eyes, which are my most noticeable feature. Ungracious whenever I was complemented on them. I sought approval through the attentions of boys. At one point in my adult life, I even felt that others' opinions of me carried more weight than my husband's because he had to say nice things since we were married.

Example 3 -
What was said by a jaded college writing professor: "Your paper is childish, your points trite." (Gave me an F on my first assignment & I barely pulled a C out of the class.)

How I felt: Destroyed. The one area I had ever felt good about, that I had always had success in, was a big lie. My writing was bad, so I am worthless.

How I acted: I stopped writing for more than 15 years. I tried to fill my life with activities to make up for the hole left in my spirit by not writing. I burned myself out saying yes to every task asked of me at church, became obsessed with crafts, cooking gardening and self-sufficiency, and at one point, tried to convince my husband to give up his Air Force career to move to a remote farm and so I could hide away from the world.

Too often we allow ourselves to be drawn in to the spirit-breaking cycle of thoughtless words and deeds. Unfortunately, our minds more easily accept what people say to us than what God says to us. As a redeemed child of the King, I have the right to claim all His words of love to me.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:5-6,8
Even when I was an enemy of God, He loved me.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
~ Romans 5:10
Despite my most stupid, ugly, and incompetent points, the Creator of the Universe knew me and loved me anyway.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
~ John 15:16
God's words should supersede any words we hear from the world, should dominate any thoughts we have, should guide our feelings to the purpose He has for us, and be the deciding factor in the way we act.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
~ Romans 8:16
For the Father up above is looking down in love...
Finally, [sisters], whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virture and if there is anything praiseworthy--think on these things.

The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
~ Philippians 4:8-9
It is sad to realize that, had I just grasped these things as a young woman, much pain would have been spared me and more fruit for His kingdom would have been produced. I am so grateful that God's strong love pushed through the negatives and turned my life into a positive, happy one.

P.S. Yes, that is really the color of my eyes. Thank you for noticing. ;-> And my daddy thinks I am brilliant and talented....Also, I am writing again-nearly every day. And the only earthly opinion about my appearance & writing that truly matters to me is that of my wonderful, supportive husband.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Selah: Walking on Water

Saturday Selah
This morning I want to share a short but powerful paragraph I read in the foreword to Madeleine L'Engle's beautiful book Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.

On following God's call to use your talent:

"Be encouraged. Close your eyes and let go. Remember, as Peter did, what it felt like when nothing was sustaining you in the small space between your feet and those daunting waves but the power of an unrelenting Love.

And walk on." ~Nicole Nordeman, singer

Dear Friends when you doubt everything else: your call, your talent, your ability, your willingness, remember the Creator of the universe loves you and has gifted you to do His good will!

Selah is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". Selah notes a break in the song and as such is similar in purpose to Amen in that it stresses the importance of the preceding passage.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funnies: Taxes are "Funny" Business

These are sorta funny...mostly sad, sad truth. But if you can't laugh this time of year...you just wanna cry! I prefer wry laughter to dry tears.

John F. Iekel
The term "tax humor" is no doubt an oxymoron to many people; to the more cynical, it is an apt description of the entire tax code.

Milton Berle
I just filled out my income tax forms. Who says you can't get killed by a blank?

Tom Lehrer
On my income tax 1040 it says 'Check this box if you are blind.' I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away.

Vanya Cohen
When there's a single thief, it's robbery. When there are a thousand thieves, it's taxation.

Will Rogers

The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

Ronald Reagan
The taxpayer: that's someone who works for the federal government, but doesn't have to take a civil service examination.

Robert A. Heinlein
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss.

G. Gordon Liddy
A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.

Thomas Jefferson
The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public monies.

Will Rogers
If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac
It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income.

Dr. Laurence J. Peter

America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation.

Milton Friedman
Congress can raise taxes because it can persuade a sizable fraction of the populace that somebody else will pay.

Benjamin Tucker
To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult to injury.

Albert Einstein

[on filing for tax returns] This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.

John S. Coleman
The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.

Austin O'Malley
In levying taxes and in shearing sheep it is well to stop when you get down to the skin.

Mark Twain

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.

Winston Churchill
There is no such thing as a good tax.

Will Rogers

It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for.

James Madison
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents...

Will Rogers
Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even.

Robert A. Heinlein
There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Arthur Godfrey
I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is I could be just as proud for half of the money.

H. L. Mencken
Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.

Ronald Reagan
Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Jay Leno
Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what's called a red flag. That's something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That's a red flag.

Michael McShane
I owe the government $3,400 in taxes. So I sent them two hammers and a toilet seat.

Kim @ Homesteader's Heart hosts Friday Funnies. Visit her for more chuckles and to share yours.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

IOW: YES! God Does Allow U-Turns

Karen is hosting In Other Words at her blog In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. Visit her to read more posts for today's quote and to post your own. P.S. I borrowed my title from Allison Bottke. Visit her at Boomer Babes Rock!
God's promises are never affected by our failures. He can use us at any age. ~Michael Youssef, Leading the Way
Busy life, growing children, crowded schedules, and suddenly I'm in my mid-40s--where did my life go? What happened to all my grand plans? What have I done for my Lord in these 4-1/2 decades?

Too often our choices lead us away from the path God sets before us. I knew I was called to write from an early age, that God has given me the gift of understanding and sharing the Scriptures -- not from a pulpit, but from the written page.

How many times have I picked up a book or turned on the television instead of sitting at my desk with my Bible to write? How often have I opened an Internet browser to do a bit of research and wasted precious time surfing?

Why do I let myself be so distracted from the work I know God has for me? Why do I plunge ahead without His word as my guidance, only to come up dry and fruitless?
Return you backsliding children and I will heal your backslidings. (Jeremiah 3:22 NKJV)
Thankfully our heavenly Father is full of compassion on our frail humanity. He reassures us that when we can't stand up for Him, He will lift us up.
Therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you. (Isaiah 30:18 NKJV)
I am so glad God included the failings of the apostle Peter in Scripture. Watch how Peter's walk along the path God ordained for him, curves and bumps from mountain top to the pits of despair and back to glory:

On the Mountain Top -
He said to them, "But who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18 NKJV)
Stumbling Down the Hillside -
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day.

The Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"

But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:21-23 NKJV)
Face-planted in the Ravine -
Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."

Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." (Matthew 26:31-35 NKJV)
Then they spat in His face and beat Him...Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."

But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."

And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."

But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"

And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."

Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!"

Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:67-75 NKJV)
Back Up on the Mountain -
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words...Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst...Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it." (Acts 2:14, 22-24 NKJV)

And with many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation." Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:40-41 NKJV)

Peter went on from this GIANT u-turn to preach the Good News, to build up the believers' faith, to glorify God with his life.

Lord, I pray you can use even me with all my weaknesses--guide me in Your path and make this second half of my life what You always intended for me. Amen

For a thorough listing of Bible promises, I found on this site a compilation: Precious Bible Promises by Samuel Clarke, D.D. (1675-1729).

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Elements of Easter

Saturday Selah: Song to the Lord

Selah is probably either a liturgico-musical mark or an instruction on the reading of the text, something like "stop and listen". Selah notes a break in the song and as such is similar in purpose to Amen in that it stresses the importance of the preceding passage.
Saturday Selah
I will exalt You, my God the King;

I will praise Your name for ever and ever. ~ Psalm 145:1
Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD, O my soul. ~ Psalm 146:1

Praise the LORD.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,

How pleasant and fitting to praise Him! ~ Psalm 147:1

This week I discovered a delightful poet, Helen Lowrie Marshall [1904-1975]. Her poems sing praise to God and refreshment on my soul. I want to share a Selah from her with you:

Each day, upon my daily round,
I find myself on holy ground-
The morning-glories on my fence
Inspire quiet reverence.
Just one small, tender seedling grew,
And now, this miracle in blue.
A robin in the apple tree
Sings out his glad doxology.
I hear the pure, unsullied joy
Of laughter from a little boy;
I bow before the firm belief
And faith of one who lives with grief;
I watch a jet plane skim the skies
And marvel at man's enterprise;
I look upon a field of wheat
And thank God for the bread we eat;
I watch the benedictive rain
On low-bowed heads of flower and grain.
A friend drops in, a neighbor calls,
The lamps are lit, night gently falls;
Contentment settles with the sun
In labors of the day well done.
So many little altars there,
So many simple calls to prayer,
So many reasons for thanksgiving-
The sacraments of daily living.

Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD from the heavens,

Praise Him in the heights above. ~ Psalm 148:1

Praise the LORD.

Sing to the LORD a new song,

His praise in the assembly of the saints. ~Psalm 149:1

Praise the LORD.

Praise God in His sanctuary;

Praise Him in His mighty heavens. ~ Psalm 150:1
On this Saturday, while we wait in excitement for Resurrection Sunday...pause to praise the Lord God Almighty for His beautiful gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Weight of the Cross

Good Friday: We Were His Cross

And He, bearing His cross, went out to...Golgotha, where they crucified Him. ~ John 19:17-18
John, the beloved disciple, describes Christ's crucifixion in simple, straight-forward terms.

Let's break it down and explore the details:

And He...

Jesus - (Yahweh saves)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. ~ Matthew 1:21

Christ - (the Anointed One)

You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. ~ Matthew 16:16

Son of God -

And when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God." ~ Matthew 27:54


...bearing His cross...

was spat upon and beaten -

I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. ~ Isaiah 50:6

Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands. ~ Matthew 26:67

was scourged and disfigured -

So His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. ~ Isaiah 52:14

So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. The the soldiers led Him away...they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head...then struck Him on the head with a reed and spat upon Him. ~ Mark 15:15-19


...where they crucified Him...

died in our place -

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. ~ Isaiah 53:6-7

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him...Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." ~ Luke 23:33-34

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness all over the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" ~ Matthew 27:45-46

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, adn the rocks were split. ~ Matthew 27: 50-51



For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. ~ John 3:16

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

Therefore remember that...at that time you were without Christ...having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For through Him we...have access by one Spirit to the Father. ~ Ephesians 3:11-13, 18

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:4-7



I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday Selah: Because I Love Him

Saturday Selah
[S]he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. ~Psalm 91:1 [NIV]
The sixteen verses of Psalm 91 are an amazing affirmation of the true relationship a believer can have with the Lord...when she dwells in Him.

Dwell: 1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.

Our relationship with God should inspire confidence because we can be assured we belong.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." ~Psalm 91:2 [NIV]
Dwell: 2. to live or continue in a given condition or state.

We can choose to live in the secure knowledge that God is our Protector, Jesus is our Advocate, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter.
If you make the Most High your dwelling - even the LORD, who is my refuge - then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. ~Psalm 91:9-12 [NIV]
Dwell: 3. to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing.

Our desire to be with the Lord is a natural response to our Creator - He put it there. We can search for other things to fill the longing to be in oneness with God, but it is only He who can satisfy us. When we acknowledge that and realize that the longing is just the first hints of the love we have for Him, we can then seek Him with our whole being.
"Because [s]he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue h[er]; I will protect h[er], for [s]he acknowledges my name. [S]he will call upon me, and I will answer h[er]; I will be with h[er] in trouble, I will deliver h[er] and honor h[er]. With long life will I satisfy h[er] and show h[er] my salvation." ~Psalm 91:14-16 [NIV]
Synonyms of Dwell:
Abide: to remain, continue, stay.
Linger: to remain or stay on in a place longer than is usual or expected, as if from reluctance to leave.
Reside: 1. to dwell permanently or for a considerable time; 2. to abide, lie, or be present habitually; exist or be inherent; 3. to rest or be vested, as powers, rights, etc.

I challenge you, Beloved of God, to read Psalm 91 every day for 30 days. Let is soak into your soul...abide, linger, reside...dwell on His words of promise to you. Along the way, if you feel led to, please share the insights and blessings the Lord gives you from this beautiful Psalm.