A Chimney in the fog

I love weather, all the seasons of the year, sunshine, rain, snow. That being said, even I am now tired of rain, rain, and more rain. Fields are large puddles of water. Mud is sticky. I watch other dog walkers. They, like Jack and I, are slogging through, one heavy foot at a time. Oh, for some consistent dry days!

A few mornings ago, I dressed and took Jack out for our first trudging in the rain. Back inside, my hot, steaming mug of coffee cheered me, but when I glanced out the window, all I could see was a pale grey, misty fog. I just stared while letting out a slow sigh of resignation to another day of wet, wet, wet. But wait! What’s that appearing on the rooftop across the road? An object of some sort? Curious, I keep my eyes locked on the object. Suddenly, I see it! I know what it is! A chuckle escapes as I realize my curiosity has captured the sight of a chimney!

As I kept my gaze on the chimney I thought of the verse in Hebrews 12:2 that says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” I thought of the storms in our lives: storms of uncertainty in what the day will hold, storms of grief when we are hurting over a dear one absent from our lives, storms of anger when an injustice has been done, storms of frustration, disappointment, and fear. Life holds so many storms that churn up the otherwise peaceful waters of our minds. Storms distort our view.

As I kept staring out the window at the chimney, it became clearer. Fog was dissipating around it. It’s the same in our spiritual worlds. As we keep staring at Jesus’s words of hope and direction, His truth comes clearly into view. When we see Jesus through the rains of despair, we see someone who is stronger than our fears, bigger than our dashed dreams, able to overcome our grief with His own peace. We may not recognize Him at first, as the thick fog of melancholy distorts our view, but keep looking. Fix your eyes on Jesus. Look to Him. His love for you will penetrate and shine strong through any pain this world hurls at us. David said it so well in Psalm 40:1-3, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

May the light of Jesus shine clearly in the foggiest of your days. Keep looking at Him until He comes into view. Then bask in the light of His love for you.

Preparing For Rapture – #4 in series

Don’t forget the P.S.

There is a story of two little girls playing together. One little girl said she didn’t feel very well. The other little girl said she would pray for her to feel better. The following conversation took place:

“What does pray mean?”

“It means talking to God.”

“Is God listening?”

“God is always listening. He loves you. God loves everybody and He wants to help everybody, but not everybody lets Him.”

“I want to let Him. I want to talk to Him but I don’t know what to say.”

“That’s easy . Just say, ‘Thank you for loving everybody. Thank you for listening to me. Please help me. Please help everybody.’ Amen.”

“What’s Amen?”

That’s just like saying, ‘The End.'”

“Okay. I’ll do it. ‘God, thank you for loving everybody. Thank you for listening to me. Please help me. Please help everybody. Amen. Oh, P.S. I love you, too.'”

The first little girl smiled. “That’s nice,” she said. “Probably not everybody remembers the P.S. but that’s like the most important part. Everybody likes to know that someone loves them.”

“Yes,” said the second little girl. “If I ask God for His help, and if He is listening to me all the time, and if He wants to help everybody, then I can at least tell Him ‘thank you,’ and ‘I love you.'”

“Yes,” said the first little girl, “Let’s never forget the P.S. It must make God feel good all over. It surely makes me feel good all over, too, just thinking about it.”

“Yeah,” said the second little girl as she smiled, looked into the sky, and shouted, “P.S.P.S.P.S.!”

Preparing For Rapture

Jack Wants A Tummy Rub

It can happen at any moment with no pre-warning. Jack just comes up to me, extends his paw to my arm and gently pulls. Jack wants a tummy rub. I comply. I don’t mind. In fact, it endears him to me even more, touching the part of my heart that oozes with love for him. I actually adore, as every loving pet owner does, doing what I know makes Jack happy. Sometimes, even if he isn’t asking, I give him a surprise tummy rub. Oh, what pleasure shines from his eyes.

During one recent tummy rubbing episode, I couldn’t help but think of that verse in Isaiah 55:1, “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink — even if you have no money. Come, take your choice of wine or milk — it’s all free!”
There are even times when we don’t actually need something, but we want something. We can come to our Heavenly Father and just ask. Do you simply desire sweet joy of being in His presence? Just ask. Do you want inner peace? Just ask. Do you want courage? Just ask. Do you want guidance? Just ask. Do you want rest of mind? Just ask. Your Father loves to give because He loves helping you and making you happy. He gives you everything you need to get through anything at all for that very reason.

God adores making you smile with pleasure even more than I love doing the same for Jack. So, whatever you are thirsty for today — come to Jesus. Tell Him. Soak in His presence. He is there. He will be what you need — today and everyday.

Preparing For Rapture – #2 in series

A Burden Bearer

The Apostle Paul exhorted us in Galations 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This verse comes especially to mind during this current worldwide covid-19 pandemic. As I’ve been thinking about it, I was reminded of the many stories of soldiers in time of war. A battle ensues, there are casualties. One soldier sees a brother in arms down. Without knowing if the soldier is alive or dead, another brother in arms lifts the soldier onto his back and carries him to safety. In that moment, the wounded soldier is given what he needs — a back to carry him through. What is needed around us today?

Often, when we think of bearing each others burdens, we think of prayer. Yes, of course, most needed; but as my mother has often said, “You sometimes have to put feet to your prayers.” In other words, bear the burdens in a practical manner. There are wonderful stories surfacing in this present war on covid-19 of people bearing each other’s burdens. Sometimes food is scarce and it is given. Sometimes computers are needed for home schooling and they are furnished. Sometimes bills need paying and funds have been provided. Parents are exasperated keeping children busy indoors and toys have appeared on the doorstep. Phone calls are made to laugh with a friend or offer a listening ear to the lonely. To be a burden bearer is a creative, fun, and rewarding endeavor, because joy and peace of heart and mind fills both the giver and the receiver.

May we always pray in our hearts, and may we always see needs with our eyes, soothe with our words, share what we have, and in so doing — shine the Light in the darkness — the role of a burden bearer.

Words of Hope and Encouragement

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I was sixteen years old. My father was in the US Air Force stationed at Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii. What fun spending three of my teen years in Hawaii. I became a Christian while attending Hawaii Baptist Academy; the best thing that ever happened to me.

It was a warm Friday night when I joined a group of my friends. We were on our way to attend a Christian concert in Honolulu. The musician was fairly new and traveling around Hawaii. About a hundred of us crowded into an empty room in the top of an old office building. The band and their equipment located themselves at one end. The rest of us crowded together and sat on the floor.

The lead singer began with his testimony. Then he introduced his latest song. The words resonated throughout my being, touching me in deep places of my heart. To this day that song has never left me. Often in difficult times the words echo in my being, the Holy Spirit using the words to remind me that nothing is too hard for God Almighty. No matter what happens in my personal world or in the world at large, God is there. He gives hope and peace and encouragement in all situations.

Hundreds of times in my life this song has blessed me. I include the words here. Most of you will know the song. If you don’t, find it on YouTube and have a listen. May it bless you as it has always blessed me no matter how difficult the moments of troubling times. The musician and band playing in that small office space? Andre Crouch and The Disciples. The song? Through It All.

I’ve had many tears and sorrow. I’ve had questions for tomorrow. There’s been times I didn’t know right from wrong. But in every situation, God gave me blessed consolation, that my trials come to only make me strong. Through it all. Through it all. I’ve learned to trust in Jesus. I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all. Through it all. I’ve learned to depend upon His Word. I’ve been to lots of places. I’ve seen a lot of faces. There’s been times I felt so all alone. But in my lonely hours, yes, those precious lonely hours, Jesus lets me know that I’m His own. Through it all. Through it all. I’ve learned to trust in Jesus. I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all. Through it all. I’ve learned to depend upon His Word. I thank God for the mountains. And I thank Him for the valleys. I thank Him for the storms He brought me through. For if I’d never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them, I’d never know what faith in God could do.

Old Things and New – 2021

My mother and I love pepper sauce. She recently made some and put it in an old coffee jar. In an unused bottle I poured some apple cider vinegar. On a window sill stands what used to be an old bucket. Now it’s a pretty flower pot. We all take old things, change its use, and make something new. God does the same thing to all who let Him. This thought has been on my mind with the passing of 2020 and the birth of 2021.

It’s been a worldwide difficult year. People have been filled with grief and loss: some from covid-19, others from financial ruin, still others from weather disaster. Disappointment and lost hope filled our minds and hearts in areas of health concerns, political upheaval, riot and hatred, financial insecurity, and the vast unknown yet to be displayed in 2021.

Is there help? Oh, yes. Our heavenly Father longs for us to allow Him to take what is old and make it new. He can empty our sorrow and replace it with comfort. He can take mind filled with turmoil and replenish with hope. He can take our fears of the unknown and remind us that when we get to tomorrow, He is already there, waiting to be our everything to get us through anything. He offers fresh peace, joy, and hope; not some of the time, but all of the time. Whatever grief and dismay came to you in 2020, I hope you give God a chance in 2021. In the words of King George VI during a Christmas Day broadcast in 1939, “I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown”, and he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.'”

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” II Corinthians KJV

Happy New Year!

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