Forty Years!

God’s Billboard!

Welcome readers to the first day of August 2021. Today is John and my fortieth wedding anniversary! I honored this accomplishment by donating to Israel 365 to plant a tree in Israel. Praise the Lord for prompting me with one of Tuly Weitz’ emails. Oh, I took this photo Friday on our way to Carlisle, PA. We traveled there to pick up my nephew Ethan and his friend Daniel. They live in southern Virgina and are both going into tenth grade. We haven’t seen Ethan or my sister, who is his mom, for two years because of Covid restrictions. The boys are here for a week to experience life in Northern New York and to see family. Daniel has never been to New York State, so this is an excellent opportunity for him.

The forty years the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness come to mind. I was eighteen when we married, John twenty-five. Forty years later, we are fifty-eight and sixty-five. According to God’s Word, we would have died in the wilderness at these young ages if we were the Israelite slaves who came out of Egypt.

I am thankful for Jesus Christ’s sacrifice that made a way for us. I know there is much more living to do in God’s kingdom here on earth. We are watching our grandchildren grow and develop into the young people God made them to be and learning to relate to our children and in-laws as maturing adults. There are so many of God’s promises to me that are yet to be fulfilled! Thinking about those dying in the wilderness, most in the prime of life, makes me sad after observing how the Lord cared for them all throughout the forty years.

What about you? What if you made a major sin decision in your youth, had no chance to repent, and had forty years of sorrow over that decision (and died)? Many people these days are in the same predicament; not understanding the mercy, grace and love given to all because of the blood of Christ Jesus, God’s Son, they sit in the darkness of sin, sickness, and oppression. The hopelessness that pervades the earth is evidence that people are not following Christ, don’t have a relationship with the Savior, or do not understand the Great Exchange: paying the price He did not owe to pay the debt we cannot pay. The spotless Lamb paid the full price for every sin and sickness for all generations. Christ died for ALL, for ALL time! Remember, He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Ask the Holy Spirit of God to search your heart and cleanse your soul. We do not need to live in despair; Christ has won the victory! Praise God, because of Jesus, I can look forward to many more years in His kingdom here on earth, all for His glory! Remember, the hardest person to forgive is often yourself….

July Abundance!

Welcome, my dear readers, to another gathering of my thoughts. We just picked a delicata-aka- sweet potato-squash that is about twelve inches long. This one’s about four times the size of the ones we picked last year. I think we could feed an entire group of people with this abundance!

We have had a lot of rain recently, so all our squash plants are growing quickly and we have at least four more delicata’s almost the same size, as well as huge spaghetti squash. John helped me put up supports for all our tomato plants and I pruned the bottom leaves today so we can see what’s ripening. We also picked a dozen onions that have matured, the last of our first round of peas, and half a dozen Hungarian sweet peppers [they’re like sweet banana peppers]. I finally found a new lavender plant and really had to hunt to find a store that still has pea seeds so I could plant the third round of peas; our second planting has pretty burgundy and white blossoms and just a couple tiny peapods formed so far.

Did I mention we picked a basket full of green beans for John’s sister and still have two containers of radishes in our fridge? Thursday, his sister and her husband joined us to pick blueberries, we shared venison burgers and fries with them, then played two rounds of Chicago five [we have our own family version of the game]. We picked another two five-gallon pails full of blueberries, on top of the two buckets we picked last week, so our freezer is filling up and we are working to make room. I made gluten-free pie crusts with the rice flour blend that I mix and my “Can’t Fail” pie crust recipe. With three of the crusts in the freezer, yesterday I made an apple blueberry pie with apples that have been sitting out with a crumb topping that turned out well. Today I am using the second half of the apples I diced, our last frozen strawberries from last year’s picking, and the two crusts I had left to use. As you may surmise, we are eating very well between the abundance of last summer and fall running into this summer’s bounty!

Let’s return to my Scripture concentration for 2021:

Philippians 1:6… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Romans 11:36  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Which leads me into the last day of When Faith Is Forbidden 40 Days On The Frontlines With Persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton. He ends by asking, “What do you want your spiritual legacy to be? Do you want it to be one that Satan will still be mad about long after you’re dead and gone? For your journal, write about the legacy you want to leave. What will you do today to add a brick to the spiritual legacy you intend to build?” (page 266)

Along with this challenge, I will leave you with a photo I took of God’s glory displayed in the clouds as we drove yesterday. I pray you all keep close to Jesus and let the Spirit of God lead you into the exciting Zoe life only Jesus can give!

The Ides Of July

Well dear readers, July 15th, 1983 is the day my eldest son was born. As he was growing up, two years in a row there were major events on his birthday. The microburst happened on July 15 and in 1996, Southern Mexico had an earthquake and a Belgian jet crashed.

Jul 15 Southern Mexico hit with 6.5 earthquake Jul 15 A Belgian Air Force C-130 Hercules carrying the Royal Netherlands Army marching band crashes on landing at Eindhoven Airport [from Bing search what happened July 15, 1996]

http://www.wwnytv.com/2020/07/15/years-later-remembering-microburst/#:~:text=WATERTOWN%2C N.Y. (WWNY) – Wednesday marked the 25th,Star Lake took the brunt of the storm.

He wasn’t sure he wanted his birthday to come again! Most people have heard of “The Ides of March” but there’s also The Ides of July! Well, now his wedding anniversary is on his birthday, I think it redeems the date for him. this is his daughter enjoying her birthday!

Jumping off from this topic, I want to share a couple things that stuck out to me this week. The first I want to share is what Johnny and Elizabeth Enlow had to say about cleaning up the evil that’s crept into the church and what to be prepared for as things are exposed in the next days not only in the churches, but in all levels of society; not just in the U.S.A., but around the world. One example the Enlow’s used was the church they were first volunteer ministers in. The core of that ministry was led by a Pastor who had been abused as a child. Through mis-use of Scripture, he had a ‘secret doctrine’ of evil at the core of the ministry that hurt many. I remember one of the first charismatic churches in our area used this Scripture:

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Many couples divorced and married others because “I’m a new creation; old things have passed away.” The devil loves it when the church descends into sexual sins. Most false religions involve child sacrifice and lewd sexual acts, but Christian churches are not exempt. God created marriage between one man and one woman so the union of flesh would be holy and godly children would be born for the Father’s plans to be accomplished. I wonder how many of God’s chosen ones have been aborted by the enemy trying to thwart God’s plans. If we don’t live by the Spirit, we die in the flesh like our original forbearers Adam and Eve.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

On YouTube, look for JOHNNY AND ELIZABETH ENLOW: IT’S CLEAN-UP TIME! on Elijah Streams July 9, 2021

I am coming to the end of When Faith Is Forbidden; 40 Days on the front lines with persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton. Days 34-35 told of a wife from North Korea who was put in prison for reading a Bible and sharing what she was learning. Mrs. Choi was terribly abused and beaten in prison, but would not reveal who gave her the Bible. Her hands were beaten with a lead pipe until they are no longer useable for her; when she went to trial, her face was so swollen from beatings, she could not speak in her own defense and they sentenced her to fifteen years in prison. Her husband finally sold their house and everything they owned and gathered money from anyone who would contribute to pay to have her released early. Mrs. Choi escaped to South Korea, but is having a hard time forgiving her abusers. This is not keeping her from giving her testimony on Christian radio programs that broadcast to North Korea and bringing salvation to many.

Mrs. Choi’s story brings two things to mind. First, how much should we share about our abuse when the Bible says not to even talk about the things done in darkness; about the things the evil one does? Second, I have never experienced abuse half as much as she has; what right do I have to withhold forgiveness toward anyone in my life?

Day 36 also spoke volumes to me. A man from a small village in Laos traveled to the capitol to experience life and find the jobs people told him were plentiful there. He found no work, no food, ended up living in the streets. Before he left home, he’d been told to find a building with a cross on it and he should find free rice. He had to be shown what a cross looked like! Well, he found a building with a cross, walked into the church, heard the gospel and went away rejoicing and sharing his faith gained from a single sermon! Todd didn’t find out if the man ever got rice, but he definitely got the gospel and the fire of God!

The question is: we have heard so many sermons, so many videos, read so many books; are we hearers of the Word and not doers? This man heard a single sermon and went out with joy to share what he’d heard with many. This is the prayer I wrote out:

Lord, we are as the fatted calf, content in all the provisions and comforts of this life. Help me not become complacent and waste all this fatness meant to feed those You put in my path. Holy Spirit, lead me into all truth and fill me with boldness and a passion to share what is invested in me. Don’t let it stagnate. Your love, Oh Lord, is life to the living. May I share it well as long as You sustain this life in me. Amen.

So many lives depend on what I do; I’m going on with Jesus!

Earth and Heaven

Welcome faithful readers to another musing. This has been a week of much reading; mostly the Christian romances in Love’s Treasure Limited Edition. It’s $9.99 for the Kindle edition, or free with Kindle Unlimited if you want to delve into an excellent, varied group of relationship stories. It has definitely helped me appreciate my husband more and contemplate other relationships I’m involved in. I’m also enjoying different venues and some British and Aussie settings as well.

Love's Treasure - A Christian Romance Collection: Limited Edition by [Juliette Duncan, Marion Ueckermann, Autumn Macarthur, Joy Ohagwu, T.K. Chapin, Lorana Hoopes, Elizabeth Maddrey, Evangeline Kelly, Valerie Comer, Naomi Rawlings, Valerie M.  Bodden, Melissa  Tagg, Mandi  Blake, Carol  Moncado]

This week, we have been amid frequent rain showers and yesterday a touch of hurricane winds and rain. This means I spent one day reading and playing MahJong, was glad to be inside doing my weekly cleaning for my friend the next day, and John and I spent yesterday running errands, searching for a new printer, donating blood, and dinner at Red Lobster with friends. It was good to get out together, even on a rainy day. This is the first time John has donated blood in many years, but he’s right back into the swing of things; he pre-registered for the next donation before I did! He’s glad he had time to get a haircut amid our errands. We also hadn’t eaten at Red Lobster in a couple years and had a great time with a couple we just met a month ago, getting to know more about each other as we shared a delectable meal; including dessert!

Image result for Old People Eating Clip Art

On the heaven end, I’ve been thinking about some things on earth we won’t have use for in heaven. I’ve had a passion for books and videos about people who have seen heaven for many years. The newest revelator I’ve met was on Elijah Streams recently, Kim Robinson. As with Kat Kerr, the Lord has taken her to see heaven multiple times. God really wants us to know what’s being prepared for us, adding to what the Holy Spirit inspired people to write in the Bible. As the Apostle John said at the end of his book:

John 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

Well, to begin, there is no fear in heaven. Imagine being able to do things on earth without any fear of injury, failure, loss of life… not possible with gravity, as well as evil being involved. There are stories from revelators of babies playing with wild animals, out of this world rollercoasters, flying like Superman…no fear of drowning in the River of Life, no fear of losing a loved one, no car accidents or people with evil intent. Death is conquered; our biggest reason to fear here on earth!

How about a body that has no need for elimination of wastes? From eyewitness accounts, they make all things in heaven from air; not the dust of the ground. You can eat to your heart’s content with no food allergies, no weight gain, no cleanup. There are no toilets in heaven! Yes, there are vehicles, but no need for gas. You won’t have to brush your teeth either. You don’t have to change baby diapers or clean litter boxes or walk your dog with a poop scoop and trash bag.

I wonder what will replace my love of changing diapers and cleaning people’s houses? As I muse on that, I realize I like the interaction with the child or the homeowner while I’m cleaning. I’m sure I’ll still love on all types, sizes and ages of people throughout eternity, even if I don’t need to clean!

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

Many people are skeptical of these “revelators”, but for me, they fill in gaps in my understanding of what’s in the Bible and agree with what I’ve read. Notice, in these days we have access to the Holy Spirit of God, so for us, these things are no longer great mysteries. The Bible says it’s the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out. Use your sanctified imagination and let the Holy Spirit reveal things you have wondered about for years. Happy Holy Ghost exploring!

Planning Your Escape?

Hey readers, remember a few weeks ago I wrote about my husband’s new truck? Well, you know the free trial of Sirius XM Radio you get with a new vehicle these days… taking advantage of it, we’ve been listening to The 70s on 7 channel and this song from my younger days popped up. I guess I never paid much attention to the words when it was new, so this time I listened to hear what Rupert actually said; not just the chorus. Look for the wisdom revealed!

Escape (The Piña Colada Song)

Rupert Holmes

I was tired of my lady
We’d been together too long
Like a worn out recording
Of a favorite song

So while she lay there sleepin’
I read the paper in bed
And in the personal columns
There was this letter I read

If you like piña coladas
And gettin’ caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga
If you have half a brain
If you like makin’ love at midnight
In the dunes on the cape
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for
Write to me and escape

I didn’t think about my lady
I know that sounds kinda mean
But me and my old lady
Had fallen into the same old dull routine

So I wrote to the paper
Took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet
I thought it wasn’t half bad

Yes, I like piña coladas
And gettin’ caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne
I’ve got to meet you by tomorrow noon
And cut through all this red tape
At a bar called O’Malley’s
Where we’ll plan our escape

So I waited with high hopes
And she walked in the place
I knew her smile in an instant
I knew the curve of her face

It was my own lovely lady
And she said, “Oh, it’s you”
Then we laughed for a moment
And I said, “I never knew”

“That you like piña coladas
And gettin’ caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean
And the taste of champagne
If you like making love at midnight
In the dunes on the cape
You’re the lady I’ve looked for
Come with me and escape”… … …

Songwriters: Rupert Holmes For non-commercial use only. Data from: Musixmatch

I share this song with you because it coordinates with a book I read recently. More Than This, Stuck In A Rut by Marion Ueckermann, is part of Love’s Treasure, A Christian Romance Collection. It’s also Book 1 of Marion’s A Rustic Falls Romance series set in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa. The couple at the center of this story are in their fifties; Pastors recently moved to small-town Rustic Falls from the big city where they were passing as ships in the night. Amid ministry that brought several churches into being, the last one a large church with many demands, the couple lost themselves serving everyone else’s needs. They have two grown daughters serving as missionaries and a son in Bible College. This small village church they are now pastoring has been running well without leadership for a year. What is this couple’s role in this new place? How will they find their way back to each other? Throw in a new Puli puppy, and life gets extra-exciting!

I’d like to touch on that puppy I’d never heard of…

Image result for Puli Puppy. Size: 142 x 95. Source: www.askideas.com
A Hungarian Puli Puppy

As we go through our marriage, we can easily lose our connection amid the busyness of life. Demands of children, work and church activities, even if you are not in leadership, make it easy to miss connecting with each other as husband and wife. The Christian life is meant to be a sacrifice… right? Well, God never meant for us to break the sacred bond of marriage as the sacrifice, although many have lost their marriages and families in pursuit of ministry. What does Scripture say?

Proverbs 5:18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Malachi 2:13  Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.

14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

I love Marion Ueckermann’s story. She handles this subject beautifully! I remember times my husband and I have gotten lost in busyness periodically through our forty years of marriage. As a young Believer, I heard the verses about rejoicing in the wife of your youth and desired to have a husband like that. Thanks be to God, my loving Father, that is just what I have now!

Marriage takes work and much prayer. What could you do right now, one small step for today, that would draw you closer to your spouse? Maybe just a listening ear, an unexpected compliment, or making time to ride with them to the store. Is child raising the rub? Barter with another family for time without the children… and have a date. Think about what brought you together in the first place, and as the Bible says in Revelation 2:4, repent and do the first things.

Lord, I pray against the spirit of divorce that is raging through our households. I ask for grace to use our sanctified imagination to discover ways to love, honor, cherish and appreciate the partner You have given. Fill our mouths with laughter and give us Heaven’s perspective on all our relationships. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Shalom my dear readers! Until we meet again, be blessed and be a blessing!

Love Or Fear?

The theme in all I am reading and hearing this week is: love conquers fear. Let me begin with some Scriptures.

1 John 3:13 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

The Outworking of Love

16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

A Dance in Donegal

A Dance In Donegal by Jennifer Deibel is one book I read this week. It is the first novel I have read by this author, and my second book from our library since Covid restrictions have eased. Born and bred in Boston, Miss Moira Doherty has heard her mother’s recollections of Ireland since childhood. When her mother dies in the summer of 1920, her dying wish is for Moira to become the teacher in Ballymann, the village in Donegal, Ireland, where her mother was born.

After struggling with fears and uncertainties, Moira finally takes the arduous journey to Ballymann, where she finds a handful of residents give her a warm welcome, but many are not friendly to an American. She has a lot to learn about the culture and language and rumors about her mother’s past being whispered behind her back, but she knows nothing about the “family secret” she’s being accused of. She relies on a few friends, including Sean McFadden, the handsome thatcher. He keeps popping up unannounced, rescuing her.

She finds the young student who has been threatening her and disrupting class ill to the point of death in his hovel. Can she love her enemy enough to nurse him to health… or will she let him die? The above scriptures play into her thought process as she struggles with God and with the people around her who don’t understand. Will the town ever accept her? What will Sean do with Moira’s growing convictions? It’s a story of faith over fear, and of reconciliation.

Image result for Jennifer Deibel Author. Size: 120 x 160. Source: www.goodreads.com
bing.com/images/ Jennifer Deibel

This is the first of Jennifer Deibel’s books I have read. It took me a couple chapters to get used to her writing style, but this is a solid story with wonderful characters that will help you contemplate love and fear, hate and suspicions, as well as forgiveness. I encourage you to pick this book up and spend a bit of time in the Donegal countryside, maybe finding a new view of who God is in Christ. The author has lived in Ireland and Austria, and currently lives in Arizona with her husband and three children, teaching in a middle school. You can check her out at: http://www.jenniferdeibel.com.

Let’s get back to the first letter of John and see how love conquers fear.

The Consummation of Love

1 John 4:17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

This morning, I am on Day 15 in Todd Nettleton’s book: When Faith Is Forbidden. Today’s title is: A Testimony In The Ground. Bilal has died. He was an Indian Christian whose family wants him to have a Christian burial. Radical Hindus want to take the body and do their traditional rituals, cremating the body to show Bilal recanted his Christianity and returned to his Hindu faith before he died. The family wants the body buried with a stone, testifying that he died a Christian. The radicals came to the house, the Pastor and a couple of other Christian men went outside, and the Hindus started beating them. They continued the beating even when the men tried to mount their bikes to escape. When they finally got away, Bimala, an aged widow, opened her door and gave them refuge. She was asked why she took them in… wasn’t she afraid of the radicals? Bimala’s reply: “I am the Lord’s servant, so I have to be strong. I will not fear, because He is with us. I thought that some of those people might make problems for me, but I have to be strong.” (page 111)

Bob Jones said when he was transported to heaven years before he died, the Lord asked him one question: “Have you learned to love?” (you can find his testimony on YouTube)

What do you want your legacy to be? I want people to remember that I loved well; not that I was legalistic, judgemental, or fearful. I know it’s an ongoing revelation from God and dying to flesh for me. Would you be like Bimala and Moira, coming to the place of not fearing anyone but God? It’s a struggle to come to the point of letting the love of God, in Christ Jesus, fill you to overflowing. We need to evict fear from our soul and replace it with the genuine fear of God; which is love. I encourage you to fight the good fight and live in the Spirit so you won’t fulfill the lusts of your flesh. Here’s one last admonishment from Jesus:

Jesus Teaches the Fear of God

Luke 12:4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!

Photo by Kammeran Gonzalez-Keola on Pexels.com

A Prayer Request and A Dinner

My dear readers, I am sharing this prayer request from my friend Rev. Cyprien A. Afrika who is ministering in Kenya. Please join me in praying for his nephew Yves. If you know a young, godly woman who would make a good wife for him, answering this prayer well, let me know and I’ll pass it on to Brother Cyprien.

My family, I would like to request prayer on behalf of my nephew named:  YVES  TUMUKUNDE

He is my son because after his parent’s death, I took him when he was four years old, now he is a grownup with twenty five years old. He is well educated through college level and now he is a man, this morning he informed me to put him in prayers which will help him find a life partner (wife). More so a Christian lady of 22-26 year old and not from home continent (Africa).

Kindly I request for your prayers concerning my Nephew’s issue

All for His Glory Rev. Cyprien A.

Hardcover Dinner with the Smileys : One Military Family, One Year of Heroes, and Lessons for a Lifetime Book

Because I am part of a military family and also like to invite people to have dinner with us, my first library book borrowed since the Covid restrictions have eased is: Dinner with the Smileys by Sarah Smiley, subtitled: One Military Family, One Year of Heroes and Lessons for a Lifetime. Sarah’s husband Lt. Commander Dustin Smiley, Navy pilot, is sent to Africa for a thirteen month deployment as their sons Ford, Owen and Lindell are celebrating their 11th, 9th, and 4th birthdays and Sarah is finishing her Master’s thesis while teaching at the college and writing a weekly column for the local paper. This is the story of how a family copes with their service member gone for an extended time, which can also apply to any parent left with children at home to fend for themselves. Before he left, Dustin told Sarah to invite people to dinner to fill his place at the table. He challenged her to 52 dinners during his deployment to help the time go faster for them all, and so he could hear about what was happening and feel like he was still a part of the family.

Sarah shares a lot about Ford’s eleventh year angst; caught ‘tween childhood and teenage years, he’s childish, mature, sullen, withdrawn, or ecstatic. This reminded me of my own eleven year angst that must have been difficult for my mother as well, especially because my dad died suddenly when I was that age. I’m not sure I took to maturity as quickly as Ford does in this tale! Sarah also includes Lindell’s antics as the four-year-old who likes to moon their guests and has fun no matter what’s happening… mostly… and Owen’s typical middle-child tendencies who’s a budding artist and the mediator more often than his mother would like.

I also liked her sharing activities to do in the state of Maine. One thing is hiking Mt. Khatahdin in Baxter State Park. My brother lived in Maine and had an account at the Khatahdin credit union when he moved to New York State and I was glad to hear about life in Maine, where some of my family still lives and I hope to visit soon.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a handle on the happy, sad, overwhelming and exciting parts of being a military family, or any other case of interrupted wholeness of the family unit. When my children were young, my husband, as a Federal employee, would go TDY for training or conferences anywhere from five days – to a month at a time – a couple times a year. I also have friends whose husbands work in another state or drive truck for long periods of time who deal with things on their own often. Sarah gets very real in this book and I think it would be helpful for many people. Also, what a challenge to invite people to have dinner with your family! Creative inspiration abounds in this tale.

Just a reminder: He who began a good work in you shall be faithful to complete it to the day of Christ Jesus. Be encouraged; look up my friends, your salvation is near!

May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

-An Irish blessing from all-greatquotes.com. [photo by Heidi Honey]

Have You Heard The Shepherd’s Voice?

I read The Shepherd’s Voice, Robin Lee Hatcher’s 1934 depression era novel set in Ransom, Idaho. The heroine’s name is Akira, Scottish for anchor. Her grandfather wanted her to have a powerful name to make her not be afraid of life; he put a lot of stock in meaningful names. The man with a past’s name is Gabriel, which means a strong man of God. Akira has kept the sheep farm her grandfather left when he died, never thinking about marriage, satisfied with life on her grandfather’s farm. Gabe has come back from prison to see his Lumber Baron father, who not only put him in prison, but owns most of the town… except Akira’s farm! Akira is of strong faith, but can even her faith stand up to what’s ahead with this waif of a man whom she found unconscious from hunger under her thinking tree and his blood-thirsty, manipulative father? As usual, Robin has woven an exciting, thought-provoking story with many surprising twists, much history, and faith! I highly recommend this book.

The Shepherd's Voice: A Novel by [Robin Lee Hatcher]

Robin begins with the following dedication:

“To the Good Shepherd, My Lord and King, Who took me from where I was, brought me to where I am, and, praise the Lord, isn’t finished with me yet. May the stories I write please You, Jesus, for if they don’t. they are without merit of any kind.”

The gist of the story is redemption. Has anyone fallen so far that God, in His mercy, cannot save them? Gabe is not the only character in this story that has a past, has a future, and has a choice to make. It makes me think about some people in my own life. Have I got hope for their future to put before them?

I am also reading a new book from The Voice of the Martyrs called When Faith Is Forbidden Forty Days On The Front Lines With Persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton.

Today I read Day 2 titled, “I Used To Beat Him”. The Scripture was 1 Timothy 1: 12-15

Glory to God for His Grace

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

What Todd shared on page 25 truly hit home for me, putting Paul’s story in a new setting. A VOM contact in Colombia has a saying: “‘A race horse can run just as fast in either direction.’ One who is zealous for sin will often become zealous for Christ. One who beat Christians might eventually accept beatings with joy in service to his king.'”

I am prone to categorize people as soon as I see them. This keeps me from loving them as God does and hinders my prayers for them. I put this problem before the Lord today and heard the Spirit of Jesus say:

Love, love, love – My love through you is the key. Love! Let Me say again – Love! Give thanks with a grateful heart for everyone I’ve put in your life. Stop and let Me show you what I think of them. Speak blessing and not cursing. It only takes a moment’s pause – I will give you time for that if you let Me. Pause, My dear one.

I challenge you today to think of one person in your life who is hard to love. What steps can you take to establish a bridge by which you can share the gospel with that one? Remember, without love, we are nothing. Love is of God and everyone who belongs to God has His love, no excuse. In this I am shamed and challenged. Are you?

Bumming Around

Welcome to another episode of my musings. It’s another busy week on my end, I assume it is for you as well. Almost half of the posts for the solar panels are in the ground and today we finally had a good rain day after weeks with none, and finally completed planting the garden except for moving my flowers into their new beds. I picked the first radishes, the “Early Globe” variety, which are a treat on salads. Our second air conditioner is in our dining-room window now, preparing for a hot week to come.

Oh, did I say, ‘Bumming around’? I spent about an hour in Salvation Army’s thrift store looking for a pair of jeans I can wear to work in the garden dirt. No success there, but I spent another hour browsing in Ollie’s with my 15% off coupon “burning a hole” in my purse. After a thorough perusal of the mattress pads, which was my primary reason for shopping there, I found the one that should fit our bed best. I also found two varieties of Kind snack bars, a couple books, a new journal, a couple boxes of assorted Birthday cards, and of course, a small bag of York peppermint patties; did I mention I also bought a container of mini peppermint patties at the bulk food store yesterday while picking up a bag of white rice flour I’d ordered? My ‘sweet tooth needs reigning in, I think. Amazing what you can find when you don’t have a time restraint on your shopping!

The Normal Supernatural Christian Life By Aliss Cresswell

My attempt at using Proverbs and the Virkler’s Naturally Supernatural book for devotions has gone by the wayside for now as I begin Aliss Cresswell’s book The Normal Supernatural Christian Life. Aliss’ testimonies of the miracles and healings that go on in their ministry gives me deeper hunger for the things of God. On page 15, Aliss shares that her name Alison means ‘sacred flame’ and the minister at her dedication as a baby quoted Psalm 104:4 “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.”

The minister prayed that… “‘I would be like a flame of fire and a messenger from God.’ I didn’t know this until recently, but for many years I have felt a fire burning within me, and from an early age have introduced people to Jesus.” (p. 15) Aliss shares this after a man sitting by her on a plane broke out in a sweat and turned red. He asked her what was going on; he was involved in other religions, but realized what was emanating from her was spiritually stronger than anything he’d experienced before, and he gave his life to the Lord!

We must understand we are mighty warriors, just as Gideon found out in the book of Judges. The time is NOW to take back our spiritual heritage and walk in the fullness of what Christ has purchased for us. After a week of floundering, I will dig in to this book and the Lord by the Holy Spirit and look forward to experiencing more of the fire Aliss talks about.

Even Forever: A Novel by [Robin Lee Hatcher]

Have I told you about the Birthday gift I got from Robin Lee Hatcher? Her birthday was four days before mine and she offered a free Kindle download of her new book, Even Forever, to her followers. I got to read it last weekend and realized again what a wonderful storyteller and character developer Robin is. Rosalie Tomkin is daughter of a drunkard who has been in jail and is just returning home to the boarding house she has been helping her mother run while he’s been gone. With a ne’er-do-well brother taking after his father’s sins, she wants to leave Boulder Creek, Colorado as quickly as possible. A wealthy visitor from California is staying at her mother’s boarding house. Could he be her ticket to the city? The book is set in 1890, just as Colorado is becoming a state and the railroad is coming their way. This is a story of redemption, God making a way of escape for the innocent, and ending the reign of terror. I enjoyed this historical fiction. Stories like this aren’t the only place dreams of the heart come true. I can see this tale giving hope to some hopeless people.

I rejoice that the strict guidelines for Covid protocol are loosening in our state! Yesterday I got to go inside the library for the first time in a year. God’s truth will prevail if we continue to wait patiently and pray in faith. Have you been invited to a prayer meeting lately? Please go if you get the chance! We need to gather with others to pray in agreement that God’s will shall be done here on earth as in heaven. We are in a new era and the Greater Glory is falling on us. I end with these Scriptures, summing up all that I’ve written. Yes, God is talking about bringing in the tithe, but I am claiming this whole passage. I’m assuming you tithe, as do I?

Malachi 3:10b “And try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
says the Lord of hosts;

Shalom to you, my dear ones. We will ponder again next week, Lord willing.

Proverbs on Memorial Day

Welcome to my current musings. I am reading the book of Proverbs in my Passion Translation Bible. I’ve spent a week on the first two chapters, so it will definitely take me over thirty-one days to get through it, but that’s my plan. I have thought of the thirty-one-day reading that many do as a month’s devotion; some do this repeatedly. Every time I read a chapter of Proverbs, I’m intimidated by the number of topics covered. So I am taking it slow and pondering as I go.

As we approach Memorial Day in the U.S. I pause to remember all those who have gone before. What sacrifices others have made for us all to stand where we are today is unfathomable. We have all heard stories of the past, but not often what happened in our personal family histories. Some memories are so painful, we will not share them even on our deathbed. Some are so silly or joyful, we have heard them many times, embellished with each telling. No matter what is in your own past, our collective past as a nation, or those tales from our long ago ancestors recorded in the Bible, all these tales become a part of our own tales. Our lives build on those that went before and those to come will build on what we have done.

So how do these two themes connect? King David’s son Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, as he reflected on his life and what he learned from being the wisest of men who ended up doing the foolish things God had told him not to do. Many of us have to learn from our own mistakes; it is the wise one who learns from others’ mistakes and avoids repeating them, for those who forget history are destined to repeat it. The entire book of Proverbs encourages us to follow hard after God; to seek and find what is good and what will enhance our life here on earth and our eternity. I take the following from The Message Bible.

Wise Sayings of Solomon

A Manual for Living

1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
    David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
    to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
    for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
    and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
    still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
    the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

God provided the entire Bible as a manual for living, but Proverbs delves into the deep meat with both feet. So where do you start?

Start with God

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

What will we gain from reading Proverbs? Let’s look at the benefits I found in the Passion Translation.

Proverbs 1:33 But the one who always listens to me
    will live undisturbed in a heavenly peace.
    Free from fear, confident and courageous,
    that one will rest unafraid and sheltered from the storms of life.”

My instigation for beginning the book of Proverbs came from someone (sorry, I don’t remember whom) who concentrated on the first eight chapters of Proverbs because she truly wanted to know the wisdom of God and follow it. As a follow-up to studying the book of James, it made sense to me to do the same. James tells us God freely gives wisdom to those who ask:

James 1:5 And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.

Who better than King Solomon, possessing more wisdom from God than any man before him, could lead us into the wisdom we lack? So, according to the Passion Translation, reading Proverbs will develop the wisdom you lack, freely given from our gracious Father God. Also, who doesn’t want to live in heavenly peace, free from fear, resting sheltered and unafraid? I see this as a good definition of the perfect peace we find when our mind dwells on the Lord! I pray we all find the grace to experience Shalom as we remember those who gave their lives for us to live in freedom. A blessed Memorial Day weekend to you all. I will connect with you again next week, Lord willing.

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