Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - When you realize you are mad at God.


Forgiveness, Commitment, Journey... those are the three words I scribbled on my planner next to that day's list of things that needed to be accomplished.  Three words that were answers from God to my recent frustrations.

It has been a difficult summer as far as health is concerned but last week was particularly hard.  I had been waking up with extremely low blood sugar numbers.  I mean dangerously low.  Ever since the infection last winter, fatigue has been even more an issue than usual but add in wonky blood sugar and... well, that affects just about everything.

I began to notice all the tasks not getting done that were my responsibility.  As it was, my very busy husband had asked if I could take over a couple of his chores and I had to say no.  Except my usual mild demeanor was a snarky, "Are you kidding?".

Which is the mood I was in that morning as I stared at the planner, deciding what priority to write down and what could be let go and not liking it one bit.  That was when I heard Him, not out loud but in that still small Voice.  He said I was mad at Him.

No way, God!  I have walked with you too long to be mad and I'm still praying and still reading your Word (although not enough apparently) and I'm still saying all the right things and... by that time I began to realize He just might be on to something.  Except I didn't think I was mad at God, I still called it by the euphemism... frustrated... because that was the feeling attached to the thinking.

So right there, three words popped into my mind.  Three words I had to write down on the Planner in that day's section.  Forgiveness.  Commitment.  Journey.  I actually wrote them down before I knew what He was saying through them.

Forgiveness - He reminded me that it was okay to be frustrated about where circumstances are taking me because I don't understand it.  However, when that frustration turns to being angry about circumstances in life, then it slips into being angry at God.  There is a very fine line we can cross and, like me, we don't realize when we have crossed it. 

It sounds outlandish but I knew I had to forgive God.  Yes, God!  Because my days were not lining up like I expected or wanted them to... I was blaming Him.  Not realizing it at first but then that whole epiphany happened while writing on the Planner.  It was true.  I was mad at God and I needed to let go of expectations and forgive Him for allowing illness into my life.

Commitment - I felt as if He was asking me if I was truly committed to letting Him be in charge of my life.  It is easy to say, as a young Christian, that I will go anywhere you want me to go.  Africa?  You've got it!  Smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain?  Sure!  Live with two chronic illnesses?  Now you are asking too much God.  You are messing with my theology as well as my desires.  What about those healing verses? Insert silence... perhaps the sounds of crickets chirping... but no God answer.

While Forgiveness surprised me, Commitment did not.  We've had this discussion before, usually in the midst of trials so difficult I had to remind myself to breath.   I think He asks this question throughout our life.  Like Job, the enemy of our souls tells God we will serve Him when all is well but what if our days don't seem to make sense?  Certainly they will not bow to you, then.

There are some who do drop by the wayside, like the grain of wheat as it grows and the summer sun bakes it... some followers of Christ stomp their feet and shake their hands at Him and let the anger simmer... and wither on the side of the road.  They let their expectations, their feelings, affect their commitment.

Nope... going to stand firm and stay committed and keep my spiritual compass set to True North... toward that City whose Builder and Maker is God.  It isn't Heaven but it will be.  Some. Day.   In the meantime, He gives Grace for each day.

Like Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". 

Journey -While I may not like what I'm going through right now, it is true that when I look back on the journey so far, often I can see God tracks on the road.  Much like how I hardly ever see the animals that cross our property but when there is snow on the ground, their tracks are everywhere. They leave behind proof they exist even when I rarely actually see them.

If we dedicate our lives to walking with Christ, if we honestly say we are the kind of Christian that wants to honor and serve Him... then we will follow the journey He has planned.  I don't understand the intersection of His path and answers to prayer and His Will and our decisions.  Etcetera.  Minds far more theological have wrestled these questions for millennia.

Sometimes we just have to accept that we will not understand everything this side of Eternity.

I can have peace in the journey because I know He will not ask me to do anything that He has not equipped me to do. That doesn't mean there will not be rocks and hills and valleys and storms along the way.  He will take each one of us up to a point that we have to let go of our own plans and our own purposes and even our own abilities... to allow His work to be accomplished.

He allows us to go through various trials to mold us perfectly.  Uniquely. 

So often we judge ourselves and blame God.  He isn't pointing out that my windows did not get washed this year or that weeds are growing up among the plants around the deck.  He isn't sitting on the throne upset with me that I still owe letters to friends or that I finally got around to sorting through the In-basket on the desk to find insurance papers. 

God will have us answer to Him about what we did with what He gave to us.  Not what we absolutely cannot accomplish no matter how hard we try. That brings a lot of peace and helps to walk the journey unafraid of being honest with Him.  He knows I don't like having to deal with illness and you know what?  That means he also realizes that I am limited in what I can accomplish.  God does not put His people between a rock and a hard place.

So I will continue on this journey and if He should decide to take Juvenile Diabetes and Hashimoto's Disease away... that would be good.  If not... He gives grace every day to handle illness and financial issues and children (although I am blessed in that department) and everything else this fallen world throws at us.

In the end, we remember that the very journey is God's gift to us.  Life is His gift.  How we choose to live it is our gift to Him.

Image:  The hutch decorated for Fall last year.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Trusting your "gut"


Fans of the television show NCIS are well aware of the famous Gibb's "gut" feeling for it is rarely wrong.  If it ever has been wrong.  He believes in it so much that he trains the younger agents to develop their own "gut" sense to solve their cases.

There is a spiritual word for it called... discernment.  Over the years, as we learn to trust the discernment God gives us, we also can go a long way to solving our own mysteries of life.  Not to mention figure out the good guys from the bad guys, separate Truth from what is made up, and learn to trust ourselves when we feel God is saying something.

The past few weeks, I've had that "gut feeling"... that discernment from God... that it is once again time to deepen the pantry as much as possible.  For if nothing else, the world is in a precarious position.  I'm not afraid and I don't suggest stocking up in fear, instead I see it as God's reminder that it just may be possible we will need to stay inside awhile or there may be a stop in the flow of goods from one area to another.

Should North Korea decide to show off a bit and bomb anywhere on earth, it will affect us here in the States and in parts of the world not even near where a bomb would fall.  People will then become fearful and there most probably would be a run on stores for food and supplies.  We came near such an event recently when it turns out one of the missiles launched came uncomfortably close to a passenger jet.

In this country, another riot is going on as I write.  If you read any in-depth news coverage of what happened in Virginia (I gave up on the main stream media in the 1990s), you will hear about the numbers of people being bussed in to the city for this event.  A lot of people I trust for a very long time have written that these things don't happen by chance.  Someone is planning the riots and someone is pouring fuel on the very real problem of racism and someone is lighting a match.

I pray that we in the Church can build relationships between the races based on a mutual love for Christ and not let outside sources stir up dissension.  All races will be in Heaven and God made every one of us just the way He thought beautiful.

We need to have discernment when listening to the news.  It is not the same as when I grew up and you could trust that Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley were giving us the facts.  While I don't agree all the time with our current president, there is no way everything he does is bad and everything the previous president did was perfect. I'm thinking Walter and David leaned toward the liberal side of the political fence but the fact I'm guessing tells you there is a difference today. 

You see, everywhere we look today there is someone with a match ready to light the fire of rage and then we are shocked when we see a riot turn deadly in the U. S. or innocents mowed down in Spain.  Our "gut" is telling us there is something really, really wrong going on here and if we are students of the Bible, we see what is predicted in the days before Jesus returns.

Now, for the good news... Jesus is coming back.  Yep.  He is and everything going on around us is a sure Sign of that.  Another bit of good news is this... He decided you were going to be born at this time in history so that means He prepared you for such a time as this my friends.  He gave you that discernment you are feeling.  Not to mention that perfect love casts out fear.

I'm saying all this to encourage you to trust your "gut".  Listen to your instincts.  Spend time in prayer and ask God for wisdom if you are not sure what He wants you to do... and while you are at it, pick up some more water and some cans of food and perhaps a couple packages of dried fruit and don't forget the kibble for your furry loved ones.  Even a little extra will make a huge difference should you need them.

I wrote a few blog posts about How I Stock Up back in 2009.  Although it is not information on going to the store and stocking everything at once, it does show how I keep a pantry on a limited budget.  I admit, my pantry is not deep at all but it is good enough.  That series begins... here.

Trust your instincts and if God is telling you to stock some extra essentials, do so now.  He may or He may not, only God knows your needs and what they will be.  I have written before that I felt led to have a very deep pantry before Y2K and a good friend just added a little extra to her pantry but bought a generator (which I didn't do).  As it turned out, we had a job loss during that time and the extra food and supplies were such a blessing and she moved to an area where they used that generator a lot.  God knows and He cares.

ImageBrambley Hedge and my idea of a well stocked pantry!  (I love those books.)

NOTE:  Please forgive typos.  I go in for another shot of medicine in my eyes this week so I'm hoping they clear up like they did last time.  The computer is a little fuzzy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

King James Study Bible, Full Color, Large Print; a review


From the moment I opened this Bible, I loved it.  The full color photos make it beautiful, the font is larger than normal without being too big, and there are just the right amount of extras to make it a good study Bible.

The photos and descriptions of each book of the Bible provides a look into what each book is about, who wrote it, the time in history it is written, etc.  I love the images from the Holy Land that make one feel they are actually there.  Not to mention the maps, article inserts, and even a section at the very beginning telling how to use this study Bible.

Some Features Include:
  • Center-column references with translation notes
  • Beautiful full-color pages and features
  • Hundreds of full-color maps, images, and charts
  • 5,700 authoritative and time-tested study notes
  • Over 100 archaeological notes
  • Over 100 personality profiles highlighting important figures in Scripture
  • More than 200 notes of important Christian doctrines
  • Book Introductions and outlines
  • Easy-to-navigate topical indexes
  • Hebrew and Greek word-study concordances

While the KJV of the Bible is not my primary version these days, I believe every home should have a copy.  For there is nothing like the beauty of the original King James, the poetry, and the Shakespearean quality of the wording.  Like many people my age, all of my early Bible memorization was from the King James.

Whether you need a King James Version in your own home or you know someone who would love such a beautiful Bible that uses this version already, I highly recommend this new study Bible.  It would make a lovely gift for anyone but especially that person in your life that would appreciate larger-than-normal fonts.

The one negative some may find with this Bible is the large size.  However, it would have to be this big to provide larger print as well as the study Bible features.

The King James Study Bible was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

Further information can be found... here.  Although the Bible sent to me was a Bonded Leather edition, this link takes you to the hardcover edition.  If you scroll down, you will be able to view all options this Bible is available in as well as images from the inside.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - There are no inconsequential people

The results of the 2016 presidential election by county.

Recently I was listening to a speaker when he mentioned something about the presidential election.  Now usually the subject sends me to the remote in search of something like the BabyTV Channel but this was a question that I, too, had wondered about.

He asked the question how the polls could have gotten it so wrong prior to the election, predicting that the Democratic candidate would win in a landslide.  They were so certain of winning that one of the major news magazines had already printed their front cover to run the next day, titled "Madam President".  They lost.

It turns out the biggest reason is that the large polling companies did not poll those in America who lived in smaller towns and rural areas.  They thought their votes were... inconsequential.  The map above explains why that was a very bad decision.  For the map shows the results of the election by County.  That is a whole lot of Real Estate with smaller towns and rural areas and considering the Electoral College and all... a flawed arrogance.

It doesn't matter who we voted for, what this map shows is that the people whose opinions were disregarded are the very people who turned the results of the election to the other candidate.  There are no little people, no unimportant voters.

I was reminded after hearing this interview of the program an Ohio political leader had on one of the 20/7 news channels quite some years ago.  He was answering questions people had written in and one of them was from a viewer asking, "Since he supposedly broadcast the show from Ohio, what was the skyline of New York City doing in the background?".

He turned around and looked at the view through the window on the set and laughed.  Then he said something like, "Uh, that is not New York City.  That is Columbus, Ohio.  We do have skyscrapers in Ohio."  I found that such a description of the way people think of "fly over country" that all these years later I still think of it and get a chuckle.

The truth is, not only are there no inconsequential people living in the middle of this country... there are no inconsequential people anywhere in the world.  Not one.  For every man, woman, and child was created in the image of God.

I started writing this before the tragedy in Virginia yesterday but it struck me how honestly, the pollsters judging what rural and small town people are like have a lot in common with those who hate certain races because they think their own race superior to another.  It is all arrogance and God says over and over in the Bible that he hates pride.

Living in a big city does not make one any smarter or better than one who has corn and soybeans growing down the road.  Like, ummm... moi'.  Having white skin does not make one smarter or better than their neighbor who has black skin or red skin or yellow skin and let's not forget Kermit who reminded us that it is not easy being green.  Nope.  All God's children have a place in the choir.

The Bible tells us that when we get to Heaven, every tribe and nation that has ever existed will be represented.  How in the world people can remotely call themselves Christians and say God is behind the way they think their race is superior is beyond me because that is not what God said in His Word.  He says entirely the opposite.

Where I had originally planned to go with today's blog post was to remind people that they cannot let other people decide who they are and what they are.  Just because we have accepted Christ as our Savior and we really do believe in that "Old, Old, Story of Jesus and His Love", and we do believe we need a Savior for redemption of sins, and we believe the Bible is true from Genesis to Maps... does not mean we are stupid and we must never fall for that line which runs throughout society today.  Especially in TV, movies, and other media.

Instead I will be praying this week for those who were injured and the families of those killed, including the two police officers who died in the helicopter crash.  So senseless.  The other thing we can do is to show love in our own little corner of the world, to always do the opposite of what the enemy of our souls is nagging us to do. To share the love of Jesus and the salvation of Jesus with those who need Him, those who have lost hope, those who have grown weary in this fallen world.

We need to give a cup of cold water to a thirsty world.... or chocolate chip cookies... or some healthy fruit... or all of the above.

Maranatha.

LINKS
Further information about the map can be found... here.  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Checking those expiration dates!


I don't use the medicine cabinet in our bathroom very much.  Which is probably evident when my husband brought me a box of cough syrup last week to check for the expiration date.  We both agreed it had been in the cabinet "awhile".

Well, imagine my surprise when I finally found the date (it was embossed into the box and hard to find) to read the expiration was... 11/2010.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Seven years ago!  As surprised as I was, I do think I remember buying that when Christopher had a cold when he was in college.  Sheesh. 

When I had children living at home, the medicine cabinet and First Aid kit were always checked a couple times a year to make certain we had everything needed to keep a middle of the night run to the drug store unnecessary.  Why it would be so important then and not now would probably require counseling.  I'd prefer just to spend the money on First Aid items.

I'd usually check the First Aid kits and medicine cabinet when school began each year.  Whether it was public school, college, or when we homeschooled our son.  With winter cold and flu season just around the corner and shopping for school supplies, anyway, it was a good time to check for needed purchases.

I used to have a Cold and Flu kit which I should do again.  Especially after getting hit with that infection last winter.  I talked a little bit about it here.

Time does seem to go faster than we realize.  You may remember that a few months ago, I took all the canned goods and such out of the kitchen cabinets where they are kept and every item was checked for their expiration date.  There were cans that had to be tossed and I am always getting things out of those cabinets. It will happen but not as often if we check a couple times a year.

So this brief Saturday post is just a reminder to check your expiration dates. When there truly is a need for First Aid and medications, we certainly don't want what is on our shelves to be out of date!  I'd be interested in knowing if any of you found medicine that old.

LINKS
If you were a fan of Laine's Letters like me, Annabel has recent suggestions from her!  They can be found... here and here.  It was good to hear from Laine again.

Image:  All Posters.com: Country Armoire 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Mission Walker, a review


It is rare that I find it hard to put down a nonfiction book but I found myself carrying The Mission Walker with me from room to room as I had a chance to read further.  It is exceptionally good reading that happens to be true.  I loved this book.

It begins when Edie Littlefield Sundby is diagnosed with cancer and given three months to live.  Which does not seem the stuff interesting adventure books are made.  It is the story of Edie overcoming cancer not once... but twice.  We are there with her in the beginning during her treatments but the part of the story that is impossible to stop reading is when she is walking the trails.

If there is a mantra she tells herself, it is "If I am moving then I am alive".  So after her first cancer treatments are surprisingly successful, Edie decides to walk the 800 Mile northern part of the Historic California Mission Trail.  When the cancer returns two  years later, she decides it is time to walk the El Camino Real from its' origin in Loreto, Mexico to the U. S. border.  This time with only one lung.

When Edie is walking the trail, she makes us feel as if we are there.  I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next.  Did she complete the trail?  I will leave that for readers to discover.  I can't recommend this book enough.  Not only is it an interesting read but it is also inspirational for anyone who feels like giving up on life as the author shares her faith as well as her determination.

The Mission Walker was provided by the publisher for the sake of review but the opinions are my own.

Further information can be found... here.

Disclaimer:  Most links to Amazon.com are Associate links.