Monday, April 7, 2014

Is Your God Silent?

PSALM 115
2 Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
3 But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of men’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they do not speak;
Nor do they mutter through their throat.
8 Those who make them are like them;
So is everyone who trusts in them.
9 O Israel, trust in the Lord;
He is their help and their shield.
12 The Lord has been mindful of us;
He will bless us.

In the past, when words came into my head and I knew the words were not my thoughts or the devil's voice, I would say, "It was like God said this or that." However, the Holy Spirit is a real, live Person - not an idol! So He has a mouth, and He speaks. Imagine if the Scriptures used my old phraseology: 

Jeremiah 1:7 - But [it was like] the Lord said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' 
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak."

Hosea 1:2 - When [it was like] the Lord began to speak by Hosea, 
[it was like] the Lord said to Hosea:
“Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, 
For the land has committed great harlotry 
By departing from the Lord.”

Jonah 4:4 - Then [it was like] the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Acts 22:10 - So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And [it was like] the Lord said to me, 
‘Arise and go into Damascus,
and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’

Crazy, right? Our God is in Heaven~ If He wants to tell us something, then He has the ability to actually tell us, believe it or not! He's big like that! :) A couple pf recent messages I've gotten from God - 

I was praying about something and said, "God, there's just no way!"
He said, "I AM the Way!"

I was very discouraged about something in November, 
and really crying about it (I'm not normally a crier). 
God said, "Are you forgetting something?
What'd you tell those kids at camp all summer? 
I think you need to give yourself your own testimony."
So I did; and when I got to the part
about all our problems being only temporary, then I knew! 
The things I was concerned about at the time were truly only temporary; 
they would not be problems for me in Heaven (they aren't even problems now!).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Food Stories

I love food. :)

Monday I was making Hamburger Helper (beef, noodles, and sauce) for my lunch when the steam set off the fire alarm. I turned on the fan over the kitchen stove, got a dining room chair, and walked through the library on my way to turn the fire alarm off; but thankfully it stopped before I got to it. And then, trust me - I kept the stove-fan on!

Wednesday I was making Resurrection Buns for the Easter Dinner that night at church

I needed to open the biscuit cans and knew there was some easy way to do this but couldn't quite remember what that way was. I tried banging the can on the side of the mixing bowl and on the side of the counter; I tried putting a lot of pressure on the can; I tried sticking a spoon, then a knife, in the side of the can. None of that worked, so finally I did a Google search on "how to open a can of biscuits" and watched a YouTube video. Peel off the wrapper. Oh, yeah! That was the way you do it!

Thursday I tried my first-ever lime and mango. I like mangos! :)

Thursday night God gave me a beautiful picture. Someone was talking about how God has a purpose for our pain and asked what we thought about that. I said the thought that came to my mind. God gave me a picture of a Heavenly blender; we give God our pain, He puts it in the blender, and He gives us the joy smoothie that comes out! :)


Friday, March 21, 2014

Ok, Sure - I'll Die With You. . . .

"Then Jesus said to them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead. . . . Let us go to him.' Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, 'Let us also go, that we may die with Him'” (John 11:14-16).

The Jews in Lazarus' area of the country had just tried to stone Jesus, and now He wanted to go back? Doubting Thomas was very loyal. Perhaps it was he who led the other disciples in accompanying Jesus; perhaps they had all been hanging back fearfully.

But we know the end of the story. We know that they had nothing to fear. The temptation can be to shake our heads at these 1st-century Christians and think, "Just trust Him already! He knows what He's doing!"

But don't we serve the same God? Isn't it just as true today that He's doing what He knows is best, and that one day we'll agree with Him?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Manners With the Disabled

It’s a little weird, but we never covered this in my “Family Book of Manners” course in elementary school. You would think we would have. Pretty much all I learned about this subject was learned after becoming one of the disabled myself, and therefore it’s possible that some of my thoughts might apply more to me than to the disabled people you know best; but we’ll just call this my ideas. . . .
            
1. Treat disabled people according to their apparent biological age, not their apparent shoe size. I know the shoe-size thing is tempting, and we might seem like that would be more accurate: We might have funny voices, we might be unable to walk (or to walk well), we might laugh too much or at weird times, and we might have a million other weird features. But we often still know how old we really are; and if you treat us too much younger than that, we’re likely to feel just a little slighted. Always remember the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” How would you feel if someone always treated you like a young child?
            
2. Know that it might take us a wee bit more time to eat our food. So if everyone else is finished or just about finished and we still have half or more than half of our food/drink, and if we suddenly start wolfing it down; there’s one thing we won’t want as soon as we finish. That one thing would be a sweet, charitable smile with the words, “Can I get you some more of X?” Naturally, we’ll say “no” every time. J
            
3. Be a little sensitive about bathroom conversations. A long time ago, I was not only totally unable to control myself. I was also literally and completely unaware of what happened in this respect. So next time you feel like reacting in any way or making any comment, please take a moment to consider how you would feel about people doing those same things toward you.
            
4. If someone really can’t help doing/not doing something, is it really fair to get upset with them? You tell me. The next time you are unable to achieve something or to avoid speeding/saying something/eating more than you should have, just imagine someone reacting condemningly. How that makes you feel might be similar to how we feel when we, let’s say, involuntarily laugh at the wrong time and that makes you mad.
            
5. Please give us an extra dose of understanding in general. We might have poor memories, we might have low inhibitions causing us to do/say things you would never do/say, we might have low mental processing speed and take a minute (or more!) to “get” stuff, etc. We might take extra time to do everything – sometimes the amount of time it takes us might really make you wonder!

6. Realize that we do know we’re not completely normal and that there are differences; so if we look like we need help, it wouldn’t hurt our feelings to have you offer. It could be that we’re doing therapy or pushing ourselves just a little bit and that therefore we’ll say no; but it could also be that we would really appreciate the offer. One time I was riding public transportation and we were at a standstill, in a traffic jam; I tried to get my book out of my walker basket, which was just beyond my reach, and the able-bodied man sitting behind me said, “Do you need something?” I told him I wanted my book, and he stood up and handed it to me; and I greatly appreciated his help!

7. Realize that although I have just told you a few ways we might be somewhat different from you, a lot of us are not that different! And we – like you – do not really enjoy having those differences highlighted. I appreciate when people treat me as more normal than I am more than I appreciate it when they treat me as less normal than I am. That said, I do understand people not having been around disabled people much and not knowing quite how to act. I used to be one of those people. So you try to understand me and I try to understand you, maybe we’ll both be smarter and better for it. J

8. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you think we need to know. That would be highlighting a difference you think is there, and we want to be as normal as possible. We can take a little advice/reproof. In that vein of thought – if you have a problem with this list, tell me! I want to hear it, and I can take it!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All (That Matters) About Love

1. Whose idea was love, anyway? Where did the idea even come from? 
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).

“Volumes have been written about the characteristics of God, but when it is distilled to the most basic categories, He is love (1 John 4:8), life (Jeremiah 10:10; Revelation 22:1), and holiness (Psalms 99:9). And in reality, His life and holiness are based upon and are an expression of His love: love gives, so He gives life; love desires the best, so holiness proceeds from Him” (R. Keith Whitt, “The Unconditional Love of God,” Bible Study Tools.com).

2. Where can I go to find true love? 
“To live in God is to live in love” (Whitt).
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God IS love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16, emphasis mine).

3. How can I get His love?
"The LORD loveth the righteous" (Psalm 146:8). But how does a person become righteous? Is there a certain level of goodness I have to reach? The truth is, we are all essentially bad. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). But trusting in Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross transfers His righteousness to our account! "And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).

4. How can I lose His love?
 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39, emphasis mine).

5. How long will His love last? 
“But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:8). “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 106:1). “For I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). God’s mercy to me is forever, which means that I can’t stop it with anything I do; it’s forever and there’s nothing I can do about it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Love Test

How do you think you would do?
Here's how it goes: First, read 1 Corinthians 13 to discover God's definition of love.

Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).

Then read it again inserting Jesus' name wherever it says "love." The one Person Who always expresses love perfectly!

Jesus suffers long and is kind;
Jesus does not envy;
Jesus does not parade Himself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek His own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Jesus never fails.

The final step in this test is to read the passage a third time, this time inserting your name wherever it says "love."

_____ suffers long and is kind;
_____ does not envy;
_____ does not parade himself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek his own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
_____ never fails.

Be honest now. . . . How did you do?


Friday, January 31, 2014

What Is Hope?

"I hope I win a million dollars in the lottery!"
"I hope he asks me out!"
"I hope I get that beautiful new orange 10-speed for Chistmas!"
"I hope it snows the most it ever has in our city!"
"I hope we have bacon-and-ranch pizza for dinner!"
"I hope so!"

We treat the word hope like its definition is want, or wish, desire. But that's not the Bible's definition! "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).

"For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1: 19-21).

It is my DESIRE (not my hope, just my desire) to edit my vocabulary from this day forward.