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Ivegotconfidence:

Here’s a story about a good friend of mine and my daughter’s that I’d like to share with all of you. If you feel like going the extra step, as I have, and contributing to Dani’s special fund, please do. But most importantly, please Pray for Dani. Remember, that at any given moment on life’s journey, we all need each other to lend a helping hand. Give forward in any way you feel you’re able, wherever the opportunity arises. Trust me, God will bless you for it.

Originally posted on bellesmots2000dotcom:

Yep, I’ve been mostly mute this week. There were multiple things taking place that threw me off my emotional equilibrium. I tend to hunker down and ponder and analyze until I feel level again. ;)

One of those events I want to share with you here, today. For the purposes of this blog, I AM ACTUALLY USING REAL NAMES! I know, shocking.

When I lived in AZ, I met and was befriended by an amazing woman named Shonda. We were co-workers and friends, and grew to become like family. She was with me when I found I was pregnant with Maddie, she coached me through Maddie’s labor, and – due to a completely crazy scene at the hospital – she DELIVERED Moses’ head. The nurse made it for the rest of his body. Haha. Shonda often teased me that I needed to have a third child, so she could just…

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Come On In — Let’s Dance!

DWTS week 8 - Meryl and Maks - Rumba

DWTS week 8 – Meryl and Maks – Rumba

Derek Hough and Amy Purdy -- Tango

Derek Hough and Amy Purdy — Tango

 

Ok.  So…I have to admit that I have become a Season 18 Dancing With the Stars junkie.  Since my cable company removed the weekly programs from their “On Demand” menu a few weeks ago, I have resorted to watching the various cast members’ dance routines on Youtube — both on my computer and on my phone.  I could spend hours watching them all, and then I discovered there are gazillions of interviews from the after show as well.  I’m in heaven.   Well, not really, but I do enjoy all that stuff.  I think I’m starting to feel like a stalker.  Juuuussst Kiddding!

Alright, enough about me.  Is there anyone else out there who loves to watch this stuff like I do?  The idea of dance to express oneself, to dance skillfully, seemingly effortlessly is just an exhilarating feeling, I would imagine.  It makes me smile just to watch them create magic for all of us in the television audience.  I literally sat with a big, goofy grin on my face every Monday night throughout the entire season!

There were times of fun, comedic dance routines, some were dramatic, some romantic, but it was all there.  Anything you could ask for.  And I think this season, more than any other, was not so much about the end goal of winning the Mirror Ball Trophy, but the life journeys, lessons learned, personal growth of each of the participants, the relationships forged with all of the cast members and celebrities.  You could actually feel that they were all pulling for each other to be successful.  A very uplifting season.

Ok, that’s great on TV and for professional entertainers, but how does that correlate to the “real” world?  I mean we actually live 24/7 with our own warts, failings, short comings, inability to dance through this life as successfully as we would like.  And, let’s face it.  We have an end goal so much greater than the “plastic” Mirror Ball Trophy!  Our end goal is eternal life, Heaven, Jesus.

One of the things I have come away with while watching Dancing With The Stars this particular season is that the overall feeling of the show seemed to have changed from previous seasons.  There were several cast changes that might have helped and there seemed to be a more positive outlook altogether.  The pros and celebrities all seemed to be more open and able to express their real frustrations, to show themselves as real human beings with the same issues we might have under the same pressurized situations.

Candace and Mark -- Fox Trot

Candace and Mark — Fox Trot

 

How does that relate to those of us mere mortals?  Most of us already know that in order to have a more successful life in general, we must get rid of negative influences in our lives, which may include changing or eliminating certain groups or individual people from our sphere of influence.  Certain activities we participate in may be harmful and are keeping us from being positive and ultimately having success in our lives.  Our own attitudes of cynicism, prideful arrogance, anger, skepticism, unbelief, and so forth must be first recognized and then eliminated if we are ever to make good progress in our lives.  This is definitely true for the Christian.

Our Heavenly Father says we are to walk by faith, just like He does.  What does that entail?  Wow..what a question!  In part, I think it means that even if we don’t understand, we are willing to trust, have confidence in, rely on His love for us to bring what He has already said in His Word to pass in our lives.  As if it’s already happened.  Because, in reality, in the spiritual realm, it already has.

How to walk by faith is sort of a loaded question, but really it’s just a matter of trust.  Just like on DWTS, the celebrities are trusting their pro partner to teach them step by step and they learn to have confidence in them to catch them during a trick or a lift and to help them make it look effortless and beautiful to all who are watching.  Yes, it takes hard work and much time and effort, but the end result is so worth it!

Have you ever thought about dancing with God?  The Grand Ballroom is waiting…full of angels and those who have gone on before us to watch as you glide effortlessly across the golden floor with Him.  He will catch you, He will help you.  After all, He lovingly created you.

Come on in to the Ballroom.  Let’s dance!

I Love You Mom!

Ivegotconfidence:

These words are still true 2 years later, RIP Mommy. I love you!

Originally posted on IVEGOTCONFIDENCE:

Esther Z, my little momAs her time on this Earth draws ever closer to an end, and her eternal life with Jesus and all that have gone before her comes ever closer into view, I would like to take a moment to share my little Mommy with all of you.

She has been very brave in the last few years to endure sickness and disease, Alzheimer’s, which has left her memory rather frayed and confusing to those of us who still have some semblance of reality left, and the burden of being alone without the love of her life for so many, many years.  She is now closer than ever to being with him and all her family and friends who have gone on before, even as we speak.

However, one of the bravest things she has tackled over the years, in my view, was to take on the responsibility of raising a child…

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Let’s Speak Life!

What kind of fruit is your tongue producing?

What kind of fruit is your tongue producing?

I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but does it seem that an awful lot of people are talking problems, theirs or others, and there’s not a whole lot of folks talkin’ positive, let alone about real, solid solutions?  It’s so easy to talk smack, denigrate others, let out frustrations vividly, but that never helps to make the situation better, does it?  If anything, it makes things a whole lot worse!

Recently, I had yet another occasion to witness the damage words can cause by folks not paying attention to, or not caring, what they’re saying out loud, this time in a work environment.  The situations are still a bit in flux, feelings were hurt, people got into trouble, work flow was interrupted, and although I think everything will be ironed out with a minimal amount of real damage, it brought home the fact that our words are powerful.

Solomon wrote in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life are in the power of the tongue and they who love it will eat the fruit of it.  That’s not terribly reassuring, depending on which side of the proverb you’re on.  If I’m speaking death (negative words), I’m in BIG trouble!  What I find interesting is that an honest-to-goodness king is aware of the power his tongue has over any given situation and is willing to write about it and warn others.  Of course, he was the wisest of kings, so I guess God knew that was one thing we needed to be advised of.

James warns us again in the New Testament (James 3:6) that our tongue is a fire!  Well, THAT can’t be good!!  It may be a small member, as he says, but it can act like a rudder on a ship or a bit in a horse’s mouth, and head you in an area you may not want to go.  And he goes on to say that we speak blessing to God, yet curse our fellow men and women that He created.  Not good at all!

fireObviously, there is a bit of a disconnect when we communicate with each other everyday.  We must somehow become more aware of the things we talk about, share with others, comments, jokes, frustrations, etc.  Paul is pretty clear in Ephesians 4:29  “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”  Even though we’d like to do whatever we want, and in the last 20 or so years we’ve become more self-centered in that regard than ever before, that isn’t what we were created for.  God had a better plan and it entails, drum roll please………..loving one another — enough to where we care about how we communicate with others and really speak the truth in love.

Now, I have to say, it’s not easy to do — especially in the society we live in today where God is mocked, Christians are made fun of, every song on the radio has a cuss word, or five or ten or twenty … or worse.  People are so afraid to interact with each other that they have turned to talking in texts on their “smart phones” or on social media.  But, for those infrequent times that we actually do talk to a live person, try to pay attention to what goes on in your conversation.  Do you hear them demeaning themselves or others, are they acting prideful, do they curse or speak in sensual or sexual overtones, or with obvious disregard for others as if their life is more important than their friends or co-workers, family members.  Are they basically negative?  Do you find yourself agreeing with them or speaking in the same way?  If so, maybe it’s time to read up on the tongue and find out just how God thinks your “talk time” could be better spent.  It might be a time to survey the intents of your heart as well.

And this applies to conversations in social media too.  I’ve seen the most horrific stuff on Facebook and Twitter.  Would you REALLY say that if you were in front of that person?  If so, you need an attitude adjustment, for reals, seriously!!

You know, this world may not last a whole lot longer, you might meet your Maker today, or tomorrow, or in a week or a month.  We have no guarantees as to the length of our days.  Only God knows that little detail and He usually doesn’t share it because He knows we couldn’t handle that responsibility. That said, do you really want to meet him having just blasted someone for taking your toothbrush?  Or not doing the dishes because it was their turn, darn it!? Or would you want your loved one to have to bear, for the rest of their lives, the memory of an argument, a stupid disagreement, as the last conversation you had?power of the tongue

Let’s try to pay attention to our words this week, this month, for the rest of the year, and see if we can’t shine a little light into our world.  Our words are powerful and also creative, just like God’s are.  Perhaps we can create some good things to happen just by ordering our words to be laced with encouragement, positivity, and life.  We have that power..in our tongues.  Let’s speak life for a change, huh?  What d’ya say?

 

 

 

Be a lighthouse, a beacon -- lighting the way for others.

Be a lighthouse, a beacon — lighting the way for others.

Thought I’d share a scripture with you today that really ministered to me on my way to work the other day.  I hope it encourages you to walk boldly for Jesus in this world with a new attitude.

“….work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ).  [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.  Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining [against God] and questioning and doubting [among yourselves], That you may show yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish (faultless, unrebukable) in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation [spiritually perverted and perverse], among whom you are seen as bright lights (stars or beacons shining out clearly) in the [dark] world, Holding out [to it] and offering [to all men] the Word of Life, …..”  Philippians 2:12b – 2:16a  The Amplified Version

For those of us who have met and fallen in love with Jesus on a personal level and dedicated our lives to Him and received Him into our hearts as Lord, Savior and Soon Coming King, these words should spur us on to repentence from acting like the world does, and thinking we can get away with it.

Yes, Jesus was and is loving, kind, caring, merciful and all that stuff, but He also prayed for guidance and boldness to do what was right when it was time to “throw the bums out” for desecrating the House of God!  (Flashback to the scourging of the Temple where He threw out all the money changers, merchants, consumers, those buying and selling their wares inside the temple for gain.  Mark 11:15-16.)  We often think nowadays about those types of folks in our society that we would like to “throw out”, but maybe there is really more to it than that, something more personal and intimate in fact.

Whether we realize it or not, we have allowed the “bums” to desecrate His temple yet again!  WE are His temple in human flesh and on a daily basis we let such things as greed, intolerance, unholy speech (that’s a big one for a lot of folks and they don’t even realize they’re doing it!), arrogance, grumbling, complaining, unforgiveness, and other sins (bums) too numerous to mention, to saturate our lives. And that’s not even close to talking about the so-called “BIG” sins like, murder, rape, sex outside of marriage, stealing, etc.!

We have been seduced by media (social and otherwise), the printed page, our families and friends, and those ever-present evil whispers into our very ears from the enemy of our soul, and they all play a part in clouding our judgment.  Our behavior sometimes is anything but Christ-like and it is high time to THROW THE BUMS OUT!!

How?

The most obvious way to start, I suppose, is to read the Bible, New Testament especially, to find out what God expects a believer to act like.  Then, while reading, search your own heart–deeply– for areas where you may not match up.  (Don’t worry. He’s a forgiving God and He loves you tenderly, more than you could possibly imagine.  He’s also waiting to forgive you, if you will ever just show up.)

Repent.  You may think, after reading how God wants us to behave, that you’ve gone too far.  You haven’t.  But, if you will take this step of repentance, He can help you to do better.

Resolve to consciously work on the areas that God points out to you.  When you feel tempted by the “bums” to swear at someone, or get into a heated political argument (so common nowadays at least), turn away, tell them “Jesus loves you and He has everything under control.  I’m trusting Him to bring His will to pass in my life and to take care of all of us.”  When you are offended, vow to take that forgiveness road instead of harboring the “grudge and hate bums”.  They are dangerous, deadly and out to ruin your life.  As Joyce Meyers talked about in a conference years ago, once they have been thrown out, don’t let them try to talk you into inviting them back into your life “just for a cup of coffee and a nice chat”, because they will try, trust me!

We’ve allowed the spirit of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and money changers (“bums”) to take root in our lives for so many years that it is hard sometimes to see that they are even there, but I assure you they are.  You see in the news, both on TV and the internet, stories involving “Christians” who are really behaving badly and sullying the name of Jesus.  Although the Bible tells us this is going to happen in the end times, it still saddens me to the core.  WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE HIS REPRESENTATIVES FOR GOOD ON THIS EARTH!  We should be different from the world, but many times, we are just like everyone else.

It is time to be the beacon of light, the light on a hill, the salt of the earth!  I encourage you to throw out the bums in your life and live for Jesus with renewed vigor!  He is worth whatever energy you will expend in telling those bums they can’t stay in your temple any longer.  If you will trust and lean on Jesus, you will be successful! God bless you!

rain dropsAs with all things in this world, disappointments happen.  I refer, in part, to my aforementioned VACATION!  It was somewhat restful in that I got to stay home, but for 3 days I spent stressing over the phone and computer, trying to rectify with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that my mother does in fact deserve her benefits, which have been temporarily suspended.  It’s a long story, and I will spare you all the gory details, but it was nonetheless a bit stressful.  I have copied blank and completed forms to my computer for future reference, made hard copies to send to the care home for their consideration, filled out forms I’d never filled out before, and had a hard time keeping track of all the papers on top of my desk.  A nightmare to be sure, but I suppose it could have been worse.  Fortunately, I discovered during my hours on the phone, waiting for a human to answer, that I have a few contacts in the city where my mom lives that have experience with this and can assist, should the need arise.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

The Holy Spirit brings peace.

Prompted to reread the previous post, perhaps to remember why I was on vacation, I was struck by how applicable the last part was, the Scripture.  It has amazed me throughout my years as a Christian that the whole world can be a jumble, full of chaos and fear, and yet when God’s Word enters the picture, all the turmoil fades away and my peace returns.  It really is true that when Jesus enters the room, the devil, fear, anxiety, confusion, and everything else negative has to flee.  He is Peace personified.  He brings with Him comfort, solace and a sense of well-being to any environment that is fraught with negative or contentious emotion.

Speaking of contention, recently, in fact at the beginning of my vacation, I managed to get myself into the middle of a conversation on a social media site with a friend, someone who shares in loving Jesus as I do, but politically has diametrically opposing viewpoints.  Now, I usually know better than to get into these conversations, but what I shared was at the beginning of the thread and not such a big deal, until…..all of her friends with her same view point jumped in to give their two cents worth of advice and negative input.  Needless to say, my blood began to boil and it was all I could do to keep my fingers from writing what my tongue wanted to say.  My friend jumped in at the last and saved the day by calling truce and the friends all went away thinking “Boy, we sure told her!!!!  Boy, oh boy!!

It was a few days later that I read a conservative site’s conversation thread where I saw that my friend had made a comment, seemingly simple and straightforward, and she was “attacked” by those folks whose view points are similar to mine.  It was an interesting comment as to the division we have been seeing in our nation and how our very peace is coming under attack.  And WE LET IT HAPPEN by giving the enemy a foothold when we get into discussions/arguments that will never go anywhere but to divide us further.  We play right into the enemy’s hands.  In an effort to “educate” the readers, we just end up confirming to them they are right because we’re so stupid, calling names, and no one is benefitting except the enemy of our souls who walks off laughing at our stupidity for getting involved in the conversation to begin with!

I know, I know.  It is very frustrating to let things go when you know you are right and they need to know they are wrong so they can start thinking right again after you tell them what you know.  But, trust me.  If we don’t proceed with love and a lot of prayer, nobody is going to change their mind to your way of thinking!  Oftentimes we speak before we pray but we must approach the Throne first, in my opinion, before entering into these social media forums, if we should even do it at all.

Keep your peace

Keep your peace

I have gotten into enough of those conversations, with friends and with strangers, to know that it is not worth the peace I lose to take that risk.  It’s not Christ like.  Arguing my point of view is not what Jesus has called me to do, even though it makes my “flesh” feel good to knock somebody out on social media sometimes.  And I have to say, I’m usually the first one to back out of the conversation because I feel convicted and know I shouldn’t have been in it to begin with.  That really is frustrating!!!!  But is it truly pleasing to the Lord?  Am I sowing seeds of love, hope, joy?  Am I furthering the cause of Christ?  Will souls be won into the Kingdom of Heaven because of my part in the conversation? I don’t think so.  And maybe those are questions we should ask BEFORE we enter these threads of conversation.  How can I uplift the Name of Jesus and His Love to those I may speak to on this site?

Based on my experiences with these things over the years, I can’t say I won’t ever get involved in them again, but maybe I’ll have a little more insight, and hopefully go into them more prayerfully next time.  They can be treacherous depending on the subject matter, but if we keep Jesus at the forefront, waiting on Him to give us the words to say, or be obedient if He tells us to not get involved at all, we will go a long way towards keeping our peace.  And that, keeping my peace in this crazy world, is worth just about everything!

 

 

 

 

V*A*C*A*T*I*O*N!!!!!!

Sunset on the beach

Sunset on the beach

Vacation.  That word conjures up a myriad of feelings, memories, and emotional responses for many of us like no other word in the English language, or any other language for that matter, I suppose.  Most of us take vacations after laboring for a period of time at a variety of different jobs, careers, or personal endeavors and at a point at which we think we can no longer stand the pressure of the daily grind, we manage to break away for awhile to enjoy time to ourselves.

Usually, vacations connote a time of rest, relaxation, travel, perhaps to exotic and  little known places, a time to acquaint ourselves with some of the wonders of the world in which we live.  Snorkeling in some fabulous ocean waters in the Caribbean, sitting on the beach sipping your favorite liquid while watching the sun set off in the distance.  Or, maybe slipping, sliding, skiing down the slopes of a snowy mountain is more your style.  Then, of course, there’s always hiking, sky diving, hot air ballooning, camping and a whole array of other vacation options one might indulge in.

We spend much time in the planning of our various journeys, saving money, applying for credit cards (which, if they are used, often means we’ll spend the next three years to pay them off!), purchasing clothes appropriate for our trip, and maybe even buying new and upgraded luggage to carry it all.

Or, maybe we travel to local places, spend time with family and friends we haven’t seen in a long time.  But for those of us who don’t have the funds or the desire to travel, staying at home is one of the best ways to “vacay”.  We often relax, work on projects around our homes, go out to eat, go shopping, or take care of things we just don’t have time or opportunity to take care of during the week after week after month after month merry-go-round that we are on the rest of the year.

Yup, that's how I feel!

Yup, that’s how I feel!

And this is where I find myself today.  The older I get, the more I value my times of vacation, wishing I could stay home permanently.  Oh, I know it probably would get boring after awhile, and, knowing me, I am better off to be around people.  But, truth be told, I am a hermit I think, deep down inside anyway, and being at home, enjoying doing much of nothing, is very appealing.  Oh, of course there is always laundry, housework, dishes to wash, etc., but it would be nice to enjoy months or years off with nothing that absolutely requires my attention for 8 to 10 hours every single day.

Maybe this is a “senior” moment I’m having or just a build up of something that’s been going on for years, but I sometimes wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way.  I haven’t worked too many years, well, maybe 30 something, but I think because of circumstances beyond my control years ago, I was thrust into the work environment and maybe now I want to go back to where I feel I should have been to begin with?  Home.  Hmmm….something to ponder.  Then again, maybe I’m just feeling it’s time for a change?

What I do know is that God has my back, He knows who I am, how I got to this point and He has a plan for every day of my life.  He is good, faithful and full of mercy.  When I am tired, exhausted in spirit, soul and body, or lazy and don’t want to continue, He gives me strength and desire to do what He’s called me to do, whatever that might be.  But in the meantime, this week, He’s given me some time to rest and relax, and for that I am very, very grateful.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest.  [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.  Matthew 11:28-30  Amplified Version

I read a daily devotional by Joel Osteen some weeks ago and decided to share with you because it meant so much to me, especially coming from an adoption back ground.  If you haven’t seen it, perhaps it will be a blessing to you as well.  The scripture reference is Jeremiah 1:5.  As you read these words of encouragement, please know that you are valued and deeply loved by the Lord.  You can have confidence in His ability to bring you through whatever turmoil you may be facing, because He made sure you are here to enjoy the life He has planned!  God bless you today!children

God knew you before you were even born. What an amazing thought! He saw your unformed substance and said, “I have a purpose for this life. I have good plans for them!” Then He breathed His life into you and sent you through your mother and father. They may have had issues, but that doesn’t have to stop you from becoming all that God intended for you to be. You have been handpicked by Almighty God to be here at this time in history!

Sometimes we hear parents say, “We weren’t expecting this child. They were a surprise. They were an accident.” No, that child may have been a surprise to the parents, but they weren’t a surprise to Almighty God. No child can be born without God breathing His life into them. You may think, “Well, I was unwanted. I was an unplanned pregnancy.” No, you wouldn’t be here if God didn’t give life to your seed.

In God’s eyes, there is no such thing as being illegitimate. Remember, He knew you before you were ever born! Find confidence in His love knowing that you are a person of destiny, and you are part of His mighty plan!

So true!

So true!

The last few years have solidified my appreciation for personal responsibility and the willingness to do the right thing even if it means that you might in some way suffer emotionally, financially, or even physically — on rare occasions.  Not that I’m a pillar of responsibility myself at all times, but I like to think that I am responsible for the most part.  But, the reason this subject keeps springing up in my spirit might be an indication that it’s something God wants to work on, so I thought I’d bring you along for the ride!

He who is faithful in a very little [thing] is faithful also in much, and he who is dishonest and unjust in a very little [thing] is dishonest and unjust also in much.  Luke 16:10

This scripture is full of meaning because it covers so many of us today.  We think we can be faithful to the Lord if we could only get our hands on the latest Power Ball winnings, or a doctorate in our chosen field, or a face lift, or successfully complete a weight loss program, or any number of other endeavors.  We’d give and give to charity after charity.  Why, we’ll do all the things we’ve wished and hoped we could do someday, but never did because we weren’t rich enough, pretty enough, strong enough, smart enough, talented enough…..  But, when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, if we really did have all that stuff, we still wouldn’t give any of that money, time, talent, or giftings away like we thought we wanted to do.   Why?  Because, underneath all of our grandiose ideas, we are selfish, self-centered, irresponsible.  And, you could probably throw in having a little greed, pride, and fear of lack for good measure.

On the other hand, those of us who really “get it”, are already out there giving what we have, even though it isn’t much (at least not in our eyes), and are making a difference, if only in one person’s life at a time.

Years ago, I met two men.  One I’ll call “A” and one I’ll call “B”.  “A” fancied himself to be a music minister, Christian musician.  He had written a number of pretty good songs about the Lord, had a band, played a few gigs.  Very nice voice and talented enough to warrant going further in the music industry, in my opinion.  He enjoyed the “fame” that came with the life style, I guess you could say.  He managed to record a few songs but never could get off the ground with his career.  He only wanted to play his own songs and never enjoyed singing “church songs”.  He did very few, if any, private outreach types of things like sing to people in nursing homes, etc. on his own time.  When I think back on him stating he had a music ministry, I thought that odd, in light of what real ministry is all about.  I’m surmising here, but I often wondered if he thought that sharing his talent with old folks wouldn’t do much to advance his career and therefore, wasn’t worth doing.

“B” on the other hand, also a talented musician, wrote lots of songs, had some recorded, was a worship leader in his church and shared his talent with others quite willingly and fairly often, in nursing homes and other venues as he could find to sing.  He loved to sing and play the old songs and the new from any artist, not just his own. Although his musical career has not advanced as he had originally hoped, he has definitely advanced the Gospel of  Christ in the lives of many and by serving, even though his personal dreams might not have come to fruition yet, he has made a clear statement that only sharing Jesus matters.  Not knowing his personal motivations of course, I suspect that responding in such a way was much more of a music ministry.

As a result of their chosen attitudes towards the life and talents that God had given them,  “A” currently lives a very bitter existence, blaming everyone else for his lot in life.  “B” continues to serve in his church and the Lord and is pursuing other areas of interest as he trusts God to lead him.

Faithfulness, Being Responsible leads to Power

Faithfulness, Being Responsible leads to Power

In watching these two men and their differing examples of living life through the years, the idea of personal responsibility has really become much more of a focus for me.  It is very true, as the previous scripture verse tells us, that if we are not faithful, responsible, honest, with the very little things, like paying our bills on time, not running red lights, obeying the laws of the land, telling the truth about why we are calling in sick to work, taking care of our homes, being kind to others in whatever way they need kindness displayed, especially to our wives, husbands and children, going the extra mile when it means sacrificing something we think we can’t live without, then we will never be responsible to take care of the bigger things in life that we long so desperately for, no matter how much we might think we would be able to.  And, for many, those bigger things in life aren’t given to us, because God knows we wouldn’t be able to handle them in our current condition.  Our walk with Him would suffer, our families would suffer, and it might destroy us in the long run.

So, perhaps it’s time to take our personal responsibility “temperature”.  Is our behavior pleasing to the Lord?  Are there things we should be doing to become more responsible and mature?  Are there people in our lives that we’ve hurt by our lack of responsibility that we need to “man up” and admit our failures and ask for their forgiveness?  Our spouse, our children, our ex-spouses (ooooh…that one hurts!), our friends, co-workers, the guy at Starbuck’s, or the gas station attendant?  How about the Lord Himself?  How have we failed Him?  Have you asked for His forgiveness and cleansing to make you clean in this area of your life?

There is so much blame out there and truly the blame stops with you and me.  We are given a free will by the Lord and He watches to see what we do with it.  Perhaps it’s time to stop blaming others for our mistakes, our failures, the breaks we didn’t get.  Let’s stop trying to run our lives alone and trust the One who is able to bring His promises to pass, in His perfect time. We can have confidence in Him!  It’s time to take responsibility for our behavior, thoughts, and words.  We’ll be abundantly blessed when we do.  I’m willing to try…how about you?

I Declare

 

I’ve had on my heart the last few days to take a stand, to declare what I believe, to proclaim what is important and right and good, for me, and something to leave for posterity, if you will, that will show that I stood for something and wasn’t just a hunk of human flesh taking up space on this spinning blue ball of rock.

 

Perhaps no one cares but me, but that’s ok.  If no one reads this but God alone, it is sufficient to have done it at all for His eyes, if for no one else’s.  But, if someone does happen to read this someday, perhaps it will spur them on to make a declaration of their own, to draw a line in the sand so to speak, for that is really what this is about I suppose.

 

I see so much conservative and liberal lines in the sand being drawn via social networking and in the news, and it reminds me of the Scriptures that teach us that this divisiveness will happen in the end times.  Parents against children, children against parents, siblings against siblings.  I always wondered how this would come to pass as it didn’t seem possible on a grand scale all those many years ago when I thought about it.  But now, that prophetic word becomes much clearer.  God is separating the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad, the just from the unjust, and He’s making it crystal clear that we have a choice and the time has come to choose whom we will serve.

 

Drawing a line in the SandThere is so much more to it than choosing a political party, or philosophy, or clinging to a particular belief system you’ve known all your life.  It’s really more about choosing a destiny for yourself, and potentially all of those lives with whom yours has been entwined.  For you are not alone on this planet.  Your choices, your lifestyle, your belief systems affect everyone around you, everyone you care about and even those you do not.  The thoughts you think, the words you speak, the actions you take all play a part in defining who you are, at least to the outside world.  If you feel you are someone else, perhaps a change needs to take place in your thoughts, words and actions?

 

Long years ago I made a decision to follow Jesus, to ask Him into my heart to change me from the inside out, to be my Lord and Savior for all eternity.  I can truthfully say it was the best decision of my life, although walking out that decision over the last 45 years or more has not always been a piece of cake.  But, as He has worked on me, changed my heart, reigned in my desire to rebel and walk contrary to His Word at times, it still is my contention that serving the Lord is the ONLY way to know fulfillment, peace,  and satisfaction in life.  Therefore, I declare:

 

That I am, first and foremost, a child of the Most High God and Heavenly Father, and that Jesus is my Savior and Lord forever and ever.   He is above all gods, both religious and material and deserves my utmost attention and love.  He is worthy of my praise, confidence, and trust.

 

That I choose to follow His Word, to obey it as He gives me strength, grace, understanding and knowledge, and with His help and that of the Holy Spirit, I choose to walk in His abundance and life.

 

That I know I am one of billions of God’s human creations and that He loves each of us individually with an everlasting love.  I am no better than they, nor are they better than me.  I can love them, because He first loved me.   There is no room in God’s heart for hatred or racism or anything of the sort because God loves us each and every one equally.

 

That I recognize that with so many differing opinions—religious, political and otherwise–, insights, ideas, and philosophies in the world there are bound to be disagreements, but because I carry Jesus in my heart, there is no room for dissension, rivalries, strife, anger, malice and the like.  I choose to be a purveyor of peace whenever the opportunity arises.  I also recognize that I don’t know everything and am not right about everything and should not judge anyone.  That right belongs to God and God alone.

 

That because I believe God’s Word is true and right for all human life and experience, I will not shirk my responsibility to share His Truth as He gives me understanding and directs me to, but will endeavor to lean on Him for the words and right attitude in which to do so.  Just because I speak Truth, the hearer can only receive it when I speak it in love with a right attitude.  I choose to share Jesus’ love and compassion as often as I can as He works in my heart and gives me opportunities.

 

That I will stand for life, human life.  Although God has created much life in our world which should be enjoyed, cared for and protected, the most important, above all else, is the life of the humans he has formed and knit together in the womb.  We are made in His image and it is not my place to determine who lives and who dies.  That too is up to God alone.  Having been a recipient of life through adoption, I feel I have a contribution to make, a stand to take in this arena of our society.

 

Although I believe and try to walk in a whole lot more than has been stated here, I will stop at this point, because I know God knows the rest and is working on all of it to bring out at a later time perhaps.  But, I do encourage all of you, or one of you, or however many might read my little treatise, to make a stand.   Determine what you believe, what you really do stand for.  It’s important.  And it is indeed time to make a choice.

 

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