Oh no, not page 57 again!

When I was in the seventh grade, I had a math teacher that I was scared to death of! His name was Mr. Davis; he had the most piercing blue eyes and the meanest look of anyone I had ever seen. The class was full and my desk was dead up against his, so I had a close look at those eyes every day. The bad news was that I was terrible in math! A test taken from page 57 of the textbook just about did me in! There were three word problems on percentages. I took the test and got a big fat F. Mr. Davis decided to give a re-test for those of us who needed it. This is where it all began, page 57. Until the day he died I could get a laugh out of my dad by saying something I didn’t understand was a “page 57”, he had helped me study for that test t and I finally just memorized it so that I could pass it, did I really learn the lesson? I plead the 5th. I compared my inability to learn my lesson with the Children of Israel walking the floor of the desert for forty years! Did you know that they could have made that trip in, some say a week and a half, and others say three weeks, but certainly in less time! Why did it take them so long, why did they continue to go around the same mountain for forty years? Because they didn’t learn page 57!

The lesson has to be learned before you can move on. What did they need to learn? One thing is that God was their provider! They were worried about having left the garlic and leeks back in Egypt, and as I have said before, they obviously forgot the fact that they were slaves in Egypt! Why would you want to return to that? God gave them Manna, they got sick of that, God gave them Quail, they got sick of that, God supplied water for them when they were thirsty, and opened the waters for them to walk through on dry land, yet they continued to complain, about everything! I was thinking of something personal that I am dealing with, when this whole story, once again, dawned on me! I am not going to find the solution until I learn the lesson He is trying to teach me, what is it? Well, for me it is probably patience! Yes, that is definitely a bad word to most of us, but true. After all it is one of the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit, or a way that people can know that the Holy Spirit dwells in you! Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. You will continue to be tempted in one area, or have to deal with the same type problem until you learn the lesson. What is it that you need to learn? It is to love your neighbor, no matter what? To be joyful in the face of discouragement? To be good when evil is all around? To remain faithful, when it seems that all faithfulness around you has been shredded? To be gentle and show self-control when there is so much stress in your life that you want to pull your hair out by the roots? Whatever it is: Hebrews 13:5-6 Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?

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Mission Aborted!

God asked Moses to lead the Jewish people out of the bondage of Egypt and take them to the Promised Land. When God spoke to him, he was in the backside of the desert when God got his attention with a burning bush. What if he had seen that bush and thought “Wow, a burning bush, wonder what Zipporah has cooked for supper”, and turned aside. God would have found someone else to do the job, Mission Aborted. There was a lad, Samuel, who was upon his little cot waiting for sleep, his mom, took him to the Temple and gave him to the Lord for His service, maybe he was sad and a little homesick. He heard a voice calling his name, he asked the Priest, Eli, if it were he calling to him. Finally Samuel went back to bed, heard the voice calling him and answered, “Speak God, I’m Your servant and I’m listening”. We know Samuel was a chosen vessel, but he could have ignored the voice, rolled over and gone back to sleep, Mission Aborted. Skip to the book of Acts and listen as Saul, on the road to Damascus, hears Jesus ask, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Saul heard the voice and obeyed and ended up giving us, through his writing, most of the New Testament! There was one who heard the call and tried to follow, it was the Apostle Peter! He was with his fellow disciples crossing the sea when they looked out and saw Jesus, walking on the water! Peter, always the loud mouth of the group, jumped out of the boat in an attempt to show off a little and walk on the water also! His faith failed him and he sunk like a rock, but Jesus reached out and snatched him from the depths. If he had kept his eyes on Jesus and not on the water, he would have been able to walk right on out there to where Jesus was, he would have walked back to the boat on the arm of Jesus victorious!

These people, I have mentioned, all had the chance to fail their mission, opening the way for someone else to take their place in the tasks God had assigned to them. We ask for a sign, He gives us one, we ask for another one. Up close and personal example here: A young person who had a major heartbreak, had prayed about the situation and for a while, waited it out, but finally got tired of waiting and started on another path. As soon as they had really just given up, the whole situation changed and they were given the opportunity they had been waiting on. Their next words surprised and disappointed me, “I’m afraid to take the chance, what if I get hurt again?” Let’s see, prayer for the situation to change, it changes, and then they are afraid to get out of the boat! Can anyone say faithless?

Have you asked for a mission? Are you ready to answer “Here I am, send me” if He calls?

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Help, I need somebody!

When I was younger so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in any way, and now these days are gone I’m not so self-assured, now I find, I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors… “(The Beatles) It is so hard to ask for help when we want to seem independent and self-sufficient, it even affects the way we pray.

You might wonder, “How do I ask God for what I need without seeming to beg, or whine?” As hard as it is and as much as you don’t want to do it, there are times that we do need help and other times that we need to learn how and when to give help without seeming to be condescending.

I was praying for myself one time and truthfully I was feeling very sorry for myself. I told God I was ready to come out of my grave I was ready for my resurrection, I wanted a new life and I wanted it “now”. While I waited for my light bulb revelation, I simply heard a scripture in my spirit; I opened my Bible to it and oh joy, I was so happy; it was the story of Lazarus! I felt that God had heard me and I was going to “come out”, life was going to get better! But then I heard “Stop, that’s not the part of the story I wanted you to read,” “OK Lord, what is it?” “Read on”, the verse He wanted me to see suddenly stood out, John 11:44 “And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave-clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth.”  Jesus told his friends, “Unwrap him and let him go!” My heart sank, “Oh NO, Lord, don’t make me have to get help from my friends!” Then re-reading the story I realized that Jesus called this man forth from death, why didn’t he come out delivered of his grave-clothes? When He delivered the demoniac Mark 5:15 “They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.”

We see that Jesus clothed that man so why didn’t he take the grave clothes off Lazarus? He asked his friends to do it. I had to learn to let someone else pray for me, to become vulnerable to those who could offer advice, and that was not easy for me to do.

The Psalmist King asked for help many times! Psalm 22:11 “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.”  Psalm 70:1 “MAKE HASTE, O GOD, TO DELIVER ME; MAKE HASTE TO HELP ME, O LORD”.

I went from the Beatles saying, “Help! I need somebody” to Bill Withers singing “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on…” All of those words are good, but when push comes to shove, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there’s no other friend so kind as He, no one else could take the sin and darkness from me, oh how much He cares for me.”


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My embarrassing day at the doctor!

Here’s the reason I didn’t know it was so bad, I have a problem with empathizing with people, example; A few years ago I went to visit a lady in the hospital who had varicose vein surgery. As I stood at the foot of her bed and listened as she described how they had “stripped” her veins while my eyes fastened on her legs encased in elastic stockings I felt a weakness in my legs and had to leave before I was on the floor. Then when a man I went to see who had open-heart surgery pulled his shirt open to show me where they had cut him from his throat all the way down the middle of his chest I felt like I was having a heart attack myself. It happens all the time. So for the past few weeks I have been involved with a friend who has the “worst case of shingles “ the doctor had ever seen. I felt sorry for him and his wife as they are missionaries and are currently in the Philippines ministering, he with his affected arm in a sling. I have another friend who had shingles and went to the doctor in time to catch it before there was nerve damage and on top of that my cousin wrote a message to me asking for prayer as she was in terrible pain and couldn’t sleep, having been misdiagnosed the shingles had not been caught in time and so it is taking a long time for them to begin healing. Long story short, when I began to have symptoms last Sunday night I thought I had “gone mental” and was feeling their pain. As the week went on and the pain was so severe that I couldn’t sleep at night I began to wonder what was really wrong with me, and then Saturday my left thigh, where the pain had been all week, had broken out in a rash. I was still not convinced until this morning when my backside began to itch and burn in a couple of spots, so I took a look in the mirror and sure enough there were two big patches of rash. I decided to go to the Urgent Care to get seen about quickly and though the best thing to do was wear shorts so I wouldn’t have to pull anything up or take anything down in order for the doctor to see my problem areas. That’s where I was wrong! Not only one doctor, but two made me pull my shorts down to view my backside. I was totally embarrassed and wondered if they were deciding whether they could show home movies on it, or not!

When I did a little researching I found that being under stress makes getting shingles more likely, really!

There’s one good reason to heed the Word of God, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cash all your care upon Him for He cares for you!”   Note to self, don’t worry, be happy, and cast all your cares on the Lord!

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So ask already!

Some people just have the knack of talking to anyone, no matter how important or austere they might seem, unafraid to approach their boss for a raise, companies for donations toward their church or school, these are the people that always seem to get the “yes”. There are other shy souls that are afraid of their own shadow, feel “less than”, with anyone, and never get answers because they don’t ask! When my parents got married, my dad told mother that he would never take a “hint”, anything she wanted him to do she just needed to ASK, be direct! Matthew 7:7-11 Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? Matthew 21:21-22 But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.” John 16:24  Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. In all of these scriptures, Jesus is giving us His permission to ASK! Are you afraid to go before God? Hebrews 4:16-17 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

I am not a person that can walk in and get a big donation from anyone, I would rather give it myself than to ask, but even I understand this last scripture! Jesus stands as our ambassador, lawyer, friend, to take us right up to the Throne and say, “Father, this is my friend and she/he needs help!” We miss out on so much when we wait to get “worthy” before we ask. From this we see that He welcomes us to come and talk with Him. We will never be as worthy as Jesus, so forget that and just present yourself! The old hymn says: “Just as I am without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that you bid me come to thee, Oh Lamb of God I come, I come. Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot, to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

You may feel older than dirt, but remember, God made Adam from the dust of the earth, so you are still His little child, and He cares for you.

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Raise, Lift, what’s the difference?

The comment said, “You always lift me up”, how very happy I was to see it and I confess it made my day! All the rest of the day my brain was singing, “You lift me up so I can stand on mountains…” I decided to Google the lyrics and saw to my embarrassment that I had been “hearing” the wrong words all day. The real words are, “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up…to more than I can be”.

Jesus gave us the promise “I will never leave you or forsake you, I will never let go of your hand”. I know that sometimes it is hard to “keep the faith”, but you won’t get too down on yourself when you remember the disciples, walking with Jesus daily, seeing Him open blinded eyes, strengthen lame legs, cleanse the lepers, and yet, when the storm came upon the sea they were afraid! Mark 4:39-41 “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”  They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”

I can’t even count the times a day a whispered prayer is on my lips, a two word prayer, simply  “Help Me“, I may say it six times before I stop and say “Thank You Lord, I know you already have”. We all go through the “valley of the shadow of death,” but when we do, if we maintain that Jesus is with us, we will “fear no evil” because we can say “for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me“, ahhh comfort, that is what we need. It is then that He lifts us up, and places us on His shoulder.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ 

Another reference to the lyrics, my favorite part, “There is no life-no life without its hunger; each restless heart beats so imperfectly; but when You come and I am filled with wonder, sometimes I think, I glimpse eternity.”  


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Whose Peace? Who’s Peace?

It’s my peace I am speaking of and His peace that brings it to me.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

In the world in which we live peace is the thing we most need. I have honestly become so upset, angry, nervous, incredulous at what I am hearing, all of the above and more when the news comes on that I have given up watching any of the national news shows. It is hard enough to watch the morning news with all the local murders, kidnaps, robberies and such without watching the faces of the politicians on the national news vomiting their rhetoric and I just can’t take it any more. The only peace we really have is in the Word of God.

Ephesians 2:14 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.”

I thought about a song that I love and looked up the backstory on it, I knew it would be good. This is a quote from an article by Lindsay Terry, “In 1937, he (Tommy Dorsey) wrote a song for Mahalia Jackson, “Peace in the Valley,” which has become extremely popular. I will never forget hearing a young black man walking down a road on Andros Island, an out-of-the-way part of the Bahamas, singing “Peace in the Valley.” In the song, Dorsey speaks of being “tired and so weary,” a plight of many of God’s people who “must go along.” But there is coming a time when the “morning is bright and the Lamb is the Light.” In that time and place, the “night is as fair as the day” and there is no more sadness, sorrow, or trouble—only peace.”

We all have problems and there is only one solution, and that is to pray to our Lord. Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Psalm 23: 4, “Yea though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death I will fear no evil.”

How precious it is for us to recognize Jesus as our Savior. Look into His face and call His name, Jesus. Lindsay Terry ended the article by saying; “There is no word more precious than peace, nor a more joyous state of being for a Christian, than to know God’s peace. We long for it, and when it comes to us it is directly from our heavenly Father.

I will close with Jesus’ words from John 14:27 I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

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I love you, you love me, do you? Do we?

Love and care are, or should be reciprocal; it is with God for sure. He gave us the command that we should love one another as we love our own self and then He proved His love for us when He sent His only Son to die for us.

While driving today and looking at the beautiful scenery around me, I started to say the Lord’s Prayer. When I got to the place “forgive me of my debts (trespasses) as I forgive my debtors (trespassers) I thought about the fact that the responsibility for our forgiveness lies directly on our own shoulders! He paid the price, but in order to collect it for ourselves, we have to pay it forward by forgiving those that have sinned against us, in other words, the person that tried to harm you by spreading gossip, or talking about you behind your back, etc. I think it’s harder to forgive someone whom you have trusted that has really done you in, than anything else. Yet we know that Jesus forgave loyal friend Peter for denying Him, three times right to His face!

If you want someone to care for you, begin by caring for others. It might not work, it didn’t for Jesus, and He forgave us on the Cross-, yet we deny Him every day in many ways. Still, He cares for us, even in our sin, and is in heaven making intercession for us to the Father. All we can do is to follow His example and do our best!

John 10:10-13 I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.” Notice that this is Jesus Himself talking and He promises us abundant life, which is God’s covenant to us!

There’s an old song says it all, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there’s no other friend as kind as He, no one else could take the sin and sorrow from me, Oh how much He cares for me.”

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On Crying out loud!

I went over to the kitchen and a song from way back in the past started running through my mind; I was suddenly a long way from here, I remembered listening to this song playing on the radio while I was making my bed in another time and place, when I just stopped and sat on the edge of the bed to think. What were those thoughts?

We all have hopes and dreams about what our life should be and when it doesn’t turn out the way we had hoped, disappointment brings along a companion, his name is depression. Depression is like black smoke that drifts in hugging the floor so you won’t notice, then it is on you, surrounding you and the weight of it drags and pulls you into the depths of the pit.

Psalm 28:1 David cries out to God, “Don’t turn a deaf ear when I call you, GOD. If all I get from you is deafening silence, I’d be better off in the (pit) Black Hole.” He put his life and plea out there in front of God, the Great Judge, and then said “I’m letting you know what I need, calling out for help and lifting my arms toward your inner sanctum.” You can see he has surrendered himself up to God, knowing that He is merciful. By verses 6-7 we see his mood and spirit had totally changed! “Blessed be GOD—he heard me praying.  He proved he’s on my side; I’ve thrown my lot in with him. Now I’m jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to him.” It’s up to us to keep moving our feet in the pit as dirt is being dumped in on top of us, so we may be able, with the help of the Lord God, to climb out of the doldrums completely victorious!

As I was in this reverie, two other people came to mind, first was Rahab, the harlot whose decision to save the two spies from the Camp of the Israelites, saved her own life and the lives of all her family. That was the day she climbed out of her pit of sin and self-degradation and become the grandmother of Boaz, who was the grandfather of the Shepherd King, David, listed in the lineage of Joseph, the man chosen to be the earthly father and mentor of our Lord Jesus! Then there was the woman at the well. Jesus stopped and asked her to draw some water for Him. She questioned Him as to why He would ask her, and He replied that if she only knew whom it was she was speaking with, she would be the one requesting Living water so that she would never thirst again! He then told her all about the disappointments and mistakes of her life. I don’t think that she started out as a young girl hoping to have five husbands and then living with one to whom she was not married, yet her particular pit had put her in this bad circumstance, Jesus pulled her out of it that day.

So, what was the song? Sung by Melissa Manchester, “Don’t cry out loud, just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings. Fly high and proud and if you should fall remember you almost had it all.”

King David, Ruth the wife of Boaz, Rahab, the Woman at the well, and Harolene, all got help because they asked for it! Talk to God like a child to a parent, it always helps and take some advice from me, Cry Out Loud; don’t hide your feelings from God, He knows yes, He knows.

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Can we agree to disagree?

The lyrics from two songs are in my head right now, one is by Dave Mason, and says “there ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, there’s only you and me and we just disagree”, speaking of friends that have been separated for a while and find that they no longer agree on many things, they are good friends becoming “former friends.” The other song, by Joni Mitchell, says “But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads, they say I’ve changed. Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day. I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose, and still somehow it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.”

Both of these songs find friends at odds, looking at the same things in a different way. One agrees to disagree and the other is just disillusioned with life, period. I know both of those emotions up close and personal. Sometimes people take a different path, one that you find you cannot/will not walk down, so you go your separate ways. It doesn’t take away from the good times you used to have, it just means there are no more good times to be had, with them. A lot of things you can just let go, like whether you prefer Chinese or Mexican food for take-out, but things that make a difference in your life, or the way you live it, cannot be compromised.

The man who wrote the greater part of the New Testament, Paul, and Peter, the disciple that recognized Jesus as the Son of God, had a major disagreement concerning Kosher vs. non-Kosher! Paul had an argument with Barnabas over young John Mark, who got home sick! Yes, these “holy” men had major conflicts, we won’t even talk about the one concerning circumcision!

Point: you can disagree on politics and vote different parties and still have communion!



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