What is it really?

Happiness, what is it? It is a fuzzy concept and can mean many things to many people. One psychologist, Martin Seligman, gave five things that seems to cause happiness, they are 1. Pleasure (tasty foods, warm baths, etc.), 2.Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity), 3.Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness), 4. Meaning, (a perceived quest, or belonging to something bigger) 5. Accomplishments, (having realized tangible goals). One last study is how religion relates to happiness. It’s funny how they say that people who go to church and believe in God are happier but they won’t admit it has anything to do with God, only that they are more likely to be in a social surrounding with people of like beliefs! Oh well, or as my daughter would say, “what ev”. We all want to be happy and sometimes the things that surround us just are not conducive to happiness, so we have to find that happy place in our own mind and spirit to go when we need a feeling of peace. I can’t make you any happier than you can make me, but I can tell you that you can have to have less worries, 1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. Also we know Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Matthew 18:19-20 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” If we talk about it, agree on it, God hears and, it may be delayed, but it will come.  From Psalm 108 “Cover the whole earth with your glory! And for the sake of the one you love so much, reach down and help me—answer me!” I pray as the Psalmist King prayed, God help me! I say that many times every day. I can say “Jesus is coming soon” until I am blue in the face, I can call myself a “Watchman on the wall” and have a name tag made with that title on it, but unless the people I am talking to believe me, I am wasting my breath, however, Ezekiel 3:17-19 says something very important to us, “Son of man, I’ve made you a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever you hear me say something, warn them for me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You are going to die,’ and you don’t sound the alarm warning them that it’s a matter of life or death, they will die and it will be your fault. I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they’ll most certainly die for their sin, but you won’t die. You’ll have saved your life.”  When a person is warned you have done your job, but I would admonish you to do it in love, else you will not be heard, at all. God is love and to show Him, we have to represent that quality, not easy, I know, but necessary. It isn’t a sin to be depressed or unhappy, and a lot of us don’t just have an excuse but a valid reason for being that way, I’m just trying to “holler” at you from the Wall and ask you to give it all to Him. A song says “Give it all, give it all to Jesus, shattered dreams, wounded hearts, broken toys, Give them all to Jesus and He will turn your sorrows into Joys.” 

I can’t guarantee your happiness but I will agree with you in prayer, have happy thoughts with me!

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It just doesn’t matter!

I have said it before, this is not a re-run, everyone has an opinion, everyone is right and everyone else is wrong. I may make a statement or have a thought that you violently disagree with, that’s ok, and I don’t care because what ever you think you have a right to think differently! Now having said all of that I will proceed.

When it comes to what you think about who is or is not going to have eternal life in heaven, I don’t care what your opinion is, I really don’t. You know why? Because it won’t make one teeny iota difference in whether whomever it is you are sainting or condemning to hell does or does not make it. I was raised in a very strict Pentecostal church organization (parenthetical statement here: my dad never preached anything but the love of God and our need to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior). This organization taught that if a woman wore lipstick she was a sinner and at one camp meeting I attended after we had come out of that organization the minister speaking actually said, “You women sitting out there with all that blue eye shadow on, your eyes are going to be so heavy with all that make-up you won’t be able to look up and see Jesus when He comes back in the sky!” I immediately reached into my purse and got my shades, which I tried to slip on without being noticed being guilty of the sin he was preaching against! Now I ask you, do you think that when that minister died (which he did) that he was condemned to hell because he preached against women wearing make-up making them the feel lower than the soul of their shoes? Well in my opinion (there it is again) God might not be happy that he wasn’t preaching about how to find Jesus but I’m sure he made heaven his home. The subject of a lot of their sermons was about the length of women’s dresses, or how wearing jewelry was a great sin. My mother was pregnant with the three of us without the privilege of wearing a wedding ring because it was considered “un-necessary jewelry”.

Now this is what matter: Romans 10:9 tells us the only thing we need to agree on, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

I believe that Jesus is the One and only Son of the living God, I believe He was born of a Virgin, that he died on a cross for the sins of the world and that he was raised to life again in three days and ascended to the Father where He sits and waits until it is time to come and take us home for the marriage supper of the Lamb. That is very simplistic and there is a lot more that could and probably should be said here but that is just the basic truth. Nothing complicated, nothing to argue about, no blue eye shadow or whether you eat pork or not mentioned there. Just believe that Jesus is Lord, and that isn’t my opinion it’s the truth.

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Do they have souls?

It happened again today and I was extremely upset. I went to pick up the debris the men who pick up our trash had left scattered all over the driveway, including broken light bulbs and went back in the house as my son was leaving from having had lunch. By the time I had washed my hands and was drying them on my pant legs my phone rang, it was my son! I wondered why he was already calling, then I heard the upset tone of his voice, “Mom it’s happened again, did you see them?” “Did I see who?” “The two small puppies that were out here by the trash” “Of course I didn’t see them or I would have seen about them!”   We tried to catch them but by the time my son had pulled up to the sidewalk he saw them running across our busy road and held his breath hoping he wouldn’t see them get run over by one of the passing, and might I add speeding, cars. Long story short I called Animal Control and asked them to see if they could find the little pups and told them if I found them first I would bring them in. If you follow me on Facebook you know that we just went through an agonizing time dealing with an abandoned Pit Bull, finally finding a home for him where he is happily living in beautiful surroundings with another dog which quickly became his “brother”, so we are not ready nor willing to start all over again. These little dogs had obviously just been let out of someone’s car and they were looking for their “people”, it hurts my heart. It has happened so many times, I don’t know if there is an invisible sign that says, “drop your puppies, kittens, anything you don’t want right here!”

I take the care of an animal far too seriously to just let this go without saying anything about it, if you are guilty of doing something like dropping off an unwanted pet, one that you picked out, thought you would care for and then changed your mind, please think about it, you are doing a very wrong thing. If you don’t want them at least take them to a shelter or find a home for them with someone who really wants them. Why should I be surprised about this? A lady abandoned a four year-old girl at the airport this past week, there are thousands of abortions every day, what is so bad about a dog, they don’t have a soul…. OR do they??

I looked up the scripture Proverbs 12:10 and read it in every translation, then I saw the translation from the Aramaic and I think you should read it,

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The righteous one is aware of the soul of his animal, and the evil withhold their compassions.

We read in the Bible that in heaven the ‘bears will be gentle and the wolf will be tame and lion shall lie down by the lamb” (quoted from Peace in the Valley which quotes Isaiah). Animals have their place in the Kingdom and in my life it is to calm my soul and make me feel love when my old lady Lab stares at me, which means she is hugging me. Be kind to your animals, and do me a favor, please don’t drop them off in front of my house.

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Life is like an Ice Cream Sundae

There is an ice cream flavor, I can’t remember the name but the base flavor is creamy vanilla and it has ribbons of caramel and dark fudge running through it. Those ribbons of flavor are thick and rich and make the vanilla special by just being in it.

I think that life is like that particular ice cream flavor. We have an everyday routine of coming and going and doing and undoing that is simply vanilla, nothing outstanding, smooth but bland. Then there are times that a great love will come along, we will call that the band of dark chocolate fudge, so good and so sweet but sometimes bittersweet, it is so dark. Other flavors or toppings represent marriage (sprinkles), or children (bits of marshmallow), relatives (nuts), and death which would be that bitter piece of nut that sometimes finds its way into butter pecan ice cream, I know you have found one, it makes your mouth pucker and you have to spit it out!

But without all the things that happen to us our life, like the vanilla ice cream, would remain sweet but bland. Do you quit buying Butter Pecan ice cream because of the rancid nut you found in it? No, and it is the same with life, you just keep experiencing all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In ice cream and yogurt shops you can mix and blend your own flavors, but in life you can’t do that and I think it is hard to find the perfect blend in a person with whom you want to share the rest of your life.

I am happy that Jesus Christ loves me just the way I am, scars, wounds, warts and all, He embodies the perfect example of how love should be that includes all the flavors, nuts and whipped cream of a very tasty sundae!

1 Corinthians 13 tells us how to have this perfect sundae in our own life,                             If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first, “Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then; see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Enjoy all the flavors of your life, but as we see from this chapter, the best flavor of all is love!

 

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Now the day is over

It is with mixed emotions that I sit here and write at this moment. I am sad my dad is not with us physically, I am happy he is in heaven and watching over me, I am happy for all the accolades I have seen about dads on social media today and sad that there were some that didn’t have a dad in their life to talk about. Sad that there are dads that have been abusive to their children and their mothers, sad that I know people that are afraid of their dad. There are dads that are DNA donors but haven’t taken the time to be with the child they created in a moment of passion and so many more things that come to my mind making this list way too long, so I quit. There was one other thing that maybe some didn’t think of, possibly you didn’t think of it either. That is the man that desperately wants to be dad to his child and for some reason the mother takes that child away, not because he has been a bad dad but because they are punishing him for not being their ideal of the perfect husband. I am a divorced mom but my children have a wonderful dad and the thought of keeping them from him for any reason whatever never occurred to me! Those children need to know they are wanted and loved by both parents.

Last but by no means least there is the couple that wants a baby to make their family complete and have faced infertility and are sad because they may have had miscarriages or not been able to conceive at all.

I am happy for all the dads that were honored, sad for the ones that were forgotten or ignored and the ones that want to be…

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

It doesn’t have to be Mother’s or Father’s Day to give the “old folks” a little love, remember the boomerang theory; it will come back to you.

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Happy Father’s Day

One of the saddest days of my whole life was May 8, 2013, the day my dad finished his mission on this earth. His desire was to show people who God was, to show that He is a God of love not hate, a God of compassion and not punishment and retribution, and the many people who loved my dad would tell you he was successful. He never refused to go and pray for anyone whether they were lying in an alley or in a palatial mansion to him everyone was equal. My dad watched us, his children, with pride and gave us respect. When we made mistakes he let us learn a lesson and explained how we could have made it better. My dad showed the love of God the Father in the flesh and I am most blessed to have been able to call him daddy.

God is love, He so loved the world that he sent His one and only Son to die so that anyone in the world that called on His name and believed that He was the Son would have eternal life. That’s the God I love and serve, my dad looked a lot like Him.

Happy Father’s Day in heaven to you daddy, and you were so right when you said, “You will miss me when I’m gone”, I do.

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What, me worry?

The slogan “A Mind is a terrible thing to waste,” has remained unchanged for more than three decades and has become part of the American vernacular. When you are in a ministry you see and hear people of all types and descriptions, and generally the ones you end up talking with and praying for have problems that all started right between their ears, something has to be thought about before it is acted on.

James 1:13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. Thumbnail: If you think about it and lust after it you will do it, end of story. That doesn’t always have to have a negative meaning.

My maternal grandfather had a third grade education, but he had the desire to learn and he became known as the “Walking Bible” and was at the top of his church organization. During his time in the office of Assistant General Overseer he met with Presidents and had an audience and High Tea with King Edward and the Duchess of Windsor. The former King asked him how the church raised money and my granddaddy explained tithing to them. He told the family that the King said if a country could be run like that, it would be great. Yes my granddad had drive and thought on how he could better himself and according to Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me, he came from behind a mule in the cotton fields of South Georgia, to breakfast with three different Presidents of the USA.

If you give in and let your mind be lazy and non-productive, you will never get anything accomplished! No matter where you come from, you can do anything you want to as long as you have Jesus Christ, in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 12:12 “for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

So what is holding you back? Are you scared?

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. This is a beautiful promise you don’t have to be afraid of anything!

2 Cor.6: 3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

The hardest thing I have to do every day is to bring my own thoughts into “captivity”. There are times of negativity, not believing in myself, I feel like I am drowning in all I need to do, going in circles, but then I center myself by praying, asking God to help me put everything in balance, doing the most important thing that needs to get done and then just take it one step at a time!

Don’t waste your mind worrying and don’t be afraid, you have power to do it

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I Love You

This coming Sunday, June 18, is the day we honor our Fathers and I already have something in mind I wanted to publish about him, but you can’t help what happens while you are asleep so I have to tell you this first, it is about my other parent, my mother.

It was 5:45 AM I had made a pot of coffee and sat down in my recliner to wait for it to finish dripping. I kicked back to full recline and turned onto my left side, I was so cold and I was trying to tuck my hands under my face to warm them, even though there was a coverlet close by somehow I couldn’t make myself reach out for it. I closed my eyes and I heard her say, “You’ve lost a little of your spark, haven’t you?” Without opening my eyes I answered, “Yes, I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.” Then I reached out and took her hand and suddenly I could see her so plainly, I took her hand and pulled her towards me and asked her to lay on the recliner with me. She had on the little blue dress I saw her in last, the blue of her eyes was startling as she leaned towards me. I reached up and said, “Please hold me close like you did when I was a child” and I patted her shoulder indicated that I wanted to lay my head against it. With that I startled myself into the realization of the day smelling the aroma of the coffee and feeling hunger pangs, so I got up from my cozy little womb in the chair to start my day, thanking God for letting me have that little visit with her.

Mother left us Christmas Day, 2014.  She was not a demonstrative person in the physical sense, she demonstrated her love for us in making sure our bodies, clothes, the house in which we lived and the bed in which we slept were spotless clean and by her fierce protection of us. About a week before she died I was standing by her bed straightening her covers and she reached out and took my hand, I looked at her and she very slowly and plainly spoke, one word at a time and emphatically said, “I love you”, I answered “I love you too mother.” This was after a long period of time that she would talk but we couldn’t make out anything she was saying. It warmed my heart because I knew it was coming from her very soul.

God is to us what the nurturing love of a dear parent is to a frightened child, safety, comfort and love, giving us the hope and courage to face life! Psalms 63:3 In your generous love I am really living at last! He never gets tired of loving us, never gets tired of us and holds us close, like a child. Jeremiah 31:3  “I have loved you with an everlasting love—out of faithfulness I have drawn you close.” He takes care of and is not ashamed of us! Song of Solomon 2:4 He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me.

So I will say the prayer mother said with me when she put me to bed every night and say, “Nite nite mother, I love you and tell daddy I love him too”

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. ❤

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Rising above it all

Lyrics from a song way in the past began to circulate in my brain until it came to the front so I searched Google for it and read the words. “I can’t count the times, because of me your heart’s been broken and I have seen you hurt because of angry words I’ve spoken But somehow you always knew when I hurt you I never meant to, We keep rising above it all like the sun on wings of morning and the hurt can’t make us fall We keep rising above it all.”

If there is something, any thing that I need to make right I want to do it because I realize that sometimes my mouth runs off while my brain gets constipated and says things that “would have been better left unsaid” but maybe we are all guilty of that one. I have disappointed myself, how? All the failed promises I made to me, getting in better shape, getting more organized, being prepared for things in advance instead of waiting till the last moment, getting more sleep, taking better care of me, as I do for others in my life. If I have disappointed me, what must God think of me?

I have let Him down in so many ways, my attitude gets in my way, hurts I have suffered are allowed to simmer and boil, knowing that to allow that to happen will only harm me and no one else. I have questions, but there are questions I can’t answer for myself much less for you; I can’t answer why you can’t make a certain person love you, or why you feel your parent rejected you and your choice of lifestyle. I get a lot of questions concerning parents, siblings, as well as a lover and while I am happy to help if I can and pray for you sometimes it is just a no answer zone. People have a will of their own because God made us that way, that’s what got us into trouble in the first place. Eve had the free choice to eat of the fruit or leave it alone. I have often stated that I wanted to find Eve and blame her for all my ills, but alas, I find that I am Eve, partaking of things that I know will bring me down, and yet expecting all to be well. Brings us back around to judging, doesn’t it?

No amount of wishing can turn back the clock so that we can change one thing we have done, said or thought, it is time to look inward and then upward and say,

Psalm 139:23-24 Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.

If you are feeling down, try rising above it all!

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I’m a one woman Gong Show

There is an ad on TV for a new (old) show that will soon be aired, the Gong Show. I remember its first run back in the 70’s and it is a show better remembered for the outlandish, awful acts that people did than the persons who won a show like the American Idol. What happens is a person or group comes out to perform and if they are awful the host will take a huge mallet and hit a huge gong signaling that their act is over and they have to leave the stage. Seeing that ad gave me the thought of a line in a song that says, “Just when I’d stopped opening doors finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours, making my entrance again with my usual flair sure of my lines, no one was there…” That is a time when you have gone all out to do something you thought was wonderful and then find out it was scorned, or worse than that, ignored. So I kept turning those two thoughts and songs through my brain thinking and wondering if I had accomplished anything in my life that would be notable after my death, or if I had made such a fool of myself that God Himself would just Gong me off the stage!

I imagine that Job, while he sat scraping his sores with broken pieces of pottery, was wondering what it was that he had done that deserved being gonged off the stage of life and onto a dunghill scraping his sores while grieving for the lives of his children and the loss of all his properties. Or if when King David was laying in the ashes wearing his torn garments grieving the death of his son started realizing what he had done to bring this sadness to his life. On the one hand Job had not done anything worthy of judgment, he had lived an exemplary life and God had bragged on him, but David had looked on another man’s wife and wanted her so much that he had sent the man to the front lines of battle knowing that he would be killed and he could have Bathsheba for himself.

OK they both got the Gong, for different reasons, now what about me? What about you?

Have you been so tempted and tossed, (James 1: 6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.) that you don’t know which door to go through and when you finally decide realize you have chosen the wrong one and no one is there to see your performance or give you accolades?

I get embarrassed thinking of some of the dumb things I have done in my lifetime, things that if God were standing at the Gong with the great mallet would definitely have struck it at least three times telling me to get off the stage of life!

Psalm 139: 23 Search me O God and know my heart; try me and know my anxieties.

Ask God to search your heart and see if there is anything in your life that needs to be cleaned up. Pray that you will have the faith you need to live your life honorably in a way that will keep you from being Gonged, believe me, it’s no fun!

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