What is in your mind?

The power of the mind is great, fierce, and intelligent beyond our wildest imagination. Plans of good and evil are formed in that portion of our body and it depends on who has control of it as to what you actually do, or things you can do! I have seen an artist take a brush or even a knife and put oil on a canvas in a manner that became a person, or a scene from nature. They can make it so real that it looks more like a picture than a painting. That is the talent that amazes me most. It comes from a place in their mind that is talented to do that. I know people who are so kind they never suspect anyone of anything evil, some call that person naive’, then there are those who are suspicious and mean spirited, these attitudes reflect the way they are inside of themselves.

What is in your mind? Do you have the mind of Christ? Ask yourself: Do I see the beauty of a holy life as Jesus saw it? Do I see lost people through His eyes? Do I understand the eternal purpose of God with the same conviction that Jesus had? The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

Can you accept that you have His mind? Seems impossible, doesn’t it? We have the mind of Christ because we have the Holy Spirit in us. Since we are new creatures in Christ, our habit of mental activity needs to be like that of Christ. Is that possible today? There are so many voices around us, speaking into our ears; we don’t even realize it sometimes. Do you ever catch yourself humming the tune of a commercial? Did you intentionally memorize it, or did it ‘leak in’ from the un-noticed drone of the TV? I have heard my children quote dialog along with a movie they have, obviously, watched more than once, while I couldn’t help them learn English Lit for a test, or learn a passage of scripture! Proverbs 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. The choice is yours, choose to keep your mind renewed by reading His Word and keeping a positive attitude, or be petty, peevish and small minded, which will not win you any friends! Choose to have the mind of Christ!

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Why aren’t we happy?

Today has been an absolutely beautiful day! The air was crisp and free of the humidity that has been drowning us for days on end now. When we were having a drought we prayed for rain, we got so much rain that we started complaining and wishing for it to be dry. When it was cold we prayed for the warmth of the sun, when it gets hot we look forward to the Fall of the year to the time it will get cool again. So I guess the point is this, why is it we are never happy with our current status? Young people want to be older, older people are having face-lifts and getting shots of Botox and fillers to try to look younger. The thin want their figures to be curvier while their counterparts are spending money trying to lose their curves. I was surprised when I was talking to a girl about my current diet when she looked at me and said, “You don’t know how many nights I have lain awake and cried because my legs are so skinny. I would give anything to have legs like yours!” I was stunned because I loved her skinny legs! If your hair is curly you buy flat irons and chemical straighteners, if it’s straight you get perms and curling irons, men who are bald wear toupee’s while men with a full head of hair shaves theirs!

Luke 12:22-24 Jesus said, “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.” 

So my friend, why are you complaining? My dad used to tell about something he read when he was a boy; it was a sign that said, “I complained because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.”  The Apostle Paul said to the Philippians 4:11 “Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

Now let me quote one of my old favorites from Popeye the Sailor who always said, “I am that I am and that’s all that I am!”

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About the Coconut Cake

My brother’s birthday is this Wednesday so I thought I would tell a tale that bears repeating. Since I was older I was the one who took more responsibility and was responsible for him most of the time at home while my parents were doing church work and the social things that being a preacher in the South calls for, yes Fried Chicken dinners are included in this. My brother always said he wanted to be a preacher but he did try a variety of other occupations first such as being Zorro (black cape), Superman (red cape), Kit Carson and the Cisco Kid, they didn’t require capes but we made up costumes to fit the bill, plus bending hangers so that we could have sword fights when he was being Robin Hood (green tights). Our play yard, for five of our growing years, was the church basement. We were living in a 16 foot trailer right outside the HUGE church and the dark hallways of the basement left lots of room for our imaginations to run wild, and we did, up and down those halls and playing hide and seek in the Sunday School rooms. We got a spanking every Sunday night, we knew it was coming, daddy would get the razor strap and sit down on mother’s cedar chest (which is in my line of view as I type this) and then give us however many licks we had earned for talking in church. He would generally follow the spanking with praying for us and then giving us something cold to drink to “cool us off”. Now for anyone of you reading this that is “younger” you might not understand the era of “spare the rod, spoil the child” but we turned out OK, it was a spanking and we deserved every one. At least my brother did, I was just guilty by association! My brother was finally given the opportunity to preach! We were at a Camp meeting and whoever was in charge of the service announced to the people, and there were hundreds there, that this 6-year-old boy wanted to preach. He got a chair and put it behind the pulpit, my brother got up there with all the intentions of preaching a “stem winder” but there was a lady sitting pretty close to the front with a great big pink hat on, that caught his attention for some reason and he never opened his mouth! Now for the Coconut Cake; there was a lady in the church who was famed for her wonderful Coconut cakes. One Sunday she brought one of her prize cakes for us to take home for lunch! Mother told us to take it to the car and be very careful. The cake was in one of those plastic cake boxes and we just wanted to see, smell and maybe pinch off a little of that yummy icing. ONE of us pulled at the container top and DOWN went the cake, right into the foot of the car, right where our feet with all the gravels from the parking lot were, and came apart, we panicked! We picked up the cake, put it back together keeping a watch for our parents. Just as they got to the car we had put the top of the cake back on and mashed the icing around to make it look OK. We were very proud of our effort, however, when it was sliced, there was hair and bits of gravel my parents were shocked, how could a woman, so famed for her cakes make such a terrible mistake? We never told the truth we let her bear the shame, don’t you think they knew?

Have a Happy Birthday Brother! Eat some Coconut cake, for me!

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Guess which line I used!

Today I saw something interesting, a person put up a post that said, “Is there a line from a movie that lets us know what the movie is?”  I read through them and sure enough even though I had not seen all of the movies the catch lines were familiar to me and I immediately knew what they all were! The first thing that came to my mind was, “Show me the money!’ Since no one else had put that one, I did! There was another one I didn’t see and I found a way I want to use it, hold on a minute!

Jesus gave us some instructions on how we could be blessed, commonly known as the Beatitudes, they are listed from Matthew 5:3-11 You can read them and it gives you a pretty good plan of what to do, but the last one, V 11-12, is the one I want to underline here: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Many have been persecuted and martyred for their faith in Jesus, are they more blessed than we, who sit on comfortable pews in air conditioned and heated churches because of their sacrifice? Hebrews 11:39-40 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

OK, here it is, are they saying, “You complete me”?

 

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Trust me you Idiot!

I was talking to my son and asked him if he had an idea for the blog tonight, he immediately said, “Yes I do, write, “Trust me you idiot”! OK that sounds a little brash but knowing his mother I guess he thought I could come up with something, I did.

When we read God’s promises and try to claim them, or we feel God has spoken into our life either by a prophetic word or something we feel in our own spirit our first reaction is usually, “Is this really for me?” In prayer this week I was talking to God about something that I need wisdom on and I said, “God you opened the Red Sea for the Children of Israel when they were faced with the army of Pharaoh thundering down on them from behind and the mighty waters before. I need for you to open up the waters for me so I can escape the problems that are coming to me from behind. You did it for them and now I know you will do it for me.” Then I remembered the scripture, 1 John 5:15 “And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” That gave me comfort because I know that God hears my prayers, He has given me direct answers too many times for me to doubt it. Sometimes the answer comes circuitously, or may not arrive when you thought it should but it does come.

I wonder if sometimes when we doubt God and whine and complain because we don’t have every little thing we ask for right away, if God wouldn’t like to take us by the shoulders and shake some sense into us by saying, “Trust me you idiot!”

Of course I don’t believe that God would use that language with us, but I’m pretty sure I have needed it a time or two, what about you?

 

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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 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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