It is HARD, this world

I don’t much recognize this place we call our home. There has always been fighting and warring since the beginning of time, but the lawlessness and shouting for “my rights” as opposed to human rights has me dumbfounded. Mickey Mouse ears painted with rainbows, children being taught to pick their gender and choose their lifestyle, and schools encouraging this by keeping it quiet from the parents who are being called domestic terrorists… Not to mention the overall lawlessness as police quit due to the lack of support for their services…and the list goes on and on.

I confess living in these confusing days hurts my heart and messes with my mind. Everyone seems to be shouting from opposite sides with no effort being made to listen to one another. Whatever happened to discussing and respectful debate; even to 2nd opinions? Whatever happened to respect?

Come, let us reason together, says the Lord. Isaiah 1:18

How I pray to see an end to the wrangling, the war-mongering and self-aggrandizement…But that may not ever again come to our world. We are on a very slippery slope and, if you’ve read Daniel, Ezekial and/or Revelation, you know how the future of the world unfolds. . . If you have not read them, I encourage you to do so as even in the midst of the dark, you will find hope.

SO, these are my plans in these rainy, stormy days of dissension and discord: trust in the Lord and in His promises. Here are just a few


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; and YOU’RE THERE. Psalm 139: 7-12

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalms 118:6

Lord, help us to recognize that we are all here for a time such as this. We have a role and maybe it is just a role to encourage our family and friends. I do not wish to wage war, argue or point fingers – except as I might point my finger toward You, our Peace and our Hope – as we live out our life in what has become an unfamiliar and uncertain world. Help us to be a light in the darkness and to somehow make a difference.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. PHIL 4:6, 7

Welcoming the Easter Lamb

I’m a long way past chocolate bunnies, Easter bonnets and white patent leather shoes – not to mention Easter baskets, or dying and hiding eggs. It’s all part of the family tradition and is/was certainly fun. It has its place in our families. But the real Easter recognizes the end of darkness and beginning of Light as Jesus overcame a brutal death on the cross on my behalf – on your behalf – and resurrected to LIFE.

Without the miracle of that first Easter morning and the resurrection of Jesus, there would be no need for the Church. This is the reason He came – to buy us back offering us His righteousness for our darkness and sin. His love for us is offered as a free gift requiring only that we receive it with gratitude: open hands and open heart to receive the forgiveness and grace only He can give. It costs you nothing. But to ignore it costs you everything

LIVING WATER

I pray you will find the Easter gift of the Lamb of God – God’s ultimate sacrifice of His Son – this Easter Sunday. Watch “The Chosen,” free on “The Chosen” app, and be blessed to watch His story unfold before your eyes. Regardless, the cost to you is only a prayer away. Even if your belief is small, it is enough! Ask Him and see if He isn’t faithful to His promises. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Praying for peace in our nation and in our world, trusting that He who gave us His story is faithful and will redeem that which is broken in His time. AMEN

SAYING GOODBYE

Saying goodbye is so terribly hard! We rarely say “goodbye” when we’re just walking out the door as I think about it. It’s more likely, “Have a good day”, or “I had a great time”, or “See you soon!” Goodbye sounds so final and serious with long term implications.

Today I attended the funeral of a lovely, sweet, much-loved friend who very unexpectedly stopped breathing one night a few weeks ago. In that moment, her stunned husband was a widow, her kids were motherless, and grand babies without a Grandma. There was no warning for this event at all and everyone was shocked and surprised. On some level, we know we’re going to die. Don’t we? But do we really think about it and what it might mean?

I’m not writing about insurance, advance directives, or going through “your stuff,” although all of the above are valuable and worth the effort. But, after sitting through the emotional time of remembering this sweet life this morning, I realize again that our time is FLEETING. You or someone you thought you can’t live without, will be gone. This is a BIG destination and one that quite possibly ought to get more of our consideration. . . Because. It matters!

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life and will not be judged, but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

After Lazarus died, Jesus went and spoke to his sister Martha. “Then Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”” (John 11:21-27).

“I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6

Belief does not require effort on our part. It requires submission. It requires trust. We don’t have it all figured out, after all! Trust is bending a knee to the One who has all the answers and believing He will lead the way and guide us safely home.

The best of all is that our goodbye is NOT quite so final or serious. When we lose a believer to death, we have confidence we will see them again and in a much better place. To have someone know that you are entrusting your eternal destiny to the Only One who can do something about that, is powerfully encouraging for them. Today I said goodbye to my friend Richelle rejoicing she made it Home. No one saw this one coming and it is a great sorrow. For sure, she will be missed. But “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13. She has made it home to paradise. Goodbye, my sweet friend.

Just Who’s Running this Show, Anyway?!

No, this isn’t a political post, thank goodness! But I absolutely feel it is thought provoking and I take no credit for the inspiration. I was reading Anne Graham Lotz, “Jesus in Me” this morning. In her chapter entitled, He Equips Us, Anne shared her personal story of how the Lord has worked in her life. I truly encourage everyone to read her book. She is authentic and honest. I found many deep and moving points of inspiration in what I was reading, so I chose to spin off what I read today. I will share a small bit of my own story but with her same emphasis

An important piece of the answer to who is running this show is the never ending battle between good and evil. Satan’s forces are very apparent especially lately. So unfortunately we have to deal with the ongoing war here on earth between Satan and man influenced by the battles in “heavenly places.” The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12: For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

But over all of this and ultimately in control of the great cosmic wars of Heaven’s armies is GOD So the question is are we going to TRUST HIM or flail along trying to do this on our own; are we going to BELIEVE HIM or work with what we think we know to be true about ourselves and the world, thus limiting what He can do through us even in our fears and frailty

Many years ago my life was difficult and very different than it is now. When I first began “reinventing myself” in the new season of my life, I would pray asking God to tell me what to do. He seemed quiet. I got no sense He was going to tell me anything! However even in my sadness and loneliness, I did have incredible peace and I realized He was giving me “just enough light for the step I was on”. As time passed I learned to lean hard in prayer, to trust, and to listen for nudges from the Lord.

As Anne pointed out in her book, where we are inadequate, God is Sufficient. One of the biggest life lessons I have learned is who exactly is running the show: and it is our Heavenly Father and Lord, Jesus Christ. Several momentous life experiences came about when I listened to His still small voice whispering and nudging me in an unfamiliar direction. MY voice would say, are you kidding? His voice would sometimes be powerfully silent and sometimes would give me clear insight. I hear You, Lord. I will trust You and leave the outcome to You. And He has never failed me.

For much of my life I thought I would never be able to retire. I certainly never had a clue I would one day be at a point where I had painted well over 300 watercolors, would have a website, or would write a blog! Yet each of these circumstances were led by inspiration from the Holy Spirit who guides, directs, intercedes on our behalf and is the still, small voice we hear when we ASK Jesus to come into our lives. Coming into means bringing His spirit of forgiveness, grace, mercy and love into our everyday life – just to name a few. And when He is there with us, He changes us, empowers and comforts us. He is able to guide and direct our lives.

I am GRATEFUL for God’s incredible gift of faith to me and His gift of Himself to the world. All He asks is that we would receive His gift. Let Him run your show. Let Him guide the course of your life.

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you do acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Prov 3:5, 6.

There is much in our world that is alarming, creating turmoil and devastation. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So sit, breathe and talk to Him! Give Him your worries, fears and anxiety. Lay your concerns about your paths and the forks in your road at His feet. His still quiet voice will help you to make those difficult decisions one small step at a time. And He will help all of us to manage as we navigate what has become a very different and stressful world.

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10

Glory of the Skies

Thinking of, Praying for the people of Ukraine

The sunflower has become a symbol of hope and resistance as the conflicts between Ukraine and Russia continue to become more desperate. 

The sunflower is also the national flower of Ukraine. Recently I saw a FB post from an artist asking all artists to post their paintings of sunflowers. I shared this painting entitled, My Sister, My Friend. The words below were written by the prophet Isaiah, somewhere around 740 BC in the 40th chapter of the OT book of Isaiah and I feel they are relevant:

“All people are like grass and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

21 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 HE sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.
HE stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 HE brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than HE blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

And the most marvelous, poetic words of this chapter~

   
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

These are dark and troubling days. We thought we were smarter than that – that those dark days of war were behind us. God has warned us there will be “wars and rumors of wars” But He is still in charge, still on His throne. Find comfort in these words and pray for our brothers and sisters in peril around the earth.