3 Things …

While at the doctor’s office with my husband this morning I saw this tacked to their bulletin board and it made me think about other sets of 3’s that are true to life.

People will try to get you to do ‘it’ their way.

Here’s a thought about money: All that we can buy is paid for by hours of our lives.

Your past is just that…past.

Integrity in life (not lying or cheating) is really all that matters.  If it’s the right thing pursue it and never, ever give up.

By far the three most important come from Micah 6:8.

Acting justly is quite simple.  Be fair in ALL your dealings with others.

Mercy is responding with compassion.

True humbleness is not thinking less of yourself but thinking more of others.

I would love to see some of your three’s in the comments.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

Insult

Have you ever given any thought to choosing a word you won’t be using as your Word for the Year?  That’s exactly what Holley Gerth addresses in her article, The Word I’m NOT Choosing This Year.  It’s certainly worth the read. Check it out!

As I thought about this concept it crossed my mind that 2016 was a very negative and insulting year. (I’m not just referring to the election.  That in itself was beyond anything I could have imagined.)  For me, there was little positive input and I endured insults that were both perceived and real.  So, with that thought in mind, the word I’m not choosing for the year is INSULT.  This picture sums it up:

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I know that attacks and insults are to be expected as a follower of Jesus.  I get it!  But I have decided for this year that I will not allow another’s words or actions to cloud my view and dirty my mind.

Matthew 7:1 gives us the famous words, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” I like it better the way Peterson says it in The Message, “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment.”

My prayer for the year is this:

Heavenly Father, Abba, hear my prayer for a clean heart and uncluttered mind.  Give me wisdom and courage to deal with those who would use their words against me.  Help me to know when and if I should respond.  Let my response never be unkind or unforgiving.  I want to show the Face of Jesus and the Mind of Christ to those around me.  Yes, even those who are insulting, mean or unkind.  Make it so in Jesus name.

Two Who Waited

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

 

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

 

     

 

 

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

 

 

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna  means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important to seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This post was written as part of Blogs By Christian Women Holiday Tour.  You will find several really excellent posts and blogs in the list below.

12/6/16 Michele Morin http://michelemorin.wordpress.com
12/6/16 Heather Olson http://grace-filledgifts.blogspot.com/
12/6/16 Sherri Autrey http://sherriautrey.com
12/7/16 Gwen Williams http://www.thejourneyofhealing.com
12/7/16 Marie Bungard http://asatisfiedspirit.com
12/7/16 Lottie Staggs https://www.lottiebrooke.com
12/8/16 Lee Felix https://www.likemindedmusings.com
12/8/16 Amanda Brown http://www.skgfun.com
12/8/16 Susan Bricker http://leanintothelord.com

A List For Life

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Are you a list maker?  I am!  I have lists for daily chores, lists for birthday and Christmas cards, address lists, grocery lists, and so on.  This morning I read 1 Thessalonians and came across what could be one of the most lengthy lists in the Bible of how to live this life with Jesus in command.  Are you ready for this?

There can be no hidden agendas in our lives.

We cannot use God’s Word or our own to create a ‘smoke screen’ that takes advantage of another Believer.

We are not to patronize or be condescending.  We are to simply love and encourage others with every word, action, and deed.

Honor God by taking care of yourself.  This verse is directed to the physical care of your body but I know God means every part of ourselves… physically, emotionally and spiritually.  We are to be as beautiful inside as we try to be outside.

Right in the middle of Chapter 4 Paul tells the Thessalonicans to stay calm, mind your own business, and do your own job. Why? So others will see Jesus in us and want that for themselves.

Be cheerful.  Be thankful.  Pray, all the time.

There are some don’ts in here also.  Most importantly (at least to me), we are not to believe everything we hear or read.  We’re to check it out, research it if necessary, and keep only the good.  When we’re in tune with the Spirit, He tells us when something isn’t right.  (It’s that uncomfortable feeling you get when something is said or done that isn’t quite right.) That’s when we go back to pray often.

There’s some really great stuff here…don’t you agree?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

Satisfied Spirit Pen Pals

junk-mailHave you noticed your mailbox flooded with adds and junk?

Remember having a pen pal?

 
clasped-hands-541849_960_720Would you like to make a friend, perhaps for life?

 

 

 
letter-700386_960_720Do you love getting letters instead of bills?
Are you willing to write a letter once or twice a month?

Then join the Pen Pal list and I’ll match you up!

 

Please message me in the comments with: (Your comment will not be made visible to protect your privacy!)
Your name
Your address
Your blog address (Not a requirement to participate!)
Your hobbies
Would you like an International pen pal (International letters cost $1.15)

I’m looking forward to this! I hope you are too!

Marie

P.S. I’m not going to police this. Once you’re assigned to a pal you’re on your own. I will keep a list of partners, though.

15 Ways To Practice Lifestyle Evangelism

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Are you looking for creative ways to show Whose you are?  Here are a few I’ve used.  Add your suggestions in the comments.

Wear a piece of jewelry that invites discussion.

Take a glass of something cold to your neighbor, or the person doing lawn work, etc.

Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home that doesn’t get visitors.

Call to say I’m thinking of you.

Invite the person who is sitting alone (in church, in a restaurant) to sit with you.

When someone’s name pops into your mind send them an ‘I’m thinking of you’  note.

Follow through when you’ve said you would do something.  If you said I’ll call, then call.

Don’t hesitate to pray anywhere and anytime you’re asked. 

Be sincere in your compliments.  People can always tell when you’re ‘just sayin’.

Ask someone you don’t know (while at the doctors, grocery, or other public places) if you can pray for them.  Do it right there.

Prayer-walk your neighborhood.  Pray for every home even if you don’t know the person living there.

When you get ready to get rid of your Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary cards put them in a box and keep them in your ‘prayer spot’.  Take one out each day and pray for that person.  Let them know you prayed with a call or a card/note.

Keep a Jar of Joys.  Put little slips of paper in it that tell about good things that have happened through the year. Go through it at the end of the year and give thanks for the joy and delight God has put in your life.

Invite someone who may be all alone to family dinners like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…

Take a picture frame that you aren’t using.  Put a sheet of blank paper behind the glass.  Write the names of those you want to pray for regularly.  Hang it in a place you see every day.  Mine is above my home/office desk.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

6 Steps To Memorizing Scripture

Over the years it has become very important to me to memorize scripture.  The value of doing this is without measure.   There is more to memorizing scripture than just the words.  It is really necessary to  know what it means and to find ways to apply it to your life.  Years ago I determined to find a way to both memorize and give it meaning.  Using a journal specifically set apart for this method this is what I do:

Write it down…not just read it but write it down.

Think about it…what words stand out, why did I choose this verse, does it have a connection to my life circumstances, will it have an impact on my future?

Determine what God is trying to tell me.

How can I apply this to my life, my family, my career…

Pray about it.  Give it back to God while conversing with Him.

Pay attention to life circumstances.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve memorized a verse then been made aware of it in the day to day ‘stuff’ of life.

Here are 7 scriptures that I have found to be very beneficial.

favorite-bible-verses

We are told, very clearly, in Psalm 119:11 why we need to memorize His Word (or hide it in our hearts, if you will).  It’s so we have a constant supply of God-given inspiration and information to keep us from sinning.thy-word-have-i-hid-in-my-heart

I do hope you are memorizing His Word.  Let me know what you’ve planted in your heart in the comments.  Perhaps you’ve memorized something that I need to add to my ‘arsenal’.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Transform Your Troubles

cloud-705728_960_720Life is full of challenges and some of them we simply can’t handle ourselves.  So what do we do?  Call a friend… Think it through… Plan revenge… Perhaps but there is a better way.  Read on, I think you’ll find that if you practice these steps your issues/troubles/challenges will end up where they need too, at the feet of Jesus.

 

First and always run to Jesus.  Not walk, not crawl, run!  Get there as fast as you can.  David says it so clearly in Psalm 31:1

                                                                    psalm-31

Then, cast your cares on Him.  He wants us to give Him our problems and challenges. Why? Because He cares.  Because He truly knows what is best for us and will provide for us.                                                                                                                                 1-peter-5

Although we tend to discount fasting as a way to overcome there is nothing wrong with giving up a meal and spending that time totally focused on Him.  Luke 4 tells us Jesus fasted for 40 days.  Moses fasted.  Daniel fasted.  Paul fasted.  Why?  Because they needed answers and they needed them from God.

And pray!  I could leave it there but prayer is the real answer.  Whenever we’re talking to God/Jesus we’re praying.  We are told 121 times in the NIV to pray.  311 in the King James.  122 times in the RSV.  I don’t think He could have made it any clearer.  We are to pray!!!                                                                                                                                            pray

Then, and finally, listen.  Listen to the sweet, satisfying voice of the Spirit.  Listen and respond.  Follow His leading.  Don’t hesitate.  Be still and know that He is God! (Psalm 46:10)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Sugar Coated Lives

donuts-431863__180On the road, into town, I pass a small donut shop that has donut-related quips and quotes on its marquee.  The current one is – “The only thing I need sugar-coated are my donuts.”  I’ve rolled this over and over in my mind and have realized that there is so much sugar-coating in life that we may be missing out on the deep richness within.

 

Haven’t we sugar-coated sin with making it legal?  Abortion?  Homosexuality? Euthanasia?  Lies?

How about sugar-coated parenting? Giving our children so much ‘stuff’ that they relate getting it to how much we love them.  Or, using the excuse – ‘They’re only children’ when they get into trouble.  No consequences, just excuses.

We sugar-coat conflict by refusing to get involved. Doesn’t that give the message that because we’re not standing against an injustice, we agree with it?

Oh, how we’ve sugar coated the Cross.  We’ve gotten so far from the incident that it has become a Christian Cliche.  We put bunting and flowers and gold plating and… The icon of our Savior’s love for us has become jewelry, t-shirt material, wall-art… The cross is mocked by our use of it.  We no longer see the pain and suffering of an innocent man to prove His incredible, undeserved love for us.

Although Mark 8:27-30 is most often used to prove Jesus is who He says He is.  It is also a beautiful picture of Jesus transparency.  When He asked Peter who do you think I am Peter answered with a list of what others were saying about him (the sugar coating). Jesus wanted Peter to dig deeper so He says, ‘But who do you think I am?’ .  This is the point where Jesus opens His mind and soul to them and tells them His deepest thoughts. Jesus talks about what is about to happen on the way to the cross and at the cross.  He breaks through the sugar-coating and shows His followers Himself.

Underneath the sugar, frosting, and filling is the sweet, succulent, simplicity of a plain donut.  It provides the foundation for what is on it.  It is not hidden under layers of sprinkles, icing, or powder.

As I continue rolling this concept around in my mind I can’t help but relate it to life.  Am I recognized by the sugar coating or is the plain donut me there for everyone to see? How about you?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Survivor

 

Oh

The most difficult words I have ever heard from a doctor are, YOU HAVE CANCER.       At first, I’m not sure I really heard what he said.  I had been ill for several years and was told by my doctor he could find nothing wrong, it was just a woman ‘thing’.  The problem was he wasn’t looking in the right place for the answer.  A dear, dear friend watched me go through days of terrible pain each month, saw my abdomen swell like I was pregnant, knew that it was very difficult for me to stand from a sitting position, and said this has to stop.  Please make an appointment with my doctor for a second opinion.  So I did.  The doctor’s first words were are you pregnant?  I knew I wasn’t but she determined to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound, where I could see the screen, the specialist asked if I could see the surface of a very large tumor.  Yes, I could but I didn’t really know what I was seeing.  He explained that what looked like chicken fat was actually cancer growing. Still numb from that experience, I got dressed and sat down in his office with my husband and waited for more information and a plan of action.

Life changed rapidly for me in the next few minutes.  His first question was, is your life in order?  Do you have a living will?  Will your job allow 3 months off?  On a Tuesday I went for a simple ultrasound so see what was going on.  The next Friday I would have major surgery.  I had 3 days to prepare.

After Ray and I digested, discussed, and yes, denied, we contacted our pastor, family, and close friends to let them know what was happening and to start lifting us up in prayer.  At 5:30 AM, that Friday, I was at the hospital, ready to go. (Well kind of…) The surgery lasted around 5 hours and when all was said and done he came out to speak with Ray. His sense of humor was evident when he said he had successfully delivered an 8 and 1/2 pound tumor and the patient was doing well.

I’m not even going to talk about the pain from that type of invasive surgery.  Let’s just say it was intense.

The next morning I was ready to start recovering.  That my friends was a long, slow, road. Lifting anything heavier than a glass of orange juice was forbidden for several weeks. Since the pressure had finally been released from my spine I would have to begin the process of walking.  Since we live a small community, the neighbors would wait and congratulate me as I was able to walk to another driveway each week.  I was not allowed to be alone for long periods of time and driving was out of the question.

God allowed me to go through this so that I could help others who would face the same diagnosis.  Here are some things I learned in the process of healing.  A listening, non-judgemental ear is an awesome, healing gift.  Don’t tell someone you understand unless you’ve experienced the same struggle.  Sometimes, your presence is all that’s needed. Silence can be the greatest gift of all.

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Bad things do happen to good people, but God really doesn’t give us more than we can handle together. More than 20 years ago I discovered His strength is there when I have none of my own.  Our God is an awesome God!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie