Monday, September 26, 2016

Even Jesus had to be patient

I was reading Luke Chapter 12 this morning, and found a statement that surprised me.  Even Jesus had to be patient.
Jesus was talking with his chosen twelve, and shared His personal challenge with stress. I can't say I have ever read where Jesus expressed His own experience with being patient.  I read the Word to discover how to be a better Christian, how to handle a situation, and to strengthen my faith in God. But did you notice: I was reading to find out what I should do and what I could experience. When the Holy Spirit lit up these verses for me, I was filled and thought about this all day.

Jesus was speaking with the crowds “So stop concerning yourselves about what you will eat or what you will drink, and stop being distressed.” Luke 12:29 (ISV). I believe Jesus had stopped speaking to the crowd, because “Peter asked, "Lord, are you telling this parable just for us or for everyone?" Luke 12:41 (ISV)

Jesus answered His disciples: "I have come to bring fire on earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and what stress I am under until it is completed!” Luke 12:49-50 (ISV).

Jesus taught others not to be afraid because the Father would supply their needs. He told them how much God loved them, and how even the hairs of their heads were numbered. Even ass Jesus spoke these words, He was practicing patience. Jesus knew when He started His ministry how it was going to end. Jesus knew He would be crucified and rejected by the very people He was helping. And He helped them anyway.

I spent a portion of my lunch hour today reading different versions of Luke 49 and 50. The words remained the same.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The secrets in aging

Aging is beautiful

Aging is what we do as long as we live. I don't really 'know' how old I am. I am light on my feet, filled with smiles, and mostly pressing forward towards the future. Oh, I do get frustrated, life happens, but there is still an air of excitement.

Aging's Secret

Aging is coveted by small children,
Tall enough to ride, or walk, or simply reach.
Then reaching seems easy and aging turns
Mastering math, catching a ball or boy, and beauty,
Aging is distracted by desire, dreams, goals,
Lost in achieving, gaining, raising kids,
Regaining momentum in attainment, and watching babies
Turn to small children.
Then somewhere in the mix, age becomes a distance,
Disregarded, and conversations skip.
Unseen, unknown, aging is creeping always on the young,
Bending them into worn wisdom, advanced by small children.
Cycling, aging, beauty, achievement, master, wisdom
And a small sly smile.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Worry sneaks quietly into our heart


Sometimes worry sneaks in before you know it. I have been going through a stressful period; don’t we all have these times in life? I came back from vacation in Florida and had some little red bumps on my legs. My doctor sent me to a dermatologist. Turned out, I had squamus cancer on my face and basil cancer on my legs.
I had to go weekly for four weeks to have my skin dug, scraped, and sewn. I found out I am a bleeder, so Waa, this was tough. Then there is the concern of how to pay for all this. Add to this the need to do major and minor repairs on my home. My home had its 72 birthday this year.
I became negative in my thinking, worrying about finances and repairs and cancer. The words of my mouth were complaints and whining. This Saturday I was getting ready to visit my brother for his birthday. I knew he would ask me how things were, and I was rehearsing my problems.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit reminded me “What about God?” This hit me like a brick. How could I go to my brother’s house and complain, when I serve such a mighty God. I realized that over the past few weeks I had let worry creep in like crabgrass. It was choking me and I did not even notice it.
I had to apologize to God right then. I asked Him to create in me a contrite heart and a right spirit. I asked him to restore my salt so that I would not lose my ability to praise God and be a witness with my life.
I felt like going to every single person I whined to and apologize. However, this would not serve a purpose. Instead, I have purposed in my heart to be more watchful. The Word says in life there will be trouble, but God delivers the righteous from them all.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV2011)


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cancer is changing my heart

So maybe I will go in another direction with Christian Living. How about personal experiences? Right now, I am going through surgeries for skin cancers. I had squamous cell carcinoma and basil cell carcinoma. The doctor removed the squamous and one of the basil cell spots.
Cancer is always scary. I found myself looking to Jesus for strength. I realized that I am not ready to die, I still have some dreams and hopes, and I have sweet grandkids. This is my second round of cancer, and this moves my focus to how fragile we are as human beings.

I am more aware of kindness, more aware of my surroundings, and have a heightened sense of sharing the love of God on the earth. I listen to Joyce Meyer a lot. In her teachings, she discusses how God looks at our hearts. I have found many instances in the Word to support this.
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (NASB77)

The unbelievers in our lives, the ‘world’, may listen to our words about Jesus, but they look at how we act. Knowing this helps me to be diligent at work, kinder in the grocery store, and generally more adamant about controlling my moods and temper.
Cancer may, in the end, consume my flesh, but God has my heart safely in His hands.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Loving the unlovely

Do you know people who make you crazy? People who are just mean, or seem to be bent on making you look bad. I have lots of experience with people like this. My challenge as a Christian is to love them.
So what does that mean to my walk with Jesus? It means I have to be kind, patient, and look for opportunities to get along with them. Sometimes this means saying I am wrong when I am not, saying I am sorry because they perceive I have done something to offend them. Other times it means standing and taking their anger and accusations quietly without lashing back.
Truthfully, this makes me crazy. I have difficulty understanding why people are so proud. I believe they have not realized that they are someday going to die and nothing they think right now is going to amount to a hill of beans. I believe that pride, that preening little devil that lives in us all, stands like a guardian on the cave of insecurity inside us all. When we let pride free, we lose the ability to practice love.
I think of Jesus standing before the accusing crowd of Pharisees and Pilot, listening to the nonsense they were all spouting. Jesus did not say a word. What words would you have to rebuke such nonsense? Many times when dealing with people I have no words. Some folks think I am weak, one person told me I was “milk toast’.
But why should I shame my Savior just to look good to a person who is going to die and turn into dust?
Matthew 5:44-46 (NKJV)
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Obama-A man of his word

Whether you like President Obama or not, I can offer proof that President Obama is a man of his work. I did not vote for Obama in the first election. However after he took office, I learned that President Obama was a man of his word. My situation took a year to resolve, and the Obama administration is responsible for the resolution. With their intervention, I did not lose my home and my mortgager, Bank of America, did not win the day.

I lost my job suddenly in August of 2011. I was two month short of beginning early Social Security payments. I contacted Bank of America and asked that they move the September and October payments and move them to the back of the loan. I also sent in the principal and interest payment for September as a second option.

Bank of America went crazy and said they were foreclosing on my home. I had never missed a payment and simple asked for a little relief. I understood that Bank of America took a hit on the value of my home during the 2009 meltdown, and as time went on, I realized they were trying to foreclose to write off a bad debt and resell my home at market price.

My Social Security began in November of 2011 and I sent in my full payment. Bank of America sent it back. They would not accept my house payments. They were poised to foreclose.

I remembered that President Obama had signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. After reading this act, I decided to see if the government would really help. I wrote a letter to President Obama explaining this bizarre situation. In November of 2011, I received a letter from the Department of the Treasury in response to my letter to President Obama.

I was instructed to file a complaint with the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). With the power of the presidency backing me, Bank of America was forced to accept my payments. They kept threatening foreclosure, however I was able to catch up the two missed payments in October of 2012. Bank of America stopped threatening me.

I received a second letter from the CFPB in July of 2013 to let me know they had kept up with this case.

Then in August of 2014, the department of justice cited Bank of America with financial fraud in conjunction with President Obama’s Financial Fraud task force. This is the press release dated August 21, 2014.

Bank of America to Pay $16.65 Billion in Historic Justice Department Settlement for Financial Fraud Leading up to and During the Financial Crisis

Attorney General Eric Holder and Associate Attorney General Tony West announced today that the Department of Justice has reached a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America Corporation – the largest civil settlement with a single entity in American history ­— to resolve federal and state claims against Bank of America and its former and current subsidiaries, including Countrywide Financial Corporation and Merrill Lynch. As part of this global resolution, the bank has agreed to pay a $5 billion penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) – the largest FIRREA penalty ever – and provide billions of dollars of relief to struggling homeowners, including funds that will help defray tax liability as a result of mortgage modification, forbearance or forgiveness. The settlement does not release individuals from civil charges, nor does it absolve Bank of America, its current or former subsidiaries and affiliates or any individuals from potential criminal prosecution.

This settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and its Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS) Working Group, which has recovered $36.65 billion to date for American consumers and investors.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sometimes being a Christian is hard work

No matter what happens in my life God is there with wisdom and comfort.

Yesterday was a trying day at work. I was asked to prove I did not make a mistake, that I was not “wrong”. My pride pounded in my chest, my anger flared-the Holy Spirit counseled “do the work, see if you made an error. Swallowing my pride (this is my private battle), I did the work, and low and behold, I was correct.
People do not always believe we are who we say we are. As Christians, it is our job to ‘to the work’ to let our hearts and personalities be open to God, changed to reflect His glory.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Strength in Psalms

I love the Psalms. I get such comfort and strength as I read and think: This was a man, just like me, limited and subject to the human nature. However, David and other psalmists loved God with all their heart, to be able to realize God’s power and mercy towards our lives.

Psalm 7:1-17 (NCV)

LORD my God, I trust in you for protection. Save me and rescue me from those who are chasing me, Otherwise, like a lion they will tear me apart. They will rip me to pieces, and no one can save me. LORD my God, what have I done? Have my hands done something wrong? Have I done wrong to my friend or stolen without reason from my enemy? If I have, let my enemy chase me and capture me. Let him trample me into the dust and bury me in the ground. (When I read this, I do fear a little. I wonder at David’s confidence in his relationship with God)

LORD, rise up in your anger; stand up against my enemies’ anger. Get up and demand fairness. Gather the nations around you and rule them from above. LORD, judge the people. LORD, defend me because I am right, because I have done no wrong, God Most High.

God, you do what is right. You know our thoughts and feelings. Stop those wicked actions done by evil people, and help those who do what is right. God protects me like a shield; he saves those whose hearts are right. God judges by what is right, and God is always ready to punish the wicked. (I pause here and pray for those whose hearts are still dark; I don’t want anyone to suffer God’s punishment)

If they do not change their lives, God will sharpen his sword; he will string his bow and take aim. He has prepared his deadly weapons; he has made his flaming arrows.

There are people who think up evil and plan trouble and tell lies. They dig a hole to trap others, but they will fall into it themselves. They will get themselves into trouble; the violence they cause will hurt only themselves. (This comforts me. Sometimes I wonder why people are cruel; this reminds me that human nature has always been like this)

I praise the LORD because he does what is right. I sing praises to the LORD Most High.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How can God not be real

I wonder when I hear people say "I don't believe in God". I ask what they believe in, and most cannot say. But some respond "Oh, a great being", "a higher power", or, sadder still, "nothing, when you die you die." Some say "How can God be real, with all the suffering in the world?" 

Open your eyes, sometimes I say. How can God not be real? We breathe, we hope, we aspire. And for what, if there is nothing? But until people experience this good grace for themselves, they cannot know. And some are so shelled with pride, they cannot reach a thought that's not their own. 

I pray for them, that their eyes are opened, their hearts softened, and their pride abandoned. 

God is great: imposing, noble, heroic, splendid
Some do not believe. I wonder
How can His presence be denied?
What thoughts do they possess
That leads them through the dark place
Where God is real, but they are blind?
Where is their laughter?
Where is their hope?
Living in one dimension
Straight-line birth to death

Tick marks along the line of life events

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter is the reason Jesus came

The cross stands, empty, in the highlights of dawn,
A faint shadow falls upon the bloody ground,
A crude crown lay abandon, the marks of His body still in the dust.
In the dark and silent cave the
Son rises, sits, still swaddled.
He removes the rags of death and smiles.
Standing triumphant
Commands the stone to move
And walks into the bright morning.
This is why He came, why He died;
To conquer death,
Remove the gardens curse,
Leading the way to the tree of Life.