Try Something New Tuesday – Fall Festival

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.  James 1:5

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was once the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain, which marked the beginning of winter and end of harvest.  The change in the seasons was believed to be a time the dead could cross over.  All Hallows’ Eve (also called Halloween) or All Saints’ Eve is celebrated on October 31st.  It’s the eve before November 1st, which begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, a Christian observance in many western countries.  Allhallowtide is a time set aside in the liturgical year to celebrate and remember those who have died before us, including saints and martyrs.  Over the centuries, Halloween has become a time of parties, cookouts, treats, hayrides, jack-o-lanterns, spooky movies, and fun for kids and adults.  Is this holiday bad?  I think it depends on what you are celebrating and what’s in your heart.  As Saint Frances once said, “[w]here there is hatred, let me sow love.”

When I was a child, Halloween was a great time to carve pumpkins, dress up and get candy.  We walked around the neighborhood where our family knew all the neighbors. It was great fun!

When I was about 13, my role changed to the one who gave out the candy.  As a teenager we had special teen events at church, where we went on hayrides, bobbed for apples, and watched black and white  Frankenstein movies.

One year Halloween fell on a Friday night that coincided with a football game.  I was in the high school band, and that year we dressed up and had a stage show.  I clearly remember playing the “Purple People Eater” song on my saxophone, while a classmate dressed as the Purple People Eater danced around.  Fun times were had by all.

When my children were growing up, the world was a bit more scary and uncertain,  but we live in a suburban neighborhood where the neighbors made it fun.  We carved pumpkins, decorated, threw parties and cookouts for the kids, and let them ride down the neighborhood streets on a trailer full of hay to get some candy.  Most costumes weren’t scary.  Still, I was careful to only let my children go where I knew the neighbors.  Still fun!  When they were older, they gave out candy and we watched spooky movies together.

In our town we have four churches and a City Hall each a block apart on one street.  Our minister has come to refer to the collective group of ministers as the Clinton Street Clergy.  Most of the churches in our town have some sort of fall festival for the children.  Over the last few years the Clinton Street Clergy and our City have provided a trunk or treat event on Halloween.  It is a safe alternative for area children and adults to have a good time.  It is more like a fall festival and over time the official name has changed to the Clinton Street Fall Festival.  We usually donate candy, but this year my family is going to decorate our car and hand out candy.  I look forward to seeing the children dressed up, especially my little grandson who will be dressed as a baby dragon this year.

For my family and friends, Halloween is an annual fall tradition where families spend time together at home and church.  In our world where people can’t hold a conversation without a smart device, that’s not so bad.

This Halloween I encourage you to be safe and have fun.  God bless you!

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – the Beauty of Darkness

The beauty of darkness is that God can put pieces back together.  Jeremiah 17:14

Happy Monday!  My Monday seems a little frantic and manic.  Monday is like that sometimes.  I was running a little late, but when I got to my car I knew I was going to be late.  There was ice on the windshield.  The temperatures are in the mid- to upper-30s this morning.  It wasn’t my plan, but I sure enjoyed pausing for a moment and breathing in the cooler weather.  Guess what?  I wasn’t late.

Do you ever feel like your world is falling apart?  Do you feel like you just can’t seem to get yourself together because something is always dragging you down?  I’ve been studying the Book of Jeremiah for a school paper I am writing.  God used Jeremiah to warn the Israelites about their disobedience repeatedly, but they just wouldn’t stop worshipping idols.  Well, bad led to more bad.  The Israelites were attacked, scattered and endured famine.  They just couldn’t get themselves straightened out.  The good news according to Jeremiah 17:14 is there is beauty in darkness, because God can help us when we turn to him.

Today, if your Monday, or your life is a little chaotic, turn to God.  God bless you.

Praise the Lord Sunday – What About Your Neighbor?

And Jesus replied to him, “‘Y OU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
‭‭MATTHEW‬ ‭22:37-40‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Praise the Lord it’s Sunday!  Take time out of your day today to show God how much you love him.

Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors, but have you ever felt this commandment is easy to say, but hard to do?  Have you wondered if it is even possible to love everyone?  I came across this poem by D. H.  Lawrence that sums up how we feel sometimes.

Love Thy Neighbour

I love my neighbour

but

are these things my neighbours?

these two-legged things that walk and talk and eat and cachinnate*,

and even seem to smile, seem to smile, ye gods!

Am I told that these things are my neighbours?

All I can say then is Nay! nay! nay! nay! nay!

D. H. Lawrence

This poem is  a little humorous, but you get the point.  I have heard people say, “how can we have world peace if we can’t even love our neighbors.”  Interesting point!  The first step to loving your neighbor is loving God.  When we love God, we want to do what is pleasing to him.  Plus, we can ask him for help.  The second step is to allow yourself to mentally walk in the shoes of the other person.  We don’t all look the same or have the same experiences.  So, we don’t think alike.  That’s good.  Can you imagine how boring it would be if we all thought alike.  Third step is to love yourself without putting all the emphasis on yourself.  Don’t hang on everyone’s last word.  Finally, pray for help, walk with God and practice.  So, in case you’re wondering who your neighbor is, Edith Stein says it well.  “Whoever is near us and needing us must be our ‘neighbor’; it does not matter whether he is related to us or not, whether he is morally worthy of our help or not. The love of Christ knows no limits. It never ends; it does not shrink from ugliness and filth.”

As you praise God today, remember to love everyone around you.  God bless you!

 

D.H. Lawrence, “Love Thy Neighbor” from The Complete Poems of D. H. Lawrence, edited by Vivian de Sola Pinto and F. Warren Roberts. Copyright © 1964, 1971 by Angelo Ravagli and C. M. Weekley, Executors of the Estate of Frieda Lawrence Ravagli. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

 

Teach Your Children in the Way of the LORD

All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.  Isaiah 54:13

It’s a lazy, rainy Saturday at my home.  I’m enjoying a little time with my husband and grandson this morning.  It’s so important to spend time with our children and grandchildren.  They remember what happens at home, which can be good and bad.  If you are raising your children in the way of the Lord and living by example, it’s great!  There are so many outside influences that are not good that they are exposed to.  Yesterday, I was taking Landon to school and he said “look Bebaws, it’s a glorious day!”  Isn’t that great!It’s always great when they feel love and happiness at home and at grandma’s house.   If you are not living the life you want your children to imitate,  get right with God and ask for help.  It’s never too late.  Start today.  If you don’t have children, be a tutor, mentor, big brother/sister, Sunday School teacher, or super aunt or uncle.  Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.  Believe me when I say it matters.

Today, I encourage you to make the difference in the life of a child!  God bless you.

 

Spread the Love Friday – Be One

Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us console and delight ourselves with love.
‭‭PROVERBS‬ ‭7:18‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Friday!  It’s Spread the Love Friday!  What will you do to make someone’s day special?  Sometimes the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference. Lending an ear, giving a hug, and leaving a note are just a few ways.  I know a couple of people who pay the order for the car behind them in the fast food drive-through lane.  Take someone to lunch or for coffee.  Watch a movie with a friend.  There are so many ways.  I can’t wait to read what you did to make the world a better place.  Have a great Friday!  God bless you.

 

Forgiveness Thursday — About Hope

Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
‭‭ROMANS‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Thursday!  How did Thursday get here so quickly?  Yikes!

Today I would like to talk to you about hope.  Have you ever felt hopeless?  Have you ever known someone who felt hopeless?  I can honestly answer yes to both questions.  Last night I read a series of texts with tears in my eyes.  The writer felt hopeless.  It sounded like a situation that would end badly.  Nothing has to be that way when we trust God.  The problem is some things aren’t so easy to understand until you experience them.  We have to take a step in faith.  We must have forgiving hearts.  How can we not forgive others, when we are forgiven by grace?  We need to pray for everyone and show them love, especially people we think are wrong.  We need to ask God for help, and trust him.  Let go of worry and fear.  That is so difficult to tell someone who feels the system has failed them and lives might be in danger.  The truth is at that point, God is the best hope and possibly the only hope.  He was all along.

What do you tell people, who are a victim of a corrupt system?  What do you tell people, who cannot protect themselves or their children?  I would love to read your responses.

Today, as you ask for forgiveness, I ask for your prayers for the people who feel hopeless.  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Be in His Presence

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  Colossians 1:17

Happy Wednesday!  I hope your day is full of hope and love.  As you go through the day, think of all the ways you can help others.  Then, follow through.

Have you ever been drawn to someone for some unknown reason?  Do you feel God’s presence in others?  I’m taking a class on prayer and the professor told a story about a man he referred to as Brother Lawrence.  The story unfolded something like this.  Brother Lawrence was a missionary in France that wanted to help at a monastery.  He asked the priests if he could just clean, garden and cook for them for he wasn’t a priest.  They agreed.  Right from the start Brother Lawrence arose in the morning with the other priests and prayed.  He knew 1 Thessalonians 5:17 states that we should “be unceasing and persistent in prayer,” so as he went about his work schedule, he prayed.  At first, he found his mind would wander, but he would redirect and keep praying.  Over time, something happened.  People were drawn to him.  As he would go through his work day, people would gather to be in his presence because he had grown so close to our Lord.  He didn’t teach or preach.  He just kept working and while they stood nearby.  Wow!  I can’t even imagine seeing something like that.  I was so impressed by this story that I decided to do a little research of my own.  The story is true.  According to Wikipedia “Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (c. 1614 – 12 February 1691) served as a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris”,  I encourage you to read the book about him entitled The Practice of the Presence of God.

I share this story with you today because Brother Lawrence did not have a special gift that the rest of us don’t have.  Anyone can live in God’s presence and that is one way we can make a huge difference in the world everyday.  We just have to talk to God all the time.

So, as you go through your day, talk to God often, unceasing and persistent.  God bless you.

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Find the Gold

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.  Proverbs 13:20

It’s Try Something New Tuesday! There is always something new we can try that will help us grow as Christians.  I have heard that if you have memory problems, try to wear your watch on the opposite hand, because it forces you to think differently.  I don’t know if that suggestion really helps, but thinking differently sometimes does.  So what will you try today?

Do you ever see someone and just cringe?   You know it is not Christian-like, but something that person says or does just drives you crazy.  Have you ever been there? I certainly have.  I hate when people hang their hat on a popular word or phrase like “like,” “you know,” “whatever,” “it was meant to be,” “everything happens for a reason,” “due diligence,” “think outside the box” or a similar phrase or word.  Occasional use is okay, but when it is constant . . . it might as well be fingernails grinding on a chalk board.  In the scheme of things, using popular phrases is not a big deal, so how can we think differently.  One thing we can do is find something special to like about that person.  Everyone has something.  Find whatever it is that makes that person really unique and focus on it.

Try to think differently today.  Find the gold in someone!  God bless you.

 

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Thirsting for God

As the heart pants and longs for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God.…[ Roaring] deep calls to [roaring] deep at the thunder of Your waterspouts; all Your breakers and Your rolling waves have gone over me.    Psalm 42: 1–2, 7

Happy Monday!  Some of the most rewarding and treasured times in our lives happen in the unplanned moments.  You know, those moments that disrupt and put a kink in our schedules.  That has been the case more than the exception lately.  Yet, my life has changed for the better, and I have become a better person.  God knows what we need and when we need it.  When unexpected things take over, go with it.  Everything always works out in the end.  Living in the present reduces our stress levels.

Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night with a need to talk to God?  Do you love him so much that you sometimes want to slip away from wherever you are and find a quiet place to talk to Him?  Do you sometimes feel that only he understands?  Me too!  David had that kind of thirst for the Lord.  Last night I started reading Lynn Hammond’s The Master is Calling, where she talks about her time spent with God in prayer (Whitaker House, 2000).  She speaks about having a hunger for God’s attention.  I know this unquenchable thirst and hunger.  There is only one thing that will help – quiet time alone with my sweet Lord.  It’s a wonderful feeling!  Jesus tells us “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5: 3, 6).  The great news is the more I am filled with the Holy Spirit, the more I long to do good.  I don’t want to be out of the anointing.

Take time today to go somewhere quiet and allow him to feel your thirst.  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Embrace Your Blessings!

Blessed are those who believe without seeing.  John 20:29

Happy Friday!  It’s a glorious day in Florida.  I hope your world looks beautiful this morning.

I heard the song below by Francesca Battistelli on the radio this morning and I thought it was so fitting.  How many times does some little something happen that throws us off kilter? These little things can be blessings, or “stuff” that leaves our lives spinning out of control and drags us down.  The funny thing about it is, the choice is ours.  We can embrace the aggravation as blessings, or become upset and frustrated.

As you go through the day and these little things happen, I encourage you to embrace the blessings.  God bless you.