Category Archives: Healing

Forgiveness Thursday – On Death

“Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we experience. And our hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.”
‭‭2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭1:3-7‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Thursday!  It’s a great time to seek forgiveness and to forgive others.

The older I grow, the more funerals I attend.  This week two funerals are on my agenda.  The hardest funerals for me are the ones where a child has died, and ones where intense grief is expressed.  I also, out of selfishness, sometimes have trouble getting through funerals where I think the person was not a Christian, or that remind me of a something similar. Finally, I have a difficult time with funerals where sad music is played.

In Genesis 5:22-24 we learn that Enoch was taken to heaven without dying.  Second Kings 2:11 tells us that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind.  There maybe others, but the majority of us are not getting out of this life without dying.  It’s something we all have to do.  That doesn’t really take away fear related to death.

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As Christians we know that when our earthly life is over, we will continue on a spiritual journey.  This brings me great comfort, because I’m looking forward to serving God in a new capacity.  That provides personal comfort, but what about when someone we know passes?  The emotional pain can be more than any physical pain we have ever known.  I’ve heard people say that they lost a piece of their heart.  It’s a pain that doesn’t go away quickly.  In my own life, I’ve found myself looking for the one who passed, knowing good and well they aren’t here anymore.  I miss them so much.  That’s when we have to be comforted by knowing that through Christ’s sufferings we will see our loved ones again.  It’s like, as Billy Graham said, “changing addresses”.  So, if our loved ones are Christians, we will see them and rejoice in heaven.  That’s nice to know.  We still have to go through the grieving process, which can be very difficult.  We still miss our loved ones.  Yet, there is hope around the corner that we will be reunited.

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Over time I have found myself struggling with loss of adult family and friends who I feel certain were not Christians.  As much as we may sometimes want to force people to make the right choice, we can’t.  Everyone has a choice.  Yet, sometimes people accept Christ as their personal savior in their last moments.  There are other people who might not want you to be aware of their decisions.  At the end of the day, it is their choice.  Always remember that none of us are promised tomorrow.  Make the most of your time in the best ways possible.  Be the best Christian you can be.  Then, when a family member passes, celebrate their life.  Don’t mourn their death.  Remember the good times and their contributions.

If you have lost a loved one, give yourself time to grieve.  It’s normal.  Let people help you.  Read the scriptures and celebrate the passing of your loved one.   Praise God with your every breath and know that your spiritual life will be unbelievable!  God bless you!

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Healing through Grief

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Wednesday!  What a blessing it is to praise God after the storm!

We are five weeks after Hurricane Michael, and tempers are flaring.  People are tired of the circumstances in which they are living.  They are tired of fighting with insurance appraisers and FEMA representatives trying to obtain assistance.  They are angry about the excessive traffic and undesirable visitors taking advantage of the situation.  They are tired of the extra work and the way the town looks.  Everyone longs for what used to be, and they are angry that the recovery has taken so long.  The sad part is the recovery will take many more years.  Our town has stopped in time, while the world has moved on.  Halloween was cancelled and Thanksgiving doesn’t even seem important.  Day-to-day is the reality.

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It’s hard to be understanding when the attitude of pitching in and working together is gone.  I was standing in line in the grocery store and a man came up to me and shouted something.  I shook it off, because I understood.  Another man walked up and shrugged his shoulders.  This attitude has become common place at work.

What has happened is the community is going through a grieving process.  The honeymoon stage of shock and feeling blessed has faded.  Now the citizens of our town are oscillating between anger, bargaining and depression.  When I say bargaining, I mean feelings and statements like “if only I had . . .”.   There hasn’t been much acceptance that I’ve seen.  This is very common from what I’ve been told.  One or all of these feelings can be apparent separately or together in any order.

Have you ever known someone going through the grieving process?  Have you been through the grieving process?  Have you been through the grieving process with others, and had to try to keep your cool?  Most of us can answer yes to one or all of these questions.  It’s important to try to keep things in perspective as much as possible and remember what’s most important.  Yet, when you break down, it’s okay. There is also nothing wrong with seeking assistance.  It also helps to remember what James the Just said to be quick to listen, and slow to speak and anger.

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If you are experiencing grief or helping someone who is, my heart goes out to you.  I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.  God bless you.

Who Is Your Superhero?

for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
‭‭LUKE‬ ‭19:10‬ ‭AMP‬‬

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Happy Saturday!  In a time when there are so many superhero movies, I had someone ask me “who is your superhero?”  Now, my family enjoys the superhero movies, but I really don’t care for that genre.  However, I will watch them to keep from spoiling everyone’s fun and sometimes I find them entertaining. Sometimes I fall asleep.  Britt likes Ironman and Landon likes all of the superheroes, but I think Batman is his favorite now.  He even has a Batman bed.  My first thoughts went to Superman with actor Christopher Reeves.  Then, I started thinking about my studies in church history.  How many people have died over time without a fight for Christianity.  “Jesus” I replied.  A not so unexpected laugh is what I received.

Last week during our multigenerational Sunday School class, I listened as a 15 year
B76792F0-6F68-4368-9128-25D5B68DE5DCold girl explained how if she prayed at school or spoke of God she would be suspended.  I could hardly believe my ears.  We live in a town of about 7,000 people with a church on every corner.  I’m not so naive to think that this is because of anything other than federal law designed to protect some.  Yet, this law stifles the rights of others.

A couple of weeks ago we watched the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ.  The movie portrayed the degree to which Christians were willing to suffer for their beliefs.  This suffering has continued throughout time.  I’ve been reading Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians by James G. Lawson, which features diary entries intermingled with the history of each character. One story that has weighed heavy on my mind was about Madame Jeanne Guyon.  There are so many more dating to recent Christian attacks.

So, what makes Christians willing to suffer all the while asking forgiveness for those who persecute them, whether in a bullying situation or being burned alive?  Our 69D86D32-5017-449C-9675-14267F680A69Superhero, Jesus Christ!  Christians know that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).  The price for sin is death, but through Jesus Christ, our free gift from God himself, we can have eternal life (Romans 6:23).  All we have to do is call on the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13).  Isn’t that great!  If you have any doubt, study Christianity over time. These Christians are shadows of Christ.  Christians also know the two most important commandments taught by Jesus are to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31).  We forgive because we are forgiven.

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Let Jesus be your superhero!  Have a wonderful Saturday.  May God bless you.

 

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – On Discernment and Speaking Off the Cuff

Discretion will watch over you, Understanding and discernment will guard you
‭‭PROVERBS‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Wednesday.  It’s a great day to use your gifts to change the world wherever you are and wherever you go.  I asked a lady in my office today what she was going to do.  My heart was filled with joy when I learned that she planned to pay a family’s utility bills anonymously.  The family she was speaking about has a preschool age child in need of a heart transplant.  Now, that is making a difference! We can all do these types of things. Please share what you do!

Earlier in the week I was in a ladies Bible Study class when the leader was pulled off topic.  Off the cuff she began speaking about Dinah.  She was explaining why the story of Dinah is included in the Bible, and ultimately she proved that Dinah’s two older brothers did not receive their birth right because of their sinful acts.  The portion of her story that I questioned was about whether Dinah was raped.  Her story was that Dinah was hanging out with some young men and the sexual activity was consensual.

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So, I conducted a little research of my own.  Just to give you a little background, the story is found in Genesis 34.  As the story goes, Dinah went out unescorted to visit the girls of the land.  While away there was a sexual encounter with Shechem the son of the Hivite prince.  Apparently Shechem cared deeply for Dinah and asked for her hand in marriage.  Dinah’s two older brothers were not happy about this news.  They went to Shechem and told him that he and all the men of the village must be circumcised if he wanted to marry their sister.  Shechem convinced all the men of the village to be circumcised.  On the third day while all the men were recovering in pain from the procedure, Dinah’s brothers killed all the men and looted the village.

I looked in the Message, Amplied, NIV, KJV, ASV, AMPC, CEB, and CEVD versions of the Bible.  Most of these sources indicate that Dinah was raped or force was used during the sexual encounter.  Some even refer to “Dinah’s Rape”.  The word used in the King James Version is “defiled” (taw-may’ in Hebrew), which means to make unclean (Strong’s Concordance H2930).     Verse 2 says that Shechem took (law-Kalch in Hebrew means led), lay (Shaw-kab in Hebrew means to lie down usually in a sexual manner) and defiled her (Strong’s Concordance H3947 and H7901).  Let me stop for a moment and clarify that I’m away from home and using a digital version of Strong’s Concordance.  If anyone disagrees with these references, please clarify my findings.

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I also researched Matthew Henry’s Commentary and Jamison, Fausset and Brown Commentary.  From this review of information, I have concluded that Dinah like many young women today was curious.  The inexperienced young women mingled with some ungodly women without her parents’ consent on at least one occasion.  During these encounters, she must have been flattered by Shechem’s attention and succumbed to his affection.  I see no reason to believe Dinah was raped.  She probably did bring shame to her pious parents and family. Unfortunately, the situation escalated.  Is this all that different from stories we read, watch in movies, or maybe even know first hand today?

After praying and conducting my own research, I found that the Bible Study leader’s story was probably accurate.  I have shared these findings to encourage you to do your own research and pray for discernment when you read or hear something that may leave you feeling uncertain.

Have a super Wednesday!  God bless you.

 

Saint Patrick

 

Top of the morning to you!  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  A few years ago I ordered an Ancestry.com DNA test.  I’m excited to say that I’m 10% Irish.  Maybe that’s The origin of my green eyes.  When I was a child, we wore green on Saint Patrick’s Day to avoid getting pinched. When I was in college, the local bars around the university had green beer. I’ve never drank green beer, but every year our family eats corned beef and cabbage.  I also enjoy the delicious Shamrock Shakes at McDonalds. Do you participate in any traditions?

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Have you ever wondered who Saint Patrick was and the origin of the holiday?  Saint Patrick was born in Great Britain near Kilpatrick, Scotland in 395 AD.  The holiday began as a religious feast day in the 17th century.  When he was sixteen years old, he was kidnapped and taken to the mountainous countryside of Ireland.  There he was enslaved and forced to tend sheep.  After about six years God told him in a dream to flee to the coast and find a ship to return home.  He was able to escape and after he made it home, he had a second dream.  This time the Irish people were begging him to return. Saint Patrick, still a young man, began studying to be a priest.  He became a bishop in the Catholic Church.  At the age of about 40 he returned to Ireland to spread Christianity.  He reportedly baptized 100,000 Irish over time and 12,000 people in one day in an area near Killala.  He created new churches.  He converted priests and nuns, and he ministered to princes and paupers.   He refused money, was placed in chains, beaten and faced execution many times.  On March 17, 462 AD Saint Patrick died after nearly 30 years of missionary work.  He is buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down, Ireland.  He is most known for being the Patron Saint of Ireland and spreading Christianity to Ireland. For the most part he was forgotten for centuries.   In the 17th century March 17th became an official feast day for the Catholic Church.  Over time March 17th became more secular celebrating Irish culture and ancestry.  Boston celebrated the holiday the first time in 1737.  New York City enjoyed the first Saint Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 1762.  George Washington created the American holiday in 1780.  I’ve heard it reported that every year 40 pounds of dye are used to turn the Chicago River green for Saint Patrick’s Day. In Ireland the holiday is solemn and Holy.  I’m particularly fond of Saint Patrick’s prayer.

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I wish you a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day.  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday – Forgiveness and Love

All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:20-22‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Good Morning and Happy Friday.  I haven’t posted as much lately, but I did attempt to post yesterday.  Unfortunately, my post was not published and appears to be lost.  So, today I will enjoy the opportunity to reshare yesterday’s post with the inclusion of some additional blessings.  Maybe, it was a sign from God that I needed to wait.

We have been very busy this week with work and family.  I once heard Joel Osteen say that we are the most productive when we have balance in our lives.  I can honestly say that I need to make balance a priority today.

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Tuesday our church celebrated Shrove Tuesday, or as many people call it, Fat Tuesday.  Our tradition is for the children to sell tickets for a pancake supper, which the youth are involved in preparing and serving.  All the money raised goes to the youth program.  Our guest was my daddy.  We also met my husband’s parents at church.  Church fellowship is good for the soul.  If you are feeling down and out, make yourself go, and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with others, who also love the Lord.  I have come to think of the church congregation as my family.

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Ash Wednesday follows Shrove Tuesday.  It is the first day of Lent and is a time for prayer, penitence, time with God, fasting, and thoughtful preparation for Easter.  Many people give up something they enjoy during Lent.  I often hear chocolate or meat. I’m laughing at the thought of giving up chocolate this year with Ash Wednesday falling on Valentine’s Day.  I like to give up something (i.e. clutter, gossip, or possibly a food) and add something (i.e. a special prayer book, extra time with God, etc.).  It’s not about being perfect.  It’s about being mindful.

On Ash Wednesday our church has a special service that includes “the imposition of the ashes.”  It is one of my favorite services.  The ashes are the burned down palm branches from Palm Sunday of the previous year.  The minister makes the mark of the cross on each participant’s forehead and reminds us that we have come from ashes and to ashes we will return. Before we leave the building, we wipe the ashes off because it is not for public display.  It’s a wonderful service, but this year the service was held at noon and I was unable to attend because of a work obligation.  I did notice that there were many cars at the church. This is one of my favorite services because it make me mindful that none of us are promised tomorrow.

 

God didn’t forget me.  I received a call about 3:00 from my husband on Wednesday afternoon.  My sweet little dog Freckles died.  I have had many pets over the years, and all of them were special.  I am especially thankful to have had Freckles in my life.  Before Freckles I had a black Shih Tzu, Long Hei who had gone missing within seconds.  When my husband opened the door to let him out, my daughter showed him a bracelet she had made.  It couldn’t have taken more than 60 seconds.  Then, Long Hei was gone.  That was close to 20 years ago, and I still look for him today.  I often think of how hard it must be for parents whose children go missing.

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So, we purchased Freckles, this cute little Shih Tzu puppy, a short time later.  I sometimes talk in my sleep. Whenever my grandmother died, my husband relayed a funny story.  He said I asked him where “Freckle Man” was.  He questioned me again and I said “you know that cute little black and white boy.”  From that day on Freckles was called “”Freckle man”, “Freckman”, “Freckle boy” and Freckles.  Freckles was the cutest puppy.  He played and jumped through the yard like a cartoon character.  He was easy to train and the best snuggler I’ve ever known.  He even got mad with me when I didn’t snuggle with him.  He loved to go bye-bye and never ran away.

When he was about four years old, my daughter called me at work and said something was wrong with Freckles.  I have to admit that I was aggravated and didn’t believe anything was wrong with him.  I was wrong.  I took Freckles to our local vet, Dr. Kelly, who I am so thankful to have in my life.  After Freckles had gone through 8-9 surgeries for what Dr. Kelly diagnosed as Portal Shunt Disorder, Dr. Kelly was able to obtain an appointment at Auburn University for Freckles.

We knew in advance that the surgery would cost us several thousand dollars and a large portion had to be paid upfront.  Dr. Kelly had told me he understood if I wanted to put Freckles down.  I had people coming up to me saying, “just put him down and buy another puppy.”  I remember talking to my husband and him suggesting that the decision might be a test of my character.  Even though I knew there was a possibility that I might pay the money and Freckles might not make it, it wasn’t a difficult test for me.  I borrowed from my retirement to take care of Freckles.

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So, I set out alone with my puppy to Auburn, which was several hours away.  Freckles had never traveled a long distance before, but he was a great traveler.  He had never been taken out on a leash, but he was great at that too.  God was with me on this journey.  I got lost and one of the students at Auburn called me and talked me through the directions on how to get to the University Veterinarian Hospital.  As if that wasn’t enough, a student met me at the door and helped me and my puppy into the hospital.  Freckles underwent several tests and we made a couple of visits before the specialist found the problem.  Dr. Kelly was right.  Before it was over, I left my puppy for a surgery that could cause the end of his life.  Freckles would have to stay for two weeks of observation after the surgery, should everything go well.  He had never been left for two weeks anywhere.  I tearfully said goodbye to Freckles and paid the very large bill before heading home.

On the day of the surgery, I sat by the phone at work waiting eagerly for good news. I prayed that God would take care of my puppy.  By the middle of the afternoon I received a call from one of the students.  The surgery was successful.  Every day a student would call me and give me an update on Freckles.  I never attended Auburn University, but I highly recommend them for pets.  One day a student called with the funniest statement.  He said “you didn’t tell me Freckles was a cage jumper.”  Of course, we didn’t know because he had never been in a cage.  So, now Freckles was also known as the “cage jumper.”

I was so glad to bring my little cage jumper home and life was mostly normal after that.  Freckles did have to stay on a low protein diet, which is hard to manage with a dog.  For a while we had our own dog treat business, where we sold healthy dog treats.  Freckles was at the center of this activity.  I’m very thankful for Dr. Kelly and the students and doctors at Auburn University.  They were able to extend Freckles life by about 12 years.

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Over time Freckles slowed down.  He became the drill sergeant of the house, keeping all of us in order.  Last year Freckles began having seizures that increased over time.  Most of his teeth fell out and his cataracts preventing him from seeing well.  He was still the best cuddler right until the end.  During the last couple of weeks Freckles health declined even more.  He seemed to be in a great deal of pain.  About a week ago, I tearfully asked God to not let my Freckle Boy suffer.  Ash Wednesday he died peacefully in his sleep.  My heart is a little bigger because of a little dog.  Today, my house is empty and my heart also has an empty spot. No one is promised tomorrow.  Be sure to tell everyone you love them and make every moment count.

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Life goes on and as I pause to think of that little cage jumper throughout the day.  God knows our hearts and the weight that is on our shoulders.  I have been overwhelmed at work.  Long stressful hours fill my days.  This morning I came to work to find some of God’s blessings waiting to help.  A local church had sent me some helpers to “pay it backwards.”  Wow!  How blessed could I be!  Life is like that.  Just at what seems like the lowest moment, something amazing happens.  God knows what I need before I even ask.

Take time to spread the love to everyone you see today.  God bless you.

 

 

Spread the Love Friday – Flawless

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Friday!  This week has been speeding along like a blur, but I’m super glad it’s Friday!  I look forward to sleeping late tomorrow and working on some school work.

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Sometimes I think God reminds me that I should be humble.  After a few trying days at work, God spoke to me through this song by Mercy Me.  It is one of my favorites that I have played when I’ve experienced physical pain.  Guess what!  It’s good for emotional pain too.  The lyrics are below.

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do
Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the cross was enough
And like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to grace grace
God’s grace
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless
No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless
He made you flawless
No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

The lyrics of this song say it all for me today.  So, as I face Friday, I am comforted that it’s a new day and I can “take a breath, smile and say, right here right now, I’m ok, because the cross was enough”!

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My hope is that you will also find comfort in God’s grace today and everyday.  Spread His love everywhere you go.  God bless you.

 

 

Songwriters: Barry Graul / Bart Millard / Ben Glover / David Arthur Garcia / Mike Scheuchzer / Nathan Cochran / Robby Shaffer / Solomon Olds

Tell Me Something Good Monday -Eagles and Sparrows

who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭103:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Happy Monday!  Tell me something good.  I had a wonderful weekend, but it spun by like a whirlwind.  Over the weekend, I encountered several people with heavy hearts.  In some of the cases, I knew what the problem was and in others I am still wondering.

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Sometimes Mondays brings added stress to our weekend troubles.  After all, we come back after a weekend off with a long todo list.   Isaiah 40:31 tells us that when we wait upon the Lord our strength will be renewed.  God will never let you down (Deuteronomy 32:11).  So renew your hope this Monday morning in the Lord and watch as he renews your strength (Isaiah 40:28-31).

I pray your day will be full of wonderful moments.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – On Family and Friends

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Thursday from a very cold and rainy Florida.  I’m studying this morning with my grandson by my side.  We started the day with Landon taking a drive in his new car.

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Have you ever felt like your emotional steering was out-of-control; like you were running off road?  Do you need to get your life back on track?  Often during the holidays we have a little extra stress, and may  find ourselves being short-tempered with our family.   If this describes you or what has happened to you, let it go.  Forgive your family and friends.  Life is too short to hold grudges and stay away from the people we love.  You might miss out on moments like the ones in the photos above.  It’s important to remember that we don’t all think and behave alike.  Usually the ones who hurt our feelings don’t even know it.  Sometimes bad things happen to where we can’t be around our family and/or friends.  Forgive them and yourself even if you can’t be around them any more.

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Today, forgive yourselves and others, as Christ has forgiven us.  God bless you.

 

Forgiveness Thursday – Grudges

He reached down from heaven and rescued me; He drew me out of deep waters.  Psalm 18:16

Happy Thursday!  I’m posting at lunch today.  It’s a little later than usual because for some reason, I just can’t get my act together. Ever been there?  In Florida it is getting colder by the minute.  It was raining and 56 degrees when I took my dogs out this morning.  Now, it is still drizzling rain and the temperature is dropping.  There is a chance for snow on Saturday.  We actually get a few flurries once in a while in Florida, believe it or not.  However, it is the exception, not the rule.  I was wearing shorts and flip flops just a couple of days ago.

Have you ever gone somewhere and everyone was talking wonderfully about a person that has been especially mean to you publicly on more than one occasion?  Have you ever found out that your friends all like someone you don’t?  Did you feel angry at them?  Have you ever been around people who just get on your nerves.  I’m talking about their hygiene, mannerisms, style, etc.?  Hmmm.  I’ve got some good news and some bad news.  First, the bad news is the problem is with you.  Ouch!  Don’t feel bad, because I was enjoying this bitter tea earlier this week.  I had to stop what I was doing, go somewhere quiet, and get right with God.  Why?  Well, first we know Jesus taught that loving our neighbors as ourselves is the second most important commandment (Matthew 22:39). It doesn’t matter what they do or say.  You are responsible for you, not them.  Everyone has different gifts to bring to the table.  We need to love them for who they are and avoid judging.  Do you remember what Jesus says about casting stones (John 8:7)?  As the story goes, the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus who had committed adultery.  Under the Old Covenant, the punishment for adultery was stoning.  Jesus explained that only people who had never done anything wrong (sinned) should cast stones.  The ending is good.  All the accusers left her and Jesus told her to “go and sin no more” (John  8:11).  How many times have I gotten caught up in this type of behavior?  Too many to count! Sound familiar?  Jesus taught that we are to forgive others just like God forgives us (Matthew 6:14).

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The good news is we can start right now.  Just bow your head and get right with God.  You can do it anywhere, and usually without anyone knowing.  Forgive those who have done you wrong, and let go of grudges.  While you are forgiving others, ask for forgiveness.  Dismiss bitter talk and gossip.  It makes matters worse.  Don’t wish bad on someone who has done you wrong.  That makes you wrong.  Forgiveness is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  It frees your heart from bitterness.  One of my favorite and most comforting verses says “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬).  Every time I hear or read these words, I feel tremendous comfort.  It’s peace beyond our understanding that we receive when we forgive.  Isn’t that great!

Today and every day, join me in letting go of grudges and asking God for forgiveness.  God bless you!