- Family Reunions
- The Man Cave
- The Garage
- The Ranch
- Camp Grandpa
- What happens here, stays here
- What happens here, does not stay here
I wanted to post this to let you know I am taking a break from blogging this summer. Grandchildren graduating, celebrating 50 years of marriage, a trip to celebrate those 50 years and a few other things thrown in have made me realize I only have so many hours in the day.
God is using me to teach a Sunday School class so I will be spending time focused on preparing for class.
God has greatly blessed me and this summer I am going to enjoy those blessings.
CELEBRATE EACH DAY,
I just love to read and I picked up a book that is absolutely hilarious. As I turn page after page, I am sure my laugh will go from a chuckle to a full out belly laugh. Are you wondering what book has caught my attention? What author could cause such glee?
Page seven caused a visual image that made me smile: Formally, a man introduces another man to his wife. "Mr. Brown, may I present you to my wife?" I had to smile because my hubby has presented me with many things -- unending tomatoes to be canned, letters to send, work clothes to be washed and, of course, a few flowers and some nice shiny things to wear on my fingers -- but he has never presented me with a man. If he wants to present me with a man, Matthew Macconaughey would be perfectly acceptable.
Opening this book to page 464 brought a whole new revelation. Oh my! I am supposed to wear a hat with street clothes in the daytime but not with an evening dress. Plus, my hands are to be properly concealed in gloves when I go to church, when I am on the street in a city, in a restaurant, in a theater and when I go to lunch, a formal dinner or a dance. Thankfully, I can remove said gloves to partake of my meal but, heaven forbid, those gloves must stay on when I shake hands.
Standing in front of Bill's closet, I turn to page 483. Goodness! Bill is going to have to go shopping. Nowhere, among the jeans, slacks, shirts and sport coats, could I find a Tail Coat, a Single-breasted Tuxedo, a Double-breasted Tuxedo or even a Cutaway with Striped Trousers. I quickly concluded that the Frock Coat, Black Sack Coat with Striped trousers, Business Suits, Country Clothes, White Dinner Coat, White Mess Jacket and Sack Suit must be at the cleaners.
Have you figured it out?
Etiquette, by Emily Post, 79th printing, 1953.
I can hardly wait to get to chapter 53: In Official Washington. That will be the belly laugh chapter - me getting invited to the White House.
I do think people today need to pay more attention to manners. We need to hear thank you, please and you are welcome. BUT this book is 635 pages long. There is no way anyone could follow all these etiquette rules and regulations.
Sometimes we read the Bible much like people read Emily Post. We see it as a list of do's and don'ts. We realize there is no way we can do everything that is written. We worry about what we should and should not do. Being a Christian - is it really that complicated?
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " '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. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40
Start with the greatest commandment and the rest will be far less complicated.
I love going down a road when there are no other cars to be seen. Not one car ahead or behind for as far as the eye can see. It does not seem scary or lonely. It just feels neat.
Those are the rare times. Most roads are full of people going to work or soccer or off to see a movie. Roads allow people to --- "Watch out you idiot!"
"My gosh, are you blind? That is a stop sign you blew through. It is a good thing I am paying attention."
Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Roads allow people to travel and see the Grand Canyon and the mighty Mississippi and grandma. Roads wind around a -- "For goodness sakes."
"Have you forgotten where the gas pedal is? Drive or get off the road. Some people! Calm down, Mary, there will be a passing zone soon."
You would think the world is full of people with one goal: To make my life difficult. They run stop signs. They turn in front of me. They slow me down. And road construction! Of course I want smooth roads to drive on, but road construction seems to attract the "I will wait till the last minute to get over" driver. And the "I will turn down this side road my GPS says will miss the construction" driver who soon finds out the calm voice has sent them down a lane to someone's house.
Yet, even with all the bad drivers, I love to -- "Put down the phone!!"
"THINK! Your life. My life. The lives of your children. All way more important than a text message."
My goodness. All these crazy drivers! Will I even make it to the store for a loaf of bread?
Does it ever feel like the universe has one goal? A single goal of making your journey through life one road hazard after another? One distraction after another. A road block here and a stop sign there. And someone slowing you down when you want to fly. People making it hard for you to stay on the right road. People making you think that loaf of bread isn't that important after all.
Well, listen up. Hang in there! It is important for you to be alert and complete your journey. To stay the course. To finish the race. To cross the finish line.
And all you have to do is listen to the voice of the greatest GPS ever. The voice of the Shepherd.
The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:2-4, 14-15 NIV
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalms 23:1-3 KJV
Do you know the voice of the Shepherd? The calm, sweet voice of the One guiding you on your life's journey? Trust the Shepherd to be your GPS. He will not lead down the wrong lane.
Chalk art fascinates me and I do not understand how something can be drawn on a flat surface and appear real. Lifelike.
This little guy is so cute.
Chalk art is whimsical and a crack in a wall becomes the home of a rabbit.
Then some are ----
Admit it. The bears look real!
These deer appear to be escaping under the sidewalk into a winter wonderland.
Looking at these make you believe there is a cute green character lifting up the sidewalk and that a rabbit lives in the roots of a tree.
If you were walking by the bears, you would, most likely, do a double take and wouldn't you love to walk into that peaceful winter scene with the deer.
Sometimes it is hard to tell what is real and what is not.
REAL? OR NOT REAL?
Life is like that. Many times something or someone seems real. Honest. Until, we realize we are being deceived.
For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24
The Bible warns us to be on our guard because that ole Satan is a sneaky, evil being. He is false. He will lie.
He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. Revelation 13:13-14
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
The beast - Satan - wants us to turn from God to him. He will try to convince us he is great by performing "great signs" and promising wonders he cannot give. Satan will even present himself to you in a disguise. He might just show up at your door looking like an angel. You see, Satan is a liar. His words are not real!!! Satan is a liar. He can fake how you see him.
God has not left us on our own to fight those that try to deceive - those that just plain lie to us.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:11
The words and actions of Satan are not real. THE WORDS AND ACTIONS OF GOD ARE! The scriptures are full of assurances as they tell us of God's character. They tell us God does NOT change. They tell us God does NOT lie.
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind. 1 Samuel 15:29
To declare that the Lord is upright. He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm 92:15
For I am the Lord, I do not change. Malachi 3:6
In the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time. Titus 1:2
One last scripture, from The Message, by Eugene Peterson, Hebrews 6:13-18:
When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, "I promise that I'll bless you with everything I have - bless and bless and bless!" Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they'll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee - God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.
We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.
I do not know about you, but I WANT THE REAL DEAL. I WANT WHAT IS REAL, TRUE AND UNCHANGABLE!
O God, Dress me in your armor so I will not believe lies nor be deceived by false prophets. Allow my grip on your promised hope to be strong so I will never let go, always trusting in Your unchanging truth. Amen
I have ridden with both my hubby and our daughter and realized they are two peas in a pod. Although Bill likes to listen to country music and Terri leans more toward Pink, they seem to have the same reaction when a song comes on they do not like. They switch channels or turn it off. Sorta annoying. Okay, more than sorta. It is annoying. That on/off just makes no sense because the next song, which they will now miss, might just be their all-time favorite.
BUT, sometimes I wish I could do that in life.
Life is not that way though. We cannot just turn off the things we don't like. Or capture the days that are perfect and rerun them tomorrow.
Life is life! There will be trials but there is great news about these trials!
We will make it through!!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Okay - no one considers trials pure joy, but maybe we should. When do we learn the most? When everything is going great? OR When life just plain throws us a major curve ball? Every difficulty we pass through, is a learning, a growing experience. We mature. We move from a child's simple faith to a mature complete faith.
Trials do not last!!
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7
What a comfort to hear "for a little while." Yes, a little while might consist of years but, compared to eternal life, a few years here is a snap of the fingers.
There is a reward for making it through our trials.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
“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
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3:21
Our trials may seem impossible to get through BUT with God all things are possible. Did you get the "ALL" things part. Not just the little mishaps. Not just the middle size headaches. Not just the major, life changing trials. We can make it through ALL of our trials if we call upon God to be there with us.
And when we get through them -- oh my: PEACE! A peace that only come from God.
And it just gets better! WE WILL HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE WITH THE FATHER!!