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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Turn on the LIGHT!

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
                                                                                                        Matthew 5:14-16

My daughter's old bedroom is full of starlight.

I had forgotten this, but the other day, I fell asleep while reading on her old bed. (I am old.  Whenever I stop moving...I fall asleep!)

When I woke in the darkness, I had to blink.  The walls of the room were shimmering with "stars" of neon paint. Enid had dabbed the hopeful little lights on her wall years and years ago.  I never got around to painting over.

Truth be told, the shimmering light was kinda pretty.  We can all use a little light.

Jesus told us we can share the light....if we want.  Light shines in the darkest times.  Light shows the way.  Light can even bring hope.

I used to work in a hospital run by beautiful German nuns who worked in Berlin during the Second World War.   Bombing often took them into underground shelters.  Darkness was thick, deep, forboding in those bomb bunkers.

"Der light of one candle could calm us," Sister Hildegarde told me.  "Ven ve saw der light, we had hope."

When we let Jesus into our lives, He brings light to us in so many ways:

Jesus gives us:

...The light of love
...The light of hope
...The light of understanding
...The light of salvation

Why in the world would I want to take Jesus' gift of light and hide it?

Enter:  Paranoid and forgetful follower of Christ -- That's me.

When I "hunker down" in my corner and keep all that light to myself because I too darn tired to go out,...welp, I'm putting  my light under a bowl.

When I rush around with my "to-do" lists and forget I possess a light which needs to be shared, I'm putting my light under a bowl.  I should always take the time to share the light.    

Who's gonna see the light with me around?  My bunker can get pretty dark in this worldly war.  

OK, Jesus.  In Matthew 5, verse 15, you tell me I shouldn't put my light under a bowl.

I've gotta remember that.

I need to let Jesus give me the energy.  I need to let Jesus give me the opportunity.

I need to hold up my I can find my way.

- How about you?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pass the SALT

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot." -- Matt 5:13

I admit it.  I'm a salt sneaker.  Don't tell my husband.

Every once in a while, when we go to a fast food restaurant, I dump a little pile of the stuff on my fries and eat them.  My husband usually glares his "That's not good for you" glare.

He's partially right, but there was a time, long ago, when salt was crucial to life.  In Bible times, it was used as a preservative.  It was critical to long-term survival of the people.

In Matthew 5:13, Jesus called us " the salt of the earth".  Basically, salt was a life-giver back in those days. Was Jesus implying I could enhance someone's life....or perhaps even offer them a life-giving message?

I'm thinking, in many ways, I have lost my salty flavor.  I've become lethargic and self-centered.  I've forgotten to add zest to other's lives because I'm so wrapped up in my own.

When salt lost it's flavor in Bible times, it was cast onto the walking paths.  If it was no good for life, it could at least kill the weeds.

Hmmmm.  I don't want to lose my flavor.  I want to share Jesus' love with others.  I want to let them know life can be so much easier when we look to God as our guide.

I want to sprinkle resurrection hope into their lives.  I want them to know there is meaning to lifetime struggle, as long as we focus on Jesus.  He's a super chef and does great things with our salty qualities.

Whereas I don't want to abuse my body with too much salt at the fast food place, I do want to enhance my world by sharing the life-giving Truth:

Jesus loves you, plain and simple.  You matter.   God has gifted you and given you great guidelines to follow. He will help you get through whatever you are facing.

Hang in there....and pass the salt.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Don't Be Bummed Out When You Are Blessed!

I hope you are reading through Matthew Chapter 5.

Let's read it over and over the next few weeks.  -Try reading before you go to bed.

Ask God to bless your understanding and application.  Today, we are pulling out Matt 5:10-12 to explore more closely.

Have you ever felt discouraged?  Do you try to do the right thing only to get shot down?

I'm keenly aware of  rolled eyes and behind back whispers. Folks often decide to label Christians without even knowing them or listening to what they have to say...Let alone giving them the right to say it.

Tolerance seems to be a one-sided deal today.  Even friends and family may reject you or make fun of you if you stand firm upon God's provision.

Hang in there!  Jesus tells you -- you are BLESSED!  I have often found - the same people who laugh at me now run to me when chaos hits.  They ask me to pray when this world dishes out horrible circumstances to them....So hang in there!

Never forget the persecution Jesus and His followers endured.

There is nothing you are going through now which Jesus did not go through:
____Rejection-Check ___Ridicule-Check ___Abandonment-Check ____Persecution-Check ___Misunderstanding-Check ____Betrayal-Check ___Physical and Emotional Pain-Check ___Death-Check

The followers of Jesus were persecuted in extraordinary ways...even unto death, but, as Paul noted, even death can be a victory for a believer in Jesus.

SOOOOO -- TAKE HEART!  Remember Jesus' words in Matthew:  

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, 
persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. -- Matthew 5:10-12

Don't be bummed out when you are blessed!  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Matthew 5 - Advice for living

Who is blessed?

Welcome back, folks!  

I am so excited to announce we are going to explore Matthew Chapter 5 during the next few weeks!

Take a moment to read the first ten verses now.

I've been inspired to read Matthew 5 by my dear friends at the East St. Louis Christian Activity Center   (CAC).  This is a beautiful ministry in one of the poorest and oldest housing projects in East St. Louis, IL.  We are going to explore The Sermon on the Mount with some of the 600+ children who pour through our doors each day.

The Sermon will be the basis for our devotionals each evening after school at CAC. I think it's good for all of us to explore it thoroughly.

I wish I'd been sitting listening to Jesus speak these mind-boggling words! He climbed to the side of a mountain.  Curious onlookers followed.  His audience was full of the poor and downtrodden.  Mathew 4:23 speaks about the crowds who gathered around Jesus:

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. -- Matthew 4:23

First of all, we should understand the culture in which Jesus spoke.  The poor were given no consideration. Women had no identity.  Misery and hardship were lifestyles.  Many in Jesus audience were intimately aware of the agony of struggling through life.

Life was hard. People were trapped in their misery. But one day,  on the side of  a mountain, Jesus told them their lives and struggles had meaning and purpose.

This was a riveting moment in time.  Jesus begins with the Beatitudes, which means supreme blessedness. -- -Just imagine how these words impacted the people who listened!  No one had ever spoken these revolutionary concepts before:

The poor were blessed.  The mourners were blessed. The humble were blessed. 
The merciful were blessed. The persecuted were blessed! 

-WOW! Can you imagine how each ragged, downtrodden listener in the crowd felt?  Never before had their lowly state been heralded as "blessed."

Jesus' words empowered people who were powerless.  His words touched the hearts of the lowly.  His words gave hope to the hopeless.

-- Perhaps your heart sags with the weight of poverty, humility, loss or persecution...

Remember the Beatitudes!  

Jesus gives us meaning, power .... and LIFE!

Let's close the day by reading Jesus' words a few times...then we'll explore MORE on another day!

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are they who mourn, 
for they shall be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, 
for they shall inherit the earth. 

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied. 

Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. 

Blessed are the pure of heart, 
for they shall see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, 
for they shall be called children of God. 

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:3-10

  1. supreme blessedness.
    blissecstasyexaltation, supreme happiness, divine joy, divine rapture; 
    saintliness, sainthood
    "the everlasting beatitude"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

So sorry for the delay! God is good!

My friends...I am so sorry for the pause in blogging!  Life has interrupted. My husbands surgeries and ER visits came and went in May, June, and July.  Today I am so happy to report God's gracious gift.  Today I also commit to explore God's Word with you.

I also invite you to check out my "Type A" blog for some back to school thoughts and other special messages about marriage and relationships for your family!  

God is  good.  We all move forward with His divine reassurance.

Thank you, God, for answering my prayers! We received a positive report for my hubby! Only three more treatments to go before we get three months without (hopefully) a hospital visit.

I am tired  - but at peace. Whatever the report, it is so good to know Jesus walks with us. He understands pain, struggling and disappointment. We are never alone in our walk.

“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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever."  -- Thomas Jefferson, 1790

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Birthday Card

Happy birthday, America.  Sigh.  How ya doin this year ? 
Sometimes I wonder.  Have you had a good year?    
We’ll decorate for your party.  I know my little village will put out your flags.  Red, white and blue are good colors to celebrate.
Red stands for blood spilled to preserve our personal freedom. This makes me think of our soldiers.  I sure do want to thank each and every one of them on your birthday. It makes me sad to think how they are treated sometimes. They deserve the birthday  gifts.
We reap the benefits of the soldiers' sacrifices. I hope we all remember this on your birthday, USA. 
I’m thinking of your first birthday,  July 4, 1776.  The folks who helped at your birth were people of faith.  We cannot and should not rewrite your life story to eliminate the faith that was present at your birth. 
The writers of the Declaration of Independence attributed our rights as a nation to the blessing of a divine creator. Maybe we should read your Declaration as part of your party:   
“We hold the Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, 
that among these are Life, Liberty, 
and the Pursuit of Happiness."
Thanks for reminding me of the God part in our Declaration of Independence, USA.
I’m gonna celebrate your birthday by remembering your history, my birthday nation.    
As a matter of fact, let’s get together and share memories every year.  We don't want to forget the foundation which made us great and the people who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. We don't want to forget HISTORY.  
 Something tells me the people attending your parties  need to honor soldiers who help preserve the freedom we celebrate.  Party goers need to understand that faith served as a foundation for our birth . Celebrators need to understand how you came to be, my precious country... the TRUTH behind the hoopla and fireworks.  

Happy Birthday, America.  I hope birthday partiers treasure your memories and don’t forget what you stand for.   
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people he chose for his inheritance. - Psalm 33:12