Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winners and Losers

I love to read Psalms.  This week I read Psalms 139:1-24 and found a wonderful devotion online to go with it that I just had to share.
I have to be honest and say that I love the season of fall....but with it comes least favorite time of the year….football season.  It is a time when families are divided by loyalties to a special team of choice and hateful things are said.  I live in Alabama and from the first game of the year until the National Champion is decided all you hear is Auburn this or Alabama that.  Now I am serving a church where I have a Florida die hard and my husband Frank is an FSU die hard.  Sometimes it is enough to make me want to stick my head in a hole and wait until it is all over but the crying.  One of my dearest friends becomes an incredible snotty person from September until the season ends.  My theory of the game is that on any given day….any given team can win….or lose.  The whole concept is….is that it is a game.  Which brings me to my story for today….In the opening game of the 2001 football season, a mistake by the University of Colorado cost the team a chance to play for the national championship. When coach Gary Barnett was asked about it, he said, “We don’t think about it. I learned a long time ago: Don’t trip on something behind you.” Barnett was busy recruiting new players and preparing for a holiday bowl game and had no time to dwell on the past.

What a great concept.  We all do need to live in the present. But what about the mistakes we deeply regret? How can we deal with past sins and failures that still weigh us down? Oswald Chambers, speaking of the sadness of what might have been, said: “Never be afraid when God brings back the past. Let memory have its way. It is a minister of God with its rebuke and chastisement and sorrow. God will turn the ‘might have been’ into a wonderful culture [source of nourishment and growth] for the future.”  The psalmist asked God to search his heart and see if there was any wicked way in him, so that he might confess it and be forgiven. Then he added, “Lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).  I have made many mistakes in my life....and will probably continue to make them.  The cool thing is that God does not want us to be imprisoned by yesterday, but to be free for today and tomorrow.  Why?  Because Calvary covered it all,  my past with its sin and stain; my guilt and despair Jesus took on Him there,  And Calvary covers it all. —Taylor  I have found through my life experiences that brooding over the past paralyzes the present and bankrupts the future.  I don't know about you....but I think I would rather stop that cycle and enjoy life to it's fullest. I want to be a winner....not a loser.   

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Freezing Wednesday Hodge Podging


Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! So glad you joined the fun here today. It is freezing here in the deep South.  What better way to stay warm than participate in the weekly Hodge Podge.  If you've answered the questions, add your link at the end of Joyce's post, then go say hi to the neighbors.  

 1. What's something you take for granted, that when you stop and think about it you feel truly grateful for?  I have to agree with Joyce's answer and say my health. I think when everything is rolling along with no real issues, I tend to forget (or at least not think about) what a gift my good health is.   
2. The color brown-love it or no? What's your favorite shade of brown? Most loved something in your home or closet in a shade of brown?  I was not a huge fan of brown until recently.  I have a chocolate brown outfit that I love.  It is rich and makes me feel pretty sassy. I even bought some new brown boots to go with it. 
3. What's something you're looking forward to today?
Bible Study tonight.  We are studying 1 Samuel.
4. The word 'feminism' is not new, but it has been generating all kinds of headlines in recent days and months. What do you think/feel when you hear the word? If you're a woman, do you want to be described as a feminist? Why or why not?
 I am a strong woman, but I love being treated like a woman.  I can open doors for myself....but love to have Frank open them for me.  I don't like being labeled in any capacity.
5. What's something you personally can't eat without making a mess?
Loaded Hotdogs!  I tend to feed my blouses when I do.
6. When did you last surprise someone with a little gift or when were you last surprised by someone with a little gift? What was it?
I gave a girl I work with a scarf for no reason.  She had painted some jeans for me....at no charge for a school event and I wanted to give her something I did.
7. Share a favorite quote, saying, song lyric or scripture relating to gratitude.
8.  Insert your own random question here.
Next week is Thanksgiving.....so big family meal or small intimate one?  Which one will you be having?  We are having lunch at my cousin Amanda's.  My family in its entirety is huge.  We will be having a smaller version....with only 45+ in attendance.  I am glad Amanda has a big house.  When we hold the summer reunion.....of everyone....there is well over 100 in attendance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Lessons In Life

This story circulates around every year and I love it more every single time I read it.  Today, while I was feeling a little low, it came across my path.  I read it and found myself filled with a new resolve to do better in life.    I decided to share the story with you because I thought there may be some of you out there who need it...just like I did.  I have no clue who wrote it....but, I hope you enjoy it.
"This is a very important life lesson that a philosophy teacher taught his students. The teacher cleared off his desk and placed on top of it a few items. One of the items was an empty mason jar. He proceeded to fill up the jar with golf balls until he could fit no more. He looked at the classroom and asked his students if they agree that the jar is full. Every student agreed that the jar was indeed full. The teacher then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar with the golf balls. The pebbles filled all of the openings in between the golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full. Once again, they agreed. Now the teacher picked up a bag of sand and poured it into the mason jar. The sand filled in all of the empty space left between the golf balls and pebbles. He asked the class again if the jar was full. The students agreed it was technically full. Finally, the teacher pulled out two cups of coffee from under his desk and poured both of them into the jar filling the empty space between the sand. Now the students began to laugh wondering how far this was going. The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life," he started. "The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car. The sand---that is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. The rest is just sand. You are dismissed." Before the students left, one shouted out. "You never mentioned what the coffee represents!"  The professor smiled and said, "Well I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room to have a cup of coffee with a friend."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wonderful Lonesome

 

About The Book:  In a struggling Amish settlement on the harsh Colorado plain, Abbie Weaver refuses to concede defeat to hail, drought, and coyotes, even as families begin to give up and return east. The biggest challenge of all is the lack of a spiritual shepherd and regular worship. When Abbie discovers the root of a spiritual divide that runs through the settlement, she faces her own decisions about what she believes. She must choose between a quiet love in her cherished church, passion with a man determined to leave the church, or imagining her life with neither.
About The Author: Olivia Newport's novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet.  Her husband and two twenty-something  children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books.  She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where daylilies grow was tall as she is.
My Thoughts On The Book:  This is not an ordinary Amish story.  In fact....if you did not see the occasional Amish words you would never know it was.  The struggle of the twelve families as they began to establish a settlement  in a new place and try to build a life was heartwrenching for me.  This story was real.  These things happened to many settlers who made their way across country in the beginning.  The Mennonite vs Amish struggle kind of got in my way, but other than that I loved this book.  If you want to read a different kind of Amish story than I would recommend that you pick this one up.  Olivia Newport made her characters and Colorado come to life for this reader. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Three P's


The Text the morning is from: Matthew 25: 14-30

You know, there are many good people, nice people with potential service for God. The only thing is they never move from potential to productive.  It is kind of like the car that’s transmission is stuck in neutral; the motor sounds impressive, the lights radio and horn are all in working condition, new tires, but the only problem is that it is not going anywhere.  The 3rd servant in the parable is the same way. He looks at the master and says I did not do anything. I hid the one talent and never put it to use, never allowed you to gain any glory.  He had the talent, he had the blessing of the master, he had the opportunity, he had the potential but never moved over to productive.

So let’s talk a bit about Productive Service - What good is a fruit tree that does not produce fruit.  We must realize that God will judge our lack of action just as much as He does our actions. 1 Corinthians 3:13 tells us….Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:14 goes on to say….If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  1 Corinthians 3:15 tells us….If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  God desires for us to dream dreams & to have visions and goals in our lives for the Kingdom.

- It takes a vision in our soul to be productive

- It takes a dream before us day and night to produce fruit

- It takes a goal set before us to give us the drive and determination that we need to produce gold, silver and precious stones

One of my favorite plays is by Tennessee Williams and is called – The Glass Ménage Erie – There is a woman character….she is a sad little soul….and a good example of not using your potential….She is expecting a gentleman caller to ring her door bell, fall in love at first sight, and marry her. But she does nothing to attract any young men to the door. She simply sits & waits as life passes her by.

God has called us to labor;

- He has equipped us for the call

- He has blessed us for the service

- He has give us the talent to use

- What is He going to find on judgment day?

Martha Berry was a lady with a vision to help children. She began a school for poor children. She had no books, no building and no money. But she had a dream. She went to Henry Ford to ask for a donation. Mr. Ford reached into his pocket gave Martha Berry a dime. Most people would have been insulted, here he is a multi-millionaire and all he could give was a dime. But Martha took that dime and bought a packet of seeds and planted a garden, raised a crop, sold it and bought more seeds. After three or four harvest she had enough money to purchase and old building for the children. She returned to Mr. Ford and said, “Look what your dime has done.” The man was so impressed that he donated a million dollars to Berry School.

God calls his people to be productive with what they have.

- To make our lives count for more than:

· Pats on the back

· Trophies and awards

· Praise of Men

God wants Powerful Service from us….

God says that he has given the church power.  He desires to see us productive not passive.  A number of years ago on the "Merv Griffin Show" a guest appeared that was a body builder. As he entered with his huge muscular frame the crowd went crazy with applause as he flexed his muscles walking over to take his seat to be interviewed. Merv’s first question seemed to catch the body builder off guard however; he asked him "What do you use all those muscles for?" A bit puzzled, the body builder simply stood up and flexed his muscles again while the crowd again applauded wildly. As he sat down Merv again asked him, "What do you use all those muscles for?" Again with a puzzled and somewhat frustrated appearance the body builder stood up and flexed his muscles once again to a cheering audience. Merv however was undaunted and insisted a third time, "What do you use those muscles for?" The body builder was stumped and had no answer, all he could do is sit there and look bewildered at Merv’s constant question. The man was all power, but with no purpose! While he could impress the audience there was no application for all this power.   The power that God has given to us is not meant to sit up on a shelf but it is to be used.  According to Acts 1:8 - But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Let me tell you…. This power is for service; to be a witness to this world of the love God has for humanity.  This power is for service; to walk in authority of his name.

- Today we find too many defeated Christians walking around with heads low

- We find To many who allow the enemy to bring all sorts of attack against them without resisting.

- There are those with the  “Ya’ll pray for me that I can just hang on” mentality

People….God says that He has given us power over the enemy

- And God has given us the authority of His name

This power is for service; to worship His Holy Name.

- He said that if we would not praise Him that the rocks would cry out

- In fact….the The reason for our existence is to Worship God.

God’s Power is not for potential use but it is for the production of fruit in our lives

- Not to lay dormant but to rise up within us daily

· Power to witness

· Power to walk

· Power to worship

And while we are talking about our Potential and Power….we cannot leave out…..Passionate Service

To many lack the great passion for God to become a Productive servant for God

A man once went in search for God. He went to a wise old sage and asked if he could help him find God. The Old man told the young man to follow him. The old man led him down to a river and walked out until they were neck deep. The old man turned grabbed the young man and held his head under the water. The young man twisted turned and thrashed about finally the old man let go of the young man and said, “ when you have the passion to find God as you did to find air then you will find Him.

So let me ask you this morning….What is it that excites you; that causes your heart to pound; your blood to race; your spirit to soar?

- Nothing will move you from potential to productive until you are moved from passive to passionate

Jeremiah had Passion – In Jeremiah 20:9 - Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.  Nehemiah’s had great Passion.  In Nehemiah 6:3 - And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? 

Paul had a huge Passion.  In Philippians 3:10 - That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

The Master leaves the servant in charge until he returns. If the master were to return today and ask you to give an accounting of your life, would you be ready? The potential servant will have nothing to show the Master. They were nice people, but made no real contribution to their world, their community, or their church. They just kind of blended into the landscape. The words of the master still ring true today. “To whom much is given much is required.”

 


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Freezing in Fredonia

Today was Fredonia's Heritage Day and Frank had a booth there.  It was cold, especially in the shade.  This was the one time in my life I was glad Frank's booth faced the sun.  I had a Pancake Breakfast at my church from 7 - 10 and did not get there until 10:30.  It was chilly by the time I arrived, but around 12 the sun was shining so nicely that it actually got warm enough for me to take off my second layer.....at least until the sun started going down.  Heritage Day was really cool.  They had music playing on the back side of the lot.....we could enjoy it, but it was not overly loud.  They had some amazing food....turkey legs, polish sausage, boston butts, fried pies, apple dumplings....it was tough to decide what we wanted for lunch.  Horseshoe Bend Military Park was there in full costume and it was very interesting.  The Creek Nation had a booth and they too were dressed up.  SIFAT was there and I loved hearing Mrs. Sarah's stories.  In the middle of the set up was a children's area where they could paint (on canvas), see a magician, see a juggler, make a dream catcher...and many other exciting events.  I was amazed by the craftsmen that were there.  I had the urge to go on Pinterest and begin a project.  Next year I will.  It was a great day....but what made it so great was spending time with Frank.....and getting to see Dee Dee, Douglas, and Sis(cousins I have not seen in forever).  Oh...Frank snapped a shot of me in my new boots.  I have been wanting some boots I could tuck my jeans in to and finally got some.  I always thought I would look dorky dressed like this....but I found out...it is comfortable....AND keeps your legs warm.  Love the boots. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Snow Angels, Secrets, And Christmas Cake

 

About The Book:  Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake is a truly heart-warming and hilarious read about sisters, love and finding the courage to be yourself – one snowflake at a time.  For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned…With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again.  After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past.
Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?
About The Author: Sue Watson was a journalist on women’s magazines and national newspapers before leaving it all behind for a career in TV. As a producer with the BBC she worked on garden makeovers, kitchen takeovers and daytime sofas – all the time making copious notes so that one day she might escape to the country and turn it all into a book.
After much deliberation and copious consumption of cake, she left her life in TV to write. Her first novel was Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes about a woman struggling with weight, work, marriage and motherhood. Her second novel  Younger, Thinner, Blonder, is about a talk show host who has the perfect ‘Hello Magazine’ life… or does she?  Her latest novel, Love, Lies and Lemon Cake is about hairdresser Faye Dobson, who’s lost her sparkle. She dreams of being whisked to Paris for dinner, making three wishes at the Trevi Fountain and having sex under the stars. But her wrinkles are multiplying, her husband’s passion is only for plumbing, and the nearest she’ll get to Rome is a take-away pizza. Can Faye get her life back before it’s too late?
My Thoughts About The Book:  I truly believe that Sue Watson has portrayed the true meaning of Christmas and "real" life in her  book  'Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake'. This story of  two sisters and how they overcome their views of each other, their past, their present, and the holidays was very touching.  Sam and Tamsin could be anyone we know in real life.  They are those different people that paint our lives with colors.  The book is funny, sad, and full of feel good Christmas cheer. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!