What joy fills my soul

I'm looking at the calendar and was thinking that I had another 2 weeks until Christmas. So I'm not so worried about being behind on Christmas gifts. ARGH! Christmas is one week from today. Stress level hit the red zone.

All you can do is all you can do and that is a fact of physics. Only God can step in and make things happen so that time seems to stand still while you're running at top speed... you know, like the episode of StarTrek with the buzzing bee sounds. Life sped up to past light speed.

That is what happened on Sunday. We made an offer on a house and while we were waiting for our most darling real estate agent to call back to meet us at her office, we were wandering through some shops. My eyes just fell on some things and a name would pop in my head. I'll have you know that I got all my Christmas shopping done in less than two hours. That, my brothers and sisters is a miracle!

So... back to the offer on the house. We bounced some figures back and forth and being twice shy, I was all for offering lower than the asking price but more than the rock bottom our agent mentioned. Mom stuck to her guns and we offered the rock bottom giving them until 5 today. They accepted the offer without any negotiations. Is that cool or what???

We spent most of the afternoon signing pre-mortgage papers. There are some issues that my crook of an ex husband caused years ago that I thought were cleared up. It is so incredibly depressing that the black cloud keeps following me even 11 years later. I doubt I'll ever get out from under that cloud.

Anyhoot... the new job is just Jolly Good. I am in love with Picayune, MS. I highly recommend this place. It's close enough to big city without the big city crime and big city traffic. I love the people. I love the job. I adore the folks I work with. I've already been invited to two churches--that is truly a cool place to work when you have co-workers inviting you to church. I am thrilled and delighted. Mom loves the place, too.

We both cried the other day thinking about leaving our church home in Louisiana, but when the Lord sets you on a path, you just can't say no. I am just aching to get back into a church home. I feel the loss more than any other stress factor. I cannot imagine not having a church family. How do people do it? How do people live without a church family or a close fellowship with the Lord? I am so thankful that God is preparing a new home for us and He has already prepared His work for us to do. Praise God from whom all blessings flow... AMEN

Stress stress stress

New job... stress
Finding new place to live... stress
Deadlines... stress

Please don't forget me. As soon as I can drag myself back into organized mess, I will continue to write on my blog.

Never Ceese

I goofed up. I was supposed to review this book by Sue Dent on Friday. I did not. I was packing and I just flat forgot! I'm so sorry, Sue!

First let me say... this book is truly not for me because of the subject matter. It is about a werewolf (Ceese) and a vampire. Now I want to say that this book is very well written. It has also been nominated for an award, Bram Stoker Award. I think that is truly grand that in a genre which is full of the occult that a book which points to Jesus is nominated for an award.

This book is beautifully bound and is very well written. Sue did the cover art herself! I pray that if you really like this genre, that you'll pick up this book for your library.

I became friends with Sue because of a remark I made on another blog. She couldn't understand why I'd say something without having read the whole thing. Well... I read enough to get a good feel for it and it is a lesson for me to be careful of what I say and how I say it... there are people behind these computers and they have feelings... big duh, right?

With Sue's permission, here's part of our exchange...

Dear Sue,
I truly appreciate your email. I especially appreciate you wanting to understand what I wrote and meant. I said that the book was very well written. The comment to that was that it was the editor's fault for the "yawn spots". I have a lot of admiration for Lynn Scallon and I'm quite sure she is correct. I have read a little less than half the book. I read enough to know beyond doubt that it is well written. I also read enough to know that I just can't finish it. I literally get ill reading about someone drinking blood. I can't help that. I read enough to very much enjoy turning those beautiful pages and the great, easily read typeface. Since that is not why people buy books, I didn't say anything about it, but I promise you on Dec 6th or perhaps the 8th I will say something about the presentation because it is beautiful. I seriously have a problem with stories of this nature dealing with vampires and werewolves since I consider that as the next of kin to sorcery and witchcraft. It is my firm foundation of faith that gives me this. When I agreed to review books, I wasn't asked, "What kind of books will you not read?" Therefore, since I was committed to reviewing books, I read as much as I could, and then I was convicted by my bodily reaction and, I firmly believe, by the Holy Spirit, to put it down and not finish it. I truly do not know how it comes out… I expect that the two finally have a meeting of the minds and meeting of faith, but that is pure speculation. Sue, you must expect a lot of people to not like this book. You will probably find a lot of nonChristians who will scoff at it and a lot of Christians who will shun it because of the subject matter. It does satisfy a niche of fantasy lovers, though, and may even touch some stony hearts. I am quite sure that God will use it to His good purposes. I pray that is so. Please forgive me, for the cavalier way I lumped your book in with several others… but, look at it this way, it is publicizing and a lot of Book Store owners go to Lynn's blog. Please do not take it personally! I love Southern girls, for I am your next-state neighbor in Louisiana. Please forgive me for not liking the subject matter of your book. I do recognize the incredible hard work you put into it and all the research. However, I hope you appreciate honesty and that is what I have given you.

Sue Dent: I will now put you up there with the other two who couldn't finish Never Ceese mainly because of the subject matter. And they too were kind enough to confess that this was basically all there was to it. I sincerely don't expect everyone to love this book and I'm sure I'll find my toughest critics in the Christian market.

Oddly enough I've been blessed so far and found some of my most gracious reviews from those in the Christian market, allbeit readers who didn't shun the genre to begin with. I so want to touch the secular market with this, using the subject matter to show that God is everywhere and can be taught about in every aspect of literature. I find many Christian youths curious enough to want to explore this genre. I want to give them something that won't lead them astray. So many of these books point to things of a very dark nature. It is definitely a book for a certain genre.

Note to self

Remember how much work it was all the painting and the additions...
Remember the area and that all the additions won't pay off in the resale...
Remember that when you say you never want to move again, it doesn't necessarily mean that God has no more plans for you to move...
Remember to put your hand in hand of the Man who stilled the water and wind...
Remember to trust God...
Remember to know beyond doubt that His way and will is best so open your eyes to the possibilities...
Remember to keep your eyes on Him, not on the world around you...
Remember to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desires...
Remember that the Lord lifts the fallen and those bent beneath their loads...

It will be all right. It is best to look forward and to put the things of the past behind you, look forward to the things that God has in store for you. As the time grows closer to this huge change in your life, it is great to treasure the precious people of here, but look forward to the precious people of there and most essentially, treasure the things of the Lord for there is where your heart is. His will, His way, His tomorrows for there art thou happy.

Yes, Stan...

It is truly amazing how God works in our lives. Our offer was flatly refused. I guess that lady isn't so eager to sell her house.

So, back to the searching game. I know God has the perfect place for us. We must be patient and wait on Him. That is a hard thing to do, though.

Therefore... back to packing. I hate packing and unpacking. But, we must take the bitter with the sweet. Is that an axiom or is it a proverb?

Moving to Picayune

Mom and I went to Picayune on Friday afternoon. My last day at the Tensas Gazette was Friday morning. It is four hours from here to there and that is a long drive.

We prayed all last week that God would help us sell this house and find one to live in there. The house we're in now sat on the market for two years before Mom and Dad bought it. But, it is a great house and they put a lot of money into it so now Mom is asking only for what she put into it.

I put the sign "For Sale" up one evening after work. The next day a couple stopped by and asked to see it. They are pre-approved for more than what Mom is asking for the house. Fabulous! The only problem left was finding a place to live in Picayune in a good, stable neighborhood. We set appointments for Saturday and went to one on Friday night. We decided right off that we didn't want the Mardis Gras house. It was too isolated for Mom to be there by herself all day. That settled we face forward and with great excitement on Saturday.

We drove through devastated neighborhoods and ones that had been flooded by Katrina. Those were crossed off the list. Then we drove too far out again and then came back for our 2 o'clock. It was the last house on the list. Wouldn't you know? You guessed it. That's the house. We made an offer and we came home. We're in a waiting game now. She was asking way too much for the house considering what others in that neighborhood were selling for... so we offered a little more than the average and what we felt led to offer. Now, it's up to God.

It's it amazing and wonderful how God works to make things fit together perfectly? I pray all is well with the house and that she'll accept the offer and we don't have to negotiate. It would be so terrific to be in the house before Christmas!

Dear John

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

What a wonderful read. I read it in one setting. This is a very poignant story about the different kinds of love. Sparks explores parent/child love and sibling love and love for the those who cannot love back and attraction and passion and long distance love and he packs it all into this book. It is astounding.

Dear John is very well done. It flashes back, yes, but the beginning is short so you don't mind flashing back. The beginning paragraph sets you up for the flashback so it doesn't matter. Then, I must confess, after the first few pages, I just had to turn to the back and read the last few pages because I was so sure that it was going to end badly. If that was the case, then I'd have to read it in a different frame of mind.

I won't tell you what I found out. However, I will tell you that this story is so incredibly touching. It is good reading... not too fluffy, but not too cerebral either. Worth the money. You can read more about it and purchase the book at the link above. Happy reading!

I hate holidays... well...

it isn't the holiday and what each stands for, but it rigamarole that goes with it. It is so aggravating (is that spelled correctly?) to have to change plans fourteen times to accomodate all the members of the family.

It wasn't so complicated when my girls were little and still living under the same roof as me. It wasn't so complicated when I was little... well, at least I didn't notice any complications. Except the day that I bawled and squalled because it snowed and we couldn't go to my grandmother's house in Oklahoma. All the roads were covered in ice and snow. My dad put his foot down. He simply was not going to buy snow tires just so we could dash up to Oklahoma (it took 12 hours of driving straight through with two hurry-up restroom stops/gas tank fill-ups and one leg stretching to check weather in Paris, TX but was actually so we could eat bar-b-que at this hole in the wall that looked like it would keel over at the first breath of wind).

Generally, we'd have Thanksgiving just us and then gather with all the brothers and sisters at my other grandmother's house in Arkansas. That was how you spent the day after Thanksgiving. Then they moved it to the day after Christmas. It was okay by me. I got to see all my cousins and aunts and uncles and new babies, you know, great family fun. It truly was fun. None of the kind of so-called "funny" stuff where families bicker and fight and call each other names... the kind you see on TV shows. Just really good fun, jokes, catching up and lots and lots of great stuff to eat.

It was sitting on the porch and listening to the brothers talk about the funny things they did when they were kids. It was sitting on the floor behind the rocking chair and listening to the women talk about all sorts of interesting topics which I cannot talk about here. It was racing through the woods and falling in the pond and picking persimmons and swinging on the oak tree swing. Oh, and lest I forget, it was using the stacked bales of hay as forts and falling on my back getting the breath knocked out. It was screaming Olly Olly Oxen Free. It was building a dam on the stream and getting yelled at for moving the stepping stones. It was sleeping on the floor under ten homemade quilts because it was 20 degrees outside. It was using the outhouse. It was pumping water. It was wearing shorts because it was 80 degrees in the afternoon. Sigh...

Today... children are grown and my girls are off in two different cities, my sister is in another, her older son is in another. Our schedules don't seem to match and this doesn't even include all my cousins and aunts and uncles.

We are in such a whirlwind rat race that no one has time to breathe much less sit on the porch and watch the people go by. This year after moving mountains (we were supposed to have Thanksgiving here at our house) we will now travel to southeast Louisiana, spend the night and return home the next day so that I can go to work on Friday. I'm not complaining! Really! I'm am just so delighted to get a paycheck every two weeks I can hardly complain.

What I hate is the tug-o-war that seems to take place in my body while all the plans are being made. It looks like we'll have to have Christmas at my sister's as well since that will be easier and closer for everyone else. But... it is much better than the alternative which is not seeing anyone at all. That is certainly miserable. I remember one Thanksgiving just after I split from my husband. My daughter begged to bring her father so he wouldn't have to be by himself. I graciously agreed. I cooked for 4 hours, we ate in about 30 minutes, they cleaned up and then everyone left by 3pm. I had the house all to myself. To most that would seem like a really terrible Thanksgiving. For me, after I got over the fact that everyone left me alone, the peace and quiet was rather nice.

Sometimes God gives gifts that last forever and sometimes He gives gifts that make you realize that holidays are just days like any other day--it is the people, your family and your friends that make the day special. Families do last forever. I eagerly await the day the Father will say, "Son, go get your bride!" Then we'll be living in true holidays. Posted by Picasa

Must be the fog

It must be the fog that makes things so unclear, right? Why else couldn't we look out into the future and know what God has in store? Why God allows all these trials and things to beset us?

No. It isn't the fog. God tells us plainly why these tribulations befall us... thorough James. How many times have I read this passage? Why did it hit home today and finally make sense? I don't know. I prayed yesterday morning for God to give me a delight to take a picture of for the front page of our paper. Something that would be picture postcard gift to our subscribers as a Thanksgiving gift.

I never go across the lake in the morning on my way to work. This morning I had to go pick up a story from a proud grandmother. It was about her grandson's marriage to a very lovely young lady. The fog was horrible. As I was coming back across the lake, I was stunned at the beauty of the sun trying to shine throug the fog. Gorgeous. So I stopped in the middle of the road (folks around here are used to that sort of thing), and took this picture.

Then, you won't believe this, I proceded to drive around another lake searching for some Thanksgiving display. Then I went across the levee to see if I could take a picture of fog on the Mississippi River. All to no avail. But, when I got to the office and downloaded the pics I had on my camera... I was stunned again at the beauty of this picture.

We keep looking beyond, trying to see through the fog, trying to figure out God's purpose because we think knowing God's purpose will make sense and will make us well... heal us from the troubles or what ever is ailing us.

God smacked it home to me that sometimes, it is the fog that is the important thing. God's fog obscures those things that are unimportant to pursue and causes a great beauty right in front of our eyes. Sometimes the fog is a protection for we may not have the tools or the strength to handle whatever is behind the fog. Thank you, Lord, for the fog. Thank you, Lord, for giving me this delight to share with all those precious children of Yours.

So... back to James...

James 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, sends words of love to the twelve tribes of the Jews living in all parts of the earth. 2 Let it be all joy to you, my brothers, when you undergo tests of every sort; 3 Because you have the knowledge that the testing of your faith gives you the power of going on in hope; 4 But let this power have its full effect, so that you may be made complete, needing nothing.

Rejoice in the tests of every sort.

The tests gives the power of hope.

The power makes us complete so that we need nothing.

That is a universe-size lesson in this pea-size brain of mine. I am awed; I am humbled; I am undone. God is so good.
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Here's Rene Gutteridge... she's a successful author. She's interesting. She wrote an interesting book called Scoop. I liked it... except we have this thing that is fast becoming worse than a pet peeve for me. But put that aside for right now. You can find out all about her on her web page here.

There are some great Q&As there, too, like this one...

Q: Do novelists write out of their own experience?
A: Sometimes, but not always. Many readers assume that a writer is writing about a topic that they've lived through. I think most of the time, novelists write about things that interest them. They develop characters they can both relate to and can't relate at all to. Our ideas and inspirations come from many, many different sources. Sometimes we do extensive research. Other times it's a small, insignificant detail that can spur an entire book.

Scoop is the first book I've read of hers and it started out really well, but if I had a brother and he sold my parent's business they took years building, I think I'd kill him.

Back to that thing I hate. Call it an ague... feverish symptoms like malaria... my stomach tightens up and my brain whorls and I get a headache that pounds my head. It's that thing that editors and publishers and authors do that drives me insane. Why oh why can't a person just tell a story from point A to point B to C skip D if you have to for space and to delete yawns and then end with Z?

Evidently most people are not like me... they don't mind jumping from one place to another. They evidently like to find out all about each character before they meet each other. I like stories and characters to unfold together or wrap around each other. Those are the kinds of stories I grew up with. Today's author is not at all like that. I just hate that when it happens.

If that sort of thing doesn't bother, I know you'll like Scoop. Scoop it up today.

be still

I get to the screaming point. I want to shout out the truth, but to no avail.
I work and work at trying to be what God wants me to be and I always fail.

Help me, Lord.
Carry me over the fjord.
The chasm is deep and
I weep.

Dry my tears.
Release me from my fears.
Carry the truth to those ears
that refuse to hear
the truth.

Put back that hair that I have pulled out.
Rub the steel bands that are supposed to be my shoulders
for I am done with things as they are, no longer look back and pout.
Whisper my name, cause me to be still.

Tomorrow I shall go forward,
leaving behind the crumbs and the rust
of broken things.
Tonight I shall snuggle under Your wings
for it is only You that I trust.

You are near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

Ever wonder why the wicked seem to prosper so well while we struggle with all kinds of things?

I did.

Jeremiah 12 is where that verse is found and it is such a terrible verse. Can you imagine what it would be like to have God far from your reins? We don't have to look very far to see examples of what happens when authority and restraint are far from our reins. If you are old enough to remember the movie Animal House... good example. Weird Science is another example.

A more explicit example is found in Romans 1:18-32. I shudder at those verses. What would it be like for God to just let go and let you have your own way? Just like children need and want boundaries, so do we Christians. It is how we stay sane, how we stay close to God, how we stay clean.

The wicked may prosper but nothing is done in the dark that will not be found out. God has blessed me by letting me see the wicked be found out. Oh, not all of them, just a few, but enough for me to know that they do not prosper forever.

So what if the wicked prosper until they die? They will not prosper after death. Some of us will just have to wait until the Day of Judgement to see some of the wicked receive their dessert. The problem will be so horrendous at that time, though, it will mean that they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. I don't care what anyone has done to me... fired me... manufactured evidence against me... betrayed me with other women... thrown me out of house and home... rejected me... spit upon me... called me all manner of things and even prayed to God for evil to befall me... None of that is worth eternal torment. I would not wish that on any person.

Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy on me and on those who revile me and reject me. Draw them close Father and pour Your Spirit over them, Father for they know not what they do. Open their eyes, Father to what they do. Make them see. Give them compassion, for they shall surely die without You.

Take a moment and pray for my daughter, please. She is at this moment having to commit her dad so he can get help from his alcoholism. Frankly, I've lost all hope that he'll get better, but she hasn't. And if you would, please pray the Lord God Almighty will provide her with a job so she can stand on her own. Sigh...

Ten Bridemaids

An interesting parable is found in Matthew.

Matthew 25:1 Then the kingdom of Heaven shall be compared to ten virgins who taking their lamps, went out to a meeting of the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five foolish.
3 Those being foolish, taking their lamps, did not take oil with them.
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 But the bridegroom delaying, all nodded and slept.
6 And at midnight, a cry occurred: Behold, the bridegroom comes! Go out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins were aroused and prepared their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, No, lest there not be enough for us and you. But rather, go to those who sell and buy for yourselves.
10 But they going away to buy, the bridegroom came. And those ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.
11 And afterwards, the rest of the virgins also came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But answering, he said, Truly I say to you, I do not know you.
13 Therefore, watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man comes.

Jesus is describing what it will be like when He suddenly comes to take His bride! He says, watch and be ready!

In Jewish weddings of that day, it was customary for the wedding party to be made up of girls to make the Bride more comfortable. These girls were waiting for the Groom to bring His Bride to his home. It was also necessary for the Groom to provide these "ladies in waiting" for the Bride if she had no friends to go with her or if she lived too far away. These girls were specifically there to light the way for the Groom and His Bride...therefore the lamps.

Lamps provide light for the feet and light the path--the Way to go. Jesus' emphasis was not on who these girls were. It was on the 5 girls that were ready to light the way. The lamps that were used for this purpose could only hold enough oil for about 15 minutes. Since the girls had no idea when the Bridegroom would arrive, the whole point here was on being ready with the light which meant extra oil would be needed if the groom didn't come within 15 minutes.

The oil could be the Holy Spirit; I have heard it preached that being ready with the oil meant those girls had the Holy Spirit and only those in possession of the Holy Spirit can go into the wedding feast. I'm not sure about that interpretation frankly. I need to pray about it some more. The parable is not about who the 10 girls are, but that the 5 who were ready and the other 5 were not ready, therefore since they were not ready the groom said "I do not know you!"

The unpardonable sin is not accepting Jesus as Savior. It is the only unforgivable sin. The 5 that were not prepared did not have Jesus as their Savior...they did not have the Oil and they did not have the Light. Posted by Picasa

Praying in the Spirit

We are able to do this by putting on the full armor of God.

God gives us the formula... or the guidelines.

We must pray always... do not worry about anything but bring everything to God in prayer -- And the peace of God which is beyond our utmost understanding will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-72. Does this mean that every word out of our mouth or thoughts must be a prayer? No... I don't think so, for how could we ask for a Coke and a burger at the drive-thru? How could we carry on our day to day conversations with our neighbors and our brothers? No, I believe this means just what Paul states... carry all things to God in prayer and never worry for that is a sin. Make it a conscious, deliberate process.

Confess our sins: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Confess your trespasses [5:16 NU-Text reads [Therefore confess your sins.] ] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:163.

Repent. Acts 3:19 "Therefore [Acts 2:38; 26:20] repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that [2 Thess 1:7; Heb 4:1ff] times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

So what does that mean exactly?? If we confess our sin... If we turn from that sin... If we do not practice habitual sin... If we come to that emphatic decision that we will not do that sin again then bring it all to the Lord expecting Him to take care of it and provide that escape hatch when we are faced with that temptation again... Then and only then are we refreshed with the Lord's presence.

Does this mean that we'll eventually be perfect and free from sin? I doubt it. Because of our flesh nature, we'll always be faced with temptation of one form or another. Because we live in a world of sin that is in the process of passing away, it will be impossible for us to be completely sinless until we are transformed into our glorified bodies.

The true point is the heart intent with God because He always searches our hearts. 1 Chron 28:9; Rom 8:27; Rev 2:23.4.

What is the purpose of it? Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of yourselves, a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. [He is] always striving for you earnestly in his prayers, [pleading] that you may [as persons of ripe character and clear conviction] stand firm and mature [in spiritual growth], convinced and fully assured in everything willed by God.

And how do we "stand firm and mature in spiritual growth fully assured in everything willed by God? Start with Pray without ceasing bringing everything to the Lord in prayer Phil 4:6-7 and finish with prayer every day. This is how we continuously pray in the Spirit: Continual Spiritual growth and being "prayed up, confessed up and making that firm, conscious decision to bring it all to God. It is not rocket science and it basically depends upon our heart attitude. It also means that we should all recognize sin as sin. (This includes those "acceptable sins" like worry.)

Ecstatic language has it's place in worship and praise...but it is not the sole avenue for praying in the Spirit.

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Praying always...

There are several verses in Scripture taken in context that indicate Praying in the Spirit is much more than speaking in strange tongues. (Praying in strange tongues can also be done silently--but for what purpose if there is no understanding?)

First verse is when Jesus is in the Garden and He says: Matt 26:41 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Jesus is teaching here...not only about the current situation but also about the purpose of prayer...pray lest we enter into temptation. Notice He did not say "lest you yield to temptation." He is telling us to pray about those thoughts that enter our head and bring them to God so that we can dismiss the thoughts and yield to God's will, not our fleshly desires.

Note: "The spirit (lower case meaning human spirit) is willing but the flesh is weak." Jesus lays it out for God -- I don't want to go through with this, Father... is there any other way? Then He says, "not My will, but Thine." We should do this, too. When temptation comes our way... immediately bring it to God the very instant that we recognize it as fleshly desire or temptations from Satan. Confess it for what it is and God will give strength to overcome those thoughts... but --and this is crucial-- we must be willing to turn from them.

Next verse is Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. When they prayed they were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Does this mean that the Holy Spirit leaves us and only comes to abide in us when we pray? No. Romans 8:26 states that the Holy Spirit prays for us. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is always within us and Paul testifies to this in Romans 8:14-16 For all who are moved by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit that makes us sons, enabling us to cry "Abba! Father!" In that cry the Spirit of God joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God's children; and if children, then heirs. We are God's heirs and Christ's fellow-heirs..."

Since we are joint heirs with Christ, we possess the firstfruits of that relationship which is the Holy Spirit.


We have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prays for us, interpreting our prayers and amplifying our prayers. Glory! Then Jesus is sitting right beside the Father and He intercedes for us. How great is that?

The next verses are 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

Notice that the word "spirit" here is not capatalized. Paul is talking about his own spirit, not the Holy Spirit...for we do not control the Holy Spirit for He is God. We are guided, led and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If we pray in tongues in our own spirit...it doesn't profit or edify us anything unless it is interpreted. Plus our own spirit prays, but it is not the Holy Spirit's prayer if our spirit is praying. As in Romans 8:26 ff
"...We do not even know how we ought to pray, but through our inarticulate groans the Spirit Himself is pleading for us, and God Who searches, our inmost being knows what the Spirit means, because He pleads for God's people in God's own way; and in everything, as we know, He co-operates for good with those who love God and are called according to His purpose." New English Bible

Is this because we merit it? ... or because we are God's property? I don't think so. I believe it is because the Holy Spirit has His fingerprints all over us and God recognizes His new creation in whom the Holy Spirit lives. (But that is a different discussion.) The Holy Spirit prays in God-language and in God's will. So, how do we know what God's will is so we can pray along with the Holy Spirit? And to pray always...without ceasing?

Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--

We do this how?

to be continued...

human-bovine embryo

Well, I wasn't going to talk about this. The gag-factor is too high. But then, I do not want to sit still for it, either.

Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked
the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.
The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and
would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.
But critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous.
Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris - a member of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee - said: "If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a 'yuck' factor

Can you imagine it? I'm outraged. Stem cell research is great science and I'm all for it IF the scientists would stick with the program and go after FRESH stem cells from adult bone marrow, umbilical cords and placentas. There is so much of that around that scientist would have to literally dig out from under it if they'd just apply for it. I don't know a woman/mother or family that would begrudge giving up an umbilical cord or a placenta to help someone get well. Why do scientists think in the bizzare rather than the logical???

Have we gone so far past the ziggarot that God will do worse than what He did at the Tower of Babel? Me thinks so.

Can we all learn something from Ted Haggard? No? How about David?

''The fact is,'' said Rev. Haggard in an Associated Press interview, ''I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem.” He wrote in his letter to his congregation, “I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all my adult life.''

So now that he's confessed, we are supposed to shun him... point fingers at him... set him up as an example. Right? No.

David was an extremely effective leader of Israel. He followed God. He did things the right way all the time. Right? No.

David committed sexual immorality. He was guilty and it took David a YEAR to confess only after Nathan came to him and confronted him with a story about a rich man with lots of sheep and a poor man with only one little ewe.

I wonder what little blue-haired ladies would say if they'd been living back in David's day. What would you say... think?

Now... look at your neighbor. Look at your brother. Have you been judging because of an offense against you? Excuse me a moment... I have a friend I must call. I have some crow I must eat.

You can read my post about this on BNN.

Unconditional Love

My beloved friend Stan over at Winging It wrote a beautiful post about loving his wife. It isn't an Ode to Love or a Sweet Puff... it is simply a declaration of one man saying that the love he has for his wife comes directly from God. His love for his wife is perfected by God. This is the truest of observations, I believe.

But... I'm going out on a limb here, I do not think it is possible for a human being to be able to unconditionally love another person.

Parents have great love for their children... but, that love is birthed at birth, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. That is a condition.

Husbands and wives love each other through various and wonderful interactions. The love continues through a commitment to each other and through the grace of God -- especially when tempers flare. But, it is a condition.

Brothers and sisters love each other through thick and thin, through good times and bad times, but they, again are flesh of each other and bone of each other. Families love each other inspite of the cantankerous differences. That is a condition.

Friends love each other because of commonalities. We are drawn to certain people because their lifestyle or their beliefs or their likes and dislikes match pretty closely with our own so we become friends... sometimes life long friends. That is conditional because we can grow apart.

Try loving someone completely unconditionally. It is wonderful and not so hard when they love you back. When they care about your feelings... when they put you first before thinking about themselves. But... what about when they do not like you anymore. What about when they kick you... betray you... spit on you... do things to harm you...

What about when they turn from God? Can you love them still?

We are not talking about some person who is half a world away, living in squalor because they can't help it. Nor are we talking about a person whom you do not know but is lost and God has told you to pray and love the lost. Those are faceless people.

Would you take a bullet for someone you didn't know? Would you take a bullet for someone you did know but could not abide? Loving those people is not easy... not even when God loves them through you.

Is there a point you reach when you have to say, "Loving you hurts too much for me to continue to love you unconditionally."

The pivotal point here is that God does not expect us to be God. He expects us to act like Him to the best of our abilities, and for us to measure ourselves using Jesus as our plumbline, but there comes a point when it hurts too much to continue down a certain path. We must break away in order to maintain sanity.

In case you think, "She hasn't a clue what she's talking about." Let me tell you that I was given a job by God. He told me I must love someone unconditionally, no matter what he did or said. For months I followed God's lead. For months I prayed and loved unconditionally... through the rejection, through the callous treatment, through the friendship, through it all. Rejoicing through the good things and weeping with him through the bad things. It was all about him. I set my needs, my wants, my desires all to the side and poured enough energy into him to light up New York City.

And I found out my limit. And I found out a most enlightening Truth about God.

He has limits, too.

We are very needy in Christ. God knows that and plans for that. He nurtures us and pours out blessings over us and through us as we grow in Him we become so close to Him we begin to look like Him. But... when we take and take and never give, God quits pouring out. He has expectations and He has conditions. Selfishness has no place in God's plan for our lives. He won't tolerate a selfish attitude.

He loves unconditionally, but His blessings have conditions. He loves eternally, but eternity in heaven may begin much sooner than expected when a Christian does not do the work of God according to His purposes. There are many Scriptures for this truth and if you require them, I'll look them up and send them to you.

Jesus loved us unconditionally. He loved so much that He gave His life willingly so that we might live eternally with Him. He knew the future. He knew that not all would accept the gift. He gave it anyway. He gave it for all but only a few accept. Salvation is conditional. We must first believe that God exists. We must then believe what God said; believe in Jesus and believe that He died for us and rose from the dead. If you don't believe that, then you don't get to go to heaven. That is conditional.

God loved Adam and Eve, but they chose to disobey and God had to cast them out of the Garden. That was conditional.

The father watched continuously for his prodigal son and ran to meet him when he finally saw him coming up the road. That was conditional upon the son returning.

The father never quit loving his prodigal son. The blessings were conditional, not the father's love. The son would never have received those blessings of a coat, a ring and a feast if he had not returned to the father.

I have been praying for several weeks now that God would release me from this. It really hurts too much. I have also been following that prayer with, 'Not my will but Yours Father. Put Your desires in my heart and Your prayer on my lips.' Yesterday God released me. I feel like a two ton tilly has been lifted off my back. I also feel incredibly sad.

Here's a question

Why would anyone pray and pray for something and then when they are given it, toss it back in God's teeth? I don't get it.

And here's another question. When the soul hurts, what causes it to hurt?

And here's another question. What does God do when His children refuse His gifts?

Me thinks it is a very good thing that God is God.

Ted Haggard, since when are humans perfect?

I am not condoning what Haggard did. I actually hold preachers and pastors to a higher standarad than us regular mortals. However, the gay guy didn't have beans against Haggard and he failed a lie detector. This hullabaloo is over something that is more shocking...

We tend to look at our religious leaders like they are on a pedestle. Why do we do that? Humans fail. It is precisely why Jesus came to take our place. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

However, that still does not make what Haggard did okay. Far from it. But... I say let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Uneducated Troops?????

I absolutely adore military humor!

I just blogged on BNN about this very thing and what do I find in my inbox when I get home from church tonight? It made me belly laugh.

Praise God for our guys who willingly lay down their lives for us and can still laugh about our idiot politicians.

Below I've copied my post from BNN...

Military bashing and other Democratic blunders
by Gina Burgess

John Kerry, back in the news, cracked a joke that went awry. He told students in a college crowd in California on Tuesday, “You can study hard and do well, or if you don’t you could get stuck in Iraq.” In his apology he states, “it was a botched joke… of course, I’m sorry about a botched joke.”

This is just another picture of how Democrats view the military. Rep. Charles Rangel D-NY recently said that our armed forces come from the “lowest economic echelon we have.”

I have some very good friends who were in the military during President Clinton’s reign when he slashed defense and military spending to toothpicks and matchsticks. Their housing was falling down around their ears and cracks between the walls let in all sorts of animals of the eight-legged variety.

Now, I know quite a few who are in the military to specifically and purposefully put themselves smack in the middle of harm’s way to protect America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. These men and women are from my home town and from all over the U.S. According to a recent Heritage Foundation study, “Over the past three years, the quality of recruits to the U.S. military has improved, a finding contrary to the conventional wisdom that troop quality has declined...wartime U.S. enlistees are better educated, wealthier and more rural on average than their civilian peers.”

J. Dennis Hastert wrote in a Border Security Bulletin (www.GOP.com) that the Democrats don’t believe in a “Global War on Terror. I don't mean that they don't support it, though they don't. What I mean is Democrats don't believe the war actually exists. While Republicans believe the biggest threat to American freedom and security is the evil ideology that planned and executed the murder of 3,000 of our countrymen five years ago, and continues planning today, Democrats think the biggest threat to America is... Republicans.”

What makes me so angry is that Kerry and his ilk crack jokes about our armed forces while enjoying peaceful sleep on silken pillows. He’s sorry about botching a joke when our military heroes, (every single one of those men and women in uniform are heroes to me) counted the cost and decided it was worth it to stand in the way of the terrorists. They decided it was worth it to fight for someone else’s freedom while protecting our freedom.

That may be Kerry’s and the other Democrats’ idea of dumb, but it isn’t mine.

© 2006 all rights reserved
Gina Burgess is the editor of The Tensas Gazette and a redactor for internet marketing company. She is a columnist for Live As If.org and a site admin for Studylight.org. Visit her blog at
Refreshment In Refuge.
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Trunk 'o Treats

I am sorry I haven't blogged since Saturday. I had no idea that being an editor was so time consuming... well... other things have been happening, too.

We had the best blast at church last night. Instead of a Halloween thing, or a Fall Festival we decided to have a Trunk 'o Treat thing. Everyone opened their trunks and put lots of treats in it and decorated it with something... Why am I talking when you can see for yourself!

From FBC Trunk o T...

From FBC Trunk o T...

There's lots more pictures at http://picasaweb.google.com/GLburgess/FBCTrunkOTreat

That's my great friend, Brenda and the clown next to her is Melonie. (She will kill me when she reads that HA!) We have about 80 to 85 that come to Sunday School on a regular basis, but last night we had at least 250 people come have some good, clean fun. It was absolutely the best community outreach that we have ever done and that includes Vacation Bible School. The children were absolutely precious. The adults had glorious fun and the candy was especially good when I could find the chocolate.

Tree Of No Fruit

The Tree Of No Fruit

Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the work of the olive fails, and the fields make no food; the flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls,

Ever had a day like that? Raise your hands because I know you have. You sit at your desk and look at the sun coming up and the depression that oppresses your soul is like a sore tooth, but you do not know where the soreness is coming from.

Seriously, I never thought Habakkuk could ever teach me a lesson. I do not think I’ve every heard a sermon on Habakkuk. But, there is was in black and white. Verse 17 of chapter 3. Yes. I feel that way. Empty. Void. Depressed. Where is the fruit that God needs from me? Where is the stuff that He works through me? Then I read verse 18.

Hab 3:18 yet I will exult in Jehovah; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

It’s like Job declares, “Though He slay me, I will still praise Him.”

I get it! In the time it takes to blink, a thousands years could expire… it all depends upon perspective. God has no time constraints because He invented time. From my perspective, 30 seconds seems like ten years sometimes. These few months of grief are but a speck in my time line, and do not amount to a nano second in God’s time. And it all means absolutely nothing compared to the wonders God has planned for eternity.

To God, fruit is the purpose, not the tree.

Mat 21:19 And seeing one fig tree by the road, He went up to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only. And He said to it, Let there be no more fruit from you forever. And the fig tree immediately dried up.


Disappointing God has huge repercussions. This fig tree is in Tanzania. Why an arch had to be cut through the tree instead of going around it, I do not know. But it teaches me a lesson just as the verse from Matthew does.

Jonah blathers about Nineveh’s repentance and pouts on a hill. God causes a vine to grow that protects Jonah from the scorching sun and the beating heat. Then God causes a worm to eat the vine, the vine withers and Jonah, fainting from the sun and heat, pouts even more. I can see God shaking his head at Jonah.

“Don’t you get it yet, son?” God asks. “You have pity for a plant that lasted 24 hours, how much more pity I have on the more that 120,000 innocents of Nineveh who do not know their right hand from their left hand. Quit looking inside your self, having pity on yourself and start looking at Me."

God spent a lot of time teaching me, training me, carrying me, dancing with me, loving me and walking with me. Now it is time that I walk His way, follow His steps, wait for His timing, bear His fruit, work His works.

I never realized writing a post would lift that darkness… but, I see the Light. I feel good. Posted by Picasa

THe Election

Jerome Teel is a new author and is one that I think will go very far. If you like John Grishom, then you'll really like Teel's offering, The Election.

Ed Burke has waited a lifetime to become president of the United States. He's not about to let his nemesis, Mac Foster, stop him now... especially when he's sold his soul for the Oval Office.

This is good fare. But, I have to say that I think there are too many characters. I did not like The Pelican Brief where all those judges were killed at the beginning of the book... four chapters and we were still meeting new characters. This one is kinda like that. For some people that isn't a problem. For me, who is old and set in her ways, it becomes a problem because I sleep after I read and then I forget who is what and who is who and it takes a while to get back up to speed. But, don't let that stop you from getting this book. Once you've learned the character, it's a rocket ride.

I asked Jerome my favorite questions:

Gina: What did you learn about God while you were writing this book? How has that impacted your life since?

Jerome: I learned that God is completely in control of every situation no matter what we may think or feel. We can't rush His timetable. Things will happen in His perfect will, in His perfect time.

What a perfect lesson to learn! I like this guy.

The question is Why?

Over on Lynn Scanlon's blog, there is a firestorm of controversy going on. Seriously, I have never, ever read 52 posts on anyone's blog. I read these.

I live in the Deep South. We have whites and blacks living next door to each other. We get along. Race is only an issue in political arguments and in other places. Here we get along and when we make friends, we forget what color we are because we are friends.

I do not see the reasoning behind a black author getting upset because she is asked, "Are you black?" There was to be a book signing in a bookstore in Florida. Someone emailed her and asked her that question and she hit the ceiling. There is more to the story (links are all on Lynn's blog so I won't relink here.) It seems that the bookstore is an African American bookstore. Why didn't this author share that bit of information in her rants?

The question is "Why?" Why get so upset if someone asks what color you are? If they read your book and couldn't tell, bully for you. If they are a black book store, then why in the world would you get upset if they asked what color you are and on top of that, why assume when you answered "yes" to that question that the answer would be wrong????

I just don't get it.

The claim is made that black authors are niched and boxed in to a place in the bookstore, you know, that corner where you find all the black authors. So?

I have found Colin Powell's book in the political section and ran across it in the biographies and again somewhere else to the point I was wondering if there were any other books in the store.

In my estimation, the focus is too close and narrow on this discussion. And it seems that no one is listening to anyone. I have read so many books in all my years that I can generally tell where an author is from just from reading the book. As I said on Lynn's blog. Background bleeds through into the prose. That's something that is great not bad. The truly sad thing these days is that fewer and fewer Americans are reading books. They tend to get their entertainment from TV and from xbox. I pray that books never go out of style, no matter what color the author.

The focus is too close because every author should be looking for the perfect hook to sell their books and should capitalize on their background, not decry it or cover it up.

I have many black friends and I adore them. We get caught up in the friendship and we forget there is a difference in our skin color. Is that a crime? Maybe I should keep reminding myself... no... I like it better this way.

Remain calm while the storm rages

Did God allow Job to be harmed past endurance?
Did God share with Job that Satan was the one playing havoc in his life?
Were any of us around when God laid the foundations of the world and when He hung the stars in place?

Well, if you answered "yes" to any of those questions, please email me, we need to talk.

No, God did not allow harm to Job beyond Job's endurance. Anyone else might have committed suicide. God knew the exactness of Job's strength, faith, will and mental health. God did not allow him to be pushed past a point of no return. God will do no less for us today. He is the same past, present and future... we can depend on that.

Do you ever get a sore soul? I mean a soreness like a sore tooth in your spirit. The feeling just washes through, leaving a feeling of dread or bleakness. I usually get this feeling when something bad is going to happen. This feeling is not from God. It is something that comes from Satan, and I know this through experience. Some scholars say that we cannot depend on experience, but must depend on and lean on exactly what the Bible says, forgetting feelings... rejecting feelings.

But look at the "set up" in Job 1: Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, his name was Job. And this man was perfect and upright, and fearing God, and turning away from evil....
Job 1:9 And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Job 1:10 Have You not made a hedge for him, and for his house, and for all that is his all around? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land. Job 1:11 But put out Your hand now, and touch against all that is his, and see if he will not then curse You to Your face.

First, Satan has no power except that which God allows and that which we give. Knowing this, we are forewarned and forearmed against an evil foe. However, just like Job we have to endure. The point with Job was not at all to teach Job, but to prove a point to Satan. I am convinced that Job had that soreness in his soul.

This is such a huge lesson that I just sit back and marvel. I had always thought all our trials and tribulations were forms of education, tests and basic school work that prepares us for our eternal purpose. That is true in part, but God's good purposes may not be for the person that undergoes the trial, but for the education of an observer... or for later ministry to someone who will go through the same thing... or to prove to Satan some Truth. Those kinds of trials are extremely hard (the things that happened to Job are tremendous stress triggers as well as huge grief causers).

What an amazing thing.

The witness to Job's wife who said, "Curse God and die." She had 10 more children.
The witness to Job's friends who had advice that produced such contempt from God.

Job 42:7 And it happened, after Jehovah spoke these words to Job, Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My anger glows against you and your two friends. For You have not spoken the right about Me, as My servant Job. Job 42:8 And now take for you seven young bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job, and offer a burnt offering for yourselves. And My servant Job will pray for you. Surely I will lift up his face so as not to do with you according to your folly, in that you have not spoken the right about Me, as My servant Job.

But, look! How sweet the thought... "I will lift up his face..."

Job 42:9 And Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as Jehovah spoke to them. And Jehovah lifted the face of Job.

Can't you just feel the soft and tender fingers of God under your chin? Can't you see His tender smile and gentle laughter? How glorious that would be, to have my face cupped by His hands... just to lean into Him and let Him lift not only my face, but my whole self. Yea, Lord, I shout Your praises and Your glory. I am enthralled with Your beauty.

After all that, Job had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters and he gave them all inheritance. That's probably about 10 years. The timing seems so LONG, yet to God, it is a mere 'blink, blink... blink'.

Remain calm. Be still and know that God is God. Our face will be lifted. We must make our decisions based on our knowledge of God because He always keeps His promises. Posted by Picasa

Perfect Peace...above the storm

Psa 4:8 I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Jehovah, make me dwell in safety

Isa 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace the mind stayed on You, for he trusts in You.

Isa 26:12 Jehovah, You will ordain peace for us; for also You have worked all our works for us.

Isa 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the service of righteousness shall be quietness and hope forever.

Going it alone...

What did the disciples try to do under their own strength?

Sail across a lake in a storm... cast a demon from a boy... walk on water... understand Jesus's teachings...

Probably a better question would be what did they not try to do under their own strength.

Jesus made it very clear when He called them little-faiths: ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos (ol-ig-op'-is-tos) From G3641 and G4102; incredulous, that is, lacking confidence (in Christ): - of little faith.

We smile and shake our heads and say, 'How could they not have faith?' Jesus spoke and the storm calmed, He reached out and plucked Peter from sinking in the water, He cast out the demon from the boy and the boy was well ever after that, He fed the 5000 and the 4000 with baskets of food left over. When God shows Himself in that glory, how could anyone not have faith?

How indeed.

I sit in a chair and know it will keep me from falling on the floor. I turn the key in the ignition of my car and expect it to start the engine and for it to take me where I need to go. I don't have quite as much faith in my computer as it has failed me more often than my car.

There is the key. My car, actually, has never failed me... the one I have now. Other cars failed me and one in particular I never had faith it would start. I'd always pray and hope it would start.

God has never failed me.

Why is it, then, I sometimes have doubts? It is my point of reference.

People have failed me... even the ones that I never expected much from, failed me. It isn't their fault because they are human, with human natures that are imperfect. We do not have the capability to be perfect within our flesh. That is impossible. God, on the other hand, is perfect and infallable.

But... we guage God through our human-ness. We think with our finite minds and see with our imperfect vision and this is how we see God, forgetting that we are made in God's image (not the other way around) and not in His perfect nature and character. We have the potential and we will be perfect one day, just not today. Therefore, we cannot see all that God sees or know all that God knows and that makes for a very imperfect understanding of our own situations and future. It also makes for a very imperfect, and perhaps quite wobbly faith.

Here is the tricky part. God is okay with the wobbly faith up to a point. There comes a time when God expects trust no matter the cost, and trusting Him can be quite costly from a secular world point of view. Yet, it is our weakness that glorifies His strength. Our trust magnifies His name. Our frailties in concert with God's power makes the angels wonder.

God has never failed me. So, I put my hand in the hand of the Man that stilled the water because He kept His promises no matter the cost. How, indeed, can my faith falter? Posted by Picasa

Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury has written lots of books. Dandelion Dust is the first book of hers that I have read.

I didn't email Karen and ask her any questions either. I have been up to my neck in alligators, frankly, so I didn't even post this on Wednesday like I was supposed to.

It has been some 40+ years since I was 4 years old, so I do not know if Karen got the 4-year-old mentality down, or not, in Joey. It sounds right, so it works for me.

The book starts out really sweet... and stays sweet a bit too long for my taste. There isn't any conflict for quite some time. The build up is there, but no tension until several chapters into the book. But... it made me smile, and it made me cry. That's two things that are very good recommendations for a book in my estimation.

I like the characters... they are a little two dimensional, yet believable. and Joey stole my heart along with Mr. Monkey. I think this is a book that would be an excellent addition to any library, but it is not a book that I'd read again and again. It is a nice afternoon with tea read and that is what I needed this past week. Enjoy.

You can click on the title to buy the book and please visit Karen at her website, click on her name at the beginning of this post.

Tormented day and night...

This is precisely how I feel sometimes: the depths of despair, as Lucy Montegomery has Anne Shirley sigh in Anne of Green Gables.

It feels like forever. The constant waiting and waiting. When, Lord? When will You go to my defense? When will You fix this problem? When will I see daylight? When will I feel normal again? When will I be able to look up from this problem and focus on others again? When will You release me from this prayer vigil? When can I stop and rest?

That's just it. We must rest or we burn out. God knows just how long we need because it was He that issued the 6 day work week and the 1 Day of Rest. Only that day of rest is supposed to be competely devoted to God and the worship of Him.


Isa 58:13 "If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don't use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, GOD's holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing 'business as usual,' making money, running here and there-- 14 Then you'll be free to enjoy GOD! Oh, I'll make you ride high and soar above it all. I'll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob." Yes! GOD says so!

I am not preaching "no football" on Sunday afternoon. What I am saying is that I have to sit down with God everyday or the anxiety takes over. I have to practice giving it all to Him or I'll take it back and try to "fix it" all the while making the matter worse. Some problems fix themselves, other problems need the hand of God. I have a lot of God Problems that I get in God's way while He's trying to fix them... or teach a lesson. You can go ahead and admit you are like that, too, because I know I'm not in the boat alone. We are skimming over the water far too fast, I can't row that fast so I know I'm not the only one rowing.

Keeping God first is a DAILY thing, not just a Sunday thing. Peter sank when he took his eyes off Jesus. The disciples couldn't remove the demon from the boy because they didn't have the faith of a mustard seed. David was lollygagging at the palace when he should have been at the war front with his men and that's when he lounged on the roof and caught sight of Bathsheba. The Bible is full of all kinds of examples of life situations that went awry when folks quit putting God first and that was the first step down their path to trouble.

And that is just the beginning of trials and tribulations. God never promised easy living. What would we ever learn if life's most pressing decision was which bon bon to eat next? Job had an easy life until God allowed Satan to put his foot in it. So, guess who's messing with us now?

Did God allow Job to be harmed past endurance?
Did God share with Job that Satan was the one playing havoc in his life?
Were any of us around when God laid the foundations of the world and when He hung the stars in place?

to be continued... Posted by Picasa

A living dog is better than a dead lion.

Well that is certainly true. Did you know it's in the bible? Solomon writes that as a proof for hope for the living.

Hope is an absolute must for healthy living. Without hope, there is despair. Without hope there is depression. Without hope, faith cannot survive. Without hope, love gasps for breath.

Notice something with me. Hope. Help. One letter difference, but what a difference. In the center of Help is El... God. I believe that is by divine design.

Hope and Faith are not designed to last forever. We hope and we put faith in the Everlasting Father. But Love is the Everlasting Father. I am quite satisfied with the hope and the faith that God gives me... I could not live without it. While we have breath, there is hope. While we have breath we have faith, but once breath leaves us, we either have Love, and love lasts eternally; or we do not have Love, and a soul without love is tortured.

Help does not come to the dead. Help comes to the living, breathing physical beings that we are. So, indeed, a living dog is better than a dead lion. How can it not be so?

Psa 121:1 A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the hills; from where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from Jehovah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth.
3 He will not give your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel will not slumber nor sleep.
5 Jehovah is the One keeping you; Jehovah is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night;
7 Jehovah shall keep you from all evil; He shall keep your soul.
8 Jehovah shall keep your going out, and your coming in, from now on and till forever.
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Do You Trust Me?

God asked me that question last Tuesday, again on Wednesday, again on Thursday and for the last time yesterday.

It reminded me of when Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love Me, Peter?" "Yes, Lord, I love you," Peter replies.

"Yes, Lord, I trust You. I've trusted You since I was a little girl." My reply was instantaneous. I never hesitate when God asks me that question for I know to the depth of my soul that God is in control and His will is best for my life. I haven't always lived that way, but I have always known in my heart that His way is best.

Every day I get a rejection letter in the mail and every day I get job offers in my inbox. The rejection letters come from those jobs in Chicago, Denver, Nashville, and other big city places that I just do not want to move to, but I had to face facts a couple of months ago that there is nothing within commute distance that would pay me enough to build up a retirement. So I shot off my resume to all these exciting, exotic places, knowing in my heart of hearts that it was a waste of time. Until, I got a phone call from a company in Florida. They were impressed with my skills and my credentials and would I be interested in going through the interview process for the editor position they had for their Grants Alert Newsletter? Would I! Of course! Great pay, live in Florida where Mom could make friends... and the cost of living is about as high as the Moon.

So... what am I trusting God about? It has a lot to do with why my picture will be in the paper next week.

I am the new editor for our local paper.

The pay is terrible. They know its terrible and they also know that I am by far over qualified for the job. But...

What a challenge! I have a sales person to train and motivate. I have a parish/county just about emptied out -- we have about 5800 pop -- but look how many stories to tell that could be. The paper has been neglected and needs some tender loving care to build back the circulation and to build back the advertisor base. We don't have to move. We can have fires during the winter. I can wear sweaters. It might snow. Okay... I know! I'm trying too hard to find the positive in this.

When I first sent in my resume last May, I didn't care the pay was bad. But, on Tuesday I woke up wrestling with God about this job. Keep an open mind, He said. Just go talk to them, He said. How can you ignore the voice of God? I can't, so I went. I got the job on the spot. This is the first time anyone has hired me on the spot. This is the first time I had so much fun at the interview, I didn't want it to end. I can't wrap my brain around that.

Who in their right mind would even think twice about taking a great paying job in Florida over a podunk part time editor job in a podunk village in the sticks of Louisiana? Apparently, God has some plans in mind that He isn't sharing with me at this moment. It's for sure He has some work for me to do. I'm all for that! If this job turns out to be even half as much fun as being the economic development director for the parish/county... I'm in for a great ride.

I have news...

My picture is going to be in the paper next week. In The Tensas Gazette. I thought I'd share it with you. I'll tell you tomorrow why it's going to be there. Posted by Picasa

Violette Between...

...is a book about a young woman who is an artist... is in an accident... relives her love from the past... must choose the past or the present. (Sorry there isn't a picture, I can't get Blogger to cooperate with posting them.)

It is different. It is rather written well. But... I absolutely hate, let me repeat, hate books that flip from the past to the present to the past to the present and all points in between with no guide except a chapter heading "August 4-5, 2005". I hate them with such a passion that I won't read them. I have read a little over 1/3 of this book and suffered the flips from past to present while gritting my teeth. This isn't the first one like this that I've had to review... I do not know what the world of publishing is coming to... this kind of flip is becoming the norm and I have to wonder why. It does nothing for tension and it usually causes a disconcertment on the reader's part. I'm in one mind set then I have to draw back and get used to a whole new set of characters. Reading for pleasure should not be work.

Alison Strobel wrote Violette Between and if it were not for her writing, I would have tossed it to the side after the second chapter... seriously. Here's the thing. This book should have been at least 175,000 words instead of about 97,000 in order to develop both love stories. The tension is there, the conflict is there early on which makes for a great story, but the development--easing into the second story isn't there. This could very easily have been the fault of the editor and not Alison. I don't know because I didn't ask.

I immediately cared about Violette. I don't know if it was because she is an artist or because her burnt umber paint got squished all over the parking lot... I just did. Knowing she was going to have an accident, the tension built by her going after that tube of paint was delicious. Then it all fell flat... rather Violette fell flat off a ladder in the high school gym while painting a mural of knights. (I didn't spoil anything, that's on the back cover.) I also immediately cared for Christian, her love interest. He is adorable. Any guy who will buy lunch for me and bring it to me at work... hey, I'm in love!

I didn't ask Alison any questions. Either I am too embarassed because I didn't like the continuity (or lack thereof), or I am too embarassed to ask questions and then say what I have to say because I can't lie or fake it when it comes to books.

Alison, if you read this, please do not take it personally. I am old and set in my ways and I just do not want to have to get used to reading books meant for twenty year olds.

Parents Responsible or Responsible Parents

I have been against parents being held responsible for the actions of their children for a very long time. I'm starting to rethink that stance.

Violence in schools is just a symptom of our society. The symptom is surfacing in younger children. In my day, everyone in the Nation knew about Kent State. You didn't have to explain what happened, or who was involved, or what it was about. You just said, "Kent State," and everyone knew what you meant.

(If you don't, do an internet search on Kent State + Violence, and see what you get.)

Today, if you say Columbine High School, everyone knows what that was all about. Not so many know about Pearl High School and the other schools where shooting occured. But, we all know about youth violence. At Columbine, the authorities found video tapes and all kinds of violent-type paraphanalia that any observant parent would have asked questions about if they had cared what their kids were up to behind closed bedroom doors.

What if...

What if, the parents had said, "I do not care about your privacy. It is your safety that I am concerned about... your health, your mind, your Spiritual growth."

Do children have a right to privacy? To take a bath, yes. To surf the internet, no way! To develop fight videos, to purchase or steal guns, to draw pictures of frightening things... these are symptoms of disturbed minds and a parent has every right under God and this nation to know what their kids are up to.

If you consider what kinds of violence kids are exposed to these days from X-Box games to cop shows to forensic shows, is it any wonder that children grow up to think that it is okay to solve their problems with violence. The survival of the fittest was part of my science class, but it was also tempered with Jesus' teachings.

I have discovered that after I watch a show with violence, I have a reaction to some situations with anger or violent urgings. It may have something to do with menopause, but my thinking leans more toward the exposure to violence.

I believe that if some parents were held responsible for their children's actions... even put on trial for those actions, I believe we would see more responsible parents. It is the parents responsibility to raise their children to be responsible adults adhereing to societal norms rather than handling problems with violence. Violence as a solution is unacceptable, yet, this is exactly what more and more people are turning to in order to overcome obsticles.

I know there are some children that are so rebellious they are uncontrollable. There are ways to handle those. Where the buck actually stops is at the parents' feet and how they raise their children. If the parent lacks self-control, then that is what the child learns. It is time to put more focus on the family unit and less interest on acquiring bigger/better everything.

Lessons from Joseph

Isn't it grand when daddies keep teaching and teach by how they live?

Joseph is an amazing person when you think about it.

Joseph valued God’s Law and knew what God meant when He said He wanted tender hearts instead of sacrifice. He showed mercy when the Law said stoning. Mary was pregnant and he was not the father.

Joseph immediately obeyed God. [I wonder how many can say they immediately obey God.] I believe that when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in his dream that Joseph got up immediately and got Mary that night from her house and brought her home to be his wife. This did numerous things, but one thing it did was eliminate any shame Mary might be subjected to because of her pregnancy. Joseph didn’t say, ‘But God…’ He didn’t drag his feet trying to figure out “what it all meant”, he just got up and went and did God’s bidding.

Joseph was a young man and passionate (they had eight kids including Jesus), but he was able to keep his hands off his wife until Jesus was born. That took considerable self-control, or perhaps God had a hand in that to help him… who knows? Joseph realized the importance of the virgin birth and behaved accordingly.

And if the Angel of the Lord wasn’t enough, Joseph had the testimony of the Magi who brought Gold Frankincense and Myrrh. These were gifts signifying the royalty of the child. Gold was given to kings. Frankincense and Myrrh were spices used in the embalming process developed by the Egyptians. Only royalty and nobles received the ultimate type of embalming where these spices were used. That kind of embalming cost about $2000. I believe God had these Magi give these gifts so that Joseph and Mary could sell the spices in Egypt for a good price in order for them to live comfortably until it was time to go home to Galilee.

Joseph was a man of action, self-control, patience and a good daddy bringing up his boys in fine Jewish tradition and in the Lord. I think he was an amazing man.

Dealing With Anxious Thinking...

There are times when a little fear is good... like when walking across a swinging bridge that has no guardrails and the drop down is about 100 feet or so to cold rushing water. Did that one time and my heart still pounds at the thought of it.

Those times don't come around very often. God says we are not to worry. Jesus said, "Do not worry." Angels have told men, "Do not fear." I don't know how many times this is said in the Bible and we all do it. I do it.

Worry is a sin.

So how do we deal with worry? I love what Dale Carnegie said, "Figure out what's the worst thing that could happen, then make a plan if that thing happens and set the whole thing aside." We worry about things that 90% of the time do not happen. Why is that?

When we are anxious, it affects our thinking. It clouds our thought process and we are consumed about what might happen... then it never does, or rarely does.

Unfortunately, anxious thinking or negative thinking can become a habit and we never realize what we are doing to ourselves. When walking into a room, have you ever thought, "Gee, everyone is staring at me, I must look awlful." Or "No one will like me here, they all think I'm stupid."

Seriously... think about that. Maybe one person... maybe two, might think that but, trust me on this, a room full of people have a room full of thoughts and they are not all centered on you! Well, perhaps if you are the Governor or the President, they might. Get a grip on those negative thoughts! (I'm talking to myself, here.)

What are some other ones?

"If I don't do this with no mistakes, I've failed."
"This is a total disaster. I made an absolute mess."
"Everybody hates me, I'm going to go eat worms."

That is stinkin' thinkin'. Face the fact the world does not revolve around you. We do not live in a world of black and white... but in a myriad of colors and shades. The likelyhood of any event striking instant dislike for you in the breasts of a roomful of people is nil and none. You do not have to do a poll on that to find out.

The bald fact is, our thoughts should not revolve around our own selves, but we should consistently and constantly keep our eyes on Jesus. If Peter had never taken his eyes off Jesus, then he would never have sunk in the waves... or denied him three times.

Jer 17:5 So says Jehovah, Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and who makes flesh his arm, and who turns aside his heart from Jehovah. 6 For he shall be like a juniper in the desert, and shall not see when good comes. But he shall live in parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land that is not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his refuge. 8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters. It sends out its roots by the stream, and it will not fear when the heat comes; but its foliage will be green; and it is not anxious in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit.  Posted by Picasa

Dark Hour

Dark Hour is by Ginger Garrett.

I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. I did not ask her any questions.

I really do like fiction that takes place back in OT times or even in NT times. Books like The Robe, for instance that focused on a character not written in Scripture and just a few Apostles walked through the book. I am very wary of books that take a very significant happening and weave fiction around it. That just doesn't work for me.

Two things. Ginger takes a few liberties with history, such as the goddess Ashorah (or Astoreth) did not require sacrifices of new born babies. That was the god Molech which is who Hezikiah's son Mannesseh worshiped and caused much innocent blood to be spilled paying homage to it, namely his own first born son.

She also made it seem that Queen Athaliah put a spell on Jehoram which is why he killed all his brothers so he wouldn't have to fight anyone for the throne. While Jehoram actually did kill all his brothers, I do not think that the text leads the way of some spell. 2 Chron 21:4 says that Jehoram rose up and made himself strong and killed his brothers with the sword. Now, that is a totally different kind of man than what Ginger Garrett depicts in her book.

I think the book is fairly well written. But, it was very difficult for me to get around those two things so my enjoyment of it was quite marred. I really think that there are Biblical stories that should remain UNfictionalized and this was one of them. You can visit Ginger's website here.

This is the story of Jezebel's daughter who became queen of Judah and after King Jehoram died and Jehu killed Jehoram's and Athaliah's son Ahaziah, Athaliah claimed the throne for herself and ruled Judah for seven years. A truly gripping story straight from the Bible.

I want you all to know that the reviews I give are honest and from my heart. This story had great potential... maybe written from a servant's point of view rather than from the king's daughter, Jehoshabeath's POV, it would have had a greater impact.