Take

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Take………..this one could go in all different directions as most of them can. One train of thought arose in me immediately……….. “Take time to…………..” Whatever it is you want to fill in the blank with. Time is a precious commodity and what you use that time for can be even more precious. So if I take time then that means I want to make the most of it.

I want to ……

Take time to listen

Take time to grow

Take time to connect

Take time to rejoice

Take time to grieve

Take time to learn

Take time to teach

Take time to serve

Take time to just be

I’ve come to appreciate that I have a Lord who

Takes time to just be with me

Takes time to serve me

Takes time to teach me

Takes time to learn from me

Takes time to grieve with me

Takes time to rejoice with me

Takes time to connect with me

Takes time to grow me

Takes time to listen to me

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

He is in my midst and as I take time to wait for Him through my walk on this path, He will make the most out of all I take time for. His mercy and grace falls over me abundantly as I take time for Him.

Got Questions

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So many questions! I don’t have 1, I have many!

To watch a child growing, their curiosity is explosive. They are questioning everything. What is this? What does this do? Who is that? Where did it go? Why? Why? Why? I may not have all the same questions but I still have them. Why is one of the greatest.

In my life many questions have arose. Some I get full answers to, some only partially and some I will have to wait till I face my Father in Heaven face to face. And I have to be okay with that, I don’t have much other choice.

There are easy questions! Where are we going on vacation?

There are hard questions! Why did you choose to do such a horrible thing?

But whether easy or hard, God gave us a tool to use to help us manage the answers. Bible! He gave us someone to direct us to peace in the questions. Jesus! He walks with us still as we live out those answers. Holy Spirit!

Jeremiah 33:3 

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

We may not always have easy questions and we may not always get the answers we want or we may just have to live out the questions to find the answers, all the while living with the understanding that God always will answer us.

3 Stages of our Relationship

The man I don’t remember

The man I didn’t know

The man I won’t ever forget

This past weekend. On Father’s Day weekend. We celebrated his life.

Here is what I am left with as he has gone to sit with Jesus.

Dad

The man that we are celebrating today, I call Dad.  If I have one regret for the last 2.5 years it would be that he never heard me call him “dad”. I had an excuse and some would say “it was understandable.” But I still wish I’d had a chance to say it to him.  I know he is watching me and he is able now to see what I said about him to so many others and his heart would be full.

2.5 years ago, I received a phone call asking me to call him. Honestly, I hadn’t given him a second thought for so many years.  The first thing that I did was tell my husband and then we both started goggle searching to see what type of man he was.  Making sure he wasn’t an ax murderer or something but what we found was a kind man who gave to others for many years.  So I called him.

Yes, it was awkard at first but we talked several times and then decided he and Jackie could come to KY and we could meet.  I knew he was sick already at this point and I knew that God always has a plan greater than my own and even if His plan was solely to give a man with much regret and little time a peace and happiness that he so longed for, then I could give that.  But as I said, God always has a plan greater than my own.  In Jeremiah 29, it says “ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

He shared his regrets with me and the many dreams of one day being reconnected. He shared stories with me about my early years that I never knew.  He shared his life with me and welcomed me in.  His love was great and it was evident from the start.  For me it took a while.

And I trusted God again.  I allowed God to show me a glimpse of his plan.   And as always it is good.  As it says in Acts 1, He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

I didn’t know where this would go.  I didn’t know if I even needed it. But I did know that God asked me to do it.  So I did.

And what a blessing it has been.  I understand that the man I’ve known over the last 2.5 years may have mellowed and grown in wisdom and love as he aged but I’ve also witnessed and heard many talk about the man he was to them.  One who gave without expecting back.  One who genuinely sought out ways he could make a difference in your life.  One who even in his pain could lift up the spirits of others.  One who would go the extra mile to make sure you knew you were important to him. One who gave all the love he had to give.  This is what I also got from him.  And I know many sitting in this room today received the same.

Dad said to me many times, “I wish I had gotten up the nerve to contact you earlier” and my response would always be, “It was in God’s perfect timing”.   This perfect timing is proven in Ecclesiastes 3 & 8 where it says, For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him andHe has made everything beautiful in its time.

I didn’t know what God was doing in my life 2.5 years ago but I was faithful.  Dad didn’t know what was going to happened when he made that call but he was faithful.  And God blessed us all for that faithfulness.  In Psalms 37 it says,Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We’ve laughed many times. We’ve had serious conversations and some that were just plain silly.  He had pushed himself so he could spend time and enjoy his grands & great grands.  And I believe he found his way back to God by sharing a church pew with me.  I was honored to help him down on the alter at church so he could talk with His Lord a bit.  It was an honor to have had this time.

So even though our time together was short, my family, his family, our family grew in love with each other.   Yes, God knew what we needed.  Our family is forever changed and forever blessed because of dad.  He not only brought us the love that only he could give but he has given us the love of Jackie so we can continue to be blessed.

So today there is no regret because God’s plan is perfect.

And I end with Proverbs 10,The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

I am grateful. I am blessed. God’s promise full filled.

NAME

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In today’s culture, it is all about what name do I fall under. It ranges from white, female, heterosexual, mom, wife, Lollie, Christian and republican, whose identity or value is determined by whatever name is attached to me.  Your name may be different or it may be the same.   But thankfully my name is not determined by culture it is determined by who God says I am.  That my identity is found in Him.  And my value is weighed only by His scales. Only if we all could live by this.

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own imagein the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Psalm 139:14  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

And because I know that my name is not determined by culture all is well with my soul!

My Weakness

Grandchildren….. I have to say that they are the best. My husband claims that grandchildren are our rewards for not killing our children. I have to agree with him on that. There were definitely times! Anyway, I get off topic. Grandchildren! Our oldest granddaughter was at our house the other day and she decided to disobey a specific request of mine. Now let’s just say that she is one determined child! Anyway, when she came back to where I was I asked her about her disobedience and I will never forget what her response was, “There I go again with “my weakness”. Trying not to really have a reaction, even though I about fell out of my seat, I asked her to repeat what she had said. She explained to me that her weakness is disobedience and sometimes she is better than others. I explained to her that she is always good and I love her and God always loves her but she needed to work on this weakness.

We went about the rest of our afternoon and now that a few days have past, I have thought on that several times. Regretfully but also thankfully it made me think about myself. I definitely have my share of weaknesses. And then I remember ………..

2 Corinthians 12:9 [Full Chapter]
Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities.

1st off, I am so thankful that my granddaughter is being taught how to recognize her weaknesses and how to acknowledge them. Secondly, she is learning that recognizing them, acknowledging them and still being loved is possible. Thirdly, once all that happens we can have a teaching moment of how to change those weaknesses by drawing strength and direction from God. That is a lesson that I wish that I had learned at 7 years old. My young adult, middle adult and now older adult years may have been a whole lot less riddled with guilt and shame.

Remember, we all have weaknesses. We all fail and fall short in some way. We all sin! We have been given a way to recognize, admit, find strength and be loved through it. Grasp on to those weaknesses and let Christ show off!

And by the way grandchildren are one of my weaknesses and Christ is showing off big time!

Promise

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Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise of the Lords that I have hung on too for quiet a few years now. For so many years, there have been people in my life who have disappointed, have hurt, have harmed, have vowed and have not followed through with the promises that they gave to me. This can make one a bit lerry of trust. But who can live without trust. If you don’t trust, you have no hope and without hope Satan will find his way into your soul.

Satan is the liar above all liars and he knows exactly where to attack. He will use whoever and whatever means necessary to trap you into hopelessness.

It’s hard, I know, when the promises of others have been stripped away and the ripping has torn the skin and created scars but there is a way and that is through the promises of the only ONE whose promises are always true.

This ripping, tearing away and scarring can either make you bitter or make you better. Choose better and remember that the promises you make will make a difference in those around you.

Deuteronomy 23:23 You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.

Practice

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I’m going to take a little time to confess here, when I married @ 19 years of age, I thought that I knew it all. I was an adult now, taking on adult responsibilities and paving my own way. Fast forward almost 40 years, I have had many more times of this type of thinking.

What I have learned is that @ 19 years of age I didn’t really know much at all and now almost 40 years later, I’m just a step more close to being a bit more wise. All these years have simply been practice moments to becoming who God created me to be. And I’m grateful that He is a forgiving and gracious God to allow me to practice over and over again.

Philippians 2:6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

I have decided that in this life God allows me to have opportunities to practice so that He can grow me and watch me flourish as I lean more into Him and less into myself. As it’s said, “Practice makes Perfect” and I know I won’t be perfect until the day I’m sitting next to my maker.

Thanks to God for His patience, Jesus for His example and the Holy Spirit for His guidance. Amen!

Opportunity

Opportunities come in a variety of ways. Are we wise in our thinking? Do we seek advise carefully when we choose which direction we’ll turn? Do we grasp them when they arise?

Sometimes!

I’ve had opportunities that I’ve jumped at, simply later to realized that I shouldn’t have jumped so quickly. And found myself in a storm that was hard to weather. Acts 27:13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete.

I’ve chosen opportunities that I knew from the start were not wise. That if I’d sought out advise from friends or leading from the Holy Spirit, it would have led me in the opposite direction than my sinful desires led me.Romans 7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

I’ve been placed in opportunities to include, love and show compassion to those on the outside and have not seized the opportunity to give it. Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

I haven’t always taken full advantage of each opportunity that has been placed in front of me. But when I did, sometimes it was regretted, painful, sinful and unloving. That is because not every opportunity is good. But I have found that I can, with the Holy Spirit’s leading, make good in every opportunity.

A couple months ago I found myself in a position that I hadn’t ever been in. I found myself having the opportunity of free time but I was using it to waller in self pity and frustration until a wise man, my hubby, said “take this opportunity and go spend some time with your dad”. And I’m glad I took my hubby’s advise and spent almost a week with him.

I didn’t realize that this would be the last opportunity that I would have. He past away just 1.5 months later. Unexpected! He was sick but I thought I had more time.

So I say this to encourage you to be wise, seek advise and watch for opportunities that are Spirit lead and stop waller-ing.

Touch

There are many times in the bible that it speaks of the power of touch. Here are a few.

Genesis 32:25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

In Genesis, God had told Jacob to go back to the land where his relatives lived. Jacob was fear full about going back and facing his brother Esau. So as we all do, he decided to do things to manipulate the situation and smooth things over with his brother. During his wrestle with God over this issue, he physically had a wrestle with man and overpowered him so the man touched (hit) his hip. And it was shown to Jacob that night that he could stand strong with God as it says in verse 28 “It isn’t anymore!” the Man told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.” So Jacobs name now is Israel.

Mark 8:25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

During a time when Jesus and his disciples were traveling they came to the town of Bethsaida and saw a man who was blind. Jesus took him by his hands and led him out of town. Jesus spat on his eyes and put his hands over the man’s eyes. The man’s sight was partially renewed and then Jesus touched the man’s eyes again and his sight was restored completely. And it says in verse 25, and he saw everything clearly, drinking in the sights around him. In this story Jesus physically touched this man and restored him but in our lives he will touch our souls through the Holy Spirit and will restore us.

Luke 8:46-48 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 7 Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

In another story where a women who had a bleeding disorder for 12 years come to Jesus quietly and seeing that there were so many people surrounding Jesus but knew that if she could just touch him that she would be healed. Even in the crowds Jesus knew that someone had touched him, as it says in verse 46 But Jesus told him, “No, it was someone who deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” So because of her faith and a simple touch of Jesus’s garment, she was healed.

How many times do we wrestle with God about what he is clearly wanting us to do? How many times have we seen his healing power in our lives, when it’s evident that it could only be in the power of Jesus? How many times do we resist but should simply reach out to touch the garment of Jesus for our healing, whether physically or emotional?

How many times do we need to trust in His touch?

Next

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With the season of change upon us, I think “Next” is appropriate for such a time. Literally the season is changing and we are anxiously awaiting the new and more beautiful growth of Spring. And it is also Easter, as we celebrate the Rising of our Lord Jesus from the tomb and what that selfless act of His brings next.

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

They were discussing on the radio the other day about the in between time. The days between when Jesus was hung on that cross and the day He rose. And how those days were about mourning the loss and fear of not knowing what was coming next.

Even though I was not there on that fateful day of my Savior’s death or on the day He rose. I have been in those in between days. Days when I was wondering where He was and what was going to happen next. The days in between a loss or hurt so great that I mourned aloud to Him and asked Him to rise up and save me. I’ve been in many of those days. And what I found is I must be still and know that he is God. Know that He will rise again in my life and it will be made beautiful.

So I wait!