Sunday, October 23, 2016

What They Did and Didn't Do....

Pondering today-- what are the motives behind the things we do in life.

The topic at church lately is "Wise Does." Doing wise things in the eyes of the Lord is always the right choice. 

Every day of our life we make choices, from the moment we open our eyes and choose to get up in the morning, to the choice of when our head will hit the pillow at the end of the day. Those choices that we make in between are what truly define who we are.

Today Pastor Steve mentioned Ananias and Sapphira from the book of Acts. They made a choice to do something deceptive, and it quite literally cost them their lives. Not every choice we make will result in something that immediate, but we never know. (Read below if you haven't heard that story.)

Why do I (we) do what I (we) do? The parable of The Sheep and the Goats" from Mathew 25 comes to mind, there were those doing things to be seen and there were those just doing things that came naturally as a part of who they were. (Read below if you are unfamiliar with the story.)

What is the motivation that guides the decisions that I make in my life? Are my decisions based on how I feel at that moment? Are they based on what will be most advantageous to me? Do they come from fear? Or, are they based on what the Lord would have me to do? The root of our decisions is based in our heart, that is where the very core of who we are is formed, it is where our integrity is set, and our motivations come from. The more we live a life of what the Lord would have us do, the easier it is to make the decisions that are going to take us in the direction that the Lord wants us to go.

I am sure that I have been guilty of making the self-serving decisions. However, that being said, the cry of my heart is to walk a life so firmly rooted in the Lord that all my choices would be based on what He would have me to do. I still have a ways to go before I do that every time. All I can do is continue to soak in His word, and listen for the Holy Spirit's guidance in my life.

Blessings! PrairieMouse (a.k.a - Mary)

Acts 3:32 - Acts 4:11
Sharing in All Things
    32 Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

(Acts 4)Lying to the Holy Spirit
    But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
    Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
    Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”
She said, “Yes, for so much.”
    Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Matt 25:31-46 (The Sheep and the Goats)
The Son of Man Will Judge the Nations    
    31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
    37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
    41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ .
    44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

The Sheep and the Goats by Keith Green

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Being Thankful and Learning to Dream

Over the course of the summer, I have been thinking about all the blessings in my life, they are many and I am so thankful for them. I know I have talked before of thankfulness but I have learned something new about it this summer.
  • I have an amazing family, my children, my grandchildren, and all the extended family. (Doesn't matter which were by birth and which I gained through marriage, I love them all!!)
  • My church family, they may have no idea just how important they are to me!!
  • I am blessed with a nice home, in a safe area, a big deck and good layout. 
  • I have a wonderful job that I love, plus I still have my small business- that makes me smile,  and together, the Lord uses them to pay my bills.
  • Transportation: I was blessed with a car that kept me getting where I needed to go. Then this summer I felt it was time to do something that I have never done on my own, I bought a new car, not brand new but I have a cute little new car (2013) with warranties still in place. It's nice to know I can feel secure to get into it and drive long distance without worry.
  • I have had the opportunity to take some wonderful trips.

I've always tried to be thankful, but not necessarily always been successful at it. I'm still not perfect at it, but I have gotten better at having a thankful heart. I understand better why the Word says in Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have started seeing the blessings received better, by being thankful, it gives a me a greater appreciation for all the things that I have, and helps keep my focus to what I do have, rather than what I don't. It also allows me to be content in that. 

Ironically, I have recently begun to realize that in becoming more content in where I am in life, I am beginning to dream again. I have begun to take simple, practical steps as I have felt the Lord lead, and this helps bring my heart peace, and courage. The courage to face the future and be proactive about it. I had been continuing forward day to day, not fearful, but not really looking forward. 

Have you ever walked a path where you are in a crowded patch and the bushes really only let you see a step or two at a time, and then all of a sudden you break through the patch and the path becomes much more open, still a few branches, but now you can see quite a ways ahead? That's what has happened over the last few months.

I am now looking ahead to moving more than just a little forward and on into the complete clearing, seeing where the Lord is taking me. I give my heart and all that I have to use. I truly am thankful and more importantly TRUST HIM!! And I am beginning to really become excited about my future.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rapids Suck. . . Thank You Lord for the Calms

As I said last time, I am thankful for the blessings in my life, they are many. What sucks is when a series of 'rapids' hits right in the middle of them.

It isn't easy to share from this side of my emotions, but I am sure that others go through this kind of thing, and it helps me to write about it.  I am also sure that the Lord motivated me to write it here for some reason. 

I have been truly blessed recently, I just got home from an amazing trip to Savannah, GA to see my niece graduate from college, and yes to see some sights... it was a trip that has left me longing to go again and really explore all the history of that area. Work has been good, and I have made some forward progress on some personal goals. I have had the joy of watching my oldest granddaughter dance in a wonderful ballet production.

And then the rapids... something in life triggers a series of emotions that you weren't planning on. Just when I think I am over the deep swings -- bam, one hits.

It has been one of those days, and when the rapids hit, they were a class 4.  It has been a long time since I had felt like I did -- heartache like it was yesterday that Glenn passed. Rapids are bumpy and they hurt, on the upside, they are often followed by calms.

And when the calm came, it came from an unexpected source. I was out in the yard pulling weeds- oh the joy, lol. Well, as I was in the front of my house, my elderly neighbor came out. He just recently had to put his wife, of nearly 67 years, into a Alzheimer's care facility. This sweet little old man, is heartsick and grieving the simple day to day absence of his love. As he was sharing with me about missing her, making daily visits to spend meals with her, how they met, and the Lord prompted me to share with him... You see, I get it, I understand his loneliness, and his fear of the future with out her, and the cruel beast Alzheimer's. (That's what took my mom.) 

We chatted for a bit, I shared a bit about my life the last 4 years, you see though we had spoken a few times, we hadn't really talked much. He was sorry that he hadn't met Glenn and didn't realize that Glenn was sick until he saw him in the wheelchair shortly before he died. We both shed some tears and some smiles as we talked. I gave him a hug, and he thanked me for the chat.

He was then off for lunch with his love, and I was back at my weeding... pondering again both the pain in my heart and the goodness of the Lord, He had used a little old man to help remind me that He is with me in my joy and my pain, this done as I spoke to him the scriptures that have been a strength to me, and I shared them with him to help my sweet neighbor gain some strength for his journey.

God is amazing and He is always present, and I am thankful for Him in my life. Yes, Rapids suck, but calms will always follow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Blessings in the Journey

Three years have passed since I lost the love of my life. It's so long ago and yet only yesterday in my heart. This year, in the plans we had, we should have been going on our 35th anniversary, but instead, Glenn is celebrating 3 years in the full presence of the Lord and I am continuing on the journey that the Lord has for me. I can say this, I miss Glenn incredibly and think of him everyday, and wish that he were still here. I miss our conversations, our laughter, and time together... I could talk to him about anything and we would talk for hours. Ours was a blessed life...

That being stated, is not the focus for today's blog. I still deal with sadness at times, but the Joy of the Lord is my strength. Yes, I have joy, and the blessings of the Lord are the reason.

 What I wanted to talk about is the blessings in the journey that started on May 4, 2013, that day 3 years ago is when my life was forever changed. The Lord has been a present strength, each and every day. He has given me grace for the journey, where exactly I'm going, I'm honestly not sure, but I place my trust in Him.

Since Glenn passed my life has been an interesting journey, one that I am still trying to adjust too. Being alone after so many years is still very strange, but through God's guidance I continue to move forward. I have had to learn to do everything, earn the income, keep up on car maintenance, do the yard(definitely still battling that one), pay the bills and balance my budget-- the blessing, God has been so faithful in my finances. My bills have been paid each month, when I have needed something I have been able to take care of it, and I have even been able to have a little extra at times to do something special. 

The Lord has blessed me with 2 new grandchildren since that day, and the others have grown so much. I love being a grandma, though again, I'm not living it the way I had in my imagination years ago. I am adjusting and learning to be the best grandma that I can be. I am truly loved by my family, immediate, extended and my church family as well. I find that with them, the walk is easier.

The last couple years have, at times, felt like going down a river in an inner-tube. Some parts are easy and slow moving, and some are rough rapids, and sometimes I am in control and others I am simply along the ride... boy am I glad God has been keeping me upright. (I flipped in an inner-tube one time when I was younger and that's no fun.)

As I sit here right now writing this, I know that the last 3 years have been preparation time, exactly what for I'm not sure, but preparation for the future, none the less. I know this because the Lord tells me that in His word. I have a future and He knows what it is and if I continue to follow His lead, then I will find it. -- Yep, the God of my Strength, in Him will I trust. And as I continue to move forward, I will rejoice in the blessings of my life.

Be Blessed!!
PrairieMouse--- Mary

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Memories, Thoughts and Revelations

Easter 1964
As I've been pondering Easter, I began to reflect on my thoughts and memories of Easter, going way back to my childhood and then coming forward to what it means to me now. 
Easter 65 or 66

Easter 1970
As a little girl I remember Easter; new dresses, hats, baskets, Easter eggs and candy hunting. However, in spite of all those, my primary memory is that of going to Easter Service at church. That memory is dominated by something we did each and every year of my childhood at that service. It was the "Flowering of the Cross" all the children at church would bring flowers from home to put into a cross made of a wood frame and chicken wire to hold the flowers. After we would put our flowers into the cross we were given a plant, pansies as I recall. I loved getting those plants! And some years we were lucky and would get two of them. I didn't know why we got them but I loved that we got them.

Easter 1970 - This was probably
my favorite Easter Dress ever.
As I got older, and I received Jesus as Lord of my life, Easter took on a whole new meaning. It was the celebration of Jesus rising from the dead. His death on the cross, and coming forth from the tomb that morning meant that I would have eternal life, all because of Him.

It then took on an even deeper meaning to me, as I understood what it meant to allow Jesus to become Lord of my life, not just Savior. The level of thanks for that Sacrifice and miraculous resurrection truly set the course of my life, and I am thankful for it. The emotional highs, and lows of my life have all been made better because of it.

Easter 2015
Over the years there were many Easter Egg Hunts, those I attended and those I did for my children and those I took them to attend, and now those I enjoy doing for my grandchildren. The joy of watching them hunt for eggs and delight as they find them brings a smile to my face and heart.

As I was reflecting on all these things, and pondering the service at church, it took me back to those days of placing the flowers on the cross at St. Marks.  I got it, it suddenly made sense. The flowers we placed were picked, and therefore, technically, they were dead, and on a cross. The plants we were given in their place were alive and growing, and they represented a new life, like the one that we receive when we make that trade of dying to our self and accept the gift that was given to us through the His death on the cross, and subsequent resurrection.

My heart for all those who read this is that they have a blessed Easter and remember that it isn't just about new dresses, hats, baskets, Easter eggs and candy hunting-- It's really about a man on a Cross taking upon Himself all the sins and sicknesses of mankind and offering us a new life.