40 DAYS

We are into the 40 days after Jesus defeated death and left the tomb, on the 3rd day. For the next 40 days, He walked with His apostles: teaching, healing, mentoring, encouraging, loving and adding to His number of followers. Easter Sunday is the day, set by modern man (because it most closely resembles the time in the Bible), to remember that Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins, was beaten, hung by His hands on a wooden cross, placed in the ‘dump’ of Galgotha, for all to see, ridiculed for claiming to be the King of His Kingdom (Heaven), the son of man and the son of God, in one person. He was handed over by His people, the Jewish clerics, and pointed out to the Roman ‘police’ by Judas’ kiss, referred to as ‘the kiss of death’. He was given vinegar to clench His thirst, and speared in the side to prove He was dead.

Some people become angry and hateful toward the Jews and Judas for their ‘traitorism’. If we read the Old Testament, we find that His life and death were prophesied, to the least detail. The difference between prediction and prophesy is that prediction is a guess. Prophesy is truth, comes to pass, is a foretelling of facts to come. For two or three of the details in the prophesy to match one human being would be against all odds, but for every detail to come to life through Jesus Christ is proof, beyond any doubt, that He was/is the Messiah as foretold in the Old Testament. He is the Life Form of the Prophesy.

These 40 days will be completed on either May 29 or May 30. This is the day that He ascended into heaven and left with us the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and protect us until His return. The Book of Acts tells of His activities during those 40 days. May you feel His presence and read His word, the accounts of His life ‘with us’ as told by His followers.

God bless you, one and all. I recommend the Bible, and the reading of the Book of Acts during the month of May. Love, Joy and Peace, I pray for you.

Life’s Priorities:

God is first in my life, finally, my first priority. It has taken a lot of years, many experiences, several mind-bending events to convince me that I am not in control of my life. Every outcome has been the direct result of a decision I’ve made.

I was introduced to God and church in my pre-teen years, taking part in choir and summer camp. But when my brother drowned, my father was so mad at God and the forces that be that he took us out of church. Then, when my parents divorced, I lost hope in life, in general, and went on a self-destruct path which lasted for many years.

Through the child-rearing years, I was so busy planning, scheduling, shopping, schooling, cooking…all the every-day necessities of getting through each day…that I felt and believed that I was the glue that held everybody and every day and every event together and functioning. Then when I divorced, I had the four high schoolers to keep fed, sheltered and nurtured, with no help from my ex, and the focus was definitely on me to keep us all afloat. Me, me, me. I was running five lives ‘all by myself’.

Which brings me to my second priority, my children. Everything stops when they say they are coming to visit. I lost my only son some years back and have ‘my’ beautiful, talented and God-fearing daughters and their children in my life. They are God’s children. He has allowed them to pass through my hands and rearing, but He has them. He has my son, so the term ‘lost’ is a favorite way of speaking to the fact that God has taken one of our loved ones. He is not lost, he is with God. It took about four years for me to get to that point of thinking.

I was mad at God. That statement says two things: 1) I believed their is a God and 2) I felt confident enough to be mad at him. My eldest daughter got me over that ‘mad’ by reminding me that we each have our own path with God, and my son had his. His death was not about me, not a punishment, not a warning. It was the outcome of my son’s journey in this life. I had to picture myself standing apart from the event and seeing it for what it was, God working with my son and taking him home. Just two weeks before the fatal accident, my son asked me if I believed in God and why. He had denied the whole concept of God and faith and prayer, but was opening up and God revealed Himself.

I have had visits from two of my daughters these past two weeks, and have put this blog on the back burner, which is why you have not heard from me. I guarantee this will happen any time one or more of my family members comes to visit. Just so you know.

I thank God for ‘my’ children. I did not do the best as a mother, did not give them the perfect up-bringing by the models on television and in magazines, but whatever I did must have been the type of raising God wanted for them because they are fully and deeply committed to living for Christ. Their decisions to follow Him had nothing to do with my influence on them. I took them to church for a time in their youth, and each decided to be baptized during that time, got away from Him but went back and are seeing their children involved in church and faith and living with God at the core of their lives.

God knows what He is doing. I staggered through my early years without His guidance, but I firmly believe that He was watching and helping and guiding from the background. He had to be involved or I would not have made it this far. I feel He watched and waited, knowing I would be back. I thank God for my life, the good the bad and the ugly. Life’s experiences form us, make us who we are.

The hardest part about following God sounds the easiest. Let go…and let God. To drop the reins, stop trying to run everything, just open our minds to ask the question, “What would you have me do, Lord?” If I am secure in my outlook, I am more capable of being a parent, a loving entity to all around me. The peace and calm this attitude affords is what I have looked for all my life. The loss of stress is so life-affirming! The quiet in my soul is so enriching. I have everything I need. I want for nothing. I am grateful for everything, the simple things; breath, sight, loved ones, food and shelter. If we can not find gratitude for the simple things, we don’t deserve anything else.

My prayer for you is peace in your soul. God first, then loved ones. Everything else are the condiments of life. I thank God that He has given me another day in this realm to live for Him and to enjoy my children, but I am ready to leave this world whenever He sees fit. Death is not the end, it is the beginning. I believe we are in training here. My training has not been completed.

God bless you all.

The Book of Ruth – a study.

In Chapter I, Naomi’s husband decides to take his wife and two sons out of Israel, Bethlehem, Judah, to be precise, across the Jordan into the land of Moab as there was a famine in their homeland. The two sons married Moabite woman, Orpha and Ruth, and within ten years, the husband and two sons had died in that foreign land. Naomi decided to return to her home land, as Moab was not a God-believing land, and she longed for her family. The two daughters-in-law insisted on leaving their homeland and returning with Naomi, but Naomi insisted they stay with their own, as she knew they would be at a disadvantage as ‘foreigners’ in Israel. Orpha stayed with her home, but Ruth said, “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” The two women arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

Several points need to be realized here, and the text is taken from the Quest Study Bible, the New International Version of the Bible.
1) In those time, people were not transient. They stayed within and were recognized by their cultures: their beliefs, their speech, their dress, their people, heritage and blood lines. You were a foreigner anywhere but in your own land.
2) The Moabites did not have a problem with their women marrying the two foreign boys, at least no disapproval was noted in this chapter, but no Moabite, or their sons, to the tenth generation was allowed in the tabernacle (Deut. 23:3). The Moabites, though not Israelites, were considered distant relatives, because they were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew (Gen. 19: 36-37). As a result, the restrictions against marriage to foreigners did not apply to the Moabites. However, Naomi knew that Ruth would be at a terrible disadvantage as a foreigner in Israel. Her finding a husband would be ‘impossible’.
3) Ruth’s leaving her people, who were not believers, for Naomi’s land where God was first, meant she made a life-conversion. She left her mother and father, her culture, her heritage, everything that made her a Moabite; she left her ‘old’ self behind, forever.
4) Her proclamation to Naomi is said to be the strongest statements in the Bible of personal faith in Israel’s God, Yahweh.

This chapter gives us the backgrounds of the main characters in the Book of Ruth.

Has Winter Passed?

I believe it’s safe to say that all freeze threats are gone. Today is a beautifully sunny, breezy, clear and 80+ degree day. The sun is almost exactly due West, which means it is headed northerly for the Summer.
I live in North Florida, between Gainesville and Valdosta as well as between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. My particular piece of the world is located in a quiet town with families that date back many generations, yet major interstates are within a short drive and lead to all points afield.
God is good and generous and loving and forgiving.
The year is well on it’s way. Summer arrives gently. Winter has gone for the next 5-6 months. We will soon be ginding on about the heat. Enjoy. Love. Live.

Thoughts for Each Day…posted next to my sink…

NOTE TO SELF

Start my day with a decision to handle everything that comes along with Grace and Love.

Give: compliments, gifts, encouragement, praise, thanks; all good things.

Arm myself: with God in my THOUGHTS, WORDS AND DEEDS.

Speak: good things as if they already are.

Make certain: satan hears my love of and for God.

Love: Let everyone be encouraged because they heard from me today.

I am the box; get outside the box and help others.

God is blessing me. I must bless others.

Thank you, Lord, for loving me. Help me to love others.

Amen

Two of my favorite and life-changing books…

“I’M OK–YOU’RE OK A Practical guide to Transactional Analysis” by Thomas A Harris, M. D.

I quote from the jacket: [asides are mine] “Transactional [communication] Analysis is a new [1966] breakthrough, one that confronts the individual with the fact that he is responsible for what happens in the future, no matter what has happened in the past. It is both a teaching and learning device. It distinguishes three active elements in each person’s make-up: the Parent, the Adult and the Child (P-A-C). The Parent personifies the “don’ts” and a few “do’s” implanted in one’s earliest years and automatically accepted as gospel. The Child represents spontaneous emotion. Both Parent and Child must be kept in proper relation to the Adult, whose function is that of a reality computer that grinds out decisions based on data derived from experience. The goal of Transactional Analysis is the strengthening and emancipation of the Adult from the archaic recordings in Parent and Child to make possible freedom of choice and the creation of new options.”

I don’t recall how I found this book, but it came at a critical time in my life when I needed to know that I was OK. It helped me see what was going on with people in my life and kept me from making some horrible mistakes. They could be OK or NOT OK and that was OK because that was their responsibility, not mine. Another book, mentioned in this one helped put my psyche on solid ground…

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY, The Psychology of Human Relationships by Eric Berne, M. D. [Copyright 1964]

I quote from the jacket: “People tend to live their lives by consistently playing out certain “games” in their interpersonal relationships. They play these games for a variety of reasons: to avoid confronting reality, to conceal ulterior motives, to rationalize their activities, or to avoid actual participation. These games – if they are not destructive – are are both desirable and necessary, and in the present volume Dr. Berne offers the reader a thorough, fascinating analysis of thirty-six games, which he breaks down into seven major categories:…”

Both books gave me insight into human thought processes and actions, helped me to understand that what I heard was not necessarily what was being said and helped me remove myself from others’ actions even when they tried to place blame on me for their actions. It also helped me take responsibility for my actions and, just as importantly, my reactions to others. Having had no training in ‘social graces’, I was able to increase security within myself as a valid person. I would no longer be crushed by another’s words. He/she was owner of his/her words and, often, my not to responding left their words hanging in the air like dirty laundry. These two books did more to give me identity than all the parenting and schooling combined.

I lost my original copies and discovered them on amazon.com

I highly recommend them. Good reading. Let me hear how you feel after you read them.

Pet Pleasures

Not in order of importance or value, just random thoughts.  Share yours.

1) The smell of puppy breath. (2) Coffee first thing in the morning. (3) Knowing God is right here with me 24/7.

(4) Sight. (5) Your smile. (6) Music. (7) My children, theirs and theirs.  My mitochondrial DNA lives on. (8) a Jim nearby (ladies’ name for the John)…we can say we go to the ‘Jim’ first thing every morning! (9)

Custom, Hand-Made Cards by Monica

My Granddaughter has creativity in her hands and thought processes.
She makes the most beautiful, 3-D cards, each unique. I have several.
I am following her blog so you can go see what she is capable of.
She is mother of three sons, has a job at Michael’s and puts dinner on
the table every night for her husband and children. And I worry about
having time! Check her out. Give her an order. She and I will very
much appreciate you.

Go to monicascraftcorner.blogspot.com

Lacey Dancer, Award-Winning Author

Lacey has over 30 books to her credit, and many awards.  She was very prolific in the 1980’s and 1990’s but had to take the next several years away and swap her writing hat for her care giver hat.  She cared for her in-laws, a dear friend and her own parents, all in-home, each a full-time devotion.  Her husband was her last ward and it took over a year for her to switch gears and don her writing hat, again.  She published her newest book, an enhanced rewrite of an old favorite, this year, “CHOICES’  and made it available on amazon.com.

Between her promo engagements, she is writing two books; one, a novel, the other a how-to book on…what else?  “Care Giving, Real Life Answers’, which she hopes to have published in the next few weeks.

I follow Lacey Dancer’s blog, so you can follow her from here, too.  Then go to amazon.com, type in her name and order her books.  Please return to amazon after you’ve read any of these books and input your honest opinions and recommendations of these reads.

Lacey’s novels are of contemporary women who’s lives take unplanned, sometimes tragic, turns and how these self-sufficient women with soft-hearted sides (which they keep jealously hidden) become more than they were.

Follow Lacey at laceydancerauthor.com