iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Watch Your Step!


I bet you did this when you were a kid.  I say this, because I still see little ones jumping around.

When I was a kid, I had to go places with my parents whether I wanted to or not. That was good parenting; I wasn’t left home to fend for myself. The most popular place we visited was the local grocery store, at least once a week.

I used to ride on the front end of the cart which had me facing mom as she pushed it through the store. I think she preferred me there as opposed to me pushing the cart and ramming it into the back of her ankle, that awfully sensitive Achilles tendon. When I accidentally did that, mom accidentally taught me swear words.

My attention span was short and so was my ride on the cart. I jumped off and began walking with mom.

The floor in the store was patterned with grey and black squares, but to me they were more than just squares. The grey ones were safe to step on, but the black ones contained kid-eating sharks. I knew this to be true because when my mom stepped on a black square nothing happened to her.

I followed my mom up and down the aisles being careful not to get eaten hopping from one grey square to the next.

This reminds me of the Christian walk. Walking daily in joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – the grey squares; the safest route. Anything that tempts us to sin is found in those black squares placed upon our path.

When Christians walk on the grey squares, it may look odd to non-believers. No worries, the Lord makes straight the path and it becomes more familiar and less awkward.

The next time you go to the grocery store, see if there is a pattern and pick one color to step on. People may look at you strangely, but don’t pay any attention to them. You’re on a mission to learn the Christian walk.

Deuteronomy 5:33 Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Be (Too) Nice


via Daily Prompt: Deplete

I heard it again this week. “You’re too nice.”

When people tell me this, I want to know with what am I being measured? What comparable memory was exhumed by my action and how did it differ for this person?

I was taught to be nice; treat others the way I want to be treated. My mom ALWAYS told me to, “Kill’em with kindness.” I am neither a weak person, nor am I a push over. I can be mean too, and I often regret those times. All-in-all, my aim is to be nice.

Be Nice.

There is a “be nice.” campaign going on in schools created by mental health professionals. This campaign educates children that being nice is a healthier way to live. They empower schools to add this to their curriculum to combat bullies and decrease the rising number of young people committing suicide.

I remember the people who have hurt me. My self image depleted each time hurtful things were done to me or said about me. My first reaction wasn’t always to be nice or to kill’em with kindness because I am human. I have a mind that hits replay and a heart that gets crushed.

I have learned to take the pain of a hurtful situation and ask God for His strength and also to ask Him what I need to learn…from His perspective.

The biggest take away is knowing how horrible I felt by someone not being nice to me. God granted me the ability first to forgive and second to move on. I especially learned not to inflict this same pain on others. He told me, “Be nice”.

My mission for you today, if you so choose:

How can you be nice to others?

Who can you kill with kindness?

Let me be the first to say, “You’re too nice”.

Being kind quote

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

When God’s People Pray


via Daily Prompt: Thwart

The ugliest thing in this world is evil.  Its snarl, when it looks at you, raises the hairs on the back of your neck.  Its smell is more repugnant than a garbage dump full of raw meat on a hot and humid day.   It is colder than the high ridge between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji in the East Antarctic Plateau.

As I drive to work in the morning, I pray for my great nieces and nephews heading to school.  The only fear I had in school was a tornado siren going off in the middle of the day.  There have been so many news reports of school shootings that I have to lift my great nieces and nephews up in prayer each day.  Not only do I pray that they are safe, but I especially pray that anyone who is attempting to shoot up a school will have their plans thwarted.  My mind knows that evil has no bounds so I extend the prayer to my family and friends in their workplaces.

Evil has kicked God out of our schools and public spaces and evil has crept into our deepest interior places, the heart.

So many people scream about gun control.  However, I believe that prayer is the antidote to eradicate evil in the world.  God sees the bigger picture and he sees the evil hearts of his creation.  I humbly ask my followers of this blog, who are all around the world, to pray each morning for the safety of children in school, as well as family and friends in the workplace.  Pray that all evil intent will be thwarted.  I know God answers prayers.  Read this short article from the Washington Post that proves evil can be held at bay.

I think it would be awesome to be one of many who are in continuous prayer for those we love to remain safe throughout the day as well as for those who have evil in their heart that their heart can be changed.  With God, anything is possible.

Evil is the ugliest thing in the world, but God is bigger.  God is so much bigger.  God, please save your people.

1 Thessalonians 5:17  pray without ceasing

 

 

Easter Morning


The stone was rolled away.  The linen wrappings were lying there and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was rolled up and set in a place by itself.  Jesus had risen just as He said He would.

Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb.  As she wept, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels sitting; one at the place where Jesus’ feet would have been and the other at the head.  They asked her why she was weeping.  She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  She turned around and saw Jesus standing there but did not recognize him and she thought it was a gardener.  She asked him if he knew where Jesus’ body was laid because she wanted to take him away.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

“Rabbouni!” Mary exclaimed.

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Mary ran to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!

HE HAS RISEN INDEED!!

Easter Morning


The stone was rolled away.  The linen wrappings were lying there and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head was rolled up and set in a place by itself.  Jesus had risen just as He said He would.

Mary Magdalene stood weeping outside the tomb.  As she wept, she looked into the tomb and saw two angels sitting; one at the place where Jesus’ feet would have been and the other at the head.  They asked her why she was weeping.  She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  She turned around and saw Jesus standing there but did not recognize him and she thought it was a gardener.  She asked him if he knew where Jesus’ body was laid because she wanted to take him away.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

“Rabbouni!” Mary exclaimed.

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Mary ran to tell the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!

HE HAS RISEN INDEED!!

Wrong Way!


via Daily Prompt: Warning

Driving home the other day, I was on a highway overpass waiting for the red light to turn green so I could get onto the entrance ramp toward home.  While waiting, I looked around at my surroundings.  There have been many news reports about people driving the wrong way on the highway causing fatal accidents.  I scratch my head and wonder how this happens as at each off ramp big signs are posted that read, “DO NOT ENTER, WRONG WAY”.

From the news reports, the people who enter the wrong way on the highway are either drunk drivers, or people with dementia who lose comprehension of their surroundings.

But going the wrong way can kill.

I think back to life decisions I have made.  I know I should not have married my ex-husband; red flags were waving all around me.  But I was young and figured things would change in time.  They didn’t change; they got worse.  The sad thing about that marriage is others saw the red flags too before the “I Do”, but nobody pulled me aside to talk about them.  We all let them flap in the breeze.  However, I take full responsibility for my decision to marry, and learned that wrong decisions can kill  who we are and what we believe in.  By the Grace of God, my life got back on track.

At the last supper, Jesus warned the twelve disciples, “One of you will betray me”.  They looked around at one another each murmuring, “Surely it is not I”.   Judas, like the wrong way drivers, may not have comprehended the direction he was headed, but went ahead with full gusto.  His decision killed Jesus.

God created the world and everyone in it to be interwoven.  Our very own decisions to go the wrong way in a situation can affect many more people than we could ever imagine.  But check this out!

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

With this verse in mind, I have been trying to follow some advice that was presented to me one day during my morning devotions.  Before each activity you begin, no matter what it is, ask God to direct your way.  That way, we ensure that we will not go the wrong way.  God knows the repercussions of our actions before we do, so why not ask the one who knows best?

 

Maundy Thursday Service


For the second year in a row, a member of my church read the poem below written by Lucy Nanson, from New Zealand, at the Maundy Thursday service. Following this reading, everyone was invited to form two lines up in the center aisle to have one of two pastors pour water on our hands from a bowl at the front of church while making the sign of the cross on our palms. Next to each bowl were little wash cloths, neatly rolled up in a basket, to dry the hands.

Just like last year, my emotions were heightened and I had tears in my eyes while I listened to the poem and thought about how my hands fit many of the descriptions.

Maundy Thursday: Wash My Hands

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

not my feet

My hands peel potatoes, wipe messes from the floor

change dirty nappies, clean the grease from pots and pans

have pointed in anger and pushed away in tears

in years past they’ve smacked a child and raised a fist

fumbled with nervousness, shaken with fear

I’ve wrung them when waiting for news to come

crushed a letter I’d rather forget

covered my mouth when I’ve been caught out

touched forbidden things, childhood memories do not grow dim

These hands have dug gardens, planted seeds

picked fruit and berries, weeded out and pruned trees

found bleeding from the rose’s thorns

dirt and blood mix together

when washed before a cup of tea

Love expressed by them

asks for your respect

in the hand-shake of warm greeting,

the gentle rubbing of a child’s bump

the caressing of a lover, the softness of a baby’s cheek

sounds of music played by them in tunes upon a flute

they’ve held a frightened teenager,

touched a father in his death

where cold skin tells the end of life has come

but not the end of love,

comforted a mother losing agility and health.

With my hands outstretched before you

I stand humbled and in awe

your gentle washing in water, the softness of the towel

symbolizing a cleansing

the servant-hood of Christ.

Wash my hands on Maundy Thursday

and not my feet.

At the end of the service all lights went out in the church and the final moments of light at dusk was nearly the only light available to aid a handful of church members as they stripped the altar while my Pastor sang Psalm 22. For on this evening, Jesus is going to be betrayed by one of his disciples.

I was listening to a talk show on Moody Radio yesterday called Chris Fabry Live, and a caller mentioned that two people that night actually betrayed Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss and Peter denied knowing Him after His arrest.

This caller made me think about all the times I betrayed Jesus in my life. Judas could have asked for forgiveness and it would have been given. This breaks my heart to know that out of the guilt he felt, he hung himself without any attempt to seek forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, recalled Jesus’s words predicting his betrayal, and he wept, asked for forgiveness, was granted it and used this as a stepping stone to witness for Christ.

Friends, it is not too late for you to ask for forgiveness for denying or betraying Jesus in your lifetime. As the events unfold for Jesus on this Good Friday, His arms will stretch out as wide as they can on the cross. His arms are opened wide for everyone to fit inside His embrace which never lets go.

Psalm 22:7 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver–let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Haiku – The Human Condition


Inefficient me

Father, please forgive my sin

Jesus died for this

1 John 1:9   If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

via Daily Prompt: Inefficient

Death to Life


Daily Word Prompt – SwallowWhich short sentence is harder to swallow than the others?  Read more…

Son Rise


via Daily Prompt: Identical

I especially love the spring and summer months when I wake up before I hear the first “Good Morning!” tweet from a bird.  Ah, the stillness of the morning.  I light my way with the glow from my cell phone as I tip-toe out of the bedroom toward the kitchen to start my cup of coffee.  My three cats follow me into the kitchen for their first meal of the day.  They stretch their yoga poses while waiting for me to fill their bowls, and I think that I should be doing some stretches too.  But I don’t.

My neighborhood is tightly knit with houses right next to each other.  The height and girth of the trees lining the streets shows the age of the neighborhood.  I love where I live, but it does not offer me a good vantage point to see the rising sun, but I can see the magnificent color display of the sky as the day begins.  I grab my coffee and head into the front room which faces east.  I pull open the curtain like you see in movie theaters and I sit in my favorite chair watching the show God is putting on for me.  I cannot decide if the brilliant magenta is my favorite color or if I prefer the pastel pinks and blues that color the sky.  Each day is a surprise and I love them all.  Breathtaking, always breathtaking.   The beautiful display of color is like an orchestra in the sky, the visual crescendo gradually moving before me.  I break the silence of the morning because I cannot hold back my applause.  God is my favorite artist. 

No other sunrise will be identical to the one I just witnessed.  It blows my mind.  The sun comes up every day, yet no two sunrises will ever look the same.  God has a way of making everything he creates unique.  No two snowflakes are the same.  No two sunrises are the same.  No two people are the same, not even identical twins.

I can only imagine the colors in the sky on the first Easter Morning when Jesus stepped out of the tomb.  The women who raced to the tomb did not even recognize Him standing before them.  It is probably because of the beautiful glow about him along with the glow of the new day sun.

Jesus is a new day for believers.  He is the light of the world.  He is my favorite Son Rise.

Proverbs 4:18

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 

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