Blessed are…

The Beatitudes are a well-known portion of scripture. Because it is so well known, it’s a treasure that can be overlooked. Maybe having explanation to this poetic, truth laden passage can enlighten you to more of its meaning and punctuate its value to you personally.

Matthew 5:1-9
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and He began to teach them. He said:

3.”Blessed are the poor in spirit
(humble, realizing our spiritual poverty),
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
(in this state we are teachable and able to receive the good news which qualifies us to have the kingdom of God live inside of us).

4.Blessed are those who mourn
(specifically, this would be referring to mourning over our sin),
for they will be comforted
(how beautiful that we are not chastised when we mourn over our sin, but instead, comforted).

5.Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth
(their serenity helps them to find the maximum of true joy in all conditions of).

6.Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
(who seek after God),
for they will be filled
(what a promise that God himself brings total satisfaction to our spiritual void).

7.Blessed are the merciful
(those who show forgiveness and compassion),
for they will be shown mercy
(how lovely that our Lord gives back to us what He requires of us).

8.Blessed are the pure in heart
(singleness of heart and a desire to please God),
for they will see God again, how glorious is His love for us
(We will one day be in His presence).

9. Blessed are the peacemakers
(those who bring reconciliation through the message of peace),
for they will be called children of God
(for those who know HIM will testify that peace is the hallmark of one who knows God and is His child).

Those who know Jesus have an opportunity to walk with God every step of the way, each day of their lives. Let us fix our eyes on the only One who is our Helper.

Hebrews 12:2…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.002 (2)

Easy Ideas for Your Deck Garden

 

IMG_5400I’m determined to get a jump on my gardens this year. One of the garden places is our deck. It can be viewed from the interior of our house through the kitchen window. Beauty is essential here. My hope for this year is to plant more plants, have more ferns, and more decorations. I desire to have a lush and enchanting garden space for my husband and I to delight in. The key to a deck garden is to make it feel like a room, a place of rest. If you are starting a deck garden this season, I can tell you what I did, and maybe my ideas will help you.

  • Get bright-colored containers since they stand out. A variety of shapes and sizes add creative flare. Spray paint can refresh older pots. Put the containers at different levels on the deck to create interest.
  • Purchase potting soil and fertilizer and annuals. All are inexpensive. Plant as soon as you can. This ensures that you can enjoy flourishing beauty as long as your season lasts.
  • Look for decorations. I found an R initial. It was designed to look old, so it weathers well outside. Other embellishments like dragonflies on springs, and birds dangling on wire hang near the deck space. Decorative, metal garden stakes go in pots. Frog and mushroom figurines poised by plants cheer them to grow.  To contribute to a charming growth space, I have butterfly and bird clamps clipped to sides of pots. Turtles and rabbit figurines sitting quietly around the deck have all contributed to an appealing growth space. A cheerful flag announcing spring is hung from a stake.  And don’t forget, lights can be easily strung from hooks. Most decorations were purchased at Dollar Tree or Tuesday Morning.
  • You can purchase an all-weather rug online which anchors any furniture and gives the deck that room feel. Outdoor pillows also contribute to a feeling of coziness and a place of refuge. These are $5 at Walmart year around.

Whatever time you spend in the beginning setting the stage for your deck is well worth it. You don’t need the perfect space to achieve these results. Our deck needs repair and could use a coat of wood sealer. But, by the time I finish decorating and the plants flourish, the deck will be an uplifting, restful place. Any deficiencies will be forgotten.

I think the same ideas could be implemented on a patio or sunroom. Expense is minimal compared to the results. Never over water,  fertilize regularly, and yes, talk to your plants. And talk to God about your plants, after all, He’s the one that makes all things grow.

Happy deck gardening!

“I need no friends. I have my Bible and my flowers, that’s enough.” Samson in One Foot In Heaven

 

 

 

Easter 2018

Easter was yesterday or should I say that Christians celebrated what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection yesterday. If you are a faithful follower of Jesus, waking up each day is a reminder of God’s resurrection in your life. He has given each Christ follower a plan and it is up to us to intentionally see that plan happens by His help, grace, and power each and every day. When my church sang Christ Arose and the orchestra played Were You There, that was moving and reflective. Then, after the sermon, we joined in great hope singing Because He Lives.  By this time, my heart leaped with joy and gratitude. Thank God for music to interpret our souls song! What more do we Christians need to stay motivated so as to execute the wonderful, individual plan that our Lord has for each of us?

Having been so moved throughout the entire service, it was our joy to walk up in front of a packed church to pray for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. My husband and I held hands as we approached the pulpit and held hands the entire time we prayed as each of us attempted to voice our gratitude to our Savior for missions, Annie Armstrong’s legacy, Buried Treasures Home, and to thank Him for what we were celebrating that day and to whom we were directing our prayer. It was overwhelming, to say the least.

One of the past Buried Treasures Home ladies was featured in a video testimony in the service. And thankfully, another past Buried Treasures Home lady joined us for lunch at the home. To be able to worship with our local body of believers, one that we love and pray for, to see some fruit from our labor at Buried Treasures Home, and to give God the glory, plus rejoicing  in the empty tomb, well, that was Easter 2018 for me.  The link below has the service in its entirety. Please share how Easter was celebrated for you.

https://www.firstbaptistjackson.org/single_sermon/hope-is-alive/

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Weekapaug, RI

Lamb of God

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O Lamb of God, so pure and sinless
Thank you for your love so endless.
No other could have died that day.

O Lamb of God, who paid my way
To heavens glory I’ll go one day;
T
o worship you in peace and love
Sweet Lamb of God, to you I fall.

Oh Lamb of God, perfect offering
Your blood flowed on that day.
But death couldn’t keep you, no.
You rose from the grave.

O Lamb of God, what can I do,
To let you know my love for you?
Live life in fellowship with me,
Do this daily and you’ll be free.

O Lamb of God who took my place
By grace, now I can see your face.
You washed me clean that day, it’s true
And now I choose to live for you.

                                                                                               By Valerie Rumfelt

Why I read Mission Mosaic magazine

Do  you know about the publication called Mission Mosaic? Inside its pages is an abundance of news happening on the mission fields. Mind you, this is the works of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, among Southern Baptists.

When I read this publication, I feel proud to be a Southern Baptist. But much more than that, it thrills my heart to see, through the articles, about what God is doing. The ideas the missionaries come up with to minister in this dark world are amazing.thN4O2F7H4

Just today I read about a new Christian in Africa that’s been meeting with the missionary there. Now, this man is willing to walk two hours each Sunday to teach a small group of believers. WALK TWO HOURS TO CHURCH? Wow, the American church needs to hear the sacrifice new believers are willing to make in other parts of the world for the sake of Jesus. Something surely is wrong with our Sunday mentality here.

Then I read about a chaplain to our military that hosts apologetics panels for soldiers interested in Christianity. Within this system he is focused on sharing the gospel. Each month he gets to see many soldiers receive Christ and get baptised in front of their peers! With soldiers claiming they follow Islam, Wicca, or who are in an environment that is accepting of pornography, this is truly light shining in the darkness.

You may think that this publication is only about missionaries. But it’s not. This is about every day people in our local churches extending the hand of Jesus into their communities. We see regular, Jesus following Christians reporting on assisting widows, adopting children, visiting those in prison, bringing cheer to a police precinct, sewing after surgery pillows, assisting in blind ministries, helping veterans, and on it goes.

This magazine also gives the reader specific prayer requests and lists the missionaries that have birthdays for that month. Ideas are given in sections like Mission Medley and Into the Word that show us real life, practical ways we as individuals or as a mission group can go into our local mission fields. The ideas are divine and realistic. They make you think “I can do that!”.

This is worthwhile information that you won’t hear on the news. These happenings are being done in the name of Jesus. These people do these works because they love Jesus.

If you would like a subscription to this eternally focused magazine, go to http://www.wmustore.com.

 

Heaven on Monday

Have you seen the movie, “I Can Only Imagine”? It’s been out a few days and already exceeded expectations. Christians should attend faith-based films. This weekend the ladies of Buried Treasures Home(https://www.buriedtreasureshome.com/) went to see it.

The volunteer who took them shared the impact the movie had on them. Her observation caused me to do some research over the weekend. My findings on YouTube have likely had a similar impact on me as the movie did on them. So much so, I decided today I’d share some of my research with the ladies.

Do you know about the song Dennis Quaid wrote 25 years ago? I didn’t know Dennis was a musician! One interview indicated he couldn’t finish the song at the time, but since being part of the movie cast, he found the inspiration to complete the song. The title of his song is “On My Way to Heaven.”

Based on my small test audience with the ladies of Buried Treasures Home today, I predict the song has a long future. Watching Dennis Quaid on video sing, his song touched a tender spot in all of us.

It is a song of hope because of Redemption, which only comes through Jesus. I believe it reminded the ladies they are all now “in Christ,” and they, too, are on their way to Heaven.

For a moment, it made the journey here on earth a bit lighter. For a Monday, here on planet earth, it’s the best news.

Enjoy the song here: On My Way To Heaven

 

 

Why a blog?

IMG_4009I’ve waited most of my life to write with any intentionality. Never recognizing the God given gift, I only wrote when inspired and generally, it took the form of poetry. There’s certainly nothing wrong with poetry, but this blog hopefully will be writing, not verse or ballad, but a more articulate style without rhythm. Occasionally, a poem may appear. It’s been a long time coming, the intentionality for writing. Years of timidity, denying the gift, not understanding how to use it prevailed. Thankfully, through a series of circumstances, I feel led to start this blog. Perhaps you will read about some of those twists and turns. It is fun to launch this activity and see where God takes it. A true writer will write even when no one is reading. Therefore, if no one shows up to read, there will still be an expression here that will be enjoyed. I do hope you will let me know that you dropped by. My desire is that something you read here will bless you and bring glory to my audience of One.

Whole Wheat Biscuits

Do you have a biscuit maker in your home? The ones in the picture are made with white flour, but my husband also makes palate pleasing ones using whole wheat flour.

For the most part, our trajectory in terms of eating is a healthy one.  I know white flour biscuits don’t fit into that category, but, life is short, and breakfast is eaten early in the day. The negatives that one white flour biscuit may bring are processed throughout a long, active day. They aren’t eaten every morning.  I’m proud to have a sweet husband who is my biscuit maker.White biscuits alongside some salt and pepper shakers found at an antique store.

Did you grow up eating biscuits? It was one of the few things that my mother could make homemade. Her white gravy was thick, and creamy with just enough pepper tossed in; perfect with her hot biscuits.

This may sound outrageous to some, but most of the time, if I had to choose between bread or dessert, I’d choose bread.  However, I don’t mind saying, dark chocolate has become a favorite.

But, back to bread.

Do you have a bread making machine? We bought one a few years back and we used it.  I’ve heard people say they gained so much weight once they got a bread machine. We always sliced it once cooled, and placed waxed paper between each slice to freeze for later. One slice at a time and no weight issues. It was a delight to enjoy, truly, homemade bread!

Bread gets a bad rap so often. Rarely do you hear such condemnation over apple pie, chocolate cake, or ice cream, but bread…my goodness, it doesn’t get good reviews.

Jesus must have had a high view of bread. After all, He claimed He was the Bread of Life(John chapter 6). Surely bread is one of the many wonderful foods that God gives us to enjoy. Even the healthy plate that the government recommends has whole grain as a requirement. The whole wheat biscuit would certainly qualify. So, I eat my biscuit(white or wheat) a few mornings a week and I enjoy it. Eat them early and remember what John Wayne said,

“Slap some bacon on a biscuit and let’s go! We’re burnin’ daylight!”

Annie Armstrong – Relevant Role Model

Who is Annie Armstrong?Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I don’t know what that meant in this world. What I do know is this. Jesus loved women. All through the Bible text are examples of Him trusting them, using them, and not making a big deal about it. Jesus didn’t need a memo that women were unique and useful. He created them and gave them intrinsic value just like every other human. Equality was never an issue with Jesus. All humans are valuable and worthy at the moment of conception. This fact should be self-evident since every person is created by God!

There once was a woman named Annie Walker Armstrong. This woman loved the Lord, loved serving the Lord and gave every breath she had in faithful service to the Lord. Right now, Southern Baptists are collecting money for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. 100% of these funds go toward spreading the Gospel throughout North America. Let’s hear about the woman this offering was named after so many years ago.

Born in Maryland in 1850, God saw Annie and picked her out for a particular assignment! Annie’s father died soon after her birth, but thankfully, her mother was a devoted Christian. She encouraged her five children to see the needs around them and to act.

Annie became a Christian at the age of 20 and this began her many mission endeavors. Within a decade she was serving as President of the Woman’s Home Mission Society of Maryland. Right after that, she helped plant the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught infant Sunday School for over 3 decades.

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She helped start the national WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) in 1888 and was its first Executive Leader.

You may have heard about Lottie Moon being a letter writer, but Annie was also a letter writer. Her letters brought constant attention to the development of WMU programs and  missions. She once wrote 18,000 letters in one year.

She assisted Lottie Moon with her mission work in China by raising money for foreign missions. Annie also championed home missions and advocated for a Southern Baptist Sunday School ministry. She was a determined denomination builder.

At one point, she founded the Maryland Baptist Mission Room. A room stocked with prayer cards and missionary leaflets at first later expanded to become a publisher and distributor of mission literature.

Immigrants and Native Americans had a friend in Annie as she advocated for them. She was instrumental in the appointment of the first black, female missionaries. This was realized when she was the speaker at the national meeting of the Women’s Auxilary of the National Black Baptist Convention. She went on to teach Bible classes, held mother’s meetings, and prayed with this group.

Nannie Burroughs was Corresponding Secretary of this National Black Baptist Convention and this is what she said of Annie Armstrong,

“To me, Miss Armstrong was a symbol – a marvel at what a woman could do. She fired my soul.”

Annie encouraged other women’s groups to interact as she did with black people in their respective communities.

According to Baptist Press, she started the Ladies’ Bay View Mission for the poor and addicted at the site of today’s Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland. Her legacy lived on in Maryland and we see this fact when The Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame recognized her in 1992. This is what they said about Annie…

“She emerged as a powerful leader when she turned her energies to unite women to the cause of Christian missions – to share Jesus Christ with those who did not know Him and to provide humanitarian services to those in need.”

Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville called Annie,

“a person who looked at her gifts and her opportunities and pushed through any personal inhibitions and contextual prejudices to do what she believed God wanted her to do for His glory and the extension of the Kingdom.”

A few years before her death, WMU recognized her lifetime of work by naming the annual Easter offering for home missions in her honor. Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938.

To say God used Annie Armstrong in several impactful roles in life would be an understatement. Let’s reflect on a few of them.

  • PRAY-ER – Annie was known for her prayer life. Observers said she had a really intense prayer life that gave her real spiritual energy.
  • CHURCH PLANTER–  She helped start the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland which was her local church all her life.
  • NURSERY WORKER- To every anonymous, tired, but faithful preschool church worker/teacher, know Annie walked in your shoes.
  • ADVOCATE– It’s recorded not only did she advance the cause of African-American women, but worked with Native Americans and other people groups, as well.
  • WRITER– Annie  used her handwritten letters to gain support for Southern Baptist missions all over the world. She authored a book entitled, Rescue the Perishing: Selected Correspondence of Annie Armstrong.
  • SPEAKERThat talk at The National Black Baptist Convention brought important change.
  • LEADER – She led the way for missions and denominational work.
  • DREAMERWhen she saw a need, she dreamed about how to meet that need and was gifted in involving others to carry out that dream. This made her a good…
  • DELEGATOR –  She needed people and appreciated others.

Annie Armstrong is an inspiring role model for females. Her convictions led her to act with courage when it wasn’t popular. She loved the Lord and tenaciously went about doing His work from an early age until her death.
Never marrying, she served the Lord with gladness, stayed in one location most of her life, blooming where God planted her. Southern Baptist missions today can be directly attributed to her spiritual tenacity and faithfulness to God’s call on her life.
Annie Armstrong inspires women of every generation to use all of their gifts to advance the Kingdom and to stay faithful to God’s call.
Surely He was pleased and agreed with her grave marker which read, “She hath done what she could. The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

“Would that we could realize that the success of missions and our prayers are linked together.”  Annie Armstong

 


This site has a video about Annie’s life.

more information here

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Billy Graham Remembered

Let’s take a walk back to the 1970’s. It was always a special time when the Billy Graham Crusades would come on television. This happened in the evenings. We’d barely get the supper dishes washed, dried, and put away before our family rushed into the living room to settle in for this event.

We could hear the choir singing from a distance as daddy had already gone to the den getting the TV turned on. I remember sitting in school that day looking forward to that night when the Billy Graham Crusade would come on. It was a guaranteed and pleasant family gathering.

By the time these memories were being made in our home, each member had already invited Jesus to come live in their heart. This was just a celebration of our Christian life, coming through a box, on the only choice back then…a network channel. The sense that others might be watching in their dens too, added to the excitement. As a matter of fact, I felt sorry for people who might not be experiencing this.

There was a faithful gathering of worshippers that Cliff Barrows had assembled to bring the gospel in song. Ethel Waters stirred my heart with, His Eye is on the Sparrow. My soul hung on every croon, as she sold her song to the world. Based on the way she sang that song, she knew Jesus was watching her! These were words of comfort to an anxious heart like mine. I longed to know that Jesus really was watching me.

Sometimes it was Evie Tornquist with her intrinsic cheer singing, Live for Jesus. Most every crusade, George Beverly Shea sang one of his songs. He wrote many. But, I’d Rather Have Jesus is the one that stuck with me. Pondering  the lyrics “sins dread sway” touched my heart deeply as I wondered who in the world was caught in that dreadful place.

Later, when Billy Graham talked to us at invitation time, I understood better who that might be as he extended an invitation to those in bars that were watching the crusade.As time passed in my faith journey, I realized, all of us are caught in that sway.

This past week, the Facebook feed has been covered in Billy Graham video. It’s heart warming and mind boggling what God did through the man. Have you seen interviews of he and his wife, Ruth? That lady was filled with joy, a well spring of support and love for her husband. Yet true to herself, witty, gracious, and fully relying on God. Her impact immeasurable. He adored her.

Our den was home to this televised memory a number of times in my childhood. Throughout my adult life, long after the crusades faded away, my admiration and love for Billy Graham remained. I often wondered what the day would be like in this world when he passed away. It was as dignified as the Lord God planned it.

My first impression the day he went to heaven was how easy it was to identify the reporters that might have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. They talked of Billy Graham as one they embraced. They spoke of his ministry not so much as a mystery, but as a master plan of God’s. As I watched the news, many reporters unwittingly gave the plan of salvation just in speaking about Graham’s life. This defined him and was his life purpose.
Each member of the televised crusades lived faithful lives unto Jesus. Not a known scandal in the ministry. Comrades in the faith, unity binding them all together. No wonder our Lord spoke of unity so much. These were the hallmarks of the success each had collectively, and individually for the Kingdom. Now, each are together again in the Home they spoke of and longed for.
People all over are still looking for what Billy Graham championed. Jesus is alive and if you are one of His followers, you can tell the world about Him.

Recently, at a hotel stay, a maid in the hallway cried out, “Jesus!”. She seemed exhausted and just plain worn out. I gently responded to her by saying, “we love Jesus.” Instantly, her demeanor changed. Perhaps she realized she may have misused that precious and holy name. We gave her a Steps to Peace with God tract and a big tip and encouraged her to find the Jesus she had called to.
There will only be one Billy Graham, but there are millions of Jesus followers. Let’s leave our own legacy of living a faithful, uncompromising life. Let’s be the ones ready to share the gospel with the world.

More Quotes That Changed My Life

“Well, God’s got their attention now.” A few of us were standing in the hallway of the community center, where our church met when I first heard this statement. It came out of a new believer’s mouth about an adverse event in someone’s life. I believe the unstated meaning speaks of the vulnerability some circumstances can reveal in us. More often than not, we are walking through life, unaware of when the storm is coming. So, when it arrives, it can be somewhat unexpected, like a jolt. The weight of it demands a level of humility unfamiliar to us. Stripped of all our defenses in a moment, and on our knees in the next, God has our attention. Our senses are heightened, and our minds fixated on the only One who can bring a remedy, pardon, healing, or solutions to the situation. We will be desperate. We will feel weak. God’s got our attention.

“Yes, Valerie, you have decided to follow Jesus” This I heard from God in my head, very clearly. He spoke this to me one dark, cold night in Kodema, Ukraine. Clark and I, with our mission team, were in a van with a driver who didn’t speak English. The dim light in the truck was no match for the darkness outside, no visible moon, a dark horizon because of limited electricity, and an unknown destination.

Our van bumped along the rough, dirt road.

Soon, our roaming thoughts were silenced. The van stopped. The door opened, and one young, teenage girl entered. We didn’t know why she was there, and her presence provided no answer…at least not yet. By this time, we are cold, and our apprehension is increasing. We made some attempts to communicate but were left wondering about her presence with us.

As we sat rumbling along, wondering what would happen next, our anxiety thickened. Suddenly, surprising us all, our new passenger broke out in song, in English! Her choice was the hymn,  “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

The laughter of relief and smiles and nods of joy filled the van. In a second, we’d become one. An atmosphere of worship took over our angst, and we joined her singing, the entire hymn. I remembered every word to what I believe was five verses. God’s miracle of comfort, indeed.

While we were singing, the Holy Spirit spoke to me so clearly this phrase. It was unforgettable and undeniable. Since that time, in the hard places of ministry, this phrase has reminded me of my commitment to Jesus and given me the spiritual tenacity to keep going.
“Jesus Knows Me This I Love”
It was a number of years ago in the little town of Murphy, N.C that this phrase was discovered. I was in a home decor shop and found this sign leaning against another object on a table. It stopped me in my tracks, and delight filled my soul. The meaning was not lost on me. The twist in words gave appreciation for them.

Immediately, my thoughts reflected on the familiar “Jesus Loves Me This I Know.”

So, what’s the difference? Perhaps taking it from a childhood truth to an adult truth is the difference. The fact that Jesus Loves Me is an awesome thought.

But the fact that HE knows me, and that in response, I love that He knows me, well, that’s powerful! One short, pithy phrase spoke of a close relationship with Jesus, a relationship of no secrets.

He’s seen me at my worst and most vulnerable. He’s pulled me out of the pit. He’s rejoiced at my growth. He’s responded when I needed Him to be big. Every injustice He sees. Every prayer known. He’s had a front row seat to every failure so that He’d be close by when I ran to Him. He’s been present in every moment of cheer. He’s known every joy. He does things all day long that let me know He’s watching ME and sees ME. He hears me thank Him when by His power, I become more like Him. No hope in my heart has ever gone unnoticed. He’s never ignored any request.

He knows me, and I love that!

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4 Quotes That Changed My Life

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Who doesn’t love a good quote? A good quote has at its origin a pithy quality and sums up a truth about the human experience we relate to.

The following quotes likely won’t be famous, but none the less, they’ve impacted my life. All have a memory associated with them.

4 Quotes That Changed My Life:

    Honey, if we knew it all, we couldn’t stand it!” – I remember standing in the living room of one of my mother’s friends when I heard this. It’s like yesterday, my tall mother and her tall friend chatting away, and my little self, paying attention. I was a curious child. They must’ve been talking about something terrible that had occurred because the question that swirled in my head and soon emerged was about why couldn’t God let us know things. This phrase was the answer my mother’s friend said to me. I didn’t understand it then, but her experience walking with God prepared her to answer me this way, and I never forgot it. Her answer’s been indelibly printed in my mind and remains an active concept to me. The phrase points to God’s wisdom in all things and His protection of our emotions.
  • Faith is not a feeling” – At a meeting of Campus Crusade for Christ in college, I first heard this. The speaker introduced this idea, and it is a concept that has pulsated in my mind throughout my life. Truly faith and feelings can rarely coexist. Without faith, the Bible says it is impossible to please God. As women, we let our feelings and emotions make decisions for us. Faith relies fully on God and His wisdom.
  • Go do something normal” – My husband first said this to me and just him saying it brought comfort to me at the time. We’ve all had times when we didn’t feel like our typical self? We could be confused, fearful, uncertain, plagued by doubt. Anytime this happens, it’s good to find the familiar, call a friend, brush your teeth, exercise, listen to a sermon, write some scripture. At times, this angst comes at night, ushering in a sleepless night. Whenever this happens, don’t focus on it. Instead, work around it. Go do something normal.
  • You can’t go with God and stay where you are” – It was at a marriage conference at Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina that I heard Henry Blackaby utter these profound words. There are times when God is calling a follower of His to do something. If we don’t do it, then we’ve decided to stay where we are. When we do this, we miss the joy of the following Him in obedience and you can be sure of this, you will regret your no. Sometimes these calls from God require an address change. Sometimes they require courage to speak, the decision to let go, the tenacity to face the hill and begin, or maybe to change your schedule. Going with God could be obediently staying where we are when the urge to leave is strong. Going with God is staying in step with His spirit. It’s an adventure. It is irrevocable. If you miss it, well, you’ve missed it. Gone forever.

Maybe these quotes will keep you pondering today about your walk with God. We miss so much of what God has for us. These quotes teach me that I don’t have to know everything, God is big enough to carry me through whatever is coming, I can trust Him in faith. There are times I’m going to feel off or uncertain, but the feeling will pass as I press on through the day, and if I go with God, He will be with me. God is speaking, are you listening?

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud and speak to you. The people will hear me speaking with you and will always trust you.” Then Moses told the Lord what the people had said. Exodus 19:9

How Much Stuff?

Stuff is defined as matter, material, articles. We all know this, but we never expected it to have such a hold on us. There comes a time in all our lives when we must deal with our stuff!

Maybe you are moving, or perhaps you need to make room for a family member to come to live in your home. That guest room rarely used can become an office or a craft room. Whatever the scenario, we have to come to terms with our stuff sometimes.

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totes and black bags

I’ve had to do this several times in various circumstances. When I do, I’m reminded how temporary things are. What once meant so much at one time can be sold at a garage sale or even given away or left behind!

Perhaps it is human nature to hold on to things tightly, and because of that tight grip, it is hard to let them go.

2 Peter 3:10

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

2 Corinthians 4:18

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Matthew 6:19

Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.
Perhaps the last verse makes the point best regarding our stuff.

A couple of hours is all it took to flood our basement one day when we were out running errands. We were expecting to open the door and enter as usual but were aghast to step into water instead. Our washer hose had busted, and several inches ushered us instantly into survival mode.

For days, large fans roared, and we spent a large portion of time in our basement. Not only was the living room floor ruined by water, but the basement also. That water had made its mark in our dwelling place and interrupted our daily routine and thoughts. What was not in plastic totes was left to absorb water leaving cardboard boxes and their contents saturated.

Silently the water soaked all kinds of things from furniture to keepsakes.
In the end, the cleanout sessions were marked by surprising ease in decision making. It seems that once items are damaged, it becomes easier to discard.

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What we learned about storage:

  • Put your stuff in plastic totes. Special things can go in heat/moisture protecting ones.
  • Take time to put dates on your pictures. You can purchase photo containers, and if you label the container for a specific time frame, then there’s no need to label each picture.
  • Label your boxes – Use a permanent marker on tape. Later, if the contents change, then you can rip off the tape label and put on a new one without scratching through words and leaving a mess.
  • Mold grows – If items have mold, it is best to part with it. Some things can be wiped down; most can’t; just let it go.
  • Learn to love the black garbage bag – Throwing away is good. Whether you are filling the bag with giveaway items or garbage, do this more often, then the task won’t be so daunting over time.

Right now, we are busy cleaning out again. Thankfully, it is not because of any catastrophe. We are doing it to save some money. Our last move was a downsize that we weren’t prepared for. Consequently, a storage unit became immediately necessary. Recently, we’ve moved everything out of the unit into our carport and are going through these things.

Things to remember:

  • We have to guard our hearts and not allow our stuff to be more important than God Himself and other people.
  • Running our race well as Christians require these cleanouts from time to time.
  • Some of our stuff does matter.

But sometimes when faced with divorce, death, moving, catastrophic events, re-purposing, you learn to let go of stuff.  At the beginning of this new year is an opportunity to look at your stuff. What do you need? What can be thrown out? It takes courage. Ask God to help you on this unique journey.

 

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

How to Have a Happy New Year!

For much of the country, it is cold outside. It seems fitting since it is winter on this continent. In Mississippi, it is one of a few days that should you own one, you could actually wear a winter coat, and perhaps scarf and gloves too. While most here might prefer days where a flannel shirt is adequate, we exist at this moment in the winter feel that begs for more covering and shelter. And what’s this?
A new year is here!
and on a Monday of all things!
My scripture writing this morning out of Isaiah 43 spoke of the idea of a new thing, a plea for me to perceive it,
new ways,
no more ruts,
look hard, yes,
I can see it.
That my friends is hope in the Lord.

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picture by Karen Balko

So, as we sit here at the edge of a fresh year, what are your hopes, to whom are they in? There is a song(see below) that speaks of putting our hope in YOU LORD all the day long. There’s a myriad of Bible verses on the topic as well.
So, as we begin this year, and I do like a slow, gradual start, I’m reminded of a quote I just read from a missions magazine…
“We often mistake the edge of the rut for the horizon.”
Please Lord, help me not make that mistake.
It is God that makes the new way.
So, if you are tired of the same, and tired of your ways, then you’re ready for God to show you a new path.
There’s nothing magic about a new year. God, the Creator of time as we know it now, has shown that He is very much concerned about the daily. But, for some reason, on this planet, we celebrate this passage of time.
Truly, it does call us to re-evaluate and set new goals and hopes. As I’m writing this, a message came on our ministry page from someone saying they plan to pray for Buried Treasures Home in 2018. That person is setting a worthy spiritual goal for the year and is an example of what can be done if Christians put their hope in God all the day long. Happy New Year!

Enjoy, a song for you~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugD0i5Y3cw8

Snow of Wonder

Last Friday, Dec. 8th was a day of surprise and wonder as some Mississippians woke up to snow. Typically, on a rare year, we might get a few snow flurries, a dusting, and maybe an inch or two that would be gone by noon. This is not what happened.

After a forecast of snow the night before, I decided when I woke to head outside to see if the unbelievable had happened. I was outside around the 6 am hour and I knew then it had. Snow was coming down. It was falling on a ground already covered with it! That rarity had occurred in the dark of night and that knowledge carried with it an excitement like receiving a great gift! Feeling the flakes tap my face and blinking in wonder and awe, the snow came pouring out of the sky at a thicker and more rapid pace. As if Someone had turned a bucket of snow over and it was falling into my world, my joy was profound. It was a wonder!

This would be the beginning of a day filled with wonder and great joy. As one who lived in Canada for about a year and Rhode Island for 11 years, I know what snow looks like. This snow was not something ever expected here. Temperatures had been in the high 60’s to low 70’s just a few days prior.

My memories of snow were made elsewhere and that was a fact I accepted after we moved here a few years ago. The surprise of this snowfall and its beauty in this southern state will not be forgotten very soon. I’m not going to cover it in words but in pictures. As you look at them, remember, this is Mississippi.
Snow of Wonder

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The ladies that day at Buried Treasures Home

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Snow of Wonder

My then 86 year old mother. The wonder of it all wasn’t lost on her.