Here is One to Make You Laugh!

When I walk our street I pass this house. They have dogs and cats. Often this upstairs window is left open for the cats to use the tiny portion of roof to sunbathe.

See the open window with no screen? Well, humans are not the only bored ones. Walking by recently I heard barking coming from a level above the yard. Lo and behold! There was a German Shepherd with it’s head out the window, (opened higher than this photo but not high enough for it to sunbathe).

Our conversation went something like, Me: “What?!? You are not a cat!” Dog: “Well, I am still greeting you!” Me: “Yes, I hear you, but you are still NOT a cat!” Dog: “Well, she let me scan the world from this angle! And I am allowed to speak.”

I laughed and laughed at the silly dog as I continued to rack up steps on my step counter. Silly dog! It is still not a cat!! It did make me laugh out loud, especially when it’s ear flipped going under the screen!

Our Spring

I have been walking more when weather permits and trying to shake off the anxiety of the pandemic. Not ALWAYS successful, but the effort continues.

This magnolia type caught my attention recently. Blue sky, flowers popping and petals covering the ground. In the autumn Bob and I discuss how the maple trees all decked out in the changing colors of red, yellow, orange seem to drop their gowns or dresses. This spring I am noticing the flowering trees especially as they drops their “ruffles” of petals.

Have you noted things lately that remind you that Spring is bursting out, pandemic or no pandemic? God is not taken by surprise, upset and focused on only the negative with this disease. Can you allow yourself a few minutes to turn off the case count and death totals on television and radio. Even a few minutes of gratitude can do much to mitigate the soul crushing fear circling the earth right now.

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

2 Timothy 1:7 HCSB

A spirit of power, love and a sound mind or sound judgement. It has been a struggle for me to hold on to these. And then I am reminded from some quote, I read from someone, that is it not my grip upon God that counts, but His grip on me.

 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV 2011)

Lyrics by Rich Mullins – Video below

Well sometimes my life just don’t make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith seems so small

So hold me Jesus cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

So hold me Jesus cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down I'm falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

I'm singing hold me Jesus cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Prince of Peace, hold us in Your nail-scarred hands, reign in and through us, I pray. Amen.

Trout Lilies!

When the realtor showed us this house in 2006 my husband thought it was out of our price range. It was a speculator’s house that was brand new and had stood empty for a year. I began going to visit the house when Bob was at work. On the back hill I found wild flowers of a sort I had not noticed before. Turns out they are called Trout Lilies because the leaves resemble the scales on a trout.

Well, Bob was going past the house on his way home from work. Neither of us told the other. Just could not get this house out of my brain. Finally I asked if we could have the realtor take us back to see it once more. That is when we both mentioned we had visited more than once since the initial showing! We made an offer and started packing as soon as the deal went through. I have always believed the Lord was saving this house for us.

We had never lived in a brand new house! Over the years Bob has taken the herculean task of digging out and chopping back honeysuckle shrubs and vines. Knowing my love of King Alfred daffodils, he began getting the large bag of bulbs in the fall and planting them all over the hill. Now spring is a burst of color and fragrance and joy. I have added Grape hyacinth bulbs and a few Dutch Hyacinths, too.

This year we had a huge surprise from the Trout Lilies! [Erythronium albidum Lily family (Liliaceae)] Whether it is due to maturation of the plants we already had (they do not bloom the first 6 or 7 years of life), extra rains or mild winter we are delighted to see these!

Thousand upon thousands of flowering trout lilies! Oh my goodness. When we first moved in there were a few.

What a blessing! I have never tried to collect these and take them inside. As soon as it stops raining I will go try just that! To me, there is something soothing and special about flowers inside. The kitchen counter often makes me rejoice when I see a bouquet.

Keep smiling!

You Will Benefit From This!

If you have not heard John Eldredge speak or read his teaching you will be glad to have heard this. I pray for his ministry often and came upon this talk. It lifted my spirit for days and I have listened to it more than that one time. He understands spiritual warfare in a way that not many other preachers bring forth. I pray this ministers to you in many,many ways.

He has posted other talks at Ransomed Heart Ministries on line, on Facebook, and You Tube. Even if you do not agree with all of his theology, I think you can agree that the prayer in this episode is powerful on many levels.

2 COR 4

I know that God could remove this virus, but I am more encouraged that He is not perplexed or surprised by this. He is not overwhelmed. He is able to comfort us come what may.

Yes, we are to take comfort as Paul wrote in  2 Corinthians 4:7-9 “Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.“

I once set the King James version to a melody. It reads “We are troubled on every side but not distressed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Jesus is not perplexed or in despair. Jesus was forsaken, but rose victorious for each of us. The world tried to destroy Him, but He rose again and now has the ability to live within us through the Holy Spirit. We may have feelings of the things mentioned by Paul, especially during this pandemic. We also have responsibility for how long we linger in those dark moods and thoughts.

In 2001 I made the fourth printing of a devotional booklet entitled Let. Here is one selection.

“In John 14:27 NKJV Jesus gives us astounding Good News! He says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Two lets in one powerful verse!

“Some may say that when the peace of God enters our hearts it makes our anxiety and fear to cease, but I think we have much more responsibility than that. If I give my heart over to anxiety I can easily block that balm of peace my Lord offers to me. If I constantly meditate upon my fears, peace eludes me. I am responsible for the state of my heart and the Lord won’t force His gift of peace upon me if I choose less than the best He has to offer.

“We have clear and precise instructions from Jesus that we are not to let certain things occur in our hearts. The very fact that He notes our heart’s condition several times points out the potential for anxiety or peace to rule within us. I find no benefits in ‘beating myself up’ when fear or anxiety is resident in my heart. There is however, great benefit from examining my heart, finding those weakened areas, and giving them over to God. When I find such an area, I discipline myself to RUN into God’s presence and not dwell on the ‘should have, would have, could haves.”

Come, Lord of Peace, teach us how to quiet our hearts and abide with You. Amen. ©2000 Molly Lin Dutina


Anchor Devotional Sent to Me From Larry

by Ryan Thomas

March 15 Hope: Fearless and Fierce Ruth 1

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Hope is not only faith facing forward. It is also love liberated from fear. Fear is the opposite of hope. Whereas hope is expectation of good, fear only expects evil. Obsessing over some ominous “future” that never actually arrives, fear isolates its victims from the goodness of God, both past and present. Although hope looks to the future, it ultimately depends on the past. Through the finished work of Christ, our sinful pasts are redeemed, and our uncertain futures secured. We are their prisoners no longer.

Fear affects many things, especially our ability to love. “Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18). Love requires us to become vulnerable, exposing us to exploitation or hurt. Hope frees us to love generously because it expects good, not evil. Does this mean trouble will never find us? No. Unchained, though not necessarily untroubled, hope stares fiercely into the night, knowing even the smallest ray of hope can pierce the deep darkness of fear and despair.

“There is no opponent we face – whether personal. financial, spiritual or biological – that can keep us from entering into the joy which Christ earned for us.”

Charles K. Telfer, 2014

Remember, this was sent to me by a prison pen pal. We are certain there is Covid-19 in the prisons. God only knows what the death toll will be there. Lots of common areas and shared spaces. God be with them as their “hope faces forward and stares fiercely into the night, knowing even the smallest ray of hope can pierce the deep darkness of fear and despair.” Please include prisons in your prayers.