Now what?

Three oldest of five siblings

Like most of us, the siblings above seem to be asking, “Now what?” We usually expect something negative or ornery or at minimum unexpected when family gathers. As we carry this worrisome aspect around we more often than not lose sight of the power of God to change and rearrange things.

When we recently traveled to the beach I was quieted to realize again God is in control, even when I might not sense His control. If only I will accept His love and power over my life, I can come to a place of rest instead of expecting turmoil.

And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?

Matthew 8:27 ASV

The Waves 22-5-6 © Molly Lin Dutina
I stand on the firm soil
The waves roll in
I waver and change
The waves roll in
Regardless my state
The waves roll in
Whether I’m on the beach or landlocked
The waves roll in
Thunderous love of God
Roll over me
Like relentless ocean waves
Wash me continuously
Aware or oblivious
Keep me in Your power
Just as
The waves roll in.

Sayings

How many of these have you heard, do you remember, have you actually said? You can add to the list in the comment line, but please, only clean ones.

Maybe it is my age, but these have been coming to my mind and I realize some of them I have not heard in a coons age. How long is a coons age anyway?

Time will tell

You never know

Might oughta

Pert near took our heads off

You knowitso

Whatareyagunnado? As only a New York waiter can run it together.

Crimeinitly – was it a mafia reference or what?

Going to hell in a hand basket

One of the worst sayings: “Shame on you!”

Humor All Around Me

In February the gas station built a fortress. There were 60 bags in a block. The piles of blocks numbered at least 12. They were getting a start for mulch sales.

There were snow piles in the shade. Ice on the ponds. One pond had a black swan alone while there was a pack of 6 white swans clustered together.

We drove through the unremarkable city of Plain.

Driving down the road we passed a hearse on a tow truck. “Hmm,” I mused and asked Bob, “Does that make it twice dead?” Then I remembered the first verse below. The second verse is glorious!

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV

The sign read, “Right on red arrow after stop.” I was bewildered as the lane only went left.

A man pushing his cart down the lane in Home Depot. I was waiting for new bedroom blinds to be cut. His phone announced, “Continue east on 125.” I cracked up! Either he had already arrived or was very, very lost.

In early March we were driving and I saw parched, dead, brown gray stubble in fields and yards. It was not a corn field waiting to be plowed under. Perhaps grass in a dormant stage?

Then suddenly in April there was green, green grass splashed with neon yellow dandelions and if someone had splattered neon paint. Bees are so grateful as are other pollinators! Please don’t kill all the dandelions!

Well, perhaps not the all important pollen source they were reported to be? https://www.gardenmyths.com/dandelions-important-bees/ says the following …

“I spoke to one of the researchers at the Honey Bee Research Center, University of Guelph and asked him about the bees first food.

“Around here, zone 5, Ontario, “their first important food source is tree pollen. Long before flowers become important, honey bees are in the top of trees collecting pollen. Maples, elms, poplars and willows are important as a first food” and they flower before dandelions.

“They gather dandelion pollen when other pollen is not available.”

Some trees are wind pollinated and produce a lot of pollen. They also have a very concentrated source which means bees don’t have to fly long distances between flowers to get it.”

State of the Heart

From First 15: “Our heavenly Father is the giver of every good gift. His mercies are vast, powerful, and real. His love has the ability to completely overwhelm and satisfy every one of our needs. Everything he gives us satisfies, transforms, and leads us to abundant life. As we spend this week stirring up our affections toward God, allow your heart to become soft and open. Allow his loving character to draw you close and provide life to every dry and weary place in your soul.” Here is the online link https://www.first15.org/04/25/god-gives-peace/ You can also subscribe to the podcast.

Have you seen stones that seem to be in the shape of a heart? In almost any place with loose stones you can occasionally find a stone in the shape of a heart. Could it be a message for you? God wants us to have a heart that is open to His touch. He knows the thoughts of our hearts. He knows what lives in our heart. He is able to change, cleanse and help our hearts.

In the Old Testament He wrote

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

Have you examined your heart to see if you are open to His touch? Open not just when it is convenient or feels good, but open to His every instruction as each day unfolds.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

Hebrews 10:16 NIV

He will put His laws in our hearts. He will write upon our minds. As a senior citizen I believe this is terrific! Yes, we do tend to forget things, but the Father is not going to let aging prevent us knowing what He desires. Perhaps one of the greatest promises of all is found in Jeremiah.

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

Have you sought God with all your heart? Is your heart soft towards Him? Can you imagine how soft the heart of Jesus must have been to yield to the sacrifice that the Father required on our behalf? I return again and again to the song by Andrew Peterson. If you watch the video the veins in the living heart remind me of the veins in the rock heart above.

Next time you see a stone in the shape of a heart ask the Lord if that is a message to you about your heart. It very well could be He is trying to get your attention!

Humility?

The Bible has things to say about humility and the world has many misconceptions of that character trait. Our youngest pastor was speaking about this last week. He was talking about how his young sons try to outdo one another being Dad’s favorite. He was contrasting the kids behavior to the Lord asking us to value others as better than ourselves.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

Philippians 2:3 NIV

The Lord taught about humility and He modeled humility for us in His life and in His death.

Jesus said, “But if you are as humble as this child, you are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 18:4 CEV

Jesus also said, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Matthew 23:12 NRSV

He (Jesus) humbled himself

    and became obedient to the point of death—

    even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:8 NRSV

Willie Nelson sings this song written by Mac Davis that shows how the world sees humility. Such a far cry from the Word, but humorous none the less.

How do you view humility? According to the Word or Mac Davis and the world?

Lean Hard into Him

Have you had days when the same old same old seems to crush your spirit? Or days when you want to declare “Some old “S***, different day!” Each of us gets caught in the seemingly mundane go-round that I would not call merry. How to get away from that?

One cry of my heart goes out in this song we learned years ago at the Vineyard. I pray it helps lift you, too.

The eternal God is your refuge,

    and underneath are the everlasting arms.

He will drive out your enemies before you,

    saying, ‘Destroy them!’

Deuteronomy 33:27

Are You Full Yet?

Did you get a Chocolate rabbit? What part did you eat first?

Years ago when I saw this in a hospital gift shop I purchased it immediately. Fondly remember my mother teaching us about “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.” Now bunnies demonstrating their limited abilities after someone ate the ears, ate the eyes, ate the mouth. Ha!

Has your Lenten discipline brought you to a new place in your walk with Jesus? Or like so many New Year resolutions have you already forgotten what you were aiming for in what you ‘gave up’ for the 40 days of Lent?

I hope and pray that the Easter Season brings you into a closer and richer fellowship with the One Who died for each of us. He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!

Childhood memories

How many playground rhymes do you remember? Some of these popped into my brain this week. If I am ever in a nursing home wing for Alzheimer’s I hope these songs and rhymes help restore me to some form of sanity. (Here Bob might chuckle “Sanity is too much to hope for even today!” Ever the tease. He is oldest of five kids. I’ve learned how to give it back!)

My Dad worked for the N & W railroad. Mom wasn’t the only one who sang in the car! Daddy taught us this one.

I left my wife
Alone in the kitchen
With 28 children
And nothing but gingerbread left
Left, left, right, left

Oh it ain't gonna rain no more no more
Ain't gonna rain no more
How in the heck can I wash my neck
if it ain't gonna rain no more?

I woke up in the morning 
the bread was hard and stale
the coffee tasted like tobacco juice
from the US county jail, OH ( with gusto!)

So what poems or verses are in your memory bank?

A my name is Alice
and my husband's name is Al
we live in Alabama where we grow apples

How far in the alphabet did you get? Do you remember? Was this for jump rope or bouncing a ball against the wall and passing it under your knee when you hit the A words? Ah! memory lane can be fun sometimes.

Stand Look Ask

Thus says the Lord:

Stand at the crossroads, and look,

    and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way lies; and walk in it,

    and find rest for your souls.

But they said, “We will not walk in it.”

Jeremiah 6:16 NRSV

I have been familiar with this passage for many years. When I had the recent pain flare it was brought back to my mind. As I seek ways to cope I keep remembering this passage. Stand. Look. Ask. Walk. Find rest.

Seems simple enough. I do not want to be part of the folks who said, “We will not walk in it.” Just like my life verse Isaiah 30:15

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:

In returning and rest you shall be saved;

    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

But you refused

Isaiah 30:15

I do not want to refuse in things the Lord asks of me. So yes, I will seek medical advice, but I will also look to the Lord for guidance and instruction on how to cope with this part of aging. When Bob worked in the hospital as a Medical Technologist part of his job was to go on the floor and draw blood specimens early each morning. He often had to wake the patients to do that. He asked a man one morning how he was doing. The gentleman replied, “Well, I woke up on the right side of the grass!” We have taken that as one of our bywords when aging and illness throws us for a loop. The alternative would be to not finish out the stories going on in our lives and the lives of those we love. So even when we are miserable, we are grateful to keep on living.

Next time you are stymied in your life perhaps Jeremiah could guide you, too. Can’t hurt to try that as your prayer guide when frustrated. Ask God. He will show you the ancient way, where the good path lies. Please, do not join the ranks of those who said “We will not walk in it” or outright refuse His help.

His Grip

It’s not my grip on him that matters but his grip on me. And his grip is sure. So is his presence in my life. God is always near us. Always for us. Always in us. We may forget him, but God will never forget us. We’re forever on his mind and in his plans. He called himself “‘Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’).” Matthew 1:23 NRSV

Oswald Chambers

My hands are getting weaker the older I become. God is not worried. He has me in His grasp.

Even when I was a very young Christian and did not understand much of His Word, He had His grip on me. Now that I am aging, I am still within His grip.

I love that quote that my grip on Him does not matter – but His grip on me.

He is able to keep all that the Father has given Him.

Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.  For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.  This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:35-40 CSB

But I am not ashamed, for I know the One in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to Him

2 Timothy 1:12-12 NRSV

I can commit my life and my all to Him. He is able to keep me until the Day of His glorious coming again.