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.”

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?

Lucky and Noodle

The winter weather broke and we were going to sleep with the windows open. On that warm evening there many dogs out of doors and they had lots to say. Lucky was uneasy with all those canine voices. She looked out the window with her paws on the sill. Had trouble making sense of it. She laid on the floor next to my side of the bed, under one of the open windows. Seriously restless.

Finally she decided the only safe course of action was to scoot 1/2 way under bed.

Later in the night when I got up she was on her sleeping pillow as the other canines had retired to sleep and were no longer causing a racket.

Lucky has not yet met Noodle, but we have a Great-granddog puppy! Baby Corgi! Congratulations Lizzie and Drew!!

I think my favorite name for her is pinky toes!

When she is awake she has loads of energy. When she is asleep she is out cold. There is a little eye make-up on one eye and a faint black stripe down her back. She is quiet vocal and for now has a tiny bark. With her personality they are going to have their hands full!

I can’t wait for her to get all her shots so Lucky can meet her!

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!

Bob Saw This Verse

We were visiting Cincinnati Art Museum lat week where they have been gently reshaping and replanting a hillside. for the new installation called the “Art Walk.”Cincinnati magazine reports, “Along the way, there are lots of spots to sit and take everything in. The Cincinnati Art Museum took great care to preserve as much of the natural landscape as possible, and the result is a sprawling staircase that seems to rise out of the earth.” 3665 Cincinnati reports: “Due to the steepness of the hillside (at nine stories), the Cincinnati Art Museum was unable to make Art Climb ADA accessible.”

You can imagine with a hillside nine stories high there is much planting to be done to preserve the soil.

Aerial photo early in the project

We were at the top parking lot outside the Art Museum, still seated in our car, when Bob said I should look up. There was a tree moving across our line of vision. We could not see how it was empowered, but there it went. A young tree, but a tree none the less.

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” 24 And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26 Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”

Mark 8:22-26 NRSV

Turns out there was a worker driving a little “bobcat” taking the tree to the location it was to be planted.

From our angle on the hillside it truly looked as if that tree was moving from one place to another unassisted. We both laughed. If I could have spoken to the bobcat driver I would have told him the humorous vision he had created for a moment. You betcha!

Can you see humor today in usual and unusual sights?

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.

Guidance and Direction

It is said that the best way to discern God’s will is through prayer, the Word, confirmation through fellowship with other Christians and circumstantial situations God sends your way. If you want to rely on this method you need to learn the Word. Few of us can quote chapter and verse, but we can learn the principles of Scripture and how to find the verses that correspond.

Years ago I had a book about prayer that listed these Scriptures for guidance and direction. I made it a habit to pray them every morning off and on over a period of years, asking the Father to indeed give me guidance and direction for that day. If you want practice in finding references in your Bible, you can go to Deuteronomy 31:6 and mark in the margin Joshua 3:4, then at Joshua mark the next reference in your margin, etc., etc. The references that just say 25:9 refer to the book listed just before. So 25:9 is Psalms 25:9, etc. PROV is proverbs, ISA is Isaiah, JN is John and REV is Revelation. There are many such lists on line. This list has helped and taught me much. May it do the same for you in your study. If you use an electronic Bible on your phone or computer you will not have the advantage of being able to note the next verse in sequence. Bibles like the Thompson Chain reference give you space to add another reference.

Or you can paste something like this in your Bible cover.

Now, years later these verses still come to mind on occasion and remind me of His faithfulness. I also learned that if we “hide the word in our heart” and mind, that gives the Holy Spirit more to work with when I am asking for guidance or seeking to comfort another.

Tradition says that God was silent while Jesus was in the tomb on Holy Saturday. Rather than expound on the miracle of the resurrection, I thought this might feed your soul now and in the future.

Deut 31:6  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Josh 3:4 NKJV  Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.

Psalms 16:11  You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

25:9  He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

32:8  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

37:23-24  The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;  though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

73:23-24a  Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You will guide me with Your counsel.

121:8  The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

PROV 2:6-8 NKJV  For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;  He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;  He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.

3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

11:3  The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

ISA 30:20-21  Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

45:2-3  I will go before you and level the mountains, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron,  I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

48:17  Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the LORD your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go.

JER 6:16  This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

29:12-14  “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

32:17  Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

JN  16:13  When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

REV 3:8  I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Sword of the Spirit

Daily reading of the Word is one of our best weapons in warfare. The Word is our Sword of the Spirit. Let the Word guide and direct you, mold and teach you. The results are ‘out of this world!’

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.