Ankle Monitoring

I heard a radio program a while ago about prisoners and release and ankle monitoring. The comment that struck me was the decision about electronic monitoring is based upon the “readiness to change level” of the prisoner. I have no idea what the criteria is for that, but it struck a chord in me.

This pandemic has changed our lives. I think many aspects have been changed forever. What is YOUR readiness to change level?

There are so many things that we in America CAN live without. Are we ready to release those things? Think about it! If your gateway to peace and freedom was based on what you were ready to let go of, what would you be willing to do differently?

Yes, I miss wandering through a grocery store and hitting the mark down bins for deals. I miss going into a grocery store period. But could I live without that experience? Yes, perhaps not happily, but yes. Not even mentioning other shopping.

Then the hot topics of social distancing and wearing masks. I heard about a woman who threw a sheet over her daughter so she could hug her safely. Yes, I am about ready to do that, especially with those Grandgirls!

April 3, 2020; Blue Ash, OH, USA; Cheryl Norton, of Blue Ash, hugs her daughter, who is an ICU nurse working the front lines during the new coronavirus pandemic, Friday, April 3, 2020. Norton so much wanted to hug her, so she put a covering over her so she could hold her tight, just for a moment. After this hug, Cheryl dropped the covering in the garage. It will lie there for three days before she washes it in hot soapy water. And she, of course, washed her hands. An involved process for a hug. Mandatory Credit: Liz Dufour/The Enquirer via USA TODAY Network

“An involved process for a hug.” Not too hard for me! I get it. Yes, I am thinking I need to wash the sheets I used to cover the plants when killer frost came through and keep them folded on the porch for when I CANNOT stand it any longer and need to hug!! Are you with me?

I miss our church family. When I recently heard one of our Pastors on our church YouTube Sunday broadcast pray, “Dear Gracious and Heavenly Father,” I nearly burst into tears. Just miss our family so much. My husband and I are both older and both have health risk factors. We may very well be the LAST ones to attend church when it reopens. I do know, I will spend eternity with these folks. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV2011)  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Stay calm as we all discover just how very much we need to change!

Hmm – He Has Stilled So Many Storms!

Psalm 107:28-31 (NIV2011)  Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.  He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

I have been taught for many years that the Old Testament is a foreshadowing of the life and impact of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Re-reading Psalm 107 while writing this blog I remembered there is a strong correlation to:

John 6:16-21 (NIV2011)  When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake,  where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.  A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough.  When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened.  But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”  Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

And also to

Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV2011)  Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.  Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.  The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.  The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

I have the icon below from Printery House in Conception, Maryland. I have provided their link if you would like to order one.

I have this framed print in my prayer area and also 3 x 4 inch cards

https://www.printeryhouse.org/ProdPage.asp?prod=A04

From The Printery HoUSE: Theology and Symbolism

“Dark clouds race overhead. Huge waves overtop the gunwales. The boat pitches at a sickening angle. How easily our problems and troubles overtake us like a storm at sea when we forget to let Jesus take charge of our lives!

“The Apostle Peter is depicted in the usual iconographic manner with curly hair and beard. He stands in the boat, pleading with the Lord to awaken and save them. His cloak flares behind him in the wind, suggesting angelic wings, although we know from the Gospels that Peter was much too human to be angelic! The other Apostle huddling in his cloak and looking very frightened is identified for us in barely visible writing as St. John the Evangelist, “the disciple Jesus loved.” He is traditionally shown as a young man in iconography because tradition says he was the last Apostle to die.

“Jesus is dressed in the traditional garb of red tunic and blue cloak. His cloak, called in Greek a “himation” is dark blue signifying the mystery of His divine life. His tunic is red to signify His human blood shed for us all. Christ’s halo, the iconographic symbol for sanctity, is inscribed with a cross and the Greek letters; omicron, omega, nu; spelling “HO ON.” (The “nu” is hidden by the boat.) In English, this becomes “Who Am,” the name used for God in Exodus 3:14: “I Am Who Am.”

“We all have experienced times in our lives when we felt like Peter in this scene, pleading for help and hearing no answer. We all have experienced times when we felt like this portrait of John, overwhelmed by our worries and problems. Pray for awhile with this icon, place yourself in the scene, lay your troubles at the feet of the sleeping Jesus. Then hear His words, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Our Lord Jesus Christ is God, so powerful that even the winds and waves obey Him. Yet He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. Let Him calm your storm.”

I love the comment that Peter was “much too human to be angelic.

Who better in this unprecedented time on earth, Who better to calm your storm, than the Lord Jesus?

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.

The Haven of Rest Today

Grandma Snapp used to listen to the radio broadcast that began in 1934 called “The Haven of Rest.” When she occasionally lived with us in the mid- 1960s I remember listening to it on the radio. Many years later I rediscovered the program after my elementary age school kids were off to school. I ordered many record albums and CDs of the Haven Quartet singing hymns and spiritual songs. Then I lapsed in listening for a couple dozen years. I began listening again last year when I heard a clip of the program. They were doing to fund raiser with Scripture Lullabies recordings offered at a special price. They are still on the air under the title “Haven Today.”

Always seeking ways to change up my connection to the Lord, I began subscribing to their monthly devotional, as I had years before. I was so impressed with the writing that I also sought a subscription for my prison pen pal. Eventually we got that monthly mailing to him. The devotional is called Anchor. The link is just below.

https://haventoday.org/anchor/

As with most devotionals, I am certain the writing is done, accepted and published months before it is sent out. The March 2020 issue is entitled Firm Faith, Real Hope, Lasting Love, written by Ryan Thomas. I tore out the page dated March 17 to post on this blog. That page is entitled How To Wait Well. Before I got it posted the mailman brought a letter from the prison. Larry and I have begun using corrections department email for most of our correspondence. So it was unusual to get a letter from him. He had xeroxed Page 15 to mail to me! Hope: Fearless and Fierce. I no longer had that page in the booklet as my husband, Bob, had torn it out to share with someone after we read it together.

Larry wrote his note on 3/17: “Hello Molly, I hope that you are doing well. I am good. I just wanted to share this daily devotional that really encouraged me. I hope it encourages you, too. I don’t know why the world has embraced fear. It upsets me. Thanks for your friendship. Keep hoping, Larry”

So 1934 to the 1960s to 1980s to 2019 to today. Quite a history for Haven of Rest and me. I will post the page I chose below. Perhaps the page Larry chose tomorrow!

How to Wait Well Acts 1:7-14; Mark 15:24-32 and 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore, my dear brothers {and sisters}, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the word of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Hope waits, above all, for Christ. That does not mean it is idle. Hope incites action. “Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness” (2 Corinthians 3:12. NRSV). Waiting is not hibernating. But if hope is not idle, neither is it anxious or hysterical. Anxiety says to God, “You sure are slow to act.” Hysteria says, “So I will act for you!” Hope, in contrast, says “I know you are not slow to fulfill your promise. Whatever delay I perceive is for my good and for your glory” (see 2 Peter 3:9). When our hope is in Christ, the God of hope gives us peace through the power of His Holy Spirit (see Romans 15:13). Only when Jesus Himself is our hope does it become a blessed wait and not a cursed burden.

So how do we wait well? Well, by waiting! Consider: Christ waited 30 years to formally begin His ministry, and three more to complete it. “But what is more efficacious than Christ when He died? He was most practical when He seemed to do nothing. In patience He reigned and triumphed” (Richard Sibbes, 1637).

With us or apart from us, in us or in spite of us – God will accomplish His purpose, according to His promise, in His time.

Charles Martin, the President/ Speaker for Haven of Rest says of Ryan Thomas, “Ryan has a way of making these truths apply to all of us in our lives today. I think you’ll find his insights and analogies to be helpful as you consider the faith, hope, and love of the Savior.”

I believe the Holy Spirit helped Mr. Thomas write this issue to give us encouragement during this dark month in world history. As the Corona virus pandemic unfolds may the Lord Jesus Christ find us waiting well and choosing hope over fear, faith over panic. He HAS promised

I am with you always

Matthew 28:20

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5b

Charles Martin to Sadhu Sundar Singh

Have you read books by Charles Martin? I do not remember how I stumbled upon them. They are the kind of books that keep you up late reading because you cannot bear to put it down! One librarian told me “You know it is a great book if you find yourself wondering what the characters are doing when you are going about your day!”

So here is another quote that stopped me in my reading. Charles Martin wrote this in Thunder and Rain.

“What’s that?”

I said, “My journal.”

“What do you do in it?”

“Write letters.”

“To who?”

“God.”

He chewed on his lip, looked down, then up at me. “You know him?”

I nodded. “A little.”  

Wowsers. When was the last time you wrote a letter to God? That is basically what my journal is made up of. Yes, there are quotes and occasional ticket stubs, but mostly things I want to discuss with God. I have spent the last couple years moving from pencil or pen and paper to keyboard. At my age, my handwriting has gotten so bad that keyboard is easier to read, too! Then I print out the writing and paste it in a journal.

So do you write letters? Keep a journal?
Have you told God what you think of this corona thing? If your feelings are negative He can handle that. He would much rather hear from you angry and upset than not hear from you at all!

I just finished Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin. Faith is woven into all of his work. I am so grateful to this guy for providing such sound entertainment.

Dear Father, This stuff is really hard. I go from surreal daydreaming to shock to oh well. Watching that side banner on the TV reporting # of cases and # of deaths is stunning. We do not yet know personally anyone who has gotten this virus. When we hear of that diagnosis I am certain the stun will turn into something else. It is almost as if Bob’s near death experience with the flu in 2018 was just a practice run. I believe there is nothing here that surprises You. I know You are not perplexed. Show me/us how to receive Your comfort and assurance as this pandemic spreads to Ohio, Clermont County, Batavia Township. I believe there is nothing too difficult for You. Open our ears to hear Your voice. Soften our hearts to know Your Word is true. Trust: the cross, us, the cross. Amen.

And then these lyrics came to mind: “The cross before me, the world behind me.” So I looked up the lyrics online at Wikipedia. Seemingly the hymn lyrics were written by a Sadhu Sundar Singh! Did you know that? 1889-1929 He was raised in India within a Sikh family and “attended a primary school run by the American Presbyterian Mission where the New Testament was read daily as a ‘textbook.’ Sundar ‘refused to read the Bible at the daily lessons…To some extent the teaching of the Gospel on the love of God attracted me, but I still thought it was false.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_Decided_to_Follow_Jesus gives a more complete story of his conversion and work throughout India. He had a conversion experience in 1903. He took the garb of a wandering holy man, a “Sadhu” convinced he could reach more people with the Gospel dressing clothing acceptable to the people. He died at age 40. His hymn was used widely in Billy Graham crusades. The focus is upon our commitment to Him.

This video does not follow his exact lyrics. They enlarge the lyrics to a time of commitment, for “such a time as this.”

I love the Hebrews 12 passage read at the end of this song!

January 1995

We went on a trip to Cozumel, Mexico for our 25th anniversary. Our favorite restaurant was Palmeras. It was quite peculiar to use the ladies bathroom and find a maid-type person in there. She was passing out 4 squares of toilet paper. Guess they were on to the fact that Americans and tourists in general use up lots of toilet paper! There might have been other reasons, too, like possibly a septic tank?

Regardless, have you found yourself more conscious these days of how much toilet paper you use? There are even bakeries getting into the humor of toilet paper hoarding and shortages.

Isn’t it amazing the things we have taken for granted that are now in our consciousness more than they were 4 weeks ago? Are you able to find some humor in this? Have you started using bar soap as much as possible and conserving your hand sanitizer? Have you researched the homemade hand sanitizer recipes and tried that out? My Daughter and Grandgirl made some great sanitizer. I pray for them every single time I use it.

Neighbors? One keeps sending us smoked meat and soup, cookies and pulled pork. I have promised to send them some deviled eggs. They even tried baking bread. Yeast breads are one of Bob’s favorite things to create.

My debate this morning was whether to write a few blog entries or try my hand at sewing cotton masks first. I will get to that sewing hopefully after writing. You see Monday and Tuesday mornings have been my writing time. The schedule has been broken up badly what with toe surgery, (and then no foot hanging down for weeks), Bob’s knee surgery, and now this chaotic pandemic. But I have also been convicted that this is something I can do to cheer a few during this fearful time.

So if you aren’t busy today, you might want to try those TP cupcakes! Send me a photo if you get them accomplished. Until then, find SOMETHING to smile about. Ann Voskamp wrote in “1,000 Gifts” that if we look for things to be thankful for we will keep finding more. Research has shown that if you WRITE DOWN three things every day that you are grateful for the exercise can change your mental attitude. And no, you may not repeat the same three items day after day.

So count out your squares of toilet paper to conserve it. Tip the maid in the bathroom. Make the most of this time for reflection, drawing closer to God. Who knows? This may all change your life for the good!

Suffering

I learned somewhere that much of our suffering is caused by how we think about things. The more we push against circumstances we do not like, the more we tense up (inside and out) and the more we increase our misery.

What if the degree of my angst was mostly up to me? Once I slipped down a deep tube of darkness, depressed over a situation I had no control over. As I recovered and came out of that situation I realized that much of my suffering was my own doing. I determined to never go to that place again.

We are all frightened and uncertain this week. Death totals are rising exponentially. New cases of Covid-19 are multiplying. None of us are immune and no one knows who around them has the virus. There is nothing easy about this. We have been told to wash our hands, keep our distance from others, stay at home as much as possible. Now what? So now we wait. As we wait we will see where this goes.

Don’t jump to the furthest negative conclusion.

This was my habit for years. I could get to the furthest negative in a flash. Much faster than I could ever run! For the last couple decades I have tried to change that. Sure, I may die. Actually someone pointed out that we all began dying the day we were born. Maybe I won’t even get ill. Assuming I will die in the next few weeks just brings me down and then down even further. So I am adopting a wait and see attitude. But also thinking of how Bob and I would cope.

We have two floors in this house and 3 bathrooms. Yesterday we decided if one of us develops symptoms, yes we had better separate. This morning I realized that we both have a “bathroom bag”that is ready whenever we travel. So those are a few less things we would have to gather. We also each have travel bags with charger cords for our various electronic devices. Even those ideas seem silly at the moment as we sleep together every single night right! We are married for heaven’s sake! I know when we were separated during the flu of 2018 I was almost crushed emotionally. Eventually I was allowed in his hospital room. I have seen him intubated and do not want him to have to go there again!

We are all so accustomed to thinking we are in control of our own lives. But guess what! We never have been. There are some circumstances we have control over and choices we make along the way. There is a huge choice right here, right now for each of us. Will we listen to the health professionals and obey their guidelines? Will we choose NOT to panic and grow more and more fearful?

Yes, the Scriptures say 365 times fear not. One for every day. Sometimes I might need more than one of those a day! They are eternal promises and I will lean hard upon the One who inspired them.

I have no idea what this site lists as their beliefs, but they do have a handy list of fear not verses! Here is the link in case you need to start reviewing those Scriptures!

https://believersportal.com/list-365-fear-not-bible-verses/

Stay well and keep your head up!