simplyliving

Simply living the simple life with God, Grace and Giggles

Think a thought ? Don’t believe everything you think.

Thoughts come and go.  My husband once preached a sermon were he pointed out that we rarely, if ever say, “I think I’ll think a thought.” That has stuck with me but hasn’t always stopped thoughts from gathering unhealthily in my brain. Thoughts just arrive. Sometimes welcome and sometimes not so much. It’s not the thought itself that we should be concerned about, it is what we do with the thought that helps determine our spiritual health.  Think about it..(see what I did there?).. our minds are continually assaulted with images, noise, and yes, thoughts. Even at night dreams or nightmares invade our minds.  Our brains are constantly processing. Negative thoughts, happy thoughts, guilt, celebration. The Holy Spirit directs us to good things and satan coerce us the wrong way.  It all started because I felt disrespected. And, the more I thought about the situation the more disrespected I felt. I wasn’t able to discuss this perceived disrespect with the offending person, so I just kept thinking…they’re disrepecting me.  I was quickly working my way into victim status, and soon, on top of feeling disrespected, I was despondent:

  • No one liked me.
  • No one was calling to check on me.
  • No one cared.
  • No one read my stuff.
  • No one …

What started off as an uninvited thought was now like an aggressive parasite twisting  into my mind and spirit. The downward spiral continued. That was the beginning of my brain’s spiritual clog.

I cried to God, ‘why doesn’t anyone reach out? Why doesn’t anyone know my pain? Where are you? Why do people hate me? I am worn out from trying to be good, and nice, and pleasant and kind. I am tired of being rejected and really kind of frustrated with the way people treat me. Why are they so thoughtless? Why are they so reckless with my feelings? Why aren’t they reading my stuff? Why won’t they let me do their photos? Why can’t they see me? Do they even try?’  Maybe it was the deluge of question, but probably more it was my clogged ears via the brain stuff up, but if He did answer, I didn’t hear Him.

I shared my woes with only my husband and best friend. He was very reassuring that while these thoughts were real, the were also completely untrue. He encouraged me to just look around and see how God had blessed me with friends and family who genuinely love and care about me. But, when I did look, I saw only the lack of love. They certainly didn’t tell of the love. Or, if they did, my clogged ears didn’t hear.

  I needed to take all my thoughts captive. Like losers of a war.

As the spiritual clog in my mind grew, stuffing up my ears and any passage to my heart, there was a disconnect between God and I. While I still prayed and read the word. I journeled and as usual, he was a part of every day conversation, but it was if there was a haze between my spirit and the Holy Spirit. Something needed to happen. I needed a good dose of thought Draino.

I’m pretty sure that since all attempts from Satan to stop Christianity have failed, although he has given it a good run, he certainly isn’t going to stop now. He started in heaven when he challenged our Creator, tried to end things in the Garden, he attempted to stop our reconciliation with God when Jesus was being born, by slaughtering all the male babies. He stalked Jesus his whole life trying to tempt him, persuade him, make him a nonentity. He thought, probably, that he had won a great victory when he coerced Jesus’ crucifixion. (We know it was all a part of our great God’s plan, but did Satan know that? Or did he just want Jesus dead?) . Of course, when Jesus awoke from death and took his place in heaven, I reckon Satan was very angry. And, how best to attack a family? Get to the kids.

Satan is not some long gone mythical creature, as some suppose. In the book of Ephesians we are reminded that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces in the air.

LINDA’S LIGHT BULB MOMENT ! Huh. Maybe, the people doing those mean things weren’t really doing them? Maybe that spiritual clog had clouded my reasoning ? Maybe that clog in my mind, all those thoughts, all the despair, the talking myself into a victim status, was satan knitting together a big old ball of lies and accusations to bring a hurricane of chaos.

God is not the author of chaos, so that leaves one guy. That guy. He’s a real pain. Not only does he hate God and His kids, He does his best to make sure no one will give their lives to God. He doesn’t play fair and doesn’t care who he takes captive.

Once I realized my clogged mind was stopping the flow of love and life to my spirit and I understood who was responsible for causing that clog, a plan of action was needed.

 

Spiritual battles are won and lost on our knees and in our spirits.  Of course our Father has equipped us for everything we need to live for Him here on earth. It is no surprise to him what we will encounter and the battles we will face.

Remember because of His great love for  us, He sent His only Son to be the final sacrifice that would put us back in a right relationship with him. And, when Jesus was here on earth, He left after defeating death, and sent a comforter – the Holy Spirit so we would not be alone. Then, God directed the writing of the Bible so we would have a way to understand this new life we have after we give our lives to him. His intimate knowledge of us ensures we are not alone. He will never leave us. But we have a part in the deal, too.  After giving our lives to him, we are new creations in Christ. Now, we need to keep our hearts, mind and eyes constantly tuned to Him.

Here’s a how to:

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My two Prayer ‘secrets’

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It is super helpful when your husband has written a course on the foundations of Christian life. Then, when God leads me into those kinds of faith conversations, I have helpful resources! Firm Foundations is my secret number 1.

Then there’s this. When God  convicts me of something – usually during prayer time – I like to act on it as soon as possible. I feel like if I don’t,  I’m starting a pretty good foundation for a fence between He and me. Last week I was reminded of a time, four years previous, where I had harshly scolded three of my grandkids. We were on the homestead trying to corral some goat and sheep escapees. We had been at it for what seemed like hours, and we knew that the animals may had already eaten from the formal gardens, (many of the plants poisonous to them), we were tired, pretty clueless, frustrated and worried. I yelled at the boys. It wasn’t right. God convicted me four years later,  so I texted an apology to each kiddo. One of them just responded with his love and sent me about 25 heart emojis. The other two assured me it was fine and then asked me if I was ok. (I reckon it seemed like I’d gone off the deep end), but I explained to them why I texted them and then they understood. But, one pursued the questioning. He asked me, “How can I do that?”

So, we got on a texting exchange about prayer. (Blessed!) Just so happens this grand and I  recently had texted about baptism. This is where Lance’s Firm Foundations (the course) comes in handy. As a mature Christian I know how I pray but trying to convey that to others, besides just saying, “it’s just talking to God,” is hard for me. The problem is I use church language. The Firm Foundations course explains it (and I remember learning to pray this way, too),  using the acronym A.C.T.S. ( adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication). So, I cut and paste that section for him, (explaining each word because I didn’t fully understand what they all meant when I learned), and he wrote back, “this is powerful. I am going to use this for me and my family.”  That does this Believer’s (and Nana’s) heart so good.

Further conversation led to my prayer secret number 2. Although I have been talking with God for quite a while now, I still struggle with a certain part of our relationship. In Psalm 46 it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The hardest part of praying ACTS for me, is not the praise or intercession or asking forgiveness. It’s not even confessing my sins (they’re pretty obvious), the  hardest part for me is to be STILL. It is  a vital part of prayer though, because in the stillness comes the listening, and in the listening comes the knowing. And, in the knowing comes a closer walk with God.

It’s pretty fantastic that God still uses me in the lives of my Grands even though I am – literally – continents away. He knows exactly what I need.

Blessings to you as you journey with Him.

 

 

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Our path. “I’ll go ahead of you; clearing and paving the road.” God. (Isaiah 45:2 The Message)

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It’s been a stress filled year. With Lance’s job being made redundant, me working at Home Depot and us not knowing what God has in store, we have made decisions based on feelings and not necessarily on facts. Because of this uncertainty I didn’t put my garden in: a decision I now regret. I did decide to get the replacement shoulder surgery because our insurance was about to be over and I needed to do it or have a more complex surgery later. (On that note, God provided in an amazing way. My $4,000 deductible was miraculously met by an online writer friend.) Now I spend my time in intense recovery. So the Man is doing all farm chores himself. Not easy. Not fair. Stressful while he works a full time job. What we hold to is that while we can’t see it clearly, God’s plan is still in effect for our lives.

‘God is striding ahead of you. He is right there with you. He won’t let you down. He won’t leave you. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED. DON’T WORRY.’ Deuteronomy 31:8 . (easier read then lived) The Message. So, God has laid out the path before us, we will follow it, but first, we have to step out  on to it – and of course before that can happen, we have to be clear of the other tempting easier, wider paths.

There’s a chance we might end up back in Australia. There’s a chance he will get an offer for a job back at Microsoft (which is what he wants), there’s  a chance we will buy a ten acre property complete with greenhouses and mature fruit trees and out buildings and a teeny tiny house. Chances rain all around us. Different paths with different end results. It’s confusing, stressful and can be a bit life stalling.

 

So we do what we know. What we know is that we need to sell this house. The property layout doesn’t meet our needs and the nightly climb to the master bedroom is something we both could do without . So, while we wait on God to show us THE path, we do what we can. We prepare the house for sale, less clutter, clean up the pastures, sell the animals. We get dirty, we clean up.   And we look and wait for His direction.

Some people might think it’s a silly way to live. ‘Just pick the life you want and live it’, they think. But, for us, as His children. we’d rather wait on Him and live the LIFE HE WANTS. Living in the center of His will is much better than living geographically where I want, although there’s no reason they both won’t be the same.

We are practicing faith walking where His faithful walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7.

In the meantime we work. Well, the Man works and I do what I can to assist. To borrow the words of the famous poet: “I took the road less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” Robert Frost.

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WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY

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Waking Sleeping Beauty

Linda Mae Baldwin

 

Asleep for 100 years because of a spell cast by a wicked jealous fairy, and awakened by the somewhat sacrificial (she had been asleep for a hundred years, no telling what her hygiene was), kiss of a handsome Prince, Sleeping Beauty is a tale that has touched hearts and invaded young girl’s dreams for years.

Although we do not know Sleeping Beauty’s state of slumber, did she dream? She was alive, heart beating, lungs breathing, just sleeping.

Before we are born again into Christ’s kingdom, we are in a sort of state of slumber. Our body doesn’t sleep, our spirit does. We are born separated from God. Blame it on our first ancestors in the garden, falling for the serpent’s great lie. (Genesis 3:4-6 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they realized they were naked)

Today, there seems to an even more pervasive spell of sorts permeating our society as God and Jesus are taken out of public venues. Not only is it difficult to approach people about Jesus because they don’t know him, it’s just as difficult to talk to those who have a form of religiosity and hold to myths, and legends, and aren’t willing to break with tradition to embrace the one true King – Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15 3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.)

Sleeping Beauty snoozed for one hundred years and it could not just be any ordinary Prince to break the spell over the kingdom. No, this prince had to be, “a man of pure heart who must fall in love with her,” who would bring her back to life, (Or awaken her.) So it is with Jesus.

Before our spirit wakes with the kiss of the Holy Spirit, we walk through a sort of half-life controlled by our own desires. We give no thought to God or Jesus until an event takes place, and our spirit is touched by the Holy Spirit. We see clearly, what we’ve been missing. We understand that the only way back to a right relationship with God is to accept the gift of the sacrifice of his perfect son, who paid for what we owed….death. He didn’t wait for us to get perfect to be in a right relationship with him, He sent his one and only Son to take on the whole sin of the world, for us. (Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)

It was a weird experience when my spirit woke. My husband and I had been in ministry for a few years. I was leader extraordinaire. I memorized scripture and prayed quite righteously. Then, we had an old-fashioned tent revival with a charismatic evangelist who spoke about the second coming, when Jesus would return for His church, and how those left behind would suffer a bitter life. I was scared. I talked to my husband about how uneasy I had been through the sermons. It was a chaos of fear, tears, sadness and hope inside me. The last night he told a story about a preacher’s wife who was very involved in ministry. One night they had watched a movie about the rapture, and the preacher had turned to her and said, “Isn’t that great? I can’t wait for that day.” However, his wife could only say she was scared. It was then they knew she had never given her heart to Jesus. She had said all the right words and done good things but the Holy Spirit had never kissed her spirit. That night she did. That preacher was he and the wife was his own. It was also my story. I had not fully given my heart to Him and that night, when I did, it was as if I woke up. I felt like a new person. Sure it was difficult to stand before the church and say, “hey, I’ve been fooling you these past couple of years, but don’t worry, I’ve been fooling myself too.”

The Bible says we are joint heirs with Christ so that means we are now, princesses. Awesome! Awesome the princess must have said when she awoke to see her prince. And, so too, it can be for you.

 

Linda Mae Baldwin

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God’s Doing Something Brand-new! Forget it. Be Alert. Be Present.

“God says…Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.” Isaiah 43 the Message

This is the first bible reading for 2016 for me and how wonderful it is! I’m so ready to embrace every piece of it!

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Forget about what’s happened. Forget what? What’s happened!

Don’t keep going over old history. Forget about childhood things that still might haunt you. Forget about hurt inflicted on you throughout your life.  Forget about the times you’ve failed at it…failed at work, failed at discipline, f]failed at relationships, failed at FILL IN THE BLANK. Forget about when you thought God said go here and you did and things didn’t work out, or you didn’t go and now you live in regret. Leave history where it belongs, in the past!

Be Alert! Be praying, be listening, be watching, be waiting. What is God doing around you? What is God doing IN you? Be Alert to situations, be alert to people. Where can you help? How can you pray? What can you do? Pray and listen. Be Alert.

Be Present! Be THERE. Be HERE. In your conversations be THERE. In your prayers, be THERE. Don’t be distracted by the world, or your worries. What is God doing NOW? What is God saying to YOU? How can you help your child? Husband? Wife? Friend? Grandchild? When you’re there – be THERE. Engage in conversation. Listen, ask, talk. Everything doesn’t have to be a chore or a lecture. Laugh. But to laugh you have to be present. You have to have been listening. You have to look at people, hear people, and love people. Be Present, wherever He puts you, be THERE.

Why? Why forget? Why let history go. Why be Alert? Why be Present? Because He is about to do a BRAND-NEW thing. I can’t even imagine what that would be. But I’m excited to see it. I’m excited to live it. He is God. I am me,  believer saved only by His incredible grace. What is it He is going to do in me, around me, through me?

What BRAND-NEW thing is He going to do in YOU, around YOU, through YOU? Are you ready?

Where we once wandered in the deserts of our souls, He will provide roads. Where we once thirsted and suffered dry arid circumstance, He will make rivers. I’m ready to walk, ready to swim, ready to drink. How about you?

2016: Forget. Let history go. Be Alert. Be Present. Be ready to hike on new roads and explore new waterways.  Be His. And, He is already making the way for you and me.

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Blessings on you this new year full of fresh and incredible possibilities.

xo Linda Mae

 

 

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ID Please…..

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Be Who You Is – If You Ain’t Who You Is – You Is Who You Ain’t. Or, Be yourself; everyone else is taken. There’s lots of cute ways to say it, but the message is…be yourself…the challenging part is to figure out who that is. Even at age 53 ¾ I drift on the uncertain sea of identity. How is that possible?

It’s a fact that I am a mother, a Nana, wife, relation of some sort to people and a friend. I’ve been all those things for a long time. But it’s the inner me that wafts along and can’t seem to tie down. And I can get in trouble, because I start being who I think others think I aughta be. But, really, I just need to be who Jesus made me to be and things would be better. It’s hearing His voice over all the others that gives me pause and then, makes me lose my footing.

When we moved to Australia I had an identity crisis because, well, we moved to Australia. Suddenly nothing was familiar and my somewhat disjointed personality took a beating. Then, we found an amazing group of friends in our church and I clicked with the women. My identity was back.

Now that we’re back home, it’s clear that I am a mom and a Nana, I am a writer, and a friend. I’m a relation of some sort to some people. But, settling in has been more challenging than I thought it would. Finding a new church has been difficult. (Why do I always compare the new church with previous churches anyways? I know that’s not the way to go). And, then I start down the walk of being who I think people think I should be or am, and the mess starts all over again. It’s only time in the WORD and prayer that brings me back to my true identity. Eventually my chaotic soul is at peace.

Here’s what I was reminded of – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done! (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

I am only here (On earth) temporarily, so all the stuff that makes me crazy, sad, depressed, anxious, those things won’t be in my real home. My real home is with Jesus. He’s blessed beyond anything I could ask or imagine here and I am thankful. Philippians 3:20, 1 Peter 2:11-12, John 17:14, John 15:19.
I can be sure that God works for my good in every single circumstance in my life. (Every means all, not just the easy or good circumstances). Romans 8:28

I am a creation of HIM. God himself made me unique. He gifted me as He saw fit and I can be sure He will complete His good work in me. In the Psalm 139 it says He himself knit be together. If you’re a knitter you know your hands, mind and thoughts are very busy when you’re knitting. Imagine the creator of the World making us in a similar, intimate fashion. Psalm 139 13-16, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 12:6

Those things give me hope. They remind me that I am a child of the one true King and that as His kid, nothing is impossible. Including figuring out who I am.

But there’s more.

The simple list for me is this:

Because of Jesus I am salt, I am light. I am Born Again and saved by HIS grace. I am a new creation in HIM, old things have gone away, and all things are new. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16, Matthew 5:14, Matthew 5:13. I find comfort in these words. Because it (life) is not about me, it’s about living for Him.

At times when my soul is adrift and tosses about in that sea of uncertainty He is the rock I hold to, and HIS word shows me the way, reminding me why I shouldn’t be anxious, or afraid, or bitter, but rather live in Him a hope filled, love overflowing , life.

Face it, life gets lifey. The sea gets choppy. Hope floats. Rain comes. Anxiety makes the heart race. But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. No matter where God moves me geographically, or where I might head of myself or the world sends me emotionally, He remains my only hope and the voice most clear.

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Nothing is Impossible with God

I bought some paperback bibles in different translations and wanted to make them last longer so I followed an idea my daughter had done. I got some different styled duct tape and decided to wrap them. My ESV bible got a lovely muted flower print, but my Message translation is my favorite, and it is now sporting pink flying pigs on a teal blue back ground.

I have always found the saying, ‘when pigs fly,’ somewhat endearing. It is almost a challenge – ‘that’ll happen in your life, when pigs fly’. I know the connotation is that the thing that is going to happen will be a miracle because of course, short snouted, wide bellied, curly tailed pigs will never ever fly.

I had the bible with me one day and a friend noticed. It’s kind of difficult to miss if you’re paying even the least bit of attention. Her statement to me, caught me of guard. She held it, turned it over, looked it up and down and then said, ‘so the stuff that happens in this book is as likely to be real as pigs flying?’

Wow. No. Not at all. The exact opposite! The flying pigs are obviously indicative of the scripture; ‘Nothing is impossible with God,’ Luke 1:37. Every time I pick up that bible that verse is what I think. When things are going poorly, when life is grand, if I’m facing problems or questions, those little flying pigs immediately remind me that with God NOTHING is impossible. It’s an invitation to dig further into His truth.

I’m a little confused as to why a believer would first think that the images would symbolize that the Word was as impossible as flying pigs, but it was an eye opener: don’t assume anything. When speaking to anyone about the merciful love of our great Jesus and the treasures in God’s Holy Word, start easy, start with something like – God loved the world so much, He gave His one and only Son, so whoever believes on Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. (John 3:16). A person’s words don’t necessarily convey the true status of their heart nor will they automatically merge with your thoughts. But, if you start with the wonderful truth that Christ died for you, the response of the listener will tell you where to go next.

My friend has different life experience than I and maybe has had experiences which make her thoughts go the opposite of mine, but I much prefer the thought I get, when I see the cover of my Bible, that with my God NOTHING is impossible, not even, flying pigs.

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WORDS. BULLYING, PINTEREST.GRACE AND US.

WORDS. BULLYING.PINTEREST.GRACE. AND US.

Linda Mae Baldwin

Mama used to say, and I tried to pass on to my children, ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all.’ Why?  Because, ‘Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit, you choose.’ Proverbs 18:21 (The Message.)

Words: God showed us how important words would be when he used them to speak the world into being, He said, ‘let there be light’, and there was light. He did the same with vegetation, animals and sky. All using words. Some of the most heart wrenching times in the Bible are expressed via spoken words, when God stopped Saul on the road to Damascus, talked to him and forever changed Paul’s life and thus our lives, Acts 9. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they do not understand what they do” Luke23, when he was being crucified, and then, “Father, why have you forsaken me.” Matthew 27.  Finally, “It is finished.” John 19.

The Bible states the stipulation for becoming a Christ follower: “Confess with your mouth, Jesus as Lord, believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.” Romans 10:9. Important words. In the book of James, it talks about the power of the tongue and how the tongue is similar to the tiny rudder that will steer a large ship. (James 3:4).

To me, some words are more poisonous than others are. I find it very difficult to keep my own mouth shut when someone tells a person to shut-up. For me, ‘shut-up’ is a real violation to the person trying to express himself or herself. I realize that from time to time we have to request a person to hush, or be quiet, or stop talking, and that’s okay, just don’t tell them to shut-up. Those two words immediately bring to mind a verbal slap in the face. Folks have different trigger words, for me it is shut up, for one of my friends it is calling someone a pig, but whatever that/those words are for you, remember, they can bring fruit or poison, life or death to the person you are talking to.

Bullying: When I was young, a group of boys decided to nickname me Frankenstein. Which they abbreviated to Frankie, and mercilessly called it out at every opportunity. My parents thought they were ‘only words’ and I suppose letting me stand up for myself and not getting in the mix was the right thing to do. I did a good job of defending myself, but, emotionally damaged, I carried that with me for a long time. Maybe the ordeal of these sensitive formative younger years is why I strongly oppose any sort of bullying – physical or verbal. It is also why I cringe when people toss the word ‘bully’ around when really they are being nagged or teased. As a bullied person, I understand the differences and it’s frustrating when ‘bullying’ is used as catch all for bad behavior.

Pinterest: The accounts of bullying on social media is sadly, not a new thing. It seems to have started when Social Media began. However, I was very surprised to find this nasty behavior happening not just with young people, but also grownups. I was on Pinterest and someone had posted a very unflattering photo of a large sized woman whose clothes didn’t fit right. The comments about this stranger were appalling and so mean. I found myself writing in defense of this stranger and saying, “It must be nice to be perfect. Maybe our flaws aren’t visible like hers, but were’ all flawed. Let’s be kind.” To which I was told to ‘take it to church’, ‘get a sense of humor” (there was nothing funny about the picture), and that the people posting the cruel remarks were not flawed, they said, they just know how to dress. At this point, engaging with a bunch of strangers seemed lame, but I was upset and feeling a little defiant. I reminded these women that we all don’t have love in our lives that tells us what is right or wrong. What is the point of being so cruel and mocking to this stranger – unless it makes you feel better? Which is a speech I used to give to girls in my youth group.

Grace: After all, was said and done, I thought, why do I care? These women are strangers; the woman in the photo is a stranger, why do I care? I reckon it’s because Jesus cares. He loves the stranger, he loves the mean women. He even loved me so many years ago when the boys bullied. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now.

Us: The Bible encourages us to ‘be kind to one another, tender-hearted and forgiving one another just as God for Christ sake forgives us,’ Ephesians 4:32, also we should ‘speak with grace, using only words as is good for edification according to the need of the moment.’ Ephesians 4:29 NASB, and in Hebrews it says, “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.”

These are things I have to practice every day. I have a loose tongue and I have to watch my words. Words, Fruit or poison. Which one are you serving? I hope it will help you, too.

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Look what the TIDE brought in..or how my life in Oz has come full circle

2010 – we’ve finally moved out of the hotel and into a rental house. Our shipment has yet to arrive from America so we are still on rented furniture. I’m very very sad because I miss home and my family so very much. I feel distant from Jesus and I have zero friends. Everyday Lance goes to work and I am home alone. Too far to walk anywhere and no car or bike. It’s the saddest I have ever been. and, on top of that I am disappointed in myself because I’m not loving life in Australia. We go to the grocery store and I head to the Manchester aisle (not exactly sure what that is), but I’m searching for laundry detergent. I see numerous boxes of washing powder. I see a variety of dish soap and a display of mops and brooms. I recognize NOTHING. Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed and almost frantic in my search for Tide laundry soap. TIDE. Where is the familiar bright orange and yellow bottle with the big blue letters TIDE? Just want to recognize ONE thing. JUST ONE!… then, inexplicably the tears fall. And I stand in the middle of the aisle, alone, crying over something as simple as laundry soap. Or rather the absence of.

 

2013- we’ve been in Oz for almost three years now. And I can’t begin to tell of the wonderful things my Lord Jesus has accomplished. We have fRamily here that goes beyond anything I could ask or imagine. He has provided just like the bible said he would in the book of Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do FAR MORE abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us”. Where once I had no friends and spent days alone, not able to write, not able or willing to pray because I could not feel or see my Jesus, now I have plenty. One of the reasons for this, I think, is because long ago my husband preached a sermon about trains.

That’s weird, right? How could a sermon on trains help me? How could a train bring me close again to Jesus? Take my sadness down a few octaves, make me smile again? How could a train pull me or push me or drag me out of the dark hole of depression I was slipping into? For a simple little statement: Have FAITH in the FACTS and the FEELINGS will FOLLOW.

faithinfactsfeelingswillfollow with apologies to my husband for this amateurish graphic…but this is totally how I reasoned out my lack of seeing Jesus. It’s not always a soaring, happy, dancing with kangaroos on the rainbow of life feeling, this Christian life. And I surely found that out in the pit. But, when I remembered that even in the pit He is there. Oh, it might be dark, and my light may be hidden under a lead lined bushel…but none the less He is there and His love never fails. So, I put my faith in the facts, and sure enough, those dismal feelings were swept away when His light exposed my shadowed heart. Put faith in the facts and the feelings followed! Now back to Tide.
So, there are a lot of different things about Australia, as it should be, because it is Australia and not America. And, I’m thankful for most of the differences. And, slowly, Jesus drew me to people, and people to me, and life became somewhat easier. We began hosting parties and our friend dubbed our house ‘the party house’, for which we are more than happy to be! And, I went along in my daily life, thinking all was well, until the day someone in an ex-pat Facebook forum said she was doing her laundry with Tide and hoped it would turn out like her mother’s had back home. TIDE? Immediately I was on that page commenting, “how does this happen here in Australia?” and the answer, “Coles has TIDE. Tide with Downey and Tide.” Needless to say I was pretty excited. I called my local Coles to see if they carried but in my excitement my request must’ve come across garbled because the clerk came back and said, no, they didn’t have any ‘Coles Tide in an orange container’, I reckon not. Humph. But not one to give up easily I convinced by long-suffering and brilliant husband to take me down to the store. And, then, I convinced him to take this picture, promising that if he would, there would be no shouting or dancing in the aisle. At least not on the outside. 1236564_10151915332252932_1127083531_n_edited
And there you have it, my life in Australia has come full circle! From crying in the aisle to celebrating in the same aisle three years later. And through it all, Jesus was there, all the time. I just needed a little nudge from a train, and a few receptive friends and of course, my sweet husband.

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How to Run to Jesus when you have bad knees.

In the past two weeks instead of my usual go to comfort mode – food, Jesus urged me to run to Him. RUN to Him because that is where true, lasting, honest, non-fattening comfort is found. I have bad knees from arthritis and some kind of mess up from our bike accident, so actual feet on the pavement running isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean my soul can’t run.

There are plenty of Bible folk who ran. I reckon they didn’t have bikes or cars, so getting somewhere fast, involved running. David ran when he had to get away from crazy King Saul. More than once when people recognized Jesus, they ran to him and brought their friends in case anyone needed healing. The servant girl heard Peter at the gate, and was so excited she didn’t open the gate, just turned and ran to tell the others Peter had arrived. The two apostles ran to the tomb when they heard it was empty, one reaching it before the other one because he was faster. (If that little tidbit is important enough to be included in the Word, I’m putting it here). Running, running, running.

I kept hearing this message: to run to Jesus, and so, I did. When I felt overwhelmed, I spiritually ran to Jesus. Kinda sad? Took it to Jesus. Satan whispering my name? Jesus. Really excited? High fiving Jesus. (Which is high fiving myself and saying, ‘we did it Jesus, high five!’)

It’s made a big change in my attitude and put my focus where I know it should be – on He, not me.

God designed us each uniquely. He gave me a love of nature and  a love of music. Song really speaks to my spirit. So, while I’m being the clay to His potter hands, and learning how to run, in spite of bad knees, He also gave me a song! It’s called RUN, (of course it is!)  by Sanctus Real. What a great God! Equipping me with every good thing I need to be a vessel He can use…arthritic knees maybe, but no arthritic soul.

I don’t have any pictures of me running, so I’m giving you the other favorite: a bird.

Don’t let life get you down, RUN to Jesus! He’s waiting for you!

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