ASKING FOR FOOD

ASKING FOR FOOD:
(written 10/16/2017)
Matthew 6:25
New Living Translation
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
My family was what some would consider poor, though we always had food. I am not all that aware of the sacrifices my parents may have made so that we could have food on our table. This past June, I had very little food. I was taught not to beg, not to ask for too much. The idea of visiting a food shelter would have embarrassed me so badly that I simply would not have done it. That was for other people. I may have felt somewhat too proud to go to such a place. Yet when I asked Jesus for food, He had me Google several food banks and I chose one. They gave me food plus some snacks. I was so grateful to receive them. In September, after moving to where I am now, I found myself once again very low on food. I had canned soup and chips. I went to a food bank hoping for fruits and veggies. Imagine my surprise when Jesus made it possible for me to receive five bags of food! I had the fruits and veggies all right, plus salmon, spaghetti, grated cheese, and so much more. They even gave me some kitty food! To top it all off, I was presented with a bouquet of flowers–thank You, Jesus! I am anaticipating a return to this food bank this week if I can find transportation. Today, I have $2-some to my name, to last for the rest of the month, so transportation could be an issue. This is, of course, another opportunity for me to ask Jesus for help. I think that at times we are given obstacles such as a food shortage in order for us to squirm a little, realizing that of ourselves, we cannot do a whole lot; however, with Jesus’ help, we can. Jesus does not look down on me for getting the food I need. Whether it comes from a grocery store (which is way overpriced) or a food bank are equally okay to Him, I believe. Because I tend to fall through the cracks on getting help in the community, how relieved was I when I walked into this food bank, sat down for an interview, and the woman said “we’ll make this work!” I wish there were more people who think as she did. I believe Jesus thinks more this way “I’ll make things work,” He says, maybe not in the way we think, but “work” nevertheless. In Jesus’ name!
Amen

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THE BALL OF YARN

THE BALL OF YARN
(written fall of 2015) Some of us women at our church are involved in a Life Group called “knit together.” We are approaching the idea of “knit together” from various angles. The other day, we unscrambled words that were related to “knit together.” I have some practice at unscramblind words and helping people do crossword puzzles, so I was able to participate in that project quite successfully.

The other day I was out with a friend when I decided to roll a ball of yarn from a skein I had in my bag for one of my projects. Things went well for a while until I came upon snag after snag. I was rolling baby yarn, so the knots were more difficult to untangle. I was successful until I came near to the end where the tangles were so bad and so many that I decided to cut that whole end of the skein off. It occurred to me that I am better at unscrambling words and untangling yarn than I sometimes am at untangling some of the difficulties in my own life. I am quite capable of problem-solving in some cases, and I have certainly been told that I can always solve my problems. I’m not sure where this has come from because there are times when, hard as I might try, I need help out of some situations.

Jesus has had much patience with me; just waiting for me to tackle life’s snags to see how far I get. At times I feel as if He is refusing to help me; however, He knows I am going to work and work in my mind on a given issue. He gives me the free will to, as the song went “do it my way”. But He is right there waiting when the snags get too difficult and too many at once for us to undo ourselves. It is not a sign of weakness to ask Jesus for help. It is actually a sign of strength; a sign that indeed we *can* problem-solve by knowing when to turn to Him for help.

I am at that point as I write this piece. My life is resembling the end of that lavender skein of yarn I was untangling the other day; too many knots, too close together; a rat’s nest! My cutting that part of the yarn off and throwing it away was not a sign of giving up or failure. Once I let it go, I was free to go on with my crochet project. Once we let Jesus help us, we are free to rest, come up with answers, go help someone, or go feed the cats. Speaking of the cats, my cats are not showing any sign of weakness by asking me for food or to clean their cat box or to play with them. They know who to come to for the help they need and when I do something for them, they are happy and successful at what they’d meowed for. If we let Jesus know we are “hungry” He will supply our need. I am currently waiting for this to happen. I know He will work everything out, though the waiting and living on the edge can be exhausting. This is where prayer comes in.

Although there are real difficulties in my life right now, I am so grateful not to be facing them alone. Jesus is with me no matter what. Praising Him no matter what is something I am currently working on. Perhaps you can do that, too. Try it; you might be surprised how it helps you! In Jesus’ name.

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THE GRAY MASS

THE GRAY MASS:
Years ago I read a book in which they gave an example of a “religious” woman who showed up to church services every week like a gray mass HUDDLED IN THE CORNER IN A BACK PEW. She was reverent and appeared to be constantly in prayer. … But no one knew her. She seemed oblivious to her surroundings. She was certainly shutting out the world. … Then, near the front row, was someone dressed in a bright red dress, with shoes to match, singing her heart out in worship, dancing in front of her pew (they didn’t mention running the aisles in this book). She, too, had a connection to God, however, she was participating with others and sharing the Gospel with others outside of the church services. She seemed so much happier than the “gray mass”. I wonder what would have happened had the two met and shared their love of God.

I have spent most of my life in mainline Christian churches where I participated in the service music, and, in one church, taking my turn as platform assistant. Although I was expected, by some, to stay in the margins, as a pew-warmer, where the hesitant ones were not confronted with dealing directly with a blind person, I chose full participation in our services.

I often felt like we were involved in rituals and that God was up there somewhere and, regarded, as the song put it, “from a distance.” I had no idea what I was missing. I thought everything was okay between God and me. Although I believed, on some remote level, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, I mostly thought of Him as a distant teacher. I wonder how many people reading this blog have felt that same way.

Now that I am in an apostolic church setting, things are quite different. Jesus is real to me; He is present within and around me; He will never leave me and I will not leave Him; He guides me in my everyday life; when I am praying, it is to Someone right here, not to someone way off beyond the clouds.

I used to sing the old hymns, often in harmony, and I certainly enjoyed that. However, now we “make a joyful noise,” and experience the nearness of the Holy Ghost. We want revival! We want to tell everyone about Jesus! I still tend to shy away from doing this outside of church, but our participation in our services encourage it.

So, as I would want to put it “there’s more than one way to …” connect with God. One way is not necessarily better than another, however, I am glad I am where I am now. I wish the same for you. If your church services, (if you even attend) are boring, come and join us! Jesus is in our midst! … In Jesus’ name.

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THE TOILET

THE TOILET
(written March 2017 while I was living at Sagebrook Sr. Living) I moved back to California from Oregon three weeks ago. Many things around me, including my own belongings, are constantly moving, however, there is one thing that isn’t–the toilet.

Because I have IBS, I am harder on a toilet than most people are. I give it ample opportunities to work properly; I give it permission to plug up, especially if I accidentally use too much toilet paper.

I have called the maintenance guy up here several times. He and other staff members keep repeating the same thing over and over, as if they believe that because of blindness, my mind is feeble, like, “out of sight, out of mind”. They tell me to push the lever harder and the toilet will work. He even said “If you can play the piano and the guitar, you can flush this toilet hard enough. I cannot. Every now and then the toilet will gurgle and flush, but 90% of the time, it plugs up. I know because I can smell it; gross, eeww. I know because I don’t hear the gurgle. I back away quickly in case the toilet decides to overflow.

Today, the same people came up because my shower water overflowed down to the residence below me. They used a shop vac to suck up the water, gave me an inner curtain liner and put in a lower shower curtain rod so that the water won’t flow out so easily. This was all well and good. I was very grateful for that assistance.

But then, it happened again! The guy said once more how I needed to push down harder on the flusher because the toilet was plugged up again. I told them that it didn’t matter whether they were successful at it or not; what mattered was that I wasn’t successful at it and I live here. The problem is not me; it is the toilet. I suggested that they give me a new toilet instead of dealing with the same thing over and over again.

Next time I am going to ask them if they know the definition of insanity? Perhaps not; however, I do! Insanity is:doing the same thing over and over and over again, expecting different results. The toilet isn’t being insane about this. Neither am I. However, from what I perceive, they are. This toilet business has been going on for three weeks with no real resolution. They “fix” it and it works a couple times and once again plugs up. No one seems to have any desire to make the decision to call in a plumber or purchase and install a new toilet. Though it would cost money, it seems like a reasonable solution to me, thus ending the insanity.

The other day I overheard a conversation out in the hall in which someone was explaining that so-and-so’s toilet was plugged up. So guess what? Mine is not the only one. My ears are not the only ones hearing the insanity.

I wonder what God thinks of human insanity? I wonder if He is ever impatient about it.

I don’t observe anywhere near as much of that insanity stuff in my cats, or any cats I’ve known through the years. It seems to be a human condition, insanity.

These guys don’t realize who lives here. I am one who is solution-oriented and I can go to great lengths to achieve it. I haven’t decided my next move, but there will be one–outside of the toilet, that is.
(written Oct., 2017) Where was Jesus in all of this? Did I remember to ask Him? It appears that my asking Jesus that day was in the toilet. That toilet never did get fixed in the time I lived there. I simply got it to work on some occasions and not on others. When I asked Jesus for help it seems like sometimes I got it and sometimes I didn’t, in my limited way of thinking. Now I am living in an apt where the toilet works just great. Perhaps that was Jesus’ answer to the problem–live somewhere else.

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THE WORD IS OUT

THE WORD IS OUT IN MY CHURCH:(written in the summer of 2016) This evening we had a prayer service at the “new” building we are hoping and praying to purchase as ours. It was my first time there. Some of the layout and the size reminded me of Promise Land Worship Center, my recent-former church. I had mixed feelings. I felt homesickness for the church of my baptism in Jesus’ name, on one hand, and hope and excitement that this building could become our new church; that the 50-60 of us could multiply to fill this place. At one point our pastor asked those who knew what God wanted them to do to raise their hands. Mine went up. What??? Then the same for those who were not certain. Mine did not go up then. He had the uncertain people come up to the front and those of us who claimed to know what Jesus wants us to do prayed with them. I am still quite awkward about praying with people. I do not see who is where and I do not know most of these people by voice yet. I also do not seem to know what to say and it is like I mostly mutter stuff over and over. Then he had us more certain folks come to the front; however, I stayed behind because I am not able to stand very long at all right now. Pastor came back to me to ask me about my direction. I explained that Jesus had told me I am an encourager, through music, writing (including my digital evangelism blog), and helping people not give up; to rejuvenate their resolve; to give people a boost; something like that. He was all excited about this. He said we need encouragers in the world; that, in fact, we need one in our church. So hopefully he will help me find my place here in my new church. Several people prayed with me and I almost cried for being asked what my ministry is (instead of assuming I have none since I cannot physically see), and just the relief of it coming out to other people. They will be able to help me and I will be able to help them. How exciting! And it happened in our new church! (written Oct., 2017:Although I am at times feeling discouraged, yet I continue to be an encourager to others. When they express sadness, I try to cheer them up. When they do not seem to have an answer to a problem, I remind them that Jesus does and that He will let them know in His time. When people regard me as incapable, I try to encourage them to regard me more highly, and that this is their opportunity to learn something new and to rethink blindness or plus-sizedness. Sometimes I will send them an uplifting song to hear. Sometimes I send them a special email. Sometimes I refer to them a Bible verse. I ask Jesus, of course, what he wants me to do. I may not always remember to do the asking, however, whenever I do, I know He is pleased–and so am I.

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UNPLANNED HIATUS

UNPLANNED HIATUS:
(written June, 2016)It appears that I have taken an unplanned hiatus from this blog. I am guilty of letting some worldly things get in the way. Examples include:the business of WordPress and my still working on figuring it out; quite suddenly retiring from my employment as a phone operator; my rather sudden decision to move from California to Oregon; my left leg being involved in numerous infections and remaining unhealed since June with ER trips and hospitalizations related to that; the discovery that I had cardiac a-flutter, which is not the same as a-fib and surgery to correct this problem; much tiredness and the need to sleep more since the surgery (I got very, very little sleep for a long time while my heart was beating too fast and to hard); the birth of my grandson and visiting him and his parents; switching to a new church which I love; choosing to live in a retirement center where neither my bad credit nor my having three cats kept me out; (Jesus orchestrated this I am certain); my attendance at what we called Camp meeting in California, which is Family Conference here; etc. I am sorry if these items seem like excuses; they were not intended to be so. I intend to get back to our digital evangelism as soon as possible and with a new, more accessible program with the help of a company in the UK. I just wanted you to know I have not fallen off of the face of the earth nor gone to heaven yet. I almost did a couple weeks ago. I woke up in the middle of the night shaking and shivering uncontrolably. I had no idea what set that off. When my home health nurse visited me to rewrap my leg, she didn’t like the looks of it. My leg was quite hot, it was bright red up to below my knee, and the wounds were very angry. She suggested that I see my doctor who was out of town, so she then suggested urgent care. At urgent care, it was discovered that I had a fever and my pulse was 144. They wanted to have me admitted to the hospital immediately. I asked if I could go home to get some of my things and I was told “You don’t have time.” I had cellulitis that was possibly going toward sepsis. If it spread to the rest of my body it was time for me to go to Heaven. I was in intensive care for two days and on the heart unit for three days. With the help of Jesus and the skilled medical staff, I was almost okay. The wounds were still there, but no longer infected. Yikes! that was a close call. I’ve also learned that I have stage III kidney disease, probably mostly from taking lasix to take off excess fluid and bring down the swelling in my feet and legs. Some would say “you’re a mess!” Jesus considers me to be more like a work of art. His work of art. My love for Jesus has been unwavering and my desire to help others become closer to Him is as strong as ever. Now if we can just get this physical body to cooperate, that would be great. All in good time. All in God’s time.
(written October, 2017) I took a hiatus all right. I had hoped to learn more of WP, however, this did not happen. I will post anyway and hope things come out okay. I stayed in Eugene for 8 months. I left for a number of reasons, moving back to California. I’ve been here six months and things have not worked out as hoped, so I am back to Eugene in November. I will make several posts to catch up, some of which may be repeats of older posts. In Jesus’ name amen!

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NOT EVERYTHING

NOT EVERYTHING
I am guilty of not being all that familiar with the Bible yet. I am reading, and, of course, listening at church, and otherwise slowly becoming more enlightened. However, I misjudged a situation with a friend partly because I was too loyal to her and partly because I did not really know what all the Bible said about her type of situation.

One thing I have learned, recently, besides my lack of knowledge of the Bible, is that having much knowledge of the Bible, and being able to quote book, chapter and verse, is not everything. This person in question really knows the Bible, yet she is absolutely not following what she knkows. She seems to be digging a deeper and deeper hole and I cannot help her much. When I try to explain she just repeats “one day at a time” or “it’ll all work out”.

One needs to both learn what God’s Word says and then act in harmony with the Word to the extent possible. My trying to emulate Jesus as much as I can, without better familiarity of what He actually said is not going to get me very far. Likewise, my friend’s quoting scripture like a pastor could, but living in a worldly manner, in opposition to God’s Word, will not work for her. It is not a good idea to eat just fruit or just veggies; we need both. We need a balance of both Bible knowledge and daily practice.

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IMPROVED UPON

IMPROVED UPON

I have noticed that when I talk to people about Jesus, most of them say they already know Him or already have a personal relationship with Him. But in telling them my testimony and how our relationship with Him can be improved upon, sometimes they seem to put up walls, as if I might be tresspassing their boundaries, which, of course, I do not intend to do. I think everyone who does not, or who does, have a relationship with Jesus can improve upon it.

Jesus is always more than we think He is. He can and has done more for us than we will ever consciously realize.

When we say we know Him well enough it sometimes means “I don’t want to talk about it.” I feel sad that so many people really do not want to talk about it. I know they may feel uncomfortable talking to a complete stranger about something so personal. I do understand that because I often feel more reluctance than I need to about approaching the subject of Jesus with strangers when I’m out and about. Sometimes I just make a casual comment like “I’m so glad Jesus is helping me with this” or “If I didn’t have Jesus onboard, I’d be really lost.” So there seems to be a two-way street of reluctance. I know that in my case, I need to really understand that if someone rejects my wanting to talk with them about Jesus, they are not necessarily rejecting me. And, most important, it is not about me; it’s about Jesus! It’s also about the high probability that we’re truly in the End Time, and people really need Jesus! It is a matter of life and death for some people to find Jesus or allow Him to find them. I knkow; been there, done that. It is important not to wait until things seem perfect and then add Jesus to one’s life; we need to let it happen now; though things in our lives are imperfect. Now is the time for us to improve upon whatever our relationship with Jesus is right now; be it not at all , to mediocre, to even on the good side. Let this happen for us; let it happen for Him! Let’s all improve upon our relationship with Jesus now! Right now! In Jesus’ name, amen.

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COMFORT ZONE

COMFORT ZONE

I spent the last two days at a ladies’ conference. There was much good information shared there, and much inspiration. However, one of the speakers stated “God never pushes you beyond your comfort zone.” I beg to differ. I believe there are many, many people whose strength and endurance are never tested to any great degree; however, some of us are pushed to utter limits by Jesus, because He wants us to do the most and the best we can do while we are here on earth. Some people feel tested, victimized, and singled out to be severely punished for no good reason. Some people do not understand, (I’m sure I’m one of them) that most difficulties make us stronger; if not physically, mentally and spiritually. God isn’t being mean, rude or uncaring when difficulties arise in our lives. And, most importantly, He does not abandon us when we are in the throes of difficulty. In his book “the road less traveled”, M. Scott Peck, quite a number of years ago now, said “Life is difficult.” For most of us, this is absolutely a fact. There are spiritual leaders out there who entice people to come to Jesus stating that when they do, everything will be all right.

No more sickness.

No more pain.

No more hurt

and no weight gain.

(I had to haha.)

I think that if we really want Him to never push us beyond our comfort zones He might oblige. It is possible. But not at all probable.

The honeymoon was over quickly after my baptism. I was in the ER the very next day! Though later surgery was successful and saved my life, *still* I met with difficulties:gaining too much; losing both of my parents, mother-in-law and a classmate in a short time; having my rent increased twice in a short time; various bouts of illness; missing work unpaid; you name it.

The difference is that I am no longer alone. Whatever happens, Jesus is right with me in it. There is less separation anxiety. There is less feeling of abandonment. If I need someone to talk to, He is always listening. If I need His help, He is always there to assist.

I had an intestinal issue at the very end of our Ladies’ conference. I didn’t want to miss the end of the very last speaker’s presentation so I endured the waves of pain and the feeling that I was going to not make it to the bathroom. I didn’t want to interrupt my friends I was sitting with. I asked Jesus to help me and asked why I had to go through this pain. He encouraged me to reach out for help but I was reluctant; so I continued to suffer. Finally, she was at the end of her teaching and I reached out to my friend, letting her know I was in trouble. I almost didn’t make it to the bathroom but I didn’t soil my clothes. I did, however, need help afterwards. A nurse was summoned to help me stand and clean up. I felt really embarrassed. I realized it was my doing because I could have asked for help sooner; He had encouraged me to do just that. This was not a case of Jesus pushing me beyond my comfort zone; it was I who did that. We often blame God for our difficulties when it is often our own doing or undoing that gets in the way. Blaming rarely solves anything. Going to the edge of our comfort zone often can solve something. Jesus is always here–and there–to help. In Jesus’ name.

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THE ROD AND THE TELEPHONE CABLE

THE ROD AND THE TELEPHONE CABLE

I bought a flexible bin to hold odds and ends. With it, to my surprise, came four rigid rods. I discovered that there was a vertical “pocket” for each rod to be fitted into, with a velcro (hook and loop) flap to keep the rod in its pocket. The bin was flexible, but with even one rod, there was some sturdiness about it; certainly with all four rods. Without the rods, the bin would collapse.

Then, not two feet away, I noticed my iPhone cable. It was straightened out at the ends but in the middle, I had it looped over several times and held with a velcro (hook and loop) strap. The phone cable was quite flexible. It supported my phone not so much in its cableness but in what flowed through the cable.

And I thought, God is that way. He is capable of being rigid enough to be supportive when He needs to be, yet He can be flexible as my phone cable, when that is called for. Many think of Jesus as being more rigid than flexible. They speak of His being “unchangeable,” assuming that this means rigidity at all times. I believe His unchangeable nature is capable of being either rigid or flexible or anywhere in between, depending on the situation. If God isn’t able to meet every situation, who is? Unchangeable doesn’t mean always rigid; always stuck in the past; always out of step with now. No, He can be unchangeable yet here with us now, in the now of our human progress. He can be modern as well as not. He can be like the branch in the springtime that bends with the breeze; yet the same branch, not a different one, can snap and break in the winter wind. We haven’t changed branches; just the nature of the branch has changed. The nature of God can change without His changing. He can be the rod or the telephone cable. He made them both. And He made me. Certainly He has some flexibility about Him not only to accept the free spiritedness of me but to find me useful to Him with such characteristics. I think some people narrow their view of God to where he is perceived as just a rod; not a cable. I think they do Him an injustice, in fact, they are insulting Him. He is more than they think;more than I think.

The air we breathe undergoes some changes when we breathe it in and back out. But it does not cease to be air. As air, it is unchangeable. Yet it is flexible enough to handle our breathing it. God can be a supportive rod or go with the flow; He can do either but remain God. In Jesus’ name.

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