THE CANDLE

THE CANDLE

Matthew 5:13-16 ESV /

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

John 8:12 ESV

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV /

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1 John 1:7 ESV /

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Psalm 18:28 ESV

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.

For a while, several years ago, I sold Mia Bella candles. They smelled really good and I knew without seeing them that their light was beautiful and/or helpful. But a case of those candles was too heavy for me to lug around and I didn’t always have someone stronger to help me. So I switched to selling bags for Thirty-One Gifts.

As a young person, when I could see light and dark and blobs of color, I saw how one candle could light up an entire area much larger than itself, not just the table it was sitting on. Only a few candles could light up a whole room.

Jesus is the Light of the world. He is in us so we can let our light shine, thus allowing Jesus to be the Light of the world through us. If there is not enough light somewhere, add yours to what is already there, making the light brighter.

At Camp Meeting, recently, one of the preachers said “don’t put someone else’s candle out thinking that yours will be brighter.” No! add yours to their’s. Spread the light of Jesus wherever and whenever you can. Help light the way to Jesus for those who are lost and in the dark. Do not thwart someone else’s shining their light for Jesus, but be unified in your support of that person’s sharing their abilities to glorify Jesus.

The candle is not meant to just sit there smelling good; it is meant to be lighted! Go to that candle, strike a match or use a lighter, but get that flame going! If someone’s candle is out, light it for them or encourage them to light their own. But never put out someone else’s candle thinking it would brighten yours for it would not. Doing so would cause less light in the world; less of the light of Jesus to shine. Let your light shine for Jesus and encourage others to do the same!

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NO TIME TO PRAY

NO TIME TO PRAY
Luke 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able …

… But beware of slumbering; and every moment pray that you … all these coming evils,
and to take your stand in … Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you …

Jonah 1:6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? …

… Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not
perish … “How can you sleep at a time like this … “Get up and pray to your god! …

No Time To Pray

I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.

All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer.
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They’d laugh at me I’d fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die.

I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
“Your name I cannot find.
I once was going to write it down…
But you never found the time.”

Author Unknown

We read in several places in the Bible how we are instructed by God to pray. He did not ask us to just think about things; He wants us to be in a personal relationship with Him and to pray every day; every night. In this day and age we get so busy doing some important things but mostly mundane things, shutting out Jesus. He wants to be included in everything in our lives and one way to do this for and with Him is to pray. Sometimes I remember to thank Him for my meals; sometimes not. Sometimes I remember to thank Him for something He did for me; something He gave me that I really wanted and had even asked for; sometimes I forget. Sometimes I remember to pray for someone who is sick or having surgery; sometimes I think I’ll get around to it later in my prayer time. Then my prayer time comes and goes and oops, I didn’t do it.

Jesus took much time to pray, often alone. He wants the same from us. He wants us to take time to pray.

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THE TEMPLE OF GOD

THE CHOSEN VESSEL
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

The Chosen Vessel

The Master was searching for a vessel to use;
On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose?
Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright,
I’m of great value and I do things just right.
My beauty and luster will outshine the rest
And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!

The Master passed on with no word at all;
He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine
And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine,
My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true,
And my silver will always compliment You.

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass,
It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do,
Place me on Your table for all men to view.

Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear,
My transparency shows my contents so dear,
Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride,
And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.

The Master came next to a vessel of wood,
Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said,
But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread!

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay.
Empty and broken it helplessly lay.
No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose,
To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find,
I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.
I need not the vessel with pride of its self;
Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf;
Nor the one who is bigmouthed and shallow and loud;
Nor one who displays his contents so proud;
Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right;
But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay.
Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day.
Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do,
Just pour out to others as I pour into you.

By Beulah V. Cornwall

I am guilty and the whole world can see so. I am a food addict and I have not taken care of the temple/vessel of God as I could. I am a distorted, unhealthy, broken vessel that many look at and become judgmental. The size stigma is often applied. I want to eat better but I also want to have my junk food. I apologize, Jesus, for not being a good master of Your vessel of clay. I thank You in a way words fall short, for rescuing me anyway; for seeing value in me when some humans do not; for loving me anyway; for seeing potential in me; for letting me love You! With You all things are possible, even mending me!

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ALPHABET OF THE TONGUE

My notes from a sermon:What did you say?
alphabet of the tongue what did you say?:
A:anger (inappropriate)
away from the issue, calling names, etc. (could say the same thing in a different way; don’t have to say it in anger)
B:boastful, “look at me” instead of just informing someone about something.
C:complaining of any type, includes groaning when moving around hurts you. God doesn’t like to hear complaining.
d:discouraging tongue. Popping someone’s balloon. Instead:words of faith
E:envious tongue. tearing people down. Instead:rejoice. what’s for you is for you. what’s for them is for them.
f:flattering tongue. using exaggerated compliments for personal reason. on and on.
G:gossip:churches are full of them under the guise of prayer requests. They don’t pray. Some preachers gossip. The “reliable source” that they never name.
h:hasty tongue. speak too soon without knowing all the facts, or when someone has asked you not to say anything.
i”indescreet tongue say it like it’s true; out of line.
not know what to say and what not to say
j:judgmental; passing judgment. don’t align with it. same person will judge you.
if you pass judgment set yourself up to be judged.
k:know it all tongue; say like it’s fact. don’t really know. argue what they think they know.
l:lying tongue. have a real faith. tell the truth. no white lie. lies don’t have colors. they offend God. period
m:meddling tongue. saying something that does not pertain to you. Can break relationships.
n:naysayers. knock it down. not your job. Knock down what someone says to discourage them.
o:obscene. watch what you say. language needs to honor God. be respectful.
p:pride:proud of yourself for accomplishing when it is God who did it and God you give the glory to, not yourself.
q:quarreling. Arguing and quarreling and not getting along. Ruins relationships and trust. “I want to know the fix for this not have you cut me down and argue with me.”
r:rude tongue. We all know what this is. God is not rude. He doesn’t want us to be rude.
s:slandering tongue. running them down. Without facts.
t:tactless tongue such as someone saying something
about weight.
u:unbelieving tongue. try to discourage someone from believing in God. Because you don’t believe, you want the other person not to believe either.
v:vicious tongue:mean, rude, slanderous, lying,
w;weaponized tongue. come against and destroy people. ruin relationships.
x:x factor:People do not know what you will say next. Instead, have deliberate words.
y:yeasty:upheavel and agitation. stirs things up.
z:zigzagging tongue:say this, then the opposite.
some of these are sin
bring our words into alignment with God’s Word.
repent when you realize you’ve spoken wrong.
uncalled for, vicious, not helpful.
revival would happen if people would not say things they shouldn’t.
offends God and disrespects people.
my mouth will not sin.
a decision you make.
by resolve.
make up your mind.
that’s out of order, say that when you’ve said something wrong.
own the consequence of speaking wrongly.
What did you say? What was that?
check ourselves.
–Pastor Paul Sheppard
www.pastorpaul.net

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LONELINESS AND ALONENESS FACTORS

THE LONELINESS AND BEING ALONE FACTORS
John 14:16 NLT
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.

(for my friend, R.F. who is experiencing loneliness)

There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Sometimes those factors can be blurred. One can be alone but not lonely. One can be lonely but not alone.

When I was young, even though my sister and I had each other for companionship, I would really miss my friends during vacations from school. As a teenager and in my early twenties, I kept hoping for some guy to pay attention to me. I didn’t want to be an “old maid” as they called it back in the day.

Even at the university, though I didn’t consciously let myself think about it much, I often felt lonely. I would try to be part of conversations I heard. I would just show up at someone’s dorm room. I would spend time in the “common room” where we listened to music and talked.

I was convinced not only that having a husband and children would alleviate the loneliness, but also that I was not worth much without a guy. I did not regard myself as a person in my own right until later in life in widowhood.

Through the years, I have often been excluded from social activities outside of school and home. This included church. Although I knew that the main reason for attending church was God, there was a part of me who hoped for companionship there. (Interestingly enough, my second husband and I met in church choir when our respective choirs merged for a Thanksgiving special.)

I sometimes felt like an outcast. I like to get together and have fun with people so I tried inviting people to various activities but usually the only people who showed up were other blind people. I longed to belong.

If I were young now, I would feel very uncomfortable with people texting quietly while supposedly spending time with me. I would wonder how I could ever have a guy friend or become married to him and not to the phone. They wouldn’t really be there with me. They might even think I wouldn’t know, since I couldn’t see them texting. But guess what? Texting has a sound; not a very loud one, but a sound nevertheless.

Not long ago, I had someone cleaning for me who sat one day doing nothing, so I thought, until I moved closer to her and I heard that familiar tapping. That was her last day of work for me.

If someone constantly texted back and forth, called others or answered calls during what was supposed to be our time together, I would feel neglected. I would feel like their time with me was not important; that the phone was more important than me.

I don’t know how people really, honestly, communicate with each other now in any truly meaningful way.

I remember one time years ago when we were visiting our parents and I had a headset on, listening to music or reading an audiobook. At one point mom said “Aren’t you going to join our conversation? You won’t be here very long and we want to see you. You can listen to your headphones at home.” I felt somewhat ticked at first but then I realized it was a compliment. My parents really wanted special time with me and how could they if I was disconnected from them?

The same goes for God. How can we have much of a meaningful connection with Him if we are on the phone, or, as I am guilty of, being on the computer sometimes for hours?

How do people hear and participate in the worship service if they are back there texting to each other and to friends who are not even there at church?

Jesus is a gentleman. He is not going to force Himself on us though He does give us opportunities to be closer to Him. He is patiently waiting for us to want to communicate with Him.

I am not, as some Christians are, against smart phones, computers, and the Internet. As a blind person, these inventions have actually been a Godsend to me. I have much more access to information now. It is much easier for me to do my writing on the computer where I can add, delete, copy, paste, and otherwise rewrite which was not possible before the advent of the computer.

I used to write my first draft in braille. I often tore the pages apart to put paragraphs in the proper sequence. I also used note cards to put the text in order. I would write the final draft in braille and then type it on the typewriter. Later on, by the time I was in college, I would read my braille copy onto a cassette tape and type my print copy from the tape. This was an improvement. I did not feel lonely or alone when I was working on writing projects.

For me, included in my computer time is the ability to stream Christian music, sermons, and read the Bible itself online. Therefore, I am giving Jesus His time, to some extent, on both my laptop and my iPhone.

I remember as a young adult really disliking the whole apartment concept or even having a home of my own. I really preferred dorm life and wished there was a way to be in, not necessarily a commune, but some cooperative living arrangement where I was not alone.

Having a husband, a daughter and cats helped me a great deal, however, at times I still felt lonely and separated from my family. When Jim and I were married (my second husband) he was often in the hospital so I was left alone. Thank goodness, I was with the cats.

Now that I am a widow and I have moved quite often, starting anew with strangers, people will rather often ask me “don’t you feel lonely? What do you do to combat loneliness?” Their questions surprise me somewhat because I really no longer feel alone. I have Jesus constantly with me, which changes everything.

I have my cats who are PURRfect company and I usually have Christian music playing in the background at home. I have my table mates and we have grown quite fond of each other without there being anything romantic going on. I actually feel relieved that I am not dating or married to some guy with issues or bothering a guy with my issues, for we all have them. I no longer think I am less of a person without a man.

I feel more of a person with the love and grace of God. I say this not to brag. I say it hoping it will encourage someone out there who is still feeling great loneliness. I think it is important for people of all ages, to be aware that the loneliness factor has a cure. That cure is Jesus.

No, I am not living happily ever after here on earth. I definitely have my trials, especially by way of medical issues. The difference between then and now is that When I am not around my cats or other people, and I start to feel separation anxiety, I have occasionally heard myself ask “Jesus, where are you?” as if He isn’t here. The separation anxiety dissipates almost immediately when I realize I am mistaken in feeling anxious about being alone. I have even laughed at my rather absurd question.

The loneliness factor is mostly based on our perception of whether we are, or are not, in fact, truly alone. If we focus on being alone or lonely, that is what we will notice. If we focus on not being alone or lonely, that is what we will notice. Jesus is with us constantly, but it is up to us to allow ourselves to notice His Presence or not. Sometimes we are so distracted by worldly stuff going on in our lives that we lose focus and then the feelings of loneliness flood into our attention. When we remember to call on Jesus He is there.

After years of not feeling very close to God, coupled with (pun intended) feeling cut off, afraid I would never find a mate, I no longer feel that horrible anxiety of my earlier days. Back when I convinced myself that I was less of a person or less fortunate if I did not find a mate, the anxiety and occasional depression would mount. I would sometimes become convinced that I wasn’t good enough for any guy; that I was a failure if I didn’t have a guy.

You have no idea how relieved I am now that the fact of the matter for me now is that I am glad I don’t have a guy to distract me from Jesus. If He were to bring the right guy into my life, sure, I would accept it. But I can honestly say that I am just fine without one.

When I hear of all the struggles married and sometimes not married couples are having, I am glad I’m not dealing with that stuff anymore. The tears, the anguish, the misunderstandings, sometimes not knowing what to say or not say, feeling like I was walking on eggshells, or treading on thin ice–all of this is so stressful and frustrating.

When people talk about being older as “the golden age,” I’m not convinced of that, given all of the physical issues I’ve dealt with. However, the guy thing being absent in my life really seems like a blessing to me now. I’ve been there, done that, and that’s it!

I have guys around in my life and I enjoy that but I feel free not to be tied down by getting romantically involved with any of them. They are my brothers and friends, and I actually value that more now than I ever thought I would.

Those who knew me when I was young, the girl who always had a boyfriend in tow; The girl who was popular with the boys at the school for the blind; the girl who was destined to get married someday and have a family; I really am glad I experienced it all. The tears were sad. The arguments were scary. The love letters were great–both writing and sending them and receiving them.
The affection was great. Being watched all the time by the adults was embarrassing. Long-distance relationships did not work well for me. Writing poetry or songs about a current guy was fun and creative.

When the first marriage ended I vowed never to have a relationship with a guy again and I remember my pastor saying “Never say never.” And then in five years, Jim came along, totally unexpected. This was a quieter relationship and very good, in spite of medical issues mostly on his part.

When I broke my ankle and was hospitalized when Jim was slowing down; and when Jim passed away in the hospital two days after I came home, I thought my life was at an end. I had no idea Jesus was waiting in the wings for my attention. I didn’t know He would rescue me and bring me into a relationship totally different from the human ones I’d known. I realize now that if I were all caught up in the soap opera of a human love relationship, I might not give Jesus the time of day. Being free to be in that relationship, unencumbered by the guy thing has surprised me greatly, for I would not have predicted it. I assumed that I would be both alone and lonely as a widow. This is simply not true for me. I thank Jesus for His gift of helping me be aware of His Presence and focusing on the reality of my not being alone. I absolutely am not lonely or alone. I wish for that for you, too. In Jesus’ name!

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CHILDISH VS CHILDLIKE

CHILDISH VS CHILDLIKE

1 Corinthians 13 King James Version (KJV)

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

King James version

We all have characteristics of both and they are not the same thing. some of the differences are:

brainstorming:
childish:petulent, tantrum; I want what I want, impatience, self-obsession. not taking responsibility, not willing to get help when they need it, blaming others, staying angry, stubborn, not flexible, think they’re better than others, not listening, lashing out, not taking care of themselves or others, stealing, snatching/grabbing, whining, scolding, finding fault, a victim, all about me. number one. interrupting,
jealousy, spiritual “milk not solid food”, narrow thinking, yell at others to grow up, pout, “I didn’t do it”, only partial knowing but think they know it all, “I know!”. not open to differences in others, refusal or inability to walk in someone else’s shoes, only do something if it is easy, comfortable and convenient, terrible two’s when an adult, easily angry, unforgiving, gossip, wanting to be first, wanting the largest package, grabbing shiniest toy, what they’re going to get for Christmas, not waiting for someone who is slow, into fads, worldly entertainment, unkind, not care if someone else is hurt, wanting to hurt someone, carrying a grudge, resentment, no understanding or wisdom, not teachable/coachable, not make it through teens, bullying, wanting to have more material things than someone else and bragging about what they have, showing off, grabbing attention, impulsive, compulsive, sometimes repulsive, rebellious, disobedient, defiant, oppositional, in a hurry, want it now, inability to wait, stingy, not wanting to take turns, fear, unwillingness to change, want everybody to like them, juvenile, youthful, controling others, immature, inappropriate silliness, giggling, reject or not open to Jesus.

defined:
Definition of childish for English Language Learners. : of a child or typical of a child; especially : having or showing the unpleasant qualities (such as silliness or lack of maturity) that children often have.
www.dictionary.com/browse/childish
2. Childish, infantile, childlike refer to characteristics or qualities of childhood. The ending -ish often has unfavorable connotations; childish therefore refers to characteristics that are undesirable and unpleasant: childish selfishness, outbursts of temper.

brainstorming:
childlike:(I’m not clear on which characteristics are that of childlikeness and which are characteristic of adults):wisdom, able to grow up, youthful, don’t insist on being totally age-appropriate, informal, think open-mindedly, willing and able to be silly and have a sense of humor, laughing, reason, patience, what they’re going to give for Christmas, realizing and accepting that we’re not all alike, tolerating imperfections in themselves and others, nonjudgmental, unconditional love, innocence, adventuresome, loves and is good to animals, willing to take chances, accepts win and loss, loyalty, willing and able to learn, teachable/coachable, put childish ways behind them, understand they’re not fully arrived, that there is learning and improvement to do, that they don’t know everything, “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure but I’ll find the answer”, glad for the successes of others, able/willing to wait, trusting, careful not to hurt someone else, willing to change, not concerned about the future, in the now, self-control rather than other-control, mature but not overly so, not that worried about what others think, giving/sharing, wanting to help others, sweet, winsome, reflects the face of God, the wonder of life. curiosity, open to discovery and learning, natural, wholesome, creative, not set in their ways, good listener, care about the feelings of others, capable of loving and being loved, willing and able to allow themselves and others to know Jesus.
defined:
Childlike | Definition of Childlike by Merriam-Webster
https://www.merriam-webster.
resembling, suggesting, appropriate to a child or childhood, trust and genuineness.

There isn’t much to say after that. I am probably biased because some of the “adults” in my upbringing were childish and I vowed not to be like them, therefore, I admire childlikeness where some adults might not. Childish behavior is expected of children but inappropriate for adults. Childlikeness is expected of children and revered in adults. Childishness has quite negative connotations where childlikeness is admired by some.

Spiritually speaking, if you move the space in the word nowhere (childish) you get now here (childlike.

In the long run, only Jesus truly knows where we stand on the scale from childishness to childlikeness.

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BOTHIVITY

BOTHIVITY
This is one of my main pet peeves–I have several. I was in a church for quite a number of, (too many) years where they were into positivity at all costs. I felt uncomfortable with that. I think we need a balance of both the negative and positive aspects of our lives or there is no balance. That’s like two kids going to their favorite end of the teeter-totter, the same end, and the other end, no one sitting there to balance things out. They can’t even ride it then. It’s like someone building a house, noticing cracks in the floor and holes in the walls and running out of nails so just using a few here and there, but going on and on about how great the place is and how perfect it will be for someone, etc, etc. Someone moves in, only knowing the positivity of the place and all you-know-what breaks loose because the builder didn’t deal with the negative issues as they presented themselves. I knew a lady who cleaned the cat box every few hours. Now that is positivity! But the cats never learned to bury their stuff. So it still smelled in her home. If they’d had a messy cat box now and then, they’d have learned to dig around and bury it. The other day, when I went to the doctor, if she had spaced off my concern about my left ear “Oh you’re doing great!” she would have missed the infection in my left ear. If she had focused only on that ear, she would have missed the wellness of my right ear. It made sense for her to check both ears and respond to what was there in each ear. Even in the Bible, there is Heaven, but there’s the other place, too, which gets totally ignored in some churches. I could go on. Manic depressive illness presents both extremes. When one is manic, on the positivity end, actually, some people can become quite irritable because they are just too up there where they can’t stand it. If they get stuck there, it can be as bad as being stuck on the depressive end. We hear lots more about depression than we do about the manic side of things. The “positive” side isn’t always so positive and someone stuck in that state can drive you and themselves pretty nuts. A balance is what is sought in administering medication, not just lifting them up into the clouds somewhere. Maybe I am aware of this because I am a libra. We are all about balance. That doesn’t mean that both kids sit in the middle of the teeter-totter; it means, that one sits on either end, hopefully being about the same size. I don’t personally always do the balance thing all that well, but I work at it. I am more up than down and prefer to be that way, so positivity, even for me, wins out, but not without giving attention to the tougher things of life. Like tonight, it was “positively” too hot in here! It was “negatively” too cold in here this morning with the windows open. This morning it was beautiful out and just right in here. (I’m sounding like Goldilocks.) On a positive note, I had another sore on my leg, fearing having to have home healthcare come out again. But today it is not leaking and is smoothing over. Yea! That is really good news! So, in the long run, though I place myself more on the positive end of the spectrum, I am for “bothivity,” because that is what we’re gonna get in life. Thinking about Jesus–that’s the best though!

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MY TESTIMONY IN HAIKU

MY TESTIMONY IN HAIKU
by Lauren Merryfield

McCarthy is gone
He taught me how to write these
When Jim was around

I still miss my Jim
But he might not understand
My love for Jesus

Just four years ago
I was feeling very ill
Holiday party

I was in Oakland
Blind people I did not know
They gave me some snacks

And then suddenly
I went as white as a sheet
Off to the bathroom

I could barely move
I was sweating all over
I thought I might die

Stood in front of steps
I had no strength to go up
One step at a time

It took me much time
Then a man I did not know
Took me to his car

He let me sit there
Until my taxi arrived
Went to train station

Asked if I was drunk
The man said that I was sick
Somehow I got there

I regained some strength
As I walked to the counter
Not nauseous now

The ride home seemed long
I had been in a strange place
Avoided ER

If I had gone there
To a “foreign” hospital
Would have been scary

Could have been stuck there
Not well enough to go home
Someone guided me

So when I got home
In total, abject despair
I cried out to Him

I could not do this
Becoming so very ill
Never knowing when

Never knowing where
In unfamiliar places
That was just too much

Just within a month
Bowel obstruction info
Was that the problem?

I thought people died
And it only happened once
Can be episodes

Armed with this knowledge
From Social Security
Doctor did a scan

Sure enough he found
A twisted bowel in me
Surgery came next

Online I had asked
On NFB music group
Hold harmonica?

Joshua answered
He referred me to a guy
But then he asked me

“Are you a Christian?”
Quite automatically
I said that I was

Asked about my church
It was metaphysical
Jesus, great teacher

“Is it Biblical?”
I had not considered that
And my stomach lurched

“No,” I said, in shock
“My church is not Bible-based”
Joshua knew that

He asked me to try
A Pentecostal center
Right there in Fairfield

I said I would go
He said “You’ll like the music
And the Word of God”

I was wearing pants
I wore flashy jewelry
And my hair was short

I listened clearly
But it would be a long time
Before I would change

Me be Born Again?
Now that was quite unlikely
Not exactly pure

Then I realized
Jesus was rescuing me
In spite of it all

I could not believe
That He would do all that for me
One of His lost sheep

I repented my sins
Addressing Him by email
Sev’ral weeks later.

Yet I was afraid
Of getting the Holy Ghost
It might startle me

Apostolic, me?
But I saw it coming now
It was happening

I began to sing
I was holding Maryah
And she was purring

Quite out of the blue
In a language I knew not–
The Holy Ghost came

I felt His Presence
And there was light all around
In spite of blindness

I was overjoyed
I knew it was my Jesus
Who visited me

And He never left
He is with me to this day
He will not leave me

The very next week
A life-changing thing happened
And I was ready

Sandy helped me change
Into a long, special robe
Then we went outside

I touched the horse trough
The water inside was warm
Jared baptized me

I sat myself down
Under water buried me
Rose up with Jesus

I sang in tongues then
Much like the song from before
All in Jesus’ name

The very next day
I was sent to the ER
By a new doctor

In no time at all
I had bowel surgery
Things were corrected

Jesus had done it
He had saved my life both ways
And I was aware

Physical healing
And also spiritual
Emotional, too

I am Jesus’ hands,
The words that come from my mouth
And my feet are His

One who does not know
I might be the first person
Representing Him

When someone meets me
They might just behold Jesus
Just for the first time

My being with Him
May save someone else’s life
Because of Jesus

Two thousand fourteen
On Sunday, March thirtieth
I was Born Again!

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THE YELLOW BALLOON

ACCEPTING THE YELLOW BALLOON
This morning I was at breakfast, half awake. I was sitting there grateful that I had a meal coming and that I could sit with my table mates another time.

But I was tired. I kept telling Jesus how tired I was, like He didn’t already know.
I did not feel up to this day. I figured I’d go have a cat nap after breakfast.

Suddenly an older woman approached me and asked “Would you like a balloon?” I thought “what?” in surprise. I decided that would be fun but I was too tired for a balloon. I asked her if I could see it and she handed me the yellow balloon with most of its air gone out. I told her I would take it because it felt like a tired balloon–tired like me.

The lady laughed. Then she said “I have wanted to give you something but didn’t have anything to give you. When I saw the abandoned birthday balloon on the floor I thought a happy person ought to have it and I thought of you.”

I thanked her and explained that the reason I was happy was because of Jesus. I asked her if she knew Him. She said “I don’t think I kknow Jesus very well, but I can understand that you do. You make people think twice about things. You get around here by yourself when you can’t see, and some of us can’t do that when we can see. You laugh about things that some of us get angry about, or even cry about. That is why I wanted to give you this balloon. I knew you wouldn’t think it was leftover garbage, that you would find something about it that you would like, and you did. The balloon does look tired and so do you, but after breakfast you can rest with a happy yellow ballloon in your home.” And I will go read my Bible to get more of what you have. That Jesus feller is good fer us isn’t He?” And then she was gone.

Back in my apartment, I was not sure what I would do with the balloon. Balloons and cats are not a good mix. I could hang it up high somewhere but Toby probably would find it. I could pass it on to someone else but probably no one else would want the rather dilapidated balloon. So I hung it on my shower head. When I take my shower later today or tomorrow, I can enjoy its sunny presence there with a smile and a laugh, because I enjoy the Presence of Jesus in my home and everywhere else.

If that yellow balloon brings that woman closer to Jesus then that is the best happening of the day. My ordinary tired morning with a sudden burst of yellow probably made that woman’s day in a way she will never forget. Neither will I. Thank You, Jesus, for the tired, yellow balloon. Its sunny spot on a stormy morning reminding me of Your Presence, made my day. I am so glad I accepted that balloon today. In a way, I accepted more of You. Thank You, Jesus!

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WITH JESUS

WITH JESUS
by Lauren Merryfield

(note:I’ve written Christmas poems but not a Resurrection Day poem. So here goes)

Part 1:

I started out at Christmas time,
With Jesus.
He was a little baby boy,
With Jesus.

In Sunday School I read the Word,
With Jesus.
I loved to sing the Christian songs,
With Jesus.

When He grew up, then so did I,
With Jesus.
I followed Him throughout my life,
With Jesus.

Part 2:
transition:

Oh, this is not entirely true.
Dear Jesus, I withdrew from You.
I thought, what better things I knew.
But then I was rescued by You.

A Christmas party, feeling illl.
I did not have a get-well pill.

Was getting green around the gil
I went home sick and tired, still.

And then I did surprise myself,
I found my Bible there on a shelf.
I timidly, and with some stealth
Began to ask for Your great wealth.

Part 3

I cried and cried into my hands,
With Jesus.
I did not know if He would hear,
With Jesus.

But I was desperate and lost,
With Jesus.
Because I did not know I was
With Jesus.

He made me welll through surgery,
With Jesus.
He led me to a different church,
With Jesus.

In baptism was buried there,
With Jesus.
When I emerged, arose to life
With Jesus.

A follower I did become,
With Jesus.
And finally I knew I was
With Jesus.

It’s Resurrection Sunday now
With Jesus.
We worship and rejoice this day,
With Jesus.

Let me never stray but stay,
With Jesus.
Where I’ll be forevermore
With Jesus.

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