We All Want Freedom!

BirddayafternoonMy son and I had a surprise visitor the other day. Blazer, our cat, brought Mr. Blue Jay for a visit. They must have wanted this visit very much because I can’t imagine how the two of them got through our small cat door together! After Mr. Blue Jay strutted around a bit, he started to play a game with Blazer. He got up on a Kitchen counter and swooped down on Blazer who got up on his back legs to try to catch him. Before he could catch him, Mr. Blue Jay would be up on the counter again. They soon tired of that game and Mr. Blue Jay retired to the kitchen window, looking out and wishing he were free. He couldn’t get his freedom there so he got down on the floor and strutted to the living room. Ron told me to open up the patio door and he chased Mr. Blue Jay outdoors and to his freedom. That was the end of our visit.

This is High School graduation week and thousands of teenagers are thinking, “I am free! Mom and Dad can’t tell me where to go or what to do anymore,” After graduation, some of them go back home to think “what’s next”, some gather with their friends and celebrate and others get into trouble. All of them know that their freedom comes with a price. Whether they are going off to college, learning their chosen career in trade school or finding a job that fits. They will have to learn how to manage their freedom.

The best way all of us can do this is to follow God’s leading. Remember He said He will never leave us nor forsake us. If we ask Him to lead us through bad times and good He will always be with us and freedom will be ours! That’s what freedom really is. Try it and see. I hope Mr. Blue Jay didn’t lose too many feathers during his visit. I guess he earned his freedom that day. I can’t say, “You’re welcome to come again, anytime, Mr. Blue Jay.”

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Know Yourself

I am now 92 years of age so I think I know enough about this subject to write about it. You need to know which talents and abilities are natural for you, the gifts that God has given you when you were born. If you develop these you won’t end up getting that gold watch for working in a job you have hated all your life.

God has a plan for your life but do you listen or learn about what you are really good at and what you would love doing for the rest of your lives. I at 92 now look back in time and know that God has led me and though I should have done more on developing my gifts I am not sorry, nor would I have done things differently.

I once had a chance to sing popular songs on the radio. I turned that down. Should I be sorry about that? It would possibly have changed my life and I know, my singing. My singing has always been for the Lord. When my first husband died, I had three children and we were living in a resort town. I loved that town and it would have been easy to get a job there. I listened and studied my Bible and finally sent out letters showing my education and previous work I had done. I got a job working at a church which needed someone to aid in education, youth and choir music! What could have been better?

I could go on and tell you many other things I have done just by listening and learning what goes with my talents and abilities, but I think you get the idea. Please know what your talents and abilities are. Spend time in prayer and study your Bible. God will lead you where you will be happy to go. You will be satisfied when you get to be 92, because you will know you have done your best, even though you, like me, will wish you had done more.

No Good People

When we go to funerals we often hear these words, “He or she was a good person”. These words are spoken to make the mourners feel better.  He or she probably did many good things, But were they good people? No, and neither are you or me.

A long time ago God watched His children grow from one generation to another. He dearly loved each of them even as He saw sin entered every one of them. He had established the burning of animals as a sacrifice for their forgiveness of sin but saw that wasn’t working, so this is what God did.

He sent his own son into the world to die for the sins of all of us. That must have been difficult for Him, but He loved us even though all of us sinned. So Jesus died for all of us, even the most wicked man or woman in the world! He died for every sin we have committed, even those we haven’t committed yet! We must love God and Jesus, confess our sins and we will be forgiven. God knew that there are no good people and that this was the only way of calling Him Father and Jesus, our brother, and Savior.

There are so many who don’t know their sins can be forgiven, some who don’t care, and some who don’t want to care. We are told that it is up to us, who have already confessed our sins and are children of God, to tell others. Wouldn’t we want our children and grandchildren to be God’s children and go to heaven one day? I am sure there is a resounding “yes” to that question.

Still, though we might be a good artist, singer or mechanic, we still are not good people. We are only good for the death and resurrection of our good brother, Jesus. So, we should trust God and not the government which is full of not good people!

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day

I don’t remember when children began selling artificial poppies in memory of military men who died in World War I, but I am wondering If people remember how this began. Today on Memorial Day people put flowers on their own families graves. That is nice of course, but have you ever gone to the thousands of graves decorated with American flags at a military graveyard? I have, and to see all of the men and women who died there for all of us brought me to tears and prayer.

When I was a little girl I would sell poppies in honor and memory of the men who died during World War I. The date was somewhere in the thirties. Our school teacher handed out a bouquet of those artificial poppies and read to us the poem, “We Shall Keep The Faith”, by Moina Michael. She wrote this in 1918. I listened carefully to her as she read, and I thought about the men who died for me and all Americans. I decided if all of these poppies help to make us think of those men and use the money we earn to keep their memory alive, I must sell all of my poppies. I walked past a beer parlor the Saturday before Memorial Day and noticed there were many men in there. I thought I could sell nearly all of them there. So I went in. I sang all the songs I had learned in Sunday School and School and sold all of my poppies. I hurried home to tell Mama and Daddy What a good girl I was.

Imagine my surprise when Daddy scolded and spanked me! I was not to go into a beer parlor at all! I don’t remember if I knew I wasn’t supposed to go there, but I thought if all those men wore their poppy on Memorial Day they will make many people think of those men who died. And my story ends well anyhow. I got the prize for selling the most poppies. I think it was a candy bar.

I want to close my blog this week by writing ” We Shall Keep The Faith”, by Moina Michael:

Oh you who sleep in Flanders Fields, sleep sweet - to rise anew! 
we caught the torch you threw and holding high, we keep the faith 
with all who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red that grows on fields where valor led, 
It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies, 
but lends a luster to the red of the flower that blooms above 
the dead. In Flanders Fields.

And now the torch and poppy red we wear in honor of our dead. 
Fear not that ye have died for naught, we'll teach the lessons that 
ye wrought. In Flanders Fields.

Moina Michael

Those Little Things

brown and gray frog on green leafIt’s May, the month we listen for the sounds of baby birds as they cry for mama to bring more food. We reach out eagerly to touch the downy, yellow chicks and stroke the fur of soft, cuddly kittens. Along creek banks, frog eggs become tiny tadpoles, and in the forests, those pretty little fawns are waiting patiently for mama to come back with more food. We do love the little things, don’t we?

Many folks don’t care much for dogs or cats, but eyes light up at the sight of puppies and kittens. We never like the storms and the fury of life, but little things slip through the cracks and sneak into our hearts.

A man was walking along a road one day and met a little boy who was sobbing, the tears splashed down his dusty face. “What’s wrong, young man,” he asked.

“I was supposed to bring the change home, but I lost the money. Daddy will be mad!”

The man reached into his pocket and put some coins down in the grassy place beside the road. Then together they hunted for the money.

“Here it is!” cried the boy. “Now I can go home.”

A little thing, perhaps, but not to the little boy.

All of us have had bad times when we have been too proud to ask for help when we really needed it, but when a kindness is given, it means so much. It may be a little thing, such as a warm handshake, a phone call or some other act of caring. But these little things end up moving that mountain to the person who needs it.

The Bible tells about little things.. Jesus said that giving a cup of cold water to someone who needs it, will not go unrewarded.

Are You Still Still Sitting In The Boat?

I imagine most of us are sitting inside the boat. It’s comfortable in here. We brought pillows for our backs and heads. Why get out of the boat? It’s cold and wet out there. Jesus invites each of us to get out of the boat. Peter did it, you know. You will find that story in the 14th chapter of Matthew. The wind was blowing hard and the disciples were afraid. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost but he said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter said, “Lord if it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Jesus replied saying only one word, “Come.”

Peter got out of the boat and he did walk a couple of steps, but the wind scared him and he started to sink so he cried, “Lord, save me.”

Jesus came to him and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

It does take a lot of faith and courage to get out of the boat, but if we really decide to do it, we will find our lives will be different. gone will be our belief that we are just ordinary people, living out our lives, but people using the talents or abilities God has given you Have you dream of what you wanted to do? Do you agree with yourself and God that you have some talents and abilities that you are not using at all? Why not? Could it be that you are afraid of the wind?

Jesus has said he will never leave us nor forsake us. Do you believe that? If you do, even if your faith is weak, get out of the boat! Use the talents or abilities that God has given you. Sure, you will face some winds, even stormy winds, but you will begin to see success. You will be glad you got out of the boat.

I haven’t always gotten out of my boat, but I have sometimes. I remember the time when my first husband died. I was offered a job all the way out to Vancouver, Washington and here I was in Wisconsin with three children! I loved it here and I thought I could find a job here, but without using my abilities, which I knew was to teach the old and young the Bible and lead them in singing. So, I stepped out of my boat and came to Washington and took the job that I know God had prepared for me. Though I have had to face wind storms. I am happy I took that step.

You can too. If you do, you will know that God gave you the talents and abilities for a purpose, to use them. It is time for me to step out of the boat again today. I am 92 years of age but I am alive. My son keeps telling me to write a devotional book, but I am afraid. Possibly the storm is raging too high for an old woman. I think I will, with God’s help, step out of the boat. I hope you will too.

 

That Pollen!

pexels-photo-54300.jpegThe trees have all of their leaves, the flowers have bloomed. Springtime is in the air and we are happy. or are we? I went outside this morning to sit at my table on the deck and found everything was covered with ugly, green stuff! I knew it was there, but I thought it would be easy to brush off. No way! The only way to get rid of that stuff is soap and hot water. Oh well, I’ll wait until another day.

I thought about that. Why did God send all that beauty of spring and then follow it up with that greenish, yellowish stuff? I know! It’s the same as the mountains and valleys in our lives. If God gives us only sunny days with no trouble at all, we would be happy all the time, and soon we would forget about Him. So He sends a few valleys and walks with us as we suffer through them, bringing us back on the mountaintop again.

I am going through one of those valleys right now. My health isn’t good. I haven’t even been to church for several weeks and that is very unusual for me. However, I feel God working in me and will soon bring me back on the mountaintop. My good friend, Harriet, has been in her valley a long time and tomorrow she will have surgery to get a new hip. I believe she will be on the mountaintop real soon.

I think we should thank Him for the mountain tops and thank Him for the valleys because He is at work in us through anything. But the pollen? Ugh, that stuff is something else!