21 Dec

Things on My Mind as Christmas Comes…

Can you believe that Christmas is in FOUR days… and a new year begins less than two weeks from today!?!

I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. I love all the love that comes with the holiday spirit and I hate it because I review my good and bad of the last twelve months with a view to improving on the good stuff and maybe letting go of some of those goals and dreams that seemed so right this time last year. It’s a time to remember those who are no longer with us as well as to rejoice in new friends, new interests and maybe, just maybe accomplishing what might otherwise seem impossible.

As I’ve mentioned before, being more disciplined and consistent about posting here is in the top three for 2018. I love writing and posting. I’m not in it to sell anything or make it a business. My primary purpose is, and has always been to give witness and my personal testimony of Jesus work in my life. A secondary vision, especially in 2018 will be to prayerfully increase interest in studying scripture and teaching what I’ve learned in my studies. I find it sad that so many who are called Christians have so little personal knowledge or interest in studying what He taught and what His apostles and disciples spread throughout the world. Sadly, some accept without question whatever preacher, pastor, or teacher they follow is telling them without benefit of reading and studying for themselves. Indeed my hope is to encourage anyone and everyone to be Berean-Minded( Acts 17:10-12). Needless to say as I continue to tweak the blog, I hope you’ll share on your Twitter and Facebook pages if you find anything worthy.

While I do a lot of personal study I also have a few select devotionals and teachers I follow. My favorite is Chuck Swindoll and “Insight for Living”. I’ve always found his teaching deep and with practical applicable lessons for those of us in the 21st century. John Piper is another favorite and you can find him and an abundance of resources, many of them free at Desiring God website. Others include Richard Rohr and James McDonald. Click as you will for their websites. I find Rohr especially deep. While I am not of the Catholic tradition, this Franciscan monk has insight that goes beyond the basics.

My daily devotions recently changed and include the “Book of Common Prayer (1979) Daily Office Lectionary”. I found a website that provides the liturgy and worship for these readings and use Life Application Bible notes to gain greater understanding of the readings especially as it may apply to me!

Well, now you know a little bit more about where I go for outside help and direction. There are many others I read including Christine Caine, Beth Moore and of course my pastor Craig Groeschel! Again, I encourage you to drop in at Life.Church during the holiday. Our Christmas message and worship begins tonight and through next week!

I will be celebrating my first year of “winter season” as I now have to apply for Medicare… and it is good. What I’m learning (Yep.. ol’ gals can learn new tricks) is that much of what used to seem important even a few years ago isn’t such a big deal. In fact, there isn’t much that is except loving others, and serving God as He leads. As I grow older this truth becomes more and more apparent… the world needs Jesus! And it is up to those of us who follow Him to get out there and share His love.

As we anxiously await the day of His coming into the world, keep this in mind. Our duty as believers is to first, love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That means not just believing there is a God but doing what He says in complete obedience-relying on the strength given to us by Him in the power of the Holy Spirit that now lives in each of us. Secondly we are to love our neighbors-ALL OF THEM-as we love ourselves. Yes, that even means the grouch next door, the Muslim down the street, the immigrant who just moved here from another land. It means your boss, your co-workers and of course, your family!

I may or may not post before New Years Day… don’t know yet what the plan is. My beloved, in his Grinch-y way, will be working for his co-workers who have family for both Christmas and New Years. He’s pretty giving of himself for an unbeliever… and there’s always hope in my heart that our Lord will grab him where it counts-in his heart and mind! Me? I’ll be sleeping in the spare room or in the living room as he goes to bed earlier for these workdays. At midnight or right before, I read Luke 2 and worship and pray.

Until then, I hope each one of you has a very Merry Christmas and a most joyous and blessed Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to digging deep and wide into the Book of Romans with you!

Hope you'll share with others!
16 Oct

Technical Difficulties-Please Stand By

Ever have one of those times, whether its a day, a week, a year— A time when you’re on a roll, a gasket gets blown or a gear slips? In my case it was a computer issue where I couldn’t get from my desktop onto my website to upload anything. Then, of course, being the secret obsessive-compulsive gal that I am- I harassed my provider with screenshots and other uh, frustrations.

Finally, it got figured out and after all that aggravation and behavior unbecoming a disciple of Jesus… it was remedied. And the really sad part is that there was such a simple and easy workaround.

You see, one of my lesser pursuits is that I’m an “Insider” and often use pre-release software and one of these caused my favored browser to not want to talk to the control panel for Abiding Ways.

I know you’ve heard at least a few times that, yes, bad things DO happen to good people. Well, our TV also went out just yesterday , the pup needed a bath, and because of my frenetic obsession, housework went by the wayside. I guess you could say it’s been a rough couple of weeks around here.

However, there IS an upside…in fact a few that happened as a result of what, on the surface, are negatives.

As a result of the internet glitch, I re-discovered an old favorite browser! So, after the work of getting it set up, I am once again able to share my wisdom and joy which is all from our God!  With the TV out, I’ve started my 2018 planning, praying and “hope to do”‘s and it felt so good! More time for priorities, and also taking care of business, which for me is also satisfying and brings great joy! More time to pray, read, and yes-write and prayerfully teach, too (Romans will return starting this Thursday, Lord willing!).

Most of all, I’ve had more time to just contemplate and meditate on this season of life. I’ll be “medicare eligible” on my next birthday and sometimes it seems like I still have so much more I want to get to before it’s time to go home and stand before Jesus.

For me, more and more, the urgency of sharing with my few readers and trying to take the step by step path the Lord leads is readily apparent during times such as this. Earlier this week I was reading one of my email devotionals and came away realizing that all I can do is what I can do with what I’ve got. Rather humbling for sure! I freely confess to hopes of a huge blog following and recognition. Then it came to me that I’m right where God wants me. And it’s not for me to question the “why” of it. Every once in awhile I get that delicious “AHA!” moment when something Jesus said to the apostles comes back to me for personal application.

The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12 )

… and like it Luke 9:46-48 talks about an argument among the disciples as to who would be the greatest! After he had demonstrated the “least among us” Jesus said “For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest!” So, personal application for me is this: do what I can with what I got, when I can and to God’s glory without regard for stats…(I AM consciously working on more consistency in posting, tho!)  who knows, I may be sharing for just that one little child!

I will be posting the next segment on the journey of Paul’s letter to the Romans on Thursday. Hope you’ll come and check it out.

Hope you'll share with others!
25 Sep

Joy-Thieves!

Have you ever felt so listless, sad, powerless that you pray but don’t think the “connection” went through? That pretty much describes where I’ve been the last few weeks… and provides one more reason to strongly dislike the month called September.

I suppose it actually began when the post-Hurricane Harvey footage started coming in. Many of the other topics in the news ceased to be so important as I watched folks who had lost their homes and so many lost their lives in this storm. I DID find and feel much joy as people came out to help and assist others regardless of race, creed, color, religion and yep-even political party! It gave me pause to remember what’s really important – LOVE!

And then came Hurricane Irma!! This storm made a direct hit on the Caribbean island of Sint Martaan/St.Martin which has a very special place in my heart and mind. My husband and I have been going there for about the past ten years and made friends with many on “the French side”. While I saw and know that many other of the islands also were utterly devastated (think Barbuda, the Virgin Islands, and parts of Cuba), I was especially affected by the destruction of so much of our island “home away from home”. So much so that when my beloved came home, I broke down and cried!! Not something I do too often!

Well, Irma wasn’t finished and went on to visit her winds on Florida. What made it more difficult for us is that we have elderly relatives a mere few miles from where she made landfall! Thankfully, they are both now quite safe and power has been restored. Needless to say, until we heard the news that Sunday night, the tension and anxiety around here was palpable! After all the other emotional stuff this was almost just too much and I went from being deeply saddened to just plain ANGRY!

To add a little more emotional poison, the following Monday was that ugliest of dates– 9/11!!

…and then came Maria another unprecedented monster storm! Even as I write, Puerto Rico is like a war zone! Food is running low, water is still high and deep, power isn’t expected to be restored for weeks, even months! I personally feel pretty helpless at this point. And of late— Mexico suffered a truly monstrous 7.1 earthquake! I was long past “Enough already!

Yes, I was and am still praying but my faith – well, I’ll be the first to admit that the words sometimes felt to me like I was praying to air. I hadn’t really been turning to scripture much since this all began, and I’d try to keep praying but in the back of my mind was “what’s the use?” Pretty scary huh!?!

Then today, trying to get back on His path, Jesus gave me Matthew 8:23-27 as a reminder of what is possible…and what MY problem might be.

I was also reminded in Proverbs 18:10 WHO our God is: a safe place and a place of protection…and silly as it may seem, that spark of joy returned and a sense of the bigger picture. We don’t always know what God’s doing and of course we all have, at times asked “Why Lord? WHY?” Ultimately it comes down to faith that all He has promised, all the wondrous characteristics of our God are true.

As I start this 4th quarter of 2017 (and the Jewish High Holy Days/Rosh Hashanah (new year)) I start thinking also about what might come next. I used to start the review and plan process in November, but I’m getting older so I’m giving myself more time.

As I get back to blogging, I’m also re-thinking the mission of Abidingways.org as well as considering a site re-design. One thing I hope to share with you is my current in-depth study adventure in Romans. You see, one of my personal “out there” goals is to write a commentary on this letter of Paul’s that is chock full of teaching about LIVING the Christ-following way. Check in here on Thursday for where I began and for an invite to come on this journey with me! Hope to see you then!

Have you ever had any heavy duty joy-stealing experiences? How do you (did you) deal with it. I’d love to hear! Share in the comments below? I’d love it if you’d also share “Along the Way” with others! Thanks!!

If you’re so led, be sure to give of your bounty to the many who have been affected by these things. Consider the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and I’ve heard Samaritan’s Purse.

Hope you'll share with others!
Facebook
Twitter36