Saturday, January 30, 2016

January Joy

The winter season--and especially the month of January--is the least favorite time of year for some people. Not everyone, of course, but I've heard lots of folks say they don't like winter or the month of January, due to the cold weather, often-dreary days, and lack of color in the landscape. Yet sometimes there is beauty in this time of year. For those who live in areas that receive snow, there are peaceful, snow-covered scenes that remind us of Christmas cards. Even though my area seldom ever gets snow, today we had gorgeous weather that seemed spring-like, kind of like a little preview to the next season!
But whatever the weather or the outdoors looks like where we live, we can still have joy. Not something that depends on our circumstances, but the joy that only faith in Jesus can bring. Knowing that whatever we may experience in the days ahead, the Lord is with us each step of the way. If we will remember this, we can feel joy on even the dreariest of winter days.
     Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.  Psalm 16:11

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Old Year - New Year

Wow! How can it already be the last day of 2015??
I honestly don't think I've ever felt that a year has flown as quickly as this year has, and I know I'm not alone. I've heard many people--even young people--comment that the days seem to fly by.
In my humble opinion, I think the main reason is that many folks--young and old alike--stay super busy these days. Busy schedules combined with all the technology at our fingertips (which can be good but also VERY overwhelming at times) and it seems each day whizzes by.
Since I can't slow down my clock or my calendar, what I can do is make sure I'm living each day to the fullest in the way that God would have me live. As a Christian, I want to live my life in obedience to Him, and doing activities He would have me to do.
As I look back over this "old year" 2015, I am very thankful for my many blessings and the opportunities that the Lord provided for me to serve Him. But as I look ahead to the "new year" 2016 I want to focus even more on looking for daily opportunities to serve the Lord and live for Him. Then I know I truly will be living my life to the fullest!
     So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.   Psalm 90:12

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Unsettling Times - - Ultimate Trust

Although I try to stay caught up on major news happenings, there are days that I just really don't want to hear or read anything negative going on in our country or our world. I've heard people comment that watching the television news reports almost sends them into a state of depression. Other people tend to worry more--a lot more. And some folks will plainly state that hearing or reading news reports makes them feel extremely grumpy.
So while I do feel it's important to be aware of what's going on in our world, we do not need to *dwell* on the negative reports (and sadly there are plenty of those). Should we try to insulate ourselves and our families from all the negativity in the world? I don't think that's the answer (nor is it really possible).
If we're not careful, we can allow fear to take over - - especially in these unsettling times. As a Christian, I know without a doubt WHO is in control, and I must remember this. Yes, I need to keep up with news reports (but not go overboard reading every frightening detail), pray about various situations and innocent people who are affected, and most importantly TRUST the Lord in all things. I know that He watches over His sheep, so we need to place our ultimate trust in Him - - ALL the time!
     For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.   II Timothy 1:7

Monday, October 12, 2015

Shining Lights

This morning I came across a Bible verse I've read many, many times. In the book of Matthew, Chapter 5, Jesus says: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
I've always loved this verse, but today it made me really stop and think. Am I a "shining light" in my daily life? No matter what I'm doing or where I am, can anyone else see that I'm being a "light for the Lord"?
I believe as Christians we are supposed to be different from the world. Even though we cannot earn our way into Heaven, if we are true followers of Jesus Christ we will want to live for Him, and act in ways He would want us to act. My understanding is this means in ALL we do, say, and think. So whether I'm in the grocery store, at a ballgame, or with family and friends I need to be a shining light for the Lord in all my actions and words. Not always easy in today's world, but something I truly believe I should do. May I strive to be a light each day, no matter who I'm with or what I'm doing. After all, I may reach even one person who needs that special light.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Older and Bolder

Today is my birthday. A "milestone" birthday, at that. It's funny because I don't think of myself as being "this old" haha - - except on days when I'm having lots of aches and pains - - but on those days I really try to focus on my blessings rather than the pain (easier said than done sometimes).
But today I am definitely going to focus on my blessings, because the Lord has truly blessed me in so many ways - - especially with a loving family and friends. And as I think about my many, many blessings, I have more of a desire to live a life that makes God smile. Recently I was thinking about positive changes I could make in my life as I turn another year older, and it occurred to me that I need to be bolder. Not becoming more outspoken, but being bolder in sharing my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Does this mean I must approach strangers and ask if they are Christian? No. But I need to look for every opportunity to share my love of Christ with others, and make the most of every chance to let people know what the Lord means to me, and how He will help others.
I cannot imagine how my life would be if I didn't have my faith in Jesus, and I feel burdened for those who don't share this faith. So may I find ways to help others who need Christ in their lives, and may I be bolder about doing so!

     In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.      Ephesians 3:12

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Proverbs in Pittsburgh

Recently I went to Pittsburgh to help my son get settled in before beginning his graduate work there. Even though I was very sad at the thought of my "baby" being so far from home, I'm very proud of him and also was a bit excited to visit a different city.
The first morning there, my husband and son were moving items into my son's apartment and I was at our hotel. Needing coffee, I headed down to the hotel lobby, where a nice counter was set up for guests to help themselves to coffee or tea.
I'd noticed an elderly man seated  alone on one of the sofas in the lobby area, and he appeared to be watching me as I prepared my coffee. He made a general comment about the coffee, and I smiled and replied. Apparently the man couldn't hear what I'd said, because he scowled at me and in a somewhat harsh tone he said, "You don't have to whisper. You're not in church."
Taken aback by the man's tone--and his scowl--I continued smiling even as the words from Proverbs 15 popped into my mind.
                         A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Clasping my cup of coffee, I stepped closer to him, still smiling, and explained that until I've had my morning coffee, I usually speak softly.
I gradually noticed a change in the man's tone and expression, and for the next twenty-five minutes we had a lovely visit. It turns out he's widowed and had been out taking a walk, stopping in the hotel for a cup of coffee. He was obviously lonely, and needed someone to talk with. The Lord placed me in that situation and I'm so glad! This elderly man had lived in Pittsburgh his entire life and had so much fascinating information about the area he shared with me--including pointing out some scenic places we needed to visit while there. Before I returned to my hotel room, he stood, smiled at me, and told me I was a "kind Southern lady."
We never know what a stranger is going through, and often a person just needs a listening ear or a smile. I continue to pray for the man I met that day, and hope that maybe--just maybe--for that brief time we visited his loneliness was eased a bit.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

We All Need GOOD NEWS!

It seems that many people I've spoken with in recent weeks have been very discouraged, and it's no wonder. Just viewing a news report on television or reading the newspaper is enough to send our mood spiraling down--way down. Even though I know it's important to "keep up" with what's going on in our country and the world, I think we can become bombarded by so much bad news that we let it affect us too much. At least that's how I feel at times.
I'm not suggesting that we ignore news reports or be oblivious to what is happening, but I personally feel we need to limit how much "bad" news we take in.
I've also been making more of an effort to pray - - really PRAY - - about people and situations I hear about in news reports.
What has helped me most of all is turning to the GOOD NEWS, my Bible. I continue to be amazed at verses that seem to speak to my heart about a particular situation or concern. Even verses I've read many times in the past seem clearer to me as I open my mind and heart to God's Word.
So while the world around me seems to be overwhelmed in bad news, I will cling to the hope that I have in my God, and the Good News He offers us.
      Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27