Saturday, January 30, 2010

Acting and Pretending

Yesterday was a very unusual day. I woke up early and had a nice talk with the Lord and then went back to sleep thinking what a lovely day it would be. Later in the day, I found out I had a mistake in my checking and was out some money. Then even later, I discovered that our health care was going to be higher than last year.

In between, I was able to get some very cute digital pictures and I did it completely with no help. That's an accomplishment for me since there's so much to fix on most of mine. All of the pics were lighted properly and no heads were cut down. I also received a lovely wedding picture from my son and new daughter in law.

There are so many things that can weigh me down. I make it a point to not let them. There's a chapter in "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis called "Let's Pretend." I love it. It talks about how to put on good values, emotions, characteristics, even feelings. The Bible talks of this as "putting on the New Man" or "putting on Christ." This idea has helped me so much.

It may seem like I am a huge optimist and that at times I don't see the reality of a situation. That would be a wrong assumption. It is because I have tended to be negative in my life that I try so hard to put on these good attitudes of hope, love, peace, and belief in the promises, no matter what.

For me, there's a whole lot of joy in pretending. I don't wear a mask. I am pretty much what you see and read about, but in this sense, I strive to be more than I am. Because that causes the whole world to open up and play with me. Even on days like yesterday, I chose to thank God for the good things, and there were many. God always moves in and takes me higher when I "act as though" I am happy and suddenly, I am.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Good Stuff

My grandma had some very nice dishes, linens, lace tablecloths, and other fancy things. When we gave her something new, she would usually save it. She did put her pretty cut glass bowls on the table, but when she died, I saw a wealth of goods that had never been used in my presence. I wonder what rainy day she was saving them for.

I used to be that way about clothes. I still am a little bit. Back when I was young, we had good clothes, school clothes and play clothes. Now that most people don't dress up for a lot of occasions, I still have too many "just for good" clothes. Sometimes I do give them away when I don't like them anymore. But to use the good stuff for work or home times just feels "wrong." Yet that is what I am intending to do in this new year. I got some new jeans recently,and they look much better on me that the old ones. So I have decided to wear them at home for my husband and look nice just for him. I'm also going to take some of my better things and be creative and use them for jackets or in a different way so they don't just sit there.

I want to get into "the law of use." In writing it's the same way. You could save some great ideas or characters so your next story has a gem or two. But if it fits in your current story, use it. The better you can make the one you are on, the better the next one will be. God just supplies when the barrel is poured, not when it is being saved.

Another idea is to use the richest things in my life. I don't want to be caught saving up fine words, encouragement, or praise when a situation can be blessed by it.

Now my grandmother was a cherished person and farmers in my area had reasons for doing things the way they did. But this is now and I don't want to be a saver but a user, especially when it relates to other people. Our everyday lives deserve the best we have to give.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Read Exodus 5:19-23, 6:1, 5-8

"Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land." Exodus 6:1 NKJ

In our scripture reading, Moses complained to God that He did not deliver the Israelites as He had promised to do.

The Lord responded, "Now you shall see what I will do." Ex. 6:1. That was God's promise only it didn't happen just then.

Why would God delay? He knew things would get worse first, but God's plagues and deliverance at the Red Sea showed forth His glory to the Israelites and to the Egyptians.

Delays in our lives may be for God's bigger picture. Think of a problem in your life right now. Think of it being immediately resolved. Now imagine all the intricate relationships that could be touched and healed if God had time to bring them all together. With the big picture in view, allow God to do the truly supernatural in your life. You know, God can give you a striking view of the forest while you look at the trees.

Prayer: O God, we thank you for your big plans and ask that you give us courage and hope while we wait for your sovereign hand. Amen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Scarlet Cord

Read Joshua 2:12-21

And she sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet cord in the window. Joshua 2:21 NKJ

I have a red ribbon bookmark in my Bible like the scarlet cord that Rahab tied to the window of her home in Jericho.

The scarlet cord also symbolizes Jesus' blood and this theme runs through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

One time I was teaching a Bible study to a group of girls in a correctional facility. One girl needed a Bible so I gave her my study Bible with all my underlinings and notes. I was about to take my red ribbon bookmark out when I remembered what it stood for. I said, "this is the scarlet cord, like Jesus' blood." She said, "I know."

I felt great till I was on my way home and thought the ribbon might somehow be used inappropriately. (Don't we always doubt ourselves when we try to do some good?) I was so concerned that I called the director, apologized, and felt like a fool.

It was then that I realized that the scarlet thread was my lifeline. No matter how I goofed up, the scarlet thread covered me.

Have you made a big mistake? Do you need the scripture, "O Lord, don't let me make a mess of things."? Psalms 119:31 TLB

The Lord spoke so strongly to me about His forgiveness that I used the incident as an offertory for my Christian ladies' group, Aglow. Our speaker was amazed. Her topic? The scarlet cord!

Prayer: O Lord, we come to you knowing that your blood sacrifice on the cross covers our sin . We are grateful for that amazing love. Amen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Little Musician

On a cold and wintry day in January, a shiny red piano and an adorable little musician add joy and color to my world. In a time and place of much turmoil and strife, music and love will rule.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Read Philippians 1:15-18

"What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:18 NKJ

It seems that a Christian's motives are called into question a lot these days. There are bad motives to be sure, and I believe there are degrees of acceptable motives: good, better, and best.

Using church attendance as an example, a bad motive would be to be seen socially for financial gain. The best motive would be to meet with God and worship Him.

Let's consider a good motive. You're having a bad day and you don't feel like going to church. Is it being a hypocrite in a situation like that to go since your best motive is not possible? Are you going out of legalism or to impress God? I say "no" to these questions. Perhaps you are going because it would violate your conscience to stay home. Maybe you are in church just to be obedient to the call of God and associate with like-minded believers. These are good motives.

When you are doing a work for the Lord, don't let anyone stop you by questioning your motive. If you've prayed and it seems right to you, then go forward in His service. God can give you all the grace you need and work on your motive until it becomes the best motive.

Prayer: Father I thank you for your wonderful grace which covers my imperfections. Please let my motives be only to please you and bring You glory. Amen

Friday, January 8, 2010

Who Zapped My Spaces?

I just went to the eye doctor today. It is my last visit with him. Now I have to go to my regular eye doctor and perhaps get glasses, just for distance once in awhile. I will be very glad when this chapter is finished. I am very glad for the wonderful vision that I did get and praise God daily for it.

I wonder if some of you could help me with an issue I'm having on my New Post blog section. When I do a note like this, even a long one, the paragraphs I put in stay in the finished product on my blog. When I do my story, they disappear. It doesn't seem to matter whether I enter two or three spaces, they are all there and then they're all gone. I also tried indenting, but those disappeared, too. It would be nice if the things I do on my post actually turned up on my blog. It's a little thing, so I won't sweat it. Just trying to be neater and clearer. Thanks, Nancy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flowers In Winter

I got my Christmas pictures back from the photo store. They were fun to look at as usual, the traditional Christmas tree and opening of presents. Surprising me at the end of the roll were the remnants of my summer garden flowers. Seeing these pictures was like the warmth coming back to me. There was a glow from the sunshine, but also an inner ember at seeing my botanical babies again.

There weren't "flowers in the snow." That would speak of early spring. These photographic gems were "flowers in winter." It was a looking back on something wonderful that happened in summer, while I approach the cold of winter.

My life is nearing winter. There are the typical signs of it everywhere. My hair is getting many strands of white, lovingly referred to by my husband as a colony. These outcroppings don't look like highlights, but I pretend they do. My knees make multiple noises when I try to squat. My skin is quite dry and there are wrinkles. The condition of my hearing you can guess. These are the familiar landmarks of winter's onset. This is a good time to see some flowers.

My flowers come in many forms. I have a good memory. A mind is a treasury, a huge visual field to be mined any time.

I need lots of color. Color sells, color wakes up the senses. It causes you to pick a favorite. It blows darts of pigment seeds all over the gray and black of winter. It reminds me of the many varieties of life and activity in my family.

Flowers in winter mean there is still some life and growth. My hair grows. My dreams grow because they are alive. Sometimes my dreams get out of hand and must be pruned.

Flowers in winter have seeds. While the flowers are now dead, the seeds are already in the ground. They are dormant. There is no toil. I must believe they will come forth at the proper time. In winter you wait. My seeds will soon require more work. They will need attention and hope if I'm ever to see my beauties again.

They will spring forth. They always go farther than the last years crop. That's just what they do.

Because I believe winter doesn't last forever, I am excited about the new blooms. Though the path to summer is long, I have my flower pictures to remind me that the impossible happens. Life begets life. My flowers encourage me that the seeds of abundant life have already been planted.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Joy!

New Years Day! White snow outside. Inside a clean calendar with No appointments on it yet. I love the fresh start that January brings. Whatever was wrong with the year 2009 can be worked on and made right in 2010. I love that since we are a new creation in Christ, we can put on the new nature like a garment. We can walk in that.

I love to rid up in January. I have found that only people from Ohio rid up. That just means clean the place up. Not dust, vacuum, or shine the silver. It means put things away, get the house in order. That's what I love about new beginnings - a sense of order. The chaos of the past can be cleared up. I have been spot reading the Bible for a month or two. I would flip open my Bible and scan my notes on the open pages God chose, plus the next two and the former two. When I felt God spoke, I wrote it down. I got lots of very cool scriptures that way. Sometimes my Bible flipped to the pages I had been before. I thought it was odd, but I felt God saying, "you didn't got this scripture I meant for you to have." I also found some wonderful, obscure things I didn't remember were in the Bible. I loved that a lot. Now I am ready to read a running narrative somewhere. I'm not sure where but probably Romans and somewhere cool in the Old Testament.

My color for January is white. As a school teacher, all of the months had colors for the room decorations and the bulletin boards. So now, I do my house like that. I'm leaving out snowmen and putting out some tiny wooden sleds my dad made that I treasure.

Even though I don't especially like snow anymore, I love January. I'm putting a little used Christmas CD in my car that I found a few days ago. It's old carols sung beautifully and accompanied by simple instruments. Very Irishish. I got it on a riverboat in Illinois. The indoor singer's name was Barry Cloyd and I'm going to be moving into my New Year with Irish Christmas music in my heart. Happy New Year! Nancy