Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Bluebirds in Wonderland

I really love bluebirds. You know the ones… bright periwinkle backs with reddish orange fronts. They’re pretty shy and particular about their dwellings. We have the perfect little house for them right outside the window where I sit and write. Yesterday in the dead of winter with around seven inches of snow on the ground, I watched as a male and female stopped in to get warm. Like us they stayed tucked in all day just watching the rare production outside. Our little corner of the world turned into a wonderland. I was happy to be inside and glad for the bluebird couple to have a place to cuddle up too.

As usual about 1:30 in the morning, I made my way to the bathroom to uh… empty the gallon of coffee I had consumed during the day. I peeked out the window at my snow covered wonderland. All was calm… all was bright since the streetlights bounced shadows across the yard. Then suddenly, all was NOT calm. A giant bird of prey sat on top of my bluebird house as if waiting for breakfast. By the filtered light I could make out the shape of either a small hawk or an owl. Since the shoulders were wide I guessed it to be an owl and I wondered if owls snack on bluebirds. So as not to wake my beloved, I closed the bathroom door, opened the window and made the scariest cat noises I knew how. I meowed ferociously, I growled, I even tried yelling threats.

“Hey you on the birdhouse! You’d better move your sorry bag of bones before I get my slingshot and knock that big ol’ square head off your shoulders!” That thing was not impressed. It just hunkered down waiting for the coming buffet. It seemed to taunt me with the fact that my bluebirds would have to come out at some point and it would be waiting.

I sighed, closed the window and went back to bed. David never stirred. For that I was glad. Still I tossed and turned and worried about my little birds all night. I even threw a token prayer up for the safety of my favorite feathered friends. A sick feeling came over me as I considered the fact that even owls have to eat. When morning came I quickly made my way to the window to check on the carnage.

There was none.

However there was a big clump of snow on top of the birdhouse… kind of a squared off body with a wide head.

About that time the brightest bluebird flew from the house and landed on a nearby branch. He was likely scoping out better digs for he and the little woman. It seems there was a crazy cat keeping them awake half the night.

Why do I do that? If life isn’t bad enough I find something to fret about. When life is a wonderland…  I find something to fret about.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all our worries add a single moment to your life?” –Matthew 6:26,27

As the old Gospel hymn reminds, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!”

Too bad He saw all that crazy coming out my bathroom window last night.

Read Full Post »

Just a Shepherd

A young man sat on the hillside of his family land. Once again, he was working third shift with a few others. Nothing had stirred the flock for months now, yet here he was, watching sheep. He wondered to himself if his father’s words were true.

Gazing into the night sky, the verses played over in his head. His dad loved to quote Scripture.

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline.”

He laughed a little. His dad always threw that last part in for good measure. Sure he was young, but it seemed like it was taking forever for him to really DO anything. Not only was he supposed to wait, but wait quietly, while he submitted to discipline. His dad liked to remind him often of the importance of being faithful in simple things. But, shepherding was not all that noble. Would he ever be allowed to do anything really important?

Without warning, the darkness gave way to incredible radiant light. His heart felt as though it would melt in his chest. Never had he faced such fear. A voice came from the light, assuring him that all was well.

“I bring you good news of great joy to all people. The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

Before he could question the wisdom of putting a baby in a feeding trough, the mighty angel that had spoken the words was surrounded! The skies were filled with a powerful army arrayed in light. Strength poured forth and thunderous voices shouted in unison,

 “Glory to God! Glory to God in the Highest! Peace and Goodwill toward men!!!”

He fell to his knees and realized he was worshiping with the heavenly host, very glad that the message was one of peace! Suddenly the visitors were gone. The night was dark once again. He rose on weak legs and moved toward his companions.

“Bethlehem is just across the way. Let’s go!”

Normally he would worry about the flock. But his gut told him his father would be glad he left the sheep to see the child the angels spoke of.

“He’s here!” shouted his friend.

He rounded the stalls and there, just as the angel had said, was a tiny baby. With the wrinkled face of a newborn, He stirred and gave a little cry. A tired mother rose to check on him. She lifted Him from the straw and said,

“His Name is Jesus.”

The young shepherd’s heart cried out the words of old,

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!’ The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline.”

Back with his flock, a prayer of praise rose from the depths of his soul.

“Why in the world, dear God, would You choose a simple shepherd like me? Thank You Father, for putting me with the flock tonight! Salvation has come, and I saw Him firsthand! Just wait til I tell my dad!”

Read Full Post »

The Gift of Angels

It floated gracefully from the sky like the dusting of powdered sugar over gingerbread. An unexpected snowfall lightly sprinkled the tops of branches and rooftops giving our little yard the look of a finely crafted Christmas card. I could hardly pull myself away from the windows. We opened every curtain and watched in wonder as our surroundings were transformed.

The only fear was the possibility that the Christmas play would be canceled because of weather. Since two of our grandchildren would be in the pageant I sent a text to our daughter to make sure it was still on. I waited for her reply with coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. Eventually she wrote back.

“What about it?” she asked. “It’s still tomorrow at 11am.”

It seemed she thought I asked a strange question. Later I found out that while her father and I were enjoying a quiet Saturday watching it snow, she had helped with the final rehearsal of the play, hosted a missionary couple from Italy, helped her husband while he smoked a boatload of pork shoulders, and entertained a pile of folks who dropped by to pick up the meat they ordered. Their missionary friends made pizzas and the house exploded with children, food, friends and probably more than a little chaos.

I remembered similar chaotic days when David and I were younger. Kids from the youth group knew where to go for food and fun. The trampoline had no side guards and in the summer included a sprinkler underneath. That thing was slick! More than one kid was launched into space from our backyard. We weren’t real smart. But we sure had a lot of fun.

Currently a dusting of snow invites quiet and rest. Back in the day it meant sledding until our toes fell off from the cold; vats of homemade hot chocolate for the masses; plastic slip sheets from a warehouse on which we flew down the hills; old towels piled at the door to catch some of the mud; and a fire in the woodstove so hot we had to open windows to keep from passing out.

We used to ache from falling off the trampoline or rolling from a sled. Now my hip hurts from sleeping in the same position too long. Like the little drummer boy I look toward heaven and wonder if I have anything good left to offer the babe in the manger. As quick as I asked the question the Lord gave a beautiful reply in the book I was reading on our snow day.

“Give Jesus the gift the angels gave Him, the gift of praise.” –Max Lucado, Because of Bethlehem

Think of it! The ones who surround the throne of Heaven and know Him best used their voices to bring Him glory at His birth.

Can we not do the same?

Though our surroundings change and our strength grows small, God Himself has provided something we can offer back to Him. That’s the best gift anyway; the one born not of pride from what we’ve accomplished, but from a heart filled with praise and thanksgiving.

This Christmas season may we cry out with Mary, who obviously had a little chaos going on in her own life: “Oh how my soul praises the Lord, how my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!” –Matthew 1:47

I think the Lord will be well pleased with His present.

After all, it is the gift the angels gave!

Read Full Post »

Hallelujah and Pass the Biscuits

It’s funny… but not like funny ha-ha. Funny like the cheese smells funny. I have no problem with the virgin birth; or the resurrection of Christ; the parting of the Red Sea; or the universal flood. I do however wonder about a reoccurring theme throughout Scripture.

When an old religious guy with questions on his mind met with Jesus one night, he led with a compliment. He called Jesus “Rabbi” and expressed his belief that Jesus had been sent to teach. He acknowledged His miraculous signs and went so far as to say that apparently God was with Him. Quickly Jesus brought him to the fact that he was loved by God. In fact, Jesus assured him that God loves the whole world. It seemed more important than anything else old Nic wanted to talk about.

It’s a good word. But to break that down and receive it personally is hard for me.

I mean, how CAN He?

He knows where I’ve been. He hears my thoughts.

An unexpected storm tosses us about and causes me to toss my cookies into the bait bucket. Immediately I cry, “LORD! Don’t you care?”

With Peter I warm myself by the enemy’s fire and swear I don’t know Him.

Yet He loves ME?

I really find that hard to believe.

Like broken hearted Peter, I go back to doing the only thing I know. The Lord of the universe has risen from the dead, but so what?

I have really messed up. Surely He’s done with me. Obviously I can’t be trusted.

Then in the distance, I see a little smoke rising. A small fire burns and a Man calls out a greeting. When I get there, He’s cooked breakfast of all things: Grilled salmon and hot buttered biscuits. My tummy growls but worse than that my soul hurts. My best Friend is standing there serving up my favorite meal though He knows I betrayed Him.

I’ll never understand it. But it’s true.

He loves me.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted or hungry, or destitute, or in danger or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us!

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below- indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 8:35-39NLT

Jesus loves ME and there is not a thing I can do to change that!

Hallelujah and pass the biscuits!

To hear the conversation between Jesus and Nic, find John 3:1-21; For more on being in a storm while Jesus takes a nap, read Mark 4:35-41; To warm up by a fire and watch Peter deny his Friend see Luke 22: 54-65; For breakfast by the sea with Jesus read John 21:1-14.

By the way…

Photo credit: Seabert Pittman, my daddy

He loves you too and there’s not a thing you can do about it either!

 

Read Full Post »

Hey Gang!

And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

Thank YOU for all the love and support last night! Your comments and purchases of my new book were so encouraging. Of course it is still available if you didn’t get a chance to order it yet. PLEASE be sure to tell me what you think of it by leaving a review. You help me to be a better writer!

My goal when I began writing was to represent the Lord in a new and creative way. That continues to be my prayer. I really appreciate your help!

I don’t know how many books sold last night, but I received a lot of positive feedback. I think it takes a while for Amazon to tally best seller status, maybe a month or so. But any news I receive I’ll be sure to pass on.

Again, thank you! May the Lord sweetly bless each of you!

Read Full Post »

It’s Time!

Hello Sweet Readers! It’s time! Go now and pull up my book on Amazon:

Too Far Gone, the journey of a good man who lost it all.

Get ready to click the button and buy at 7pm Eastern.

Thank you for your support and kind comments along the way! Much love from Clarkville!Product Details

 

 

Read Full Post »

September 29th, 2016 was my last big chemo treatment… the kind that makes a person instantly old. After that came the “lesser” chemo every three weeks; surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and eleven lymph nodes; then thirty radiation treatments. All that was completed this past June followed up by hormone therapy. Hopefully those drugs will keep the devilish disease from returning.

Praise God I lived to tell about it! Now I have sense enough to really be thankful for things I missed while going through treatment; Simple things like sleep. I rest so well now that I’m back to snoring loud enough to rattle the windows. In fact, I’m so loud that I may be responsible for the zombie movement since I surely wake the dead.

I’m thankful for food that I used to love but couldn’t stand the taste of while taking chemo. Things like coffee, chocolate and fried chicken that David makes in his mom’s old electric frying pan. Oh how wonderful. He skins it then soaks it in milk, rolls it in flour and the crust is to die for! I even love the wonderful aroma of it cooking. Last year I would hurl at the thought. David literally lost twenty pounds while I was sick because he tried not to eat in front of me. Well, that and a boatload of worry when I prayed stupid stuff like, “Lord Jesus! Just take me home!”

Bless his heart.

I’m thankful for friends and family. Though I loved these folks before, something about a friend stopping by with a new nightgown she happened upon at Marshall’s’; brown sugar bagels from Panera’s; a new hat and a funny story… it felt a lot like love. One day I found a bright red picnic basket outside the door filled with lotion, lip balm, a funny coffee mug, garden clogs and flip flops. Just thinking about being strong enough to walk outside and have a picnic or work in the yard felt a lot like hope.

I’m thankful most of all for so many prayers and messages telling me often that folks were praying for me. In a time when I couldn’t process the words of Scripture, though I knew they were true, others lifted me up. A pastor friend stopped by and I told him of my struggles. Having been with many folks going through chemo he related that one of them said his brain was so foggy that reading the Bible was like reading a can of soup. It meant nothing. The pastor’s kind words helped me past the guilt I was experiencing to an understanding that God had not left my side. It felt a lot like faith.

I’m thankful for David. I knew to be thankful before I got cancer. But something about having a husband who cleans up behind a grown woman who is too sick to make it to the bathroom in time really shows what a man is made of. Again, bless his sweet heart. His kind example of faith, hope and love felt a lot like grace.

And lest I spiritualize things too much, I have to admit that I’m thankful for hair. Apparently God looked down at the curly bob I’ve worn since the eighties and said, “Enough of that girl! You need a new doo!” He grew it back, curled it not quite as tight and even gave me a few sprigs to pull toward my ample forehead. I imagine He smiled at His work and said, “Not bad for an old chick.” I know it’s vain, but I can’t even tell you how happy I am to finally have hair. It feels a lot like joy.

I have to say, I think I owe my life to you. Remember the story in the Bible of the men who carried their friend on a cot to Jesus? The place was so crowded they lifted him onto the roof. I reckon they had a pulley system of some sort. They removed the roof tiles and let him down right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:20 says that Jesus healed the man and forgave his sins when he saw the faith of his friends.

When I was so weak I had to be carried, you my friends lifted me up to the Lord in prayer. You faithfully asked Him to heal me. Praise God He did! It feels like faith, hope, love and grace rolled into a great big bundle of joy!

Yes! I’m so thankful!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »