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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

That’s MY Donkey

“Hey man! Don’t be takin’ my donkey!”

That’s what I would’ve said if a couple of strangers came up to my house and started untying the family beast of burden. I mean, how will we get the firewood home, or take grandma to prayer meeting? You can’t just go around taking people’s stuff all willy nilly.

“The Lord needs it.”

Jesus told his friends to say that when He sent them to fetch the donkey. Apparently that’s all it took. The owner had no problem sending his valuable property with strangers. He wasn’t promised a great return on his investment. He wasn’t promised the donkey would be brought back fed and watered… or even returned at all.

All he knew was that the Lord needed something he had.

If I had a donkey, I can hear myself reasoning…

“Sorry guys. It’s the only donkey I’ve got. You’re gonna have to find yourself another mode of transportation. I just made the last payment. Had to finance it for seven years, but finally it’s all mine.”

“What? The Lord needs it? The Lord has everything. Why does He need MY donkey?”

I’m afraid me and my donkey would’ve missed the Jesus parade… the only one He ever had.

In fact, I think I would’ve missed a lot of things.

I don’t believe I would’ve climbed a tree to get a better look. People would surely laugh at a grown woman perched in a tree.

I wouldn’t have called Him up for a night time meeting so He could answer my questions either. What would the neighbors think?

I doubt I would have given my lunch to Him when everyone realized it was time to eat and there was no food. What good would my little pitiful sack lunch do?

And I KNOW I would not have stepped out of a perfectly good boat to go traipsing across the choppy sea. Who would take such a risk?

Not me.

In fact, everything is just fine the way it is. So Lord, I’m here for You… right here in my cozy house, with plenty to eat, and my nice warm bed, surrounded by things and people I love, with my precious donkey safely tied outside.

Hmmm… Sounds like a parade off in the distance.

I wonder what I’m missing.

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A Picture of Grace

He looked through the woods as we drove. “Easter comes early this year. I wonder if the dogwoods will be ready?”

Like him I hoped so. They are such a beautiful picture of grace.

Have you noticed how much Jesus loved visuals? As He spoke of worry, He pointed to wildflowers. Instead of just saying that God would provide, He referred to the birds. I bet it gave Him much pleasure to create the dogwood.

dogwood

Look at this stunning visual of His sacrifice. Each cross shaped blossom displays blood stained “wounds.” Each center exhibits a “crown of thorns” as if the very heart of God shouts, “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased!”

Let’s fall to our knees and worship this God Who draws us to Himself.

All heaven and nature point to Him.

How can we do less?

“For God made Christ, Who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” -2Corinthians5:21

“O God be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.”

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Follow the Recipe

As you probably know by now, my hubby David is a fantastic cook. He just knows stuff: Like how to combine the simplest ingredients into a one dish wonder that causes unbridled yummy noises to flow as I delicately woof down whatever he’s concocted. Plus, he never seems to need a recipe. For instance last night he made a chicken and rice dish with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Apparently he has a secret supply of angel nectar stashed somewhere with our emergency beans because the broth was heavenly. I slurped it down like it was my last meal. Of course that’s currently how I roll in every part of my life. One can’t assume too much at my age. We don’t even buy green bananas.

Unlike Chef David, I like to bake and I ALWAYS use a recipe. Never have I thrown stuff into a bowl all willy-nilly and exclaimed happily at the results. In fact, I now have a system whereby I put all the ingredients to the left of the mixer then as they are used I move them to the right of the mixer so I can remember if I’ve added them or not. It’s a good system. That way I hardly ever leave the pumpkin out of the pumpkin bread anymore.

This morning I came across a passage in Scripture that seems to combine both mine and David’s style. It’s a great recipe.

“He that would love life and see good days:

  • Keep your tongue from evil & your lips from telling lies
  • Turn away from evil
  • Do good
  • Search for peace and work to keep it”

Not only do we get a rather easy formula for loving life. We also get a promise that the Lord will answer our prayers.

  • “For the eyes of the Lord watches over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers.”

Then comes the warning: “But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.” Sheesh. Ain’t nobody gonna want that!

So if you’re like David and you just know stuff, toss goodness and peace into your life, refrain from negative hurtful talk and reap wonderful results. If you’re more like me and need a recipe, refer to this list often; because who wouldn’t want to love life, see happy days, and have answered prayers. Apparently this recipe turns out so well that it’s given in both the Old and New Testaments. [See Psalm 34:12-17 and 1Peter 3:10-12]

Beloved Reader,

May the Lord bless you with many good days, where you love life and know He is attentive to your prayers. May He also give us strength against evil, deceitful speech. And may your pumpkin bread always contain pumpkin.

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It is Enough

David made my favorite breakfast this morning. He cubed leftover boiled potatoes and browned them to make home fries. Beside those were scrambled eggs with cheese. As we enjoyed our feast I made yummy noises and commented. “I LOVE Thursdays!

He smiled back at me and said, “I love YOU!”

Next thing I know, I’ve covered my face in my hands and tears are dripping into my eggs. The man is just too good. I’m in so much pain these days that he does everything for me. He knows my heart but I still tried to explain. “It makes me so mad that I can’t do the things I want to… like work in the yard, and cook, and clean. I’ve always enjoyed keeping house and raising kids and working in the school office. Now I’m too weak to do ANYTHING!”

He was quiet but his eyes brimmed over with enough sympathy that I could hear his words. “Honey I can’t do the things I used to either. Neither one of us can do what we DID. So we just do what we DO. We’re in a different stage of life. That doesn’t mean that the things we do now are not important.”

I thought on his words. I guess I’m not the only one who used to be busy from dawn to dusk. The clock went off at 5:15am for so many years that it took forever to get used to NOT getting up at the crack of dawn. Oh I still wake up around then. But now I waddle to the potty then climb back into bed. It’s really not such a terrible life.

But my strength is so small.

I suppose there are very few times in our lives when we have great strength and faith to move mountains. How much do we really need? Maybe that’s why the Lord reminds us that all we really need is a speck… a drop… even as small as a mustard seed. According to His Word, that is enough. He gets the best glory when we rely on His strength anyway.

Today, I have just enough faith to lift feeble hands toward heaven and cry out to my loving Father. “I want to do more Lord. But for now, apparently this is enough. For if I needed more, You would give it.”

To me He whispers this reminder from Psalm 37- “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him and He will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.”

Beloved Reader: May the God of all comfort strengthen you to do what you can. Then rest in His great love and know… It is enough.

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The Man Gift

Do you find it hard to buy for the men in your life? You’d think living with someone for nearly forty seven years would give me a clue. Nope… still clueless. Currently we are trying to improve our little love shack. Not a full blown remodel; just a few things to make our nest more efficient. Since David enjoys cooking I ordered a large slab of butcher block to enlarge his workspace beside the stove. The box was delivered to the front steps where only strangers venture. I mean really. Look at the entrance. There are enough spider webs covering that space to suggest it’s still Halloween. Maybe that’s why the delivery guy dumped the box on the ground beside the steps. He must’ve took one look and decided not to risk it.

Even though it was very heavy I figured I could slide the box around the house to the real door. Well, I tried. About three inches and several painful warning signs later it hit me. Apparently I am not a spring chicken any more. I have to say I was not quite ready for that shocking revelation. Sometimes life is just not very polite. About three hours later I got a Christmas miracle. One of our daughters and a grown granddaughter happened by and were able to get the box into the house. Those girls are freakishly strong for a couple of skinny chicks. I did a happy dance… actually a happy waddle and took joy in the gift that I knew my sweetheart would love.

Christmas morning came. I clapped like a little girl rejoicing that for once his present did not contain socks or underwear. He pulled his pocket knife out and carefully opened the gift. The look on his face said, “You bought me countertops?” So I explained how the piece would have to be cut to fit over the dishwasher beside the stove then fastened to the wall so he could “Mise-en-Place” [arrange all his ingredients] and chop to his heart’s content. Again the look. This time it said, “How wonderful… a project.”

I know this man. He’s not unkind. He just wasn’t sure what to do with his face. Then we pulled the rest of the box off his gift to discover even more wonderfulness. The thing was busted. BUT it was actually broken at exactly where we would have cut it. Though the edge is a bit jagged, we decided to use it rather than go to the trouble of sending it back. David stained it, sealed it, put it in place and invited me to see how it turned out. I tipped my head at the broken piece against the wall standing up as a backsplash.

“It’s like a live edge,” he explained. I looked at him wondering what to do with my face. He gave me a smile and I realized. He DOES like it! So we shall enjoy it just the way it is. Together throughout our many similar adventures we have learned that things do not have to be perfect to be good and useful. That wisdom along with so much contentment only comes with age. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’m not a spring chicken any more. To that I say, “Waddle on!”

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Just Dust

I’m pretty good at hiding my crazy. But sometimes it’s a bit disconcerting even to me. For instance: I can’t stand to raise the blinds and leave them a bit cock-eyed. That won’t do even for a minute. I hate marking something out with an ink pen when I mess up. I just get a new piece of paper and start over; even on something as minor as a grocery list. And I really hate grammatical errors to the point that I have a hard time texting. While I’m trying to be all hip by getting used to abbreviations, I still think twice before using “lol.” Probably because for the longest time I thought folks were sending me lots of love.

Annyyywayyy…

I got a new day planner for 2021 as if my life is so busy I need to take careful notes. The only thing I have to keep up with now is all the doctor appointments. Like my mom-in-law used to say, “When you get to a certain age, there’s always somewhere to go; either the drug store, the doctor or the funeral home.” Sadly, I think I’m there. As I added the January appointment to my new calendar, I put it on the wrong stinkin’ date. My fresh clean planner is already messed up! It felt like a bad omen. As my hopes for the new year plummeted, I thought of the white-out stashed in my desk. Quickly I tried to cover up the mess. But alas. The cure was worse than the error. A crusty white blob stared back at me on my fresh new year.

Panic squeezed my chest until I realized the soiled date is also Winter Spruce Up. This magical day is celebrated throughout our small town by hauling all manner of unwanted junk to the curb. Diligent city workers will cart away discarded treasures for FREE! In our case it will be the 1980’s model washer and dryer that died simultaneously on black Friday. These faithful friends have been part of our lives longer than I can remember; much like the shoes of the children of Israel as they trudged through the wilderness. Those things just never went out of style. Another good thing about being crazy is that the word FREE covers a multitude of angst. PLUS now I have something to write over the white-out on my new calendar. Carefully I printed “SPRUCE UP” over my former mess. It’s not perfect, but it is better.

Last year taught me many things. Probably most important is that I am not in control. Who would have ever suspected that as organized and careful as we are we’d get caught with our britches down and nothing to wipe with.

No… I am definitely not in control. No matter how much I plan, stuff happens. Appliances will give up the ghost right before Christmas. Sickness will hit no matter how healthy we eat. There’s not enough white-out in the world to cover our crazy. However, God “knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die as though we had never been here. BUT! The love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear Him.” –Psalm 103:14-17

The best way I know to deal with crazy is to give my uncertainties to the Father. I function much better with Him in charge anyway. As it turns out, He’s really good at making some very useful things out of dust.

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An EncouragingU Christmas is a collection of holiday stories from five local authors including Doug Creamer, Ann Farabee, Roger Barbee. David Freeze, and ME! Click here to check it out! After the year we’ve had, I think you’ll love getting your hands on something positive. May the Lord use our book to lighten your load just in time for a very Merry Christmas!

Much love! Lynna

PS: Copies will also be available at Attractions on Main in Salisbury and Missions Pottery in Lexington starting in December.

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Truth Worth Hanging Onto

My mom-in-law used a handful of catchy phrases that she deemed appropriate for certain situations. For example: If someone thought they were “all that” and dropped the ball at church or a family function, she would remind us that “One monkey don’t stop the show.” If something hurtful happened she was quick to remind us that “What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.” When plans changed unexpectedly we knew we could count on her to say, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

I think my favorite, and her wisest saying was that “Things won’t always be this way.” In 2020 after the year most folks have had, I believe we can all shout a loud “Halleluiah” to that!

I hear talk about our new normal.

Nope.

I refuse to let this become my new normal. I look forward to handing out all the hugs I want; to smiling without hiding it behind a mask; to watching television without all the fearful warnings and even better, without the political ads filled with lies and character assaults.

I think we’re better than this.

I think this year has been a wakeup call to remind us of how good it is to work hard, send our children to school to professionals who know stuff; to shop for groceries without looking at each other suspiciously; and best of all to worship without fear. Let’s return to THAT normal!

After all, what hasn’t killed us has surely made us stronger!

PS:

While the proverbs of my beautiful southern mom-in-law are very wise, she would agree that Scripture is wiser still. May the Lord strengthen us to rest in His promises.

“The Lord is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble. And He knows the ones who trust in Him!” – Nahum 1:7

Amen!

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Currently there are two hurricanes headed for the Gulf States; twin harbingers of chaos and destruction named Laura and Marco. Twins are like that you know. My mom used to tell of taking us three girls to Noah’s Five and Dime in Landis when we were small. My sisters who are twins would immediately wrench their little hands from our mother’s grasp and take off in different directions. It was a fun game of cat and mouse… until mama got them home. This regular occurrence was not due to lack of discipline. Believe me, there was plenty of that. I think it was more about what my two younger siblings considered to be fun. Apparently they inherited our daddy’s talent for mischief. I remember one time coming back to the house from the garden with mama and finding the screen door locked with those two goobers inside. Like a couple spider monkeys they sat on the kitchen counter with a box of vanilla wafers, stuffing as many in their mouths as possible. Through the screen mama implored them to unlatch the door.

“Cain’t,” mumbled one of them. “Stuck,” mumbled the other. Eventually mama convinced them to use the broom handle to pop the latch off. It took a while as there were many cookie breaks between tries. Sometimes I wonder how mama held it together raising us three. Of course I was a lovely child never prone to wander. So at least there was that.

As David and I watched the weather channel the other night detailing the projected paths of the twin hurricanes, the weather person pointed to the map and a large red swath moving inland from the Gulf. With a solemn voice meant to relay the severity of the situation she intoned. “This is the cone of uncertainty.”

We looked at each other and laughed. “Really? So that’s what that looks like! Only shouldn’t it cover the entire world at this point? Or at least our whole country?” If you’re like us, life feels a lot like a big fat cone of uncertainty. Chaos and destruction are reported on every hand. You can’t watch a Braves game without Covid being mentioned a hundred times. At least the victory celebrations have gotten more interesting. Grown men dancing in the outfield approximately six feet apart is kind of fun.

For now, I think I shall relax in the uncertainty. Though I am not one who likes surprises I’ve learned. It’s not about what I like. We’ve lived long enough to have suffered loss of loved ones, loss of homes, loss of churches and health and jobs. When you’ve been through a few crap storms you grow to realize. There is only One Who knows the end from the beginning. He is not surprised or caught off guard at our current events. The important thing to do is to pray. Hand it all to Him. I’m telling you this from experience. Giving Him the load to bear and trusting Him for the outcome is the only way to navigate the current cone of uncertainty. That way, when the dust settles, the troubles we have are not of our own making; like ulcers from worry, high blood pressure from irritation, or guilt from an angry response. In fact, I think a vanilla wafer might be in order. Perhaps with a little peanut butter. The world can yell through the screen door all it wants. The Lord is in charge of me. He alone is faithful.

 

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A Good Sign

We might be nearing the end of the current pandemic. David’s been saying all along we’d be able to tell that it’s almost over when we not only FIND toilet paper, but are able to purchase the SOFT rolls of choice. Well, yesterday he hit the jackpot! He commented to our friend Natalie at the grocery store how pleased he was with his good luck. She advised him to go buy a lottery ticket.

Poor man. Since I’m a delicate flower and currently going through another season of pain, he’s running all the errands plus doing the grocery shopping. He found a few paper face masks in our paint supplies but was afraid to wear one lest he be chastised for mask hoarding. But he promised not to kiss any cashiers or lick anything whilst he was out among the teaming masses.

Our Illinois daughter Stephanie, hoping to lighten the mood wore a mask left from Halloween while she shopped for groceries. Instead of laughs she received more than a few suspicious looks. But it sure helped with social distancing. Everyone seemed to be afraid to make eye contact. If they had, they could tell by the girl’s sparkly eyes that she really is smiling behind her mask.

Our granddaughter Kianna will graduate high school this May. Celebrations have all been cancelled. We wanted to encourage her with a card. But apparently graduation cards are not on the essential list. However, David found two random cards so we could at least mail her a check. As he showed me the one with the pig in a saddle [which advised the recipient to live high on the hog] he advised, “Just mark out Happy Birthday. Or if you like this one with the dog better, mark out the ‘I’ and make it ‘we.’”

I chose the dog card because obviously it was much classier, and corrected it to say “WE’ll always be there for you.” It still didn’t make sense so I marked out the ‘t’ in ‘there’ because technically we can’t be THERE, but we can be HERE. Looking at the edited mess, I included the sentiment, “We love you way more than this card would indicate.” Hopefully the gift will reflect our heartfelt sentiments better than the jacked up card. I’m just glad David remembered stamps at the grocery store. Bless his heart. It only took three weeks.

Two of our local grandchildren came by one day and hung out of the windows of their truck to throw me “air hugs.” They see me in pain often and their mother always warns them not to hug too hard. Jesse nearly made me cry when he commented with his air hug, “This way I can hug you as hard as I want!”

Yep, surely we’re nearing the end of the crisis. I am really looking forward to being hugged as hard as I want.

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