Sunday, October 29, 2017

When the Bad Cancels the Good

It doesn't take long.

I can go along doing good deeds.  Being thoughtful. Trying my best to help others

Then BOOM!

I do or say one thing that cancels any good I did. Then I feel awful. And alone in the boat. 



I'm certain you've felt that way at times too, so I'm relieved I'm not in this canoe by myself. You know the one I'm talking about? The ship that takes you out to a stormy sea by way of bad deeds?

It happens to most of us. Well, not hubby. He's a good, kind and patient man.  Not me. 

Not the people I saw this weekend. That  group won the weekly crown for ungodly behavior. I wonder which one or ones of us will earn it this next week?

I'm not to judge. I know. I hear you saying that. I'm not judging, but I'm fruit inspecting. 



This pictured banana was good before it turned bad. People can do the same. Like a banana. Overnight.

Noble people can do dastardly deeds. Sometimes it's only one that goes off the expected path and acts weird. Other times, it's a group.  It can be debated if the conspiring team this past weekend had good intentions or not. They thought they did.


One bad deed canceled out all the good, at least to my way of thinking. And they'd done a mountain of good. Indescribable kindnesses. Amazing acts of generosity. Heaps of volunteered time. In one stroke, they helped one and hurt others. Was it worth it? I suppose it was to them. Only God knows the answer to that question. In my opinion, it was a blunder. A situation handled poorly. 

We all can goof. Each one of us is capable of revoking any virtue we've done. Scary, right?

A bad deed, intentional or unintentional has consequences. Here and in the life to follow.  I'll get to heaven because of the Cross, not my works. Thank the Lord. 
Now here's the thing. Any rewards I might have earned in this life may be terminated when the scale tips in favor of the negative actions I've generated below. God can terminate blessings here in the present, or He can say, "Sorry, you're here with Me now, but all the good stuff you did below is cancelled for rewards in my heaven. You blundered with a few bad actions down there."

I could defend myself and say, "But in that incident You're talking about, I didn't sin. I didn't break a Commandment."

And then I might hear, "Yes, but you hurt innocent people with faulty decisions."

Ouch!

So where's the lesson in this? I'm talking about the one bad deed canceling the good thingy.

Lesson number one:  Think carefully.  

Don't say, "I've prayed about this and feel it's the best." Baloney. God gets accused for actions He didn't authorize. If you want out of a situation, find alternative ways to bring it about without hurting the innocent.

Lesson number two:  Bad actions can annul good deeds.

People in the Bible found this to be true. So do we contemporary people.  

The verse in my header is from Colossians 3:17.  It reads:

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to the Father through Him.

Oops! I sometimes forget to do my deeds in the name of the Lord Jesus. How about you? And if I do something, I better make sure it's what He wants.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Forty Days or Forty Years?

I've been impatient? You?

Does impatience lead to anger? 

It can. At least it has with me at times.

I was speaking to a group the other day and English is their second language. I wrote the word IMPATIENT on the board. That was my topic.

Two hands went up.

"What does that word mean?"

(Interesting, I shouldn't take it for granted that everyone in an audience knows each word, especially when their heart language is something other than English)

I defined the word. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition is this:


restless or short of temper especially under irritation, delay, or opposition

 And then we went on with our discussion. I wanted us to come up with ways to handle frustrations. So we discussed two brothers. Aaron and Moses.

Moses spent 40 days on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. Meantime, Arron was below making a golden calf. God gave consequences to the people following this incident. 

Why in the world did Aaron do this dastardly deed? 

He grew impatient with the people for whining and complaining, and after 40 days of it, he gave up and gave in to their demands. Didn't take him long, right? 

He suffered no direct, immediate consequence for his cowardly act, but his two sons later died. Here's another thing. Aaron didn't enter the Promised Land. Was his  life difficult due to simple, ordinary events that happen to each of us, or were his tragedies due to disobedience from impatience and anger?

His brother, Moses led the grumbling people 40 years and then his impatience and anger got the better of him. God told him to speak to a rock and water would gush forth. Instead he struck it with his staff. God said, "That's a no-no. You will see the Promised Land, but you will not enter."

For one, Aaron, it only took him 40 days to lose patience. Moses was longer suffering. It took him 40 years.

Was it their anger and impatience that led to consequences?

I believe the penalties were due to their actions.

Deeds produce the problem. Emotions that lead to deeds cause heartache.

Which of the brothers do you relate to? I'm not as patient as Moses, so unfortunately, I identify more with Aaron. 




Sunday, October 22, 2017

Angels



"Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you....I will send an angel before you...But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff necked people...." Exodus 32:34. 33:2.

Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, below, Aaron was making a golden calf.

Guess what? God wasn't happy.

Moses interceded for the people, and God, because He is kind and merciful, elected to forgive the forgetful, faithless group.

The crowd chose to disobey. God chose to forgive. But God said there would be consequences.

God had been the Leader from the get-go. He'd been in the cloud by day and the fire by night. The actions of the people caused Him to change His mind about His presence. He wouldn't go with them, but He'd send His angel to go before them.

Sad, right? They missed their Divine Blessing. The Presence of God. 

God, in His mercy, gave them an alternative, an angel.

I love angels. I write about them. I'm thrilled to have them in my life.  I know they are with me. They do God's bidding, but they aren't the real deal. 

He is!

Who leads you today? God? His angel? 

I hope we all stay in His Presence, but when we fail, and we do, I'm relieved He sends His angels.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Funny Bloopers: Editors Needed.

As the pastor of a local church entered the pulpit he was handed a note to be read to the congregation. The note said, "Mark Anderson having gone to sea, his wife desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety."
The pastor picked up the slip and read aloud, "Mark Anderson having just gone to see his wife, desires the prayers of the congregation for his safety." 
From the Clean Joke Book, Bob Phillips, Harvest House Publishers, pg. 141 

Maybe the preacher didn't have his reading glasses on. On the other hand, perhaps the note writer wrote the note without a comma after the word "sea."

Here's a few bloopers to appear in church bulletins. 

  1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  2. Applications are now being accepted for 2 year-old nursery workers.
  3. If you would like to make a donation, fill out a form, enclose a check, and drip in the collection basket.
  4. The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Reverend and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  5. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  6. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.
  7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
  8. A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
  9. Ushers will eat latecomers.
  10. Potluck supper and medication to follow.

Now you know why we writers need editors.


I have 16 books on Amazon and I'm grateful to all the editors who have worked with me. I send each of them a big thank you. They make my work better.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Old Joke


Photo courtesy of Pixabay


Here's an old joke to start the day.

Little girl:  Mother, you know that vase you said had been handed down from generation to generation?

Mother:  Yes.

Little girl:  Well, this generation just dropped it.-- 
The All-New Clean Joke Book by Bob Phillips, Harvest House Publishers, page 64


Let's smile at that,  and admire that innocent face, but on a serious note, keep this in mind.

How sad it is when one generation drops the morals, scruples, and ideals of the previous generation. I'm thinking of the virtuous mores of past peoples. Marriage. Babies born into a two parent home. Life commitments. Church. Patriotism. God and Country. That sort of thing.

Do you see a movement away from those past standards?

I guess it depends on which generation you're in whether you see it or not. 

Ask the former generation and find out what their fathers learned, for we were born only yesterday and know nothing and our days on earth are but a shadow.--Job:-8-9. NIV.




Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Demand Sexual harassment Stop


Have you read Mattie's story yet?

Women are more fortunate today.












But women still experience harassment and abuse. We still have a long way to go to get this behavior stopped, even with our own husbands.  In what way are we equal? How does a woman keep her independence, intelligence, and be Biblically submissive?Churches debate over the teaching of submission. How far is too far? Society in Mattie's Day thought it okay for a woman to be raped or sexually mistreated. "Just don't tell. Keep the family secrets." Today's headlines reveal the mores in Mattie's Day continue to thrive. Come on, ladies and gentleman, let's change things. No woman or child should live in fear and put up with abuse.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Empty hands

No one is to appear before me empty-handed.
 --Exodus 24: 20. NIV

I read God's words to Moses this morning and thought, Whoa! Then I looked at my hands. 

When the time comes to say hello to God, face-to-face, what will be in my hands?

Oh, don't get me wrong, I know I can't take anything with me, but what have I given to Him that I'm leaving behind? Have my hands been a blessing to others?

What is an important legacy? One that God smiles over and blesses?

We'll all have different answers. Children, ministry, jobs, good deeds, support of pastor and church, talents, etc. I'm sure various ideas come to your mind as you read this. 

But are those the "things" that God really wants?

The Psalmist, King David, was wealthy and powerful. He was a talented dude too with lots of "things" to hand to God, and he brought multitudes of offerings to the Lord. He preferred sacrifices that cost him something. He made once this statement:

But the king replied to Araunah, "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.--2 Samuel 24-24.

Hmmm. I wonder if I've surrendered anything that truly cost me something. That "something" could be time, money, talent, even life itself. I give offerings, but how much real expenditure is in them? Have I really, ever given up something I wanted to keep? A gift I couldn't live without? Have I given an artifact or asset that cost me an enormous submission?

That's kinda like the age old debate, "How much goodness is enough?"

David expressed the true sacrifice that pleases God in Psalm 51:16-17:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or would bring it. You do not take pleasure in brunt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. O God, you will not despise.

Ah ha! Now I know the gift that pleases God the most. What He wants to see in my hands is my heart.




Friday, October 13, 2017

Weeds Ruin the Beauty



I walk by a rock garden when I tread the neighborhood. The garden was once beautiful. Roses. Large stones. Little pebbles. An assortment of small colorful flowers. I don't garden, so I don't know their names, but they were pretty.

The weeds took over. No more beauty.

How quickly those weeds grew. Before I knew it, they'd ruined a tranquil sight.

As I passed by today, I stopped and photographed the garden. Like the garden, my mind gets full of similar weeds at times. How about yours?

We go along, thinking our thoughts, taking care of daily activities, and then BOOM!

Weeds control our thoughts and actions. Ugly weeds.

What kind of weeds do you have today?  I'll tell you a few of mine, but please keep them a secret, OK?

Fear.

Yep.  I'm fearful about stuff coming my way. Our daughter is ill, and decisions must be made. I don't like it one bit. I also dread with mucho anxiety what the outcome will be. 

Anger

This weed is small at the moment. That's because I yank it up and throw it out, but it grows back. Who do I feel angry toward? Mostly circumstances I can't control. Big whooop on that one, right? If I can't control something, why be mad? I pull that weed up often.

Resentment

This one is small too, but it also grows back. I sometimes resent circumstances that keep me tied down. 

I have notes taped to my desk. Here one I wrote in a Sarah book, and because it spoke to me, I taped it near as a reminder.

"Sarah," Mother Goodness smiled, "Don't look below at the circumstances. Look above to the Father."

Good advice, right? So, I need to stop looking below at the fear, anger or resentment about things down here I can't control.

I remind myself that Someone bigger than me is the Master Gardener, and He's got the landscape planned. I'm just the weed remover.






Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Treadmills. Do You Like Them?


I'm gonna buy another one. Do I want to? NOOOOOOO, I don't!! I hate getting on the thing. I usually go to the gym and select one in the lineup. When I forget my earbuds, I'm forced to read the closed captions on the TV.  If I remember the earbuds, I can listen to an audio book. The TV or book makes the walk go down easier. The trip to the gym is an hour round trip from my house, not counting the time on the hated gadget. Sigh. If I have one at home, maybe I'll use it daily and have time for other, pleasurable things. Maybe. That's the plan, anyway.

In my next Sarah book, my little dyslexic angel helps a human with a makeover. Sarah and Valerie join a gym to help with weight control and physical well being. Like me, Sarah finds the equipment torturous. If you've read any of my Sarah books, you know she's gonna cause accidents in the gym. Unexplained, funny, chaos.

At the end of the book, Sarah accomplishes her mission. Valerie, the earthling, becomes confident and healthy, both physically and mentally. Right choices do that for us.

Wouldn't it be lovely if an angel came down to help us with doubt? Or our weight? Or the myriad of problems we face?

Truth be told, sometimes they do.

I'm studying the book of Exodus. In chapter 23:20, God tells the Israelites that He's sending an angel ahead of them to guard them along the way and to bring them to the place He'd prepared for them.

I know God didn't send Sarah. She would have kept them lost. Sarah can't find her way, even with a map. She sometimes flies up when she means to float down.

Even with God's help and the angel's direction, the wandering, freed, Egyptian slaves acted obstinate at times. Rebellion seemed to be in their DNA. 



And we in our modern day are no different. We're stubborn folks, similar to the proverbial donkey. We don't always do what is good for us. Like the treadmill or healthy eating. We break those Ten Commandments too.

So is there hope for us? When life is hard and we have stuff we don't want to deal with? What about when we fail? Or the times we bury our head in the sand and procrastinate?

Put one step in front of the other and return to the treadmill of life. If you fall off, get back on. Is it fun to do the difficult? Nope. Not at all.


But we can do this! 


At the end of the challenge, we'll find a rainbow. When the blood work reveals better numbers, and the scale shows a reduction in weight, we'll be happy we stayed on task.



Sunday, October 8, 2017

Gene Kelley Sang in It



Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
 It's learning to dance in the rain."


Gene Kelly not only danced in the rain, he sang it it!



Are you in the midst of a storm? 
We are. No, not Harvey, that one passed.
This one is personal. We have rain that others can't see.
Our days are dark while others have sunshine.

Decisions need to be made about our very ill daughter.
And the choices we need to make are sad.

So what do we do in a storm?
Cry?
Get angry?
Resentful?
Bury our head in bed?

God gives hope during the cruelest of storms, 
so why not sing?

And Dance!

God will enjoy our positive response and performance.

He'll also probably laugh at my hubby's attempt at dancing.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

Classic Cars


A Car Classic.

We have an Classic Car Club in our neighborhood. It's so much fun to see these cars. Owners drive them in parades and keep them in mint condition.


Here's a truck a neighbor puts in his yard at Christmas. Isn't it a delight?

These cars and trucks came at the right time in history. Farmers found they could get produce to the markets faster in trucks than by horse and buggy. Taking a Sunday drive was a big event to look forward to as the week went by. Women weren't thought strong enough or smart enough to drive a Model T. The crank could give quite a kick. Henry Ford's early invention cost about $300.00.

Good inventions came in the early 1900's.

However, so did natural disasters.
Like the Dust Bowl.
The Great Depression.


Mattie's Choice is an entertaining way to learn about history. You'll find it in print and eBook on Internet online book sellers.

Many of my author friends ask interesting questions. Here's another blog where I'm the featured author. I hope you'll learn something new about me and my book, Mattie's Choice.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Walking and Talking


Are you familiar with that old hymn, "In the Garden?" I'm singing as I write. Don't you wish you could hear me? Probably not. Not the way I sing. The chorus goes like this.

And He walks with me and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share, as we tarry there,
None other, has ever known.

Several years ago, I was leading a service featuring hymn singing. We sang as a congregation and also had solos and ensembles to sing specials. My five year old grandson sat on the front row. One of our dear, sweet, older ladies approached from the middle of the sanctuary. As she walked down the aisle to the front, she announced, "I'm gonna sing 'In the Garden.'"

My grandson looked at her and then said to me, "Why does she have to go to the garden? Can't she just sing in here like everyone else?"

Children that age take everything literally. So does my angel, Sarah. Such comments bring us a smile. Sometimes, they bring a belly laugh.

Today, I'm on InnerSource, and I've written a devotional about the Biblical Ruth. The title of the article is Walking and Talking.  I hope you'll read it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Stuff You Might Not Know.


I'm on a couple of interview sites today. I hope you'll check them out. I reveal a few secrets. Shhh. Don't tell, OK?

The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction: Gay N Lewis' New Release - Mattie's Choice!: It is my pleasure to introduce  you to one of my favorite authors , Gay N Lewis. I have read many of her books.  1.Tell us a little a...


Here's another. They are similar but different. These ladies asked questions that made me think about answers. I hope my responses will be a blessing to you.

Fay Lamb's Blog



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Who Pushes Your Buttons?



I love Mexican food.  Enchiladas are my favorite. I eat too much of this good stuff. Everyone makes them different. I'd like to take the red salsa from one place, green salsa from an additional one, cheese enchiladas from yet a different restaurant, beans and rice from yet another.  Now that would be the perfect dish.

Sarah first tried a Mexican dish in Sarah: A Mission of Love.  She almost choked to death on the first bite, that is if angels could die.  She didn't know what a jalapeno was and ate the whole thing.  Those little peppers are sometimes too hot and spicy even for a Texan. Angels aren't accustomed to hot and spicy. Bites like those come from below. Angels eat angel food.



Sarah is a fun and funny book to read. We need to smile. The world has too much trauma and scary events this day and time. We have too many button pushers in our lives. We need to escape with a happy read. One to make us laugh out loud.

Speaking of pessimism, challenging events, and button pushers. I just had a conversation with my daughter. I reminded her that perfection doesn't exist this side of heaven. Not in food or relationships.

This child of mine will be the only one complaining in heaven when she arrives.

Do you know people like that?

You can stand on your head and make them happy for a few minutes, and then you must find a new game to appease them once more. 

It never ends.

I've had bosses that gave me a headache. So what if you did a good job the button pusher says, "what are you going to do for me now?"




Always pushing the buttons.

Mattie had a husband who pushed her buttons. Everyday! You have someone like that in your life? I guess we all do. For me, my button pusher is a daughter.

Discover how Mattie did it.


In spite of our imperfections and our negativity, God holds us together. We aren't perfect. He is. He does incredible things for us. Things we don't see. Positive stuff. Not negative.  Listen to Louie Gigleo explain laminin.

No, the perfection doesn't exist. Except in God Himself. 

The rest of us down here live with our imperfect button pushers. Of course, we're probably guilty of pushing someone else buttons. Yep! We do. Whose do you push?

Monday, October 2, 2017

Hello Out There!


Greetings from Fulshear, Texas!

We started off this morning with 72 degrees. We're expected to climb to 85 degrees with no rain in the forecast. We have 94% humidity, so it's gonna feel hotter than the thermometer indicates.

In case you don't know where Fulshear is, we're west of Katy, and Katy is west of Houston. We drive to Katy for most shopping.

Fulshear is a family name. It's pronounced Full Sure. The area was established in July, 1824. Mexico gave a land grant to a guy named Churchill Fulshear. This man was one of Stephen F. Austin's Original Old Three Hundred. His league of land consisted of 4,428 acres. The Fulshear family came to Texas from Tennessee.


What were his parents thinking when they gave their son this big name? Churchill Fulshear. Think about nicknames. Can't you hear some kid yelling, "Hey Churchey, come out and play."  Or maybe, "Hi Hilly, how ya doin'?" 

The guy was wealthy, and wouldn't you know, he proudly named his son after him. Churchill Fulshear Jr. Junior is the one responsible for building the area into a town.  He built a large plantation on the land grant. He also built a three story mansion for his family and he loved racing horses.  Some guys have all the luck, right?

In 1888, Junior granted the railroad the right to pass through his land. Well, duh! But I guess that's what the old boy wanted. This caused people to flock to the area. A school district came along in 1893, and a Methodist church founded in 1884. That church continues to thrive today. 

The town sported saloons and other business. Uh oh! A fire in 1910 destroyed a block of city businesses. That slowed down progress, but eventually people rebuilt.

The population hovered at 250 until Houston began to spread her wings to the west. The 2014 census number about 4300 people. The estimate is about 6,000 today.

If you've read my other blogs, you know we live in Weston Lakes. A city west of Fulshear. Weston Lakes was part of Fulshear until the residents voted to incorporate. We maintain our Fulshear address. It was just easier that way.

So, how are you spending your day? I started out with a walk before dawn. Now I'm talking with you guys. I'm about to start chores. And one of the chores is promoting Mattie's Choice.

The book sold well over the weekend. Have you started the read yet? If not, please do!  Thanks!
  











Sarah: A Mission of Love

Sarah: Laney's Angel

Sarah at Christmas