Morning Has Broken….

…. to a misty, watery sunlight with intermittent rain showers. The mockingbird on the neighbor’s roof is amplified and sounds like it is broadcasting to the world. It rained a bit last night; just enough to get the ground wet and cool us off to a more spring-like temperature. It’s the kind of morning that makes me wish for a screened sleeping porch, so we could just laze and enjoy. Indoors, work beckons, but for now, I am resisting. The pups are finally okay with coming outside after the thundering of last nights storm.

A few years ago, a lightning strike and the gigantic corresponding clap of thunder right next to us made it feel as though the house jumped in surprise. It blew out the power, and a small ball of fire burst out of the fireplace. Since then, the little one hides whenever there is thunder, even when it is barely discernable to me. He refuses to go outside, preferring to cower under something inside ….. which leads to another problem. Little dogs, no matter the pedigree or background, have to go out more frequently than the bigger ones. Consequently, I got up this morning to several puddles on my newly cleaned kitchen floor. 🤔 Just like having a 2 year old without a diaper ….. Good thing they are so (stinkin’) cute. 😜

As pleasant as my morning is (except the pee-puddles!), there are hundreds of thousands who wake to a really broken morning. A home missing a parent – or both parents. Dealing with a recent loss of a loved one, especially losing a child. Homeless, hungry. Forsaken by a spouse, or worse, beaten and abused. Devastation from wildfires or floods or volcanos. Hopeless, desperate, depressed. I’ve known some of these, and I am grateful for my home and my place in this world. I count myself among the blessed because I have friends and family who care.

Most of all, I am Blessed because I know JESUS. He is the Morning Star, the Hope that gets me up in the morning. I’ve tried life without Him, and it can be passable, but it is lacking. How did I make it without the Hope, the Grace, and above all, the Mercy of my LORD? How? I’d have to say, very poorly. Because of Him, I have the pedigree of a princess. From commoner to royalty, I have been lifted up into the bloodline of the KING of kings, LORD of Lords, Creator and Ruler of the universe. What bloodline or pedigree can compare to that?

One day

Have you heard Jeremy Camp sing “There Will Be A Day”? It begins like this:

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end…..”

There are days when my head and body ache, and my eyes are gritty like they are full of sand. I’m tired. My mind wants to shut down and sleep, but instead of rest, the instant my head hits the pillow my brain is caught up in a maelstrom and swirls around in an avalanche of random thoughts. I want to get up and go and do things, but the wind sucks away all of my strength. My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. My desire is to fight, but life weighs so heavily on me.

“Fight the good fight for the True Faith. Hold tightly to the Eternal Life to which GOD has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy 6:12 NLT

Am I alone in feeling this way?

All I have to do is open a social media site, or turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a paper to see the misery and anguish that permeates society. We are surrounded by complaining, grasping, whiny people, who often drown out the muffled cries of the ones dealing with real suffering and tragedy. No, I don’t count myself as someone who has real cause to cry. Most of my issues, physical and emotional, can be attributed to decisions I’ve made without waiting for GOD’s answer.

The song goes on to say But I hold on to this HOPE and the Promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering…”

I pray that when things, when life, looks and feels hopeless, you will raise your eyes and look to JESUS. He walks beside us, and He will carry us when we need it. He will take our burdens if we’ll just let go of them – picture this: your hand is gripping the handle of your baggage, then loosen your fingers and move your hand away from it…. Flex your fingers. It feels so good, not having to lug that heavy load!

I long for the day when JESUS returns and the enemy is conquered, because then we will have a new heaven and a new earth; a place where GOD Himself willwipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelations 21:4 ESV

Conclusion? Life sucks sometimes. I can blame others, I can claim victim status and vie for sympathy, or I can lay myself and my burdens at the foot of the cross of JESUS, and carry on with His help. What will it be for you? What a friend we have in JESUS! Amen!

My Happy Place

The ocean calls to me with the rhythm of the tides as they ebb and flow. It’s something inexplicable; a feeling deep in my being. The sound of the surf breaking, the distinct smell of saltwater, the wind blowing in from the water, the incessant sound of seagulls….. it all serves to ground me; it’s my Happy Place. I’ve heard many people express their dislike of the sea, saying that it’s humid, noisy, dirty. Oh, the sea can be those things, but it is so much more. There’s a primal quality with the tides; a siren song as they call to our innermost beings. I’ve read that the sea is a harsh mistress, and I can understand that, but it can be a gentle lover, too, caressing and soothing. When I am at the ocean, and I experience the tide continuing it’s course, inexorably constant, the outgoing tide washes away my stress and worries while the incoming tide brings peace and contentment.

The tide is an apt analogy for how GOD works. When we accept Him, He washes us and caresses us with the gentlest tides. He washes away my cares when I rest in Him, while bringing serenity and peace into my life. The enemy throws storms at us, sending huge tides and monstrous waves at us, trying to wash us away – our LORD is our Anchor in the riptides and the maelstroms of life; without Him, we become like the wrecks at the bottom of the sea. Jesus said,

“I tell you the Truth, those who listen to My Message and believe in GOD who sent Me have Eternal Life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” – John 5:24 NLT

“This Hope is a strong and trustworthy Anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into GOD’s Inner Sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:19 NLT

GOD Blesses Those….

“GOD Blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the Crown of Life that GOD has promised to those who love Him.” – James 1:12 NLT

I don’t like this verse. “Patiently endure….” GOD knows I want His Blessings, and I know that He hears my prayers for deliverance from the physical and financial issues I face. He also knows I have ZERO patience! I get really angry at the LORD when He doesn’t give me the answer I want, and when He makes me wait for His answer, well, let’s just say that I’m not always very gracious about it. In spite of the countless Blessings He has bestowed upon me, I want more Blessings and fewer tests and temptations! As a former pastor would put it to me : “And how’s that working out for you?” Not so great, if I’m honest with myself and don’t sink into denial. Ever since our ancestors were booted out of the Garden because of their original and extraordinary poor choice to ignore the one rule the LORD gave them, all of humanity has followed their lead, heaping bad decision upon bad decision, ad infinitum! Due to that one incredibly bad decision, we live in a society and a world that is full of trials and temptations. (Thank you, Satan, and Adam and Eve for listening to you …… and yes, that is sarcasm ….. )

Despite the history of bad decisions and the onus of sin that is upon us, the Creator GOD has given us the solution to our sinful humanity in the form of JESUS. He took on Himself a human form so that He could become the ultimate sacrifice; to be tortured and to die in order to cover our sins with His blood, and then to conquer death When He rose from the grave! He did this so that we could be freed from the endless cycle of sin and death that was bestowed on us by the enemy. As long as our earthly bodies live; until JESUS returns, we still have to dwell in this corrupt and imperfect body and earth.

How much longer, LORD?

Because I know the Truth, and because I have surrendered my life to Him, I know I’m free from death and hell ….. but how much longer before Isaiah’s propecy is realized? I’m ready, are you?

“Sing for JOY, O heavens! REJOICE, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.” – Isaiah 49:13 NLT

To My Dad

“The LORD is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for YOU are close beside me. Your Rod and Your Staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely Your Goodness and Unfailing LOVE will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.” – Psalms 23:1‭-‬6 NLT

My Mom gave me the ultimate compliment. She said I sound like (write like) my Dad. I am so unworthy of that statement! My Dad was one of the strongest Christians I have ever known, and he and my Mom are forever my heroes. Through adversity that would have felled a lesser man, he persisted in preaching the Gospel and telling everyone he came in contact with about his Saviour, JESUS. He wasn’t afraid to talk about our LORD, and he delivered many scathing sermons – not always in the pulpit, either. I have been the direct recipient of a few of those sermons, and I can say without any hesitation that he went straight to the point (or you could say, the jugular) so that there was no chance of misunderstanding. He believed so strongly in spreading GOD’s Love that he walked away from a lucrative family business, and alienated his own Dad in the process. He was an incredible teacher, making a tremendous effort to ensure that everyone, without regard to age, education, or station understood what JESUS and the scriptures meant.

Was he perfect? Oh no, far from it. He was often an absent parent, because he would be at someone’s house or hospital room, ministering to their needs. He didn’t made a decent wage for most of our childhoods, but we somehow always had food and a roof over our heads (GOD provides, always!). He let my Mom juggle housework and 6 kids and school and shopping and church-work, because he was gone so much. He could be rigid in his ways, and we (all) butted heads over things. I never doubted that he loved us or Mom, but it was evident he loved his LORD even more, and he made sure that we all knew about JESUS and Salvation. I would’t trade the way I was raised, although I would have given quite a lot if he would have gotten me the pony I wanted 😎 …..

He ensured that all 6 of his children understood what it meant to partake of the Living Water of JESUS CHRIST, and he had the privilege to lead us to the LORD. He mellowed quite a bit as he got older, but his focus stayed on his LORD. Although most of us rebeled and strayed from what we knew what was the Truth (thus leading to those scathing sermons….. ), most of us have returned to the LORD as we have matured. My parents lived this proverb:

“Train a child in the way he should go. When he is old, he will not turn away from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 NIRV

We may turn away from GOD, but when we have a strong Foundation, one reinforced by JESUS, we will eventually return to the Living Water. Even though my Dad has been with his JESUS for a number of years, the legacy of his life lives on in countless souls who found Salvation in JESUS and partook of the Living Water of His Salvation. There will be a tremendous celebration in heaven when we all get there! Will you partake of the Living Water of GOD and join us?

Listen to Mercy Me sing ‘Greater’ …..

Oh, Give Me Back My JOY Again

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of GOD’s Armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of Truth and the body armor of GOD’s Righteousness. For shoes, put on the Peace that comes from the GOOD NEWS so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of Faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on Salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD of GOD. Pray in the SPIRIT at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” – Ephesians 6:12‭-‬18 NLT

“Oh, give me back my JOY again; You have broken me – now let me rejoice. Create in me a clean heart, O GOD. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” – Psalms 51:8‭, ‬10 NLT

I have to share this devotional from the NIV Ragamuffin Bible:

“A profound mystery: GOD becomes a SLAVE. This implies very specifically that God wants to be known through servanthood. Such is GOD’s own self-disclosure.
Thus, when Jesus describes His return in Glory at the end of the world, He says, “It will be good for those servants whose Master finds them watching when He comes. Truly I tell you, He will dress Himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them” (Luke 12:37).

Jesus remains LORD by being a servant.

The beloved disciple presents a mind-bending image of God, blowing away all previous conceptions of who the Messiah is and what discipleship is all about.
What a scandalous and unprecedented reversal of the world’s values! To prefer to be the servant rather than the lord of the household is the path of downward mobility in an upwardly mobile culture.
To taunt the idols of prestige, honor and recognition, to refuse to take oneself seriously or to take seriously others who take themselves seriously, to dance to the tune of a different drummer and to freely embrace the servant lifestyle — these are the attitudes that bear the stamp of authentic discipleship.”

“And don’t be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your FATHER already knows your needs. Seek the Kingdom of GOD above all else, and He will give you everything you need.” – Luke 12:29‭-‬31 NLT

Can I get an Amen? These are POWERFUL words!

Royal Military College of Canada memorial window Sir Lancelot wearing the whole Armour of God

Authentic

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” – Luke 9:25 NLT

Are you looking for something to complete and fulfill yourself? A man or woman, the right job? Are you at the top of your profession, proud of your accomplishments, bragging to your peers? Are you a phony, acting out like a proud peacock, ostentatious, or are you authentic? I like to think that I am authentic, real, not faking or pretending, but I know that in reality, I fake it a lot. I know lots of overachievers, people who have lived their lives with focus and with their faces to the future. My focus is easily fractured, leaving me going in many directions…. I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things. See, I can’t even seem to keep to my train of thought on one track today!

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” – Matthew 25:29 NLT

Growing up, our piano teacher pushed me because I had ‘pianist’ hands and a good ‘ear’ for the music. Well, piano didn’t work for me – it required too much practice (short attention span + easily bored don’t equal good practice time!) My art teachers pushed me to develop my drawing and painting and plastic arts. The art came easy, only it frustrated me that my hands wouldn’t – and still won’t – accurately depict what my eyes / brain sees. I love music. Choir was great fun, both in school and church, but I became discouraged that my physical voice didn’t match what I heard in my head. Then there were all of the English classes. J’aime l’anglais! (Heehee!) I got to read every book in the library! There were grammar and punctuation and spelling tests….. no problem.

Like the third servant in the parable JESUS tells us about in Matthew 25:14-30, I buried my musical talent for years, and consequently lost whatever good sounds I could make while singing. Of course I still sing, but it’s more like mak8ng a joyfull noise 😂 . I have continued to dabble in the arts by applying the things I have learned in different disciplines, including practicing my drawing by designing houses and kitchens. Had I focused on just that, there’s really no way of knowing how far it might have gone. Instead, I let myself be disillusioned by any perceived (or real) criticism, and bounced around to many other distractions. I became the Jack (or Jill 😁 ) of all trades, master of none. Obviously, I haven’t gained the whole world, and I’ve lost more financially than I’ve gained, although I am incredibly blessed in what I now have. I know these Words from Jesus are pure Truth:

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” – Luke 9:25 NLT

I will probably continue to struggle financially, and I may struggle physically and mentally, but I KNOW the Truth. The Truth of JESUS CHRIST and His Love for me, and the Truth of my Salvation. The authentic JESUS. I know this world is not my home because my home is with Him, my Saviour. Are you authentic in JESUS?