Diamond Rings in the Mail

I love Jewelry!   It reminds me of My Father, God.
To me, a good necklace is like a fine tie.  And rings?  Oh yes!  Rings give me great pleasure. Come to think of it, bracelets are also a delight.
My thought is that surely God meant for the baubles, bangles, and all the “adornments” yielded by this earth, to be available for HIS kids.
My husband has gone out of his way to buy me a few cute pinky rings.  He knows how I enjoy all-things-glittery, but he also knows that I refuse to spend much on any of them.  He has followed suit, and his little gifties have always been a great deal!  I feel so loved.  He loves me, and God loves me through him.
For years, I never owned much in the way of either costume or nicer jewelry.  I admired other people’s pieces, but never though much about it for myself.  Raising five children, and taking care of other people’s children, required my resources to be channeled in other directions!
Money was always stretched thin!  Wouldn’t you know it, it was during some of those hard times when I felt God’s nudge to pass along a certain ring, necklace or other keepsake  that I did have,  to someone who needed love or encouragement.  Honestly, I didn’t think much of it, I just did it.  
Recently I reconnected, on Facebook, with someone I hadn’t seen in years. When her birthday arrived, I shot her a quick message.
Later that day she replied with, “Remember the bracelet you gave me years ago?  I still have it and I always think of you and how much it blessed me back then when I was struggling. It still does!”
I didn’t even remember. 
I’m not patting myself on the back, but that’s pretty much how obedience to God should be.  Do the “doing” and continue in the normal way of Christ-like living.  Even now, I live in “The Flow.”  Things flow into my house and then flow back out to those for whom they are ultimately meant.  Every so often, I get presents from The Lord, given to me through others, and I know these are mine to keep!  
One day, rings and other jewelry began coming my way.  One of my dental office clients had a certain lab guy who dropped by unannounced. He mentioned that his mother had passed away and he sold most of her stuff, but had a few things left. He said if I liked any of it, it was mine. He opened a big pouch.  Jewelry!  Birthstone rings for me and all four of my daughters, a pearl broach set in gold and two vintage pearl necklaces went home with me that day.  Stunning pieces of jewelry left me stunned!  Mine? Really? It took a while to settle in.
We had been kind to this haggard soul who suffered a divorce and was left with a disabled son.  He joined us for thanksgiving dinner in our crowded home only a couple of months earlier.
Not long after, I had a dream where I saw myself passing along my tanzanite/gold ring to a Christian Chiropractor. She was in her mid-sixties but was no longer able to work because of an injury. When I brought it to church and slipped it on to her finger, I whispered to her that God had something special for her.
She squealed as she held up her hand! She began,
“Last night I was talking to God and He began putting a desire in my heart for a gold ring with a purple-blue stone!”
Then she went on to tell me that she never had a penchant for rings whatsoever, but felt that God was encouraging her about her future.  Go figure!  I guess HE was!  Did I miss my ring?  Not much.
And so it has been for me…..   Not just with jewelry, either.  Twenty years ago, my china went to a little gal who rarely ever cleaned her house, had three boys and a sloppy husband.  That is another story for sure, but the change that it effected in her life was monumental.  The next time I saw her, her house was clean, painted inside and the china displayed in the built-in cabinets of that old Victorian!  Small price.
In an unusual way, pieces of “my china” began showing up, and over time, I managed to accumulate a bigger set than ever before.  This set was ultimately passed along to a poor family at church.  There were really down-and-out.  (Mind you, my own husband was unemployed at the time) The wife was so blessed by the action that she got her faith in gear to believe for something to hold it.  They began believing God for a job and so on. Now they are home owners and blessed in so many other ways! 
And would you believe it? I have accumulated a whole set of the same pattern since.   I laugh every time I see it in my cupboard!  God has a great sense of humor. It always reminds me to take the limits off God.  If He can do it once, He can do it again – and better!!
On top of that, before my mother-in-law moved to heaven, she made sure to give us her Noritake China from the early 50’s.  Since I didn’t know her well, it was to my absolute amazement that she, also, personally handed me a huge (half the size of a quarter) dark green jade ring set in gold.  It had been something special to her. Just gorgeous. I guess it covers half my finger!  Funny, but my thoughts turn to My Provider every time I wear it!
This phenomenon hasn’t been limited to women only.  I’ve even given rings to men!  Some were directly for those men and for others, rings or necklaces arrived for their wives or daughters.  When they couldn’t afford a birthday present or anniversary gift, God provided!  Did I know about these events in advance? Not at all. I was as surprised as they were, especially at the timing!
Our dining table has been given away a couple of times while we did with whatever.  My parents who welcomed me into their home as a foster child, passed to us, their gorgeous, antique cherry wood table.  I spent my teen years eating at that table!  Mom has sent me some quite unexpected presents in the mail.  Yes. . . jewelry!  She listens to the Lord and has been instrumental in forwarding along money and other useful things as well. They always arrived just when I needed them!  You see, I learned from her how to live.
All in all, the real jewels of my life aren’t stones – they are people.  Precious, each one, because God gave them to me.  Some of them shine all on their own.  Others need a little help. Some stay around and others move on.
Whatever medium God provides to me, I use to connect with those who need a loving arm around their shoulders.  It might be that I intercede, write letters; send cards, e-mail, text, call, blog, or use social media or any combination of contacts.  I use Facebook as a prayer list.  The sky is the limit!  Our army has many weapons and, therefore, no excuse.
Sure, when certain of our “things” were given away, we merely did without for lengths of time – but overall, I hardly noticed.    Oh, and did I mention  that I received diamond rings in the mail?  That is another story !
all jewelry images courtesy photobucket.com

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Amen – So Be It!

“Amen, so be it.” A few things thrust me into contemplation over this phrase, today. 
With out a doubt, I definitely overdid during the past weeks and months!  We were helping kids move and our house was being prepped for some big repairs.  My eating and sleeping had been upset. As a result, my energy level fluctuated wildly!
For breakfast one day, I flat out stuffed my face with some of the rich chocolates my husband bought me from See’s.  Yum!  Once I mindlessly crammed in two chocolate covered cherries while I was sitting at the computer working. No problem!  My coffee was nearby!   Thinking about it now, when I cram-jammed these goodies in my craw, could I actually say, “Amen-so be it?”   Dear Lord, help me !
On another note, I would never dream of driving above the speed limit on purpose!   You must understand, it was all those other cars pushing me!  When I was speeding, could I acknowledge what I was doing and honestly say, “Amen – so be it?”
Then, about a week ago, when someone actively tap-danced on my last nerve and my callous thoughts ran wild, could I stop right then and truthfully say, “Amen – so be it?”
Swearing? Although I’ve never been given to swear words when I stubbed my toe or worse, I wondered about certain circumstances where I, quickly, silently, flashed on my Creator and shot blame His way. “God why did YOU let this happen?”  Could I really hold up my fist at Him and then follow that action with “Amen – so be it?”
Could I fittingly pronounce an affirmation after any of these things? As I commit a few of these things to paper, I find myself shaking my head and chuckling.  “Amen – so be it” is a declaration of affirmation.  Most people say it after a prayer.  I suppose it means they are affirming what they just said and the “Amen” seals it!
I‘ve heard some comical, albeit, powerless, faithless prayers over the years.  Where do people come up with this stuff?  Certainly, I would NOT want to seal any of these prayers with an affirmation.  If God really did what they spoke, they’d be in real trouble.
Bringing it closer to home, however, I can see that my words and actions could use a tune-up as often as, let’s say…oh….about everyday!!! 
See what trouble meditating on The Word gets me into?  Thank GOD for that WORD!  Now I’m stuck giving it some consideration!   Calisthenics for my mind!  According to II Corinthians 1:20, all God’s promises are Yea and Amen.  It is a Good thing they are, and a Good example for me!
At this point, I am obliged to “Selah – PAUSE and calmly think of that”, first! Then I can incorporate the lesson; make the changes, toe-the-mark.
The upshot for me is that if I “Selah” first, I will most assuredly be able to firmly seal my words and actions with an…..   “Amen – so be it!”  

This post was shared at Joan’s Grace Cafe: at: http://www.reflectionsofhisgrace.com/2011/09/sparrows/

Also shared at: Laura’s Brag on God on Fridays at: http://www.beholdingglory.com/1/post/2011/09/brag-on-god-friday10.html   Please visit her site and read what others are bragging about!

Also shared at the Wellspring:  http://www.lauraboggess.com/2011/09/what-oxygen-gives.html Please visit there as well!!  Scroll way down to find the entries

Entitlement Mentality Meets Reality!

I just about fell off my chair today, when I read a friend’s Facebook post.

Now mind you, this friend is young, doesn’t work much, and uses her boyfriend to buy her high dollar dates, purses, shoes and jewelry.  She lives like she has a never-ending supply of cash, yet she’s always poor-mouthing about how she can’t afford anything.  

A few days ago she wrote, “I hate being always being broke”.
Her boyfriend wrote back… “I’ve been broke since I met you!

Of course I snickered to myself, because that probably won’t ever change.  Why?  Because this girl thinks she “deserves it”, and because her guy is being lead around by his pants, not common sense!

The thing that really irked me was her post for today, (I could hear the “Valley-Girl” voice)

“So happy I got into all the classes I wanted.  Even more happy that my sister has all the books that I need . . . which means the boy friend and I can go on vay-cay with my financial aid check.  Hooray.”
Honestly, my not-so-holy reaction was that I wanted to slap her silly!   So, just WHO, exactly, is paying for this vacation?  This girl – a late twenty-something – should have joined the ranks of responsible citizens by now, but she’s still acting like she’s seventeen!
The real problem is that she feels entitled to this money.  She has no scruples and no remorse. 
Just wait until that mentality gets put in check by Reality.  It may take a while, but it always happens.   Our society has lots of “users” who seem to get by with things while the responsible among us have our noses to the grindstone.  But as things go, change is inevitable and they are in for a rude awakening! 
I know of several of God’s kids who handle their lives in much the same manner, only they call it “God’s Blessings.” 
One Christian couple fudges the truth about their income so they can get a rent reduction.   Yet, they seem to have the latest and greatest technology as soon as it is on the market!    “Isn’t GOD good?” they say (Which God, I wonder?)
Another family in our church has thinks it’s okay to have their children say they are 12 years old or under so they can get into the movies or the fair, or eat at Denny’s for less.  While they wouldn’t think of having a friend hold the back door open for them so they could sneak into the movies, they sneak food and candy into the theater for their kids.  Any they wonder why their kids are deceitful and sneaky at home…..
Someone else in the church has received disability for years, yet works “under the table” and makes great income.  If she is so “disabled”, then how does she manage?  She seems to be able to see well enough to do all that computer work from her home office!  Of course she doesn’t report it because her benefits would be reduced.  I find it hard to fathom how she expects God to get in there and actually bless that type of dishonesty. 
A friend from another church complained that they were so broke they could not afford their electric bill.  At first I felt sorry for her and started to think about how I could help.  That is, until she began complaining about the new Smart phone she just bought and how hard it was for her to understand. 
Excuse me?  You can call me narrow or too practical, but if you can’t afford your lights and gas, you have no business contracting for a service you cannot afford.
We can’t just decide we are going to do one thing or another and then ask God to bless it.
Fred Price wrote a Book called, “Faith, Foolishness, or Presumption?”  Foolish thinking and presuming upon God are dangerous for a believer.  When a believer manipulates his own circumstances, God is left out.  So, what happens when circumstances go bad?  Where is faith if it hasn’t been exercised and developed?
A mentality which says, “But I deserve….”   Or “I really need,” has to be kicked to the curb. We cannot afford to feed that beast any longer!

The Flesh hates to be restrained or told what to do!  Really, it has to do with a mindset more than anything. 

It won’t hurt God’s kids to learn to be lean-and-mean for the fight!    Living on the skinny helps us train and control our physical senses as well.
As God’s kids, what does HE expect?   He expects us to live by different principles.  The exercise of Faith and good stewardship bear lasting fruit! 
We have to earnestly ask God for help and then start the thinning process.  It begins in the heart and then filters out to the rest of life.  Practically speaking, it is a life-style change that may stick long afterward.  (Start the Weed-eater!)

Money, things, food…. God knows we have need of all of these.  His reality for us is that He is The Provider.  He is The Vine; we are the branches.  God is. . . and when we are in HIM, we are entitled to everything He says we can have. 

The bottom line?

It’s not by my might…it’s not by my power.
In Him I live and move and have my being.

I Have Set the Lord Always Before Me!

Image courtesy Photo-bucket 
I Have Set the Lord Always Before Me!
Words for a catchy, bouncy-type chorus with an audience echo:

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Always before me, always before me

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Always before me, always before me

He is at my RIGHT hand, and I shall NOT be moved
Therefore is my HEART  glad – My glo-o–ry  rejoi-ces!
And my flesh shall rest in hope; my flesh shall rest in HOPE!!

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Always before me, always before me

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Always before me, always before me

He is at my RIGHT hand, and I shall NOT be moved
Therefore is my HEART  glad – My glo-o–ry  rejoi-ces!
And my flesh shall rest in hope; my flesh shall rest in HOPE!!

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Always before me, always before me

I have set the Lord, I have set the Lord
Al-al ways,  be-for-ore me!

From   Psalms 16: 8
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Bragging Rights!

“Penny”  Our Old English Bantum
“Bwak-bwak!-buuuuck!!”  That sound repeated itself over and over in the early morning. 
It’s our little chicken’s way of bragging whenever she lays an egg!
She’s starting to molt and her eggs have been getting smaller and smaller! Yet, she “Bwak-bwaks” as if she was the goose that laid a golden egg!  Bragging rights, indeed!
Well, once she molts, I’m sure she’ll get back on track and all her squawking will actually mean something!
I find that there is a phenomenal amount of “Bwak-bwak!-buuuucking!!” coming from ever so-many people these days.  Really – It’s everywhere….even the pulpit!
People are full of themselves, their take on God, their programs, the new way of worship, their way of building the perfect Mega-church, revelations, visions, on and on  – unashamedly so.  It’s mind-numbing!
While I rarely watch much television, I happened across a commercial for American Idol where my eyes and ears were severely assaulted by flashing frames of colorful performers who all believed THEY were the NEXT American Idol!  Yes, they all had the answer to what entertainment was lacking.  (Sure they did….)
The spot paused to feature the audition of one very colorful character.  Now, because I suffer from practically-perfect-pitch, my whole body rebelled at every note belted out by this contestant!  It was absolutely horrible!    Horribly  n a u s e a t i n g – and, that was being conservative.
The judges’ faces reflected evident distaste for this person’s obvious lack of talent!  Unlike many instances, when the judges began expressing themselves, they were actually trying to be kind.
The contestant wouldn’t hear it and flew into egotistical rage, all the while belligerently foaming at the mouth through seedy expletives!  Then it got ugly.  The judges went off!  She yelled back.
All I could think of was my chicken.   My poor little chicken!  She wasn’t even aware that her eggs had become so small that they had nothing to offer.   But, after all, she’s only a chicken, lead by instinct.
There was no excuse for this individual, however.  Apparently, her self-focused, Bantum-sized brain, just wouldn’t allow her to hear the truth.  The judges were only trying to make some practical suggestions for her future.  Did she hear what they were saying?
Everyone tells me I’m good!” was one of her more civil retorts.
“Who is everyone?” asked one of the judges. 
He alluded to the fact that whoever “everyone” was, they couldn’t have had much experience with talent, music or the industry in general. 
“Bwak-bwak!-buuuuck—buck—buck-bwak-bwak!!”  The contestant flew into an aggressive backlash! 
My funny-bone stirred and I couldn’t hear her words any longer.  The whole situation became too comical; like a stupid little chicken thrashing around making noise.
Appalled at her blatant ignorance,  our disbelief gave way to humor.  Both my husband and I  burst out laughing!   Some people just don’t know when to shut up!  They just don’t!   
They think so highly of themselves that they will never be able to receive anything in the form of instruction or correction.  How limiting it is to have such a narrow axis around which one’s world must revolve!
Obviously, there has to be a guideline – a standard – and these Idol judges provided just that.
The contestant wasn’t content.  She was errantly convinced that SHE was the standard.  Such immodest, self-opinionated, narcissism!
The Bible tells us that we will hear a word behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”  Instruction in Righteousness isn’t hard to come by.
What is tough though, is for God to find those individuals with “ears to hear”. A tender heart and a teachable spirit is also requisite.
Some people, having only heard part of the instructions, fly off with their own idea of what they think the Gospel should look like. 
There’s the Ooey-Gooey Gospel where everything’s above love-and-feelin’ good.  There are conservative and liberal gospels.  There are also the Old-Time-religion folks, or the hell-fire-and-brimstone message.
Orthodoxy with changeless tradition coexists with Charismatic and Independent types. Those heady Gnostic folks try to go neck-in-neck with the true Bereans.
“Bwak-bwak!-buuuuck!!”   Sounding brass and tinkling cymbals…..
Self-touting, American-Idol-mimicking displays of Christianity vex so many souls. 
No wonder the un-churched choose to remain that way.  Who to believe? What is truth?
The bottom line is that truth is what GOD says it is – not what WE think it is.  My vote in the matter is that we put to death artificial, politically correct, feel good Christianity.  Let us conform our definition of the Christian life . . . . . to the Bible.
Narrow-minded?  I didn’t say it.  Jesus said the way is straight and the path is narrow.  He also said that few actually find it! 
The Holy Spirit is our GPS  (God Positioning System).  He will bring us into all truth, that is, if only we will quiet ourselves down long enough to receive with meekness His engrafted Word!
Ouch!   No time like the present for me to join the inspection line!
Bla Bla image courtesy photobucket.com


This is a pick-up-your-guitar,-your-voice,-and your-feet type of song!  It already has a catchy tune, but why not make up one of your  own and dance before the Lord. . . 
as YOU worship!






Also shared at: Encouraging Words Wednesday: http://cyndispivey.com/  (scroll down aways to reach the entries.) 

Shared also at: http://studiojru.com/2011/09/02/studio-sneak-peek-no-greater-joy/blog
image courtesy photobucket.com