BitterSweet

It’s good to sit down to write again. Life has been quite busy and full of surprises both good and challenging. This year has been lightening fast, and it is hard to believe November is here. November is a bittersweet month around our house. We love Thanksgiving and all the traditions, celebrations, and family times. At the same time, it is a time we remember some dear family members who graduated to their heavenly home; many whose home-going was during the month of November. November is also the month my husband and I have the pleasure of celebrating our anniversary.

I remember as a little tot; it was November when I attended the funeral of my Grand-daddy and my Great-grandmother. I’m not sure why the time of year stands out in my memory. Many years later, we also buried my husband’s beloved brother in November 1985; followed by my Mom and Dad in 1996 and 2003 respectively.

Today it has been twenty years to date since my Mom took her heavenly voyage way to young! (Just a few years older than me) As you might imagine, I have been reminiscing a bit as the day has approached. I have remembered special times and fond memories, thinking how much she would have enjoyed her seven great-grandchildren and looked forward to the new little one soon to be born.

Today also marks another special day in November; another reason to be thankful for all the Lord has done in our lives. It marks the end of a season, a labor of love that has resulted in the birth of a dream. Conceived in childhood, implanted in 2014; finally a reality today.

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Now available at Amazon.com or  https://www.createspace.com/6544403. I can’t help but wonder just what my Mom and Dad would think…

By God’s unfathomable grace, I am able to hold tight to Him and His grace to face all that November brings into my life; both good and challenging! Every single month for that matter. Life is full of wonderful and wonder-filled moments and it is important to remember each one! It is also filled with many challenging times when we must hold on to our faith, His grace and all that is good in our lives just to take our next breath! His grace is sufficient for every situation!

Be Blessed and may His grace and peace fill your days!

Courage to Remember and Not Draw Back

Greetings, 
      I am sad to say it’s been quite a while!  Normally when I write, it is about something I feel that God is teaching me or what I am learning as I walk through an event or situation in my life. Lately, I have been in a weird place and I just could not figure it out or even define it. In my estimation it made no sense.  Perhaps the reason It has been so difficult to define is because the basics of my life are pretty good. God has been gracious, merciful and loving to me; my marriage seems to be better that ever; I have a great family, wonderful adult children, and the blessing of seven super cool grandkids not to mention extended family and wonderful friends formed over the years. For all this I am deeply grateful!!
 
     After some avoidance, in the way of reading mind-numbing fiction to escape reality; some mild retail therapy and much contemplation, soul-searching, praying; and just a minute or 129,600 to actually put it all together and figure it out; I have determined that my heart is broken!  Yes, my heart is crushed!!
 
     I don’t know if you’ve noticed or experienced this, but it seems the last few months everything is speeding up. Time seems to evaporate right in front of my face. The world seems to be spinning faster and changing at extraordinary rates. Fighting in the Middle East, Christians being martyred for their faith, earthquakes, jail breaks, senseless murders, child abuse, spousal abuse, humans being abducted and trafficked and harmful addictions of every kind. Let’s not even get into all the political news and the warring between people groups. 
     
     We have gone from a place of live and let live allowing each man to be responsible for their own beliefs and actions; agreeing to disagree civilly and continue to treat each other with respect and love. Now it seems the majority or at least the vocal majority have adopted the ideology that if you are of a differing opinion that me, you should be trampled and some believe eliminated. Any differing opinion now indicates in the eyes of many that the person not only fears you but also hates you and therefore is a criminal and deserves to be punished by whatever means the offended one deems appropriate. This is truly sad!  In the effort for every people group to be treated ‘fairly’, special privileges are granted for one that in turn minimalizes the other or squashes their voice.  In the end, everyone is hurt. How would Jesus respond?  
 
      Did I say I am heartbroken?  Particularly close to home is the political correctness of attacking people of the Christian faith. The thing is, if you happen to be in the boat with me, it should not come as a surprise…Jesus plainly said that those who choose this life will be mocked and hated because of Him; Jjust as they mocked and hated Him.  Will we respond as He would?
 
      What was once considered good, wholesome and right is somehow becoming classified as evil, offensive and is villainized; conversely, many things that were once kept secret because they were considered harmful, dangerous, and wrong are openly celebrated. Seriously, one look at headlines, social media and other media outlets is all it takes and it’s not just the big stuff. Again, the Bible prophesied that this would happen, we should not be surprised.  
 
      Here is where  courage to remember comes in, bet you were wondering if I’d ever get around to the point of the title…
 
 
Hebrews 10 tells us:
       “Remember the earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to taunts and afflictions, and at other times you were companions of those who were treated that way. For you sympathized with the prisoners and accepted with joy the confiscation of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves have a better and enduring possession
So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. But we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭10‬:‭32-39‬ HCSB)
 What is the cure for a broken heart?
 
 Remember!
 
     You have been enlightened…You choose a new way in Jesus.
 
     You have been through struggles before!
 
     It’s not your first time in tis place and most likely not your last…
 
     Choose joy; even during these times, find Joy in Christ as your refuge!
 
     Hold tight to your confidence and find that confidence in Jesus Christ and 
          God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit!
 
     You may struggle and suffer for a short while here, but you will receive a 
           greater reward according to His promises!
 
    He is coming back, and He is victorious! Revelation 5:5
 
    We who remain faithful share in that victory.
 
    He takes pleasure when we do not draw back.
 
    We obtain life when we refuse to draw back!
 
   Lastly, Remember what Jesus said…
Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
May His grace and peace be multiplied to you!!

Full Circle= (Remember. Reflect, Recuperate,Rededicate, Redirect)

This morning after my S.O.A.P. reading, I found myself looking ahead to tomorrows passage just to see what was coming up and to ask the Lord to prepare my heart for what He would have me learn from it. I skimmed over the chapter and not once but twice a word jumped out at me. That word was Gilgal.  I began to think back to a time in my life when this word or maybe I should say the significance of this word became very real in my life and quite significant as well.

Gilgal is first mentioned in the Bible in Deuteronomy 11 where God is describing the Promised land that He will be giving His people. Interestingly enough, it is contains the declaration of God to the Israelites, 26 Today I’m giving you the choice of a blessing or a curse. 27 You’ll be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I’m giving you today. 28 You’ll be cursed if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God, if you turn from the way I’m commanding you to live today, and if you worship other gods you never knew. 29 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you’re about to enter, recite the blessing from Mount Gerizim and the curse from Mount Ebal. 

I find that very interesting, considering the topic of my last entry was about choosing blessing or cursing, life or death, so this is the result of something I believe the Lord is trying to say to me or teach me. If it is helpful to someone else that is great, but most of the things I write about are things that I am learning or that I feel the Holy Spirit is teaching me.  This is my outlet and if you will since we are talking about Gilgal…my memorial stone to help me remember.

Back to Gilgal.  One of the most known and important times in Gilgal is found in Joshua when the Israelites have been instructed to cross the Jordan River to enter the promised land. Here the Lord parts the waters of the river for all the people following cross the river on dry ground while the priests stand in the middle with the ark of the covenant . God instructed Joshua that one man from each tribe be assigned to select one stone from the middle of the river where the priests had stood and take it to the place the Israelites would camp that night. As they did what God asked, Joshua explained, “4:21 He said to the people of Israel, “In the future when children ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 the children should be told that Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.23 The Lord your God dried up the Jordan ahead of you until you had crossed, as he did to the Red Sea until we had crossed. 24 The Lord did this so that everyone in the world would know his mighty power and that you would fear the Lord your God every day of your life.”  

In chapter 5, at this same time, all the men who were born in the wilderness were circumcised at Gilgal. Circumcision was a sign to them that they were set apart unto the Lord.  Here they remained in this new land until they were healed.  Also, at Gilgal, the Lord declared in Joshua 5:

The Lord then said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the disgrace of Egypt from you.” Therefore, that place is called Gilgal to this day.

What does all this mean?  For me, I am sensing that Gilgal is the place where Israel has come full circle, it is a reminder of God’s salvation of Israel from Egyptian slavery, from the wrath of the Egyptians who were chasing them and were swallowed by the Red Sea; a reminder of His protection and provision for their 40 years of wandering in the desert, where they always had food and water and their clothes and shoes never wore out; it was a place of laying aside the flesh and consecrating themselves to God; laying down false beliefs and false gods that they were exposed to during slavery and being rededicated to the one True God. I believe Gilgal was a fresh start, a clean slate. It was also a great monument and reminder because of the twelve memorial stones. Human beings tend to over time forget or allow all that our God has done for us become a distant memory. These stones stood and still stand as a reminder of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites, we would do well to note and remember all God has done for us! What a stabalizing factor and comforting peace we could enjoy when the storms of life come blowing us over, if we take time to set up remembrances of the times He has seen us through hardships and difficulties or rescued us from them. When we regularly celebrate His presence and provision in our lives we are much calmer and peaceful when the storms of life blow over us, sometimes blowing us over.  I want to come full circle, celebrating fresh starts, rededicating myself to Him, remembering His presence and provision in my life, letting go of the difficulties and pain of the past but remembering His faithfulness and love as a reminder not to return there; choosing life and blessing over death and the curse!