Hidden In My Heart…

As a general rule, I don’t normally think about what goes on in the deep recesses of my heart. Life has its own ebb and flow…from routine to chaotic and back again. After a bit, I start to operate on auto-pilot quite well. Doesn’t sound so very spiritual does it?

One of my favorite verses in the Bible speaks about what kind of condition my heart and spirit should be in on a daily basis…

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  – Psalm 51:10

Of course, that requires time spent on keeping my heart right with God and before God. Never before have I seen a trash heap grow quicker than the way the stain of the world grows on my heart. Having gotten saved later in life, I had all the “worldly” attributes you could possibly imagine before receiving my Lord Jesus Christ. If it was bad, I had done it and was always on the lookout for something new (worse) to see if I could awaken my jaded senses.

I admit that it’s been eight years, eight wonderful years of growing with the Lord…but daily I let him down by the worldliness that still flows through my veins. I don’t think that I  “look” very Christlike on the outside but it’s a whole lot easier to fake a clean heart when you are just looking at the packaging that shows the finished image.

The Word of God says in Matthew 15:11, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”

If you were the proverbial fly on the wall around my house you would wonder just what I have been storing up in my heart for the last eight years. Shoot, most of the time I wonder. It actually scares me to realize that even with all the love I feel I have for Jesus, I still can claim that the internal scars are still wet with the poison of the world and it seeps into and then out of my heart to overflow from my lips and actions on a daily basis.

“Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  – Isaiah 6:5

The account in Isaiah 6 amazes me each time I read it. Here is a man, a prophet, called by God to take His Words to a rebellious nation, knowing all too well that they wouldn’t listen anyway. Isaiah however, gets it when He is before God and realizes that he is unclean…things he’s said, thought and done had no place before the Most Holy One! He speaks out and in return one of the seraphim places a hot coal on his lips and purges his sin. Now he is cleansed and ready to serve the Lord.

I fell on a wood stove as a child and burnt my hand badly…to this day I am leery of very hot surfaces. ;) That burned and I couldn’t use my hand for a while. I remember that the burn feeling went deep, like it was so far down that there was nothing that was ever going to stop it. So, in my mind I can imagine what that live coal felt like as it was laid, burning hot, on the sensitive skin of the lips. But think of the relief, the freshness after, knowing that his sin was gone. I’ll bet it was like one of those crisp, fresh breezes you get in the fall but a thousand times more refreshing!

So, I take that passage into my heart and then I fast forward to the book of Ephesians 4:22-24 -

“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Isaiah had been cleansed by a burning coal; I was born again, covered by the blood my Savior spilt on Calvary. When He died for my sins, He died for all of them…past, present and future. God knew every single thing I would do and say my entire life when He placed those sins upon Jesus to remove my stains and forgive my unrighteousness. And yet…

Here I sit, echoing Isaiah’s sentiments with a quivering brow and lip…”I am a woman of unclean lips!” I can sincerely thank the Lord that I am not where I was and that by His grace, I will continue to grow but oh, how I wish I was farther than I am at this point!

The pastor from my church in Titusville used to say that the fruit of the spirit was like a staircase…you move up and down as your growth waxes and wans. I feel as if I have gotten my heel stuck in a couple of the steps and can’t seem to move beyond them.

Knowing what I need to do and actually doing it has always been a struggle for me. I get lazy and tired and of course, I have a million excuses. Thanks be to God that Jesus didn’t trot out a list of excuses when He was consigned to die for my sins. He would have had the right; let’s face it…in the eyes of the world, I’m not worth saving. I am so glad that God didn’t feel that way!

So, as I emotionally beat myself up, there still hides in my heart a tiny ember of hope…God doesn’t just tell me to have a clean heart and to put off the old man, He gives me the prescription that I need to do exactly what He tells me to!

For instance:

Ephesians 3:18-20 -

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…”

Ephesians 4:2-3 -

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

I don’t think there is a book or chapter in the new testament or many in the old that don’t give us instructions, guidance and ways to follow Jesus; change our behavior and thought patterns and become the child of God that He would want us to be! My God didn’t just say to be holy for He is holy (1 Peter 1:16); He gave us a living example when Jesus walked this earth and then the Holy Spirit imparted the words to men so that I would have the written Word to help me change my ways to be pleasing to Him!

Each time I open the Word of God, that ember sparks and becomes a flame once again. My spirit is renewed and my joy and hope in the Lord are refreshed and renewed by the life-changing power of His Word! I may be emotionally laid out after the punching bag swings back and knocks me down but I am not counted out…with Him, I can get back up, clear my head and step back into the ring; knowing that He is standing in the front of me, deflecting the hits as they come.

Whew!

Once, tired…now refreshed and looking forward to another round. :D

Till next time…faithwalkin’ :)

The Gravitational Pull of Negativity

We all know how gravity keeps us grounded on earth, right? That is definitely a good thing…although I can think of a few times I would have liked to be weightless. ;)

Well, negativity has a gravitational pull as well and it also keeps us grounded…in the past – failures, mistakes, abuse, bitterness, anger; anything to keep you from rising to your next level. The worst part is that not only can our gravitational pull keep us grounded, the pull from ourselves or others can also be very grounding.

Have you ever been in a room with a group of people where everyone has a positive outlook except for the one “Negative Nancy or Norman,” whom no matter what spin you put on something, they always come back with something a bit more negative than the last thing that came out of their mouth? It seems when you leave that person in a group for 15 minutes or more, eventually the rest of the group suddenly feels tired, dejected or starts finding negative things to say. Negativity spreads faster than the flu and has killed more hopes and dreams than a nuclear bomb going off in the midst of the group. As you leave, you feel as if you are dragging a 50 pound ball & chain behind as you head for the parking lot. If you’re not attentive to where that attitude came from, it can affect the rest of your evening and have a trickle down effect on those you come in contact with.

Like some people, I struggle with the difference between negative and realistic. Sometimes, life isn’t pretty and the things that can happen are hard to state positively…whether it be in your head or with what comes out of your mouth.

But, with that said, I do believe that everything that happens can have a positive affect on you or others around you, if you work through it and allow it to become a positive gravitational pull. Death isn’t fun and losing someone you love can really take any positive energy you have and toss it in the trash. However, maybe you are blessed that you will see them again in Heaven. Or maybe you don’t have that guarantee and it causes you to look at how you handled any witnessing opportunities that you may have had in that person’s life. It may be the catalyst that causes you to really break through any inhibitions you have about sharing the gospel…an incentive in showing someone the way to avoid an eternity of hell.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”

Jesus draws them near; He changes their hearts but sometimes if you don’t speak up, they may never stop for that single moment and think about what happens when they no longer walk this earth.

Sometimes it is things that people say that cause you to make major adjustments in your living or thinking. People can say whatever they want to but it is up to you to take it and make it into a positive experience for yourself. Someone may call you fat; does that make you go eat more ice cream or start heading to the gym every day after work? Your perception of what they say, your reaction and your corresponding action determines whether or not it becomes a positive or a negative pull on your life.

I don’t know too many that can take criticism, run with it and make a positive change without that initial “What did you say to me?” response…that either pops in our minds or spits out of our mouths as we stare at them in disbelief. Obviously constructive criticism works a bit differently than off the cuff, “Ouch that hurts” stuff. Processing something that might have been hurtful takes a little time…even when we don’t really care what people think, we still want to be well-thought of.

Now generally we don’t think of what Jesus said in a negative context but I wonder what this man thought after this exchange with Jesus?

Matthew 19:16-22 “And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.”

Here is a guy that thought he had it going on; let’s face it, it sounds like he had it going on better than a lot of born-again, Bible-believing Christians today. I can only speak for myself but even though I don’t go out and shoot someone because they did me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have anger or hatred (even momentary) in my heart.

Jesus raised the bar when He said, “But I say unto you…” numerous times in His Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5). Before Jesus came to fulfill the law, the law was exactly was it sounds like…words. And, if you kept the letter of the law, then by the religious standards, you were golden. But then Jesus came and basically said (paraphrase mine), “Hey, if you can only keep your outside clean, then you are falling short. True righteousness starts in the heart.”

So, here’s this guy who wants eternal life like I think we all do, but, he is told that it will require more of him…more sacrifice, more humility, more servitude, and, LESS stuff. He went away sad because, well, he was well off in terms of worldly goods and my guess would be that it hurt to be told that all his “good works” were nothing without a change in his heart. Having stuff doesn’t stop you from going to Heaven but placing those things above Jesus sure does!

Do we know if this man had a change of heart? No but I think it bears thinking about because he could have. He perceived that what Jesus said was negative because it entailed something that he didn’t want to do when in all actuality, it was a suggestion, that if followed would positively affect the rest of his life and of those around him.

Some people like the “Negative Nancy” or “Negative Norman” may just be trying to spread their doom and gloom and bring you to the place they are wallowing in. But at the end of that hurt feeling it may be good to ask the question of yourself, “If you knew that Jesus allowed that conversation or comment for a reason, would you listen more closely?”

Till next time…faithwalkin’ :)

Intoxicating Thoughts…

Ephesians 5:18 “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”

Intoxicating thoughts…what are you filled with?

There was a blurb on Facebook; you know, one of those picture apps that everyone (including me at times) loves to post. It said, “Drunk words are sober thoughts.”

That really…really gave me a pause for thought there. Because…you know, it is true. When people drink, there is a tendency to say exactly what comes to mind, regardless of whether it is in the best interest of either party. That is why it is said that alcohol releases your inhibitions; it allows you to give freedom to thoughts, words and actions that would not normally ever come to fruition.

Now, I took it a step further because indeed, “Intoxicating words are sober thoughts.”

Intoxication carries the definition of:

1. drunkenness; inebriation
2. great elation
3. the act of intoxicating
4. (Medicine) poisoning

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Or, in another dictionary:

1. Stupefaction or excitement by the action of a chemical substance.
2. Exhilaration, excitement, or euphoria.
3. Poisoning by a drug or toxic substance.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Notice #2 on both of those lists? “Great elation, exhilaration, excitement or euphoria.” To me, that means we can be intoxicated by more than just an alcoholic beverage or chemical substance…we can be intoxicated by:

  1. Pride.
  2. Foolishness.
  3. Anger.
  4. Bitterness.
  5. Lust.
  6. covetousness (greed).
  7. Money.
  8. Power.
  9. Hatred.
  10. God.
  11. Love.
  12. Joy.
  13. Giving.
  14. Mercy.

The list could go on forever but I think you get my drift. We can be intoxicated by anything that grabs hard a hold of us and makes us act differently than we would if that presence wasn’t in our lives. If I am consumed by anger (#3), then what comes out of my mouth is angry words, attitudes that are probably out of control at times, and more often than not, ones that are not applicable to current circumstances or situations. This isn’t righteous anger (Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”)  or even a sinful anger that flares up for an instant and then fades into nothingness.

This is an anger that actually causes an euphoric feeling in us, an excitement that we are letting it all hang out because (in our minds) we are entitled to let this feeling grow, consume us, overtake us and eventually burn us and all our bridges as we go forth.

Been there? Oh, have I struggled with letting emotions rule my day and ruin my relationships and my life! I look at Ephesians 5:18 again and I can fill in the first part of that verse with many words that are on the list…


“Be not drunk with anger…”

“Be not drunk with lust…”

“Be not drunk with pride…”

                         …but be filled with the Spirit:”

Most have heard that what goes into your mind and heart is what comes out. Think about it…if you are diligently reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God and it is the meat and drink for your mind, soul and spirit day in and day out then that is what will come out…in how you speak, in how you act…in your relationships with others, with God and with yourself. Truly, God never intended for you to keep all that wisdom and knowledge, learned from His Word and from personal experience, all to yourself anyway. We are to edify, lift up and encourage others…always (Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”). (See also:1 Thessalonians 5:11; Ephesians 4:16; Ephesians 4:12; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Romans 14:19) http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=edify&qs_version=KJV

The world bombards us daily with false reasonings as to why we should be able to act out exactly how we feel. Feelings frankly often scare me because feelings are really a choice. I can choose to feel angry or hurt or I can choose to put that away; to give it to God and go back to the mindset that Christ Jesus has put in me (Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”).

Jesus put on love…He was exhilarated, elated and excited to show us, these sinful beings, love…mercy…grace! When we wear the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), we have to put it on. When we wear love or mercy for others, we first have to put it on (or in as the case may be) in order to give it out…giving to others what Christ gave to us – freely with no strings attached. If we don’t “put on Jesus” everyday, then many times what we give out has strings attached because well…emotions need to be fed, reciprocated to feel complete in us. Un-reciprocated emotion tends to feel like (wait for it!)…rejection. :(

I am striving each day to be intoxicated with the Word of God…to be excited about giving, being joyful, loving (even myself). I want to be driven by the Word to do what Jesus would have me do to and for others. As I write these words, I have hope in Him that one day, this would be a consistent path in my life. As someone who still struggles with the flesh (constantly it seems) I see myself intoxicated with those others things more than I care too but I’m not where I once was – Praise the Lord for that!

So, enough about me…“What do you find yourself intoxicated with these days?”

Till next time…faithwalkin’ :)

Steppin’ Up The Faith!

Before Picture

This is what the front looked like when I first planted the flower seeds (around March 2012).

So, my question for everyone this morning is, “Exactly, how do you step up your faith?” The best illustration that I can come up with that has a visual is my front flower bed. This is what it looked like before I planted the flowers. Now, I haven’t planted things in years but with a great deal of faith in the Lord, I drug my friend Shawn over, dug up the mulch and ground cover, laid soil and dropped the flower seeds in the ground. Now if patience is your long suit then planting flowers from seed is the way for you to go. LOL! It takes approximately six weeks before the little green shoots that eventually become flowers start to slowly (and I do mean slowly) poke forth from the soil. And then there is the time period where you know you need to weed out all the bad things that will choke out the pretty flowers but at this point you aren’t really sure what needs to go, what should wait and what should stay; unless of course you have planted these before and know what they look like. :) So with another step out in faith, you bravely wade in and start weeding, praying that when you are done, you have actually left some flowers in the ground. As they slowly grow, you tend to them: watering, more weeding and, in my case, a whole lot of praying. Having been so long since I planted anything, I figured this was my trial by fire…if they grew I was golden to start something else; if they never came up then I was going to hang up my gardening gloves and shovel and leave the planting to my sisters (who are much better than me at things like this).

It’s kind of like spiritual growth…you get saved (God plants the seed) and at first all you see is bare ground. God knows where you’ll end up eventually but you yourself haven’t a clue (and by the way, neither do others around you). So, you read the Word, attend a Bible believing church and try to stuff as much spiritual wisdom in your head and heart as possible because you are all fired up for Christ and you want to grow. Then comes the maintenance that happens before you see your first fruits. You water your heart, soul, mind and spirit and then sit back and wonder…”Where is that growth everyone talks about!?!” Your impatience mounts as you desire to serve Christ in ways that He hasn’t prepared you for as of yet. And then one day, you open the Word and you see some green! WooHoo! So you throw on your Armor and head out, ready to do battle for the Lord you love. Oh oh! You get tangled in the mire of the world as you try to witness for Christ; old sins trip you up or you find that it’s hard to do what Christ would do every second of every day. The pesky weeds have arrived right on schedule. You know you are on the right track (I mean, look at all the other Christians around you, right?) but when you look at others and not at Christ, you tend to fall into the trap that others have it all together. Surely they don’t struggle with gossip or quarreling and you just know in your heart of hearts that they pray 24/7 and have probably memorized the whole Bible by now.

I think that God intended weeds to separate the weak from the strong…flowers need to have a good root system and then God does provide the rest (water, sun and nutrients). But some flowers don’t grow a good root system due to bad seed, poor planting or just not the perfect conditions for that type of flower. We don’t always have a good root system either even though we have Christ as the basis for it. Think about it…work was hard so you skip church that weekend because you deserve to rest. Prayer meeting Wednesday night? Love to but I have to get up early the next day and you know I always get out late. Read the Bible every day by myself? I probably wouldn’t understand it all; it’s easier to wait for church so that the Pastor can explain it out for me. Now I’m not saying that everyone has had these thoughts but I will tell you, I have been saved as of tomorrow (July 31st) for 8 years and I can’t say that I’ve never had any of these thoughts in regard to my growth in Christ. We may be saved by the Blood of the Lamb but we still carry that flesh with us until the day we go to be with the Lord. That flesh my friend, is still strong especially if you give in to temptation and feed it from time to time. And there isn’t one of us that hasn’t done that.

We feel as if we wait soooooo loooong for the fruit to arrive. We look, we trim here and there…and sometimes, we pull the fruit instead of the weeds and then we are back to square one it feels like. However, our God is faithful and when we step up that faith and refuse to give up on Him and what He has promised, little by little, bit by bit, our walk with the Lord is strengthened and grown until we can look up and see the flowers just growing and popping up every place those seeds were planted by the Lord’s loving Hand.

After Picture

My front flower bed as of July 21st, 2012! :D

The Lord gave us the facilities to think and reason along with free will to choose what to learn, how to learn and when and how to apply it to our lives. Everyone makes mistakes; it is what you do with what you learn from those mistakes that makes you victorious in Christ as you move forward. Now I’m not where I will be but I am not where I was – Thank the Good Lord for that!! So now, when I weary of what seems to be my never-ending fight with sin or my ability to change something for the better, I try to remember my front flower bed and how for the longest time, I thought there was absolutely NO growth going on but in all actuality, under the surface there was a lot going on…it just took a bit for it to show. :)

Are you like me…did you ever despair of showing any growth for God? Or, are you like plants that come from a nursery, ready to go in the ground already flowered and root-bound, thinking like Topsy, “You’ve done growed all ya gonna.”? If you have any advice for growing and flowering in Christ, please feel free to share…we are in this together and just like the maintenance I gave my flowers to help them grow, God gave us each other to edify and help maintain our flower plot that resides in our souls.

Till next time – Faithwalkin’ :)

My God Is Full Of Surprises

Butterflies

One of the big butterflies (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) that comes to visit the Doll House Jungle. :)

The Lord is full of surprises. Even if we take each day for granted, one has to wonder just where all these wonderful things that fill our world come from! The flowers that grow in front of my porch came from a box of flower seeds that said “Flowers to Attract Butterflies.” When I put them in the ground it seemed like forever until they started to grow (no impatients (get it!?!) here – LOL!). Actually most of the wildflowers are Zinnias, my favorite being the PomPoms.

The butterflies do indeed like them, as well as the hummingbirds, bees and wasps. There is quite the little nature farm going on here lately as summer heads into high gear. I have a hummingbird feeder on my front porch and I can sit at my table inside and watch them through my front door as they come to hover and feed from the nectar in the container.

I love all the nature here. It uplifts my spirits so much and daily reminds me of my blessings from the Lord, especially when I’m not feeling very grateful. I know all I have to do is walk outside and see all the plant growth, all the tomatoes getting ready to ripen and all of God’s creatures flying around and almost instantly I’ll be reminded of how awesome my God is and how benevolent He is to me in the midst of His lovingkindness. :)

In fact, God is good even in the midst of your troubles, struggles and difficulties. My Pastor said (and I agree) that the Lord has already blessed us abundantly with salvation. He never promised us money, fame, or an easy life. In fact, He states unequivocally in His Word that we, as born-again, Bible-believing Christians will be hated by this world because He was hated; that we will be faced with hard trials and tribulations because He was faced with them while on this earth. But…merciful Heaven! What more could we ask for? We have been given the Holy Spirit, the armor of God, His Word and through all this, His everlasting presence until we go home to be with Him! He gave us salvation; eternal life with Him in glory with no death, no pain, no suffering and no tears! What more could we possibly ask to receive from His Hand? We can’t expect to take on the Holy Spirit, become one with Christ and not partake of the effects of the lingering lifestyle of Christ that is hated by this world…can we? I am told to stand with Him, to place Him before me in the battle against the principalities of this world and to not falter not let this world drag me back to what I came from.

God's Surprise

A “real-time” view of one of the watermelons that showed up in my flower bed.

This was one of God’s surprises to me – two baby watermelon growing in my flower bed! How awesome is that of the Lord to give me something that I didn’t plant (apparently dropped seeds though) and didn’t tend to; it just shows that He, and not us, is the One that is in complete control over life – all of it! In the end, it’s up to Him and the world that He created on whether or not the plants survive, produce and get harvested. Yes, we have work to do with them but I didn’t tend to these watermelon; shoot, I didn’t even know they were there! But, He did and He planted, watered, watched and gave the increase; I just sit back in awe and receive/accept the fruit of His labor (hint: just like salvation!). And, did I mention, it’s my favorite fruit of all time!! God knows what I like and when what I like is good for

me, He sees that I get it when I need it or need a reminder of His love for me.

I admit to struggling lately with some things in my life. I feel out-dated (LOL) and I haven’t really made many friends since moving in February. Lately that is becoming a struggle because, well, I feel lonely sometimes. Maybe I am not putting myself out there enough or maybe I live to far from the ladies in church; I’m not sure. Everyone is so friendly but they alclose-uplive at least a half an hour from me and lead busy lives.However, I think that God is giving me this time to learn, grow and to lean more abundantly on the Lord and His promises. People are so easy to lean on as you can see them and audibly hear their voice. God, not so much unless you are in His Word more often than not (and obviously, that isn’t audible) but He truly holds every answer for every problem or situation that you will ever come across. He alone, gives peace and understanding regarding the world, it’s sin, our sin and how to handle the flesh on a daily basis. We can glean from His Wisdom to help others BUT at some point, all of us need to go to the Lord Himself and not to a mouthpiece that speaks for Him. If we are His we know that He speaks to us through His Word, if we will but pick it up and open it from time to time.

Aflac

It’s hard to tell but Aflac’s head is green from the hydrated lime spread around the yard.

We live in this world, even if we aren’t of it anymore, and we get dirty…sometimes filthy from the muck and the mud that is slung around on a daily basis: at work, at home, even in church sometimes. Thanks to God and His sacrifice, His Word (the written and the blood of Jesus) will wash us clean everyday. Aflac (pictured left) reminds me of that. I don’t know if you can see the green coloring on her face or not but my ducks like to play in the mud…imagine that. I found this lovely stuff called Hydrated Lime, which when sprinkled around will remove the bad smells from your yard that occur when you have livestock. Yay for the lime! However, what nobody told me (although yes, I should have guessed) was that when the lime gets wet, anything that’s really, really white will turn a light shade of green. LOL! Imagine my surprise after I spread the lime the first day, left it sit while I was draining the duck pool and then came back around the corner to green-headed and green-breasted ducks! Aflac and Miss GG love to play in the water that comes out of the hose from their pool (really any standing water). They grab their afternoon snack of grubs from that water and generally just make themselves out to be a big ole’ muddy mess. I’m used to this and when all is said and done, the pool cleaned and the ducks fed, they climb into that lovely, clean pool and get it filthy by washing off all that mud they picked up. But hey, they look so pretty after (I’m guessing that is one reason they continue to get a clean pool) that I try to humor them often. However, when I came around the corner last Monday afternoon and saw “green” ducks, I about choked. All I could think of was, “Oh Lord!” What if they stay green!?!”, quickly followed by “Arghhh!!!!”As soon as the pool was full to the top, I shooed them into the water to see what would transpire. Lo and behold, their lovely green tinge washed away and they became white again. Now, it’s a daily thing…play in the lime, get green, scare my owner and then take a bath and get white again! What a cycle! What a laugh! I thank God for them; they make my heart smile. :)

I guess that is why it reminds me of what Jesus did for us. Like I said in the paragraph before, Jesus washed us clean and continues to each day from the dirt of this world. But boy, howdy! Don’t we sometimes like to roll around and dig out the grubs of that mud before we let Jesus wash us clean?!? We will always have our flesh in this world; doesn’t mean we have to act on it but it’s there and it reminds us constantly how much fun it was to get some of that world’s dirt on us and, “Gee, don’t we want to do it again?”

How many times can I say, “Thank God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness.” Without that, I would stay dirty and have no hope. What a horrid, spirit-shuddering thought.

Have you received His forgiveness? Are you blessed daily by His mercy and grace? Please share how the Lord changed and blessed your life recently.

Till next time – faithwalkin’ :)

Sinkhole Swimming – A Note for Mother’s Day

Sinkhole Swimming

The Lord has a purpose for everything…even mosquitoes. ;) I had to ponder it for a bit but without mosquitos, what would bugs and other animals eat? See!?! A purpose for everything…especially a lovely lake where people can go for free to enjoy swimming and the fellowship of others for a well-deserved break after a hard week’s work. I love Lake County…there are more springs and lakes over here then you can shake a stick at. Most require a four-wheel drive to get there but plenty of us have those available here. :) And, before I go off on one of my tangents, it’s called Blue Sink because it started out as a sinkhole, the water is actually blue in the middle and at the edges there is white sand where you can actually see the bottom of the lake – along with all the little minnows swimming merrily along. It’s just some of God’s beautiful creation showing off it’s best. :) (The water is great too!)

Now I’m sitting here listening to Nancy Sinatra (“These Boots Are Made For Walking”). Then will come Jeannie C. Reilly (“Harper Valley PTA”). My tastes are very eclectic (as most of you know). I can go from this to country to 80’s to the most current dance music. My all time favorites will always be swing and big band music. That would be the influence of my father for sure. I love the Andrews Sisters. Then my sister Joy got me into the Herman’s Hermits. Of course, most of you won’t know who they are but imagine a lesser known Beatles band and you’d have it down. I am so grateful to the Lord for giving me the love of music. It definitely brings so much joy to my soul!

Sorry for the detour…back to the lakes of Lake County. I don’t know the name of the one I went to that is about 4 minutes from my house. A couple of weekends ago some friends from church and I went to Lawless Lake…very, very nice. I think I like that one the best so far. Of course, I didn’t have my camera for that one. :P I liked the Blue Sink as well but it has a steep bank to get to the water, kind of like Red Bank on the Nanticoke River, where I used to go in Maryland. Now that my bones don’t always cooperate I sometimes struggle on steep inclines. I ended of wearing my knee brace for 2 to 3 days after that Saturday trip. However, it was worth it to see everything and to get in the water, which was perfect. And I have had a epihany…next trip I will wear my brace down to the water and then leave it on the beach. As long as I take a towel to dry off before putting it back on, I should have solved my problem. Like Mom always said…”Where there is a will, there is a way.” :)

Mother’s Day is Sunday. I hope everyone is ready to celebrate the woman who gave you life thanks to a blessing from God. Blue Sink reminds me of the bottomless love that parents have (just like God has) for us. So much today you hear about kids who hate their parents and blame God for what He gave them. Some parents I believe love their children but are incapable of showing it…how do you show love when yours was stifled as a child without God to open your heart? I know people felt that way long ago but not everyone posted it on Facebook and such. LOL! My take is a little different – I think that God gave me the perfect parents for me. Were they perfect? No! Was I? No! Granted they didn’t do some of the things that parents do that are definitely not acceptable but I feel as if God always knows what He is doing. His Will is perfect in every way. So, it your parents were less than perfect, there was a reason for it. We don’t know what life holds for us as we grow older but the very things that we allow to influence our decisions when we are young may be the very same things that cause us to straighten up and fly right when we are older. I don’t know how you feel but I know I had a choice to make as I grew older…to take the good and use it for good and to take the bad and grow from it so that it could be used for good as well. I guarantee you that some of the things I saw people do (who shall remain nameless) definitely influenced what I did and didn’t do as I wandered through the early part of my life. Now as a child of God, I still have all those memories and my past, which never disappears BUT now I allow His influence to determine where I go and what I do. Not that I’ve stopped sinning but now I know when I do when I do – ask for forgiveness and ask for help for the next time.

I still think the Lord influenced my earlier life when I wasn’t saved as well. If not, I seriously doubt that I would still be walking on this earth and not being saved, I would have been serving a hellish sentence for the eternity. Sometimes I think of the foolish things I did and truly wonder why I was spared the same fate that befell others that did the same type of things. To me that means that the Lord has something for me to do here. It is definitely to be a witness to others of His love and saving grace. There is a CD that I like called Higher Ground. It has a song on there called, “We Want You Over There.” I think it describes true witnessing so perfectly – we don’t want anyone to be left behind.

My parents were saved when they died…they weren’t when they were younger. God does indeed make a difference in what you say and do. My mom and dad were very good people; they loved to help others and lived the golden rule very well. However, the golden rule and all the kindness in the world doesn’t get you to Heaven to worship Jesus forever…only salvation does.

And that is my soapbox sermon for the day! LOL! I hope that this Mother’s Day, you take your mom a special gift, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve spoken by choice. Take her the gift of forgiveness because truly, if you are a child of God, you have no choice or you thumb your nose at the forgiveness that the Lord gave you. If you have a close relationship with your Mom I hope you spend this Mother’s Day celebrating who God gave you to help start and guide you down life’s path. I hope to hear how you spent your Mother’s Day as a Mom or as the child celebrating your Mom. I hope the day is truly a blessing for you!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there… friends, family, readers, other bloggers and those that are in Heaven waiting for us to come Home one day. Happy Mother’s Day Mom – you may be with the Lord now but you will always live on in my heart! I love you!

Till next time – faithwalkin’ :)