Gehazi panicked when he woke up and saw the city surrounded by the Syrian army. It turns out the entire military was bearing down on the city to capture just one man — Gehazi’s boss, Elisha. For his part, Elisha wasn’t worried. In fact, he already knew about the manhunt. He also knew about the […]
Simple trust is so hard – but so necessary. Sometimes, that’s the only thing left. Today, I choose to believe.
Don’t stop trying, because your trying will be transfigured into accomplishment. Don’t stop believing God, because your believing will develop into fulfillment. And whatever you do, don’t stop worshiping God, because your worship, (like King David), will transform your life, city, and nation. The enemy wants you to stop. However, God […]
My Dad often used the term, “look-see.” If something needed to be inspected, he had to go take a “look-see.” As a child, I thought it was funny; it sounded as if he said the same thing twice. I didn’t know it was an actual word. Merriam-Webster says so. It means to “take a quick peek or visual inspection of something.” The word was first used around 1883 by Chinese immigrants trying to get a handle on the English language.
Although both actions use the eyes, looking and seeing are really two different things. When you stop to ponder it, you can look all you want at something and not really perceive it or understand it. “Seeing is the ability to discern and understand intellectually or spiritually; to have insight and perceive or construct a mental image; to consider, and then visualize.” [Dictionary.com]
We may look around and note deprivation and destruction all around us, and it may not mean a thing. We may watch all the bad, sad news on TV and not be affected at all. Looking isn’t enough. It takes the act of “seeing” to understand, and a keen perception to view what lies beneath the surface.
Is the tattooed person with all the piercings a rebel? Is the panhandler on the street just lazy? Is the glamour star successful and happy? At first glance – a look – it may seem true. So now we have a choice. We can either look down our noses, or try to get a glimpse of their story. Seeing into their heart may give a whole different perspective. More than a quick “look-see,” we need to really see people and understand where our nation is headed.
We must look before we can see. To become a caring and understanding person, we must go beyond the act of looking. The right and proper thing can only be seen with our hearts. When we see clearly, we’ll know how to respond correctly. Discernment is a skill that is honed by polishing the lenses of sight. In these uncertain days of disenchantment, let us strive to be “seers” instead of only “lookers” and reach out to those who are in need.
Soon, my yard will smell like onions. Why, you ask? Because in this part of the country, wild chives grow everywhere. When we mow the grass with all the chives popping up here and there, fresh onion odor infuses the air. Not terrible, but I would prefer the smell of freshly mowed grass. I love all the fragrances that welcome springtime. Daffodils and Bradford pear trees are in full bloom; my azalea has buds, and soon tulips and hyacinths will be out. I close my eyes, breathe in God’s wonderful perfume, and give thanks. The new freshness of springtime is amazing and beautiful, and I worship my Lord in it. Continue reading
A year ago around this time I was devastated. Driving home in a daze, I reflected on what just happened. Without warning, I had been told I could pack up my things and leave work. Just like that.Budget cuts and right-sizing had eliminated my job. I wasn’t sure what to think – what to do; our family medical insurance and major income came from my work.
But, as I look back over this past year, I can’t help but be amazed and feel blessed. Not even a month had passed when my husband was offered a full-time job – exactly what he’d hoped for—one that highlighted his skills, wisdom, and knowledge. I had scheduled yearly physical, dentist, and eye appointments in January – so all of those were out of the way. We were able to stock up on a quarter beef and half a hog in January—which provided meat in the freezer for a good part of the year. All those expenditures were taken care of.
While many gardens didn’t do so well last summer, ours boomed. We had fruit and vegetables galore with jars of jam, jelly, and spaghetti sauce canned.
My husband shot a grand buck and a turkey in our back woods – so now we had venison and turkey to add to our meat choices, plus fish from the pond.
During my hiatus, I was able to finish writing two novels, completing the Journey Home trilogy, and edit three other books for friends and help publish all of them.
Wonderful family time was spent with relatives from California to South Dakota and Ohio. I was able to enjoy
my “time off” with my favorite hobbies: spray-paint art and quilting. And God blessed those endeavors too by some amazing sales, and my art hung in the Gillioz in Springfield and in Museum Contempo in Olympia, WA.
But that’s not even the best part. I went back to work in a temporary setting in August, and from that job came the most wonderful position yet: a job where I can teach and train other employees in technology.
God is good, and His mercies everlasting. God knew all along where I would be, and knew more what I needed than what I thought I wanted.
He has our lives in His hands every day… if we only choose to trust.
Found on adventcandy.blogspot.com
Joseph helped the baby enter the world. They both marveled at the first cry. Beams of brilliant starlight suddenly streamed through the stable window, haloing the infant in Joseph’s arms.
“Look, Mary. Your son.” Mary took the soft cloths she brought with her and wrapped the first Christmas gift, settled back on the straw and closed her eyes in sweet relief and joy. “Thank you, Joseph,” her words faded as she drifted off to sleep, with the baby in her arms.
Joseph’s mind traveled back to a few months before as his mind wrestled with what to do. What was the right option?
He remembered how he had watched her from a distance. There was something mystical about her he couldn’t quite explain. He kept out of sight as she lowered her bucket into the well.
Her face, though pale and drawn, reflected a strange sort of peace and beauty – almost seemed to glow. Her body bulged with child. She just seemed so…so…so young. Only a babe herself, maybe in her early teens. Children pointed and laughed as their mothers pulled them away. Joseph watched them whisper to each other behind the girl’s back. The city elders frowned in disdain as they passed. Respectable women did not draw their water in the middle of the afternoon. Older men refused to look at her, but she drew her water determinedly and paid no attention to them. She held her head high and headed home with a strange smile on her lips, like she knew something no one else did.
She had been the talk of the community, and rightfully so. Me – her husband-to-be became a laughingstock. She was promised to me, and now she’s pregnant. The rumors flew through Nazareth. “Was it his? If not you, Joseph, then who? How could she? The law is clear: she must be punished. You must leave her. Her actions are shameful, her talk is that of a crazy woman. She is a disgrace to her family and a discredit to her once spotless reputation.”
Joseph gazed down upon his wife, now asleep on the hay. His heart melted with love at the sight of her peaceful face.
Mary had known the consequences of her actions, yet she willingly accepted them.The village thought she had gone mad. Her parents could not bear the stress and even sent her away for a while. He wondered at that time what secrets she knew. What was she was not telling him? She claimed it was God’s doing from the start. She said it was God’s special gift. She told me she was scared, but didn’t ask for pity – or forgiveness. She only wanted understanding.“Please, just trust me,” she had said. “I only need you to believe me.”
He remembered how his mind whirled.He knew the child wasn’t his; he was an honorable man. Her words did not make sense. Yet, he knew her to be a chaste woman. She would not prostitute herself as the townspeople claimed. He had thought of leaving her in a way that wouldn’t bring so much disgrace upon her and her family. He was beginning to think she was crazy too – until one night when he had such fitful sleep.
An angel had appeared to him in a dream one night and unveiled the secret. The dream was so real. He woke up with a new realization, and for some strange reason, he believed Mary.
The Child began to whimper, and he gently lifted the Babe from Mary’s arms. As he stroked the fuzzy hair of the child, the baby looked into Joseph’s eyes. Did he only imagine a look of approval? The baby nuzzled into Joseph’s chest and closed his eyes.
I’m glad I obeyed the angel and took Mary for my wife. I won’t regret my actions. God needs me to help raise His Son. The brilliant light from the huge star shone about the child, almost creating a halo around his head. He rocked the Babe and let his wife rest while he sat in awe with his thoughts.
Mary soon awoke, and seeing Joseph with the baby made her heart content. He would help her. They would be all right. She gave Joseph a weak smile. “Should we name him after you Joseph?”
“His name shall be called Jesus – just as the angel told me, Mary. Jesus Emmanuel, for indeed, tonight, God is with us.”
Reference: Matthew 1:18-25
Her pains subsided, giving her a moment’s respite. Highly favored among women? In a stinky stable with the animals? Mary’s thoughts tumbled in her tired brain. I am your handmaiden, I told the angel. Oh, what have I gotten myself into? I thought it would be different – not like this. She leaned back on the surrounding hay and sighed. Why here? Why now? She poked at the straw again to smooth out a space to feel comfortable. Another pain wrenched her body; she arched her back to subdue the pain, but it was too great. “OH!” A groan escaped her lips although she tried hard to be brave and strong. Is it really supposed to hurt this way? She bent over with the sharp pain. The contractions were minutes apart. Fear not, the angel said. But Lord – I’m afraid…
“Mary, what can I do to help?” Joseph’s face wrinkled with concern. “More blankets? I’ll see if we have any more.”
A few minutes of relief was granted and Mary gazed after the man to whom she was betrothed, busying himself with unnecessary things like a nervous father-to-be. The man who had first thought of leaving her because of this pregnancy. He hadn’t believed her…until…. But who would have? The child within is from the Holy Spirit? Mary smiled. It does sound unbelievable. How? I only know it’s true. I am a virgin, even though the townsfolk disbelieved me. Kind Joseph. What a wonderful man. The child isn’t even his, but he’s given me everything. He’ll be a good father.
She gazed through the opening of the dark little stable where they had found refuge. What a bright star tonight. We may need the extra light so Joseph can deliver this baby. Mary marveled at God’s handiwork in the skies. Even Heaven knows Someone special will be coming into the world tonight. Wish my mother could have helped with the birth. She wanted so badly to see her grandchild born. And dear Aunt Elizabeth – she would be happy for me too. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever. Of his kingdom there shall be no end. What does it all mean?
Her ponderings were interrupted as she was taken by another sharp contraction; her breath came in quick pants.
“Joseph…” she whispered through her agony. “It’s time…I need your help….”
…to be continued.