When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Saturday, January 30, 2010

shopping carts

I haven’t told any stories from Krogers for a long time. It isn’t that there haven’t been any, but just that I haven’t written them down. But Rachael came home with several recently and I had to write at least one of them down.

One was about a girl-woman that works as a bagger and carry out person. She is very slow moving and is very easily distracted. The other day she was wandering around, not really doing her job and basically getting into trouble. One of the cashiers spoke pretty harshly to her and Suzie (not her real name) got upset and came blubbering to Rachael.

Rachael’s Navajo heritage makes her the ultimate diplomat, but also ultimately honest. She dealt with Suzie’s grief and explained that maybe the cashier had sounded mean, but Suzie needed to be doing her job! Suzie calmed down but was still feeling sorry for herself, so Rachael decided to give her time to collect herself and sent her out to collect shopping carts from the parking lot.

This isn’t a job Suzie gets very often because she isn’t very good at it, not that she seems to resent it but she just isn't good at it! It doesn’t take long to collect the carts from the parking lot, but teens being kids, can make it into a nice long outing. At any rate, Suzie got her coat on and went trucking out to the parking lot. After about 15 minutes when she hadn’t returned yet, Rachael went to look for her.

Suzie was standing by the cart return area with her hands loosely holding a cart handle, looking at the sky. She was peering so intently that Rachael actually went outside to see if there was a plane or a bird or even an escaped balloon up there. Nope, nothing!

Just as Rachael was about to call her and say “hurry with the carts” Suzie decided that the sky was no longer interesting and maneuvered the long line of carts out of the collection area and started back to the store with them. Rachael went back inside to watch.

The line of carts was all free of the collection area railing and partially blocking the parking lot when something in the sky caught Suzie’s attention again. She stopped stock still and began staring at the sky. Cars had to take turns to get around her, but she never noticed. After a few minutes, someone must have said something to her because she looked around in a little surprise and began again to try to get the carts aligned for the final push into the store. It must have been quite and effort because after a few almost futile pushes she stopped to rest. Arms hanging over the handles of the first few carts, head hanging down between her shoulders, Suzie looked as though she had just run the Boston Marathon. Apparently exhausted she took a brief break.

The line of carts had moved just enough that now it wasn’t blocking the aisle between the rows of parked cars but was protruding into the actual access lane along in front of the store.

She stood there long enough that Rachael stepped out of the store again and called to her, “Suzie, we need the carts now. We’re getting low.” Suzie looked up, waved gaily, and started out on the home stretch. She came in the store with a sense of feat accomplished, smiling broadly and proud of herself. She was back to her good natured self.

Whadayado? Rachael smiled and told her Good Job. At least she had kept that Cruise Missile from crashing in the parking lot!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

come and see

On Bible Reading Fellowship, one of the members was feeling bad because he wasn't able to do as much reading as was needed. Someone posted a link fof an audio bible. I LOVE it I've pretty much ignored the online audio Bibles because they were mostly in NIV which is not true to the Gospel in many places... BUT this one is on Bible Gateway and you have the option to choose your translation. All morning I've been playing the readings First in Matthew, now in John, while I played some of the mindless facebook games etc. It was great. And while I was doing something else, the Lord said, "Hey! Pay attention. Listen to this!" So I stopped and listened. Fantastic. I love the way God operates! This is what He wanted me to hear.

Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”. And Nathanael said unto him, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip saith unto him,” Come and see.” John 1: 45-46

When Phillip called Nathanael to come and meet Jesus, Nathanael said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Phillip had a very simple answer for the question, “Come and see.” What confidence Phillip had in Jesus! He didn’t have to give a whole list of explanations and examples and tell all about the events at the baptism, he just said, “come and see.”

Jesus was a plain carpenter the son of Joseph who lived in Nazareth. There was nothing about Him socially or physically to make Him of any special note. The only thing He had to recommend Him was the fact that His life was so filled with the glory of God and God’s righteousness that Phillip was able to see it immediately. And it was so blindingly evident that he ran and called Nathanael. He didn’t have to offer evidence or verification. He could only say “come and see.” How much greater evidence can we offer?

We need to live such close and righteous lives for the Lord that anyone of our acquaintances can say to their sinner friends, “I know a real child of God. She/he lives a righteous life.” And when the friends are skeptical they need only say, “Come and see.”

We can be very righteous and sanctimonious in church service or when we set our minds to witness, but when someone catches us unawares, what are they seeing? Do our co-workers and those we meet casually see the same thing in us that Phillip saw in Christ? Do they see a Christ-like life? Do they see a life that gives them confidence in the fact that there are still men and women of God in this sinful and hypocritical world? Are they able by seeing our life to be convinced that there truly are such things as real Christians? And finally can they have such confidence in us that they can say to anyone at any time, “Come and see what I’ve found!”?
(And always remembere, before I can post anything here, I have to submit to the message first. So don't ever feell like I'm preaching to anyone. I'm just passing on th emessage I got preached to me by the Holy Spirit.)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

it's going to happen!

How is it possible to have two homes? And to love them both? Notah called this morning (he had to go into work today to meet a delivery) After we had talked about Thain and the kids and the lousy weather here in Ohio, he said that all the reservations had been made for Kerra and the kids to come and get me in March! I’m going home for the summer! They will fly back east and then drive me back. Now it's real! I'm going back.

How strange is it to love our house on the lake here in Ohio and to love my room and my chair and my window where the cats sit and look for birds; I love sitting on the deck in the morning and having my coffee and watching the dogs play in the our quiet yard or sit at the dining room table and look out at the deck where the bird feeders are. I love all that and still, at the same time I feel like a piece of my heart stays in the desert forever. How can I love the desert with every fiber of my being even while I love it here with Rachael and Michael just as much?

I’m already anxious for the big skies and the open space across the miles to the mountain that I look at from my bedroom window at Notah’s. I’m anxious to see if the roadrunner still makes his rounds of the front yard in the mornings and to listen for the mocking bird in the tree just out from the kitchen window. And I want to smell the fragrance of sage brush and juniper on the morning air as I sit at my door to welcome the rising sun like any good Navajo.

Here in Ohio I have a beautiful desert room with golds and browns and deep deep orange. I have my mother’s Navajo rugs on the walls and my horse herd picture on the one wall with the cowboys and mountain picture on the other wall. It’s a room that fits me perfectly.

And in New Mexico I have a cozy room, not as large, equally cozy and comfy. But I don’t need a big room when the whole desert is right there on the other side of the window. Look! How can you not love this? Don't talk to me about the desolate desert!

I love it! (Oh yes. These aren't clouds. Manzano Mountain had a massive forest fire two years ago. Kerra took a picture of the smoke cloud for me.)

The Lonesome Gods

I finally finished the Louis L'Amour book, The Lonesome Gods. I enjoyed it as much as I do any of the L'Amour books every time I read them.

I've heard criticisms of L'Amour's writing from different sources but I have to think they stemmed only from sour grapes. They say his characters are too idealistic and too unrealistic. but I'm enough of an idealist that I think strong figures are direly needed in American society today. I love the southwest and L'Amour does such a careful and specific job of describing the country and its people and wild life that I only need to close my eyes to smell the sage brush and sand. Some times I don't even have to close my eyes. L'Amour's language is like that of the ancient Greek story tellers idealistic, poetic. epic.

The Lonesome Gods details the growing up years of a young boy ophaned at about ten years old. His father had known he was dying with tuberculous and took care to teach the boy as much as possible about personal integrity and surviving in a harsh world. The child's grandfather, a haughty old Spanish don hadn't approved of hsi daughter marrying an anglo. His solution was to set out and kill the man who dared defy him. The young couple had fled from old California to the east where they lived until the woman's death and the father's tuberculosis drove them back to the southwest.

But in returning the father took a chance on having his son accepted by the bitter grandfather. Surely the man could not deny an innocent child! When Johannes, their son, was ten the old man murdered his father and abandoned the boy in the desert. The Lonesome Gods is the story of his survival against almost impossible odds. Hs father had raised him to have confidence in himself and to overcome fear in order to survive.

In times of extreme danger and hard times, the boy would repeat to himself like a mantra, "I am Jahannes Verne and I am not afraid."

Good book. Read it if you get a chance.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is iron sharpening iron really a good thing?

For some reason the verse, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 17:17) is popular among many in the religious community. For some reason this has been presented as a good thing and advisable thing. Men come together to ‘sharpen’ one another. For the life of me, from the first time I read it, I could not see that it was good for one man to ‘sharpen’ himself against another.

The man who first presented this to me taught that men (He got it from a men’s group devotional.) were responsible to “hone” themselves against one another that their Christian experience and witness should be sharper. I was horrified! We have no responsibility to be abrasive and grind away at one another. There is no verse in the bible telling us to treate one another in this way! If there is any revision or ‘grinding away’ of false impressions or feelings, it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit, not us. There is no spirit of competition among the saints. I don’t care if it is a man or a woman. (The implication of the devotion was that this was something for men, not women)

To interpret the iron sharpening iron as a good thing, the verse must be lifted entirely from context and even from the real context of the remainder of the sentence! It is great from a humanistic point of view to interpret it in the popular manner. It sounds like a good thing for a person to do: to sharpen one’s senses and understanding and actions against those of another. It endows the flesh with great responsibility for, and authority over others. And conversely it makes others responsible for us. This view fits in very well with the modern attitude of shifting blame for any wrong or sinful behavior: “It isn’t my fault, it is my brother’s because he didn’t grind it away!” Come on folks! Does that really sound like Christ?

Here in Proverbs is a series of admonitions and proverbs instructing men in unwise avenues of behavior. (27:14-17) Let’s look at the context of the paragraph immediately preceding the verse. Consider the meaning of verse 14: He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him. Although it is written as a flat statement it isn’t something we should do. It is a warning: If you stand outside your friend’s house at six in the morning and tell the world at the top of your voice how wonderful he is, he will NOT appreciate it! This is NOT a good thing. Don’t stand outside your friend’s house before he's awake and bless him at the top of your voice. He’s sleeping, for Pete’s sake! He won’t like you for it! He’ll think you have ulterior motives for stealing his rest.

Verse 15 is another thing to avoid: A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. How wearisome is a drippy gray rainy day? How tired of it we get! Is this implying that we behave as a contentious person? Of course not. A contentious woman (or man) is just as tiresome and wearisome as that. Don’t do it! And don’t marry a woman like that!
It goes on to say that whoever “hideth’ her or tries to control/restrain her has a task like ‘hiding’ or restraining the wind. It can’t be done. The control slips through the fingers as though they were oiled. No one likes a whiney, quarrelsome person: Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself [or” betrays itself by slipping”]. Again this is an illustration of something we wouldn’t do.

Now we come at last to the one that is so popular for allowing people to feel justified in ‘sharpening’ (read this “critique, but in a concerned and caring manner”) their brother (or sister). Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. My envisioning of this is the knife against the butcher’s steel. (That’s the round rod which comes with those very expensive sets of carving knives… You know, the funny looking thing like a long fat ice pick that no one knows how to use. It’s designed to sharpen knives to a razor edge). The sound of a knife being honed against it hurts my teeth as the edge is filed by the fine grooves in the steel. It sounds painful. I don’t want to do that to my brother or sister in the Lord. Why would anyone who calls themselves a Christian want to do that? The steel is used because it is hard enough to file the edge on the corresponding knife. I'm reminded of scholars 'sharpening their wits' against one another in debate and criticism and excessive scholarship as they meet to ponder weighty issues.

Being harsh and hard provokes returning harshness and hardness. If we are hard as ‘as iron” to him, our friend will either be ground away or respond in kind and no longer be a friend. And the opposite is true, if our friend is ‘hard as iron’ toward us, we are either ground away or we become equally hard toward him. The hurt can go both ways!

Now consider the phrase “sharp countenance.” A person with a ‘sharp countenance’ is someone who is unfriendly and angry looking. Why would we want to do something that would 'sharpen our friend’s countenance'—make him angry and unfriendly looking? Rather than recommending a way to act, the Preacher is stating something that produces a negative effect. “Just as iron grates against iron, so can a man grate against his friend.” Or “ Iron grating against iron causes friction!” He is telling us exactly what happens when hardness rubs against hardness. Being harsh and hard provokes returning harshness and hardness. We aren’t hard on our friends!

The Amplified translation clarifies the meaning of the entire paragraph. 14.) The flatterer who loudly praises and glorifies his neighbor, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted as cursing him [for he will be suspected of sinister purposes]. 15)A continual dripping on a day of violent showers and a contentious woman are alike; 16.) Whoever attempts to restrain [a contentious woman] might as well try to stop the wind--his right hand encounters oil [and she slips through his fingers]. 17.) Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend [to show rage or worthy purpose]. ( Amplified)

Let’s stop using the verse to justify polishing one another at our mutual expense as the astute scholars do in a debate. Let’s stop setting ourselves up almost in competition to one another because we are envisioning ‘iron sharpening iron.’ Maybe we should let the Holy Spirit do the sharpening and let us dwell together remembering that God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. I John 4:16

Thursday, January 21, 2010

grace to help in time of need

I was involved in a discussion about the Temptation of Christ. And another person commented how maybe the reason Jesus was tempted was so he could be our example. She was exactly right but she seemed hesitant about expressing her thoughts.
The entire discussion made my soul rejoice so much that I'm posting parts of it everywhere I can think of because maybe someone doesn't know what Jesus does for us. And even those who do know will rejoice. What is the old song? "I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest..." Amen. I never tire of hearing about What Jesus did for us and does for us daily. Praise the Lord, I'm not waiting for Him to come conquering and to conquer in some future day or battle. He is doing that for me every single day of my life!

There are several places in the Word that tell us how Jesus came as Man to be tempted as Man and lived as a man so that He could stand at the right hand of God and make intercession for us. (Romans 8:14) One of my most comforting and encouraging thoughts when I come to the Lord with one of my petitions for help is the image of Jesus right there with God saying, “Yes, Father, hear her; help her. It is hard being a human. I know what it's like. I was one!”

How glorious to know that He stands/sits right there to move the Great Heart of God in our behalf. Why pray to Mary or a saint for help when we can have JESUS making intercession for us!

Hebrews 2: 16-18 tells us. “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him[self] the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that HE HIMSELF HATH SUFFERED BEING TEMPTED, HE IS ABLE TO SUCCOR THEM THAT ARE TEMPTED. ”

And again in Hebrews, but now in the fourth chapter, it says, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest. . . Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but [HE] WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET [was] WITHOUT SIN. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

Isn’t that wonderful? We can find mercy and grace to help in time of need. The Savior, at His physically weakest moment (after fasting 40 days) submitted Himself to being tempted by Satan just so he could be an example and help to us!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the great mysteries of life

“The mysteries of this life will be solved in the next.”
This morning I heard this statement in passing on a program I was listening to. This is like many of the new age philosophies that have crept into our lives that too many of us as saints of God just accept as true. It emphasizes life and the comprehension of it from Man's rational point of view. And I admit that I have many times had a similar thought. I’ve looked forward to knowing why God allows pain and suffering in children. I’ve looked forward to knowing why there were such things as earth quakes and horrible natural disasters. And other things have perplexed me. I’ve said to myself, “When I get to heaven, I’ll find out why”

In an instant almost as I thought about the statement this morning, I realized that when I get to heaven these things that I’ve questioned and wondered over will be as nothing. The great mysteries of this life won’t even be important any more. James said “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Ultimately the only thing that matters is our life in the Lord. Everything else fades into insignificance.

The great mysteries of life, the things I’ve wondered and worried about, the things that have seemed so important to me now, those questions of earth shattering importance that Man has debated for hundreds of years, will all be vanished away. In the light of eternity they will be nothing. They probably won’t even have enough importance for me to remember them. They will be things of the flesh and physical life that no longer matter enough to retain any impression in my comprehension.

How long does a puff of vapor last when it is released from the opened kettle? A moment and then it‘s gone. It is unimportant, unenduring. So much for the great mysteries of life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

oh I want to see him!

(Oh! I wish I could put videos in here! I cannot figure it out! If you know please explain it to me! )

As I journey through the land, singing as I go,
Pointing souls to Calvary—to the crimson flow,
Many arrows pierce my soul from without, within;
But my Lord leads me on, through Him I must win.
Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace;
On the streets of glory let me lift my voice,
Cares all past, home at last, ever to rejoice.
When in service for my Lord dark may be the night,
But I’ll cling more close to Him, He will give me light;
Satan’s snares may vex my soul, turn my thoughts aside;
But my Lord goes ahead, leads whate’er betide.
When in valleys low I look toward the mountain height,
And behold my Savior there, leading in the fight,
With a tender hand outstretched toward the valley low,
Guiding me, I can see, as I onward go.
When before me billows rise from the mighty deep,
Then my Lord directs my bark; He doth safely keep,
And He leads me gently on through this world below;
He’s a real Friend to me, oh, I love Him so.

This song has been on my heart for about three days. I’ve wakened up singing it. It has echoed through my head off and on all day . I love serving the Lord! How great it is to not just think about him on Sundays or when we set our minds to be religious, but to LIVE with Him, to have him there like a friend who lives in the same house with you in the same room. The words I’m listening to in the background while I’m writing this just said, “He’s a real friend to me! Oh I love Him so.” It is just like that.

Paul said, ‘Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see him face to face.’ What will that be like? I can hardly conceive of it. In II Corinthians 3, Paul was comparing the administration of the Law to that of Grace and he said 9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. It seems like he can’t find words to describe how much better and more glorious this administration of the spirit is than that of the Law. I think it will be something like that to see Jesus face to face. We just won’t have words to describe it!

Another song asks “ Face to face with Christ my Savior, Face to face what will it be?” I don’t know but I’m anxious to find out.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

smart dog!

I love my dogs. Anybody who knows me knows that. But sometimes Maxim is so smart he startles me! In the last few days we have had two incidents that show how bright he is. Not just smart but able to figure things out in his brown furry head.

I’ve talked a lot about the little dogs and their coats. The coats have Velcro strips across the chest and around the girth bands. You overlap the strips and it is very secure—unless you don’t get the strips lined up. Then the little hooks catch in the ‘suede’ and hold for a bit but aren’t very secure. With much activity at all the strips come loose and the little busy body walks right out of the coat.

Yesterday or the day before, Sebastian was out tearing round with the big dogs, being all macho, and when he came in his coat was gone. It was lying out in the middle of the yard abandoned. Rachael was busy when she let the dogs and said she would have to go back when she finished whatever it was she was doing. A few minutes later she got her shoes and jacket and prepared to trek across the snow covered yard after the coat.

Then Maxim came bouncing up, all bright eyed and enthusiastic. Just on a whim, Rachael called him and told him to go get Sebastian’s coat. Maxim indicated his willingness by bouncing a little more. When a chocolate Lab bounces it is something to see.

Rach bent over and took his big head in her hands and said, “Look at me.” Sometimes you have to help him focus. “Go get Sebastian’s coat. Out there.” She let go of his head and pointed.

Maxim turned around looked across the yard and went directly to the coat. He picked it up and brought it straight to her! Of course we squealed like a couple school girls and patted him and told him how great he is and how smart he is. And he pranced around all proud of himself.

Now I know he responded to her pointing and saying “Go get. . . ,” but he still had to figure out what it was she wanted. He’d never heard the word ‘coat’ in relation to anything- never mind to Sebastian and seeing it lying in the middle of the yard. It required a little bit of cogitation on his part.

Now today, he demonstrated his brain-power again. One of his favorite jobs is picking up the little dogs’ dishes in the evening after they have finished eating. At first he was just entertaining himself, but when we called him to bring them to us and praised him for doing it, he decided it was His Job to clean up after the little dogs. He does it every evening. One night when I fell asleep in my chair and R & M put him in with me while they ran an errand, I woke up to find one of the bowls on my lap. Evidently he’d tried to give it to me but I was too stupid to wake up and take it so he put it on my lap!

Today while Rachael was cleaning up after lunch one of us said something about the little dogs’ dishes. I told Rachael they were still in My Room but to see if Maxim would go get them. Now this was a Biggie. He gets them regularly but they are always in line of sight, never around the corner and down the hall.

First Rachael tried just sending him after them. Well, the first time he brought her his ball. Yes, it was from the bedroom and it did start with a B, but it wasn’t a bowl. He started off again and came back with her shoe! By this time Sebastian was tearing around barking and jumping and carrying on.

Then she called Maxim and took a plastic bowl out of the dishwasher—she’d been loading the dirty dishes. She showed Maxim the bowl and let him strck his nose in it and told him to go get the bowls. She pointed down the hall and he was off! Back in a minute with one bowl.

She sent him back after the second. More distraction from Sebastian. She corralled Sebastian and gave him to me to hold. Again she sent him after the other bowl, pointing down the hall. Gable’s bowl is metal and I wondered if he’d figure it out. Not a problem, he came back with the second bowl, too. Of course he was terribly proud of himself. He earned treats for everybody, even Mika and Gable who hadn’t done anything at all and the One who had interfered.

I sometimes wonder if he is telepathic. My old Aspen could do the same thing—perform tasks on a minimum number of clues. Maxim is younger and more easily distracted, but he is learning. Keeping Gable and Sebastian from bugging him helps. It is hard to concentrate when someone one-fifth your size is jumping around and on you and nipping at you jugular.

Tell me how smart your dog is… I’ll match it with mine!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

God's Triumphant Church!

I’ve just been listening to good church of God singing. I miss that. I can spend time with God and be blessed and strengthened and rejoice. But the sound of the saints of God praising God in song just doesn’t come any way but by being there! And I’m not in a position where I can be there…

The song that blessed me most this morning was “The Church Triumphant!” You know, almost no one any more believes in a church and a people that can be triumphant! Everyone seems to think we have to sin a little everyday. They feel the little habits of life are always going to follow us and as long as we don’t get carried away with them they are okay. They loudly proclaim their ‘witness for Jesus’ but they live in utter confusion. They talk about being saved and living for God but freedom from sin doesn’t enter into the conversation. And if you do introduce it, it seems like a foreign language.

I am so thankful today for a Church Triumphant! I am so thankful for a Savior that gives the people of His Church victory over sin and the Devil! That is what Jesus came to establish—not some where far out in the future, but in this world today! Amen!

Listen to it here: http://www.churchofgodsinging.com/index.php?do=p&id_song=6
Men speak of “a church triumphant”
As something on earth unknown,
They think us beneath the tyrant
Until we shall reach our home.
Thank God for a church triumphant,
All pure in this world below!
For the kingdom that Jesus founded
Does triumph o’er every foe.
Oh, cannot the great Redeemer
Prevail over Satan here?
Or must we remain yet under
Confusion, pressed down in fear?
He built on a sure foundation,
And said that the gates of hell
Against her divine munition
Can never indeed prevail.
’Tis not in the church of Jesus
That people yet live in sin;
But in the dark creeds they’re joining,
And vainly are trusting in.
God’s church is alone triumphant,
In holiness all complete;
And all the dark pow’rs of Satan
She tramples beneath her feet.
Thank God for a church triumphant,
All pure in this world below!
For the kingdom that Jesus founded
Does triumph o’er every foe.

Oh how blest I was this morning to hear the truth in this song. What a joy to be able to not just listen but to sing with the singers! I grew up with this song and I've experienced the truthe of it I don’t have to sin! I can be triumphant! I don’t have to be subject to the desires of the flesh. I don’t have to succumb to Satan’s deceit every time he comes past. I can have victory over his temptation. I don’t have to worry about doing something unwittingly that God will merit God’s disapproval. I don’t have to come to God every time I pray and ask his forgiveness for sins I’ve committed. I don’t have to commit those sins! Amen! I don’t have to worry over ‘unknown sins’ because I know the Bible teaches us that sin is a knowing transgression of God’s Word. I don’t need to live in fear of doing something wrong by accident because I didn’t know. I have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me and teach me all things. Praise the Lord, if there is something I shouldn’t be doing, He’ll tell me and I can not do it.!
I found a sermon online this morning that will bear listening to if you really want to serve the Lord. It's about standing firm with Jesus. http://www.godsacres.org/pg.popup.sesher.html

If we are to be a part of the Church Triumphant, you have to stand firm with Jesus!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

snowdays and dog baths

Well! I’m bright eyed and bushy-tailed since 400 AM. Rats. That means I’m gonna poop out around three oclock this afternoon!

I had a lovely day yesterday.Since it was already Rachael's day off and Michael's work was operating on a skeleton staff--ie without any one from a distance--I spent time with R & M and played with the dogs. Watched the big ones get baths! Big process in our house.
Mika has a ton of hair—she is part chow and maybe malamute or akita..some dog like that. Rachael combed her for about 45 minutes before her bath and got a grocery sack full of hair from her. I kid you not a grocery sack full. It took about half an hour to get her washed and rinsed thoroughly and then dried off, not with a blow dryer but with about six towels (including one of my brand new fluffy Christmas present towel! Oh yeah. I was a happy camper!)

But what I started to say was that after Rach had finished washing and rubbing and blotting and fluffing her, Mika waked out of the bathroom, sneezed and shook and pieces of fluff like dust-bunnies floated off in the air! So Michael sat down and brushed her for another half hour and got another bag of fluff from her. We could start our own factory.

Then they washed Maxim. He doesn’t have nearly so much hair but would love being brushed as long as Mika was (it feels good). But it takes a while to bathe him, too, because he loves it so much. Labs are part seal or dolphin, I think. He isn’t naughty or trying to run away, just bite the shower spray, wag his tail, swim in the shower spray and generally get everything wet. The good thing is that Rach can take him in my big handicap accessible shower and close the door, so when he shakes it flies only as far as the walls and the shower doors! Of course in the process of washing him, she gets her bath too. I'm gonna hope she used my new Christmas towel on herself instead of the dog. *sigh*

Now they are beautiful—all shiny and bright. They almost glow in the dark. Maxim is sleek and Mika is fluffy. Today or tomorrow the little dogs get their baths. That isn’t nearly such a big deal, but they don’t appreciate it as much as the big ones. Oh they stand still but they act like they are being tortured prior to murdered. It is like the worst thing ever in the whole world that could happen to them.

Then after it is all over, they feel so good! And they bounce around and chase each other and roll on the carpet and the comforter on the bed. Generally they act as though the whole thing was a great idea and more specifically that it was their own idea.

Now everyone has to get their collars and ‘jingles’ back on. Each one except Maxim has three jingles-a license tag, a rabies tag, and a little ID with our name address and phone number on it. I can identify the dog by the sound his jingles make. Each one recognizes their own collar. Maxim is very proud of his even though Rachael took the important tags off—the license and the rabies tag. He lost them twice and we were lucky enough to find them. She is taking no more chances. He just makes a little rattle. Mika has a silver ‘choker’ chain, just looped over her head; the rings for the tags hold the choker part together. If she wears a lead, it is attached to the firm ring, not the sliding side. She sounds like a whole orchestra. Gable and Sebastian sound about the same as each other, but Sebastian has longer toenails so I hear a clicking sound with his.

Oh my there are so many important things for me to think about as a retiree.

Friday, January 8, 2010

the "jesus test"

Why am I offended when someone sends me an email “Jesus Test” saying “If you aren't ashamed to do this, please forward this email to at least ten people” It irritates me no end! Most times I’m so irritated I hit the delete button before I even think about it. Then I feel guilty. So this morning I analyzed my feelings.
Of course, I'm not ashamed of Jesus. Every soul who knows me knows that! Lord knows that Jesus is life and breath and salvation and strength and hope of eternity to me. He has kept me and blessed me and brought me through a life that I guess (although I didn’t realize it till later someone told me) has not always been easy. I don’t have enough words to praise Him. And yet, I’m offended.

Why? Maybe because I often get them from people who I know aren’t living lives for Christ. Somehow they feel that by forwarding a few beautiful pictures of Christ, it makes them more of a Christian. The pictures are always loving and inspirational, but I don’t need a loving and inspirational picture to make me feel loved by Christ. I don’t need a picture to make me love Him more or to make me feel my gratitude to Him more deeply. I live out my love and gratitude every single day. I don’t need to send a cute email.

Why else? Maybe because I feel that (often) I’m getting them from people who are trying to impress me with their goodness. Often times I know they are not godly people and I resent (a bit) that they are trying to fool me into believing they are. I don’t love them any less because I know they aren’t living for God, but I feel sad that they think they can influence me into believing they are. I feel sad that they believe that by sending a pretty Jesus Test they are proving their allegiance to Him. I won’t harshly condemn them if they aren’t living for the Lord, but I won’t back off on the standard of salvation in regard to them either.

Why else? Maybe it is just because I refuse to include myself in the thousands of people who pass these around the internet without an ounce of salvation in their hearts.

Now it isn’t that some of the forwards I get aren’t good. Some times they are. And sometimes I put my own spin on them so there is a message behind them rather that a just a warm-fuzzy that makes people feel good. But I refuse to pass anything on that might be used to make the receiver feel that he can make himself right with God just by forwarding an email. I refuse to pass anything on that will make the receiver feel that by forwarding it he will proclaim his standing with God—especially if I know the person is NOT right with God.

I don’t think any less of good saints who send these to me. (If you are one, please don't be hurt. Lots of you do. ) I truly believe they are just endeavoring to extend their witness. I just wish they would do a little editing. Change the wording so it doesn’t appear that anyone who passes them on is a Christian. Or just forward the pictures and the message without the challenge to take the “Jesus Test”

The real “Jesus Test” is lived out every day of our life. We do the things that are pleasing to God in every situation. We give of our self and our life to be a witness of His saving grace. We don’t pass on just pretty pictures and warm fuzzies, but also messages that carry a challenge for righteous living and messages that point men and women to a better way, messages that give a standard for making heaven our eternal home. THOSE are the deeds included in the real “Jesus Test” They are the things that are evidence of our real love for Jesus.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

memories of a man of God

I hope no one gets tired of my talking about the saints of God who have had an influence in my life. This is another one of those posts. I appreciate those men and women of God. Their faithfulness has helped to hold me fast through life. I only hope my life can have the same effect on someone after me.

I few weeks ago I reconnected with a young man I knew many years ago. One day I opened my mail to find a message saying, ”Are you the Vondi who used to go to Parrall Church of God?” I say "young man" because he was young when I knew him. He had a special place in his heart for Rachael. Lol

And today they are all grown up. Brother Steve is probably in his late 40’s early 50’s now. (Sorry brother Steve, if I've made you older than you are!) And Rachael is 32. wow. I remembered brother Steve but Rachael didn’t have a clue until I reminded her that he used to give her ‘quarters.’ They weren’t all quarters… just what ever change he happened to have in his pocket. But what can I say? Rach was two or three. All shiny coins were quarters.

What a surprise to hear from him. He had found my email address pn a message from another friend. What a small world. I had a conversation with him via Facebook the other night. One of the things we e spoke of was his father and the witness he’d had.

Brother Allan Wingate had been a singer on the popular music scene when he gave his life to the Lord and abandoned it all. His singing blessed me many times at campmeeting and his testimony was wonderful. Brother Steve sent me a website that had some of the songs his dad had written and sung for the Lord after he’d been saved. I listened to them all that night and was blessed to tears with the witness in them.

Then I was prompted to go search for some of the recordings from before he was saved. Brother Steve had said some were posting his music online for collectors. He was grieved because he said his dad had rejected all of that life and music when he gave his heart to the Lord. He had destroyed all of the music from that life. And now some were trying to revive it. I knew Brother Wingate’s testimony but something made me go and find those recordings on line.

I had cried with joy over the Christian songs Brother Allan had written, but when I found those old worldly songs I was blessed all over again. NOT by the songs but from the life the Lord had saved him from and the dedication required to walk away from that life. Brother Allan’s songs were good, excellent from a worldly stand point. They had the rhythm and driving impetus popular in that time. He was on his way to the top in the music business.

I grew up during that era. I recognized the potential in what I was hearing. And he walked away from it to serve the Lord! Praise the Lord for His Power. Praise the Lord for brother Allan’s submission! He left all of that glitter and promise of acclaim and riches to become a humble pastor. He raised up a congregation that still stands today.

I think of the many entertainers who have made a profession of being saved today. How false their witness is when their lifestyle and conduct crucify Christ afresh every day! We cannot stand with a foot in both worlds. We either serve the Lord in righteousness or we don’t.

What a testimony brother Wingate left behind. I talked a few days ago about the need for those who follow us to find us faithful in serving the Lord and in the testimony we leave. It is vital.

One of my most vivid memories of brother Wingate is of him sitting with his guitar on the end of the platform in the old tabernacle at God’s Acres He never sat in the center of th eplatform, but always on one end, humble and submissive to the older pastors. He sat there absent mindedly checking the tune of his guitar and giving his testimony. Then he sang, “If it weren’t for the lighthouse, tell me, where would my ship be…” I don’t have a recording of him singing it ( I wish I did.) but go listen to this video and think, if you have been born again, how much tht light means to you and the change it has made in your life.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

gingerbread houses

I got a Pix message from Kerra the other day. Some background is needed before I tell the story.

When Seth and Keva were old enough for both to have some manual dexterity (Kindergarten for Seth) Kerra began a Christmas tradition of building a gingerbread house. She made the gingerbread, of course and assembled the house. Then the kids did the decoration.

The first time was at my house. Keva was pretty much able to apply her own decorations, but Seth and I collaborated on our two sides. He put the candies on and I helped with the fine details. Kerra has continued the tradition as the kids get older and the houses more elaborate. I used to have copies of the houses from each year on my phone, but I’ve replaced the phone at least once and I may have erased the one from last year even.

This year’s house I will keep for posterity. They built this fabulous hogan! I love it. Right now I only have one photo, but if more come I’ll come back and past them in this post. Traditional hogans have no windows and only a smoke hole in the top, so there wasn't a lot of room for embellishment. Theirs had a few flowers or scrolls or something and I don't know what the circles are on the sides. Still, grandmas aren't the most critical audiences in the world and I think it is great.

This absolutely has to be the FIRST gingerbread hogan in history!

Friday, January 1, 2010

new year's day

You know, the internet is a wonderful thing. This morning I had a New Year’s Day present that was almost as good as being there… Notah posted a video on photobucket for me. It was their Christmas morning! I loved it.

My grandkids are growing up so fast. Keva is beautiful. Notah will have to fight the boys off with sticks and stones when it dawns on them. Seth is his handsome humorous self. ( In the midst of the present opening he started singing, “I saw mama kissing Santa Claus!” He has always been full of song and even as a baby would ride along in his car seat singing to himself. When he learned to talk then he could put words to the songs! )

There were pictures of the Thain and Sadie sitting on the couch wrestling with each other while everyone opened presents. Thain was a fuzzy puppy when I last saw him. Now he is a Big Dog, but he still acts like a simple pup. And his tail!!! He has a tail as long as he is! He is going to be very striking when he is grown. I’m so thankful he survived the rattlesnake bite. There were a couple shots of Huckleberry laying in a patch of sunlight taking life easy. He’s too old to get involved in such foolishness as wrestling and presents!

Kerra got a new video camera. She was thinking the box was a handgun. The kids and dad got a big kick out of surprising her! Now I expect some pictures of my favorite son. The only problem with my New Year’s Day present was that there were no pictures of Notah. He was running the video recorder. As much as I love the kids and Kerra, Notah is my little boy. How strange. Our kids grow up and become adults but deep in a mom’s heart there is still the memory of that cute little kid she watched grow up.

In fact, since Kerra has a camera, I’ll expect videos to get posted all the time.

I think so often of Louie’s Mom. Now I can relate when I remember how happy she was when we visited in the summers. She loved the pictures I sent her of Notah and Rachael and put them up all over her little house. Wouldn’t she have been thrilled to get movies of them! Probably every bit as thrilled as I was.