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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Teaching humans

God knows humans; He know how to deal with humans; He knows how to teach them. We need a lot of examples and demonstrations before we understand things. And we need things explained pretty clearly.

 Most of all most of us need to have our lessons connected to something pretty important to us. So God wanted, and still wants, to make sure we understood how important Christ's sacrifice was going to be.   He set up the system of Laws and sacrifices of the Old Testament to serve as examples of His coming Plan for Salvation.                 

Speaking of us being human: Paul compares our state of being (as humans) to the difference between a child and an adult. The child doesn’t understand or know all that an adult knows.   11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.( I Cor 13.)    We can all relate to both of these examples. Earlier in the same chapter he says: 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when Christ is entered in we will see clearly.

Job expresses our state before God when he says: 14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?  

The reason for the Law is stated by Paul when he says  24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.  Gal. 3 24-25

The Law as a school master demonstrated the powerlessness of man in living for God. Romans tells us, 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:2-4

First he gave us the Law--so we would know how difficult it was to live the way He wanted us to live. Men had to WORK hard at doing His Will and they had to find out how impossible it really was to do it in themselves.

Then Men had to understand that there was a way to be forgiven for the wrong they'd done. So He instituted the sacrifices--the lamb, the goat, the cattle, the doves. For "without shedding of blood is no remission." Why did He use the sheep and goats, etc? Because the Israelites were herding people, the made their living by raising livestock. Livestock represented their livelihood. Those perfect sheep and goats that God required of a sacrifice were IMPORTANT AND PRECIOUS to the strength and well being of their herd and thus to them. Just as important as God wanted the sacifice of Christ to be for us.

If He hadn't spent years showing His People the importance of serving Him and showing that they couldn't do it in their self, then when Jesus came with the free gift of Salvation, they wouldn't have recognized how Precious it was.

But after generations of struggling to live righteously, the Jewish people had learned that without some outside source of Power they couldn't do the will of God. They could be forgiven for not doing it through the sacrifices, but they couldn't attain real salvation.

Only through the birth and teaching and death of Christ was that possible. What glory! What blessing! What victory was made possible through Christ.

But men would never have understood it's worth without those first years of struggle and sacrifice of precious lambs and kids.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm back

Well, it’s been a while since I did any blogging.  I don’t remember how long. I got involved in a couple things, then I went to be with Notah and his family and one thing followed another.  Time really gets away from you!
Back in March or April I began writing a book.  Yeah, a book.  Amazing isn’t it.  Over the years I’ve read thousands of books. Those in my library alone number two or three hundred and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Inevitably, although I didn’t seek them out, I got ahold of a few modern romances.  It is appalling to me the pornography that passes for romance in today’s world.  God had a plan for love and marriage and creating families.  And it comes in just that order.  The ‘creating families’ part doesn’t come before marriage.  Nor was it designed to be a social recreation.
Anyway, having read a couple of those ‘modern’ romances and tossed more than a couple, I decided I could do a better job and still present love and courtship in the way God designed it. So that’s where I’ve been—writing a Christian Romance.  It started out as one, but then it evolved into a ‘saga’ (*smile*) of the family of Eli and Ellen Slade.  It just kinda wrote itself.  But I had to keep going until it was finished.. Took me eight months, but now I have a neat story.  And it isn’t just a story, it’s three books—over a thousand standard sized pages:  “Refuge from the Storm,”  “Los Llanos” and “Heritage.”    
I guess I did it for fun and my own gratification in finding I really could.  The story was very compelling for me and once I started I simply had no stopping place. I had to keep going until it was finished in fact I couldn’t focus on anything else.  And now you know what I’ve been doing for the last however many months. 
Any one who is interested in reading them leave me a comment and use the contact me button on the top left of the blog.  Or you can check out the blog: Refuge from the Storm  (http://refugefromstorm.blogspot.com/ )   
                                              (This is the banner piece for "Refuge")  
It has the entire text of the book there, but, blogs being designed the way they are, you have to read backwards starting back in June of 2012.  (If there’s a way to reverse the posts, I haven’t been able to find it.)  If you love New Mexico, it will probably make you homesick.
I'll be around more now.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Oh the Unsearchable Riches!

It’s been on my mind and heart since I got up this morning, maybe even before I got out of bed!  The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.   Unto me [Paul], who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; Eph 3:8


 Colosians 2:2-3 tells us of the riches in Christ.  That. . . hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge
The world is so caught up in the thought of material riches that the riches of Christ are worthless to them.  It is only the child of God who values those riches beyond silver and gold, houses and lands.  Here it says the ‘full assurance of understanding.’  Too often we rely on the understanding that comes from Man.  We send our youth to bible colleges; we spend hours with Bible study courses offered by different religious groups and preachers.  But so many ‘Christians’ today have never learned to rely on the assurance of understanding that comes from God.  We want to know the Bible but we don’t pursue the Holy Spirit’s gently and too-slow guidance.  We want the same instant gratification that the world seeks in their lives.  
I would never deny that we cannot learn a great deal through our intellectual capacity but we can never comprehend the riches of the things of God.  That comes only through the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  And very, very often it runs directly contrary to the things taught as ‘truth’ in Bible colleges and seminaries.  Only through the study of the Word while we are alone with the Holy Spirit and no other can we have the ‘full assurance of understanding” the ‘mystery of God.’  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts  (Isa. 55:9)  So much time is wasted by men and women trying to understand the mysteries of God through the teaching of professors in Bible school.
Men and women can learn to carry out the tasks of pastorship.  They can learn to manage congregations and finances. They can learn the ways of dealing with people and diplomacy.  They can learn many things but NOT the mystery of God.  That comes only through the teaching of the Holy Spirit.  They sit under teachers or study courses outline all of the ‘doctrines’ of the Bible.  Then they go home and study those outlines and notes and say to themselves ‘the Holy Spirit taught me this.”  No it wasn’t the Holy Spirit, it was a Man.  The Holy Spirit teaches us from the Word and not written or spoken word from a Man. 
So many sincere and honest pastors stand in pulpits today and follow the leadings and teaching of Man and then wonder why their congregations aren’t prospering.  They say the standards of God for holy living are too stringent, that’s why the people aren’t flocking to their doors.   So they lighten up on the righteousness ‘angle’ and stress an entertainment program.  The congregation begins to grow and they say, “God is blessing us.”   No Satan is pleased and the people are gratified to be able tocall themselves ‘Christians’ without obeying the principles of God.
 This verse tells us of “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” that are found in Christ.  This is not the knowledge of the world, nor does it make us wise in the ways of the world.  God desires to give us a knowledge of His Word and the path of righteousness; the teachers in the world cannot give us that.  In all actuality they would prefer not to follow it if they were shown it.  A nominal religion is much more comfortable.  There is no conviction for sin, there is no guilt for refusing to follow the Spirit’s pricking and there is no condemnation for sin. 
I am so thankful that I’ve learned of the Unsearchable Riches of Christ.  I may not know all about everything just yet.  But I’ve learned enough to make me yearn for more. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grown Children

One of the greatest blessings in my life has been in seeing my children grow up.  I look at the children of some of my acquaintances—I won’t say ‘friends’ because most of my friends have successfully raised responsible viable adults.  On the other hand, I know many who have brought their children to the size of a full grown member of the human race, but never succeeded at instilling in them the ethics and outlook of an adult.  So many of those offspring continue following the same irresponsible and selfish ways of a thirteen year old who has escaped mom and dad’s supervision.
They take no thought for their own support and maintenance, assuming, like a child, that what ever they need will be supplied to them from some gift falling from the sky.  They are content holding down a job at McDonalds or the corner gas station.  If they plan ahead far enough, much of their paycheck goes to paying the rent someplace and the rest goes for entertainment and recreation.  The bill for utilities is an affront to their nature.
They may have a vehicle of some sort.  It is one of two types—a clunker that they bought somewhere for $500 or a fancy new model car (maybe a pick-up even).  In either case the cost for maintenance, in the first incidence, is a constant drain on their finances, causing them to be constantly either trying to repair the vehicle themselves or collect cash from friends and family to have it repaired.  In the second case, the payments are almost more than they can scrape together in any given month.  If they actually think of things like groceries they apply for Food Stamps.
In the happy event that they do latch onto a job that pays decently, the paycheck is always overspent before they ever get it.  They cannot seem to grasp the fact that yes, the pay may well be $500 or $600 a week but a huge chunk of that is withheld for taxes etc.  Consequently they spend the entire amount before the check is ever in their hands.  Then they realize that they are short on payday.  This usually engenders resentment rather than the realization that they must budget more carefully.
Sadly, their parents are viewed as an open pocketbook rather than given the respect they should have. The adult offspring are angry when the parent says they cannot afford to give them the money to pay a bill or buy groceries.  They are angry when the parent isn’t forthcoming in making up the rent on the first of the month.  They expect to be able to play house as long as they can eke out the money to do it and then move back home when they can’t.  Of course, moving back home is a good deal anyway because it leaves them with their entire paycheck to spend on recreation or a fancier set of wheels; it frees them from things like utility and rent payments or grocery bills.
I’ve seen those exact circumstances over and over. 
Sometimes my heart hurts when I think of how hard my kids had things when they were growing up. Money was tight to say the least, especially after grandpa died and in addition to the groceries and bills for the kids, I took on the utilities and taxes. There was not much money for extras. Notah and Rachael knew, most times, exactly how much money we had to do with and what it had to be spent on. From the time they were able to really comprehend ‘money’ they learned that budgeting was a necessity.  They learned early on that just because there was $300 in my wallet it had to be spent for things like food and gas and paying the electric bill. They learned that doing without wasn’t a fantasy but a reality. 
Both of them went to college and struggled, more than they ever told me, to do things like pay rent and buy groceries.  Their entertainment involved things like riding a skateboard over ridiculous obstacles or hiking through Columbus parks; that was all free for the most part and didn’t involve laying out cash for alcohol and good times. Which was a good thing.
They grew up knowing, too, the value of living a life centered on grown-up things like ethics and honesty and a sense of responsibility.  They grew up with a relationship with God and His standards for living not just a good life but one that held the fullness of His Presence. 
Now I look at them from the perspective of thirty plus years.  Both of them have families, houses, good jobs, and a relationship with the Lord.  Now my whole relationship with them has reversed.  From being the one who provided for them, I’ve become the one taken care of by them.  From being the one turned to in time of trouble, I’m the one who calls them. And from being the strong one in the family I am the one who needs help.
And they give all of that freely and without grudging. 
My daughter has set beside me when I’ve gone to doctors and had surgery.  Yes, she had a job and sometimes had to rearrange her schedule or just plain take off work, but she did it because she loves me.   She wanted to be there, not just to encourage me but to know exactly what the doctors were saying and what she could do to keep things on the right path.  When the doctor put me on a low carb diet, she rearranged her and Michael’s entire menu to accommodate it. 
When she and Michael were house shopping one of their priorities was a room where I could stay and have a bathroom all on one floor.  They found that and the Lord blessed them with a house at the right price.  (When I heard what they were offering I was sure the owner would turn down the offer. It was that low.  He didn’t and they bought the house.) Before they moved in they made sure my room was painted and arranged so I could not be disturbed with paint and ladders and upheaval.  Everything was out of the way of crutches and bad knees. 
Every year Rachael plans with Notah to get me from Ohio to New Mexico so I can spend time with him. It has involved cost that I didn’t have but they have spent the money without complaint.
Now I’m with Notah for the summer. He and his family have worked everything out to make me comfortable. Keva moved to her room behind the garage. It’s a nice room but it isn’t in the house. They put me in the room Keva had, or has most of the year, because it has a bathroom attached and I have to get up several times during the night.  That arrangement gives me a place to put my clothes and so forth without having to use a suitcase for part of them.
Kerra, although she hasn’t rearranged her entire menu for me, makes sure I have fruit and sliced meat and high protein leftovers for my diet.  And the meals she makes for the family are such that I can leave out the carbohydrates and still have a good dinner.
Notah and Kerra have a better work schedule than Rachael and Michael so they can take long hikes and trips on weekends.  And they take me along. I’ve enjoyed this summer more than any of the others I’ve spent with them because I’ve been able to get out of the truck and actually walk around a bit! It has been years and years since I’ve been able to hike in the desert. I don’t really call what I can do now ‘hiking’ but at least I can get sand in my shoes and wind in my hair.
Getting me in and out of the truck is an operation, but the whole family is faithful at bringing me my stool.  Really I can get out okay; it is getting in that causes problems.  I cannot step up into that high Dodge Ram.  But Notah or one of the kids always brings me the little step stool.  Seth is particularly dependable. I think he follows his dad’s example.
My knees work fine, but the muscles in my legs and my balance are still not dependable in spite of rehab and exercise. At inopportune times I call on certain muscles or ligaments and they don’t have the strength to keep me steady on my feet. I don’t ordinarily need a cane, but sometimes just the smallest step up becomes difficult or impossible.  At those times I need a little support to hold me steady.  Seth is usually there to help.  He is willing and quite strong, but frankly I’m lots bigger than him and if I would happen to fall, I’d likely hurt him as well as myself, probably mostly him.
But he and Notah are always there for me to hold on to. It is amazing for me to find my son’s hand there to help me up hills or over uneven ground. Even walking in close quarters or rough parking lots can be difficult without him.  How many years ago did I hold a small hand to keep him safe. Now it is turned around.  Taking hold of that grown up hand  is like taking hold of a tree or a rock.  It is strong and I need not worry that it will give way when I pull on it or lean.  It is like holding to his father’s hand so many years ago. It’s firm and absolutely steady.  
I have another daughter. Her name is Dianne.  I didn’t give birth to her, but the Lord put her in my pathway and in my life.  I love her as one of my own kids. And she is just as self sacrificing and loving as them.  She would drop everything to come if I need her.  She has taken care of me and helped me over and over when my own kids were far away or not able to help.
When I came home from my surgery for the hernia repair, Rachael couldn’t be off work to stay with me and I wasn’t able to do a lot of things on my own until my abdomen healed.  When Rachael called to ask her to help for a few days, Dianne dropped her own life to bring Nic and stay with me a week until she and Rachael trusted me to be alone. Her husband brought her down on a weekend and turned around to go right back home. 
Dianne took care of me and Nic and the dogs while I got well. It was wonderful having her there, not just for the help but for the fellowship that we hadn’t been able to have for several years since I moved to Columbus. It was like having her home for Christmas, but it wasn’t winter.
Now I look at those three (and their spouses) and I’m proud of them.  No, I couldn’t have done any of it without the Lord, but I can still look at them and feel such a sense of security.  I’m not ancient yet, but my body is.  I’ve done a lot of hard work and put these bones through a lot.  They don’t work as well as they used to. 

But I look at my children and it has been worth every hard place, every heartache, every worry, every long day and early morning when I see them all three, doing what the Lord would have them do, caring for their families (well, Rachael and Michael don’t have kids, but they have the dogs and cats and Michael’s family).  They are responsible, thinking, caring adults.  They have good homes and their bills are paid with a little laid aside.  They don’t live ‘high-on-the-hog’ as grandpa would say, but they live well enough to be content.

Because we know godliness with contentment is great gain.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Mexico Always

I grew up in Ohio. There are rolling hills and flat fields.  There are tall trees and bushes.  There are flat fields that go from empty, brown dirt to tall, green corn. There are flat pastures of grass enclosed by shaggy fences of grass and brush.  The land is crisscrossed by black asphalt bands of varying widths that carry traffic. 
Dotted among the green hills and fields there are town and cities of different sizes.  They go from little ‘hamlets’ of a few houses, a post office and a mom-n-pop grocery to full fledged cities with tall buildings and acres of paved streets and sidewalks and parking lots. 
My home town was a small city with a tall, imposing courthouse and a few buildings downtown that were perhaps three stories at the most.  When I was growing up the ‘town square’ was just a place where the two main roads, High Street and Broad, met by the courthouse.  There was nothing fancy about it, mostly just designated curbs and a little green place with a statue in front of the courthouse.  Its only claim to special embellishment was a little circus-wagon type vehicle parked in the southwest corner that sold newspapers and popcorn.  Now it has become a little more sophisticated with a pagoda for mini concerts on the northwest corner and a little park-like area on the southeast corner with benches and a couple tiny trees.  The courthouse and its sidewalks with the statue and the fountain haven’t changed a lot. 
Almost anywhere you stand in Tuscarawas County your vision is bounded by trees hills or buildings.  For the first 23 or 24 years of my life that didn’t bother me at all.  I liked the green.  I liked hiking in the woods and camping there.
Then the Lord called me to teach on a tiny mission in New Mexico.
My mother had gone with sister Grace Henry to work in the bible school at Rock Springs Mission, just outside of Gallup NM.  They both came back with tales of dry, barren, rocky, empty, mountainous desert.  Their reports of the houses was on the same order—bleak with rocky bare ‘yards’ no grass, no bushes, no flowers.
I asked the Lord why He would send me to a place I would hate.  But as always, He knew what He was doing!
I had never seen the desert.  I had never seen the wide, deep blue blue skies of New Mexico.  I had never seen the mountains, rocky and menacing jutting up from the flatness of the plains.  I had never seen the sagebrush and rabbit bush accentuated by juniper.  I had never experienced the fragrance pine and piñón smoke drifting through that of sage and juniper. I had faced into the cold bite of snow blowing across the land.  I had never stood and watched a pillar of rain with its crown of dark clouds moving across the land.  And I had never stood and reveled in the rain falling on me and the parched land.  I had never inhaled the heady perfume of wet sand and sage after the rain.
From the first time I drove across the wide land, no matter where I went my heart stayed in New Mexico.  Today when I go back to visit with Notah and his family I am going Home.
From any window in Notah’s house I can look out on the mountains.  The Manzanos loom closest, about a mile away. I see them first thing every morning.  In the distance I can see the Sandias.  On the other side, the Piños and the Ladrones rear their peaks.  And on a clear day far off to the northwest we can see Mount Taylor.
Rachael wants to move to New Mexico, but she wants to live in the mountains—up on the slopes of the Sandias where the pine is tall and the mountain lions and bears come to visit, and in winter you need a four-wheel drive vehicle or horses to get home in the evenings.   And I like that land.  It really is as awesome as the flat land between the mountains.  But waking up in the morning and seeing the Manzanos between me and the rising sun is something that still takes my breath away.
Those mountains are so close that the sun rises at our house twenty minutes later than it does other places.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I’ve neglected posting here, busy with lots of other things.  But last night we were treated to some nice thunderstorms and a couple good soaking rain showers. Notah and Pat watched the lightening strikes across the way while we were having dinner.
Later they took Seth and went road cruising.  Kerra went to lie down and read. Keva played video games.  I played a couple games of Facebook.  About nine-thirty I called it a night and went to get ready for bed. 
When I was standing by the bed in my night gown, Kerra yelled through the door,  “There’s a fire in the Pinos. You want to drive over and see.” Notah and the road cruising expedition were at the top of the mountain pass down 60.  They had looked down and seen the fire.  He called to tell Kerra.  So I put my dress back on and we took off. 
We went down 47 to 60 and the west for a ways. We could see the fire off to the southeast.  Kerra and Keva maintained there were three or four firetrucks or vehicles. I could separate out three; I thought there was only one.  At any rate the fire people were ‘on it’ early.
Of course we couldn’t (and didn’t want to) get close.  I’m no good at estimating distances but when we’re thinking ‘fire’ it wasn’t very far off across the landscape.
This is the third or fourth wildfire in New Mexico this spring and summer.  The first was the Whitewater Baldy Complex fire in the southwest. We had smoke in central NM for a couple weeks from this and it was a long ways off

This fire, although under control now, more than a month later, is still burning in central areas. I think at last count it had consumed more than 300,000 acres.  

The second fire that caused a lot of damage was the fire near Ruidosa, the Little Bear fire. 
Those billows aren’t clouds.  They’re smoke.   Here’s a night photo. 
This photo came through the Indian Country network because the Mescalero Apache Reservation is very close by.  They were concerned about the threat to the land and their income producing ski resort.
This fire seriously damaged the Bonita Park Nazarene Campground and Conference Center.  Notah and Kerra attend a Nazarene congregation and we heard about it first in the Sunday worship service.  At that time only the gym had been damaged.  As time went on a major part of the cabins and homes of workers was destroyed. 
This is only the third of July. And the Fourth is coming up. Lots of stupid people will be shooting fireworks. Many areas of NM, in spite or our nice sporatic rains, are tinder dry and covered with sage and juniper--combustible brush filled with evergreen resins and turpentine like sap. The potential for more fires is high

Friday, May 18, 2012

a 'disclaimer'

You may notice there are two blogs and an edit that happened today.  That's because I've developed a bad habit of writing my blogs in Wordprocessing and promising myself I'll get them posted.  And of course you know where it goes from there.   Even the blog for the 16th wasn't published until today, even though I wrote it on the 16th.  The other two happened 'sometime' but I didn't get the dates on them so I just let them show as today.
So don't think I've suddenly become a prolific writer today. I'm just moving things from my documents to here.  

quiet time?

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ( KJV)  Matthew 6:33
One popular denomination puts a great deal of emphasis on what they call ‘quiet time’ and the need for reading the Bible and prayer.  Now there is absolutely nothing false about our need for reading the word and communicating with the Lord.  That is utterly and extremely vital if we are to be strong Christians and make heaven out home.
The difficulty comes in when an attempt is made to regiment our study and prayer.  A recent ‘devotion’  from one of the preachers in this group said: Everyone struggles with quiet-time consistency from time to time. Know that if you’re struggling with it, you’re not alone! The good news is that with a common problem comes some common solutions.  And following that statement is a list of things we can do to MAKE ourselves more consistent in maintaining our ‘quiet time.’  There is more emphasis on the ‘quiet time’ than on WHY our daily fellowship with God is important.
The solutions consist of making quiet time part of 1) making a covenant with God; 2) writing the ‘quiet time’ into your weekly schedule as in writing it in your day planner; 3) being prepared for Satan to oppose and interfere with your ‘quiet time’  4) maintaining your ‘quiet time’ appointment consistently for six weeks so it becomes a ‘habit’ and finally 5) depending on God’s power to make it happen.
The devotion began with a scripture.  But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33 CEV) The same one I quoted at the beginning of this page.
Here is where the problem comes in.  The emphasis in the modern translation is skewed away from the intent of the Word.  The emphasis is on Works (which is strange because this denomination emphasizes that our salvation is not by works…. )  The emphasis in this translation is on doing the works of God.    This takes away the true focus of what Jesus was saying. 
Many people condemn the KJV as old fashioned and poorly translated, but here is the difference right here.  Notice what the KJV says 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  When we seek to DO before we have found the essec nce of the kingdom of  God and His righteousness keeping that time with God is very difficult.  We can only seek the kingdom and righteousness by getting intimate with God, by spending deep one on one time with Him.  It doesn't happen by 'doing the works.'
When we have been born again, consecrated to serving God in ‘spirit and in truth’ and not just trying to serve him in a superficial professing way, it is not hard to find time to read the Bible or pray.  It is something our love for Him compells us to do.
When we are born again and consecrated to understanding and serving God from the heart out, we are drawn constantly into the Word.  It honestly does become as vital to us as eating and breathing.  We become so hungry that we are pulled to God’s table, just as when we are hungry our entire focus becomes getting something to eat.
Think about it.  We don’t have to ‘schedule’ a time to eat everyday.  We come to the kitchen automatically when our stomach begins to rumble!  We don’t have to ‘schedule’ a specific time to take a breath.  It is vital to us, we automatically remember to do it. 
When we have been truly born again, when the old man has been destroyed and we are ‘new creatures in Christ Jesus’ our need for communication with the Heavenly Father becomes as compelling for us as eating and breathing.  Now just like eating, we can choose not to eat and if we do that long enough, we lose our appetite and may eventually even die.  It is exactly the same with our communication with God.  Our inner man will yearn toward that time with God, but we can ignore him, just like we ignore a rumbling stomach sometimes.  Eventually we won't feel the desire any more.
There have been those who chose for various reasons refuse to eat for long periods of time.  There have been incidents when those people died.  If we deny the hunger of our soul we will die spiritually. 
Search your heart. Are you having difficulty ‘scheduling’ your ‘quiet time?’  Do you have to remember to read your Bible?  Do days go by without your spending time with God?  Have you forgotten to eat lunch or dinner during those days?   Where exactly does your devotion lie?  Are you truly seeking after the things of the kingdom and the righteousness of God?
Religious denominations have things backward today.  The emphasis is on things and activities-- going to church regularly, attending bible study, dressing in a certain way, helping out at the food pantry or homeless outreach.  But any sinner can do those things.  Those things aren’t evidence of our relationship with God.  Evidence of our relationship with God shows in our dedication to living our lives pleasing to Him; it shows in our willingness to lay aside sins and habits of the flesh and being determined to comprehend all that he wants us to d;  it shows in our desire to spend time with Him in our 'closet' of prayer and time with the Word.  Instead we rely on providing outward evidences of our salvation—being in church services and bible studies, working in the congregation etc.
If we are having to schedule our Bible reading and prayer in order not to forget it, we are taking hold of the wrong end of the stick.   The bible reading and prayer times come AFTER and BECAUSE OF our consecration to the kingdom of God and His righteousness.  If our Bible reading and prayer times are difficult to maintain, we should be searching our heart to see how consecrated we are to the kingdom and His righteousness.
Once the consecration is there you will WANT to spend time with Him.

early morning thoughts. . .again

A while back,  at 300 AM,  I woke up with a silly song in my head, “All God’s children got a place in the choir.” It’s a funny little song that Celtic Thunder sings, but it does describe how each of God’s People has a place in His Work and His Kingdom. He has a design for all of us.  My mind went from there to my visit with Luci to thoughts and prayers for Dessie and then thoughts on the depth of the stillness in the night.  What was the neatest thing though was that in all those things the presence of God was the key point.    
Isn’t it fantastic to have your life centered in the Lord?  The thoughts of Luci and Dessie and the stillness, even the cute song, were all ordinary everyday concerns and nothing that would shake the foundations of the earth and yet there was the presence of God running like a silver glow through them all. I can’t describe how living for the Lord changes your whole outlook on life.  I can’t explain how His Presence influences your thoughts and goals and attitudes.  I can’t express how it feels to be wrapped in the giant comforter of His Love. I can’t tell you how it is to be held in the palm of His hand but it is such a great place to be.
And if you wake up early or late with a riot of plans and headaches and worries running through your head I can only wish that you would get to know my Lord.   He doesn’t take us out of the world, but He certainly takes the world out of us. He changes our focus to eternal things. He organizes our life. And that is pretty wonderful.
Rachael was telling us at dinner one night of rescuing a sparrow that had some how gotten in the store.  Company policy directed that they call ‘pest control’ and have them remove it, but she knew that the outcome of that would be the death of the sparrow.  She commented to one of her young associates that she wished they could catch it and release it outside.  
A short while later, the little bird flew into a window and stunned itself.  The two young guys that Rachael commandeered to help her thought she was a little crazy to be climbing to the top of the floral cooler to get a little bird.  An older customer got a little chuckle out of hearing their rather vehement discussion about it.   But when she held the tiny thing cupped in her hands wrapped in a Kroger T-shirt, the customer came by to see if she had caught it and both of the young associates wanted to see it before she turned it loose.  She said they both stood by her when she unfolded the shirt from around the sparrow and let it flutter to the bushes behind the store and then fly away.
Do you KNOW how many people would never have thought to rescue it and release it?  Do you KNOW how many people there are in this world who have never held a tiny bird in their hands?  Rachael gave a couple teenage boys a lesson in compassion and wonder. I’m proud of her.
I’ve held little animals and birds cupped between my palms and that is exactly the way I envision the Lord holding his own—gently enclosed in the warm safety of those two giant hands.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

accomplishing a lot

Big day. It’s only 930 and I’ve cleaned up the kitchen, done two loads of laundry.  Have the third in the dryer now. Got the living room cleaned up—well, the dog toys picked up (the basket has been dumped already, but they are at least not scattered all over)
I spent last night itching all over my face and nose and head!  One of the cats, probably Spider, slept on my pillows or blankets yesterday.  I’m not allergic to cats, but they do make my eyes and nose itch if they are on my face. So first thing this morning, I folded Seth’s pants and put my blankets and pillowcases in the washer.  While I was at it I washed the rest of the dirty clothes in my basket.    I think I may have made a mistake telling Keva she could put her dirty clothes in my basket once.  I found three pair of pants, two shirts and several towels, that I KNOW I didn’t put in there.  Hmmm.
But they’re all clean now. 
Last evening was the SODA music program concert.  Seth played in the Guitar I group.  He plays really well.  I was proud of the whole group.  They aren’t being taught the country music strum and chord way, but taught real music.  A couple Beethoven pieces and a Bach—simplified for guitar, of course—a couple classical guitar pieces, several Spanish traditional pieces were all part of the program. The more difficult pieces were performed by the Guitar III group but there were some nice pieces by the I and II groups too.  The finale of the evening was a rendition of the MASH theme.  It was great.
The only thing that marred the evening was the squeaking of the doors as different ones slipped in and out.  The people were quiet and there would not have been much of a disruption if the doors hadn’t squeaked so bad.  I told Notah we should assign Keva a can of oil and send her around to oil every door in the building!
Afterward we went to the China Buffet. For a little town in the middle of NM, they have good Chinese food.

Monday, April 30, 2012

back in the desert!

It’s one of my favorite parts of New Mexico.  Of course, I say that of almost every part of New Mexico.  You can go look at the link or take my word for it; the Quebradas is 25 miles of unpaved road from Socorro to the middle of nowhere. It’s beautiful and rough.  If you decide to go don’t take your cute little city car.  And be sure to take lots of drinking water and a full tank of gas.  Because there isn’t any any where.
Off the road there are several little even less developed roads that take you to hidden canyons and monumental cliffs. 
We drove up a little canyon that has no name as far as I know.  After a ways, Notah stopped the truck (Dodge RAM four wheel drive, with so much clearance I need a step stood to get into it.)  He said “Here, Mom, you can walk a little ways and then sit by the pool.” 
And I DID walk a ways-about a quarter mile!  There was a beautiful pool caught between the arms of rock, shaded by cotton woods and high rock walls. 

I came on the plane this year so I didn’t have my camp chair, but Notah and hit Wal-Mart (Yeah. Sorry, Rachael) and gotten me another one for just such things as this.  Seth, bless his heart, carried my chair with its handy case and sling.

Seth and Keva climbed a bit on the rocks around the pool.  Then came over and hung out under my cotton wood.  Seth must have shot ‘a hundred’ little rocks across the pool and at the rocks on the opposite side.  Keva sat under another tree and read until angry buzzing and a swarm of bees made her leave that spot.  I watched Seth shooting rocks with his slingshot—he’s pretty good—and reading and napping.  It was wonderful.
Notah, Kerra and pat went hiking up to the top of the canyon and made a big quarter circle.  They came down over to my left from where they had climbed the wall behind the pool.
The whole time was quiet.  The only sound I heard was Seth’s rock plunking in the water or clicking off the wall and a pair of doves that flew around the top of the walls, cooing to each other. 
When everyone came back Thain and Sadie went swimming in the pool.  It was deep enough that Thain couldn’t touch the bottom for most of the breadth of it.  He spent a lot of his time retrieving sticks for Notah.  When Notah stopped tossing them, he went over to one side where there was a fairly good sized limb floating in the water with only its end on the bank.  He thought maybe Notah needed that, too.  Sadie just kinda swam around enjoying the cool water after her hike. 
Bella, with her long legs and slim body, doesn’t like swimming much.  She will wade out in the water and lap some but then she comes back.  I guess Great Danes just weren’t designed to swim.
When the dogs had cooled off, Notah put them back in the truck and we drove farther up the road.  Finally it just petered out.  He turned around and went back the way we had come.

A few weeks back, they had hiked the same area and found an old grave.  They wanted to take Keva and Pat to see it


It is always awe-inspiring to me when I see these indications of long past explorers and pioneers who walked through this country or tried to live here. This isn't a native grave because the manner of burial doesn't fit. It is an anglo or spanish grave. How lonesome it seems to have died in such a desolate place. The stone was set up, but any writing seems to have disappeared in the sand, and years.
It was too far for me to hike.  I’m getting good, but not that good yet.  I read and watched the wind blow through the trees.
They weren’t gone long.  My first indication that they were coming back was Sadie showing up at my open truck door, followed by Thain saying he wanted some water.  Not only do you have to take water for the people, if you drive the Quebradas you have to take water for the dogs too.  
Keva rescued a baby horny toad that had been trapped in the bottom of a dry water tank.  Poor little thing!  In the process of giving it water and putting it in a warmer place, Notah was stung three or four times by a bunch of wild bees who objected to him dumping water on a little horny toad so close to their hive!
We drove back out the main dirt road and continued on to the other end where it connected with the paved road again.
If you’re a ‘camper’ who uses the nice little amenities of proper campgrounds, don’t think about camping in the Quebradas.  There are no ‘campgrounds.’ no out houses or port-a-potties, no water faucets and no camper hookups.  Take everything you will need and be sure to carry out all your trash.  Oh yeah, if you gotta go potty, be prepared to dig a little hole and then bury your TP!