A Good Name

Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is more desirable than great riches;to be esteemed is better then silver or gold.”

It did not take long after we had moved from suburbia to our new rural small town to experience and learn a few new things. Small town, rural living comes with challenges that I never even imagined, things that I had never experienced in my life. Experience certainly can give you a change of perspective. In my mind our rural life would be one like “Little House on the Prairie”( If you have never seen this show, check it out. It is old, but so good.) or “Gilmore Girls”. I real sense of community, everyone knowing and caring about each other. friendly hello’s, baked pies and enjoying the great outdoors. But reality was, deer flies, ticks,biting midges, wolf spiders, and of course the question of “What’s your name?” That question was not new. The expected answer was what was new. In the suburbs when I met someone new, name exchanges were usually only first names. I can actually say that I had met many people that I never knew their last name. It seemed almost irrelevant, they way they interacted with me was more of my concern. Did they treat me good, did we have any common interests, basically did I enjoy being around them. In my new small town the expected answer to “What’s your name?”, included your last name. Small towns tend to be filled with more generational families. Makes me think of the song, Small Town by John Mellencamp, where he says “I was born in a small town, likely die in that same small town”. For a short period of time, I noticed that after I gave the answer, peoples interaction with me was different. They quickly ended the conversation, as if I had said something offensive. Initially I thought that it was just that people were busy, or a little less friendly then in the suburbs. Then one day a lady I met gave me some clarification, and some wisdom. She explained to me that in my small town there was a family that had the same last name as me that had earned a bad reputation. The wisdom she shared was that when I answer the “What’s your name question, I should immediately follow it with the statement of I have no relatives out here. Sure enough once I started saying that the reactions of people changed. It was so bizarre to me.

The above scripture explains the importance of having a good name, and how valuable it is. I experienced judgement based on my name, that I had to overcome. I have now made many connections and friends in our small town. I try to show love to the people in my community, at Christmas I give out tins of goodies to my neighbors, and the small local business to show my gratitude for them being there, I run a women’s ministry, and I try to always be kind. I think, or at least I hope that I have established a good name in our small community.

It was through my loving others as Jesus example that I was able to overcome the judgement associated with my name. I was able to earn a good name because of Him. Whatever judgement you are facing in life because of things that are out of your control, be confident that you can earn a good name for yourself despite them. We all also need to be aware of the judgement’s we are making about others based on the things that they can not control and loving them, opening up our hearts to them to discover who they are as individuals.

This experience also made think of and investigate last names in the Bible including Jesus. I was amazed to discover that most of the people in the Bible including Jesus did not have last names. They are referenced as son or daughter of their fathers first name or by occupation. Wonder how that would work in today’s society? Just something to make to make you think.

It’s Time To Stop Wishing.

Psalm 33:22 “Let Your [steadfast] lovingkindness, O Lord be upon us, In proportion as we have hoped in You.”

It’s time to stop wishing. A wish is defined by Oxford dictionary as ” feel or express a strong desire for something that cannot or probably won’t happen.” But Hope on the other hand is defined as “A feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.” In essence by wishing I am saying that I don’t expect what I want to happen to come to be. I am done wishing for things, I am going to hope for things. The above scripture says that we can request and pray that God would give us His lovingkindness in proportion to what we have hoped. God’s loving kindness comes from the Hebrew word checed it is connected to to the idea of covenant or solemn oath, promise or commitment by God. It translated in different parts of the Bible as mercy, goodness, kindness, faithful love, and it used to describe God’s character of love that encompasses, mercy, forgiveness, redemption, favor and grace. I need that and want that. By saying I am hoping instead of wishing I am calling to God to activate all of those things. The above scripture tells me that I can expect to receive from God to the equivalent (or same proportion) as I have hoped in Him to deliver on His promise or covenant with me. So I am going to hope for big things to happen. God’s word in Mathew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said,” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I am no longer going to use the word wish!! I will not wish for good health and healing, I will not wish for me and my family to be prosperous and live long, I will not wish for the favor of the Lord on anything, and I will not wish for my hearts desires to come to be. I will HOPE instead. I am not going to be diminishing God’s, power, His faithfulness to His word, His mercy or His Love for me and others, by wishing.

I when I read this scripture and this revelation came to me also thought about our everyday use of the word wish. In places such as “I wish you a happy birthday, or we wish you a merry Christmas. If the definition of wish, being something that is not likely to happen, I am saying that I do not believe you will have a happy birthday, or merry Christmas!! Then I even thought of how we say ‘wish upon a star.” Man, the enemy is so good at deceiving us, taking us away from God and His goodness for us. A star was what the wise men followed to find Jesus. They knew that God had many promise to be fulfilled by His birth. They were not wishing when they followed that star they were hoping for God to fulfill His promises of a savior.

So I am done with the word wish!!!! About a year ago my husband and I created a wish list of things that we were going to be mindful of praying for on our home. I am taking it down from our fridge and renaming it OUR HOPE FOR LIST. I aslo will not be wishing anyone a Happy Birthday Or Merry Christmas, because I will Hope with EXPECTATION for that to happen.

GOOD BYE WISH, HELLO HOPE!!

Victory Is Yours!!

Psalm 60:12 “Through God we will have victory, For He will trample down our enemies.”

What or who is stopping you from reaching your dream or goal? God says that “we will have victory”, we will reach that goal or dream and that “He will trample down or enemies.” YEAH VICTORY IS OURS!!

But how? Do you even know who your enemy is in achieving that goal? When I think about that honestly, not looking for the easy excuse, but truly searching I am usually shocked by the answer. Why am I shocked? Because the answer is often me. The easy answer can be things like, not enough money, not smart or educated enough. I am too old or too young or I can say this person or system will never allow me. Those statements are easy and often supported by other people. Think about it, if someone said they really want something but gave anyone of those reason, you likely would accept that as truth. Yet more often the deeper truth is those are not the enemies it things like fear, commitment, or believing lies that we were told. If I want to have victory in a battle I need to know who I am battling.I must identify my enemies. Then I can go to God and ask Him to fulfill His word of giving me the victory. I can be specific, praying for Him to trample my enemy of fear, to deepen my commitment to achieve the goal, to change the wrong programmed words that are stuck in my mind, or to give me wisdom and words to say that bring the systems or people that oppose me to either be removed or to change their opinion. Then I need to be willing to take the steps to gain the victory!! God can remove and trample them but if I don’t make an effort to achieve the goals then I will never know that the enemy is gone.

STEPS TO VICTORY

  • Identify the enemy. Search this out truthfully. It is often us and our poor thinking about our limits and abilities.
  • Pray to God to trample and bring down the enemy. He says He will. Be specific, ask Him to change the way you see yourself, the words that may be programmed in your head that are not how He sees you, or if it’s an actual system or person that they be removed or have a change of opinion
  • Then start working or walking it out, believing that you will have the victory.

I am not saying that it will be easy, you will have work to do. But with God you will have the strength, you will gain wisdom to succeed and He will trample down your enemies. Even when it seems impossible God can make a way. I had always wanted to have a great mother daughter relationship, with me being the daughter. When my adopted Mom passed away I thought that this dream died. But God connected me with my birth Mom, and now I have the relationship I longed for. I still had work to do, I had to be willing to connect. I need to be a good daughter, loving and accepting. I had to put myself out there and take a chance of being disappointed and hurt. I had to change my mind from thinking things like, she didn’t want me as baby, she won’t want me now, or if my adopted mom didn’t love me, neither will she. I had to be walk through the fear of rejection. God can make dreams that seem dead, past their worldly expired time come to be. But we still have apart to play. Sometimes, our part is getting out of God’s way, when it has to do with others, and being patient while He is doing the trampling. I have learned this the hard way, many times. My running to rescue a person, that God is trampling down to bring them to the change they need to make has only caused me many heart aches.

I am always here for you. I am willing to pray for your enemies to trampled down and you to have the victory. Do not hesitate to send me a message asking for prayer or help.

I am Just a Broken Mess!!

Luke 22:19-20 19:”And he took the bread and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 20 “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Recently our 32 year old pick up truck broke down. Yes I typed that right our pick up truck is 32 years old!! It is not our everyday vehicle, we use this truck when we need to pick large items or bring things like dirt and gravel to our home. As it is summertime, and we are doing lots of work and gardening on our property this is when we use the truck the most. So the truck was brought down to the barn to be repaired. It started at as what my hubby thought would be an “easy job”, but with each attempt at fixing one problem any one was created. Rusty parts are easily broken. When I went into the barn as a person who is not mechanically inclined I looked at the truck, and it looked like a broken mess. At one point the radiator fluid had poured out all over the floor, earlier it was oil that was being poured out everywhere. To some people it would have seemed that truck was not good for anything that it was useless. It was broke and poured out!!!

The truth is we can feel like our truck, broken and empty, that we have nothing left to give, that we are useless. That broken truck taught many things. New knowledge was gained during the repair that can be passed on to help others. I learned that just like in life when we seem to finally have fixed one area in our life a new one can suddenly appear. At points tools were discovered that helped to remove things from the hard to reach places, tools that created threads and removed broken threaded parts. Parts that were no longer useful were removed and new ones put in. Just like in our life when we are doing things that are not useful for our goals we need to take them out and create new patterns (habits or ways) or as in the truck new threads. When may need to try new ways to reach the hard parts. They are hard for us because they things we have believed or relied on for a long time, that are not cohesive to the life we want. A few times along the way of fixing truck we needed to ask for help. Just like in life, we may need to ask for help, there is no shame in asking. In asking we gain knowledge, and then we are also able to be the person to help someone else.

Jesus broke the bread and poured out into the cup in remembrance of himself. We can learn a lot from Jesus about how our brokenness can help others. How through being broken can facilitate us pouring into others. Jesus allowed himself to be broken from life here on earth, and his blood to be poured out to save us from our sins. Do not think that just because you see yourself as broken means that you are useless, or beyond repair. Our brokenness allows us to experience the healing power of God in a new way. We are given a new opportunity to see God at work in our life and learn new things about God’s character. It gives us new knowledge and new ways of living a Blessed Home and Life.

Our truck is now running great and yesterday it was used to bring dirt and gravel to our home. You are never beyond repair when you allow Jesus to work in your life. Just like the truck brought us dirt and gravel when it was fixed, you can bring Jesus to others by sharing how He fixed the parts of you that you seen as broken.

Homemade Whipped Topping

That plastic tub of frozen whipped cream you buy at the store is easy to make at home. It is really just what is called stabilized whip cream. You can make it and use it right away, keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it. It does not deflate which is what will happen if you just whip, whipping cream. There are many uses for stabilized whip cream. It is used in the making of many dessert recipes and is able to piped for the topping of cupcakes, frosting cakes or when you need to transport whipped cream from one place to another.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1tsp gelatin (unflavored) I use Knox
  • 1 tbs cold water
  • 1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tbs of confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or get creative and use other extract flavors
  • Optional gel food coloring to make it the color you desire.

DIRECTIONS

  • If it is warm in your home, put your bowl and beaters in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before hand. Gather all your ingredients.
  • Put the unflavored gelatin in a microwave safe bowl . Add the Tbs of cold water and let stand for 5 minutes. It will be very thick.
  • Put the thickened gelatin in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds, long enough for it to return to a liquid. Check it at 5 seconds, then every few seconds after until it is liquid.
  • Pour you heavy whipping cream into your cold bowl. Beat with the cold beaters on HIGH until it begins to thicken, then add your confectioners sugar. Add your extract and continue beating until thick. Do not beat to the point of soft peak forming.
  • Do not stop beating add the liquid gelatin in a slow thin stream. If your gelatin has thickened put in the microwave for a few seconds. If you do need to reheat your gelatin, or if your gelatin is hot, add a small spoonful of your whipped cream to it, to bring it to temperature. (Think of when you make custard and do not want scrambled eggs.) Then using a steady thin stream add all of it your whipped cream.
  • Continue beating until soft or stiff peaks form whichever is your desire.

STORING

FREEZE IT: You can store in single size portions, by piping or spooning on wax paper and freezing then put them in a container and in your freezer. Or just place in a container like the one you purchase in the freezer section at the grocery store.

IN THE FRIDGE: Cover and keep in the fridge for 4 days.

Healing Starts from the Inside

2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

A number of years ago while in hospital recovering from a bowel surgery, my incision ripped open. The incision opening was about 4 inches long, 5 inches wide and 4 inches deep on top of that it was filled with infection. My stomach was a wide open mess. I was unable to keep any food down and I needed nutrition to fight the infection along with the antibiotics. The doctors used a vacuum type machine attached to my stomach to make sure that I healed from the inside to the outside. They knew that our bodies will naturally try to close the outside skin first, leaving a big mess underneath. The also fed me through an intravenous line that went right to my heart. Then was pumped through my body. If you were to look at me then it would appear that I was wasting away, that my life was ending. That the situation was hopeless. But a lot was going on inwardly that was going to cause my healing. Day by day my incision was being closed from the inside out, my body was being strengthen through the feeding to my heart and the antibiotics were removing the infection.

God works on us the same way. Our outward circumstances can be overwhelming. We may look at it and loose heart, thinking that there is no way to recover. That our troubles are just going to cause our lives to be wasted away. But when we move our focus to God instead of the outward circumstances we find hope, help and day by day we are renewed. As we look at things from His perspective and allow Him to minister to our heart, we begin to heal. That heart ministry, changes us, it gives us wisdom of how to change the circumstances, He strengthens us to make the changes, and He gives us hope that we will be victorious. Just as the intravenous food was through a line that went right to my heart, God feeds us right at our heart. When are hearts are being fed it pumps through our body and strengthens all of it. For a time our circumstances may not be changed at all. Yet we will be changing inside. People may question why despite the fact that we are still in the exact same place as far as our troubles go, we are not full of despair. Why we have not lost heart. The simple answer is because inwardly we are being renewed day by day to face and change the circumstances.

Allow God to feed your heart, to minister to you by renewing your strength day by day and to give you hope that your troubles will be gone. As we heal inwardly, or outside circumstances will change.

How Did I Get Here?

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”

It had happened again! I had received a text from my son, and soon the texting conversation had turned into a phone call that had both of us being angry and hurt. I know that neither of us wants this ongoing battle, we love each. Yet, here I was again, sad, frustrated and wondering How Did I Get Here? Have you ever been there? A person you care about, someone you love, that you never want to see hurt, and that you know feels the same about you, and despite that you have just both hurt each other? Sadly, for a very long time this scenario was repeated over and over again. We just were not connecting, despite the love we had for each other. I would pray to God for wisdom of what to say that showed my love, and then it would happen again. I kept thinking about and asking God, How Did I Get Here?

The above scripture says “A gentle answer” the dictionary meaning of gentle describes it as “moderate in action”. The meaning of moderate is average in amount. Then it happened, after praying God reminded me, most people care more about you hearing them, then hearing what you have to say. You are in control of your answer and sometimes no answer is the best answer. If I did not want to be constant battle with my son, I needed to be gentle, moderate in action, by saying less or nothing at all. Using words that deflect, change the the direction of conversation. When I became hurt by something he said, that likely was said out of frustration, I would deflect, not react. I learned a key question to ask, one that showed I was listening and could change the direction of the conversation. The question is WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH BY THAT STATEMENT? It causes the person to stop and think. It is a gentle answer, or response to his words. I have also learned that the scripture that says to bridle your tongue, also refers to bridle your fingers. (as in your texting.) I do not need to respond at all to text messages especially ones that are sent to provoke an argument. The truth is, sometimes the people we love the most and know that we do, will express their hurt from the activities of their day towards us. We are in control of the wars we want to go into. We can decide for ourselves if we want to engage or not. Sometimes the battle is not a good idea because no matter what, someone loses in a battle. I love my son and I love me, I never want either of us to be a loser. So I do not go into battle with him. I have also learned to set boundaries of what I will accept, that show my love for me. When people say things that are not acceptable or abusive I do not engage. When they are someone that I want to continue to have a relationship with, I go back and express my hurt to them. I do not do this while they are still angry. At that time my words are pointless, they are not in the right space to receive them, the are too self absorbed. When I have come back later and told the person how hurtful their words were, they have been apologetic. On occasion when they have not been remorseful, I have had to evaluate for myself if they are worth having in my life, because they are not showing that they care about me.

This change has worked. I am happy to say that over the last while I have not finished a conversation with my son, thinking How Did I Get Here?

Why Is it So Bitter?

Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

I have often wondered why it seems that some people can go and hear a sermon or pick up the Bible and not enjoy it. I understand that it’s through the call of Holy Spirit, but I also know that it is Jesus desire for all to be saved. So what could be contributing to some not seeing that God is good? Why is their appetite not increased to see how good God is? That there is a Blessed life available to them, a refuge from the hurts of the world. Why does it appear that they take a taste and not see the good?

I began to think about after I have brushed my teeth, then I take a taste of something. It can be something that I have always really enjoyed, yet that first taste is not good. The overpowering flavor of the toothpaste remains in my mouth. It prevents me from tasting and seeing how good the food really is. If we are filling our mouth with worldly ideas, tasting so much of evil ways it can remain in our mouth. So that, when we take the first small taste test of changing from a worldly appetite to a Godly one. (What we have allowed ourselves to become accustom to, even if we hate the outcome of that way of living it lingers in our mouth.) It has formed us to be comfortable with that taste, it has developed our palate into worldly desires. Which oppose God. It prevents so many from tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

So sit long enough in His word, listen long enough to the preacher, to truly get the taste of the goodness. A small taste, just reading one scripture will likely not give you enough to clear your mind to see how good God is.

What Is Important

Jeremiah 9:23-24 “This is what the Lord says, “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken.”

God loves to watch us grown in our wisdom and see us gaining new levels of awareness of Him. He loves when we come to Him to know Him more. It makes Him happy to show us, how His love for us will never fail. You are important to Him. It may seem when you look at world events or your specific trial, that He is far away. But don’t be fooled, by the lies that the enemy or the world will tell you. He is always close to you, never doubt His love for you, or the world. You and the world are His creation. God wants us to to be excited and delight in Him as He is excited and delighted in us. He calls us to value the things in life that have eternal significance. To live a full life because you live for Him.

We need to be aware of those who are boastful about worldly things and titles, but do not speak of spiritual things. Outside appearances and titles do not bring peace. They may bring us temporary pleasure, but only through Jesus can we find true peace,love and acceptance. All that worldly knowledge and boasting, all those riches will not save one soul. But spreading the love of Jesus, bringing it the hurting, the ones looking for answers through accumulating possessions, the ones turning to alcohol or drugs to cope, the ones who the world does not value enough to listen to, that is what matters the most.

When we desire to see justice and righteousness reign, we should be looking to Lord, for He will bring it to the earth. Why,? because His word says that he delights in doing so.

Will You Join Me ?

1 Chronicles 12:32 “Of the tribe of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, two hundred chiefs; and all their relatives were at their command.”

Today as we go through Covid-19 and see so much violence, hatred and division, I pray for our leaders. I pray for Political leaders, church leaders and all leaders to be like the tribe of Issachar. To have understanding of these times and what we should be doing. When this scripture was taking place many people had left Saul’s Kingdom and came to David, making him King. They knew God had anointed him, they were familiar with God’s word, and had new revelation of what was the right action to take. I pray that our leaders will have knowledge of God’s word and His direction.

My heart hurts for what the enemy has been doing to people. How he is leading them to hatred and division. How through Covid,he is causing isolation, depression, increase in divorce, anxiety and even division of the body of Christ. I cry out to God, for Him to use what the enemy has planned, to be turned into good for the kingdom. My plea is for people who have not been walking with Jesus, would leave their way of thinking, and just like Saul’s kingdom did come to know God and His ways. I call out for the Lord to bring many with great skills and knowledge to unite together as His followers. To bring forth leaders prepared to fight for justice, change and against Covid and all of it’s side effect. Leaders who will come against fear, hatred racism, and a falling economy. Leaders who take a stand through love leading away from worldly views, and into Gods’ Kingdom.I ask God for new warriors that fight the spiritual battles need to bring others know and accept Jesus. That these warriors who be finding new ways to show love that align with the times. That they would have knowledge of how reach them and love them in practical ways. That all Christians would be united in seeing themselves as part of the war to find the lost. That even those who see themself as not significant not equipped would step forward as David did with Goliath. That they would have new revelation of the talents they have to bring the win for the Kingdom. Just as the men who left Saul, also left many of the comforts they had in that kingdom, I pray that we Christians would be willing to leave some of our comforts. I pray for all of us to be willing to be a little uncomfortable to bring God’s word, peace and healing to those who are hurting, living in fear and using negative coping mechanisms.

Lastly, I pray for that as these new people come to the Kingdom, that they be met with open arms. Just as David opened his arms to those who left Saul. That church leaders and the congregation would recognize the skills and talents that the new people are bringing, and not be like Joab was seeking revenge for past actions. Joab killed Abner.