Wishing everyone a most wonderful Easter!
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where he lay.
Today, I was reading some comments from one of my previous posts on running. The comments were from readers of various posts. One reader had some nice things to say. I began to think what an appropriate post for January 1, 2018. Running for the Prize. OK, OK, yeah, I will be using an old post for a new post, again. The Blog Post Etiquette Police can advise me after the fact.
Let me start with saying I AM SO GLAD 2017 IS OVER! It has been a trying year, to say the least! I feel like I have been running and running and running all year. My family has gone through a great personal loss and my health has taken hit after hit after hit. I just know 2018 will be better.
I do feel, from time to time, that I am “Running for the Prize”. Sometimes it seems a spiritual prize and at other times, it’s just running for the prize to just finish the day and to get home to my quiet house with my father and my Zuckie (my standard dachshund). My home – my Solace .
If you know me at all, you know that I do love my home. I love to be at home and I love my family. So, with that said, I will tell you that I do long for the time when I finish this race that we call “life”. When that occurs for me, I will be home where my heart has always been. In the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But until that day, I will continue to run this race on earth. Striving to make the most of each moment in this race for the prize. Striving to forget the past and pressing on towards the future because that is where the prize is.
Philippians 3:13-15English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
So, with that said… I will continue with this old post made new, once again.
Have you ever seen a dachshund race? Oh My Goodness! It is the funniest thing I have ever seen! I follow a little dachshund on Facebook and he is quite the celebrity! His name is Crusoe and he is from Canada. He was in a “wiener dog race” and he finished 3rd and the prize was a squeaky ball! (see it here and if you still want more see his blog… here) It is so much fun and the funniest thing to watch! If you know me at all you know I L-O-V-E love dachshunds and everything about them! These races are so funny because these little guys are so excited at the starting line. They are so wound up to get going on that race and for what? To get a squeaky ball!? Not much of a prize as far as you and I are concerned… (or Zuckie – one of my dachshunds – for that matter. He does not like anything that squeaks! He doesn’t like noise… loud trucks, loud anything and especially sirens).
But let’s focus on how the dachshunds begin the race. These little guys are so excited and so ready to get going! Excitement, anticipation and readiness are the traits you see in them! They are full of joy and life! You know we run a race too! Every day! And we run the race for a far greater prize than any squeaky ball. We are running for the prize of an imperishable crown
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Striving for a Crown
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
We should be running for the prize daily! So shouldn’t we begin our daily race the way these little dachshunds begin their race? With excitement, anticipation and readiness? We as Christians, in our walk with the Lord, should be filled with excitement, anticipation and readiness. If we meet every day with that frame of mind we cannot loose!
Jesus left us a Helper which is the Holy Spirit, our closest friend! That means He can help us throughout each day! I have a friend at work that when she gets there and walks to her desk we speak the “Good Mornings”. Then we ask one another the usual “how are you doing?” We usually say…”Blessed and Highly Favored!” and yesterday I added “…because I am a child of the King!” If we truly believe this we can meet each day with an attitude of excitement for what God will do in our lives that day, anticipation of how it will change us or someone around us and readiness to be used for the Kingdom of Christ.
Try it out! When you first wake up in the morning, focus your mind on God and how He has blessed you by giving you another day to tell someone about Him. I love this scripture:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Therefore, thank Him for all the blessings you have whether it be a little heartbeat at your feet (human or animal) or a job, or a vehicle to drive, or a nice soft (or firm) bed to sleep in, or food on your table or any number of things! You choose! Focus on what blessings God has bestowed on you in your life and not the worries, problems and trials you face each day and THANK HIM FOR THOSE BLESSINGS! I know… I KNOW if you do this you will feel better and you will be ready to run the race for the day!
Psalm 95:2-3 tells us
“2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.”
The Song – Hezekiah Walker – Every Praise!
“I’m waiting for my instructions”. “Instructions are: You fix it, I will eat it”.
As I sit here and wonder why God spoke to my heart when I overheard my mom and dad recite these words this morning, I think of all the other things that He reminded me of throughout the week. I can just be doing anything and see a butterfly, or hear the wind rustle through the trees or… this time of year, hear he cicadas singing in the trees… I will get to that in a moment… and I think of how wonderful God is and how He cares for us.
First I want to bring your attention back to the conversation I overheard. This phrase, that were lovingly spoken by two people – that had no idea I was paying attention – is but one of many that I overhear these two folks saying. You see, most of you may know, my mom (86) and dad (84) live with me, and have for 6 years, and it has been quite a journey. It has been a blessing to have them share my life and me theirs. They have been married for 67 years. 67 YEARS! That is a long, long time. You just don’t find that kind of commitment these days. Today many folks get married with the thought in mind that “if it don’t work out, I can always get divorced.” That attitude permeates the young and old today. Instant gratification and throw it away when you don’t see any use for it any longer.
My mom and dad have been through so much “life” and have come out on the other side as survivors of it all. Through sickness, personal trials, natural disasters and heart aches, yet there was joy, happiness, peace and love. LOVE… that is what makes it all go around! Love is how they have survived 67 years together. Firstly, love for our Heavenly Father and secondly love for each other. Even though they had some problems, there was always that bond of love. I am so thankful that they taught us kids this. To love our Heavenly Father first! Then each other – family second and I forgot… hard work in a job. That is another thing that some of the young folks – and I guess some of the older ones too – don’t really appreciate, is a job. For me, it is being without a job that brings to mind how important it is to have one. Even a low paying one in a call center – like I had for 2 years and 3 months. So… back to the Love… That is a grand thing to have love in your family. Loving and caring for one another covers a lot of bad. We may not agree on everything in our lives but we do love each other greatly!
So, back to that conversation I overheard. Mom: “I’m waiting for my instructions”. Dad: “Instructions are: You fix it, I will eat it”. No, she doesn’t really have to ask for his instructions on what to fix for breakfast. She doesn’t even have to fix breakfast, but she does because she loves my dad and wants to fix what he would like.
To top that off, my dad is one of the easiest men to please when it comes to eating. He can be happy with a bologna sandwich and chips or a steak and baked potato. He can eat just about anything. Even Liver and Onions! We all three love that! Mom and I kid around about how we have to clean the refrigerator out pretty regularly because, we say, he would eat things in there that had mold on them even! YIKES!!! He just scrapes it off and eats what’s underneath… well, that may be stretching it a little bit, but he is very easy to please.
Also, my mother… she is one wonderful lady. She is a very easily pleased lady, as well. She is a quiet, unassuming and very loving and caring lady … really both of my parents are very loving and caring. Mom is a survivor for sure, too! She has been through the ringer at least 2-3 times in her 86 years and she keeps bouncing back, or God keeps giving us more time with her and we are ever so grateful!
The two people that had that wonderful little dialogue are so very special to me and many, many others. They have touched lives as they have traveled along theirs. The lives are really too many to count. From Vacation Bible School to Sermons on the Good Shepherd, leading the Youth Group from church to witnessing at the jail for 10 years and so much more. These two people have placed God in the center of their life and marriage and it has flourished – their love for God and each other and for their fellow man.
I just want to say thank you, mom and dad, for all you have done and I don’t think I say it enough. You two are my rock! You are my wonderful parents and I love overhearing all of the little conversations in our home, each and every one of them. It makes our home a home. A loving, warm and welcoming place for others to come and join us in life. We may not have a big, fancy house, but the one we have is a home full of love. We keep the Main thing the Main thing – Love God, Love People. That is the main thing. God will bless and even allow you to experience miracles in your life if you do this.
Another way to look at this phrase … at least the first part… or put it all together and change it up just a bit… and let’s tell God that… “I am waiting on my instructions, God. You say it and I will do it.” Wouldn’t that be a wonderful conversation to have with God? God loves us so much that He would delight in that opening sentence to a conversation with Him.
We, as Christians, should be willing to say those words to the Creator. The One Whom all things exist from and Who holds it ALL together, knowing He would never ask us to do something that would harm us or be detrimental to us in any way. He loves us so much!
4 Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.
Now… for the second topic I wanted to cover in this post… I know it is a strange combination and I thought of doing them as separate posts, but felt led to do them together because of the connection. The miracle of two folks staying together 67 years in spite of all the life things that could have torn them apart and the miracle of the Cicadas. Yep, you heard right… the Cicadas. I told you it was a strange combination. Read on to be awed by yet another wonder of our Great and Mighty God that created this magnificent world of ours.
Now, you hear them every summer. The trees sing with their song of courtship. In the heat of the summer the sound of the Cicada can be very loud and it gets your attention. I have always loved this sound of summer. It reminds me of sitting on the porch at my grandmother and grandfather’s house in Fort Worth. We would sit out there in the early evening and drink a glass of iced tea or coffee and just sit and enjoy each other’s company. Then the singing would begin in the trees. You couldn’t really see what was making the noise but you knew there must be a lot of them to make that loud of a noise.
Also, there was always the brown shell left behind… but what kind of “bug” sheds their shell and climbs up in the trees and makes the wonderful sound? Well, I have always called them katydids but those are a large kind of a grasshopper. The Cicada is different kind of “bug”, if you will. They are a very interesting and diligent little thing. The miracle of these little creatures is so fascinating. I think some of the Cicada’s song is a praise to its Creator. Every being knows their Creator. Jesus said that even the rocks would cry out if no one praised Him, so I believe that every creature has their own way of praising their Creator.
37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:
“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’[d]
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”
The Cicada waits for just the right time to emerge and go through its ritual of finding a mate, laying eggs and then ending the cycle of its life. It waited, did what it was supposed to do then went the way of everything else on the earth. God is so awesome.
There has to be… as if I didn’t already know… there has to be an Intelligent Being that created all of this. He thought of absolutely everything and His creation is so magnificent that I get overwhelmed at its beauty and its … well, magnificence! God is so good and loves us so much to give us such a beautiful world to live in. As I have said before… He could have given us a black and white world and we would never have known anything different. But He didn’t … because He loves variety and color and … He loves us! So He gave us things like the Cicada to wonder about and to be in wonder of. He calls us His beloved and He shows us in so many ways that He loves us! We just have to take notice and thank Him for them.
Please take the time to watch this short documentary on this wonderful little wonder. You probably have an idea about them, but there is at least one thing in this short documentary that you may not know. Please watch and be in awe of our Creator and how the Plan of life for the Cicada is a wonderful one.
The Video – The Return of the Cicadas
This video is a song by Bryan Doerksen and it depicts the wonderful earth and various wildlife that definitely knows their creator. Enjoy!
The Video – Creation Calls by Bryan Doerksen
I have been blessed by a generous person in my past more than once. However, the one time that comes to mind first is of a lady that was our realtor when we (my x and I) were trying to sell our house in Cleburne, Texas. We had to leave Cleburne quickly and move to Fort Worth. We had no extra money and it was tough to make the house payment and the rent at the same time. We kept our head above water for a while but it soon became overwhelming and we barely squeaked by foreclosure more than once only because of a very generous, kind lady. She knew the house would sell eventually, it was just going to take longer than usual because of the economy, etc. So she paid the house payment at least 2 times that I remember. I never asked her for it… she offered it! I was blown away by her kindness and generosity. I hope to be able to pay her back someday and if I can’t she is the kind of lady that doesn’t care about that. She just showed us that she cared about us at that time. Yes, she got her commission and yes it probably covered the amount she gave us… but it was still an act of kindness that I will never forget.
God expects us to be able to be generous in our own ways too. We may not be able to pay someone’s mortgage but we can buy someone’s lunch, or buy them a bagel for breakfast. It really doesn’t cost us much to be kind and generous. It always comes back to us in blessings. And this evening I have experienced the most generous kind of generosity! Prayers from all around the world! I am not sure where some of the folks live but I do know that they came out in droves to pray for my mother and my family tonight! Generosity? YES! Prayer is our most powerful tool and when it is in numbers, I believe God smiles! I have made so many wonderful friends on Facebook. Some folks don’t believe you can have “real” friends on Facebook, but I beg to differ! I have met some of the kindest, most generous, loving people that care about you and … well, your family and your pets (which are family to us). I believe that these folks pray when they say they will. Some even type the prayer right in the comments of a post. I LOVE THAT! Because I do that too! I love to pray for people. I love to receive prayers from people. I love to receive prayer request from people. Because… like I said, prayer is our most powerful tool here on earth! The Bible has many scriptures telling us to pray for one another. See Romans 8: 26-27 (There is a great website with several other scriptures about praying for others …click this link). Another reason I love prayer is because Satan shudders when we pray! When we as Christians pray together it thwarts the power of him and his evil ones. Yes, I believe Satan is a real entity! He is called the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2. So when we pray… our prayers go straight to the Holy Spirit then straight to God the Father! So… Satan has no power over that! Prayer works.
Tonight my mother had many, many people praying for her all across this great land of our and even in other parts of the world! That is so powerful and God loves it when we pray! Thank you to those of you that have prayed for her tonight! I love you in Christ! Your generosity is greatly appreciated!
There is another generous thing to celebrate too! Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again on the 3rd day so we could live with Him in Heaven! God was more than generous when He gave us His Son to die for our sins! Thank you Jesus for your generosity and love for us.
And thank you for the people that pray!
The Song – What If His People Prayed – Casting Crowns
Today was a good day of time spent in the Lord’s house and lunch with mom and dad and then quite time after lunch. Later I took my 2 fur babies (dachshunds) to a park close to my house and we walked around the lake and saw 2 sets of baby geese and a lot of Mallard ducks. It was so exciting to see God’s feathered friends and the babies that were just little fuzzy balls of wonderment. I was surprised when the dogs didn’t bark one time at the ducks and geese. They are very well behaved babies.
When we returned home and later in the day I had the opportunity to mow the front yard. God has provided some good rain lately and it was really growing. I love my front yard. It seems to always be a work in progress – which is not necessarily a bad thing. I just don’t seem to have enough hours in the day to do the things I would like to do though. I think that is normal for a lot of folks though.
As I am sitting here in my quiet room with my fur babies snoring and my fan going, I think about how grateful I am for a God that cares about the little things in my life. He provides so many things each day and I probably take a lot of it for granted but my prayers is that I will NEVER take anything that God provides for granted. I pray that I am always grateful for everything… my home, my yard, my vehicle, my family, my friends, my job, my church and yes, my 2 dachshunds! Most of all though I am grateful for Jesus! Grateful for his sinless life on this earth and the sacrifice He made so I could live with Him in eternity! God made that provision for me and you! He loves us so much and shows us each day!
If you are feeling particularly grateful for something, scroll to the bottom of this post and create a comment on this post and let me know what it is. I always love to hear from you! You bless me with your comments!
So … as Mother’s Day comes to a close and it is the “End of a good day”, I want to say thanks for reading my blog and all the ways God reveals Himself to me throughout my day. I love sharing and pray that I will always be able to share with you!
This song is one of my favorites from Jeremy Camp – Revive Me!
Jeremy Camp – Revive Me! Video
Today is going to be a little different because today is Mother’s Day! I know that everyone does not have a wonderful story to tell about their mother or some may not know who their birth mother is. Some have a wonderful step-mother and then some may have only sweet memories of their mother because she has left this old earth and is in the presence of Jesus now. Inasmuch as I do appreciate each and every one of you in whatever situation you find yourself in, I want to share a little about my mother. I have mentioned her from time to time and I want to dedicate this post especially to her, but also to other mothers around the world!
My mother has been supportive as many are, in most everything I have attempted to accomplish in my school years. She was always there at any event I had at school whether it be a choir concert or drama play, a special dance that the drill team was doing at a football game or just helping me with what homework when she could. She tried to teach me to sew and we made a few things together… I, however, was never the seamstress that she was. She made me clothes for school that I was so proud to wear! She made deserts for me to take to whatever event and always helped me with my costumes at … yes… Halloween! Oh My! If I could only find some of those pictures! Or maybe it’s a good thing that I can’t. We don’t do Halloween now… but back then we were all a little clueless about certain things.. we just had fun and that’s for sure.
I remember having an “all-girl” sleepover (slumber party – although I am not sure why they call it a “slumber party – because we did very little slumbering – right?). Anyway, I remember I had a half dozen little screaming girlfriends over and we had the entire living room of our home in Vidor, Texas. We had mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor and a record player and a Monkee’s album! What more could we need, right? We were in heaven! And when Davy Jones began to sing Daydream Believer … oh my how we screamed!! LOL!! (Click the link… Yes, I looked up that video and the words came back to me immediately when I heard the first note of the song!) Haha!! I love my brain! But I digress…. I mainly said all of that to say how wonderful my mom was to allow all those screaming little girls over. We had such a good time!
Another wonderful event I remember with my mom was the day she got her brand new 1966 (I think) Ford Mustang. It was that beautiful green and oh my was it sporty! She loved that little car. The day she brought it home we all piled in and drove to see Grandmother and Granddaddy in Fort Worth! Yep, just spontaneously packed an overnight bag and jumped in the car. Mom, Dad, Johnny, Mark and me… all in that little thing. I rode on the front console the whole way.. lol… oh my… what a memory. Mom was so happy and so excited!
Another trip, years after that, was a fun trip of a young women’s Sunday School class – which she was the teacher – I think… Mom rented a mustang to drive down to the beach in. We rented a big beach house for a couple of days and nights. I can’t really remember how many there were, but I think it was about 8-9 of us. I was really younger than all of them but it was My Mom! We had a blast! Picked up a lot of shells and enjoyed the sun, sand and surf!
Fast forward several years… my mother crochets all sorts of things and she taught me how to crochet in High School (I was much better at crocheting than sewing). She is always making things for anyone who walks through our door! She loves to give things away to any visitor. She also makes baby blankets and hats and booties for folks I work with. She makes them for family that is having a new baby, or friends or anyone who asks. She loves to give of herself and always has. I was walking through the call center floor the other day, going back to my cubicle and I noticed on desks and cubicle walls throughout the entire floor… at least the path that I took, was the mark of someone that everyone on the floor knows as “Mom”. She is always making crocheted items for me to take to work and give away. People love them… I mean L-O-V-E them! Every holiday is another treat from Mom. It is nice to see how she has touched so many in the simple little angels, snowmen, pumpkin faces or bunnies. The one that was most special to me to see was one that mom had crocheted for a baby shower. The angel was about 4-5” tall and it was made for the young lady’s baby. I saw it sitting on my friend’s desk as a sweet reminder. I loved it!
I am so proud to be called her daughter! She is so very special to me and anyone who ever has come in contact with her. She has done so many things that I cannot even begin to scratch the surface here. She has been a rock for me in times of uncertainty! She has prayed and cried with me. She has held me when I hurt and when I was scared. She has celebrated with me. She makes me laugh and makes me cry all at the same time! She can give me that “look” and I know exactly what she means … without words. You probably know that look from your mom too! She has rescued me from some situations … and let me learn without being rescued from others.
My mother is the epitome of the Proverbs 31 woman. She is wise, kind, gentle, strong, loving, caring, fair, godly, stern, resourceful and so many other things… I thank God for giving me to her and her to me! My Mother, Millie Adams. Thank you for being the godly mother I needed! I love you Mom!
Your Daughter, Leah
I had the pleasure of accompanying my mom and dad to their Sunday School party this evening. I always love sharing time with them and the folks in their class. They are a bunch of the sweetest people I have ever met and they LOVE my mom and dad! My dad is the teacher and mom is his helper in the class when she feels like going with him. She has been a bit under the weather lately but she wanted to go tonight – even if it was for just a little while. So I went with them with the intentions of bringing her home early. We ate good food – which is one of the reasons I love to go … free “good” food. Nothing fancy, just good ole food! Nothing like Baptists. They know how to put out the spread!
Tonight’s party had a special group come in and sing for them! They were absolutely a joy! Their name was Fellowship Road Gospel Singers. They sang some of the best old songs. Ones you don’t normally hear. One of my mom’s and my favorite was sung also – Beulah Land. Oh that song brings me to tears! I remember when I lived down in South East Texas in my grandmother’s little house next door to them out in the country, I would walk into their house sometimes and they would have The Gaither’s show on. I loved hearing the Gaither Vocal Band and all the other ones that sang with them. We would sit there and sing along with the TV. That was so much fun! I know… some of you may not think it would be but mainly, it was time spent with my mom and dad. I loved every second of it!
Tonight the group sang a song that I haven’t heard in a very long time. It is a song that brings a lump up in my throat when I think of the implications of the words. It is a beautiful song about “the Redeemed” which is you and me if you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior! They introduced it as a song that the Angels cannot sing. The Song Of The Redeemed! There is a song that my dad sings – that my mother loves that talks about when a reborn soul (a Christian that has been saved and is reborn into the Kingdom of God) begins to sing the “redemption story” the Angels fold their wings. The Chorus goes like this:
Holy, holy, is what the angels sing, And I expect to help them make the courts of heaven ring; But when I sing redemption’s story, they will fold their wings, For angels never felt the joys that our salvation brings.
I found a YouTube video of George Beverly Shea singing this beautiful song. He changed one line in it but I loved hearing him sing this lovely song. It’s an old video but one worth watching if you love stuff like this! It’s is awesome!
You see the Angels have no way to know what it means to be redeemed! They are already in Heaven with God and our Lord Jesus! There are thousands upon thousands praising Him in Heaven. They praise Him all the day and day long! (not day and night long because there IS NO NIGHT IN HEAVEN! lol) If you click on this link it will take you to Bible Gateway and all the scripture references about Angels praising and worshiping God in Heaven! Anyway, we as Christians have a song we sing and only we can sing! To be redeemed by Jesus Christ for God Almighty is the most wonderful thing imaginable! Jesus Paid It ALL! He died for our sins, He defeated death for us and ROSE AGAIN for us! We are Redeemed and Forgiven! Praise God, Praise God! So the Song Of The Redeemed is His Favorite Song Of All!
If you have no idea what I am talking about or you know what I am talking about and you have not accepted Jesus into your heart and life as your personal Savior, so you can sing this song of the redeemed, please get in contact with a Christian friend, a Pastor or me! Ask about becoming a Christian so you can sing the song of the redeemed! Join the chorus! There is a whole new life waiting for you! God loves you and wants to spend eternity with you in Heaven! Jesus said in John 14:6 “6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” That means you must accept Jesus to go to Heave to be with God for eternity! Join us today in singing the Song of the Redeemed! God is waiting to hear from you! He loves you that much!
The Song – His Favorite Song of All – Phillips, Craig and Dean