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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

BE GUIDED BY THE TRUTH

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE 

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  I Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving is uniquely American. People from all over the world read this blog and I know being grateful is not only an American emotion. In order to be grateful, you need to to know the truth about Jesus, what He has done for us who believe and especially - how God sees us.

God's view of us, and our view of ourselves is usually very different. When you ask this question, 'Who am I?', I hope you are able to focus on the truth. Do you know. . .

* You are accepted

- You are God's child, John 1:12
- You have been justified, Romans 5:1
- You are a saint, Ephesians 1:1
- You  have been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins, Col.1:14
- You are complete in Christ - He began the work in you and He has finished it, Romans 8:30, Philippians 1:6

* You are secure

- You are forever free from condemnation, Romans 8:1,2
- You are assured that all things will work for good, Romans 8:28
- You cannot be separated from the love of God, Romans 8:37-39
- You have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind, 2 Timothy 1:7
- You are already a citizen of heaven, Philippians 3:20

* You are significant, special to God

- You are a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life, John 15:15
- You have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit, John 15:16
- You are God's workmanship, created for good works, Eph. 2:10
- You may approach God with freedom and confidence, Eph. 3:12
- You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Phil. 4:13

I hope you find the time to look up these verses and make them your own, apply them to your life and you can't help but have a 'attitude of gratitude.'

Studies show that people who are positive and easily give thanks "in all circumstances" are emotionally a lot happier than those who are not able to do this. We don't need to struggle, ask the Lord to remove fear and anxiety, hurt, regret about the past - whatever keeps you from totally embracing the overwhelming love of God - 
just ask. If you are a parent, think of how much you want your child to be happy and successful. Think of how bad you feel when the child you love so much is doing harm to themselves. Nothing upsets us more than having to watch this behavior. We are God's child and He wants us to come to Him; He doesn't want to witness our pain because He's our Heavenly Father and it hurts.   

Jesus is the source of all truth. When we believe this and are guided by this truth, life is so much better.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yolk (teachings) upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29

Sometimes I read this verse and think it was written just for me! I know that isn't true, but it feels like it. The God of the Universe knows that we become weary and burdened and need rest. The rest we are seeking is in knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

God bless you as we begin our holiday season. I don't know most of my readers, not your names or where you live or what you look like, but God knows, and I often pray for you. 

Thank you Lord that you are the 'TRUTH'. We desperately need you in our lives to make our ways straight and give our troubled souls rest. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

THE LIGHT OF OUR LIFE

Many years ago when our five children were very young, I read that if you put a lighted candle in the center of the dinner table it would have a calming effect and cause those around the table to draw toward the light and each other. This was just what I wanted, a close family centered on the 'light'. I find it interesting that God choose the metaphor of light to draw us toward Him. 

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

Who but God could make this statement? There are many who think they are smart and clever and have strong ideas for making a better world, but to claim you are the light of the world, never! However, we are given the opportunity to be a light in the world and have that magical "light of life."

There is a lot of darkness here on earth. I believe Jesus was not merely thinking of darkness as the absence of physical light. We have dark days when we struggle emotionally, when relationships are broken, anxiety steals our joy and we turn to medication, loved ones die, when lack of finances can literally have us sleeping on the street, or when our health is failing and we have constant pain.


I believe all experience darkness at some time in our life. And yet, we don't need to succumb to it if we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  I must repeat these words of Jesus because they are so unimaginable..."Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness." We look around us and say, this can't be true! But it is. This is a promise of the Lord and He never will break a promise. 

        Jesus points us to Himself, "I am the light of the world." He knows what we have to deal with, He knows our life, He designed our life for His intended purpose.

"You are of this world; I am not of this world" John 8:23

Could it be that the events in our life that we consider to be dark really are not? He who knows the beginning and end, has a perfect plan in place. We can't perceive our life through God's eyes, but through human eyes which give us a distorted perception.  Because, as believers, we are safe and secure in God's love, literally hidden in Christ (Colossians  3:3) when we follow His light we can't be destroyed, bruised and battered maybe, but never destroyed. We don't have a 'light' of our own, so we walk in God's light, dance in God's light, thrive in God's light. Amen?

     Why do we have so many problems, confusion, and such anxiety in the first place? Could it be that Jesus uses all of this to draw us toward His light? I believe so. Open to the concordance in your Bible, or use your on-line device to search for the word light and write down some these verses so they become a part of your faith in Jesus.
        
Thank you Lord for showing us that we need to walk in your light - every time we encounter a roadblock we can kick it away knowing You, only You, are the Light of the world. Help us to stay in Your light and not wavier.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

CALMING THE STORMS OF LIFE



I took this September photo just as the sun set over the bay in San Diego near the pier where the USS Midway is docked. The ship now is a museum. There is a collection of bronze statues on  this view point. Bob Hope with his recognizable profile, that nose and chin, brings memories of the many years he did USO tours all over the world to entertain and encourage our men and women who were fighting for our freedom. He is a true patriot. I find this photo to be calming. 

        The British have a saying I've always liked...

"Be calm and carry on." This may not be easy as there is always chaos somewhere in the world. We experience storms that take many lives and destroy possessions that were so precious. And then, we have our own personal storms - health, relationships, financial problems - the list is endless. We often wonder, 'How do I handle this?' 

        Long ago I gave up trying to figure out problems on my own; I can't see the big picture and know what the Lord is doing; I try, I can't. Therefore, I need to walk by faith and trust God. Sounds easy, but it isn't as any truthful believer will tell you. We want to roll up our sleeves and fix it. We soon discover that we can't force a fix.

        Several years ago I was sitting at my desk looking out the window as a big storm tore through. This is rare in Southern California. I have a wide view from the window above my desk and could see the big dark clouds gather for 'a hit'. There is a climbing rose bush that clings to a fence by my window and a beautiful peach colored rose was dancing on a vine. I had great empathy for this beautiful rose as I watched it being whipped by the wind and pelted by rain. I wanted it to survive the storm, in tact.  I too want to survive the storms in my life without being torn apart.

        There are a lot of ways we can be torn apart - physically, emotionally, financially - devastation comes in many forms. We, like the rose are whipped around in this life here on earth. And it's no fun! We seem to be at the mercy of circumstances far beyond our control, and actually, we are. But we believers have discovered an astonishing truth. Because we have a relationship with the One who is in control, no matter what comes our way, we are able to experience a calmness that others can't understand. 

        Scripture tells us in Philippians 4 that the Lord is always near and we don't need to be anxious for anything because we can take our concerns to God in prayer. Once we do this, let go, stop trying to come up with a solution, just stop! It's in God's hands now. The answer to our prayers isn't always the one we expected or like; this is where faith enters and how we can stay calm and carry on. 

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:7

        I love the passage in John 15 where "the vine and branches" explains our relationship with the Lord. This passage came to mind as I watched my rose try to hold on through the storm. If we know a sovereign God, and by faith believe He has a perfect plan, often hidden from us, we have the peace that surpasses understanding. God is capable of working "all things together for good" for those who are His children, see Romans 8:28. Read all of Romans chapter 8, you will be so blessed. 

        In John 15, Jesus is the true vine and God the Father is the gardener. It is the Father who prunes us so we will grow fruit that will be to His glory. This pruning process usually isn't pleasant, but will ultimately produce a harvest of righteousness and peace - Hebrews 12:11.

        Our part then is to stay connected to Jesus (the true vine) and trust Him. My little rose did survive the beating it took and the next morning was still connected to the vine with a small tear on one of the petals, a battle wound. I think it smiled at me as it bounced around in a soft breeze. And I smiled back. 

Thank you Lord for always being in the midst of our storms. Remind us to come to you for love, protection and the peace and joy that can only come from YOU.



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

THE BODY OF BELIEVERS

For most of us, a desire to be a part of something is a way of life. This is why we join things, volunteer, and cheer for our team! I'm a sports fan so this time of year is especially fun as I root for my teams. Hope springs eternal and I know that the day will come when the San Diego Padres will go to the World Series, the Chargers will play in a Super Bowl and UCLA will again be on top in basketball and football.

        Given the time, money and opportunity, there is always more to do; treasures to uncover, and exciting experiences waiting to be lived. But it occurs to me that as we get older and realize we haven't been able to do all that we'd planned, we may feel disappointment. 'Gee, I'm never going to be able to travel to India, ride an elephant, or work with the homeless...' We will all leave something on the table but it will only be that which the Lord had not included in His plan for our life. In the end, we can say that we've done His will.

        "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will."  Ephesians 1:11

        The more in-tune I am with the meaning of this verse, the more apt I am to put away fear and worry and experience the joy of being a child of God. My heavenly Father has everything under control, therefore I don't have to! I'm not only a part of His plan, I have a specific part in His plan. I belong to the body of believers which we Christians refer to as 'the church'. The church isn't a building or a place, it is us, those who believe. 

        Most of us struggle now and then to find our specific place in the body. Because we know God's timing is perfect, we can relax and trust Him to show us how and where He wants to use us in His Kingdom. When we go to God's Word, we begin to understand His plan. If we look at I Corinthians 12 we'll discover that we've been given spiritual gifts. These are given for the common good of all. 

"To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge. . .to another, faith, healing, prophecy. . .I Corinthians 12:8 -10.

        Verse 11 goes on to say that all these are the work of the same Spirit. These gifts are given to us as He determines. In other words, we don't get to pick our gift, and we are not in control of His plan. Sometimes we'd like to trade our spiritual gift for another. I always thought it would be wonderful to have a gift for music; play an instrument, lead worship as I sing praises to the Lord. Instead, the Lord has me teaching His word. Every time I write a blog, I'm teaching His word. I've taught Bible studies in the community and our local jail for many years. This is His plan for me.

        I'm going to paraphrase I Corinthians 12: 14 - 27.  The body is made up of many parts, each having its own purpose. The foot has a different purpose than the hand, the eye a different function than the ear. God has arranged the parts in the body just as He wanted them to be. The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you." The head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you." Scripture points out that what we may consider the weaker parts of the body are actually "indispensable." 

        "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."  I Cor. 12:27

        Some of us are apostles for Christ, some prophets, some teachers and some have gifts of healing and do miraculous deeds. 

        The book of Romans is the quintessential discussion of doctrine and theology - everything we need to know about our Christian faith. After thoroughly exploring the five key elements of our faith - sin, salvation, sanctification, sovereignty and service -the Lord exhorts us with advice on how to live a life of joy. 

        The Scripture tells us again in Romans 12 that 'in Christ'
we who are many form one body. We have different gifts, and 
obviously different abilities and disabilities. Our gifts are given to us by the grace of God, so we give Him the glory. Verse 3 tells us that the Lord has measured our faith; if someone appears to have more faith than you do, that's why. Some in the body serve God by teaching, some with encouraging, some give generously of their time, energy and money, and some have the gift of leadership. In I Cor. 10:31 the Lord exhorts us  "...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 

Thank you Lord for our gifts and the privilege of being one member in your body designed to love and serve you. Thank you for having a plan for each of us and help us to be able to relax and trust Your plan as being perfect for us and Your Kingdom. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

TREASURES RESTORED - REPOST



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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

But thy eternal summer shall not fade." 
 William Shakespeare
       
This is my 90th blog - but who's counting! I believe I average about 1,000 words per blog so this means I've written some 90,000 words during the last two and a half years. And they've flowed so freely and have been such a joy. I thank the many who are reading them and developing an interest in the Bible.
During the summer, many of us look to escape our 'do this every day' life and seek out a new landscape and reprieve from routine. I recently spent a week with my husband on Coronado Island.

Coronado - a poem waiting to be written! As you drive across the graceful curve of the Coronado Bridge, which connects to San Diego, you are coming into an adventure.  This lovely island - peninsula really - has so much to discover. You’ll enjoy the beautiful wide sandy beaches and interesting history. Take a walk and you’ll find charming homes surrounded by delightful English style gardens filled with blossoms drinking in the ocean's moisture. Their fragrance suspended as if in a cloud. And, as its centerpiece, the magnificent Hotel del Coronado built in 1888. This is truly a Victorian splendor, white sided and red roofed – a masterpiece of a century past.

 On Flag Day, June 14th, American flags line the main street reminding us that this is a city of patriots. We rediscover the art of dining, a favorite pastime with tourists. All this, only one hour from where we live.

When we returned home, I realized that I had left a small pouch of jewelry in the bedroom safe at the condo resort. If I put anything in a safe, I always use this combination - 3314.   I took this from Exodus 33:14, a perfect 'traveling' verse. . .

"The Lord replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."


This is exactly what we needed, God's Presence and a rest! I didn't worry about the pouch – nothing was in it of great monetary value.  I kept in mind that God is in the business of 'restoration' and He would restore my jewelry.  I called the condo resort. They had my jewels and would send them to me.  Then, several days past and I didn't receive them - now I'm a little worried and began to focus more on what I may have lost than a faithful God.  My anxiety increased, just slightly.

First, I thought of the little dark blue tennis - print draw-string pouch made for me by a fellow Special Olympic tennis coach who was so dear to me. I had traveled all over the world with this jewelry pouch tucked into my carry-on bag or purse.  We'd been to places like Uganda, Africa where I'd taught at a Rafiki Girls Center, Belgium where we'd worked in a print shop, Sweden where I visited family, and South East Asia where I taught a Bible study on-board a Princess Cruise ship.  That little pouch was a treasure!

And then, I thought about the jewelry contained in the pouch - at first thought, nothing of significant value - then I took a closer look.

My Grandma Ruby's gold wedding band, nearly 100 years old now.  I wear it often and am reminded of my dear grandparents, Harry and Ruby, and how they met in a Lutheran Church while young teens and became 'confirmed in the faith' together. 

A mother-of-pearl cross purchased in Israel in 1999 while visiting Tiberius, now a resort town located on the west shore of Lake Galilee.  I paid less than a dollar for it, but it is precious to me. I purchased it in a Christian gift shop located above another store. I remember this small store, crowded with Christian tourists eager to take home a memento from the Holy Land.  I also had another cross bought for me by my friend Kay.  When I wear it, I'm reminded of her and that she too was blessed with the gift of 'being there' on the Sea of Galilee.

There was another small ring in the pouch, silver, heart-shaped and bought in an antique store in 1982 while visiting the home of Shakespeare, in Stratford-on-Avon, England. The engraving on the ring is well worn, and I fantasize that maybe, just maybe, Ann Hathaway had worn it.  I think I paid $12.00 for this treasure. 

        Two pair of pearl earrings were there - one from special friend Karen, a gift for my 50th birthday. The other pair belonged to a relative. Also, there was a pair of gold earings that my husband purchased at a garage sale in San Jose, CA.  He'd paid $2.00 for a whole sack of costume jewelry and there among the fake stuff were these lovely real gold earrings. The sparkling crystal Swarovski earrings I had bought while on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest were in that pouch. My cousin Gerry and his wife Nancy were with us and good memories of that time surface when I put them on. We cruised through Germany on a river boat, and then boarded a student bus to the beautiful city of Prague where we have family living. I had my wallet stolen from my purse on the Charles Bridge.  Not everything is perfect when you venture out in the world. 

Last -  a silver bracelet bought for $5.00 in Mexico while on a trip to Puerto Penesco with friends, Karen and Dean.  This bracelet has seven links. In Scripture, the number seven means complete.  Carved on the links -Family, Hope, Trust, Joy, Truth, Charity and Love.  I relate this to Galatians 5:22 which lists the 'fruit of the spirit' – God’s gifts to the believer through the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why would anyone not want to have these gifts freely given to those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior?

As the Lord withheld, for several days, the return of my jewels, I began to reflect on how much I really wanted to redeem these treasures and trusted they'd be restored to me.  I also came to the conclusion that their true value was in the memories, not the item itself.  They are a part of my life, my history, people I cherish, places I've been, adventures the Lord has allowed me to have. . .all of it restored the day I opened the envelope sent by the hotel containing my treasures.

The Bible is full of stories of restoration.  God restores health, a crippled man got up and walked, a blind man could see!  He restores our faith - and most important Jesus has restored our relationship with God, Romans 10:4.

Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”

Psalm 126:3  "The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." 

Thank you Lord for restoring my treasure of memories bound up in that little bag of jewelry. You are an awesome God!

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THE TRUTH THAT TRANSFORMS US

"The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives."  D.L. Moody

Somehow I believe that many of us miss this fact. We want to learn, to grow in wisdom and we will, as we study, but here's the thing. . .all this wisdom we're gaining is for naught if we are unable to truly believe God's Word and apply His wisdom to our life.

        The Bible, God's Holy Word, contains the truth we need to transform our life. This morning, I taught a creative writing class for sixty-four inmates at the local jail. All of them are veterans who are a part of a special program called 'Veterans Moving Forward'. All of them are looking for a way to transform their life. 

        The Bible teaches that God has sovereignly chosen each believer to be His child.  What God initiates, He will complete. Even though we are filled with God's Holy Spirit, we live in a body of flesh; flesh sins and is subject to the woes of this world.  Right now as we live, move and breath this earthly air, He is going through the process of getting our outside (flesh) to match the inside which is holy and righteous. This is called 'sanctification'. 

"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son..." Romans 8:29

        Can you believe for instance that God has a purpose for every problem we encounter? He knew that we would have trouble in this world. Jesus told his disciples in John 16:33...

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

        Now this passage alone probably won't bring you an abundance of peace and joy, not unless you know what Jesus meant. The fact that Jesus overcame the world, i.e. rose from the dead, isn't very helpful until you understand that you as a believer are in Christ. We have now become one with Him. To be one with the Lord of Lords and King of Kings is a tremendously awesome event! I was baptized many years ago with this verse on my lips. 

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."   Galatians 2:20

        My old self died on the cross with Jesus. Now Jesus lives in me and I can live day by day knowing that I am safe and secure no matter what the world hurls at me. This life I live here in the body, I live by faith. I'm not counting on my wisdom or my faithfulness, I'm counting on my Lord who loves me and died for me! 

        Once we are spiritually re-born, (John 3:3) God sees this new creation - He literally sees His Son in us. This is why Paul could write in Romans 8:1-3 "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus...For what the law was powerless to do, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. In God's eyes, we are free forever from condemnation and sin. This is what the cross of Jesus did for those who believe. 

        I've known so many people who hold on to their old life. They can't forget all the bad things they've done, maybe even criminal things, so when they come close to peace and have joy in their life, they feel guilty. Guilt may be good in that it shows us that we aren't perfect and need God in our life, but it's also a tool of Satan. If Satan can pull us away from God's truth, he will. Instead of feeling good about our self, we'll feel unworthy and undeserving. So often we will then unconsciously do what made life miserable in the first place. We revert back to the 'old self'. 

         Even when we can't love our self, Jesus loves us unconditionally. We remember all the bad things we did, but the Lord doesn't, He sees the new person in Christ! We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), yes totally unworthy and undeserving. 

        I was always so focused on the Galatians 2:20 verse that I didn't pay much attention to verse 21, which says...

"I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

        In other words, if we could have been good enough to enter the Kingdom of Heaven by our own good works and righteous deeds, Jesus didn't need to die on the cross. Everyone of us would fail that test, we all need a Savior! The truth transforms us!

Thank you Lord for loving us when we were sinners. Help us daily to apply your Word to our life and enjoy the process of being conformed to Jesus. Encourage my readers to seek Your Face, read Your Word and watch You transform their lives. 


Saturday, July 7, 2018

LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES


We're in the midst of cherry season in the U.S. so it seems fitting to post this photo of a painting I saw in a local gallery a couple of years ago. Not only was I impressed by the vibrant colors and the clarity of the glass, I found myself smiling and flooded with joy. Music came to mind, silly little songs like. . .

"If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, if you're happy and you know it, your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands."  

I have read that happiness is like a butterfly - when you stop chasing it, it lands on your shoulder. We Christians like to make a distinction between happiness and joy. 'Happy' is based on circumstances. When most things in our life are good, we're happy.  Joy is different and something you can have regardless of your circumstances. Really, you can!

For one thing, you need to come to terms with this Biblical truth - God is God, and you are not! As much as we try, we can't control our own life, let alone anyone else's. At times it's a struggle to keep our own ship upright let alone try and keep others from 'going off the rails'. It's painful to watch someone you love head in the wrong direction. A truth I learn over and over again is this. . .

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."   Proverbs 3:5 - 6

This verse also tells me that I can put fear and worry to rest - no need to deal with these emotions when you know God loves you and will ultimately work "all things for good for those who love him and are called called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

There is tremendous relief in knowing that you can't make your path straight - solve health problems, financial worries, anxiety and inability to be flexible. But you can do something; be open to learn and listen, don't blame others, take responsibility and be grateful. There is a 'story' often told by pastors that illustrates this perfectly.  

A man who had loved and served the Lord all his life found himself in trouble when flood waters began to rise around his home. His neighbors called to him, "Hey Joe, you need to get to higher ground." Joe wanted to stay in his house and shouted back,"No, the Lord has promised to always come to my rescue, I'll be fine." The water kept rising, police and firemen came and tried to help him. Water begin to fill his house. A boat came by and someone called out to him, "Get in our boat." But again he declined help saying he was going to trust the Lord to save him. Soon the water was so deep he climbed up on his roof. A helicopter flew over his house and someone through him a life jacket. He didn't put it on; he drowned. When he got up to heaven he asked the Lord, "Why didn't you save me?" This is what the Lord said to him . . .

"I sent your neighbors to warn you, then the police and fireman to take you to safety, I sent a boat, but you wouldn't get in, and finally I sent a helicopter to throw you a life jacket, but you didn't put it on."  

Yup, this guy had a lot of faith, but he couldn't read the signs and see the help the Lord was sending. He wasn't flexible and thought he knew best. We can move from euphoria to chaos in a heartbeat.

There is actually a song - 'Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries' , music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Lew Brown. I think some of the lyrics are interesting. . .

"Why are we here? Where are we going? It's time we found out. We're not here to stay, we're on a short holiday.

Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don't take it serious; it's too mysterious
You work, you save, you worry
But you can't take your dough
when you go. 

So keep repeating it's the berries
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you never owned?
So live and laugh at it all!

When we see things in our life that need to be corrected, changed, whatever. . .ponder these three things. . .(From book by Glenna Salsbury, 'The Art of the Fresh Start')

1.  FORGET THE HOW

Give up all attempts to think through a way to overcome your fears and concerns. Forget it! There may be no solution that you'll ever be able to uncover. Trying with all your human effort to come up with a plan can paralyze you so let the "how" evolve and surprise you with joy! Chances are your solutions to problems will be something you've never thought of. We struggle to be logical only to discover our mind has moved into chaos - time for you to let go, and let God.

2.  FOCUS ON YOUR WILLINGNESS

When you have a deep desire to change and are willing to have positive changes come into your life as they are directed by the Creator who designed you and knows the real you, visualize your dreams and stand back and watch God at work. 

In order to do this successfully, you must be truthful to yourself - "To thine own self be true." Denial is not helpful. Think of the kind of life you've lived. Have you 'lived on the edge', maybe even been  on the wrong side of the law, been only interested in what pleases you with no regard for others? If so, you are no doubt a self-centered person. Or have you been a person who encourages others? You might be a teacher, volunteer Special Olympic coach, spend time in your local jail doing what you can to encourage those who need hope and a new direction, worked with the Boys & Girls clubs. . .so many places to help. Encouraging comes naturally for you, because that is how God designed you. If you know that change must come in order for you to live the life you want, be patient. God's timing is perfect, even though we don't always feel that it is.

3.  FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE

Look forward to what the Lord is going to do in your life. Take some baby steps toward your goal to show your sincere commitment to change. Put your faith in God, not yourself. Psychologists have determined that we move toward what we think about. If your mind dwells on the negative - i.e. 'I need to stop eating so much', stop drinking, stop being critical of others', etc., there is no room for positive growth and change. 

Lord, even though my life at times is full of woe, help me get past what hurts, confuses and paralyzes me to be the person you intend for me to be. I can visualize that big bowl of beautiful cherries! Who but You can grow cherries?