Archives

Oh, the stink!

While opening the pantry the other day, I bent over to look on the bottom shelf when wham! I was hit with a stink so bad it nearly brought tears to my eyes.

I knew that smell. No identification needed other than the familiar and very nasty odor. A rotten potato (or two).

Easy enough to deal with, too. I pulled out my basket of potatoes and tossed them in the sink. If you look at the top picture quickly it might appear as if all is well. But zoom in (see the second pic) and you’ll see one tiny one-inch potato looking kind of smushed. Yup, that was the one. That very small tater caused so much stink in my pantry, I had to air out the closet and wash off the rest of the potatoes just to remove it. (And, of course, I tossed out the offending one in the process!)

Being Just a Little “Off”

It’s such a clear illustration of how just getting a little “off” in our Christian walk can affect absolutely everything. Allowing in just a little of the world or allowing just a little sin taints our thoughts and actions. It may be barely noticeable at first, like the smashed potato. But as we continue to allow what shouldn’t be there to remain and fester and decompose, soon enough the stink of what we’ve allowed becomes noticeable. And then before we know it, wham! It takes over and covers up all the good to the point that all we or others are aware of is that which stinketh (my own King James emphasis).

The potato stink didn’t appear overnight. It kind of snuck up. Same with sin. It often makes a subtle entrance, weaving its way right into our lives. Sometimes we are unaware and because so, we do nothing about it.

Sometimes we are quite aware that we should be standing clear, yet because we don’t feel God’s judgment at the moment or the Holy Spirit’s conviction, we can end up thinking it’s no big deal so we do nothing. Until the stench becomes so bad that it forces an action on our part.

I believe at other times we begin to be aware of the smell but aren’t ready or willing to turn away. We try to cover it up, make it look pretty, pretend it’s not as bad as it seems. With sin, we may end up ignoring the Holy Spirit trying to get us to turn away from the sin and instead of running from it, we end up embracing it, incorporating it into our lives. At times, even defending it and making excuses for its presence or why we accept it.

The deep sorrow here is that our hearts can then become hardened. We may stubbornly refuse to deal with the sin. We may become so dependent on it we start believing the enemy’s lies that it needs to remain. Or we believe the lies that say there’s no way to overcome, forgetting that while we may be unable, there is One who is more than able.

None of us intentionally wants to keep the stink. We know it keeps us separated from our heavenly Father. We know it’s wrong. And we know it’s detrimental for our Christian walk.

So dear friends, while we know there’s always hope and help in overcoming sin, perhaps the best response is to never allow sin to take root in our lives. Ask daily for the Holy Spirit to help us be aware and watchful. Repent sincerely when sin is pointed out. Humbly present ourselves before our Lord, asking Him to reveal any wicked way so it can be quickly addressed.

What to do?

  1. Recognize or acknowledge the sin. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
  2. Repent of the sin. This means to turn away from it, leave it behind, have nothing to do with it.  “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
  3. Receive God’s forgiveness. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12).
  4. Remember that in this world, trouble is here to stay. But we are in relationship with the One who has overcome and his power is available for us as well. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
  5. Rejoice in God that He has provided a way past the sin. “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Mimi

Advertisements

I’ve been adopted; and it feels so good!

Hubby and I have recently been “adopted” into a nearby neighborhood group of people who live on the same street. Most moved in around the same time and didn’t know anyone else so one person started things off by inviting everyone on the street to come to her house for a Saturday morning get-together. Simple and easy.

From there, the group has morphed into a monthly get-together with a published schedule for the year so everyone knows in advance whose house and what type of event. If there’s a holiday, the event will most likely center on that such as Valentine’s Day for February, and an Independence Day celebration in July. And each family takes turns hosting so no one family feels overburdened.

Despite only knowing a few of the ladies and Greg knowing even fewer people, this group welcomed us with open arms. They saw us as invited guests rather than moochers who were there for the great food.

Ever since this group started, I’ve thought how easy it is to do this. A general invitation via phone or handout distributed to the folks on your street along with a simple first meet-up such as coffee and donuts or dessert. And voila! A new social group is formed.

And you know something? I’m now greatly encouraged to do for the neighbors on our own street. Soon they will each be receiving their invitations to much more than food and a good time. They will be receiving invitations that will hopefully lead to personal connection with others.

As adoptees, Greg and I are now quite welcomed at any of their events. We get to bring food and eat the food others bring. We get to enjoy the social interaction. Though we live in a completely different neighborhood, we are treated as if we live on their street.

Our adoption into the family of God is similar. He extends an invitation for us to join His family and once we do, we are in. Completely. We have the full set of privileges others enjoy and that are outlined in His word. We have full access to the host (God Himself). And we get to enjoy wonderful fellowship with the other guests (the family of God).

The cost to join the neighborhood group is living on the street. Similarly, there is a cost to joining God’s family. We must repent of our sins and we must accept the redemptive work God’s son Jesus did on the cross to forgive those sins.

Once we do, we become adopted into God’s forever family and enjoy the ultimate: fellowship with Him.

If you haven’t yet made that decision, won’t you consider making it today? And if you want to chat with me about it, you can email me through my contact page HERE.

If you have already been adopted into the body of Christ, please join me today in taking an extra minute to thank Him for that amazing opportunity given to us. And rejoice in being able to know Him personally.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (Ephesians 1:5 NLT)

 

Mimi

The majesty and glory of God.

Isn’t that a gorgeous sky? I took this pic with my cell phone a few weeks back, never really thinking the phone would be able to capture the wonder and majesty I was experiencing looking at it. But it sure did.

Why start off the year with such a picture? Because it serves to remind me that God is at work, always. Both when I’m aware of Him and even when I’m not particularly aware of Him.

The picture helps me realize our world is so much bigger than what I experience of it. And it reminds me that God is big, much bigger than I can comprehend.

It also reminds me that God’s “bigness” is there for me, to help me, to guide me, to grow me, to love me.

But the picture also reminds me that God is to be worshipped in majesty and holiness. Yes, He’s my counselor, yes, He’s my friend, yes, He’s my savior. But He is God. And He is God alone. And that means He is to be adored and revered. And obeyed.

He is not to be taken for granted or treated lightly. He deserves to be honored at all times…when life is good and when life is not so good. When I feel like honoring Him and when I don’t feel it. In fact, honoring Him has nothing to do with my feelings or how good I perceive my life is at any given moment.

Out of obedience and respect, I’m to honor God at all times and in all circumstances.

As I look back on 2017 I am so very grateful to God for provision, for breath each day, for healing and health, for family, and for relationship with Him.

But as I look ahead to 2018 I hope to add to this feeling of gratefulness a better understanding of who He is. I hope to grow closer to Him so I can know Him more. And I hope to become more like Him so when others look at me they don’t really see me, but instead see Him.

Who is like you among the gods, O Lord—glorious in holiness, awesome in splendor, performing great wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. (1 Chronicles 29:11 NLT)

Happy New Year everyone!

Mimi

My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi

Thankfully, God Looks at the Heart

While taking a walk today, I saw this in the sky. Kind of looks like a funny cloud, doesn’t it? But I know differently and for that, it made me smile. It made me happy. And it served to remind me of God’s love.

So how could a funny cloud do all that? Because I know what is really going on beyond what you see. About 30 minutes earlier I had seen some letters in the sky put there by a local skywriter. On a day with no breeze, the letters stay up quite a while, enabling you to clearly see a reminder of God’s love. With today being breezy, the letters were barely visible and for only a brief period of time, but having lived in the area since 1999 I knew the message beyond what I was actually seeing. And that’s why I smiled.

Here’s a typical message written in our skies: Jesus Loves U. (Want to know more? Here’s a LINK to an article from 2011 about the Holy Smoke pilots.)

As I walked this afternoon and saw the “funny cloud” I was indeed smiling because I knew in reality it was a message of hope and inspiration. It didn’t matter to me that the message was obscured because I knew what wasn’t showing. And this reminded me of how our Lord sees us.

We often look at our lives, look at our actions and judge ourselves harshly. We are unable to see potential; we instead see ourselves through obscured sight. But the Lord sees clearly and He sees someone He loves and has a plan for. He sees who we are in Him and through Him.

Whether or not you have a skywriter in your area posting reminders of God’s tremendous love for you, please be encouraged to know:

  • You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9-10 The Message)
  • For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)
  • But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 New International Version)

Anyone struggling to see yourself as God sees you? Please let me know. It would be my privilege to pray for you.

Mimi

Oops.

Salvaged freezer items.

Two oops actually. (1) I forgot to schedule this post for Monday so am posting it today instead. And (2), read on to learn about my next oops.

Recently, hubby and I spent an afternoon combining a trip to Costco with catching a movie at a theater, both about 35 minutes away. Knowing we would be gone for hours and also knowing we would be purchasing refrigerator items that needed to remain cold, right before hopping into the car we pulled out some bags of ice and ice packs from the freezer, tossing them in the cooler.

We did our Costco run, saw the movie, and arrived home about 4 hours later. The Costco items were still cold from being in the cooler so we felt very successful about our trip.

But upon entering the garage I began to hear a very distinctive beeping which turned out to be the freezer alarm. You guessed it. The freezer door had been open the entire time and it was now dripping with melting ice, circulating warm air, sending water all over the garage floor, and it was easy to see many items were already ruined. So, we quickly began mopping up the water, tossing out the ruined food, and then we turned our attentions on figuring out what, if anything, could be saved.

Cooked goodies.

I ended up with lots of blueberries I had lovingly picked by hand several months prior, a bunch of chicken and ground beef that was still cool to the touch, and a few other odds and ends. Everything else was pretty much mush and was thrown away.

But my afternoon was just beginning because now came the task of doing something with what remained. So, I cooked. The raw chicken and beef became dinner over the next few days with the remainder going in to the freezer for future meals. The bread products were eaten over the next week. But all those blueberries…what to do!

With the blueberries, I made a crumb pie, muffins, and the remaining berries were cooked down with thickeners to be used for pie or a cobbler in the future.

I have to admit; the situation didn’t get the better of me. I was grateful we were able to save some of the items. Plus, I learned a very important lesson. And while I’ve owned freezers for decades without a problem like this, I now am very careful to be double sure the door is completely closed after I retrieve an item.

And through it all I laughed. Laughed that it happened, laughed that I had to quickly get in the kitchen for several hours to try to salvage what I could. And even laughed at throwing out the entire blueberry pie because I hadn’t thoroughly drained the berries after thawing and the excess juice soaked the crust in a very unappetizing way. It was basically a horrible pie.

Life kind of hits us like that every now and then. Sometimes we’re more prepared than others. But in all cases, we need to make the best of the situation, deal directly with whatever is happening in a timely way, try to view it from God’s perspective, and when necessary…learn from it.

Freezer items aren’t a big deal to lose. Yes, it cost me some time and yes, we lost the value of many items, but it was fixable. But when life hits us hard, it isn’t always immediately fixable and sometimes losing money or health is devastating. And most times there really isn’t anything to laugh about.

But after walking with the Lord for years, this I do know: God is still God. He still loves me and He still loves you. We may not understand all that’s happening and most times we don’t have his perspective on what is happening or why; but He is completely trustworthy.

Those two precious Bible verses from (Proverbs 3:5-7a) that we know and love remind us of this: From The Message: Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!

And from the New International Version the same verse reads: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

I certainly haven’t learned to do this consistently but I’m welcoming lessons that will help me more clearly see that so much of what we worry about really doesn’t matter. What matters is keeping our eyes on Him, seeking His plan, following Him, and learning to completely trust Him to take care of us.

How about you? Any life lessons you’ve learned that you’d care to share?

Mimi

 

Thankful, grateful, and truly blessed!

For months, maybe even closer to a year, I’ve been feeling very, very grateful. Just in general. For everything. So, when I came upon this piece of artwork, I knew it needed to be in my house… on a wall where Greg and I would see…it all day long.

I assume experiencing these feelings has to do with getting older and understanding more each day what’s really important.

I see pictures of my grandkids, and overcome with love for them, experience thankfulness to God for the blessing they are in my life.

At meals I’m so very grateful for food. For the ability to go to the store and just buy whatever I want. For having a full pantry. For not having to worry about where my next meal will come from or if I will even have one.

After Greg’s recent experience with blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Blessed that despite having very few symptoms, the doctor so quickly got us to the hospital. Blessed that there was a procedure to help him recover quicker. And blessed that a medication taken regularly for the rest of his life will ensure these clots never again cause a threat to his health and life.

And, of course, there’s the stuff. I have stuff…some of it I need, some I think I need, and some I don’t need at all, but still I have it.

I have not one, but two cars in my driveway. I live in a house with heat and air conditioning. I have clothes in my closet. My attic has suitcases that are used to take trips to visit family and to see places I’ve never seen before.

Churches surround and offer me my own choice of where to worship my Lord.

And every day I wake to new possibilities.

Indeed… God has been good to me. So merciful. So kind.

But even without health, or stuff, or a nearby church, I would feel just as thankful, just as grateful, and just as truly blessed.

Why? Because I have Jesus but more importantly, because He has me. For all that He’s provided through His life, through His death, and through His resurrection…I am thankful. I am grateful. And I am indeed…truly, truly blessed.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?

Mimi