The Mud Maker

I was reading the Holy Bible early this morning. John, Chapter 9.
The story of the blind man. Jesus made mud and spread it on his eyes and the man could see. He was blind from birth.

I said out loud, “I need the MUD MAKER!” When your days start being crammed with doctor’s appointments and everything you look at screams, URGENT, life isn’t fun. I read the story and realized that the Creator of the universe wasn’t afraid to get his hands in the dirt!

From the dust of the earth, God created man.  There are many references to Jesus and dirt throughout the Bible.  He wrote in the dirt to free an accused woman. He put mud on the eyes of the blind man and his eyes were opened.

When your loved ones are facing unknown health issues, it is time to ask yourself, ‘Is Jesus different today than he was yesterday?’ ‘Has he stopped making mud?’

I will continue this later. The Doctor called Lee. Sheryl

Where did 365 days go?

WOW!  Has it really been a year since I visited my blog? YES! WHY?  Perhaps the reasons are too many to list.  I would venture to say that the main reason is that my time scheduled to blog wasn’t on my calendars.

Oh, this blogging thing was in my thoughts and plans ‘to get to it’ yet only what appeared in my handwriting or voice-activated calendar were the tasks that I accomplished.

I have missed you, Blog!  I apologize.  My good intentions did not put words on the Blog for Fragrant Hours’ Blog. So, it is a cloudy afternoon.  It is April which is a month that I love because it has special dates of remembrance in it and because in east Texas we usually get a storm or at least a shower to help settle the pollen.  Then I can stop coughing for a few minutes.

So what has happened in the year that I have been gone from this page?  Opportunities to ‘spread the fragrance of Christ” have come my way. A Lingering Fragrance Books are selling and reports are coming in that the book is a blessing to those who read them. Teaching Bible Class at Christian Women’s Job Corp brings such joy!

In answer to the title of this blog, I wish I could give you an astounding reason but I can’t.  All that I can say is time moves. So often we forget that we all have the same number of hours and our time is in the hands of our Lord.

In the entry way of our home stands a Grandfather Clock. Inscribed on the gold plaque inside the door of the clock references Psalm 31:15, “My (Our)  times are in His (God’s) hand…” MEV, and from the CSB, that reference reads, “The course of my life is in your power…”

Recently, I have been thinking about the things that I call “Urgent”, “Must Do List”, really doesn’t meet the criteria of either title.  Most of our daylight hours are spent doing what we call urgent and must do and we rarely give thought to the fact that if we were not there to do the urgent, who would notice it wasn’t done?  The URGENT is what we MUST DO and if we DON’T DO then something or someone would be affected.  That’s the urgent.

As Lee and I walked to our car after attending Church yesterday morning, I witnessed the URGENT!  A little bird, a Kildeer was on the ground near the walkway, hundreds of people walking by. She was fluffing her wings and squawking loudly, standing in one place and behind her was a tiny nest on the ground and inside the small dugout circle were her eggs.  She was urgently guarding her nests.  I stopped to check on her. I wanted to help her.  I wanted to move her nest.  I wanted to rescue her and her babies. But I couldn’t.  I shouldn’t.  She had it under control.  Yes, the urgent was in her time. People passed and some even stopped to say kind words to her.  She kept up her squawking and fluffing her wings, standing on both legs firmly in one place. Someone put a yellow tape around the spot of ground she now called her home. A marker labeled that sacred spot “Nature”.
I have thought about that scene.  I still hear her loud squawking in my mind.  She was urgently protecting her offsprings.  Standing firm.  Refusing to move.

Shouldn’t I squawk at the interruptions and stand firm with the urgent?  It is God who gives everyone life and breath and all things. (Acts 17:26) CSB.  He even determines our appointed time; he did this so that we might seek His face, perhaps that we might reach out and find him though he is not far from each one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.”  Can I take that to mean that if I seek God first, meaning, seeking first the kingdom of God and His right ways, that all these things will be added to me?

Maybe my “Urgent” and my “Must Do List” would include time for this Blog?  Maybe this year I will make a time to share from My Heart to You?  Yes, I will.
 

It’s that time of year…

It’s that time of year!  For what?  Oh, JOY!

If you haven’t read Ann VosKamp’s book, “The Greatest Gift”, please get a copy. I have even set up a “Jesse Tree” (Isaiah 11:1, 10) “Out of th stump of David’s family will grow a shoot-yes, a new branch bearing fruit from the old root….In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world, the nations will rally to Him, and the land where He lives will be a glorious place.”

I love to celebrate “ADVENT SEASON”.  It is that time of year when expectations are high! That time of year when we remember our stories, our Christmases past and that time of year when we wait for the COMING.  That’s what ADVENT means-COMING!

Children anticipate the arrival of that special morning. Santa has come and left gifts.

Adults anticipate the family getting together in peace, sharing memories from the past and looking with expectations of another blessed year!

It’s that time of year to REMEMBER the PASTwith LOVE  – LIVE in the PRESENT with JOY – and LOOK to the FUTURE with ANTICIPATION.  It is that time of year when Jesus may come.  Invite Him to your celebrations!

Thanksgiving Season 2015

This is the season when Psalm 118 comes alive! I read this chapter from the New Living Translation Study Bible this morning. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His Faithful Love endures forever.”

vs. 8 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord, than to trust in people”
vs. 10 “Though hostile nations surround me (us), they are destroyed by the authority of the Lord.”
vs. 14 “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.”
vs. 15 b..”The strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! Glorious things!
vs. 24 “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

His Faithful Love Endures Forever!  AMEN.

STORMS. PSALM 29. Do I Hear A Voice?

Springtime in Texas this year 2015 has been stormy to say the least.  Floods, tornados, lightning and wind.

Verse 10 of Psalm 29 tells us that “the Lord sits enthroned over the flood and the Lord is enthroned as King forever.”

Verse 11…”The Lord gives strength to his people, the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

There is probably very few people who are as fearful of storms as the writer of this blog.  I do not like to be in storms. But this springtime has taught me something of the Peace Giver in the times of Storms!

The Psalmist says in Chapter 29, verse 3. “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.

vs4. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic, the voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars …(of Lebanon).

vs.7. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning .  The voice of the Lord shakes the deser; …

vs9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.

And in his temple all cry. GLORY!”

To quote Shelia Walsh, “I wonder if sometimes we gather for worship but leave too soon.  We are encouraged by the volume of praise, it lifts our spirits, allowing us to lay aside our burdens for a while.  But if we would wait, there is more.  It is God’s response to the worship of his children. An “unutterable beatitude” of blessing…We love to tell God how much we adore him, how he has changed our lives.  we revel in the tidal waves of song, but then “time’s up” and we move on.  If we would just wait on God, let the silence fall, we could be gifted with the response of a loving Father to his children.  In that holy moment we could receive a beatitude, a blessing that no human words could begin to frame.”

It is the “silence” after the storm that is unexplainable!  It is after the storm that you realize God was in the storm.

Last evening, the skies lit up. Not with fireworks but with angry slashes of fire light across the skies. The thunder was loud and grew louder.  The wind howled and the rain seemed to fall sideways. I immediately recalled this chapter that I had been studying from the Holy Bible.  God is in the storm!  If we could learn to just wait it out…the calm will come.  The peace will flood our lives. The next forecast of a stormy day or night it is our opportunity to sit and wait and know God.

What’s Church All About?

Why do people go to Church?
1. Some people go to church for social reasons.
2. Some go to meet their friends and make plans for the coming week.
3. Some go because they feel it is their duty.
4. Some go out of tradition. ‘Cuz Mama went!
5. Some go for entertainment.
6. Some go because their just lonely and hurting.
7. Some go, hoping to meet new friends.
Shouldn’t our purpose for going to church be “to enter into His gates with praise and thanksgiving”?
Shouldn’t it be to allow the Holy Spirit to convict and change us?
If the Holy Spirit is allowed freedom in our houses of worship, the list above would fall into alignment with the Word of God and His purpose for our lives. The one-hour event called “Church” on Sunday Morning should call us to a spirit of devotion and reference and worship. When the Holy Spirit’s guidance and direction is allowed, unified participation is usually evident.  In houses of worship, we have observed that around us are people standing because they were asked, but refusing to open their mouths to utter songs of praise or prayer. Could it be that the “relevant” worship team is not leading us into worship?  Is the “relevant”  music so relevant that no one participants.
The  Praise is not praise unless it is vocalized. Worship is heart felt but evident. God’s presence can not be ignored!
It appears that the organized ‘CHURCH’ of today places emphasis on the ligthing, the casual dress, the sound of today’s lyrics to appear “relevent” rather than coming into God’s presence with praise and thanksgiving giving honor to the One who organized the Church. The one-hour-so-called worship-production focuses mostly on songs about our need rather than who HE (Jesus) is and His need, to hear His children praise Him!
Shouldn’t the real reason for going to Church be to worship (adore, magnify, honor (respect), the One who told us to come together with singing and praise and worship?
Why do churches have to feel their need to be “relevent” when we are called to be set apart?  Not becoming like the latest trend to appear to be like (relevent) but inviting those who are not within the family of God to come in. How can one be convicted of sin if they are in the same type environment…made to feel comfortable rather than convicted?
I have spent my life going to Church. I used to love to go to Church. Could hardly wait until Sunday or any other day that the people gathered to call it Church. Those were the days of participation, of conviction and change!  Not so any more. I leave more distressed about the spiritual condition of the “church”, our nation, and our commuity than before I entered the gates (doors).  It is the ‘static’ of the church.  It is the ‘routine’ of the church. You can mark the minute hand and know what is next, week after week.
Jesus was not routine, except “as was his custom” to go to the sanctuary.  But things happened worth recording when He was in the sanctuary or was present in any locale.  Whether at a well, in a field, on a mountain side, or in the synagogue. He made a difference!
Jesus was present and even a blind man knew it!

So is the CHURCH relevant? Is the CHURCH ALIVE AND WELL? IS IT MAKING A DIFFERENCE? Or we convicted and have we changed?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No, I mean really!” – January 11, 2014

Do you feel the same way that I do when greeting people and their response sounds so mechanical? Like pressing the red button on the Teddy Bear and a recording says, “I love you!” People say,  “How are you?” “Fine” or “Coudn’t be better” or “Blessed”,  well I can accept the “Blessed” because that describes all humanity who is still breathing. It is only my God’s grace that we are not consumed everyday!

But the facade that we beings don ourselves with everyday is so plastic!  Life is REAL!

The words from the heart are more than trite responses!  It takes a bit longer to explain  “really”.

Really now…what’s going on?  When people are losing faith in humanity (and I’m not surprised), this tells me there is a mask in the picture!

When a 10 minute conference call can change a five year budget plan – let’s get ‘REAL’. Spending important God-given moments every day settling disputes and frivolous clamoring issues when our world seems to be crashing in! “REALLY”…does anyone really want to respond with “TRUTH”.

I have no desire to sound like a despondent person, yet “REALITY” staires me in the face.

My “real” friends know that I savor the writing style of Ann Voskamp! Her gift book, ‘One Thousand Gifts” has been a traditional gift that I share with readers!  Check her out! Today’s calendar sheet was beautiful.  She writes so uniquely. “Jesus, the God-man with his own termination date. Jesus, the God-man who came to save me from prisons of fear and guilt and depression and sadness.  With an expiration of less than 12 hours, what does Jesus count as all most important?”

Luke 22:19 NIV..”He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it and gave it to them.”

What’s so “real” about that? Well, sometimes if we could just respond to “How are you?” with, “Come, let’s sit down and break bread together, give thanks, and share”REALITY”…maybe our hearts wouldn’t be so heavy and our future look so bleak! Maybe!

Share the “Bread – the Word of God”.

Make a “Thankful List”

Share the Brokenness with friends and not so … maybe we are giving them something that will bring REALITY into their life!

I’ve started my Thankful List even though I’ve been shocked with Reality of one major loss and the potential for yet another major set back all within 10 days of a new year.

You say to me, “Fine”…why can’t you just say “Okay” sometimes?  Because I’m not! and Truth is what I am about! I want to break bread and give out REALITY!”

 

 

A Good Thing-Sunday, January 5, 2014

Recently a friend who just completed his doctorate told me that I must read, “Lament for a Son” by Nicholas Woltersorff. This book was required reading for grief counseling.  I went to purchase the small simple covered book.  Now, you may think, when will she ever get over loosing her child? The answer, Never! Every time I tell my story God moves in the hearts of my hearers. Just like Dr. Wolterstorff’s writings…”each death is unique as is each life”.  This is a timely blog. I wept as I listened to a young mother telling the world through Fox News last evening that her daughter was still alive even though medical professionals were telling her otherwise. I recalled the early evening when the Neurosurgeon stopped me in a hallway of a hospital in Louisiana and said, you need to consider when you would like for us to remove the life support from Jonathan.  No! God will decide when he leaves. I realize that family can interfere…it is our flesh and blood afterall.  It is our child!  But it was a good thing that God came through for me the next morning, Jonathan’s heart stopped. 

Inscape!  I am sort of stuck on this word.  “the unique essence or inner nature of a person, place, thing, or event, especially depicted in poetry or a work of art”.  Isn’t life a work of art? Isn’t death an event? Isn’t each child part of a culture.  Do we still value LIFE!  Or the CREATOR OF LIFE?

My thoughts and prayers are with this family. The simple operation turns rancidNow this mother is being forced to decide a future.  We need God! We need the God Creator!

Does it help to let her know, I’ve been there?  It is a good thing to remember!  Lamentations 3, Holy Bible, The Message, 3:19-21 “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes…I remember it all-oh, how well I remember…the feeling of hitting bottom.  But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope.”
3:22-24 “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great, your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. 3:25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.  It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quitetly hope for help from God.” 3:28-30 “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.” 3:31 “Why? Because the Maker won’t ever walk out and fail to return.”

It is a good thing to remember. To Hope. To Trust. To Know. God will show up!

 

Who Are We?

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

A dear friend sent me this quote. She told me that she read it over and over when at times all she really wanted to do was cry in defeat!  She told me how hard it was for her to walk in to change with exuberance – let alone joy!  It has to be a learned skill.  To know that every experience she goes through (that God asks her to walk through) is going to change her and change the ‘old dimensions’ of how she was living her life forever.  “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

And then she sent me one of Amy Grant’s quotes. “There’s a beauty to wisdom and experience that cannot be faked.”

Now, thanks be to Judi Schultz, my friend who encourages me like no one else!  She knows the way that I walk through difficulties and joys.  She knows how “real” I am! Too real sometimes! I’ve never understood how “trained” people put on plastic smiles and gracious words and they are always “well”.  Sometimes I feel they are fake. Life can’t be all that perfect even for the person who walks in faith.  Hebrews 11 has a list of people who walked with God – they were REAL!

God had a “better plan”.  A better way!  Could it be, Judi, that God has a better way for you and me?  Even though we can’t see it?

Psalm 16:6 – 2014 January 1 –

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord who counsels me even at night my heart instructs me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, my tongue rejoices, my body also will rest secure, because You, O Lord, will not abandon me.
Those are the words I have read recently from the Bible – different versions – to try to get those words from Holy Scripture through my head and into my heart!

I always seem to have the opportunity to live out or to test the scriptures that I have been studying. Even today, the first day of 2014. Early morning, my husband informs me that he is no longer employed with company he has been with for 14 years. Does my tongue rejoice? Does my body rest? Am I shaken? Do I have a delightful inheritance?  Is God at my right hand?

Questions! Fears! Uncertainty! Blank! Empty! All are the emotions I feel!

Not many months ago, a Minister friend/relative told me that ‘he was tired of hearing of my losses.’  WOW! Slap!

I suppose that would be the feeling of someone who hasn’t experience the loss of their only child, their sister, their parents, furnishings that rolled down a Georgia freeway during a move across country to answer a call to a new church. How could they know the pain? How could they possibly understand what loss is all about?  How could they know that God has given me a message through these wounds…the making of Perfume?

But today.  In this economy.  At this time in my life. Another loss?  Yes, it is hard to see my husband weep.  It is hard to understand when he is a man of integrity, gracious, kind, giving, sacrficial giving!  Nothing was done wrong!  Could it just be his age? Wisdom of the older generation isn’t needed anymore?

How am I handling this?  I can’t tell you now.  I’ve got to process!  I have to decide to open this vessel (this perfume flask) and let in the bitter to set for awhile until it becomes sweet…a sweet smelling aroma!  Will I?  Can I?