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Unveiled

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

              There were times while on my Egyptian Adventure I would have to pause and give myself a little pinch. Sometimes I was in disbelief that I was in Egypt and privileged to see some of the most amazing sites on earth and through history. One of those moments was when I was in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

              I stood transfixed in front of the glass case that protected the golden death mask of King Tutankhamun. Slowly, I circled the case my eyes roving over every part of the mask exploring every precious stone inlaid in his head dress, his obsidian eyes, and the detail of his pierced ears. It all fascinated me. I circled his effigy several times before, I returned to stand before the mask.  My mind raced and I was awed to think that I was staring at the face of a young man that lived 3350 years ago.  Tutankhamun reigned from 1333BCE until his death in 1323 BCE at the age of 19 years old. His exact cause of death has been the subject of many documentaries and numerous scientific tests and study.

As I pondered these things something caught my attention and I realized that I was so close to the mask, that my refection was in the gold of his cheek.  I stared at it for several seconds in awe.  As I studied my reflection, I was reminded that I am to reflect my King, the true King of all time, past, present, future and forever.  I should be reflecting him not me.  

Before Jesus died on the cross, we were separated from God by our sin. God’s people lived a life of laws and rules that they could not uphold. Because they could not, animal sacrifices had to be made to atone for sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he became the final sacrifice, the chasm that separated man was span.  The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom and we were unveiled and therefore became like mirrors who reflect the glory of the Lord.

Life for all of us is uncertain across the globe and I admit there are times I find myself dealing with fear and anxiety. And when I do, I remind myself that I must renew my thoughts (Romans 12:2) and focus my eyes on him.  Especially now, with so many people living in despair and fear, we need to be the reflection of a loving Jesus. We cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in the fear and worry but be a beacon reflecting the hope of Christ.

What do you reflect?

Typist for Jesus

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Step Out on Dry Ground in Faith

n Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Exodus 14:21

After several days of touring the temples and tombs of Egypt, we took a much-needed rest at a resort in Hurghada on the Red Sea.  As I stood on the balcony looking out over the stunning blue of the sea and a forest of white umbrellas, it was hard to imagine Moses and the Israelites crossing this body of water.

 The beach in Hurghada is rocky and the wind blows continually.  The water is cold but clear, and the temperature stays a comfortable upper 80’s. Yachts cruise along the coast, their flags whipping in the wind, under a seemingly endless sky. It is a perfect oasis of never-ending food, entertainment, and relaxation. Far from what it was 3,000 years ago.

 One day I ventured past the umbrellas to a platform with a metal steps that disappeared into the water. Holding the railing and stretching my eyes across the water I tried to imagine what it was like for the Israelites that night as they waited by the sea knowing Pharaoh’s army was bearing down on them.

              The Bible tells us in Exodus 14:21 that the sea did not immediately divide when Moses raised his staff, instead God sent a strong east wind that blew all night pushing the water apart and drying the ground. When you think about that, the people had to huddle along the shore, waiting. Waiting on God to prepare their way. Waiting for the ground to be dry enough to cross and the whole time they waited they knew the enemy had 600 chariots racing toward them (Exodus 14: 7). Horse hoofs thundering, torches burning into the darkness, and the warriors filling the night with their war cries.  How terrifying when you allow yourself to meditate on it.  Huddled in the darkness with the sea ahead they cannot go forward, certain death and destruction behind them they could only wait, trust, and believe.

              Our world is in turmoil and we have been driven out of the way of life we have known. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We spend time on our knees in prayer beseeching him for deliverance, for answers, for understanding of things that lack wisdom and we wait. Many of us are nervous, worried, and afraid. Do not give up. Hold tight, God has this. We may have been taken by surprise, but he hasn’t.

Do not live in fear but in anticipation.

Waiting for God is not easy but then it was not ever meant to be. If God responded to prayers and request with fast answers, how would we learn patience, faith, and trust? It is not easy; it never will be and that is why you must have faith in him even when you are huddled in the dark.  Trust him when the enemy is close at hand.  Anticipate the east wind as it comes to make your way. Step out on dry ground in faith and know God in still in control.

Typist for Jesus

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Lasting Impressions

MUSTARD SEEDS POSTCARD: Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bohri, Egypt

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

One of the temples I was very excited to visit was that of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bohri. Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) was not content with being a co-regent with her infant stepson Thutmose III, she had in mind something different.  In the second year of the co-regent reign, Hatshepsut named herself Pharaoh and donned the Pharaoh’s beard.  She had herself depicted as a male pharaoh in traditional clothing and in the same postures. However, she never changed her face, still appearing very feminine and pleasant looking.

  It is uncertain why she waited until the third year to take the throne but there are several theories. Whatever her reason, Hatshepsut was one of the most successful Pharaohs reigning for 20 years until her death in 1458 BC.  Hatshepsut is credited with establishing new trade routes and increasing Egypt’s wealth beyond what it had every been before or since.  She avoided wars and conflict with neighboring kingdoms by creating trade. She also built on a grander scale during her reign than any other pharaoh except for Rameses II. This proves she was in command of enormous wealth and created many jobs for her people. She commissioned building projects throughout the country. Her temple at Deir el-Bohri is one of the most impressive temples. (pictured above) In addition, she had two enormous obelisks raised at Karnak and elsewhere.  

Unfortunately, those that reigned after her did not have the same appreciation. Immediately after her death and Thutmose III’s rise to the throne, Hatshepsut was erased from history, her images destroyed, and her name blotted. Her campaigns, building projects and trade routes were credited to Thutmose III and he backdated his reign back to the death of his father, Thutmose I. Thutmose III did not want anyone to remember his stepmother.  However, this scheme has backfired on him Hatshepsut is well known today, and her temples are visited by thousands of people each year. Her story is both inspiring and amazing.  Hatshepsut took a risk took control and, in the process, prospered her people and country.

This may seem a strange subject for a Mustard Seed, but I think it is a good reminder that though your choices and actions are not immediately seen, your life and actions have a direct and lasting impact on the world around you.  What you choose to do, to say in any situation makes an impression, it influences everyone around you and not just today but tomorrow.

It is a tremendous responsibility that many of us never think about, but certainly should.  God’s Word tells us plainly that we are responsible for our actions and how they impact. We have been given many talents and abilities and we should employ them to help and encourage others. As Christians we need to think before we speak and weigh our words. Do our words lift, or do they tear down? Do our actions portray what Jesus would have us show of his love? These are questions that we should be asking ourselves daily.

Your choices and words live on through those around you and will reach further than you ever thought possible. Make sure you consider what you do or say carefully.

Typist for Jesus

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Every Sunrise is a Renewal

Sunrise over Luxor, Egypt 9/2021

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

The chill of the desert morning left me with a shiver. I was nervous and my stomach rolled. I had never done well with heights and the idea of climbing in the wicker basket filled me with dread. Despite my fear, I climbed the rickety metal steps and dropped down. Once everyone was situated, the pilot released a blast of super-heated gas that threatened to deafen me and my fellow travelers. The balloon rose and we floated effortlessly and gently into the predawn sky. 

Balloons over Luxor 9/2021

              I was in a sweat, cold beads formed on my forehead. I closed my eyes tight afraid to look. I began to pray and take in deep revitalizing breaths.  After a few moments I opened my eyes and stretched them over the earth. A wash of peace covered me. Stepping closer to the outside of the basket I smiled. Colorful balloons dotted the sky and rays of pink began to streak the horizon.

              After only a few moments the basket erupted in exclamations as the sun burst and light, pale at first, illuminated the world.

              The ancient Egyptian believed that the sun died every evening and was reborn every morning. They saw each day as a renewal of life. To a degree, they were spot on. We cannot do anything about yesterday.  It is over and done.  We cannot go back or take back what we have done or said but we can do our best to make today better.

              Do not dwell on the past or things that you cannot change, but rather take each day and strive to walk with Jesus. Each day, God extends his grace and renews his mercy.

              Every sunrise is a renewal.

              Typist for Jesus

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A Bag of Glasses

Bag of Glasses: What lenses do you use to view the world?

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalms 119:18

I popped in on my parents a couple of weeks ago.  We were having a little impromptu Sunday lunch.  I brought the chicken and mom made the sides.  As we waited on the last thing to come out of the oven, my mom handed me a bag. I peeked inside.  It was full of reading glasses. There were all shapes and colors. What driven this interesting gift was unfortunately I had broken my prescription glasses. Worst still with the delays and reduced number of clients that could be seen, I cannot get an appointment for two months. So, my mom always thinking got every reader she had and offered them for me to try.  She even provided a newspaper cutting for me to use to gauge which of the glasses would work best.  Some of the glasses were blurry, others were too weak and even one pair caused immediate nausea. Finally, after trying them all, I chose three pair and gave my mom a thankful peck on the cheek.

              Later, on the drive home, I thought about that bag of glasses. How each lens influenced how I perceived the world around me. It is the lens that determines how we see.

 So, what lenses do you use to view the world around you? Is it the lens of the media? Maybe your favorite Tik Tok? Your friends? Favorite show? Grief? Bitterness? Fear?

We have many options for lenses to choose from, but not all the choices are the best. How we choose to look at the world affects our relationships, not just with others but with ourselves. It affects our moods and can exacerbate depression. Sometimes the wrong lens evokes fear and leaves us feeling hopeless. Reading the Bible is the best lens we can use to view our world. The Bible teaches us to love one another and to leave the judging to the one and only judge. Reading your Bible strengthens your faith, gives you hope and perseverance to face the trials ahead. It places the focus on Jesus and reminds you how important and special you are to God.

Do you need a new perspective a more positive and peaceful view?

Change your lenses.

Typist for Jesus

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Boldness is Contagious

If you get on your knees before God, you can stand before any man.

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:14

Today I read a comment from someone on their stance on the vaccine mandate.  Their response was intelligent, compassionate, and aligned pretty much to my thoughts.  After I read it my cursor floated over the “LIKE” button.  It hovered because I was afraid to hit like and tie myself to the statement. Time passed and the statement hung out there like the proverbial “elephant in the room” on the forum.  This person’s idea was contrary to the accepted narrative. However, I believe that more people align to this thought but because we fear backlash, threats, potential job loss and alienation in our communities, we keep it to ourselves.  

              Finally, one brave person hit “LIKE” and then a rapid succession of thumbs up began. The boldness of one person gave the rest of us the courage. I thought about this incident for the rest of the day. We have become conditioned to worry about the consequences of expressing ourselves we have chosen to sit on the sidelines silent. As Christians, we have our own mandate to declare the gospel to all.

              Jesus was not always very popular himself.  Though he taught thousands there were thousands more that refused his message. He was driven out of towns, in fact his hometown. The truth is not always the popular narrative, but truth cannot be silent, and neither can we.  If we cannot have the boldness to hit a button how will we face the coming days? The time is coming when you will have to decide to boldly say you stand with Jesus or with his enemy.  If we cannot speak up for truth now, how will we stand for it later?

              Each of us face times when we struggle and are reluctant to share our faith.  We do not have to muster up courage but rely on the Spirit that is within each of us. Through studying the Word and coming to God in repentance and prayer He will embolden us to proclaim the gospel without fear.

              Boldness is contagious. When we are bold for Christ, it provokes others to do the same.

              Typist for Jesus

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God Keeps His Promises

God Keeps His Promises

For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37

For the past two days my neighbor’s car alarm keeps going off.  I found it extremely annoying the first day, by the second day I was able to just ignore it and today I have just carried on with my life.  My neighbor came over this morning and apologized.  We stood on the porch and chit chatted as we watched the car being loaded on the back of a tow truck.  It was still sounding its alarm as the truck drove away.  After we bade each other goodbye I returned to my work.  As I sat at my desk, I thought about that car alarm.  I thought about how I had come out the first time and the second time it sounded yet, past that I just kind of ignored it.  By the third day, I didn’t hear it anymore.

              For over 2,000 years we have heard the promise that Jesus will return for his own. I have heard it my entire life, my mother and grandmother before.  I think that many of us say it to each other as a means of comfort and hope yet, do we really believe that Jesus will come again? 

              God always keeps his promises. Always. God is merciful and will offer every opportunity of repentance.  His delay is anything but a delay, rather the Father is waiting to fulfill his promise when all have heard his message of salvation and redemption.  There are many people in our lives that we are in anguish for, our mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, husbands, wives, and dear friends. God too desires their acceptance of his love and wants to extend his grace to all.

              Just because you have heard the alarm over and over do not allow yourselves to become numb.  Continue to share Christ with those in your life with all diligence. Do not become weary but anticipate his glorious return.

              Typist for Jesus

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A Sure Thing

Photo by football wife on Pexels.com

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

I have never been a sports fan.  Football, basketball, NASCAR, whatever, I have just never got caught up in it.  I personally have nothing against it.  In fact, most of my friends enjoy one type or another.  However, it has never appealed to me.  One reason, beside my lack of interest, is that I never knew which was a potential winning team.  Because let’s face it, who wants to back a losing team? I know I don’t want to be wearing the jersey of a loser.

            Unfortunately, right now, many of your friends, family and neighbors are backing the wrong team.  They have gotten caught up in the hype.  There has been some convincing arguments from our enemy circulated.  It’s easy to get confused.  How do you know what is truth and what is a lie?

            There is a lot of misinformation going around in the media and in our communities.  The best way to sort through the information that is getting batted around is to look at how the message is presented.  God will never use coercion, bribery, shame, threats or fear in His revelations.  That is a tactical move by the enemy to elicit fear and control.  Look back over history, fear is the most used tactic to force people to comply and “fall in line”.   Fear is one of the biggest motivators to all life whether human or animal. We fear death, injury or the inability to sustain life.  

            As you read articles, listen to the news, converse with employers and medical representatives, pay attention to what is being said, how it is said and what emotions it evokes.   If threats, coercion, shame, bribery and especially fear is being used, be sure it comes from your enemy.  He has one goal and one goal only to steal, kill and destroy. Our enemy will shame you in thinking that your choices are silly and that you lack cognition to make these choices yourself.  The enemy will promise you things to entreat you to comply.  The enemy will threaten your ability to function financially and socially.

            Do you trust God? Do you trust in the Blood of Christ?  It’s time to take your place on the scrimmage line, it’s time to decide what team you are on.

Typist for Jesus

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Get Up Off Your Samsonite

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4

I drove past a bus stop yesterday. It was not for a city bus, but rather a travel bus. I noticed as I sat at a red light, that all these people were sitting on their suitcases. They just sat there, playing on their phones, and staring off into their thoughts. As I took in the sight, it made me think of how some Christians are doing the same thing.

Many Christians today seem to be sitting on their luggage and wait ing on the bus to Heaven. We hear so many claiming that ‘Jesus is coming,’ and, ‘Time is near.’ Yet a good deal of us have packed it in and are sitting on our suitcases.

Now is not the time for Christians to be sitting on the Samsonite, it is time to get up and get about our Father’s business sharing the Word. Put your luggage up, you have work to do!  Jesus is not here yet! There are people dying and going to Hell.  They need Jesus and the only way they will hear about Him is if you them. 

This world is in trouble, there is corruption, murder and unspeakable things happening all around us.  However, you as a Christian have a responsibility to this world.

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35

Notice in these two verses that “love one another’ is repeated three times. It was repeated so you would understand the importance. We cannot afford to just quit. Now more than ever, we need to be loving the unlovable. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Bringing warmth to the cold. Sharing Christ. The night has not come and there is plenty to be done.

It is still day so get up off you Samsonite.

Typist for Jesus

Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables

Excerpt from Mustard Seed, Modern Parables© Available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Walmart.com

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Sowing Good Seed

Sowing Good Seed

Matthew 13:24-30

The Parable of the Weeds: 

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[b] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30

There is a strip of land between my neighbor and me.  Every time it rains, water rushes down, bringing dirt, rocks, and debris into my driveway.  The landlord threw out grass seed many times, but the seeds were washed away or eaten.  One day on a whim, I threw out wildflower seeds and covered it with grass clippings.  In just a few short days, the wildflowers began to grow and quickly filled the slope with lovely yellow, white and an occasional purple bloom.  Grass also began to grow, and the area began to flourish. It was not long before weeds began to pop up between the flowers.  As the weeds multiplied, the flowers decreased, and the lush area began to look a bit scrubby.  I tried to do some weeding, but the roots of the weeds and wildflowers were intertwined.  Pulling the weeds damaged some of the flowers.  So, I left them to grow together.

            In the Parable of the Weeds, (Matt 13:24-30), Jesus clearly tells us that weeds will invade our gardens as evil invaded the original garden.  We must contend with evil in this world.  God allows evil and good to co-exist and will until the end.   This should be an encouragement to believers, and we must not lose heart when our efforts seem hopeless.  We must deal with the reality of opposition and evil and recognize that it does not define the outcome. 

            In verse 30, “Let both grow together until the harvest”, may seem a bit counter productive however unlike God we cannot know another’s heart.  Nor do we know where their lives and choices my take them-or their potential for redemption.  God is merciful and patient. As on my little slope of wildflowers, removing the weeds now would destroy both.  Separation will come at the harvest, in God’s timing. 

Our job in the meantime, is to continue to sow good seed.  

Typist for Jesus

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You Need to Grow a Little More

never be afraid to grow

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9 (ESV)

 What is a beach side vacation without a visit to the local ice cream shop?  Well, certainly not as much fun.  So, one evening on my recent vacay, my fellow travelers and I decided to take a trip down the road for some creamy cold goodness.  We were not the only seaside guest that thought ice cream was a perfect way to end the day.  The line snaked back on itself inside the small shop.  It was evident when we entered that the four young men manning the counter were well acquainted with serving so many.  They kept that line moving and before I knew it, I had ice cream in one hand and my debit card in the other.  I paid and moved to the sidewalk to find a table.  Moments later my friend emerged, laughing.  Once everyone had sat down, she related her story.  She had gotten her ice cream and prepared to pay but was unable to see the little screen on the card reader even on tip toes.  The young man on the register held it down for her. With a playful tone and Jamaican accent, he said, “You need to grow a little bit more, miss.” 

We got a giggle out of it.  Later that evening I thought about that statement.  Though my friend is unable to grow taller we are all capable of growing and maturing spiritually.  That is one of the wonderful things about humans.  We continue to grow, mature, and learn throughout our lives. It is the same in our relationship with Jesus.  Whether you are a new Christian or have been for many years, there is plenty of growth ahead of you.  The mysteries of his love and the intricacies of life affords years of learning and understanding.  Never stop searching the Word, never stop asking the Spirit to give you understanding and never be afraid to grow.

Typist for Jesus

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On Angel’s Wings

Parasailing in Destin, FL 2021

“For He Himself is our peace…”  Ephesians 2:14

All the check had been done and redone.  I listened to the captain and the deck hand’s instructions.  I did not know what to expect except that I would be lifted 400 feet into the air over endless ocean.  Yet before I even completed that thought, the boat accelerated, and my friend and I were lifted off the back of the boat.  Legs dangling and a scream caught in my throat, I felt my body soar higher into the sky, the boat becoming small.  Higher and higher we climbed into the blue. Every nerve ending in my body was alive, and my wrist ached from the intense grip I held on the straps.  As the tether unfurled more, I began to wonder if I was about to float off into space.  Finally, we met our maximum altitude, the climb stopped, and we simply hung in the air.  Floating, carefree, gently swaying as if on Angel’s wings. 

              Sometimes, I forget how big God is and how wonderful is his creation.  I get into the mud and mire of my life and I can’t seem to see past the problems, worries and issues.  I forget to lift my face to heaven and seek him.

              Dangling in the air above it all, there was a peaceful silence I have never experienced before.  I could see for miles endless ocean and the sharp line of the horizon.  In those seven to eight minutes, I was reminded that we need to be looking up not down.  And we need to be looking forward.

              I know that your life has many issues right now.  You are facing difficult decisions and uncertainty.  Maybe it is time to step back and look above it all. 

              Typist for Jesus

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High Road

Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:8 (ESV)

I have put off writing this because frankly I did not want to tell on myself.  However, I made a promise to be transparent in sharing my experiences.  So here goes, my story of recent road rage.

              I pulled up to the stop sign.  I had just dropped my daughter off at an appointment and now I needed to rush back home and get to a zoom meeting. Unfortunately, a wreck had happened, and the right lane was blocked with police cars.  I was going to have to cross to the furthest lane and merge.  Fortunately, there was a gap in the slow line of cars, so I pulled out.  Just as I was going to join the line, a yellow older car rushed into the lane.  She had come up from the closed lane and cut me off.  I laughed and said “Wow.”  Shaking my head I craned my neck to see if maybe the next car would take pity on me.

              That is when things took a distinct and bizarre turn.  The driver of the yellow car, middle aged with large glasses and long brown hair began mocking me.

              “Wow, oh wow!  WOW! Wow…..”  She accompanied it with unflattering expressions and then punctuated it with a middle finger. And then another.

              I would love to tell you that I continued down the high road, but oh no I did not.

              The screaming, gesturing and less than Christian verbalization ensued.  An officer heard us and blowing his whistle, motioned us on. She pulled forward and I merged behind.  I admit I am surprised at what she did next.  Hitting her brakes and leaning out of the car she continued her verbal assault.  I laid down on my horn and returned likewise.  We are now in the outermost right lane with traffic whizzing by us on the right because we have reduced our speed to approximately 25 miles an hour just a roll really and the screaming has continued.  Both of us are hanging out the windows screaming, gesturing, blowing our horns and close to frothing at the mouth.  Then suddenly she whips her car into the turn lane and slams on the brakes.  I may be blind with anger, but I am not stupid I kept driving.  And while I drove, I was fussing as I headed home.  It took a couple of red lights before I had calmed enough to focus my thoughts.  It was then that I realized how ridiculous I had behaved.  Why had I engaged in this behavior?  I could have driven around her at any minute.  Why had I stayed in the lane behind her?

Because she made me angry. Really angry at her insults toward me.  Angry that though I was the one cut off; she was yelling at me.  Angry that she was going to make me late.  She really got my dander up!

  Anger in of itself is not a sin.  Anger is normal and natural.  It is when we lose our temper and control.  As disciples of Jesus, we have been called to love one another and live peaceably.  We cannot do this if we are allowing ourselves to lose control and lash out.  Maintaining control and our tempers make it easier to forgive and live in peace with one another.  If we have the Holy Spirit within us, then our actions should show the fruit of his work within us.  Specifically, in this case, peace, patience, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) None of which I displayed.  Often, we may feel justified in losing our temper because we have been hurt or offended.  However, we are instructed to forgive and not yield to anger or seek vengeance.

              I know that it is difficult, especially now, to maintain our tempers and self-control but now more than ever, we need to be exhibiting Christ.  We are a people set apart and how is anyone to see that or desire to accept Jesus if we are no different in our behavior and reactions than the next person.  Let’s not repay evil with evil but find the love of Jesus within us to forgive and maintain self-control.

Typist for Jesus

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Chicken Run

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah1:3

The sudden swell of shock was quickly replaced with concern as my friend entered her garage.  She is trying her hand at chicken farming.  Well, on a small scale, she has eight little chicks.  Two of which are smaller than the others.  Because chickens are not very forgiving and never pass up the chance to peck and bully another, my friend has separated these two from the flock.  They may be little but every ounce of them is feisty.  The smaller chick’s cage was empty and as my friend looked around the garage something caught her eye.  She turned to see two little yellow streaks dart by.  She turned to scoop them up however, they did exactly what chickens do best.  They ran. Tiny little feet propelled them toward the other chickens.  Peeping and flapping, they alerted their counterparts.  Now all the other chickens were in an uproar. Flapping, peeping, and trampling one another the caged birds began to stampede too.  The closed garage reverberated with panicked peeps and flapping wings. 

            By this time my friend had ceased trying to catch them and instead watched for a few minutes as the two little ones ran laps around the other cage while the occupants ran from corner to corner following the outlaws.  Every time the little chicks attempted to round the cage their feet flew up and they skidded a few inches on their feathered butts.  Yet, each time they would regain balance and continued running.  Lap after lap, these little chicks gave it everything they had.  They had no idea where they were going or how to get there they just ran as fast as those little drumsticks could go while the peanut gallery cheered them on.

            It is the chicken’s first instinct to run and they do it very well.  It is also a common reaction for human beings.  It is also man’s first instinct is to run from God.  That may seem strange, but it is true.  People run for many reasons. They are often scared of God and afraid of what he may ask them to do or give up. For me, I went through a period when I tried to ignore God.  I happily professed my belief in God, but I never really wanted to get too close.  I was afraid that he would ask me to do something or give up something or someone.  I just did not believe I could do that willingly.

            People run away in different ways.  They, like me, may choose to keep their distance.  Others may freeze up and choose to live with small or respectable sins, believing that their sins really aren’t bad enough to be saved from.  And still other may indulge in false piety by devoting themselves to the technical issues of Christian living so that they do not have to face a personal relationship with God.  How they try to run, much like the chickens, they just end up going nowhere.   

            Fortunately, God is compassionate to those that run out of fear or the false belief they are better off without him.   We see this in the Bible several times.  Probably the most well know is Jonah.  He did not want anything to do with Nineveh and ran as far as he could.  Jonah was not alone, the prodigal son ran, Moses headed for the desert and even Peter after the Garden of Gethsemane skulked around in the shadows.  Peter “followed him at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) Peter did not want anyone to know he was one of Jesus’ disciples and when the servant girl pointed him out, he was adamant he was not a friend of Jesus.

            God wants to have a relationship with you through his son Jesus.  He understands your fears and doubts.  He is waiting for you to stop running and turn to him. Like the prodigal son, our Father is waiting for us.  He is only a prayer away and he can hear you just like he heard Jonah underwater in the belly of a whale. And he will forgive you and love you just like he did Peter. 

Stop running to nowhere and turn to Jesus.

Typist for Jesus

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Sometimes, Life Gets in the Way

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

But Jesus said unto him, follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Matthew 8:21-22

            I have not written in a couple weeks.  I have been busy at work and life.  There has been overtime, bills, doctor’s appointments, yards needing mowing, flower beds needing weeding, weddings, grocery shopping and well, it is exhausting just listing it all.  Everyday my “To Do” list had, write a Seed, and everyday it was left unfinished with several other items. 

            I was lying in bed thinking of what I should write this week in between all the clutter that kept filling my brain.  It was in the middle of the flurry of disjointed thoughts I remembered the verse, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” 

            On initial thought, this verse seems rather callus and uncaring of Jesus.  However, on deeper reflection, it has nothing to do with funerals or family abandonment.  Rather is about making a commitment to Jesus and choosing to follow Him in all circumstances.  Whether the bills are due, or the yard has grown up to obscure the house, seeking the Lord is priority.  Jesus knows these things must be done and are important, but nothing is more important than your relationship with Him.

            Today on my “To Do”, I placed the Mustard Seed at the top.  Time in prayer, Bible reading and touching the lives of those around you are your first concern.  There will be plenty of time for the rest once you have fed your spirit and been filled with His peace. In fact, you will be able to complete more efficiently everything you need to do. 

            Just like this disciple, we find ourselves focused on the things in life that need to be done.  In essence this disciple was saying “Lord let me go home and get everything I need to do done and then I will follow you and do what you want of me.”    There will always been an inexhaustible list of things that need to be addressed but there may not always be the opportunity to answer His call.

Won’t you answer His call today.

Typist for Jesus

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Heart Condition

What is the condition of your heart?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

I was very pleased with my purchases. I had gotten some good deals. Smiling I reached for my receipt. The cashier leaned in, “Your senior discounts on there. Have a good day.” Her eyes smiled above a mask that had a villainous grin with exaggerated teeth. I started to protest but as I glanced at the receipt and saw the additional 10% reduction, I thanked her and left the store.

Firstly, I am not yet a senior. I do however, have quite a bit of gray sprouting about my temples. I have no doubt that this cashier chose that characteristic as her reason for assuming I was a senior citizen.

Thoroughly offended I quickly began to text my friends, giving them a similar narrative as you have just read.

As much as I was offended by the lady’s assumption, there is a relatively easy fix to hide my gray. However, there is no hiding your heart from God. God is not concerned about your grays, you clothing or your car. He is interested in your heart only. What is the condition of your heart? Do you fill it with humility, love and forgiveness or are you hiding something a bit different?

When God looks at us, he does not see the physical. Rather he looks only into our hearts. What is in our hearts influences how we chose to serve the Lord. Is your heart compassionate to others? Is it generous and merciful?

Samuel needed to be reminded that appearances mean nothing. As each of the sons of Jesse passed Samuel, (1 Samuel 16) he like most of us, was only focused on what his eyes could see and not what was hidden beneath. A man or woman’s worth is not in their appearance but in their heart.

My gray hairs may be a product of my advancing age, but what does your heart produce? How much time do you spend grooming your outside verses the inside? Take time this week to look inward and examine your heart. If people when they looked at you, saw only the condition of your heart, what would they see?

Typist for Jesus

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Bubble Trouble

Bubble Trouble

So they complained to Moses by saying, “Give us water to drink!” Exodus 17:2

I was washing up dishes the other evening when I noticed that Bryan was acting strangely.  He was crouched down, eyes wide and tail down.  “What is it boy?”  I asked.  He turned and went to get in his chair.  I did not think too much more about it, until the next morning.  Bryan was taking much longer in the back yard than usual.  I went through the gate and peered around the deck.  Bryan was lapping up something.  Concerned it could be a dead animal or maybe something someone had thrown in the back yard; I began calling him as I walked into the yard.   For some inexplicable reason, he had dug a hole and was lapping up muddy water.  I took him in and to the new water dispenser.  I stuck my finger in the cool water and put it up to his lips.  He licked but would not venture closer.  Finally, after much cajoling he timidly approached the water.  Once he tasted the coolness he began to lap faster and that is when it happened.

“BA-LOOP, BA-LOOP”

Bryan took off like a shot out of the kitchen.  That big bubble had sent him skittering across the tile.  I never thought that an eighty-pound dog would be afraid of air bubbles when I bought a new water dispenser over the weekend.  I know that many of you, like me are laughing at Bryan for being afraid of the bubbles, but we are not that much different.  Very few of us embrace change.  Nor do we like it when God moves us out of comfort zone.  Sometimes, for God to bless us or position us where he needs us, it means that things in our lives must change.  The Israelites prayed for 400 years before God sent Moses to lead the them out of Egypt and to their own land.  However, to get from the land of captivity to the promised land, there had to be some changes.   Just like the Israelites of the Exodus, we too do not want to endure changes or adapt to something new. 

              Poor Bryan is so afraid of the new water dispenser that he prefers to drink muddy water out of the backyard than deal with something new.  How many times have you, so afraid of change, settled for muddy water?  I cannot count the times I have allowed my fear of change, failure or discomfort keep me from blessings or opportunities.  Do not settle for muddy water, instead trust God to lead you, provide for you and strengthen you as you embrace the opportunities that come with change.

Typist for Jesus

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Connection Lost

(Read John 16)

This past year we all have learned that there are many ways to work without being at work.  I have been working from home for almost a year now.  Pretty much if you have an internet connection you can work. 

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment and rather than taking off from work I decided I would take my laptop and continue working.  Due to social distancing, only the patient can go back so I decided to use that time to continue what I had been working on that morning.  The nurse called her back and I flipped up the top to get back to my spreadsheet.  Except there was a problem, my system was not working.  Ah, I needed to get the password from the receptionist.  I went to the desk and asked.  Unfortunately, they do not provide internet access. Without the internet my laptop was now useless and my plans for being productive thwarted.

The Holy Spirit is our connection, through prayer and daily Bible study,

we can strengthen our connection.

            It is the same in our spiritual lives, without a connection to the Father and Son, we too are lost. The Holy Spirit is our connection.  With the Spirit we have discernment, wisdom, comfort, and guidance.  The Holy Spirit is a gift from Jesus.  In the book of John chapter 16, Jesus is preparing his followers for his death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. He knew how his followers may feel lost and unable to continue the work that he started with them.  He also knew that 2,000 years later you and I would need the Spirit to guide us in continuing the work that he has started in each one of us. In Jesus’ physical absence he sent the Holy Spirit as guide and comforter those that believe in him. We have that Spirit available to us, filling us and guiding us in the way that the Lord would have us to go.  Unlike the internet, the Spirit can reach you without a password.  Once you accept Christ Jesus as your savior the connection is made, and you no longer navigate this world alone.

            Use the gift that Jesus has left for you, to draw you nearer to him.  Allow the Spirit to teach and guide you. Through prayer and daily Bible study, strengthen the connection.

Cartoon Typist for Jesus
by Bitmoji

The best is yet to come,

Typist for Jesus

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The Best is Yet to Come

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so, they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  John 2:1-10 (NIV)

              A friend of mine recently recommended this story to be included in my new book I am currently writing.  As I studied the characters and the circumstances that they were facing, I decided that in our current situation as a people across the globe that maybe this story should be shared now.

 As I read my mind created the scene.  It was fall in the land, that is when the weddings were preformed because there was plenty after the harvest and cooler.  The Jewish wedding feast last for five days and during that time food and wine is plentiful.  In the first verse, it states that it was the third day of the feast, that let’s us know it was serious that the wine had run out because there were two more days of feasting to go.  So that is one reason why Mary came to Jesus, she knew that he could remedy the issue. So Mary asked Jesus. Notice that Mary does not argue with Jesus or presses him, she simply tells the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.” She made her request and then left it with Jesus.

What really interest me in this story is the servants and their unwavering obedience.

Mary walks away and the servants look to Jesus. I think they were waiting on Jesus to tell them to run into town or knock on the neighbor’s door but Jesus told the servants to fill the ceremonial jars with water.  Can you imagine what was going through the minds of these servants?  They begin drawing water out of the well and dump bucket after bucket into the vessels. Finally, six huge stone jars are filled to the brim with water.  Their task complete, once again they turn to Jesus, curious maybe a bit confused, and waited for his next command. 

Now take a moment to think about this, what if you had been the servant that Jesus told to draw out the water and take to the head of the banquet?  

Now you don’t know Jesus, but you do know that there is nothing but water in that jar and now in the decanter.  However, being an obedient servant, you take the decanter to the head of the banquet.  As this servant walked through the loud hall filled with singing, winding between the couches and guests, I can only imagine what must have been going through the servant’s mind. I have thought about that a lot since studying this passage. Was he or maybe it was a she, the gender is never specified, scared?  I think that I would have been.  Yet, these servants did what was commanded without questioning. 

  I believe that a true servant must relinquish their will and body to their master.  To do that, the servant must choose to trust the master.  That person knew that they had filled the decanter with water but they took it obediently. When the servant got to the table what a sweet relief it must have been when rich, red, fragrant wine filled the cup. 

Often, we are put in situations where we do not know what God has planned next.  God rarely shares his plans or reasons for what he does.  I find that very frustrating.  I believe that God chooses to withhold that information to cultivate trust, faithfulness, and obedience.  The servant carried the vessel of water obediently to the banquet table not knowing what was going to happen until they tipped the clay jar and wine spilled out. Do not become discouraged or scared, instead like the servants, trust the master.  Do not let what is going on around us discourage you and your faith. Continue to be obedient and faithful to Jesus. 

At the end of the passage, we see that the master of the banquet was very pleased that the best wine had been saved for the end of the banquet. “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 

 No matter what is going on in your life and in this world, remember that the best is yet to come.

Typist for Jesus.

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A Bit of the Ole Razzle Dazzle

Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God many false prophets have gone into the world. I John 4:1

It is now mid-January and most of us have reluctantly packed up the lights and tree.  I decided to leave one item of decoration out because it really was not centrally Christmas but mostly just winter-themed.  Another reason I left it out was that I was pleased with it.  I thought I was very clever in making it.  A simple crate with a scrap of material, greenery, lights, and three birch sticks.  Why was this so “clever” on my part?  Because my birch wood sticks were nothing more than painted paper towel rolls.  By themselves painted and tied with a bit of twine they are not very impressive and it painfully obvious what they are, but once you place all the lights and greenery around them it gives a good illusion. 

At a glance, you see what I want you to see.

Recently, no doubt you have been seeing a bit of razzle dazzle going on in the media.  In the coming days, you will see even more.  There will be times you are confused, outraged, and simply do not know what to believe. It is during these times we need to look to the One who knows all.  He is not shocked or surprised by current events.   James 1:5 reads, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”   Do not rely on your own understanding but ask the Lord to give you wisdom and discernment.  Prepare yourselves to see beyond illusions and lies.

Beware of the razzle dazzle.

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A Good Cup of Coffee

and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

            About six weeks ago, my coffee maker gave up the ghost.  I have been using a percolator on the stove.  Fine coffee but hard to keep warm like a traditional coffee maker.  I decided that with a gift card I had receive for Christmas I would get a new one.  As I stood in the aisle, I was amazed at all the brands and differing degrees of coffee maker.  On one end a simple coffee maker and on the other an expensive machine that did everything including taking commands from Alexa.  Short of doing your taxes, this machine seemed to be able to do anything.  Yet, I could not help but wonder, is it any good at making coffee? I ended up buying the $9.99 coffee maker, I did not need all the other options.  I just wanted a good cup of coffee.

-What does a coffee maker have to do with Jesus?

            Unfortunately, we are the same when searching for a church or what Christianity can offer.  Our requirements for church, Bible studies and the messages coming out of the pulpit is what that it conforms to what we want to hear. Do we like where the church is located, is it convenient to where I live, is the pastor connected in the community?  Does he know all the right people? Does the message make me feel good about myself?  I want to feel good and have my needs met, I do not want to have to examine myself or acknowledge my failings. 

We focus on how to fill the pews but what we need to focus on is how do we fill heaven.

We want a Christianity and a Jesus that conforms to us and how we want to feel.  Being a Christian and a follower of Jesus is not about how you feel.  In fact, there is no feelings in Christianity. True discipleship is about obedience, sacrifice, charity, and compassion.  We do not need, nor should we look for all the bells and whistles.  What makes a great church or ministry is the courage to focus on what is important and needed.  Truth.  Teaching salvation and repentance. These two things are very unpopular in the secular world.  God, through His son made a way of salvation for ALL humankind. However, without true repentance there is no salvation.  Let us not allow ourselves to be caught up in the easy, comfortable, and non-controversial Christianity that is sweeping the globe.  Let us be courageous and share His truth.

            Typist for Jesus

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Away in the Utensil Drawer

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

I love decorating for the holidays. All the glitter and shiny lights. I think I have lights attached to anything that stands still long enough. My granddaughter also loves the decorations, however at 22 months, she just wants to tear everything down, sit on it, step on it and sometimes just yell at it. I have one area that I let her do with as she pleases. It is an old incomplete nativity scene. The animals and shelter are long gone. Only two wise men, Jesus, Mary and Joseph remain. The baby Jesus is her favorite piece. The same size of her hand, she carries him close. She carries him all through the house, cuddling, cooing and kissing him.

I have found baby Jesus in the sink, dog food, dog’s water bowl, bath tub, drawers and multiple times in the floor. He has even appeared waiting in line to see Santa in my Christmas Village. She loves baby Jesus, until something else grabs her attention. Which can be anything from a toy, hunger, sleepiness and of course something she should not be messing with. (like the dog’s water bowl) Unfortunately, we are guilty of the same spiritually. Jesus is great until something more interesting or distracting comes along and then we just leave him to pursue what has grabbed our attention.

As we enter into the new year, let’s not leave Jesus behind packed up with the Christmas decorations. Instead, let’s carry him into the new year and firmly in our hearts. This past year has been challenging on so many levels not the least spiritually. I anticipate this new year will continue to test us. We cannot face these new challenges without Jesus.

Hold to Jesus. Do not allow the distractions of politics, media and personal trials to loosen your grip.

Typist for Jesus

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Revive Your Heart’s Fire

Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. Romans 12:11-12 NIV

The sun had begun her descent, casting long shadows across the field. The aroma of smoked beef and chicken hung in the air enticing my stomach to growl.  As the last of the shoppers made their way to the parking lot we began to pull down the tent and repack our boxes.  It had been a long day but nonetheless fun, we had met several people and made a little cash.  Finally everything was done, coolers topped off with ice, cars carefully packed and the smoker strapped to the back of the trailer, it was finally time to go. Tired, sunburned and hungry, I pulled behind my friend, forming our convoy.  The trailer she towed bounced and shook as we began the mountain climb. 

Gaining speed, I noticed that the smoker had begun to cough up little puffs of smoke.  By the time we started down the mountain, those little coughs had become a steady billow of black smoke.  I blew my horn and flashed the lights.  We took another deep curve, gathering speed and that is when it happened.  I flashed my lights, then blew the horn and crossed over the middle line to get her attention.  The whole time I was yelling at my Bluetooth to call.  Finally I had a signal, relieved I shouted my command again as I blew the horn and flashed my lights. This was becoming serious, the smoker was engulfed in dancing orange flames. Hot debris flew out, causing sparks as they hit the pavement bouncing down the country road.

The ringing stopped and I yelled, “you are on fire”!  She pulled to the side of the road and together we doused the flames and checked the ropes eager to insure our safety as we continued the trip. Once the flames had been reduced to sizzling smoking ash, we laughed a bit.  Doubled checked the trailer, and headed back to the cabin. It had been an exciting few minutes. After hours of the smoker not being used and cool to touch, it was obvious that at least one ember had held enough heat to be revived.

You may be feeling like the fire has gone out in your spiritual life.  Especially during this year and even now in the holiday season.  In many ways it does not feel much like Christmas and I am sad to not be able to spend it with my family.  Although the world may not feel much like Christmas, we should carry it with us year round. Christmas is not a date, or simply a holiday.  It is a time to reflect and give praise to God for providing a way of salvation through His son.  I think that this week’s verse in the book of Romans is good advice in the face of adversity, uncertainty and an overwhelming sadness.  Paul understood hardship.  He knew loss, hunger, pain, rejection and I am sure at some times defeat and sadness.  At that time in history all those that were subject to Roman rule also understood these things well. Because Paul understood he wrote these words to the Romans and us.  “Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive.”

You and I may feel like the fire has died down, but as long as there is even an ember, the fire can be revived.  Do not allow anything to extinguish the fire in your heart for Jesus.  Continue to serve the Lord and in hope find your joy.  Though many of us are facing suffering, be patient and pray faithfully. 

Fan those embers.  Revive your fire for Jesus!

The best is yet to come!

Typist for Jesus

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Share Boldly

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

                There is always one dish that is only served for the holidays in each family.  Some families maybe more.  In my family we have the Thanksgiving staples but there are also a couple of other recipes that are reserved for the Thanksgiving table.  One recipe is my grandmother’s sweet potato soufflé.  It is a favorite.  This past week, my friend texted me asking for a sweet potato recipe.  I went to the kitchen and pulled out a journal filled with recipes.  Each recipe is dated with the person’s name that I got the recipe from.  I took a snapshot of the recipe and texted it to my friend.  “Here is my grandmother’s recipe” I sent. She responded with “Awe.”  She did so because I was sharing something special and dear.  For the cooks in my audience you understand what I am referring to. 

                Later as I was making the recipe myself, I thought about how happy my grandmother would be to know that her recipe was going to be on another table this year and maybe for many more to come.  I know she would have like that very much. 

We can be a little stingy with our knowledge sometimes.  Not sharing a recipe because we think it makes us special or maybe it is like a having a coveted secret.  We hold back more than just recipes.  We hold on to some snippets of knowledge in order to elevate or maybe in some cases protect ourselves.  Whatever the reason, sharing knowledge is a good thing especially when it comes to the knowledge of Christ and the path to salvation. 

                Sharing the gospel and your personal knowledge of Jesus is a command.  In Matthew 28 verses 19 and 20, Jesus is giving this command to the disciples.  What good is a knowledge when it is hidden away.  What good is your knowledge and experience of salvation if you are unwilling to share it with those in your life? 

My grandmother did not just share her favorite recipes, she shared her love for Jesus not just to me but to many others. Now is the time to boldly share Christ with others.

Typist for Jesus

You can purchase your copy of the Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Mustard-Seeds-Melissa-Levi/dp/1950034712

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No Room for Improvement

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8(ESV)

On the kitchen table is candy left over from the holiday.  There are only a few packs of Caramel M & Ms.  They are the only inhabitants of the candy bowl because either no one likes them or no one is brave enough to try them.  I have been passing that bowl for a week however today I decided I was going to give those M & Ms a try.

As I chewed the candy, I had two thoughts.  First, I do not like them and second, why is it we are never happy with something the way it is?  M & Ms whether plain or peanut are wonderful, so why did someone decide it needed to be changed?  

I think it is because as humans we are always trying to improve things.  This is a good trait on the whole, because we are always striving to make things faster, safer and easier. It is in our DNA to strive for improvement and innovation.  However, we cannot seem to accept that some things do not need to be improved or changed.  Some things are perfect and exactly what we need.

From the beginning, man has tried to “improve and reinvent” God. We try to make him what we want him to be. We want God to be silent and us to have all the say.  If we determine what is right and wrong, then we are not sinful. If we discount the creation, the flood and call it fiction then the rest of the Bible is no longer relevant. We teach Science in our schools and churches that strive to explain God’s beautiful purposeful creation into a reaction of chemicals and exploding planets. That you are an extraordinary accident of primordial goo. We take Jesus’s teaching and contort his message of love and call it hate so we are free to hate everything God loves. 

Unfortunately, we accept much of it and soft serve it in churches. Man strives to make God easier, more socially acceptable so that we choose what part of his word to believe, obey and share. Where the Church and the teachings of Jesus once framed society, we now find ourselves conforming to the desires of society. 

Since the beginning, God has remained the same.  No matter what society, science, schools, compromising churches or the media present, claim or teach, the truth remains unchanged.  This should be a comfort.  Life is ever changing, what is true today may not be tomorrow.  Who we are with today, may not be with us tomorrow.  No matter what happens in our lives, in this world, in politics, in science or next door, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Instead of trying to change God to fit what we want and what makes life easy, we should be looking to improve and change ourselves to be as Jesus. God’s love for us and his creation has not faded. His Word is still relevant today, his message of true love is for all.   He proves his love through the gift of grace, forgiveness and salvation found only in true repentance, and the acceptance of Jesus and the full Word of God.

Typist for Jesus

https://www.amazon.ca/Mustard-Seeds-Melissa-Levi/dp/1950034712

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Enduring Grace

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

I ran out to Walmart to get a few things for the week. It was about 7:30 pm, and the sky was heavy with threatening skies.  Dark gray clouds bubbled.  I hurried to get to the store before these boiling clouds released their load.  I passed through the doorway, nodding to an attendant who checked me in her little tablet.  Grocery list in hand, I got a cart and got to business.

Things have changed so much in a short amount of time.  Everyone in masks, including children,  standing six feet apart, plexiglass shields between you and the cashier and police in the stores and standing outside.  I find it to be very oppressive and sad. 

The intercom announced the closing of the store, and every five minutes reminded the shoppers that it was time for our little hamlet to shut the doors.  I finished up and got in line, making sure I was observing the distance rule.

I checked out and left the store.  At the doorway, an employee checked me off as leaving on her tablet as she kept count of people in the store.  As I made my way to my car, I noticed a young woman dressed in black with green hair staring into the sky behind me.  I glanced back and saw the reason for her pause.  A brilliant rainbow shone across the sky. It was perhaps one of the largest rainbows I had seen.  People began to stop in the parking lot, cars stopped, and even an officer walked from the entrance to see what was going on.  Though it had never rained in our area, the rainbow had still appeared.  I stood in the parking lot, staring at the rainbow, reminded that its beauty was much more than just a visual treat; it is a reminder that God’s Grace is enduring.  

Despite everything you are experiencing, God is still very much in control and is extending his grace to all.  God is very much on the throne and is working. It is not his desire to see any perish or suffer, but rather to give every opportunity for people to recognize and accept his forgiveness and grace.  The rainbow is a reminder that God is still extending his grace to all.

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Weighed Down

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

I was on my way to meet my friend.  As I topped the hill, I saw something in the road.  I slowed and squinted to take a better look.  It was a little turtle.  He was in the middle of the opposite lane just sitting there with his neck extended looking around.  I stopped the car and backed on to the side of the road.  Just as I got out, a car came over the hill.  I put up my hand and he slowed.  Fortunately, he came to a stop and waited as I ran to pick up the turtle and move him to the safety of the grass.  Just I reached for the turtle he took off.  I had to give a little chase.  They are faster than you think.  I picked him up, all four limbs and head disappeared into the carapace.  I placed him in the soft grass across the road.  By this time there were four cars waiting.  I sheepishly waved and got back in my car and continued on my way. 

 As I drove to my appointment, I thought about that little turtle and how he tucked in when I came to help him.  I thought about how he trusted that shell.  I think that many of us trust our shells. Push our pain, guilt and shame in that shell and carry it around on our backs.  I imagine several of us are lugging around some pretty big shells and those burdens weigh us down.

Jesus wants to free you of the burdens you are carrying.  Romans 8:1 reminds us that because our sins are covered in Christ’s blood we do not suffer condemnation, shame or guilt.  However, in order to have this we must lay down these things and accept the freedom that his blood gives.

Stop carrying weight that is no longer yours to carry.

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My Dog Has a Chipmunk Problem

Big Bryan

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

My dog is obsessed with the chipmunks living under the deck.  He whines and barks at them through the window as they run and play, stopping to munch on a nut or vegetation right in front of the glass door.  Just two or three feet and a glass pane separate him from his nemesis.  Once I let him out for his relief breaks he runs from burrow to burrow, sometimes forgetting why he was let out.  Then he comes inside and realizes he needs to go out.  All day he paces, whines and cries and nothing I do distracts him from those chipmunks.  He is obsessed and cannot focus on anything else.  

I am going to go out on a limb and say that we too can become obsessed with things.  In fact, like those chipmunks in the window, we are also distracted.  Everywhere you turn there are commercials, radio advertising, billboards, emails, news reports and the topic of every conversation you take part in.   The Covid-19 situation is on the forefront of every communication.  Stirring up fear, worry and questions.  We spend a lot of time pacing and trying to figure out what will happen next.

I have begun limiting my exposure to Covid-19 reports, articles and news.  Some would say this is not prudent.  However, I disagree. I am not sticking my head in the sand, instead I am controlling what I expose myself to.  It is true we need to know what is going on in our communities, governments and the world, but there is a limit.  Instead of subsisting on a continual buffet of Covid reports, information and speculation, we should limit how much time we spend reading and submerging ourselves in the ongoing situation. I know that is not easy, you cannot listen to the radio or watch TV without every commercial being about the Covid 19 virus, but you have the power to choose what and how much you digest.  Do not allow yourself to be distracted to the point of neglecting yourself. This constant exposure can intensify fear, loneliness, depression and aggression.  Enjoy time with family, make time for study and prayer, enjoy a good meal or take a walk.  You have the power to limit your exposure and protect yourself.  

I put curtains up on the door and Bryan is much calmer.  He still knows the chipmunks  are there and checks out the burrows every time we go out, but he is not obsessed anymore because the constant stimuli has been curtailed. 

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Spring Planting

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Corinthians 3:7

Spring has sprung and the yard is filled with roses, azaleas, and tulips.  I love this time of year as nature comes alive with color. It is also time to plant vegetables.  Now that we have a house, my daughter and I are excited about having a small garden. This past week she planted seven different items and every day we have checked for the seedlings to emerge.  Of the seven planted four have broken the surface. By Friday my daughter was disappointed that we still had three pots with no development. Rereading the seed packets we discovered that some seeds take longer to germinate than others and this explained the delay. Now we can look forward to them emerging when they should. 

It is the same with the seeds we plant in people’s lives.  I often get frustrated when I do not see a change or growth.  That is because I have forgotten my role. It is my role to plant the seed, but God’s to give the increase.  It is hard to remember that when you care about someone. You only want the best for them. You want them to know the peace and assurance you have in Jesus but that is between them and God.  Plant the seed, water the seed but ultimately know that God gives the increase. 

Seeds emerge in God’s time.

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A Parade All My Own

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

I recognized the sound.  The thump and lope of a flat tire.  I coasted to the grass along the country lane.  Getting out of the car I saw that the tire was flat and coming off the rim.  It was my first time to travel this road and I had only gone a few yards when I realized it wasn’t a road made for my little car.  I should have turned around, but I thought I would just carry on and that is when I hit the pothole and ended the life of the rear driver’s tire. 

I explained the situation to my daughter and got on the phone with a towing company.   Thirty minutes later the truck backed up in front of my car. What happened next was bizarre, hilarious and unexpected.  The driver explained to me that because of the Covid-19 we could not ride in the cab with him. I stared back at him. “Well,” I began. “I can call my other daughter to come to get us.”

“So, I do have another option.” He said, a twinkle in his eye. “You can ride in the car back to the shop.”

Windows down, seat belts on, my daughter and I princess waved as we rode down the main street.  People pointed and laughed. Some stared and some chose to ignore the spectacle. I will admit it was great fun!  A parade all our own. As I was enjoying the ride and of course the attention, I thought about how sometimes in your life you just must be carried.  I had to trust the driver not only with my property but the lives of myself and my daughter. It was an unusual event in unusual circumstances. 

Today across the world people are living in fear.  The world has a common enemy. Not just of the virus that is storming every city, village, and town, but the worry about jobs, finances, health, losing a lease or home and the future of each of us and our loved ones.  Now more than ever we need hope and faith. And now more than ever, the world needs to see Jesus. That is where we as Christians come in. You may be the only example of Jesus some may see.

We keep reading the same phase in news reports and articles, “These are unprecedented times.”  These may be unprecedented times for the world, but this is no surprise to God.  Allow him to carry you through this. Share your faith and hope in Jesus. Hold fast to your faith.

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Keeping Your Head When Everyone's Losing Theirs

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6

I was talking to my daughter one evening. She was reading articles offline and on Facebook. The stories were shocking about what lows people were stooping. As she read the headlines, I could hear her panic beginning to rise. “Mom, these people are nuts; they have lost their minds!”

“Yes, I said, it appears they have. We are going to see a lot more stories about people doing despicable and irrational things. We need to remember that this is a small slice of society. Despite what you see and hear about, remain grounded and do not let this mania take over.”

Over the next few weeks, you will see some extraordinary things. You will witness people reacting out of fear. Do not allow these stories or other’s actions to draw your focus away from Jesus. Keep your head. Do not respond, but think and use the reason God has given you. 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

During this time, remember to keep your focus on the cross. Do not allow yourself to get tangled up in the hype or panic.  

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Do Not Fear!

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

I had stopped at the Dollar Tree to get a couple of things for a project that I am about to begin.  While I was looking for the glue sticks, I heard a lady cough. That cough was then followed by an eruption of coughing.  The cough was deep and raspy, it erupted from her chest and echoed throughout the small store. I didn’t pay much attention, at first, but then the hacking continued.  I stepped out of the aisle and cast a caution eye across the shop. The store was quiet except for the coughing. The employees had stopped ringing, the customers had stopped shopping and the manager stood in the front.  Her indecision written all over her face. It was mixed with a genuine look of fear. Everyone had stopped what they were doing and all their attention was focused on the middle aged lady in aisle three. 

I will admit that for the first time during this Covid-19 situation, I was experiencing genuine fear.  With every cough, my mind raced and questioned. Should I leave my shopping and exit the store? Could she be infected and has she just infected us all?  The hurricane of questions gained speed in my brain, tearing through my sense of peace. I wasn’t the only one caught in the swirl of uncertainty. My fellow patrons stood motionless, their faces betraying their thoughts. The chill of fear emanated from us all.   

God commands us to not fear.  In fact, “do not fear” is in the Bible 80 times.  Seems to me that if it is repeated this often, then God wants to bring home the point.  Whenever we allow fear to control us, we are decreasing hope and limiting our victory. We cannot let hope fall to fear.  We have to hold on to our hope in Christ with both hands. Without it, there is no victory. 

I know that this is a confusing  time, unprecedented in our lifetimes, however, no matter what you hear, no matter what you see, remember, God is ultimately in charge. You have nothing to fear.  His Word tells us so.

Do not fear, but rather encourage your faith.  Encourage those in your life. Do not let fear win over.

Typist for Jesus

Out of the Mouths of Babes

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And (Jesus) said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

As Vivian’s mom was tucking her in, something caught her eye.  Laying on the nightstand was the glass baby Jesus from the Nativity scene.

“There it is!” Her mother exclaimed as she picked up the figure.  “I have been looking for this.”

Vivie sat up and snatched the tiny effigy of a sleeping baby. “Mom I don’t want you to pack Jesus away.”  Furrowed brows and pouting lips conveyed her feelings.  She held the tiny figure close to her heart.

“Well, we have to put him with the Nativity scene.  He needs to be with his family.” Her mother cooed. “So, we can put the Nativity up again next year.”

“No.  I want him to stay with me!” Vivian flung herself back down on the bed and closed her hand tightly around baby Jesus.

“Ok”, her mother answered and cover her up again.

Vivie put the baby Jesus back on her nightstand and drifted off to sleep.

When my friend shared this story, I laughed and then I really thought about that little girl’s words and actions.  Like Vivian, we all should desire to have Jesus with us always.  Not packed up in Christmas decor or only mentioned on Sunday, but rather in our day to day lives.  Vivian has a desire to have and keep Jesus close to her. Do you have a desire for Jesus? Do you long to have him close?

I think we all can take a lesson from little Vivie.

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When You Are Weak, Jesus is Strong

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9

I was tired, hungry, frustrated and I all I wanted was to get home.  The ride had been nerving with sheets of rain and bumper to bumper traffic.  I finally made it to my exit and there, my hopes of getting home were quickly dashed when I pulled up behind a long line of cars waiting at the railroad tracks.  Heaving a heavy sigh, I leaned back in the seat and cast my eyes upward. As I waited the rain began to slow and the dense cover of gray began to lighten.  When I sat upright, I saw one of the most distinct rainbows.  Each of the colors was bold, spaced perfectly and brilliantly glowed. It looked as if it were rising just before me. So close I wondered if it were possible to touch. My eyes followed the bow to its end, just across the railroad tracks.  Each row of color no less bright than at the starting point.  I smiled. God was giving me a reminder.

Many times, in our life’s we run up against obstacles.  It can be our health, finances, people and sometimes it is ourselves.  The good news is that no matter what you are dealing or faced with, God’s grace can reach you and remains with you before, during and continues with you after the obstacle has passed. 

Grace is all we need. It does not mean that things will turn out the way you want, or that every prayer will be answered but it does mean that no matter what you face his grace is sufficient to see you through the trail or tribulation that you face.

When you are weak, Jesus is strong.

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Taking Out the Trash

Brothers and sisters, 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. Philippians 3:13

I had just pulled the covers up over my body when I remembered that the garbage needed to go to the road.  After two years living in an apartment, there are things that I have gotten out of the habit of doing.  Taking the garbage to the road is one. Maybe, I thought, I can take it up tomorrow before I leave for work.  Or maybe it can wait until next week.  No, I thought, I better get it to the road tonight. I reluctantly threw the covers off and stepped into my house shoes. 

Flashlight in one hand and the wheelie tote in the other, I started up the hill that is my driveway.  At first the drive is a gentle incline for the first two-thirds, then there is a sharp incline and finally a lip that brings the drive level with the road. As I pulled the wheelie up the drive, gravity tugged back. “Good gracious!” I grumbled. “What is in this can that is so heavy?” Every step seemed to add ten pounds to the tote.

Reluctantly, the garbage can popped over the lip. I stood on the side of the road in the inky black night, my flashlight penetrating only a couple of feet, to catch my breath.  Back down the drive I began shuffling my house shoes.  Back inside I locked back up and returned to the comfort of my bed.  As I lay waiting on slumber to claim me, I thought about that little escapade. 

Everyone has garbage.  As I was pulling that wheelie up the drive, I thought about all the garbage that all of us drag along behind us.  All that emotional trash weighing us down, impeding us from moving forward, and bogging us down. We all have refuse but we have to learn to unhook it and move on.  Oh much easier said than done.  I know it well.

Emotional garbage is unforgiveness, pride, fear, guilt and shame.  We just can’t allow ourselves to let go of things, so we drag our totes of trash up and down the hills picking up more along the way. 

Do you harbor unforgiveness of another or maybe yourself? We are commanded to forgive but it is not just others, it is for ourselves as well. Have you forgiven yourself? Isn’t time you stopped blaming yourself?  Punishing yourself? Tossed out the guilt and shame?

We all have done sinful things.  Said hurtful words to people. Made selfish choices.  We are all guilty of these sins, but dragging it around with you, allowing it to afflict you, robs you of the freedom gained from forgiveness. How can you show Jesus’ love and His desire to forgive and heal if you are unwilling to accept it yourself?  Jesus forgave you, so maybe it is time to forgive yourself.

Stop dragging that garbage around. 

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A Bitter Cup

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15

I poured hot black coffee into my favorite cup and then followed up with sugar and cream that turned my cup light. I went down the hall to my office and settled into my chair. I was eager to get the hot coffee in my body and get the caffeine pumping. Lifting the cup to my lips, I grimaced. It was bitter and disappointing. I set it on my desk and stared at it. So now I had to decide if I was going to drink from the bitter cup.

 I have the choice of whether or not to drink from my bitter cup, and I have the option of whether or not to allow bitterness to fill my heart. But how can I do that? How do I prevent bitterness from entering into my life?  

  The straightforward answer is forgiveness. Lack of forgiveness leads to resentment and bitterness. I have said and heard others say, “I just can’t forgive,” possibly it is more about an unwillingness to forgive. When we have an unforgiving spirit, our eyes are not on Jesus; they are fixed on ourselves. You may be thinking, but you don’t understand, you don’t know what they did. You don’t know what I suffered.  That is true, I do not know, but Jesus does. Jesus understands. He lived a perfect life, yet he was beaten, spit on, mocked, and finally nailed to a cross.  

Pray for those that have wronged you. It is challenging to remain unforgiving toward someone that you are praying. I am not saying that it is easy, I know personally, it is not. However, we are to forgive because Jesus forgave us.  

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All Fogged Up

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

I was driving to work this morning, it was raining and foggy.  Because my sight was diminished, I slowed down.  As the fog increased in thickness, I noticed that the other commuters we still flying past me.  It made me nervous and I was very put off that they were continuing to go fast. Could they not see the fog?  As I left the long stretch of dark highway to the lighted lanes going into the city, I noticed the fog wasn’t outside the car it was my windshield.  I turned on defrost and the window quickly cleared.

Boy, did I feel silly, however we all do it every day.  Not in our cars but rather by what lens we choose to look out. We are all different and have been subjected to many different experiences.  We have seen, participated or been victim to prejudice and stereotyping.  We all have opinions and preconceived ideas and thoughts about certain people, races and religions.  It is human nature.  But as Christians, true Christ followers, we need to reject those lenses and focus on the lens that Jesus uses when he looks at us.  Jesus does not look at the hairstyle, the color of the skin, the language or culture of a people, he looks at the individual heart.   Do not allow yourself to be distracted by skewed lenses, rather learn to look at one another with Jesus’ lens.

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Heart Clutter

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.  1Corinthians 14:33

My house looks like I am auditioning for the TV show, Hoarders. Since my daughter and the baby have been staying with me, my house has become cluttered and chaotic. Throw in the mix that I am preparing to move. I have boxes and stacks of stuff everywhere. Boxes labeled give away, keep and the favorite, “thinking about”. You know those items; the ones that really should go but I keep hanging on to them.  

My house is in such disarray right now, that I have trouble just walking in some rooms. There is no counter space in the bath or kitchen because there is simply too much stuff. At some point, I need to evaluate and let go of things that are broken or serve no purpose. I do not want to move into my new home with the clutter of the past.

It is hard sometimes to let go of things. Guilt, anger, shame, and pain seem to linger in the corners of our hearts. They clutter up our thoughts, sometimes our relationships and our connection to God. If there is so much clutter in your heart, you are depriving yourself. Heart clutter breeds confusion, it holds you back from realizing the plan God has for you. It gets in the way of your relationships because you cannot let go of the guilt or maybe the pain you have suffered. We desperately hang on to the clutter of the past, reluctant to let it go. I think one reason may be because if we forgive if we release ourselves and others, we open ourselves up to more potential harm. In some way, we feel protected by the clutter.

Jesus does not want this burden for you. He wants you to lay it down at His feet and allow Him to heal you. Allow Jesus to come into your heart and give you freedom from the clutter.

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The Gift Isn’t Under the Tree, It Is in the Manger

For God so loved the World, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

I stopped off at the Walmart on the way home from work. I had three things that I needed. I went in with the purpose of getting just those three but by the time I made it to the checkout counter, the cart was full of clothes and toys for the grand baby. I find myself in the toys and infant clothing every time I go to the store. I want to make sure that my grandchild has all that she could possibly want or need. I want her to have comfortable warm clothing and toys that engage her mind and delight her. I was the same way with my children and to be honest I still am, the cart had a few things for them as well.

It is natural to want your children to be happy and have everything they need and we have an internal drive to do so. God is much the same in His desire for His children. He has provided a beautiful world, an array of beautiful animals, relationships, family, food to satisfy all tastes, and His son for the salvation of His beloved.

God loves you and me so much, He gave us so many wonderful things but the most important gift was His son Jesus. This season as you shop for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or neighbor kids, remember that the most important gift that you can impart to these children and those in your life is Jesus. We want so much for our children, we want to give them everything we can, and we become distracted by the glitz and glamour of the marketed Christmas. Before you fill the space under the tree, take time to share the real story and the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about what is under the tree, rather what was laid in the manger.

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Does Your Life Produce Good Fruit?

This week I received a sad phone call.  A lady that was a family friend had passed away. As this person related the information to me, they shared with me their memories and thoughts on this lady.  They began, “She was a godly woman, kind and loving she was faithful.”

As I listened, I realized that they were describing the fruits of the Spirit. This woman had left a legacy and had lived her life, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit.  

My caller went on to describe that this lady had not had a perfect or easy life. She had suffered loss, dealt with health issues, buried a grandchild and like the rest of us struggled.  However, she strived to stay upbeat and trusted the Lord to bring her through the trials. Her faith had seen her through some difficult periods in her life. 

When our time is done here on earth, how will we be remembered?  Will our life be recognized as one that exhibited the fruits of the Spirit? 

What legacy will you leave?

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Trials and Tribulations are Universal

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

One of the most enjoyable experiences of my European adventure was the opportunity to meet regular people just like me.  On evenings when we were not too exhausted, my fellow travelers and I would venture out in the little “neighborhood.” One evening we decided to try the small Italian restaurant on the same street as our hotel.  It was a quaint little place with little bistro tables and chairs along the sidewalk. A tall man with a white apron and bow tie invited us to sit. The table was in the open window and looked out on the street. We placed our drink orders and studied the menu.  After we placed our orders, we discussed our day. As we chatted, I noticed a young man smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk. He paced up and down, glancing at us.

I admit we all became a little apprehensive.  The young man crushed the cigarette and sat down at a table outside the window.  Leaning in, he addressed us with a thick accented, “Hello.” We returned the greeting and engaged in conversation.  

He was from Brittany but had lived in Paris for many years.  He gestured down the street. “I live there.” He struggled with English, but overall we had no trouble understanding and conversing with him.  He said many times that he hoped to revisit America. He had been twice and enthusiastically told us how much he loved it. As the conversation continued, he painted a different story of Paris than I had formed.  I asked him why he would want to leave Paris? Every day he woke up in the most beautiful city in the world. He looked down at the table and ran his finger on the edge. “I wake up in Paris every day with uncertainty.  I do not have a job, and I may have to move back to my parents. I am only out tonight because my friends are treating me to dinner.”  

Our food came, and the young man excused himself.  That evening as I said my prayers, I remembered that man to God.

The next morning we rose early.  We had a full day and a long bus ride ahead of us.  It was still dark when we arrived at the tour bus agency.  It was chilly, and I hugged my sweater to my body. As we waited for the bus to arrive, I glanced down the row of businesses.  At first, I thought it was an old blanket discarded, but as I looked closer, I realized it was a person asleep in a doorway. This realization left me a bit disappointed.  I had in my mind a different Paris. A city of romance, culture, and history.  

Often we think that our difficulties and suffering are unique.  However, hardship, misery, and despair are universal. Meeting this young man reminded me that everywhere there are people just like you and me. It does not matter how many museums, cathedrals, castles, or stone buildings there are in a city; there are still people that are hurting.  

I am sorry to say that I tend to focus on my troubles, causing me to forget that others are dealing with their issues. By focusing on our problems, we look inward rather than to Jesus. We also miss the opportunity to share His love by reaching out to those in need. 

As you face tribulations and trials in your life, remember that you are not alone.  Jesus is with you, guiding you and helping you to face them. Remember also that you are not the only one that is dealing with financial, marital, employment or health issues. Never pass up an opportunity to help others in their time of need.  If you are helping others, you will not be focused on your problems which can produce anxiety and depression. Be there for others and allow them to minister to you.  

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Oh Deer

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God Deuteronomy 28;1-2

It was sudden, the thud and a blur of brown in the headlights.  I slammed the brakes, and the car slid to a stop. The brown flash now hit the car again, and I realized that it was deer. She hit the hood and bounced, hitting the grass of the field, rolling, struggling to get her legs under her.  I got out of the car and watched the doe charge to the trees. I inspected the damage to my vehicle. It was not too bad, but my heart sunk.  

The next day as I spoke to the insurance adjuster, I retold the story.  She asked me at what speed I was going at the time of the collision.  

“Oh, that’s easy,” I replied, “I was doing just under 25.” 

“Well, you are lucky.  We get several claims, and many times the car is totaled and often the drivers injured as well.  If the deer goes through the windshield, it can be awful. I am glad you are ok.”

I was passing through a school zone at the time.  What was intriguing was that school was out, but the lights were still flashing.  It was an icy morning, and the county had delayed the start of school. As I pulled out onto the road, I knew that school was out, but because the lights were flashing, I chose to obey the rules.  I’ll be honest I thought of ignoring it as did many of the cars that passed me, but I was compelled to observe it anyway.  

After I hung up the phone, I thought about that decision and reflected on what the agent had said.  If I had chosen to ignore the law and had been driving faster, the outcome could have been very different. 

Many people chose to ignore the laws, not just traffic but God’s commandments.  Commonly, many people feel that God’s laws are restrictive. Old fashioned and do not pertain to today’s world.  I submit that God’s laws are not restrictive but instead intended for our good. Often we chose to disobey God’s requirements, and in doing so, we find ourselves suffering the consequences of our choices.  God gave us his Word so that we will know how to live our lives in obedience. Being obedient to God may seem difficult or oppressive; however, it is for you to have an abundant and peaceful life.  

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E D I T S

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

For the past couple of weeks, I have been going over the edits for the Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables book. What I have learned is that I have no idea how to use a comma, I either have too many or not enough.  

The purpose of editing a manuscript is to make improvements. Tedious, time-consuming, and at times painful but necessary. It is my least favorite part of writing.  

The ultimate goal of the Christian is to become more like Christ, the very image of our savior. It is a life-long process and will only be complete when we stand in the presence of Christ Jesus. Throughout our lives, we undergo a similar exercise of modification. As we grow in Christ, we are continually in situations and trials; these tests are to strengthen our faith and to improve us as Christians.  

For us to become more like Christ, we must be open and willing to undergo the “edits.” 

Typist for Jesus

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We Are to Serve, Not to be Served

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Mont Saint Michel, Normandy France (picture by Melissa Levi)

As the bus came out of the trees, Mont Saint Michel rose up out of the salt marshes of Normandy. Its spire, like a finger, pointed heavenward. Blue skies with the occasional wisp of white seemed to stretch forever as if nothing existed beyond the abbey.  

I departed the bus and impatiently waited for the next tram. Excitement propelled me as I walked across the causeway to the benedictine abbey. The closer I came, the realization of just how big this feudal structure was became obvious. Once across the path, I entered into a medieval world. Cobbled streets and narrow passageways stretched out. Shops, restaurants, and people filled the island city. Anxious to make sure I made it to the chapel at the top of the abbey, I, along with my daughter and friend, began the arduous climb up the stone steps. 

  The steep stone stairs took us higher, and the view of Normandy was magnificent. The wind whipped and clawed at our clothes as we climbed. Finally, the staircase widened to the courtyard that surrounded the chapel. From the turrets, I stood stretching my eyes to the horizon that melted into the sea. There was peace so high above the world. I entered the chapel and found a pew. I longed for a moment of quiet reflection. 

As I sat in that pew in the stone chapel I thought about the abbey. One of the things that I found to be interesting about Mont Saint Michel is its design in the structural hierarchy of feudal society. On the top, there is God, then the abbey, monastery followed by the great halls. Then storehouses, housing, and on the bottom and outside the walls are the fisherman and farmers’ houses.  

This design places the spiritual leaders and teachers above the rest of the people in the city. There above the commoners and tradesman, the residents of the abbey segregated themselves. It immediately reminded me that Jesus does not want any of us to put ourselves above others. When Jesus came to teach, save, and heal, he did not go to the synagogues, instead, he went to the people. Jesus went to those that needed healing, forgiveness, and encouragement. We cannot influence, encourage, and help unless we are willing to go to those in need.

Getting close to God does not come from building towering chapels and monuments; it comes from focusing on people.

Typist for Jesus

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Seeking the Master

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night over the Rhone”.

On my recent trip to France, I had the pleasure of visiting several museums.  One that I enjoyed a great deal was the Musee D’Orsay. Musee D’Orsay was more contemporary than the Louvre or others.  It had a vast array of artwork from amazing sculptures, such as Rodin’s “Gates of Hell” and notable paintings such as Whistler’s “ Mother”.  Part of the museum’s exhibits was Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night over the Rhone”.  This painting is one of a series in his nocturnal paintings, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see it.  

My daughter and I took the stairs to the top floor and using our museum map found our way to the room that housed part of Van Gogh’s collection.  It was easy to find the piece because it was surrounded by people trying to get a photo. I entered the group and as the people peeled off I made my way to the front of the line. Just as I had a clear view I snapped a couple of pictures.  Just as I did so, a man in his early 30’s walked past the group, stepped in front of me and the others that had been waiting and began to examine the painting closely. Starting in the leftmost corner, he leaned close, only inches from the oil canvas.  People began to grumble, and asked him to move, he ignored everyone. The protest became louder and people began to tap his shoulder, he continued his examination. Finally, satisfied, he strolled away and found another painting.  

Later as I sat looking out of the hotel window at the stars on the night’s canvas, I thought about that man.  I wondered if maybe his approach to the painting was really the way it should be done. Just like the other museum guest, I too was more focused on getting the right photo.  Yet, this man did not attempt to photograph any of the artwork as far as I could see, instead, he made sure he spent time with the art. This man did not want a snapshot of the artist’s handiwork, instead, he wanted to take time to seek what message and intent the artist was trying to convey.   

We should be doing the same, seeking God by taking the time to truly study His Word, seek Him through prayer and demonstrate His love to one another. Christianity is not an image to be displayed but rather a life to be lived. Do you take time to seek the Master and His message for you?

Typist for Jesus

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Chaotic Beauty

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. John 14:27 ESV

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I passed through the doorway into a darkened room.  The walls were black and blank. In the center was a cylinder, I passed through it as I explored the dimly lit warehouse space.  Large wooden spools were spaced throughout, my daughter and I found one and waited. As we waited more people began to filter through the door, some like us found seats some milled around. Time passed and the room and mezzanine filled with people.  The lights dimmed and darkness crowded around us. Silence hung motionless as we all waited. Then a blast of music gave me a jolt and brilliant light exploded on the walls. Before me, Vincent Van Gogh’s masterpieces were built and tore down to the music.  The music, like Van Gogh’s work was chaos, a collection of different genres, rock to classical meshed with images of his paintings. Oceans morphed to wheat fields and sun flowers bled into the starry night.

Van Gogh has always been my favorite artist.  He is my favorite because he takes chaos of colors and frenzied brushstrokes and creates beauty. 

Many years ago, my life was chaos, a roller coaster of emotions, disappointments and depression.  However, once I stopped fighting it and relinquished it to Jesus, the chaos that made me feel like I was orbiting earth without a tether, slowed.  Jesus reached into the chaos of my life and it made it beautiful. That is what Jesus does once you give him control, he takes the crazy, the depression, the pain, the fear, anxiety, worry, guilt and shame and he makes it beautiful. That chaos is now a tapestry of beauty.

He can make your chaos beautiful.

Typist for Jesus

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Play the Best Game in You

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. James 1:12

I have never been one for sports.  However, this evening, my friend excitedly shared that Tennessee had won, but more than that, she explained how the player responsible for securing the win was not the likely candidate to have done so.

I will not pretend to know the details or try to deliver commentary of the game, but the story of the benched player turned hero piqued my interest.  Benched for not playing very well a couple of weeks ago, the starting quarterback was replaced with a freshman. Unfortunately, the freshman sustained a concussion and was unable to finish.  This meant the benched quarterback was getting another chance, and he used it to bring home the win.

This quarterback could have just given up, gotten an attitude, or allowed bitterness to well up within his heart. Instead, he got off the bench, and he went to the field, and he played the best game he had in him. 

We all make mistakes, miss the mark sometimes, and at one time or another, find ourselves benched.  How we come off that bench is the real measure of who we are.  

You will face trials in your life, and you will not always win the first time, or maybe not the second either.  However, the key is to never give up, no matter what you may face. Do not allow past mistakes or sins to keep you sidelined.  When you are called off the bench and to the field, play the best game you have in you!

Typist for Jesus

Fridge Magnets

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer saying,

“Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

Fridge Magnets

“Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12

I had just poured the last of my creamer into my coffee and as I closed the fridge door, my attention was captured by my magnets.  Each of these magnets represents a place that I have been to, and each one evokes memories of those trips and places. I cannot help but smile when I look at my magnets.  Each of the experiences flood my mind and, in that moment, I am reminded of the joy and happiness I felt when I was there.  I love my fridge magnets.

              What do fridge magnets have to do with faith in God?  More than you think.  Though out our lives we face difficulties, pain, suffering, and worry.  With each of these experiences, we reached out to Jesus and asked for his guidance and our deliverance.  Because of the strength that he gave us and his working in the circumstances we have come out of each stronger in faith and courage.  Each of those experiences are the reminder of how he worked in our lives’. 

              In the book of Samuel, (1 Samuel 7) there is a story of how Samuel used a stone he named Ebenezer, (Hebrew for “stone of help”) to remind God’s people that God had delivered them and brought victory.  Sounds a bit strange but to many, like myself, a physical representation evokes memories and a reminder of the event.  Every time the Israelites looked at the stone altar, they were reminded how God had protected them and drove the Philistines out before them.

              Currently, in our communities, our country and indeed globally we are facing previously unimaginable circumstances.  Threats to our freedoms, our livelihoods and futures have materialized seemingly overnight.  Daily we deal with feelings of uncertainty.  Fear and confusion.  

 Cast you mind back to the many times that God has provided, worked through impossible circumstances, and gave strength and comfort.  What we face now we have not seen in our lifetimes, but you can be assured that God is just as much in control now as he has ever been.  As Christians it is our duty to get on our knees and just like the Israelites of 1 Samuel 7, we need to repent for our nation.  Much can be and will be accomplished on our knees before God with a contrite heart.

              Hold up your Ebenezer, be reminded that you are not alone.  Jesus stands with you.  Do not fear but be strengthened by the knowledge that God is with you.  He will be with you through it all.

Hold up those Ebenezers and take to your knees.  The battle is upon us.

Typist for Jesus