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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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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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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. 

Typist for Jesus

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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?

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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You Have A Future And a Home

 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14

This past week, I have seen several people on a particular corner on a major artery in my city. I have donated to these people a few times over the last few weeks. A couple of times this week, my attention was captured by a sign they had switched out holding. “It read: Jesus was homeless too.”

That sign lodged in my brain. I disagree, Jesus was not homeless, and neither are we.

Jesus, like us, was sent to this world to fulfill a mission. (John 3:17) This world, these problems, sickness, worries, heartaches, riches, and fame are temporal and are never meant to last. However, what you do in your time whether it is 30 or 80 years does last. It last in the people you touch and how your actions inspired them to continue. The Bible tells us that we are “strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.”

1 Chronicles 29:15.

You have a future, and it is not this earth or the things in this world. Your home is in heaven. Jesus tells us, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:3

Sometimes and I am very guilty of it, we focus on this problem, this election, this paycheck, this bill, and so on. These problems are temporary, and life has many ebbs and flows, but heaven is real, waiting, and forever.

You have a home with Jesus

Typist for Jesus

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Are you Prepared?

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. Matthew 25:1-4

I have just spent my day cozy in bed.  A drizzle of rain outside and a hot cup of coffee has made it perfect.  I have been on the internet most of the day looking at potential restaurants in and around Paris.  Yes, you read correctly, Paris the one in France. I am just a couple of weeks from my first trip abroad.  I will be fulfilling a dream of a lifetime. I will stroll the streets of Paris, visit patisseries, looking on the face of the Mona Lisa and gazing on the Eiffel Tower. 

 My traveling companion and I have been working on this trip for months.  She has been researching, planning, reading reviews, and buying tickets online. We each have packing lists that list each and every conceivable thing that we might need. It has been years of dreaming and months of planning, but it is finally around the corner. We are prepared for this trip.

As I was dreaming of creme brulee and eclairs, it occurred to me how much time we spend planning our futures.  We prepare for our education, building houses, birthday parties, pregnancies, retirement, and vacations. However, how many of us plan for our ultimate future?  How many of us anticipate and are ready for eternity in heaven?

The Bible tells us that no one, not the angels nor Jesus, only the Father, knows the hour when Jesus will return to gather his people.  In the book of Matthew, several parables encourage us to make sure that we are prepared for the coming of Christ. We should always have the kingdom and the ultimate future in mind. We only have this moment to share the gospel, show compassion, and give encouragement to all we encounter. 

We do not know when our time to be called home will come, nor when Jesus returns. 

Are you prepared?

Typist for Jesus

Age is Irrelevant to God

It is a beautiful Sunday.  Bright sun, clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze.  I can hear the laughter and music from the pool in the complex, and someone is grilling over the fence.  I am watching all this from my bedroom window. I am inside on this beautiful day doing homework. Math homework to be precise.  Formulas for simple and compound interest. As many of you know, I have decided to return to school. Crazy, I know, I have passed the half-century mark, and I am a grandmother now, but I have always wanted to get my education.  It has been hard, not just getting through classes but being the oldest in the class, that most times includes the professors. Everything is online, powerpoints, virtual books, and apps on my phone. School is very different than the last time I cracked the books.  It is intimidating and overwhelming a lot of the time. I cannot help but wonder if it was foolish for me to be pursuing my education this late in life. However, I took a little look in the Bible, and I found several prominent people that God called into action were well into their years. 

  1. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and water covered the earth. Genesis 7:6  So Noah probably was between 525 and 545 years when he began building the Ark. 
  2. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:7
  3. Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”  Genesis 17:17, God got the last laugh on that one.
  4. Remember Caleb, who followed Moses into the wilderness, when he was forty years old, Moses sent him as a spy into the Promised Land. When the people rejected his report, he had to wait for forty years.  At eighty-five years of age, now serving under Joshua, he asked for permission to drive the Anakites from the “hill country.” He had another mountain to conquer.

These few are just a small sampling of those that even in advanced years were willing to serve.  So age is no excuse to stop serving, stop learning, or stop sharing the Gospel. No matter how old you are, God has a plan and a job for you.  So if you are thinking that once you get to a certain age you can sit back and do nothing, you need to think again. There is work to do until He calls you home. 

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18.

Age is irrelevant to God.

Typist for Jesus

Age is Irrelevant to God

It is a beautiful Sunday.  Bright sun, clear blue skies, and a gentle breeze.  I can hear the laughter and music from the pool in the complex, and someone is grilling over the fence.  I am watching all this from my bedroom window. I am inside on this beautiful day doing homework. Math homework to be precise.  Formulas for simple and compound interest. As many of you know, I have decided to return to school. Crazy, I know, I have passed the half-century mark, and I am a grandmother now, but I have always wanted to get my education.  It has been hard, not just getting through classes but being the oldest in the class, that most times includes the professors. Everything is online, powerpoints, virtual books, and apps on my phone. School is very different than the last time I cracked the books.  It is intimidating and overwhelming a lot of the time. I cannot help but wonder if it was foolish for me to be pursuing my education this late in life. However, I took a little look in the Bible, and I found several prominent people that God called into action were well into their years. 

  1. Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, and water covered the earth. Genesis 7:6  So Noah probably was between 525 and 545 years when he began building the Ark. 
  2. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:7
  3. Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”  Genesis 17:17, God got the last laugh on that one.
  4. Remember Caleb, who followed Moses into the wilderness, when he was forty years old, Moses sent him as a spy into the Promised Land. When the people rejected his report, he had to wait for forty years.  At eighty-five years of age, now serving under Joshua, he asked for permission to drive the Anakites from the “hill country.” He had another mountain to conquer.

These few are just a small sampling of those that even in advanced years were willing to serve.  So age is no excuse to stop serving, stop learning, or stop sharing the Gospel. No matter how old you are, God has a plan and a job for you.  So if you are thinking that once you get to a certain age you can sit back and do nothing, you need to think again. There is work to do until He calls you home. 

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18.

Age is irrelevant to God.

Typist for Jesus

New Wineskin, New Wine

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins” (Luke 5:37-38).

I made some decisions this week about some things that I want to accomplish in the next few years.  These are not new goals.  Instead, they are old goals that I have yet to realize.  For years these items have been on my list but I have allowed circumstances and situations to derail me.  Just as I made up my mind to follow through on the first of this list, a situation popped up.  I began to allow myself to get distracted and in just a few minutes I had begun to talk myself out of following through.  In just a short time, I had already retracted my plans and was convinced that this new situation would not allow me to finish this goal.   I sat alone, disappointed. 

As I was talking with the Lord, later on, I realized that I was just following my Modus operandi.  For my entire life, my MO had been to allow circumstance and situation to hinder my progress.  It is now or never to make a commitment to following through.   I realized I was trying to put new wine in old wineskins.  So, I read up on that particular parable, looking for wisdom.

The parable of the new wine in old wine skin is recorded in three of the gospels.  Matthew 9:14-17, Mark 2:18-22 and Luke 5:33-39.  Because it is mentioned three times by three separate writers, I think there is definitely a lesson just waiting to be learned.  

The parable was spoken by Jesus to rebuke the accusations of the Pharisees, that he and his disciples were not as pious as the Pharisees.  Jesus was anything but conventional.  He ate with tax collectors and sinners.  Spoke to women and lepers and according to these Pharisees, he was not fasting enough. Unfortunately, these men that had devoted their lives to being scholars and experts on scripture and God, just could not get past what they thought was Jesus’ flagrant disregard for the laws.  The legalistic approach was all they knew.  If the Pharisees were going to be able to embrace Jesus as Savior they would have to let go of the legalistic way they viewed their relationship with God.  They were so inundated by rules and laws they had lost the relationship.  Jesus was offering freedom from the legalism and a relationship of grace and love.  Unfortunately, they were unable to relinquish their old ways of thinking.  Jesus never broke the laws, he just followed them as they were intended.  Not with only legalistic focus but with love.

I cannot continue to use my old way of thinking to accomplish my plans.  Obviously, my old mindset has not worked.  If I am going to do something new, I need to renew my thinking.  I do not want to miss out on realizing these goals because I am unable to change my MO.   I got my new “wineskin” and I followed through on the first step to completing my goal. 

Do not allow yourself to miss out on God’s gift of love and redemption because of old ways of thinking.  Do not be denied realizing a desire or a dream.  If they are not working out or coming to fruition, then examine your MO. 

Get a new wineskin and get ready to make new wine.

Typist for Jesus