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

God is in the Details

And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

 Matthew 6:28-30

I stood looking out at the rows of sunflowers their faces upturned to the sky, seeking the warmth and nourishment of the sun. Strolling between the giants I smiled and meditated on the beauty of these unique flowers and their creator. 

The sunflower is much more than just a beautiful flower or a source of food; it is a mathematical demonstration of God. A picture of a deliberate and purposeful creator. Have you taken time to study the face of a sunflower? The seeds of the sunflower form in spirals. If you trace the seeds on the face of the flower, you will see that they spiral to the right and the left from the center. The pattern of seeds within a sunflower follows the Fibonacci sequence, or 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144… If you remember back to math class, each number in the sequence is the sum of the previous two numbers. By counting the number of spirals in each direction, you would find that no matter the size of the sunflower, the ratio is always approximately the same. This number is known as the Golden Ratio and rounds to 1.6. 

You may be asking, so what, it makes a beautiful pattern? Whereas that is true, the purpose is more than just the aesthetic; that ratio enables the most number of seeds to fit on the face of any given sunflower. God, in His wisdom, created this flower to reproduce in the most efficient way possible. There is precisely enough consistent space between the buds for the seeds to mature. God is in every detail of His creation, and His designs are purposeful. If God takes this much care in the arrangement of the seeds of the sunflower, imagine how much more care He takes over you?  

You are important to God.

Typist for Jesus

Summer Fruit

 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,  for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 ESV

The lush green moss provided a comfortable bed for me to stretch out.  I bit into the firm white flesh of the pear, juice sweet and sticky escaped, trickling down my chin.  Through the limbs of the walnut tree, I watched whisp of white float on an unseen current across the summer sky.  Only the sound of an occasional car broke the steady hum of the insects busy at work. My grandmother sat on her milking stool, peeling pears, and apples for a pie.  The sun had risen high glaring down on us and chased us out of the garden and into the cool shade of the ancient walnut, who’s limbs grazed the ground, bent by the clusters of nuts.  She spoke as she made long curls of peel that hit the aluminum pan with a thud, telling us stories of her time in California during the Second World War. Tales of the tenants in their boarding house. Stories of lemon and orange trees at the back steps of the house. Nights filled with laughter and dancing as they clung to that moment, never knowing if the next would come.  My eyes grew big as she told us about sitting around the radio and listening to the war reports, the fear, the wonder, will the enemy touch our shores. As the clouds lazily floated past her stories formed on the stage of my mind. 

 I loved those afternoons under the walnut tree, barefoot, wearing tank tops and shorts.  The cool of the moss, the sweet fruit, and the smell of clean air. That hour or two that we escaped the heat and hid in the hazy shadows.

Life is fleeting, busy, stressful, meaningful, and at times seems meaningless, and we have a way of getting caught in that spiral.  We all have schedules and deadlines; however, do not forget to take pleasure in what God has given you. As Solomon tells us, we were created to enjoy food, drink, each other and our jobs.  God has provided many things for us to enjoy, do not allow yourself to get caught up in the spiral of deadlines, schedules, and worries. Take the time to enjoy the summer fruit.

Typist for Jesus

Finding the Right Path

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6 NIV

Though still morning, the humidity swaddled us in damp that clung to my body and salty beads of sweat stung my eyes. The breeze I had enjoyed earlier had ceased, and the air hung stagnant.  Sunlight filtered through the trees, making a kaleidoscope of green and yellow.  The pine needle littered path absorbed the sound of our footfalls and the cicadas buzzed in the trees filling our ears with their drone. My fellow travelers and I had fallen silent, the three of us seemingly lost in our thoughts plodded in single file through the woods.  I pulled my tube from my camel pack and drank deeply of the cooling water that I carried on my back.  A cacophony of bird song seemed to precede us, no doubt warning the wood’s inhabitants of our presence.  Ahead the trail divided, we stopped to consult the map. It was a divide that came back together further down the trail.  One side was for bikes the other hikers, we took a right, continuing our trek.  However, in the back of my mind, the thought lingered.  Did we read the map correctly?  Will this trail merge again on the path back to the parking lot?   

Life is often the same when we come to a crossroad.  How do we know we have made the right decision or chosen the correct path? Throughout life, we face choices.  Some are life-altering, not just to us but those in our lives.  Other decisions transcend this physical world and extends into the next.  Each of us has a path to follow, and along this pathway, we have decisions and choices that influence the journey.  This path refers to how we choose to live and what we do with our limited time. The Bible has several scriptures that address pathways, decisions, and crossroads.  My personal favorite is Proverbs 3:6.  If we are obedient, and involve God on our choices, consult him on decisions, he has promised to lead us onto straight paths.  The path will not always be easy.  There will be hills, rocks, and dangers, but you will not travel alone.

Typist for Jesus

Fearing What They Think

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

Hurrying down the hallway, the girl pushed her way into the lunchroom. She found her friends and with a smile as wide and as bright as dawn, she blurted out, “Someone asked me to the dance!”
The table erupted with giggles and chatter and of course the question burning on everyone’s mind. “Well, who is it?”
She leaned back grinning, allowing the tension to build, and when she could no longer contain herself, she whispered his name. Her friends looked from one another and then laughed.
“What?” she asked, her furrowed brow burned with embarrassed heat.
“You mean, you don’t know? He used to eat paste.”
“So all little kids do.” Her voice raised above the din of the midday diners.
“No, I mean like in the sixth and seventh grade. It was weird.”
All the girls begin to laugh. The excitement that just moments ago brimmed drained away replaced by hot tears. She wanted to run back down the hallway and hide. How could she go to the dance with him now? What would all her friends think?

We all care about what people think. We worry about fitting in with people, being accepted. We want everyone to like us, but at what cost?
Not everyone will like you. Not everyone will approve of you, and that is OK. If Jesus had cared about fitting in or making everyone like him, he indeed would have never chosen to die on the cross with common criminals so that you could have eternal life. He would have hung around the Pharisees, but instead, he chose the tax collectors, fishers, prostitutes, a crowd of women, a doctor and a guy that ran around in camel skins and ate bugs (Matt. 3:4).

Proverbs 29:25 reads, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” What does that verse mean? It has nothing to do with being afraid in the sense that we think of the word “fear,” but rather, it means “to fear the disapproval of man.” This verse deals with our insecurities. Worrying about what others think is a snare. The word snare refers to the traps a hunter sets to catch small animals and birds. Allowing ourselves to worry what people think entraps us in fear, doubt, and gags us. Do not focus on what people think. Instead, put your trust in the Lord.

Typist for Jesus

Set yourself free from fear of what they think.

Stolen Joy

andgive no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:27

I sent a text to myparents Friday afternoon.  It read, “Ihave had more wins than loses this week, so I count the week a win.”  I indeed had enjoyed a fairly positive weekhowever, there had been one incident that preyed on my thoughts.  No matter how much I tried to focus on thepositives of the week that one failure kept nagging me.  Before I knew it my mood clouded and I letall my attention fall on that one event. 

How easily we allow our joy to be stolen.  In all that was accomplished, I found no satisfaction because I could not let the one insignificant event go.  That is exactly what the enemy wants.  He wants to refocus my thoughts on the negative, things that encourage resentment, anxiety, anger and frustration.  The weight of these emotions cause my spirit to sink and then the negative voices begin to whisper in my mind.  What do we do when this happens?  We steer our thoughts to Jesus.  Consciously breathe, soften your body, relax and then put up your hand and say, “I’m not going down that road.  I am choosing to focus on Jesus and keeping my joy!” 

Feelings of resentment,anxiety, fear, anger and frustration are not of God.  They are from the enemy and he will dowhatever he can to bring you down and burden you.  If you are burden and your spirit low, youare unable to lift up those around you. If you are filled with joy then it is easier for you to accomplish yourspiritual mission, which is to glorify God by spreading love and light.

Do not let the enemysteal your joy!

Typistfor Jesus!