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Archive for February, 2011

Flowers turn into desertAmazing, isn’t it, how when everything is going fine and dandy, we are happy, the outlook is great, we bestow our smile upon the world as we walk along a path strewn with the sweetest-smelling roses. We see someone facing challenges or suffering and we tell them, “Life is fair and God is good” to encourage them. We feel like saying, “Look at me, see? Life treats me well. You probably just need to get a few things together in your own life or heart and you’ll be fine.”

Then the inevitable happens. Something goes wrong. We become sad. There is no longer a positive outlook and we begin to despair, looking back and forth, looking within, looking accusingly at others and saying, “What happened???” Flowers? Pathway? It is now a barren pathless desert strewn with jagged rocks. We see others facing challenges and we want to scream, “Shut up! I have it way worse than you.” We see someone walking on their flower-strewn pathway and want to say, “Just you wait…”

What did happen, really? When did life promise us a sunny blue sky with perfect cotton balls of white floating as leisurely as we, down below, gracing the earth life with our presence. What would happen if that sunny sky never became stormy? The world would be as rocky and barren as that feeling in the sorrowful heart.

Just as the Earth needs the sun and the rain, the heart needs the sorrow and the joy. Just as the sapling needs to stand strong against the billowing torrent, as well as turn its face to the shining sun, so do we need to stand with our face to the wind as well as let the sun shine its beauty upon our lives, in due season.

The question is not what happened to the blue skies and scented flowers. The question is, what happened to the fighting spirit? It is said that, “The spirit of a man sustains him;” it keeps him alive, “but a wounded spirit, who can bear?”

I used to think that meant, “Who on earth wants to be around someone with a wounded spirit?” Well, probably that too. But I just realized that it also means, “What person can survive life while having a perpetually wounded spirit?”

Obviously, if you suffer a physical wound, you get help. If you face an issue that causes deep emotional trauma, you seek counsel and support. Likewise, if your spirit is suffering and wounded under a cloud of despair and depression, or anger and resentment, or hopelessness and sorrow, it needs to find healing. Just as a soldier who is wounded will be rescued by those around who will carry them to safety, so is there a spiritual support system. There are those around whose spirits are strong in faith and courage and whose lives bear witness. There are also those called “ministering spirits” who stand by our sides lending grace and support at the times we need it most. And once we feel sufficiently revived by the support of friends and angels, we have the power to again take up our “sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God”, as well as our “shield of faith” and begin, again, to walk the path before us with renewed vigor and bestowed faith.

And this time, let the fighting spirit that has taken on the armor of God come to the fore. It matters not what the horizon, whether a peaceful blue sky or one flashing with strikes of light against a midnight black, to where you can barely find your way. It matters not whether the outlook is bright and cheery, with those flowers canvassing the landscape, or one so dry and fierce it seems hard to picture that joy could exist in such a place. What matters is what lies within. “The spirit of a man sustains him,” and with God’s all-powerful spirit within us, that is when flesh merges with spirit and miracles occur.

I could use a few of those, couldn’t you?

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A Friend Is:

Friends Holding HandsSomeone who sees you at your worst, but chooses to see only your best

Someone who understands the deepest part of you, and loves it

Someone with whom you can be yourself, and without whom you know that their presence is still with you

Someone who believes in you at those times you lack belief in yourself, until you choose to believe as well

Someone you feel like you’ve known for ages, even if it’s the first time you’re meeting them

Someone whose counsel you can always depend on, even if at times it is hard to take, because you know they have your best interests at heart

Someone who makes life what you need it, sometimes an adventure and sometimes a calming presence

Someone whose prayers you can always depend on

Someone whose heart was intertwined with yours before you could remember with a link that will always remain

 

Other classic expressions on friendship:

A true friend is a gift of God, and only He who made hearts can unite them.—Robert South

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.—George Eliot

Good friends are like stars; you don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.—Unknown

A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope.—Unknown

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.—Helen Keller

Friends are like angels following you through life.—Unknown

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.—Anais Nin

No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.—Francois Mocuriac

How blessed I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to.—Unknown

We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.—Tim McGraw

No lapse of time or distance of place can lessen the friendship of those who are truly persuaded of each other’s worth.—Unknown

The most beautiful discovery that true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.—Elisabeth Foley

There is no distance too great between friends, for love gives wings to the heart.—Unknown

With every friend I love who has been taken into the brown bosom of the earth, a part of me has been buried there; but their contribution to my being of happiness, strength and understanding remains to sustain me in an altered world.—Helen Keller

True friends are never apart, maybe in distance, but not in heart.—Unknown

 

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It’s Valentine’s Day once again, that famous day filled with roses, hearts and chocolates, but most of all—love. In the world of today, there are very few things devoted to love. As such, Valentine’s Day is actually a very special day, because what could possibly be wrong with love? Nothing. Love is actually the greatest force on Earth and in the world. It doesn’t always seem to be so, when things such as war, hate and anger vie for precedence in people’s hearts and lives. But that doesn’t change the fact that love is truly the greatest and most powerful force on Earth. How? Simply because I am love. All things on Earth I created out of love, including you. The beautiful things around you—the cheerful birds, the towering trees, the bright flowers, the majestic oceans, the deep forests, even the people around you whom you know and love—all are creations of My hand put on Earth because of My love for each one of you.

What is love? This is something that so many explore, try to explain, decipher, put into words. But if you have ever felt love, deep love, at the very core of your being, you know this is something that cannot be simply explained. It is something felt deep inside. There are many kinds of love: the enduring and patient love of a mother or father for their child, the simple and pure love of a child for their parent, the understanding love of a close friend, the passionate love of a “boyfriend”, “girlfriend”, or spouse…the forgiving love of a brother or sister. Who is to say which love is greater? How can you really measure love? There is no accurate measuring stick or weighing scale for love. It cannot be put into a box, measured, weighed and explained because it is deeper; it goes beyond words and into the realm of the spirit, that realm where I dwell and the realm where I created that very love you feel.

You might be one of those “lucky” ones on Valentine’s Day, surrounded by those you love and who love you, or with that special someone you can call your own. You might be content with the thought that, “Yes, this is what love is all about.” But maybe you are alone on Valentine’s Day. Maybe, amidst the billboards, the newspaper articles, the ads on TV, the movies, all promoting their versions of love and how to gain it or keep it, you feel you missed something. You look around and don’t see any such sign of true love in your life, and wonder, “Is there really love to be found?”

The good news is, yes, there is love—true love, pure love, enduring love, and the greatest and deepest love you will ever know. This love is found in Me.Jesus, smiling and holding staff

I, Who not only created you, but also came down to Earth to live as one of you, and finally died for you so that I could truly understand you; I love you in a way that no other ever could. I not only love you, but I understand you, I believe in you, and your heart and happiness is so important to Me. Regardless of where you are on Valentine’s Day, who you find yourself with, whether you are alone at home, or out having fun, let Me be the one to make your day complete by inviting Me into your heart, not just today, but always.

I will be there for you, no matter what you face, what you might be going through, what ups and downs the path of your life will take. I will be with you and have promised to never leave the one who calls out to Me and accepts Me into their heart and life. All you have to do is ask. Just say, aloud or in your heart,

“Jesus, thank You for Your love. I believe in it and I want to ask for Your love to enter my heart today. I accept Your love which forgives the wrongs I have done and can change my life and help me to love You and others. Please give me Your free gift of love and life eternal with You and teach me how to know You more.”

There, wasn’t that simple? They say that diamonds are forever, but the only thing that truly is forever is My love, and now that it is in your heart, it will be with you forever and thus you will be Mine for eternity. Thank you for accepting My free gift of love to you. I love you, always and forever.

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Purpose

You bow your head and wonder whyheart aflame

You grit your teeth and try and try

You can feel the world’s swift turning

Within your heart, the fire burning

Questions, wonders, dreams and hope

Churning within, how can you cope

Is it possible to reach deep within

The answers find and pull out again

Is it possible to stretch up high

And pluck the answers from the sky

And yet, and yet, I think you know

The reason your heart sways to and fro

There is a purpose deeper still

Than what you see and hear and feel

Close your eyes; you then will see

The truth that can set your heart free

The reason for the spinning and turning

The cause for your heart’s inner burning

You know the hope for which you long

That eternal purpose, the perfect song

The one your soul already sings

Daily toward your future it brings

Reach out, reach out and close your eyes

Let love’s kiss silence your mind’s cries

The truth is given, the purpose known

The light upon your heart has shone

Let it fill you to more than full

Let it make every part now whole

Until it pours out to every soul

Likewise healing, making whole

Close your eyes; you then will see

The love that can set your heart free

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It’s the first of February, 2011. Time for some resolutions!having fun with son in leaves

 

Whatever happened to January first, and New Years resolutions? Well, it went something like this.

 

It was December 31st, so I sat with my two older kids. We talked about all the things that had happened in the past year, outlining highlights or bigger things that we had done. They told me the things they were most thankful for and I wrote them down. We then discussed the year ahead, and any goals and hopes they had in relation to it. They each chose some things they would like to do or learn or accomplish in the New Year. They each thought of and chose their own verse that they would like to claim as they ask God for help in the upcoming year.

 

That evening, New Years Eve, we met together—mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa and the three children. It was then that I realized I had not really thought of and decided on my own goals and prayer for the New Year. I was busy helping the kids get theirs together that I didn’t take time to stop and think about my own.

 

In pondering it, I realize there are a thousand-and-one things I would like to do; some of them I am even working towards already. As an idea person with an overactive mind, I often have to balance a bit of practicality in there; otherwise I would be constantly rushing from one idea to the next, without having enough time for any of them. I would probably avoid prioritizing and end up wasting a good amount of time. Don’t get me wrong; it’s all good stuff. No offense to those who enjoy such things, but I couldn’t imagine spending even five minutes on Farmville or an instant in Mafia Wars; video games make me feel like my brain cells are oozing out even faster than they do on a normal day; I relax in front of a movie maybe every couple of weeks, if that. Yes, the things I would love to have time for are good things, like finally getting around to writing those books that I have in my mind (at least half a dozen at the present time); there are a couple of languages I would like to learn; I would love to study more on a bunch of topics. So if it’s good stuff, then what’s the problem? Well, there’s that good old quote that always makes us feel there’s more to reach for:

 

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better, best.”

 

The thing is, I know what my best is. At the end of the year, if I don’t learn a single new phrase in another language, or even write a word toward my new book (one of them), or study any of the topics on my mind…if there’s one thing I would like to be able to say that I accomplished, it is this:

 

I was a mother, a parent, a wife. I took time for my family and put them first, before any other favored projects or to-do’s. I took time to play with the children and have fun. I noticed the times that were opportunities to teach them, not only reading and writing and mathematics, but also important values such as sharing, positive thinking, and true friendship. I helped them take a few more steps towards eventual independence, but I’m still holding their hands until they are ready to let go. I pointed them towards Someone who will always be able to hold their hands and lead them no matter where they go or what they do as they grow older. I was a mother, a parent…the most important job there could be, and I enjoyed helping to build a family.

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