Sunday, April 28, 2013

Did you ever do this?...

Did you ever invite Jesus into your heart, and then do it again... and again??!!

I sure did.

In my young mind and heart, it must have seemed too good to be true. 

It was, and it is.

In the mind of a child, which I was, at the age of 7, I still remember great relief as I invited Jesus into my heart, and very real sadness for my sins. When I prayed that day, and confessed my sins, I knew that God was real and that He had heard my prayer.

But, I didn't immediately and completely stop sinning, which I thought I should do... and when I asked for forgiveness, I thought... 'how can He still love me?' Did I really 'get' Him into my heart? I'd better do it again, to make sure.

Does any of that sound familiar?

Now I can smile at those insecure thoughts and feelings. They were based on me, and I already knew myself well enough to understand that I did not deserve this free gift.

Isn't that still true? 

We know ourselves well enough to know we do not deserve salvation... and that's the beauty of God's gift, it was never about our ability to deserve it. 

What I now understand is that His gift is free, and my ability to earn it never existed. It is mine because I trusted Him, and I am His child, forever.

How many blogs will I end with these words?... 

Amazing Grace!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2 jewels in His crown!...

There are many dear and precious loved ones I've known who are already in heaven, people who were 'saints' for sure. 

There are others still among us, and I want to honor 2 of them today. Dr.Harold Sala and his wife Darlene. I am giving you a link to their site:

This couple has spent their lives together, faithfully serving God, first on the mission field, later with their own ministry, Guidelines International in Southern California. They still travel all over the world, preaching, teaching, training, writing books, encouraging and ministering. Dr.Sala has 5 minute radio broadcasts in more than 1000 cities around the world, called Guidelines.

 Here's why I choose to honor them today.

My dad had an office in Harold's building in Laguna Niguel, California, for many years. Mostly, dad's office was vacant, as he traveled constantly, but it held some of his dearest possessions, his books. It also was up the stairs from Guidelines, and the Sala's. My parents spoke of their love for the Sala's so many times, that we (my sister, brother and I, all felt like they were family... and they were, to us. They still are!

The love between the Sala's and my parents was a gift to our family.

When my dad had the stroke that several days later took his life, Harold and Darlene Sala were the first to join us at the hospital. Darlene didn't say a word, just put her arm around me and laid her head on my shoulder. If she knew how many times that gesture comforted me when I relived those days. It was the exact thing I needed.

Harold simply,quietly, and in the background, arranged everything. I mean everything. He took us to the funeral home, arranged the church, the 13 ministers who had been a big part of dad's life, and would speak for 5 minutes each at dad's memorial service, and all the background work the service involved. And then he lead the service.

 In looking back, I simply don't know what the 3 of us and our mother would have done without them. They were the hands of God to our family.

Both Harold and Darlene have written and published many books. I can wholeheartedly recommend them. I have both read, and given as gifts many of the  books they have written. Harold writes with clarity, depth and insight, he is a fountain of knowledge, and all of it reflects his deep love for the Lord. Darlene writes for women, to encourage and edify. Her writing does both, and so much more. She is gentle,wise and always relevant. They speak and write the same way they live their lives.

They are 'the real deal'... their lives ring true, their ministry and how they honor God in all they do, makes me want to share them with you today. When God's people have walked with Him for a lifetime, there is something so strong and shining about their lives, a testimony that we need to see more of, especially in today's world. These are 2 of  them.

Harold and Darlene, I love you both, you already know that. Thank you, for being a faithful example to me, to our family, and to all those you minister to. 

It's like someone said... 'when I grow up, I want to be just like you'... it's how I feel about the Sala's... a lofty goal, to be sure!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

three dots...

I can't do it! I can't write a blog without the use of the 3 dots... 

See what I mean?

I am not a student of perfect punctuation. I only know that when I need to say something, those 3 dots are absolutely essential!

Here's what they do for me... they finish a thought in a sentence without any more words. They also lead into the next thought. A period doesn't do it the same way. I am HAPPY with those 3 dots!

So what are they exactly?

They are called an elipsis. To tell you the truth, I don't remember ever learning about an elipsis. I only know that I am a frequent user. Was I asleep during the lessons that taught us about that word?? 

If you have read my blogs for any length of time, you already know that I am a shameless 3 dot user.

I am a great speller, not so great at math, and now we know I'm a lost cause when it comes to correct punctuation. Here's the thing... I don't WANT to learn how to use those 3 dots in any way that changes the way I already use them.

I expect those dots to cover thoughts unexpressed, or add to thoughts already written. That's asking a lot of 3 dots.

So for me, and for this blog, 3 dots is in, and elipsis, as it was meant to be used, will probably not happen.

There! I said it...

three dots are what I use
even when I overlook and abuse...

those dots are part of how I speak
punctuation rules are not what I seek...

the dots, for me, fill in the thought
one more thing that can't be bought...

i try to write and leave them out
they sneak back in without a doubt...

so please be kind and bear with me
when you see 3 dots, just know it's she...

she is the one who speaks with dots
and your grace & acceptance means lots and lots!...

Monday, April 8, 2013

The shaping of our faith...

Do you ever get tired of waiting for God to answer your prayers?

I do. 

It isn't that I don't think He hears me, or that I don't believe He's at work to deliver the answer... it's just that the time between when I start praying for something, and when the final answer comes... is sometimes much longer than I am comfortable with, actually... it's usually MUCH MUCH longer than I am confortable with!

God knows that...

It's part of his plan to shape my faith and build my trust in Him. The things that I can't control, seem to be where He knows I need the most instruction. Instruction in HIS ways, which means learning to trust God more completely.

I have found this to be true... 

Usually there are no quick fixes, shortcuts, or pat answers, and no fast 'getting there' on the prayers that are my deepest needs and longings... 

It's IN THE PROCESS of my prayers and my waiting on Him, that He works into me what He knows I need. It also deepens my faith as I see how trustworthy he is. 

Could God answer my prayers faster? It's an obvious 'yes' to that question. Of course He could, just as He could have come right down off of that cross and not died that day. God can do anything, But think of how quickly we forget a lesson learned when it drops right into our lap. We go out and do the same thing again, until we have seen that another way is better, usually through more than one series of trials and errors.

When God wants change in me, He does it His way... and He knows full well that it will require my dependence on Him, and obedience to what He is saying. I know how to 'take charge' of my life pretty well, so I am always having to learn His ways, often to re-learn them.

The truth is, I seem to need a lot of that instruction ... all the time.

We do NOT dig deeper and see God in new ways when things are only smooth, when our trust muscles are not required, at least I don't. I don't mean that we only grow as christians through hard times, but there is a deeper learning curve that God has designed in us to know him better, and it usually involves circumstances or situations where we must trust. 

I am waiting, again, on some answers right now, you probably are too. I'm beginning to understand that I will always be waiting on something from God, and that in the waiting, this 'pot' is on His wheel, and He's shaping it into what He always intended!

 "Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out  of our wordless sighs, our aching groans." Rom.8:26-28

Monday, April 1, 2013

False claims...

My husband is a collector, he has always collected something.  When he was a boy, it was probably marbles, and other stuff that kids collect. Later it was model trains, cowboy stuff, fishing lures, etc. He still loves that old stuff, mostly because of the history involved, which he reads about and studies.

Among the things we have owned through the years, the quack medical machine was probably one of my favorites. It was a beautiful walnut case with a crazy metal contraption on the inside. It was made in the 1800's. The paper label on the inside lid read:

"Cures anything; on occasion, even death."

Seriously! They made some bold claims back then. I have my doubts about that machine curing anything at all, let alone death!

Quack medicine brings to mind other claims that we still hear about in today's world. There are a lot of products that make wild claims. For instance, the makeup industry. Have you ever fallen prey to one of those anti wrinkle cream claims? I sure have. When I was a teenager, I fell for the first one. It was a cream that promised to erase ALL wrinkles, within seconds! 

It did...

The only problem was, when you applied it, it gathered all the skin on your face and tightened the whole thing so that all expression was removed... until I smiled, moved my eyebrows or blinked. Then the whole tight mask CRACKED and my face dissolved into 1000 wrinkles and tiny cracks.  We still laugh about that cream.

Less obvious are the products I've tried since that time... there have been WAY too many! My husband laughed out loud when I brought home "Hope in a jar"...

The wrinkles are still there, and so are the creams I keep trying. Hope dies hard when it comes to removing wrinkles.

The moral of this story is that I keep trying and the makeup industry keeps advertising their claims and smiling... all the way to the bank!