Woof

I beg your pardon!  I really do understand – it only takes one woof to accomplish a purpose. That one woof means, mama, I need to go out and right now.  It’s true and part of life’s lessons.  If we are smart, we learn to listen, stop what we are doing, and respond because sometimes it really is important.  It requires no explanation, only attention.  Have you ever wondered how many calls from our Father you have missed because you didn’t listen and heed His call?

We were created for a purpose you know, not just objects to sit around on a shelf and smile sweetly.  Our Lord does realize that it will take time and training to make us what He desires for us to be, but He also expects that we will pay attention and strive to learn how to become His emissaries in a needy world full of Satan’s well-trained staff.  Do you ever take a moment to simply be still, realize how blessed you are, and thank Him for loving you so very much?

I have been being reminded lately of how nice it is to be the recipient of unearned love from a new dog I got named Lexy.  Yes, I feed and water her, but somehow, she knows that I also love her dearly.  I wonder if our Creator feels love from His creation.  Does He ever wonder why we forget to acknowledge His presence in our lives, why we erroneously think that our achievements are due to our own super intelligence?  How foolish can we get?  All we have and are is because of His steadfast and unending love for each and every one of us individually.  He did make us for a purpose, but He also expects us to enjoy and appreciate the world He created.  We take so much for granted; do we even stop to notice the beauty of our surroundings?  Yes, we have our problems and need a little fixing from time to time, but we are a specific creation not able to have been manufactured with man’s simple understanding.

Jeremiah gives us the wisest of choices when he tells us while shut up in prison that he personally heard the voice of the Lord saying “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).  I don’t think any of us would have a hard time admitting that there is an awful lot that we do not know and more that we should be doing.  How nice to have a guide and not have to worry about a list stuck in one pocket or another or often misplaced.

We were not given the gift of life to simply sit around and look smart; we were given life to accomplish a purpose, the exact definition of that purpose only the Father knows, but we can discern it if we spend time with Him listening and responding to what we hear.  Just as a puppy helps show us purpose and joy, God’s children were created to reflect His purpose and bring Him joy.  We may not always know just exactly what our purpose is, but if we listen to our Father, we are more likely to bring happiness to both of us and others who currently don’t know Him but would like to.  I don’t think I need to explain to you how dull life would be if we didn’t feel like we had something we were supposed to accomplish. 

You may acknowledge that it is not always easy to discern, but if we sincerely try and are patient, God’s word for our lives will be revealed to us when the time is right.  Woof! Oh dear, I think I am being called so guess I had better go see what is needed.  Listen! Our Father will let you know what He has for you to do.

This is my Father’s world. He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.

Is Time Running Out?

We all know there is a time span for individual life and if we knew ahead of time, I am sure we would be arguing the point.  Fortunately, we don’t know when our end will come so we don’t worry.  What if we did?  What would we be rushing out to do before the clock chimes?  Most of us in this world refuse to think beyond tomorrow so we won’t have to worry.  What is that old saying – “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”.  That is a good calming balm to an already over-booked life.  But the question is never going to be buried.  One of these days we will face our Maker and He will ask us what we have done with our lives.  How will we respond?

The Psalmist tells us plainly this is the day the Lord has made (118:24).  Was He just sitting around with nothing else to do or was there a reason and if so, was it important?  Knowing the end from the beginning we would have to acknowledge that there was not only a reason, but an important one.  You might want to admit that it was a matter of life and death.  Death is the unknown that quite frankly frightens many of us, but it is not the end of the story.  The end of the story speaks of a time of unending joy, a time to be with the only one who really knows what love is and is eager to freely give it without judgment.  While it is true that life still has its costs, we will find that the end is something beyond what we could ever have dreamed or planned for.  Talk about blessings!

So, what do we have to do?  Do we have to earn it, or do we simply claim it by faith?  And is there a cost or has it already been paid?  Many would say “yes”; you have to live a life filled with doing for others and then being perfect yourself.  Wait a minute – I think there is a good Book that tells us that there is a big cost but that the cost has already been paid.  Could that be true?  Yes, my friend, it is true – there is a special friend who loves us enough to suffer and die so that we might live a glorious life with Him one day.  As for the cost He simply loves us enough to overlook the cost, even the dreadful one that it was.

So, how does one repay that kind of friendship or is there even a way?  We didn’t have to sign a note and there was no penalty that was disclosed.  Why would anyone pay our cost even if we were best friends?  You’re right again, what we would classify as best friend would probably turn away simply asking for an extension.  But the cost still has to be paid or does it?  Is there an alternative?  Yes, there is, but it is an expensive one even though it has lots of perks and no one can pay it on your behalf.  All that is truly asked is that you live the life you were created to live by the One who loves you more than any other could.  You’re right that sounds very much like you have won the jackpot.  The only drawback is that you must seriously strive to be worthy of the gift.   

You might be asking yourself how you can ever be worthy of such a gift.  You can’t, but you can please the giver and resolve the issue by letting others know about Him and the wonderful life they can have by giving of themselves to help His other children.  It sounds too easy, but you already know how daily living can throw pitfalls in your path.  You might have to suffer, but you will have to give of yourself to prove your sincerity, not just once but over and over, through good times and bad; extending your hand of mercy as an example of the Father’s love for all His children.

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my love, My Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store,
Take myself, and I will be ever only all for Thee.

Now or Never

Avid readers of Breaking Israel News should not have been surprised by last week’s earthquakes in California. That’s because BIN published an article in December of 2018, citing a rabbinic source pointing to the super blood moon over Washington D.C. as a sign that the upcoming year will be marked by increased volcanic activity.

“A lunar eclipse in the month of Shevat is a sign of the rise of the aspect of din (judgment) in the world,” Rabbi Genut told Breaking Israel News - “This eclipse will rule over the Americas but for Israel, it will bring chesed (loving-kindness).”  Just as the eclipse is a conflict between the sun and the moon to rule over the heavens, there will be a similar conflict on earth. This will begin a time when governments are in balance. Some governments that seem powerful right now will fall and others will rise in their place.”

We read a lot these days about the conflicts in this world of ours; the problem is that we often forget that this is not our world.  It has always belonged to our Creator and how He must mourn over the way we live and how we have departed from what He intended.  Has He had enough?  While I realize that we cannot and should not believe everything we read I do believe that we should take some time with our Creator to determine what He has in mind for our days, our thoughts and our actions.  In the book of Isaiah, we read – In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength (30:15).

I think in the hustle and bustle of our days we often forget what our hearts know, what many of us have been taught over the years.  We are so intent on solving our own problems we forget that there has always been one both eager and willing to help us.  How often have we heard the words – “I can do it myself”.  While those might be good words for one who is learning and trying to stand on his own feet nevertheless growth and wisdom should cause us to know that the best of life comes from allowing our Heavenly Father to be a part of it, to show us His way and to walk in it.

Unfortunately, in today’s world many of our friends and neighbors have not had the opportunity to learn about their Creator and are only aware of the things they can see and/or fix.  Even those of us who have heard and know better have let the world’s fear place us in chains.  Why is it so easy to forget?  Isaiah reminds us of something we should always be aware of – Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense if God; He will come and save you” (35:4).

In our war-torn world of today, we need to remind ourselves that we are not alone.  We have always had a Father who cares for us and has the power to restore both our world and ourselves to the path He originally desired.  All we have to do is ask and then follow His leading in the weeks ahead.  All of us are familiar with the words from The Lord’s Prayer – lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom – it has always been and always will be His Kingdom and His world no matter how hard we strive to make it otherwise.  Why don’t we simply get smart and thank Him for His provision and for loving us so very much?

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh, a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

Help in the Storm

With so many things on each daily schedule we do a good bit of running these days, but we all long for the moments when we can slow down, catch our breath and grab a bit of rest and relaxation. Sometimes it seems hard to find that important time, and we wonder how long we can continue at the current pace. It seems to me to be harder to find these days. I wonder why that is. Is it that our list has become so long that we have misplaced our priorities? At the end of the day do we find ourselves telling the Lord, our God that we will do better tomorrow; that we will truly make the time to bring our Creator up to date on what we have accomplished and plead His indulgence for what we have left undone?

It does seem that the pace of life has changed even as we recall the inventions that are saving us more time than our ancestors had. They had to actually wash and dry the dishes as well as hand wash the clothes they wore. We have so much more time than they did, but have we used that time wisely? I imagine that you, like me, would have to agree that we have wasted an awful lot of it. So, admitting that what do we do now? While true, it makes little difference whether we sweep the floor again or choose another task do we ever ask ourselves what our Lord would have us do with our extra time. It doesn’t take a wise man to tell us that there are an awful lot of problems in life today. Is there something that we can do? Indeed, most of us don’t consider the problems of the world beyond our door, but it is also true that some people and situations could well use some time and effort if offered.

He calms the storms, so that its waves are still (Psalm 107:29). For You have been….a refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4). It sounds to me as if we have no worries in the storms of life because our Creator, who loves us, will be with us. Does that comfort you; it does me, but what about our neighbors? Sometimes a storm can indeed cause a change of direction in our lives which we may not understand, but it is also true that the One who created us will lead and guide us through this world if we will only trust Him to do so. It may be true that we do not always realize who is doing the leading, but if we ask and listen, usually we will have a Peace that gives us the answer.

Our Creator did not create us and then leave us to make the best of things. Whether we realize it or not He desires to share with us the blessings He has provided if we will only let Him. We are so used to having a contractor do a job, get paid and leave that we rarely realize that the One who made us is enjoying with us the beauty of life as well as its troubles. Maybe we could try to accept His help with joy and thanksgiving and pass it on to those who do not know Him.

I wonder how often we allow His presence in our day to day lives. Do we only call on Him in times of trouble? Shame on us! If you are an adult with children, you should know the enjoyment you receive when your child excels or is blessed beyond your expectations. If you are young and alone, you still should be filled with thanksgiving when things are going smoothly in your life. Our Father loves to share both the good and bad times with His children; surely, that is the least we can do for Him and His other children in return for what He has already given us.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my life rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

The Way

All of us, whether young or old, never ceases to make plans for tomorrow. We always have so very much to do and often wonder how we can accomplish it. And yet we often forget or refuse to accept that there is and has always been a plan for our life. If you are wise enough to admit that you will still wonder who has the predominant choice over your daily activities. Sometimes it may be good to put off thinking about tomorrow, but it doesn’t change the fact that we were born with a specific purpose in God’s plan. As you get older, do you ever wonder if you have done what you were created for? I have, and I will tell you that it is no fun to realize that you may have missed something or done something not wise in God’s eyes.

Can we avoid the mistakes life frequently throws in our lives? We may never achieve perfection, but I believe we can live a life the end of which will be “well done” by a Father who loves us. I have learned over many years that often the best way to avoid the big mistakes is to take the time each day to tell the Father of our love for Him and ask Him to guide our footsteps through the turmoil and temptations of this misguided earthly world. While we don’t look to the end of our lives when we are young that time will come and with it no opportunity to go back and correct our mistakes. Therefore, the best solution is to face each day with a desire to please our Lord as well as enjoy the day He has given us. It will become easier and easier as we follow His leading, and it is never too late to start.

As human beings, we are always thinking about tomorrow, but His Word tells us in the book of Matthew Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its things. Sufficient for the day is its trouble (6:34). I realize that trips and grocery store visits often require some thinking ahead, but have we let thinking consume too much of our time? Should we not be asking each day “Father, is there something You would have me do today.” We were not created just to live, but to accomplish our Father’s work. He knew that His creation would wander and that He would need workers on His behalf. Our greatest pleasure should be to please Him.

It doesn’t take much time reading or listening to today’s news to realize that our time and that of our children is passing faster than we would have imagined. Can we afford to let another day pass before we consider what our Creator placed us here for? Would you rather work for the money to live tomorrow or the assurance that tomorrow would be where you really want it to be?

The book of Psalms tells us that for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations (22:28). Those are not just kind words; they are the truth which we cannot ignore. We do not have the last say, our Creator does. Okay, so where do we go from here? It doesn’t mean that we just have to consider these words for one day or we will get a whipping from our parents; it means that our daily life on this earth should manifest itself according to the purpose for which it was created. Is this possible? Well, to be honest, probably not one hundred percent, but surely, we can make an effort to please the One who bothered to create us in the first place. There is another reason which many will never really appreciate but is right all the same. Those who choose to please our Father will find themselves reaping a life that is abundant and full of joy and peace.

But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.
- John Oxenham

Our God

Our Help in ages past, our hope for years to come. Do we ever stop in the middle of a day’s trials to remember and be thankful for why we even exist, and then why we have been so blessed? Why would anyone care so much for little old me who is not worth all that much.? And yet if we spend a little more time to sit quietly and ponder life maybe there is a reason. If that is true, have I followed the plan for my life? Have I pleased the Father who deigned to create me? Have I fulfilled my purpose?

We all are familiar with the words “in the beginning God created.” Do you ever wonder why? If He is in charge, why is the world in such a bad condition? Free will? Is that really important; I mean look at what it has done for us. We are in worse shape today than we have ever been. Besides the physical calamities that are happening to this world currently what has been going on with mankind throughout these years? We are thankful in moments when things are going well (at least sometimes we are) but then when we are the cause of confusion and sin, we make excuses and often blame someone else. How did all this come to be?

It’s that free will bit! God knew in His wisdom that creating a world full of robots would not be at all satisfying, so He gave us choices. Just off the top of my head, that seems like a logical decision. And yet as we look at the world today, it obviously was not. He had to have known it would be this way, so why. Because wisdom tells us that which is not freely given is not worth anything and never will be. The Father desired that His children would love Him, so He willingly allowed us to discover this for ourselves. And He was right!

So here we are today in a world with many wonderful inventions, lovely homes with good food to eat and lots of exciting things to do when we can find the time. So what are we doing – rushing around like a bunch of chickens waiting to have our heads cut off? It often seems that way when we stop to look at the way our world is turning. Yes, it is true that in today’s world, we seem to have everything we could want, and yet we keep searching for something more. Is it because we keep hoping to find what we need without having to pay the cost?

Strange, we have always had the answer – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2).

Such a simple solution and yet we have spent years trying to prove that we can “do it ourselves.” Isn’t it about time we give up the effort and try to know, understand, and live by God’s law? I, for one, think it is considerably past time, but I am willing to try once again to have the Lord who created me love me for who I have become and what I am willing to give up and do to accomplish His purpose for His world.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11); Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105). Thank you, precious Lord, for loving me so much and being patient while I learn, often the hard way.

Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home.

The Son Is Shining

No, that is not a misspelling! It took me several minutes myself this morning before the Lord finally got His message through to my poor mind. It is a perfect day, though for His Words to come forth. We have been through a rough time as far as the weather is concerned. We are all tired of the dark, dreary days and have had more rain, flooding and loss of home and even life than we could want. It is undoubtedly a time for a change.

We have been confronted for many days with the harsh realities of this world both in the weather, our local politics and while often overlooked the growing dissatisfactions found in today’s world. Assuming that we can do nothing about any of those things we continue to mutter and wishfully think that surely tomorrow will be a better day. What will it take to make tomorrow a better day? Right! God didn’t plan on having to control all of our days; He gave us the option to make our days better and gave us the wisdom to do so as found in His Holy Bible. What are we waiting for?

A good friend once gave me a gift that is hanging on the wall where one can’t help see it as one rises to meet a new day. It is a grand reminder for life – Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. How often we let our emotions and actions result in what we see, as we rise to meet a new day. Shame on us! God not only gave us the option but intended for us to rule our surroundings by what we believe. We are a long way from the garden to the trials and tribulations of this day. Surely it is time to wake up to our responsibilities.

I can hear you saying – but I am just one person, what can I do. The Father didn’t create us to have the ability that only He has, but He did hope that we would carry on His desires for His world to the best of our ability. Surely that is what we should be doing each and every day that presents itself before us. Maybe if we had our world would be in a much better shape today. However, who is to say that we couldn’t do our part at this time and maybe others would see and follow suit and who knows, perhaps we could bring some beauty and peace back to our war-torn and confused world.

While it is true that we don’t individually have the power to do just that we have been given the ability to utilize prayer to relay our hopes to our Creator. I believe it is true that most of us want more than anything to have peace in our world and with the One who loves us more than any other. It seems to me I have heard “when two or more are gathered together.”

John tells us in the book of Revelation that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (1:10) and that he heard behind him a loud voice saying – Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last (17). I wonder what ever made us think we would have the last word. Maybe we should take some time and ponder over who we want to have that privilege.

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love; 
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above. 
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away. 
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day! 

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the Joy Divine.

To Surrender All

Surrender is a word that we often refuse to accept in this day unless we have to. We will go through all kinds of situations to avoid even the suggestion of surrender, and yet all of us already know that there will come a time if it hasn’t already when we will have no choice.

While it is true that as children we often had to give up to our parents' way of thinking, as adults, we are used to handling our problems in our way and mostly without any outside help. I can remember, however, my parents telling me that I should always come to them for help when I ran across something that I couldn’t handle. It was not to be a reflection of weakness but of wisdom.

I wonder how many of us have accepted that wisdom because it doesn’t take any effort to see the struggles that occur in today’s world. However, if you are a parent I know you are pleased when your children actually come to you for help rather than making an even bigger mess by their own efforts. Do you think God looks down on His creation not only knowing what will happen but still hoping His children will see the light and let Him share in their lives? He spoke to many in the early days of this world, hoping I am sure that they would see the light and share their wisdom with those who would be coming thereafter.

It doesn’t take much thought to recognize that our world is vastly different today and managing to get worse by the moment. Could it really be too late to change our thinking and work together to achieve a world worthy of God’s intent? He knew from the beginning what would happen, but you have probably heard the expression that “hope springs eternal in the human breast”. However, we usually apply that to the individual life and attempt to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try, try again. Why is it that we are thinking that our Creator meant all of us to do what needs to be done by ourselves? God’s original thinking seems to me to be that we should be open to sharing both the good and bad times, both the new and old thinking. Obviously, when He told us to love one another it didn’t require that we all look or think the same or even have the same talents. Within the framework of His plan, we were to love one another and share the diversity of our time and talents.

While it doesn’t take any effort at all to see the diversity of our universe it really is a good thing to be different and to have different talents which were meant to be shared in order to form a more perfect whole. None of us were meant to have all the talent or wisdom; we were meant as a joint endeavor to fashion a perfect world full of all that was needed for life, individual pleasure and joint thanksgiving as children of one Heavenly Father. Guess what, we have failed miserably. However, there is no law saying we can’t go back to square one and try again.

As we read about or listen to today’s world events and come to the realization that things couldn’t be worse maybe we should bow our heads, ask for forgiveness and the opportunity to begin once again to create what the Father envisioned and gave His Son’s life for..

All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.
 AMEN!