Monday, June 29, 2015

To Do Lists

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22 NIV).

I have an unwritten "to do" list for today that is quite long. At the top of the list was writing my blog. The problem is that I didn't know what I was going to write about today. My thoughts are overwhelmed by something I don't want to write about. The Supreme Court Justice's recent decision. It is too controversial for me and I don't want to upset anyone. But that's a cop-out.

I can't stand by and pretend I'm okay with the decision to make all marriages legal. The Bible says homosexuality is wrong. It is black and white; it's a sin. But I sin, too. I'm no better than any other person. I have my own issues to deal with so I'm not interested in knocking on any doors and judging. My heart aches for parents who have children who have made the homosexual choice for they too must be overwhelmed and confused as they struggle to uphold their faith and love their children. It doesn't get any harder than that.

I have several homosexuals whom I consider friends. I don't affirm their choices but I love them as children of God. I know that God loves everyone, no matter what their sin. And I'm thankful that He accepts me as the person I was created to be. I don't understand why some people struggle with this choice. I believe that our country was founded on faith in God but I see government swaying from that foundation.

The world isn't what it used to be, but we aren't called to be in the world. We are called to love others as Jesus loves them. We are called to live out a life that Jesus would have lived. He loved all sinners but did not love their sin. That's the road I choose to walk. I'm going to continue to love those who choose a different life and dislike their sin. God will deal with us all on judgement day and His judgement is all that matters.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Goals

What is your goal for the summer?

To win the rate of gain at the county fair? To run in seven 5K races? To raise the largest tomato? To go camping every weekend? To read the Bible every day? To keep the garden weeded?  To lose 20 pounds? To hold that new grandbaby every weekend? To read five books? To exercise everyday? To watch fifty baseball games? To have a picnic? To go to Adventureland?

No matter what your goal, it takes determination and focus to reach it. Some goals are harder than others to reach. And some are out of our direct control to achieve. But goals are important things to have. Several of the above could be my goals for the summer. Goals help us strive toward greatness of some sort or to accomplish something new and perhaps thought unreachable.

It’s good to have goals in our faith life as well. We need to keep growing in our faith and that takes discipline and effort. We can slide along in the same place for months or years and our faith becomes dormant and stale. But when we work at growing stronger our faith takes on new life and excitement.

To live our life as a disciple of Christ is to follow His teachings, His path, His leading. God desires for us to grow in our faith, to set goals for the future and to live like Christ would have us live.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 NIV).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dreams and Reality

I've always dreamed of having a loft in my house. It would be a perfect place to write and I could overlook the world from a vantage point on high.

At the writers' workshop last week I had a dream come true. My cabin was an A-frame with a sleeping loft. The owners open their cabins to others when they aren't using them and the user is just to leave it as you find it, if not better.

It was a comfortable place, especially with the loft. But, between the first level and the loft were steps - deep, steep steps. I had my sleeping bag to get up to the beds and myself, of course. I could imagine myself falling down from the top step, lying in a heap at the bottom. But that didn't happen. I used both left and right railings and teetered myself to the top without hazard.

Awaiting above was the view I'd dreamed of. The massive windows opened to the large expanse of green outdoors overlooking a park-like area surrounded by trees. It was lush and beautiful. I arranged my sleeping bag under the ceiling fan and settled in for a lovely rest. Sometimes we really don't want what we dream of, if reality clicks in. I'm too old to climb stairs like those every day. Our one-level home is quite appropriate for this aging couple. We're still ambulatory at least on one level.

"For this is what the high and lofty One says--he who lives forever, whose name is holy: "I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite"" (Isaiah 57:15 NIV).

I'm glad God has the high and lofty seat. He sees all and knows all. Sometimes our dreams don't take reality into consideration. Thankfully, God sees the big picture for us.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Keep on Learning

"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near" (Matthew 24:32 NIV).

We're never too old to learn something new. Learning keeps us young and vibrant. It makes us grow and keeps our mind fluid and active. It opens new doors to adventures and insights. Learning gives us energy and delight.

For the next three days I'll be attending a Christian Writers Workshop where I plan to learn more about writing. I'm always amazed by the knowledge that the published experts share with the attendees. Their experience and writing skills help mold their spoken words with such rich teaching that plants new learning in each attendee. Their encouragement is like water from a sprinkling can, touching the hearts of listeners.

I wondered if I should even attend the workshop this year. After all I'm retired and I only write sporadically in addition to the twice-a-week blogs. I've attended it twice before and I still have much to learn. Each of the speakers offers new insight to the world of writing, with his/her own perspective on the written word.

It is my prayer that God will use this workshop to inspire and direct my future work to be in His will. I pray that my ears will be open to hearing what God wants me to hear, and my eyes be open to what God wants me to see. All so I can write what God wants me to write.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Church Family

"On this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it" (Matthew 16:18 NIV).

I'm fortunate to have a very special church where we are more like family than a congregation. Our church, Bethel Grove, began by the pioneers gathering in their homes when they first settled in the prairies of Iowa. As the numbers grew they built a small one room building that was used for school and church. Their numbers continued to grow until they built church buildings used for worship gatherings, increasing the size each time they built.

"They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:46-47 NIV).

It's precious to be loved by your fellow worshippers as family. They care about you and what's going on in your life. They pray for you and for the best to come to your life. The church family is excited to share the blessings of their lives with you also, as well as the trials and concerns they have. Together you share the pains and problems of life as well as the blessings and joys that come your way. It is give and take equally and love forms as the joining cord that runs through the church.

I'm thankful for my church family and so blessed to be bound together by love with them.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Blessing of Cousins

We had a get-together yesterday with one of my cousins and I'm in awe of how wonderful it felt to share time with her, her husband and her daughter. Cousins have a special connection. Their backgrounds are similar and you know their parents who have connections with your own. There are common family stories and memories that tie your hearts together for life. You love the same people and share a bond that doesn't weaken with time. You share the same grandma and grandpa. It's a special kinship.

Most cousins know you from childhood and watched you grow up and mature. You can't fool them; they know where you come from and where you're headed. They know what's behind you and what's before you. Time passes and the age differences don't matter anymore. Although you didn't play together in their parents' awesome playhouse, you remember it as if you could have.

It's sad when you lose touch with some cousins but it is such a blessing to keep the attachment with those you can. It takes effort and love and time to strengthen the bond. A handwritten letter, a quick email, a tag on a Facebook page or a phone call is all it takes. I'm so glad my grandchildren are growing up knowing each other and caring about their cousins. Families are a blessing.

"Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole family" (Acts 16:32-34 NIV).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Remembering an Anniversary

Today would have been my parents 82nd anniversary. It doesn't seem possible that they have been gone so long but in other ways it seems like I've been missing them forever. My parents had a good marriage and they loved each other dearly. Their sense of humor got them through the tough times and their faith led them through a lifetime.

Mom and Dad sort of eloped with their parents' help. As I remember it they drove to Newton and got married with Grandpa and Grandma Springer as witnesses. They didn't tell anyone else and they continued to fulfill other commitments - singing in a program that evening. Daddy sang a song to Mama that kind of revealed their secret to the rest of the group. I remember they got chivereed, (I don't know how to spell it but friends came to their house after dark and made lots of noise to welcome them into married life). I remember Mama saying they had to give everyone a candy bar.

We had many anniversary celebrations for them over the years and they enjoyed reminiscing about their wedding day and their life together. They celebrated 65 years together in a wonderful garden party with many friends and relatives. It was a wonderful day of celebration. They quietly celebrated 66 years together and Mama died the following September. What a blessing their marriage was to others as an example of trust, commitment and love.

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure" (Hebrews 13:4a NIV).

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Precious Eyesight

"The eye is the lamp of the body, If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness" ( Matthew 6:22-23 NIV).

There may be no other thing that we take more for granted than our eyesight. It is when it begins to fail us that we  realize just how precious that gift of sight truly is. I have inherited eye issues from both of my parents - glaucoma and cataracts run in my family line. That is a good thing these days because there are preventative measures that can be used to prevent many serious eye problems.

When I was a child I thought wearing glasses was special because I didn't need them. I was about forty before I needed my first pair of reading glasses. My sight seemed to spiral downward quickly after that, perhaps because my job required so much computer reading. Now I need glasses to read anything and have a correction on my distance sight as well.

God gave us eyes to see and teaches us how important our eyes are to our lives. They help reveal the darkness around us and allow us to see clearly with His light. One psalmist stresses the need for us to open our eyes to the teachings in the law because they help us stay on the straight and narrow pathway to God. Thank you God, for our eyes that reveal the truth around us.

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law" (Psalm 119:18 NIV).

Monday, June 1, 2015


I'm a morning person. I've always been most productive in the early mornings. I write my blogs in the morning. I start my chores in the morning. I used to walk in the very early mornings. I would go to work early when I had extra work that needed to be completed. It's calm in the morning. It is quiet in the morning. The birds sing their sweetest songs in the morning. The sheep are calm and restful in the morning.

"Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5 NIV).

There is nothing better than awakening early enough to catch the sunrise; God's morning masterpiece in full color. It is a fresh, new day to enjoy with a clear perspective on the world. A clean slate, a new page, an unused day filled with hours, minutes, and seconds, unlike any other. Carpe diem, seize the day, and use it to glorify the Lord.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." (Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV).