Friday, August 28, 2009
Another thing we need to try to remember when we are faced with temptation is whether or not we want to live our lives for God completely and receive the blessings He will give us for doing so, or do we want to live for our ownselves. Well, being human, we want to live for our own selves. I know I often do. I struggle with my attitude at home! And I have try to remember to be the way God would want me to be - and it's really hard for me. My attitude at home is my temptation and it's not easy.
But, God says He has made a way for us to overcome temptation. That is, of course, through Jesus - keeping our eyes fixed on Him and not straying off to the left or to the right. The Bible says that God will not allow temptations to come to us if we are not strong enough to overcome them. Therefore, through Jesus' power, YOU DO have the ability to resist your temptation, although it will be very hard. Temptations do not come from God, so where, then, do they come from? Satan. Satan puts them before us. But, God is there to get us through.
There is a promise that if we overcome our temptations, we will recieve a Crown of Life when we get to heaven. What will happen is later - after judgement day - we will give the crowns we have earned to Jesus. So, then we have to ask ourselves, how many crowns do we want to give to him on that day? How many opportunities to earn crowns (there are others we can earn) will we let pass? How will we feel if we had opportunity to earn a crown and passed it up? And there we are looking at Jesus, face to face, and we have to tell him that we could've given him more crowns, but we decided we wanted to live our own way instead.
Read Romans 8
Titus 2:11-12 (New International Version)
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,
Romans 8:12-13 (Amplified Bible)
12So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.
13For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.
Proverbs 25:28 (The Message)
28 A person without self-control
is like a house with its doors and windows knocked out.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)
13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.
James 1:12-14 (English Standard Version)
12(A) Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive(B) the crown of life,(C) which God has promised to those who love him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
James 1:12 : James 5:11; Matt 10:22; 1 Pet 3:14; Dan 12:12
James 1:12 : Rev 2:10; 3:11; 1 Cor 9:25; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 5:4
James 1:12 : James 2:5
I hear the rain puttering on the tree leaves as it hits each leaf causing them to frolic and dance up and down.
I smell the grey mud from the river - and fish - mixed with the fresh crisp scent of new rain.
I see dark, fluffy grey clouds mixed with lighter grey clouds that have brilliant spots of sun fighting to shine through. I see a patch of blue being covered by the clouds. I see light wind being carried from tree to tree making the leaves wave up and down to the wet drops falling from the grey clouds above.
I hear a radio in the distance, unable to determine the tune. I hear more thunder - louder, closer now. I hear a neighbor puttering around in his garage causing tinker noises to cross the path. A car alarm goes off down the street - and suddenly stops as quickly as it had started.
I feel the humidity stick to my skin like glue and the itchy little nips of mosquitoes bites telling me it's time to go inside.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In the past, when I've loaded my dishwasher, I would often wonder if I was "overly organized", if there is such a thing. When I load my eating utensils in the dishwasher, I put all the forks in one slot, all the spoons in another slot and all the knives in an even different slot. I have all the utensils facing downward so that when I unload, I do not touch the part of the utensil that goes into your mouth. As I unload, everything is organized and I just have to pull out the spoons, etc. and place them in their proper slot int the kitchen drawer.
Well, today I unloaded the dishwasher that my husband so lovingly loaded for me and I realized that I am not overly organized and I will never feel guilty about that again.
He had the spoons, forks and knives going every direction and all mixed together in every slot. As I would pull the utensils out, I would have to untangle forks entwined together. I would have to turn utensils around, piece by piece, so that I did not touch the part that goes into your mouth. The sorting and organization probably took me about three times longer than usual - no exaggeration.
I feel wiser this morning and a little proud of myself for being so organized with loading my dishwasher.
As Immanuel Kent once said, "Wisdom is organized life."
Saturday, July 18, 2009
So, we left early and rode the Jamestown/Scotland Ferry across the James River to Surry county and followed the road to the Chippoke Plantation State Park where the festival was taking place. As we entered the park and drove down the long road lined with loblolly (mudhole) pines, we entered the historic plantation area, was directed to parking in the fields, parked our car in the tall grass and headed towards the live country music. We weren't sure where we were going or what we were going to see, but we knew the music would lead the way.
The first thing we came upon was a long row of antique cars, trucks and tractors lined up under the shade of the tall cypress trees. We saw all sorts of Model A's, old Cadillacs, Chevys, Fords - some shining like the top of the Chrysler building and some as rusty as an old crabpot at the bottom of the river. We didn't care - we enjoyed them all.
Then we started coming upon some crafter's tents - ironworks, jewelry, clothing, wooden lawn furniture - if it could be handmade, it was there. And then we started coming to the smells. The music had led us to these wonderful smells - hot barbecue pits with roasted pig, huge kettles popping corn, funnel cakes, peanut pies and all sorts of other wonderful smells amid that live country gospel band.
The air was hot and humid, the sky was cloudy and overcast causing us wonder as to whether or not it would rain, as predicted, but those wonderful savory smells kept there until our appetite's could stand it no more.
While we waited for our lunchtime (which we ended up eating earlier than usual), we traipsed around the plantation grounds looking at all the wares. People would stop us and want to talk with us about our chiweenie dog.
We met a lady visiting from southern Arizona. She had once lived in Virginia Beach and then lived in Florida for awhile. She had the accent for it. But, she enjoyed Arizona and volunteered at one of the state parks out there. She had a dachshund at home waiting for her to return. And when she saw our dog, she just had to pet it because it reminded her of her own.
Then we had a couple come up inquiring as to the type of our dog. They could see the dachshund, but knew it wasn't full-blooded. I couldn't tell about the couple either. I wasn't sure if it was two women or a young man and an older woman. But, anyway, they enjoyed talking about the dog.
It started to get rather sultry in the humidity (the plantation is right on the James River), and we were getting hungry. My husband went back to the car to get our bag chairs while the dog and I waited under the shade tent. When he returned, we set the chairs up and then decided which vendor to go to for our food. We both wanted a barbecue sandwich and I wanted peanut pie. So, we found a vendor that sold both and trekked on over that way. We sat under the shade tent and listened to the country gospel band while we ate.
About the time we finished, the antique cars were getting ready for their parade. We decided not to stay for the parade, as it was getting very humid. So, we followed the lined up antique cars back to our parking lot and saw the parade that way. As we passed the old vehicles, the drivers all looked so hot and tired as they sat in their unairconditioned cars patiently waiting for the parade to begin. Someone in an apple red brightly shining Ford Model A pick up stopped us so they could look closer at our dog.
We enjoyed the food, the music, the vendors and the cars, but I wonder if we would have had as good a time if we had not taken our dog. I mean, we would never have had our interesting talk with the Arizona visitor or met the Odd Couple and a few others that stopped us to chat along the way.
If you've never been to the Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival I recommend going at least once. There's all sorts of things for all ages - especially families. Check out their website - and take your dog.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
As I'm cleaning my kitchen and dusting my living room, I listen to CNN television broadcasting the memorial of Michael Jackson. The thoughts, memories and banners on the show lead me to the Internet where I go to Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Blogger and other websites where the world is mourning his sudden death or celebrating his music and his life.
I see the funeral procession traveling from Forest Lawn Cemetery to The Staples Center. I see traffic on a road parallel to the procession riding along beside the hearse carrying MJ's still body. I see a school bus on that parallel road and realize that no matter how famous you are, no matter how rich you are, no matter who you are, oblivious to our pain life goes on. And life can be so unexpectedly short.
I think about how MJ's songs might have influenced my life and wonder if they really did. Then, I remember eras in my life by the songs I hear him sing. “Thriller”came out when I was a stay at home mom with my children and leaves me with good thoughts and feelings of having my children at home with me. Songs he sang with The Jackson 5 bring back high school memories and all those feelings we battle during our adolescent years. I remember I loved roller skating with Richard while he held my hands and skated backwards as we floated together around the floor to “I'll Be There”. Richard could really skate well!
Then, I hear of a song mentioned I had not heard of - “Childhood”. I went to YouTube to listen to the words. And I realized the pain, the lack of love he sensed, the anguish this man suffered in his life. And in all of this, it seemed, from what I gathered, all he wanted to do was give love – something he felt he lacked somehow in his life.
Earlier this week, I've seen rerun documentaries and interviews with him and it makes me wonder did anyone really ever know who he truly was? Did he even know himself? Was he ever able to really get close to someone?
I wondered if all the rumors and accusations were true. I realized how dysfunctional he appeared and wondered if it was for show. I can't judge this man. I try not to be judgmental of others. I've been misjudged by others so many times myself, I hate to do the same to someone else. Yet, at the same time, my mind wonders if the rumors were true. But, I keep in mind that we are innocent until proven guilty.
And then I try to put myself in his place. If I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I be afraid to get close to others? Would they love my money, my fame or me? If I had more money than I could ever imagine and I had been severely deprived of childhood rights, would I make up for that if opportunity allowed me? If, during my adolescence, I was constantly in front of the public and important role figures in my life made fun of my face and people in crowds made comments about my skin, and I had more money than I could ever imagine, would I change my face in order to be accepted and loved by others? Who knows? Who knows what caused the eccentricities of Michael Jackson? He lived in such an eccentric world. Who of us could even begin to identify with his life? So how can I judge? And as the pastor stated in his benediction, the King of Pop now bows his knees to the Kings of Kings.
As I watch the pall bearers carry his brilliantly shining floral covered casket down the aisle on my television screen, the crowd cheers for this gifted entertainer. In between speakers, the crowd calls out, “Michael! Michael!” As if, for one last time, he can hear their love and admiration. Wouldn't he have loved his final show?
Several memorial speakers state that Michael Jackson was the greatest entertainer that ever lived and each time the crowd cheers. There are a lot of musicians I have loved and enjoyed, and as I watch him on the screen with his feet sliding, his hips rocking, his jacket and glove shining in the spotlight, I tend to agree with the speakers. Michael Jackson was a brilliant talent in our world and we were lucky to have his influence in our lives.
Michael, we love you more.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The interview continued. Again, distracting my attention, I felt the discomfort of my skirt around my knees. And, again, I tried, with extra caution this time, to discreetly adjust my skirt while looking straight into the face of this strange man's face - the one who held my fate in his hands.
I walked back to my car and thanked God for the interview. Even though I had lost my slip in the reception of a distingquished boarding school, I could feel God's presence with me the whole time. All I could do now was go home and wait.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As the sonogram technician was scanning my breast, I wastrying to hold back tears, but one slowly fell down my cheek as I lay there staring at the ceiling. I told her that it was the not knowing that was making me nervous. She assured me that I would know the results before I left. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad.
She left the room to show the doctor the scan results, and while she was out of the room, I tried to stop the tears from flowing down my face. I didn't want her to come back in and know that I was scared - scared for my life, and for the lives of my family. Because, as I lay there, I realized then and there that cancer doesn't just affect the patient, it affects a family. A short time later, she came back in and told me that the doctor didn't need to see me, that everything was fine, and I was free to go home.
As I quickly and bravely walked to my car, I let the tears flow, and I thanked God that I was okay. I was free and I was blessed.
When I got home, I called my daughters and told them. One of them said she was glad for me and that was all that she said. It was then that I realiezed that she was just like I had been a couple of weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I hadn't even thought about cancer. Cancer happens to other people, not me, not my family. But what my daughter didn't realize is that she was glad for us, for our family, because if I had been diagnosed with cancer, it wouldn't have affected just me, it would have affected the whole family.
I hung up the telephone and cried again. This time, because I was happy for us - our family. Because we are a wonderful family made up of wonderful people. I'm lucky I belong to them, and that I can belong with them a bit longer. They mean the world to me!