Whether we are speaking of being a free citizen of the United States of America, or being free from the wages of sin, someone paid the price for our freedom.
If one person tries to silence the thoughts and convictions of another, they have instantly nullified freedom on both ends. To ask another person to abandon their personal belief system and their moral compass because they are not popular or make one person (or group) is self defeating. To force one person to abandon their personal convictions in order to serve the desires of another is the beginning of the end of freedom.
Let us not take lightly the price that was paid in blood by those who loved us and our nation enough to risk and/or lay down their lives for us. Let us never forget the sacrifice that Christ made for us that we could be free from sin.
Thank you, FATHER GOD, that we can be free because of Your great love for us and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us.
Thank you VETERANS for loving your country and cherishing this nation’s freedoms enough to risk your lives in order to assure our freedom.
I recently discovered the poem below and love the message. Sometimes we follow a bizarre and winding path only because it is there, without knowing WHY or HOW or WHO created it in the first place.
- Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)
One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.
There are times in all of our lives where we feel like we are doing pretty well and sometimes we feel like the frog waiting to turn into the prince or princess we were meant to be.
When we are having a particularly tough time it is easy to imagine that other people’s lives are easier than our own or maybe even feel like God loves them better than He loves us.
I once heard that someone said about me, “She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth.” I was flabbergasted. I come from an average family, and my life has been riddled with difficulties to overcome. Where was that person when I was working three part time jobs, taking college classes, and trying to take care of an infant son?
That was only one stage of my life. I have also been incredibly blessed. If I dwelt on what I don’t have, I would miss recognizing what I do have. My life is still filled with challenges and difficulties, but it is a blessed life.
There was a season when I, like so many others, could not understand why some people seem to have so much while others of us seem to do without so many things. However, I passionately embrace this truth. “My God shall supply all of my NEEDS according to His riches in glory.” God never runs out of enough blessings for everyone.
It doesn’t matter who gets to be prince or princess. It doesn’t matter who gets to live out the greatest love story, or become rich and famous. MY BLESSINGS from God are totally independent of every other person. In God’s storehouse, there is enough for Him to bless all others and still have enough to bless me abundantly.
Let us never give in to jealousy. If our trust is in God, He is all we will ever need. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, ” And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
I’ve always known that. I may not be rich in $$$, but I am certainly wealthy in relationships and friends in particular.
I’ve learned over the years that people who come into our lives are often only passing through. If we try to keep the ones who were not meant to stay, it only brings heartache to them, to us, or both. I’ve adopted the mindset and the prayer, “Lord, bring into my life people who are put there by your purpose. Bless our time together and help us to learn and grow from the time we spend together. When Your purpose is fulfilled and our paths no longer coincide, help me to release them into your love and care, and then move on.”
I have spent a lot of time grieving over people who chose not to stay in my life. I’m finished with that. Instead, I choose to celebrate the ones who do and try to keep my heart open to make room for new friends.
The Bible promises in Proverbs 27:17 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful.”
A true friend is a great gift. I don’t want a bunch of flatterers in my life, or backbiters. I want people who challenge me, believe the best in me, and hold me to account when I need it. A true friend will not be afraid to love us, share their hearts with us, and tell us the truth when we need to hear it even when it might be something we don’t want to hear. Sometimes we might “rub” each other in an uncomfortable honesty, but that is one of the many benefits of true friends – As iron sharpens iron… We become stronger, sharper, better because of the contact. We encourage each other in our faith, celebrate our victories, and mourn our losses. We grow because of each other.
Children process information with such a sweet innocence, it’s hard to guess what they are going to do or say next. I have an eighteen month old granddaughter and a three year old grandson. They are both in awe of the Christmas season, Santa, and Elf on the Shelf (which they have named Jinx). They are in awe of the Christmas season and all that it entails. The Grinch, Polar Express, Rudolph, and all the rest are flooding into their little brains. I can’t help be concerned about the true meaning of Christmas getting crowded out.
A few days ago I was tucking my grandson in and he got my face in both hands and said, “Gran, are you an angel?” What a notion! “No, I’m not an angel, but God is my really good friend, and I am His friend.: This seemed to satisfy him very well. He is quite “friend” conscious right now.
I told him we could talk to God any time we wanted and God would always hear our prayers. It was quite an amazing thing to him. He wanted to pray… three times. He told God about all of the Christmas festivities at school, his friends, and so on. After the third time he said, “Gran, I don’t think He’s listening. I’m talking to Him, but he isn’t talking to me. I can’t hear Him.”
I assured Him that most of the time God listens and lets us say what is in our heart to Him, but when He has something special to tell us, we will hear Him when He speaks to us.
Isn’t that like an adult? We talk and talk and talk to God, but the instant we are finished, if we don’t get an immediate response, we think He isn’t listening.
The next night we had a party to attend at his mother’s family. There were lots of people I didn’t know and most I had only met briefly over the years. My grandson walked up in the middle of the chatter and said, “GRAN!” Everyone got silent because he looked like he had something very important to say. “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!” he said with all sincerity. I scooped him up in hugs and kisses. Never mind who else was there.
He was seeing me with his heart and THAT was the best Christmas present I could have ever hoped for from him.
In that same way, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to dwell among men, to speak the truth of God, and to see men’s hearts with love. HE is the best gift the world will ever know, and we can only see Him, truly see Him, with our hearts.
Merry Christmas to all!
I was sitting in church yesterday and had a momentary vision of people with insect shells on their back and chest over top of their clothes with a regular little human heads, arms, and legs. It was a crazy image until I realized that so many of us are wearing an exoskeleton, trying to protect ourselves from the hurtful things other people say and do to us in life. There is little protection in life from an exoskeleton. It doesn’t work in insects and it doesn’t work for us when a big enough predator comes along.
The photo above is from a locust, who shed its exoskeleton on my front porch. It is the perfect image of the locust, but such a thin and flimsy thing. If you’ve ever walked through the woods after a locust outbreak, their shed exoskeletons will be all over the ground and sound like walking on potato chips as they break apart beneath your feet.
We are to put on the whole armor of God.
Our human skin is very vulnerable as well as our human hearts. We are emotionally vulnerable. Our hearts are easily wounded and usually wounded most by those closest to us. But the Bible offers a covering that will protect us and help us deflect the fiery darts of the enemy.
Ephesians 6:11-18King James Version (KJV)
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” – Robert Browning
One of the sweetest things I saw on my trip to Scotland was the way elderly couples walked down the street holding hands. My mom and dad still do that at age 83 and 81. I love seeing elderly couples who are still in love.
Some don’t get to experience this because of singleness, widowhood, or divorce. I’ve been single for a very long time. I’ve been busy in my single years, but there is part of me that still longs for God to send a precious man into my life to be my friend, my companion, my love and let us grow old together side by side.
Billy Graham and his wife have been a good example of growing old together. This is what he says about aging. “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice. Growing older with grace is possible for all who will set their hearts and minds on the Giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you are growing old with someone you love, please know that you are truly blessed.
How time flies! Today is my birthday and I can hardly believe I’m this age. I blinked, it seems, and decades vanished. It has been a good year, although there is always a balance of happy and sad, good and bad, challenges and victories. It is the beginning of a new phase in my life and I can’t wait to see what God has in store in the next few years of my life.
I am thankful to have had the life I was given. It hasn’t turned out the way I had hoped it would YET, but I’ve had plenty of wonderful people in my life through the years, great family, good friends, and interesting experiences.
Since I’m still here, I can only assume that God isn’t finished with me yet. What is my destiny? Why am I here in this time and this place? What business do I have yet undone?
I believe there are still adventures and opportunities ahead that will surprise me. Life has a way of doing that to us.
I have learned a few things in my years, but there is so much left to learn. I have loved many people, but there are many more to love.. I have tried to serve God with all of my heart since I was a child, but there is more of my heart to give and more ways I can serve. I have dreamed many dreams and had them come to pass, but I have probably never dreamed big enough. I have been judgmental at times, but never as tough on anyone else as I am on myself. I’ve had some successes, but I am daily reminded of my shortcomings. I am not rich in money, but I am rich in people.
I have tried to be good, but I know that my goodness is not what counts. As humans we are all flawed and imperfect creatures. We can never be good enough under our own efforts alone.
It is the goodness of God, His love, His mercy, His purpose, His design for my future, His paths that are most important to me in this life. At the end of my days, when no more birthdays are waiting for me on this side of heaven, I hope to hear God say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That new day, that birthday in eternity will be the best ever.
The light is fading now. I must away. The distant sound of bagpipes at play. To sleep I must away. It was early morning on 22 March, 2000. She died on an artist’s day. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. A sleep you shall have. A rest you must take and our parting shall be but a pause.
This tombstone was in a random graveyard along the way of our Celtic tour. I’m so glad I took a photo of it. Someone’s love clearly rested beneath. I loved the line, “Our parting shall be but a pause.”
My aunt, Elsie Hamlin Hensley, was laid to rest today at the age of 91. She was such a lovely person. She loved people, loved to cook and make people welcome, and loved to laugh. She had not been her true self for the last several years due to dementia and resided in a nursing home. Her hair still had some natural color and she had almost no wrinkles – EVER. But what I remember most was the sound of her voice and her laughter.
My mother’s family had 16 children, and my father’s 14. I have a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Through the years we have lost many, but I am always comforted by the belief that our parting is only temporary. I plan to spend eternity with them in heaven.
First of all, I must run my own race, finish my course, and fulfill my purpose and destiny on this planet before I get my promotion from this life to the next. It seems that time accelerates with each passing year. We are pilgrims and strangers only passing through this life on our way to the next.
John 14:1 – 6 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”