* Miscellanous Stuff

Sticky Note From God

“Backup.” For the past week or two every time I opened my laptop I would see the now bent and ruffled orange sticky note that simply read, “Backup.” I put it there to remind me.  Each time I sat down to study or read emails or peruse through Facebook, that sticky note was glanced at, unheeded and then quickly forgotten.  Although I had set the reminder there for me to take action, it soon became familiar. So familiar that I really didn’t give it much notice anymore.

As I took the sticky note off yesterday (AFTER I finally backed up the computer) I felt Holy Spirit nudge me that at times I treat others the same, (OUCH!)  and Him as well (DOUBLE, “Ouch!”)  We do that, don’t we?  We take less notice or tend to overlook what is right in front of us because it’s something we always see.  Oh, we take for granted the familiar!  Paul writes to the folks in Galatia, “Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone…” (Galatians 6:10 NLT)  How can we do good when we don’t see them – we are looking over their heads at something or someone else?  (Well, we shot that opportunity right out of the sky).

May we SEE and heed the sticky notes of God, right in front of us.  Our family, friends, and the pile of stuff we are tripping over.

Right in front of us.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

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A Day I Can Forgo

It’s here, THAT season, it’s already in stores. Halloween.  Stores have freshly stocked shelves with 30% off ticketed items by the rows. Tons of stuff! Okay, I am not fully certain of the weighted measurements, but there’s lots of ‘blackness.’  Black cats, witch hats, spiders, eerie tombstones and yes, the ever dreaded skulls.   I LOVE the fall, it is my favorite season, the colors are so rich, I decorate seasonally my home with the warm orange, burgundy and brown tones, (my mantle pictured above) but Halloween does not roll this gals socks.

I am often asked why I have chosen not to celebrate Halloween, why I don’t find it ‘all in fun.’  What is fun about it – the basic theme is of fear, death, and witchcraft, um… no, not for me. Before I get all kinds of comments, emails, texts, and smoke signals, please let me explain, why (for me) I chose not to.   My family used to do the Halloween thing when I was little, sure I wore the thin fabric climb in costumes with the sweaty plastic masks.  But, after I came to understand and was adopted as a daughter of the Most High God, learning of His Majesty and His glorious light, I do not participate in the day of darkness. Yes, you would say darkness and light struggle 365 days a year, why be bothered by one day, one-singled-out-day.  A day I can forgo.

For the life of me, I cannot understand WHY someone would voluntarily, even cheerfully submit themselves to haunted houses and ghost hunts.  All in fun?  No, not for this gal.  I have seen and experienced too much from the dark side to play with it like a child’s toy or pretend in dress up.  While the ‘all in fun’ is masked with candy, parties, costumes, and laughter, in the background when no one seems to notice, there are cultic activities taking place.  The number of self-identified witches in the U.S. is doubling every 2 years, those deeply into the occult take this holiday very seriously and yes, the dark forces they are dealing with are very real!  (* See the history of Halloween below)

Paul wrote, “Hate evil and cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)  Is it God-honoring if we are clinging to good, while we cheerfully allow evil to run rampant around our feet?  That running around could soon become a snare.  Sadly, there are many who ‘all in fun’ participate in seemingly innocent activities, when ‘our great enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8)  We need to remember darkness ALWAYS has an agenda!  Always.  It will come again and again for any crack, any opportunity to subtly peek in with the ugly and demonic.  If not addressed, it will crawl in, slither about quietly.  If we think it will stand up in the middle of the room and wave “Here I am!” then we are only fooling ourselves.

According to Wiccans, Halloween is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is considered to be the thinnest, they celebrate and take advantage of such status.  And by the way, (standing a lil taller on my soapbox) there is no such thing as a ‘Good Witch’ regardless of how Hallmark wants to title it.  Adding one more (not in detail) note. For satanists, Halloween is one of the most important celebrations of the year, it is documented in their ‘book’ that after one’s own birthday and another icky day, Halloween is most important. I chose not to give detail on this subject, satan (lil ‘s’) is not worthy of my time or to have his name capitalized or in print.

Gently climbing down off my soapbox (as not to hurt myself) and dragging it back to the corner.  You are loved.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

*History of Halloween: “Halloween’s customs are thought to have been influenced and dated back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities, this done in attempts to appease them. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.” [History.com] In addition, other articles speak of folklore that costumes were worn so as to disguise the living, so the dead returning could not identify them. Also, the bonfires were built with the intent to keep the souls of the dead from falling to earth.


The Pause of YOU!

This morning, on my drive to take my son to work, while his ‘67 Mustang looks GREAT, nicely parked waiting for a new engine,  he is successfully deposited and I sit quietly on my way back home.  There is no music, no radio, and no deep-toned voice reading to me the book of Hebrews.  While the car was quiet, I too sensed a ‘quieting’ coming over me.  As the quiet caught my attention, I began to thank the Lord – I KNEW it was Him. To be very frank, my mind is usually firing in multiple directions.  (SQUIRREL!) But not today.  Quiet.  There was Presence. There was peace. It is amazing how God knows what and when we need to experience Him – His acceptance, comforting, renewing, and refreshing.  This verse came to mind:

The LORD your God is with you,

 He is mighty to save;

He will take great delight in you;

He will quiet you with His love;

He will rejoice over you with singing.”

 – Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV, emphasis mine)

To put this verse in context, in Zephaniah’s day, the Lord had brought judgment for the sins of the people, He speaks of lifting His hand on those who come humbly and trust in the name of the Lord, now He is rejoicing and He is restoring.  He is now comforting, renewing, and refreshing.  You can almost hear the tender whisper: “He will quiet you with His love.”  How many of us can use some renewing – some quieting?  Perhaps we need to stop trying to fill the quiet, turn the noise off.  Perhaps the quiet is our God trying to get our attention.  His Presence, His peace. Do whatever it takes to not miss it, miss Him.

Thank you, Lord, for the pause of YOU!  For being a ‘with you’ God, and because You love us, You quiet us.

Happy Friday.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 


Desert Declaring

Desert, the short definition is ‘a barren region of landscape.’  How is our landscape, metaphorically and spiritually speaking?  Are we parched, drying up and quite weary from trekking through the rugged terrain? Recently on one of my many rabbit trails, I was taken to Luke chapter 4.  Here Jesus is lead by the Spirit out into the desert place.  The desert place. He encounters the devil, where he tempts the Divine with some pretty cool stuff (not that they were his to give mind you) Jesus’ response, ‘It is written…” In these 3 responses, Jesus reaches back and quotes Moses from Deuteronomy, (6:13,16 & 8:3).  “Man does not live on bread alone… worship the Lord your God and serve Him only … do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  Here’s the cool part, this whole ‘God talks – man receives’ – where did it happen as Moses speaks?  In the desert place.

Seeing a pattern?  Oh, we don’t have to go out running towards the dryest region we can find to hear God, and be strong, but there is a significant desert purpose!  The desert offers a lack of distractions. (Use it!)  It offers true, genuine desperate need for survival. (Long for it. Long for HIM!) That desert is designed.  (Accept it!) It is instruction time, just before time.  Remember Moses and the Israelites, Deuteronomy was just before; Moses last words just before he dies and just before Joshua takes them into the Promised Land.  Instruction time – just before. (Listen for it!)

Be encouraged folks, there IS a purpose,  listen for the words of instruction like Moses, and declare the word like Jesus.

The desert place.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


WAIT! Don’t Jump Ship Yet!

Waiting. Isn’t it HOARDS of fun? Yes, that is a rhetorical – sarcastic question. Nothing floats my boat, rolls my socks, more than … waiting. I am kidding, of course, whether it be in a checkout stand, gas line, or in a season of life, I am not a good wait-er.

Recently studying in Genesis, (LOVE that book, I always seem to be in Genesis) I was again reminded of just how ‘human’ the characters are. Noah. Quickly setting the scene: God is grieved over mans ‘ickiness‘.  He’s starting over. He instructs Noah to build the first Titanic; however, this one IS unsinkable. Noah obeys beyond the critical looks, and behind his back snickers. He builds the ark and gathers the animals. Loading up, God shuts the door and it begins to rain.

Forty days it rains. (Genesis 8)  FINALLY, the rain stops. Noah sends out the raven, then the dove, they both return because there is no place to land yet. Verse 10 “He WAITED seven more days …” (emphasis mine) Noah waited. In the Hebrew, this waiting is a painful waiting, as to wring the hands, not a mere sitting on a crate playing cards passing the time. It refers to either pain in the physical sense or in the emotional. Noah and his family in the ark, God preserves them, now he (they) … wait.  Perhaps Noah’s thought bend towards, had God forgotten him? Will he forever spend the rest of his life in a stinky ship full of animals?  “How many rounds of ‘Row row row your boat’ do they HAVE to sing, those silly sons!”   I must mention, Mrs. Noah, what a trooper, not one mention of complaining – in contrast to the dusty folks in the wilderness. Think about it, she’s on a voyage of no destination, no itinerary, with no time of arrival determined, with plenty of animals and animal stuff.  No complaints.

BUT, the story, the waiting does NOT stop there. Noah sent out the dove AGAIN, that evening the dove returned with an olive branch, “Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but THIS TIME it did not return to him.”  (8:11-12)

Noah waited and waited some more. We read that and think … ‘the guy is getting good at waiting.’ YET, his waiting has changed, the narrative uses a completely different word for wait. First he ‘hil’ (Hebrew) ‘painful waiting’, now after the olive branch, he sends the dove out with hope, ‘yahal’ (Hebrew) a confident expectation in his wait.  His pain has turned to hope. The results of his hope … “but this time it did not return to him,” knowing the dove had landed happily in an olive tree somewhere. I LOVE the ‘this time’ of waiting, the ‘this time’ of God.

Hope – it will carry us a long way, as long as it doesn’t carry us in the wrong direction. “Hope is NOT a pacifying wish of the imagination which drowns out troubles….” * Folks, whether we are in a season of painfully waiting, or our waiting is full of hope, don’t jump ship yet!  Keep sending those doves, perhaps God is in the ‘more.’  Take heart, God is just preparing us a dry place, His timing … perfect. Look for those olive branches, they will be there.  Our ‘this time’  … is coming!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” –Hebrews 10:24)

* Quote from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (LOVE those geeky books!)


Don’t Back Down

Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd were leaving Jericho. A blind beggar named Bart (Bartimaeus) was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Dude Be quiet!” The people yelled at him. But this only got him more excited, he shouted even louder, “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!” When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man.  What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  The blind man said, “I want to see!”  (Mark 10:46-51)

I love the quotes of Jesus, this is one of my favorite. Blind Bart, works his way to Jesus, VERY apparent he lacks the ability to see, Jesus being God … KNEW! Yet, Jesus asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” When the people tried to hush Bart, would he quiet himself? NO, he was desperate! Bart initiated the ‘ask’, would he follow through? How often do we ask, yet not follow through for a boatload of reasons? Are we desperate enough? Jesus wants us to come to the place that we tell Him. Notice too, that when Jesus asked, Bart’s response was NOT full of excuses or explanation, “Well, when I was 10, I was in a scuffle with my brother, I fell, my head injury resulted in my blindness, actually I am sure my brother pushed me. We haven’t spoken since. I have sought help from the doctors for years, but to no avail, it did not help. I am still blind, so here I sit every day waiting…”

He simply stated, “I want to see!”

May we too, in Jesus’ presence, not shy away, don’t back down, stay desperate, get straight to the point and ask of Him.

What happen to Bart? Jesus healed him.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)


How We Impact Others!

Recently my friend Deanna and I were visiting a classmate from our growing up years.  We toured the blueberry fields with fascination as Beth points out the different varieties. Rows, and rows of lush green and blue.  Soon, we drive up to the farmhouse, when out steps Beth’s mom, Esther.  Full of a hospitable smile, she waves us into the house.

Once in, as introductions were made, and our conversation comfortable, I asked Esther what church she attended in the small farming community I grew up in. “The church across from the Grade School.”  Her response brought back memories I hadn’t thought about in years.  Memories of being handed a small red book, and reading the cover ‘New Testament’ and knowing nothing of God, or the Bible, I honestly thought the ‘New’ meant it has just come out and that ‘I’ was privileged to even have a copy.   I went on to tell her, that when I was little, we used to have ladies walk over from that church and get a small group of us and walk us back to the church and teach us about Jesus.  Her next words have forever changed my life – “THAT was me!”

At that moment, my eyes welled up; I walked across the room, enfolded her in a warm hug and told her “Thank you!”  She asked me, “Do you love Jesus?”  With heartfelt enthusiasm “Oh yes!” I replied.   Beth proceeded to tell her, “Mom, DeDe is an ordained minister now.” I shared that it wasn’t until about eight years later, when I was 16, that I was again shared the gospel and gave my heart to Jesus, I went on to Bible college and now after years of study, a Bible teacher.  Esther was so thrilled; she could not wait to share this at ‘testimony night’ at church.  I would have loved to have been in the grandstands with the angels when Esther rose to tell her story!

Esther sharing flannel graph stories about Jesus to a group of school kids seems so trivial, but OH NO it isn’t! She planted a seed that laid there until years later when Brenda, another woman of God sat me down and shared the gospel in terms a teenager could understand.  That action and those words caused the Esther seed to come alive!  The Holy Spirit watered it, it sprouted and gave new born-again birth to a confused and hurting 16-year-old.  God is AMAZING!

Never EVER doubt how we impact others! Regardless! Regardless of how small and trivial it may appear.  Solomon wrote: “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person.” (Proverbs 3:27 MSG) Paul says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) Thank you, Esther, for being obedient and being God’s hands and looking to the interest of those lil kids, THIS now grown gal is head over heels in love with Jesus and teaches HIM to others.  I am so thankful God orchestrated Esther and I meeting after 45+ years, our faith is encouraged, our faith is grown!  Be someones Esther!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Note: I looked up what the colored coded lil Gideon Bibles mean: Red, in-school distribution. Green, for college/university. Orange, street evangelism. White, medical use. Dark blue, any other language other than English.  (Thank you Gideon’s!)  I am still in awe that I am privileged to own, and now teach the Bible!