Seasonal

Joseph

 

For many of us, this time of year our thoughts are drawn toward the most special event that has ever occurred in the history of our world. 

  • The scene…Bethlehem, the event…the birth of our Savior.
  • The One who was born in a humble stable and was the long anticipated Emmanuel.
  • What a name for those back then, and for each one of us today “GOD WITH US”

Songs, programs, plays, family celebrations have long focused on the familiar participants who appeared on the scene of this beloved, much repeated story.

  • We hear so frequently about His mother Mary.
  • The angles who announced the Baby’s birth.
  • The shepherds who hurriedly went to see the newborn Child.
  • And, later the Wise Men who came to honor this God/Man with precious gifts.

History and people honor the Mother of this Christ Child.

  • They speak of her youth, her purity, her dedication to God.
  • But, what of Joseph of Nazareth?
  • We must remember, he was chosen also for God’s purpose.
  • What kind of man was he?
  • What did he think?
  • More importantly: what did he feel, how strong was his faith, his trust?

I’ve often wonder about him as he watched these momentous events take place in and around his life.

  • I believe he would be a man of great faith with a kind heart.
  • A man full of love and tenderness.
  • He would be courageous, dedicated and protective of those he loved.
  • He wasn’t self absorbed or full of pride.
  • He would be a man of principle, but also a man of strength and action.
  • He would be a man who accepted things he didn’t understand.
  • He was a man of integrity.
  • All of these things and many others describe Joseph.

Jesus came into this world pure and sinless.

  • He lived a sinless life and went to the cross for you and me.
  • According to Scripture Joseph was never mentioned after Jesus reached the age of twelve.
  • It is thought that Joseph died long before Christ began His earthly ministry.

Our Savior was pure in every way.

  • I believe His adopted father Joseph lived a life before Him that was full of character.
  • He demonstrated the best of humanity.
  • Joseph taught Him the value of hard work with the scared hands of a carpenter.
  • But, also showed Him by example the value of a tender heart.
  • Joseph was both a teacher for, and a student of this baby, child, young man; that through a miracle of God entered his life.

Many times on this road of life as Joseph was; we are called upon through faith to accept situations we do not understand.

  • To go forward and be the best we can be.
  • Sometimes in the face of mockery and the rejection of others.
  • You and I have a responsibility to listen, accept, to focus ahead and teach others as Joseph did.
  • An angel from heaven does not come to comfort or lead us.
  • Today, we have the Word of God in our hands to accompany us through whatever path we are destined to follow.

From the beginning of time, God had a perfect plan which was fulfilled in Bethlehem and Jerusalem. 

  • The Babe in the manager that we and others celebrate this season; was brought into this world in a cattle barn by the worn, rough hands of Joseph.
  • Thirty-three years later this baby who grew to be a man, who fulfilled all Scripture; was taken off the cross after His death by the hands of another Joseph.

 

“I believe the Glory of Heaven is lying in my hands tonight” **

**  Joseph’s Lullaby from the Album The Christmas Sessions

      recorded by Mercy Me

 

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Encouragement

Read The Constructions

Today we are treasuring the life of a very unique little boy.

  • He was five years old this past Wednesday, but today is the BIG celebration of the GIFT of his arrival to a special family.
  • He has brought joy, laughter and so much fun to those who love him.
  • He was such a happy baby and is now a happy little boy.

Why is he so happy?

  • Because so many people love him.
  • Starting with Mom and Dad….adding Grandparents, Great-Grandparents, an Uncle and soon to be Aunt, a Great-Aunt, Second-Cousins, Friends and an adoring Little Sister.
  • The list could go on and on.
  • He is an infectious little man.

He is smart, clever, adventurous, tough and at the same time tender-hearted and affectionate.

  • He tackles life full force; there’s no such thing as holding back with him.
  • Whenever I think of him….I smile and chuckle to myself.
  • I don’t believe I’ll ever forget or cease to laugh at the first time I heard one of his word phrases: “Read The Constructions.”   

A couple of Christmas’s ago our family group had gathered around a table to play a board game.

  • It had been a year since we had all been together and had a great time learning a new game.
  • It was a crazy and silly game.
  • All of us laughed a lot as we enjoyed each others company.
  • There was a loud debate as we were trying to refresh our minds on the rules of said game.
  • None of us had the method of play quite right.
  • I was vocally remembering some rules of the game.
  • Suddenly, this precious toddler who had quite a vocabulary said: “Nana, Read The Constructions.”

That simple phrase has stayed with me since that day. 

  • It’s good advice to each one of us.
  • Life gets complicated.
  • The times in which we now live seem to be all about ME and I.
  • How many times do we hear these two words from our top leadership on down to our homes.
  • Do you ever think that maybe it’s time to get outside of ourselves and get back to the basics?

READ THE CONSTRUCTIONS is good advice for all of us.

  • Be a faithful friend to those who have a need, and expect nothing in return.
  • Every day do a good deed anonymously.
  • Keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart
  • Challenge yourself and try something new.
  • Forgive those who have angered or hurt you; make an effort to be of help to them.
  • Seek your passion.
  • Be kind to those who serve you whether in private or public places.
  • Practice good driving habits. In Texas we say: “Drive Friendly.”
  • Don’t be so quick to judge another individual. You don’t know what they are going through.
  • Stop and think before you rashly open your mouth.
  • If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.
  • Always be open to learning.
  • Do more than is expected of you.
  • Learn to accept yourself and like who you are.
  • Practice good manners…..say please and thank you.
  • Find your purpose in life. You will then feel fulfilled
  • Laugh a lot, especially at yourself.

Most of us as children learned the Golden Rule. 

  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Those few words define a life style that works for everyone.
  • The best Book of Constructions is Scripture.
  • Read it, practice it’s principles for they are the keys of life.

Life goes by fast. 

  • In this day and age it seems so hectic and full of stress.
  • People get impatient, irritated and sometimes discouraged.
  • Remember it isn’t only about you. In the words of a very smart now five year old…
  • “READ THE CONSTRUCTIONS.”

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding,

and that which is lost by not trying.”

(Anonymous)

    FYI: Today’s fortunate Birthday Boy is the son of “A Memorable Mom.”

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Life's Journey

Opportunities

 

This post may sound strange to some of you.

  • The circumstances of my life’s journey has found me to be alone quite a bit of the time.
  • There have been many highs and some lows.
  • People have come into and departed from my life.
  • Through it all I became an observer and a thinker.
  • Everything that happens to us in this life is a teaching experience; both for ourselves and others.

I have the habit of highlighting or saving some things that I read.

  • I also jot down notes and dates of anything that speaks to me.
  • Thus, you have the quotes that I use at the end of each post.
  • In this area, organization is not my greatest attribute.
  • There are too many notes and ideas of various sizes in several places.
  • But when I am attracted to a subject, I usually find what I need.

That brings us to “OPPORTUNITIES.”

  • The thoughts of this post were easy to find. I wrote them in the front of my Bible.
  • I was sitting in the choir (on a Sunday) listening to our pastor’s message.
  • Have no idea what he said, but whatever it was my mind was led down a specific path.
  • Before I lost my train of thought I quickly wrote them down.

PROBLEMS ARE NOT PROBLEMS, THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES.

They are opportunities to learn

They are opportunities to grow

They are opportunities to listen

They are opportunities for faith

They are opportunities to minister

WOW. Just now in typing these five lines, I have made a personal discovery.

  • It is time to divert from where this post was originally going.
  • I am once again confronted with my water shed experience on this road which we call life.

In the mountains of Colorado there is a specific altitude area which is called the Continental Divide.

  • In past years my husband, myself and our children have crossed over that Divide many times.
  • It is the point in the United States that determines whether ALL rain water will flow east to the Atlantic Ocean or west to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Everything rises to and flows down from that peak.
  • In short, it determines the water shed of the United States.
  • Most of my life I applied myself to grow toward what was my destiny.
  • Unexpectedly that peak was reached and everything has flowed downward from that time forward.

Without giving it much thought, I have just discovered these short phrases written down years ago “OPPORTUNITIES” are both the challenge and in many ways the basis of my life.

  • These quickly recorded ideas were written on February 22, 1987.
  • The next day February 23rd would be my husband’s and oldest daughter’s birthday.
  • Sixteen months later on June 23,1989 we buried our precious eldest child. WOW….when lest expected we are confronted with the thoughts and ideals of our lives.
  • WOW, WOW, WOW. Now, it was the appointed time for me to live out the words that I believed and shared with others.

THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN.

  • I learned God was real and His Word was true.
  • For myself He became a “Wonderful Counsellor” *(Isaiah 9:6).
  • He revealed Himself to me in an unusual and personal way.
  • I learned morning always comes after the darkest night.
  • I learned to stand more strongly on His promises.
  • l learned that the principles that were the foundation of my life must be lived out for others.
  • In short, “practice what you preach.”

THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW.

  • I had to become a big girl now. It was necessary for me to become the family rock.
  • In three weeks time our immediate family absorbed three blows.
  • My husband had just had major surgery and was still in a weakened condition.
  • Our middle child had just gotten out of a long stay in the hospital (trying to give birth to a seven months baby); was confined to home on an IV.
  • Our oldest had an automobile accident which took her life.
  • We quickly had to fly out of state to join our son-in-law and make funeral arrangements.

A week later when my family flew home, I stayed behind with our loved “son” to take care of a precious six months old baby boy; until this young husband and father, which we loved, could finish his job and move back into town where his parents would be able to help him with the baby.

Yesterday was gone and there was a new family dynamic that needed to be created. Had to let go of so many things in life that are unimportant. The things that we cling to both emotionally and physically. I now knew for sure that life is to be lived “one day at a time.” We never know what tomorrow will bring, so we must look for the best in each day. There was no choice but to go forward one step and one day at a time. That was imperative for me….for others were watching and following.

THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LISTEN.

  • Once back at home it was time to really start my journey through grief.
  • It seemed that I just couldn’t settle down and read anything; even my Bible, so…..I listen a lot; mostly to music.
  • Sometimes just the majestic music of the old masters.
  • At times the music of our day.
  • Music with beautiful instrumentals or maybe with words that were encouraging.
  • It might be secular or gospel music.
  • I listened to good teachers on the radio.
  • I heard men and women speak who had to travel difficult roads.
  • Most of the time I just listen to God. He was always there, especially in the silent times.
  • I love the scripture in the Old Testament where King David says: “I just came to sit before you Lord.”

THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAITH.

  • This was a unknown path. Above all else on this new journey, God must be honored.
  • My faith grew immensely. You see “I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death” and “His rod and staff had comforted me.”  *(Psalm 23:4).
  • There were many alone days when my heart would ache almost more that I could stand.
  • God was my refuge and help. I would go “boldly to the throne of grace to find help in my time of need.” *(Hebrews 4:16).
  • Many times I told God “I’m not going to look into the future and the experiences with my child that will never be, but with You I can do this TODAY.”
  • I’m so thankful that what they say are the many stages of grief, I skipped.
  • Acceptance was there at the beginning…..because of faith.

These next few words are for the skeptics and non-believers. Read them clearly and understand what they say: FAITH IS NOT A CRUTCH, IT IS STRENGTH. The way to be strong is to let go of yourself and choose to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” *(Titus 2:11)

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but, have everlasting life…For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved…He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” *(John 3:16-18)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift…not from works, so that no one can boast.” **(Ephesians 2:8-9)

I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” **(John 8:12)

“But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.” **(John 20:31)

“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” **(Acts 4:12)

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.” **(Romans 10:9-10)

“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” **(2 Peter 3:9)

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” *(John 10:10)

To those of you who do not believe this, I only ask one thing. Take time to think about what has been said and the Scriptures given. Basically, we are strangers, but you are in my thoughts and I am someone who cares about you and your life choices. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I don’t have all the answers, but have learned many things about what and Who is true.

THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO MINISTER.

  • Once you have traveled a difficult path you have been given the gift of guiding others who are at the beginning of the same road.
  • You go along side of them and whisper in their ear: “I made it through and you will too. Others have walked this same road and called back….the walk will get easier, the night will be gone, the tears will diminish, the sun will shine again, you will remember once more how to sing and laugh.”
  • But you must listen to this warning. You cannot comfort someone going through a painful experience with the words: “I know how you feel and what you are going through.” This statement can only be uttered by those who have truly had the experience.

Again, I say WOW. This post certainly and quickly led me in an unplanned direction. Absorb these words for they are life and truth. I leave you with the words from a book that comes to my thoughts frequently. They simply say:

“In acceptance lieth peace.”

(Hannah Hurnard)

 

“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.”  **(Nahum 1:7)

 

*King James Version

**Holman Christian Standard Version

 

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Encouragement, Life's Journey

Words

…..October 25 ,2014

 

Most of my life I have been a reader: novels, poetry, self-help books, newspapers, the Bible, etc. I love the beauty of words and the way they flow together. Some well known authors certainly have a talent for expression.

 

WORDS ARE POWERFUL

  • They paint a picture.
  • They take us to distant lands and different times.
  • They entertain us and sometimes they change our behavior.
  • They educate us and at times challenge us.
  • They make us laugh and they can make us sad.
  • They can lift us up or tear us down.

Scripture has much to say about words; especially in Proverbs and in the book of James.

 

There are two things in this world that devastate us: words and rejection.

  • In all honesty I believe that those two words probably form most of who we are.
  • You say, “no way” but a great deal of our lives are based on the outcome of what we have experienced from those two words.
  • Today our attention will be focused on Words only. Rejection will be addressed at a future time.

 

Recently I alluded to the home where I was raised. My parents, as we all are, were a product of the baggage that came from their backgrounds.

Their experiences manifested itself in words that more often than not tore down.

Too much of the time destructive words were hurled at each other.

During those times I was the appointed go-between. “Tell your mother this….tell your Father that.”

I was “little miss goody two shoes” who tried to do what I could to keep these explosions from happening.

When they happened, life was confusing and difficult. My heart was wounded for the first time at an early age.

 

I knew my parents loved me and cared for me. They taught me the necessary things we need in our lives.

  • To know what it is to work, to have good manners, to be helpful to those who are suffering.
  • They were good, honest people.
  • In their defense, it was a different time.
  • They were a product of the great depression.

I came to realize as I became an adult that they didn’t have the resources to help them that are available to us today. Counselors, preaching, books, helps on how to have a productive discussion, support from encouraging peers.

 

My younger sibling became a carbon copy of my parents, so I was outnumbered.

  • I became quiet, shy, undemanding (unlike my sibling), introverted and a book worm.
  • I learned to measure my words carefully.
  • I just wanted a peaceful home.

 

After 30 plus years of marriage, my parents finally divorced. Still when I went home the words were there, especially on my mother’s part.

  • I loved her dearly and still do. So much of what I am is owed to her.
  • In many ways she was an example to follow.
  • My strength and belief in myself came from her.
  • She sacrificed herself for others even when it was difficult for her.
  • She was a get it done type of person.
  • She had earned the respect of other people.
  • Her friends appreciated her.

 

When she died a neighbor commented (he meant it nicely) that she was one tough broad. She had to be, she was the only girl in a family that had seven boys.

I’ve often thought she should have been written about in the Readers Digest under the heading: The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met. That certainIy was my mother.

People didn’t forget her and she made an impression on many lives.  It means so much to me that my last words to her were “I love you Mama.”

 

But she also thought she was clever in the things she said in order to get her personal point across.

  • Anytime I visited home, there were new wounds and at times her words effected my children.
  • I knew she was speaking through her own disappointment, and brokenness, but that didn’t make me feel any better.

 

One time, when I was in my 30’s, myself and our three children went back home for a visit.

  • She still grieved over the divorce and at that specific time my sibling was avoiding her.
  • I tried to encourage her with the enjoyable things she could do with myself and her grandchildren.
  • She said to me: “I don’t have your daddy, I don’t have ?????, and I don’t want you.”

Even then, I knew she didn’t mean it, but those words are to this day embedded in my memory.

 

Previously, you were warned that sometimes this blog would be deeply personal.  

I do this for one reason….YOU.

Behind every face is a story. The things I have just shared with you are a part of my story and have helped to make me who I am.

The real truth of my story is that these things were necessary, in order that my life’s purpose might be fulfilled. It is a tool to be used, not locked away.

Each of you have your story. Many will be different from mine and some will be similar. There are others out there whose story is horrific and they run from it.

 

Whatever your story, you control how it ends. New beginnings are possible at any stage of life.

  • My prayer for you is that somehow through these words you will see that there is always hope, a new day and a different future.
  • Each one of us needs to learn and use our past experiences to help us grow. To obtain the best for ourselves and those whose lives we may effect.

 

All of us should be careful of the words we utter.

  • It’s so easy to let them fly out of our mouths. It takes a lot more courage to keep your mouth shut than it does to open it.
  • Always stop and think before you say anything. Once it’s out there, it cannot be called back.

 

Sometimes the price for words said or possibly not said is too high.

  • Build people up, don’t tear them down.
  • Words are free, but be careful how you spend them on others.

 

As you have determined by now, I believe it’s best to use words that encourage others and to think in a positive manner.

  • You’ll feel better about yourself and others will feel better around you.
  • It’s not hard to say something uplifting to someone you encounter during your day.

 

A couple of weeks ago I went to a deli counter that we use frequently.

  • For quite a while we have had difficulty getting an order sliced to our satisfaction.
  • Very politely, I told   the clerk about our (small) problem.
  • She took time to explain about the problem they were having with their equipment.
  • She then proceeded to do the best she could to accommodate my order in the best way possible.
  • When I picked up my purchase, I kindly said to her “I appreciate your attitude” and wished her a good day.
  • She replied back to me, “you made it better.”

It cost me nothing but a few words, but the results gave both of us satisfaction and a happier spirit.

 

Think about words which have been spoken to you that made your day better, or maybe encouraged you when it was needed. And, as they say, “pay it forward.”

Maybe you can reflect on the words of a song or songs that you love.  A favorite song brings pleasure to our day. They may even make our tasks easier to perform, make us smile or speak of a memory we treasure.

You might remember an author you enjoy whose way with Words lives long after the book is finished. I often think of the last few words used by Herman Wouk in the “Winds of War.”  They are so descriptively beautiful. They still (after many years) remain in my mind.

 

Words live on after those who have uttered them are gone. The quotes that I use in this blog are ones that I meditate on and try to apply to my life. They cause me to continually inspect my outlook on life and how to approach the issues we all have to face.

Remember………WORDS ARE POWERFUL…….use them wisely!!

“The Past is My Heritage,

The Present is My Responsibility,

The Future is My Challenge.”

(unknown)                

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