Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why can't we just say - Thank You?

      I sit listening to the wind blow against my window. I see the bare trees bending with each gust, and the rain drops flow from heaven. We were dry not more than a few weeks ago, parched and praying. We prayed for rain. The trees stood limp and the dry grass brown, waiting. All we heard from every station, every forecast, was how badly we needed bad the drought was. Through the summer our state was on fire. We choked from smoke filled skies, and tears fell as the sight of burning trees stung our eyes - our forest burned. We felt the dryness of our land. Those who believe in God, prayed. Are there many of us left? The dryness hasn't just consumed the land, it started with the people.

      Hearts have become dry here. Souls burn for what is not of God. The unnatural has replaced the natural and men think by removing God from every establishment, somehow they can remove the eyes of Him who sees all things, at all times, in all places. How does one remove God? Yes our ground was parched and dry, but not as dry as the people's hearts that burn with lust for ungodly things. God cannot be removed, but He will leave us to ourselves, to reap what we have sown.

And yet in His mercy, He sent rain.

Are we praising Him for it? Are we singing the hallelujah song? What do we hear across the land?

Fear of floods! Fear of mud slides! Too much rain!

Oh dry people, parched souls, how our constant complaining must hurt the ears of God. Step outside and feel the rain from heaven. Accept God's gift and be wet with His mercy. Lets turn our eyes and hearts to Him. He longs to gather us up in His arms of love; to be our foundation that stands firm in the storms. The solid rock that cannot be washed away by waves or floods, or mud slides; steadfast and immovable. Those things that beat against the outside are nothing compared to what beats against our souls, inside and eternal. Go out into the rain and look up. Let Him wash from our souls what keeps us far from Him and bring us close.

He has sent His gift to call us back, to cause us to look to Him. Be thankful. Accept it. Say thank you!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Will You Go To Heaven?

What do you think, will you go to heaven when you die?

If you answered yes, how do you know? Is your answer based on some belief you concocted in your mind or because of something someone once told you? On what do you base your answer? I've heard some people say they deserve to go to heaven because they have lived a good life. If that is true and all you have to do is be good, how good do you have to be? Better than a murderer, a thief, or a liar? Or as good as Mother Theresa? Is there a level of good you have to attain or just be better than someone else? Just how good is good-enough?

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." Titus 3:5

When it comes to heaven I'd rather not guess at whether I'm good enough or not - chances are I'm not. I don't want to take that chance, and be wrong. I'd rather know for sure. The Bible says that Jesus is the one who decides who goes to heaven and who doesn't. He uses a metaphor and calls himself the door and the gate. He said He is the Way and that no one can come to the Father (God) but through Him. He also said He has gone to prepare a place for those who believe Him, that where He is there they may be also.

"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."
John 10:9

If we were good enough to make it into heaven on our own, God would not have sent His son to die on a cross for our sin. He didn't want us trying to make it their on our own without Him. After all heaven belongs to Him, it is where He resides, and He makes the rules not us. He wants people there with Him who care about what He says. People who love Him and obey His rules for getting there. God isn't going to give heaven to those who disregard what He says and could care less about having a relationship with Him. Just like parents aren't going to prepare a wonderful new home for a grown child who lives his life recklessly, disregarding everything they say.

The Bible is pretty clear about how a person gets into heaven, it's through Jesus and Him alone. So what does that mean? Well, it doesn't mean if you repeated some words of a prayer many many years ago and haven't followed Jesus since. It doesn't mean if you checked a box on a form and put it in the offering plate and shabam you got a magical get-into-heaven-free card for the rest of your life. But what it does mean is that if you have met Jesus and made a conscious decision to change direction, to turn away from sin and living for yourself to live for Him, and if you are desiring to follow Him and love Him enough to want to obey His words, then He says you are His disciple. He said the way is narrow and few find it. People want a wide way because they want it their way, whatever way they choose, but Jesus said it's narrow because it is Him and Him alone - no other way.

 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it." Matthew 7:13

It doesn't really matter if we like His way or not. Heaven belongs to Him and He can make the rules on how to get in. No amount of fit throwing or arguing will change that fact. He is the King and it is His kingdom.

And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
Revelations 19:16
I think it is very generous of Him to offer it to us in the first place. Think about it. He created it. He paid the price for us to enter into it. He said it is ours with just one request - believe in Him enough to follow Him there.

So, back to my original question. Will you go to heaven?

Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm a Blank Blogger

This blog is every bit reflective of my life. Old news sits here on the front page while I run on ahead of it trying to catch up with the days passing. Little time to think, or reflect. I'm a blank blogger. The page is empty because my life is full...overflowing at the moment.

I left this beautiful child here on the page (last post), not forgotten, but waiting here. Hope always waits.

We had Compassion Sunday at my church and fourteen children waiting in hope were sponsored. I was so happy, but not as happy as they are to be chosen. I put the other's packets, the ones not sponsored, back in the box they arrived in and closed the lid. It made me feel sick.

They are now back in the system...going to other churches, hoping one day they will be chosen, and not go back in the box.

Its hard to blog about other things. After seeing the needs of so many suffering around the world. What could I possibly blog about - some trivial happening in my overflowing American life? It seems so unimportant compared to the starvation of millions and children dying of malaria doesn't it? My words should mean full of something other than letters of the alphabet organized in words on a page sounding like empty jabbering. Much ado about nothing.

I don't want to make you feel good. I want to make you feel like doing something good. Sponsoring a child...saving a hope to a child waiting. I can promise you - when you do something good like this, you also feel good.

It is true that hope always waits...expects...and it is also true that hope fulfilled brings with it joy, not just for the one waiting but for the one who answers its call.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Would you feed Jesus?

This Sunday
May 4
Is Compassion Sunday

Tell a child you love them by sponsoring them
and releasing them from poverty -
In Jesus Name!
"Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."
Matt. 18:5

"I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."
Matt. 25:35-36
Lord, when were you hungry?
by Charlotte
I walked by Jesus yesterday but didn’t see Him there,
Disguised as homeless I rushed by and passed without a care.
He held a sign in front of him but I just turned away,
Indifferent I walked by real fast and looked the other way.
The TV showed a hungry child - some country far from here,
I turned the channel from her pain, one click - she disappeared.
A missionary came to church to share about the lost,
He needed help to fund Christ’s work, asked me to count the cost.
But I went home and did not give, afraid he’d asked too much,
In fear held back with hands closed tight, not loosening my clutch.
I read my Bible late that night and saw some verses there,
They said I’d passed the Savior by when I chose not to care.
Each time I rushed on past the poor and looked the other way,
Unknown to me I went right by my Jesus on that day.
For from His lips I read these words (in sorrow I now see)
“When done unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me!”
"Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
Matt. 25:40

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Please Pass the Bread!

      The last super: Twelve men, one Savior. One loaf of blessed bread broken and passed. One cup of wine touching the lips of the One who spoke living words - then passed to the others. Twelve sinners sipping wine from the cup that would soon represent their Saviors blood, poured out for them like wine. Eating bread that would be remembered for centuries to come, as the body of the savior broken for them - broken for us....
continue reading over at Laced with Grace today.
Please join me there!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dust Bunnies...

Dust - Its where we came from...

What we are made of.

We love to run our hands through it, dig in it, walk on it with bare feet.

We plant our seeds in it and watch them grow, and live and dance upon it in sunshine and rain. We never get too far from it... this place of our beginning. It holds us to it, asks us to remember from where we came.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7

No matter how high we reach...stretch, grow or become, we always find our balance when our feet touch the ground; when we come back to our beginning, and remember the One who breathed life into dust. We remember that we are living dust. Anything else we become is only possible because of the One who first made man in His own image and made dust come to life.
And why would He do that?

So that He could know us and love us. And we would turn to Him and call Him Father.
"For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Everyone Needs Compassion...

      As I headed out of my driveway to pick up a friend going with me to the Experience Compassion Conference in Roseville, I turned on the radio and what do you think was playing? "Everyone needs compassion, the promise of a Savior....," how timely I thought, and isn't that just like God? He encourages us along the way. He provides music on the path of His grace, a word here or there letting us know He is with us, and that this is the way we should go.

      At the conference again I was amazed and wowed by Him and the little ways He touches us with glimpses of His glory. The first Bible verse shared...same one I was studying in my women's Bible study. An old hymn I hadn't heard in years but had just opened up a book at home and saw it there on the page and sang every stanza. The words were profound...why do you think the same hymn was chosen for the conference? And by someone who seemed much too hip to reach back in time for an old hymn. I know he had "new" stuff to choose from...but God doesn't care about the age of a song when He has a message to tell.

      One thing after another, all day long, God just kept whispering in my heart, "I am here." And I knew I was right where He wanted me to be. By the end of the day I was ready to get on a plane and fly away. Where? I have no idea...anywhere! I wanted so much to be a part of His work around the world. The work I had just heard about. But instead, I got back into my car, pulled out of the parking lot and headed back to where I came from. The same path but reversed. Instead of flying away I went home, and I knew that was right where God wanted me to be.

      Maybe one day He will take me with Him on a trip to work in another place, but today was a day to go back where I came from and take with me all He gave me at the conference. Today I had a mission right here at home, and there was nothing more important He could ask of me. Today He asked me to impact a child's life...not by doing anything radical. Not by dropping everything and getting on a plane, but by picking up a pen. Yes a pen, but not just any pen, one filled with words of hope and encouragement for a child overwhelmed by the harshness of poverty. Words that share a Savior's love for him, and words that cast light on a future that once looked too dark to survive. A simple letter...written and folded...flying far away to a little village in Africa, carried by the grace of God. That was my assignment, my mission today.

      A letter is such a small thing that can have a huge impact in a child's life, just simply knowing that someone cares. And in this way it is possible to go where I may not be able to go. To send a part of myself, pieces of my heart, across the world and touch the life of a child.

      It is true...what the song was singing as I drove that morning, everyone does need compassion and the promise of a Savior. That's why I'm excited about getting involved with Compassion International, as they continue to release children from poverty in Jesus name.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Chasing Joy Up A Tree

I watched him through the kitchen window. He grabbed something like a black walnut and up the tree he went.

 When he climbed to a safe height (away from the dog) he stopped to eat.
We all have our safe places. The place we run to when staying still doesn't feel safe. When we feel like something is chasing us...and it has teeth.
Some find their safe place close to the ground.
Others...not so close.
Where do you run?

My granddaughter reminded me how much I used to climb trees...when I was young.
Like the squirrel she climbed right up and sat down. Fear didn't chase her up did.
Joy can be the best place of safety. The best place to run (or climb) to.
Instead of being chased by fear, maybe we could chase joy?

She didn't stop to take off the boots, who would? When a tree is asking to be climbed you climb it. Slippery boots? Only grandmothers care about such things, not little girls chasing joy.

It wasn't long before the boots came down...and I went up and sat beside her...yes I did. Old girls sometimes need to chase joy too. And sometimes joy leads you up a tree.

We sat there side by side, legs swinging,
two little girls (at heart) finding joy on the branch of a tree.

And I think God smiled.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Draught

They call it a draught.

When the rain won't come.
The earth gets hard and the crust of it becomes crumbs under foot.
Everything lays waiting.


No campfires with grandchildren until it rains. The marshmallows wait to be popped into giggling smiles and wood waits to crackle and snap with the blaze of a flame.

I watch as life around me dries up.

And I look up.
Look to the One who is above the cloudless sky, the One who made the trees so long ago in the garden, the One from where the rain first came.
The One I forgot to thank before,  when rain came as expected.
When more came than I wanted.
And I thank Him now - for then. Say I'm sorry for forgetting...
for taking for granted His gift,
His water that brings life and sustains it.

And with the trees I wait.
Every good and perfect gift is from above.
James 1:17
Sometimes life can be that way...dry.
A soul can feel parched and in need of living water.
The One who sent the rain through the ages past sent us His son - Jesus. He came to offer us water for our souls - living water. It is different than the water He gives to the trees and flowers. The water He offers us will satisfy our souls and they will
never thirst again.
"Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,
but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.
But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:13-14
Have you accepted His water?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Laying Down Heavy Things

While walking with the dog I passed this oak tree. She's lived through many seasons. Braved many storms. Pieces of her lay close by, broken by the wind and weight of life.

Sometimes you just can't hold it all. Sometimes some things have to be layed down. The weight of them are too heavy to continue carrying...

continue reading over on Laced with Grace.
(click on the pic)


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Heart Like Our Father's

      What a blessing it was to read the Compassion Blogger's posts this past week as they communicated from Uganda. I felt as though I was there with them. I could see the smiling faces of the children gathered at the Compassion center to worship. Big wide smiles and sparkling eyes that seemed as though they could see me through the screen of my computer as I watched the video clips the bloggers posted. They stole my heart.

      Children have a way of doing that - stealing our hearts. I think its because Jesus loved them so very much. God sent Him here to proclaim His love for them and if we have the heart of our Father, we will love as He did.

      The bloggers went to Uganda with a goal of finding sponsors for 400 children through blogging about their experiences there. Today, they have almost reached that goal. Would you consider helping them? Would you sponsor one of these precious children and change their world in Jesus name?

Find out more about their trip and the work God is doing in Uganda by clicking on the picture link below.

Follow the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Menopause - the final frontier?

Space Menopause – to boldly go where no man has gone before…or ever will go! Frankly, it is a place that scares men; especially when it's their women who are going there!

I recently went and saw “Menopause the Musical” with my mother at a theater near us. We both laughed until we were crying, it was hilarious. Yet dealing with menopause really isn’t much fun at all. It’s like going through puberty in reverse.

Just like puberty, some go through it with hardly a scratch (or pimple) and others go through it like an elephant being pulled through a knot hole in a fence –squeezed through to the other side, beat up and unrecognizable. Some have more of the physical symptoms while others are on an emotional roller coaster with ups and downs around every turn. Some women claim they have "found themselves" while others seem to have lost themselves. And of course there are those special ones who go through it all!

It can be less like a trip through outer space and more like a voyage across a vast ocean where the wind blows wild and the waves crash overhead. With calm waters coming in between the storms giving one time to catch their breath and brush their hair, and almost feel normal. The shoreline can almost be seen, somewhere up ahead... just past the rocks.

It's a time in a woman’s life when she desperately needs stability. A place to drop her anchor and hold on tight as the unpredictable changes in mood and body toss her to and fro on a sea of dried up hormones. A time when sweet dreams are replaced with night sweats, and memory lapses meet blank stares from loved ones who are not sure what to say and wisely say nothing.

For me, it has been a time of holding on to God. He is my anchor. The One who made us knows us...better than we know ourselves. There have been days when I have been a stranger to myself and my family – but not to God. I hold on to Him as He holds on to me. When I feel lost in a run-away-from-home mood, He finds me and brings me back, most often before I even leave. My body may be changing, but His Spirit in me will never change. He wants to be Lord over every area - the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms of our lives.

He is the “God of Hope!” And He will fill us with His joy and peace as we place our trust in Him. He is our anchor in the stormy seasons of life as well as the calm ones. Our faith and trust in Him are the chain that holds us to that anchor. We can boldly go anywhere with Him…even through Menopause!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him.
Romans 15:13

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Month After Christmas

Tis the month after Christmas
And all through the town,
People look tired
They seem really down.

Christmas is over
It’s all packed away,
No lights, no more sparkle
Just a regular day.

The holiday feeling
Has faded and went,
Their pockets are empty
The money all spent.

They look rather hopeless
With heads hanging low,
The parties are over
They’ve nowhere to go.

Forgetting the good news-
The Holy One’s birth,
Can’t change with our actions
Or seasons on earth.

Remind them that Christmas
Can never depart,
If Jesus – the Christ Child
Is born in their heart.

Celebrating Him (with you) throughout 2014 ~ Charlotte

Thanking Him for the beauty in every day...
His mercies are new every morning!

Great is His faithfulness!