The Ultimate Fireman

Good evening friends. On our church property there is a old house (nearly 100 years old) we have used for many different purposes but the foundation was getting is disrepair and was deemed unsafe after too much longer. After consulting with our fire department, we donated it to them for training purposes. When I came out of church on Wednesday, there was smoke billowing out from the upstairs windows. The smoke was from a machine but it gave them a real life scenario in dealing with the real thing. It reminded me of our Ultimate Fireman…

Our Ultimate Fireman may not be dressed in a fireproof suit like this but he tenderly holds each one of us like this and saves us from the burning fire of hell. 

But while we need to understand this, we don’t need to dwell on this because of His gracious gift. 

This morning Oswald Chambers’ devotion reminded me of the power of our salvation. How that we need to always be looking to Him, during good times or bad. 

The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ.   “Look to Me, and be saved….” Oswald Chambers

When I was a new Christian, I remember some advice I got from a more seasoned Christian that said “Life is a series of hills and valleys. While we love being on the hill top, the valleys are inevitable and it is the bottom of the valley that makes us appreciate the hilltop even more. So let us never forget the journey we made to get to that hill top and always keep our “eyes on the prize” – Jesus.

Looks like we are going to get some more of that white stuff this weekend. But I guess I cant complain, it is January in Iowa. As we get through these colder months, waiting so patiently for spring, let us remember the beauty of Kindness, even in the snow.

For Dog Lovers

Dittims, aka Junior

This is a picture of Dittims. His given name was Junior but he had so many handicaps that he earned the nickname of Dittims. Dittims was a 185 pound Harlequin Great Dane. A marvelous breed. I wish I had discovered the breed sooner as they are gentle giants that think they are lap dogs. They can be clowns and some individual ones are very protective of the home. Due to Dittims’ being mostly deaf, fully blind in one eye, only 80% vision of in the other, this made him an unbelievable gentle spirit…that loved to sit in your lap; front legs fully planted on the floor but his butt would be in your lap. Those who are familiar with danes know this is a fun quirk that many of them do.

How many of you know what the Rainbow Bridge is? Is it real? Could it really happen? Those of us who are avid dog lovers pray and believe it is a real possibility. Two years ago I started writing a book about the fun adventures of my life for my children through the eyes of the dogs I had all through my life. The book’s main character was Dittims at his arrival in heaven at the Rainbow Bridge. Once he was in heaven, he met with all previous dogs I had had and they told him stories of my life while they were with me. The book also brings in God’s love of all creation and how God uses all creation for his purpose of showing love and kindness. The book, Our Home of Love, got such great reviews from friends that read it that I wrote a sequel about Dittims further adventures in heaven. The sequel includes many of my friends dogs that they loved that have gone to heaven and how they are all working together to enrich all of heaven with the canine love all of us dog lovers know is a real thing. This book, A New Understanding, is more about the Christian beliefs of what we believe is God’s love of all of creation. None of us really know what heaven will be like but studying the scriptures gives us a glimpse. I took the opportunity to try to explain God’s love of all creation from an animal’s point of view to give some fun and truth together to show God’s infinity love for all of us. We are his creation.

If you recently lost a furry member of your family, this fun book may bring you a little comfort. While I am not one to push my books on anyone, a neighbor told me that I needed to share with others in case they may be interested and need the comfort. So here you go, including few pictures from the book of friends Dittims meets in heaven.

And as always, remember the value of kindness. It may be the one thin g that get a person through the day. Always be kind.

A New Look for Christmas

New Look

Christmas is coming but it will be sad you see

It will seem empty, like the Charlie Brown tree

There will be no traveling or family good cheer

No hugging at church to wish in a new year

But the people of Whoville seemed to have it right

For they dance and sang around the tree so bright

Christmas is still coming even with a virus so bad

It’s coming even though we are depressed and sad

I encourage you to feel the love of this great season

For it was Christ that came to give us the reason

The reason we love to make all this fuss

Is because we believe in the Magic of Christmas

This is a monumental and challenging year especially now at Christmas. But we can’t let this virus and fear define us. We can still wave at a distance, give lots of air hugs, and remember we all have many things to be thankful for. Do I make light of the situation we are in as a world people, by no means. I spent my concerning time in quarantine, I am fully aware of the danger, the risks and the possible outcomes. At my age it is even more dangerous but I refuse to not shine my light of love and kindness in the ways that I can that are safe. This year in defiance of being shut up inside, I decorated two weeks earlier and added another tree…in my bathroom. That brings me to 4 trees. Since my bathroom has a beach theme, so does the tree. So I have posted my pictures below and hope you enjoy with a smile. Do we need to be careful, yes, but do we need to be sad, no, disappointed, yes but this hopefully won’t last much longer. So spread your cheers through the cyber ways, enjoy this wonderful season and always be kind.

Names at Christmas

Good evening friends. When we as parents knew a child was coming to join the family, much work went into making sure the name fit the child, that it would carry the child courageously through this life. But then in life, nicknames come about that are sometimes more dear than the actual name and the nickname will stick. Names are just something people call you by. Even treasured family positions get nicknames like Gramps, Nana, Pop to name a few. I like Pop. We think of Pop as a nickname for Father and what better Father do we have other than our Heavenly Father. I think of that nickname lovingly as an acronym when I think of Jesus. Pop – Prince of Peace…

The Peace He brings us with nothing else can, it can’t be measured. Isaiah 9:6 reminds us that even at this writing, Jesus was not born yet but it was no mistake that He already existed. Wonderful Counselor – someone we can go to in an instant for much needed advice or assurance; Mighty God – The all powerful creator of everything, the guider of all paths and the one who creates extra paths for us to travel on when we take a wrong path where He hopes we will get back on His designed path; Everlasting Father – Everlasting, forever and ever, not ending, never quitting, always present Father, ultimate caretaker.

THIS is the endearing reason for this season…

In today’s message Jesus Calling, Sarah wrote as Jesus… “I am the Prince of Peace. As I said to my disciples, I say also to you: Peace be with you. Since I am your constant companion, my Peace is steadfastly with you. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace.. Worship Me as King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Prince of Peace.”

It is His Peace that allows us to face any given situation with courage, conviction and hope. And with this hope we can then follow His guiding hand with assurance.

I got tickled this morning with my pastor’s morning devotion on having that one favorite ornament that helps you focus on the meaning of Christmas making us revitalize our love for Him. To some of us we can’t just focus on one. It’s like training your dog to sit and a squirrel runs across the yard…as I spot yet another ornament and run across the store to see if it is one I just have to have. For now it doesn’t matter which room I go in, it all makes me smile…even the bathroom. So as we face these uncertain times that are all over the world, remember the true reason for this season. He came because His love for us is overpowering, so and let His love flow over you as you enjoy the symbols we use to honor Him on His celebrated day. 

Now that I am FINALLY through tinkering with the big tree(1 of 4), I give you my sunroom at night. Have a blessed evening and always remember in all that you do show the kindness of Christ.

Evening Encouragement, Peace

Good evening friends. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a predicament, and a lot of times it is self-made. And when we fret over the complications we have made, we lose our peace of mind and our step with Christ. Then we are in a real mess. The way to fix that is to turn and go back the way we know we should go. I have been reading a little book called “Keep it Simple” by Ellyn Sanna. It’s a wonderful little short book of quotes and scripture to help us Find Peace in a Hectic World.  So tonight I am posting a few of her thoughts and quotes.

Take One Day at a Time

When we learn to take one day at a time, one step at a time, we begin to see the beauty in the stillness around us. This beauty was created by God to give us the peace we would need knowing this life would indeed be hectic.

Teach me the art of creating islands of stillness, in which I can absorb the beauty of everyday things: clouds, trees, a snatch of music…Marion Stroud

I believe that in each little thing created by God there is more than what is understood, even if it is just a little ant. Teresa of Avila

Now that we are surrounded by this virus and being secluded in the safety of our homes, we have a tendency to worry about tomorrow and what we need to do to fix things…that we can’t fix. It kind of puts us in a chair in front of the window to wait, watch and trust that Jesus will take care of it all…and He will.

True serenity comes when we give ourselves to God. Ellyn Sanna

So I challenge you to put a small table by your chair at the window. As you watch and wait, enjoy a cold beverage or hot cup of coffee and trust in the Lord to make things right. Enjoy the beauty you see and absorb His peace.

If in the US, I send you prayers for a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are having to be alone this year due to isolation, bring an extra glass to the table for God. I promise He will be with you as well. If not in the US and still in isolation, still bring that extra glass to the table when you eat so God can surround you with His peace.

And as always, I remind all of us the value of kindness in all we do. It may make the difference in one life that is needed.

Evening Encouragement, Thankfulness

While we can’t tell by the temps outside, this is the month of November. Iowa has been hit with the craziest bough of Indian summer that I am still in a t-shirt. I had the AC on yesterday and tomorrow its supposed to be in the 30s. Welcome to the midwest.

November is the thankful month and we all try to focus daily on the many blessings we have and make it a point to be thankful for them. That is something we actually need to do throughout the entire year.

Sometimes when life is zooming so fast around us, we get lost in the “goings on” that we lose our focus and forget to be thankful…in all things. So we need to purposely slow down and be deliberately thankful. In bible study we talked about how we do things sometimes not requiring or expecting a thank you, we do it out of love. But man, how a thank you can make us walk a little lighter, smile a little brighter and be all the more willing to do it all again. It’s the same with God. He knows we are thankful, those who love him, but He still likes to hear it. I look forward to His brighter smile.

Having a thankful heart, brings you peace, it gives you courage and fills you with hope; hope will give you the strength to survive whatever ordeal you face, so then you are able to give thanks in all you do creating a continuous circle with God in the middle of it.

I fully understand we have not had Thanksgiving yet but I am ready for the joy and thankfulness of Christmas. So I am decorating early this year, and the very first thing that goes on the big tree(yes there are more than 1) is The Christmas Nail. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with that tree trimming tradition but I have been doing it well over 40 years. The Christmas nail is a nail shaped similar to the nail used to hold Jesus to the cross. The Christmas tree foreshadows the Christ-tree that He decorated for us with nails like these and the lights we put on the tree remind us of His light that shines for us and through us.

The red ribbon represents His blood that was shed for me. I can not think of anything more powerful to be thankful for…daily. The nail is to be hung inside the tree by the trunk where it is only known by the family who hung it there, whose hearts are fully aware of the significance of why it is there. Especially this year with so much stress, anxiety and uneasiness of tomorrow, the nail’s message is ever stronger for us. So I encourage you tonight to reach out to God in thankfulness for all that He has done for you in the past and will do for you in the future.

And in all that you do, do so with kindness. Kindness reflects the light of God, the love of God and the thankfulness we have for what He has done for us.

Our Firm Foundation

Good evening friends. Tonight we are reflecting on this past year and WOW…what a year. Definitely a year for t-shirt recognition…

Or here in the US we had a toilet paper crisis….even now I don’t understand that and now its all paper products are scarce.

Putting aside all joking, this has been a rough year. The isolation had been detrimental to our elderly, people who are social butterflies have not done well, jobs have been lost and the tensions in our homes is high. But on the flip side there has been some good with it all. We have learned that those who are able can in fact work just fine from home. Some people’s stress level has lowered and they have rediscovered themselves, and gotten reconnected with their families and some have reconnected to or just now connected with God. I have always been a believer that God will get your attention one way or another and while, I do not believe God caused this virus, I do believe God will use circumstances around us to help us learn or relearn to refocus on Him. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he explained that there would be times of suffering but that the Lord would always rescue us…maybe not how we envision to be rescued but rescued nonetheless.

All through the scriptures, we are reminded of the importance of a firm foundation which allows us to stand firm and that foundation for Christians is Jesus Christ. He is the rock that can not be broken.

So I encourage you tonight to stand on the rock we know is firm and stand tall. We will get through this mess, all of it, together, and hopefully somewhere we will recognize God’s might and love as He pours it out for us. Click on the link below and listen/watch the video of a version of Christ the Solid Rock. The song is beautiful but the videos of nature are amazing. I think you will enjoy it and be encouraged by God’s beautiful creation. And as always, remember to be kind.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCuOW6bdfMU

Evening Encouragement, Come

Good evening friends. I want to share a few words from the devotion I read this morning from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It brought me hope.  This year has really been rough for a lot of people and the last few months in the US with all the political nonsense…oh my goodness. I felt like this country was going to implode. And we are not done yet, still fighting. United States of America…not so much.

Oswald reminds us that even in stressful times we have the essential opportunity to act on the truth of God. It is up to each individual to do so. We can’t do it for someone else and no one can do it for us.
It must be our own deliberate act, but the evangelical message should always lead us to that action. Refusing to act leaves a person paralyzed, exactly where he was previously.  Oswald Chambers

Throughout scripture, Christ told people to come to Him and He would show them a better way.  “Come to me” means “to act“. And He will always makes sure we learn His ways with which to act.

Through the learning and the trials we learn the value of His ways and His truths that set us free. But the truths must be shared. The love of God is cyclical. You are given the tenderness and love of Christ and then you act in sharing it with others, which cycles back to Christ, that shares it back to you, then you shares it onward, circling it back to Christ and then back to you…and so on.

When a truth of God is brought home to your soul, never allow it to pass without acting on it.” Oswald Chambers

Yet sometimes, it’s the last thing we want to do. We don’t want to be bothered; we are fearful, or feel unready to act; or think someone else can do it better than us. All excuses, all weak excuses but I love what Oswald says about the weak saints, of which most of us are. He says “The weakest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is liberated the second he acts and God’s almighty power is available on his behalf. 

We are created to act.
And everyone who acts can feel the supernatural power of life as Christ fills him. The dominating power of the world, the flesh, and the devil is now paralyzed; not by your act, but because your act has joined you to God and tapped you into His redemptive power. Oswald Chambers

I love that. It is encouraging to know God fills us with what we need when we act accordingly to His will, like he did with the disciples. 
So as tired and discouraged as you may feel right now, relax, rest and look for opportunities to act so that the supernatural power of life in Christ can fill you and lift you to new heights. And always remember to share kindness in all that you do.

Funny Words, SoCS

You know how some words sound funny when you hear them or when you speak them. Yeah, I know I am from the south and a lot of my words sound funny to those around me now here in the midwest but do you have those words that you over enunciate because they are fun to say. Linda Hill has challenged us to day with Stream of Consciousness Saturday to use a word we had to look up.

For me, one of those is in scripture and while it may sound different, it has a powerful meaning – propitiation. That’s a 5 syllable word, at least it is in the south. It’s a word that has  tripped me up a bit because for a long time I didn’t really understand its significance. A devotion I read the other day with Oswald Chambers spoke about it in 1 John 2:2.

Webster’s defines propitiation “1 – the act of gaining the favor or goodwill for someone or something, something that appeases; 2 – an atoning sacrifice.”

An atoning sacrifice, that is a phrase I fully understand. Jesus sacrificed himself to satisfy the wrath of God so that we would not have to. Wow. Intellectually I understand that but my humanness asks the age old question…“WHY”.

That’s why.  It is a gift of grace. Something we don’t deserve or have the ability to earn.

His love for us can not be shaken, destroyed or matched.

There are some of us who are hurting today in some form or fashion, or we have family or friends who are hurting and scared. I encourage you today to hang on to His outstretched hand. The road you are on is hard, bumpy and filled with holes but God’s love for you is strong, smooth and everlasting. And remember, it’s only temporary and He is always walking right beside you.

So feel His love and surrounding peace today. I promise the Holy Spirit inside of you knows exactly how you feel and He is letting God know even when you can’t tell Him. Take a deep breath of His love and relax in His grace. And as you go along your journey, remember to always be kind. It is a reflection of Christ in your inner being.

Compassion Encouragement

Happy Saturday Friends. I want to share some encouragement with you as we all need encouraging from time to time. Today I want us to think about how encouraging compassion can be for those who receive it as well as those who give it. It is a key component I believe of Christians, yet those who don’t really know Christ have the ability to have compassion as well. It is a gift from God.  I saw a video this morning that showed true care and compassion towards animals. For encouragement to our church family, my pastor’s has a daily devotion online since some are still on lockdown. This week he has been going through creation and how as creation was done, it was methodical. Each part of creation was essential to the next part of creation. For example the sun, moon and stars were created before much else was to establish the ability to mark time, and to give us light – a separation from all darkness. Plant life, which needed the light that was earlier created, was then created to sustain life that came after it as food supply and for the air we breathe. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plant life breathes in carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. It is all important for survival. We support each other. And later animals were created right before man and man was created to care for the animals. Of course that changed with the fall but the intent was care, compassion…and mutual love.

While Genesis 1:26 reminds us that we have dominion over animals, Proverbs 12:10 reminds us to do it with compassion.

I am always encouraged when I see people going above and beyond in caring for animals who find themselves in a no win situation. The video below shows the compassion of a group of men who found a dolphin that had been washed up by Hurricane Laura landing the dolphin in a pond 9 miles away from the ocean. They came together to safely capture the dolphin and take it back to the ocean. It was most encouraging.


https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-lauras-storm-surge-traps-bottlenose-dolphin-miles-from-the-ocean

God made us all with compassionate hearts towards His creation, not only to the nature side but also to the human side. Where would any of us be without the compassion from others. WE all have struggles. The definition of compassion is a strong deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for anyone or any creature who is hurting in any fashion. Jesus is our greatest example for us to learn by, as He was compassion for us and taught us how to have compassion and use it to further His kingdom.

When we think of the compassion God always has towards us, we should embody that compassion for others. We should always be on the alert to share His love in any encounter we may face. We all know many friends or family members right now who are fighting health issues, hurting emotionally, scared, wondering what’s next and we should always be ready to reach out to all of them to let them know we are here ready to help in any way we can and that we are to fervently pray for them. Tonight, I lift my heart out to all who are hurting in any way and hope this prayer below brings you a  moment of encouraging peace and compassion. 

And as sad or hopeless you may feel, know there is always kindness out there for you to receive and share wherever you can. Sometimes it needs to start from you first and then blossom to a beauty you didn’t know existed.