Jericho

walled city  The story of Jericho is my story.  God gave exact directions and the Israelites followed those directions exactly.  And things worked out just as God said they would.  But  in my case…  I never get past the 3rd day!

In the early parts of the book of Joshua, God gave explicit directions:  7 days, 7 passes around the city.  The first 6 days, one pass each day.  On the 7th day there would be 7 passes around the city and then a shout.  Every pass was to be silent, then a shout. Then the victory.

Looking at some of the other stories in the old testament, God could have had an instant victory.  Look at Gideon in Judges 7,  God made the enemy think there was a vast army with Gideon and they fled in terror.  Or how about when the 4  leprous men decided to try to let the enemy save them from starvation and found the camp deserted in 2 Kings 7.  The 4 were credited with saving the city.

So, could God have just knocked the walls down and let the Israelites win?  Of course He could have.  But He needed their cooperation to prove they were ready for what was coming next.  God could have won Gideon’s battle with just Gideon, but He needed witnesses.  And I said in a previous blog that I thought one of the lepers was Gehazi.

Now, put yourself in the Israelite shoes.  Walk around the city daily in silence.  Then, on the 7th day, walk around 7 times in silence.  Then finally a shout.  The Bible doesn’t say what the Israelites thought of God’s plan.  It doesn’t mention any grumbling taking place around the campfires in the evenings.  Nor does the Bible mention what the people of Jericho thought about all of this circling going on outside the city walls  I’m sure after about the 3rd day, there was a lot of curiosity inside the walls.

But with the shout came the victory!  With obedience came the victory!

Now, how does that relate to me?  God has given me some pretty specific marching orders.  The one specific area that most relates to Jericho is my eating habits.  God has made it clear to me that I am to be a high-raw-plant-based-whole-food-eater.  That means high raw vegan.  Day one is usually ok.  Day 2 starts to get a little hard and I start grumbling in the evening.  By day 3, I am ready to cave.  I crave meat, hot food, diet coke, chocolate, etc.  I can’t stay silent on the 3rd day of circling.  Then I blow it and a few weeks later, I try again only to have the same thing happen.  I wonder what would have happened to the Israelites if they had only made it through 3 days?  Would God have gone ahead and given them the victory?  I doubt it.

So, what is my plan?  I am going to start again.  I am going to read and reread the story of Jericho every day.  I am going to make it past day 3.  Then past day 4.  Then day 5 and 6.  Finally when I get to day 7, there will be a victory!  God won’t leave me by the wayside.  He will be walking with me through each step.  He will lead me to victory.

 

 

 

 

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A Heart of Gold

I know I’m not alone in this.  I have heard it said many times, especially at funerals, that the deceased is with God because he had a heart of gold.  Or a person who gave a lot to charity or did a lot of volunteer work will go to heaven because they were such good people.  I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but that isn’t how you get to heaven.

John 3:16 is the most memorized verse in the whole Bible and it tells us how to get to heaven: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In Matthew 19, Jesus has a conversation with a young man who asks, “What must I do to have eternal life?”  I think this young man was seeking praise for his wealth and his charitable nature.  But he left dejected when Jesus answered, “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

This young man had claimed to be law-abiding (he followed the 10 commandments) and he gave alms to the poor, but Jesus requires more and less than that.

Yes, we are to follow the laws of the land and help where we can.  We should never harden our hearts against giving to the poor or needy.  Nothing we have right now will be taken with us when we die.  It will all be left behind so don’t become so attached to it that he prevents you from doing good.

What is a hard heart?  One that puts anything about loving Jesus.  If we are more dedicated to making money than to Jesus, we have a hard heart.  If we are addicted to anything (sports, food, drugs, drinking, money, etc.) more than to Jesus, we have a hard heart.  If we hold our possessions closer to our hearts than we do Jesus, we have a hard heart.

But John 3:16 only gives us one requirement to get to heaven.  Believe!  Jesus is the Son of God.  He is the only way to heaven. I can help you if you have never given your heart to Jesus.  Just let me know.

Remember, even a hard boiled egg, has a heart of gold.  Don’t be an egg!

Heart of gold

 

 

Water to Wine

wine barrelWhy was this the first miracle of the ministry of Jesus?  I think if it had been my choice, I would have wanted my first miracle to be something really spectacular, like raising someone from the dead or moving a mountain.  But not Jesus.  He was humble yet this miracle held such a powerful message for me recently.

First, let’s look at the traditions of that time.  The groom basically shows off his wealth at the wedding feast.  The best of everything.  Running out of wine is not acceptable.  This would have been grounds for the brides family to walk out with the bride and her dowry.  And the groom’s family would have been supremely embarrassed.

Jesus had just returned from his temptations in the wilderness and his mother expects him to start being the King of the Kingdom but he says he isn’t ready.  But she still has that special connection with Father God and tells the servants to do whatever he tells them to do.

You know the rest of the story (John 2).  They fill the large wine jugs with water and it becomes the best wine possible.  The groom is saved from vast embarrassment and the wedding feast continues.

So what is the reason for this to be the first miracle?  The old wine (covenant) was gone and the new wine (covenant) was even better.  The Law has been surpassed by the living Savior.  The new wine saved the wedding feast and the New Covenant – Christ – saves our souls.  Simple as that.

Farming

farming

While driving last weekend, I saw a farmer out working his field and started thinking about all the hard work he had to do before he got to this point.  Let’s say that you want to start a farm and you had some land that had never been farmed before.  Where do you start?

First you would need to clear the land.  You cut down trees and haul them away so you have an open field.  But it still isn’t ready.

Then you have to stir up the soil and get all the bad things out of the ground that wouldn’t be conducive to your end goal.  You would dig out all the rocks and root materials out of your way.  While preparing my last garden, I found broken glass and even a couple of toys.

Once you have finally cleared all the items from your field that would get in the way, you need to prepare the soil.  Testing the soil to see what nutrients are lacking and adding fertilizer.  Then you need to figure out an irrigation plan and implement it. Now you are ready to begin your garden.

You go out with your seeds and plant them.  Then you wait. And wait. And wait.

Finally, one day you see a tiny bulge in the ground, then the next day there are little leaves showing.  The next day you go out and see lots of tiny plants springing up everywhere, not just in the straight rows you planted.  WEEDS!  But they look just the same as your delicate little plants that you planted, so you have to wait and see which is which.

Then you see that some of your little plants are just dying for no reason.  They are getting sun and water, but they looked scorched.  You dig around and find another rock underneath so there was no room for roots.

In another area, there is a bare spot.  You realize that the birds had come and had eaten all the seeds.  You install a scarecrow.

You go back to the weedy section thinking that by now, you will be able to tell the plants from the weeds only to find that the weeds have taken over and squeezed out the plants you wanted to grow there.

Jesus talked about this in Matthew 13

 

Mat 13:4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.
Mat 13:5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.
Mat 13:8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

 

 

Our Christian life is like that.  First the Holy Spirit comes along and takes out the trees that are blocking our view of the Lord.  But, just because we see our Salvation doesn’t mean we can just start throwing seeds around.  The trees were just on the surface, easily visible, and in the way.  They are our sins that everyone can see or hear.  We could be frequenting bars and using bad language and the Holy Spirits starts by cutting them down and hauling them away.

Now we are ready to start working on the things that may not be so evident. This may take some digging and pulling out roots.  Some of these rocks and roots may be the television shows we watch when we are alone, or the books we read.  Maybe the things we secretly look at on the internet.  The Holy Spirit will help you to dig out these bad habits.  If you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, you can dig these out yourself.  If you don’t cooperate, you may need help.  Some people today call this intervention.  Or, if bad enough, the law may help dig these out.

Once you get all of the field cleared, you may think you are ready to be of use, but just like the field, you need to be tested to see what “additives” you may need.  We all are lacking, so we start by adding prayer, Bible study, church attendance and fellowship to the mix.  Sometimes we have to go through hard things being added to the mix (like manure) in order that we can become productive.

For me, becoming a widow was the hardest thing I have had to endure.  But, by leaning on God I am now much stronger in my faith.  I came to realize that I had put my spouse above my Lord.  I relied and turned to my husband more than I relied and turned to my Lord and Savior.  That was like the broken glass I found in my garden and it was cutting into my roots and killing my faith.

It is now time for spring planting in most of the Northern Hemisphere and that involves a lot of work.  Lots of digging and pulling things out of the soil that are in the way of growth.  But come fall, the rewards of this hard work will be a bountiful harvest.  Are we willing to do the digging?  Are we willing to keep adding the beneficial things to the soil of our faith?  I’m looking forward to a wonderful harvest!  Are you?

Communication

file000429206031

Communication: noun

  1. the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.

2.  the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

  1. something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
  2. a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.

 

The imparting or interchange of thought, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs.

Communication is a two way act.  I can stand in the middle of my living room and talk all day, but it won’t do me a bit of good if I had no one to hear me. Or if I am so engrossed in something and my grandchild is trying to tell me somethin, I may be within hearing distance but my mind isn’t engaging on the communication.

Two other terms that need to be understood here are:

Monologue (monolog) – a prolonged talk or discourse by a single speaker, especially one dominating or monopolizing a conversation.

Dialog – 1. conversation between two or more persons.

  1. the conversation between characters in a novel, drama, etc.

A good example of a “monologue” is Luke 18:11  “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as this publican.”  (emphasis mine)
That Pharisee wasn’t really praying to God, he was extolling his own virtues.  He was also criticizing the other man.  And Jesus said that the praise he heaped on himself was his only reward.
But the publican, in verse 13, said, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”  Now, that is a real prayer!

Prayer is meant to be a dialog.  We may come to God with requests and gratitude, but then we must listen to His answers.  His answers may come in and audible voice (but don’t expect that), it may come through a Bible teacher or a friend, or from reading the Bible.  God always answers!  We may not see the answer because it isn’t the answer we want. Example: a teenage girl wants the captain of the football team to ask her to the homecoming dance.  He ends up asking the popular cheerleader and the girl  ends up accepting an invitation from the computer geek.  The night of the big dance, the girl sees her dream date being drunk and disorderly in the parking lot. Did God answer her prayer?  Yes, but not the way she wanted.  But it was the best way.
Another way that that the dialog can go astray is when God tells us to do  something and we don’t follow through. A good example of this is when I was 12 years old and I felt the Lord telling me I was to become a missionary.  I turned and ran away from the church, God and everything good.  Yes, I did eventually became a missionary, but not when God first told me.  A dialog has to have both sides active or it isn’t a dialog.

In Luke 11, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.  And He does teach them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.  It starts with praise, requests, confession of sins, and then request for delivery from temptation, which is the dialog part.  We need to be listening to hear the delivery.

In our busy everyday world, it is sometimes hard to find time to really listen to what God has to say to us. I find that having a set appointment time helps.  I also find that mornings are the best time for my appointment.  If I wait, the day just gets in the way and I can’t seem to find the time later.  Most of the time, if I don’t set the appointment, I find myself having a monologue instead of a dialog.  A dialog is much sweeter.

And we are to come to Father God like a little child.  Draw on the wonderful name of Jesus. And then follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in our life.

 

Dirt

Dirt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

One day, while sitting near a lake talking to the Lord, I felt Him tell me to look at the dirt.  I thought that was odd, but I did it. Then I asked Him what was I looking for? He asked me, “What do you see?”

First, I looked down next to the picnic table and it was the typical grassy/dirt, very grey sand until I took my toe and moved some of it to reveal brown sand.

Then, I looked down by the water’s edge and saw beach sand.  Almost white and clean looking  compared to the dirt next to the picnic table.

Then I got to thinking about different types of dirt I had seen.  The red sands of Georgia, the rocky, stony sands along the edge of Lake Superior.  Even the wet beach sand looked different than the dry beach sand.  Oh, and I mustn’t forget about my grandfather’s garden dirt, black and fertile.

“Ok, Lord, what am I looking for?”

Having been a missionary for a while, I immediately took this as The Great Commission lesson.  Going into all the world and telling every race and creed the Salvation message.  But the more I think about this, the message has changed.

Gen 2:7  Then the LORD God formed a man[fn] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Thinking about dust, I picture that grey layer of dirt that accumulates on everything in the house every week.  Not a pleasant start for mankind.  Or finish for that matter.

Gen 3:19  By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

In Matthew 13, we read about a farmer sowing seed and the different types of soil he encountered.  On the surface, I’m sure it all looked the same, but below the surface were varying factors that changed the results.

Mat 13:5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.
Mat 13:7  Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Mat 13:8  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Jesus also used dirt to preach a poignant sermon without speaking. In John 8 we read about the woman caught in adultery.

Jhn 8:3  The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
Jhn 8:4  and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
Jhn 8:5  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”
Jhn 8:6  They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
Jhn 8:7  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Jhn 8:8  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
Jhn 8:9  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.
Jhn 8:10  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
Jhn 8:11  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

We don’t know what He wrote in that sand, but I would imagine it was a list of the Pharisee’s sins and when they saw the writing, they felt enough conviction to leave.

Throughout the Bible, the dirt/sand/soil/ground has been used for many things.  A hiding place to keep things safe.  A growing medium for food.  A place to bury the dead.  And, by adding water, a healing salve.

Jhn 9:11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

But it couldn’t do one important job.  It couldn’t hold my Savior in death.

Luk 24:3  but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

That day, sitting by the lake contemplating dirt, not only gave me a Great Commission message, but also an Easter message.

So, You Want a King!

crown

I Samuel 8:7  “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”

Samuel was God’s prophet to Israel and now he was very old.  He appointed his sons to take over but they were nothing like Samuel.  They were corrupt and the people didn’t want to listen to them.  They wanted a king like all the countries around them.

Samuel told them all of the disadvantages of having a king:

  • He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses.
  • He will make some run ahead of the chariots and be first in danger.
  • Some will be his commanders, but most will be his servants.
  • Others will plow his fields and reap his harvests.
  • Others will make his weapons.
  • Your daughters will become perfumers, cooks and bakers for him.
  • He will take the best of your crops and livestock and a tenth of your grain.
  • Everything will become his and you will become his slaves.

 

The people wouldn’t listen to Samuel and kept insisting they wanted a king like everybody around them so God said to anoint Saul to become king.

And we see that it all came to pass.  Even later when Solomon was king, each of the 12 tribes was given a month when they supplied everything the king needed for the daily life of him and his armies.

  • They wanted to be like those around them – peer pressure.
  • They wanted a king to make decisions – lack of responsibility.
  • They became willing to give up their conscience because they could blame their actions  on the king.
  • They became willing to become slaves to avoid standing up and being different
  • They were rejecting God.

 

So what does this have to do with me?  Or you?  We have another election this fall and I am trying to do my due diligence in making my decisions.  I had never voted in a primary election before but this year I felt it was important.  But between the time I mailed in my absentee ballot and primary day, my candidate of choice stepped down.

I am writing this in May before the conventions in August, but it already looks like we have a choice between Clinton – a potential first woman president, and Trump, a non-politician.

Do I want to vote for either of them?

NO!!! 

Nor do I want to vote for the “lesser of two evils”!

This country was founded on Biblical principles but that is no longer the case.  It all flew out the window when they took prayer out of the schools.  Today we have:

  • Abortion
  • Parental discipline is outlawed
  • Children are not allowed to be held back in school without parental approval
  • Gay marriage
  • We have the national government suing a state government over a bathroom policy
  • We have a trans-sexual man posing as a naked woman on a magazine cover
  • There seems to be religious freedom for everyone but Christians
  • And now, if you can’t afford health insurance you are fined for not having it.

I know a lot of people won’t vote just because they don’t like the choices but that is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.  It is not the answer.  My late husband taught government and he always said, “If anyone wants to be president, they should be ruled out as insane!”

I hate to admit this, but most of my life I would just vote for whoever my husband told me to vote for.  But now I have to do the research myself.  So I am doing my research and will vote for the person who comes closest to my list of desirable traits.

No matter who is elected, we will all be able to find some fault but at least we tried.  Do your due diligence and pray over all your choices.  The rest is in God’s hands.  But please vote!

Steps of Faith

RAILTRACK 4A (1)I have been on a journey for several years now.  Or maybe I should say “decades”.

I have always had a weight problem and I have tried everything.  Yes, everything up to and including surgery.  It has been fourteen years since the surgery and I was happy for a long time.  I had gotten down to “less than I was in high school” and thought that was good enough.  I stayed there for quite a while.

Becoming a widow changed a lot of things, diet being one of them.  While growing up and while raising a family, I cooked big meals.  I was always cooking for 5 or more people and everyone liked leftovers for lunch the next day.  While we were missionaries, I cooked very large meals because there were always street kids that were hungry and I would feed some of them almost daily.  All this to say that after becoming a widow, I realized that I didn’t know how to cook for one!

So, after trying unsuccessfully to learn to cook small meals.  I just couldn’t get the hang of it.  I heard of the raw food diet and thought that would solve all my problems.  The more I studied it, the more sense it made to me that not only would I not be cooking big or small meals, but all of the things I read said it was really healthy, too.  No, I wasn’t sick.  But all around me people were dying.  I lost 2 friends in the same week that were my age, one to cancer and one to diabetes.  The statistics from my 50th class reunion are that 25% of the class has already died.  And we are only in our late 60’s.

Some of the other facts that have made the raw food diet appealing to me are:

  1.  I like more raw vegetables than cooked.
  1. I love fruit.
  1. I love salads with lots of variety.

 

Some of the drawbacks are:

  1.  It would mean no more meat.
  1. It would mean no more eggs or cheese.
  1. It would mean eating different around friends and family.

 

Over the past few years I have collected lots of “uncook” books and recipes.  I have acquired a good juicer, blender, dehydrator and food processor.  I have learned many substitutes for mainstream comfort foods.  I can tell you all the benefits of this way of life, but……………..

I have started this food plan several times and never seem to stick with it for more than a few days.  WHY???  I have prayed for success.  I have had confirmation from God that this is the food plan He has for me.  I have joined many online raw food communities and raw facebook communities for support because I don’t know many people locally that want to live this way.  My family thinks I’m foolish at times.  My friends want to eat at the steakhouse instead of the salad bar.  It just seems easier to go with the flow. And no, I will not try to brow-beat you into joining me.  My reasons are my reasons.  If you want more information, I will give it, but that is up to you. Also, I don’t want to use the term vegan, because the Bible says in several places that God gave us permission to eat meat.  My main thought is that when God gave permission to eat meat, it wasn’t filled with chemicals, pesticides and other man-made substances.  I know that most fruits and vegetables also are laden with chemicals and pesticides, too, but I try to go organic whenever possible.

But I want to be as healthy as possible up to the rapture.  I don’t want to die young or go into the rapture in a wheelchair.  I want to be able to serve God to the end instead of having to be served by someone else. So, why hasn’t God answered my prayers and made this easy???

I have been bombarded this past week with scenes from the old testament.  The Israelites at the Red Sea  (Exodus 14:15-27).  The Israelites at the Jordan River (Joshua 3). Joshua and the Israelites marching around Jericho for 7 days in silence (Joshua 6).  Gideon and his 300 men (Judges 7).  David waiting years after being annointed king to his actually taking the throne. Jonah spending 3 days in the belly of the fish. Etc.  What do all of these have in common? In each case the individual had to step out in faith.  The water didn’t part until faith was shone whether it was Moses holding up the staff or the priests stepping into the water before the waters parted. Joshua and the Israelites marching around Jericho in silence for 7 days and then shouting and watching the walls fall down.  I think you get the picture.

So back to my food plan.  I know what to do. I have all the necessary tools and knowledge at my fingertips.  God has confirmed that this is what He wants me to do.  So, now I need to step out into this Jordan River and then God will come to my side and pile up the water (temptation and peer pressure) and protect me through this journey.  And when I am quiet for the right amount of time, I will be allowed to shout out the victory and those walls will come down.  I will be healthy and whole in my old age until the rapture.

So, I am stepping out in faith!  Praying for the strength to get through the time I am supposed to be quiet.  And then the voice to shout out the victory!

Communication

file0001164258759noun

  1. the act or process of communicating; act of being communicated.

2.the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

  1. something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
  2. a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.

 

The imparting or interchange of thought, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs.

Communication is a two way act.  I can stand in the middle of my living room and talk all day, but it won’t do me a bit of good if I had no one to hear me. Or if I am so engrossed in something and my grandchild is trying to tell me something, I may be within hearing distance but my mind isn’t engaging on the communication.

Two other terms that need to be understood here are:

Monologue (monolog) – a prolonged talk or discourse by a single speaker, especially one dominating or monopolizing a conversation.

Dialog – 1. conversation between two or more persons.

  1. the conversation between characters in a novel, drama, etc.
  2. an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue ,especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.

 

A good example of a “monologue” is Luke 18:11  “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even as this publican.”  (emphasis mine)
That Pharisee wasn’t really praying to God, he was extolling his own virtues.  He was also criticizing the other man.  And Jesus said that the praise he heaped on himself was his only reward.
But the publican, in verse 13, said, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”  Now, that is a real prayer!

Prayer is meant to be a dialog.  We may come to God with requests and gratitude, but then we must listen to His answers.  His answers may come in and audible voice (but don’t expect that), it may come through a Bible teacher or a friend, or from reading the Bible.  God always answers!  We may not see the answer because it isn’t the answer we want. Example: a teenage girl wants the captain of the football team to ask her to the homecoming dance.  He ends up asking the popular cheerleader and the girl  ends up accepting an invitation from the computer geek.  The night of the big dance, the girl sees her dream date being drunk and disorderly in the parking lot. Did God answer her prayer?  Yes, but not the way she wanted.  But it was the best way.
Another way that that the dialog can go astray is when God tells us to do  something and we don’t follow through. A good example of this is when I was 12 years old and I felt the Lord telling me I was to become a missionary.  I turned and ran away from the church, God and everything good.  Yes, I did eventually became a missionary, but not when God first told me.  A dialog has to have both sides active or it isn’t a dialog.

In Luke 11, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray.  And He does teach them what we now call the Lord’s Prayer.  It starts with praise, requests, confession of sins, and then request for delivery from temptation, which is the dialog part.  We need to be listening to hear the delivery.

In our busy everyday world, it is sometimes hard to find time to really listen to what God has to say to us. I find that having a set appointment time helps.  I also find that mornings are the best time for my appointment.  If I wait, the day just gets in the way and I can’t seem to find the time later.  Most of the time, if I don’t set the appointment, I find myself having a monologue instead of a dialog.  A dialog is much sweeter.

 

Depression

hands-compassionHave you ever been depressed?  I have and it is no fun.

While living in Michigan, I suffered from seasonal depression or light deprivation depression.  Because we lived near Lake Michigan, we had a thing called “lake effect snow”. Which basically meant we were living in a cloud for most of the winter.  If we wanted to see sunlight between October and March, we had to drive inland 30 to 40 miles away from the lake in order to get out of the cloud.

I hate to admit it, but I routinely took a very low dose of anti-depressant from October to March for several years.  My oldest daughter also suffered from this, but she would go to the tanning salon to get her boost.

There have been other times that I have felt depressed and it was normal so I didn’t need to resort to anti-depressants.  The death of a loved one is one I think everyone has experienced and has felt depression.

This week marks the ninth anniversary of my husband’s promotion to heaven.  Yes, I have been feeling depressed.  I think it is a normal feeling.  I am trying to deal with it the only way I know how and that is to seclude myself so I don’t include anyone else in my depression, and to read the Bible to see how other’s have handled depression.

All through the Psalms we read about how King David was depressed and how he would bring all of his feelings to the Lord.  He didn’t hold anything back.  If he felt anger towards God, he told God all about it.  If he was feeling sorry for himself, he laid it all out before the Lord.  If he was fearful, angry, happy or sad, he held nothing back.

Moses got depressed and cried out to God every time his job got overwhelming.  The Israelites he was leading to the Promise Land would start complaining about water, food or whatever and Moses immediately would be on his face before the Lord.

Another man in the Old Testament, Job, had plenty of reason to be depressed.  He had lost everything – home, family, livestock, and even his health.  He cried out to the Lord in despair.  His friends told him he must have some hidden sin.  His wife told him to renounce God and roll over and die.  But he knew that God was his only answer.

Since I believe that the Bible is my textbook for life, I need to continue to look to the examples to learn how to deal with every emotion, even depression.  How about you?  Depression is a normal part of life, so don’t let it get you down.  Expect it to rear it’s ugly head at times.  Roll with the punches and let God lift you back up.  And, please, don’t think you are alone.  God is always there and so am I.  If you ever need someone to pray for you, just let me know.