The Fragrance of God

 

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Genesis 28:16

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

I love fragrances, and just the sniff of something can turn my whole day around. If you are having a stressful day, the scent of Lavender Oil can bring you back to a balance of calm. Most of us have smelled a turkey roasting in the oven and the fragrance of that turkey made your senses come to life with such pleasure, a looking forward to eating that beautifully browned bird now cooking in your oven.

Nearly everything we come in contact with each day, good or bad, has a fragrance or a smell to it. I have stood in a chicken house many years ago. The preachers daughter and her husband raised chickens for profit. We are not talking a little chicken coop, we are talking thousands of baby chicks. Any way, I went to visit her one day, and she was in the chicken house, so I stepped in to say hello and I was so blown away by the awful smell of chicken waist I thought I would faint. I will never forget that, nor will I step into a chicken house again. The preacher back then was a farmer, his brother had a hog farm which you could see and smell from the road. The area we lived in was prime farm land, you could see and small the hay bails rounded up in the fields waiting to be brought in. The area we lived in, in our back yard, just over the fence was a field, and each year they would spread cow manure in the field. Now on a hot day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland you can bet you are gonna choke a bit as the farmer turns over his soil and adds this manure. I am not a farm girl at all. But through the waist of the animals this is how one gets there foods to grow and even things left over from your own kitchen to make a compost can help your gardens grow.

Have you noticed your pets have a smell to them? Dogs especially, and when they are wet, watch out, for that fragrance becomes even stronger. Have you ever noticed that their fragrance penetrates everything you own? Where ever the dog is, or isn’t, you will smell him. On your sofa, on your bed, on your clothes that you left on the floor in the corner of your room, when you have a dog, you have the dog smell too. Now cats, not so much, their litter box can become like the chicken coop I mentioned above if you do not tend to its daily cleaning. Cats do not like dirty things, they do not like to be dirty and will clean themselves all over, but if their potty box is dirty, you can bet they are going to go someplace that really makes you mad, like the pile of clothes in the corner of your room, this is to let you know they are unhappy with you. And if you get one of those cats, the one that is so unhappy with you, that they will use your bed as a potty box, it is a sure sign something is wrong. And let me tell you that cat urine is another one of those fragrances that is hard to get rid of especially when it is in the wrong place. Your pet goldfish has a smell, really, did you ever notice? If your mate likes to fish, and if he is not one of those that catches and releases but brings it home to eat, you will notice what I call a fishy smell. If you ever had a caged bird, there is a fragrance. Hunters can tell you best, but did you know that a deer has its own fragrance to it? Yep! And if you like deer meat to eat, you will come face to face with that fragrance when you cook it. They have many recipes to help you get rid of the gamy deer smell, of which I have had personal experience with. Did you know that if you are out and smell cucumbers and you are not at a grocery store or farmers market, there could be a copperhead snake close by?

Everything that God has created has a fragrance to it. We humans, like our fingerprints, have our own unique fragrance have you ever noticed it? When my daughter passed away and while I was going through her clothes to give away, I came face to face with her each time I handled her belongings. If I closed my eyes and breathed in the fragrance of her sweater, she was there. If I handled her pillow and sheets, her fragrance was there. For many years after her death, with some of things that I kept of hers, when I handled them, I could still smell her fragrance. Over time her fragrance dissipated and was no longer surrounding me. Its kind of like when you spray a room deodorizer when you burn something to get rid of that burnt smell. When you do that, the bad smell is gone. My daughters fragrance went back up to heaven where it once came from. I look forward to that day that I will be able to hold her in my arms once again and drink in her fragrance.

When you get the chance, take a sniff of those who are in your life. When you give someone a hug take a sniff. It maybe a perfume or a cologne. It may be their laundry soap or fabric softener. It maybe their hairspray or deodorant but what ever you smell, it is that persons signature smell. When ever you smell that smell you will think of them. When you make the bed, take a whiff of your families pillows, each one will have their true fragrance on them.

God gave us the sense of smell, a true gift indeed. This gift alerts us to danger like in the smell of a broken gas pipe, or for an animal it is the sense of danger whether it be another animal or a fire. What a safety feature our God has planted into us all through the fragrance of smell.

But have you ever wondered what God smells like?

This Saturday, September 22,2018 we celebrate the first day of Fall. If I asked you what does fall smell like to you what would you say? Although it is still in the 80s by noon time, it is when the sun comes up and you step out in the quietness of the morning, where the birds are singing to the Lord that you drink deeply the crisp morning air and you can smell the season changing. You can smell the leaves getting ready to bust into a lavish array of colors, you can smell the dirt in all its dampness. You can feel it, you can smell it, and in that moment you have just drunk in the fragrance of God.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

Winter, when you think of the winter season what comes to your mind? Is it the holidays, is it the shopping for gifts, is it the foods you cook only in the cold season? If one is attuned to the weather one can smell the snow in the air before it falls. Yes indeed snow has a fragrance, I cant describe it, I can only say I know it’s going to snow for I smell it in the air. I am not a cold weather person, especially as I have gotten older, but there is a blanket of love wrapped up in the winter season for me. I feel much closer to the Lord during the winter season, and on a snowy day, my shades are open wide as I gaze out at the freshly falling silent snow as it blankets my car and anything in its path. Have you ever listened to snow falling? There is such a silence in it. There is such beauty in it. This is where most all life goes to sleep for a season. And its fragrance has God’s fingerprints all over it.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

Oh how I long for Spring especially when the winter seems like it has gone on forever. God set up all the seasons, and I am thankful to live in a place that for the most part gets to see, and smell them all. But Spring, NEW LIFE sets this season apart from all others. This is my favorite season. While it is still dark, the birds sing their songs of thankfulness unto the Lord. The sun peeps through my apartment buildings right into my living room window where I sit and write at my computer, its as if God says “Good Morning My Child”. And when he puts with this beautiful image lite pink on white puffy clouds, I know He is sending me His love all in those few moments. Spring brings in the grass growing lush and green, and the little flowers begin to show in the grass before they get mowed down, those are the most precious, and most people walk right by them everyday and never see them. As the days go by you watch the buds on the trees come out from their winter hibernation, and those flowers that have a strong fragrance like honeysuckle find their way on the wind. But if I had to pick one fragrant feature, it would be freshly cut grass. This is where God has a Ta Da moment and fills the air with such life, for in the green things, in the trees, in the flowers, in the grasses all things grow and bring new life.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

So many long for the Summer months, this is another month I am not fond of, thankful for, but not fond of. I seem to wither in this season. But you can smell Summer just like any other season. When you walk out your door and the humidity is high, and the dew has saturated everything ,you can smell summers heat on the way. Summer gives way to life that Spring did not have, seeds were sown in Spring for the Summer harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables of which you can smell growing in the fields.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

The Lord encapsulates the fragrance of all life. His creation, is all filled with his fragrance. So the next time you smell a real rose, not a high bred for they have no fragrance, but a real rose, know you have just drank in the sweet fragrance of the Lord. When you cut your lawn and are taking a break, stop for a moment and close your eyes and drink in that freshly cut grass and know you have drank in the fragrance of the Lord in that moment. He said he will never leave us nor forsake us, that He is with us all the time, how appropriate that we can see Him in everything that has life and that has a fragrance, and that fragrance is the Lord Himself.

Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.

We long to see God, we long to feel His presence, we long to feel His hand upon our cheek. He is there! The little breeze that kicked up and you felt a gentle brush with the wind, that was God. The sun rays that beam down from heaven to engulf an area, that was God. The rainbow after the storm, surely the Lord is in this place, but most people do not recognize that was/is God. He surrounds us with His presence, the birds sing their praises each morning in thankful tweets. He sends the monarch butterfly so that you may be kissed by the God who loves you. If you have not seen God in a while, then take some time, even on your coffee break to step outside and just look, look at the sky, look at the trees, look at the ground, the grass, the brook that bobs and weaves by you, God created them all so God is in all.

I hope you see Him today and know that surely the Lord is in this place.

Leslie McLea

9/20/18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And They Were No More

 

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Matthew 2:16-18

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they were no more.

In a devotional this morning the Lord says to me: “Entrust your loved ones to Me; Release them into My protective care. Oh how we must trust Him with the lives of those we love. Always remembering that the Lord directs all things, allows certain things to come to pass so that something else might come forth.

In the Beginning God created; Most of know this, some of us have read our bibles through each year, some out of guilt, some out of pressure, some because there was going to be a quiz or a reward, but do you remember what your read? God created us in His image, but He gave us free will, to choose to or not to. He already knew what was in there hearts when He created Adam and Eve. He put temptation right in front of them, the tree of good and evil telling them they could not eat of that tree or they would die. Wow, they had a whole garden that spanned miles upon miles, they could eat anything but the fruit of this tree (Genesis 2:16). It was a set up by God. I believe He hoped they would make the right decision and leave the tree alone, but He knew Eve’s thoughts before she thought them. He saw her eye focus on the tree, He saw her pluck it, He saw her bite it, He saw her share it. Now the question is where was Adam before she plucked the fruit? Did he not tell her, because he was made first, what God had said about that tree? Where was the tree? Was it smack dab in their visual perception daily? Or did they have to walk a mile or two to see it? What ever really transpired detail for detail, only God knows, we were not there. The first sin of disobedience tossed them out of the garden to fend for themselves. Nothing was given to them but the cloths God had made for them. They would have to forage and work the ground to make something to eat. Something they did not have to think about in paradise.

Genesis:22-24

Then the Lord God said,”Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Now Eve has her first son, Cain, remember that God has said in Gensis 2:16 “to the woman He said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” She has another male child, Abel. We now have the first murder when Cain kills Abel.

And the story of in the Beginning continues through out the content of the Bible. The bible is a very bloody book, if you have read the stories. You will see the children of Herods time, all murdered, why, because they were looking for Jesus, Herod was afraid, he was the only King and no one else would take his throne, not even a child. But God protected this precious family. The story of Ruth, puts her in the land of Moab, where they sacrifice children to their god. Families rearing their children to be sacrificed was a daily norm. In a Roman documentary by the BBC I watched recently on how they came to Britian and how they evolved (not your bible story version) it was an awesome glimpse into what that culture did and what they were all about. But this one thing stood out, that in those times, if a Roman woman had a child that was deformed in anyway, or not wanted, they were thrown into the garbage dump. Do we not do that today? Children today have been disposable as is an empty box of cereal. We do not see it, because we do not wish to see it! Over this past summer alone I can not tell you the countless news stories on Mothers leaving their child in the car on a hot day with all windows shut while they went to the mall to shop, while they had their hair done and on and on the list

goes. What went on in bible times from wars to murders, to using children strapped with bombs to defeat the enemy all very present in our world today. Solomon writes:

Ecclesiastes 1:9

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Remember David and Bathsheba? Adultery, murder, a child dies. BUT GOD uses Davids line to bring forth Jesus, now wrap your mind around that.

Romans 8:28 says; And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to his purpose.

Even the senseless killing and abuse of children. If you have read your bible you will see how many times a whole nation was wiped out, including children. War does not exempt children, evil does not exempt children.

Psalm 56:3 “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid” but the reality is in today’s world, made so much more by the media, leaves us with fear as we put our children on the school bus each day. Or kiss our husbands and wives goodbye.

I want to show you that Jesus is with us no matter where we go. The men that took the bullets at the Florida school shooting gave their lives to save the children. Willingly putting their lives on the line for that one or two he could hope to save. These men are an example of God’s love for us in that He gave His only begotton son Jesus to all humanity, so that all of humanity would have the choice to have a personal relationship with him. God gave us Jesus, Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, he took the bullet that was meant for me, and I owe him my life. Have you looked into the eyes of Jesus lately, have you come to view all that he went through for you? He was beaten, lashed with the whip, a crown of thorns embedded into his head, nailed to a cross in his writs and feet, (think about that for a moment). We do not get a real glimpse until we really look Jesus in the eyes to all that he endured for us. The closest visual I can say is “The Passion” film. When you see the visual of His beatings and whippings, you begin to weep with those who stand in the crowd. You will have no real idea what Jesus went through for you all so you would have the opportunity to spend eternity with Him.

From the beginning God has used death, and war, and all kinds of hideous things we would like not to think about because they are not the pretty clean version we have in our heads. Can you imagine what Abraham was going though when God told him to sacrifice his son Isaac. BUT GOD had a plan, He always has a plan, although we do not understand it now, and the truth is we may never understand it, but when we give Jesus our hearts we give him everything we have, even our children.

John 3:16

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

As my own fear has gripped me, God continues to remind me not to be afraid, that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Today, as we mourn these men and woman, young teens and those whose lives were just starting, please keep in mind that if you are a child of God and one of these children were yours, if you taught them right and they excepted Christ, then one day you have that assurance you will see them again, because of Jesus sacrifice. If your child does not know Jesus yet, then you need to share his story to greatest depth you can so that he or she will want to say yes to Him. The cold hard fact is, if your child dies without Christ and he or she is past the age of accountability, knowing right from wrong, then your child will spend eternity separated from you.

We will lose our children to the bowels of Hell if we do not teach them about Jesus. And if we have taught them, and they have excepted Him, then we have to trust that no matter what happens, that Jesus is fully aware and that He has a purpose. We all have an expiration date. For some it is earlier than we think it should have happened. God sees the whole picture, he knows how our lives will turn out. We live in a fractured world where evil seems to be gaining on the good, BUT GOD has had a plan from the beginning, so if you turn to the last book of the Bible, you will see that God wins. So fear not little flock, the Lord is with you till the end.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Don’t be afraid, for the Lord will go before you and will be with you; he will not fail nor forsake you.”

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You All of Your Days,

Leslie

2/17/18 (written in remembrance of the Florida school shooting)

The Tattered Towel

Hello, my name is Tatty, and I am a towel. While my owner was in the shower this morning she reached for me and saw that I had a string hanging down and that string was was wet. She ripped it from me and threw the string of me on the back of the toilet. She looked at me a little more closely and saw how one side of me had become fringed with wear and began to think, I wonder how the towel was made and how many uses did a towel have, so here I am, ready to tell you my story. You might be surprised at some spectacular things I have done, only one really, but that is for later.

Most people today are not interested in how things began, their humble beginnings, such as the towel. Originally I was a flat woven piece of fabric. You might get a better look if you think of something like linen, like a linen dress or table runner. These pieces were woven together into one huge piece of fabric then turned into what ever might be called for, a dress, a skirt, a shirt, or a towel, like ‘ME”.

My life as a towel has been a hard one. Have you ever looked at me when you threw me in the washer and through the open window see me peering out through those bubbles saying “Help Me”? As I swished and swirled around between the hot water (ouch) the detergent and its bubbles ,and of course, the bleach, all so that any germs on me would be eradicated and, I would then be “Sparkling” clean. By the time I have gone through the spin cycle I am dizzy, and disorientated, I went from being fat and fluffy to being wrung from end to end like the making of a braided pretzel. My face looks like a Picasso with one eye down to my right, the other up to the left and my nose is at my feet, it is really an awful feeling to be so out of sorts. I am then man handled, shoved into the dryer, or if a woman handles me she neatly shakes me out so I can dry more easily then I am shoved into the dryer. UG! Have you ever sat in front of a dryer at the laundromat and watched me go around and around? At first it is like a thud as I break up and fold out with steam inside, kinda like a spa. If you watch long enough you can see me jumping all over as I go round and round, can you hear me say AHHHHH? Once the timer dings off I slowly come to a stop and am plopped down on the bottom waiting for my release. After retrieving a cart or a basket my human partner takes me out, but not necessarily folds me at that moment, or maybe not at any moment. I may spend the rest of the week in that basket, crowded out by all the other caricatures that come in other forms of towels. Some take the time while watching a TV program to sit and fold each of us then between commercials take us down the hall and put us in the linen closet ( humm, I wonder if that is a relation to me, the linen closet?) I now have been used and abused, washed, dried, folded and put back to be taken out and used all over again, its like a cycle on your washer and dryer, never ending.

Have you ever given any thought to how I am used outside of taking a shower? I watched my fellow towel, who is much older than me, who shows the scars of much wear, a white spot where the bleach hit on his pretty sea green color. I saw black spots where he was used to clean a black pair of boots and the black yuck was just embedded. He had many a wear holes in him where the threads were just disintegrating Then one day, I witnessed our human take him and a pair of scissors and cut him in half and in half again, making him now into face cloths for small jobs like scrubbing the sink. That just tore him to pieces, he was never the same again. I thought to myself will that be my fate too? I only had a few tattered edges, lightly fringed, no wear holes in the middle, trying to hold myself together so I can remain fully whole was all I could think of in that moment.

Towels have had a dirty life, no matter where the towel is, it takes on the life of what ever it is used for. The hand towel, mostly used for in the kitchen to wipe hands on or clean up small spills, but in my humans house one of us fully formed bath towels hangs from the refrigerator handle for those big jobs like when the dishwasher overflows with bubbles, now that’s a job for the super towel. Now the hand towel can also be used in the bathroom, its a perfect size. Lets talk face clothes, not just for faces in the shower, but they also become used as napkins when the paper towels are gone, they double too as table wipes when there is a spill. Sometimes they are even used to kill a bug that happens to trot across the path. Its a dirty job but someone has got to do it.

Sometimes we are called into battle, like when someone is sick with a fever and they need a cold compress on their heads, or sometimes someone has cut themselves and is bleeding, what better rescue than a towel that can hold up under that kind of stress.

Towels do some sweet things too, and those towels are made much softer as in those used to wash a baby’s face or in the bath tub as they splash and sequel around. Its a precious sight as I pear out of the linen closet.

Using a towel goes far back in our history, and one of the most historical uses of a towel is when our precious Lord and Savior washed his disciples feet and dried them with a towel. Oh how that towel must have shined in that moment, how humble he must have felt to be used by the one who created that which he was made out of. Although his job of wiping all those dirty feet, like when a mom washes her sons dirty face, is a sparkling reminder of how God makes all things new and He brings new light to any dirty situation. He is the potter, we are the clay or the towel, either way, we were created by the one who used us.

So today, as you wash, dry, fold and use your Tattered Towels, remember that Jesus Loves you, and that no matter where you are on this journey called life you can still be used by the one who washed other peoples feet.

Oh and by the way, the towel that Jesus used, was a relative of mine.

John 13:3-5

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Leslie McLea (AKA Tatty the Towel)

February 11,2018

http://www.nandinagreen.com/blog/nandina/history-of-the-towel/

 

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O Holy Night

 

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O Holy Night

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night
Of the dear Savior’s birth!

Luke 2:8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

In the shower this morning my mind went to how close it is to Christmas Day. One week from today is Christmas Eve. All the shopping, all the hustle and bustle, all the on line sales, all the packages being delivered and many weary postmen and women. The employees who are forced to work late, and come in early, it is not a joyous time for some.

My thoughts went to the homeless man who walks the streets this time of year. In the loneliness of his life, what does he encounter? He sees signs and banners, he sees Christmas decorations in peoples yards, maybe he even hears the O Holy Night song playing somewhere. As he roams the streets I can only imagine what he is thinking, how he is feeling. Does he even know who Jesus is? Surely he does, most in this day and time we live in know who Jesus is, but does he really know who and what Jesus did for him. I know I knew of Jesus. In my growing up years as my mother put out the nativity set, I would watch the Christmas specials with all those that had ones on the Nativity, but my realization of who Jesus really was did not become a reality for many many years. So does this wandering man really know who Jesus is? How did he come to a place such as this where he carries all he owns on his back, wandering day and night, looking for scraps of food, trying to find a place to sleep, trying to find shelter from the freezing air. Does he stop at the nativity scene at the local church at a time when no one is around, does he wonder to himself, as he looks upon that plastic baby Jesus, are you for real? Why am I in this place? How helpless and hopeless this man must feel. To spend his life living on the streets. How long has been doing this, what happened in his life to bring him to this place?

In my minds eye, I see this man broken and weary, weighted down by the backpack he carries with all his worldly belongings. I see him so heavy heavyhearted as he drops his belongings on the ground and falls to his knees and weeps at the feet of the little plastic manger where Jesus lies. Like the song in the Little Drummer boy, who lost his best friend Ba Ba his sheep. He takes the little lamb to Jesus, he himself is bitter and angry, the little drummer boy lost his family and from that day he hated all men. But in this moment of Jesus Birth, as the babe lies in the manger, the little drummer boy is guided by the wise men to the only one who can heal the little lamb. The moment that the little drummer boy pears into the babes face his heart melts, Jesus touches this little drummer boy from the crib in such a way that it changes his life. The little drummer boy has nothing to give as the others have given. He only has his drum, he looks at Mary and she nods to him to play his drum. And as the little drummer boy plays his heart is filled with Love once again and his life changes for ever. Jesus not only heals the little drummer boys heart, but also heals and brings Ba Ba back to life.

A life changed just by looking into Jesus face. His radiant love shown though and directly affected all those around Him that night. Will that be the hope in the homeless mans heart as he gazes on the plastic baby Jesus?

Can Jesus still touch us in the dark, cold lonely place in which we walk? The bible says we will always have the poor with us. There will always be someone homeless, and to be homeless is not always a choice. Over this past year people have been forced to be homeless, through fires, through snowstorms, through earthquakes, through floods. Masses of people left without a home or a place to be sheltered from life s storms. Is it during this time that people can really see Jesus, or do they show their anger toward Him? Do they blame Jesus or thank Him for things could be worse. There will be those that were on the fence in their relationship with Him so will tragedies like these bring them closer and a re-commitment in their lives? Or will they forever say no to Him?

I have over these last few years looked on the edge of being homeless. Taking my son to a dental clinic brought me even closer to how those in the shelters live. I see the homeless walking the streets and have made it a point to bring them to the Lord in prayer. Asking Him to provide food, water, shelter, and maybe a cup of coffee. Who knows but God, that you may be the only one that takes the time to pray for those people. And what we see on the streets may only be one or two, but the last time I read the mission posts they took in over 300 men, women and children, fed them and gave them shelter.

What can we give to the babe in the manger this year for all He came to do for us? Have you ever given that any thought? You could be like the little drummer boy who felt he had nothing to give but in fact he gave Jesus his heart. We have access to Jesus today, not only because of His birth, but because of His death which made Him more reachable. We still see today, His hand reaching out to others. His miracles are still raining down on us.

The gift of prayer for others is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Many will die as this Christmas week passes ever so quickly. Some will die in their beds alone, but so will the homeless, in the dark, on a cold and lonely night where no one but Jesus sees. Children will die from hunger, or cancer or being shot at school.

Senior Citizens, living in a nursing home, who have been deserted by family and friends, will die in their beds feeling lost and alone. Only Jesus knows who will be at heavens gate this week. Who left behind will be able to rejoice because they know their loved one knew who the real Jesus was? Who will discover their loved one will spend eternity in hell?

In all of our celebrating this week leading up to Christmas, we all need to make it a point to pray for the salvation of others. Only Jesus knows when our time will come, and He is fully aware who out in the cold lonely nights will say yes with the last breath they breathe.

Christmas is not about what are we going to get, we have already been given the greatest gift we could ever have and his name is Jesus. As the world gets worse, and the Lords return is closer than before, ask yourselves what you can do for others in the few short days left. Look out for the homeless in your travels and pray that the babe in the manger they see in their wanderings will touch them deeply and that their hearts will be turned toward home for eternity.

Merry Christmas,

Leslie

December 17, 2017

The “Heart” of Thanksgiving

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

So what does being thankful mean to you? In all circumstances, give thanks, really? Is your life spinning out of control? You are to give thanks. Really? You just lost a child to cancer, they will never see another Christmas. In all circumstances, give thanks. Really? You have just been notified by the Military that your husband has been killed in another country as they hand you his remaining objects, and you weep. In all things give thanks. Really? You just lost your job after seven years, your heart is broke, you find out they replaced you with an automated system. Then, you remember you prayed sometime back for God to move on your behalf, and you say, Thank You Lord for hearing my prayer. This does not mean you will be without tears, this does not mean you will not have to work hard at finding another job while on unemployment. You will have to muster the “Thank You” for your provision in this circumstance. This does not mean you will now get your dream job. What if your unemployment runs out and you have absolutely nothing to draw from? What if your life becomes more difficult when you thought it would be easier? In all things give thanks. Really? Yes, Really!

I could go on, but I think you have a good idea of what the possibilities could be in your life, and maybe you have already experienced one or two of the things I wrote above. I have found it very difficult to thank the Lord in all circumstances since all of my circumstances lately, well, really for many years, has been of one in the vast wilderness of adversity. There have been times that my refrigerator has been completely empty. I am not old Mother Hubbard, and I rarely have things in my cupboard.

This past Sunday, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I listened to a message from In Touch Ministries with Dr. Charles Stanley. The title was “Thanksgiving Every Day” ( November 19, 2017 message). It was a real eyeopener for me, and made me clearly see I have not been grateful in all circumstances, not even a little bit. I consider myself to be a very thankful person, remembering to say Thank You in most circumstances, but in the ones that choke the life out of me that is a different story. But God made me see things in a different light through this message. He let me see the “Heart” of being Thankful in all circumstances.

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Do you realize how closely God is following your life? Do you realize that from the scripture above In Jeremiah 1:5 God says he knew you before you were formed? Take a moment and reflect on that. You were not saved before you were born, nor after you were born, but God says, in this scripture below in Jeremiah 29:11 that He knows the plans He has for you. Take a moment and think about that. These two things are an awesome eye opening spiritual thing. It has taken me 36 years of walking with the Lord to finally see the missing pieces.

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

When I was a young teen, I went to confession. I was brought up Catholic. I remember one day, after I had confessed what I confessed and said how ever many hail Marys and our fathers, I walked out of the church building, and just stood on the side walk for a few minutes. Pondering. Wondering if that is all there was, or was there more. I can still see myself standing there on that sidewalk. I might have been 16. My journey would not reach my introduction to the Lord till December 1981, I was 23 then. My life had gone through many things before I came to know who Jesus really was and what He did for me. My father was an alcoholic and abusive, my mother was passive and did not protect us kids. There was a host of miscellaneous smatterings of things I had done that were far from Christlike when I looked back on them later. When I looked back, I was ashamed, but the more I came to know who Jesus was and what He did for me, the pain of that time became less and less and I could see my life being directed by something or someone much greater. I reflect on what I could have gotten in to, and in my reflection, I have to say “Thank You” Lord.

When I had to have an emergency C-section with my daughter, Curry, I was not saved then. She was born in February of 1981. I would not come to know the Lord till that December 1981. I remember praying as they wheeled me down the hall to have surgery. I was terrified, you sign papers that say, if you die we are not responsible kind of thing. Some people never come out of surgery alive. My prayer was simple, save the child and take me instead if someone had to die. I had lived my life, but my child was only beginning. What I never realized, listen to me now, what I never realized until after I got saved was that if God had answered that prayer and took me out, I would have spent eternity in Hell. Yet if He had taken Curry, she would have gone on to heaven to be with Jesus that day. But God in His loving Mercy and Grace, knew the plans He had for me, and He saved us both that day in the physical. He knew that the Gospel would be presented to me in December, and He knew I would say yes, on that day, I was sealed for all Eternity because of the sacrifice of Jesus. My sins, past, present and future are covered under His blood and I now belong to the King of Kings. It is in looking back that I can now say “Thank you”. The ‘HEART OF THANKSGIVING IS ‘JESUS”.

If you have read your bible you will see the certain restrictions that God placed upon His people. ( Lev.22:29-33)One of them was the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving, and it was preformed every morning and evening . A blood sacrifice, twice a day to remind the Hebrews that the Lord was the one who brought them out of Egypt and gave birth to them as a nation. He alone saved, kept, and provided for them just as He does for us today.

We being Gentiles, should do not less than the Hebrews in giving thanks to God for all that He has done for us. For all the protection He has covered us with. If you really think about your life, if you look back to how you lived before, if you reflect on how worse things could have been, than you can really say “Thank You Lord” with meaning in your heart.

No matter where your life is now, this Thanksgiving, reflect on your past Thanksgiving, what has happened in your life since last year? Can you now find and see “ The Heart Of Thanksgiving”?

Jesus” is the reason. He should be at the very heart of our Thanksgiving. We have much to celebrate, we have much to be thankful for. Thank Him for your pain, it is a great reminder of the Pain he suffered for us.

Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Since the Lord is the Author and Finisher of our Faith, it is right and just to Give Him Thanks in all things.

May your lives reflect your Thankfulness today as you celebrate the Holiday with Family and Friends.

Leslie

November 21, 2017

(Dedicated to my daughter Curry who resides in Heaven)

“JOYFUL” AWAKENING

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Lord make me a joyful witness to those around me so that I can reflect Your glory. May someone someday be drawn to You because of the unexpected JOY they see in me.

Define Joy; a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Delight, joyfulness, jubilation, triumph, exultation, rejoicing, gladness, glee.

I can assure you, that over these last several months I have had no Joy, no great pleasure, no happiness, no glee, very little laughter. Wading through the waves of adversity leaves little room for even a happy thought. The pain of my Osteoarthritis leaves me very isolated, alone, sad and without a purpose. On the days that I am just a little more flexible, it is spent doing the things that need to be done, then, when I have overdone it again I am once again down for days in recovery. My quality of life has gone down considerably. As I edge toward being 60 I can feel my body in constant rebellion. What kind of Joy do you find in isolation, pain and adversity? How do you find JOY when you have ten dollars left to your name, your next check does not come in for another two weeks, your decision is between buying food items, or buying an over the counter pharmacy item for an issue you have that is not going to go away unless you treat it. It is an agonizing decision, I must choose the pharmacy item. But thankfully, the few dollars left, allowed me to buy some creamer at the Dollar Tree, I knew I would be out of coffee soon, but to have coffee without creamer is like unheard of. Decisions after decisions of how to use my finances properly leaves my head spinning. There is no Joy in the daily struggle.

Do you remember as a child going out to play in the snow? Not a care in the world was on your mind as you tried to catch snowflakes on your tongue. Sledding down the hill and walking back up again was fun. Mom would always have homemade hot chocolate waiting for us on the stove to warm us up. We would then spend the rest of the day doing what ever. We had chores, we had to shovel the drive way, but, for the most part, we did not have any real responsibilities, not the kind you have as an adult. As a child you did not make those decisions, you just did what ever your parents told you to. I would have to say, fairly Joyfully.

The news, whether on Facebook or on TV, in the news papers or on the radio, today they are not full of good deeds being done for their fellow man. You have to dig deep, past the lust, greed and murder stories to find a hint of kindness, a hint of Joy, a hint of something to be hopeful for.

But in these last few days, I have found my Joy again. My Joy is found in writing. I have over the years written over 150 story messages, but have had a long, long period where there has been no inspiration, no drive, no sparkle. It was the Lord, to begin with, that led me to writing . He would place a Title in my mind, he would give me the scripture to go with the title, and just a few snippets of what He wanted written. I would sit down at the computer and pull up Word Pad and put my title in, find the scripture and save the beginning. I would pray through each message, what do you want me to say, how much to you want me to say. I have said Lord you know I can be long winded so please begin it and end it as you like. If I got stuck somewhere, I would stop writing, get up, walk away, and pray, what next Lord, what more do you want to say?

I found my JOY IN JESUS!

It is through Him I have a story to tell, it is how HE changed my life, how He worked in my life, how He directs my life and the list goes on. Through adversity, sickness and in health, Jesus has a message through my life, and those messages are found in our writing (His and mine). Do you know that when I am writing, and He is directing, my pain becomes less even to the point I feel no pain in my body, that was the coolest thing that I discovered along the way. My mind, my thoughts were on Him when writing, they were not focused on my pain or my circumstance. Jesus reveals Himself in my life, and through my life He shows others how He has worked out situations that were impossible to men, but for Jesus, these situations made Him shine brightly. Like the day I got my disability payments on the first try. I love to tell that story because it is just about impossible to get that that soon. BUT GOD CAN! He gets all the Glory for what ever is written, they are His stories, how He worked His way in my life, and these are to be shared with others so that they too can Believe again, Hope again, have Joy again. How many times have you read the scripture, Nothing is Impossible with God? How many times did you believe it? You believed it only when He showed Himself in your situation. Then your response was, It was all God!.

I have searched for the meaning of Joy in my life for many months now, not being able to find it, till He led me to write my last story, The “HEART” of Thanksgiving. I began to see a little more clearly how much that writing, being directed by the Lord , was bringing me the Joy I was searching for. I have prayed many nights, Lord, I miss writing for you. I have felt I have had no purpose in life anymore. Then He inspired me once again, and I felt that peace that passeth all understanding. I felt I finally reconnected with Him. This does not change my circumstance, it does not change how my finances look, this does not change my health, but it sure does change my heart. He knows the beginning from the end. He knows when I sit and when I rise. Before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it completely. My name is inscribed on the palms of His hands, He can not possibly forget me.

So in my “Joyful” Awakening I am hopeful to continue to be inspired by the Lord to write more messages on His behalf. He has already written my story, it looks like it is time for me to share some of the story with you.

Again I say, Lord make me a joyful witness to those around me so that I can reflect Your glory. May someone someday be drawn to You because of the unexpected JOY they see in me.

Leslie 11/23/17

Do you sea what I sea?

Genesis 1:21

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

In the beginning God created……. Have you ever given thought to the first chapter of Genesis? How many times have you read this over your life time? I have recently revisited Genesis in researching what I needed for this story/message and it was a real wow for me. Some people say they do not understand the Bible, that it is to complicated. It has been my discovery, that if you just keep reading that God will show you what He wants you to see in His time. You might read the same chapter year after year and still not really understand it, then one day, your whole world changes and God opens your eyes to its meaning.

Remember the story of Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness? Abraham sends her and her son out of his camp. She journeys and runs out of water so she places her son under one of the shrubs. She sits opposite him and lifts her voice and weeps. In Genesis 21:19 says; Then GOD opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.

We have a new time and a new season upon us, where did all that start? All, in the beginning. We have the sun the moon and the stars, where did they start? All, in the beginning. Have you ever thought about the grass, trees, shrubs, the herbs and the funny looking plant you never saw before and wonder, where did they start? All, in the beginning. I have seen some beautiful birds on a feed called bird watching on my Facebook page. I have never seen anything like these birds. Of course they are from all over the world, but the colors, the feather design, the camouflage, the different beaks and feet are so artistically orchestrated, you have to wonder where did they start? All, in the beginning. Have you ever wondered about the reptiles, mammals, primates, cows, sheep, pigs, the giraffe, the elephant, the alligator, the boa constrictor? All, in the beginning. Have you ever looked out into a field full of nothing but wild flowers and thought to yourself how beautiful, peaceful and serene that it was to look upon and wonder, they are wild flowers, where did they get their start? All, in the beginning. The bugs, and the insects all had there start in the beginning. And God saw that it was good.

In all these things we can see on a daily basis. Although our view of life these days is blocked by buildings, cell phones, ipads, earbuds and music. I love to see the sun coming up through my blinds, although, since the time has changed the sun has moved farther over between the buildings, but every once in a while I can see the pink clouds, which for me is an I love you from the Lord. I see pink as a love color. So when I see it on the clouds in the sky I have come to recognize this was a love note from the heart of a tender loving God to me. Sometimes it is just a brief peek in the sky, sometimes it is only in one place and as I drive on it disappears, no where else to be seen that day. But when I see it, I say thank you Lord. I can see God is in the still small whisper of things and it brings a smile to my face.

When it is 32 degrees outside one does not think much about the beach unless you live in those areas. And it is the beach I would like to talk about now, because I am betting you do not sea what I sea. As a child my parents took us camping at the beach. I have photos of my sister and I playing in the sand, standing on the boardwalk, overlooking the sea. I have to say in some photos I did not look to happy. I have been to the beach in Connecticut, Ocean City, Maryland, the famous Ocean City Beach was only 45 minutes from where I used to live. Then there was Assateague State Park, just a turn off on your way to Ocean City. This state park had wild pony’s roaming all over it. You could only visit on days when the wind was right or else you were bitten by green fly’s and those little God made insects really hurt. I have been to a few beaches in Maine, but those beaches, when we went, were not for sunning yourself I can tell you that. I have not been to the beach since I have moved to Virginia twelve years ago now. It is just to far away and I am unable to drive that far. But my favorite thing to do on the beach is walk the shore line and search for shells and drift wood. I used to always have a grocery bag with me for just such an occasion. I would then make a craft project out of them, reminding me of my visit. Have you ever really looked at the variety of sea shells you picked up? Each of those shells housed a sea creature. Each one God handcrafted, in the beginning. Each one a home for another.

Did you know that the stars constellation are named? One is Pisces, a waterborne sign, the sign is a double fish. I was born under that sign. I adore the beach, I adore the water, the fragrance. Although I can not swim, I surround myself with things that have to do with the beach, even if these days my sand comes from the Dollar Tree. Have you noticed that in Bible times they used to draw the sign of the fish in sand? Look at how many times the Lord used fish for one miracle or another. The fish Peter drew out of the water that had the coin in its mouth to pay the taxes with, I bet that fish choked a bit.

While I was in reflection the other day in my bedroom that is all decorated in a beach theme, a thought, a question came to mind and I asked this question to my son, When you think of the beach what do you sea?” He said water. My next words were, have you ever given any thought as to what was below the water? He said, no. We see daily all that I wrote above, the stars, the moon, the herbs, grasses and animals, but you do not see the world that God created under the sea.

Genesis 1:21

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

I have been to the beach early in the morning at sunup and saw dolphins jumping out of the water. If I had not known they lived underwater, I would not have known. I have seen in documentaries the vast world of underwater life and have to reflect on how God made more than one world, the sea is a world all in itself, yet we do not see it in our everyday life, nor do we see that when we go to the beach. We see some remnants, like sea shells, or little crabs in the sand. Maybe you are one of those that have seen a beached whale or dolphin.

There are volcanoes which have produced islands in the middle of the sea, but you would not know that unless you did some investigation or saw a program on it. You would just think it was always there. The had their roots, at the bottom of the sea and in the beginning.

It boggles my mind as to how creative our God is, and He surely has a sense of humor when you see some of the underwater creatures. Some are microscopic. Some, like the whales are so huge you have a hard time comprehending that when they leap out of the water and splash back down. God created all things to work together, the predator and the pray, underwater is no different than on land. Each creature has a certain part to play here on this earth and under the sea. If you go sports fishing and get a sword fish on your line, that is all you see is that swordfish, you do not see all the other creatures just below the water. Now if you are in some tropical Islands where the water is so clear you can see everything from coral beds to stingrays then you have a blessed sight indeed. But how can we so easily forget about the world under the sea?

Do you sea what I sea?

The only times the creatures of the sea hit the media is if there is an oil spill then the focus is on that which was lost. Underwater documentaries bring this world to life. There are sunken ships, now all covered with life as the fish dart in and out of the little openings. Egyptian artifacts from sunken cities and statues can be found under the sea, a civilization long since gone. The world that God created on the 5th day was even more grand than He created on the first. He was just warming up on day one. I can visualize his paint brush, his colored clay, maybe he even had on some half glasses held around his neck by a few strands of grass, so to get at the very smallest of smallest details. I know He thoroughly enjoyed making all these things, you can tell in the beauty of it all. In the beginning God created this world, both land and sea for us. With His creations, we have wood for our fires, wood for the building of our homes, we have grasses that make good reed roofs. We have water to drink and to be refreshed with. He created the birds to sing to us in the wee hours of the morning. Why some of the sea creatures like the dolphin have learned to understand us, as too some of the primate world.

We have so much to thank God for, all we have to do is stop and look around. And to think, to reflect on, to mediate on the fact He did this for all of us. How loved we are indeed.

Leslie 11/25/17

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The Unlovable Mailman

Job 6:14
“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty
Psalm 109:16
For he never thought of doing a kindness, but hounded to death the poor and the needy and the brokenhearted.
I give kindness where ever I go, I give respect, I am thoughtful to others, and always look for ways to help others. Although I expect these things in return, that does not always happen. In reality, it rarely happens. But I do them any way. It is in my nature. I have refined this part of my life and I listen to those around me.
We live in a broken world. People have been abused, heart broken, abandoned …..it shows on the faces of those around us… They trudge through your day, and through your life, leaving behind the footprints of the brokenhearted.
How do you help them?
You show kindness!
I find it a personal challenge when I come across these kinds of people. I want to tell you the story of “The Mailman”. Then I want to share with you a few others that had a break through all because of kindness. You may even know one of these people in your little corner of the world. And when you see one of these people, I hope you too, will show kindness, and keep showing kindness to him or her. You may be the only seed of kindness someone sees in this life, and that person my only be in your life briefly.
My last job as a receptionist was for a Property Management company. Our office was inside an office building, several steps from the front door on the first floor. There was a set of carpeted stairs, two flights up, that had other offices up there. You had to pass the stairs to get to our office. Our office door was one of those that was split in half. We could open the top part, and leave the bottom part locked. People would come and pay there rent here. On any given day, I would be the one that went to the door and received it from them. Writing receipts, and chatting with them for a few minutes. There were all kinds of people. Some wealthy, some just making by, some friendly, some not so friendly. Some were down right rude, but I was still kind, and in those instances, I would go and get my manager to handle the ones that were way beyond being kind to me .
The person, who stands out the most even today, was the mail man. He would come in, I would rarely see him, and when I did, he never had a smile on his face. When I did see him, he always looked troubled, and unhappy. I tried catching him many times to thank him for the mail, but it was almost impossible…He was very quite and after leaving our mail, he would go up stairs and deliver there mail. Now it became a challenge, how do you thank a person if you rarely see him? How do you be kind to someone if you can’t catch him so to speak? So I started speaking loudly out of my door and let my voice raise up the stairs and said ‘THANK YOU “ ! I began to do this daily, and then one day, the mail man said “YOU’RE WELCOME “. I had made contact through my persistence. I then began to keep an eye out for the mail on the little counter of the door, as soon as I saw it I would yell up the stairs Thank you, and he would reply You’re welcome. A few times after that, he would bring mail that I had to sign for, like certified mail and the like. SO I would put my best smile on, and just a few minutes of chat, like how is the weather out there. He wore a grim face for the longest time, but slowly, he became more friendly, he would smile when he came to our door, and you could almost see him waiting for my Thank You at the top of the stairs so he could yell down, You’re Welcome… This was over a period of one year, that is how long it took for that mailman to begin smiling. Someone was kind to him. I was kind to him. Even when he appeared unkind.
I have had many of those kinds of people drift into my life. I work with several of them now. When I started showing kindnesses to these few, I met with resistance. I met with a dirty look, or no response. All I was saying for the most part was “GOOD MORNING”. You could feel the coldness, not a warm and fuzzy at all. They look at you with the What’s so GOOD about it kind of look. But I continued to be kind. It has, again taken a year of daily kindnesses to bring these people to the point they can even smile my way. They can even chat with me a few brief minutes, a few even share there burdens with me now, personal things that bother them. These that I speak of here are not Christians; there way of life does not reflect that life. But I continue to be a reflection of GOD. I pray they can always see that reflection when they see or speak to me, for I am a representative and am an ambassador for the one who saved me out of the pit, and showed HIS KINDNESS to me. I may be the only kindness they ever receive. I make complements of outfits, and chat about the weather, or help them find a file, or even help them with there work should they go home sick or on vacation. A little kindness goes along way.
Now I want to talk to you about someone you may see only weekly. And ask you the question, are you being kind to them? Are you going out of your way to greet them, to shake his hand, to chat a few minutes with? Are you inviting them to meetings or studies, or breakfasts, are you engaging then in on a one to one conversation? Are you taking the time to ask what are some of there hobbies, or favorite book they like to read? Are you being kind to them, even if they show no sign of outward kindness? You know the one I am talking about. They sit in the pew, pretty stiffly, putting out the “Leave me alone” waves. (When in reality, they want someone to show them some genuine kindness). They do not make eye contact, and would rather sit than stand. They not sing, nor do they lift his hands in worship, they just are there.
How many times do you think it is going to take you to reach them on some kind of personal level?
It took me a year of daily contact 5 days a week to reach the ones I did. If you only see them once a week, for just a couple of hours, then how much more should your outreach of kindnesses be given? Do not assume you know this kind of person. Do not assume you know what they are all about. For all you know, they could be very intelligent, with a lot to say, and have more knowledge than you. You have no idea what there journey has been like, and how they came to be in this place. Be careful what you assume about there circumstances. You are often wrong. Assumptions do not allow for the plans and purposes of God to be sought.
Ideas are formed, rather, on what is seen, heard and perceived through the human senses. Guard against presuming you completely understand the motives of the people God has placed in your path.
So in closing, look around your world today, see who is in need of your kindness today. We only get one chance, each day, Lord willing, to bring some love and kindness to the unlovable.
May Your Day Be Blessed With ‘HIS CONTINUAL KINDNESS” toward you .
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but if I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

July 29,2011
By God & Leslie

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THREE

 

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Mark 10:34

 

and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him,

and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”

Father, Son , Holy Ghost

I have never been fond of the number three. I don’t care for three of any anything unless it might be a candleholder set of three, but I would not purposely choose it. Example, if I were in goodwill, and there was a three set of candles in the leopard pattern I like, and they were less than $5.00, I can almost bet you, I would buy them. But if I were in a store and saw them in a box, I would not buy them. If there are three, then I have to keep them together in the same place or put two one place and one another place. Now on my desk at work, I have three triangle glass vases, layering in size. They are clear glass, and I have filled them with different sizes of stones to give a water effect. Now I have taken some silk yellow hydrangea flowers and put a stem in each one, except the tallest one, I had to put two stems because I had four stems of flowers. It is really quite beautiful, and I have used this vase combination many times, but I was given this set of three vases and I can be as creative as I want to be with almost anything.

Now I can make three tomatoes work for two people, I would cut the third one in half to make an even portion. The same with cucumbers or other vegetables. Now I have a favorite candy bar, it is 88% cacao, and if you eat half the bar it is only 5 grams of sugar for ½. Now you know how candy bars are printed in little blocks, well this is no different. They are in blocks of three, and funny, this little section of three is just enough for a satisfying dessert. When I share this candy bar with my son, he too gets a section of three, and he too is satisfied with the portion. But three ice cubes in my glass of ice tea is not enough for my drink to be as cold as I like it to be. I have to fill the glass up with ice cubes first then add the drink not add the drink then put the ice in.

It goes hand in hand with people too. Three can be an awkward number of people in a room. Like three children playing in a room. It is very difficult to share something’s when you are playing. If you had four children, then each child has a one on one with the other making things more even. Three people making a trip somewhere, two in the front seat and one in the back is awkward. It is hard to hear the conversation from the back seat thus you are pretty much left out of the conversation unless they call your name and they are paying you all the attention in those minutes.

God is all about numbers; every time a number is used in the Bible it has a significant meaning. When Constantine took out pages of the written word, he took out a lot from the book of numbers and left in only what he wanted. So much of our Bible has been lost at the hands of this man. Everything in the Bible has reason, it has meaning. Think for a minute how many references you have read that had specific numbers to them. Noah built the ark, God gave specific numbers on what and how the ark was to be built. Two by two the animals came. Noah was in the storm 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days and 40 nights. Abraham barters with the Lord just before He destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, the battle is for lives, and how many. Jonah was in the whales belly three days. Page after page of your Bible is a reflection of how and why numbers are important to God.

In life, they say things happen in three’s. There is great anticipation in my office when something happens and the word is out, things always happen in threes, I wonder what will be next, is what is being muttered.

In my office just in the last several months, it began with one of our guys whose wife asked for a divorce. He was crushed by it and all of us here were concerned about his well fair. He struggled through all the paperwork, changing all things, working the details out, and his countenance just sank in despair. Day after day, week after week, he hung his head low. Then, I began to see little changes, and asked him one day, how he was feeling and that I saw a change. He said he refused to go on like that any longer. He stood up straight, color returned to his face and he even was smiling again. He was dealing with it now in a positive way. A divorce in itself is a death, and you deal with it just like a death.

The second hit came just a few weeks ago. Another man in our office, been married like forever. It was said they were soul mates. He and her had been in the garden, and she passed out. Emergency crews were called, and in the hospital she died from a brain aneurism. Totally unforeseen. This man has a tremendous team of people who care about him, and his countenance is good. I ask him often if he is doing ok, because I know just because you look ok on the outside you may not be on the inside. He has been wearing bright colors to work which helps. He is still tending to the garden, of which, could be very daunting and very healing at the same time. His sister is helping him with tending. He brought in 37 lbs of vegetables yesterday. He did say he was not sleeping well. But he is handling it, and this can be seen from the outside.

Our office was devastated! And the statements began, things always happen in threes.

From the depths of my heart, I write this story, because it is a GOD story, and one that has to be told so that others may glean from it, so others may help others in their little corner, that is what Jesus calls us to do. As I write this, a life hangs in the balance. All body functions have shut down, she is not conscious, and it is a matter of time before she passes. It is with tears of Joy that I write this story of how GOD moved in this one life and in mine.

This woman who lay in waiting for the Lord to take her home was a co-worker when I started with the company six years ago. For whatever reason, known only to her and God, she did not like me. She was a bully to put it in a nice way. I would leave crying every day, and dread going in the next. Now I know that God placed me in this a job, there was no mistake HE had me here, but believe me I just could not see it then and I wondered in and through my daily tears. This was not a secret thing, many would hear her talk about me behind my back, but this was a woman whom you did not challenge. She had been with the company most of her life time, close to 40 years by the time she retired. Anyway, I would beg God to find me another job. I would beg him to stop this daily abuse.

Then one day, I felt like I should pray for her, and believe me, I questioned God during that time but, HE is always right so I began to pray for her. But I would have to pray for her during my prayer time in the shower each day, here, all was at peace and I would whisper her name and just a simple prayer. Then when I got to work, I would cry. I found myself in the bathroom crying, or on break, and most certainly on the way home, I would cry. I just did not get why she did not like me, not that everyone has to like me, but she outwardly showed her feelings.

I would be as kind as I could but I was being worn down.

Time goes by so quickly. Jennifer was an unwed mother, raising a daughter all alone. She was just shy of 60 I believe when I started here. Her daughter was grown. I certainly did not see any bit of the Lord in or near her. One day, I got to work early, and her daughter was in her car and in the parking lot next to the door I was going in. It was bitter cold outside. Because of her mother, I paused, but the side of me who cares reached out to her and asked if she was alright. She looked like she had been sleeping in the car. It was not safe for her to be in the cold like this so I quickly went over to her and asked her if she was ok, and I invited her in to the building and offered her something hot to drink. Her mother had not gotten to work yet, so the daughter sat in the entry way of the building until she came to work. Well her daughter told her of my kindness to her, and you know, I think that is where things shifted. But only God knows for sure.

It started slowly, but Jennifer began being kind to me. Little things. She would chat with me more. Engage me in a conversation. Thank me for whatever. I found myself not crying as often, and I did not dread going to work. Days went by, and whatever was between us, was gone. She began to offer me plants from her garden. I have three different ones now planted in my yard. She cleaned out a craft closet and knew I did crafts, and brought me in a whole bunch of items. She began to bring me a sausage biscuit ,weekly, just because. She began to invite me out with girls during the week, and was very sincere. She would give me some Christmas items, and one was a set of clear glass sandwich plates with a Christmas scene etched on the underside. I liked them so much; I kept them in my cabinet, of which I continue to use to this day. But then, when I would use one, as I took one from the cabinet, I would pray for her. Genuinely, with a heart full of love for her were my prayers. I remember a story she told one day in the break room, that some stranger paid for her groceries. He said, the Lord told me to pay for your groceries. I just listened, and thought to myself, God was trying to connect with her, and HE let me see it. Well, her health has not been good for several years, lots of pain, lots of fluid back up, and no answers to any of the issues. She had a forced retirement so to speak. She had hopes of traveling and had made plans to do things. But as time went on, her heath just kept getting worse, and her pain had her unable to move in bed for days.

Still, no answers, doctor after doctor. Test after test, bill after bill. She was now retired, no longer getting the insurance plan she had when she was working. Before me was a strong woman, who now, I witnessed her crumbling. Since I am the receptionist at my job, if she called in to talk with HR or someone else, she had to go through me first. ( Jennifer was the Receptionist before me) She and I would chat a few minutes and I would ask her how she was doing. I understood her pain, we had something in common. Well, this past birthday, a co-worker, whom is Jennifer’s very best friend, invited me out for my birthday. Well Jennifer was very upset that she was not told; she very much wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. Any way, Jennifer did not give up there, first she sent me an email saying she wanted to take me out for my birthday and that she was sorry she missed it. Well arrangements were made and she picked me up here at work. We got a chance to chat on the way to the restaurant. She said she was not feeling well, still in a lot of pain, and she did not feel like eating much. Well in our conversation, she mentions that her grandmother was a Baptist and that she grew up Baptist. I was leaping inside, but said nothing on the outside; it was not the time, so I just listened. It was a precious time. She was in pain and walked slowly, and I was in pain and walked slowly. When we got out to her car, she held onto the handle over her door on her side, and I held on to the handle over my door on my side, and we both grunted and squealed as we tried to get into the car and we both broke out into a belly laugh.

I WILL FOREVER REMEMBER THAT DAY!

Jennifer grew worse and worse after this time, battling with more bad days than good, in the hospital more and more, and in more and more pain. It has been quite debilitating. She was now retired, but there was no time to enjoy what should have been a time of quite rest after working for a company for 40 years. This week, Jennifer passed out at home and was rushed to the hospital. We were told, and I took it upon myself to call a Pastor friend of mine whom used to be a co-worker to whom Jennifer knew quite well. I asked that he go and visit her, but most of all I asked if he would check her salvation. This was important to me, and I knew it was important to God, and I knew my friend would have all the questions, and all the answers needed during this time. A phone call came back to me, that Jennifer did indeed know the Lord; her salvation was and is secure. I was elated!!!! When my friend went to see her, she had clarity; she then slipped into a state of comatose.

The Lords timing was and is always perfect although we do not always see it that way.

I hope that you can see how GOD had his hand in this. Our lives are precious to HIM, and HE uses people like you and me to bring back those who have gotten off the path that they were once on. This journey is not all about the lost; it is about the lost sheep, that one that got away from the 99 for whatever reason. The person in your life or your office may know the Lord but does not show it at all on the outside. Maybe they had a bad life experience that left them bitter and angry, and maybe bitter and angry toward God. Maybe God wants to use you in a way to bring that person back to him. So just begin to pray for them, some simple prayer, maybe just that God would meet there needs. Maybe that God will send them some encouragement, maybe that God would show Himself to that person in some way, reminding them HE is still there. Maybe you ask GOD to send someone to buy that person groceries.

PEOPLE NEED THE LORD!

When it comes time for death for those in our lives, they will either spend eternity with the Lord or Eternity in a hell and all the pain it has to offer. God does not want any to perish.

Today, Jennifer has my forgiveness, and my love, but most of all she has God’s forgiveness and HIS love and is now reacquainted with HIS PRESENCE and forever will spend Eternity, pain free as she walks with HIM on the streets of gold.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD!

2 Corinthians 5:8

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

Life is fragile, handle with care

So hug your children today, kiss your husband as he leaves for work, tell your Mom you love her, and send a card to your best friend for encouragement.

Don’t procrastinate and put it off till tomorrow,

for tomorrow may not come for those whom you love.

At the close of this message, Jennifer has passed on and walking along the streets of Gold with her Savior. She has met the many who have gone on before her. Life is sweet, and she will forever be pain free.

I will miss you Jennifer, thank you for being my friend.

Always My Love For You,

 

THE EYELASH CURLER

 JUNGLE 15

Matthew 25:34-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

At what lengths do you go to make yourself look good? You are a different person when you wake up first thing in the morning than you are when you are getting ready for work. Men, well, it does not take much, but a clean shaven guy says a lot. Ironed clothes too make a big difference when entering the work place. A wrinkled shirt or pants, just screams, I don’t care. A man that wears a black and white stripe shirt with aqua plaid shorts says a lot about an attitude first thing in the morning. When a guy gets real cleaned up, shaves, combs his hair just right, or better yet, gets a hair cut right before the date says a lot too. So does a nice suit and tie. That says he really cares about how he looks especially on that special date. Of course now a days, a man who has graying hair, has the option to color his hair, whether professionally of just out of a box. He too can go and get a manicure. A guy can beef himself up with steroids to make himself look bigger. He can also shave his body hair to have that sparkling smooth baby bottom look upon his chest. He can also have tattoos where ever he wants. Up his arms, down his arms, up his neck, down his back or any other body part he wants. He can have body piercings up his nose through his nose; have salad plates in his earlobes that look like something off the African planes. Men in fact can ornately adorn themselves just as much as women do.

Women on the other hand have much more to work with. Now it depends on how old you are. What place in your life you are, and what shape you are in. Woman have the options to bleach any unwanted facial hair, they also have to option to remove unwanted hair from any part of their body. The products out there are incredible. Blonde haired women, believe it or not, go to the hair dresser to increase their blondness, bringing extra highlights that heighten and brighten there look. Women spend a lot of time getting their nails and toenails done. They spend time getting their eyebrows plucked along the hairs on their face and neck, if you would prefer you can get them waxed off. Women too have tattoos, and believe it or not, you now can have your face made up with makeup, in the form of tattoos. So your makeup will be permanently on all the time, so that no matter what, you always look beautiful. Imagine that! Have you ever given any thought to how many different kinds of makeup there out there? Isles and isles at Wal-Mart, Walgreen’s, CVS, and even in your grocery stores, isles have been devoted to make up and any makeup tools that are needed to help with this process.

I have had an eyelash curler for years. When the little rubber c-like piece gave out, I just had to buy another one. Well, I guess they don’t make this kind anymore. So in looking in the isles at Wal-mart, I found the same brand, but it was not the same one, and the little c-like piece was a different kind of rubber. So in needing one, I bought it. The next day, I took it out of the package and when to use it, and it gave a terrible curl to my eyelashes. I tried it a few times and was very disappointed with this product. So for a few days, I used the original one I was trying to replace, it gave me a better curl than the new one even though it was in bad shape. Well, next trip to Wal-mart, I found a different kind, and bought that. Again, a terrible curl with this eyelash curler. It gives my eye lashes a flat curl, and it does not last all day. Now if you are a woman, and use an eyelash curler, you know how important it is to get that curl in your lashers. It’s like it finishes the process. I am still in search of another eyelash curler; I might have to go to an odd store like Job lots, or Big lots. I have my own drawers full of makeup, of which I chose daily which color I will wear to match the outfit I have on.

I know I speak for a lot of woman when I say, when you get up in the morning, unless your makeup is tattooed on your face, you are anything but beautiful. The pimple you are trying to hide is very visible first thing in the morning; your hair looks like it has dread locks in it. You have dark circles under your eyes that resemble someone who just got hit in the face. You have a few rebellious eyebrows, and a few straggler nose hairs that are crying out to be plucked. Your mouth tastes like someone left their feet in it, but no worries, the coffee you make now, will help to melt all that night gook away until you can get to brush your teeth. We are not very lovely first thing in the morning, but give us an hour or two, and we will dazzle you with the beauty that becomes us with the help of the makeup industries. I have to admit, there are some really wholesome women out there, they don’t need any makeup whatsoever, but they are far and few between.

Did you realize that the Egyptians used makeup? They used a lot of dyes from various plants. Like, did you know, you could dye with onion skins? Yep, the yellow ones and the red ones. Have you ever noticed when cutting a red one that the skin will at times leave red on your hands? The beet also, can be used to dye material. I just cooked some beets in the oven along with other vegetables, just roasting them, and the color of the beets bled into all the other vegetables, the carrots turned maroon, you could not tell the carrots began as orange. The purple top turnips, yep they turned a deep maroon too. Have you ever given any thought to the color green? If you juice your green vegetables you can get a very vibrant shade, well, you could use that too, to dye with. Without doing a whole search on how they did it, just know that the Egyptians were probably the first to use makeup. If you can make beeswax candles, then you can use bees wax for many things, including makeup.

Makeup has been used for centuries; although I am sure it was much more pure back then than it is today. Much of today’s makeup is synthetic. Do you want poutie lips like Angelina Jolie, then they have a poutie lip sick or lip gloss designed to trigger something in your lips to make them fluff up. I have tried this kind, and the sensation that the combination of chemicals in the product left me with was a feeling on my lips that was not a desirable one and I quickly removed it.

There is also cosmetic surgery. It is all the phase now a days. Don’t like your nose, well they can break it for you and reset it or cut a little off and reshape it. Sounds like a great time recovery, I bet you can’t blow your nose for awhile. If your breasts are to big or to small, they can fix that for you, cut them down, or put silicone implants in. OUCH!!!!! Either way, having a baby by c-section is all the reconstruction I could handle. The rest of me, flabby or large is going to stay with me till I die. If you have a lot of sagginess on your face, no problem, they can lift all of that and tie a nice little knot at the top of your head to hold it in place. They can change your ears if your ears are to big.

If you do not like the color of your eyes or if you can’t bear to wear glasses, you can have laser surgery, and get colored contacts to change the color. Whatever you want to change, as long as you have the finances to do it, you can do it.

Whatever feature you don’t like, let me just say, that GOD loves you just the way you are. He knew you before you were born and HE formed you in your mother’s womb. He is the one that wanted that birthmark behind your neck, I’m guessing so you can find you at anytime. HE liked the way you had a crooked smile. He chose your eye color. You were created by HIM. He used your mother and your father of whom HE knew what those two would produce, and HE was all excited to see you forming in your mother’s womb. He even knew when you would be in distress. He saw you move before your mother felt you move. He watched your body being formed as each day went by.

I believe we offend GOD when we try to change something HE gave us. We are all guilty of that in someway. Even our hair color. I was born with brown hair, for some reason, I have always been dissatisfied with the color. I have had it red, strawberry red, using peroxide and sitting in the sun. I have had it black, I have been blonde (by accident), I have had it a deeper brown, but my favorite is having it frosted. God gave me brown hair, but I said I did not like it. Oh how many times have I hurt HIM because I did not like something about myself that HE made?

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

In the reality of this day, a lot of pressure comes from the churches to dress so and so, to look a certain way. Religion says you have to do things this way. I was told by a pastor many, many years ago, that I was not dressed properly. Now, this was after I had learned in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. Woman should wear gauchos; you should be covered as much as possible. Sneakers and bobby sox was the normal. Of course no part of your breast could be seen. It was the look that all the woman had in that church, unless on Sunday mornings you really dressed up. Anyway, when we changed churches way back then, I wore the same thing I wore before, when I picked the children up from school or had an after school activity, but I was approached by the pastor and I was corrected on my dress. Now , the killer was , on that day, a woman walked in with a dress on, not just a dress, but a dress that hugged her frame so tight you could see her panty line. But I did not see that being addressed. Walk like this, dress like that, no makeup, your hair has to be a certain way and these are acceptable foot ware. When I moved from Maryland to Maine, I had such a mind frame from that time, I had a long jean skirt on, with pants underneath in the winter time because I believed it was wrong for women to wear pants. It took me a long time to come out from under that.

When Jesus was ministering to those towns he went to, he met people where they were. The woman at the well, she had 5 husbands and the 6th was not her husband Jesus told her. How about the harlots that he encounters. One can only imagine what body parts were hanging out when they were before the Lord. But Jesus Loved them right where they were, in the bad shape they were in. He did not say when HE preached to the crowds, go home and change your clothes before I speak to you, I am GOD you cannot stand before me in that condition. He welcomes all of them just the way they are, clean or dirty, in rags or in the best of clothes. When Jesus touches their hearts on the inside, these people’s lives change on the outside.

John 4:17,18

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

The thief on the cross, at the last moment of his life, excepts Jesus as Lord, and he is cleansed from the inside out, even though his death was moments away, but when his spirit left him, he was in heaven with Jesus, with the God whom he would come to know.

The widow who gave all she had was probably in rags, but Jesus saw her heart and that is why she is recorded in the scriptures. The wealthy gave out of a pious attitude, look at me, look at what I gave, dressed in their fancy clothes, but Jesus saw their hearts too, and knew they were not sincere. There outward appearance had nothing to do with it. 

Luke 21:1-4

As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Judge not and ye shall not be judged  

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? … 

There is a journey we are on before we come to know the Lord. Some of our journeys are filled with things they make horror movies out of. Incest, murder, rape, abortion, drugs, alcohol, embezzlement, robbery. Have you not known of someone who, while serving a life sentence in jail gets a visit from someone on jail visitation, and the man in prison weeps, confesses, and accepts the Lord with all his heart? Even if the man was on death row, if his heart was right, and sincere before the Lord, then that man will spend eternity with Lord. There is nothing fancy about a man on death row.

If a homeless man walked into your church today how would you react? What would you say to that person ?. How would you feel if he sat close to you? That homeless dirty looking person could have been you. Maybe at one time, he was a husband, a father, a man who had a good income, but maybe he was an alcoholic, and maybe one night while his family was asleep, maybe he came in drunk, maybe he lit a cigarette and fell asleep, maybe the house caught on fire and killed all of his family except him alone. What a cross that man carries now, as he wanders the street, night after night, looking for a way to get more alcohol, for now, he is tiring to kill the pain of killing his whole family. Why are people homeless? Have you ever given any thought to that? The man who sits next to you in church, who is dirty, and homeless, has a story to tell, Jesus knows all about it and is trying to reach that mans heart. He wants to use you. Do you except or reject? Do you reach out and ask this man if he needs some water, do you offer him some orange juice and a muffin, or do you find some way to move away and change your seat?

When we came to Jesus, we were in filthy rags, and when we accepted the Lord, we cried.

Come as you are, without the makeup, without the hair color, without the pouty lips. Without the fancy clothes for we are all naked underneath. It does not matter where you have been , it is where Jesus wants to take you on the next leg of your journey. He wants to use you and your experiences to help others on their journey. You have the experience; He needs you to reach others for HIM. You have the credentials.

WILL YOU EXCEPT HIS INVITATION?

COME AS YOU ARE !

 

 

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