Sunday Morning Coffee: Connection

The wi-fi here comes through my PC, and my laptop is connected via wi-fi  Sometimes it takes a minute or two for the connection to happen, and I get the message:

“No connection. Check cables, router,”  etc. etc. etc. All I need to do is click on the wi-fi icon at the top of my page, and then click on my personal wi-fi network.  Good to go, literally in a matter of seconds.

Quick application?  Sure.  Lots of times, it takes my brain a few seconds to agree with my body that it’s time to wake up–and part of my waking routine is to spend a few seconds in prayer before my feet hit the floor.  Kind of a “good morning, Lord, please guide my thoughts, words and actions today.”

Sometimes, though,  I forget to do that. It’s usually a matter of just a few minutes before I realize I’m not connected, a few seconds more to rectify that situation. The difference in the computer situation is that I have to remember to flip on my PC before I can get wi-fi on my laptop.

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God is always up and running. Day or night, 24/7, He is available and ready to work. I was so thankful for that this morning.  As I rolled to a sitting position, and my feet hit the floor, I felt that little tweak in my back that signaled trouble. I sat very still, praying for God to touch that place, and when I stood I did it with the support of my cane and my bedpost.

Stood still for a minute, stretched a little bit, and found I was good to go.

And that, my friends, is how an old lady with an old back has to do things sometimes. I’m thankful that my God is always connected. The only communication failure that happens between us is mine.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Back to Church

It’s going to be a short one this morning.  Terry’s fixing bacon and eggs for us for breakfast, an unusual and welcome treat.

I’m going back to church after three weeks out.  My back is once again settling down, and I think I’ll be okay.  I just have to remember to take my lumbar pillow to put between my swayback and the back of the pew.

Don’t know what swayback is? Here you go:

lordosis

Or just think of a very old horse:

Anyway, it’s been a tough three weeks.   I’ve worked and come home and crawled into bed. Terry wants to know why I don’t just take off work when the back goes hinky on me. It’s because I can’t live with the guilt.  I’ve missed so much since October, and I especially hate to cancel on new clients that I’ve just started seeing.

I got one of those seat cushions that are supposed to take the pressure off your lower back and tailbone. We’ll see.

Anyway, a blessed and relaxing Sunday to all of you.  I hope you’ll find a place to attend a good church today, enjoy being with other believers, and have your soul encouraged by the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

Wisdom from God

My mother would have been nearly 92 today. Her birthday was May 16.  She was 87 when she went to heaven.

The temptation to write another eulogy to her today is strong, but I’ve done that before, more than once, so I think I’ll go somewhere else today.

I’ve been thinking about the biblical Eve.  Wondering how she learned to be a mother; wondering if Adam  and Eve came packaged with the instinct to be parents.

I’ve wondered especially how she dealt with the guilt she must have felt after eating that forbidden fruit and being expelled from their earthly paradise; and again, what must have been in her heart and mind when her first son killed her second son in a fit of jealousy and rage.

Surely she grieved the death of Abel, as any mother would grieve, I can only imagine her broken-hearted sobbing as they buried Abel, and waited to see what God would do with Cain.

There were no self-help books back then to guide her step-by-step through her process. There wasn’t a Bible. There weren’t any counselors with detailed training on grief and loss.  She had Adam. Even better, she had God.

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We know she went on to have many more children. Some researchers, using biblical genealogy lists, estimate that Adam could have fathered at least 50 children, possibly more.  We don’t know if all of them were also Eve’s children, but we can be fairly certain that she mothered several more after Abel died.

So how did she do that? How did she go on, probably for at least a couple more hundred years, and provide the nurturing required of her?  As time passed and her children had children of their own,  how did she know what it was to be a grandmother? A great-grandmother?  She had no pattern set by her own mother or grandmother. No example to follow.

We have to remember that Eve, before she sinned, was the perfect woman. Unmatched in intellect, wisdom,  and a personal knowledge of God.

And right there is the answer to all my questions.  God did not remove Himself from relationship with Adam and Eve after they sinned. He did set boundaries that hadn’t existed until after they sinned, and the fellowship they had with Him changed. There were no more walks with God in the Garden in the cool of the evening.

There was, however, prayer. Direct-to-God, no mediator needed, heartfelt, seeking, sometimes desperate prayer. I believe both Adam and Eve were perhaps the best pray-ers who ever lived. After all, they had known God personally. Their experience with Him was unique, their understanding of Him different from all those who came after them. I believe that He taught her what she needed to know,  and/or guided her through the hard places when she didn’t know what to do.

Wisdom, after all, comes from God.  Then, now, and always.

James 1:5.”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Seasons Change

Fly across this country from coast to coast or border to border, and you will see a wonderful variety of climates.  Places where it’s always cool, or always warm, or always green, or always  brown.

One of the things I love about Pennsylvania is the green that we have three seasons of the year. Winter can be mostly grey and brown, but when it snows it’s glistening white for a few days.

From this: Our back yard in January

winter shadows

To this: Our front yard in spring

 

spring pink

Ecclesiastes 3

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

I think it is only as we accumulate  some years in our lives that we can begin to fully  understand this famous Bible verse. Farmers probably get it before anyone else does.  They understand that you have to plow, plant, cultivate, reap, and store all in the turning of the seasons. If you rush or delay, your crop won’t be as plentiful.

So it is in our lives. Childhood is the time to learn and grow. In the teens, we should begin to work, increase in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man. In young adulthood,  we focus on career and the establishment of our own families; in old age, should nothing take us to heaven too soon, we live to reap the rewards of our lives–grandchildren, family, friends, and a time to rest.

The same happens spiritually. We’re newly saved; we grow, learn,  increase in wisdom and knowledge; we reach out to others, planting the seed of the gospel; if we persist, we have spiritual children.  We understand God’s Word more clearly every year.  It permeates our lives, our hearts and minds,  and gives grace and wisdom to our thoughts and words. We begin to appreciate the beauty in the worn, wrinkled faces of the elders in our lives if they have invested time in prayer, Bible study, and service.

Just as the seasons of the year change, so do the seasons of our lives.

There is beauty in each one.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Resurrection Sunday

You should know I’m writing this on Saturday afternoon. WordPress has a neat little option to schedule when you want a post published, and I use it when I know time will be short in the morning.

I love Easter. The weather has the definite feel of spring. Flowering trees are doing their thing. Several people in the neighborhood are mowing their grass right now.  Birds are thrilled.  You can tell by the trill 🙂  Our raspberry canes are greening, and the air is soft.  It could stay this way all year, except I would miss the fall. Could we just do spring and autumn, please?

Well, anyway.  There is no better season in which to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection, the crucifixion would  be meaningless.  Just another dead Jewish man killed by the Romans.  But Jesus wasn’t just another man. He made life meaningful, made eternal life possible, gave everlasting life to  those who could not provide it for themselves.

Last year, we planned to have Easter dinner here. My wacky back had another idea, though, and my daughter–an exceptional cook–made dinner at her house and brought it over here. This year, I’m going to be able to do it.  The house is clean.  Floors swept and mopped, bathrooms cleaned, furniture dust-free.  After supper tonight I’ll peel the potatoes for tomorrow and put them in cold water in the fridge. The ham will go in the oven before we leave for church in the morning.   Others are bringing dessert and veggies. Some old friends will join us, and it will be a good day. The weather is going to be perfect.

We will relax, probably play a game or two, eat and visit.  The kids will doubtless spend some time outdoors, and Andy the puppy, who is now a year old, will be all over the place.  He loves people, loves to be petted and played with and sometimes just held. I’m sure he will be very interested in any tidbits that may (accidentally) fall to the floor.

Aren’t we a blessed people?  Please take some time tomorrow to just be thankful.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Normality

We enjoyed having our grands over for the day yesterday.  The main event  was a trip to see an old friend who has a horse.  He also has a buggy, which he let each one drive. This was a very big deal. There were some other projects that got some attention, and it was a good day.  When their parents came and took them home, the house seemed  terribly quiet.  It wasn’t long, though, before I  was very comfortable to the return of normality.  We’ve become much quieter in our old age unless Terry is running some kind of electric tool or pounding away at some task.

Sometimes, especially when we’re young, we long for excitement and adventure.  Nothing wrong with that. Those are high points in our memories that we like to reflect over as our lives march on. Some people never lose that thirst for adventure.  More power to them.  That’s their normal.

My normal is the calm, the peace, the security of my very good marriage, my unpretentious home,  my books, my friends, my church.  All of these things are dependable, When things get stirred up a bit, that’s a good thing too. I just don’t want to be stirred up all day every day.

I remember a message I heard years ago at a women’s conference.  The speaker was someone with whom I felt a great kinship.  She was practical, funny, straightforward. Sometimes she was loud.  Always, she was biblically-centered. Here is what she said that has stayed with me:

“It is a great thing to have mountaintop experiences, in both our day-to-day and our spiritual lives.  For some of you, this conference is a mountaintop experience. Perhaps you’ve learned something new, or you have a renewed love for God. That’s great! Enjoy! But remember, you can’t live on the top of a high mountain.  Above the tree line, there’s not enough food, water, or oxygen to sustain life.  Jesus went to the mountain top to rest and be alone, but then He came back down to feed the people. That’s what we need to do. Get refreshed, get renewed, but then go back home and share it with the people in your life.” (Marlene Evans)

This is not a direct quote, but it’s pretty close.  It was a long time ago.

What I want to emphasize here is that normality is a good thing.  The highs are good, too, but we don’t live our lives on a constant high.

Praise God for you mountaintops, but also remember to be thankful for the normal in your life.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day!

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Recovery

For the last five months or so, I’ve been  pretty useless.  Terry’s had to take over the housekeeping while I sat or lay in bed, nursing my aching back.  I’m definitely better now, with one little setback three weeks ago, and this last few days I’ve resumed some chores as my strength and energy permit.

Do you know what happens to your muscles when you do nothing?  It isn’t pretty. They get flabby, and you don’t have a lot of get-up-and-go. If your lifestyle doesn’t include some purposeful physical activity,  your muscles are going to turn to mush.

It’s not pretty.

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We have a multi-purpose cable  gym downstairs, so I’ve put myself back on the track of better muscles, more strength, more energy.

Friday I did some leg lifts. Thought I was going to die.  But I did them again yesterday, and it was a little better. This is just for starters.  I need to work my arms, shoulders, my core–everything.  And I have to do it carefully so as not to wake the sleeping monster in my lower back.

Thinking about all that, I thought about how quickly we can become spiritually flabby. Skip your Bible reading and Bible study for a week, put aside prayer, miss church?  It’s going to be very easy for Satan to pay you a little visit and direct your thinking to an unhealthy place.  I hate missing church.  I’ve missed more church in the last five months than in my entire life up to now. Breaking that pattern of church attendance can cause a spiritual ennui that drives you right down into depression.

Combine all that spiritual neglect with chronic pain, poor sleep, lack of fellowship with other believers, and you have a recipe for disaster.  It’s time to put yourself back on a spiritual exercise regimen, because you can’t fight Satan if your spiritual armor is missing.

Am I saying this has happened to me?  Yes, absolutely, to a degree. Anyone who thinks that being physically inactive sounds like a wonderful vacation?  Has never been forced into physical inactivity.  Partly because of the work I do with people who are suffering depression, I’ve been aware of my own tendency in that direction.  I’ve been purposeful about keeping up with my Bible study blog because it helps me stay in the Word. I chose to spend more time in prayer, because–not much else to do, right?  Use the time wisely.

Some days it’s been a battle, and some days I’ve just given up and wallowed in the muck, Not often, though.  I don’t like muck.

I am keenly aware that it could–and probably will–happen again. The conditions in my lower back aren’t things that can be cured.  I don’t look forward to the next event, but I’ve learned a little bit about how to deal with it.