Sunday Morning Coffee: Where Could I Go?

I’ve been determined NOT to write about the virus today, but really, nothing much is happening around here 🙂

It’s hard to ignore, isn’t it? It’s controlling a lot of lives right now, and seems it will continue to do so for a while.

As usual, thinking of current events has brought a song to mind: An old spiritual called “Where Could I Go.”

Trouble is nothing new. It started the moment the evil serpent in the Garden of Eden tempted Eve. I don’t know why we all seem so surprised that yet another evil serpent has raised its head in the form of the Corona virus. It’s not the first time a plague has threatened the health and life of countless people around the world.

I think it seems so much worse this time because of all the instant news options we have literally at our fingertips. I haven’t looked at email yet this morning, but I’m sure the virus will be there, as well as news on the economy affected by the shut downs all across the country and the world.

I despise the way the present situation is being politicized. It is beyond my understanding that we can find the time and energy to attack, accuse, and demean anyone with whom we disagree. Lots of finger-pointing going on out there. Name-calling has become an art form!

We’ll be listening to our pastor’s sermon via the internet later this morning, knowing that many of our church family will be listening with us, missing our usual Sunday morning fellowship but still able to be in touch.

Perhaps one of the best things to rise out of this mess is the creative ways people are dealing with suddenly becoming homeschoolers, or work-from-home employees. It’s a whole new world out there, and many are offering helpful ideas on Facebook and other social media sites. I’m so glad for the positive that’s out there to balance out the fear and hysteria.

We need not to forget that prayer is still our first, last, and best resort in times of trouble. God knows all about it.

Make it a blessed and thankful Sunday. Count your blessings. Name them ton by ton 🙂

Sunday Morning Coffee: Comfort Food

What foods immediately come to mind when you see the words comfort food ?

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Good stuff here, but where’s the tomato soup and grilled cheese? Just plain macaroni and cheese? Waffles or pancakes for supper? Chocolate chip cookies? Oatmeal/raisin cookies? Any cookies, really. Warm homemade bread thick with butter?

There are others, but I’m making myself hungry.

Do your favorites take you back to your childhood? A good roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn or peas, salad, pie and ice cream? Oh, yum!

Maybe your favorites come later in life if you didn’t have a particularly warm and wonderful childhood. Maybe your palate is more sophisticated because you got interested in many different flavors from different places. Maybe you just think of food as your happy place 🙂

We call it comfort food because that’s what it does–it comforts. It brings a sense of safety and relaxation, and helps us shed the troubles of the day.

Did you ever think about your Bible as being comfort food? Matthew 4:4 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

“O taste, and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8.

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12.

How wonderful it would be if the first thing we think of when we are in need of comfort would be the Word of God!

I am thankful for so many passages I memorized when my mind was more like a sponge than a sieve!

My favorite of all, though is Psalm 119:165. “Great peace (inner comfort) have they which love Thy law; and NOTHING shall offend them (cause them to stumble).”

Need some comfort today? Try munching on God’s Word.

Psalm 119:103. “How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Sunday Morning Coffee: What Drives You CRAZY?

Image result for That drives me crazy!

It’s not my computer this time. Actually, things are going along swimmingly in that department.

The rest of the day, however, has been enough to make me wish I’d just stayed in bed!

I couldn’t find a paper I need to take with me when I go in for some blood work next week. I KNEW I hadn’t thrown it away. So–Terry and I probably spent an hour or more going through papers on the computer desk–another thing that makes me crazy, cluttered up desk, papers that never get thrown out–and I finally found it stuck between the pages of the calendar I keep on the desktop. Whew. Okay.

Then I made the mistake of asking Terry if he remembered where we put a hair curling tool when he tore the big bathroom apart. If you live with a person who has ADD, you know better than to ask a question like that unless it’s truly urgent that you find whatever it is. I told him half a dozen times not to worry about it, it’s not something I use a lot, etc. But he had to keep looking, and believe me, that’s a chore. The bathroom is STILL torn up, after nearly two years, and a lot of the stuff is in his bedroom, piled up, shoved under the bed, in the closet—-yeah, that drives me crazy, too.

But what really made me want to pull my hair out was that I found it, exactly where I had put it, in a drawer in the new vanity in the bathroom.

I hate it when there’s no one to blame but me.

And then, I couldn’t get our Roku to work tonight, and I had to go through a process, change the password, blahblahblah. Finally got it working, for about ten minutes, when the screen went black and a “no signal” message came up.

Okay. That’s it. I was about to lose my sanctification, so I turned it off and decided I needed to turn my mind to better things. Set the clocks an hour ahead. Lose an hour of sleep. Bah humbug. I don’t know why “they,” whoever they are, set that up to rob you of sleep on Sunday. Could have just as well been Saturday!

That didn’t work. I know. I need to do my post for Sunday Morning Coffee, which I often write on Saturday to make sure I get it done.

As I write, I feel calmer, start to see the humor, and then have to have a little talk with Jesus to forgive me for my impatience when things don’t work right, when things get misplaced, mixed up, forgotten, messed up.

Because, you know, that’s what the Lord faces with every single one of us, every single day. Did I need to have a tantrum over these silly things ? Nope. It doesn’t help a thing, and I feel like a dope when I settle down. I know better. I often go for long periods of time–maybe a week?–without becoming impatient with something minor.

How does God have patience with me? I don’t know. The same way, I guess, that He had patience with David, with Gideon, with Lot, Elijah, Jonah, the Pharisees and Sadducees, The soldiers who beat Him and nailed Him to the cross; His disciples who deserted Him, even just for a short time, when trouble loomed.

We see His mercies new every morning.

I want you to know that just sitting still and thinking as I write has calmed me and settled me. Sometimes we just need to be still, and know that He is God. That He cares about the frustrations of life, and that if we would stop and pray right away rather than getting all wrapped around the axle, we could save ourselves a lot of grief. And embarrassment.

Sunday Morning Coffee: What Starts Your Day?

Yesterday, I decided to do one of those things that goes around Facebook every now and then. It’s a list of questions like, how old are you? What size bed? Pets? Favorite colors? It’s kind of fun to see how people answer, especially if it’s been a slow day 🙂

One of the questions was, ” Most important thing first thing in the morning?”

I answered, “Coffee and my Bible.” Preferably in complete silence. When I was teaching full time, I got up at 5 a.m. just so I could have that quiet time before everyone else stirred. Glad I don’t have to do that any more!

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It was interesting to see how others replied. I wasn’t alone in my answer, and that’s a wonderful thing.

I learned years ago that if I didn’t do my Bible reading early in the morning, there was a good chance it wouldn’t get done at all. My days were so busy, and it would be time for bed before I knew it. So the habit got established, and I still love that personal, quiet time with the Lord.

Here are some benefits:

  1. No matter how I’m reading through the Bible each year, God always manages to show up with something I needed RIGHT there at the moment.
  2. Gets you thinking in a positive track before the day begins.
  3. Maybe you’ll have a verse in mind all day.
  4. Lots of times, a verse I read in the morning triggers a song that stays with me all day.
  5. Prayer always follows reading, and it’s good to start the day with God as the first person you talk with.
  6. Sometimes, what I read will trigger me to pray for someone I hadn’t been thinking about.
  7. Sometimes, if there is an issue I’m struggling with, God has the answer waiting for me in His Word, just at the right time.
  8. My day just goes better when I’m faithful to my routine in the morning.

Not everyone can manage to spend time in the Word first thing. When my kids were little, often their needs pre-empted everything else. When a child is throwing up, you really do have to deal with it 🙂

For me, one of the treasures of being my age, and retired, is that I can usually control my mornings. Rather, God usually controls my mornings.

It’s a privilege to have the time and desire to start my day with Him.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Sheltered

When we first came to Pennsylvania in 1974, this song was popular with believers. Two other women and I discovered we had a pleasant blend of voices. The church music director agreed to hear us, and from that time on we were regularly scheduled on the music list.

This is one of the first songs we sang together. In fact, it may have been the very first. I don’t trust my memory any more on things that happened 46 years ago!

I still love the song, and it’s been in my mind a lot over the last couple of days. I remember when a truck driver who had a smooth baritone voice came on the scene. His name was Marvin Harris, and he sang this song.

Here’s one of my favorite scripture passages from the Psalms: Psalm 91:

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

And another favorite verse: Deuteronomy 33:27. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

God promises that He will always be with us, whether our paths are full of doubt and trouble, or joy and victory. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that He wants good for us, and not evil (Jer. 29:11).

Things aren’t always going to be perfect. We have all sorts of bumps along the way. Instead of becoming discouraged when the next mountain seems so much steeper than the one we just conquered, we can rejoice in the fact the God made the mountains, and He is with us as we climb what can seem an impossible height. Hebrews 13:5. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Precious promises, precious songs. May this one bless you today.

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Nation Divided

This is not a political post. It is a post about how events at the highest levels of government have divided us from each other. The virulent hatred that is being spewed by both sides is unconscionable. The only real winner is Satan, because he has managed, over the course of many years, to turn us into a nation of name-calling, physically violent, hateful people who have lost their way.

I’m not even going to look for a picture to illustrate this post, because I’m sick of looking at all the protests, parades, attacks and screaming obscenities that have polluted our landscape.

I’ve even promised the Lord that I’m going on a politics fast this coming week. That means I’m not going to look at anything that has to do with the unrest in my country for seven days. I need to have a brain cleanse, you know?

It makes me so sad that friends I have who disagree with me on political issues can’t even discuss it with me without becoming angry.

So, what is the answer? Do we all just have to throw in the towel and give in to one side or the other even if it goes against all that we believe?

No. Absolutely not. We do, however, need to find a way to have a more civil discourse that will actually accomplish something rather than just ending in a shouting match.

If I’m tired of it, and I truly am, how much more must it grieve the heart of God? This country has access to more teaching from God’s Word than any other nation on earth, yet we have become so impeded in our ability to speak rationally with each other that the air is constantly polluted with F-bombs and name-calling, threats and abuse.

What can we do?

Pray more. A LOT more.

Spend a lot more time in God’s Word.

Educate ourselves by reading material that is written intelligently on all sides.

Avoid TV channels that you know provide only one aspect of the news. I know, it’s hard to find that, but it IS out there.

Be careful what you read online. Avoid the click-bait. It can eat up hours and hours of time that could be better-spent in other ways.

The best way to make sure your voice is heard is to vote whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

The thing that makes America a republic—NOT a pure democracy– is that we send people to our state and federal governments to be our representatives and senators to speak for us. If every voting-age citizen had to vote on every piece of legislation, nothing would ever get done. So we vote for those who speak in our behalf. That’s why the every-other year elections for the House and the Senate are so important. We need to pay attention to what the people in Washington are doing. They may not be representing us at all, but instead voting with special interest groups who will line their pockets in return for votes.

Yes, it does happen. Don’t be naive.

Let me clarify : America is a democracy IN a republic. It is not a pure democracy, which always leads to anarchy and then to totalitarianism.

If you hated history class, were bored spitless by civics (does anyone teach civics any more?) and had no interest in the Constitution when you were still in school, maybe now would be a good time to go back to basics. Most American who were born in America wouldn’t score very well on the test that immigrants have to take to become American citizens. We’re ignorant about our own government, and when that becomes a widespread condition, government can do whatever it wants to.

Educate yourself.

Image result for those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it citation

Sunday Morning Coffee: This and That

Yup, it’s another one of those “stream of consciousness,” random, no particular goal or plan kinds of posts.

It’s been a different kind of week. I’ve been working on some physical issues that seem to be resolving positively now. I’m learning that aging has all kinds of surprises. I remember the first time I ever saw the picture below. I was young, newly married, and could hardly imagine being really old. Doesn’t seem so hard to believe any more 🙂

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About those surprises as we age; what do I mean? Well, here’s an example anyone who had very oily skin and acne as a teen will understand. I had that kind of skin, starting when I was just ten. By the time I was in high school, I was blotting the oil off my face several times each day. The acne was very bad. Back then, I never dreamed that a day would come when my skin would be so dry that I would be using Argan oil twice a day, all over my face and neck. It feels good, and it really does the job. Who knew, back when I was 15, that this day would ever come? Not me, that’s for sure!

Life changes. I was teaching my women’s Bible study class on Friday morning. We were in the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes, in which the last couple of verses admonish us to rejoice in our youth. I wonder if any of us actually are wise enough to do that! We discussed it for a little bit, remembering how good we felt, how busy we were, how strong and active, never giving much thought to a time when those things would begin to fade.

I think we can rejoice in our age, whatever it is. We may lose things from one decade to another, but we also gain, if we’re walking with God, in faith, peace, hope, confidence, just knowing Him, and realizing that every day brings us one day closer to heaven.

I’m thankful for many things. I’m thankful to be retired, although I loved my work. I’m thankful I’m still in my right mind. No, really, I am! I’m thankful I’m not housebound yet, that I can still drive and participate in things I enjoy. I’m thankful I have the time to write. I’m thankful for Terry, who makes sure I don’t do anything to hurt my back, which has been in pretty good shape since my last injection in June. Even though I’m pretty sure the pain will return, for right now I’m comfortable most of the time.

I’m thankful for more time to be in the Word. I’m thankful for a pastor who challenged us to pray more this year. I’m thankful for the women in my class who share my love of the Word of God, who can weep with those who weep, and who can share a good belly laugh together.

I’m thankful for my kids and grandkids. They fill my heart and my thoughts all the time. I pray for each of them every single day.

See, the thing with aging is that the longer you live, the more you have for which to be thankful—and the more time you have to pray, study, grow in the Lord.

Philippians 4:11. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”