Where Antelope Roam


Thank You
January 8, 2017, 7:36 am
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As a young girl, I was taught that it was polite to say please and thank you when given some small attention or thing.    I learned to say thank you because it was expected of me but did I and/or do I truly know how to be grateful?

Today is Sunday.   Today, I will go to church.  Today, I will care for babies and toddlers in the nursery while their parents are somewhere else in the church teaching a Sunday School lesson or sitting in a Sunday School classroom listening to a lesson from God’s Word.   Today, I will play the organ for the song service during the morning and evening services.   Today, I will play the organ during choir practice.  Today I will sit and listen as the pastor preaches a sermon… Today… today…

As the morning blushes with the first light of dawn, I sit here and contemplate life.  More specifically… my life.

As the sunrise paints it’s way gloriously across the morning sky I wonder what this day will bring forth.  I wonder what difference my life will make…today.

How will I live this day?   Will I be thankful today…. not only say “Thank you” but truly in the core of my heart feel and be thankful?

Being thankful is a choice.   My choice.   It is the choice between seeing life as it is or seeing it how I wish or think it should be.   It is the choice between”just going through the motions of daily activity” or the choice of truly engaging in life.   It is the choice between seeing the “small” things or wishing for “bigger” things.

Today, I choose to be grateful.   Today, I choose to be grateful for the colors of the sunrise.  Today, I choose to be grateful for the promise the day holds.   Today, I choose to look at the day as Anne  of Green Gables did, “with no mistakes in it yet.”

When mom and dad were teaching me to say “please” and “thank you”, they couldn’t make me be grateful… so what was the point?    The point is we can choose to be grateful or we can choose to be ungrateful and wish for a life that is not ours to live.   So, are you and I choosing to be grateful?   Gratitude changes the way we view life.   Gratitude adds meaning to our lives but gratitude is a choice.

So much to think about.

Until next time, love God, love others and… choose to be grateful.

 



River Rocks Part 2
November 30, 2016, 6:51 am
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14 deaths

8 funerals

6 trips out of state

1 furnace kaput

1 microburst/mini tornado

1 major software transition

1 hearing aid lost

1 wellwater pump/no water

No this isn’t a macabre version of the 12 days of Christmas.   As it turns out this has been my river called 2016.

I am not recounting this so you might feel sympathy for me but that you might understand the background for my own river rock monument.

  • The first death I encountered this year was my own mother’s.  However before she left earth’s portal, God gave us a very special time with her for what would be her last birthday party on earth.  Awesome conversations with mom …my first rock.
  • After we returned from mom’s funeral we went through a major software change at work that stressed us all out….coworkers that believe we are a team and good one at that!…my second rock.
  • Funerals we’re sprinkled throughout the year for family and friends…some required traveling.  Because my husband and I had gone through Dave Ramsey’s FPU which teaches you how to tell your money what to do, we were not caught out with debt to travel…in fact we didn’t even have to touch our emergency fund.   All travel was cash flowed….my third rock.
  • This summer our furnace went kaput (after 40 years I can’t understand it….they just don’t make em like they used to…lol) …enter the emergency fund…my fourth rock.
  • A microburst came through our property this summer uprooting at least 5 dead trees….we were going to have to cut them down and cut them up to burn in our woodstove….rock number 5 and six….trees cut up and burned in wood stove while we await the furmace to be put in…
  • During one of our trips to clean out mom’s house, I lost one of my hearing aids….bummer…but when I went to see my audiologist it was time to replace them anyway….because of my insurance I was able to not only replace but upgrade them and it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket..woohoo…my 7th rock.
  • During that same trip we learned our sister-in-law would be in Tulsa to start chemo…so we asked if we could stop by on our way home…we did and spent some precious time with her…two weeks later she left earth’s door for heaven’s shore….my next rock.
  • The microburst also uprooted one of our electric poles necessitating the electric coop replace it…when  they did they moved the transformer pole closer to our well pump which necessitated some rewiring and replacement of the pump…River rock…

So as you can see though it’s been a rough year…a draining one in every aspect, God has been there all the way and provided what we needed when we needed it.

Until next time, love God, love others and find the river rocks in your river times.



River Rocks
November 6, 2016, 7:36 am
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What do you do when life seems dark?  When everything that happens seems to happen with the intent to break your spirit, to drown you in the circumstances of life?

We all go through times in our lives when life gets intense… almost overwhelming to the point we almost feel like we’re drowning.

Recently, I came across some excellent advice— well, really not advice — but an example of what one person does to remind herself of the goodness of God in her life.   When we’re in the dark times of our lives sometimes it’s hard to see the light.

She used the early history of Israel as her example.  If you know anything about Israel’s early history, you know there were a few time that God guided their path through waters that, for those who look at the circumstances only, looked impossible to cross.  Yet God did the impossible for them…. He opened a way through the waters.   Then after they crossed through the midst of waters (on dry ground I might add), He instructed His leaders to tell the people to take rocks from the water ways… for Moses, they were “sea rocks”, for Joshua, they were “river Rocks”.

Then they were to take those rocks and build a monument at the side of the sea or river they had just come through.  Those River Rocks set into a monument were there for the people to look back and be reminded, “God provided for us.”

Their prophet Isaiah reminded them that God had redeemed them and called them by name and that He had promised, “when thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee and through the rivers, shall not over flow thee…”

So it is for those of us who have accepted God’s redemption in our lives.    He promises to be with us.   He also wants us to have our own “River Rocks”.   Those are the times we can look back, even in the midst of present trying circumstances, and say, “God provided before, He will provide again.”

God’s provision each time may look different for each circumstance we face has it’s own value, it’s own lesson, it’s own individual need.

Some of my “River Rocks” are:

God’s intervention that kept me from disappearing at a young age.

God’s provision of a life mate at the right time in my life.

God’s provision of an extra job to pay for supplies for our Type I diabetic daughter.

God’s provision of the $1000 deductible needed to pay for our daughter’s first cataract surgery.

God’s provision of friends who encourage even when they have no idea the waters I’m passing through.

I could go on but you get the idea.   The darkness in our life is meant by the enemy of our soul to overwhelm and drown us in despair… yet God says, “remember the River Rocks.”

Until Next time, love God, love others and “remember… your own River Rocks.”

 



More than We can Bear
September 18, 2016, 4:13 am
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It’s been said that God will never give us more than we can bear.   I think I’ve even said that a few times myself.  However, I’m not sure this an entirely accurate statement for it implies that we must rely on ourselves to “get through”.

Think about this.   The Christian life is to be one of growing and learning and sometimes that growing and learning must take place through pain (as it often does in our physical lives).   One of the goals in the Christian life is to learn to trust the Lord more and more…. daily.     My question then is, “how can we learn to trust the Lord more and more if we can always bear the burdens of our lives?….if we always “get through by ourselves”.

The apostle Peter in his first letter encouraged us with these words: “casting all your care upon Him for He careth for you.”  King David in Psalm 55:22  encouraged us to “cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee:”

You see, we live in a world that tells us we shouldn’t feel any pain, we shouldn’t admit to any burdens in our lives but let’s be honest.    Life happens.  Things happen sometimes in rapid succession (or at least seemingly so).  So when things are more than we can bear, we have the opportunity to go to Jesus to help us bear those things we cannot alone… some would call this weakness and, indeed, they would be correct.   The apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians spoke of a burden he was given to bear… one that when he asked the Lord to remove it, the Lord told him, no… “for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

When we have burdens we cannot carry on our own without feeling weighed down, drowning or overwhelmed, we have a choice.   We can keep on trying to carry our own burdens or we can trust the Lord with our burdens.   Jesus told us to “come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy ladened (burdened) and I will give you rest.”

With everything in our life, the choice is ours.   The question is: will we stubbornly keep trying to “face the music” on our own… or will we humble ourselves and go to the Lord and ask for His help.?

Until next time, love God, love others and choose to “cast your burden upon the Lord”



Overwhelmed by Life
August 30, 2016, 5:33 am
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Not too long ago, a young friend and I were discussing being overwhelmed by things happening in our lives and the lives of those we know and care for.

People doing things we never thought they would do… work schedules that seem to leave no time for anything else…events happening we’d never dreamed would be part of our lives… yet there they were… staring us in the face … making us feel …. well… overwhelmed.

As we talked, I was again reminded of another person who had felt overwhelmed.    King David of old.   There was at least one time that King David felt overwhelmed and he recorded those feelings of being overwhelmed in Psalm 61.   Imagine that.. a leader of a country being overwhelmed… who’d of thought a leader could be overwhelmed?   Nor just overwhelmed but willing to admit it.

Now, David doesn’t go into detail as to what was making him feel overwhelmed… he didn’t need to… yet in this psalm he lays out for us how to deal with feelings of discouragement and of being overwhelmed by events and relationships in our lives.

He first runs to God in his discouragement…that’s where we’re to run.   First… not second… not third… not when we finally realize there’s nothing else we can do but first…

He pours out his feelings to his God and requests that He lift him up higher than his feelings and situations in life…to give him God’s vision for him… something else to focus on other than himself and his own feelings.

Then he reminds the Lord that He alone has been his refuge… his shelter… his protection from the enemy….now David had a lot of humans who pursued him and quite frankly wanted to see him dead… yet the enemy here, I believe, is the one  who pursues us all… the one who seeks to destroy us all… the one who is ultimately behind the human/physical manifestations of our distresses.

David then  reaffirms to God that he will seek refuge in God alone… he will continue to make God his place of abiding…. of dwelling with him regularly.   David was committed to his relationship with God and he reminded Him that he would continue in that relationship.

Then David remembers the heritage God had given him of those who revered God and walked in His way.   Now while this may be his family, I do believe that there were others that God had placed in David’s life who were not necessarily family members but those who walked with God as an example before him.

David in his expression of heritage, reminds himself of those who’ve gone before him in their own race… in their own walk before God… then he goes on and states that so will he… regardless of his own situation… regardless of others who turn aside from that walk… regardless of those who pursued him desiring his death…he, David, would continue in his walk with God and praise Him for it.

What about you, my friend?  Are you feeling overwhelmed by life?   First, let me ask you… do you have a personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ?  That’s where help must start…

If you do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are feeling overwhelmed… where are you running to?   Are you running to God?   Are you asking Him to lift you up to the Rock higher than yourself?   God doesn’t promise to take us out of our circumstances… but He does promise to be with us in them… I encourage you today to read Psalm 61. …

Until next time, love God, love others and run to the Rock that is higher than yourself.

 



Removing the Clutter
July 8, 2016, 7:19 am
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So… a week or so ago, I had some extra time off from work and really have come to the realization that my house and life are too cluttered… I decided it was time for some tough love intervention…. I started going through things and putting them in bags and looking for things that just needed to …. well… go!    I took a pickup truck full of things to Goodwill the other day of “good things” other people might need and yet… when I came back home, I realized I have a long way to go to de-clutter our home.

Why are things so cluttered?   Why do I keep things?    Especially when I feel like I’m being overwhelmed with clutter in my life… here’s a few reasons I think we all keep things.  Sometimes we keep things….

1. because we’ve been taught that it’s wasteful to throwaway things that still have some use  left in them…

2. Because we have a misguided or incomplete thinking that we “may need it some day”.   (If we’ve had it for six months and not needed it… the likelihood that we “may need it” is greatly reduced.)

3.  Because it keeps us from having to deal with reality.   Okay… I just want to camp right here for a minute…. Having things…. not just things but an overabundance of things that are not truly useful or needful to us personally, keeps us from dealing with emotions, relationships, and yes, even God.   I have nothing against having things… but when things pile up so much in our visible world, they become our focus… not things that really matter.

When clutter becomes the theme of our lives, whether we realize it or not, we focus on the visible clutter in our lives and allow the emotional and spiritual clutter to go unattended and unchecked…. often losing opportunities to be who and what God intended us to be…

So… what do we need to do?   What do you need to do?   I need to continue working on the visible clutter so I can quit avoiding dealing with the emotional and spiritual clutter in my life.   How about you?

Until next time,  love God, love others and work on that visible clutter so you can be all God wants you to be!

 

 

 

 



A Man Named Peter, a Boat and the Perfect Storm
March 25, 2016, 6:43 am
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The apostle Matthew, in his book by the same name, relates an experience that he and his fellow disciples had after a long day of ministry.

Near the end of the day, Jesus sends all the crowds home and sends His disciples across the lake while He goes up into the mountain to pray.

When they left the near shore, the weather was conducive to crossing the lake in a relatively short amount of time.    However, a few hours into the trip they were battling a storm and continued to battled through it a few more hours until Jesus showed up.

Now, they were frightened because of the storm.   Many of the disciples were fishermen and had experience with manning a boat.  So they were not novices in crossing the lake.  However things were not going well for them.   When Jesus showed up, they had their minds on the storm and were not expecting anyone to come walking up along side their boat and it frightened them until He spoke.

Peter, the ofttimes spokesman for the group, challenged Jesus to prove that it was really Him by telling Peter to come to Him.   Jesus did just that and Peter got out of the boat… hmmmm…. I’m hate to admit this but Peter had a lot more faith than I’m afraid I would have had.    They were not along the shore where it might be shallower and the chance of drowning was minimal.   They were out in the deep of the lake…drowning was a real possibility.

But Peter not only got out of the boat, he continued looking and walking toward Jesus.    By the time he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the storm around him, he was far enough away he could no longer just reach out his hand and hang on to the boat.   He had to cry out to Jesus to save him and Jesus did!  That’s when this storm that caused fear and anxiety became the perfect storm.

Notice that the storm did not stop when Jesus came along side the disciples’ boat.   Notice He did not tell the winds and the waves to cease just because He was now with the disciples.   The point here is that He WAS with the disciples in the midst of one of the fiercest storms they had ever experienced.

The storm was an opportunity for them to find out where their faith lay AND to exercise that faith.  We really don’t know how many of the disciples were in the boat.   Many scholars believe all 12 of Jesus’ closest disciples were in that boat.

Think about that.  If there were twelve disciples in the boat, and only one got out of the boat and walked toward Jesus, only one in twelve expressed their faith in Jesus.

Here’s another thought, Jesus called Peter away from his comfort zone……the boat.   Peter had been a fisherman most of his adult life so a fishing boat was something he knew better than the back of his hand.   Jesus called Peter to come into the uncertainty of the waves and wind around him away from what he knew.   While Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, the waves and uncertainty were not an issue for him.    It was only when Peter took his eyes off of Jesus that they caused him distress.

My question for you is… what is it that God is calling you away from to walk in trust toward Him?   Is it the certainty of a job?   Is it the knowledge you gained in that job?   Perhaps it is the security you feel in a house..the comfort of known things.   Perhaps God is calling you from the comfort of what you know to “getting out of the boat and walking toward Him in absolute trust.”

We’ve been talking about budgeting… maybe you like the feel of “thinking you’re in charge of your money without a budget.”   One thing I’ve noticed since doing a budget is that far from being restrictive, my “loaves and fishes” have been multiplied so that I’ve been much freer to help others than ever before.

So… whether you get out of the boat in absolute trust or you stay in the boat.   God always gives you the right to choose your actions/or lack thereof.   Just remember though,  you may be able to choose what you want to do now but you don’t get to choose the consequences of those actions.   All of our actions/lack thereof have consequences attached, good, bad or indifferent… but we get to choose.

Until next time, love God, love others and if God’s calling you to get out of the boat….DO IT!