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Thursday, March 20, 2014

One Dollar and Eighty-three cents

That's how much money I had in my change purse this morning and I was grateful for it.

It may not seem like much but I remember a time in my life, more than a few times actually, that I didn't have a nickel, nay, a penny to my name.  I was far away from home, far away from family and friends (sometimes even near family and friends but too proud to ask for help) and I was living off the good grace of God or as some would say, the kindness of strangers. It was even more stressful because, at the time, I had four small children and they needed to eat, have clean clothes and other essentials.  So $1.83 would have bought a meal of hot dogs and a box of Jiffy mix to help us make it through the night.  Folks, the struggle was REAL.

You see, remembering those times when I had nothing made me realize how blessed I am today.  There was a time when I couldn't keep change in my purse no longer than I had just broken the dollar bill it had come from.  And if I had change it would be a couple of pennies that I would soon be scraping together with other change I searched around for.  I would look in the couch cushions, every pocket of every coat or outfit I had worn, the car, and even walking down the street I would look down to see if someone had dropped something.  Poor?  Yes, we were poor and the really sad part is that I was working two jobs at one point in time.  I worked at a place where people spent ridiculous amounts of money on things I would probably never be able to afford but it was my job to sell it to them.  At this particular job a co-worker of mine took a bite of a sandwich and didn't like it so she threw it away.  It was in one of those clear plastic carry-out containers and it was sitting on top of the bin.  I was hungry, no money and soon I was eating that sandwich.  Yes, I ate out of the trash.  Like I said...the struggle was REAL.

So while I was counting the change in my purse this morning I was soon overcome with gratefulness and amazement.  I thought about the last time I had put change into my purse and it had been a while.  I was actually searching for something else when I realized that it was there.  I was amazed because I recognized that every single need of mine had been met and that I wasn't desperately in need of anything.  I'm not rich by any means but comparing where I was to where I am now, the Lord be praised!

So take it how you will, $1.83 is a lot of money for some and I don't take it for granted.  And I don't look down on or think too highly of anyone who may only work in a convenience store, janitorial services, fast food restaurant or even if you work in a posh retail store because I know that looks can be deceiving.  If I can help out I will and if not, I'll try to find someone who can.  And if you know someone who is too proud to accept help, you can always help anonymously and sometimes it's better that way.

Just sharing my thoughts today folks.  Have a pleasant and productive day my friends.  :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Let the Words of My Mouth...

Today I want to to talk about something that I'm familiar with but it baffling at the same time.  Please note that this post is referring to those who claim to be followers of Christ, more so than a person who claims no religious affiliation.  As Christians we are admonished to minister to one another, especially to those who are new to the faith, that if we see something that is amiss we should address it.  And this is why I'm writing, it's not to bash anyone with my beliefs but to help my sisters and brothers in Christ to do well in the Lord because it gets hard sometimes.  Especially if you are the only believer in your family or in your social circles.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.   James 3:9-10

A lot of people say one thing and do another.  And then there are a lot of people who speak in one manner and then the next they speak in another which is unbecoming.  For example, a friend makes a Facebook status about how the Lord has blessed them and that they aren't worried about the people that are trying to bring them down.  And in that same status they will call family, friends, loved ones and perfect strangers every foul name in the book and end it with..."But I'm not worried because God has my back."  Really?

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.  Psalms 19:14

I hear a lot of people say that swearing isn't a bad thing and we even have television shows where even the priests curse and accepted.  Yet, if a small child were out in public and they began to use the same language it would be embarrassing or mortifying to most of us.  Why?  Because for a Christian, cursing/cussing is out of character.  A perfect example is found in Mark 14:70-71 when Peter was found out to be one of Jesus' disciples.  He was told that his very speech betrayed him and proved that he was a follow of Christ so what did he do to try and change the minds of the people around him?  He started to curse and to swear.  See, the truth of the matter is the more time you spend with Jesus, the less you want to and find yourself using foul language.  Does that mean that you aren't a Christian anymore?  No, it just means that you have something that needs to be worked on and fortunately for you, you know exactly who can help you with it.  Because as long as you stayed close to Him, you didn't have that problem.  It only became a problem when you took matters into your own hands.  When you decided that you'd had enough and you were going to give so and so a piece of your mind or that you would no longer hold your tongue.  And that he/she said something nasty to you and you were going to say something just as nasty, if not worse, to them.  For the tongue to be such a little part of the body it can cause a world of trouble, hurt and pain.  And we ought to be more careful of the words we use when we speak.  Leave that in the hands of Jesus.  Take a deep breath and if you have to, walk away.

Are You for Real?

So how can you tell is someone is sincere and just had a "slip of the tongue" or if they are only pretending to be Christlike because it suits their needs at the time?  We are told that we will know them by their works.  Romans 3:13-18 also paints us a picture of the type of person who lets their mouth rule over them.  It says, "Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."  So when you find yourself around people like that then you need to separate yourself or else you'll find that you get caught up in all kinds of drama, losing your religion and, yep.  Cussing somebody out.  It's a shame, but it happens.  "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners." I Corinthians 15:33

Seek Peace and Pursue It

So I leave you with this, let's strive to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, able to accept his robe of righteousness, so that we can be found blameless when that time comes. "And finally, all be of one mind, having compassion on one another, loving the brothers, tenderhearted, friendly. Never give back evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, giving blessing, knowing that you are called to this so that you might inherit blessing. For he that wants to love life and to see good days, let him restrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking guile. Let him turn aside from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers. But the Lord's face is against those who do evil. And who is the one who will harm you if you become imitators of the good?  I Peter 3:8-13

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Time Flies

There are times when I feel down and times when I feel sad so I sing a lovely song in my head.  Or I'll hum it out loud.  There's not much I want to say right now although I have many thoughts in my mind.  I'd love to be able to share all the things I know and am continuing to learn.  And hopefully, as time goes on, I'll be able to do just that with this blog. :-D