So I flip over today's Billy Graham page-a-day calendar and this is what it reads:
As we trust in Christ, God gives us the Spirit as a pledge, or, as some translations read, earnest or guarantee. "He...put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come" 92 Corinthians 1:21-22). In the apostle Paul's day, a deposit or pledge did three things: it was a down payment that sealed a bargain, it represented an obligation to buy, and it was a sample of what was to come...The Holy Spirit in our hearts is God's pledge or deposit to us - sealing His commitment to save us, guaranteeing that some day our salvation will be complete, and enabling us to experience its joys right now.
Not that anything bad is going on - before you ask. Just crossed my mind after reviewing life. Not a situation of "reverting" or "falling away." Is it just practice that God's gearing me up for in the future? Wish He'd tell me.
And another funny thing I discovered this week...the less I joke about not having a date - the more people want to REALLY talk about it. I've had at least 3 real conversations from wonderfully-intentioned women about how "God has someone planned for me," (how do they know?) "I really need someone," (of course - I can't reach stuff on the top shelf) "You'll see, you'll be married soon and have kids of your own to play with." (no more playing with Levi and Riley!)
Maybe I should go back to joking openingly about not having been asked out for over 5 years! But then I get the "but why, you're so beautiful?" Maybe so, but I have standards that most men are just flat scared of. AND - I've been told by two men-friends lately that I AM scary for men. Apparently, beauty, brains and bravery don't mix for guys very often. Besides, I personally think that God has been divinely protecting me in this area. Like I've joked before - not even the crazy-psycho-weird ones have asked me out - not even to be lewd about a 1-night stand. So I am blessed really. I may not have that perfect someone (yet), but I know that the lover of my soul will never leave me nor forsake me.
Now, don't get me wrong...I would love to be "in-love" with someone who's "in-love" with me. But he and I have to be equally-yoked before I consider anything. We need to be on the same page with Jesus. Once that happens - look out!
So for those of you who are married and read this -- you lovey-doveys are great to watch. And just like your children watch you - other people watch your relationship with your spouse. My best friends, Kim&Darren, were high school sweethearts and are still madly in-love after so many years. He loves to sit across the table from her instead of right next her - that way he can look into her eyes to tell her how much he loves her! And she just melts -- and she can't stand to be away from him more than 24 hours. It was a struggle when he did handi-camps during the summer. Then there's Steve & Vicki Meredith. You should see those two dance! And holding hands - and he loves to sing to her while she's singing on stage. And Crystal Willan - she fixed her husband's favorite cornbread muffins for our bible study last night. Irvin passed away a few years ago. And Joe & Erica...and Ricky&Rebecca....and Kim&Jeremy.... and Chad&Jennifer.... and Bridgette&Russ.... and Bobby&Sha.... Mike&Amy and ...and...and...
So, as a single...I want to encourage all you married people out there. Keep up the good work - cause marriage is work. But the blessing you are to each other and others like me is priceless! Keeps me from being bitter, but gives me hope that I can have the same thing someday!
- HBO has a new dark comedy project in the works titled Hung about a well-endowed middle-aged man who learns to use his best asset to his advantage, reports Variety. The project is from Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin (creator of FX's The Riches) in addition to Michael Rosenburg of Blueprint Entertainment. All three will executive produce. This is the first big project under new HBO Entertainment president Sue Naegle's leadership.
Now - I'm all for good, entertaining shows. But give me a break. At what point did this kind of show become acceptable entertainment for the masses? But here's something to think about: for each new generation of shows/movies/music - the bar gets raised, the boundaries are pushed. Was Andy Griffith Show ever controversial in its day? How about I Love Lucy. From what I've heard - those Luci and Desi were the first to actually sleep in the same bed on TV. Not to mention they were an inter-racial couple.
Did you ever see Gunsmoke? Did you ever see blood when someone got shot? At what point was it ok for blood, guts, and gore to be on tv as family entertainment? And what about that relationship between Dillon and Ms. Kitty!
Each generation for television is just the next season. How do they make it bigger and better to keep us entertained? And when do we draw the line? How do we draw the line? DO we draw the line?
Jesus talks a lot about "the world." He tells us that we are the light of the world. Are we as Christians being light in this world -- am I being a light in this world? He also says in Matthew 16:6 - "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" No good at all I tell ya! And what about this: "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!" WOE! (the word woe is used to express grief, regret, or distress). Not good for the people who put evil on the screens -- and not really good for us to watch it!
I am certainly not preaching to anyone else on this. But I have been convicted lately to not watch certain stuff on TV - like Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy - did I miss the start of them? The writers' strike was a blessing in disguise. Now - I still like to watch TV - and I have a great stash of cartoons, but I believe the transfer to all-digital next year will be my cut-off for even regular tv. Maybe. At least I still have my cartoon stash.
But back to Jesus. He KNEW this world we live in is hard. So much so he prayed for the disciples (and consquently, us): (John 17:14-16): "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." That falls under, GROOVY! (Tony Kemper started it!) We are not of this world - Jesus himself said so. But we have to live in it - be a light in it - and that's hard a lot of times. But He's right there with us!
So - remember these shows? What are some of the "wish they still had that one on" shows did you like? Bet ya can't tell which ones would be my favorites :-)
- Better out than in ... sickness sometimes lasts longer than we care for it, but the healing process has its own timing
- Genuine prayer can shake the world and shake-up our lives
- Having friends that will come just to help clean the house and fix things
- A mom that gets as excited about a princess tea as you do (since she's making mine and Rebecca's dresses!)
- A neighbor that plows up your garden just because it's on his way home
- A tank of gas that lasts all week
- Getting rid of the 5 lbs. I gained over the winter
- Spontaneous get-togethers around a campfire
- Getting to really know someone new - and being comfortable around them while admiring and respecting them for who they are
- Game night antics
- Seeing a youth pile-up - while just joking around on the couch - or coming to the cross
- Spontaneous on-my-knees worship at home
- Laughing out-loud when's it's just you
- Talking things through with the Holy Spirit
- Learning a new silly song!
If you could do anything you wanted - what would it be? Personally, I have too many things I want to do. And my organizing/planning side of me loves to list stuff - so those that are finally getting around to writing down 100 things to do before you die is just catching up with me. Here's just a few for me (while here on earth):
- Sing on the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium stages (to audiences)
- Travel a lot (Greece, back to Ireland, Italy, Australia, China, Japan, Austria, Virginia, the Carolinas, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, etc.)
- Learn to take REALLY good pictures
- Knit and crochet
- Sew my own clothes
- Write a book
- Write a play
- Direct a film
- Produce a broadway show
- Build a bookcase
- Start scholarships for the disadvantaged to go to college
- Learn karate
- Learn more guitar chords
- Learn to build a guitar
- Help build houses for others (although, right now I'm only good at painting)
- Learn to play more instruments: piano, banjo, harmonica, steel drums, steel guitar
- Read all the classics
- Read and speak Hebrew and Greek and Latin and Gaelic and Swahili and Madarin and Spanish and and and (so I could talk to anyone anywhere)
- Walk all over Ireland
- Ride a dogsled
- Ride in a hot-air balloon
- Fly a helicopter
- Have a bible study with Billy Graham (may have to wait till heaven for that - of course, Jesus can just explain it for Himself at that point)
- Memorize the New Testament
- Bless others with surprises (one of my absolute favorite things to do)
Now, I'm on my way for a few of these things. Some I may never get to do. And you'll notice - a date is not on there which means subsequently, a hubby and babies are also not on the list. And neither is a new job. God has really been working on me for that -- He's going to let me know about that stuff when He's ready. So if any of that changes, my list may adjust or be added to. But what about you guys? What are some things that would be on your list -- and not just loving others -- but how do you want to live life abundantly?
The biggest thing I want to make sure I do in life is be Jesus for others. I found this great video of a Big & Rich song -- country music, yes -- but a GREAT song!
I really get inspired by others' blogs. Rebecca is a fantastic devotional writer. She can find God's message in just about anything in everyday life. I admire her so much. Then there's Joe. I forget that he's younger than me with the maturity he shows in his growth with God. And Mike. Mike is just down-right honest and I love that. He's learned to open up a lot. And there's others that I have at the left for those that read and keep clicking through to everyone else's. And these guys have been so supportive of my mental state of late - even though I'm sure they're sick of it.
Regardless of being sick for half of my time off, I still had a great week. And in honor of Rebecca and Joe's week-end reviews, I have my own:
- I don't want to miss out on youth events anymore :-(
- Cats, crocheted afghan, couch-time and cartoons make for a great nap-starter
- God talks to me - especially when I'm listening
- Even when I'm lonely, I'm loved - and even liked
- Your whole head and neck can be burning up hot - and yet only have 96.5 temperature - how does that work?
- Having neighbors that will at least check to see if your alive when your truck doesn't move for a few days is comforting.
- Having a neighbor boy who loves to mow yards is fabulous and oh-so-timely!
- Homemade lasagna can quiet even the most talkative bunch (my favorite dish to make, glad people liked it!)
- Being surprised in a good way when I don't see it coming is heart-lightening
- Celebrating family members' 25-year anniversary is inspiring even for the most cynical (not me! :-) )
- Having an uncle that is a mechanic that will save me about a thousand dollars to get my truck fixed - priceless! God is so thoughtful to place in each of a skill/talent/gift to use for others -- and I am overjoyed that my uncle is willing to help me so much. Now if I could only find my own handyman ;-)
- Learning what God wants me to do with my life - at least for now - is so releasing. The motto right now is "Be Still - Wait upon the Lord."
- When you are released - the creative juices start to flow again!
- It's hard to be still and not want to go out and conquer the world when the creative juices are flowing!
- Watching my cat do backflips from being surprise by a neighbor dog popping his head in the window is hilarious. Sometimes I think Maestro does it just cause he knows it'll make me laugh.
- I get dizzier than my cat when we spin around in circles
- Learning word meanings in the Bible gives a whole new light to the message
1 a: being without company : lone b: cut off from others : solitary2: not frequented by human beings : desolate3: sad from being alone : lonesome4: producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation
In the Bible there are only 4 references to lonely - only 4. Two of which were about Jesus retreating to lonely places to pray to God. The other 2 are in Psalms. Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the lonely in families.
But Psalm 25, David says in verse 14: "The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. (15) My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare." That's good stuff, but in verse 16: "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. (17) The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish." What!?!? It's almost as if David took more than one day to write this Psalm. Because if this is what he's thinking as a run-on sentence moment -- that's where I have been lately.
I love the Lord - He is the Lord of my life. I could not breathe without Him. I know how much He loves me, He proves it every day that I wake up. Yet, the troubles of my heart seem to grow. And I haven't been able to figure it all out. But lately, God has been doing some amazing revelating to me. I've felt left-out of a lot of circles of friends that I want to be more involved with. It's not that they don't like me - I'm just easily overlooked - and I refuse to bully my way in. I'm of the opinion that if people want me around, they'll open up to me...if not, they won't. It needs to be a natural fit - I'm not going to force anything. But in the process, I feel like that kid who gets picked last for stuff. Others don't see it that way - it never even crosses their mind, but that's just how I've been feeling. And why?
Last night I had a breakdown. And thank God for friends that He places in my path at the right moments. So through a little friendly counsel, observation and some cuddly baby-time (and Levi sharing a peanut butter candy), my real issue became clearer.
Who would have thought....me, being lonely. I mean, I enjoy my alone-time. I get to do whatever I want, watch whatever I want, listen to whatever, etc. I have friends who like and love me, I have some family that loves me - and yet, I am still feeling miserable at times. And I KNOW that Jesus loves me - that's not the issue.
But because I am lonely - I feel miserable. And I historically have a problem with being lonely in crowds. I tend to feel like I have nothing in common with anyone - I'm single, no children, like to watch cartoons, read about history...mainly I'm a creative geek. And become real shy - yes, me - don't laugh. But if you ever notice me not talking - that's generally why. But you know what -- it's no one's fault but my own. So don't feel sorry for me. That's not why I write this out. I believe because I so quickly grasp the negative thoughts that enter in my head - be it of my own making, or enticed by Satan - that skews everything. I have to fight to overcome that. To not completely back away from those that do like me just because I am feeling left out - because that's just MY perception...no one else's. And it makes me very selfish, self-centered, whatever you want to call it. I think that's why I SOOO need to work on projects for others.
SO - I want to apologize to everyone that I've been around lately. I've been a twit, please forgive me.