Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

Which came first? The Chicken or the egg?

A classic, arguable question that can be easily answered if one looks to the Word.  On the fifth day, God created “every winged bird according to its kind.” Genesis 1:21b. So, there you have it – he did not create all the eggs to hatch, but he created the winged bird first.

Who should reach out first when an offense has been made?

A tough question, but also easily answered if one looks to the Word.  Since the days following creation, God has been offended throughout history.  Yet, in love, He reached out with his Son, Jesus; John 3:16 explains – “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son…” – Why? So that all the offenders, of God the Father, could be forgiven and given the ability to go to heaven and have eternal life.  John 3:17 tells us what Jesus was NOT given for: with grace, “God did not send his Son into to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world.

God reached out first and that’s what we ought to do also…in love and in grace.

What kind of picture would humanity be in if God waited for the offenders (us) to reach out to him before he gave his only Son to die?  I know God would still be waiting, because we are naturally a stubborn people, and there would be no hope in this life. But no, and thank God, He did not wait.  HE LOVED US FIRST is what 1 John 4:19 tells us. Not because we deserved it, but because God is mercy.

“We love, because he first loved us.”

There you have it – We, who have been offended, must reach out first in love and in grace and offer continual love and mercy to the one who maybe doesn’t deserve it.

In this action, HOPE will prevail and relationships will be healed, as our broken humanity is healed through the blood & sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  May this New Year be a year of healing broken relationships:  between you and God, and between you and others, in love, grace, and mercy.

New Year Resolution: in HIS face!

 

CORAM  DEO

This is what I aim to stand on as far as a New Year resolution for 2018.

CORAM DEO = in the face of God; meaning ….. whatever I do,

  ….. whatever I say,

is in the face of God – done before Him in full view.

If I claim this one Latin phrase, all the change and goodness that I may desire for my life this coming New Year will then come forth.  If I consider every action & every word spoken is done with Jesus standing right before me, seeing and listening, cuz He is…omniscient and all… there is nowhere I can hide where He is not already there… then I hope that my choices of actions and words will be sifted out and carefully considered before I reveal them.

In essence – my goal is to please the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In this, I will hope to love as I have been loved, accept as I have been accepted, forgive as I have been forgiven, and get ready to be filled with the JOY & HOPE that will spring up!

Like Robin William’s once stood up proclaiming, Sieze the day!

 I stand up and say: CORAM DEO!

Will you join me?

I wish for each of you, a God Blessed New Year 2018 ahead!

 

 

I Seem to Have an Elephant Sitting on My Chest

 

I seem to have an elephant sitting on my chest – or so that’s what it feels like in my brain when I try to think what to say or write these days.

It has been months since I posted on this blog.

Does it even matter, I ask myself.

What do I have to say that hasn’t already been said?

Truth is: N O T H I N G.

Honestly, I began this venture of blogging because I wrote a book.  Forty-nine years of living and raising children and fighting the good fight, and then, I stayed up late for three months and wrote a book, and it was published three months later.  Not the usual progression, yet this is the way God paved the way for me and so, I had this book and I needed a platform (i.e. a place to connect with readers) to sell my book. Thus this site was born. I wrote, I sold some books and now, five years later,  I stumble around in my melancholy mind for words, like the proverbial writer who stares at the blank paper on a typewriter.

And, I mostly give my books away as an offering of help, from one to another.

Is this what God intended when he paved the way for me to be published?

The thing is, I am a bit of a hypocrite. My brain knows and imparts right information and advice, yet sometimes, I do not even live my own words. I have even been known to tell myself, Sheryl, you should read your own book; read your own blog; listen to your own lecture; take your own advice!

The problem is, that I forget; we forget. We are a forgetful people.

The word LOVE / the message of LOVE appears in the Bible between 300 to 500 times, depending on which version you read. I think God  knows for certain that we are a forgetful people; and so, He brings up topics over and over in different ways so that the message is eventually and hopefully heard.

And so, I fail.

Don’t we all?

I have forgotten that I am me, created by my heavenly Father, and loved.

Maybe what I have to say isn’t new.

Maybe posting on my blog doesn’t really mater.

But,

What matters is, that I share the Truth and Love of Jesus in whatever venue is available to me.

What venue has God has opened for you?

Join me in pushing that elephant off!

Stop staring at the proverbial blank page of life and opportunity before you and speak, share, and love others around you by proclaiming the Name of Jesus and His LOVE.

Dear reader, 

You are loved – today and always by a most loving and merciful Father.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

 

 

 

 

 

WORD – Part 4: The “F” Word

And now the “F” word:

not four letters, but eleven.

Forgiveness.

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LIFE.

Loved.

And being love.

“I”, giving dangerously.

and now, Forgiveness.

Receiving it, is freedom.  Offering it, fills up that life to the full.

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Forgiveness is like a pry bar, it looses the nails of guilt & shame.

Forgiveness is like a salve, it soothes the wounds.

Forgiveness is like duct tape, it binds the broken back together.

Forgiveness is like a key, it opens the door to healing.

Have you been forgiven and felt the gift of freedom deep inside your soul?

If you acknowledge the Christ as your Savior, you no doubt understand this freedom gift.  When asked, Jesus gives forgiveness both readily and abundantly; free of charge to us.  He has already paid for the price of forgiveness with his life.

Yes, receiving it, is freedom.

Offering it to others is the rest of the story.  Jesus even said that we are required to forgive others, for if we do not, we cannot receive forgiveness from him.

Why is that?

The freedom gift is not one we can keep to ourselves, it is meant to be a shared gift; once we have experienced it, we must freely share it with others.

I think perhaps, it is an example of giving dangerously.

How often should we offer forgiveness?

This exact question was presented to Jesus in the scriptures.

His answer? Forgive a lot…more than we would find easy or comfortable.

Moral of the story? Throw down the stones and hug. Hug and offer forgiveness when someone has wronged you. In this way, you will be healing to another

and to yourself, equally.

In the offering of forgiveness, you gain life to the full!

 

 

WORD – Part 1: The One Reason the Baby Came

December 25th has come and gone, again; focus was: the baby in the manger.

January 6th, the last day of the traditional season of Epiphany has passed, again; focus was: the wise men visiting that baby.

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Holidays concluded.

Gifts are used or exchanged and decorations packed up for another year to wait in the attic.

Winter cold is set in and we move on with the routine of the days.

But do we remember the WHY of it all?

The ONE reason the baby came?

“I have come that they may have life,

and have it to the full.” John 10:10b NIV

Rather than a resolution, it seems to be the trend to choose a WORD for the New Year…my WORD?

LIFE.

Jesus says: He came.

He came to earth as that baby in the manger. He grew and became a man and loved on people, as it is recorded throughout pages and pages of the Bible.  He was mocked and beaten and pierced and hung on a cross to die. He was wrapped and buried and put in a tomb. He broke out of that tomb and showed himself to many and then rose up into the clouds to be with the father in heaven, where he is alive and waits for the Father to tell him to come back and get His people..

 Most of my readers know this.

But why did He do it?

Jesus says: so, “that they may have life.”

LIFE.

Yeh? So? We, are the they, and we all have life right?  We are breathing aren’t we? Basic of all basic, I guess that is so…yet, there is more.

“and have it to the full.”

or in other translations:

“to give them a rich and satisfying life.” NLT

“and have it abundantly.” NASB

…what does this mean?

It means that Jesus did all He did so that we could have a FULL life with purpose and have life eternally.

THAT is the one reason the baby came.

Do you have life to the full?

Read and follow my posts in the days to come and I will share how we can have this LIFE to the full.

Merry Christmas

I have not sent out any cards yet.

This is the first one – the first MERRY CHRISTMAS written this year.

Recall the famously known prophecy, even Charlie Brown’s Linus recited it: ” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

For “to us”…. repeated twice. Us, meaning all – everyone – no one left out!

To all of us, a child, a son, is given. 

THIS is the MERRY CHRISTMAS: baby Jesus born in the manger – deity, God, made human – for to us.

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Not for the idyllic creche decorations to don the mantels…

Not for the theme of Sunday school plays so the girls can be angels and the boys can play shepherds with cotton beards…

But, for to us, with a purpose: “and the government will be upon his shoulders.”  

What?

Picture this: our government, the United States government, and every other world nation government stacked up on the shoulders of this Jesus like Atlas carrying the world….the image that He holds it all, He carries it all…. BUT – unlike Atlas, Jesus…. He rules over it all.  The prophecy from Isaiah points to a time when the full purpose of Jesus is revealed and His government rules over all governments.

Fast forward to another famously known verse, the one that people raise up in the football stands: John 3:16 — “he gave his one and only son” – the verb, gave, is the action and points to the cross where Jesus died. Just like the story, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, one thing leads to the next.  Jesus died, so that he could be buried, so that he could rise from the dead, so that he could appear to many – alive, so that he could ascend to the heavens and sit at the right hand of the father, God, so that he could await for his return to the earth and save his people,

so that finally – HIS pure government will rulethere will be no other governments left.

But for now… He rules from heaven and nothing on earth happens unless power is given it by God – the government is on His shoulders, and He rules even now, over it all.

Jesus is Wonderful — because He does great things with love…

Jesus is Counselor — because he guides and directs even those who do not know Him because He is sovereign and in charge of it all…

Jesus is Mighty God — because there is no one who holds more power…

Jesus is Everlasting Father — because He and the Father are one, always existing, timeless, having no end…

Jesus is Prince of Peace — because he came to earth as a baby, died as a man, and defeated death as a King, all for the purpose of offering us PEACE in a place where there will be no more tears, just peace, forever.

Jesus in the manger, came for everyone!

Jesus on the cross, died for everyone!

Jesus in heaven, loves everyone!

Merry Christmas to you all – everyone who breathes air on this earth!

Borrowing the words of Charles Dickens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSyx6DaUwxA

What is it that Fills your Darkness?

Accept support.  Stick to the plan.  Stay vulnerable.  Trust God.

BUT

Even still…Darkness seeps in like fog curling and swirling, pushed by the wind, wrapping it’s tendrils around the anchors yanking them up and out. Doubt, and fear, and tangible offenses like nausea, burns, nosebleeds, and pain of various origins fills my darkness.

What is it that fills your darkness?

As the seeping continues, I find I have to make a decision. Do I focus on the darkness or do I focus on the light?  Poor-little-old-me parties tauntingly invite me to focus on the darkness and curse it.  Yet, the light offers me rest, healing, and peace through thankfulness.

Friend, it’s all about attitude.

“I realized that the way to attaining joy and rejoicing in my sufferings was to have a heart of thanksgiving.  Through the offering, the sacrifice of thanksgiving, I entered into relationship with God Himself.” (p. 92 Towdah)

Thank God for all He has done and will do for you, even before you see or experience it; trust Him for it all.  That is “Towdah!”

“On May 22, 2011, I sat still and thanked God for my cancer.” (p 93 Towdah)

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How could I do that you might ask?

By keeping my eyes on Jesus and seeing Him in all the glory that He is;

He sacrificed His life for mine and He lives, now, to assure me, carry me, and offer me salvation fully.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Friend, THANK the LORD through the trial – no matter what trial it is that has you undone.

“…he who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50: 23

Thank God for it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly…and you will be renewed.  You will be shown salvation in the fullest sense!

What is it that fills your darkness?

Turn. Instead, fill it with Thanksgiving and you will unfurl those dark tendrils and

You will be IN the light!

4 Anchors for a Tiny Sailboat

This is where I left you last Thursday, promising to give you an answer…

“What is fair anyway?”

Truth be told – the answer is: N O T H I N G.

“Life isn’t fair – get use to it.”

Don’t you hear your mother’s voice echoing in your head, as I do?

Someone will always get the bigger cookie first, the longest turn on the swing, the better card in the game.

Yet,

when we get the biggest cookie, the longest turn on the swing, or the winning card in the game – — do we still exclaim, “It’s not fair?”

Of course not.

Suddenly the path of the exclamation goes from “Why me?” to “Why not me!

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Why did I have to get cancer? I do not know…but, why not me?  I am not above the perils of this world.

Four anchors held me as my life, like a tiny sailboat, tossed violently in the stormy sea of a dark trial. 

One: Accept Support.

Hand in hand, we opened the door and stepped out into the brazen sunlight, neither knowing what lay ahead.” (p. 6 Towdah)

Do you have support? Do not try to go it alone.  Call on your closest loves in life and let them hold your hand.  My aunt, who battled against cancer for nearly 12 years, told me, “No matter what, always let people help you, for if you deny them the opportunity, you squash the Spirit working in them and you lose out on a blessing.”

Two:  Stick to the Plan.

With a battle, there is a plan – always.  And once a plan is in place, everything seems doable.  Stick to it and fight with everything you’ve got!

Medically: follow through with the treatment plan.

Spiritually: pray; “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;”

Three: Stay Vulnerable

“Without words, I drew close…Tears once again began to flow…Emotions gave way with an ever so gentle explosion of sighs and tears.”(p.34 Towdah)

Keep it real my friend. Embrace your humanness.

Four: Trust God.

There is a choice to make.  You can be swallowed up by fear or you can be cradled by trust. Seems a no-brainer to choose trust – I mean, who wants to be swallowed up! The next question then, is who do  you trust?  Entering the unknown territory of this trial, I put my trust in God as Joshua did.  Cancer, disease, sudden loss bring unknown territory and it is scary.

“Like a child, holding the father’s hand, I couldn’t bear it anymore and I turned with anxious asking, ‘Pick me up Daddy! I’m scared.’ ” (p. 30 Towdah)

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Accept support.  Stick to the plan.  Stay vulnerable.  Trust God.

 

 

Two responses to the Big Bang

Ever experienced the BIG BANG in your life?

You know, the explosion of events that takes you totally by surprise – the kind of thing that changes your life in an instant and threatens the comfort of everything held to the routine of daily living?

For me, it was the pronouncement in a doctor’s office that I had cancer.  For you, maybe the same — or something different — an accident, a sudden death, another kind of disease…?  No matter which BIG BANG changed your life in an instant, I believe we all go through similar universal stages of experience.

The first stage I experienced seemed to have 2 steps.

First: SHOCK.

The kind that makes your jaw drop, renders you speechless, and causes you to drop what you are holding, or fall back against a wall, or collapse all together.

“I couldn’t even be sure if I was still breathing. In fact, I am sure I was not. I was frozen – suspended as if above all concept of time.”  (Towdah p. 5)

That was my initial response. And it is a normal first reaction for all of us.

Second: INDIGNATION.

That’s a big word for – IT IS NOT FAIR!

“…heaving great spasmodic breaths, gasping for air in my voiceless cries….I was weeping and gnashing my teeth as I drooled and bit my pillowcase in the silent darkness of the night, when no one else was awake.” (Towdah p 13)

And I wailed, Why me LORD? Why Me!

I mean – really?  Who ever expects to have the Big Bang explode on them! Right?

It isn’t fair.  OR ….is it?

What is fair anyway?

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Yes, shock and indignation are quite normal human responses because we are forgetful.  We forget that we are not in control; God is.  We live our lives planning the next day and the next day to be as we want, assuming nothing will go awry, prideful because we believe we are in charge.  That is why we are caught unaware when the Big Bang explodes in our face.  Yes, we forget that God is bigger than any Bang – big or small; that God is in charge.  He knows all and still loves us; He always has.

Friend, are you experiencing shock or indignation, crying out that it is not fair in reaction to something in your life right now?

Take comfort and know, that Jesus loves you right now and He will keep loving you right through this difficulty.

I know.

I have been there.

Follow me to my next post and I will answer that question, “What is fair anyway?” 

 

 

God’s Plan = Trump is President

Bold, yet true.

God’s Plan = Trump is President.

…and, if Clinton had won the election, the same could’ve been said.

God was, is, and will always be, in control of all things. The outcome of this election did not surprise Him. Nothing surprises Him.

In fact, He allowed Trump to win.

And because God is in control over all rulers and authorities, take comfort in knowing, that Trump can do nothing that God does not allow.

Our government can do nothing that God does not allow.

Just look at the conversation between Jesus and Pilate.  Likewise, Trump cannot bring this country down, or make it great again,

unless God gives the “go-ahead!”

So do not fear.

Now is the time to trust in God.

Now is the time to keep on praying for our Nation.

Friends, it begins with us. We need to get right with God in our own lives, and love others.

We need to do God’s will ourselves...

And what is that?

Rejoice. Pray. Give Thanks.

We need to obey God ourselves

This morning, a FB friend posted a question, steeped with some frustration, wondering:

“what to say to the passionate, idealistic, and thoughtful young women in my classroom this morning.”

And I said:

“Say: God is in Control and He loves us.”

Because that’s the bottom line.

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God loves us & He will work it all out for our best.

Here’s the real question today: “Do you love Jesus?”

For most reading my words here today, I believe the answer is yes.  To you, I just speak in truth, as Paul did,

to remind us of the focus of our hearts – cuz we are a people that forget.

To you, dear reader, who may not have considered Jesus before, I encourage you to consider.

Consider the Truth.

Jesus loves you.

Will you love Him back?