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Friday, October 13, 2017

Suicide/Prayer

In a recent piece written by Rich Larson, “It’s Not What You Think”, he poignantly and skillfully describes the misunderstood and unpredictable nature of depression and suicide after the death of an adored musical artist, Chris Cornell. In this piece, Larson writes:
it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you die alone in the bathroom
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Last night my brothers son, Lee, 37 years old shot himself to death.    Lee was a deputy in our small home town in Illinois for years but because of some issue he had quit recently.  He loved being on the police force, was being trained to become a Federal Swat team member.  He has a wife and two children but all was not well on  the home front and yesterday they served the divorce papers and everything was downhill after that.  He became highly upset, the police were called, he barricaded himself in their little house where they brought their two babies home and sometime early this morning, depression, cynicism and anxiety ate all his hope up.   Thank God the wife and children were not in the house when he killed himself.  
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They say suicide is a scar that doesn't heal. It removes one person's pain, but for survivors, griefguilt and utter sadness linger. In the wake of a loved one’s death by suicide, families often disintegrate, unable to deal with the intense grief and the difficult, painful, and often unanswerable question of “Why?” For every suicide, it is estimated that at least six persons are affected. These include family members, co-workers, neighbors, classmates and close friends. 

Image result for pictures of people prayingI come asking you to pray for Lee's wife, Amber and their two children, my brother and his wife, (Larry and Ann). For the brothers and sister and the rest of our family as we love on each other during this difficult time.  


Thank you prayer warriors. How comforting it is to know people will be praying.  



Sunday, October 1, 2017

In The Ministry

bible, book, business

Ezra was called to be the preacher of his day which was a full time ministry.  Sometimes   that term, "full time ministry" is confusing  because most put  the job to a box.  What comes to mind, is a preacher, missionary or an evangelist.   As a Christian, we're called to tell the world about Jesus Christ and share the good news of the Gospel.  Those jobs are great options, but God doesn't call everyone to be pastors or to go to a third world country. That doesn't mean God isn't calling you to work in full-time ministry.

Because my husband and I get our income from individuals and churches who believe in what we do in Etnos360, new name for New Tribes Mission, we are considered, "full time in the ministry".    Even the IRS considers us, in the ministry", self employed. 

God has  given all of us gifts and talents to use for His glory, in and outside the church.  Most of the time, God has us use our gifts at random moments that we would never think about. That is part of ministry. And if you keep your heart open to God, He'll use you every single day. My friends, that is what full-time ministry is. 
A lot of people work  in an office building of some sort.  Most  are not even a Christian organization or  faith-affiliated.  Well, there's your chance to be "in the ministry". You could talk all day about how God loves everyone, but when it comes down to it, it's your actions and attitude that speak louder than anything you could ever say to anyone. Walk Jesus before your fellow workers, that's a full time ministry.  
Sure God does great things overseas with missionaries and in the churches back home. Don't be so specific in the plans you make because  God does some really amazing things through situations that you may not think it possible. There are no limits to what God can do. 
I wish you could have been sitting in the last Bible study I went to so you could hear how God is using us "older women" in others lives.  Most do not work full time anymore, some part time, most are retired, yet each is  rubbing shoulders everyday with people who are not saved.  Ace and I work full time with saved people, missionaries from all over the world so we have to "keep our ears and hearts open" when we are out. That waitress where you and your christian friend go for coffee, the one who works on  your car, the cashier in the store, the person sitting on a park bench, the nurse or even doctor you go to. I have had some great conversation with my pain therapist who is a lovely younger women but not a believer.   The lost are everywhere, everywhere.  

Want to be full time "in the ministry"?  Look around you, ask God to show you someone who needs a touch of a Godly person.   Share Jesus today.  

And while I am on the subject of being in full time ministry I want to say a hearty thank you to all who support financially your church and its staff by tithing. Also those of you who give to missionaries  and organization that helps others like the Red Cross and so many others.  This last month so many have pulled from their own finances to help those who lost so much in floods, hurricanes, tornadoes.  As a person who functions by the financial gifts of others, thank you.  In the name of those we minister to, they thank you also. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Adulthood...

Image result for I don't want be an adult todayDo you ever get tired of doing everything as right as you can?  I mean, come on, we are adults, we are suppose to have most things figured out and put behind us.   I read this quote and thought, yep, that is exactly how I feel at times.  "Adulthood is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane."

In our bible study this past week three out of twelve women said things were good, no prayer request.  How often does that happen?  We all laughed a little and someone commented, just wait, that will pass. Then we begin to talk about the goodness of God, scriptures begin to be quoted and pretty soon those of us who were carrying a burden or in deep sorrow found our spirits lifted up. 


  • ”For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
  • This is such an encouraging verse because of the word, "generations" that comes at the end.  When I look at my young two year old grandson, I see him  included in those generations.  He is too young to understand God's goodness and faithfulness now.  But he sees it already lived out before him from his parents and grandparents. 

  • “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

  • I love the word "refuge" in Nahum.  It is a safe place to get out of the storm raging  outside.   Jesus led the disciples into a boat, knowing full well that a violent storm was brewing; the disciples were terrified, but Jesus, their refuge, calmed the storm. Matt. 8:27-28 Jesus will sometimes lead us into a storm to test our faith just as He did the disciples. 

  • Nine of the twelve women at the bible study testified there was a storm in their life. Yet in their storm they felt cared for by the Master of the Wind.  And how the power of God's Word kept them from losing their hope that the storm would pass.  
  
     Tempted to run away from your storm.  Don't! Look for Him right smack in the middle of it, He is waiting to be your refuge.  Maybe there is no storm in your life now, but that will pass.  When the disciples got into the boat there was no storm. Had there been they probably  would not have left shore.  I wouldn't have, and I love a good thunder storm. 

How is life for you now, got a storm, or is it calm as you get in the boat?  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Rhythm of God




                    

Think of music as a language.  Language has phonetics, tempo, rhythm.  If you have trouble understanding someone speaking your own language who has an "accent", then subtle variations in the above properties of language throw you off.
Same is true in music.  Rhythm is one of several characteristics of music that allow us to "understand" it.  A steady, regular beat is pleasurable to most ears.  4/4 (2/4)  and 3/4 (6/8) time are quite common and listeners can follow it, tap their foot or snap their finger in time with the music.
Anything outside of these rhythm structures is quite difficult to understand and follow.  Not that they wouldn't be interesting, just different from normal conventions of music.
 
Ultimately, rhythm is the mathematics behind music.  Beautiful music is beautiful math!

See for your self:  Play a song,  your favorite song, something that you know all the lyrics and melody too. Sing the song as best you can.  At the same time tune your radio onto another song, different beat, turn the volumn up a tad higher.  It will be hard to stay on the melody of the song you are singing since the rhythm is different. Try singing any song  and tap your hands to another rhythm it just doesn't sound right.  Rhythm is  what makes the song flow.   

My rhythm has certainly changed in the last year,   I now wear a partial plate to replace some missing teeth which I do not like because I cannot chew gum.  Gum is important to me because due to new meds my mouth gets dry a lot.  These new meds are to help my heart stay healthy since it had three blocked arteries, two of which now can boast of bypasses.  I take a ton more medicine to keep blockage from happening again.   Also I  now wear hearing aids...plus a knee brace since I need a knee replacement.  On top of that I use a cane to keep me from falling till I get the knee replacement. Yep, my rhythm has changed a lot.   One thing is sure, I am appreciating the "rests" that is inserted in the rhythm  of my life much more than I ever did.




metronome is a device that produces an audible beat—a click or other sound—at regular intervals that the user can set in beats per minute. 
When God is the metronome of my  life  His steady beat will calm my mind and there will be a peace despite whatever the rhythm of life brings my way.   I am learning to released unrealistic expectations, seize opportunities, anticipated what's next and paced myself.  Keeping eternity in view as I adjust to this new rhythm makes all the "new" worthwhile.  


This is a prayer of Solomon   
 “May God . . . keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down”                  I Kings 8:56-61

Monday, July 24, 2017

WAIT FOR IT...

Those who know me, know I am a southern country/bluegrass gospel girl down to the bone.  In fact it took me going to the jungles of Papua New Guinea to expand my music appreciation.  

Related imageMaybe it was listening to the drum beat coming from the village every morning that got old, or maybe it was the songs being sung by people with red teeth from chewing betel  nut mixed with lime powder that turns it red.    Hard to enjoy a song when the ones who sings has a mouth full of red stuff.  

    There were times I just wanted to hear something from my music. Out would come my country/bluegrass gospel with its pure harmony and the pure story of Jesus.   Those songs brought joy to my heart and ease the struggle of living so remote.  Well, that is when there was electricity.  

Unless you have lived without electricity or on a limited supply as we were you can never appreciate all electricity brings.  All missionaries take their favorite music to what ever country they are ministering in, praying they will have electricity at least half of the time.   My missionary neighbor brought El Divo with her and played it the only way it should be played, LOUD.  

I remember the first time I heard these guys...cold chills ran all over me. Four powerful beautiful voice blending in harmony.  If I learned anything living in two third world countries where songs are sung in another language its that you do not have to understand the words, just the heart of the music. Those four Italian men who make up the group El Divo along with my country/bluegrass groups were instrumental in encouraging me to keep on for the Lord.     


Never have I appreciate music more then when we lived  overseas.     

But I will let you be the judge of what I am talking about.  
Crank it up and
 Wait for it.
  


                  

I want to put this piece in , " Five Minute Friday blog link-up link up, so I must say something about the word "collect."  Years ago the piano player at our church gave me some great advice for singing. She said, learn a new song every month, one for a wedding, a funeral, a revival, church and then one that just for you.  I took her advice and now have a great collection  of sound tracts that I use when I sing.  

Music is so often the jumping off for my next post just as this one was.  I listen to El Divo and memories started flowing of  sitting at my desk in Papua New Guinea listening to music and singing along with whoever I was listening to.  I not only have a great collection of music but also a great collection of memories surrounding music. 

                                                       What do you collect?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blessing Sunday

There is nothing more of a blessing then when God does something special for one of our children. Such was the case today as we ate dinner with our son and his three children after church.  His wife was off on a ladies retreat and we had just return from a long trip so none of us were up for cooking.

Related imageI notice this older couple sitting in the booth next to us but did not think about them being able to hear us talking. Our son was telling us about their upcoming vacation and how he was hoping to find good hotel rates.  They are not going far but far enough it requires about four nights in a hotel plus gas and eats for five and hopefully some extra to do some fun things with the kids.  We had finished our meal and was just waiting for our check when the gentleman and his wife who was seated near us came back to our table.  Honestly we did not even know they had left.  He lean in toward our son and shove some money on the table in front of him.  He said, for your vacation...our son was sort of stunned and could not say a thing, it was done and over with in a matter of a few minutes.  We all just sit there for a while soaking it in what had happened.  Did we hear the man right?  Did he really say, for your vacation?  Our son had not even counted it yet...but when he finally did it was around 150 some dollars.  It took a while for our minds to wrap around what just happened. 

God has been blessing our hearts through our children for quite some time.  Last January He provided the funds for our daughter to fly from Mn. to California to be with me during my surgery and recovery.  I had the opportunity recently to thank the people in a church in northern Mn. for helping her.  To know God cares for your children actually more then we do is a comfort and one that got us through the years of being separated during our time living overseas.  Each time God does bless them through someone besides us we are reminded they are not ours, God claims them as His, bought and paid for at Calvary.  Our part is to just trust Him for their care.  


"God will bless you and your family for honoring God by glorifying Him throughout your life"
 "The Godly walk with integrity, blessed are their children after them." Proverbs 20:7  






Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Aaron Tippin - Where The Stars & Stripes & The Eagle Fly



The line in this song, "I've seen enough to know we got it good" resonated with my heart this morning. Ace and I have lived for a few years in two different countries and folks we got it good despite all the issue our country faces now. You don't see thousands of people fighting to get out of this country, people are not flooding the visa office to leave the US. We got it good folks. I would like to send those who spit and burn our flag, throw rocks and other things on our police and military to a country where the freedom doesn't flow. They would be doing all they could to get back to where the red, white and blue stands for something besides hatred. 



                       
Proud to be an American...Happy Fourth of July