Storytelling {1.18.17}

Storytelling has been around as long as the human race. The serpent told a story to Eve. We know that was a false story (He twisted the truth in his story to her). There are all kinds of stories and many different ways to tell them. Storytelling can be done verbally, written, through music or acting. All are effective, depending upon their content, delivery and audience. The stories can be fantasy, fiction, biographical, historical, self-help, how-to books, etc. There are plenty of options for all situations and people.

I remember that my Grandma used to watch soap operas during the day. She called them her “stories”. I had to be sure not to call during her “stories” or she was so preoccupied she didn’t hear a word I was saying. I never watched daytime soap operas but I did get caught up in Downton Abbey and hated to see that series end. storytelling-campfireA good story has the ability to capture our attention, doesn’t it? We feel like we are right there in their midst. I even dream about whatever movie I’ve watched or book I’ve read that day. So…I do NOT watch scary movies!

I know people who can tell a good story, whether make believe or truth, they just seem to have a way about them that makes us want to keep listening. I am not one of those people. I usually mess up the punch lines in a joke too but that’s another story altogether. I do love a good story though and enjoy being with people who can tell them well.

The great thing about books is that your imagination can create the characters and places as you see them in your own mind. I have always loved to read. My Mom shared that gift with me and I am thankful. I have to admit though that I do love a happy ending in books and movies with all the loose ends tied up on pretty bows. That doesn’t always happen but when it does it makes my heart smile.

once-upon-timeA few years ago we took a family vacation (well, not all of us – we are a large family, but a good group of adults and children). Anyway, we created our own story book on that trip. I started the story and then passed it to another person who added to the story from that point, then on to the next and the next until everyone had participated. It was fun and it was funny to see how each person interpreted the story and characters. We all had fun reading it from beginning to end and seeing the twists and turns each person put into the story line.  I highly recommend that for anyone who is heading out on a trip with a group of people. I think we all enjoyed it (adults and kids).

The greatest story of all though is written in a book that is readily available to all of us here in the United States. The Bible.bible-falling-apart You can read it for yourself either with a book, electronically, or listen to someone else read it, It is so easy to get that I even have it on my phone and computer. This story has everything in it and the best part is – it’s a true story! All through the years people have been trying to prove the Bible false but it always proves itself true. However, you can’t just take a few verses or chapters and try to make sense out of them, you must read the entire thing. Then you realize how true it is and how it all fits together. It doesn’t matter what type of story you like to read, it’s all in the Bible. I don’t know of any other book that offers all these things. Check out this brief list: love, passion, betrayal, faithfulness, miracles, obedience, disobedience, consequences, beauty, disasters, life, joy, peace, relationships, politics, intrigue, blessings, curses, truth, eternal life, war, natural disasters, geography, agriculture, construction, precious gems, astrology, etc. etc. The list goes on and on but the best part is…for those who believe, there are no loose ends and there is a very happy ending!word-of-god

So, if you want a good story – look no further than the Bible. It will bless you and no matter how many times you read it, you will still see something you missed before. It’s a book for lifelong learning and is life giving. It doesn’t get any better than that. So whether you want to hold a book in your lap and read, get it on your phone or computer, or listen to a tape, pick up a copy and get started. You will find it hard to put down. The Bible – the Greatest Story Ever Told and we can read it for ourselves. Enjoy!

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New Year Resolutions {1.9.17}

Well, we are one week into the new year of 2017. Did you make a New Year Resolution? If you are like most of us, your resolutions involved losing weight and getting fit.resolution-list It seems that the gyms are full to capacity in January. However, by February or March, many have given up on those resolutions made such a short time ago and gone back to our old habits. I have not given up on those two resolutions but it got me thinking about resolve, what it really means in other areas of my life and what I needed to resolve to do this year (my New Year Resolutions if you will). I looked up the words resolve, resolute and resolution. Here’s what the Webster’s dictionary has to day about them:

  • Resolve: Fixed purpose of mind; settled determination; resolution.
  • Resolute: Having a fixed purpose; determined; hence, bold: firm; steady; constant in pursuing a purpose.
  • Resolution: Fixed purpose or determination of mind; as a resolution to reform our lives; a resolution to undertake an expedition. The effect of fixed purpose; firmness, steadiness or constancy in execution, implying courage.

Like any habit you want to begin or perhaps end, it takes practice. But, before we can practice, we must resolve in our minds to either do it or quit doing it (whatever “it” is). My biggest resolution this year is to continue drawing closer to God in my relationship to Him and others. This takes a determined effort and plan. You know the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Well, I certainly don’t want to fail in this! I don’t mind so much losing at board games (I have plenty of practice there) but these stakes are so far greater and higher.

In my Sunday school class at church, we have been discussing and diving into the scriptures about prayer and its part in spiritual warfare. That term may be foreign to you but that makes it none the less real and dangerous. I don’t know about you, but we have decided not to just simply live on the defense any longer but to plan, strategize and fight the battle with all the God given weapons at our disposal. We have determined to practice! No habit arrives and stays on its own. It takes a concerted effort and much practice. We are practicing prayer in the real sense. Personal prayer, corporate prayer, strategic prayer, intercessory prayer, along with quiet times of listening to the voice of God. He speaks through His Word and through the Holy Spirit that we can’t explain how we hear and know – we just do. We have begun praying scripture, which can seem foreign in the beginning but what better way to know we are praying within the will of God?!

I spent many years not really understanding this battle we are in and how to fight to win. Of course the battle and victory are God’s but we are in the trenches. Just like our military, we have a Commander (God) and we, as soldiers, have to train and obey as if our lives depend on it because – they do! Think of Boot Camp. I’ve never been but I imagine they go over and over again the drills until they get it right. That’s what we have to do. resolution start.jpgPractice, practice, practice. God’s word (the BIBLE) is our guide book (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

So, my question is, are you with us? Will you resolve this year to draw closer to God? I hope so. The only way things of this earth will change is if we do. It all starts with a step toward God and then hanging on for dear life. A full life. An eternal life. So…Happy New Year!

“Undo” {1.3.17}

I don’t know about you but I was thrilled when I first saw the “undo” key on my computer! undo-buttonIt allowed me to play with formatting and if I didn’t like it, just “undo” and try another. If I made a mistake or just didn’t like the way something looked or was worded, I could simply click the “undo” button. Easy. No consequences, just a new start. It quickly became one of my favorite keys. Unfortunately, we don’t have an “undo” key for life choices. I’m sure that most if not all of you are like me in that I hate to make mistakes. Make them I do but I don’t like it for sure. There are always consequences.

Today I had one of those times. I was working on a quilt, sewing strips of fabrics together into sections, staggering them (one group staggered one way, the other group staggered the opposite way). Unfortunately, when I had finished the very last set, I realized I had staggered all of them the same way. YIKES! I tried but there was no way to “fix it” without ripping out all of the seams and starting over. Time wasted. The good news is that I do have a seam ripper and can easily (even if it does take a lot of time) remove the seams and begin again.undo-mistake

Unfortunately, life’s choices can’t so easily be undone or removed and started again, can they?

  • A bad choice can’t be undone.
  • A harsh or hurtful word can’t be taken back.
  • A cut finger can’t be uncut.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (James 1:19-21)

We could all list a million things that can’t be undone because all we do and say have consequences. The good news is that we can be forgiven. We just need to ask for it (repent) and try our best not to do it again (turn from it). We can be proactive and try not to make the same mistakes again or at least not make as many mistakes. God will give us a way out of temptation to sin. We simply have to look for, recognize, and take the escape route.

Well, the thing about my mistake today is that it was a direct result of prayer. Rarely are my mistakes a result of prayer. At least I can’t remember another time I could say that but here’s what happened. undo-button-pencil-eraserI was praying as I started to work on the quilt, “Father, please give me a message today. I want to hear what you have to say to me that I can share with others.” Unfortunately, sometimes I’m slow on the uptake. I didn’t remember that prayer at first because I was too busy being frustrated with myself. However, as I began removing the stitches, my prayer came back to mind and I had to laugh. God answered my prayer alright. He gave me a message I won’t soon forget because it’s going to take me quite a while to fix this mistake.

That saying “be careful what you pray for” comes to mind. Actually, I don’t mind so much because I have a lot to learn and God can teach me any way He sees fit. But, I’m going to be careful what I “do” so I don’t have to look for the “undo” button quite as often.