11/19/21

HIDE


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--HIDE
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

There was a time in my life when I tried to hide many things. Now not so much. One of the benefits of growing old is that I no longer feel the need to impress anybody or worry about what they might think of me. I am who I am, and the only person whose opinion matters, is that of the God who created me and who knows my heart.

When I became a Christian, some 30 years ago, I kept hidden the fact that I had once been deeply steeped in New Age and occult practices, and that I had authored a book (actually more than one) on numerology. And then one Palm Sunday, our pastor challenged us to do something radical, and I did. I wrote a blog post entitled Sincerely Wrong, in which I spoke openly about these things for the very first time.

After writing that post, I became convicted that it was time to bring all the other things I didn't talk about into the open as well because, just mabe, there was someone out there who desperately needed to hear it.

I had always believed that the reason I kept certain things hidden, especially from my mother, children, and other family members, was because I was trying to protect them from being hurt, but now I realized that was only partly true. I did want to keep them from unnecessary distress, but if truth be told, the greater reason was fear of what they might think of me. And so I went on to write my memoir, Sincerely Wrong: An Improbable Journey

Writing the book was not an easy thing to do, because in order to give the whole story, I had to share things that I had never spoken about before. What I learned through the process though, is that hidden things have a way of eventually being exposed anyway, and when you are the one to bring them out into the open, they lose their power over you.

----------------------------------------------------------
For everything that is hidden will eventually
be brought out into the open, and every
secret will be brought to light.
(Mark 4:22 NLT)
-----------------------------------------------------------

11/13/21

P.S. TO MY FMF PRAYER POST

 

This post is for Ginny Hartzler, who wanted me to expound a little, and for the several others of you who had similar questions.

Draw the Circle is a 40-day Bible challenge I have done several times over the years, and recently felt led to do once again. Each day has a short Scripture, a true story of God's answer to prayer, and prayer prompts, to inspire and encourage us to pray bold, persistent prayers, believe God can do all things, and be observant to see how He is working,

Basically, I read the chapter for the day, write my prayers down in a journal, and then draw circles around them. There's nothing magical about the circles. It just helps me be more persistent.

Nobody joined me this time around. Seems like everyone I invited was too busy. But that's okay. I don't mind doing it on my own, and something new that was not available before, is a daily video you can sign up for that corresponds to the chapter of the day. The videos are short--only about two minutes each, and they are free.

I've enjoyed going back and reading the old journals I kept when I took this challenge before, and seeing how God has responded to those prayers. Many have been answered, although not all of them in the way I thought they would be, and some prayers I am still praying for. 

Well, I hope I've answered all your question.

Be blessed,

Sandy

I WONDER AS I WANDER


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--WANDER
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

The moment I saw this week's FMF prompt, the haunting melody and first few words of "I wonder as I wander" started playing in my mind.  It kept repeating itself over and over in continuous play mode as I tried in vain to recall the rest of the words, where I had heard them, or even just what type of song it was. Finally, I gave up and consulted Google.

According to Google, those words belong to an old Christmas hymn written by folklorist/singer, Jacob Niles (1892-1980). It was inspired by the garbled fragment of a song he heard a young girl singing about the wondrous gift of Jesus at an evangelical fundraising meeting he attended in Southern Appalachia.

I wonder as I wander, out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor on'ry people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander, out under the sky.

When Mary birthed Jesus, 'twas in a cow's stall
Came wise men and farmers and shepherds and all,
And high from the heavens a star's light did fall;
The promise of the ages it then did recall.

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heaven to sing,
He surely could have had it, 'cause he was the king.

Enjoy!


11/5/21

PRAYER


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--PRAYER
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

Several years ago I took Mark Batterson's Draw the Circle 40 day prayer challenge. For a while now there's been a stirring in my heart to do it again.

This week's FMF prompt gave me the nudge I needed, and today's devotional in my Streams in the Desert book clinched it. 

I've texted the original group of ladies who did the challenge with me to see if any of them want to join me again this time around, but even if no one responds, I'm all in.

11/1/21

MORNING


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--MORNING
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

Morning heralds a brand new day.

No matter how I may have been feeling the night before, mornings are full of hope and anticipation. A time of gratitude for the gift of a new day. A fresh page, a new beginning, one more chance to get things right.

God's mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)

10/23/21

STILL


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--STILL
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

The first thing that popped into my head when I read this week's prompt was Psalm 46:10a--"Be still and know that I am God." A timely exhortation and reminder to a mind full of looped tapes replaying the same scenarios over and over again. In response, I prayed for the Lord to help me still my mind and gain control over my thoughts.

Romans 12:2 tells us that God transforms us into a new person by changing the way we think. That is something that only He can do. My part is to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

Phillipians 4:8 has been a great help in breaking the loops. Whenever I'm tempted to be critical or judgmental, for example, I try to remember to turn those thoughts around and fix them, instead, on something that is "true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable... things that are excellent and worthy of praise."  

At first it seemed like an overwhelming challenge, but the more I do it, the more second nature it becomes.

10/16/21

TREASURE


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--TREASURE
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------------

Treasure: valuable or precious possessions -- accumulated or stored wealth -- a stash of money or jewels (as in buried treasure) -- anyone or anything that is greatly valued...  

This week's prompt made me think of Matthew 6:19-21, which says, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, or where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Long before I met Jesus and invited Him to become Lord of my life, and long before I became acquainted with the above Scripture, I had an earthly treasure--a box full of beautiful jewelry that had been given to me on different occasions. I didn't wear it much, but enjoyed looking through it. Then one day I came home to the heartbreaking discovery that our apartment had been broken into, and my box was gone. 

Years later, I filled a box with treasure of a different kind. Memories of God's grace, and little things that brought me joy. Not something a thief would steal, but something of great value to me.
 

10/9/21

A LIFE COMPLETED


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--COMPLETE
Five minutes to free write about it

Today my heart aches for my daughter who had to put her beloved dog to sleep. 

I'm having a hard time thinking of what to write for our weekly challenge so, instead, I've put together some pictures of favorite memories as a tribute to this sweet granddoggie, whose life came to its completion on this sad day.

If our FMF friend Andrew is correct, however--and I believe he is--we will see our pets again when we get to Heaven. The thought of Benji now free of all sickness and pain, frolicking on fields of green with his cousins and sisters who preceded him makes me happy.


10/3/21

WHAT DO WE REALLY NEED?

This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--NEED
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------

Over the years, a small fortune has probably slipped through my fingers on things I thought I needed, but have yet to use. Boxes full of unread books, most of which I could have borrowed from the library; ever growing stacks of magazines I can't bear to part with until I have at least had a chance to skim through them; kitchen gadgets that seemed absolute necessities, such as the rarely used air fryer/grill combo that now occupies valuable space on an already too small kitchen counter. Obviously there's a serious disconnect in my mind between true needs and just wants made to seem like needs by clever, enticing advertising.

In reality, the only things we really need while inhabiting this earth are water, food, air, shelter, and clothing. By the grace of God, I've never been deprived of any of those needs, although I did come close to experiencing lack of  air during the almost two weeks spent hooked up to a ventilator when I contracted double pneumonia due to acute heart failure almost four years ago (documented in my book, Oil of Myrrh)

Looking at things in their proper perspective, what I need above all else is the LORD. Only Jesus can provide me with His peace that surpasses understanding--no matter my circumstances--and through Him alone my eternal life in the presence of God is secured.

----------------------------------

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 ESV)

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-6 ESV)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27 NLT)

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NLT)

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)

9/25/21

JUMBLED EMOTIONS


This post was written for Five Minute Friday
Word prompt--CARE
Five minutes to free write about it
---------------------------

My mind is full of jumbled emotions. I've been feeling stuck, tired, and overwhelmed, and very down on myself for feeling this way. My cares seem so petty in the big scheme of things, it shames me to even think of them as such. This morning's devotion from Streams in the Desert could not have been more timely.

"'Why must I go about mourning?' (Psalm 42:9)

"Dear believer can you answer the above question? Can you find any reason why you are so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why do you allow your mind to dwell on gloomy thoughts? Who told you that night will never end in day? Who told you that the winter of your discontent would continue from frost to frost and from snow, ice, and hail to even deeper snow and stronger storms of despair?

"Don't you know that day dawns after night, showers displace drought, and spring and summer follow winter? Then have hope! Hope forever, for God will not fail you!" -- Charles H. Spurgeon

Good questions to focus on as the battle rages in my mind and I try to focus on my many blessings. God has never failed me yet, and I am grateful beyond words for His mercies that are new every morning, His unconditional love, and that He never gives up on me--even when I would long ago have given up on myself. I am also grateful for my amazing daughter who is one of the most caring people I know, as well as for the good friends who check in on me and encourage me even when I'm in isolation mode.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God." (Psalm 42:5 ESV)