Good Morning Beloved

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 19:22 (NASV)

     I have always been able to laugh at myself. That quality has saved me lots of embarrassment in life because, believe me, I have had lots of opportunity! One story in particular always comes to mind this time of year. There we were on the stage for the big Christmas program at church and several of us had to make some quick changes. We were performing musical numbers from the 40’s (like White Christmas) to modern times. I was to perform Amy Grant’s Grown Up Christmas List. Dennis, our music director at the time, called me and said he had the perfect song for me to sing. I had never heard it. Little did I know I would choke up and cry through most of it so I practiced and practiced until I could get to the part where I had to sing about no more lives being torn apart and wars not starting without my eyes turning in to Niagara Falls!
     Well the big night came. The worship team had just finished their “Merry Carol Of The Bells” song (which later became known as the train wreck but that’s for another blog) and I had to rush back to the choir room to change in to another dress. Wearing new shoes with a shiny new bottom is not the order of the day if you have to hustle on carpet around corners, down stairs and make quick stops. As I turned the corner in the hallway my shoes decided to show their true colors and become super slippery. I was headed right for a collision with the drinking fountain. Making it worse my girlfriends husband was standing there opening the door for me.
     Many thoughts went through my head in that split second: will my dress fly over my head exposing the huge hole in my panty hose and scaring my friend’s husband for life, will I head butt the substantial drinking fountain thus giving myself a concussion or perhaps causing a call to paramedics, will I break something even the heel of my shoe, etc. Without even missing a beat I threw my legs in front of me like a baseball player sliding in to home plate and, as Drue was looking at me in horror, I said “safe”! We both laughed so hard, I saved my dignity of sorts showing no hole in the hose and made it out unscathed except for my ego. Because of that mishap I was able to sing my song without crying remembering what had just happened. The message of the song is strong and powerful and, in my opinion, would have been marginalized by my emotions as people would feel bad for me crying. God took what the enemy would use to defeat and embarrass me and turned it in to His glory.
     Visiting my dear 93 year old friend Mary Louise in the rehab center yesterday I again saw this verse lived out. She has yet another infection with which she is dealing.  It is on her face, her back and in her system. Ever joyful she knows that God is taking good care of her. We laughed about who we will meet in heaven and what questions we wanted to ask them. Mary said she wanted to see Leah and look at those weak eyes wondering what was meant by that description, she wanted to see just how tall David is and meet Job and say “what in the world!”
     Another request she has of Jesus is to be able to just sit down at a piano and be able to play like our dear friend Bettie Kleinschmidt. Her words were “oh Lord, I don’t want to be greedy just let me play one song like Bettie Kleinschmidt”. Then she proceeded to move her hands as if playing already. Boy did we laugh. It felt good to be so full of joy in that situation.  If laying in a bed in a rehab center body full of an irritating rash and a upset intestine is not reason to have a broken spirit and dried up bones I don’t know what is. She praises God for the wonderful efficient care she is getting and tries to bring joy to each roommate placed in the room beside her.
     Again we are faced with a daily choice to be joyful or a dried up bag of bones. We can bring light and life to those around us or we can be morose and down hearted. Laughter really is the best medicine. The Proverb even says that a joyful heart brings life. Tomorrow I promise to tell that really funny story I talked about yesterday. Stay tuned. Today go out and spread joy in your very own fashion! ❤

Good Morning Beloved

A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV)

     Turn Turn Turn is a song I remember from the ’60s by a group called The Byrds. It still today is my husband’s favorite song; Ecclesiastes 3 set to a catchy tune that sticks in your head.  Most scholars agree that this book was written by King Solomon because chapter 1:1 says “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, the king in Jerusalem.” (Ecc 1:1 NASV). Out of this book comes much wisdom. I highly recommend it for insight into life. 
     We come to chapter 3 verses 2 -9 where the author is giving the reader a time line of sorts stating that in life there is a time and a season for everything under heaven. In verse 11 he writes “He has made everything appropriate in its time.” 
     Laughter has always been my favorite. In the movie Elf Buddy the elf says that smiling is his favorite. Because my granddaughter loves that movie so much I bought us matching tee shirts that say that very thing! Laughter is good medicine for the heart. You know the kind of laughter I mean. The kind where you laugh so hard you can hardly breathe, tears come out of your eyes and your ribs hurt! That kind of laughter actually releases endorphins and reduces stress. When you can laugh at yourself it is good medicine. I have often been accused of cracking myself up so much so that my sister bought me a key chain that says that very thing! 
     The Bearden family has always been a light spirited happy family. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law, good examples of a spirit of gladness. My husband will tell you he is a pessimist but actually he is a closet optimist. Steve brings so much laughter and lightness to our home. It is in the genes. I watch his body language in conversations with friends. He is a happy person. We laugh a lot. On Sundays he sits and reads the comics to me. Some are funny and some are not but every single one makes him laugh and that laughter is contagious. 
     Walking around in a sour puss kind of attitude is a spirit killer. Eeyore the chubby little stuffed donkey from the story Winnie The Pooh a good example of a slump shouldered, nothing makes me happy, I want to be down kind of person. His favorite saying: thanks for noticin’ me. Do you know an Eeyore? Is it you? 
     Certainly there is a time for mourning and a time to cry. That attitude does not have to be your attitude of choice. Looking at life I choose joy and gladness. I choose to be upbeat, positive, joyful, happy in my circumstances. It’s the old saying “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”. Actually when life gives me lemons I want to give them to my friend Phil to make me a lemon cake! Seriously, life is tough at times, it’s brutal and mean.  Laughter is not always the order of the day. Wise King Solomon tells us that there IS a time to laugh so laugh! Just let go and give it a good old fashioned belly buster. 
     Even in the midst of profound sadness and mourning you can find a sparkle of joy. As we sat around talking about my nephew Colton and his brief 18 years we were all heavy hearted that God required his soul so soon. In the conversation many stories were told of his antics as a little boy which brought some huge bouts of laughter. That laughter brought tears of joy for even knowing this gentle boy. God’s grace in the midst of grief. 
     As you go about your day today find the joy and for heaven’s sake laugh!  My son always says to his children as they leave for school “be good, pay attention and laugh a lot”. I love that. Today my friends be good, pay attention and laugh a lot. Stay tuned for tomorrow‘s blog as I will tell you about one of the funniest things I have ever seen. It happened at a wedding reception and if I’d had a video camera I would have won the $10,000! Today choose joy.

Good Morning Beloved

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless. (2 Peter 3:14)

     Happy Sunday! Will you take just a minute right now and pray for your pastor? If you don’t have a pastor will you pray for pastors everywhere who are working hard preparing sermons, giving the gospel, running churches, living their lives under a microscope because of their vocation. Also remember their families who are far from perfect but live under that same microscope as they strive to be good examples and follow God in what they do and say. Bless our dear pastors. I specifically want to thank my own precious shepherd pastor teacher and mentor Jeff Lettow. A true man of God. 
     As I picked up the daily devotion that I read every morning before I start writing this blog I read the words “Choice is a key word to life. Jesus gave mankind a choice because He wants His Bride, the Church, to choose Him, not to be forced to come to Him or become a robot who cannot receive and return His love”. Choice. 
     I recall seeing the lightbulb going off in the minds of the circle of 9th graders I was teaching one Sunday morning. I told them that everything in life is a choice, even breathing! Expounding on what would happen if they purposefully chose to stop breathing they commented that the body would take over when they passed out. Ever see a child hold their breath in stubbornness or anger? It doesn’t last long. Then lungs burn and scream for air and their brain gets fuzzy so they relinquish their will and take in that quenching breath.
     We went on to discuss how many choices we are faced with in any given day and the consequences pro and con of those choices. Examples were not getting up for school (mom and dad angry and drag you out in your pajamas), not brushing our teeth (dentures at 25), eating a bad diet( poor health), not doing homework or studying (bad grades). They went on and really ran with the topic. We even got to the obscure like not cutting your toenails or not washing your hair or just speaking in rhyme. Those kids had vivid imaginations. 
     I threw out this question. What would happen if you chose not to accept Christ as your Savior?  The consensus was that you would go to hell. True, I said. So what if you do choose Christ as Savior and then live your life like you never did? Did you in the first place?  That made for some lively discussion. Everything from yes you did but didn’t know what to do to change to you said you did but really didn’t so your parents would get off your back. My goodness the things a teacher learns about home life. 
     During that discussion we talked about true repentance  and what it means. I explained to them that it was like walking down a road that looks like so much fun; my goodness it’s Disneyland! You get in deeper and go in farther and you see that the Pleasure Island you are walking in to has become a jail just like in the story Pinocchio and you turn in to a donkey! You are going the wrong way. Then the light comes on in your head. You hear a message or a word that sounds an awful lot like John 3:16 and you make the choice. You choose Jesus. Immediately you pick yourself up and make an about face. Walking straight out of Pleasure Island, past the carnival hawkers, old “friends” begging you to stay and you repent. You have chosen to walk with Jesus.  You have made the choice to be found spotless and blameless through His blood when He returns. 
     Several hands went up with lots of questions that day. The one week lesson turned in to several weeks of lively discussion. I challenged each of them to consider life with God and without. Some even said they didn’t remember Pinocchio so they watched it again. During that time kids made decisions for Christ. Today I am still in contact with many of them. Will you make the choice today to follow Christ? Will you make the choice to be found by Him in peace? The consequences for refusal are dire. Pray on it precious one. I am praying for you too. If you are walking with Christ then I am sure you know those who are still living in jail on Pleasure Island. How about giving them a call today and sharing the way out. God bless you friend as you walk. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

**Disclaimer here. I realize there are some men who read this blog. This post is mainly for women but you men can pass it along to your daughters or nieces or use it as a stepping stone to pray for the women in your lives.

The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 (MSG)

     Over the years this verse has become dearer and dearer to my heart. I am an observer. When I go in to situations I like to sit back and watch what is happening, access the situation and size things up. Watching women tear their houses down with their own hands is so heartbreaking. I have seen it, observed it happening right before my eyes.
      A precious friend called me recently for some advice.  I told her to build up her husband and not tear him down no matter what. A man needs to know that he has the respect of his wife. Actually the bible tells us just that ladies. Ephesians 5:33 says for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church then it says “and see to it that the wife respects her husband.” No qualifier here ladies. No explanation. Respect him, period. He has a job to do and you are to pray for him. I prayed earnestly that God would make me the wife my husband needed and he the husband that I needed. That is still a prayer of mine as we go through these seasons of  life and our needs change.
     Yesterday my husband told me that at his company party the management had arranged for a block of rooms for anyone who might want to stay at the hotel. The party was to be over by 5:00. It was for employees only. He said that the guys weren’t talking about staying there because they drank too much but so they might get a break from their wives! My heart broke for them.  He said “but I told them I wanted to go home to my wife.” Responding I mentioned synonyms for a nagging spouse like the old ball and chain or battle axe. Those are terms that were used in sitcoms from the 50’s. Remember the Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason? Or how about the way Fred Mertz felt about Ethel on I Love Lucy. Don’t EVEN get me started on Married With Children and Peg Bundy. He responded with “well, life is a battle and how can I go in to battle without my axe?” A big hug was in order for that one!
      Precious friends consider the tone you set in your home whether you are married, single, a mom, grandma, auntie, roommate or a friend. It is so pleasant to be in a home (not just a house) where there is a woman with peace about her. The atmosphere is calm and serene. She picks up after herself, keeps herself and the rooms tidy, the pets cared for, the feel of the home is a sanctuary for those who enter.
     I don’t live in a lavish, modern home. My oven is from 1957 for heaven’s sake; but I have been told my home is comfortable. It was not always that way. I grew in to it as I studied God’s word and watched other women I admired. My grandmother got up every morning at 5AM and made my grandpa’s lunch. Lovingly she packed each container and filled his thermos with hot coffee. I asked her why she got up and did that for him when she could sleep later. She told me that not only did it save them money but she was sure he was getting good food for lunch and she liked doing it for him because he worked so hard. He was the envy of his peers each day with the loving feast set before him.
     To this day I make my husband’s lunch. Because others “brown bag it” at work I write SHB, his initials, on the bag. One day he came home and said that a co-worker asked if I could make him an SHB bag. Everything always looked good. You may be thinking seriously? He should make your lunch.  Possibly you are saying forget you I’m not doing THAT! My point exactly. Building up your home could look like a brown bag lunch. This is something my grandmother did, I saw her example and followed through in to my own life. The gesture means a lot to me and to my husband. It is a simple kindness. Can you find a simple kindness that will speak to your family’s heart? Everyone is different. Instead of always expecting people to do for you, you do for them. You may lament the fact that you do and do and do and no one ever does for you. This verse is not about others doing for you. This is about you building your house and as you build a healthy environment and relationships you will reap the rewards. It may take time but they will come.
     Remember that foolish woman who tears her own house down? She is never satisfied with what she has. She is always complaining, whining, pouting, yelling, nit picking, nagging and bossy.  Who wants to be around her? Today you can choose. Your choice may change from situation to situation but prayerfully you are growing daily in wisdom as you study God’s word asking Him for guidance in every circumstance. Prayer is the mortar that holds the bricks of our relationships together. Maybe today you need to do a heart assessment and draw up some new plans. Praying for you today as you embrace this building project with your brand new plans approved by the Chief Architect Himself. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

My son, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. Do what I say and you’ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eye sight – guard it! Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it in to the chambers of your heart. Talk to wisdom as a sister. Treat insight as your companion. They’ll be with you to fend off temptation. (Proverbs 7:1-5 MSG)

     In college I took a class titled Working With Children With Special Needs. I was intrigued because I always thought that all children had special needs, especially the need to be loved and accepted. The assignment was to choose a disability from the list then do a presentation accompanied by a written report. I chose site impairment. The idea came to me to call the San Diego Center For The Blind and find out as much as I could about living with blindness (I didn’t know you then, Nicole, or I would have called you my friend).
     A very friendly receptionist greeted me as I walked in the door. She showed me to the office where I would interview an intake counselor. I found out the center offers counseling, support groups, vision rehabilitation services, and helping people live a productive daily life. They also hold classes on how to take care of your eyes after illness or surgery and how to adapt to a new life circumstances. She made a statement that stuck with me. She said often times site impairment is like looking through wax paper. She then gave me a tour that was extensive and informative.
     Leaving the facility I had glossy brochures, leaflets, booklets and lots of other information for my presentation. I went to college long before computers and the Internet so everything was still in good old print on paper format.  I purchased inexpensive sunglasses from a catalog, popped out the lens parts and made wax paper viewing glasses. As I gave the presentation, my classmates wore the glasses. I had them try to read from our textbook, walk around the class, even try to string some beads. It was very interesting watching their reactions to suddenly being sight impaired. The presentation was impactful and, icing on the cake, I got an A! Everyone agreed that guarding our eyesight was very important. We take it for granted all too often.
     King Solomon is telling his son to guard his teaching like he guards his eyesight. It is a precious gift. God did not leave us without instruction on how to live. He did not say “follow me” and then say “guess how” or “good luck with that one.” He GAVE us the roadmap for life: His word. Jesus says in several places “do what I tell you” then proceeds to tell us.
     When we have wisdom and insight that we have gained through God’s word, we have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Reading, studying and following the book of Proverbs is profound. When we follow these life changing words, treasure them, know them, write them down (thank you sticky notes), and memorize them, we KNOW what to do to live a productive, God honoring life. People will notice because they have on wax paper glasses and you can see as clear as a bell. They will want your spiritual 20/20 vision. Your joy will be contagious. Sharing God’s love with the lost and dying is an honor and a privilege. People are crying out for Jesus they are just blind to it. Share His vision for life. Share His words of love and comfort with those around you. God’s words to us are precious, timeless, true and wise. Make them your constant companion; you won’t regret it – ever.

Good Morning Beloved

Become wise by walking with the wise. Hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. Proverbs 13:20 (MSG)

A good name is to be more desired than great riches, favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 (NASB)

     Wisdom is the key word in the book of Proverbs. King Solomon was the primary writer of that book. The bible tells us in 1 Kings 4 that God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. It goes on to say that his wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all of the wisdom of Egypt. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs and his songs were 1,005. 1 Kings 4:29,30 & 32 (NASB) Don’t you love that 1,005 remark! God is such a God of detail that He wanted to make sure we knew of the precise number of songs. He is not a “let’s round this number up” kind of God.
     Webster’s dictionary defines wisdom as “the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment.” And how do we attain this quality? We do by living this life set before us in establishing and daily working on a relationship with God who is the Creator of wisdom, by observing life, placing ourselves in the company of those who have lived this life and are wise themselves, by prayer and meditation on God’s word and being a student of that word.
     My Grandpa Smith was a wise man. He was a hard worker and provider, snappy dresser, fiercely loyal friend, lover of God and of His word and protector of his family. He was the patriarch in every sense of the word.
     I had the privilege of being born the first grandchild in the Smith family.  He and my grandmother took me everywhere with them. Grandpa was well known in San Diego and particularly in the East County because of his real estate business. He told me once that he sold the town of Idyllwild twice over! People knew Sid Smith from the border to the San Bernardino mountains, from the pacific ocean to El Centro. He cut a wide swath with his home sale expertise.     
     Grandpa was also a man of his word. He would tell me time and again that a man was only as good as his word and that a handshake was good enough for him. If Sid Smith said he would do something then it was done. No doubt about it. He was always very involved in his church and made great lifelong friends there. I recall several years hunting dove in El Centro with Brother Henson and Brother Davis, the pastors of his church. My uncle Dick lived in El Centro and knew the prime spots to hunt. My cousins and I were grandpa’s sidekicks. As we sat and waited in the dark in the early mornings he would spin tales of hunting trips gone by, teach us how to hold a rifle, show us how to spot areas to watch and give us advice about life. I know some of you are not hunters and don’t believe in it but our family hunted and ate everything that we got. Grandma would fry up the dove, quail and pheasant and we would have a feast.
     There are so very many stories I could tell about my wise grandpa and hopefully I will write about them in future blogs. The one that particularly goes with this scripture happens to involve me and Girl Scout cookies. I was 12 years old and in a quest to sell the most boxes of cookies in my troop. That was back in the day when you actually had the cookies and sold them door to door for .50 per box.
     My mom took me all over several neighborhoods selling cookies. I was dressed in my little green Girl Scout uniform complete with badge laden sash and that green felt beanie. I was on a roll. Already surpassing the cookie sales of everyone in my troop mom and I went for selling the most cookies in San Diego. We were big dreamers! Day after day we went from North Park to El Cajon and beyond. We kept having to go down to Girl Scout headquarters to get more cookies as we had exhausted all of the boxes in my leader’s garage. One Saturday, as we filled the trunk with boxes of cookies, mom said she had an idea. It was the last day of sales and frankly we were pooped! Mom said she could not even look at one more box of butter flavored shorties.
     Getting started we stopped by a few relative’s houses then off for her great scheme. We pulled up in front of Solomeni’s night club. It was one of those old time Ricky Ricardo kind of places where people dressed up to go out dancing and dining. George Solomeni was a my grandpa’s friend. Grandpa had helped him in his business dealings and they became friends. Not buddy buddy friends but business friends. George respected my grandpa. Mom knew that. She told me to go in and ask for Mr. Solomeni. I was nervous because I had never been in a night club ever. The establishment was not open yet but the door was unlocked. I walked in to this dark and dimly lit place looking like a literal Girl Scout (cue the joke here “a Girl Scout walks in to a bar”…).
     As I approached the actual bar area a well dressed man in his mid 50’s says “can I help you little girl?” Mustering up all of my moxie I told him I was selling cookies and asked him if he would like to buy a some. He said he would purchase a box or two. I then told him that I thought he knew my grandpa Sid Smith. He asked me if I was Terrie Lynn and told me my grandpa talked about me all of the time. He then asked me how many boxes of cookies I had with me. I told him my mother was waiting in the car with the trunk full. That was good enough for him. Mr. Solomeni night club owner proceeded to go with me to the car and purchase every box we had. He said if Sid Smith’s granddaughter was selling cookies then he was buying. That put me over the top and I won most cookie sales that year. Grandpa’s good name strikes again!
     Becoming wise, having a good name, being favored in this life is a blessing from God. In life we make choices. We can chose to hang out with fools and watch our lives fall to pieces as the verse says or we can become wise by walking with the wise. We can find favor or folly. At grandpa’s memorial service I was asked to speak. I spoke on Proverbs 22:1 and grandpa having a good name even to his grave. My cousin, his name sake Sid, also spoke. He and I had not communicated at all about what we would share. Sid got up to speak and said that he too had chosen Proverbs 22:1 as a tribute to our much respected patriarch. That is how I want to be known in life. It is what I strive to be: a woman of her word. Favor is better than silver or gold. What good are your riches if you are a scoundrel? My prayer is that you will pursue wisdom and favor walking with the wise and leaving a godly legacy for those in your sphere of influence. Especially leaving that legacy for the children as they watch everything you say and do. May you show them integrity, honesty and that a handshake on your word means something. ❤

Good Morning Beloved

Anxiety in a man’s (woman’s) heart weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad.(Proverbs 12:25 NASB)

*I thought I might start a little “days ’till Christmas” countdown here but nah. You already know you are running out of time. Who needs another reminder?

     Anxiety, worry, fear – is that you today or someone you know? It all started last night in a very familiar spot in my throat. You know that spot that gets sore first when you are starting to come down with something. I thought maybe it was just this horrible 70 degree dry sunny San Diego weather affecting me (ha). While some of my friends and family in the mid west are dealing with ice storms, black outs, large trees falling through their roofs, cars pelted and damaged by huge chunks of ice falling from the sky at a velocity to crush their windshields I am bummed by a dry wind blowing from the east.
     We were at a birthday party for 3 of my great-nephews last night. Oh my goodness it was lively. Most of the cousins are boys between the ages of 2 and 11. They run in a pack so they went from one video game to another cheering each other on. If you decided to come to that particular restaurant last night for a quiet dinner perhaps you were a little disappointed. We do have a great time together. There is an abundance of love and lots of loud voices.
     There was one game in particular that the boys were very excited to play. It was called The Claw. This game has been around forever but was made popular by the movie Toy Story. In that movie the claw case is inhabited by little alien toys who are enthralled when Buzz Light Year climbs in to commandeer the rocket ship shaped machine. Buzz thinks he is liberating the little guys when the mean kid Sid comes over, puts his coins in and uses the claw to grab Buzz. I could see the anxiety on my grandson’s face as he tried several times to get a stuffed animal to no avail. All of the bigger cousins had succeeded,  even one getting the bear Brody wanted. It was the San Diego Charger bear.
     Heartbroken, Brody walked over to me slump shouldered with a quivering lip and said he wanted to go home. Well I did what any self respecting grandma would do in that situation. I took him next door to Michael’s and bought him a stuffed animal! Back he went to the party stuffed dog in his possession, skip in his walk, smile on his face and one relieved grandma. Frankly, I wasn’t ready to leave.
     Through all of the dinner eating, diet Pepsi drinking, birthday donut enjoying, relative talking my throat was getting worse and I started to feel it all over in my muscles. Anxiety set in as I have surgery in 10 days and cannot be sick! I am psyched up for this knee replacement and know they won’t do it if I have a cold.
      I came home, downed a glass of water that I had doctored with essential oil, rubbed that same oil on the outside of my throat, took two Tylenol and got in bed with my mind racing about getting sick. This coming weekend is packed with activities that I may have to sit out if I am not well. Bummer.
     As I lay there I had forgotten the most important thing in combating fear and anxiety: prayer. Anxiety about having a cold and already turning it in to pneumonia in my mind had me extremely restless. Praying in earnest I turned it all over to The Great Physician. I asked Him to heal me, take the sore throat that was starting to feel like I was swallowing glass shards and smooth it over, relieve my fears and anxieties and grant me a good rest knowing that whatever the outcome God was in control. I slept well. When I woke up this morning the sore throat was gone! I will still treat my symptoms but my anxiety was relieved.
     Many are living today walking around in a bundle of fear and anxiety about very big issues bigger than a sore throat. They are anxious about finances, health, a roof over their heads, food for their kids, failing in school, lawsuits, family problems. I am convinced that you know folks in these situations. You may even be there. The verse tells us that a good word makes the heart glad. Sometimes we are so burdened by our own anxiety that we cannot even muster a good word for anyone else we know who may be hurting.
     Dear friend I have found that as I give my anxiety and fear to Jesus it frees me up to be a blessing to and pray for others. Many are in fear and don’t even know that Jesus is the answer. Is there someone that you are thinking of right now that just needs a tender touch and a good word? Is there a kindness that you can do today to lighten someone’s load if only momentarily? Just bringing a cheerful hello and a warm hug could do the trick! God is faithful in all things. He will provide. Please look around you and see how God has provided for you in so many ways. Bring a blessing, a prayer, a touch to those around you today. I am praying for you too! ❤

Good Morning Beloved

Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NASB)

*First I want to say – can you believe we are already in December? As I get older the years fly by faster and faster. I remember vividly willing the years to pass quickly so I could be 16 and drive now I want them to come to a screeching halt! So here we are 25 days till Christmas. Be merry!

     I learned Psalm 119:11 when I was very young. It was taught to me in Mrs. Tathum’s 3rd grade Sunday School class at First Baptist La Mesa. Each week we would have a memory verse to take home and learn. Mrs. Tathum had a sticker chart for us. I am sure you know the kind with the narrow vertical lines. Only a very small round sticker would fit in that space. We got a sticker for attendance, one for bringing our bible, one for knowing the verse and one if we brought a friend. It was difficult for me to get a sticker for bringing a friend because I rode the church bus but a time or two a friend would spend the night and go with me. I loved it when all of the spaces beside my name were filled. I learned that verse and it stuck with me. 
     So how are we going to know if we sin against God? He gives us clear instruction in the Bible about what is right and wrong. We know because we study His word and get to where we breathe it in and out. It becomes second nature to us. That is what is supposed to happen as we mature in Christ but many believers never get past the head stage of learning. They memorize verses or read passages and never study their true meanings or apply them to their lives.
     Then there are those blasted gray areas! “Is this a sin?”  you ask. “Does God REALLY care about this little tiny thing? I know it’s a white lie (no such thing by the way) but what’s the harm? She asked me if I liked her dress (hair, shoes, boy friend, you fill in the blank), I don’t want to hurt her feelings.” Oh man what do you do? God says a sin is a sin period.  
     Yesterday I went to visit a dear lady who is in a rehab facility because she had a wound that would not heal. This 94 year old saint has been a mentor to me for over 30 years. Her mind is sharp but her body is failing her. As I drove up to the small facility the parking lot was full. I have a handicapped placard due to my knee replacement but don’t like to use it much because actually I was more handicapped before the replacement than I am now. I thought surely they would have a number of those designated spot but nope. 
     As I pulled back out to the street I saw many cars lining both sides. I started driving one way made a U turn and drove the other. Can I just take an aside here and say if you park on the street in a space big enough for two cars please pull forward so someone going to visit their 94 year old mentor can park! 
     No place was to be had. It was a lesson in frustration for this impatient visitor. If you read my blog you know that patience is not my virtue but I am working on it (or our gracious God puts me in situations where I am forced to work on it).
    I found a place that was just right and as I was making the turn to park a man pulled up right in to the space. I tried to back in in front of him bit I was hanging over a driveway. I got out to move a couple of the 4 large trash cans blocking the parking space closer to each other so we could both park there. A man was standing there and he said not to move the cans they were there to block the space so his wife could park there. I said we only needed a few inches. The other man who pulled up behind me was laughing at me in a foreign language! I said “buddy can you help me out here?” He declined because he didn’t want any trouble. 
     I got back in my car with many unchristian thoughts rolling around my brain. Pulling forward in to the street again I saw a larger space a block and a half away. As I pulled in I thought that I would just see how people like it. I would park right in the middle and take up 2 spaces! So there!! Ridiculous upon ridiculous. I sat there feeling all smug when that still small voice reminded me to treat others the way I wanted to be treated and then it went on to add insult to injury by reminding me to always do the right thing. Oh man! I pulled forward to make room.
     Asking God for forgiveness for my temper tantrum and not honoring Him in this situation I got out of my car. Then a phenomenon happened. Apparently there was a medical training class going on in that facility. As I walked down the block suddenly huge spaces of curb opened up to park when students left for lunch. I got a good laugh out of that one and marked in my mind the time so when I go to see my friend next week I will time it better. 
     That anger toward those two men and the purposeful wrongdoing regarding curb space parking was sin to me. Oh you should have heard my thoughts toward those two men who would not help a lady out! (On second thought no you shouldn’t). James 4:17 says “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (NASB) 
     My thoughts, my actions were definitely not right. They were sin to me. I totally needed to confess, ask forgiveness and repent. The walk did me very good and my visit was amazing. Time swiftly flew as she spun stories of her childhood that enthralled me. I left uplifted and delighted by the company and looking forward to next time. 
     How do we know if something we are doing is sin? Ask God. Read His word. Exodus 20:1-17 is a good starting point. Read the 10 commandments then read what Jesus said is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40. That is your homework for today. Those are good places to start to get your moral compass going.
    If you are truly serious about walking this journey with God then take the time to know the word and memorize it. Learn right from wrong. Be a good citizen, be an honest person, tell the truth, keep your word, do the right thing always. Yes ALWAYS! Teach the children in your sphere of influence these things. Learn God’s word. You will gain the respect of those around you as they watch your life.❤