A Candle in the Wind


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night. Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, Dylan Thomas

There are a lot of things which can snuff out the light in our lives. One of the most destructive is guilt. We become manipulated into doing and saying things we’d rather not. We lie to others to make them see us a certain way. We even lie to ourselves. “I’m not worthy.” “It’s no big deal.” “They didn’t mean to hurt me.” “They’re only trying to help.” “I owe them.” Relationships are difficult enough without the bitterness of guilt poisoning things. We sometimes just need to be brave enough to be honest with ourselves and others. Head games are for chumps.

So, how does avoiding guilt tie in with all this talk of light and candles, etc? The joy we bring to the journey is our light. It is very difficult to get light from a snuffed candle. Anything we allow in our lives that makes us continually unhappy will logically make it very difficult for us to be a blessing to anyone around us. A candle doesn’t just spontaneously light itself! As tenuous as our feelings of happiness and cheerfulness can be (and we cannot just chase warm fuzzies all the time), we have to take concrete steps to eliminate those nasty candle snuffers as much as possible. The whiny friend, the complaining relative, the gossiping neighbor, the manipulative co-worker; these are all relationships that will snuff out our joy and make us ineffective as lights in this already-dark-enough world.

Be careful with you. You’re the best you that you’ve got!

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:15-16

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The Sunshine of My Life


You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always be around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

I feel like this is the beginning
Though I’ve loved you for a million years
And if I thought our love was ending
I’d find myself drowning in my own tears

You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

You must have known that I was lonely
Because you came to my rescue
And I know that this must be Heaven
How could so much love be inside of you?

You are the sunshine of my life, yeah
That’s why I’ll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my soul

You are the sunshine of my life, baby
That’s why I’ll always stay around
Can’t stop living You are the apple of my eye

Stevie Wonder

The things that bring us joy in life are many and varied. What makes one person happy is as unique as that person is themselves. It is February, just after Valentine’s Day, and yet in my neck of the woods (I am surrounded by Plumas National Forest), folks are starting the first of their flower and vegetable seeds indoors, airing out their houses, wearing shirt sleeves while the weather holds, and taking full advantage of the unseasonably warm weather until the next storm hits. (We are expecting snow on Tuesday.) Gardening, listening to birds sing, cooking, puppy breath, the smell of Fall, the faces of my children, the love of my husband…these are some of the things that make my heart sing, and wrap around me like a warm security blanket. My list is unique to me, although many people would say similar things also make them happy. The love of my particular husband named Adam, the faces of my exact children, and the reasons and memories which are the basis for my list of favorite things are even more specific to me. These things inspire and encourage me when I am feeling discouraged or depressed. When I feel like giving up, they help me go on, and on, and on…

Many studies, such as published on the website of the University of Kansas (Happiness = Health), have shown a strong link between health and happiness. It follows that the happier we are throughout our lives, the healthier we will be as well. A positive attitude and well-developed sense of humor cannot stave of any and all effects of living, naturally; but the road we follow can have a lot less bumps and a lot more scenic vistas. It all depends on our method of travel and our point of view. In other words, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NIV

We all of us need our “heart song” lists. Life is often hard and full of challenges in all shapes, sizes, and durations. If we do not have things to buoy us up, we will surely sink. Perhaps, therefore, it would be wise to focus on not just a happy place, but happy people, place(s), and things. Carry the loves of your life in your heart. Take them with you wherever you go; and never leave home without them. Better than any credit card you might carry, the joy of your heart will help you up like a kind hand extended. With a happy heart, it is much more likely that we will be able to rise again after crushing disappointment. Happiness comes out of us. It is not dependent on our situations. Therefore we must carry it inside of us. What do you carry inside of you day after day? Is it a burden that drags you down, or a boon to uplift your spirit and the spirits of those around you? The greatest source of joy which I have found is the truth of Christ, and Him crucified. After discovering something so rare and excellent, what reason do I have to stay downcast?

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5

More Than You Know


“The conqueror is regarded with awe; the wise man commands our respect; but it is only the benevolent man that wins our affection” William Dean Howells

A lot is made of Valentine’s Day, good and bad. Some say it is just another day. Others, out of pessimism, declare it to be a waste of time. Like Mother’s Day and Father’s day, Valentine’s Day can point to unhappy memories, or a lack of a particular kind of relationship. We are all different, naturally. Our lives and hopes and hurts and dreams and cares are unique to ourselves. One day cannot be everything to everyone.

There is one constant, however: love. As it has been said, “Love never fails”. There is a simple fact that, no matter who you are, where you are, what you think, how you feel, or even who you love, there is a love that is pointed in your direction which is so deep, so pure, so absolute, you will never be able to fully grasp it. More than you know, there is an incredible BIGNESS to this Love that is life-changing. Such a soul-filling, heart-warming, glad-making, shout-it-from-the-rooftops love can only come from someone big enough to hold it in their heart. Although it it has been said and abused many, many times, the simple phrase “God loves you” is the first and last true thing.

Not based on your talent or beauty or intellect or even your goodness, this love is for you. The funny thing is how much we can overlook the importance of this love. A person who says they love us has our full attention, even if we pretend to ignore them, not so with our Creator. He loves you, and you don’t need to pull the petals off a daisy to figure it out. Your next breath, the sunrise, the sunset, winter, spring, summer, and fall, on and on read the letters of love, from God to you. Never mind the death of Jesus on the cross. Never mind the rising from the dead on the third day. Those things give us hope. They are the basis of faith for countless people all over the world. They also have their basis in love. All God wants from you in return is for you to love him back, and to remember that love as you interact with others throughout the day.

 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:35-40 (The Message)

When the Past Comes to Call…


“All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself”

Martin Luther (German Priest and Scholar whose questioning of certain church practices led to the Protestant Reformation. 1483-1546)

Henry loved Dora very much. He couldn’t wait to be with her and every minute apart was filled with him thinking about her. When he slept, he dreamed of her face. One day, Henry learns that Dora has “a past”. They were in a garden when she told him. Henry heard a faint “hiss”, and slowly the green snake of jealousy sunk its teeth into his heart. Reacting to the venom, he felt queasy and his face grew hot. He was heartbroken. His perfect angel now seemed tarnished. How could he continue to love a woman with “a past” and marry her??

The story above is completely made up. (My apologies to any real life couples bearing the names of Henry and Dora.) In the age in which we live, it is not uncommon for people to have many life experiences before settling down. This includes relationships and all that follows them. As difficult as these things can be when faced knowingly from the beginning, they can be fatal to the bonds of trust when they spring up, unannounced somewhere down the path of the future. What we have to remember is that the past is gone. It cannot be re-done or undone. Think of the many things in your past that you would change if you had the chance. When you think of your own past, you might remember that you no longer live there.

So Henry is now faced with a choice. He can let his hurt and wounded pride fester. He can stew in it and let it grow bigger and bigger until he is almost convinced that Dora ‘s former experiences are current experiences that she can’t wait to throw in his face! He may feel that their romance was a lie, based on an understanding between him and a person who is not who he thought she was. He can choose to end the romance and walk away from this woman who has become his life. He can even conveniently forget about the fact that he has his own past and hold his beloved Dora at a distance, until both of their hearts are broken and they lose the something very rare and precious that they have found in one another…

OR…

He can remember the many, many things he would rather he had never done and said, many of them, truthfully, MUCH more shocking and horrible than the simple fact of Dora’s loving someone else, however unwisely. He can see Dora in the new light of the present and the wisdom she has gained from her failings. He can realize that Dora is his beloved and she is with him, not because she has to be, but because she chooses to be. He can further realize that holding Dora’s past against her is like digging up graves  to call the bones to account.

There are times when we come to a fork in the road and our choices right then decide our futures. There may be someone, or more than one, whose past you find hard to accept. Maybe they have spent time behind bars, or in bars, or strip clubs, or as strippers, or prostitutes, or drug addicts, or stalkers, or murderers, thieves, liars, cheats, abusers, the list goes on. Perhaps they have hurt you, or someone you love. Perhaps you are holding their past up as a shield to keep from dealing with them. Perhaps you think you are better than them, even though you would never admit it. This is a slippery road to travel, my friend. I can tell you this from experience. The problem is that when we hold other people to a certain standard, we become responsible to live up to that standard as well. We accuse others and excuse ourselves.

The truth is, however, we have all been forgiven MUCH that we can never repay. We can never make restitution for our own pasts, why do we demand this from others? The truth is, yes, you and I have things in our pasts that we may regret, they may shame us, and they may have hurt us. The people around us share similar experiences of regret, shame, and pain as well. When we hold things over people’s heads, we only add to their hurts and stand as roadblocks to them having a different future, with us included that is.

So, you may be wondering, what did Henry do? Did he walk away from Dora, or did he look at his own past, and hold on tight to her hand? What would you have done? What path do you choose?

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold  was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18 : 21-35

Love, Love, Love….


Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung. Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game It’s easy. There’s nothing you can make that can’t be made. No one you can save that can’t be saved. Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time – It’s easy.

All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need. Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

The Beatles

Love is an amazing thing. It catches you when you would fall. It helps you up when you do fall. When you crack, it keeps you from breaking. When you do break, it helps you pick up the pieces. You see things differently because of love. It makes things worthwhile. If you love, then you are part of something great. If you ARE loved, be very, very thankful. People chase down substitutes all their long lives to have the amazing thing that you have found.

Some people scoff at theidea of love. They think it is something for the weak, like religion. What we all need to understand, however, is that when we admit the truth that we do not know everything. When we are able to lay down our pride, we come to a realization that there must be a God. The fact that terrible things happen in the world points to your own free will, and mine, and the free will of billions of others who have shared the square footage of earth we walk today. Free will and choice means that yes, we can strive for and accomplish great things. We can also cause great destruction, pain, hurt, and loss. To question why God does not step in and stop the horrors committed every day is like asking if it would just be better to be a slave and not have a choice at all. When we are able to choose at all, we are able to choose to do right or wrong. It’s very simple. If we know about injustice or misery, we are honor bound to do more than ask why. We must pray and we must act.

The reasons behind our ability to choose as well as our deep responsibility to choose what is right are rooted in the overwhelming and consuming love of God. He wants to sweep us up and involve us in something great. He wants us all to be able to experience the joy that only comes, not from getting your own way, but from giving so much of yourself that it becomes like a stairway to lift others above where they were. God wants us all to know how much more peace we can feel if we reach out to give, instead of take.

It is easy to wonder why God cares to do any of this, when He could accomplish so much more on His own. Much like a parent teaching their children how to cook and clean and ride a bike and build a tree house, He wants us to grow. More than this, God involves us with other people because it pleases Him to do so. How many times has someone reached out to you? How many times have you received encouragement, a porch full of groceries, an anonymous envelope with cash? How many times has someone sat down with you, giving you their undivided attention, because they wanted to share some peace and hope? God loves you, and these things were all proof.

OK, but no one cares about me, you may say. No one has ever done any of those things for me. God doesn’t love me after all, if that is the only proof. There is more proof of His love for you than I could ever tell you about. Sometimes we push people away and then the only way left is for us is to build some bridges. This may sound daunting until you remember that God is the Ultimate Way-Maker. If you do the little bit that you can do, and don’t give up, your efforts will be rewarded.

The point I want to drive home to you today, however, is not the idea that we are all capable of changing the world, or that we can rise to greater heights than we have yet achieved. These things are true. Still, the most important thing is that you begin to have a dawning realization that YOU ARE LOVED, already, more than you can possibly imagine, and it is no fairy tale or dream or invention of the imagination.

GOD LOVES YOU. Now what are you going to do about it?

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.”

Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5 : 8-20

Weathering the Storm That Never Was


“The cyclone had set the house down gently, very gently – for a cyclone—in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Sometimes, we are beset by very real problems in life, things that tempt us to worry, fret, and fear what tomorrow may hold. Every human has things that they fear. It is only natural. There are, however, things we fear that are harmless, pointless, illogical, and basically all in our heads. I’m talking about those things that we work ourselves up about and when finally faced, turn out to be no big deal. It’s in those cases when the dread beforehand is worse than the actual thing.

Sometimes it could be test results from the doctor, or a confrontation at work, or a family holiday with your least favorite relative. We all have our oh-no-not-agains. Sometimes we begin to act as though the thing we fear is inevitable, and actually cause it to happen. We might treat ourselves badly and squander our health or money or time and have bad news we might not have had if we had been more sensible. We might be belligerent, hostile and plain old hard to get along with at work, which pretty much guarantees us a confrontation with someone. We might even pick a fight with a relative as we think we’re just being defensive of ourselves and our territory, but what if that relative has undergone some major life crises which have altered that abrasive person you once knew them to be?

I have often feared the storms that never came to be. People, it turns out, are on average just as eager to get along and have peace as we are. Most of the time, we make monsters out of mice and make ourselves miserable in the process.

It might not hurt to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes…no not literally, those stiletto heels are murder. If you can manage to take one someone else’s perspective you may see the situation or issue from an angle you never considered before. You may find a new understanding of them, a new appreciation. You may even find a friend where you anticipated only finding a fiend with claws bared, ready to cut you to ribbons. Take heart, your boss, relative, doctor, grocer, mailman, and neighbor are all just people like you with many hidden layers of hopes dreams and cares behind their greet the day face. Next time, don’t go looking for an opponent where you just might find another teammate.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ” Matthew 6:24-34

Good Measure, Pressed Down, Shaken Together and Running Over…


It matters not what a person is born, but who they choose to be. – J.K.Rowling (who shares a birthday with my Mother today. :))

Life is an amazing gift, a blessed life even more so. Today is my mom’s birthday. She has had a very blessed life. She is a joy to know, a real light to those around her. Her’s is a life of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

There are things my mom has never done, like sky dive, or bungee jump, or climb Everest or even plant the world’s biggest field of tulips. She’s ok with that though. Her accomplishments are scattered all over the globe as her children and grandchildren grow and impact the world by being the people we were taught to be by this amazing woman. She has not won a Nobel Peace Prize, but she has molded our hearts. She hasn’t earned a gold medal (that I know of) but she has prayed for us. She will probably never be elected President either, but she has wept for us.

A lot of people might think that a simple life full of love, sacrifice and pouring of one’s self into the lives of others is a wasted life, a foolish waste of a life. What I would say to these people is that they would change their tune, if they only knew my mother. She is sad when we are sad and glad when we are glad. She will laugh and cry with you and she will hug you afterward. Her life is maybe not full of diamonds and rubies, but her heart is full of love.

What would we be without this woman? She encourages all of us and scolds us to be the very best that we can be. She wants us to succeed and she wants us to choose what’s right. In short she is simply amazing. I would not be who I am today without her.

I love you Mom. May your joy be full. Happy Birthday.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-39

Dreams Lost, Dreams Found


“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.” Winnie the Pooh

I am currently in the process of hunting. What I’m looking for is old friends I have lost touch with, friends which I owe a debt of gratitude, news, or connection. Some friends were lost over time, through no fault of anyone; other connections were lost as a result of problems within the relationship. I hope to one day enjoy the experience of happy reunions with all of them, God willing. What I have come to understand, however, is that sometimes you have to confront in order for changes to be made. I have been faced with this task in the past, and on more than one occasion I have been the one confronted. Let me tell you that a truthful scolding from someone that loves you can really hurt, but it is absolutely necessary in order for us to grow.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6

I have seen many times in airports and bus terminal, the infectious joy of reunions. They are fairly similar across the board: the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the tears. I love watching these happy scenes. I think there is something in all of us that longs for these kinds of experiences. We are not meant to live our lives alone and isolated. Even Adam, the very first man, eventually had his fill of solitude.

“We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.” Leo F. Buscaglia

Maybe there are those you long to see again. Maybe you have been parted by time, place, situation, or even confrontation. Might I urge you today to begin thinking about what it would be like to have a joyous reunion with this person? What if you could forget the old hurts, lay down the grudges, forgive, and look past the parts of them that make you unhappy?

Now, for any of you who have read past blog entries, you will know that I have some history with spousal abuse. I DO NOT advocate a reunion that would be unwise or unsafe in any way. Sometimes goodbye is the healthiest word we can say to someone.

BUT for those other people in your life that should be taking part in your joys and sorrows and life events, take a little time and consider if maybe it is time to start building some bridges again. The weight of unforgiveness is too heavy to drag around the rest of your life. Be free, and be reunited to people who will enrich your life as you once enriched theirs.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-19

Beauty for Ashes


“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crown-less again shall be king.”  J.R.R. Tolkien

These are tough times when many have seen dreams dashed and hopes shattered. There is pain and struggle as people struggle to overcome or re-build their damaged lives. It is really unclear how many people are actually affected, because the hearty, proud and stalwart bread-winners of our country do not like to admit that they cannot help themselves out of a hole when they fall in one. Patience and understanding are at a premium these days, as well as compassion and HOPE.

Today I read an article which broke my heart. It was from a fellow-blogger who was discussing the reasons behind Sesame Street having to cover the issue of food stamps and childhood hunger. (You can read the article here.) The fact that this is even a question for any child SHOULD be heart breaking. Sadly, many of us have become immune to this issue, and many, many others. We give up, we discount our ability to help one, or two, or three or a few. Now, however, the problems are knocking at our own front doors like the Big Bad Wolf. Where do we turn for sympathy? Who do we ask for help?

It is discouraging for many of those who suffer from lost income, surprise medical conditions, crushing debt, hunger, homelessness, and the overwhelming feeling that they might not make it to see the fulfillment of their dreams. It is discouraging for these people to see and hear their more fortunate friends and family relate stories of shopping sprees, vacations, new cars, new houses, and promotions at work. There is so much trouble all around us, our sensitivity is incredibly crucial for those who are facing troubles that genuinely make them wonder how they will pull through this new test.

For those who have or are facing these kinds of trials, there is hope even in the midst of your suffering and confusion, and your dark night will have a dawn. Don’t you dare give up!!

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.                                                                                     

They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice;
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
    and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
    and praise spring up before all nations. Psalm 61

The Debts We Owe In Life


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward (American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)

How many times has it been that you can look back and remember times when you worked hard, sacrificed, did without, accomplished great things, overcame difficulties…..and no one said a word?? We have all faced these situations in life, these times when we feel completely over-looked and taken for granted. The problem is, we ourselves are guilty of doing this to others as well.

Now, we can all relate to being under-appreciated. We should be very careful, then, about passing this feeling along to others. It is immature to use the excuse that no one thanks US, so it’s just turn-about and fair play, blah, blah, blah, if we do the same to others. Enough of our excuses. We know better. Period.

A couple of months ago, there was a miniseries on TV about the Hatfields and the McCoys. It was a great conversations starter with my hubby and I. For one thing, when it comes to getting even, no one ever wins, because it just keeps going on, like an eternal game of tag. Each side seems to be so offended at what the other side does and always surprised and enraged when they are reaping what they sow. My point in regard to being grateful, however, is this: If you want the world to be different, then BE DIFFERENT.

So remember the debts we carry are not all financial, but moral as well. No matter what our station in life or the size (or lack) of our bank account, we all have the ability to lighten someone else’s load by telling them of our appreciation, freely and frequently. Encourage people to do the right thing by you and others by saying how much they mean to us. Neglecting this is a lot like planting a wonderful garden and then refusing to water it. We can feed people around us or we can starve them. The landscape we live in will reflect on US.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. James 5 : 1-5