the least of these

I’ve been pondering Matthew 25.  Keith Green’s piano piece plays in my mind while I read the account of the Lord separating the sheep from the goats.

We are in a predicament, where we cannot, hard as we try, help ourselves.  It’s uncomfortable, humiliating, and extremely frustrating for the “can-do” temperaments in this home, yet it’s where we are.  While we’ve seen our share of goats, and have been subjected to ungodly, unfair, unloving treatment, I have to say we have been blessed by some wonderful “sheep” from Matthew 25, doing as unto the Lord in assisting us in our predicament.  From a family member with very little, sharing lavishly from his own meager supply, to being laid on the hearts of friends thousands of miles away who wished to extend financial help, to as recent as yesterday, when we found an envelope slipped under our door containing 5 $20 bills, addressed simply to our family.

If I knew who this good Samaritan was, I’d thank him or her.  In racking my brain to figure it out, I’ve come up with a couple possibilities, and have found myself thanking the Lord for them instead.  I don’t know if you know what it feels like to be desperately in need, unwelcome and friendless in a strange place.  While my girls have met some wonderful people here, who seem to love and accept them, this has not been the case for my husband and myself, outside of family.  We are getting to watch the practical application of “I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat, in prison and you visited me, naked and you clothed me”, and are looking forward to the time when we can pay the Lord back in doing the same for someone else in need. Because we know now from the other side, what it means to do it for Jesus by doing it for the least of these, his brothers.

I love the end of Keith Green’s song, where he states very emphatically, that the only difference between the sheep and the goats, according to this scripture, is what they did or didn’t do.


Dumping Google

Because of what I’ve learned today, I have imported my blogger account to wordpress.  I’m on a learning curve, but I don’t feel comfortable anymore with Google, which includes Gmail and blogger.  I’ll send you my new email if you ask, and you can find “NewThings” here:

You can read about Google’s privacy changes here, and here.

I am enforcing this on my children still at home with me, urging my family and friends to do the same.



EDITED TO ADD.  I’m trying unsuccessfully today to delete my google account.  Apparently, they are in damage control mode, and have removed the ability to do so from my account management page.  Deleting all information takes longer, but it’s where I am today, sigh.


by Russell Kelfer 

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate…
and the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!”
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate
hangs in the balance and you tell me to Wait?”
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign.
Or even a ‘no,’ to which I’ll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
as my Master replied again,”Child, you must wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting…for what?”

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine…
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.

You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
you’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
when darkness and silence are all you can see.

You’d never experience the fullness of love
when the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
the faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You’d never know should your pain quickly flee,
what it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
but oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you.

So,be silent, my child, and in time you will see
that the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still “WAIT”.
Have you ever watched a child anticipate Christmas day? Oh, it seems it will never arrive. They sit next to the Christmas tree, eying each present, wondering what is in store for them, and waiting…waiting…impatiently, I might add,but waiting.
Waiting does not come naturally to us today. We are spoiled with drive through banking,fast food, headline news…waiting is not encouraged, instead, bent on instant gratification, we are guaranteed that we can “have it our way”, encouraged to “just do it”, and assured that we can have whatever we want when we want it, why wait?  The future is ours, if we would but grasp it for ourselves.
As parents, we know that giving a child everything they want when they want it is not best for them, it makes for spoiled, ungrateful children who think they can stomp their foot and get their way. We have all seen children like this, and we all know how unbecoming it is in a child. As Christians living in this world, I believe our Heavenly Father has a better plan for us as well. We catch glimpses of it through His Holy Word. Isaiah 40:11 says“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Noah waited. He waited for the promised rain, even in the midst of ridicule from everyone around him, he faithfully obeyed God and waited for God to fulfill His word. Then, when the rains came, and the earth was flooded, he waited again, safe inside the ark, for the waters to subside.
Moses’ mother waited for Pharoah’s daughter to find Moses in the bulrushes.  The children of Israel waited to be delivered from Pharoah. They waited for their Messiah. In all these cases, when God’s timing was perfect, He fulfilled His plan, and through it, strengthened his people, and gave them opportunity to glorify God.
Why does God make us wait? Now, I have to admit, I’m one of those spoiled children, who would like to voice my demands and have them materialize now, I do not like to wait, and I have a difficult time doing so. I find myself questioning God sometimes “why?” Why did Elizabeth have to wait to her old age to have John the Baptist? Can you imagine the heartache year after year, of the barren woman waiting for her child,watching relatives and friends birthing and nursing their babies,aching for her own? I imagine she had given up by the time she reached her retirement years…can you imagine her surprise when she learned in her elderly years that she was to have her hopes fulfilled? And for such a purpose as her son was being born for…to prepare the way of the Messiah himself?
Many times in Scripture, God used waiting times in the lives of His people for the sake of preparing them for His work. Moses, Elijah, David…John the Baptist, even Jesus himself had waiting periods before being released for great ministry. Moses was used to deliver Israel from the hands of Pharaoh, Elijah was a great prophet of the Lord, speaking His word to an ungodly generation, bringing revival and turning their hearts back to the Lord. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord, and Jesus, well, we all know that he did many miracles, fed multitudes on meager offerings, healed lepers, made the deaf to hear and the blind to see, made the lame walk, forgave sinners, and ultimately overcame death itself. But before He did all that, He waited. There were times his disciples didn’t under-stand Him, and his answer was“it’s not time yet”, or loosely translated, “wait”.
I believe God makes us wait for another reason. He is doing a work inside us that cannot be done instantly. It takes time for a seed to grow, and in the same way, it takes time for God’s Word and work to grow in us. He sees the end product of what He is preparing us to become, He is transforming us, conforming us to the image of His Son. For this to take place, our own self needs to be dealt with, and our own fleshly desires removed so he can plant His desires in our heart and grow us into His image of who He sees us becoming in Christ.
May we never forget to wait on the Lord. Watch for what He is accomplishing in the lives of those around us, and in our own hearts. Draw near to Him, and seek His face. Learn of Him and ask him through your waiting times “Lord, what is it you would have me learn through this time?” and listen for His answer, watch for His hand in situations in your life, and glorify Him.

Identifying with Moses

Today I’m reminded of Exodus 17.  In a way, I feel I’ve walked through a similar plot…children of Israel being led through the desert, with enemies that want to ruin them, and the Lord coming through right on time, with another miraculous victory.

I’ve long identified with the wilderness experience of the Israelites, suffering through the desert on their way to the promised land.  I’ve felt like one of them, grumbling and complaining along my journey, regretting coming at all, begging to go back, even questioning God.  Only yesterday, did I get to identify with Moses.

Through a series of disappointments, frustrations, and injustices, God orchestrated events in a way that allowed us to defend ourselves and laid us on the hearts of friends who took it as their duty to hold our hands up with words of encouragement and various forms of assistance. 

Today we are thanking God for his timing, provision, and love.  We are especially grateful for dear friends and family who offer unconditional love and support in difficult times.

Moses built an altar and called it “The LORD is my Banner”.  He said, “Because hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD”  Exodus 17:15, 16

The Voyage

While I wouldn’t build my theology on the lyrics, I likethem, and relate.  My father-in-law’s wife introduced me to this songsaying it reminded her of our story.  
Twenty-four years ago today, Imarried my best friend.  We have journeyed as one through our days, collectingchildren, grandchildren and friends.  We’ve combined our joys, accomplishments and triumphs with a variety of sorrows,disappointments, and detours.  I can’tthink of anyone with whom I’d rather share this experience that is my life.
I love you, Kevin.  I still do. 
I thank God for you, for thechildren He’s blessed us with, and for this wild, wonderful ride. 
Happy Anniversary!

We Are Not Home Yet

On their way to the land of God’s promise, the children ofIsrael wandered in the desert, whining, grumbling and yearning  to go back home to Egypt.  We all have our deserts, when we travelthrough them, do we trust God and follow his lead, or are we like the childrenof Israel, short-sighted and easily wearied?

They had the cloud by day and the fire by night, they hadHis presence, leading them through their desert, and they could not trust him,they complained and thought slavery in Egypt was better than what they wereexperiencing in the desert.
We had a house, land, animals, friends, we had the lifestylewe thought God wanted us to live, homeschooling, gardening, simplicity…we hadit all, (leeks and onions included)  andyet, we felt unmistakable leading from the Lord to leave it all, give it allup, for something new that He was to show us. We did as He asked, risking our credit rating, our reputation, and ourmaterial accumulations.  We turned ourfamily unit upside down; kids went to school, I returned to the workforce, andnow,  seven years later, we still, likeAbraham sense God leading us to “a place that I will show you” …and the valleyis long, dark and lonely, through it, I’ve said “goodbye” both my parents, andmy husband’s mother.  We’ve made across-continental move to my husband’s childhood home and found it to beunfriendly and unwelcoming.  There is nowork here, and we are forced to look back to where we came for deliverance.   Ican’t help but wonder, “What next?”  …andsome days, like the children of Israel, I complain, compare and create in mymind the kind of life “I” selfishly think is the Lord’s will for my life,instead of doing what He told me, and it sounds so simple, all I have to do istrust Him.
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know”
“Don’t think on the former things, doing a new thing”
“…a way through the wilderness, rivers in the desert”
I have to believe this is part of His plan; that He isworking on the front side of the quilt that is my life, while all I see are theknots and tangles on the backside.  Iknow the biblical truth that in this life, we will have tribulations, life isnot always easy, fair, or pleasant; Lately, the Lord is bringing home in a veryreal way, lyrics that we sang in our carefree days, but never really apprehendeduntil lately.  “This world is not myhome, I’m just a-passin’ through”. 
I don’t usually make new year’s resolutions, but this year,I’d like to reach the point that I can automatically “know” this, that in timesof temptation, or doubt, my spirit can recall this, and encourage myself, andbuild myself up with God’s truth.  He isGod, I’m not.  He is good, all thetime.  He is in control.  He has a plan, and He is hard at work.  I will follow.  I will think His thoughts, I will trust Hisleading.

Happy New Year!

 Written by 90 year old, Regina Brett.  This is a post we should all read at least once a week!!!!!  I thought the New Year would be a good time to start.  The ones I plan to focus on and implement this year are in bold italics.  Happy reading!
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.  My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month..
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. Release your children when they become adults, it’s their life now
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
16 Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Keep an open mind.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come…
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield..
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Friends are the family that we choose.