Total Makeover

Make-overs are all the rage these days. Make over your home, your garden, your hair, your clothes. Some people need a major overhaul, a total make-over, from their hair to their homes to their lives.

I had a major over-haul in 1975, when I rededicated my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to change me, because I had made a wreck of my life. I needed someone to take control of my life and work out all the kinks, to show me what I was born for, what my life meant. It wasn’t just my looks, although the Lord surely changed those too, but my attitudes and thoughts and feelings were all scrambled up, until I truly didn’t know what I wanted or how I felt.

He didn’t change me overnight like they do on those TV makeover shows, but little by little, my life started getting better. Oh, there were still bad times, when I regressed, two steps forward, one step back.

One day years later while I was blow-drying my hair in front of the mirror, I started singing a little song, “Little by little He’s changing me, line upon line He teaching me,” My heart leaped in my chest and I started to cry. Jesus really had been changing me, while I wasn’t looking. Jesus was making me into what He had intended for me to be all along.

II Corinthians 5:17-18 says, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. . .”

The moment you ask Jesus into your heart, you are born again and become a new creation, a new creature, a new species of being that hasn’t been known of before. Your spirit is changed and made new, but it takes a while for that change to work its way outside. I am just now beginning to be the woman God wants me to be.

Jesus changed me from the inside out.

Daniel Repented

Daniel was one of four most prominent Jews in Babylon. He and the three Hebrew children–Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—obeyed the law even in a foreign country where they had been carried captive. Through the lions’ den and the fiery furnace, they prevailed and were admired by the king who promoted them, with Daniel rising to rank right under the king himself.

Daniel stayed loyal to his faith, yet served the king faithfully for many years. He kept the commandments of God, followed the guidelines of his religion and studiously read the Torah and prophets.

One day while Daniel was reading the scroll of the prophet Jeremiah, he discovered that Jeremiah had foretold the captivity of the Jews in Babylon and had predicted right down to the very year when the captivity would be over, which was very soon. Then Daniel did the only thing he knew how to do—he prayed.

The prayer of repentance in Daniel 9 is an example to us all. Daniel prayed, “We have sinned.  We have not obeyed Your voice. All Israel has transgressed Your law.”  Daniel identified himself with his people. Although he was probably the godliest man in the whole nation of Israel, he repented.  He repented for himself and for all of Israel as their representative.  Then he called on the God’s mercy. “O my God, incline Your ear, for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies.” Daniel 9:18 New King James version.

That is not the typical Christian’s prayer these days. What do we pray? “Lord, do you see those heathens who are killing unborn babies and promoting sex and violence? What are you going to do about it? We want justice. Get ‘em, God.”

Le’s take a lesson from Daniel. Let’s repent for our nation including ourselves, even if we are not personally guilty of the sins that have been committed.

Father, have mercy on the United States. Forgive us for we have sinned.”

 

Beauty for Ashes


Last fall when the peonies died, I was struggling with allergies so I didn’t pull or cut the dead stalks. I didn’t pull grass out of them. Okay, I didn’t do anything, I just let them die and lay there on the ground,reminding me every time I got the mail that I needed to do that. Now it is spring, almost summer, and the peonies are blooming on new stalks that grew up through the old dead stalks.

Keeping up a yard is work. My husband is wonderful with the lawn, and trimming shrubs, but I have usually worked with the flowering plants.My plan has always been to plant perennials so that they don’t have to be replanted every year, and will bloom with the seasons without my extra work.The previous owners had planted beautiful shrubs in the front yard and some blooming shrubs in the backyard, such as Rose of Sharon and flowering hibiscus.I have planted roses, daylilies, and a few other things that sadly need to be replanted for various reasons.

Rose of Sharon, peonies, hibiscus, roses—those are old-fashioned names that bring back fond memories. Mother loved her flowering gardens. Mother had one rose bush by the back door that had miniature wild roses that she had named the Edward roses, after my little brother Ross Edward.

Peonies were always Mother’s favorites and this year they were in bloom for Mother’s Day, but she moved to heaven two years ago. I planted peonies and daylilies on her grave and they were doing well a few weeks ago when I went there.

“To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1 New King James Version.

Just as the peonies can bloom through the dead stalks of last year’s growth, so through the struggles and deadness of our lives, we can bloom. God gives us beauty to surround us.

Payday is Coming

 

How do you get paid? By the job? By the month? In tips? Once a week?  My first job was working after school at the Hotel Vinita Coffee Shop, which I began in the fall of 1965. From then till June, 2003, when I started drawing a monthly check, I received a paycheck every two weeks at each job I held.

God has a payday system in place in the universe. Spring is the season of planting, summer is the time of growth, fall is the time of harvest, and winter is the time of rest and reflection.

However, God doesn’t always pay on Friday. He promises us that we will be rewarded but some rewards are given here and some in heaven. Don’t give up just because you don’t see any results. Each seed has a germination time, growth time, a flowering time, seed-setting time, then the harvest. Some corn and tomatoes ripen by 4th of July, but some not until August.

In 2 Corinthians 9:10 says “Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness.”

“Now” means at this very moment in time, not the past, not the future. What God is doing for us is in the “Now.” However time is always Now to the eternal God, so His ‘now’ and your ‘now’ may not be the same.

God is the source of the seed which we plant and the food we eat. He gives us enough seed to plant and enough to make into bread to eat. God will multiply the seed you have sown, not the seed you have eaten. It all depends on your sowing. Galatians 6:7, 9 says, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Keep sowing, because harvest time is coming some day.

 

 

Free Indeed

 

Mom bought my first bicycle for my eighth birthday from a neighbor girl for ten dollars. It only took a few minutes to learn to ride it, since I had practiced a little on my sister’s bike.

I was excited about my freedom, even though Mother marked out just how far I could go on our little neighborhood street. At first I couldn’t even go to the ends of the block, but had to stop and turn around at the end of Mrs. Samples’ yard.

When I stood up on the pedals and “pumped” hard, the bike flew and I was riding the wind, with my hair blowing out behind me. I had never enjoyed such freedom. I felt all grown up, able to go where I wanted to go, and as far as I wanted to go, at least as far as Mom would let me go.

When I got my driver’s license and first car, I experienced the same freedom, but better than ever. Of course, my mom put restrictions on my driving too, just as she had with my bicycling. I wasn’t allowed to drive out of the city limits, and when I did, she always found out. I never knew if the Lord told her or one of her lady friends.

We Americans treasure our freedom, but freedom comes with boundaries. My freedom ends where yours begins. We also have joint freedoms, freedoms that we all share. Our freedoms in the United States are based on a document that we treasure as the authority in our country—the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution defines our freedoms and who has those freedoms and who does not.

We Christians treasure our freedom too, freedom based on another document—the Bible. The Bible sets forth the basis of our freedoms, defines those freedoms, and states who has those freedoms and who does not. The basis of our freedom in Christ is His death, burial, and resurrection.

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 the New King James Version.

 

 

Singing My Song

SINGING MY SONG UNTO THE LORD

Years ago I frequently picked up my grandson after school. One time he chattered away as I drove along.

“MiMi, you know what my favorite song is?”

“No, what is it, honey? Sing it for me.”

“I can’t sing it.” Then he started saying the words. So I started singing it back to him. I couldn’t see his face, since he was in a car seat in the backseat, but he asked, “MiMi! How do you know my song?”

“His song” was written in 1989, twelve years before he was born. We sang it in 1995 for the March for Jesus. By then, many churches were singing that song, Lord, I Lift Your Name On High. The CCLI organization records which songs  are sung by large congregations each week and ranks them according to usage. In the top 100, Lord, I Lift Your Name On High is still being sung today.

I consider myself a pioneer in praise and worship music. Back in about 1979, while shopping in a Christian bookstore, I found a songbook called Scripture In Songs, published in 1978. We had already been singing scripture choruses in our church, so I bought two. The organist and I asked if we could use these songs and that began my entry into the praise and worship movement.

I can worship God by singing in any style of music—country gospel, contemporary, blues, jazz,  high-and-holy hymns. I can worship God anywhere, anytime, in any situation, surrounded by other Christians or alone in my living room. I can sing to a tape, while playing the piano or autoharp, or singing acappellaw—without  instruments.

In Ephesians 5:19, Paul said, “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

Just give me a good song, as long as it is a song with Bible-inspired words and a singable melody. I am a singer, born to worship the Lord in song.