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My 7-year old son said today that one of our trees looks like a mobile.  He’s right!  We’ve recently gotten interested in feeding our feathered friends, so we now have an assortment of bird feeders and a decorative bird house dangling from the tree’s branches. 

I’ve been surprised at how much I delight in watching all the activity these feeders bring.  I even got a book about backyard birds so I can indentify those that stop by. 

As I watched the birds come and go, taking nibbles of seeds then flying away and coming back again for more, I thought about how God takes delight in us when we do the same!  God provides us with many ways to feed on His word, perch in His presence through prayer, and rejoice in Him through songs of praise, just as the birds share their songs with us. 

How happy it makes Him to see us take spiritual nourishment, go away to do as we’re called, and then come back to feed again.  Just as I like to identify the birds who come into my view, God likes to do the same.  He, however, doesn’t need a ‘bird book’ to recognize us.  He already knows us, an He knows us by name.

The LORD is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever.

He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve.

– Psalm 103:8-10

It all started with a simple question from a friend while we chatted over lunch.  She asked how a mutual friend of ours was doing.  What I could have said – and should have said – was that the friend is doing well (which is true), but to my dismay lots of other thoughts came tumbling out instead. 

Although I didn’t say anything bad about our mutual friend (that we both like), I shared disappointments I felt about the friendship I’d had with her.  Maybe you have friendships that have disappointed you, too?  I thought I’d made inner peace with the issues that bothered me, but after hearing myself share them with my friend at lunch I realized that I needed to deal with them better. 

The best thing for me to do was pray about these things.  In addition to praying about the issues and asking God to help me sort things out, I also felt bad about having talked these things with someone else and needed to confess.  I’ll make another confession here… despite feeling badly because I’d talked about this friendship with another friend, I was also appreciative that I had a friend to talk to and part of me wonders if sometimes it’s ok to talk about things like this when it’s in the proper context of conversation and done in a respectable way.   I’m still pondering that one.  Any thoughts from any of you readers?

Back to the point of this…After thoughts surfaced that I’d thought I’d tucked away in my head, I prayed for God’s insight, perspective, and guidance.  I felt like I’d been taken advantage of in our friendship, although I don’t think my friend meant to take advantage of me.  Praying to God helped me realize that I had apparently seen our friendship as more than it was.  When I realized my friend didn’t see or pursue our friendship the same way I did, my feelings were hurt.  There had been many times I’d gone out of my way to help her, and I considered her one of my closest friends!  It was clear now she didn’t feel the same way about me.  Surely I needed to address this in some way, but how?

 1) Should I share my feelings with her?  She doesn’t realize I feel the way I do because she didn’t share the same perspective of our friendship to begin with.  Should I be open and honest and tell her how I feel?  2) Maybe this is an unhealthy friendship. Should I let it be ‘pruned’ away?  3) How do I proceed from here? 

Well, God in all His goodness, knowing I’m a ‘verse nerd’ spoke to me the following verse from Psalm 103:

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;

he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

Did you get the message in that? 

1) God doesn’t accuse us for everything we do. (My thoughts go to thinking about all the things He could accuse me of!) 

2)Despite all we do that angers Him, He doesn’t harbor his anger forever.  My studies of the Bible show that He addresses His anger fairly and just, then lets it go and moves on. 

3) He doesn’t treat us as we deserve for the many sins we commit.  He doesn’t repay us in kind for the bad we do or have done.  DOES THAT SPEAK TO YOU?!?!

When I look back over my life, I’m SO THANKFUL He didn’t judge me on my past or continue to accuse me of my wrongdoings; and I’m most grateful that He hasn’t repaid me as I deserve for things I’ve done!!! 

So how does this relate to my situation with my friend?  It tells me I’m to treat her the same way my loving Father treats me.  After all, she’s His child, too, and deserves the same love and grace that’s been given to me. 

As these thoughts came to light in my mind, peace and relief settled within my heart.  I didn’t like being in angst over unsettled and unresolved feelings and I didn’t know how to resolve them on my own.  I’m so glad I turned to the Lord because I was preparing to take matters into my own hands, but He showed me I needed to trust them into His.  My job is treat others as He treats me with love and grace – not continuing to accuse others of wrongdoings; letting go of hurt and negative feelings toward others; and not treating others as I feel their sins deserve, but to trust God with their sins (and mine) and treat them with love, instead.  I won’t ‘prune’ this friendship or strategize how I’ll proceed.  I’ll stop making accusations, seek
God’s graciousness, and continue in friendship and love.  

Besides, at the end of the day, the friendship that matters most is the one we have with the Lord.

God bless you.

Renee

He had black hair, red skin, and was swaddled in his newborn blanket the first time I met him.  His mother, my cousin, had blond hair and blue eyes.  Surely this wasn’t her child!  I thought sure the hospital got babies switched.  Josh was indeed her son, though, and over the years he’s grown up to be quite a young man. (Surely I’m not old enough to have watched my cousin’s son grow up!)

It seems like just weeks ago that his mother proudly announced that Josh had chosed to accept our Lord Jesus Christ into his heart as his Savior.  However, it’s been a few years, and now He’ll be needing his Lord more than ever because Josh left this past week for Boot Camp at Fort Bragg. 

My prayers went with him and will be with his mother, as I’m sure she’s missing him. 

I’ve said many times before and I’ll say it again.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you support the war, you can still support our soldiers. 

God bless all the brave men and women who sacrifice all that they do so we can live free.

To everything there is a season…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

I still remember the phone call.  It was the mid-1960’s.  I think I was almost three years old.  My mother was sitting on the step-stool that sat below the wall-mounted phone and began to cry.  She had just received news that my father had been killed in a car accident.  He was driving a beige Volkswagon ‘bug’ when he swerved into the path of an oncoming semi-truck.  They think he had either leaned over to adjust the radio or to light a cigarette, and that split-second distraction cost him his life and changed Mom’s and mine forever. 

We had moved to Indiana for my Dad’s job. I don’t think we knew too many people then, but the people we knew were kind and caring.  Most caring of all were Larry and Sue, the friends who gave us a room in their modest (and by modest I mean small) ranch home.  They took us in, letting us stay with them and their three children (in the small ranch home) until Mom could find a job and afford to support the two of us on her own. 

Looking back now I realize it couldn’t have been easy for any of the grown-ups with all of us living together like that.  It was great for me, though!  I had three play-mates and have only fun and happy memories of being with them.  I can still picture the pink brick house and remember the red berry bushes along the sidewalk.  The only bad memory I have of my time with them is when my finger got smashed in the screen door.  Ouch! 

Not only did Larry and Sue set their needs aside to accomodate ours, they also introduced my mom to the man who would become my second father.  Their kindness and generosity gave me a future and led to a wonderful life.  I was raised by a loving father who is now also a wonderful grandfather for my children. 

I’d love to say that through the years I kept a close relationship with Larry and Sue; that I kept in touch with them, visited them, and showed them the appreciation they deserved.  Instead, I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago when I learned that Larry was dying of cancer that I realized what an important part of my life they’d been.  I’m even more ashamed to admit that I couldn’t bring myself to call or write and share the things I shared with you – even though their address and phone number are sitting here on the corner of my laptop.

Now it’s too late.  I learned tonight (July 6th) that Larry passed away on July 4th.  I have now shared my thoughts with Sue in a message to her, but I failed to let Larry know how much I appreciated him and what a difference he made in my life. 

In addition to failing someone who was special in my life, I failed the Lord, too.  He has given me the gift of words and I failed to use them to reach out when I needed to.  I wondered what I could say, how I should say it, and kept thinking I’d send a message later.  I failed to trust God to give me the words He wanted said or that He knew my heart needed to express.  I’ve apologized to Him.

So why do I share this with you?  Well, I guess part of me feels the need to confess, but more than that I hope to encourage each person who reads this to ask yourself if there is ANYONE who needs to hear from you.  Is there someone you want to thank?  Praise? Appreciate? Admire? Show compassion?  Send love?  Forgive? 

If you have words on your heart, please don’t delay. 

Share your thoughts with others right away!

We have no promise of tomorrow, only today.

                                   – Renee Myers 7-7-08

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you,  O Lord, my rock and redeemer.       – Psalm 19:14

Happy Independence Day!  I hope you’ll be celebrating!  We, in this great nation, have much to celebrate! 

In a book currently being written by D. Wayne Haynie about the declining presence of Christianity in our American society/culture, he takes us back to England in the 1500’s to introduce us to the men of great Christian faith who began the movement to establish the New Country as a Christian-based nation.  It was their teachings, inspiration, and Christian motivations that eventually birthed the great nation we live in today.  It truly was intended to be one nation under God.  Mr. Haynie tells about many brave men who went forth as God led to risk their lives for the establishment of what we now call America, but it was the convictions and teachings of Rev. Robert Hunt that most inspired me. 

It was Rev Robert Hunt who unified the men on board his ship, in the name and desires of God, to come together for the good of Christian principles, and even spared the life of John Smith in doing so.  He risked his own life by standing up for what he believed in order to seek unity among them. 

Upon their arrival to the new country, Rev Hunt erected a seven-foot cross – not a flag – to denote whose land this truly was.  The cross had been sent on the voyage for just this purpose.  As he did so, he said these words,

“. . . . from these very shores the Gospel shall go forth not only to this New World,

but to the entire world.”

 

Reverand Robert Hunt, Cape Henry, VA

April, 1607

There is much more to Mr. Haynie’s writings that illustrate the deep Christian desires and people of abiding faith that established this great nation to be one nation under God, indeed. 

I will celebrate Independence Day this year – not ‘4th of July’ – and remember those who sacrificed much in the name of God so that I/we could live in this land with the freedom of faith to worship, praise, and share the freedoms I find in knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, who ransomed me from the death of sins and gave freedom to my heart to love and be loved, and to share His love with others so that they may know Him, too.

Praise be to God!  May God bless you and continue to bless our great nation, too! 

Love, hugs and blessings to all,

Renee

 

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