Count Your Blessings

I want to apologize to my faithful readers for not getting anything out last week.  I was told years ago that some one felt the emotion behind my poem Freedom is Not Free.  That is because everything I write comes straight from my heart.  When I force myself to write when my heart is not in on it, it is usually no good.  It seems as if I have to be crying and writing something that makes you all cry as well for it to be any good.

At the beginning of last week I called my friend to check on her.  You all remember my friend from the blog on miscarriage I am sure.  A few weeks ago she was over the moon because she was pregnant again.  The joy was short lived.  Every spare moment I have had the last week has been spent praying for her and asking the Lord to comfort her family.

Now I am ready to write the blog that has been on my heart since before this last miscarriage. It will be about the blessings God has given us.  I challenge you to do the same.  Write a list of blessings for every day in November.  Things that you can not buy in a store.   We all know that His hand supplies our every need so things like food, clothes and shelter of course we are thankful for but they won’t be on my list.

  1. God’s gift of salvation.  “In that while we were yet sinners He died for us.”  The knowledge that we will see our loved ones again in heaven if we have sought Him out is such a comfort.
  2. That we have the honor of going to him in prayer is such an awesome thing.  Sometimes that is what gets us through the dark hours and often times it is all we can do for loved ones.
  3. The Bible is such an awesome gift.  It is full of comfort and wisdom.  Do not forget your daily bread.
  4. In America we have the right to attend church services of any denomination.  If you don’t have a home church yet I urge you to find one.  TV preachers are good but fellowship with like minded believers is vital.
  5. Now I am going to start counting family members.  My mom is the first person, who I thank God for.  She was not perfect.  NO parent is.  However, she taught me to pray and read my Bible.  She had me in church at four days old.  In fact I have been teased for spoiling her perfect attendance record.
  6. My father worked hard all his life to provide for his family.  He was always there with wisdom or to rescue one of us.  He may not have remembered birthdays but when your brakes went out he would come quick to save the day.
  7. Most of my readers will have memories of grandparents that were blessings in their lives that they are grateful for.  As the menopause child of a menopause child I did not have that privledge.  I did however grow up hearing stories and I look forward to meeting my forefathers in heaven.
  8. Now I will talk about my gratitude for my siblings.  I could cheat and knock a few off the list right now by naming each sibling.  Instead I will say my brothers and sisters.  I am so thankful for brothers that spent part of their teen years hauling younger siblings around.  They took us trick or treating, to the movies, roller skating and to church.  They did it without complaint.
  9. My sisters well they are the best.  One helped me get my drivers license.  Another taught me office skills.  The other has been a prayer warrior and an ear to listen.
  10. I have a husband that goes to work every day.  He can fix pretty much anything that brakes down.
  11. My children are a gift.  My son has taught me that some times we just have to let God have his way.  If you are reading this and kicking yourself for the way your children are acting, I will tell you what I told a friend the other day.  Sometimes you have to let go and let God.  Don’t stop talking to your child.  Don’t stop praying but stop punishing yourself for a past you can not change.  We all make mistakes.  Cling to the promise that if we raise them in the Lord they will return to Him.
  12. My daughter is so different from her brother.  I change the names of folks in my blogs to protect the innocent and the guilty.  However, I will share with you all that her real name is Faith.  I wanted to give her such a strong Biblical name that she could not out run it.  She teaches me daily about God.  Whenever, she gets to acting up a reminder of making God happy usually brings her around.  She is only seven though and still learning.  She has been taught that her name has two meanings.  We believe in a God we can not see, who is forever faithful to us.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
  13. I have a mother in law that is a prayer warrior.
  14. My pastor preaches the Word and lives by it.
  15. Our church has stuff for children every service.
  16. We also have many Bible study groups through out the week in addition to two services on Sunday and still an evening service on Wednesday nights.
  17. Our Sunday school class is a place to confide in and pray for each other while we study His word.
  18. The teacher and his wife are available for advice or a ride when a car is broke down.
  19. My preschool class is full of kids, who love to pray and study the Bible.
  20. My daughter’s teachers at church have helped her learn so much.
  21. Our family is very grateful we are able to send Faith to a Christian school.
  22. Her teachers have a prayer in the morning before school starts where they pray for the day.
  23. A staff member holds the door open and greets every child with a smile in the morning.
  24. At dismissal they keep the children in out of rain, snow or just cold and stay outside themselves as they send children out to the cars.
  25. We have a PTF that starts and ends every meeting in prayer.
  26. Her school has had Veterans come in and teach the children what Veterans Day means.  She can tell you that we have freedom in this country that other places don’t because of the soldiers.  They salute the flag every morning.
  27. Her principal is a woman of God, who while she enforces the rules does so in love.  I have seen children giving her hugs at dismissal time.  Yes folks the principal comes out of her office at dismissal.  She knows every child by name.
  28. They have wonderful folks that come in a lead chapel once a week.
  29. I am so grateful for an English teacher, who taught me how to write essays and showed the different styles of poetry.
  30. The last thing on my list is the friends, who encouraged me to start this blog and you my dear readers.



Christians do not care about the color of the cup

I keep reading about how Christians are up in arms about the Starbucks coffee cup.  I want to let you all in on a little secret.  We don’t care about the color of the disposable container the high-priced beverage is being served in.  No one I know gives a hoot nor a holler about it.

The cup came out before Veterans Day.  Since our flag’s colors are red, white and blue I thought how appropriate it honors our military.  The next holiday to come is Thanksgiving.  The traditional colors for fall are yellows, oranges and red.  Therefore this throw away cup is timely for that occasion as well.  The so-called reporters, who started this whole thing forgot about those two holidays didn’t they?

How common is that?  As Americans they have so many freedoms they forgot about honoring those, who give us the right to the free speech they used to type up their lies.  Here in the USA you can invent a story and stand behind it all on the basis of free speech.

Thanksgiving has become so commercialized.  Now it is a day for shopping for gifts for a day that most have forgotten the meaning behind instead of a day to think back on things we have to be grateful to God for.  So many have forgotten that God’s hands supply our every need.  Reader there is not one thing you own that the Lord has not supplied you with.  I challenge you to trace your hands on a piece of paper and write one blessing in each finger as I did with my preschool class.  They would put you all to shame.  The filled their fingers and kept going.  One little 4-year-old is so thankful for food that he had me put forks, spoons and knives on his hand.  Two children were grateful for the mommies that help out in the class.  All the children said God.  Yes folks 3 to 5 year-olds know we all praise to Him.

Now I want to clarify Christmas for those left confused.  It is not about snowmen, Santa, presents, a day off work or anything but the birth of a baby born in a manger.  However, Jesus is not the cuddly little baby folks want to picture.  I know the word baby evokes sweet smells and the warmth of a child breathing on your neck as you hold it close.  Let me remind you that years ago God: the father, son and holy spirit had a conversation in heaven about how bad this world was becoming.  Jesus stepped forth to willingly come down here to save us.  He is not in a manger but seated back in heaven at the right hand of the father.  Red is the perfect color for a Christmas’ cup since that is the color of the bled Jesus shed for our freedom from sin.  We are bought with a price.  The cost was blood and it ran red on Calvary.  That is the message of Christmas.  In case you still don’t understand we do not care about the cup.

Please let me explain somethings that Christians are truly concerned about  We care about a media that is busy making up stories instead of reporting the ones that are already out there.  College students were murdered by a crazy person, who asked if they believed in God.  Those that said yes were shot to death.  Others were shot in non-vital spots.  Christians are being mocked and jailed for standing up for freedom of religion.  Cake bakers are being fined out of business for saying they will not go against their conscience.  Our government is allowing a bunch of Muslims to invade our country legally.  These folks want us dead.  That concerns us.  You bet your bottom dollar we care about that.  Teachers are trying to teach false religions to our children in public schools that we pay taxes for.  In some areas children are learning to read books about two dads or two moms.  We have a problem with that.  We can’t watch decent shows on television without advertisements for filthy programs or products popping up.  Stations now allow actors to use our Lord’s name as a cuss word.  Yep you bet that upsets us.  Good shows are continually taken off because they offend folks and allow garbage to take their time slots.  That really perturbs us.

However, as annoying as the list of our true concerns are we know that our God is in control.  See we have read the book.  We know that one day every knee will bow.  I pray if you are reading this that yours already have.  He is coming back.  There will be a day of judgement for those that have persecuted His people.  There will be a time when all hear either well done or depart.

Thank God that baby did not stay in a manger.  He willingly allowed himself to be beaten within an inch of His life.  Then He carried my cross on his bruised and bloody back.  Imagine the feeling of the slivers from the rough wood scratching at the bruises.  Once hung on the cross He looked out on to His creation that knew Him not and he said, “Father forgive them.”  That is what Christmas is about.  He is the reason for the season and the reason WE DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE CUP.

Freedom is Not Free

Today our church will honor the men of our church, who have served in every branch of the military.  I want to share a poem that I wrote as one of them was getting sent over to Iraq.  His only concern was for his mom and how she would deal with it.  It reminded me of the conversation I over heard my mother have with one of my sister-in laws during Desert Storm.  She asked mom how she handled it when my brother was in Nam.  Mom’s reply was this, “I never prayed so much or so hard as when my baby was in Nam.  I started this poem in my head on the way home and had it finished before evening service.

Freedom is Not Free

She hangs a yellow ribbon on her door   to remind her neighbors he does not live there anymore   The one she loves and has pledged to share her life with has gone off to war    She goes about her days as she has always done    Caring for her daughter and her son     Every now and then people ask her how her family’s been  She says okay

But what she really longs to say is He’s doing fine   I don’t know about me  You’ll never know the endless days and the sleepless nights   the longing to hold and be held tight    The countless prayers I’ve prayed that the Lord would bring him safely home to me    cause freedom is not free

A father ties a yellow ribbon on a tree   Where he used to watch his baby swing and play   He looks up to the sky   and wipes the tears from his eyes  As he begins to pray for his child’s safety   He asked the Lord up above    To protect the one he loves    Every now and then people ask him how his family’s been    He says okay

But what he really longs to say is She’s doing fine   I don’t know about me  You’ll never know the endless days and the sleepless nights   the longing to hold my baby tight   The countless prayers I’ve prayed that the Lord would bring her safely home to me    all her life I kept her safe now my baby is protecting me

We will never know what freedom cost the Holy Trinity   on that long ago day    when God the father had to turn his head away  as God the Son hung there on the cross   shedding His blood for the lost   and the sky turned black   while Jesus died to buy His children back   I’m curious to know if He was thinking way back then   as He gave His life for our sins    that freedom is not free

It was not free when Jesus shed his blood for you and me    freedom was not free   when Jesus died to give sinners victory There is a price for liberty    Jesus paid it all    No greater gift can any man give    than to lay down his life   that’s what Jesus did when he died to release sin’s captives   and save us from a life of strife   all because Freedom is not free

He Hung up his Helmet and Took Off His Boots

Followers of my blog may have figured out by now that there was a great deal of difference in age between my oldest sibling and I.  My brother was 25 when I was born.  I really did not get to know him as a child because he was off serving our country.  He was career Army through and through.  He moved back home when I was a teenager.  I remember this big man pick my mother up off the floor.  She turned around in shock and put her hands on his face.  All she said was, “My baby.”  I looked back and forth between him and his picture on the wall.  The clean-shaven face now had whiskers from the bus ride and his hair was a little longer but it was him.

He did not talk much or often about Vietnam but the shared a few stories.  When I was in high school and studying it in history I told him of a film strip we had seen and he said a movie could never capture the horror of poking your head up out of a tunnel and wondering if it would be blown off.  There was no way it could show the pain of watching your brother in arms die.  When I was in college, I learned more Vietnam veterans had died from suicide than the war.  Sorry we are not supposed to call it a war now.  I think my brother and his comrades risked their lives for a conflict.

The poem that follows I wrote after my big brother went on to be with the Lord and our parents.  I imagined my mother holding his face and saying, “my baby.”  It is funny how different days are harder than others.  Somehow not calling him on Veterans day is harder than his birthday or any other holiday.  I am so thankful for the relationship he had with the Lord.  I know from his testimony that as I type these words he is with our Savior.  In honor of him I will be using a green light on the 11th of Nov.  Will you please join me?

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I heard a man say once

I have nothing to fear

I am either going home or I’m going home

and getting out of here

I thought of those words

as I played that game no one likes to play

the waiting game

when all you can do is pray

He was waging a battle

he had fought many times before

after all he was a soldier

he knew how to fight the war

Years ago they told him

you will never walk again

but he proved them wrong

way back then

God gave him more time to leave a bigger legacy

He lived many more years

we cherish his memory

these are joy drops falling down our cheeks not tears

He hung his helmet up and took off his boots

because he does not need them any more

this soldier is done fighting

Today he is walking on heavens shore