All posts by admin

About admin

I was born and raised in the Columbus,Ohio area. Met my husband and married while in college (we have been married 36 years). I graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor's in English Literature. Over the years I have been very active in the church and have lead Bible studies, have been an AWANA leader and am currently a Stephen Minister. I love to write. I write non-fiction and fiction.

Don’t Forget God in Your Plans

One day, I decided to surprise my family and bake chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  Because I had made them so often, I had the recipe memorized.  Not using a recipe made me feel like a professional baker. As I began to measure and pour into the mixing bowl, I smiled as I thought about my soon-to-be wonderful, edible creation.

I put the cookie dough in the oven to bake and set the timer.  When the timer went off. I pulled the cookies out. They were as flat as wax paper and fell apart.  I was both shocked and upset and went to look at the recipe.  As I read the instructions, I realized I had forgotten to add baking soda and salt so that they would rise.  The batch of cookies had to be thrown away.

Leaving out key ingredients in a recipe is a formula for disaster. In much the same way, when we leave God out of our decisions and choices, it is a formula for disaster.

An example of this goes back to Genesis in the area known as Babylonia. The people there all spoke the same language and had wandered away from the Lord.  They decided to build a city with a great tower.  The people did not consult God about it. They wanted to build something extraordinary that would make them famous and would reach to heaven.

The Lord looked down and saw what the people were doing. They had forgotten God. He knew that the more they could do and succeed on their own, the more sinful they would become. They wanted to do what they wanted to do and did not care whether it honored God or whether it was even good for them. Their sinfulness angered Him, and he scattered them. The He gave them each a different language so it would be harder to communicate with one another.

The great city and tower were forgotten in the chaos of needing to make a life in a different area of the world and/or speaking a language that nobody understood.  The delicious and rich cake of life flattened and left them starting over with the need to just worry about the basics. All the familiar and former things were mostly gone. There was no longer room for pride and arrogance.

I’ll never forget how proud I was that I didn’t have to consult a recipe for those cookies. I even fantasized about having my own cooking show and being a sought-after baker. The shock and dismay dispelled the pride and arrogance and brought me back to Earth. I realized that if I wanted to be a world class baker, I couldn’t count on my memory. I needed to keep to the recipe to make sure the most important things were not forgotten.

When we reject or forget Him in our decision-making processes, it can result in some hard life lessons. God is the baking soda and salt in our lives. He helps us rise and become the best we can be. When we have a relationship with Him, He will be in everything we do. He will be the constant that will keep us together to enjoy rewards and allow us to rise above our calamities.

 

Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation. Psalms 50:22-23

 

Moving

You could probably call my husband and I nomads. So far, we have moved a total of fifteen times. Our moves mostly have been job related. We have moved within the same city, another city more than fifty miles away, and out-of-state. The hardest moves have been those that were out-of-state.
Of course, the hardest thing about moving out-of-state is that you are a total stranger to a new place. You need to decide where to live in a place you know little or nothing about. You are unfamiliar with the local roads, food, sports teams and perhaps even need to get used to a new dialect or accent. You will need to make new friends and find new doctors, dentists, schools and a church. It is a difficult transition.
Being a stranger in a new place was not an unfamiliar concept for Abram and Sarai. They moved around many times. However, they had settled nicely in Canaan and enjoyed living there on the land God promised them until famine came. Then they had to move to Egypt to find food.
As they neared their destination, Abram was worried about the Egyptians killing him because of Sarai. She was still a beautiful woman and if they knew Abram was her husband, they might kill him and take her. He told her to say she was his sister so that his life would be spared. Sure enough, she caught Pharaoh’s eye, and he gave Abram many extravagant gifts for her.
Remember that God promised to look out for Abram. But Abram instead of relying on God to protect them, took matters into his own hands by lying about Sarai. Not only did this cause Pharaoh to be in a position to commit adultery, but it ended Sarai’s and Abram’s marriage. If they were not married to one another, it blocked the promise of descendants via Abram and Sarai as God had promised.
God caused plagues to fall on Pharaoh’s household. Pharaoh knew the Lord sent those plagues and called for Abram. He asked Abram why he lied about Sarai? Pharaoh could have had them both killed for their treachery. Instead he ordered him to take Sarai and leave the country and gave him an escort out of Egypt. Abram was permitted to keep the gifts he’d been given for her. These gifts added to the wealth Abram already had.
At first, I thought it was weird that God would reward Abram for not relying on Him by giving him more wealth. But I think God wanted Abram to know without a doubt that He had intervened, and His plan was in place no matter how Abram tried to mess it up by not trusting and seeking the Lord’s guidance.
When I read this story, I am reminded that God has a plan for us. No matter what we do, His plan is THE plan and cannot be changed. It comforts me to know no matter what I do, I cannot change or screw up God’s plan for me. He gives me freewill, and I always have the choice to rely myself or on Him in all my decisions. All I need to do to make the right choices is know Him by reading my Bible and spending time in prayer. The closer I am to Him the easier it is to get with His plan.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Keep the Peace

Family conflicts are a fact of life. Our first experience with them usually occurs when we are young and involves our siblings or friends. These conflicts are often short-lived, intense and disrupting for anyone who is within hearing distance. As we grow up and begin families of our own, conflicts may involve a spouse or refereeing disputes with our own children. The older we get, the potential for the conflicts to last longer and intensify grows because there is an intense desire to be right or have our own way.  It becomes hard to forgive and forget.

If family conflicts are not resolved, many times they may cause a wound that festers and makes the family dysfunctional or tears them apart. It is hard for us to submit to another person and to admit we were wrong or out of line. Our pride is an immovable wall that we can’t get passed.

Sometimes we see a conflict on the horizon, and we are faced with two choices – to either ignore it until it erupts or to stop it before it starts.  It takes courage to address a conflict head on before it starts. It requires us to find possible resolutions that everyone involved can live with.

A prime example of this is when Abram stepped up to act before a conflict could cause a problem in his family. Both he and Lot were related – Abram was Lot’s uncle and probably had taken the place of his dead father. They became very wealthy men. Their wealth was in livestock, servants and tents which were past overflowing as they shared land in Bethel and Al. Their herdsmen had begun fighting over resources.

Abram became aware of this issue and was proactive. He went to Lot and said that that he did not want any conflict with Lot over their herdsmen fighting with one another because they were family. He suggested that they go their separate ways so both families and servants could live in peace.

Lot agreed. Abram gave Lot first choice of the land and said whichever direction Lot decided to move to, Abram would settle in the opposite one. Lot chose the Jordan Valley and moved on. Abram went in the opposite direction to Canaan. Abram’s goal was for the conflict to end and Lot to be happy.

Abram’s selflessness and love for Lot reveals the heart of a peacemaker. Abram saw the conflict brewing and took charge of the situation. He didn’t wait until the issue spilled over and caused problems between he and Lot. Their relationship took precedence over anything Abram may have wanted.

Abram also showed great faith in God when gave Lot first choice on where he would live. Even if Lot chose the direction Abram was partial to, Abram would take the other and stand on God’s promise of blessing. Abram knew that God would honor his promise no matter where he lived. His faith in God gave him the strength to be a peacemaker.

After Lot left, God took Abram aside and told him to look around him. God said all that he saw now belonged to him and his many descendants which if numbered would be like counting grains of sand. He encouraged Abram to explore the land he’d been given. Abram moved his camp to Hebron where he built an alter and worshiped God.

When there is conflict, we show Jesus to others when we put aside our own pride and show love and concern for the other person or persons. That means we find a resolution for that conflict which works, even if it personally costs us something. Taking on the role of peacemaker pleases God and He will bless us for it.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9

Worship Like Abram

As my siblings and I grew into teenagers and young adults, my mom and dad had to change their parenting tactics.   To keep us on track and doing the things they felt we should do, they promised us certain things.  For instance, if we remained in college, they would pay for a car insurance and car.  Also, if we got straight A’s all year long, they would pay us $50.00 (which was a lot of money back then). My parents honored all their promises to us.  We learned that we could count on their word and had complete trust and faith in them.

It’s so easy to put trust and faith in someone when there is tangible proof that what a person says they do.  It’s quite another thing to trust when there is not always tangible proof, and when it takes a big leap of faith to trust and believe.

Abram was seventy-five years old, childless, and prosperous in his homeland.  One day God told Abram to leave his native land and go to a land where God would lead him.  God promised several things if Abram would do this. First, God promised to bless him and make him a great nation which meant give him many offspring.  He also promised Abram fame and all the world’s families would be blessed through him.  God added that He would bless those who blessed Abram and curse those who cursed Him which meant Abram had God’s protection no matter where he went.

I’m always amazed that Abram obeyed the voice of God and didn’t question him.  How many seventy-five-year-olds would pack up and make a long journey away from the familiar?  Yet, Abram packed up his wife and servants and all his possessions along with his nephew Lot and headed to where God told him to go which was the land of Canaan.  This land was already inhabited by a foreign culture.  However, that did not deter Abram.  He went ahead and made himself at home.

The Lord showed Himself to Abram and promised Canaan to Abram’s descendants.  Then Abram worshiped the Lord by building an alter there.  Abram traveled throughout that promised land.  In all Abram’s stops and starts on his journey, he built alters to honor God which showed his faith.  God had yet to come through on all his promises, but Abram had believed that God would.  How awesome Abram’s worshipful attitude was!

Can I say the same for myself?  Do I have enough faith to worship the Lord in all the stops and starts in my own life?  Can I believe in His promises when there is no tangible proof?  It’s hard to worship when things aren’t going well, or I forget to worship when things are great.  A worshipful attitude toward God opens our hearts so we can feel His presence and hear His voice.  It is a way to keep our faith strong and our souls tuned in to the Lord and His plans and promises for us.  When we do this in faith and not by what we can see and feel, it pleases the Lord.  He wants us to trust Him and love Him with our whole being.

 

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.  Psalms 145:13

Boundaries Are Healthy

When I was a young girl, my parents installed an above ground pool.  They taught us how to swim and wanted us to have some summer fun as a family.  Having that pool in the summer was like heaven on earth.  It kept us constructively busy.  There were strict rules about pool safety, especially when friends were invited over.

I remember not long after the pool went up, my dad put up a tall wooden fence.  It was so high that someone would need a ladder to be able to look over it.  The fence had panels with very little space in between the slats so that nobody could look through and see the pool or the space around it.  It had a lock so that people could be kept out.  The temptation of pool access to neighborhood kids while we were not home was a concern.

Fences serve a practical purpose.  They indicate boundaries.  It is a signal to people that there is a line that cannot be crossed without permission or invitation. It guards privacy and protects outsiders from danger or getting hurt.

There are other fences that are invisible to the naked eye.  They are called boundaries.  These are things we permit or do not permit in our personal space.  As long as they are used in a healthy manner, boundaries are good things.

When we don’t have boundaries, or don’t enforce our boundaries, then we fall into unhealthy relationships and behaviors.  For instance, not setting boundaries can cause people to not be able to make decisions, not able to say no to people, believe that their happiness depends on others, and it can cause a person to feel sad and angry all the time…to name a few things.  None of these things are healthy.

When we set our own personal boundaries, we are able to protect ourselves from being hurt physically or emotionally.  We can also set the tone of a relationship by allowing the things we we want to allow and not allowing those things we don’t want.

It is important that in setting our boundaries that they are strong, but also show caring and respect for others.  Boundaries allow us to take responsibility for our actions, how we feel and what we do.  It also keeps us from thinking that others are responsible for how we feel, think and what we do.

It is just as important that we respect the boundaries of others.  When we do not, we are being manipulative and controlling.  When we respect the boundaries of others, we are building a strong relationship, building trust and showing that we care.

A fence or boundary is meant to protect and keep something or someone safe no matter what side of that boundary they are on.  When it is used for something else, it is not being used appropriately.  As we set our boundaries, we need to make sure that they are based on what the Lord would have us to do.

The Lord also respects boundaries.  He will only cross over our boundary if invited.  And He has set boundaries for us, and these boundaries are written in the Bible.  All relationships have boundaries.  Have a rocky or difficult relationship?  Perhaps it is time to take a look at your boundaries and see if they are in line with what the Lord would have for your life.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5