Saturday, October 17, 2015

Paid In Full

Sometimes I have dreams. I don't always remember them, but once in a while I have a dream that just sticks with me. This week I had such a dream. I dreamed that a woman approached me and we sat down together. She said, "I have 5 million dollars. How much do you want?" I told her what it would take to pay off my house. In fact, I told her a bit less than it would take. As I write it, I find this amusing. She asked how much I wanted and compared to $5M I mention a paltry sum. In fact, it is less than $45K and doesn't include any other bills.

Crazy dream, isn't it? So, why do I mention it here?

Funny you should ask. The story actually started a couple of days before the dream. I was going over some financial things and seeking solutions. I sat down to do my morning devotional and when I was praying, I just put these financial issues out there. I actually said, "Lord, I just need enough money to pay off my house. If I didn't have that payment, I could actually use the money I spend on the payment to pay for the repairs I still need." See, I have no family and friends to help me do the repairs and no spare money. So, they can't get done.

I know that God has plenty of money. I have also always believed that if we ask God for our needs he'll provide them. He promises nothing more nor less than needs and years ago I learned this method is more than adequate. But the truth is, in my mind I doubt anyone is going to step up and give me this money. Maybe that's why they don't. So, I asked God to help me figure out a solution.

I still don't have one.

But here's the thing. I can't get that dream out of my head. It just keeps replaying in my head. I'm chuckling to myself even writing about it. It is a crazy dream and should have been forgotten by now. In fact, I shouldn't have remembered it in the first place. But I do, in fine detail.

So, today I decided to do something equally crazy. I decided to thank God for paying off my house in my dream. Yeah, really. I did it. The thought just came to me in the car - you should thank God for paying off your house in your dreams. You know me and my car have a close relationship with God, If you've read any of my blogs, you know God talks to me in my car... a lot. Anyway, I had this crazy thought and decided to thank God for paying off my house in my dreams. At least it is paid off somewhere!

Yes, I did it. Right then.

I have no idea what the dream means. It could be what I had for supper. It could be that I was so distressed over this issue it surfaced in my dream state. A strange woman with $5M offers me money. What are the odds of that happening. When I decided to thank God for paying it off in my dreams I heard a voice in the back of my mind say "what's the catch?" but I'm ignoring that. I'm just thankful that somewhere, subconsciously, my house is paid off.

Now, if I can just convince the bank.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I sat down to write something today that would fit in with my praise theme. I can't think of anything. The world is going through so much pain. Israel is under attack and that grieves me and people are so hateful toward Christians, who are blamed for everything that happens, but the accusers are the worst of the lot because they refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. It is a world gone mad.

We have corrupt leaders seeking to destroy the greatest country ever created, a country that up until the last 30 years has been blessed beyond measure. We've chosen to follow an evil path and watching the nation that I love, that my family has served, travel the road to destruction is a nightmare. Americans chanting for the downfall of a nation born from the desire for freedom from tyranny, forged in fires of wars fought to maintain that freedom, now led by cowards and tyrants. Has anyone stopped to think what they'll get once it is gone? It won't be freedom. It won't be a democracy. It won't be liberty and justice for all. What comes next is hell on earth and they're too blind to even see it.

I've turned a blind eye for a long time. I've given opportunities, sent messengers, averted disasters and still they rail against me and my laws. They destroy all that is holy and good in favor of perversion and evil.  They would wallow in the pig pen rather than live the palace. 

So I give them the pit. I've turned my back and they will not see my face until my return. I've closed my ears and they will not hear my voice until the day of judgment. They have broken down the barrier of protection I established and the enemy is now allowed to do as he wills. Until my time. I've withdrawn the covering and poured out the vails. The crucible has begun. 

I will still hold fast the good, Lord. I will still praise you. Keep me in the center of your will and surround me with your grace and mercy. Forgive us for all our sins. Protect your people. Preserve and protect and give peace to Israel. Surround her with a barrier of protection that can't be broken. And God have mercy on us all.

*****At times, I do not understand some of what I write on this blog. I don't plan it or write from notes. It is all spontaneous. Usually, I write with no effort and the responses to my own thoughts often surprise me. Today something is different. There is much troubling in the world that could stifle praise and thankgiving. My intention was to do as I always do but I simply couldn't find the words. This is what resulted. I do not know why, but I've always followed my gut when writing. So, for what it is worth, whether you like it or not, whether you agree or not, it is what it is.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Coming Home Late

Mama let me date him because he was a “church boy”, meaning he went to our church. She also knew his mother and so it was all right. To my 14-year-old eyes, he was wonderful. He was 16 and had a car. He was tall and played the guitar. And I was the new girl in town.
It was a small church and I was one of three teenaged girls. One of them already had a boyfriend outside the church. Her sister, Debbie, and I were the same age and immediately at odds with one another. We all know about green pastures and he saw a break in the fence.
We dated through the summer and into the school year. During one of the first football games of the season, we were on a date and he was supposed to pick up his brother after the game, truly the cuter of the two but with no car. 
My curfew was always 10:00 p.m., no matter what. I seldom rebelled on any rule Mama set but then, it never occurred to me that I could. Nevertheless, we rode around the parking lot looking for his brother and the clock kept ticking. He finally said he better get me home. Suddenly, I knew Mama wouldn’t mind if we were a bit late. After all, his brother was my age and was standing around somewhere waiting for his ride. We couldn’t leave him here. The stadium would be empty soon. He would have to stand around in the dark, alone, waiting for his ride that was not there because it was taking me home. 
At 11:00 p.m. we pulled up into my yard, without the brother. And as my young man walked me to the front door, Mama got up from her rocker and, in a quiet voice, said, “Do you know what time it is?”  Well, of course, we did, but I don’t remember thinking that she was asking for the time.
We both said, “Yes, m’am.” She proceeded to tell me who I was and what I was supposed to know. During the course of her speech she managed to politely tell him how much she thought of him and how she expected him to have me home when he said he would. I, of course, tried to explain about his poor brother standing somewhere at the school waiting for a ride that still had not appeared. Mama was sympathetic but unmoved. I had come home late.
It was a short romance but only lasted about three more weeks and we never dated again. He discovered his old school girlfriend, who happened to be one of my classmates. I don’t know if she had a curfew but my guess is she didn’t have my Mama. She tried to be nice to me and I liked her but I could never really hit is off with her. She wasn’t a church girl and she took my boyfriend.
I am a beast about punctuality and it is no wonder. My life has always been about keeping appointments and knowing where I was supposed to be and when. When I was 17 and dating my husband, he was always careful to get me home on time. Whenever Jerry brought me home my great-grandmother’s mantle clock was striking the hour. I didn’t have to tell him, he had a Mama, too. One night as we walked into the house Mama jokingly commented, “I believe you two sit around the corner and wait for that clock to strike.” We all laughed but Mama’s eyes twinkled at me. I had never come home late but once.
               I have been re-evaluating many things that have evolved in my life and that only now I think I understand. I feel as if I have come home late and that Mama is sitting on the porch, in the dark waiting for me to roll in. I hear that quiet voice is saying, “Do you know what time it is?”
I have raised two sons and they now have wives of their own. I feel I did the best I could under the circumstances of our life but as I watch their foolishness, I doubt myself. I see the waste, the unconcern, and the lack of dedication. I feel like Mama sitting on the porch, in the dark saying, “Do you know what time it is?”
It is not just in my children that I see it. It is in a whole generation. There is time to spend hours living in a small box where a world of make-believe people live and fantasy events happen. There is time to spend hours at an amusement park, a ball park, the beach. There is time to cruise hour after hour along whatever street is cool and be seen by countless others just cruising through life along the same street. And I hear Mama, sitting on the porch in the dark, asking in a quiet voice, “Do you know what time it is?”
There is no time to spend in church. The people are not friendly. They gossip too much. They don’t talk to me. The preacher is no good. The teacher is stuck up. The seats are too hard. The road is too long. The choir is no good. The worship is not lively. The worship is too lively. And my favorite, I have to spend time with my family, wife, husband.
There is no time for prayer. I have to go to Wal-mart. I spent too much time at Wal-mart. I have to watch my team play ball. I have to do laundry. I have to work. I am tired because I have worked too much. I have to go to bed early. I have to get up early. I got to bed late. I got up late.
“Do you know what time it is?” Never before have I heard that voice so clearly. It cuts me to the quick because all the excuses have been mine. At the time all of the reasons seemed, well, reasonable. And yet, “Do you know what time it is?
I look at all the days of my life and wonder. If life was like a carousal where I could capture brass rings of time as I sailed by, I would reach out and pull the ring of time that let me spend wonderful laughing hours with Mama. I would pull the rings of my children’s lives and never let go of any of them. I would grab the rings that let me relive the most precious moments I have ever known; putting my head in mama’s lap, my marriage, the birth of my children, my sons’ baptisms, every minute of their childhood, my children in my lap, my family reunions, my sons’ weddings. I would grab every ring of opportunity to pray more and truly converse with my creator, to read my Bible. I would grab rings to relive every exciting service I ever attended and re-listen to every riveting sermon I ever heard.
I cannot recapture one moment of time.
Brass rings of time.
“Do you know what time it is?”
I only came home late one time. It took 30 years for me to realize what it meant.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Written 2/08/2004

A small, pretty frame designed to hold a quotation sits to the left of my monitor. It was a gift from a co-worker when she cleaned her desk preparatory to taking a new job over a year ago.  In it is a phrase that says, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."  Psalms 37:4.  About a year ago, just for fun, I typed up this framed scripture and placed it near my computer because I spend a lot of time here. The original quote and the other I made are stored behind this one. There are three total and I change them once in a while.

This week I changed it because I needed to be reminded that there are times when trust is all you can do and there is promise attached to trust.  When you are doing everything you can think of to get by and still things seem to be falling apart around you, all you can do is trust.  And I am not a trusting person.

I am a perfectionist who is terrified when I am not in control of any situation.  But in recent years, life has cruelly taught me that I can't be in control of every situation.  It is a terrible feeling for me. Not long ago, I asked myself, and God, why it seemed that I was having to go through the same thing over and over.  It seems that for the last ten years I have re-lived several periods of time.  No matter what I do, or how hard I try, I keep repeating the same events, experiences, over and over. Constantly on the brink of financial disaster, my husband always getting sick and unemployed, my children struggling in some way.  And I keep asking God why is that. Why can't things get better?  Why do I have to have this same thing happen again and again?  Why am I constantly in need?  What have I done?

He never answered. And I began to suspect that was the whole point.  He shouldn't have to tell me what I am missing.  The fact that I AM missing something is the very reason I keep repeating history.  If I got it, I wouldn't have to keep repeating it!  At least, I hope that is the way it works.

On occasion, I am afraid because all of humanity fears uncertainty. And my life is pretty uncertain. Will Jerry go back to work? Will I get a better job? Will my son who is about to get married be able to make it financially?  Will my youngest son EVER finish school? Will he EVER go to collage?  Will he EVER get a job?

I suppose I could go out and buy an 8 Ball and try to find the answers to my questions.  You remember those. I had one in the late 60's, when they first came out.  No one really believed they could answer your questions but as a kid it was a fun game.  But in the real world, there is no magic 8 Ball, no fortune cookie I can break open for an answer.  The only answer I have sits next to my computer in a pretty frame. I have been reading it a lot the last few days.


How in the world am I going to do that?  How does anyone do it?

Sometimes, when I am praying, I have the strongest sense that I am so close to something unbelievable.  In my mind I see, just beyond my reach, this thick cloud I can't see through. But I know that if I could just push past it, if I could just clear it away, there is something wonderful hidden back there.  If I could only reach it.  Just one glimpse and I would have the strength to push forward.  I could trust.  But the fog rolls back, thick and impenetrable.  And I am downcast because of it.


How in the world am I going to do that?  How does anyone do it?

I don't know if I have figured it out yet, but recently I have felt that I am getting there. No, the problems are not solved. No, I do not have a new job. No, I am not a nicer person (I think I am pretty charming the way I am).  No, I don't know if I will survive this ordeal I find myself in. But someone said, "That which does not kill us, makes us strong."  I don't much like that, but it is true.  I have become tenacious. I have become stubborn. I refuse to give up. I refuse to lie down and stop trying.  I won't turn back.  I have dug my trench and it is here that I will fight.  I have claimed this land as mine.  I may be defeated in this battle. But the war is not over.  And I am still breathing.

So, what was that original framed quote?  I know you wondered.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."  Proverbs 3:56


And the other that is stored in the back of the frame?  "Commit thy way unto the Lord: Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."  Psalm 37:5

I typed them up. They look really pretty in the frame.  But I wonder why I never really read them before now?

Act Two

I was looking for something on my thumb drives this afternoon  and ran across something I probably wrote for my church paper, the Haven Times way back on July 13, 2001. I didn't remember writing it and I couldn't find it posted on either of the blogs where is would have been posted. Of course, that was before I started any of my Blogger blogs. I don't know but I want to share it here because ... I like it.

The Play Continues

July 13, 2001

I watched the Easter Program at our church this past April much as I always watch such things.  A million thoughts went through my head.  I thought of how much I was enjoying the play because the message was moving.  I thought of how I always look forward to these church functions.  I thought that some of the participants were really very good at acting. I compared this year’s program with past programs, how some things were better, and how some things were not as good.  I was doing exactly what nearly everyone else was doing.  

The play reached the point where the High Priest, Caiphas, played by Bro. Jason Lawson, was giving his lecture to the council citing Jesus as a troublemaker and a danger.  He urged the Council to murder Jesus.  Then Bro. Phil Wagoner walked on as Nicodemus, and I stopped listening to Caiphas.  An awareness of something I had never considered before was revealed in the actions of Bro Phil as he played the part of a man mentioned only three times, to my knowledge, in Scripture.

Nicodemus paced.  He pulled at his robes and his headgear.  He put his hands on his hips.  He put his hands down.  He crossed his arms.  He turned his back to Caiphas and then, turned back to face him, only to turn away again.  He paced some more.  Finally, when he could stand no more he tried to speak on Jesus’ behalf.  When Nicodemus saw it was hopeless, he left.  It was evident as he walked away that Nicodemus was imagining the weight of that cross on his shoulders.

I grabbed my pen and paper because never, ever had I seen such a revelation simply from one person’s actions.  Admittedly, Bro. Phil did a good job as Nicodemus but I have to ask, did he know exactly the impression he was giving?  Were his actions planned in his mind or did he just do what seemed natural?  Or did God, for one moment, let me see into the past and into the heart of a man long dead?

If you remember your Bible, Nicodemus went to see to Jesus early in his ministry, at night, when no one would see him or know of the visit.  You see, Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and these were the people who Jesus repeatedly offended with his teachings. However, they were not stupid men, at least, not all of them.  As a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus had watched, listened to the arguments and probably participated in them.  Then, he decided to do what any intelligent person should do when confronted with rumors and innuendo.  He went to the source.  And Jesus received him and told him what salvation meant.

As I watched the play I wondered what kind of struggle Nicodemus must have suffered.  His heritage as a Jew, his membership in the Sanhedrin and his regard for Jesus must have started a war in his heart that was unbelievable.  If he spoke out he risked losing everything, perhaps even his life.  But if he kept silent, he couldn’t live with himself.  He had to speak out.  But it did no good.  He could not stop it.

I wonder if he ever realized that he was an instrument of a divine plan?  No matter what he did, it would have changed nothing.  He could not stop the events that followed.  And if he had . . . there would be no salvation.

Nicodemus was struggling with the same thing we all face in our walk -- to speak or keep silent.  And he struggled with it for the same reasons.  He would have wanted to believe he could convince the Council to see Jesus as he had seen him.  He knew that Jesus had committed no crime worthy of death.  He was a good man fighting to save an innocent man.  He fought alone that day.  And when he left that meeting with Caiphas and the Council, he would have felt as if he had betrayed Jesus.  He couldn’t stop it.

After Jesus’ death we find that is wasn’t his family or his disciples who saw to Jesus’ burial.  Nicodemus, accompanied by Joseph of Arimathea, another secret follower of Jesus, went to Pilate to request the body of Jesus. These two men prepared the body for burial.  Nicodemus brought seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes to wrap the body in.  This was an expensive gift but it was all he could do.  Perhaps it was his way of atoning for his failure.  He had failed to save the life of the man he respected, but he could certainly see that he had a proper burial.

In As You Like It, Shakespeare said, ”All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”  Just as the players in a play are constrained by the script, so too, were those involved in the crucifixion of Jesus.  God had written the script long ago and the only choice the players had was to choose the part they would play.  Whatever part they chose, they could not stop the play.  The eternal God was directing and the curtain came down on a Savior determined to save the world at any cost. Act One had ended.

I don’t know if that was the end for Nicodemus.  He is not mentioned again in scripture, but there were a lot of people present on the Day of Pentecost.  Perhaps as the curtain came up on the second act he was in the wings, waiting to play another part.  I hope so.  At any rate, the play continues.  What part will you play?