~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Update on my Grandmother

Thank you all for your prayers. My grandmother, Pearl Ruby Theresa Lauring Bennett, passed away this afternoon at 3:30. Her body will be prepared in Batesville, Arkansas and transported to Houston, Texas where she will be laid to rest next to my grandfather.  She lived a long, full life. She suffered from Alzheimers and in the end really did not know any of us.  However, we have a lifetime of beautiful memories and will miss her dearly.  My prayers go up for my mother, my aunt and my uncles.  May God keep his arm around them during this time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Prayer Request

My grandmother has had a stroke. Does not look good. She is in her mid-90's. My mother and father are going to the hospital in Batesville, Arkansas now. Prayers are appreciated.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Never Feed a Stray Dog?

My sister-in-law called me yesterday and asked that I come in at 7 this morning to work the register at the cafe.  Good thing I did because it was crazy busy!  We had several people pick up their pre-ordered Thanksgiving goodies, but there were tons of call in orders as well as a packed house. I love it when it is like that... time flies and it seems I am energized at the end of the day.

I was just finishing up a "to-go" order when a young man walked in and asked if he could get a glass of water or something to drink. As I headed to the drink machine he said, "Uh, mam, I don't have any money." I told him that was fine, it was no charge.  As I handed him the water I noticed he looked like he had been on the loosing end of a fight.  He might have been a little "under the influence" but I threw caution to the wind and asked if he was hungry. Of course, he was.  I told him I'd buy him lunch and he could have what ever he wanted.  I quickly ran through the days specials and he ended up with pork loin, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, a roll and some coffee.

We were an hour away from closing and business had slowed down considerably.  That's when it happened... people were watching this guy like they were afraid of him... like he might rob us or just keep coming in for free food. You know the look... the less than desirable, non-paying customer.  Oh well, I thought, no one was gonna go hungry on my watch, not when I had a couple extra dollars in my purse anyway.

That's when I got the advice, "Never feed a stray dog."

I responded, "Sure you do...especially this time of year!"

"This guy might be coming around over and over again wanting a hand out. He might be a crack head or something like that... he might even try to rob the place."

"Ah, but wouldn't it be great if we were the ones who fed his body and his soul?  So what if he had been beaten up (possibly by his drug dealer)? Could we not be the hands of Jesus, just this once? Can we find an opportunity to tell him about our Savior...his Savior?"

As I was leaving the cafe I watched him get in the car with two older women and ride off, left overs in his to-go box. I never had the chance to say one word about Jesus...but I sure hope through my actions he got a taste of the difference God makes in our lives.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost... the undesirables of His time... of all time!  He dined with sinners and 'publicans.' He fed the hungry. He healed the lame, the blind, the sick in body and spirit.  If we are called to be like Him, why would we not feed a wondering, beat-up, skinny young man in hopes that he too will one day truly experience all that Jesus has to offer.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

If we, as Christians, act like the world...how in the world will the world ever see the difference He makes?

Monday, November 22, 2010


Ahhh... the smell of fresh brewed chocolate coffee wafting in from the kitchen all the way to the bedroom, the 1954 Jimmy Stewart/June Allyson movie The Glenn Miller Story is playing quietly in the background and my Chihuahua, Isabella is snuggled deep under the covers next to me, with Yorkie, Lilly sprawled out on top of the quilts.  I could lay here all day but the new week has begun!

The house has been filled with the boys all weekend!  It was the first day of duck hunting season here in Arkansas and I guess it is still deer season as well. It is not uncommon this time of year to be awakened by the sound of laughter, the smell of bacon cooking, and a house full of guys getting ready for the hunt. It amazes me that they can get up so early, hunt a little while, get ready and go to church, then hunt some more. Seems like this weekend they ended up with more stories than game and it puts a smile on my face.

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and this year we are taking our festivities on the road.  Now that Jake and his wife are getting divorced he is staying with some friends and Jimmy and I are taking his best friend, all the trimmings and heading north. I am not sure exactly how many soldiers and/or their families will show up but I am prepared to share with them all our holiday tradition of scripture, prayer, food, football and napping!

I have about six different lists going right now.  It is so easy to get bogged down in the details of making all the arrangements, especially when there is only one woman, one mom... menu planning, what to cook ahead and take, what to make there, what time we will arrive at the hotel, what time do we need to arrive at the house in order to get the turkey done at a reasonable time.   All the while encroaching on this planning session is the fact that Christmas is right around the corner and there is shopping to be done, decorations to be displayed, lights to be hung and another feast to be prepared.  Ugh... I think I might just turn over and go back to sleep!

I must admit here that I am one of those people who get a bit melancholy during the season of  thanksgiving and cheer... even when there is no added stress factors... I'm not sure why, but it happens.  It is then that I start making a list of a different kind... my blessings list, my list of what I am thankful for, my list of people who have impacted my life.... changed my life... and then I go out and do something for someone else.  A simple gesture to a stranger, a surprise for family or a friend. It makes all the difference in the world, lightens the mood, puts a bounce in my step and a smile on my face!

Yep, this time of year I spend a bit more time in prayer than usual... and to quote an over-used expression, it keeps me focused on "the reason for the season"... while the details take care of themselves.  Think I'll turn the television off, pop in a CD, and get to cleaning this house.
When upon life's billows
You are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged,
Thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one
And it will suprise you
What the Lord has done.

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Are you ever burdened
With a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy
You are called to bear?
Count your many blessings,
Ev'ry doubt will fly
And you will be singing
As the days go by.
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

When you look at others
With their lands and gold
Think that Christ has promised
You His wealth untold
Count your many blessings,
Money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven,
Nor your home on high.
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

So, amid the conflict,
Whether great or small
Do not be discouraged,
Godis over all
Count your many blessings,
Angels will attend
Help and comfort give you
To your journey's end.
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your blessings,
See what God has done
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"My God, I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow."  George Matheson.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let Us Pray

James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
I was watching the news this morning and saw where a Hollywood agent/publicist had just left a movie premiere and was shot multiple times.  One minute heading home, going over tomorrows "to-do list" happy the movie she had been publicizing looked like a hit...and just that quick...her life on earth ended.

A woman goes for a routine mammogram and the next thing she knows she is hooked up to chemotherapy and shopping for wigs. A man goes to the doctor because he is tired and lethargic and finds he has mere months to live.  A family living in "Leave-it-to-Beaver-Land" is split wide open because one person just doesn't want to be married anymore.  Jobs are lost, friends suffer, illness takes hold, and accidents happen.

Devout Christian or not... Life can turn on a dime... sometimes there are warning signs... sometimes not.  No matter how much we plan... no matter the contingency, sometimes life just gets turned upside down and inside out leaving our emotions spent and our nerves raw. It is during these times when most people turn to prayer.  You've heard the old saying... "When there is no place left to go, go to your knees."

Sometimes people want to use prayer like it is some kind of magic formula or think of God like a genie a bottle... "Lord, I can't fix it - please, please fix it for me."   They want some kind of big booming voice to emanate from the sky with words of wisdom... or a lightening bolt to strike the "problem" down.  That kind of attitude and expectation can and will only lead to more disappointment. Now, don't get me wrong here, I definitely believe in miracles... I have seen them and BELIEVE in them... it can happen.  What I'm saying is... it's a "heart thing."

In reality, prayer is opening up our hearts and pouring out all that is contained therein... frustration, hurt, anger, sin, thankfulness, praise, worship.  There are times we feel like we just don't have the words... sometimes it is simply lying prostrate sobbing and groaning. Sometimes... we just have to start with a song...

When we empty our hearts of self and focus on HIM... and trust me... this is, at times, so much harder than it sounds... we are praying with a right heart... in righteousness... It is then and only then, that we can hear, we can understand what it is that He has planned, what He has in store for us... it is then we can receive what He has to give us... even if it is simply comfort and peace. ahhhhh... comfort and peace... it is what we all long for, isn't it?

Then the PRAISE comes welling up from within our souls.  Praise Him in the good times and in the bad times... in the fruitful times...and in the lean times. Sometimes praising the Lord is as simple as singing to Him. I think prayer and singing go hand-in-hand after all, singing is worshiping God... even if you sound like an old toad doing it!

There really is power in prayer...the power is not ours, it's not in the singing, not in the words spoken... it is in the very act of prayer itself... it is in the communion with God... the power comes from HIM!  It is so easy to turn to God in prayer when times are tough... it seems like everyone does that.  But do we maintain that communication with God when times are going smoothly or are we like those who walk and live in the world and only seek God's face when life hands us a curve ball?
James 5:16 (b) The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Can You Smell What the Lord's Been Cookin'?

God pays attention to those who call on Him.  Whether He offers escape from trouble or help in times of trouble, we can be certain that he always hears and acts on behalf of those who love HIM.
Psalm 34:
1- I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2- My soul shall make its boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
3- Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.
In these first three verses we can simply add the words NO MATTER WHAT!!!!

NO MATTER WHAT... I will bless the Lord always...I will praise Him continually.
NO MATTER WHAT... I will tell others how marvelous the Lord is... I will testify of HIS love and others will be drawn to Him.
NO MATTER WHAT... Let us come together and worship the God of our salvation, our Redeemer...
Psalm 34:8-18 "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.  The young lions lack and suffer hunger: but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  

Come, you children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?  Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good: Seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit."
Psalm 34:8 "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"

I love to cook and often come up with my own unique recipes...sometimes it takes a lot of convincing to get my family to try them and sometimes it does not!  If the house is filled with a tantalizing aroma... then the family is quick to get a taste of what might become their new favorite dish.  If the smells coming from the kitchen are, well, less than favorable...I might hear excuses like... "I'm not that hungry." Or... "I had a late lunch." Or.... "I have other dinner plans."

Just like dinner cooking in the kitchen our lives have a particular aroma...
2 Corinthians 2: 15,16 "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life."
 If we wallow around in woe and self-pity when life is "less than favorable"... what kind of aroma is that?  How many people will miss the glory and mercy of God because of our stinkin' attitude? How many people will think our Lord is "nothing special" because of our actions in our times of trouble simply by the way respond and react to that adversity?  How many people will miss out on salvation?

Instead... let us praise the Lord at all times... NO MATTER WHAT! Let us wait patiently,hopefully, trusting in His will... His way... and let our life beckon to others... "OH, TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD: BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO TRUSTS IN HIM!"

Now, that is a sweet aroma!!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
  • Refrain:
    But “I know Whom I have believed,
    And am persuaded that He is able
    To keep that which I’ve committed
    Unto Him against that day.”
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.
But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”