All posts in Christian Living

What Now?

My dad loved ketchup. He called it catsup. Put it on almost everything. He joked about adding it to ice cream. I never saw him do it, but knowing him, he could have.

Sometimes, the newly-opened, glass ketchup bottle wouldn’t bring forth actual ketchup. I still remember him holding it sideways and taping it on his index finger. This became a teaching moment for me.

“Pauline, sometimes the ketchup forms a vacuum and you have to do this.” Tap, tap, tap, wait, wait, wait.

I’d hold my breath. For a long time. If it took too long, he pulled out a bread knife and stuck it in the ketchup to break the vacuum.

Eventually, our french fries would be liberally covered in Heinz.

I’m waiting now, but not for ketchup.

My mom went to heaven 6 months ago today. I just realized this was the day as I’m sitting in a semi-dark living room thinking. After her death, there were arrangements, travel, family, finances, all of the usual stuff you do when your mom dies.

I’m not sad she died since I know she is in heaven. I think oftentimes I felt sadder when she was here. After fourteen years of in-house caregiving and watching both my parents lose all of their independence, I grieved more for them then.

I still grieve. It’s just with bright hope.

But after all the travel and funeral arrangements and decisions, I came home to our farm. The day I arrived, Tom was laid off from his sign company job. Instead of being anxious, I said, “It’s a God thing. We need some time alone.”

And we did. And then I got some type of flu and Tom cared for me. And then he got a job and I stayed home.

Alone.

And I liked it. A lot. I prayed and read and sat and slept. And then I did all of those things again and again.

A few months later, I participated in the local farmers markets with my homemade salsa, pesto, and jellies. But salsa sales are slipping and people are busier which means not much money coming in.

So, my question is, What now? The first years of my marriage, I was a young married professional, then a mother, then a home school teacher, and finished off as a caregiver/farmer/food entrepreneur.

The proverbial ketchup bottle is tipped sideways and nothing’s coming out. I have a writing agent, 3 proposals in with three different publishing houses, but no one is busting down my door.

And money is short. Not gone–in fact, by the world’s standards we are rich. I’m not complaining. But I have applied for jobs. I’m ready to wear grown-up clothes and be around people, and have conversations, and minister outside of my home. But when you’re fifty something and haven’t worked as a professional for several years, finding a job is tough.

As I thought about all of these things today, I remembered a prayer I prayed to the Lord about three years ago, and still have on my prayer cards. I asked to be a woman of faith. A woman who trusted God and encouraged others to trust Him, too. Sure, I can point to numerous times in the past when God came through in ways I never imagined. Miraculous, even.

But that’s not today. It doesn’t pay the bills next week. Or next month or next year.

Bottom line is, do I really believe what I say I believe?

By God’s grace and through His strength, Yes. I just need to remind my anxious heart.

Maybe you are waiting for the ketchup, too.

Let’s wait together.

Those french fries are going to be awesome…

 

Breakfast With My Daddy

My daddy and me…

“Okay, Sister. After you peel the potatoes, put them in this,” my daddy said pointing to a metal gadget with a handle. “Then turn this and they come out sliced ready for the frying pan.” Dad shifted his head, faced me, and smiled.

My 8-year-old-self couldn’t help but smile back. When you’re 8 and it’s Saturday morning, you get to watch cartoons AND make breakfast with your Father–well, what’s not to smile about?

In fact, just thinking about those Saturday mornings make me smile now and I’m well into my 50′s.

So when I read Beth Moore’s study of Thessalonians 3:1, and her definition of prayer, I beamed and warmed at the same time. Here’s a quote:

“Prayer is accepting a royal summons to the King for breakfast with your dad.”

Munch on that for a while.

Here’s another quote:

“God loves you. He loves your company. He loves to search the depths of your soul and hear the dreams of your heart. He knows what troubles you when you crawl into bed and what awaits when you crawl out. He knows why you’re scared and where you’re unprepared.”

You know, as great as my earthly father was, sometimes he was too busy for me, or too far away, or maybe just too preoccupied to listen.

But not my heavenly Daddy.

Recently, in our church home group, we discussed prayer. One man I admire in our church prays this way.

Father, we come to you by the blood of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And it’s not just for Saturdays. We can come anytime we want.

And have breakfast.

And you can skip the cartoons and enjoy the feast.

 

Three in One

“What’s our home group discussion about, Pauline?”

“The Trinity. How’s that for easy listening discussion to promote Christian fellowship?” I told my husband with a smirk.

On Sunday evening, the home group would meet at our house and Tom was to lead the discussion. He sneaked off to the back room in order to research the subject on the computer.

Sunday morning’s message covered our topic.

“The Trinity is not a math problem to be solved,” stated our pastor, “but a relationship to be enjoyed.”

The Trinity has always baffled me. I believe there are three persons in the godhead–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I just don’t understand it.

Scripture uses the pronoun we and our in Genesis when speaking of creation. Christ is foreshadowed and even seen in the Old Testament, and the Holy Spirit is throughout the entire Bible. I just can’t figure it out. Especially when you realize that Jesus has a resurrected body.

But I believe it. I understand that I don’t understand. In fact, I don’t know much about anything. Sure, I’ve lived for 57 years, but I’ve only been to 1/3 of the states in America and 4 or 5 other countries. I studied Social Work in school but can’t fix a car. I have two dogs but can’t make them well if they are sick.

The list is endless.

But the God who made everything knows everything, and He says there is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Jesus told His disciples, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” He also stated that no one can come to God except through Him.

So I’m trusting.

And waiting until heaven.

And then I’ll understand.

For now, I’m just glad I don’t have to operate on my dogs.

And so are they.

 

Dependent and Glad

 

So I have to admit that our church uses an iPod for its accompaniment.

There, I said it.

So when my pastor stated he’d left his iPod plugged in and it played the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour” for several days, it made me think.

Recently, I realized the truth in that. I couldn’t make it through a day without getting on my knees–sometimes three and four times a day–and saying or singing those words.

And now I know I do need Him every hour, every minute.

But sometimes I forget.

Have you ever thought of how much you and I both need the Lord?

Take for instance, breathing.

Or walking.

Or standing.

The fact is whether we know it or not, we need Him.

It’s like the iPod playing in the background. It’s playing, but we might not realize it.

There’s something else we need Him for–salvation.

Jesus said unless you come through Him, you cannot be saved. It’s that simple.

In fact, the first word out of Christs’ mouth was, “Repent.”

Paul says in I Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you of first importance what I also received; That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

So none of us is dependent for our life, and no one can depend on himself for eternal life.

Only through Christ.

So, I’m dependent and proud of it.

How about you?

 

 

Do What Pleases God

The four words hit me like a truck. Max Lucado said them in a devotional. In fact, he said them several times. But it was like I heard them for the first time.

 

Do what pleases God. He wrote a paragraph putting the reader into a difficult situation. How do they deal with it? Do what pleases God. He wrote another paragraph. Then another each ending with Do what pleases God.

 

He said it better, so here’s a link https://maxlucado.com/listen/do-what-pleases-god/

 

His words juxtaposed in my mind with my study in 1 & 2 Thessalonians titled, Children of the Day.”

 

Beth Moore (My new bff) gave examples of walking with God. I looked up references beginning in the first chapter of the Bible, when God walked with Adam.

 

Imagine that.

 

Then she tore through the Old Testament like my puppy tears through slippers. We visited Enoch, Abraham, and a few kings. We ended up walking with two despondent followers on the road to Emaus. Jesus joined them even though they didn’t know it. Their despair turned to delight. And hope.

 

Jesus has a way of doing that.

 

I want to walk with Jesus that way.

 

Beth goes on to say that walking with God is living in His presence.

 

In other words, Do what pleases God.

 

I’ve thought about those words this last week. I’ve prayed them. Meditated on them. Asked forgiveness for not doing them.

 

Sometimes, I make my Christian life a list of do’s and don’ts.

 

But the Great Gospel of Grace pushes me beyond duty to delight.

 

Delight in His Word. Delight in prayer. Delight in walking with Him.

 

Funny, when I do what pleases God, I’m pleased. Joyful even.

 

What about you? Do me a favor. Think about those words this week and tell me about it. I’d love to hear it.

 

In fact, I’m smiling even as I think about it.

 

Do what pleases God.