He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick Or Treat!

I heard the knock at the door and went to answer.  I caught my breath as I faced a six-foot figure with an ugly, weather beaten face, black, disheveled, straggly hair, a black flowing dress, accompanied by a black cape and pointed black hat; holding a straw broom.  I was terrified, even though I knew who it was!  Thankfully, my husband had gotten word of our guest, just before arrival!

            As it turned out the “witch” at my door was a well-educated, college professor who had just left the home of another friend who did not know their guest.  The husband knew the identity, but not the wife.  Since the husband was part of the ruse, the “witch” played the part to the hilt, chasing the wife with “her” broom, right into the bathroom, where my friend straddled the tub in an effort to get away from the intruder.  All the while the husband is rolling with laughter! 

The true identity of the “witch” was exposed once the total head piece was removed.  But by then, my friend was so frightened by the ugly, menacing face and outfit, even with the removal of the costume, she could not be consoled. The husband and witch, once they realized how upset my friend was, apologized for the ruse. 

As I reflect on the holiday “Halloween,” I am mortified by what it has become.  It’s the time of year when on television and at the movies, the worst, most-scariest shows appear!  It’s like people want to be scared out of their skin!  The costumes and plot line get worse every single year.  Our minds have become so skewed to what we picture as evil, that these horrible costumes are accepted as “the best!”  Halloween is now about demons and the occult; those things God said we should stay away from!

When I was growing up, it was more about silliness and cute; even to the usage of a paper bag decorated or a paper plate!  We’d dress up in something unusual (but not scary!) and go trick or treating.  What’s sad, is not only has the element of dress and story gotten scarier, so has the “trick or treating.”  We’ve become a society where parents insist NO candy is eaten or opened until it arrives home and each piece is inspected!  Our children can no longer accept cookies or handmade candy because there is a very real threat of harm or danger within!

God is not about darkness and fear.  That is pure satan!  God wants our lives to project what is good and pure; a light to the world.  When we encourage the “dark behaviors” to continue as completely acceptable, we are encouraging a toe hold for satan!  And truth be told, satanic cults are springing up all over the place!  Is it any wonder? 

So I challenge you to consider how you view Halloween.  Is it worth your time and energy, or spirit, to celebrate a time that has become dark and ugly, frightening and evil?  I’m not suggesting not allowing the children to trick or treat…..little ones love dressing up—and so do the older ones….  but perhaps a different mindset might be a good thing.  I believe it’s worth considering.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Silver Boxes

           A friend of mine shared her book with me about “silver boxes.”  The “boxes” were sent by an anonymous giver to a teen who was struggling in some way.  These “boxes” didn’t need to be literally boxes, they could be letters, cards, notes, etc.  The idea was to lend encouragement in an unusual way.  While teens certainly need encouragement in their lives, it’s also true adults do too.  Very often adults are faced with a crisis daily that can bend them to the point of breaking.

            Biblical Job would have been an adult sent to the breaking point.  I’m not at all sure I would have had the incredible faith he had when faced with all the tragedy and hardships placed upon him.  Yet what an example he sets.  In the midst of his trials he continued to believe, adamantly, that one day he would see Jesus face to face. 

            Scripture describes our “silver box” if we accept it in Job 19:25-27 as it communicates Job’s belief when he proclaimed his “Redeemer lives!”  What a word of hope, faith and endurance in a time when most of us would have faltered.  I want to be like Job! 

            This idea of “silver boxes” opens a door to opportunity to share encouragement. I read not long ago about a man who went into a fast food restaurant, asked for the manager and then handed him ten $100 bills.  They were given to pay for orders of those who came through the “drive thru” until the money was gone.  After he gave the money, he left without giving any personal information; not even his name!  What a gift!

            While most would find this act of selflessness incredible and certainly encouraging, others are encouraged through an act of service.   The elderly are especially grateful for someone who would rake their leaves, return an empty garbage can near the garage after trash pick-up, walking their dog or any number of things, especially if the weather is cold or rainy.

            A couple with small children would appreciate an offer to watch their children so they could have a night out; while a family going through tough times or even one just extremely busy, would appreciate an occasional homemade meal delivered--- or even a pizza delivered!

            Other possibilities include sending a care package (to a soldier or other deserving person), delivering some hand-picked flowers, giving a toy to a needy child, serving at a shelter, giving a hug, saying something nice to someone, and so much more.  All it takes is a little creativity, to offer someone a “silver box!” 

            Along with offering someone else a “silver box,” you will be making yourself feel better, as well!  Data shows doing something good for someone is good for your health, too! It’s also a great way to strengthen your faith! 

I desire to have such a strong faith, that no matter what Satan throws my way, I can throw it back at him and say “I know my Redeemer Lives!”  Then follow up by offering someone else a “silver box” such as Job, through God’s Word, has offered me.  So I challenge you to send someone a “silver box” and brighten your day while you brighten someone else’s!

Monday, October 17, 2016

In Expectation

        I’ve found when I watch a television show at night, very often the story will remain with me the next day.  That’s a good thing when the show is wholesome and family oriented, like "The Walton’s"—my absolute favorite, or if a movie has a particularly powerful message like "Facing The Giants" which I find hugely inspirational.  But when I watch a particularly violent or angry show, (even a police show can upset me) I find my sleep is affected and I’m still bothered about it the next day.  And if the story has something to do with harming a child, I will choose not to watch it because it upsets me so much I can barely function!

            What is wonderful however, is when I wake to music---already in my mind!  Some mornings I wake with a song in my mind that makes no sense to me!  They are sometimes very old songs like the one from Charley Pride decades ago “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” a child’s song like “Kum ba yah,” a Christmas Carol like “Mary Did You Know?” or even a jingle line from a TV commercial—which usually means nothing at all.....and may not even make any sense!

Somewhere deep within my memory, the words and lyrics come out.  I am delighted when I wake with a hymn or a melody from Christian music I’d heard the day before or sang earlier in the week at church; which certainly comes from my “short term memory” with the music fresh in my mind.

I’ve found when I read my Bible regularly, whether morning or night, the words I’ve read stay with me.  The Psalmist knew this long ago and encourages us to do the same.  He knew when he read God’s laws, those words would influence his actions all day because he could meditate on what was fresh in his memory.  

What we feed our minds and hearts will affect our moods, our conversations and general attitude all day.   Studies show that even “upbeat music” can have a positive effect on our health!  How much more so then, when we sustain ourselves with His Word!

When we nourish our souls and minds with God’s Word and Gospel music, our day will likely be happier, leading to better health and better relationships.  God can work through music just like he does His Word.

The Psalmist found that if he laid his requests before the Lord in the morning, he could wait in peaceful expectation for whatever answer God chose to give.  When we commune with God whether first thing in the morning or in the evening and meditate on his word we can wait in peaceful expectation to hear when his still clear voice penetrates our thoughts much like the songs that run through my mind upon waking in the morning.

So I challenge you to let God’s Word be the last thing you see/read at night and then wake in the morning to His voice via His Word, followed by music that brings worship and praise to Him….and feel better all day!