Being Positive in a Pandemic

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

           Everyone knows we are in the middle of a pandemic, globally and in the USA. Throughout history disease has presented itself in the form of the Black Death (bubonic plague), Spanish flu, smallpox, and a host of others. History repeats itself time and time again. But in time, and considering the fact God works through scientists and doctors guiding them to developing vaccines and cures, they have all passed. This one will too. I don’t know why these things happen. I believe these deadly viruses develop and take hold before we are aware of them. God has the power to step-in and stop them immediately, but sometimes He doesn’t. Like I said earlier, sometimes He works through people and guides them to develop cures. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 “That in this world we will have trouble, but to take heart for I have overcome the world.” I believe if people will humble themselves and pray, God will answer. But what are we praying for?

We need to be praying for the healthcare providers, of course, and for the healing of those that are sick. We need to pray for the development of vaccines and cures. Let us pray that God will walk with us through the duration of the quarantine, and yes, we can ask for miracles.

But I once had a very wise pastor tell me when I was in a storm of life and totally wanted to skip the dark valley, to ask God to go with me through the valley, not necessarily to skip it, but to grow through it. For what we go through strengthens us, especially if we’re holding on to God. Remember, the Footprints poem, He may have to carry us part of the way and that’s okay.

So how can we go through this with our faces to the sun? Turn to God, just ask Him to come into your heart right now and walk with you through this pandemic. Start reading your Bible and you’ll discover the personality of God. Yes, He does have a personality with emotions. We are made in His image. Be grateful, every day. Ask God to control your thoughts and guide your steps. We’re all in this together, and with God, we will make it. Here is a list of 12 things we in America can be thankful for.

12 Things we can be thankful for—

  1. Springtime and the fact we can get outside to go for a walk, to drink in nature’s beauty.
  2. That we have technology and that we can visit via Facetime or Zoom, social media, email, text or phone. It is also important to check on our neighbors and give the elderly a call.
  3. That we have homes, most of which are equipped with modern conveniences and we are comfortable in them. It’s not like it was for the Jewish people, who had to hide from the Nazis during the time of Hitler. We are not in hiding, nor are we having to be still for fear of being discovered.
  4. That we have time to do those projects that we have put off.
  5. That we have more time to mediate, pray, study God’s word, and get our personal life in order.
  6. That we have our health and the ability to guard it, unless we were caught in the first wave of sickness.
  7. That there is grocery pick-up if we don’t want to risk going into the stores, and we can still order online.
  8. That technology allows us to stay informed via television or computer, even if we’re tired of hearing it, we need to stay informed, but not overdo.
  9. That we have the resources to entertain ourselves—puzzles, games, books, etc.
  10. That we can choose how we are going to handle this, the choice is ours. . .will the glass be half full or half empty?       download (1)
  11. I can take a ride in my car and see the countryside.
  12. Most of us have family or pets, living in our house and we’re not going through this alone. In fact, even if you live alone, rest assured you are not alone. Let someone, friend, neighbor, or family, know your needs and they will be reaching out to you in a heartbeat. It’s the Good Samaritan affect.

Friends, you can do this. Remember, you’re never alone. Onward and upward!

SWEET THINGS

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and if you’re like me, you see all the candy hearts (especially the chocolate ones) and want to treat your loved ones with the sweetest treats. But this year, something happened that got me to thinking about giving a different kind of “sweet thing.”

You see, my friend called the other day to thank me for her copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I had given the book to her a while back. Now, three years had passed, and as she was reading it that morning she thought of me, and decided to call to tell me how much it means to her.

What a “sweet thing” to do. We discussed how each year we had used colored markers and highlighted the things we wanted to remember. We laughed as we said how dog-eared our copies were becoming and how we’d have to invest in a new copy one of these days, knowing that we didn’t want to because our worn copies were treasures.

After I hung up, I sat and thought about the “sweet thing” she had given to me. She simply made a phone call and lifted my spirits. Then and there, I decided that during this season of sweet remembrances, I would try to give sweet things in word and deed.

How about telling those who serve in your community or church how much you appreciate them and that their work is making a difference?

Go even closer and tell those in your family how much you appreciate what they do for you.

Be like my friend and thank a friend for something they’ve done in your life.  

 Tell that young man or woman struggling to get their life together that you believe in them.

 Tell those young parents they’re doing a great job with their children.

 Tell those senior citizens or shut-ins that their lives still matters; that they are and have been an inspiration to you.

 Tell those young children who touch your live how much they matter to you. Give them a high five of encouragement.

Tell someone in need of prayer that you are praying for them, then be sure you do.

Spread your “sweet things” all around and make this your best Valentine’s Day ever. Better yet, do sweet things the entire month of February or go for the whole year. You’ll be surprised how many hearts you will touch. Have a sweetheart of a year!

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10 NIV

 

 

 

 

 

ADVENT WREATHS BELONG IN THE HOME AS A PREPARATION OF THE HEART FOR THE CHRIST CHILD’S BIRTH — Touching Hearts

It’s time to begin the journey to Bethlehem. I am repeating a column from three years ago because that’s how important I think it is to prepare for the heart of Christmas.  Advent begins December 1. You’re not too late to start on it this week.

 

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A family’s Christmas focus could be changed from a materialistic holiday to a Christ-centered one, if they would place an advent wreath in the home. Then the focus would be on the four Sundays prior to Christmas and on Christmas Day (about five weeks, it depends on how Christmas falls). During these weeks the family would be preparing the  hearts of their toddlers, children, and themselves, for the memorial celebration of the Christ Child’s birth on Christmas Day. Yes, you can still celebrate Santa, who has become a symbolize spirit of Christmas, but make no mistakes—Jesus is the reason for the season!

 The first thing to do is buy a wreath that you can place on a table. Then, most Advent wreaths use three colors of candles –3 purple, 1 pink, and 1 white. The wreath is symbolized of everlasting life. The candles all point to Jesus. The white candle, which represents the arrival of Christ on Christmas Day, goes in the center. I use an artificial wreath and a couple of years ago, I found candles that are battery lit. It all works perfectly and I don’t have to worry about fires. On the appropriate Sunday, gather the family around and light the candle, then reads the Scripture.

1st CANDLE – (purple) THE CANDLE OF HOPE– is to be lighted five weeks before Christmas. The date generally falls in November, but this year it falls on December 1. We hope in God for He never fails us. He keeps His promises to us. And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13)

2nd CANDLE – (purple) THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE – God foretold that a Savior would be born in Bethlehem.  We begin to prepare to welcome the Savior. “As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.‘ (Luke 3:4-6)

3rd CANDLE – (pink) THE SHEPHERD CANDLE -“And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:7-15)

4th CANDLE – (purple) THE ANGEL CANDLE– The angels appeared in the sky and sang to the shepherds.“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17)

5th CANDLE – (white) “CHRIST CANDLE” – is lit on Christmas Day. The white candle reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God, sent to cleanse us from our sins! Because He was born and took our sins upon him when He was crucified, we have eternal life. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!‘” (John 1:29)

I encourage you to celebrate with an advent wreath this Christmas and see the transformation this activity will bring about in your family’s Christmas focus. Yes, advent begins this week for this season of 2019, but set it up this week, and light the candle of hope. You’ll be glad you did. 

STEWED IN STRESS OR PERCOLATING IN PEACE

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The battles rage around the world; we seeing people dying before our eyes via TV. The untruths are rampant flying over the digital wires, blaring from the networks. Government officials leave us baffled, and we wonder at their corruptness. Children are rebellious, lacking self-control. Why? Because their parents act the same way, screaming and yelling at them like they are unworthy. Who wouldn’t rebel? It is mankind’s tendency to reject authority and want to be god of their life. Many see no need for a higher power, or God as I call him. They think this world is all they have, and by golly, if this is it, it’s going to be my way. This is a nation that puts pleasure high on their “I want list,” and forsakes the church even though they may believe. Alas, it is not enough for even the devil believes in God. The prisons are overflowing and there isn’t any justice in our courts.

The days predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 have arrived: “Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; slanders, violent, and fierce; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; they will hold to the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power. Keep away from such people.” GNB

It is heartbreaking, but God’s Word forewarned us. This is a difficult time to live in for the good people of this land and for God’s people. To those who do good without acknowledging God, I tell you it is not enough. Dig deep into the Scriptures and surrender your life to Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) Look at the scientific evidence that has been gathered that gives credence’s to biblical stories. If Timothy called it the last days, then time is short. Don’t delay.

But I say to God’s people, there is a way to percolate in peace, in spite of all the turmoil. First of all, don’t embrace a 24/7 schedule of news broadcasts. Stay alert to what is going on in the world so you know how to pray for the world and those in authority. Instead, spend more time in prayer, reading God’s Word and other Christian literature. Get your eyes off a world in chaos and focus on how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. I look at my community and my church and I see many who need a kind word, a home-cooked meal, and a helping hand. Then your family needs you to pray for them, your friends need your prayers along with the sick, the schools, and the world. There are a million things you can pray about, and don’t forget to thank God for your blessings too: The miracles of our bodies, the conveniences of our home, family, friends, finances (big or little), freedom, and our world.

The more time you spend in prayer and Bible study, the more you will be filled with the fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV.

Now I ask you, do you want to be stewed in stress, salted with anxiety, and left in misery, or do you want to know the peace that passeth all understanding and is promised to us? (Philippians 4:7) I highly recommend that you percolate in peace. God bless you my friend.

 

 

 

FRUITFULNESS OF ABIDING IN JESUS

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What do peas in a pod, a caterpillar in a cocoon, a heavy statute, and a Christian have in common? Abiding. Webster defines abide as 1. remain; continue 2. dwell. 3. stand firm

During the growing season, the peas remain snug in the pod until the time of harvest. As a caterpillar undergoes its metamorphosis, it dwells within the snug cocoon. A heavy statute stands firm through all kinds of elements, refusing to budge, and a Christian remains, dwells, and stands firm in faith waiting, anticipating, and expecting fruit in their life.

I first learned the spiritual meaning of abiding while at a writer’s conference. My first book had come out and already people were asking about the 2nd one. What if there wasn’t a 2nd one? The panic began to mount. Then my eyes fell upon John 15.

I realized that my stewing would not give me another success; it was only going to steal the joy of the first one. All I needed to do was abide in the arms of my sovereign God. If He wanted me to have another, it would happen. If He wanted me to bear other kinds of fruit, I would. I remember my sense of peace in that moment of revelation.

What is the role of an abiding Christian? We must follow him in our lives, but trust HIM for the outcome. As we stay connected, the sprouts of trust begin to breakthrough discouragement. The Holy Spirit can produce His fruit in us because we are abiding.

How might this fruit appear in the life of an abiding Christian? (Galations 5:22-23)

Love—An abiding Christian loves his fellowman, encouraging and helping, plus he is always pointing people to Christ.

Joy—An abiding Christian is joyful as they follow the Lord. Joy would bubble up and out of them in their daily life.

Peace—An abiding Christian is contented and at peace they are in God’s will.

Patience—An abiding Christian is patient as they await the answers to their prayers, be it a week, month, or years.

Kindness—An abiding Christian encourages and treats mankind as they want to be treated. 

Goodness—An abiding Christian’s goodness springs unselfishly from the heart as they serve their family and fellowman.

Faithfulness—An abiding Christian believes the one who calls them is faithful; that the seed planted will come to fruition. They keep on keeping on.

Gentleness—An abiding Christian presents the truth not with a preachy tone but with gentleness and boldness of spirit.

Self-Control—An abiding Christian will not let negative emotions trip them up, but will burrow in the Word and stay intimate with the Lord.

Is it always easy to abide? No, in our humanity, we need encouragement. Although we need to learn to turn to God first for our encouragement, we need each other. I once heard about a little girl who was afraid of the dark. Her mother told her not to be afraid, that God was with her in the dark.

The little girl replied, “But Mommy, I need someone with skin on.” Thus it is with all of us, and that’s why joining with other believers is helpful in learning to stand firm and abide. What will you decide? Choose now to let the Holy Spirit’s fruit blossom in your life, abide in HIM and join with other believers? Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer. Hebrews 10:25 GNT

Exercise your faith and watch for those sprouts of fruitfulness. Stay in the Word and don’t forget to pray. Live a fruitful life. Make your time on earth count.

In HIS love, Janet

 

 

Extreme Makeover–Search for Perfection

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Tummy pooch? Nose too large, too narrow, too crooked? Need a reduction or enlargement? Problem hair? Perhaps your pearly whites are more of a creamy-yellow. Braces? No problem! You’re living in America in the age of extreme makeovers. True, fix-it surgeries are still expensive, but there are ways. If you are in dire need, maybe you can get accepted on one of the extreme makeover shows, and be awarded a free transformation viewed by millions on national TV. Too shy to venture in front of millions? Well, there are always loans and credit cards to help you finance it. Maybe you’re even one of the few fortunate ones who have a bank account to fund your makeover. This is America, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m as intrigued as the next person in our pursuit of perfection. I’d like to have thicker locks, a shapelier shape, a smile that dazzles, wrinkles smoothed, and eyes without myopia. But the truth is, I could be worse off than I am.

Who says I’m not okay? It’s for sure that the advertising industry has played a huge role in America’s strive for perfection. Even teenage girls and guys complain about their bodily flaws? Come on people, most of them are still in the stage of becoming.

Maybe we need to stop this frenzy and examine the message we are being bombarded with in advertising and television. I know it’s got to be a huge moneymaker, but what are we saying? You’re only okay if you’re a perfect 10?  Maybe we need to look for another message. One that says: I like you just the way you are—bodily imperfections and all. I like you for who you are on the inside.

Two cells uniting and forming a human life is a miracle of becoming. Each life is one of a kind, unique in body and personality. The revered psalmist, King David, says it like this, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 13-14 NIV)

Perhaps the way to being satisfied with our body has to do with connecting with our Creator. The Bible is filled with directions to enable us to live in health and happiness. Do you want joy lines instead of wrinkles? Then reduce stress by meditating on Scripture. Take God at His word when He say, “Be anxious for nothing. But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

The perfect body–He has a way to get that too. Remember Daniel who refused to feast on the rich foods of the Babylonians? Instead he begged for a healthy diet of vegetables. That may seem extreme, for all food has been given to us for our enjoyment. But the wisdom from this story is hard to miss: too many rich foods put that bulge around our middle. The Apostle Paul also had a message for the Corinthians that still applies to us today, which is our eating and drinking should glorify God.

Hold on, we can’t leave the discussion without mentioning exercise. The Romans were athletes and Paul often referred to the benefits of training the body through exercise. It worked for them, and it will work for us.

When I read the story of the creation, I—a busy American—wonder how God had time to rest on the seventh day. Surely, He was eager to get into the next phase. But on that first day of rest, He was trying to tell us something. We need that day of relaxation to renew and refuel for the next week. REST is a lost art with most Americans. Most of us go at such a fast pace all week that we are always striving to get it “all” done. Corporate America, plus society, would have us believe it’s possible. It isn’t. In truth letting go and relaxing will actually increase productivity during the workweek.  We’ll get more done in a shorter amount of time.

Am I recommending you cancel your extreme makeover appointment? Of course not, I’m just suggesting that you begin on the inside, then decide what the outside requires. And don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be a perfect 10. God loves you just the way you are!

 

 

 

 

 

Headlines of Hope

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The world is in chaos and hope seems to be buried beneath an avalanche of depressing headlines, add to that the media’s minute-by-minute reports of doom and despair.

Truly, these negatives saturate our spirits creating a sickness in our souls.

Father God, we need an infusion of Your peace. Instead of reading The Daily Despair and listening to S.I.N. reporting Worldly Doom, lift us up. Remind us to read the Good News of Your Word each day.

May we focus on Your headlines of victory, and the miraculous reports of Your followers. Imagine what the headlines might be like. . .

Reported in the Good News Gazette

 God’s Light Shines through Sin-Sick Darkness and Can’t Be Extinguished

 God Is Still In His Heaven & Still On His Throne

 The Red Sea Mysteriously Splits, Saving God’s People from the Egyptians

 Israel’s Obedience to God Brings Down Jericho’s Walls

 Faith-Filled Young Man Slays Philistine Giant with Sling & Stone

 Shepherds Report Angels Appeared In The Sky Proclaiming Messiah’s Birth

 Jesus Gives Living Water

 5000 people Fed by 5 Loaves & 2 Fish

 AND those reports from the Gospel-

What would the Good News media say

about Jesus. . .

 J.O. Y. Network reports a man, blind since birth, received his sight when a carpenter named Jesus applied mud to his eyes. When asked if this was for real, the man was quoted as saying, “This much I know, once I was blind, but now I can see!” He was last seen running after Jesus.

In other news today, the closest followers of Jesus tell us they are no longer afraid in the storms of life.  It seems that Jesus is able to calm the winds, so the disciples turn to Him for all of their needs.

Then today, we have two of John the Baptist’s messengers with us.

“Sir, John sent you to ask Jesus if He is the promised Messiah. What did He say?”

“He told us to go tell John that the blind can see, the lame can walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf can hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor.”

Wow!  That is amazing!

Father God, but what is the Good News today? We know that Jesus did many miracles when he walked this earth.

Ah, my daughter, the miracles are still happening.  My Holy Spirit works through each one of my children. You only have to open your eyes

Cancer Mysteriously Disappears

Crash Avoided: Driver Reports Miracle

Man Walks Again After Receiving Artificial Legs

Eye Transplant Restores Woman’s Sight

 Woman Sees Angels & Spends Last Days In Comfort and Peace

The Son of Well-Known Atheist Receives Salvation

Surgery Performed on Child in the Womb

 A Dream Comes True

 A Bible Stops Bullet

 A Daffodil Blooms After Forcing Its Way Through Pavement

 I understand Father, now I can see. We need to be Your J.O.Y. Network and report Your Good News to the world.

Things like. . .

 An underground church in India prays undetected while Hindu persecutors surround their hiding place.

 Tornado destroys barn, leaving house standing with a mother and two children safely inside. 

The nurse who saved a 12-year-old boy’s life, is repaid. The boy, now a man working as a paramedic, recently saved the nurse’s life. She was eating in a restaurant when food lodged in her throat.  The paramedic, seated in the booth next to her came to her aid. 

Father, the miracles are always before us.  Give us eyes to see and

help us light the world with hope and thanksgiving—

remind us to praise You,  surrendering our storms to You.

Then we can claim Your promise that You will guard our minds and heart in

Christ Jesus.  Thank You, Father

 

©Janet Teitsort

 

 

Finding Our EnGedi

Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, “Take note, David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi. I Samuel 24: 1

NOTE: En Gedi was a lovely oasis with a freshwater spring above the bleak shores of the Dead Sea.  The area around the spring stands in stark contrast to the surrounding desert.  (The Woman’s Study Bible Copyright 1995 Thomas Nelson, Inc. p.483)  This is the oasis where David hid from Saul.  As I speculated on this, I wondered if we’d discover our own spiritual En Gedi, if we’d find the secret of overcoming the trials and deserts of our earthly life.  Thus I asked. . .download (2)

Dear LORD,

Where can we discover our spiritual EnGedi, a place where the blossoms give off the sweet fragrance of Jesus, and the stream of Living Water saturates the dryness of our spirits? Perhaps, like the real EnGedi, it lays deep within the desert of our souls.

When our hearts feel like barren lands, En Gedi must lie in wait, a gift from God Almighty longing to fill our hearts with His Living Water so that Joy abounds.

Oh, LORD, we all have times of dryness, of disappointments and trials, tell us please, O Lord, how do we find our spiritual EnGedi? Where can we rejoice in YOUR oasis for the soul?

 Why child, don’t you know? Thankfulness—it  springs from a responsive heart, like a bubbling spring erupting from the ground. Thankfulness is a fountain of gratefulness, watering those around as well as penetrating the  dryness of your soul.

Thankfulness produces a personal EnGedi a spiritual paradise within the heart where JOY blooms, and the sweet scent of JESUS abounds.

©Janet Colsher Teitsort

                       THE SEEKER

Lord, I feel spiritually dry,

parched by the world.

I thirst.

 

Let me drink the Living Water

swallowing it in huge gulps,

that it may saturate my soul.

As I struggle to keep pace

with a world that never rests,

my prayers have become rote,

and my reading of Your Word, mechanical.

I thirst.

 

I have tasted the

Spiritual Water of EnGedi,

Your oasis for the soul,

and nothing else will satisfy.

Guide me out of this spiritual desert,

draw me apart,

fill me anew,

awaken my dulled senses, for

I thirst.

 

Bless me, O’Lord.

Let Your Spirit rain down on me,

that I may bloom with Your fruit

and offer the Living Water to others.

©Janet Colsher Teitsort

 

 

Why People are Drawn to the Vintage Red Truck with the Christmas Tree

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I spotted it last year just before Christmas—the replica of the vintage red truck hauling the family Christmas tree—and I fell in love with it on the spot. Then on an early December trip to Montana to visit my granddaughter, I started my collection with a red truck cookie jar, a tray, and salt & pepper shakers. Not only was the red truck just too cute for words, but something about it made me happy. Then this year, I had to add to my collection with a lighted picture, a door decoration, door mat, and throw pillows. As I tossed the pillows on my couch, I asked myself, what is the pull of the red truck? Sure it’s cute and the newest thing on the market; but clerks are telling me it is so popular they can’t keep it stocked. They even have it in tableware.

As I pondered its popularity, I couldn’t help but know that for me, seeing that red truck takes me back to an earlier time when the pace for Christmas was slower. The harvest was in, you’d just had Thanksgiving, and now it was time to think about Christmas. People would take the old pickup (although not always red) and drive out through the fields to the woods to select their Christmas tree.

When the tree was up, simple decorations were added. In my grandparents’ early days, there weren’t always electric lights, but there were always cotton balls and homemade ornaments. Later, that was changed to angel hair and store bought ornaments along with lights. I have to laugh as I remember my paternal Grandpa Colsher always got the angel hair stuck on his black wool sweater. No matter how careful he was, he couldn’t escape it. Then came the years of silver icicles, which were not fun to put on, personally, I’m glad those didn’t hang around. But I do have to laugh thinking about how we’d pick those up, only to turn around and find more of them on the floor or furniture.

Christmas meant family would be returning home. Gifts didn’t have to be big and expensive, mostly they were homemade. Giving a gift was something you thought about for weeks and created just for that person, or something you saved your pennies for to buy for a special someone. You didn’t have to have twenty gifts, you were thankful for one.

I remember my Sunday School teacher gave all the 7th grade girls in her class their first compact with a mirror. Then another year, it was a bottle of Jergens hand lotion. My, I thought I’d received the most important gift around.

Once, when I was seven or eight years old, someone had given me some coins. So I decided that I would go shopping for my parents’ Christmas gift. I went to Reidenbach’s Jewelry Store in downtown Westport where I bought them little cups and saucers. In my child-size eyes, I thought they would actually drink their coffee from them. Instead, they were nick-nacks, perfect for displaying on a little shelf.

Oh. The. Memories. When I see that little red truck with the Christmas tree, I jump aboard and go riding along on nostalgia road. I travel to my grandparents’ farm, and my parents’ house, and all those Christmases of by-gone years.

Come on and join me. Jump aboard; you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

DISCERNING BETWEEN FACTS & FALSEHOODS

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Has the entire World turned into a Gameshow with us, the participants, trying to decide between Facts and Falsehoods? Whether you want to participate or not, you’re on the minute you turn on your TV or walk outside your front door. You don’t want to play? I don’t either.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 GNB says, “Remember that there will be difficult times in the last days. People will be selfish, greedy, boastful, and conceited; they will be insulting, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and irreligious; they will be unkind, merciless, slanderers, violent, and fierce; they will hate the good; they will be treacherous, reckless, and swollen with pride; they will love pleasure rather than God; they will hold the outward form of our religion, but reject its real power. Keep away from such people.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like many people today. Hearing the falsehoods and the bantering back and forth is stressful and it makes us anxious. Do we have to turn into a recluse to escape? If not, how can we learn to discern between the two?

  1. Fear (love & respect) the Lord. He is the giver of wisdom. Go to the book of Proverbs, located in the Bible and read Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Don’t stop there, but devour the entire book and all of Scripture. We were given the Word for a reason and it is to help us discern and become wise in our dealings.
  2. The first thing we should do is ask God for the wisdom to discern. James 1:5 says “If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and he will give it to you.” Some things can only be spiritually be discerned. Wisdom says don’t ever decide which is true and which is false without praying.
  3. Secondly, don’t trust your feelings. Sometime we believe someone because we desperately want to believe them. The opposite is true, too. Sometimes, we don’t believe someone because we don’t want to. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds of a truth: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Now, why do I encourage you, along with myself, to do these things? Let’s go back to 2 Timothy 3:1-5. If these are the last days, then we need to have all the wisdom and discernment possible. So start working on becoming wise, always asking God for wisdom, and you’ll be able to stand. Don’t just follow the crowd. God’s got this! Can I hear an Amen?