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Introduction

On my visits to "home", I stayed with and often had meals with Jim and Pam Nolot. One morning Pam noticed that I needed to eat a huge amount of food and that I would often food process it into what she called a "green slime" as I presented it all in a 2 quart measuring bowl. Well, that caused me to arrange my food differently in unique and very appealing ways that might meet with her approval. She IS my host, after all, so from June 2, 2019 to the present, every morning, I have  created a unique plate arrangement which I call Breakfst Artistry.

http://tinyurl.com/BreakfastArtistry 

Each plate is designed from the elements on my ceahow.org  food plan:
1 serving of Protein chosen from one or a combination of  two halves of the following: 2 eggs, or 4 oz cottage cheese,  8 oz plain yogurt,  4 oz of curd cheese, 2 oz of cheddar or 4oz meat and 8 oz of Mixed Fruits; 

Optionally I can have  3 Tablespoons Oat Bran added to any of the proteins.

If I want a pancake with it, I make it with 1 or 2 eggs, 3 Tbsp Oat bran, 1 tsp baking powder, -OR-

with 2 eggs, 1 over ripe banana mashed, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp salt.  You can make more cakes by adding the 3TBS bran and make it rise with 1/3 tsp baking powder. Puting a lid on the pan will help it to rise.

 

 

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💖Some of My Favorite Facebook Posts💖

I begin to celebrate this day, the Lord's Day, with the next generation Starship Enterprise bringing my  healthy breakfast meal: one serving of protein made of one egg and 2 oz of cottage cheese, three tablespoons of a mixture of oat bran and wheat bran and 8 oz of mixed fruit.  Notice that there is no added sugar, no flour, and the quantities are specifically limited.

Just 6 years ago I was morbidly obese weighing in at 320 lb. I had struggled down from 365 lbs but I knew I had a deadly disease and was powerless, totally helpless against anything with added sugar,  flour or salt. My interpretation of a serving on my "see-food" diet was whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it, and as much of it as I wanted!  I had made myself a toxic waste dump rather than the temple of God I was created to be.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Genesis 1:29, KJV: "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

Daniel 1:12 KJV — Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

(pulse is literally translated, vegetables,  typically lentils, chickpeas or some sort of legume or seed type food.)

Proverbs 27:27 KJV — And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Genesis 2:9 KJV — And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

3 John 1:2 KJV — Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Why is this so important to me? Why should it be important to you?  Nearly 40% of U.S. adults have obesity, the highest incidence ever recorded.  Obesity is linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and at least 13 different types of cancer.

Source: https://bit.ly/2Gi3Ofj

What did I do about it?  I came to realize that our God is a God of miracles. There are in fact over 150 miracles noted in the holy scriptures. I wondered why I could not be one of them?   After nearly a lifetime of searching God did send me help by leading me in 2014 to a 12-step recovery program called ceahow.org and in that program God did for me what I could never do for myself! What a miracle that has been to now be 195 lb and to know happiness joy and freedom which I never dreamed possible for me. God gives me a daily reprieve from the overwhelming need and compulsion to eat. Praise God for this richest blessing!

May be an image of fruit

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Christmas Day 2020

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  

 https://educatorpages.com/site/favoritewebsites/pages/favorite-potpourri?edit=1

Christmas Message from Mother Teresa of Calcutta

At Christmas Christ comes to us like a little child, small and helpless, so much in need of all that love can give. Are we ready to receive Him? Before the birth of Jesus His parents asked for a simple dwelling place, but there was none. If Mary and Joseph were looking for a home for Jesus, would they choose your house and all it holds?

Today there is so much trouble in the world, and I think that much of it begins at home. The world is suffering because there is no peace in the family.

We have so many thousands of broken homes. We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgiveness, and so bring peace.

Make your house, your family, another Nazareth, where love, peace, joy, and unity reign, for love begins at home. You must start there and make your home a center of love. You must be the hope of eternal happiness to your wife, your husband, your child, to your grandfather, your grandmother, to whoever is connected to you.

The home is where the mother is. Once I found a child on the streets. I took him to our children’s home and gave him a bath and some clean clothes, but he ran away. He was found again by somebody else, but he ran away a second time. After we found him, I said to the sisters, “Please follow that child and see where he goes when he runs away.”

When the child ran away a third time, they followed him, and there, under a tree, was his mother. She had put stones under a small earthenware vessel and was cooking some food she had found. The sister asked the child, “Why did you run away from the home?” And the child answered, “But this is my home because this is where my mother is.”

That was home. The food that was found was all right because Mother had cooked it. It was Mother who hugged the child, Mother who wanted the child—and the child had his mother. And between a wife and a husband it is the same…

Let us pray that we shall be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas—not in the cold manager of our heart but in a heart full of love and humanity, a heart warm with love for one another.

https://zenoch.org/mormon-stuff/favorite-stories/christmas-stories/christmas-message-from-mother-teresa-of-calcutta/

Here is a special gift you can give to yourself this blessed Christmas day.

Remember and honor 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", by replacing "the world" with your name.

For me that would read "For God so loved John Aldon Utz, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life".  Read it often and carry it with you in your heart. Jesus made that sacrifice for you and for me!

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Learn to Appreciate

Once upon a time, there was a man who was very helpful, kindhearted, and generous. He was a man who will help someone without asking anything to pay him back. He will help someone because he wants to and he loves to. One day while walking into a dusty road, this man saw a purse, so he picked it up and noticed that the purse was empty. Suddenly a woman with a policeman shows up and gets him arrested.

The woman kept on asking where did he hide her money but the man replied, “It was empty when I found it, Mam.” The woman yelled at him, “Please give it back, It’s for my son’s school fees.” The man noticed that the woman really felt sad, so he handed all his money. He could see that the woman was a single mother. The man said, “Take these, sorry for the inconvenience.” The woman left and a policeman held the man for further questioning.

The woman was very happy but when she counted her money, later on, it was doubled, she was shocked. One day while the woman was going to pay her son’s school fees towards the school, she noticed that some skinny man was walking behind her. She thought that he may rob her, so she approached a policeman standing nearby. He was the same policeman, who she took along to inquire about her purse. The woman told him about the man following her, but suddenly they saw that man collapsing. They ran at him and saw that he was the same man whom they arrested a few days back for stealing a purse.

yourlooked very weak and the woman was confused. The policeman said to the woman, “He didn’t return your money, he gave you his money that day. He wasn’t the thief but hearing about your son’s school fees, he felt sad and gave you his money.” Later, they helped the man stand up, and the man told the woman, “Please go ahead and pay your son’s school fees, I saw you and followed you to be sure that no one steals your son’s school fees.” The woman was speechless.

Moral: Life gives you strange experiences, sometime it shocks you and sometimes it may surprise you. We end up making wrong judgments or mistakes in our anger, desperation and frustration. However, when you get a second chance, correct your mistakes and return the favor. Be Kind and Generous. Learn to Appreciate what you are given.

Source: https://www.moralstories.org/learn-appreciate/

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LETTING GO OF THE PAST

Once there was a free bird. She floated in the sky, catching midges for lunch, swam in the summer rain trickles, and was like many other birds.

But she had a habit: every time some event occurred in her life, whether good or bad, the bird picked up a stone from the ground. Every day she sorted out her stones, laughed remembering joyful events, and cried remembering the sad ones.

A bird always took the stones with her, whether she was flying in the sky or walking on the earth, she never forgot about them. The years have passed, and free bird got a lot of stones, but she still kept on sorting them, remembering the past. It was becoming more and more difficult to fly, and one day a bird was unable to do this.

The bird that was free some time ago, could not walk on the earth, she was unable to make a move by her own. She could not catch midges anymore; only rare rain gave her the necessary moisture. But a bird bravely endured all the hardships, guarding her precious memories.

After some time a bird died of the starvation and thirst. And only a pitiful bunch of worthless stones reminded of her for a long time.

Source: https://www.inspirationalstories.eu/stories-about.../

I know that I am carrying stones from my past which weigh me down. I question what I might become if I let them go.

Do you have Stones from the past which weigh you down?

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. -Thich Nhat Hanh

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. –Lao Tzu

In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. –Deepak Chopra

Psalm 118: 24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons.

The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was, and he got up to leave but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But, before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But, before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Moral: God is everywhere. We just need to share our happiness and make others smile to feel him.

Source: https://www.moralstories.org/little-boys-meeting-with-god/

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Once upon a time, there was a small town. There lived a man by himself who couldn’t see. He was blind. Yet, he carried a lighted lamp with him whenever he went out at night.

One night as he was coming home after having a dinner outside, he came across a group of young travellers. They saw that he was blind, yet carrying a lighted lamp. They started passing comments on him and made a fun of him. One of them asked him, “Hey Man! You are blind and can’t see anything! Why do you carry the lamp then?!”

The blind man replied, “Yes, unfortunately, I am blind and I can’t see anything but a lighted lamp which I am carrying is for the people like you who can see. You may not see the blind man coming and end up pushing me. That is why I carry a lighted lamp”.

The group of travellers felt ashamed and apologized for their behaviour.

Moral: We should think before judging others. Always be polite and learn to see things from others point of view.

Source: https://www.moralstories.org/a-man-with-a-lamp/

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10 Encouragements

Think about this.

-There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

-At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

-The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they are jealous of you.

-A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

-Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.

-You mean the world to someone.

-You are special and unique.

-Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

-When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

-When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look.

Source: https://www.varietyreading.com/inspi.../10encouragements.php

"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. And be kinder than is necessary."

-Dalai Lama XIV

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APPRECIATING LIFE

Teacher was dying, but still he was cheerful and kind. Students were gathering around his deathbed.

– Ask. While I’m still here, I can help you somehow.

And he was showered with questions… The teacher listened to them and started crying.

– You ruined my feast, dear ones! Now I see that I was a bad mentor… Fine, I will try to fix it in the last minutes of my life.

And he said the following:

– Every morning I would wake up with a smile on my face.

I would meet the day, as though it was the first and the last day of my life and I would accept everything it offered me with gratitude.

I would be happy for every meeting with you, as though it was the first and the last meeting, and every time you would open to me as a new world.

I would pray as though it was my first and last prayer that God will hear from me – it was necessary not to forget anything or anyone.

I would work with pleasure and to exhaustion, as though I would never have to work again.

I would look with a smile of admiration at every creation of God, as though I saw them the first and the last time.

I would always live for that one day: I would live it right, as though it was the only day of my life.

I would wait for the meeting with the Creator so much that I did everything so I would be worthy of meeting Him.

Looking back at my Way, I would look for mistakes – but I could not find them.

Now it’s your turn to look.

Source: https://www.inspirationalstories.eu/inspirational.../

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The Miracle of Love

Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.

The new baby was going be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy’s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen, an active member of the the Creek United Methodist Church in Morristown, Tennessee, USA.

In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute. But serious complications arose during delivery and Karen found herself in hours of labor.

Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born. But she was in very serious condition. With a siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushed the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician had to tell the parents there was very little hope. Be prepared for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. They had fixed up a special room in their house for their new baby they found themselves having to plan for a funeral.

Michael, however, kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying.

Week two in intensive care looked as if a funeral would come before the week was over. Michael kept nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care.

Karen decided to take Michael whether they liked it or not. If he didn’t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive. She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into ICU. He looked like a walking laundry basket.

The head nurse recognized him as a child and bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now. No children are allowed.”

The mother rose up strong in Karen and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse’s eyes, her lips a firm line, “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister.”

Then Karen towed Michael to his sister’s bedside. He gazed at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. After a moment, he began tossing. In the pure-hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sang:

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray.”

Instantly the baby girl seemed to respond. The pulse rate began to calm down and became steady.

“Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen with tears in her eyes.

“You never know, dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten’s purr. “Keep on singing, sweetheart.”

“The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms”.

Michael’s little sister began to relax as rest, healing rest, seemed to sweep over her. “Keep singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

“You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don’t take my sunshine away…”

The next day,…the very next day…the little girl was well enough to go home.

Author Unknown

https://academictips.org/.../the-miracle-of-love-true-story/

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The loser who never gave up!

When he was a little boy his uncle called him “Sparky”, after a comic-strip horse named Spark Plug. School was all but impossible for Sparky.

He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of zero. He also flunked Latin, algebra and English. And his record in sports wasn’t any better. Though he did manage to make the school’s golf team, he promptly lost the only important match of the season. Oh, there was a consolation match; he lost that too.

Throughout his youth, Sparky was awkward socially. It wasn’t that the other students disliked him; it’s just that no one really cared all that much. In fact, Sparky was astonished if a classmate ever said hello to him outside of school hours. There’s no way to tell how he might have done at dating. He never once asked a girl out in high school. He was too afraid of being turned down… or perhaps laughed at. Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates… everyone knew it. So he learned to live with it. He made up his mind early that if things were meant to work out, they would. Otherwise he would content himself with what appeared to be his inevitable mediocrity.

One thing WAS important to Sparky, however — drawing. He was proud of his artwork. No one else appreciated it. But that didn’t seem to matter to him. In his senior year of high school, he submitted some cartoons to the the yearbook. The editors rejected the concept. Despite this brush-off, Sparky was convinced of his ability. He even decided to become an artist.

So, after completing high school, Sparky wrote Walt Disney Studios. They asked for samples of his artwork. Despite careful preparation, it too was rejected. One more confirmation that he was a loser.

But Sparky still didn’t give up. Instead, he decided to tell his own life’s story in cartoons. The main character would be a little boy who symbolized the perpetual loser and chronic underachiever. You know him well. Because Sparky’s cartoon character went on to become a cultural phenomenon of sorts. People readily identified with this “lovable loser.” He reminded people of the painful and embarrassing moments from their own past, of their pain and their shared humanity. The character soon became famous worldwide: “Charlie Brown.” And Sparky, the boy whose many failures never kept him from trying, whose work was rejected again and again,… is the highly successful cartoonist Charles Schultz. His cartoon strip, “Peanuts,” continues to inspire books, T-shirts and Christmas specials, reminding us, as someone once commented, that life somehow finds a way for all of us, even the losers.

Sparky’s story reminds us of a very important principle in life. We all face difficulty and discouragement from time to time. We also have a choice in how we handle it. If we’re persistent, if we hold fast to our faith, if we continue to develop the unique talents God has given us, who knows what can happen? We may end up with an insight and an ability to inspire that comes only through hardship. In the end, there are no “losers” with God. Some winners just take longer to develop!

By CAPT J. David Atwater, CHC, USN

Source: https://academictips.org/blogs/the-loser-who-never-gave-up/

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The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. A little boy had the job of coming to school early each day to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived.

One morning they arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. They dragged the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die – which was for the best, really – for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.

But the brave boy didn’t want to die. He made up his mind that he would survive. Somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive. When the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body, it would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a lifetime cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs.

Once more the brave boy made up his mind. He would not be a cripple. He would walk. But unfortunately from the waist down, he had no motor ability. His thin legs just dangled there, all but lifeless.

Ultimately he was released from the hospital. Every day his mother would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet his determination that he would walk was as strong as ever.

When he wasn’t in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One sunny day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. This day, instead of sitting there, he threw himself from the chair. He pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him.

He worked his way to the white picket fence bordering their lot. With great effort, he raised himself up on the fence. Then, stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk. He started to do this every day until he wore a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. There was nothing he wanted more than to develop life in those legs.

Ultimately through his daily massages, his iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability to stand up, then to walk haltingly, then to walk by himself – and then – to run.

He began to walk to school, then to run to school, to run for the sheer joy of running. Later in college he made the track team.

Still later in Madison Square Garden this young man who was not expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run – this determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham, ran the world’s fastest mile**!

**On June 16, 1934, Glenn Cunningham ran the mile in 4:06.8 minutes, breaking the world’s record. His effort portrays that whatever you want to create in your life is yours for the making. As long as you desire it enough and allow your will to guide you, you can have and be whatever your heart desires. The only one that can put limits on our personal will is ourselves. Develop and encourage your will to create and all the forces of nature within and without will help you bring your desire to pass.

Source: https://academictips.org/.../the-power-of-determination.../

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Kid's Love

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?"

The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. My grandfather does it for her all the time, even after his hands got arthritis too. That's love."

Rebecca - age 8

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."

Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other."

Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your french fries without making them give you any of theirs."

Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."

Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him to make sure the taste is okay."

Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss."

Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate."

Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."

Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."

Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore."

Cindy - age 8

"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."

Clare - Age 6

"Love is when mommy gives daddy the best piece of chicken."

Elaine - age 6

"Love is when mommy sees daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."

Chris - age 7

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."

Mary Ann - age 4

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."

Lauren - age 4

"I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So I pick on my baby sister because I love her."

Bethany - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."

Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."

Jessica - age 8

Source: https://www.varietyreading.com/inspirational.../kidslove.php

Matthew 18:1-5

King James Version

18 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

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An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. 'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?' 'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.' For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.' Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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No Cause to Blush

~From Faith's Checkbook Daily Devotions by C. H. Spurgeon.

Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed. (Isaiah 54.4)

We shall not be ashamed of our faith. Carping critics may assail the Scriptures upon which we ground our belief, but every year the Lord will make it more and more clear that in His Book there is no error, no excess, and no omission. It is no discredit to be a simple believer; the faith which looks alone to Jesus is a crown of honor on any man's head and better than a star on his breast.

We shall not be ashamed of our hope. It shall be even as the Lord has said. We shall be fed, led, blest, and rested. Our Lord will come, and then the days of our mourning shall be ended. How we shall glory in the Lord who first gave us lively hope and then gave us that which we hoped for!

We shall not be ashamed of our love. Jesus is to us the altogether lovely, and never, never, shall we have to blush because we have yielded our hearts to Him. The sight of our glorious Well-beloved will justify the most enthusiastic attachment to Him. None will blame the martyrs for dying for Him. When the enemies of Christ are clothed with everlasting contempt, the lovers of Jesus shall find themselves honored by all holy beings, because they chose the reproach of Christ rather than the treasures of Egypt.

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I was born into music. My father, Aldon, had the most beautiful solo singing voice and was lead singer of a four-part southern Gospel quartet which they called the Bow-Tie Quartet. My mother was the pianist and dad and three of our cousins Leroy, Doris, and Harley Maymon began singing around 1948. That impacted my life greatly!

So I naturally savored songs like this one by Joan Baez:

"No man is an island,

No man stands alone,

Each man's joy is joy to me,

Each man's grief is my own. . .

We need one another

So I will defend,

Each man as my brother

Each man as my friend",

as well as,

Garth Brook's

"Sometimes late at night

I lie awake and watch her sleeping,

She's lost in peaceful dreams

So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark.

And the thought crosses my mind,

If I never wake up in the morning,

Would she ever doubt the way I feel

About her in my heart?

If tomorrow never comes,

Will she know how much I loved her?

Did I try in every way,

To show her every day,

That she's my only one;

If my time on earth were through

And she must face the world without me,

Is the love I gave her in the past

Gonna be enough to last

If tomorrow never comes?"

Lyrics like these bring back to me the importance of my expressing my deep abiding love and gratitude for each member of my family, for friends who have become dear to me wherever they may live, for those people who have impacted my life, those who are new friends or old on Facebook, my good neighbors, others in the communities where I live, and for my love for America and the freedoms it offers me.

I think it is very important that we tell people what is in our hearts, and not let the moments slip by and eventually have bitter regrets for not having done so!

It is also very important for every person who calls himself Christian, to stand up and publicly declare that he or she believes and follows Jesus Christ.

As for me, the one thing that I am most grateful for is that,

"I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."

~3rd Nephi 2:97, The Book of Mormon, a second witness of Jesus Christ.

I believe The Book of Mormon is one of the books that the Apostle John wrote about in John 21:25 "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

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Into every life some rain will fall, God sends the rain upon the just and the unjust alike.

Rain falling may be an inconvenience to some, may postpone some things that we really want to do, but in reality rain sustains life, and it brings forth New Life. Rain, I believe, is a type for God's love and his goodness toward us and the yearning that He has for us to live and live abundantly.

Some positive rain has come into my life with the receiving of a nebulizer and plenty of Albuterol to treat my laboring lungs. Four treatments a day will surely help me to breathe more freely and easier.

My morning was progressing well, my breathing treatment done, my breakfast plate prepared, my time of meditation and prayer enjoyed, and then some rain that was not as good fell upon me. My son-in-law Bruce, JoAnna's husband, is back in centerpoint hospital. JoAnna took him in the night with pressure and chest pain.

I ask you to pray that our Heavenly Father's will for Bruce will come to pass, in God's time not ours and that we will have patience to wait upon the Lord.

Listen to this meditation from Soulspace. http://soulspace.co/grow/d2103000e

 

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Let my heart be sound in thy statues: that I be not ashamed. - Ps 119:80

We may regard this inspired prayer as containing within itself the assurance that those who keep close to the Word of God shall never have cause to be ashamed of doing so.

See, the prayer is for soundness of heart. A sound creed is good, a sound judgment concerning it is better, but a sound heart toward the truth is best of all. We must love the truth, feel the truth, and obey the truth, otherwise we are not truly sound in God’s statutes. Are there many in these evil days who are sound? Oh, that the writer and the reader may be two of this sort!

Many will be ashamed in the last great day, when all disputes will be decided. Then they will see the folly of their inventions and be filled with remorse because of their proud infidelity and willful defiance of the Lord; but he who believed what the Lord taught and did what the Lord commanded will stand forth justified in what he did. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun. Men much slandered and abused shall find their shame turned into glory in that day.

Let us pray the prayer of our text, and we may be sure that its promise will be fulfilled to us. If the Lord makes us sound, He will keep us safe.   Charles Spurgeon

 

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Problems usually don't resolve in a half hour. Life doesn't always give us a satisfying result. The good guy doesn't always win. The hero doesn't always save the day. Even the pizza doesn't always get delivered on time and hot. Life doesn't always make perfect sense. When we judge whether something worked out badly, we are probably judging in the short term and ignoring the long term lessons and benefits that may actually be of greater importance. For example, when I found out I was a compulsive over-eater, I was crushed at first. But now I realize that I needed to see my powerlessness over food to practice a recovery program that has improved my life better than I could have imagined. God has done for me what I could never do for myself! Peace of mind gives us sobriety, abstinence, and serenity. Imperfect judgmentalism can threaten that peace.

To do: Today I will not judge a result as being good or bad. Instead I will trust that my God has the situation well under control. I will not expect problems to resolve in a half hour. I will not expect life to resemble a T.V. show.

~SoberTool

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D. &C. Sec 138:3b "Barriers and hindrances to the achievement of this goal (Zion) should be removed as speedily as possible and practicable."

John 11:39 "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days."

Jesus Christ, the Chief cornerstone, is my only hope for my salvation and my well being even in the midst of adversity.

-Psa 4:5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.

-Psa 7:1 O Lord my God, in thee do I put my trust; save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me.

Psa 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

-Psa 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psa 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

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Problems never end, But Solutions Never end either!

Stay positive. If your brain keeps thinking "my God, as soon as one problem ends, another starts!" Or if your brain cries, "This problem will never end!" Then, substitute those negative thoughts with "Problems do end! Just not on my schedule." Problems resolve or dissolve. There is always a solution. Often, the solution is simple: acceptance and letting go!

SERENITY MANTRA:

THREE GREAT REASONS FOR LEARNING TO LET GO

Whenever you're confronted with a problem, concern, or worry and need to let go, repeat these three simple truths. They will put you in the right frame of mind for dealing with any struggle. I suggest you write them down on the back of a business card. Whenever you find your mind spinning with reflexive, insecure thinking, read the truths. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like:

1. I will let life unfold.

There are obstacles but no dead ends.

Rather than dead ends, a more apt perception would be bottlenecks. What feels to be hopeless is only a distortion created by insecurity. Keep in mind that insecurity will own you if it can convince you things are hopeless.

2. I trust that my instinctsand intuition will serve me.

When the path is unknown or murky and you find yourself bogged down with congested over thinking, it ís time for a risk. Things can happen, shift, and change, but only if you stop your bottleneck thinking.

3. Every problem has a solution,and sometimes I have to wait for an answer.

Part of risking is the rational understanding that every problem has a solution. Just because you don't know or can't see the answer don't think it doesn't exist, only that it's beyond your view. With a willingness to trust, you put yourself in the best possible position to create the life you want. As you practice the Serenity Mantra it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved to date? One thousand? Fifty thousand? Somehow you've managed to survive, to figure out, solve, get around, under, or over every obstacle. Right? Every crisis eventually becomes history and you move on.What makes you think that today's worries will be any different.

~Dr. Joseph J. Luciani

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The Fable of the Two Wolves (of the Cherokee Indians)

One day a young Cherokee Indian came up to his grandfather for advice. Moments before, one of his friends had committed an injustice against the young man, and in his anger the Indian decided to seek the wise counsel of that old man. The old Indian looked deep into his grandson's eyes and said, "I too, my grandson, sometimes feel great hatred of those who commit injustice without feeling any regret for what they did. But hatred erodes those who feel it, and never hurts the enemy. It's like taking poison, wishing the enemy to die. " The young man continued to stare, surprised, and his grandfather continued: "Several times I struggled against these feelings. It's as if there were two wolves inside me. One of them is good and does not hurt. He lives in harmony with everyone around him and is not offended. He only struggles when he has to, and in a straight line. " "But the other wolf ... This is full of anger. The most insignificant thing is capable of causing him a terrible fit of rage. He fights with everyone, all the time, for no reason. His anger and hatred are very great, and so he does not measure the consequences of his acts. It is a futile rage, because anger will not change anything. Sometimes it is difficult to live with these two wolves inside me, for they both try to dominate my spirit. "

The boy looked intently into his grandfather's eyes and asked, "And which one wins?" To which the grandfather smiled and replied softly, "The one I feed." Every day we are dying, but we are also living every day. Perception changes everything! Which of the two feelings do you emphasize? Which of the two wolves do you feed?

I have a bad wolf growing more fiercely inside my lungs. Today and tomorrow and every day of my life, that God gives, I have to choose whether I will feel, follow and give power to the good wolf of acceptance and love for myself or this vicious bad wolf which seeks to take my life.

I saw my pulmonologist yesterday and this bronchiectasis that has beset me is definitely a bad wolf. My doctor says that the disease is incurable and progressive but there are things that I can do now which will help me breathe easier. I have confidence in my doctor when says "be hopeful, WE will manage this disease, and get you to a better point where you can breathe more easily, be more active, have less coughing, less wheezing, less shortness of breath and more strength."

I want to live that better life, I do not want this bad wolf to snuff out my life and my testimony of Jesus Christ!

I will do whatever I must to feed the good wolf and I will praise God for it all!

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THE TRUTH OF SUFFERING:

There is no way to avoid suffering here on Earth. There is too much conflict, change, illness, weather calamities, financial disasters, natural disasters, family disasters, etc. to argue that SUFFERING IS UNAVOIDABLE.

SERENITY IS POSSIBLE IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING. Serenity occurs when we stop lying to ourselves, ACCEPT the truth of suffering, and find a good PURPOSE for tolerating the suffering. Practicing addicts respond to the truth of suffering incorrectly. They think they can escape inescapable suffering by practicing their addiction, whatever that addiction might be. Or, they think accomplishments and rewards will give them serenity.

Or they think they can control the uncontrollable World to avoid unavoidable suffering.

They think they can move to an island, they think they can buy a pretty car, eat ice cream, they think they can pay bills or hoard money, they think they can get married or divorced, etc. ALL OF THIS ONLY LEADS TO MORE SUFFERING.

The only way to serenity is through ACCEPTING the suffering and finding good PURPOSE in the suffering.

What is a good purpose? Good purpose (as opposed to bad purpose which leads to more suffering) is often altruistic, either in the sense of not wanting to hurt someone else but also wanting to help them. It could also arise through creating something or through service to some just cause.

Source: SoberTool

Living the Serenity Prayer is always the best policy.

"God grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

God always has a better way!

Philippians 4:8, KJV: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things."

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Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- 3 "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."

I am blessed to remember my parents, today particularly my mother.

I have created a website as a book of remembrance for my family and friends. On it is a page giving the history of the RLDS/Community of Christ church in Byrneville, my birthplace. On this page:
https://favoritewebsites.educatorpages.com/…/the-byrneville…
You can read about my mother Alma Louise Byrn Utz.

To honor "Mom", which is something that I do every day, I share some of her poems:

BYRNEVILLE REFLECTIONS
from Alma Louise Byrn Utz

“Symphony in White”

Lacy white fingers against a blue sky,
Nature’s own artwork sent down from on high.
Tall, dark green cedars, shimmering white,
Covered with diamonds, fragile and bright.
Enchanted skaters on the mill pond below,
Its mirrored surfaces embanked now with snow.
Snowy white flakes, drifting slowly to rest,
Lightly as feathers, on nature’s own breast.
Shimmering, glistening, sparkling bright,
The mantle of winter brings joy and delight.
©1950 Alma Louise Utz

“Our Baby”

Sugar and spices from faraway lands,
Squeezed tightly as treasures in baby’s wee hands.
Gooey brown chocolate, so yummy and sweet,
Covers our baby, her head and her feet.
Sticky but happy, she coos with delight;
God, please bless our baby, and make her days bright.
©1950 Alma Louise Utz

“Long Day Darlin’”

Close your eyes, my wee one, stars now shine on high,
While your loving mummy, sings your night-time lullaby.
It’s been such a long day, darlin’, for such a little girl;
It’s been such a bad day, darlin’, first Johnny pulled your curl.
Next you dropped your dolly, broke your curly sheep;
Then you cried your heart out, until you went to sleep.
But when Linda shouted, “Here’s a big surprise”,
“Wanna see s’prise”, said our baby, opening wide her sleepy eyes.
Now the night has come at last, and the day is through.
Close your eyes, my wee one, Mummy’s watching you.
As you drift to dreamland, May the God above,
Set His Angels round you, Shield you with His love.
©1950 Alma Louise Utz

“Mummy, Can I”

Through the dark stillness of nighttime, Comes the patter of tiny feet
And a whisper comes with the footsteps, So soft, so gentle, and sweet.
Mummy, can I get in your bed?” I’ll hear it throughout the long years,
And wish it were always so easy, to comfort a little one’s fears.
For before I can tuck in my blanket, Ore that tiny pajama-clad form,
My baby has gone back to dreamland, securely protected from harm.
If in these dark times of disaster, The world in its sorrow and strife,
Would turn as a child to its mother,
Seeking comfort from Him who gives life.
The voice that o’er Galilee answered: “Be not afraid”, I am near,
Would bring peace and comfort and beauty
to a world lost in darkness and fear.
©1950 Alma Louise Utz

{Editor’s Comment: These poems are treasured memorials to my mother who in her humility and meekness only signed them Jan. 31, 1950, Alma Louise Utz, Route 3, Georgetown, Indiana}

I love you Mom,
I treasure you!
Your memory lives on in my ❤️!

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This weighs heavily on me today:

Psalms 89:31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. 35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah.

Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: 11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 13 Thou shalt not kill. 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. 15 Thou shalt not steal. 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour's. 18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God [was]. 22 And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. 23 Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. 24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. 25 And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. 26 Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.

Exodus 34:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. . .4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone. . . 27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Ten Commandments
You shall have no other gods before Me.
You shall make no idols.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet.

Several versions of the Ten Commandments are here:
https://lifehopeandtruth.com/…/the-te…/10-commandments-list/

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In very trying times, it is easy to forget that God is still in control and that He has a plan for each one of us. We get bogged down in the details of our life and we forget to look at all of the good that is all around us, wherever we are. The world wide web and the internet have given us a key to the beauties of this world and what an Awesome God, Our God Really Is! ❤️

The Most Beautiful Flower Garden in the World, Without People

This is an interesting trip through gardens in The Netherlands (closed to the public but this photographer made arrangements to take pictures there - no people -) they are beautiful
https://petapixel.com/…/the-most-beautiful-flower-garden-i…/

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To get exercise, I downloaded a pedometer to my phone. This allows me to track my steps, calculates how far in miles, kilocalories burned and time elapsed.

Today, I was inspired with an idea which allows me get more spirituality into my walking. I have a 30 ft by 5 ft balcony on my 5th floor apartment.

Rather than walking back and forth like a caged tiger, I started walking in a figure 8 pattern which is the infinity symbol. You can see the pattern I follow here: https://images.app.goo.gl/t1SWDs6dy5EJkJTS8

This pattern reminds me every step I take of God's great love ❤️and of my opportunities to live and be of service within His Will. His Will is always wiser and more suited to the gifts and talents He has given me than anything I could ever think of doing.

Today I walked 1200 steps, 3300 in the last 2 days which is .93 mile, in 23 minutes total for 2 days. Not too shabby for balcony walking, and it gave me the gift of a precious 23 minutes with God!

❤️ Our God Is
An Awesome God!❤️

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This pandemic has caused several negative personal things to occur. One of those is being forced to withdraw from rather than to physically respond to friends. Some have found other ways to reach out and connect, some cannot do even that. Some have given up in their frustration and simply withdrawn from everyone. Many of these have allowed their minds to convince them that they don't need a friend. They think they can do it by themselves.

My poem published in 2012, aptly describes why we all need friends.

"Needing A Friend"
How often do people wend,
not realizing how incomplete
they are without a friend,
that sharing makes life replete.

Life often finds a way of numbingus to the realities of our need,
with its disease and faulty plumbing, friends who'll stand with us are rare indeed.

Can you go through life alonewithout the comfort of a friend?
Yes, of course, but you'll often bemoan, a life too empty to comprehend.

Many people come, but often leave,without forming a lasting connection.
We are caused to surmise and believe that what they feared was rejection.

Most people know without being taught, that needing a friend is realized by being one.
Only those who are troubled and distraught, refuse friendship's nurture, help and fun.

Needs are many, but true friends are few, and one wonders why men continue to suffer,
the uncertainties of life and misconstrue, not realizing life lived alone is so much tougher.

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"Principle of the Sundial."

Have you ever seen a sundial? It is basically a disk with recorded hours and a pin fixed perpendicular to it. When the sun's rays fall on the sundial, a shadow projects on the disk's surface, thus, indicating the hour. Logically, without the Sun, you can't see time on the sundial. There are sundials that bear the following inscription on their disc: "I record only hours when the sun shines." We can also record only the hours when the sun is shining - and I call this the "way of living according to the principle of the sundial." Dear friend, if you want to make your life, a "sacred" place, do your best to "record only the radiant hours," that is, decide to remember and speak only of joyful and happy moments; use the creative power of the word to express joy. This is the secret of happiness. If all of humanity starts living according to the "principle of the sundial" registering only good, happy and positive thoughts, and expelling unpleasant recordings, sad thoughts or dark imaginations, glad tidings will fill this world! Why is it that many people remember and express only unhappiness, annoyances, hatred, jealousy, humiliation, etc., all which lead to alienation? It is due to ignorance of the "mental law of happiness" and the "creative power of the Word." These people need to learn they manifest everything they think and say; they need to realize that unhappiness grows when they are fixated on negativity. Our “mental memory” is like a vehicle, possessed of a variety of passengers: the handsome cowboys, the beautiful ballerinas, the drunks emitting the unbearable odor of alcohol with a body full of sores. But we don't have to obsess on the unpleasant passengers. We can filter the "records" from our "mental archive." We can focus on the positive. What is the use of keeping sadness in your heart? What is the use of remembering how you suffered? The world benefits not from your being discouraged recalling your failures. Sadness, failures - these are all useless baggage. Expel this baggage as you would a thief. When your mind seems stuck with unpleasant thoughts, or you feel overwhelmed by fear, anger, jealousy or a desire for revenge, your mind is being assaulted by patterns you have created which only rob you of the treasure of happiness. If a thief comes into your house to steal, even if it is just a pair of shoes, you want to expel him, do you not? So expel from your mind the thieves of hatred, resentment and other negativities which steal from you joy.

TO DO: Let this moment be a mental cleansing. Be like a "sundial", that you record and manifest only the bright hours. Unload the baggage that has accumulated in your mind. Abandon fear and negativity to get rid of melancholy and boredom, and live only the shining moments of the Sun.

~SoberTool Website (https://www.sobertool.com)      SoberTool App (http://play.google.com/store/apps/details…)

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Today, another great Lord's day, I very much enjoyed this meditation:
"In God I Trust and am not Afraid"
A Guided ..." via web: http://christianmeditationpodcast.com/226-in-god-i-trust-an…

Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

Ruth 2:12 The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

I grew up listening to my father sing Trust and Obey:
"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we'll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Oh, Trust and obey, for there's no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And 'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word; Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!" Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er; Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust Him more! Oh, for grace to trust You more!

Source: Musixmatch

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My worship and meditation this morning was based on prayer and watching Gaither Videos on YouTube. I have no words to express the joy that I am experiencing from listening to the Gaither Vocal Band, to Sandy Patty and to Larnelle Harris.

Be sure to skip any ads.

Worthy The Lamb:
https://youtu.be/3i0bAr7--kM

More Than Wonderful:
https://youtu.be/SRTwUvZG5a0

I've Just Seen Jesus:
https://youtu.be/_yLgtd_kkxw

But God:
https://youtu.be/Ikcp-08gMFM

Psalm 29:2 KJV — Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

John 4:23 KJV — But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

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A good meditation for today: http://christianmeditationpodcast.com/223-free-form-christi…

Quotes about focusing on God:

“What consumes your mind controls your life.”

“Don’t focus on your adversaries. Focus on God’s possibilities.”

“True faith is keeping your eyes on God when the world around you is falling apart.”

“Instead of thinking about how hard the test is, we can instead focus on asking the Lord to enlarge our understanding.” Crystal McDowell

“The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” John MacArthur

“When you fix your thoughts on God, God fixes your thoughts.”

“Focus on God, not your problem. Listen to God, not your insecurities. Rely on God, not your own strength.”

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A new meaning to physical flexibility is illustrated by Christina Garcia:
https://youtu.be/3PktAC7GZtM

I could never dream to be that physically flexible. I can, however, be flexible in my emotional and spiritual life. It is important for me to be flexible, to be able to adapt to all situations that life presents. A good way to do that, to make the changes necessary, is simply to Let Go and Let God.

Early in my life I suffered greatly from inflexibility. I so wanted just one change, one universal change, which applied in every situation. The thought of having to change frightened me because I feared I would make a mistake. I thought to please God I could never make a mistake, and If I made a mistake I could not be perfect. I thought that meant the God could not love me. This habit of "stinking thinking" nearly devastated my life.

It is one of the great miracles of my life that in recent years I have learned not only how to change and adapt, but to do it in healthy ways, by accepting God's love, His forgiveness and His grace. God, once again, has done for me what I could never do for myself!

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A boy saw a man threatening to jump from a bridge. On one side of the man was an angel and on the other side a devilish imp. The little angel adavently tried to convince the suicidal man not to jump, but the little devil remained silent. Curious, the boy asked the imp why it did not try to persuade the man to jump? He replied with a subtle smile "He's in doubt, he's on the fence, he's already mine ..."

This is why we are told in Revelations 3:16 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."

I always have a choice, sometimes I choose well and it is within God's will, sometimes I don't and I let my will overcome me.

My prayer for all of us today is to choose wisely. To ask God for what we should be doing and what we should be thinking and then do it.

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I like How To Pray by R. A. Torrey (1856-1928) very much. There are great Bible teachings in it:
https://www.biblebb.com/files/prayer-torrey.htm

I have prayed and felt that my prayers have bounced off the ceiling, or were not answered. Torrey teaches 7 Hindrances to prayer.

1. The first hindrance to prayer we will find in James 4:3, "Ye ask and receive not BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, THAT YE MAY SPEND IT IN YOUR PLEASURES."

2. The second hindrance to prayer we find in Is. 59:1,2: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, and YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR."...

3. The third hindrance to prayer is found in Ez. 14:3, "Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?" (R.V.) IDOLS IN THE HEART CAUSE GOD TO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS.

4. The fourth hindrance to prayer is found in Prov. 21:13, "WHOSO STOPPETH HIS EARS AT THE CRY OF THE POOR, HE ALSO SHALL CRY HIMSELF, BUT SHALL NOT BE HEARD."

5. The fifth hindrance to prayer is found in Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, FORGIVE, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

6. The sixth hindrance to prayer is found in 1_Peter 3:7, "Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered." (R.V.) Here we are plainly told that A WRONG RELATION BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE IS A HINDRANCE TO PRAYER.

7. The seventh hindrance to prayer is found in James 1:5-7, "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask IN FAITH, NOTHING DOUBTING: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." (R.V.)

Prayers are hindered by unbelief. God demands that we shall believe His Word absolutely. To question it is to make Him a liar. Many of us do that when we plead His promises, and is it any wonder that our prayers are not answered? How many prayers are hindered by our wretched unbelief! We go to God and ask Him for something that is positively promised in His Word, and then we do not more than half expect to get it. "Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."

"One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things,
but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord."

Thy Will, not mine, be done.
Not me but God through me!

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My brother, Keith's post, inspired me to focus upon prayer, certainly a necessity. Here are several wonderful prayers available on the web and in the Holy Scriptures:

"God, who is more than we can ever comprehend, help us to seek you,
and you alone. Help us to stand before all that we could do and seek what you would do, and do that. Lift from us our need to achieve all that we can be
and instead, surrender to what you can be in us. Give us ways to refrain from the busyness
that will put us on edge and off center, give us today your peace."
- Author Unknown

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/23-short-prayers.html

https://www.crosswalk.com/…/a-prayer-for-spiritual-warfare.…

https://christianstt.com/5-warfare-prayers-to-start-your-d…/

https://www.worldvision.org/…/keys-powerful-prayer-life-2020

https://www.xavier.edu/…/onli…/prayer-index/calmness-prayers

https://www.kevinhalloran.net/the-apostle-pauls-prayers-in…/

https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com/…/seven-basic-steps…

I also pray 3 of the many 12 Step Recovery Prayers:
https://www.aacle.org/twelve-step-prayers/

Third Step Prayer

God,
I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
That victory over them may bear witness To those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life, May I do Thy will always!

Fourth Step Prayer

Dear God,
It is I who has made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine &
I will begin a searching & fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs But I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task.

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator,
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
Which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding.

My pray now and always is
"Thy Will Father, not mine, Be Done!"

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“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.

"Each day is a rich and precious gift from God, with new grace and new
“For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.” Deuteronomy 30:11.
“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments…” Deuteronomy 30:14-16."
From https://activechristianity.org/for-this-is-the-day-the-lord…

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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
~Søren Kierkegaard

Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
~Charles Dickens

"Be a Reflection of Jesus
Walking with Him each new day,
Following Father’s sure guidance
Joyfully living His Way.
As a Reflection of Jesus
Walk in His light from above,
Calling on others “ come follow”
Bask in His life-giving Love.
This is our calling in Zion
To be its cause is our gift,
God calls us all to press onward
Trusting His Son for uplift.
The call to Zion still beckons
Each must reap while the day lasts,
The field is white for the harvest
Night comes when all labor’s past.
Night comes when all labor’s past."
©2019 John Aldon Utz (March 2-3)

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Our lives are full of stress from the coronavirus and many other issues, and more often than not, people feel it physically as well as mentally.

Although the stress response begins in the brain, it is a full-body phenomenon. When someone encounters a threat — real or imagined — the brain triggers a cascade of stress hormones. The heart pounds, muscles tense, and breathing quickens.

One of the best ways to counter stress is to pay attention to what is going on. That may sound counterintuitive, but paying attention is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness — a therapeutic technique for a range of mental health problems (and physical ones).
https://www.health.harvard.edu/he…/focus-more-to-ease-stress

We have to make a sustained effort, again and again, to cultivate the positive aspects within us.

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If we ever needed a Sanity Poem it is for living in these days. Here is a good one:

The Sanity Poem

Not all wrong, not all right.
Life is seldom black or white.
In the now, on we go,
Fearing not win, place or show.
Not all good, not all bad.
Judgment only makes me mad.
Never perfect, not all-knowing.
Little by little, constantly growing.
Not better than, not worse.
Constantly comparing is a curse.
Loving detachment lets me be.
Understanding, not resentment, sets me free.
Not my will, not my way,
My Higher Power saves my day.
With gratitude, perspective, and flexible plans,
God holds me safe in his everlasting hands.

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I focus upon my Lord Jesus Christ today with a poem I published in 2012.

Seeking the Lord

The scripture says, Seek the Lord, if you are willing to find Him,
being willing to give what you can afford so the community's witness will not dim.
The Kingdom is within, the Lord has said, there is no need for us to look without;
Can we not this day make Him our head, rather than languish in fear and doubt?
"Be still and know that I am God"is the key to unlocking Christ's door, pray we greet Him with praise and laud and receive the blessings He has in store.
Prayer, work, and study all help to set us free, to choose to love and live a life of praise;
Giving heart and soul to others helps us see, our Lord Jesus Christ in all our ways.

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This truly is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. One of the tools that I use and count upon in my Christian walk is called The Four C's:

I am powerless over people, places, things and situations.
I did not CAUSE them to be as they are, I cannot CONTROL them and I cannot CURE (or fix) them if I think they are broken.
The only power I have in this life is over MYSELF and MY ATTITUDE. Sometimes there is a 4th C which stands for CONTRIBUTION. If you are able to interact with people, places, things and situations what is your Contribution to them going to be? Will it be toward a Solution or will you add to the problem that already exists.

I invite you to be problem solvers with me!

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I have benefited from many "Check-Ups from the Neck-Up" in my life. Isolation has caused some people problems to surface, particularly in families living in the same home. Linus speaks of this:
"I love mankind...it's *people* I can't stand." -Linus Van Pelt.

Though I now live alone, I remember many of the lessons I learned over the years. I had some great teachers even mentors I never met except through their words. These come to mind:

"Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." -Don Miguel Ruiz

See Also https://www.elephantjournal.com/…/a-recap-of-the-5-agreeme…/

These are words that I live by and depend upon everyday:
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake."
~ page 417. Volume 4 Big Book, " Alcoholics Anonymous"
"There are no accidents... there is only some purpose that we haven't yet
understood." ~ Deepak Chopra, M.D.
It seems almost too simple to be true, but acceptance -- accepting things exactly as they are -- can be the key that unlocks the door to happiness. After John 3:16, it may be one of the most quoted passages in literature.

THREE GREAT REASONS FOR LEARNING TO LET GO
Whenever you're confronted with a problem, concern, or worry and need to let go, repeat these three simple truths. They will put you in the right frame of mind for dealing with any struggle. I suggest you write them down on the back of a business card. Whenever you find your mind spinning with reflexive, insecure thinking, read the truths. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1. I will let life unfold.
There are obstacles but no dead ends. Rather than dead ends, a more apt perception would be bottlenecks. What feels to be hopeless is only a distortion created by insecurity. Keep in mind that insecurity will own you if it can convince you things are hopeless.

2. I trust that my instincts and intuition will serve me.
When the path is unknown or murky and you find yourself bogged down with congested over thinking, it ís time for a risk. Things can happen, shift, and change, but only if you stop your bottleneck thinking.

3. Every problem has a solution, and sometimes I have to wait for an answer.
Part of risking is the rational understanding that every problem has a solution. Just because you don't know or can't see the answer don't think it doesn't exist, only that it's beyond your view. With a willingness to trust, you put yourself in the best possible position to create the life you want. As you practice the Serenity Mantra it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved to date? One thousand? Fifty thousand? Somehow you've managed to survive, to figure out, solve, get around, under, or over every obstacle. Right? Every crisis eventually becomes history and you move on. What makes you think that today's worries will be any different.
~Dr. Joseph J. Luciani

"As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten--a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away…" ~Helen Keller

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” –Victor Frankl

4 A's: Attention ⇒ Awareness ⇒ Acceptance ⇒ Action
When we pay Attention, we can become Aware and that makes Acceptance possible for us which can lead us into taking positive appropriate Actions.

2 B's: Breathe & Believe
Breathing deeply brings a sense of well-being which makes it easier to believe that everything will turn out for the best. Breathe in God and Breathe out Peace.

4 C's: Cause, Control, Cure & Contribute
We must accept that we did not Cause others to be as they are, we certainly can not Control their behavior nor can we Cure them of their malady, but we can contribute our experience, strength and hope for our good and theirs.
See other insights at: https://recoveryquestions.educatorpages.com/…/insights-i-ha…

Dalai Lama XIV Quotations:
“Love is the absence of judgment.”
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

“Silence is sometimes the best answer”
“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
Source: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/dalai-lama-quotes

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"Worries and anxiety about COVID-19 and its impact can be overwhelming. Social distancing makes it even more challenging. Learn ways to cope during this pandemic." https://www.mayoclinic.org/…/mental-health-cov…/art-20482731

https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/…/mayo-clinic-qa-podcas…/

"Everyone responds to stressful situations differently. For some people, minimizing the significance of an event is their way of coping. While this can be frustrating and scary for both their safety and yours, try to stay calm and not judge them for the way they are coping with the situation. Share why you are concerned. Let them know that this situation is scary for you and if they don’t take steps to protect themselves and the rest of the family, that’s creating extra anxiety for you. Keep sharing your feelings. Make it about how you’re feeling and not about what they are or aren’t doing." https://www.webmd.com/…/how-can-i-help-my-loved-ones-take-t…

To cope with my quarantine and isolation, I begin my days with a Christian Meditation. I sometimes use an app on my phone called Recenter with Christ, http://christianmeditationpodcast.com

And occasionally I use the Centering Prayer App: http://www.centeringprayer.com
There are also many other ways you can meditate.

I Pray and I don’t just limit myself to one way to pray. https://www.beliefnet.com/…/pr…/2009/10/21-ways-to-pray.aspx
https://www.prayerandpossibilities.com/prayer-methods-pray…/

I Work My 12 Step Program to Recover from Compulsive Eating. See www.ceahow.org

I Play My Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer:
https://favoritewebsites.educatorpages.com/…/mountain-dulci…

I occasionally enjoy a movie, usually inspirational, instructional or motivational:
https://brotherjohn.educatorpages.com/…/on-thoughts-and-thi…
https://corebeliefsmatter.educatorpages.com/…/spend-time-do…

I Build and Maintain Websites: https://favoritewebsites.educatorpages.com

I Write and Maintain Gratitude Lists:
https://brotherjohnpoetminstrelmuse.webs.com/gratitude

https://helps4compulsiveeaters.educatorpages.com/…/cultivat…

I don’t do all of these things everyday, but I always gratefully begin and end each day with God and pray through out the day "Thy Will Not Mine Be Done."

I encourage you, my friends, to find your own ways to be anxiously involved in good things. Busy minds, hearts, and hands will help keep us focused and away from worrying about the virus threat but upon what is really important; Staying in and staying safe, loving family and friends and reaching out in service as we are reasonably able.

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Matthew 9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

I hope I can enjoy that level of faith, that is my desire. I have my several struggles, with health and with negativity, but I know my coping with stresses like Covid-19 and having a peace filled life is always dependent upon my reaching out to Jesus Christ.

I take great comfort from this Elvis song and video:
https://youtu.be/2LBZVFbFJko

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Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

I am happy in my Lord Jesus Christ for I know Easter comes every day that I remember Him, study, reflect and live His Words. Jesus truly is the author and finisher of my faith and by His Grace offers me forgiveness and salvation for my soul. What have I too fear? These are important acronyms to remember about fear:
FEAR - False Evidence Appearing Real
FEAR - Face Everything and Rise
FEAR - For Everything a Reason
FEAR - Feeling Excited and Ready
FEAR - Finding Excuses and Reasons
FEAR - Fear Expressed Allows Relief

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

I/we must express our fears but have the courage to not give them power to control us; we must not allow them to occupy our minds, but we Let them go like leaves floating down a stream and replace them with renewed faith, trust and reliance in Jesus Christ. Jesus promises the Comforter, the Holy Ghost to those who believe and come to Him. When we fully rely on God, He fights our battles for us, For He is Greater!

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

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When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,
if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.
For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,
then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’
“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them,
then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

2 CHRONICLES 7:13-20

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Happy Easter, my friends!

There are many theories as to why the day that remembers Jesus’ death on the cross is known as Good Friday. One school of thought is that Good Friday stems from the words “God’s Friday”, while others understand “good” in the sense of “observed as holy”. According to yet another interpretation, despite the horrors Jesus endured on that day, the event ultimately represents an act of love and constitutes one of the central and most cherished themes of Christianity: that Jesus died to pay the price for humankind's sins. Many Orthodox Christians call the day Great Friday. The day is also known as Black Friday or Sorrowful Friday, as well as Long Friday.

The Good Friday date is one of the oldest Christian holidays, with some sources saying that it has been observed since 100 CE. It was associated with fasting during the early years of its observance and was associated with the crucifixion around the fourth century CE. The Easter date depends on the ecclesiastical approximation of the March equinox. Source:
https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/good-friday

I am grateful that I can focus upon the sheer joy and happiness of Easter, which I prefer to call Resurrection Sunday, rather than the sadness and despair of the events leading to Tomb! The folded napkin where Jesus lay in the empty tomb tells us He is not finished with His work, but that He is coming back, returning for the sake of Zion, The Kingdom of God, and for our personal salvation. Source: https://bit.ly/2Vf6k9w

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It has been a day for reflection and meditation, the watching of inspirational videos, savoring the scripture enjoying the words of God.

In my recovery program we have what is called The Promises. They have come true as I work for them:

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."

We who are engaged in kingdom building enterprises have promises also, promises our Lord Jesus Christ has given to us.

The big question for all of us today is, "Are we working toward the fulfillment of those promises?"

On this day, The Jewish Sabbath, we look forward to the joy that comes in the morning, when we will remember our Lord's Resurrection from the dead. His promise is fulfilled!

Psalm 30:1 I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. 2 O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
3 O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. 4 Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. 5 For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

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I began my Resurrection Sunday with great joy, gratitude and a humble attitude of worship. I pray that I/We can stay in worship and celebration all day long!

Psalm 100: 1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

I celebrate with the songs of Sandi Patty, an American Christian music singer, known for her wide soprano vocal range and expressive flexibility, which has led music critics to dub her "The Voice".

I am moved to tears of joy listening to her sing, it IS worship for me.

Was It A Morning Like This
https://g.co/kgs/6Xe1Ct

We Shall Behold Him
https://youtu.be/KZ3H3lg9NZM

I've Just Seen Jesus
https://youtu.be/_yLgtd_kkxw

Continue in worship as Sandi Patty sings praises to our Lord Jesus Christ: https://g.co/kgs/nu3BUz

Enjoy these Easter worship services, two of the many available on line:

cor.org 11am and 5pm CDT

Living Hope - Easter Worship
Community of Christ
http://www.cofchrist.org/live-webcast 2 PM CDT

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There is great power in the word sheep in our Lord's hands. Our Lord likens us to sheep. His Sheep are His People. Sheep are referred to 179 times in the KJV Bible. Some of those scriptures include these:

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

The extent of a shepherd's care is aptly expressed in this website. I read it 50 years ago in Readers Digest:
https://www.thegatheringplacehome.com/the-basque-sheepherde…

This website also gives a beautiful expression of our Lord's love for each of us:
https://stream.org/beauty-bummer-lamb/

I was blessed by this video, beautifully sung:
https://www.facebook.com/lovestosing/posts/10217194122557037

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I focus upon my Lord Jesus Christ today with a poem I published in 2012.

Seeking the Lord

The scripture says, Seek the Lord,if you are willing to find Him,
being willing to give what you can affordso the community's witness will not dim.
The Kingdom is within, the Lord has said,there is no need for us to look without;
Can we not this day make Him our head,rather than languish in fear and doubt?
"Be still and know that I am God"is the key to unlocking Christ's door,pray we greet Him with praise and laudand receive the blessings He has in store.
Prayer, work, and study all help to set us free,to choose to love and live a life of praise;
Giving heart and soul to others helps us see,our Lord Jesus Christ in all our ways.

This truly is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. One of the tools that I use and count upon in my Christian walk is called The Four C's:

I am powerless over people, places, things and situations.
I did not CAUSE them to be as they are, I cannot CONTROL them and I cannot CURE (or fix) them if I think they are broken.
The only power I have in this life is over MYSELF and MY ATTITUDE. Sometimes there is a 4th C which stands for CONTRIBUTION. If you are able to interact with people, places, things and situations what is your Contribution to them going to be? Will it be toward a Solution or will you add to the problem that already exists.

I invite you to be problem solvers with me!

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If we ever needed a Sanity Poem it is for living in these days. Here is a good one:

The Sanity Poem

Not all wrong, not all right.
Life is seldom black or white.
In the now, on we go,
Fearing not win, place or show.
Not all good, not all bad.
Judgment only makes me mad.
Never perfect, not all-knowing.
Little by little, constantly growing.
Not better than, not worse.
Constantly comparing is a curse.
Loving detachment lets me be.
Understanding, not resentment, sets me free.
Not my will, not my way,
My Higher Power saves my day.
With gratitude, perspective, and flexible plans,
God holds me safe in his everlasting hands.

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Our lives are full of stress from the coronavirus and many other issues, and more often than not, people feel it physically as well as mentally.

Although the stress response begins in the brain, it is a full-body phenomenon. When someone encounters a threat — real or imagined — the brain triggers a cascade of stress hormones. The heart pounds, muscles tense, and breathing quickens.

One of the best ways to counter stress is to pay attention to what is going on. That may sound counterintuitive, but paying attention is the first step toward cultivating mindfulness — a therapeutic technique for a range of mental health problems (and physical ones).
https://www.health.harvard.edu/he…/focus-more-to-ease-stress

We have to make a sustained effort, again and again, to cultivate the positive aspects within us.
~Dalai Lama

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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
~Søren Kierkegaard

Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
~Charles Dickens

"Be a Reflection of Jesus
Walking with Him each new day,
Following Father’s sure guidance
Joyfully living His Way.
As a Reflection of Jesus
Walk in His light from above,
Calling on others “ come follow”
Bask in His life-giving Love.
This is our calling in Zion
To be its cause is our gift,
God calls us all to press onward
Trusting His Son for uplift.
The call to Zion still beckons
Each must reap while the day lasts,
The field is white for the harvest
Night comes when all labor’s past.
Night comes when all labor’s past."
©2019 John Aldon Utz (March 2-3)

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“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24.

"Each day is a rich and precious gift from God, with new grace and new
“For this commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off.” Deuteronomy 30:11.
“But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments…” Deuteronomy 30:14-16."
From https://activechristianity.org/for-this-is-the-day-the-lord…

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My brother, Keith's post, inspired me to focus upon prayer, certainly a necessity. Here are several wonderful prayers available on the web and in the Holy Scriptures:

"God, who is more than we can ever comprehend, help us to seek you,
and you alone. Help us to stand before all that we could do and seek what you would do, and do that. Lift from us our need to achieve all that we can be
and instead, surrender to what you can be in us. Give us ways to refrain from the busyness
that will put us on edge and off center, give us today your peace."
- Author Unknown

https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/23-short-prayers.html

https://www.crosswalk.com/…/a-prayer-for-spiritual-warfare.…

https://christianstt.com/5-warfare-prayers-to-start-your-d…/

https://www.worldvision.org/…/keys-powerful-prayer-life-2020

https://www.xavier.edu/…/onli…/prayer-index/calmness-prayers

https://www.kevinhalloran.net/the-apostle-pauls-prayers-in…/

https://21days.churchofthehighlands.com/…/seven-basic-steps…

I also pray 3 of the many 12 Step Recovery Prayers:
https://www.aacle.org/twelve-step-prayers/

Third Step Prayer

God,
I offer myself to Thee
To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
That victory over them may bear witness To those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life, May I do Thy will always!

Fourth Step Prayer

Dear God,
It is I who has made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine &
I will begin a searching & fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs But I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task.

Seventh Step Prayer

My Creator,
I am now willing that you should have all of me, good & bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character
Which stands in the way of my usefulness to you & my fellows.
Grant me strength, as I go out from here to do your bidding.

My prayer now and always is "Thy Will Father, not mine, Be Done!"

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I like How To Pray by R. A. Torrey (1856-1928) very much. There are great Bible teachings in it:
https://www.biblebb.com/files/prayer-torrey.htm

I have prayed and felt that my prayers have bounced off the ceiling, or were not answered. Torrey teaches 7 Hindrances to prayer.

1. The first hindrance to prayer we will find in James 4:3, "Ye ask and receive not BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, THAT YE MAY SPEND IT IN YOUR PLEASURES."

2. The second hindrance to prayer we find in Is. 59:1,2: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, and YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR."...

3. The third hindrance to prayer is found in Ez. 14:3, "Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?" (R.V.) IDOLS IN THE HEART CAUSE GOD TO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS.

4. The fourth hindrance to prayer is found in Prov. 21:13, "WHOSO STOPPETH HIS EARS AT THE CRY OF THE POOR, HE ALSO SHALL CRY HIMSELF, BUT SHALL NOT BE HEARD."

5. The fifth hindrance to prayer is found in Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, FORGIVE, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

6. The sixth hindrance to prayer is found in 1_Peter 3:7, "Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered." (R.V.) Here we are plainly told that A WRONG RELATION BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE IS A HINDRANCE TO PRAYER.

7. The seventh hindrance to prayer is found in James 1:5-7, "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask IN FAITH, NOTHING DOUBTING: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." (R.V.)

Prayers are hindered by unbelief. God demands that we shall believe His Word absolutely. To question it is to make Him a liar. Many of us do that when we plead His promises, and is it any wonder that our prayers are not answered? How many prayers are hindered by our wretched unbelief! We go to God and ask Him for something that is positively promised in His Word, and then we do not more than half expect to get it. "Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."

"One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things,
but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord."

Thy Will, not mine, be done.
Not me but God through me!

I like How To Pray by R. A. Torrey (1856-1928) very much. There are great Bible teachings in it:
https://www.biblebb.com/files/prayer-torrey.htm

I have prayed and felt that my prayers have bounced off the ceiling, or were not answered. Torrey teaches 7 Hindrances to prayer.

1. The first hindrance to prayer we will find in James 4:3, "Ye ask and receive not BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, THAT YE MAY SPEND IT IN YOUR PLEASURES."

2. The second hindrance to prayer we find in Is. 59:1,2: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, and YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR."...

3. The third hindrance to prayer is found in Ez. 14:3, "Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?" (R.V.) IDOLS IN THE HEART CAUSE GOD TO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS.

4. The fourth hindrance to prayer is found in Prov. 21:13, "WHOSO STOPPETH HIS EARS AT THE CRY OF THE POOR, HE ALSO SHALL CRY HIMSELF, BUT SHALL NOT BE HEARD."

5. The fifth hindrance to prayer is found in Mark 11:25, "And when ye stand praying, FORGIVE, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

6. The sixth hindrance to prayer is found in 1_Peter 3:7, "Ye husbands, in like manner, dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered." (R.V.) Here we are plainly told that A WRONG RELATION BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE IS A HINDRANCE TO PRAYER.

7. The seventh hindrance to prayer is found in James 1:5-7, "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask IN FAITH, NOTHING DOUBTING: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord." (R.V.)

Prayers are hindered by unbelief. God demands that we shall believe His Word absolutely. To question it is to make Him a liar. Many of us do that when we plead His promises, and is it any wonder that our prayers are not answered? How many prayers are hindered by our wretched unbelief! We go to God and ask Him for something that is positively promised in His Word, and then we do not more than half expect to get it. "Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord."

"One of the greatest needs of the present day is men and women who will not only start out to pray for things,
but pray on and on and on until they obtain that which they seek from the Lord."

Thy Will, not mine, be done.
Not me but God through me!

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A boy saw a man threatening to jump from a bridge. On one side of the man was an angel and on the other side a devilish imp. The little angel adavently tried to convince the suicidal man not to jump, but the little devil remained silent. Curious, the boy asked the imp why it did not try to persuade the man to jump? He replied with a subtle smile "He's in doubt, he's on the fence, he's already mine ..."

This is why we are told in
Revelations 3:
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

I always have a choice, sometimes I choose well and it is within God's will, sometimes I don't and I let my will overcome me.

My prayer for all of us today is to choose wisely. To ask God for what we should be doing and what we should be thinking and then do it.

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A new meaning to physical flexibility is illustrated by Christina Garcia:
https://youtu.be/3PktAC7GZtM

I could never dream to be that physically flexible. I can, however, be flexible in my emotional and spiritual life.

It is important for me to be flexible, to be able to adapt to all situations that life presents. A good way to do that, to make the changes necessary, is simply to Let Go and Let God.

Early in my life I suffered greatly from inflexibility. I so wanted just one change, one universal change, which applied in every situation.

The thought of having to change frightened me because I feared I would make a mistake. I thought to please God I could never make a mistake, and If I made a mistake I could not be perfect. I thought that meant the God could not love me. This habit of "stinking thinking" nearly devastated my life.

It is one of the great miracles of my life that in recent years I have learned not only how to change and adapt, but to do it in healthy ways, by accepting God's love, His forgiveness and His grace.

God, once again, has done for me what I could never do for myself!

 

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A good meditation for today: http://christianmeditationpodcast.com/223-free-form-christi…

Quotes about focusing on God:

“What consumes your mind controls your life.”

“Don’t focus on your adversaries. Focus on God’s possibilities.”

“True faith is keeping your eyes on God when the world around you is falling apart.”

“Instead of thinking about how hard the test is, we can instead focus on asking the Lord to enlarge our understanding.” Crystal McDowell

“The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.” John MacArthur

“When you fix your thoughts on God, God fixes your thoughts.”

“Focus on God, not your problem. Listen to God, not your insecurities. Rely on God, not your own strength.”

See https://biblereasons.com/focusing-on-god/

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My worship and meditation this morning was based on prayer and watching Gaither Videos on YouTube. I have no words to express the joy that I am experiencing from listening to the Gaither Vocal Band, to Sandy Patty and to Larnelle Harris.

Be sure to skip any ads.

Worthy The Lamb:
https://youtu.be/3i0bAr7--kM

More Than Wonderful:
https://youtu.be/SRTwUvZG5a0

I've Just Seen Jesus:
https://youtu.be/_yLgtd_kkxw

But God:
https://youtu.be/Ikcp-08gMFM

Psalm 29:2 KJV — Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

John 4:23 KJV — But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

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Life's Mystery, 

It seems now like time passing,

which once was feared brings smiles,

as insights bring me closer to whom I desire to be.

How can I count the ways, that old tapes, playing,

robbed me of dreams and heartfelt hopes,

my past laid waste by their habitual drone?

And yet glimpses remain amidst these ruins,

of sunlight's sparkle where happiness lingered,

however, fleeting, deep within life's mystery.

I push onward though with trappings tearing,

shreds still hanging from the chrysalis of my life,

always seeking glimpses through life's glass, though darkly.

Life's mystery intoxicates and often maddens,

always challenges introspection and soon awareness comes of this present moment's meaning, my purpose and potential to fulfill.

©2012 John Aldon Utz

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It was wonderful to share in the Lord's Supper this morning. It was my privilege to share in the offering. As part of my remarks I shared this poem:

Broken Dreams

“As children bring their broken toys With tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God Because He was my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him In peace to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help With ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried, “How could you be so slow”

“My child,” He said, “What could I do? You never did let go.”   – Lauretta P. Burns

An important lesson was taught that we must let go of that which we offer the Lord. It never was ours to begin with. In our worship we give from the bounty that God blesses us with. It is always above and beyond our needs and just wants. We tithe from our time, talents, finances and all the other ways we can be a blessing.

Sometimes the offering is taken for granted but is casually and thoughtlessly approached. It is not a nod to God satisfied by throwing a couple dollars in the plate or nothing at all. It is an act of worship and our personal response to the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Yesterday I shared in a senior luncheon and after lunch Nancy, a local artist, taught a group of us how to do a watercolor painting. I had not done a watercolor since my days at Graceland in 1959. It was wonderful to learn from a master who has her own studio on the Independence Square. Next month, pencil drawings.

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The age of Miracles

Truer words were never written. God is not dead, nor does he sleep but is actively engaged in His great work in the world. The Age of Miracles IS still with us, for our God, IS a God of Miracles!  I need only look back at the history of my life to know that that is the one great fact of my life. Even during the years dominated by negative "stinking" thinking, my running away, and my lifting up of false - gods, He was there performing His miracles: doing all the wonderful things that I was powerless to do for myself.  He saved me from respiratory failure as a newborn, pneumonia 12 times before I was 2 years old, preserved my life through multiple diseases, hospitalizations, perilous life-threatening accidents, my selfish disregard in pushing Him away and a multitude of other very poor choices.  God saved me from myself for His purposes that I would choose to love only Him and seek to live with joy my whole life, loving and serving others as Jesus did, so that I would be one of the reasons for the return of Jesus and His Kingdom, Zion!

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My prayer for today and for each day God gives me is,

God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!  My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.  In Jesus Name, Amen                                              -adapted from AA 3rd & 7th prayers

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"I AM A MIRACLE"

The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves. — AA Big Book p. 25

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The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. The saying is adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.”

DAILY RESOLUTIONS

The idea of "twenty-four-hour living" applies primarily to the emotional life of the individual. Emotionally speaking, we must not live in yesterday, nor in tomorrow. — AS BILL SEES IT, p. 284

A New Year: 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes — a time to consider directions, goals, and actions. I must make some plans to live a normal life, but also, I must live emotionally within a twenty-four-hour frame, for if I do, I don't have to make New Year's resolutions! I can make every day a New Year's Day!  I can decide, "Today I will do this . . . Today I will do that." Each day I can measure my life by trying to do a little better, by deciding to follow God's will and by making real efforts to put the principles of our A.A. program into action.

From the book Daily Reflections ©1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.    

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THE TRAIN

At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.  However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don't realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey for 2020 on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.

Source: https://theendoflifecare.com.au/2017/05/beautiful-words-train-life/

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I felt the loving kindness of the Lord in our worship this morning. It was a joy to share in that sweet spirit. Praise the Lord!

"I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses." ~Isaiah 63:7

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I am doing better applying what the therapist gave me. Doing the repetitions, working through the pain continues challenging, but one day at a time I am getting better.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Wishing is not enough; we must do.”     – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”  – Khalil Gibran

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”  – Walt Disney

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Physical Therapy on my hand is more difficult than I had ever thought. Every movement is very painful and the repetitions so difficult but I know necessary, if I want a fully functioning hand.

Some quotes come mind:

“We don't develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourself a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.” – Helen Keller

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” – Chinese Proverb

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I had other opportunities for growth today. The urgent care physician said I had Dyshidrosis, commonly called hand dermatitis on my left hand between my fingers and in the surgical area. He prescribed an expensive steroidial cream which gave me another reason to be very grateful to have good insurance. It was then on to occupational therapy for my hand to begin work on regaining range of motion in my fingers and minimizing scarring.

All in all, it has been a great day, definitely, a day to rejoice and be glad.

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Because Love Has Come

This day is new because Love has come, its power o'er shadows memories glum, and brings back life's banquet, dim sum!

Emotion wells up within our breast more tears come than we had guessed, bespeaks the yearning we have suppressed.

How is it our empty life refills?

Surely not with thrills and pills, but with loving wills,

their intimate embrace instills and fulfills.

This day is new because love has come and life will never be the same Tom Thumb,

love flows between us, whatever may come!

©2012 John Aldon Utz

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Enjoy The Christmas Story in this video,

WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING  https://youtu.be/JrAFg6Ipas4

Wishing all my family and friends a very Merry, Happy, and Blessed Christmas and New Year!

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I have a poet's heart, I believe, and I really love the writing and voice of Dylan Thomas reading. Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion"; the 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child's Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. ~source: Wikipedia; Sadly he died in 1953 at the age of 49 from pneumonia complicated by his alcoholism.

Dylan Thomas reading A Child's Christmas in Wales

https://youtu.be/8HoxycLmMOk

Video version based on A Child's Christmas in Wales

https://youtu.be/9BTSQYdBuZY

I also love Alexander Scourby reading the Christmas Story, recorded in Luke 2.

https://youtu.be/6G2qcHxcenQ

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We watched a 30 minute clip from the film "Miracle in the Wilderness" starring Kris Kristofferson in our morning worship at my home apartment building, Heritage House.  It is a wonderful retelling of the Christmas story in a language that the Blackfeet Indians would understand.  I highly recommend it to you as I feel you, young and old alike, will be really blessed.

This is a short video summary clip of the movie:

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0104880/videoplayer/vi2654846745?ref_=vp_pl_2

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I had less than 5% of the 200 residents in my building for my program last evening. Years ago, that would have really upset me, as I would have taken the lack of attendance personally.

Today, however, I do not take people, places, things and situations personally. I really had only one expectation preparing for the program that was to share the true spirit of Christmas with my neighbors and friends through the stories I read and the carols we sang. I feel from the reactions of the 8 or 10 people who came that I was successful. It was important to me to be within God's will.

Expectations are a killer to the spirit. Having them unfulfilled always causes resentments.  Resentment is often defined as anger and indignation experienced as a result of unfair treatment, and it's a relatively common emotion. Those who experience resentment may have feelings of annoyance and shame—they might also harbor a desire for revenge.  Resentment is often defined as anger and indignation resentment is often defined relatively common emotion.

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/resentment

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I will give a program tonight at 6:30, here at Heritage House containing many of my favorite Christmas Readings along with a few favorite sing-along Christmas Carols.

My mother read to the 4 of us siblings every night when we were growing up in the late 1940's and 50s. She taught me a love for words and love for great stories that teach spiritual principles. She even read some of the stories I will share tonight. I have read these stories to friends and family every Christmas for over 50 years. It is a tradition that I prize.  Friends, I offer them to you as my Christmas greeting, my humble wish that you too will count your blessings and enjoy a Happy, Joyous and Free life.

Here is a sampling:

https://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/36169/a-brother-like-that

http://www.angelfire.com/music/lefantome/bunny.html

https://zenoch.org/mormon-stuff/favorite-stories/christmas-stories/the-littlest-angel/

And, of course, the greatest story

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=KJV

Carols:

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I'll Be Home for Christmas, Mary's Boy Child, White Christmas, Silent Night

For those wanting to see more of my Breakfast Artistry go to this website:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cRjBYkQMC83uF1Fs5

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A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER'S PRAYER ~Author Unknown, (Attributed to a battle weary Confederate States of America soldier near the end of the Civil War)

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things;

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am among all men most richly blessed.

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Clearing wrong motives has been a lifelong process for me. It required me changing from the insane beliefs of being perfect, the ugly self-abasement, self-loathing and trying to fix other's problems that literally controlled my life. This change was gradual but certainly got a significant boost when God led me into the 12-step program called Compulsive Eaters Anonymous HOW (CeaHow.org).

I no longer am motivated by trying to buy my space in the world, no longer depressed by trying to change the people, places, things and situations that I cannot change and I am no longer driven mad by my false beliefs, cognitive distortions and stinking thinking.

I am free today to accept and embrace my true gifts including being a child of God with responsibility to change the things in me that I can change with enough humility to ask God for help so that I will do only His will and not my own.

I am particularly grateful for all these blessings this holiday season!

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Mistakes

Sometimes on the road called life, things said or done cut like a knife.

Hurt is taken though never meant to be, a mistake was made which requires a fee.

Some mistakes simply cut too deep to forgive or forget or go back to sleep.

Minds anguish over what was done, and the first thought is to shun and run.

Is there no balm to mend a broken heart or panacea which will give life a new start?

Does a mistake have to be the ending or can it be the cause of a transcending?

©2012 John Aldon Utz

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I grew up wanting badly to serve God but sadly I believed that because I was not perfect, as I thought God required, I had to be broken and not good for anyone or anything. So, I became your classic overachiever trying to do enough "right" things so I could feel good about myself. I could never do enough, so I created my own little hell to live in, believing I did not deserve anything or anyone better.

I missed the whole point of the abundant life that Christ offered to me. I complicated my life to the degree that I could never do it right! Service to God is not about me it is all about bearing others burdens and as the Apostle Paul says this fulfills the law of Christ.

A prayer of St. Francis of Assisi gives me a Godly path to follow:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life." Amen.

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I see my doctor today to have the stitches removed. I am trusting in a good report. It has been an adjustment and a challenge to be a good one handed person this past month. I am very grateful that I do have hands that function well most of the time. Living with an attitude of gratitude has made my life rich beyond all my expectations.

 

We must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." ~John F. Kennedy

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance." ~Eckhart Tolle

"Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~Melody Beattie

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“Humility is not thinking less of your-self, it's thinking of your-self less.”  ~CS Lewis

I am getting better each passing day one day at a time. It was not.  always so as I have been sick most of my life. I was born in respiratory distress but survived by an anointing of oil and the prayer of faith. Sickness was not taken from me, however, but continues a burden to this very day.

It manifested in many diseases: pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, asthma, allergies, vascular disease, sinusitis, tonsillitis, and among others thinking of myself less, beating myself us to top that list.    I grew up thinking of less of myself, that I was broken like Humpty Dumpty and not good enough to have a better life, certainly not as good as others particularly girls and authority figures. Fear immobilized me, and stinking thinking and self-abasement prevailed and abounded.

Lest you think that all that negativity defines who I am today, please realize that today I am no longer a victim but am a volunteer!  If any-thing I am a prisoner to Jesus Christ, like Philemon:

Philemon  1:9  "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ."

I Do Not think less of myself, But "I definitely think of myself less"!  I do that every day by asking God to remove those defects of character with stand in the way of my being of service to others, asking for His help in making my next right step,  always praying Thy Will Father, not mine, Be Done.

1 Chronicles  29:13  "Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name."

This text is one of 200 on praise in the King James Version.  For me, Service Is Freedom From Bondage Of Self!  I am Free, Thank God, I am free in Jesus Christ!

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Keeping God in the very center of my life IS my full-time job!  Carrying the good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the message that for all those who suffer from all manner of addictions there is recovery and a daily reprieve from those afflictions. My prayer many times a day is "Thy Will Father, Not Mine, Be Done. My challenge is to always look outward at the needs of others and ask God what I can do to give service to them, to comfort them and uplift them by bearing their burdens. Looking back, I realize that in my best moments, that is what I did: Prepare myself to give service, give it prepared or not, create tools, resources like free websites and ways & means that could be a help to others.

In this day I continue that effort, with resources developed, classes taught, sermons preached, visiting and being an accepting supportive friend to all I meet. Among the resources I create for the benefit of others are helpful websites and my daily breakfast artistry.

http://computerfrustrations.educatorpages.com

https://helps4compulsiveeaters.educatorpages.com

https://tinyurl.com/Breakfast-Artistry

"God Loves You and So Do I"

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I have been missing out on many opportunities to feel God's presence.  So I am intentionally adding a 20 minute time of contemplative centering prayer to my morning ritual. I have had the blinds on my sliding doors closed so I am opening them as a welcoming image, a reminder that I am eager to be in God's presence. There are many good free apps that you can put on your phone to help you experience a centering prayer, or you can read the writings of Thomas Keating such a his "Open Mind Open Heart which will help you practice this wonderful spiritual discipline. My God bless you, as He has me, in your worship.

Psalm 25:
4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee.
21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.

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On this day I gathered with God's people to remember Him, His Love for me and for all of us and to savor His word read and shared in the fellowship. I do this individually everyday but cherish particularly the Lord's Day. 

It is important to me what our Lord has to say. I remembered this comforting article:

You say...God Says...
-Author unknown

You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
 
You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest (Matt 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I Love You (John 3:16 & John 13:34)

You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Cor. 12:9 & Psalm 9 1:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things (Phil 4:13)

You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able (II Cor. 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it (Romans 8:28) 

You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs (Phil 4:19) 

You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Tim 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)

You say: "I don't have enough faith"
God says: I've given everyone a measure of faith (Romans 12:3) 

You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom (I Cor. 1:30)

You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5)

Source: http://restoredgospel.com/GE/Handouts/GodSays.asp

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I have a choice each day to either seek the Lord and His Righteousness,
-OR-
Follow my own selfish, ego driven desires and do it my way.

I have tried to live "my way" but have never found the abundance, the happiness, joy and freedom that comes to me when I seek the Lord and serve only Him!

When I turn my days over to God I am able to live gratefully, intentionally and prayerfully, and find my solace and refuge in the Lord, no matter how I "feel" or how badly I hurt.

Deuteronomy  33:27  The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

Psalms  62:7  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.   

Psalms  91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

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I am having a much better day today.  I finally realized that I needed to reach out and I called a friend and he prayed for me which encouraged me to pray for myself. Prayer has changed everything!

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing." - Martin Luther

"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the ONE who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." - Max Lucado

"Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?" - Corrie ten Boom

https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/prayer/6-reasons-prayer-changes-everything.aspx

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It has been yet another rainy day and that brought back another one of my poems called . . .

Overcast

It is tempting to get up
after yet another fitful night,
pull the blinds and see the drab gray sunless sky and wonder, how life came to be as it is?

Life's quality is pinnacled on defining moments like this: do I allow the overcast to steal my joy and happiness? It is my choice, after all, and I choose the good, regardless: never mind that my body is hurting, weak and weary, that my eyes sag and smart from too little sleep, and the dark damp surrounds me and penetrates my bones.

I know this is a joyful happy day, it is a day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice, for somewhere, always, the sun shines, it's warmth imbues and enlivens and brings joy and here also, if I would perceive it.

I will perceive it!  I will turn my sentient eyes and look within!
©2012 John Aldon Utz

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My recovery from my hand surgery, the aspiration pneumonia, and  the pleural effusion goes slowly. Each passing day seems to bring new challenges. I strive to turn it all over to God and yet in my weakness I hold on to it.  I think I have the power to make it better and that rather than letting go is what I should do.

This error in judgment is just another example of my being "Too late smart So soon dumb". 

My only hope is to be patient and persevere allowing God's will to be done in my life.

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." ~John Quincy Adams

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained." ~Marie Curie

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I am 🙏 a 10th Step Prayer to begin my day, listening to Ernie Haase and Signature Sound sing gospel:
https://youtu.be/sKzi4A1ldxE

An Anonymous 10th Step Prayer

Thank you Lord for helping me make amends, and I never want to have such a big list of amends to make ever again!

I'm going to ask for your help Lord, and I'm going to be asking for it everyday from now on.

Help me to treat others with love and kindness only, even when I'm grumpy and even when they seem to do me wrongs.

I can’t control my own life without Your help Lord, so I obviously am not fit to be judging others here!

Help me to be better and live in service to You, and when I fail to heed your grace, help me to see myself for what I truly am, a humble sinner.

So please Lord, help me to heed your grace so that I may immediately right those wrongs that I do commit.

I'm asking for courage, and wisdom and understanding and patience, and mostly for love.

I'm asking a lot, and as much as I ask so am I greatly thankful for You, for Your compassion for a poor sinner, and for Your guidance in all things great and small.

My life is for you Lord, help me to be worthy of your Love. Help me to do better.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

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Today I learned that I am doing better in my occupational therapy on my hand. Measurements were taken and my range of motion is significantly improved. There still remains a problem with my middle finger extending backward and my index finger grasping into the palm of my hand, without pain,  so my therapist is going to ask my doctor for an extension on my therapy. I'm happy about this as I would really love to have my hand back in the form it was before I had the surgery. It has been a hard road but will be very worth it.

My Breakfast Artistry today is a ❤ felt expression of my gratitude for our Kansas City Chiefs return to the Super Bowl now 50 years later. They will carry the hopes and dreams of KC for a successful return!

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It was difficult for me to stay home from church today. I still have a week to go taking the antibiotic and steroids for pneumonia so I did not want to risk going and having a coughing spell and spreading the bacteria to my neighbors. 

I take comfort that God gives me strength to endure life as it comes to me, enduring chronic pain, the afflictions which have come, my recovery from eating compulsively, and my responding in service to the love of God.

James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure.

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Whatever my mental, physical, or spiritual condition each morning I believe that what I do sets the spiritual tone for my day. My routine follows very intentional actions: I wake up, and arise gratefully thanking God for the night's rest. I make my bed, do my personal care and if my body is particularly hurting I will stand in the shower and soak longer. I dress for the day whatever is appropriate, turn my phone on and then begin my morning meditation. I read and reflect on a booklet of prayers that I have made which includes the following prayers: the AA 3rd Step, 7th step and 11th step prayers, the AA morning prayer, the full Serenity Prayer, the Al-Anon prayer, the Knotts prayer, the Desiderata, the Indian prayer by Chief Yellow Lark Lakota and one called The Awesome Power of Prayer and often our Lord's Prayer. 
I choose sometimes several from that list and/or a centering prayer, meditating on sounds from a white noise machine or pray from my heart. In any or all of these,  I commit the 1st half hour of my day to being closer to God. 

I begin making my breakfast plate which has itself become a spiritual practice, always thinking of those who might be inspired, encouraged  or otherwise helped by it.  Following my food plan as  I committed it to my sponsor, I make my artistic arrangement, photograph it and set it aside. 
I write my daily question and my food for the next 24 hours: lunch, dinner and breakfast the next morning. I take a call from one of my sponsees and then gratefully I eat my meal. 

Because I can slide easily into self abasement,  I really strive to not bash myself because my routine is not more monastic or holy but believe and accept that I am in God's Will by living intentionally and staying in the present moment.

These websites might be encouraging for you:
https://www.angelalcraig.com/2017/03/25-scriptures-for-intentional-living/
https://hellosensible.com/intentional-living/
https://intentionalbygrace.com/4-ways-to-be-more-intentional-with-your-spiritual-life/

https://melodybeattie.com/what-is-intentional-recovery/
https://www.drugrehab.com/recovery/12-step-programs/

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I am more exhausted today and feeling worse. I had to do way too much yesterday: drive to see my general practitioner who would re-X-ray after I finished the antibiotic regimen, then I followed this by a visit to the neurologist in another city who tested my hands with an EMG as a follow up to the hand surgery. He told me I had peripheral neuropathy in both hands and probably in both feet and also carpal tunnel in my right arm. Couple that with the impingement in right shoulder, pneumonia in the right lung, the pleural euffusion in both lungs and the difficulties regaining flexibility in my trigger fingers, I definitely am in great shape for the shape I am in!

Life does present its challenges, doesn't it?

I am so very thankful for God's love and comfort in times of trouble. Like other things I have faced, with God's help, I will get through this also.

Psalm 46:1-3 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. ..." 
Proverbs 18:10 "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe." 
Nehemiah 8:10 "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”- Philippians 4:13.

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I think most of you know me, no matter when our paths have crossed. Maybe some like me, and others don't, but if you are on my Facebook, I want to believe that you like me. 😉 I would love to see if we can still communicate with more than just likes and gifs, and actually write something to each other. 

I decided to participate in an experience called "A Meeting Between Breadfruit". The idea is to see who reads a post without a photo. We are so immersed in technology that we have forgotten the most important thing: good friendship. If no one reads this message, it will be a short social experiment. But if you read it until the end, I want you to make a comment with one word about us. For example, a place, an object, a person, a moment with which you relate or remember me by. Then copy this text and stick it on your wall, (don't share) and I'll go to your wall to leave a word that reminds me of you. Please don't write any comments if you don't have time to copy the text. That would ruin the experiment.

Let's see who took time to read and answer according to the shared story beyond Facebook!!

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“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.” ―Chuck Yeager

I like that quote. It speaks to me in my present situation.  I am doing what I can, but have to back way up from my normal activity as my reserve strengths are gone due to the pneumonia. My life is a testament to not giving up though. I trust in God and pray everyday to continue to live within His will!

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It must be my week for challenges. Yesterday, I went to Urgent Care because I've had a persistent cough for weeks now and a problem with aspirating my food and drink. They X-rayed and found that I have aspiration pneumonia in my right lung and pleural effusion in both lungs. The  osteopath prescribed a strong  300 mg antibiotic morning. and night for 10 days.  I am to follow up with my GP and have an appointment with him on Thursday.

I am so grateful to have found this now before it got worse because I've had pneumonia 25+ times and been hospitalized with it.

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I would do well to pray this prayer morning and night and all through my days:

An Indian Prayer by Chief Yellow Lark, Lakota

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds.
And whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
Ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made.
My ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
The things you might teach me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
In every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother.
But to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
With clear hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset.
My spirit may come to you without shame.

~https://www.firstpeople.us/html/An-Indian-Prayer.html

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No one is without troubles, without personal hardships and genuine challenges.  That fact may not be obvious because most people don't advertise their woes and heartaches.  But nobody, not even the purest heart, escapes life without suffering battle scars.
~Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” “Happiness is not the absence of problems; it's the ability to deal with them.” “Be the kind of person who dares to face life's challenges and overcome them rather than dodging them.” “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.”
~https://www.goodreads.com › tag

I am learning to cope with my challenges and look for the good they contain and benefit from the lessons they teach. 12 step recovery from negative thinking and compulsively overeating has drummed into every fiber of my being that "acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. ... A.A. and acceptance have taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here."
~https://thisimperfectjourney.wordpress.com

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Read https://returntonow.net/2018/02/28/trees-talk/

McDonald Carey always introduced a soup opera with these insightful words:
"We do not live in this world alone, but in a 1000 other worlds,  And now Another World!

We grew up segregating the things of this world, people, places, things and situations when in truth every single thing is connected. In truth we accept and believe that in God's eyes everything IS Spiritual and never has been anything else but Spiritual.

We live in The Beautiful Fellowship of The Spirit. This is where our Heavenly Father and His only begotten Son live and where the promised Abundant Life Abounds!

I wrote a poem which speaks to the many who miss this deep spiritual connection:

Forest: A Winter's Scene

Leaves, twigs on nature's breast, stones, pebbles, ornamental beadwork on her brow, 
birth, rebirth and decadence united now, 
silver carpets balm ovarian rest.

Figures in motion, roving motion, silence blossoms full of noise, shadowy messengers travel robed with poise, readiness beckons locomotion.

Some come, some come, but soon turn away, saying, It's night and not day: Tom Thumb, Tom Thumb!

 ©2012 John Aldon Utz

Max Lucado's words speak to my ❤:
"It’s not that we don’t have ears…it’s that we don’t use them! Scripture has always placed a premium on hearing God’s voice. The great command from God through Moses began with the words, “Hear O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV).  Proverbs 8:34 says, “Happy are those who listen to me.”

Jesus urges us to listen like sheep. “The sheep recognize his voice. . .they follow because they’re familiar with the shepherd’s voice” (John 10:3-5). Each of the seven churches in Revelation is addressed in the same manner: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6; 3:13; 3:22).

Our ears, unlike our eyes, do not have lids. They are intended to remain open! How long has it been since you had your hearing checked? When God sows seed your way, what is the result? Remember,“Faith comes from hearing…” (Romans 10:17).

From Just Like Jesus"

We must hear with our God given spiritual ears, then and only then will we commune and communicate with the Father and The Son and ALL God's Creations!

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Thank God for friends! As we age I believe we must cherish them even more. They are, after all is said and done, precious gifts from God, given by Him to share the ebbs and flows of our lives.

Friendship

There are a few times that come in a life when our potential is reached in spite of strife;
bright shining rays bring a glimpse of a happier day as two people meet and find a better way.

Greetings are exchanged, straight from the heart, smiles and happiness are there from the start.
Hope is renewed at this friendship's first light and accepting its joy brings peace in the night.

Friendship's values sometimes misunderstood are often appreciated, if we only would honestly share our gifts with no strings attached;
truly, this is why friendship is so unmatched.

Good friends are treasures worthy to be preserved. Now is not the time to withdraw or be reserved, to leave important things unspoken or hide ourselves away,
but a time to admit our fears and allow God's love full sway.
©2012 John Aldon Utz

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I have been successful in losing 155 lbs over the last 10 years and 120 of those released in the last 5 years, all because I have the best family and friends that a man could possibly want!  My poem expresses my feelings best:

A Friend Is There

In the experience of life as in love insights often come from above 
bringing comfort we all yearn
from persons to which we turn,
and a friend is there. 

Sometimes in the most unlikely place there are stresses which disrupt our space causing us fright and the need to run our heart is torn and we feel undone,
but a friend is there.

We often wonder why life is so cruel afflicting minds, bodies and adding fuel to acts so depraved that we despair and feel so alone and are often unaware,
that a friend is there.

The best things in life and love are free gifts from hearts drawing from love's potpourri sharing simple things with no strings attached
knowing joy and acceptance unmatched, because a friend is there. 

May we embrace the joys of abundant life and leave behind all dross and strife and seek to live fully to prefer each one and finish the work yet left undone, and share all because a friend is there.
©2012 John Aldon Utz

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I have seen these promises come true in my life for which I am very grateful!

The “Promises”
From pages 83-84 in “The Big Book”

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. Are these extravagant promises? We think not! They are being fulfilled among us – Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

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There are Negative effects and affects accompany Forgetting. 

I have seen these devastate my life many times. For me there is what I believe a progression of this human condition. It can impede our learning and understanding life as it comes to us. 

It is, I think, "normal" that we Hear and often forget,  that when we See we can remember but if we Do (act out what we Hear and see) then wisdom follows and we understand.

FORGETTING STOPS THE DOING RIGHT IN ITS TRACKS!

I have the Binge Eating Disease, simply put, if I eat sugar or flour, that triggers the disease in my body and I lose control of what I eat. I crave to eat huge quantities of sugar-flour-salt laden stuff all the time; everything I do centers in my getting my next bite of it. I graze constantly. That produced in me by 2006 a 365 lb body, 3XL shirts and 58" waist and required me to take 13 prescriptions to shore up the failing systems in this morbidly obese body.

It was only by God's grace and His great love for me and the help of a few good friends who allowed themselves to be instruments in God's hands, that saved me from myself. I was destroying my physical "temple" literally with every compulsive bite I took.

One friend in particular realized that I was just like her, a compulsive overeater!  God had led her to a solution, which for her was a 12 Step Program called Compulsive Eaters Anonymous HOW. She had enough love and compassion for me, to invite me to a meeting and I committed myself to it's program that night and began following its food plan the next day, and what a great blessing that has been for me. Since 2014, I have released 120 lbs in program and 
155 lbs overall by all my diets and struggling to do so. My life today at 210 lbs has a happiness, joy and freedom that I never dreamed possible for me.

But I realize and accept with my  whole heart that if FORGET the principles of my program, do not do them even 1 time, I put myself at great risk to slip back into that miserable existence I had as a binge eating compulsive overeater!
When I remember AND Do what I remember God blesses me with the daily reprieve, the miracle that we call Abstinence. One day at a time, I keep working my program, carrying the message to others that there IS recovery from this dread and deadly disease if they want it and are willing to go to any lengths to get it.

I you have struggles with food and realize you overeat compulsively and you want a better life, I whole heartily recommend this solution:
WWW.CEAHOW.ORG

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. 
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

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Today, I am grateful for my daughter Joanna and her husband Bruce. Bruce was in the hospital yesterday with a heart related incident. Joanna always by his side tells me they released him last night with no further damage to his heart from the heart attack he had previously had. What a blessing. My gratitude is full.
And today I was asked by my grandson Harley to have breakfast with him. What a privilege and what a joy he is!

I love quotations from Good Reads. See https://www.goodreads.com/quotes

"Gratitude is the real treasure God wants us to find, because it isn't the pot of gold but the rainbow that colors our world."
~Richelle E. Goodrich, Smile Anyway

"If you want to know how fortunate you are, visit three places: the slum, the hospital, and the cemetery."
~Matshona Dhliwayo

"The world seems to want us to be sad and angry because bad things frequently happen. But I say we should feel the opposite. We should be happy and cheerful because good things happen. We should be delighted to see the sun rise and stars glow and rainbows color stormy skies. We should savor every simple breath and eat each meal with gratitude. We should slumber in sweet dreams and relish moments of laughter and love. We should take more notice of the joys and kindnesses that do exist, still dictating the actions of millions of good people all over the world. Life is filled with pleasant moments, not just grief. We should be happy because this is true."

~Richelle E. Goodrich,  Slaying Dragons

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My mornings begin with gratitude that God gives me life one more day. I am conscious of Him as I complete my rising ritual, design my breakfast plate and  begin at least a 20 minute time of meditation and prayer. I pray as humbly as I am able asking God to show me His will for me today. My prayer follows the pattern in AA 7th Step Prayer:
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."

Being in the will of God is very important to me. It not only colors my life but gives me joy the I might give myself in service to others. I gain motivation for this in God's word:

"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."  -Isaiah 6:8, KJV

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand."
-Isaiah 64:8

"I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."  -Psalm 40:8

"Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness."  -Psalm 143:10

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  -Matthew 7:21

"For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."  -Mark 3:35

"And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
-Luke 22:41-42

"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."  -John 4:34

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent . . . All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
-John 6:29, 37-40

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."  -Romans 12:2

"Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;"
-Ephesians 6:6

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." -Philippians 2:13

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard ‭it‭, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;‭ That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;‭"  -Colossians 1:9-10

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Colossians 4:12

"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:"  
-1 Thessalonians 4:3

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  -1 Thessalonians 5:18

"Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God . . . Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second . . . For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
-Hebrews 10:7, 9, 36

"That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."  -1 Peter 4:2

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
-2 Peter 3:9

"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:‭ ‭‭Whereas ye know not what ‭shall be‭ on the morrow. For what ‭is‭ your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.‭ ‭‭For that ye ‭ought‭ to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.‭"  -James 4:13-15

"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."   -1 John 2:17

Source: https://tinyurl.com/BeInGodsWill

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The prayers and preaching of Spurgeon bless my life; I believe he can bless yours as well. We are privileged in Kansas City to have the 6000 volume Spurgeon Library connected with the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC).
See the digital collection: http://spurgeon.org/resource-library/books/by-collection

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was an English Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers". Wikipedia
Born: June 19, 1834, Kelvedon, United Kingdom. Died: January 31, 1892, Menton, France

Faith's Checkbook

Never Despair

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. - Mal 4:2 

Fulfilled once in the first advent of our glorious Lord, and yet to have a fuller accomplishment in His second advent, this gracious word is also for daily use. Is it dark with the reader? Does the night deepen into a denser blackness? Still let us not despair: the sun will yet rise. When the night is darkest, dawn is nearest.

The sun which will arise is of no common sort. It is the Sun — the Sun of Righteousness, whose every ray is holiness. He who comes to cheer us, comes in the way of justice as well as of mercy, comes to violate no law even to save us. Jesus as much displays the holiness of God as His love. Our deliverance, when it comes, will be safe because righteous.

Our one point of inquiry should be — “Do we fear the name of the Lord? Do we reverence the living God and walk in His ways?” Then for us the night must be short; and when the morning cometh, all the sickness and sorrow of our soul will be over forever. Light, warmth, joy, and clearness of vision will come, and healing of every disease and distress will follow after.

Has Jesus risen upon us? Let us sit in the sun. Has He hidden His face? Let us wait for His rising. He will shine forth as surely as the sun.https://www.youdevotion.com/faith/february/1

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5 qualities of a pencil…

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked: ‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’ His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:

I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special. ‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’

‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’

‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’

‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’.

Source: https://motivationmania.wordpress.com/.../5-qualities-of.../

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There was a wealthy merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.

He too loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always patient, and in fact, is the merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife, and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.

Now, the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife, and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word.

The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I always turned to you for help, and you’ve always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder, and the merchant was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” The merchant looked up, and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Much grieved, the merchant said, “I should have taken much better care of you while I could have !”

Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives:

The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die.

b. Our 3rd wife? Our possessions, status, and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.

c. The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we’re alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

d. The 1st wife is, in fact, our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth, and sensual pleasure.

Guess what? It is the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it’s a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than to wait until we’re on our deathbed to lament!

Source: https://indianchild.com/4_wives.htm

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Puppies For Sale

A farmer had some puppies he needed to sell. He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about Nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he Felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the Eyes of a little boy.

Mister,” he said, “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he rubbed the sweat off the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer.

And with that he let out a whistle,”Here,Dolly!” he called.

Out from the doghouse and down the ramp ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring inside the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this One noticeably smaller. Down the ramp it slid. Then in a somewhat awkward manner the little pup began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up….

“I want that one,” the little boy said, pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up one leg of his trousers. In doing so he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg attaching itself To a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “You see sir, I don’t run too well myself, and he will need Someone who understands.”

The world is full of people who need someone who understands.

Source: https://indianchild.com/puppies_for_sale.htm

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Wait For The Brick

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, “What was that all about and who are you?

Just what the heck are you doing?

That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money.

Why did you do it?”

The young boy was apologetic. “Please mister … please, I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do,” he pleaded.

“I threw the brick because no one else would stop…”

With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car.

“It’s my brother,” he said.

“He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.”

Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

“Thank you and may God bless you,” the grateful child told the stranger. 

Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!

God whispers in our souls and speaks to our hearts. Sometimes when we don’t have time to listen, He has to throw a brick at us.

Source: https://indianchild.com/wait_for_the_brick.htm

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I realize that some of the stories that I post you have read many times before. Just realize that the principles that they teach our eternal. We tend to forget the lessons and reminders are always good!

A Box Full of Kisses

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.”

The man was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found out the box was empty. He yelled at her, stating, “Don’t you know, when you give someone a present, there is supposed to be something inside? The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and cried, “Oh, Daddy, it’s not empty at all. I blew kisses into the box. They’re all for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

Only a short time later, an accident took the life of the child. It is also told that her father kept that gold box by his bed for many years and, whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each one of us, as humans beings, have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses… from our children, family members, friends, and God. There is simply no other possession, anyone could hold, more precious than this.

Source: https://indianchild.com/a_box_full_of_kisses.htm

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Dads Blessings

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angry, he raised his voice to his father and said “With all your money, you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. And as he did, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss Spirit’s blessings and answers to our prayers because they do not arrive exactly as we have expected?

TODAY’S’s affirmation: “Today I look beyond the obvious and allow miracles to be created in my life.”

Source: https://indianchild.com/dads_blessings.ht

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The Rose Within

A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it.

He saw the bud that would soon blossom, but noticed thorns upon the stem and he thought, “How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns? Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and just before it was ready to bloom… it died.

So it is with many people. Within every soul there is a rose. The God-like qualities planted in us at birth, grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects.

We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.

Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns of another, and find the rose within them.

This is one of the characteristic of love… to look at a person, know their true faults and accepting that person into your life… all the while recognizing the nobility in their soul. Help others to realize they can overcome their faults. If we show them the “rose” within themselves, they will conquer their thorns. Only then will they blossom many times over.

Source: https://indianchild.com/rose_within.htm

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