Monday, September 18, 2017

Devotional: The Old Mansion of My Childhood

Note: I am pulling the next seven devotionals out of the barrel (as my dad used to say). Recently the old mansion was put on the market again and I began reminiscing about it.  So I decided to share these devotionals again for those who perhaps did not see them years ago when I first wrote them. 

The Old Mansion of My Childhood

Matthew 7:24-26 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

As a child my dad bought a big old abandoned mansion that sat on a cliff over-looking the bay in Bellingham, WA. He got it real cheap. I remember we all thought he had taken leave of his mind when we saw it. It had an ugly gray/brown paint that was peeling and weathered. The roof was covered with moss. The insides looked as if the previous occupants had left in a huge hurry. Stuff was strewn all over the floor in some rooms and everything was covered with a layer of dust. It looked like a haunted house. My dad removed 15 utility trailer loads of stuff and took it to the dump before he could even begin to make the place livable.

When we moved in I remember the kitchen sagged something awful. You could set a ball at one end of the room and it would roll down the floor to the other end of the room without even having to push it. The house sat on a sandstone foundation that was crumbling beneath it. I remember my dad spent hours jacking the house up so he could remove the sandstone and replace it with cement block.

One of the results of the sandstone foundation was that as the foundation crumbled, the house would shift and the plaster walls would crack and crumble. Of course it didn't help any that the trains below the cliff would switch cars and the banging around that resulted from that would also help to crumble the foundation and walls.

I remember one night we were eating dinner when suddenly over head we heard a tremendous crash. Upon investigation we discovered all the plaster had fallen off the walls and ceiling of the closet upstairs! Oh the joys of living in a mansion with a crumbling foundation.

This illustration brings home what Jesus was saying in the verses above. When we read and hear what Jesus says in the Bible, but we fail to put it into practice, we are like the house built on sand. When the assaults of the world come against us we will crumble and fall. To withstand the assaults of the world, the flesh and the Devil, we MUST have a solid Biblical foundation.

How is your foundation? Is it a solid one built on the Word of God or is it a sandstone one built on the changing doctrines and teachings of this world?

Monday, September 11, 2017

Devotional: Behold, How Great a Matter a Little Fire Kindleth!

"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"
‭‭James‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭KJV‬‬

In the beautiful hills, trails, and waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge were six teenagers on the Eagle Creek Trail.  They were out to have a good time on Labor Day Weekend.  They had some fireworks with them.  Smoke bombs.  Such small items.  Surely they couldn't do much damage and it would be fun to light one and throw it down in the canyon to see what would happen.  One of the teens filmed it with a cell phone while the others stood around and laughed as it was lighted and tossed over the edge.  Smoke began to billow up and it wasn't long before hikers were trapped and the whole hillside was in flames. It continues to burn out of control as I write this on September 5, 2017.

This is an illustration of what James talks about.  Like the smoke bombs those teens carelessly lit and threw into the canyon, the tongue is small.  All it takes is for careless words to come across our tongues and we can start a wildfire of gossip and hurt. It can ruin friendships and family relationships.  Verbal smoke bombs will usually catch fire and spread quickly.  

The Columbia Gorge fire didn't have to happen.  Let's let it remind us that our words can be just as damaging to others and we don't have to let that happen either.  

It will take years for this area to rehabilitate and become the beauty it once was, but God can raise up beauty out of ashes and it will eventually become beautiful again.  God is faithful. Find encouragement and comfort in His faithfulness today.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Supplement #2 of My Top Two

This is a bit spendy, but well worth the investment for me and anyone who has pain associated with micro-valve prolapse.  I have had periodic chest and back pain for years.  I have gone to the doctor and complained, but EKGs have been normal.  I've had stress tests and echo-cardio grams and all normal with exception of mitro-valve prolapse.  The last cardiologist I went to and complained about the pains, shrugged his shoulders and said that is normal with mitro-valve prolapse.  Great.  So it's normal to feel like I'm having a heart attack from time to time.  Not helpful.

Recently, I was doing some research on mitro-valve prolapse symptoms and discovered that yes, it is "normal" to have these pains.  But what caught my attention was a study done that showed patients who took magnesium had a reduction and some even the elimination of these pains.  I decided to try it.  I started taking an inexpensive form of magnesium, but found the side effect of diarrhea troubling and unpleasant.  So after some research, I found a supplement from Jigsaw that is a timed release magnesium.  It is a little spendy, but well worth it for me.

I started taking it a month ago and the trouble pain symptoms that I had been having have not bothered me now since I started taking this supplement.  What a relief that is!  What's more, my daughter who has troubling leg cramps has been taking this product and reported that her leg cramps have not bothered her so much any more. 

This is truly a good product, that I would recommend.

PROMUN Waist Bag, Running Belt Waterproof

I'm pretty excited about this belt. I have several outfits that I wear that either don't have pockets or the pockets are not reliable and my device falls out of them. This will keep my device safe from falls. The added benefit to this belt is that it has room for cash or credit cards, so if I don't want to carry a purse to town I can just wear this for hands-free, worry-free shopping. I also like to count my steps with my iPod, but I find I am often leaving it laying around the house and then my steps don't get counted. With this, I can just make it a habit of popping it back in the pocket and zip it up as soon as I am finished looking at it. If you have need for something like this, I would recommend it to you! Check it out!

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Supplement #1 of My Top Two

What if you were stranded on a remote island and you could only have two supplements with you?  What two supplements would you want to be with you?
The supplements I would want on that remote island would be Curcumin and Timed Release Magnesium.  I'll tell you about Curcumin in this post and Jigsaw Magnesium in the next post.


Curcumin has saved me from a world of pain.  I first discovered Curcumin after I had a year of tendinitis pain in both elbows.  The pain was debilitating. I couldn't even pick up a pan off the stove and carry it to the table without excruciating pain.  I tried physical therapy.  It didn't help.  I tried soaking my elbows in Epsom salts. It didn't help.  I took pain relievers.  It gave temporary relief, but ultimately did nothing for the long term and came with the dangers of side effects.  I finally got steroid shots in both elbows.  That was a nightmare and I refuse ever to have steroid shots again.  I knew the minute I walked out of the doctor's office I was in trouble.  I began to feel strange in the head and extremely emotional.  For three weeks I ran a low grade fever, felt like I had a case of the flu and felt extremely anxious and irritable.  The pain was gone for those three weeks, but the side effects were not worth it.  Once the side effects let up, the pain was back.  The next step that was suggested was surgery.  To do what, I still don't know for sure.  But it was suggested.  

One day my neighbor came by and asked me why I was wearing braces on both arms and I explained.  She told me about how she was scheduled for surgery on her knee, but started taking a supplement called Curcumin that took away her pain and allowed her to cancel her surgery date!  I was desperate for relief, so I bought a bottle of the miracle stuff.  I decided to take it for two months and decide if it was worth it or not.  At first I didn't notice any difference, but I pushed on with it.  One day about eight weeks later, it suddenly dawned on me that I was doing things could not do before and that my arms rarely hurt anymore.  I continued to take the Curcumin and months later I began to notice that my chronic neck pain was improving.  I had gone to physical therapy for years due to chronic neck pain from three previous whip lashes.  I noticed that at one particular intersection where I have to turn my head quite far to the left to see traffic, it was pain free.  My range of motion had returned.  I was able to quit going to physical therapy.

I began to read up on all the benefits of Curcumin and found that not only does it relieve inflammation, it is good for the brain and it has cancer prevention properties.  I decided to keep taking it on a daily basis.  When I do too much in the yard and know that I will be sore for having done it, I just take extra Curcumin right away and often I don't get sore at all, or if I do, it's much less than I otherwise would be.

I would not want to be without my Curcumin.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Devotional: Come, Hear, Act

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. Luke 6:46-48

When I read the Bible, I like to pick out lists of key words.  In the verse above I have put those words in red.  On the stage, we have lights, camera, action. In this passage, we have come, hear, act.  In some respects they are similar. 

On the stage, the lights illuminate the scene.  In this passage, we have to come to God's Word before it can be illuminated for us.  On the stage, we need the camera to record the scene. In this passage, we must hear to have God's Word recorded in our hearts and minds.  On the stage, there must be action or it's going to be a pretty dull scene.  In this passage, we must put into action what we have heard.

All three components are necessary for both arenas or something essential will be missing.  If we don't come to God's Word, we can't hear it and if we aren't hearing it we can't act on it.  

How many times, however, do I come to God's Word, hear God's Word but go away and do not act on it?  It's so easy for me to get distracted with social media, house work, or other things that are rolling around in my mind, that I forget to put the action into what I have come and heard and then my day comes tumbling down around me when things happen to upset me.  My foundation wasn't in place by putting what I have learned in God's Word in front of me to help me respond to life's irritations in a godly way.

How about you?  Do you have trouble with this too?  Let's challenge ourselves to take what we read (hear) from God's Word, put it on a 3 x 5 card or in our planner where we know we will see it.  Review it often through the day and see if when those frustrations and trials come our way that maybe we will respond in a more godly way to them, rather than react in irritation. This is something I  really need to do as evidenced by some of my Facebook posts recently.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Devotional: Unique

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

When I was a young adult, I used to teach children's church.  I don't remember what the lesson was that I was teaching that Sunday, but I do remember the little boy in the front row.  He was a wiggly little fellow, and he had gotten himself turned upside down in his chair and was quietly "sitting" there like that.  None of the other children seemed to be bothered by his feet sticking up over the back of his chair and he wasn't bothering anyone at all.  So rather than interrupt my lesson and ask him to sit correctly in his chair, I decided to leave well enough alone.  This child obviously had a unique learning style.  

Each of us is unique in our own ways.  God made us to each have different personalities, different learning styles, and different interests.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  

Not all personality differences are pleasing to other people.  I could have interrupted my lesson that Sunday to make that little boy sit up right in his chair, but that would have distracted all the other children from the lesson.  So it was in the best interests of all that I chose to be patient with the little guy and over look how he sat in his chair.

Ephesians 4:1-3 says,
 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,  with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,  endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We can't attend church or work in the world without being around other people, and there will be people that rub us the wrong way because they are unique in ways that are different to what we are used to.  They may not sit upside down in the pew during the sermon, but they annoy us in other ways.  The verse from Ephesians gives us specific instructions on how we are to respond to these irritations. 

Do you have someone in your life that messes with your patience?  Keep these verses handy for those times when you might be tempted to react badly instead of respond in a godly way.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Curcumin to the Rescue!!!

Curcumin to the rescue! Rick fell yesterday & his back was hurting. I told him to take three curcumin and a Tylenol at dinner and three more curcumin at bed time. He got up this morning and said his back was not hurting. I love, love, LOVE that stuff!
After my rib went funny bags on me Aug 2, it took me a bit of time to figure what I needed, but once I started taking my curcumin, two at EVERY meal, my rib has settled right down and only twinges me if I do something stupid. Each day I notice it less and less.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Devotional: The Heavens Are Telling the Glory of God

Photo of partial eclipse through a telescope taken with my iPod. 

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard.Psalm 19:1-3

Today we went to the library eclipse party.  We spent all morning standing around looking at the sun through special eclipse glasses that NASA sent to the library to give away.  We also had the opportunity to view the eclipse through a powerful telescope equipped with special filters for viewing the sun.  

I couldn't help but think of the verse above during the morning as we enjoyed this event.  To think that God created this vast universe and all that it contains and yet, He loves you and me.  He cares about the details of our lives.  If He has the power to create this universe and hold it all together, then he has the power to sustain and keep me through whatever trials might come into my life and your life.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Devotional: Where Is Your Faith?

“Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, "Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?"”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:22-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Have you ever felt like life was just too overwhelming?  Have felt like you just can't take any more?  Are you feeling like your boat is being swamped and about to sink?  That's how the disciples felt.  And yet, here is Jesus in the middle of it all, peacefully sleeping!  How could He?!

I believe Jesus was testing their faith.  He may have been resting and even asleep in the boat, but being God in the flesh, I believe He was well aware of what was going on.  The point is, He was in the boat with them during all this mayhem.  They really had no need to freak out if their faith was strong in Him.

And so it is with us.  We may not see or feel that God is actively involved in the mayhem that has come upon us.  We may even wonder if God is asleep somewhere!  But remember He is in the boat with us and He is aware of everything that is going on. He has the power to stop the storm if He so chooses, or He may choose the let the storm rage and calm us in the midst of it so that we will cling to Him more.

So the question to ask when we freak out and panic is this:  Where is your faith?  It can be taken as a rebuke or it can simply be a question of inventory...where is your faith?  Are you putting your faith more in your own ability to slog through the problems or are you putting your faith in God for wisdom and strength?  Are you remembering to get alone to pray as Jesus did when things got crazy?

Wow.  This really speaks to me.  These are things I often forget and I need to remember!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Devotional: Scripture is Practical

Luke 9:10-16 And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida.  But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.”

 But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men.

Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”And they did so, and made them all sit down.

Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude.  So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

I was reading this story of the feeding of the five thousand and it struck me that it was extremely practical.  There are lessons to be learned here in how to get things done.  Here is what I gleaned from this story.

The disciples wanted Jesus to send the crowd away.  It was too large and there was no way they were going to feed that mob.  I often feel that way about my daily tasks on my list.  There are too many things to do and I feel defeated before I start. But Jesus told them to feed the crowd!  

The only resources they had were five loaves and two fishes.  It was an impossible task they thought.  So often my limited physical resources are not enough to meet the demands of the day, or so I think.

Here is where Jesus gets extremely practical.  He told the disciples to make the people sit down in groups of fifty.  When you have a big task in front of you, don't look at the whole mountain.  That is too overwhelming.  Divide the task up into smaller chunks.  

Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, blessed them and gave them to the disciples to serve to the multitude and twelve baskets were left over!  Give your meager energy resources over to Jesus and then set about attacking your task just one little chunk at a time.  Before you know it, you have whittled that big task down and you are almost done with it.  You will be amazed at how tackling things in this manner will conserve your energy and keep you from getting overwhelmed. Jesus knows what you can handle and with His strength and method, you can do a lot!  Be encouraged!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Lessons from Today's Sermon

The message at church today was from Luke 6:30-37.  I'll let you grab your Bible and read it for yourself.  Here are the things that stood out to me this morning.  I hope I can remember them and apply them to my life.

God's mercies total in the millions~why do I  to sit on my pity pot?  Keep a daily record of God's mercies and review it often, giving thanks each day for them.  Remember how God has been merciful to me and then next time I get ticked off at someone who I think has wronged me, show that person mercy just as God has showed me mercy.  This is the mark of a Christian...a Christ-follower.

When we judge others with contempt, this is not righteous judgment. This is judging another in order to pull yourself  up by your own bootstraps as better than they are. When we make rules for others and hold them to our own set of rules of righteousness, this is judging wrongly and it's legalism. We must examine ourselves before we point out the wrong in others.  The one who mourns his own sins has no room to judge others. That last statement really hits home.  It's convicting.

We are called to judge, to "discernment".  There is a big difference between judging someone with contempt and discerning between good and evil for the sake of protecting oneself or loved ones from harm or theological error.

I think about Facebook. It's so easy to sit on my high horse and judge others.  I see it happening all the time on news posts where the comments can get very nasty.  I often find myself judging these people who make nasty judgmental comments.  Perhaps I am doing the same thing they are doing.  I am judging them with contempt for what they have said about the original post.  I think in my heart how much better I am than they are because, after all, I am not making offensive comments about the person in the original post.  Oh my word!  This is bad!  I hope I can remember this sermon the next time I read stuff on Facebook or other social media that makes me want to puff myself up and become judge and jury.

Friday, August 04, 2017

AirTamer~ I Recommend this Product for Fire Season~ It Helps Me!

Well, it is Fire Season in our corner of the world now.  It is the fifth season of the year for us.  We are surrounded in fires once again and smoke is pouring into the valley from Canada and other places making our air quality pretty nasty.

I have an AirTamer Negative Ion Generator that I use during this season of the year.  It works pretty well for me.  Here are some of the key features of this product:

  • Maintain Cleaner Personal Air, Negative ions push pollutants away from your breathing zone; State-of-the-art Electrostatic Purification creates a 3-foot sphere of Cleaner, Healthier Air around your head
  • Millions of negative ions are emitted every second; When the Green Light is blinking, the air is being scrubbed; Patented electronics convert electricity into negative ions
  • Replacing Batteries is a thing of the past, the unit operates for 150+ hours on a single charge; Silent operation, No noisy fans or motors, No filters to change
  • Proprietary conductive lanyard maximizes ion generation, is adjustable and features a break-away connector for extra safety; USB charging cable and metal carrying/ travel case are included
I also have found this device to be helpful when traveling through areas that bother my throat.  We have a stretch of area where I always end up with a lot of phlegm in my throat and can hardly talk.  When I wear my AirTamer I do not have that problem.  

If you have issues with air quality, I would highly recommend this product.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Devotional: Trusting God with My Daughter

Luke 8:52-53 (KJV)

 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.

My daughter is headed out on the first leg of a journey that she believes God is leading her on.  It's hard to stand by and watch her embark on something that seems impossible to me, well really just scary if you get right down to it. 

Jesus said to the people in the passage above that the girl was only asleep and not dead, but the people thought they knew better and laughed Him to scorn.

God is leading my daughter to do hard things and it's hard for me to not laugh at God in scorn because I think it's impossible, scary and unsafe. How many parents have felt the same way when their child tells them they want to go to a foreign country as a missionary?!  Now there is some perspective.

Jesus raised the girl to health again and she ate.  Her parents were astonished.

If God is going to ask what I think is impossible, scary and unsafe of my daughter, who am I to stand in the way?  He will make a way for whatever purposes He has for her life.  I have done my job as a parent.  I have spoken with her about the scary, unsafe details so she is aware of what she needs to be cautious about.  Now I need to let her spread her wings and fly. God knows the purposes He wants to accomplish in her life and I need to pray, trust God and perhaps I will be astonished at what God does in her life!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Devotional: Doubts

“Then the disciples of John reported to him concerning all these things. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” When the men had come to Him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ ” And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight. Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:18-23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I don't know why I never noticed this before.  John the Baptist was the one who announced Jesus' arrival on the scene with,  "Behold the Lamb of God!" (John 1:29)  John the Baptist was the one who baptized Jesus.  Of all people, I thought he would have known who Jesus was and yet, here he is asking, "Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?"

We are all frail human beings.  We are all prone to doubt.  John the Baptist was no different.  This should be an encouragement to us.  Not a justification for doubting, but an encouragement that when we do doubt God, we are not some horrible failure spiritually.  John the Baptist did what we should do when we doubt.  He asked questions of the One Who could answer them.  When we doubt we need to go to God in prayer and ask that He help our unbelief and then go to His Word to find the assurance we need.  

We know that John the Baptist must have gotten over his doubts because Scripture tells us he was put in prison because of his preaching.  This is an encouragement as well, not that he was put in prison, but that God brought him out of his doubting.

Let your doubts drive you to the One Who can answer your questions and find encouragement to keep trusting Him.