Watchin' God Book One - Listed Alphabetically

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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Help, Lord! I need... (fill in the blank)

This is an excerpt from Watchin' God, Book One, Listed Alphabetically I was telling a service tech about this today, and wanted to make it easy for him to find it.  Chris, I hope you can see more of the "Lord, could you find the hose for me, please!" that you saw today.
  

    Daddy had a faded “For Sale” sign on the property where I'd built the cabin.  Shortly before my son and I left the state I heard of a guy who was looking to buy property.  I called daddy to see if he was still interested in selling.  He was, so I told the guy about it.  I asked him if he was interested in buying my cabin, also.  He wasn't, so I tried to sell it to be moved.  No luck.  I left it there, with a lot of stuff I couldn't take on the plane.  The buyer would just inherit a furnished cabin.  What else could I do?
    About a week before we moved, I called the legal representative who was working with my VA disability case and was representing me at a hearing to determine my eligibility.  He had no information as to when my hearing would be.  I told him I was moving out of state, but would keep in touch, and would pray I had the money to come back up for the hearing.  I gave him Geoffrey's phone number and address to contact me if he heard anything about the hearing before I had an address of my own.    

     My son and I arrived in Tennessee on Thursday night.  I rented a car at the airport and looked for a motel in the vicinity as originally planned, since it was getting late.  The next morning we had an appointment to go see about a boarding house downtown that I found online before we left Maine.  Since I was a romantic teenager I'd wanted to live in a boarding house - just like the down-and-out heroines of those Grace Livingston Hill romance novels I used to read.  I guess I’m just a silly romantic at heart, huh?    
    The boarding house didn't look very inviting on the outside.  There was trash in the yard and the place was a ramshackle, rickety mess.  Next door was a rescue mission.  It seemed a good idea to talk to the staff and get their opinion on the boarding house.
    Their opinion wasn't good.  The director called a motel for me and arranged a discount rate for a week.    
    Thanks Lord!  That gave me time to look for a better place to live and a job.
    The next day I headed to Gunner. I didn't find the town very interesting, but stuck to that location to putter around for a few days, looking for a job, a place to live and a vehicle.
    Remembering the trouble I had in Washington finding a place to live without a job, I concentrated on a job first.   Kentucky Fried Chicken hired me as an assistant manager.  They were impressed that I had owned my own store for two summers.  That was on a Wednesday.  I was to start on Monday.
    Later that morning I found an apartment.  The rent was more than my son's Social Security check he got from his disabled father, but with the KFC job we'd make it.      
    After a bit of searching and spending $100 to have it inspected, I located a $1500 car the next day.  Since my debit card only allowed me to get $500 a day, I gave the salesman $100 and said I'd be back in three days with the rest.
    That night, Thursday, I got the feeling I should call the representative who was handling my VA case to ask him if he knew anything more about the hearing.  There was no reason he would have since I hadn't heard anything from him.
    Well, don't you know that sometimes I pay attention when God tells me something.  The legal representative said my hearing was scheduled for the following Tuesday!  The letter was sent to my former address, arriving probably the day after we left the state.  If I hadn't called, I would have missed the hearing!
    I had enough money in the bank to pay the rent on the new apartment for a month , buy a round-trip ticket to go to the hearing and spend a few days getting stuff from my old cabin that I couldn't bring with me when we left.  If I had been able to get the money for the car all in one day, I wouldn't have been able to go back for the hearing!  God's timing is perfect.              
    But the job at Kentucky Fried Chicken wouldn't be there when I got back.
    Well, Lord, You had me call to see about the hearing when there was no reason to do so; You kept me from buying a car when I was going to need the money to go back for the hearing; so I'm sure You will provide some way for me to pay the rent.  At least I have a month to find something.
     When I arrived for the hearing back in Maine, the rating officer said it was an open and shut case.  The head injury was all over my military records.  No problem.
    But the medical problem I was hoping to have them rate was bipolar, caused by the head injury.  That would take me back four years in pay.  When I originally filed, I knew nothing about a head injury and had only added it to the case a year prior to the hearing.  If the case was rated on the head injury, the back pay would only be a little more than a year.        

     Well, Lord, You know what You're doing.  You've always taken care of me, if I would trust You.  I'm sure You'll do what's best for me, so I'll trust You this time, too.
     When the hearing officer offered me 70% based on the head injury, he said I would have to go back to the psychiatrist. They'd let me know when the appointment was scheduled.  I told him I'd just moved out of state, and came back for the hearing.  I wouldn't be able to go to another appointment there.
    “Okay.  Did you like the psychiatrist you saw when you filed the claim four years ago?”
    “I did.”
    “Good.  We'll just send the file back to him.”
    Now, I was thinking that could be a good thing.  That psychiatrist told me four years ago if I could prove the bipolar started when I was in the military he would give me 100% in a heartbeat.
    I'd tried for all those four years to find someone who could verify that.  No one could.  My first husband sent three letters that I never received.  My friend only knew about the head injury, not its effects, though he did write a letter for me.  
    Out of desperation, I asked a life-long friend to write a letter.  She had seen me just two weeks before the head injury, and could verify that I hadn't even so much as mentioned the man I agreed to marry a month later.  She could also say what I was like now as compared to before the injury.  I didn't know if it would do any good, because the VA raters prefer military friends and co-workers, but I turned it in with the rest of the paperwork at the hearing.
    I asked God to get me the 100% if He didn't mind.  That way I wouldn't have to work and would have time and enough money to do and go and give whatever He wanted from me.

~*~

    When I arrived back at my new home in Tennessee I had no idea what we would do for food.  We had a little, but not much.  At least the rent was paid for a month.
    The Saturday I returned I found a little Baptist church three quarters of a mile away from the apartment.  There were a few guys working there, so I talked to them about the church.  It sounded like something we might be interested in, so the next morning my son and I walked to church.
    Less than a block from the apartment was a United Methodist Church with homecoming that morning.  “Homecoming” at any church in the South means food, and we didn't have much, and hadn't eaten breakfast and probably not supper the night before.
    I suggested we could save ourselves the walk and go to church there that morning.  My son looked at me like I'd lost all my marbles.
    “MO-om!  That's a United Methodist Church!  We are Independent Baptists.”  (The things kids pick up when you don't think they're listening!)
    “Okay,” I said with a deep sigh. “Let's go to the Baptist church,” as I kept walking that three quarters of a mile in my high-heeled shoes.
    Though I hadn't attended church much over the years, there are still several doctrines I look for in a church.  Between two services on Sunday and the Wednesday night service, the preacher touched on them all in passing.  I was sure that was where God had in mind for us to attend church.  We both enjoyed the services.

~*~
     A few weeks later there was an aggravating issue I needed to discuss with the apartment manager. I started to leave the apartment to go talk to her about it, but first a phone call and then a knock on the door kept me from getting out the door. Finally, the third try, I managed to head out to have that talk with the apartment manager.  
    I was about halfway to the office when I saw the preacher's wife drive up.  She had a strange look on her face.  She also had bags of groceries for us.  She said she'd argued with God about bringing us food.  She had no idea which apartment I lived in, so how was she going to get the stuff to me?  She'd argued about taking me anything at all, because I hadn't said I needed help and she didn't want to offend me by bringing food, like I was poor or something.  Amazing the excuses we use to ignore God.
    Well, don't you know, I was thrilled to death to see her.  God had done it again!  She found me against all odds, and we got food we desperately needed.
    Through circumstances, God kept me from a potentially unpleasant confrontation with the apartment manager.  It seemed God didn't want me to talk to her, considering the trouble I had when I tried.  We never did have that conversation.  Thanks again, Lord.  On both accounts.
   
~*~


    I still need a job, Lord.    
    A few days after making that request of God, my son and I were walking downtown and saw a Kirby store. Now, we both love Kirby vacuum cleaners.  We went in just to see what there was to see.  The owner and I discussed the merits of their product over other brands.  She offered me a job as a telemarketer, beginning that night.
    I told her I'd be happy to have the job, but I didn't work on Wednesday nights, as I needed to go to church.  She agreed.  WOW, Lord!  How unusual is that?  They were closed on Sunday, so that wasn't a problem.
    It wasn't much for pay, and only twenty four hours a week, but it would be enough to tithe, pay the rest of the rent my son’s check wouldn't cover and pay the utilities, with just a bit left over for food.
    So, now we had a church and I had a job I could walk to.  The grocery store was literally out the back door.  Still no car, but we didn't need one, and couldn't have afforded one.  God was working overtime taking care of me, giving me only what we needed, and not burdening me with things we didn't.
    After a while there were things going on at work I didn't feel were being done in a very ethical manner, but I needed the job.  I really didn't want to have to tell the boss lady I didn't think they were doing things the way I felt they should be done.  It wasn’t my place.  I asked God to show me what He wanted me to do.
    One night the other woman who worked with me decided I wasn't doing my job, so she called the boss to “come in and make me get to work.”
    Now, one does not have to be overly energetic to dial phone numbers no one answers.  Trust me; I was working as hard as she was.  She was making contact; I was only getting answering machines, and we weren't supposed to leave messages.
    When the boss arrived and heard the other lady's story, she asked me privately what was going on.  I told her working with that lady wasn't going to work, and I quit right then and there.
    She understood, I think, because another lady had already quit for the same reason.  And I didn't have to say anything about ethics.
    But now I had no job and the rent was due.    When I explained the situation to our new apartment manager, he said he understood my situation;  he was very sorry but he could only give me twenty days to pay the rent.  After that I'd have twenty four hours to move.
    Help Lord…  
    No one at church knew about the money situation.  I'm not even sure I told my son about the possible eviction.
     A week later, on the second of the month, I got a call from the legal representative for my VA disability case.  He said it had been approved - at 100% on the bipolar!
    That would be one very large chunk of change!  The back pay would commence from the filing date four years prior.  If it had been approved on the head injury that would have only given me seventeen months of back pay, because that’s when that diagnosis was made and I had added it to my VA claim.
    “Thanks Lord!” I shouted.  The man on the phone probably thought the award was well-deserved!
    Moving out of state had been a good thing.  If we hadn't moved, there is no telling which psychiatrist I would have seen.  Granted, God could have arranged it to be the same one, and in effect He had when we moved.
    Not that I had any idea when the money would arrive.  This is the government we're talking about.  It could be months.
    So, the countdown to being evicted began.  I didn't really look for a job because I was under the impression that if I got 100% I wouldn't be allowed to work (which years later I found not to be the case).  What would be the point in getting a job only to have to quit when the disability started?  If I managed to find a job within a week, I wouldn't get my first paycheck before the rent was due, anyway.
    I paid the utility bills and bought food with what money we had and saved as much as I could.  The rent had to be paid in full, no partial payments allowed.
    I waited and prayed.  I don't remember worrying, though.  I'd seen God work so many miracles since moving there that I didn't even begin packing to move, or arranging for help if I needed it.  I just knew God was going to come through for me.  I did wonder what I’d do with all our stuff if He had other plans for me.  The sidewalk outside the apartment would be pretty full of stuff.
    On the morning of the 20th I walked to the mailbox, hoping the check would be there.
    No check.
     I was finally beginning to wonder what was going to happen next and began looking at our possessions in terms of what we would be able to keep, wondering where we would go. 

     My daddy called in the early afternoon of the 20th, just three hours before the rent had to be paid, or we'd be out on the street the next day. 
    "The man who is buying my property also wants to buy your cabin.  He just sent half the money for your cabin.  Where would you like me to send it?”
    “Wire it to my bank here, please!  Now!”  For the first time, I explained the situation.
    Eventually the money from the VA did come in the mail.  In the meanwhile, God changed the heart of a buyer and the money daddy sent paid the bills.
    God had done it again!
 

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Christmas Miracle

Imagine the snow covers the yard.  This is the best I can do!
UPDATE:  
This story is finally published!  When I told it to a friend, he told me his own even more surprising memory that "no footprints in the snow" triggered.  The book - Christmas Miracles, Book One - The Jingle Bell Mystery/Footprints in the Snow - is a double, upside/down book available at blurb.com.  Support your friendly author!  Thanks!



It was a snowy Christmas eve in Alaska. There was about a foot of new-fallen snow covering the yard of our little house. I had been out on the enclosed porch earlier that day, but we hadn't been outside in the yard for several hours, so the blanket of snow was beautiful and unbroken by footprints. 

Around 7 that night, I heard a bit of noise on the front porch, but thought it was just the wind rattling the decrepit porch door. The phone rang about 7:30. A vaguely familiar male voice asked to speak to J. I tried to place the voice amongst our friends in the tiny town as I handed the phone to J.

"Huh?" he grunted into the phone with a very strange look on his face.

I could hear the man speaking, but couldn't make out any of the conversation.

"Okaaaay..."

J hung up the phone and answered my question. "He said it was Santa and I should open the front door."

Curious, he walked over to the door and opened it carefully.  A smallish package wrapped in bright Christmas paper fell into the house. It was addressed "To J, From Santa." Of course, he wanted to open it right then. I was willing to see what it could be. And just what do you think it was? The very thing J wanted for Christmas! And this Mrs. Claus had already wrapped up that very Lego set and intended to put it under the tree that night!


More curious than ever, we looked out the porch door. Remember, there is about a foot of new snow in the yard. There are 3 steps up to the porch door, so if anyone were to open that door to put the package against the inside door, there would have to be footprints in the snow.

But there were no footprints!  None. Not up the driveway. Not up the steps. Not even under the eves. Just no possible way for that present to be where it was.

If there isn't a Santa Claus, there surely is a God, who must have been meeting some unspoken need of an 11 year old boy who lived with his mother.

How do YOU think this could happen??

Saturday, June 23, 2018

So You Want To Go To Alaska

I'm working on this. Will have more info, links, phone numbers.  .

Links to my NCCarlson fb profile albums
 Alaska pictures. Fairbanks, Palmer, and many other places
More Alaska Pictures 
Ruth Glacier, Denali


This itinerary is designed for adventurous adults without young children.

Ferry from Bellingham WA to Valdez AK
http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/
     The cost of driving through Canada makes a trip on the ferry worth considering.  First, there is the $300 per person per vehicle that one must have to cross the border.  Then there is the gas prices, which seems to be about 25% higher than the US.  Besides, I'm saving the trip through Canada for last.  Of course, you might choose to take the ferry home after the busy vacation in Alaska.
    Sleeping arrangements on the ferry are several: if you can afford it, and can get one, there are cabins (expect to make reservations a year in advance!); there is an open deck with heaters in the ceiling and deck loungers, bring your own sleeping gear (I bought an air mattress and a blanket, then gave it to someone who was boarding at the terminal where I disembarked); bring a tent and set it up on that same deck;  the auditorium has seats that people use during the day, and sleeping on the floor is allowed.
    The ferry makes several stops at towns along the coast.  There will be time for you to take a little tour of the area.  If you want to spend the night at a port, you can do that and simply catch the ferry the next day.  It might be a good idea to discuss that plan with an employee.  I didn't make a stop, but I have heard it can be done.
    When you arrive in Valdez - pronounced Val-DEEZ, visit a little.  I haven't been there since 1973, so don't know much about what you will find.  I do remember Thompson Pass from my senior trip.  Beautiful waterfalls!  The sun streaming through the moss-covered trees in the woods is a picture that will forever be etched in my memory. (As will the looks of the folks in the restaurant after our class of 9 with a few chaperones piled in, hungry as bears and smelling like the same!)  Here is a nifty post.  https://matadornetwork.com/trips/valdez-coolest-town-never-heard/

Drive to Anch

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

 















Drive to Talkeetna
     On the Parks Hwy, at mike 77.5 prepare to see a beautiful view of Mt. McKinley (Denali, for the PC) if it's visible. It will be bordered by trees on both sides of the road and look much larger than the awesome view of the entire range that will be spread before you on the way down the hill into Talkeetna.
     Turn right on the Talkeetna Spur road at mile 98.5.  At mile 13.5 you willl be blesed and highly favored amongst the hopeful tourists if you get to see this view.
     Well, minus me. I am highly unlikely to be in town.
     My camera is only 5 mega pixel, so the photo doesn't do justice to the view - at all. Truth be told, nothing does. It's one of those views that is best kept in the memory.

Here's a shot of some dreative rock balancing on the river path, headed towards the bridge. To get there, go to the end of Main Street and hook a right. 

     Sheldon Air Service   Tell Holly that Nancy Spencer said Hi!
     Roadhouse. Raspberry Rhubarb Pie, half eaten. Tips are included in the prices, ala European-style. The employees are from all over the world, so if you speak a language other than English, try it out on them! They might be thrilled to speak their native tongue.
     Devil's Canyon - Mahay's Riverboat Service. My video is on another computer, but if you want a glimpse, go to youtube. There are plenty of videos. Keep in mind that, like pictures of The Mountain, videos of this awesome trip are bland.

     Fishing
     I haven't gone fishing, so can't recommend any particular operator.  Plenty of options, from river to lakes.
     Zipline
     I haven't done this - yet! - but rumor has it from my (older) friends that it's a blast!
     Take the Hurricane Turn on the Alaska Railroad (that's what we used to call it back in the day when the North- and South-bound passenger trains met at Honolulu and exchanged passengers), now known as the Hurricane Turn.  It's a 5 hour trip.  Possibly the last flagstop train in the country - maybe the world!



Head north on the Parks Highway to your next stop.  On the way, keep a lookout at Mile 188.5 for the giant igloo.
     Someone tried to sell it, and The Daily Mail in the UK picked up the event.  I, personally, have never stopped.  Maybe this trip??

Drive to the Park  (McKinley Park if you're old-school.  Denali National Park and Preserve if you're politically correct.)
     The Parks Highway from the Park entrance north a mile or so is affectionately (or not) known as Glitter Gultch.  Hotels, tourist traps, food, tours.  You can walk on a paved path from the park headquarters.  I'm sure there is a shuttle from the Park headquarters.  Or you can drive after you see the Panorama at the Park.  Parking might be a bit dicey, but it can be had.  There are several 'shopping centers' with gravel parking lots.

Arrive in Healy and spend a few days.  There really are enough things to do, and lodging is somewhat cheaper there than staying on Glitter Gultch.

These cabins are small, but the beds are good.  There are also rafting tours available from the office.
 
Climb Mt Healy
     I want to climb this! Evidently I'm not the only one who keeps driving by without stopping.  Maybe this impromptu trip in September 2018.  I wonder if I can find anyone willing to accompany me??

Usibelli Coal Mine  At the least, look at the mountain across the river from Healy.  Find the black coal strip, and look for this huge dragline!  (when I find the picture I will insert it here.)

Fairbanks
     Riverboat Discovery
     UAF museum
     Chena Hotsprings
     Turtle Club in Fox
Circle  (Arctic Circle)
Santa Claus House in North Pole is - a touristy shop, but they do have some local, Made in Alaska items.  (Look for the Bear. There is a long and detailed State process to be able to use this logo, so you can be assured the item really is Made in Alaska.)
I refused to buy just any old thing, only what demanded to come home with me. Yeah. It wasn't the cheapest thing in the store...  It lights up! This will make, oh, maybe #34 trees in my house for Christmas. It's not really that bad. Some of those trees are pictures, or napkin rings. But still...
     Oh, and Santa said it wasn't him... I asked.
Buffalo at Delta Junction
     There are several camping areas around Delta Junction.  Enjoy!    
     If you didn't make it up Mt Healy, Donnelly Dome is your next chance, at roughly 2,000 shorter.  A permit is required, so check out the link.
Fast Eddy's in Tok
Chicken/Klondike
Back to the States down the ALCAN Highway


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"Lord Have Mercy!"

“Lord, Have Mercy!”

     Do you take the Lord’s name in vain?  Like me, if you are saved, your automatic response is probably “No way!”  One day, after being accused of such a sin, I asked God to tell me what He thought.  I was surprised.  It embarrasses me to have to admit, even to myself, how many times God has to let me know I am breaking the third commandment.
     Unless you are actually talking to God, asking for his help, or talking to him like he’s a friend standing beside you, chances are good you’re using his name in vain, no matter what cliché you use to express surprise, anger, frustration or any number of other things.
          ‘Lord, have mercy!’ and ‘Ooh Lord’ are common phrases used without thinking.  Unless you are truly asking God for mercy, you just used God’s name in vain.      
     ‘Oh my God!’ is so blatant that it does not require explanation.  I usually comment ‘Mine, too’ and hope the offender will get the message.
     Since asking the Holy Ghost to show me when I am cursing, it is surprising how many times I do it, and how often other Christians do.  I have heard it from the pulpit, in homes from people I consider above reproach in other areas, everywhere.   We probably do not even hear the words we are saying.
     Another issuxe is the phrase ‘blessing someone out’, which is just a polite term for ‘cussing someone out’. 
Consider this:  Jeremiah 23:10 ‘…for because of swearing (cursing) the land mourneth;’  It’s bad enough that unsaved people use God’s name in vain, but we as Christians are doubly guilty of cursing God, and of causing our country to fall!   II  Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’
            If you call yourself a Christian (Christ-like), do not blame all of our country’s problems on the unsaved.  We share in the blame, more so because we trample underfoot the name of God and Jesus Christ our Savior, whom we profess to love.                                                                       
    It’s time we, as children of the living God, who paid for our sin of cursing him, pay attention to what we say and confess our sin.
     If you have never realized you are destined for hell, if you have never asked God to forgive your sin of unbelief, now is the time to admit you’re a sinner, condemned to die, and thank God for Jesus, who paid your debt so you could live!  John 3:18 ‘he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’Romans 10:9 ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ There is no magic prayer that will save you.  It must come from the heart.  Talk to God as if he is right there listening to you.  He is, you know.  Then tell someone about it!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

God Will Let Me Into Heaven Because

Why should God let you into heaven?  Now that’s a question!  What’s your answer?
     Because you’ve worked enough, been good enough to deserve a place beside Adam and Eve, Jesus, even the beggar Lazarus?  Titus 3:5 ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…
     Because you give time and money to church and missionaries, to the TV preachers, to the homeless? Because you’re better than those hypocrites who make a show of being so good when someone’s looking? Because you can quote more Bible verses than your neighbor, your brother or sister, even your pastor? Because you go to church every time the doors are open?   Luke 18:10-14 ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee (often hypocritical religious leader), and the other a publican (tax collector).  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying “God be merciful to me a sinner.”  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.’
     Because you believe in God? John 3:18 ‘… he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’ James 2:19 ‘The devils believe also (in God) and tremble.’
Because you’ve been baptized or confirmed? Because you’re a church member, or take communion? Acts 18:8 ‘…and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.’  Acts 2:47b ‘And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’  Belief comes first, then you are baptized, added to the church roles, and take communion.           
    Because you’re a Baptist (or Methodist,   or Catholic, or Pentecostal or Mormon, or Jew or Muslim or…)?  Romans 3:9 ‘What then?  Are we better than they?  No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles (everybody who isn’t a Jew), that they are all under sin;
     None of these reasons will do.

     If you realize you need to trust Jesus instead of yourself, tell him you were wrong, that you want to trust his death, burial and resurrection as payment for your sinsAsk him to forgive your sin of unbelief.  John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’. Thank him for the Holy Spirit who will help you live for him from now on.  John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:’   There are no magic words that will save you.  It must come from the heart.  Talk to God as if he is right there listening to you.  He is, you know.  Romans 10:9 ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’

Okay, I said the Prayer, But How do I Know I'm Saved?

Okay, I Said the Prayer But How Do I Know I'm Saved

Glad you asked!  When you prayed, did you ask Jesus to forgive you and save you, in so many words?  Did you feel like God was trying to get your attention?  “No man can come to me, except the Father…draw him” (John 6:44) Was there a change in your heart and life?   “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
True repentance is “(I) have sinned, and have done perversely, (I) have committed wickedness: and so return unto thee with all (my) heart, and with all (my) soul” (1 Kings 8:47b-48a) False repentance is “I have sinned...because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice…pardon my sin.”  God said “I will not”.        (1 Samuel 15:24-26)  Saul refused to take responsibility for his sin.
Are you willing to admit with sorrow and shame that you aren’t good enough to get to heaven on your own? Are you convinced that nothing you can do will pay for your sins, either past, present or future? Do you rely completely on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, believing only he can save you? “He that believeth not on him (Jesus) is condemned already” (John 3:18) God “saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Is there a constant conflict about doing right and wrong? “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the others: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”.  (Galatians 5:17)
When you wonder if you’re saved, do you have a memory of asking for salvation?  ‘The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:’  (Romans 8:17)
Do spiritual things interest you? Do you enjoy telling and hearing stories of the blessings of God?  Does God give you wisdom when you ask for it?  Does God answer your smallest prayers? Deep down, do you really care what God says? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”  (Romans 8:14) Does the Bible seem to apply to you?  Do you understand the Bible and believe it to be God’s Word?  “The Spirit…will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13)  
Does living like ‘everyone else’ make you feel like you are doing something wrong? Do references to immoral sex, and crude jokes, drinking, immodest clothing and pictures, lying, stealing and swearing make you uncomfortable? Is your idea of what is right and wrong different from the world? “For when he (the Holy Ghost) is come, he will reprove the world of sin,” (John 16:8a)
When you sin, are there consequences?  If you cheat someone, do you seem to lose what you gained?  If you engage in immoral activity involving a partner of the same or opposite sex, are you miserable instead of happy?  If you are living a sinful life are you ashamed to be around ‘religious’ people? “And be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23)
Luke 15:11-32 shows what happens when God’s children sin. The stubborn son left the blessings of his father’s house for ‘riotous living’ (Luke 15:13), resulting in famine and misery. God was chastening (punishing) him.  He “came to himself”, repented and went home, admitting to his father that he was wrong. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons…But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all (saved people) are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”  (Hebrews 12:7a, 8) The chastisement was proof of his relationship with God.  Is there any proof of your relationship with God?
If you have been answering “yes”, and your sins are causing you to question your salvation, follow the prodigal son’s example and REPENT, lest God chastise you more.   Thank God for His keeping power and great love! “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”  (John 6:37b)
If you have been answering “no”, God says you are NOT his child.  “Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”  (John 8:43, 44a)  If God has made you realize that the prayer you repeated earlier in life was just words to please someone else, RIGHT NOW is the time to ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart and make a change in your life.  There is no ‘proper’ prayer.  Just talk to God like he’s right there.  He is, you know.  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2b)  If you put it off, the devil will steal away the desire. He doesn’t want you to admit your need for a savior, or believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again to prove He’s God and can, and will, forgive your sins.  The devil wants you to spend eternity in hell with him.  That will break your momma’s heart and God’s as well.  God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9b)

The Prayer That Can Send You To HELL

     Strange as it may seem, there is a prayer that can send you to hell!  And it’s the ‘sinner’s prayer’. 
     I can hear you thinking ‘What are you talking about?!’ 
     If you believe that ‘once saved, always saved’, repeating the sinner’s prayer – or asking Jesus to save you – can actually keep you from getting saved.  The reason for that is that many people think just saying the words will do the trick.  Bingo! You’re saved!  Now no matter what I do, or don’t do, I’m going to heaven!
     It’s not so easy.  There are conditions.  Yes, conditions.  You must see yourself as God sees you – a sinner.  No excuses, no ‘I’m doing the best I can’, no ‘I’m not as bad as the next guy, even though I am bad’.  Also, you must be willing to trust Jesus Christ to save you.  Trust involves being willing to put your life on the line, and actually doing it.  You can believe the airplane can fly, but until you are willing to actually get in the plane and let it take off with you inside, you don’t really trust the plane.  Same with knowing that the blood of Jesus will wash away your sins, and his resurrection will make it possible for you to live with him for eternity.  As long as you think you are responsible or can do anything for your salvation, you aren’t trusting Jesus Christ.  You can’t flap your arms and help the plane stay in the air.  Neither can you do anything to help Jesus save you.
     Until you are willing to acknowledge and accept as life or death fact, and reach out and take the payment offered, without trying to help, you are still on your way to hell!  Repeating a bunch of words isn’t what saves you.  It’s transferring your sin and trust from yourself to Jesus Christ that saves you (repenting). 
If you’ve ‘said the prayer’ and there is no change in your attitude about God, no little voice inside that says ‘you did wrong’ when you cross the line the Bible draws about sin, no desire to know more about Jesus Christ, and you think that prayer has saved you, you’ve prayed the prayer that can send you to hell!
     The reason?  Because you think ‘once saved, always saved’.  Which, by the way, is true.  God said ‘have everlasting life’ and ‘is passed from death unto life’ – that’s forever - you get it, you got it.  The kicker is that you must be saved in the first place.  Are you?
     If you’ve been relying on a prayer you prayed, no matter your age when you said it, but there is no evidence in your life and heart to support such a claim, don’t just say yet another prayer.  Ask God to show you.  When you are convicted (you can’t get away from the thought that you need to be saved), then tell God that you are tired of leaning on yourself, and accept the payment Jesus made on the cross for your sins.  Jesus is waiting for you to acknowledge your doubts and fears, so he can give you peace and complete assurance.  And maybe the salvation you thought you had in the first place.  You’ll go to hell without it.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bead Guys!


Bead Guys!

What fun these are!  It took a while to figure out how to run the wire, but once I did, I could make them in about 10 minutes.  (Then.  It's been a long while since I first made them.  My youngest son was in 5th grade.  He will be 32 in a few days.)

 

Fold about 18" of 18 gauge wire in half (or 24 or 32 gauge.  It needs to be pliable, but not too flimsy.)  Insert one strand through a pony bead, then both wires through a wooden bead.  Separate the wires and ... try to follow the diagram.  
The hardest part is pulling everything tight.  Do that as you go, to make the end easier.  I don't have any beads handy to take a picture, but you hold the guy in one hand and use a pair of pliers to pull the wires tight before you go through the button and bead at the top, and to pull the remaining wire down to loop around the neck and out an arm bead.





Enjoy!

If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

These make cute key fobs, as well.

Have a great Christmas!

Friday, November 11, 2016

A long short story

The story, as of Sunday afternoon, October 2

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE CLIFF NOTES, I'LL MAKE AN OUTLINE AT THE END, SO JUST SCROLL DOWN.
     Thursday morning I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Edd keeps insisting I must move 'home' and marry him, or at least stay at his house when I'm in town, since my house is rented out. That always makes me angry, at worst, and frustrated, at best. I mean, who does he think he is, anyway?? He gave up that option decades ago, and hasn't endeared himself to me by his repeated demands of the same over the years, no matter where I live, nor to whom I'm married.
     I've not been very faithful with my bible reading (I'm being generous) nor even the devotionals that show up in my email daily; those I tend to read the title and think “okay; got the idea” but don't delete them because “I'll read it later.” Sure. Well, for some reason that morning I read both of them. The first was Romans 12:8c he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
So, Lord, you know I'll need your help with that...and then I Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
     Go see Edd, help him cheerfully, work as unto the Lord, ask him the questions about his life to justify his claim of 'being ready to die'. Carry on.
As the day went on, I was thinking about 'what if's': what if Edd has advanced cancer, and he needs someone close who can take him to the doc frequently? What if I have to move back to Jesup to do that, because no one else seems inclined to help him, nor does he seem inclined to ask him (mostly estranged) family? Basically, since I have no serious commitments anywhere (even my TX lease has a 'buy-out clause', which the manager was certain I'd be interested in) I can relocate at the drop of a hat. And could this trip by why God keeps telling me to get rid of stuff? Because if I were to move back, I wouldn't take much with me – I might, maybe, put that hitch on the car and pull a 4x8 trailer. Or I might pack what will fit in the car and one box to mail.
     Wanderlust was taking over, but there was no reason to leave before the next morning, so I went to lunch at Golden Corral to tell my favorite server I would be gone for a week or so, then drove around town aimlessly for a bit. Oh yes! The oil needed changing, so got that accomplished. On the way home, I saw a walking trail, and stopped. Amazing how the view is so beautiful, but my eyes were on my feet most of the time...
     I threw a few things to take on the trip in a pile to take: tent, small tool box, electric drill and charger, 4x6 tarp, small carry-on bag still mostly unpacked from the trip to Alaska 2 weeks ago, important legal papers. My new vitamin regimen was prepped for the morning. I debated what route I would take, looking up the location of a festival in GA where friends were selling stuff, and a few campgrounds along the way. I made a few different arrangements for where to stay in Jesup, depending on my mood when I arrived. I went to bed around 11 – very early for me.
The dang alarm clock went off at 7am... A friend called at 7:15 to remind me to get out of bed. Good thing. The snooze didn't work. My plan was to be out of the house by 8am. Since packing the car the night before is almost unheard of, there was still that to do. It was 8:20 when the car rolled out of the parking lot headed southeast.
     The trip was uneventful, except that I missed the exit off I-20 just across the Alabama line. No problem, that just solidified my decision to take the interstate all the way, except the last few miles.
Except that at Tuscaloosa there was an accident on the interstate that the GPS said was expecting to take 45 minutes to get through. Well, it seems more logical to drive instead of sit in traffic, so I located a route that would get me back to the original route. Sort of.
     Did you know that on the west side of the Eastern/Central time zone line it gets dark about 6:30 or 7? I had no idea! Skip the camping idea. I drove as far as Columbus, GA and would have gone much further had I realized that US 80 was a 4-lane road almost all the way to I-16.
     Saturday, and Google maps and I became good friends. One would expect nothing less from me. There were probably half a dozen 'route changes' (I got lost.) When I saw the Dublin VA sign on I-16, it seemed a reasonable idea to take that exit to see where I'd be going on Thursday. Well, since US 257was headed north, and US 80 (the highway the festival was on) was north of I-16, so it seems logical that they should cross. Lo! Some days my brain wins!
     A strange thing happened. There were myriad yard sale signs along the way, and cash was in my pocket; but I didn't stop, because – what did I need?? Except one out in the middle of nowhere. God said to turn around and go to that yard sale. Okay. I pulled in and offered to buy the red 2001 Silverado that was for sale for the $20 in my pocket and trade the Civic. In jest of course. Which was replied to in the same manner. Bill and Melissa were inclined to talk, so I mentioned that I had no idea why God wanted me to stop, but he did. Melissa said last year the same thing happened. I mentioned that I'd seen a cool way to make yard sale signs from poster board: take a wire coat hanger and bend it into a diamond shape, then tape it on the back of the sign to keep the paper from sagging and being unreadable. Interestingly, she had a whole stack of wire coat hangers. Since I was only traveling, and being uncertain of my next move (literally) there was no point in buying anything. We talked a bit more about their lives – log truck drivers, new car, needing tires for the truck, unnamed medical issues – and Melissa seemed to want me to pray for her, so I did. Then she showed me a bruise about the size of an egg, saying that they come and go, and she is worried she might have cancer.
     Instantly I knew why God had me stop. In the car was the set of Wholetones CDs. I gave them to her, with instructions to look up the website. (www.wholetones.com) Who knows what they will do for her, but God does. She gave me a handful of wire coat hangers. We both laughed and said they might come in handy sometime... Pray for them, would you?
     After I left, the realization that I had everything with me I absolutely need to move to a new location (not including family stuff that I could have Susan mail to me.) That feeling is strong. What it means is questionable.
     “In The Bosom of the Father” by Alyosha was still in the CD player. I was going to link up to it on youtube, but this is, instead, the search result.https://www.youtube.com/results…
     The festival wasn't far from the yard sale, and I visited with my friends for a little while when I arrived at the Turpentine Festavil. When I mentioned going camping for a few days, they suggested Hillside RV Park in Cochran. Before leaving town, of course there was a junk shop or two that bore investigation, now that I had decided to go camping. The one thing I didn't pack was a pair of tennis shoes... As I was out by the road, someone stopped to ask for directions to the festival. I pointed out the road, and suggested they stop to see my friends, and to buy a ping pong launcher. Which reminded me! I had intended to get one of those myself! Back I went. There were only 2 left. Hmmmm... what can I use for a target out here in the wooded area of the campground?
     On the way into town, just off the interstate, I passed a cop on the side of the road. Whew! Only doing 65. With out of state tags, I'm fair game. They probably wouldn't be impressed with the GA tags in the trunk...
     I found the campground with no problem. How's that for a surprise?! () The price was good, and they have free wi-fi! Thanks, Lord! Because my data is about used up for the month. The … (I must remember to pay the bill!) month starts on the 5th. Or it will, if I pay the bill!
      Ah, tent camping... It's not so bad.
     Those wire coat hangers? They were because I forgot the tent stakes!
     The brand-spanking-new twin air bed with built-in pump? Sure. I didn't feel like finding the hole in the other one in the back seat of the car, so I broke the tape on the box, albeit hesitantly. You know, of course, that once you open the box, the air mattress belongs to you, no returns. I failed to purchase the $4 2-year warranty, so...
     Say what??
     Inside the $44.94 box was another sealed box – with an $8 air mattress!
     It was getting late, and now I had to make a trip to Walmart to try to convince them to replace the air mattress. I figured worst case, I would have to keep the flimsy one. But no! The manager at the Cochran Walmart said without hesitation “Go get a replacement.” Except there was no replacement on the shelf. And mine run up at Customer Service as $11.95. It had been on clearance, and since I had no receipt, that's the best they could do. That amount would get a pump... but they'd want to keep the $8 air mattress. So I asked if someone could call to Eastman and see if there was one on their shelf. After checking twice, the clerk in Eastman said, yes, they did have it, complete with onboard electric pump. The price quoted was what I remembered the air bed without a pump to be, but things cost more in Texas, so I figured it could be. She did, after all, insist it was what I was looking for.
Away I went, in the almost dark. I don't like driving in the dark...
     I pulled in at about 8:20, after getting lost a few times. Good ol' Maps to the rescue. My data is running lower by the minute.
     I went straight to Customer Service, assuming they knew what was going on. After waiting in line for a while, I simply put the box on the counter, the lady behind me said she'd explain to the cashier, and I headed back to pick up a new air mattress, with onboard electric pump. Only they didn't have one! As I expected. The stocker looked in the batch of boxes and didn't find one, either. The only thing I could do was get the air bed without electric pump and pick up a pump to go with it. That would be about the same price.
     When I got back to Customer Service, I expected to have to try to convince the cashier of the story. There was a nice young man with gorgeous long blonde hair at the register, and I mentioned that it seems the guys get the good hair. He smiled and said his girlfriend threatened to cut off his thumbs if he cut it in response to a picture of his hair stuff up under his hat. Is anyone else singing “Signs” by Ace of Base? The 20-something cashier is the one who supplied the name of the group, much to my surprise. The blonde school teacher sounded interested in the song, and more so when I mentioned that it was a story, so I wrote the info on one of my business cards – any excuse will do to pass them out, as the gospel is clearly presented on the back! It would be fun if he sent me an email.
When it was my turn to explain that the box she had put on the shelf in back of her was mine, she said no problem, she was willing to be the problem solver. When I explained, she shook her head and said someone probably forgot to check the return. “No,” I said, “the box hadn't been opened.” More head shaking, but she scanned my original $44.94 box. I was afraid it was going to come up the same $14 as at Cochran. Lo! God was watching over me! Full price! She rang up the replacements, called the manager to approve the over ride, and gave me the difference of $2 and change. The manager was also shaking his head at the situation.
     Through that whole exchange, not once did anyone try to give me a bad time about returning an air mattress! Unheard of! Thanks, Lord!
     So, a quick trip to Dollar Tree in the same parking lot. Except that I forgot to get the two things I planned to get earlier in the day.
     On the way back to the campground, I ran a red light trying to figure out where to turn... Lord, you're going to have to drive from here to the campground... When the town was behind me, the road got dark. There was one truck ahead of me. I hadn't seen a speed limit sign, so when I passed the cop sitting in a parking lot with no lights on the black vehicle at all I was hoping we were good, Texas tags and all. Since he didn't turn on any lights, I was feeling safe. However, I made sure not to exceed what I assumed to be the 55mph speed limit (plus allowance.) The truck pulled off, and a car was ridding my bumper. It was tempting to tap the brakes and say “back off” but I didn't. I also didn't speed up. Since there was no good spot to pull over and let him pass, I just maintained 60-64 mph. When the road widened into a 4-lane, I immediately moved into the right hand lane, but the car lagged in my blind spot in the left lane. After half a mile or so, I got tired of that and stepped on the brakes, sending the car well passed me. It was the cop!
     The campground was right there, so I pulled in, muttering something about 'attempted entrapment'.
With the new air bed inflated, I decided sleep was a good plan.
     This morning the church I planned to attend wasn't where I thought it should be (I turned around about ¼ mile from it!) so I went to another one. The sermon was about the Kingdom of God, and many things the preacher said were reminiscent of the blessing from “In the Bosom of the Father”, specifically that we are loved by God for no other reason than that we are alive; there is nothing we must do to earn it.
     That brings you up to 3:25 Sunday afternoon. I'll probably leave hear tomorrow morning, but it's up in the air yet if I'll head to another campground or go down to Jesup. Morning will tell.
**************************************Cliff Notes:
Left Friday. Missed the exit off I-20, so I decided to take the Interstate the whole way. Ran into bad traffic in Tuscaloosa, AL. Rerouted back to original route via US 80. Got lost several times. Stopped at a yard sale Saturday. The lady gave me wire coat hangers, which was good, because I forgot tent stakes. Visited friends at a festival in middle GA. Set up my tent at campground suggested by said friends, and was going to set up the air mattress, only to discover the one in the box wasn't the right one. The manager at Walmart would have happily exchanged my erroneous purchase for the proper one, but they didn't have it. I went to another one where the merchandise was supposed to be, only they didn't have it either. I ended up with a slightly lesser product, but in the end it works. And then a cop followed me for a long time, on my bumper. He evidently was satisfied that I wasn't a risk because he didn't stop me. The end. Thanks Lord!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Ah, Love!

Ah, Love!




Love is exciting!  

The ding of the phone letting you know you have a new text message sends little charges of electricity through your body.  To see the object of your affection unexpectedly makes your heart go pitter-patter.  Hearing that they are coming to see you might even make you bounce - literally! - and dance around.  

Yeah, I know that feeling.

It must be love!

Except when it's only infatuation, or worse, addiction - being in love with love and the adrenaline rush.  

Take some time for that to wear off.  You know - a month maybe?  Better yet, make it 6 months.  

Talk to them about real stuff.  Heck, even argue with them about nonessential things (to see how they will act if you argue about important things.)  Determine what they consider "arguing."  It may well be a lot different than your definition.  
Play board games with them; something you like, something they like.  
Go to a restaurant that has a reputation for slow service or bad food.  See how they react.  Be nice to them.  Ignore them (for a little while.)  
Go without your usual hygienic routine (you know, skip the makeup or shaving.)  
Meet their friends.  Have them meet yours.  
Ask them to go somewhere you really love to be.  Go with them to their favorite place.  
Discuss your philosophy of life and (if it's important to you) spiritual things.  
Verbally set boundaries for actions you consider important to your mental and physical well-being.  See if they intentionally cross them.  
Ask them to do something that would inconvenience them.  And costs money.  Something altruistic, even.  
Work with them doing something you enjoy, and something you might not, especially if you know more about the subject than they do.  
Say "no" - on more than one occasion, and stick to it.

Oh yeah.  Notice that most of this requires face to face, not social media.

You get the idea.  Be creative.

And then pay attention.  Without all the excitement.  

And then wait a little while longer to see if they are just playing the game for an ultimate goal that is a little less than savory.

Then, look for the peace.  Not until then is it a good idea to call it "love."

Yeah.  Experience.

Have you ever been in love, only to find it wasn't?