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My Forgotten Prayer

Last fall our water heater quit and needed to be replaced.  I am so grateful for a husband who knows how to do such things!  He had a new tank in place in no time. I never even had to miss a bath! What he couldn’t do, even with my assistance, was bring the old tank out of the basement for disposal.  It was too heavy for the two of us.  We would have to wait for family and enlist their help.

A month or so later our son visited for Christmas. He successfully helped his dad load the heavy beast into the back of our pickup. The removal of seven large buckets of water and sediment made the job possible. They were unaware, however, that there was still some water and “gunk” in the bottom of the tank. It had escaped during the removal process, leaving black wetness and goo on several of our carpeted steps.  My husband, wielding a shop vac, handled the majority of the moisture, but the black muck and goo were going to be up to me.

With my best can of carpet cleaner and an old flannel sheet in hand, I said a prayer before beginning my task.  “Goodness Lord, this looks impossible!  Would you please send angels with scrubbing bubbles to help me get this out?”.

Less than a half hour later, I was amazed.  The stairs were clean!  I started rationalizing about how it could have happened.  Great cleaner combined with absorbent rags?  Maybe the goo wasn’t minerals after all but just dirt? Then I remembered … I had asked The Lord for help.

I stood embarrassed before Him wondering how many other prayers for assistance I had prayed, then forgotten? Prayers that I had softly whispered, or shouted loudly toward heaven.  Unspoken prayers heard by Jesus, in spite of my lack of speech. I wondered how many times I had neglected to say thank You and to recognize God’s faithfulness when I asked for His help?

“Lord, please forgive me. Open my eyes to Your answers when they come.
Help me to never neglect to say thank you!!!
When You ask me to wait, please grant me the patience and faith that I need.
Jesus, thank You for Your patience with me! You love me even when I forget and when I fail.
Thank You Lord that You answer each prayer, no matter what that answer may be.”

Psalm 116:1-2 (NKJV) 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
2Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.

Jeremiah 33:3  (KJV) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Psalm 18:6  (KJV) In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psalm 116:1-2  (KJV)I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. 2Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

Psalm 136:1-3 (NKJV) Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. 3 Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever:

Psalms 52:9 (KJV) “I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.”

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Our First Post of 2019!

Welcome 2019!!!  It is good to be back with you! This morning I am writing to you as I smile and shake my head. Things don’t always go the way we had planned. Today, that was the case for me.

I have been working on our New Year’s post since last week. The first message of the year is important. I had spent much time writing, rewriting and rearranging, trying to get everything just right.  I was still making changes around midnight last night, when somehow all of my work disappeared.  I have been learning to use a new system.  I guess I  hit the wrong button!

The scriptures will be different than I had thought this week, and my story not quite as detailed. I am out of town attending meetings, and I don’t have time to recreate what was lost.  We will see if I rewrite the original for another day, or if it will remain just between Jesus and I.  Either way, I will not allow myself to worry or feel embarrassed, choosing to post what I have and move forward with determination instead. This has been a good lesson about perfectionism. It is something I need to let go.

So here are our new scriptures. May they perform their purpose in spite of the fight it took to get them on this page!

Isaiah 50:7 (KJV)For the LORD God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Philippians 3:13 (KJV) … but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This year, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. May we take our mistakes to Him in prayer, then continue to move on ahead. May our battles serve to make us stronger as we set our faces to be as hard as stone. This year may we be determined, to accomplish what it is we are called to do!

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Merry Christmas

Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus, our Savior and King!
We look forward to seeing you in 2019!

***The picture above is one of our favorite family decorations passed down from my husband’s Grandmother.  They were made for her by a friend.  Their bodies are fashioned from beer bottles.  Their heads are ornaments made to hang on the tree.

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The Battle of The Christmas Tree Lights

After the dishes were done on Thanksgiving, our son and son-in-law carried our Christmas tree upstairs for my husband and I. It’s a great tree, 8 feet tall with a full diameter and packed with at least a thousand lights.  We got it several years ago when we made the difficult decision to stop buying real trees and to buy an artificial one.  I was looking forward to getting it back into the living room to decorate so that we could have it up for the whole month of December.  After everyone had gone home and the house was quiet, I plugged the tree lights in.  Oh no! They had quit working except for one small strand. How disappointing!

As days passed, I would periodically make a half hearted attempt at figuring out what was wrong. I would change a plug here and replace a bulb there, all to no avail.  Not knowing what else to do, I eventually quit trying and just ignored the problem.  

When my husband offered to do an assessment with his electrical tester, reality became evident.  The lights would no longer function.  With that final confirmation I knew what had to be done. I would need to remove all of the lights and restring them.  Tree trimming is traditionally on my side of our informal,  but tried and true, 40 year old “List of Household Duties and Responsibilities”, so I began to unstring the lights.

As I began to work, I realized that every light was TIGHTLY SECURED onto the tree. There were clips that were difficult to remove,  flexible small green tree needles wrapped around the cords to hold them in place needing to be unwound, and cords that split into different directions with no predictable pattern.  My hands and lower arms looked like pin cushions from the stiff needles on the artificial branches (my own fault for not wearing long, heavy sleeves while I worked). 

Removing all of the lights would take hours.  A few hours at a time, it actually took days.  More than once I was tempted to quit, wondering if this could possibly be worth the effort.  Quitting however, would mean throwing out a perfectly good tree. The tree wasn’t the problem, the lights were.  After the new lights were in place, the tree would be beautiful once again.

             *************************************************

It is Sunday night at 11:00 and I just finished hanging the last ornament.  Standing back to behold the finished work I realized; the price I had paid was not too high.  All of the hours.  All of the effort.  All of the frustration.  All of the scratches on my arms and hands.  The tree is restored to its beauty once again. 

This season we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, who won the battle against sin and death.  He doesn’t throw us out because of the darkness within us, no matter how deep that darkness may be.  Instead He came from heaven to bring restoration, so that our beauty might shine brightly, a reflection of His Love.

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Too Many Choices!

I have had a lot of choices to make this past week.  Following are just a few:

Do I stay home with my husband and help him get caught up with chores and a mountain of office work around the house over the weekend?  Or do I leave and give a short sharing I was invited to give at a friend’s church?  While short, it would require preparation, and preparation takes me a lot of time!

Do I attend my daughter’s birthday party?  Or do I keep another commitment that is out of town?  Is going out of town so important that I take the next step towards craziness, and actually try to do both?

Friends are coming from out of town next week.  Do I spend time with them?  Or do I help a family member to whom I made a commitment before I knew they were coming?

How will I avoid feeling good about what I accomplish, and guilty about that which I do not?

All of these questions caused me to remember the order of God’s priorities.
God.  Family.  Work.

Walking and talking with God and spending time with Him.  As much as I am able, keeping my thoughts, deeds and heart in ways that are pleasing to Him.

With God’s help, loving family in the way that I am loved by Jesus.  Placing their needs above my own desires.

Remembering that work is not to take precedence over my relationship with God or with the people that I love.

Under that backdrop I presented each of my choices to The Lord, and I prayed until I had peace.  The result?

I stayed home with my husband and helped him accomplish what was too much for one person to do.
I attended our daughter’s birthday, and fancy that; my other commitment was canceled!
I kept my commitment to my family member.  I will see our friends the next time they come.

In the end, I didn’t feel guilty.  With prayer and peace as my markers, I knew I was doing the right things.

“Lord help me to remember to consult with You in decisions that are big and small.   Today I decide to trust You to show me what is best in all of my choices.”

James 1:5 (NKJV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Isaiah 30:21 (KJV) And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

 

 

 

 

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Be A Light!

I was running late as I dashed to the bank to deposit two checks that I had forgotten to take for far too long.  I was scheduled to be at my Mom’s to pick her up for a Doctor’s appointment in about 10 minutes.  Changes to the deposit slip needed to be made, and I was planning on filling out a new one inside. I had just enough time.

Briskly walking up to the building and pulling on the door handle.  I was met with strong resistance.  The door was locked because the bank didn’t open for another half hour.  Quickly I sat down on the floor and scribbled corrections to the numbers on my slip of paper.  Noticing a sign that said the drive up was open, I hurried back to my car and headed for the window.  Only one person was in front of me, but they were waiting for a car in the next lane.  Someone else pulled in behind me, boxing me in.  Not exactly what I had planned.

After waiting for what seemed like a very long time, a lovely gal with a southern accent appeared and cheerily asked me how I was.  “Doing fine”, I responded flatly as I refrained from saying, “but very much in a hurry and running late!”.  I asked how her day was going, just to be polite.  “Quite well, but very busy!” she replied as she continued on with her work.  That smile and positive attitude were starting to get on my nerves!   She stopped to say good morning to the man in the car beside me, assuring him she would be right back.  “HURRY UP!”, I grumbled to myself aloud as she rounded the corner and headed out of sight.

She returned in a few minutes, task complete, and wearing that same smile on her face.  “Here you are, Christine!  Have a wonderful day!”. Surprisingly I found myself  replying with a smile, “You too!”, as I rolled up the car window and put away the deposit slip.  I’ll be darned.  The persistent light of her joy had cut through my darkness and brightened my mood!

Pulling away from the bank I realized how stinking my thinking had been.  The fact that I felt hurried because I had allowed myself to be late had absolutely nothing to do with that teller.  It had everything to do with how I had decided to respond.

Every day I have a choice.  Will the light and joy of Jesus within me shine, brightening the day of another?  Or will I cover it with negative grumbling, bringing darkness to myself and those around?  Such a seemingly simple choice.  One that carries much impact.  There is much difference in so many ways when we choose Darkness over Light .

“Lord, every day may I choose to be a reflection You!
Show me quickly when I have slipped into an attitude other than one of thankfulness and praise.  I will need Your help with this.
Thank You for the simple ways You use us Lord, and turn them into something  profound.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen”

Matthew 5:15-16  (NKJV)
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV)  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

John 8:12 (NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of  life.”

Isaiah 60:1 (KJV) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

 

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

Psalm 107:1 NKJV 1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Father, You are indeed a good and merciful God.  May we be anxious for nothing as we put our trust in You.  Please Lord, help us to give You thanks and praise in each and every thing.  May we walk in an ever growing peace as we make our requests known to You.  Guard our hearts and our minds through Jesus.   One of the greatest gifts You can give us Lord, is the gift of a grateful heart”.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving full of blessing,
Christine and A Little Made Enough

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Snowflakes and Purpose

This week we experienced the first snowfall of the season.  Our granddaughters were spending the weekend with us when it arrived.  Their reaction was that of excitement and joy.  They had been looking forward to it’s appearance with anticipation.  While we received just under an inch in measure, they spent several hours outside making snowballs and little forts and running through the yard with abandon.  It was a gift to us all.

As I watched them play, I reflected on the amazing people that they are.  I imagined their futures in light of the talents, uniqueness, and beautiful gifts that they possess.   I was excited by the plans and purposes The Lord has for each of their lives.  His plans for them to know Him, and that they make a difference in this world.   That is the plan that He has for us all.

Following is an article about snowflakes and purpose and beauty.  May it bring excitement and joy to you.  As you read it please remember:
no matter how young,
no matter how old,
no matter where you have been,
no matter what you have done;

God has a hope and a future for your life.  He is not finished with you yet!

You Have A Purpose

 

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Idle Words

Mathew 12:36 (KJV) But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

This week an ALME reader asked the question: “What is considered an idle word?”, after reading the Daily Scripture on Facebook.  The question got me to thinking, prompting today’s weekly post.

There are countless books and articles written on the subject of the power of the spoken word.   A quick review of Mathew 12:36 in several translations of the bible provide insight into our question.  Words, phrases and definitions for idle included:

careless, useless, thoughtless, untrue, inoperative, nonworking, vain, lazy, unemployed, barren

Quite a vivid picture!  I had to chuckle, however, at the thoughts that came to my own mind after my research.  Driving tractor has forever changed the way I see things.

I imagined myself in Beauty, our big farm tractor. Instead of taking off and driving with purpose, I was just sitting with the engine running idle.  I was not going anywhere or putting her to good use. With the gears resting in the neutral position, I wasn’t accomplishing a thing. I was just wasting time and burning fuel.

This tractor has 280 horse power. We have used her to tear out weeds, plant good seed, and even to pull the pickup up the road when it was too muddy or snowy to navigate. There was so much power available to me, yet I did nothing with the power I had been given.

The Lord entrusted us with a great responsibility when He gave us the gift of speech. May our tongue be used with purpose and care.  May we keep our list of idle, careless, thoughtless, useless, words, very very short.

So I pray:
“Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the times I have spoken carelessly and without thought.  For words I have spoken that were untrue.  I ask that You help me to speak words that sow good seed and that bring forth life in others.  Help me Lord, to be aware of every word that I am to say.  May You be pleased with that which I have spoken, one day when I stand before You.”
In Jesus’ Name~ Amen

James 12:9-10 (NKJV) 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Proverbs (KJV) 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Ephesians 4:29 (IJV) let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

 

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Well THAT Was Exciting!

I have just returned home from helping my husband drive a 1960’s 4020 John Deere tractor on a VERY busy road to a shop for repair.  The distance is just over a mile, but it is far from my favorite thing to do. Taking a deep breath as we headed down the driveway, I prepared to follow in the pickup, flashers flashing, and the whirly gig whizzing on top.

The speed limit on the road is 55 mph, while the tractor will travel at 10-15mph tops.  There is a wide shoulder and a turn lane in the middle that allows impatient drivers to pass.  Today however, there was a school bus that decided not to take advantage of either.  As I looked in the rear view mirror to survey traffic, it was filled with a mass of yellow that had caught up and was right behind me.  There were four cars behind this  cautious driver, followed by a large city bus.  Behind that, I would estimate that  there were another 20 cars lined up traveling at our slow speed.  While our caravan didn’t actually last too long, it seemed like it lasted forever.  I was ever so grateful as we made it to the turn lane and exited into the parking lot so that everyone could pass on by.  In spite of my trepidation, we had arrived at our destination safe and sound.

Pulling into the driveway after our adventure, I couldn’t help but be thankful for the faithfulness of God.  He is with us, and maybe especially, when we have hard things to do.  I recalled the break in traffic He provided as we pulled both of our vehicles onto the road and  I remembered my “thank You” as we took the short side road that gave us a reprieve from the long string of cars.  I felt grateful for the turn lane that came into sight just as the back up was becoming alarmingly long.  When it was all said and done, no one shook a fist, elevated their middle finger, or gave us an angry horn honk.

Our success doesn’t mean that it is always easy, however.  Years ago I was flagging a “new to us” Combine home on back country roads and somehow managed to slide the pickup off into a ditch.  I couldn’t drive it out in spite of the fact it was 4-wheel drive, so we (my husband and I) had to use the Combine to pull it back onto the road.  Oops!  One thing is for certain: whether hard or easy, I would rather have Jesus riding with me than to try to handle my life without Him.

Do you have something that is not your favorite thing to do?  Then don’t forget to bring Jesus with you!!!

Joshua 1:9 (KJV)  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 139:7-10 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.