BEING GENEROUS -THE BUCKET TRUCK

bucket truck

Early in the week, Jane and I saw that someone had thrown a pair of gym shoes up onto the telephone wires at the entrance to our street. I have a very long metal branch cutter, but the shoes were on the “hot” wire, so we decided it was better to pray for another way to get them down. Then yesterday, up pulls Raul’s son-in-law in a bucket truck! My neighbor Raul has a very generous heart so the Lord had an easy time working in him to help us out. I went over to see if they would get the shoes down and they laughed and said yes. We all got a big chuckle out of the fact that two of us were wearing the same kind of shoes that were caught up on the wire (only a different color) and we made jokes about them maybe being our size and we’d be getting a new pair.

 

In the Old Testament we’re told, “If there is a poor man among you, one of your fellow Israelites, in any of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not be heartless, nor close-fisted with your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend to him whatever he needs” (Deut. 15:7-9 AMP).

 

After the shoes came down from the telephone wires, I was in my garage sorting out all the art supplies I wanted to give away. Along came a girl I’d never met. We talked and it turned out she was a beginning art student in college and I was able to give her an easel, a clip board for her drawing classes, new canvasses and some other things that she told me were too expensive for her. I was thrilled. Just being able to be generous was reward enough in itself.

 

David talks to God in First Chronicles 29: 12-14 and reminds us that what we have comes from God in the first place: “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand is power and might; and it is in Your hands to make great and to give strength to everyone. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer as generously as this?”

 

We can never be more generous than God. But we are told to “be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5: 1-3).

 

In Isaiah 32: 8 we’re told that generosity is a noble act: “But the noble, openhearted, and liberal man devises noble things; and he stands for what is noble, openhearted, and generous.”

 

Proverbs 11:17 tells us: “The merciful, kind, and generous man benefits himself [for his deeds return to bless him]. (AMP).

 

Jane and I like do something generous when we go to a buffet. After we are served our beverages, we get out a generous tip and put it right on the table. Servers rely on their tips, so if we put out the tip early, they don’t have to be nervous, wondering, “Am I going to get a tip from these two?” Also, by doing this, we always get great service and the next time we come, they’re happy to serve us again.

 

First Timothy 6: 17-19 says, “As for the rich in this present world, instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share.”

 

We are all rich in something, whether it’s a son-in-law with a bucket truck, extra art supplies, an extra dollar for a tip, a compliment or a smile. Let’s make a little extra effort this week to open our eyes to where we can be generous and see how great it feels.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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GOD’S MERCY IS GREATER THAN OUR SINS

In Old Testament Times there was a payment, sacrifice, to make for sins so the people could get right with God. They had to sacrifice their animals, their food, the things that made up their lifestyle: the things they liked, things of personal value to them. OMG, I can’t even imagine if we had to make a personal physical sacrifice for every sin we commit in a week! Every half-truth, mean thought, snide answer to a parent: There goes the cell phone, the iPad, the laptop, the truck, half the food money, our beloved pets . . . OHH NOOO! If we had to make a personal sacrifice for every sin we commit, we’d all end up homeless and poor in a very short time.

 

But God had mercy on us and He sent His son Jesus to pay for everything up front. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one.” “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23).

 

God loved us so much He sent His son to give us a new way. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And Jesus loved us so much, He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

 

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

God no longer wants sacrifices from us; He just wants us to accept what He did in sending Jesus. He is just so happy when we believe in Jesus. Jesus said, “But go ye and learn what that meaneth, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:’ for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13).

 

Jesus Christ, having no sin at all, “had offered for all time a single sacrifice or sins” (Heb. 10:12).

 

What if we did have to sacrifice something we like every time we sin? Yikes. But seriously, God does have one requirement that many of us have forgotten about. He requires that we repent. That means we actually need to take a few minutes each day (most likely) to acknowledge to the Lord, that we’ve sinned. We may even thank God and the Lord Jesus for making the sacrifice for us instead, and ask Him to help us get better at not sinning.

 

First John 1:8 reminds us, “If we say that we have not sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” But then this is the absolute mercy of God: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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PURPLE EARPLUGS: THE CONSTRUCTION WORKER’S GUIDE TO KEEPING THE FAITH

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Everybody was in a frenzy to get all thirteen large cement pieces loaded on the truck. The noise level escalated and I was trying to finish my paperwork in the same room. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and went to the locker with the earplugs and grabbed the purple ones. I’d never tried them before. They were amazing! In just a couple seconds all the voices disappeared. It was great.

 

What do I hear, see and say? I remember a picture of three monkeys, the first covered his ears, the second, his eyes and the third, his mouth. It was labeled, HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL. I quickly drew my own version for painters like myself.

 

In the construction industry, it can get pretty uproarious and sometimes I just don’t want to participate. Usually it’s good to look someone directly in the eyes when they’re speaking, but if they’re speaking nonsense or garbage, instead of trying to correct them (which really isn’t my job), I just look away and they hardly even notice.

 

I’m not antisocial, but I am responsible to God and the Lord Jesus Christ to do my best to not get wrapped up with the things of the world. I have to keep myself somewhat apart from all the craziness.

 

God says something about this right in the beginning of the Bible: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested” (Gen. 2:3). The word sanctified is the Hebrew word “qadash” which means “to be set apart.” The only way to have true rest in our current world is to be set apart unto God. Keeping watch over what comes into my ears, into my eyes and out of my mouth helps us do this.

 

Second Timothy 2:21 tells us that if a person purges himself from those things that are dishonorable, “he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” That’s what true Christians really want.

 

David spoke these words, “Turn my eyes away from vanity [all those wordly, meaningless things that distract—let Your priorities by mine], and restore me [with renewed energy] in Your ways” (Ps. 119:37).

 

In Isaiah 33:15, Isaiah gives several details about walking uprightly. He teaches that a person should make the effort to speak no evil, hear no evil and see no evil. He is “walking righteously, and speaking uprightly; he is despising the gain of oppressions, shaking his hands from holding bribes, stopping his ears from hearing of blood, and shutting his eyes from seeing evil.”

 

Basically, the Lord wants us to strive to be holy in all aspects of our lives. That’s why He inspired Paul to write First Corinthians 3:16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth [is dwelling] in you?”

 

And in Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

 

Though my cartoon above is for painters in the construction industry, the principles are the same for all Christians. It’s our responsibility to do our best in the natural, but beyond that, it’s our privilege to ask the Lord to help us, because we can’t do it without Him.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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JANE’S DELIGHT LIST

A couple months ago my roommate Jane started a “Delight List” and every day, by the end of the day, she’d have something to put on the list. Sometimes it seemed small, like not being put in Facebook jail, but with her posting every day, believe me, not having to go through the Facebook jail thing is a BIG delight!

 

Just a few minutes ago the Lord reminded me of her insistence on having at least one “delight” to put on that list every day. So I began to go through some of my recent photos and now I’m smiling again and not tense like I was before.

 

I was reminded that on Sunday I was wanting some kind of sweet treat but not too sweet and didn’t find anything in the kitchen. I got a knock on the door, peeked out the window and it was my Cuban neighbor in her nightgown. I quickly opened the door, thinking she may be in trouble and needed our help. Nope. She came over to bring us a box of pastries from her favorite Cuban bakery in LA!

 

Then I remembered that on Sunday I also found $10 on the ground and no one around claiming it. Then my list got longer. I took pictures yesterday after work of my newly planted Cape Myrtle and Redbud trees. My friend Judith had given them to me five years ago and they were only 4 inch twigs at the time. I babied them all these years and finally this past Fall I planted them in the back yard. Last year the Cape Myrtle had only two flowers. But this year I stopped counting at 27. The flowers are an unusual color, kind of lilac and I love them. Since it’s so hot here, I go out every day after work to water those two pals.

 

I also looked at the photos of the recent cement rocks that Hector carved at work and I painted. I like the way they turned out. I really enjoy making things look as real as possible.

 

The four other things that are making me smile right now are: 1. The adoration of our old cat, Snickers, 2. The love and playfulness of our little dog Peanut, 3. The kindness of my best friend Jane, and 4.The blessing of the Lord to remind me of things to be delighted about.

 

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Today I was delighted that the Lord reminded me of Jane’s Delight List. The results made my day!

 

Love, Carolyn

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TOO MUCH CHITTY-CHAT

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Several years ago my friend Carrie and I were working on some paint samples in a loft area. One of the plasterers working below would yell up to me, “Hey Chitty-Chat, how’s it going?” I didn’t think I was that much of a talker, but found out that I am! I like people; and I like conversation; it’s fun. But I have to beware, because my chitty-chat can get out of control and roll over into vain babbling too quickly and the more people, the crazier it gets.

 

It’s time for me to back off a bit and monitor what’s coming out of my mouth. Once when I was in this overly chitty-chat state, I actually put my respirator on at work to block my vain babbling. It’s hard to hear someone when they’re talking behind a respirator, so if I wanted to say something I had to take the respirator off, and that made me think a lot more about what I was going to say.

 

There are only two places in the Bible where “vain babbling” is used. Both of them are in the books of Timothy, where the Apostle Paul is teaching Timothy how to be a good minister for the Lord.

 

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he says, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings” (1 Tim. 6:20). And in the second letter to Timothy, Paul says, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness” (2 Tim. 2:16).

 

In the first verse, the word “avoiding” is the Greek word, “ektrepo,” which means to “dislocate, deflect or turn away from.” In 2 Timothy, the word “shun” is translated from a different Greek word that means “keep away from, turn around and go the other way, a bystander, not a participator.”

 

Profane babblings mean ungodly ones and “vain babblings” is the Greek word “kenophonia,” which means, “empty discussions, discussion of useless matters, devoid of truth.”

 

Looking up these verses on-line in the Strong’s Concordance has really given me pause. Here’s the link if you want to take a look: https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=vain+babblings&t=KJV&ss=1#s=s_primary_0_1

 

I know that the Lord doesn’t want us to always be super serious and religiously pious. We see many examples in the Bible of the Lord instigating fun and laughter, but there is a fine line between having fun in conversation and going over into empty, ungodly vain babblings.

 

Every once in a while we can just check ourselves and take a listen to what we’re saying: Chitty-chat with a purpose and know where to stop and turn away.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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HOW’S YOUR HEART?

me after work

(picture is of me after work)

Most days when I come home from work, I have paint on me, my hair is messed up and I’m generally not that attractive. It only takes about 10 minutes into work and my appearance goes downhill from there. The great thing is that the people around me don’t even seem to care.

 

The Lord isn’t that concerned about how we look either. First Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord seeth [is seeing] not as a man seeth [is seeing]; for man looketh [is looking] on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh [is looking] on the heart.”

 

But what condition is our heart in? With all we look at in a day, our hearts may tend to get hard or we may close them off sometimes, to protect ourselves. It gets easier and easier to get hard-hearted toward others and toward God as well. The way to stay tender-hearted and make sure the Lord is still seeing a good heart in us, is to go to His Word consistently just to see how much He really does love us. Love is the best heart healer and GOD IS LOVE (1 John 1:8).

 

Also we need to continue to go to Him in prayer, talk to Him and ask Him to heal our hearts if we still have pain, anger, jealousy, unforgiveness or other heart illnesses. Even if we aren’t really feeling it, we can pray for it because it’s not God’s will for us to have these things in our hearts. In fact, they are sins. If we pray for the Lord to take away the sins from our hearts, He’ll do it.

 

I love what David says in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

 

Psalm 4:4 tells us: “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” This is telling us we need to respect God and quit sinning. I don’t believe we are to be afraid of God, but I do think we need to have a healthy respect and awe for Him and His commandments. If we don’t, there are going to be consequences and not good ones.

 

The second part of that verse tells us something important too. We need to commune with our own heart, find out where it’s really at and tell it to get back to being tender and responsive to God and to the Lord Jesus.

 

We need to tell our hearts they’re going to be okay if we give them to God and let Him put love and kindness and child-like sweetness back into them. People tend to lose some of that over the course of rough times. We won’t get hurt if we only trust Him and walk quietly and respectfully under His guidance.

 

The first part of 1 John 1:8 says, “He that loveth not knoweth not God.” If we’ve been loving people less and being more offended and put off by others instead, and we expect to know God, we need to change our ways.

 

We pray to God that our love life starts growing again, because we want to know Him better. We read God’s Word and we pray for Him to make our hearts pleasing to Him. We jump in as He guides us and only the Lord can make the risk worthwhile.

 

I’ve always loved this verse, ever since I was a little girl: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

 

Pray with me this week for the Lord to purify our hearts.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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CONFINING TOWERS OF BABEL, HINDERING THEIR INFLUENCE

confining angel

Living so close to the Las Vegas Strip, we’ve noticed that when certain conventions or events come to town, they can have a bad influence on the spiritual atmosphere and it starts to affect us. When lots of people come together to participate in something that’s contrary to God’s Word, their demons get stirred up and they like to extend their influence into the community at large. This isn’t unique to Las Vegas. I’m sure if you think about it, you’ve seen it in your own cities, towns and villages as well.

 

But the Lord has given us some revelation on how to contain and confine the devil spirits and prevent them from affecting us.

 

Sometimes we take things too personally. Often when we feel bad, it’s not even us; it’s demons in the atmosphere pushing at us. I don’t know what was here this weekend, but yesterday was so agitated outside, it was dangerous and this morning was particularly heavy, really oppressive. I didn’t feel like doing my hair, didn’t feel like writing and my brain was foggy. It just wasn’t like me. But I’ve felt this so often before on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I finally realized it isn’t me. It’s a group of demons come to town.

 

The Lord gave me revelation on this by reminding me of Nimrod. In Genesis 10:9 we learn that King Nimrod was “the mighty hunter before the Lord.” When it says “before the Lord,” it means he was in His face, against the true God. Nimrod got the people together and “they said, ‘Let us build a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name [for ourselves]’” (Gen. 11:4).

 

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And the Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech’” (Gen. 11:5-7). When the people were together, they were united in the words they spoke. It’s like when you agree with someone and you say, “You’re speaking my language.”

 

The awesome thing here is that when the Lord God confounded their literal language, they couldn’t communicate with each other. When people can’t communicate, especially when it comes to getting a project done, they can’t agree and that brings envy and strife. James 3:6 says, “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

 

So the Lord showed me that we could pray for this to happen with whatever demons had come to town. I prayed that God’s strong angels would surround them and that the agitation, the envy, the strife and the confusion would happen within the confines of the convention or event and that it would not penetrate the angelic walls put up by the Lord to surround them keep them in one place. It’s like putting those devil spirits in detention, so they couldn’t get to us anymore.

 

Within minutes of praying this, my mind was totally clear and I had plenty of energy to get going on the day. The difference is astonishing and it works every time. It will work for you too.

 

Another Biblical example of this is found in Second Chronicles 20. It’s the story of Jehoshaphat and his people. Three different nations came together for a type of convention or event in the wilderness of Tekoa: It was called war! They all got together to take what Jehoshaphat had. But Jehoshaphat and his people prayed and “when they began to sing and to praise [for the victory they anticipated], the Lord set ambushments.”

“For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another” (2 Chron. 20:22-23).

 

When Jehoshaphat and the people came to see what was going on, “behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped” (v. 24).

 

That’s the thing about some demons, they are so stupid, they start to fight and kill each other!

So if you sometimes feel the pressure or heaviness of the spiritual atmosphere, or you sense a strong agitation, don’t automatically think it’s something wrong with you. Ask the Lord what’s going on. It could very well be that there is some kind of gathering near you that you can spiritually confine and keep at bay.

 

Though we would love to deliver everyone from the demons that manipulate them, it’s not always possible. But it is possible to detain the demons, confine them to a certain areas and prevent them from affecting us. Through Jesus Christ we have the authority and ability.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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