MORNING GLORIES AND THE MORNING STAR

 

Every day when I come home from work I need to go outside and water my morning glories and other flowers. In these over-100-degree temperatures, by the end of the day they are sagging, the leaves wilting and generally looking sad. But about a half hour after giving them water, they perk up. I need Jesus at least as often as my morning glories need water.

 

Psalm 42:1 says: “As the hart [deer] panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” I’ve certainly felt that way lately.

 

I wake up sometimes early in the morning when it’s still dark, crying out in my mind, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” I long for His intervention, His answers, His presence. Just calling out His name, I have comfort. I know He’s there, and I go back to sleep easily.

 

With the many disturbing, confusing and crazy things going on in our world and even in our private everyday circumstances, it’s perfectly okay to cry out for our Lord Jesus. Quantum physics has proved that an atom, not part of the atom, but the whole atom can be in two places at once. If a physical atom can do that, what about God Almighty or our Lord Jesus Christ?

 

The Psalmist asked: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there” (Ps. 139:7-8).

 

If you need Jesus and I need Jesus, and 150,000 people need Jesus all at the same time, and He’s also sitting down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2) at the same time, how do you think this happens?

 

One reason God created quantum physics is so that He and Jesus can be anywhere and everywhere they need to be. What an awesome thing that is!

 

Jesus has already experienced every stressful, confusing, awful situation we encounter and He can and will help us. He’s also experienced every great thing we can imagine and can make the most mundane experience exciting and wonderful.

 

I didn’t even realize until writing this article that my crying out for Him, just even saying His name a few times in my mind, really works. I don’t even have to say a big long prayer or anything like that. Whether I’m just bored or worn out or stressed or disturbed, when I call His name, He’s there, and I’m okay.

 

My morning glories wait for me to come home from work and give them their much-desired water. A deer pants for the brooks and I call out for my Jesus. Revelation 22:16 says Jesus is “the bright and morning star.” He has been that for me in these recent traumatic times, and He will always be there for us. Call on Him whenever you want. He can be in a lot of places at once!

 

Love, Carolyn

Photos – (my morning glories thirsty for water) (a section of the reproduction painting I did of von Vogelstein’s “Jesus and the Little Children)

 

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GETTING IT DONE — TOGETHER

wendy cm2

Summer 2016

My friend Wendy was in a bind with the deadline on some of the props she was painting for a large Summer Festival. She asked if I could help her today and even though I had planned to do something else, I said yes. Wendy is a good friend and I knew she really needed the help. So that’s what I’ve been doing from 6 a.m. this morning till 6 p.m. tonight.

 

The Bible tells us that we need to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves” (James 1:22).

 

“What is the benefit, my fellow believers, if someone claims to have faith but has no [good] works [as evidence]? Can that [kind of] faith save him? [No, a mere claim of faith is not sufficient—genuine faith produces good works.]

 

“If a brother or sister is without [adequate] clothing and lacks [enough] food for each day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace [with my blessing], [keep] warm and feed yourselves,” but he does not give them the necessities for the body, what good does that do?” (James 2:14-16 AMP).

 

So, I helped my friend Wendy today and we worked really hard, and through some difficult upsets, but we did it together and it was a blessed day.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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ATTITUDE

CARPENTER

This story is a good reminder every once in a while:

 

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the home-building business. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.

 

He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

 

When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.” The carpenter was shocked.

 

What a shame. If he had known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently. But we cannot go back.

 

You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Your attitude and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow. Build wisely!

 

Anonymous

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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WHO PROTECTS A SCRAPPER?

scruff of neck

By the age of four, I was a scrapper. Some called it selfish, but for me it was self-preservation. At four-years-old, I had a two-year-old brother and one-year-old sister. I could see this wasn’t working out for me, so I wrapped all my favorite stuffed animals and toys, as well as my clothes, in a blue blanket and headed out the door and down the driveway. I didn’t get very far before mom coaxed me back, announcing that my favorite TV show was about to start.

 

My first day in kindergarten, I bit a girl on the arm when she cut in front of me to get on the swing. The teacher called my parents.

 

I learned early on that dad was busy working late, mom had to take care of my younger siblings, and I had to fight for myself. When some older neighborhood kids tied me up and locked me in their garage with a hose underneath the door so they could torment me with threats from outside, there was no one to come to the rescue. I screamed in terror at the top of my lungs until the older kids let me out. I’m not sure if my parents ever even knew about that.

 

In sixth grade when the boys made fun of me, I wrestled Lex Garcia to the ground, pinning him down so he couldn’t get up till the teacher made me get off him.

 

Being a scrapper, I grew up fighting for myself. Then when I became a Christian, I fought for my friends and the people I loved. I still do, just different weapons.

 

I don’t blame anyone in my family for not making me feel protected. Those early years jaded my thinking, and I was pretty good at hiding my feelings. I grew a hard shell and a tough persona. I didn’t have the feeling or experience of a father who fought for me, or a big brother either. They probably didn’t know I was in so much trouble, or they felt I was tough enough on my own. I always felt I was on my own. And even with God, I knew He would eventually bring justice to pass, but not quickly. Until now.

 

Recently some things happened that made the hair on my arms stand up, the hackles of my mind raise up, ready to fight.  Isaiah 51:20 describes it perfectly: “Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of fury.” That was me. I felt like I was right back in that garage, little Carolyn, tied up, terrified, and enraged. I did my best to hold my tongue, but some slipped out. But this time it was different. My Father God and my big brother Jesus brought swift judgment on those who would bully me and bring me down.

 

In all my life, I’ve never seen it happen so fast! I was shocked, and I’ll never again doubt that God has my back. He has your back too. He is a great, great father!

 

If you have a father in the natural who you know has got your back, you are a very blessed person. And if you are a father, try to be this person for your kids.

 

If you’ve never felt the protection of a father or big brother in your natural life, then I am praying that you will have an experience like I did, where God’s fatherly actions are unmistakable and life-changing.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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THE VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD

vengeance

This article is about love, but it’s about God’s love for His people and His vengeance on those who hurt us. This is for real, folks. We are in a war. It’s a war of attrition. Who’s going to hold out longer, our enemy or us the devil? Are we going to give up, or try to fight with natural means, or are we going to take every issue to God for His strategies in life? We don’t need to be afraid of the word “War.” It’s either going to be a conflict we can break through or a conflict where we learn to enter into rest.

 

If you’ve never been in an oppressed situation, count your blessings; this article isn’t for you. But some of God’s people need to know that in situations of oppression, God will be our avenger. God’s vengeance is not just an Old Testament thing; it’s a promise to us in these times as well. Romans 12:19: “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’” Note here that the Lord tells us we are not the ones to repay evil for evil. We’re not the ones who are to carry out the revenge.

 

But when God takes vengeance on people who oppress us, it has to look like something. I’ve seen it many times where God works in a stranger or in an unusual physical situation to penalize the perpetrator/s.

 

The word for vengeance in Romans 12:19 is taken directly from the Hebrew word in the Old Testament, so we can learn a lot about God’s revenge from looking at the verses throughout the Bible where the word is used. The Hebrew word is “naqam.” It means “the act of revenge, to punish, to be angry, hold a grudge, inflict a penalty, the primary idea being that of breathing forcibly.” First of all, it amazes me that our God would hold a grudge. But it makes sense. God loves us so much; He is absolutely going to avenge us. It may take a while, but He won’t forget.

 

Genesis 8:22 says: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest . . . shall not cease.” And Galatians 6:7 tells us: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

 

Sometimes it takes years for the harvest to come, but it will come because God’s Word says so, and God doesn’t lie. Numbers 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

 

God will absolutely avenge us, but like with the rest of His promises, we need to receive them, take them to heart and expect God to do what He says He’ll do.

 

Since there’s no sorrow in Heaven, and no tears, it seems a pretty sure thing that if a Christian is doing the oppressing, or any other evil against us, they are going to get the payback while they’re still here on earth.

When David asked God to avenge him of his enemies, the enemies were often unbelievers, and God told him that his enemies’ harvest would be hell in the end.

 

Think about it: What would be an evil doer’s hell on earth? If they were a person who loved the celebrity and praise of others, total humiliation would be their worst nightmare. What about someone who enjoys bullying good people. His or her hell would be to be thrown in a cell with a bunch of thugs. You get my point.

 

God’s vengeance will be profound and personal. I pointed out to a friend that part of the definition for vengeance is “the idea of breathing forcibly.” Have you ever been so mad you yelled with all your might, all your anger and spit blasting out in your words? Have you ever felt you could melt someone into a puddle with the force of your words? Well, what about God? God could fry a person in a second with His breath!

Nobody messes with God’s people and gets away with it. Take a look at Psalm 36, 37, and 83 for starters. There are multitudes of scriptures that show us how God will stand up for us.

 

We can’t make the mistake of trying to deliver the punishment ourselves. If we truly trust God to carry out the penalty He’s promising, then there is a slight chance we will be a part of His orchestrated plan, but we don’t get to decide that. He will let us know, and most likely we will only be watching from the sidelines, or hear about what happened much later. Our job is to pray, love, tell the truth, and conduct our lives the best we can by what we learn from the Word of God.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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BEING A HERO

Jockey Mike Smith and the beautiful horse Justify take the Triple Crown trophy.

“’He’s sent from heaven,’” an emotional Smith said as he gazed up to those heavens, so humbled and so blessed and giving thanks to his Lord and Savior as he soaked up the love from the New York racing crowd he has forever embraced. The old jockey and the champion horse raced in complete harmony together. ‘He listens to me,’ Smith said. When Smith wanted Justify to relax, he relaxed. When Smith asked him to go, he went. ‘He was perfection today, he really was,’ Smith said. Smith was so at ease he took a nap before the biggest race of his life.”  (New York Post June 9, 2018)

 

There are so many lessons we can learn from this great story of a hero jockey and a hero horse. One is that Mike Smith, the jockey, was so confident before the race, he could take a nap. He was a true Christian hero. Why? Like every real hero, he’d done the work, he’d pushed himself to go the extra mile, and he left the rest to God.

 

Mike Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Age didn’t matter to him. It didn’t matter to Steve Cauthen either, who was only 18 when he won the Triple Crown in 1978. Heroes come in all ages, sizes, sexes, nationalities, and personalities.

 

If we look at the heroes in the Bible: David, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Esther, Mary, Timothy, and all the rest—they all have the same characteristics. They did the work and accepted the challenge to go the extra mile for God.

 

David was a great shepherd before he was a giant killer. Gideon was good at taking care of his family before he became a magnificent warrior and saved his family and his people from their enemies. Esther was a humble, obedient wife before she saved an entire nation. We all have hero genes in us, capabilities to excel for the Lord.

 

Solomon was the wisest man ever. He put it very succinctly: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

 

There you have it. We only have one chance to do this life, so let’s not be lazy. Let’s get our HERO on! First Corinthians 10:31 gives us excellent instruction: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And Matthew 5:41 is also good advice for heroes: “And whoever will compel thee to go one mile, go with him two.” Instead of doing just enough, we can excel at doing the extra, not for the praise of people, but for our God and His son Jesus our Lord.

 

God is always with us, and we can excel if we’re willing to give it a little extra effort. The rewards in Heaven are greater than anything we can ever imagine.

 

One final note on the race yesterday:

 

The horse, Justify, was magnificent. As I watched it run, the stretch and power of his muscles brought tears to my eyes; it was so beautiful.

 

The Lord led me to the following blurb, where the horse’s owner talked about how Justify got his name.

 

“’Single-word monikers are often ‘strong’ and ‘stallion kind of names,’ said Elliott Walden, WinStar’s president, and CEO. From his farm, they’re often rooted in Christian terms, too. That intersection resulted in Justify.

Walden said that the name comes from the New Testament book of Romans, which ‘talks about being justified by faith.’” (Horse Racing Nation June 10, 2018).

 

 

Have a hero’s week!

 

Love, Carolyn

 

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EXTRA ENERGY WHEN WE NEED IT

I came home from work and went out to water the flowers and throw the ball for Peanut. As I was getting ready to come in, it hit me that tomorrow is the garbage day when they pick up extra stuff –OHHH NOOO! I desperately needed to put out as many of the pruned, cut branches I could, but I was pretty sure I didn’t have an ounce of extra energy to do it. I turned toward the door to go inside but looked around at the pile of branches and the empty garbage cans, and I made the decision just to start.

 

Partway through I heard myself saying, “Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Lord,” and I kept going until I stuffed as many branches into those cans as I could. Putting cut branches in the garbage cans may sound like a trivial task, but to me it was important. To God, all things we do are important.

 

Have you ever noticed how you can think you have no energy to do a job, or you don’t want to do it at all, but if you make the decision just to start it, soon you feel like someone gave you a shot of supernatural adrenalin and you just keep at it till the job’s done? I think that’s the Lord. The Bible says He gives us strength.

 

In the book of Joel, the people were already working hard, but they also had a war on their hands. God said: “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, ‘I am strong’” (Joel 3:10). The Lord made sure they would win the battle as well as having a great harvest.

 

When we feel like we don’t accomplish as much as we’d like, many times it’s because we just don’t start. How much closer would we be to our goals if we’d started when we first intended to? It’s up to us to start. God can’t make us do anything against our own will. He’s given us freedom of will. When we start something, any project, anything that’s good for us, it’s up to us to start, but then the Lord, by way of the Holy Spirit in us, can energize our physical bodies (including our minds) to get the project done.

 

The truth of Philippians 4:13 is awesome: “I can do all things through Christ which strentheneth me.”

 

But we don’t have to do everything alone. Yes, we are responsible for deciding to start, but the Lord also provides help. When Moses went to battle, God told him he had to hold up his hand to have victory. But Moses got tired. When his arm began to droop because he couldn’t hold it up for an extended period, he got two others to help him, and they won the battle.

 

“And Moses said unto Joshua, ‘Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.’ And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

 

So Joshua destroyed the Amalekite army with swords. And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Write this for a memorial in a book,’” (Ex. 17:9,11-14).

 

Sometimes at work, I’ll take on a difficult-looking faux finish. I get it started, but if I’m having a hard time, I’m not ashamed to ask for help, and the girls jump in, and we get it done.

 

Let’s take notice of those times when the Lord gives us extra energy for ourselves, or extra help from others and remember to thank Him.

Love, Carolyn

 

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