As part of our Tuesday morning "chit-chat" time, this is the blog area for sharing. If you have something you would like to comment about the Facebook Live event; a new recipe, a discovery while cleaning out a closet, a way to connect with others, a favorite book, a product for us to try, anything you would like to share, please post it here in the comment section.
This will allow me to share your thoughts next time we are together. I do believe anyone can read the comments that are made by clicking below. If you have suggestions of topics or want to ask questions, I might not have answers, but we can put it out there for those tuning in!
Thank so much for joining me and I hope to read your comments and be a part of your Tuesday morning lives until we are "released" into the world again.
Blessings to all of you,
Thought for today: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."
I love to listen to music. There is just something about singing lyrics with harmonic voices that lift my spirits. Being raised on gospel music, I have heard more songs than I can count in four-part harmony. My favorite, of course, is Bill Gaither and his quartet whose members have changed over the years, but never lost a beat presenting outstanding harmony.
As time has passed there have been many variations of songs being presented in our congregations today. It's all been wonderful and brings my heart into a worshipful spirit continually. I do hope that you have found time, during this pandemic, to find music as part of your daily life. Although there are countless songs to choose from, I am sending out one today that is on my playlist when I walk each day.
With my mom turning 98 on Sunday and my inability to be with her, this song has pulled at my heartstrings each time it plays. I hope you enjoy it and possibly it turns back the clock to days gone by and the way some of us was raised. It is sung by Little Big Town and my suggestion is to close your eyes and listen to the lyrics.
God bless, my friends!
By now every life has changed. The Coronavirus has been raging for weeks; there are countless numbers infected, thousands of deaths caused by this pandemic and many are on the front lines placing their health and life on the line. Americans have been directed to stay at home, social distance from others, and only go out for groceries and/or needed medications.
I could ask a nonsense question such as, "Did you ever think an event of this magnitude would ever occur?" The response resoundingly would be, we didn't. Several opinions immediately circle through our communication avenues suggesting:
1. Maybe this was a direct attack on our country to cripple our economy.
2. Could it be a forerunner of biochemical warfare, something we have always viewed in movies and wondered if possibly it would find its way to us?
3. Still others are stunned we are facing a disease with such profound affects because this country has brilliant researchers and medical intelligence. Certainly they will discover a cure soon!
4. Are we left scratching our heads wondering if we will ever feel free to mingle with the outside world once these restrictions are lifted?
What lessons have we learned? Where do we go from here? All these concerns add up to same emotional hazard...fear. Instead of fearing this pandemic, what positives can be gleaned from these weeks of isolation? Are the questions listed above where you spend the majority of your time and effort? Is there fear instead of hope continually in motion within your mind? There are countless constructive ways to pay it forward.
*Give to those in need. Share food and the over abundance of clothing and material goods to those without employment. After all, haven't we been cleaning out closets during the pandemic?
*Check on the aging living independently. Don't know of anyone? Call your local churches and I'm sure they will share a few names.
*Write cards, notes, and express positive thoughts and encouragement to any one of a number of individuals. People are hungering for contact with others.
*Call facilities often where family members and/or friends are residents to make sure they are healthy and spend a few precious moments of conversation with them. Not good with calling on the phone?
*Do you sew? Crochet? I'm sure masks are needed; crochet afghans for those not being able to purchase any "extras" but have needs.
Being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I rejoice in the fact this human station in life is temporary. That statement might not be very encouraging for those reading this entry who do not believe in God's Son, Jesus Christ, but it's true. You were not made to last forever. One day your body will simply give out due to age, disease, an unknown accident or any number of unforeseen circumstances, including a pandemic. We just aren't going to be here forever. That is a factual true statement. Doesn't it make sense at least to consider what happens next?
The state of our country is one I don't believe any of us have experienced in our years of human existence. But this I know, God is our Protector, our Strong Tower to whom we run and can find shelter in the midst of the storm. I don't know the end of this story, but I do know how my story ends...eternal life with Jesus. It certainly puts fear to rest.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
This Easter I have been reflecting on celebrations from years past. It's amazing what you recall when we consider what is normal disappears! For instance, I have been remembering my mom always making sure I had new clothes as a child for Easter. I'm sure the entire family followed suit, but I remember a new Easter dress, patent leather shoes, a purse, gloves and a bonnet! It was a wonderful Sunday celebration and most of the time, in the south, it was sunny and warm so we didn't need a coat, but often mom would purchase me, what was then called a 'duster' to go over my dress in case it was a cool day.
Mom wore a corsage with her new dress and dad and my brother wore suits with ties. Yes, sir, it was quite the special event...going to church on Easter Sunday!
This year will be quite different. There will be no big family gatherings, no big Easter egg hunts, no going to the Washington County fairgrounds to see the bunnies and chicks, no one gathered around our tables to celebrate this pivotal event in the Christian's heart and mind.
Although we are not going to experience, in all my years on this earth, gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate the empty tomb of Jesus, it doesn't negate the fact that HE IS RISEN! I pray you will still feel the specialness of this day and will honor our Lord with prayer, praise and thankfulness that we have a home in glory. Our eternal home will not encounter viruses, sending hugs and kisses from a distance, being alone, feeling depressed or deserted, and never experiencing fear again.
This Easter will be different, but we pray many hearts will turn, or return to the Savior; lives uplifted, refreshed and rebooted because we were made to slow down. May God render us a sweetness this Sunday that perhaps we have never experienced before.
I am reprinting a beautiful story shared through our church newsletter. May your heart be uplifted by these words.
Happy Easter, my friends!
A Holy Saturday Meditation
The stars were just beginning to fade as I made my way back to Golgotha. A warm orange glow lay at the horizon as the sun just began its early morning ascent. The same glow painted the few clouds that drifted lazily across the heavens.
The cross was but a shadow against the sky as I made my way up the hill for the second time in as many days. As I approached the cross, the centermost of the three that still stood on the hill, I was overcome by the memory of yesterday’s events. I dropped to my knees, tears pooling in my eyes.
I felt a sharp pain in my right knee, and I brushed my hand under it to remove what I thought was a pebble. I quickly raised my hand when I felt a pinch and sting in my finger.
A thorn from the makeshift crown the Romans had fashioned for the King of the Jews. It was not the first time I would feel its sharp burn.
I was pressed into service yesterday to carry the patibulum of a man sentenced to crucifixion on this very hill. Being from Cyrene, my complexion and dress differentiated me from the rest who had come to see the prisoners led to their deaths, and it may have been for those very reasons that the centurion singled me out. The man was so badly beaten, and since he had fallen more than once, they were likely afraid that me might die on the way. They were determined that the man would survive so that they could put him to death on their own terms.
So the centurion tore me from my place in the crowd and told me to take the patibulum from the man. After the centurion had untied it from the prisoner’s arms, he helped me shift it onto my own back. That is when my arm brushed the crown of thorns.
I plucked the thorn from my finger and sucked at the pinpoint of blood that formed in its place. I looked up at the cross, its rough-hewn texture now visible in the brightening sky. Dark smears of dried blood marred the surface. Nails still lay on the ground where they fell when pried from the prisoner’s lifeless wrists and feet. Another dark stain corrupted the ground where he had been lowered. I still remember how his mother’s tears mingled with the driving rain as he laid in her trembling arms. I remember the blood being washed from his body there.
The sun rose higher still, and it seemed to be mocking me. Yesterday as I stood on this hill and watched the man die, the earth shook, the sky rumbled, lightning streaked to the ground from the heavens. The whole earth seemed to be in turmoil. I had never seen anything like it before. But today was beginning like yesterday never happened, and it angered me. How could the anger and rage cease so suddenly; how dare the sun rise and the sky turn blue again? But then the sunglow touched my face, and even in the cold morning air, warmth enveloped and embraced me.
I rolled my shoulders, suddenly aware that the pain and burn that I still felt this morning from the heavy weight I bore yesterday was gone. In fact, they felt lighter than they ever did. I felt for the bruises that the patibulum had left behind on my upper arms. No tenderness. No pain. I stripped off my outer garment and rolled up my sleeves. No discoloration. No trace of the yellow-green bruises that had been there just this morning. I checked my forearm—the cuts that had drawn blood from the thorns yesterday were gone—no scars; not even a thin red line as evidence of their existence.
Yesterday, I had been meant to ease this man’s burden, but if what I had heard was true, he had lifted the burdens and healed the hurts of many while he walked the earth. And now I knew, without a doubt, that he had lifted mine. When I made my way to the cross this morning, I was a hurting, bruised, and scarred man. When I knelt at the cross, I was healed.
If only there was a way that I could thank him for what he did for me.
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.