I received this letter via email several years ago. It is a letter that I keep in my bible. And, it is a letter to be shared with others. Have a wonderful day!
I am God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help. If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFDJTD (Something For Jesus To Do) Box. It will be addressed in MY time, not yours. Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem. If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that it is the proper resolution. Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest my child. If you need me, contact me, I am a prayer away.
For us Southern Belles, not only is getting the tree and fireplace mantle in perfect shape but getting the dinning room table is at the top of list in what absolutely has to be done at Christmas. For me, candles are essential when setting the table not only at Christmas but year round. Having candles on the table holds meaning for me.
My grandfather on my dad’s side was a retired Army Colonel. When we visited my grandparents’ home, Mom would always make sure we were brushed up on our manners especially before going to the dinner table. Dinner at Papa Hill’s house was an event every night. The good china and silver were used. And, there were always candles on the table that were lit before we came to the table. No one sat down until Papa Hill took his seat at the head of the dinner table As a teen I would roll my eyes and think; “why can’t we just use the everyday dishes?” I would think this because I knew I would be the one helping after dinner hand washing all the china and silver and putting it all away.
Over the years in my adulthood, I have reminisced on those dinner affairs and their true meaning. For Papa, dinner with his family was special to him. He cherished having his family around the table for not only a meal but for a visit. Many a story and tale were shared around the table as we savored the pot roast, mashed potatoes green beans and apple pie. Grandmother had so lovingly prepared. Along with no one sitting until Papa sat, no one got up until they were properly excused by an adult at the table.
As I reminisce about dinner with Papa and once I had been properly excused from the table, I also remember being in the kitchen with Grandmother up to my elbows in suds helping her wash the china and silver. It was those moments in the kitchen where Grandmother would not say a lot but here and there she would gently and lovingly smile and give you a little wink. She was a quiet lady with little to say but her smiles and winks said it all. You knew all was right in the world.
One evening in May, 2002 I stood by my Grandfather’s bedside just a little before mid night. Jim and I had volunteered to take the night shift of staying up with him at the hospital. From the looks of things, we had a pretty good idea that Jim and I would not be there all night. Late in the night, Jim sat by Papa’s side checking vitals until Jim noticed Papa’s breaths were getting further apart. As these breaths were getting shallow, I came over and took Papa by the hand. While holding tight to his hand, I looked at him and thanked him for all the cherished memories he had given us around the table that was always beautifully set with linens and candles. Then, I said “Papa, the table is now set for you. God has the candles lit and He has your place ready for you to take your seat at His banquet table. ” A few seconds later, Papa joined Jesus at the great banquet table.
The table is set. It is Christmas. The candles, fine linens and china are on the table. A meal will be prepared and the candles will be lit where new memories will be made and old stories shared. As I light the candles, I will not only remember my loving grandparents who showed by example that we are all special but I will also be reminded that Christ is and has always been the center of our family.
How about you? Is your table set? If you haven’t already, add some candles to your table. Let your family know how special they are and remind them that Christ is the center of your home by lighting the candles. Sit around the table and make memories and share old stories. The teenagers may roll their eyes a little but let them roll. One day, they will be thankful that they have such warm memories.
This post is dedicated in loving memory of Col. Carl R. Hill, Sr and Virginia Louise Hill
It is that time of year again where we have multiple lists that we are checking off. These lists include added items to the usual grocery list, baking list, gift list, party list and the lists go on. You cannot imagine having yet another list. Yet, I am going to give you a list to remember this Christmas Season.
Things To Remember:
We all have to just sit down and rest at some point and time.
Take a deep breath.
It is in those deep breaths we can relax and inhale the joy and love of God into our souls.
Look at all that is around you.
Give thanks to God for the daily gifts that surround you.
Remember to keep it simple in the gift giving.
The most cherished gifts are not the most expensive but the ones where thought and love were put into them.
After all, God’s gift to us happened in a simple place to simple couple but He came with a lot of love.
- Gifts of Christmas – God with Us (essentialthingdevotions.com)
- How Advent Can Be Much More Than “The Christmas Season” (glennpackiam.typepad.com)
When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, “How high do you think they’ll go?”
The kangaroo said, “About a thousand feet, unless somebody locks the gate at night!”
If you are a frequent reader of Thoughts From The Porch, you will know that I used this Bon Jovi song, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” in a previous post. In that post, I share how people leave home sometimes under stressful situations, about our kids leaving home, and the importance of keeping the porch light on. I also shared how we have a home that we are always welcome to come to and that home is in the arms of our Father.
A week ago today I was on my way home. Yes, I would be seeing my parents, my brother and his wife but I was going back to a home that I had not been to in over thirty years. As I prepared for the trip, and as Jim and I headed down the interstate last weekend, apprehension, butterflies in my stomach and excitement were all stirring up within me.
While traveling to Georgia to attend this reunion, I shared with Jim stories from living in Bowdon/Burwell. I told him about the people who played a significant role in my life. Along with sharing with him about the people, I shared with him stories of mischief that I got into to, swinging on vines across a creek, staying up all night at camp meeting talking, and the list could go on and it did as we drove to Georgia.
Friday evening we stopped at my parents’ home for an overnight visit before heading on to the reunion on Saturday. In my visit with them we went down memory lane. We wondered if certain homes, businesses and people were still around. Mom reminded me that it would not be exactly the same as it was when we lived there.
Saturday afternoon finally arrived and Jim and I arrived at our hotel. We checked in with only a couple of hours to unwind and get ready for the evening. During this time, I had already began calling and/or texting friends who would not be at the reunion trying to set up times to see them before I ventured back on Sunday afternoon. Excitement and anticipation began to build all the more.
Fast forward, we pull up to the lodge where the class reunion was taking place. I see people in the parking lot gathered and talking. Jim asked me if anyone looked familiar. My answer was; “no, not yet.” But, as I registered, and began to enter the lodge, familiar faces were coming up to me. I was getting hugs, warm smiles and a heart full of memories were coming to surface.
My best friends and I grabbed each other and hugged for a long time. As we began to visit and talk it was like I had never left. The butterflies and anticipation subsided. All I felt was warmth, love and I would say I caught another glimpse of heaven last weekend.
You ask; “a glimpse of heaven.” Yes, a glimpse of heaven. For me, I believe that God gives us a slight glimpse and taste of heaven at times. This past weekend was one of those glimpses.
Heaven as I envision it is a place where I will arrive and there will be arms of love opened wide greeting me. Faces of people in my life that I will recognize immediately and though I have been away for quite sometime will still “call me one of their own.” The only words to describe how it will feel is amazing, awesome, and WOW!
Since my return home from this wonderful event, I had to get back to the real world, life and responsibilities. Some days the real world brings challenges that frustrate me and make me want to throw my hands up in the air and give up. However, it is in these moments when I reflect on the little glimpses of heaven that I get that little push and pep in my step to keep moving on and not let life pull me down.
Life can get me down. People will let me down. But, I know that there is a destination on this journey and when I arrive to this destination there will be people with arms opened wide ready and willing to call me their own. It makes my heart leap just to think about it all.
Today, life may be getting you down. Maybe someone has let you down. Yet, realize that you are on a journey with a destination. There are people who have come in and out of your life who are waiting to open their arms wide and call you one of their own. I encourage you to be attentive in your everyday walk with Christ and in all interactions/events you have in your life. If you keep your heart and eyes opened, you may just get a little glimpse of heaven. It’s those glimpses of heaven that will get you through those tough moments in life.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11
Dedicated to Bowdon High School Class of 1982. Thank you for making me feel so loved and welcomed!
“Can’t wait!” “I’m getting excited!” “So excited that I will be seeing everyone!” are just a few of the postings on my Facebook that I have been seeing for several months. This coming weekend I will be attending a thirty year class reunion with a class I did not graduate with but have been invited to attend the reunion. In all reality, I have not seen most of these classmates in thirty-four years!
Okay. Now, I have you confused. You are thinking; “she’s going to a class reunion but she did not graduate with the class.” “Did she quit school?” In answer to these thoughts, is that I did go to school with this group of people from fifth grade to eighth grade. My dad was a minister and was re-appointed to a new congregation after I completed my eighth grade year.
Thanks to Facebook, I have been reunited with these classmates. Classmates that I have often wondered where life has taken them. I have literally not seen some of these classmates since the last day of school in eighth grade. Oh, my family and I did try to go back and visit. But, as we know, life gets busy, people move on and the visits became less and less frequent over time.
Yet, back in the Spring, I receive a message from one of these dear friends telling me about this reunion coming up. They wanted me to come be a part of the reunion even though I did not complete high school with them. I was told that they always considered me as part of their Class of 1982 family. When I received this message and comment, my heart was warmed.
As I reflect on this upcoming weekend and the comments/status updates that are being posted, I am reminded of another reunion. A reunion that we all are invited to attend. A gathering of friends where we should not want anyone left out. A party where ALL are included.
This reunion is heaven. It’s a banquet where we are ALL invited. Yet, as with all invitations, there is an RSVP. This RSVP is accepting Christ into our hearts. When we accept Christ into our lives, we are also making the commitment to be his servant/ambassador.
As we accept our invitation to have Christ live in us and us live for Christ, we need to make sure that others are invited. We must ask ourselves the question; “Is there someone I have always considered family that I want to see at this reunion?” Also, in our daily living, we need to show how exciting it will be to be a part of the Kingdom. Remember, as Christians, we are representatives of the Kingdom.
In our daily living in the days ahead, may we walk with the expressions of “Can’t wait!” “I’m so excited!” ” Looking forward to seeing everyone!” flowing out of hearts so others will see the joy of Christ’s Kingdom. We should be so on fire for the Lord that people will want to stop and ask if they can get an invitation.
Carry these verses in your heart as you journey in your faith walk.
” We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make your joy complete.” 1 John 1: 3-4
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-” Ephesians 1: 1-5
It will be a year this weekend, when Jim and I got up early on a Saturday morning to pick up our new family member, Smokey. Jim and I found Smokey by going to our local Humane Society website that led us to the link of Pet Finders. Then, as we looked through the many faces of looking for homes, Smokey’s cute face caught our hearts. We immediately began to call the rescue home and started the paper work.
Smokey has brought laughter to our home. He has brought laughter and smiles to strangers as we have taken Smokey on trips where we would dressed in one of his t-shirts and wearing his doggles. Smokey wants to do nothing more than to love and please Jim and me. He depends on us to take care of his needs.
When I think of adoption, I think of God and his kingdom. God didn’t go on-line looking for someone to adopt. He didn’t consult an agency seeking to give someone a home. He KNEW the minute he created the world that we would be his sons and daughters.
The wonderful thing about being adopted into God’s kingdom is that we don’t have to do anything to be accepted into his home. All we have to do is be ourselves and accept one simple thing….God’s grace. We have already caught God’s heart which means is that we just have to accept him into our hearts by allowing his Son, Jesus into our hearts.
Once we have accepted God’s wonderful grace and His Son, we should want to do nothing but love and please God every minute of our lives. Not only should we want to please and love God every second of every day, but we should be willing to dress ourselves in Christ so that others will see God’s love and grace through our actions.
Do you know someone who is looking for someone to love them, to accept them no matter where they have been, who they are, or what they have done? Reach out your hand to them and let them know that they have a home and that they are a son/daughter of a wonderful King. Let them know that there are no forms to fill out, no references needed nor no signatures needed. All that is needed to be adopted into this wonderful family of God is to accept his grace, His Son, Christ into their hearts.
My father-n-law is known by family and friends as “Mr. Fix It.” If something is broken, he can usually fix it when no one else can. It is amazing what he can do with super glue, duct tape and even with a wad of chewing gum. He can make fixing things look so easy.
There are times in our lives when we see someone doing something we don’t approve of and we want to change them to our way of thinking. Or, we think we know the whole picture of what is going on by just seeing only a few snippets without even getting to know the person/situation. In our perception, we think we need to jump in and fix the situation or person when really we can’t.
Then, there are those situations/persons who are really doing no wrong but they are not doing things like we would do them. They don’t live like we live our lives. It is different but not wrong.
Jim and I have always had a motto in our home that when someone does something that is totally different from our lifestyles we need to respect that person and there is no need to say anything. It is our responsibility to love the person. Yet, if we see it is something wrong that may lead to detriment, then it is within our right to speak up. But, when we speak up, we need to respond not react. Respond with love and with prayer going into the situation. Reacting with a knee jerk reaction can lead to even more detriment.
What happens when we react and try to fix it ourselves? We begin to carry a burden that was not meant for us to carry. Reacting and attempting to fix a person/situation causes worry in our lives that interrupts the blessings we could be giving and receiving. It causes sleepless nights. Attempting to fix and react also shows we lack faith in what God can do. Remember, God takes care of situations and people in His own time. And, from my experience when allowing God to be in control the outcomes are usually beautiful blessings that we would not experience if we kept trying to take care of the situation ourselves.
God gives us each day to live for his glory. He has never said; “here is a situation that I want you to fix.” Instead, he says; “give me the situation and let me take care of it.” Philippians 4:6-7 says it quite well:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
God does not want us to live a life of anxiety. He wants us to live in a life of peace. So, is someone doing something you know will bring detriment to their lives? Do what Philippians 4:6-7 says and that is to pray. Place the person/situation into God’s hands and allow him to the molding. It is in our letting go and letting God that strengthens and shows God our faith in him and what he can do.
Do you see someone doing something that is not the way your live and is not your lifestyle? Before reacting ask yourselves these questions: Is it really wrong? Is is part of their culture? Are they in their process of blooming? Accept the person/situation for who they are, love on them and lead them with a positive influence.
God did not put us here to be in the fixing business. Fixing is God’s place. Our responsibility is to place all things into the hands of God. Listen to his still small voice for guidance. Allow God to work on his time and not your time. Remember the Serenity Prayer?
God, grant me the SERENITY to accept
the things I cannot change, the courage to
change the things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Let’s show God our faith and place that person/situation into God’s hands. Allow God to give you wisdom of how you can be a positive influence to the person/situation. Remember, you can’t fix it but God can! TRUST HIM!
Have you had an experience where you wanted to fix someone or something but you placed the situation/person(s) into the Father’s hands. Then, in His time he did the repair work with beautiful blessings as an outcome? If so, share your story with me. I would love to hear from you.
“When you have clung to Jesus through pain and problems and experienced His amazing grace, you will find joy in Him.
Jo Ann Leavell
- Worry and Anxiety- How These Emotions Can Mess Life Up (gracefullwomen.com)
- What to Do While You Wait (The Power of Prayer Series, Part 2) (simplyjuliana.wordpress.com)
In my post Meet People Where They Are, I mention how I love the book THE SHACK by William P. Young. One of my favorite chapters in this book is Chapter Seven, 'God On The Dock." There are several interactions in this chapter with Papa and Jesus that I can only imagine what it would be like to experience first hand.
- Morning Devotional - July 22 (crowdfish.wordpress.com)
“I said to myself, ‘Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” Psalm 116:7-8 -The Message-
A few years ago, our son, Drew moved to Chicago to get his first taste of being out on his own and to begin his career. Of course, Chicago was a big change of scenery from the small town where he grew up. Along with this decision of moving to Chicago, he wanted to be in the heartbeat of the city. Thus, locating an apartment in Wrigleville, refusing to take a car up and using nothing but public transportation and the two good feet that God gave him to walk/run.
On one of our first trips up to be with Drew and to help him finish up with his move, we were suddenly caught up in the sights and sounds of the city. Drew’s apartment was not too far from the El which meant you could hear the train running day and night. Not only could you hear the train running 24/7 but the noise of traffic, people yelling and whistling for a cab was constant. As much as it was fun, entertaining and fascinating, Jim and I would always look forward to retrieving to our quiet hotel room at the end of the day.
One of the must see on our bucket list for Chicago was the Chicago Art Institute. Jim and I both have always had an appreciation for all types of artwork. And, I knew that I would see up close some of the pieces that I had studied in history/art classes during my college days. Along with the mentioned reasons for going to the Art Institute, it is also the scene for one of the Hawkins’ favorite movies, Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.
Jim, Drew and I slowly strolled through the museum looking at paintings, sculptures and other displays. Drew would tell us about the artist, the story behind the piece of artwork and the time period of which it was created. As we stood and admired a piece of artwork, I commented to Drew how impressed I was in his knowledge for the pieces displayed in the museum and the artist. I went on to comment that he must have paid close attention in those art appreciation classes he had taken while in school. His reply was; ” yes, some of that I learned in school has come in handy but a lot of my knowledge has come from coming here to the Art Museum on the weekends.” ”The city is so noisy that I have to get out of the noise to think, reflect and to enjoy the quiet.”
Noise. It is all around every single one of us. We are all surrounded by the noises of the television, radio, cell phones, chatter at work, traffic and this list goes on. Yesterday, the television had been on most of the day. Some of the time I did not even really know what was on or what was being talked about. It was simply noise in the background. Yet, late in the afternoon, it felt as though the sounds from the television were getting louder and louder. It was causing me to have a hard time to think and it was not helping the painful headache that I was trying to conquer at the time. So, I said to myself; “enough!” and turned the television off.
Ah, the sound of quiet! The simple sound of nothing was amazing. In this quiet, I began hearing the lyrics to the song “None but Jesus” speak to my heart. In this process of hearing this particular song go through my mind and touch my heart, I realized that God was wanting time with me.
Life gets noisy at times. These days, it seems noise prevails 24/7 just like the El train runs through Chicago. It is easy to get caught up in the noise. As we get caught up in the noise, we tend to learn to adjust and tune it out. The result of our adjusting to the noise and tuning it out is that we tune out something or should I say some things that are truly important. We can easily begin to tune out God and His voice and what He wants to say to us and our hearts. Not only do we tune out God’s voice speaking to us but we can miss the opportunity to talk to Him.
Along with tuning God out, missing opportunity to talk to God, we can easily miss the blessing God gives us every day when we get caught up in the noise. These opportunities include the sounds of children playing outside, the birds singing, just having a conversation with your spouse, family and/or friends. Other blessings that come from tuning out the noise, are that we can see what really matters most, recharge our batteries and experience God’s constant presence around us.
Jim’s mom and dad have a beautiful cabin by a lake. In years past, life has been so busy that we haven’t gotten to take advantage of it as we should. However, this year, Jim and I decided to change that record and get down there more. We have kept that commitment and it has been wonderful. One of the things that we like to do while we are at the lake is to go over to Mammoth Cave National Park and have dinner in their restaurant. After dinner, we like to stroll along one of the walking paths that takes you to an opening of one of the caves. We love to sit there in the quiet. and enjoy the cool air coming up out of the cave, people watch and simply enjoy the sounds of nature around us. Instead of getting caught up in the noise, we get caught up in the quiet.
Noise. Haven’t you had enough of it? My challenge for you today is to take at least a half an hour and turn off the television, the radio, the cell phone and anything else that makes noise and listen to the quiet. Ah, quiet…..what do you hear and who do you hear?