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Posted By Harolene

I think everyone in the world wants to be happy. Greg Laurie in an article titled "God's Definition of Happiness" stated this, "True happiness is independent of our circumstances; it is self-contained. Regardless of what is happening internally or externally, I believe it is possible to be a truly happy person, a genuinely blessed person."  And to that I say Amen, which is what I am talking about! I have talked to many people through the years, my appointment book used to be full daily with people coming and talking to me about all their problems and then asking for prayer. I found that they really didn't want advice or prayer they just wanted a listening ear. But I digress, my point is this, if I want to be happy then I find the best way to gain that state of mind is not by infringing on someone else's happiness but to be peaceful within myself and to try with all my heart to make you happy even if it is in a small way. A person that is never satisfied with what they have but always want something more, has what we call "a hole in their soul" and they keep trying to fill it with possessions when the very thing they are searching for is something that can only be supplied by the Creator of their very soul and that is God. You have to be happy where you are, here is an excellent object lesson I read: Take a carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee, fill three pots with water and place each on a high fire. In each pot place one of the three things, a carrot, an egg and some ground coffee beans. Let them sit and boil about twenty minutes, then take the carrots and the eggs and place them in a bowl. Ladle the coffee out and place it in a cup. Tell me what do you see? They all faced the same adversity, boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans are unique, however. After they are in the boiling water, they change the water. Which are you? When adversity comes how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?  Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?  May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy. The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling... can you still make them smile?

Posted By Harolene

Years ago I was in a church bowling league, pity the poor team that had to have me because I had never bowled and didn't have the first clue as to how to stand or throw the ball, if I were ever able to simply keep it out of the gutter everyone cheered! One thing I heard more than once from would-be instructors was to "carry through" with the throw, seems that was supposed to make a difference. Later on in life I listened in as someone was giving golf lessons and again I heard the encouragement to "carry through" with your swing. I believe I have heard it back when my son as getting instructions on how to bat when he was in the Little League. Actually that is good advice for anything you do isn't it?

If you begin a project see it through to the end. I have a problem of being distracted and cleaning in great spurts of energy and while I am in the middle of that I will think of something else that needs to be done so I leave cleaning product, cloths with polish, brushes to scrub the toilet in the middle of what I am doing and go to my next project planning to come back later and finish...sometimes I really do it too! I remember a project that was left in the early stages and I won't mention who it was but one member of my family decided to paint our basement "sunshine yellow", at least that was the name on the can. One corner got painted and then stood in infamy to accuse the painter for years to come that the project never got finished. Therefore, anytime anyone decided to do a project after that we would all simply say "sunshine yellow" signifying that if it got started it needed to be finished.

I gave that a lot of thought this past week as I spent time reading the Gospels and following the life of Jesus. Everything He did was done to achieve a determined end, one that He knew was coming as well as the reason it had to be finished, His life had purpose. From the moment He was born until we first see Him conversing in the Temple with the elders at the age of twelve He was learning His Father's business and, as He told Mary and Joseph when they found Him there with the elders and were going to chide Him, He was "about His Father's business". Every miracle He performed, every time He spoke a parable to the people or explained them to His disciples His one goal was to point to the Kingdom of Heaven and the Father.

John 14:9-10 “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act." The dictionary says, "Purpose is the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists."

Posted By Harolene

If you know me I imagine you can tell me where I am going with this, my next thought was "what is my purpose on this earth?"

When I was nine-months old I was involved in a car crash that threw me from the back seat of the car, this was way before the days of infant seats, through the windshield and I landed amidst broken glass on the hood of the car. A few more inches and I would have been over the side of a bridge and landed in the bottom of a creek hundreds of feet below that bridge.

Why was I spared? Have I fulfilled the purpose in my life? Was it to live to be the caretaker of my father and having seen him go to heaven to be the lady-in-waiting until my mother makes the same journey? Was it to birth my two children, are they going to make a difference in this world and God used my body to bring them into the world? Is it to sit here and write some encouraging word to you night after night? I have done a lot of things in my life, I was singing before congregations from a very young age, was the church organist from the age of fourteen, led prayer meetings, choirs, helped in dramas, cleaned church toilets and cooked meals to be sold and yet this is where I am today...fingers on the computer and pouring out my heart to you.

I am not looking for answers for myself because I am thoroughly convinced that I actually am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now and when this job is finished there will be something else for me to do and I am not rushing it one bit, I want this "job" to last as long as it can even though I am not sure she is exactly aware of who I am sometimes.

Now let me as you the same question I asked of myself, what is your purpose? What are you doing with your life? Are you at least helping others as you pass along this way? Is there something more? Stop and think, pray, and then sit alone in silence and listen... I believe you will begin to see the Master's plan for your life.  You weren't called to die on a cross to save the soul of man, but you might have been called to save one person whom no one else will take the time or have enough love in their heart to help. Maybe it is all up to you...

Posted By Harolene

There are seven six-foot windows in my great room, four on the long wall, that I am facing, and three on my left side. As I sit here the afternoon sun is shining through new green leaves on a lot of trees and it is beautiful, this has been a perfect day for anything but since it's Resurrection day it seems even more so.
As an aside I will tell you that this is the first Easter in my whole life that I was not in church and that includes the Easter Sunday we had all caught "pink eye" from one of the church member's children. I played the organ and sang that Sunday looking a lot like Ray Charles with very black sunglasses on my face!
Back to today, the Braves are on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, bottom of the tenth with one on base for the Mets. Dinner was good and the dishwasher is full and running so I am feeling that I have the right to just sit and ruminate for a few.
As my memories of Easter in the past bubble up one by one I first see myself with a little white purse which matched my white patent-leather shoes and frilly white dress, black curls glossy from all the brushing my mother gave them all while telling me as I squirmed in pain, "Suffer for beauty's sake, Leenie." Well "Leenie" wasn't caring enough for beauty to have her scalp yanked out by her over-zealous mother!
I remember the Easter right before my brother was born that my parents were holding a revival in Charleston, SC. Daddy had rented a space in a trailer park so we could be connected to power, however there was no toilet in that little trailer so my mother, who was a very sick pregnant lady and couldn't keep anything on her stomach, made use of the pot which my dad so diligently carried out and kept clean. That Easter I shared my Easter basket with a little boy that I was just madly in love with and I am friends with him to this day.
When I was fifteen there was the Easter the lady in the church with very good intentions decided to make an Easter dress for me, oh how I did not want her to do that! She hauled me down to the basement of the beautiful church we shared with St Luke's Lutheran, and took my measurements much to my great horror! Wearing that dress was one of the single most embarrassing days of my life! I had no choice of color or material so when I put on that bright pink dress made of some sort of stiff linen, complete with a wide belt that had a mother-of-pearl buckle, I felt completely humiliated. It didn't fit me well and all I wanted to do was to go back into that church basement and hide!
By the next year someone decided to take me shopping, now shopping is not one of my favorite things but I can tolerate it with someone I like and here I am going to break one of my own rules, the one about never calling anyone's name, because the person was the mother of a friend of mine, his name is right there on my friend list, Herb Wright! Herb, his mother, Carrie, and sister Irene came and took me downtown Atlanta for a day of shopping and the friendship we forged that day has lasted for all of these years. Herb, who was very young, loved to watch me play the Hammond and I like to think maybe I inspired him which makes me proud to say that he is a fabulous musician now! I am happy to report that I was not embarrassed that Easter, so delayed thanks and accolades to them after all these years.
The next most important Easter memory I have is the one that came on my daughter's one-month birthday, and I had her dedicated to the Lord!
 Lastly I am thinking of Easter one year ago, as my dad rolled his scooter out of the van to go into the church I stopped him and took a picture of him with my different it is today. I am wondering what might change between now and next year? All I know is that the risen, resurrected Jesus Christ holds my future in His hand and I am feeling pretty well blessed right now on this Easter 2014.

Posted By Harolene

Just as there are no victories without battles, there would not be a Resurrection Day if Jesus had not died on the cross. The old song says "The Cross upon which Jesus died, is a shelter in which we can hide, and His grace so free is sufficient for me as deep as the ocean as wide as the sea, There's room at the Cross for you, there's room at the Cross for you, though many have come, there is still room for one, there is room at the Cross for you!" As we are singing that precious old hymn walk with me and let us stand at the foot of the Cross and know that today that Cross is EMPTY of our Savior and so is the GRAVE! He AROSE!

Now, while we are standing here looking up at the empty cross, let's get out a piece of paper, do you have yours yet? Now take your pen and start writing down all of your problems, you can abbreviate or write it in code because He already knows exactly what your problems are, we are just making this so you think about and recognize everything that is bothering you.  Tell Him all your troubles, your hopes and dreams, just tell Him everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Have you got it done?

OK, I have some nails, here is a nail for you and I have my own, I also have a hammer!  Now let's take that piece of paper and nail it to that blood stained cross! All done? Now, stand for a moment and let's each give our list one last look... I MEAN it, one LAST look, now turn around with me and walk away, it is most important that you don't look back, remember what happened to Lot's wife when she turned to look back? Does a "pillar of salt" ring a bell? As we walk away from the Cross where we have left our problems, grief’s, sins, fallen dreams, bad relationships, hurts, everything, let's remember another old song, "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel's veins and sinners plunged beneath the flood lose all their guilty stains!”   Now that we have done that you can "rise and be healed in the name of Jesus, let faith arise in your soul, rise and be healed in the name of Jesus, He will cleanse you and make you whole!

As we are walking away we know that He has heard us and answered our heart's cry for help and now we can sing "thank you Lord for saving my soul, thank you Lord for making me whole, thank you Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free!” Yes free for us but the supreme sacrifice for Him.
I pray that today you are blessed and that you are enjoying your Easter, your day to celebrate the Resurrection! JESUS LIVES!

You don’t taste any salt on your lips, do you?