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Posted By Harolene

When my family sits down all together at the table to eat, everyone talks at once. If you hear something that interests you, you just hop into the conversation. My dad used to look around at all of us talking and then just shake his head, he said we hop from one subject to another so fast that he couldn’t keep up! We not only talk at the same time, but we all talk so fast that, someone who doesn't know our language or recognize all the colloquialisms we use, will never know what we are talking about. My granddaughter uses a phone texting device just as quickly as I can speak! Her thumbs move so fast, and the words that come out look like a foreign language, things like IDK for "I don't know," or MSOMS means "mom standing over my shoulder". If you looked at one of those text messages you would just shake your own head and say, “You talk too fast, I can't understand the language you use!" I was married to a man from Paraguay and his mother and cousin came for a visit, they spoke no English and I spoke no Spanish, so it was interesting trying to use sign language and the few words I had picked up to find out their needs. When all else failed I went to the phone and asked my husband to speak with her and translate what she was saying to me and vice versa. Are you tired of these analogies yet?

OK, to the point. It occurred to me that with all the cell phones, land lines, computer conversations all going on at one time, the air waves must be a cacophony of sound, all loud and jumbled at once! There might be crying and laughing, arguing and love sounds, all happening at once. Then you think of all the prayers that are going up in every language on the face of the earth and God hears them all! There are Pentecostal people speaking in tongues, Catholic people saying their Rosaries, Masses being conducted in Latin and ministers speaking different languages from all over the world talking, all at once! For Him to hear them all and keep them all separate so that each can receive an answer, is amazing and a huge miracle in and of its self! I am a mom so I did get used to hearing more than one conversation at once and able to answer or contribute to them all, so on a very small scale, I know how He does it, but when you think of all the people on the face of the earth, it has to boggle your mind!

Isaiah 65:24 It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know! Zechariah 13:9...They will call on My name, and I will answer them, I will say, "This is My people; and each one will say, "The Lord is my God."  Luke 11:9-10 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."  John 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. 15:7 If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  Notice that in that last verse we find a condition of answered prayer, "if you abide in Me and My words abide in you." I have given you some spiritual ammunition with which to start your week so that when the devil comes at you with doubt you can throw these scriptures at him! There are so many more I have only chosen a few! Just remember this, He hears us all!

Posted By Harolene

By the end of the day I am ready for a little peace and quiet as our house is like Grand Central Station with folk coming and going, loud noise, laughter, blaring television sets, telephones ringing, so that by this time all I want to do is be silent and enjoy getting into bed. I always whisper my prayers as I lay my head on my pillow and ask God to forgive me for everything that has distracted me all day long, that kept me from having the running conversation with Him that I love to have. It reminds me of an old song, written for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music,“Send In The Clowns.”  Today I listened to that song and I thought about the meaning of the lyrics. During a circus performance, if something goes wrong they 'send in the clowns' to cause a distraction until what ever is going wrong can be righted, or at a Rodeo, clowns run into the ring if a rider is thrown from the bull to distract him from the fallen rider. We are born with a purpose. God said to Jeremiah the prophet 1:5 "Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: The same God that formed him formed us and knows us personally, intimately. Psalm 139:13-16 "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit-by-bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." Luke 12:6-7 "What's the price of two or three pet canaries? Some loose change, right? But God never overlooks a single one. And he pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries. According to these scriptures God has valued us, since our conception." Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I accept all of these Words for myself you should too! If God has marvelous plans for us, it is Satan's job to distract us, to lead us astray, to show us things that look more important or more fun, or make us feel that we are not recognized for the wonderful person we really are.

Some of the lyrics of the song says, "Just when I'd stopped opening doors, Finally knowing the one that I wanted was yours, Making my entrance again with my usual flair, Sure of my lines, No one is there." I have felt that way in some circumstances of my life, no big deal, but if that happens to you spiritually, it means you have lost your dearest, most precious connection. The clowns of this life may be entertaining for a while, but it is my hope that, if they have ever distracted me in the past, it will never happen again. Anytime a distraction gets between you and your worship of God, your service to Him, your life in the Spirit. Whatever, or whomever, in most cases, that distraction is, they are closer to God than you, because they came between you. Keep your eye on the prize, know your goal and reach it. Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint,And I know that I will not be ashamed. 
In your distraction is your destruction!      

Posted By Harolene

Here’s something that is interesting to me, the word 'love' is mentioned in the KJV 280 times and translated in the Message 437 times; the word 'hate' is mentioned in the KJV 85 times and in the message 84 times, don't you think that is something to think about? All right, in your thinking, which one of those words is used more in our every day language today love or hate? The first time love is mentioned in the Bible it is concerning (are you sure you're ready for this?) FOOD! I kid you not, Genesis 27:4 "And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” The second time was about love for a woman, Genesis 29:20 "So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her." I think that looking around in the world today, listening to commercials on TV we hear more about diet plans and gym memberships and on-line dating sites than anything besides women's personal products, laxatives and ambulance chasing lawyers... of course closely behind that are ads for Charmin toilet paper, related? You think? Instead of saying 'you', or 'we', I am just going to get personal here... I remember the flush of first love, the breathless butterflies when you see that special person, so listening to the song "When I fall in love, it will be forever", by the Lettermen, I can vividly remember that emotion, the very moment it happened, now that is sweet isn't it? But can I remember the first time I felt intense hate? Matter of fact yes I can. It was the year I was 4 years old and sent to the children's service at the Camp Meeting right here in Buford, Georgia. I won't mention a name but the director and his wife greeted me as my mother, very pregnant with my brother, brought me to the front door of the little chapel. When my mother left I didn't know anyone there so the man leaned down to me and told me he would find a seat for me, his wife for some reason was very mean to me. She told me in no uncertain and mean tones, I can see her beady brown eyes and curly, frizzy bangs as she towered over me, telling me to quit crying and sit down, my mother wouldn't be back for a long time, she ended up giving me a pinch on the arm and figuring I must have done something very wrong I sat very still until mother returned for me. I never told her why I refused to go back to that children's church and opted instead to sit on the hard benches in the sawdust of the Tabernacle. At least I could lean against her swollen tummy and sleep during the sermon. I never forgot that woman's face, but I also never forgot her very kind husband. A few years ago I had the chance to take my mother to a reunion of her college class, to my surprise that same couple was there! Of course I had shared these details to my mother since I grew up so I pointed them out to her. I stayed on the other side of the room from them but I stole several glances at the woman's old, bitter expression and her husband who had maintained his dimples, and just decided to forgive her. I found that she had never been able to carry a child to birth and I felt glad that I had forgiven her in my heart and not caused her further pain by calling her out all these years later. About a month after that I learned that she had died. Why have I told you this? Because someone asked the question, did I have anything to say about 'loving the unlovable’? Well I can't say that I loved her but I was willing to forgive which opens the path for, maybe one of you reading this, to forgive me for some unkind deed I have been guilty of toward you! God loves the worst person on earth, how do I know? John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes on Him will not die but have eternal life!"

Posted By Harolene

Listening in on teen conversations is not one of the things that make me want to turn back the hands of time! If you pay attention to the entries in their social networks you see everything from mushy teenage love to saying terrible things to one another and deleting a friend to show their disapproval or anger! One thing that is very apparent is that they have a lot of jealousy! Have you ever heard of "the green eyed monster"? In case you have not (what, you were raised on a Planet?) that is how we humans refer to someone that is jealous. This title comes from a song I have heard Dolly Parton sing, (I love her sweet voice) and I have to admit, I tend to have a jealous heart myself. Song of Solomon 8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy is as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. The KJV says," for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave:" It is one emotion that can cause people to do terrible things, even murder.

Is there a good jealousy? I think there is. I think that you must have a jealousy over your life, your family in order to keep that close eye on what is happening around you, to keep it safe! I think that sometimes when a partner shows no jealousy at all, it simply appears that they don't really care. I am not recommending that mean-spirited jealousy that doesn't want you to speak to anyone of the opposite sex, but just letting your partner know that you care too much to let someone interfere in your relationship. We need to guard our spiritual life as jealously as we guard our loved ones. When we let things slip in that take our attention away from serving God with our whole heart, guess what...HE gets jealous of us! Proof is found in ten different places in the Bible, I will give you two: Exodus 34:14 Don't worship any other god. God—his name is The-Jealous-One—is a jealous God. Be careful that you don't make a covenant with the people who live in the land and take up with their sex-and-religion life, join them in meals at their altars, marry your sons to their women, women who take up with any convenient god or goddess and will get your sons to do the same thing. Deuteronomy 4:24 The Lord your God is a devouring fire; he is a jealous God. What about these people who are trying to make our ONE GOD JEHOVAH and our Savior JESUS CHRIST one of several ways to get to "Paradise", Heaven! The same way that you are jealous over your partner or family, God is jealous over you! He loved you so much that He sent Jesus as our personal savior. 1John 3:1 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it--we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or takes us seriously, because it has no idea who He is or what He's up to. He loves us, so what do we do for Him? First of all we need to return that love to Him! Having nothing more important than worshiping Him, not letting things stop us or divert our attention to other "ways", and then we have to love each other, because God IS love and if we are to be like Him, then we have to love each other, whether we want to or not! I know there are some that are just un-likable, but we can love them with the love of the Lord!

Guard your family and relationships with a Godly jealousy and  accept the love of this wonderful and Jealous God!

Posted By Harolene

Everyday we use animal analogies, i.e. "tired as a dog", "happy as a dead pig in the sunshine", "hungry as a bear", so we know what being compared to an animal is all about. There are more than two hundred references and comparisons, in the Bible, concerning "sheep". I have heard preachers say that sheep are dumb and compare the congregants sitting in front of them to those dumb animals. After doing a little research, I would say that they couldn't be THAT dumb, at least they knew their own shepherd's voice and that was key in their protection from wild beasts. In the “olden” days, shepherds named their sheep the way we name our pets! At night several shepherds would put their flocks into one pen so they could take turns sitting in the gate keeping watch, while the others slept. When morning came each shepherd would call their sheep out, they would come and follow their own shepherd, because they recognized his voice! Jesus gave His disciples the example of how the shepherd sits in the gate and then told them that He was THE Good Shepherd. It is comforting to know that He is the One sitting in the gate guarding me from the wiles of the enemy! Our problem is that, unlike the sheep, we sometimes listen to other voices and go bleating off in other directions, while our own Good Shepherd is calling us out by name. There is one practice that a good shepherd does which seems cruel to me, what is that? First I remind you that no one likes to carry a load of weight on their shoulders for too long, and so it may seem that the Good Shepherd is picking up a little lamb and hoisting it over His shoulders to help it move over to the greener pasture, perhaps the little baa-baa is just tired or fatigued and simply needs that extra gentle touch, but that’s not the way it works. A shepherd's role in the life of his sheep is to guard them, prod them, to get them onto the right path going in the right direction and occasionally there is a need for discipline as well. When an animal that is supposed to be following and staying within the pasture that the shepherd has deemed as safe continues to wander off getting itself and possible the others in danger, he is shown, lovingly shown, forcibly shown, and when it still refuses to do what it is supposed to do, the shepherd has two choices: he can either kill the little guy or break its leg to render it unable to continue disobeying him. Almost immediately after the leg is broken the sheep gets the message that the shepherd is serious about the direction or the commandment given and it doesn't take too long for the waywardness to subside and the dependency upon the shepherd to take place. Then, and only then, does the Good Shepherd pick up the broken lamb and place it over His shoulders to carry it for a matter of a long time and an enduring lesson, which over a course of weeks, and usually close intimate conversation and discussion from His mouth to the lamb's ears, will the lamb be strong enough to walk on its own again. Breaking the animal's leg is better than the alternative.