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Posted By Harolene

2016 is quickly coming to an end, I can identify with Job 7:6 My days come and go swifter than the click of knitting needles, and then the yarn runs out—an unfinished life! When a year comes to its end we look back in retrospect and when someone you know dies, you begin to think about how they spent their life. C.T. Studd penned, "Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”  We are all born with a clean slate, a life in front of us that has a chance to be something great, to make a difference in the world in which we live. If you did research on all the rich and famous people, you would find that a lot of them had to scratch their way up through a lot of adverse circumstances yet sitting on top of their personal world, we look at them and only see the success they are now. I personally know one person who was raised having to fend for his self and volleyed from one family member to another, never really knowing their parentage, yet today they are the head of a large company, the scars of their childhood hidden beneath all of their accomplishments. There was a day that such infamous people as Hitler, the pilots of the aircraft that slammed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, and other terrible people were tiny babies in a mother's arms. What happened to twist them into tormentors? Who has the answer to that? You can blame a parent, or lack of one, but after a point, it becomes our personal responsibility to stand up for our own self.

Psalm 139:13-15 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. What a beautiful revelation, and declaration, from the Psalmist of how God is and has always been, aware of us.

 

 
Posted By Harolene

Things happen to us that we cannot help, it is after we come to a knowledge of what the baggage we are carrying really is, that we can choose to put it down or carry it with us for the rest of our lives and use it as a crutch to live miserably.  To continue being bitter is to take great drafts from a mug of poison, because you are thirsty! Who do you harm? It is like sitting in the cell of a dungeon not knowing that the door has been left unlocked, long ago. It's a compartment of hell we don't belong in! You have to get up and get OUT of it. On your own it won't be that easy, but you have a helper, Isaiah 41:10 Don’t panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you. If you are looking for someone to give you a helping hand, the person you turn to may be looking for the same thing, take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there!

 
Posted By Harolene

After watching the Sound of Music and listening to “Maria” sing a song about her favorite things when things were bad and she needed to make herself feel happy I decided to try it for myself to see if it worked. Here is a part of my list: My big, fat, white coffee mug that had it’s origin in the Brown Derby, a place my parents took me when I was a little girl in Hollywood, California. Steaming hot, strong black coffee to fill my big, fat, white mug within five minutes of waking in the morning. The lightweight fork, not the gold-plated one but the plain, cheap stainless that came with a set of silverware that no longer exists, bought when we moved into this house over thirty-eight years ago. It seems to fit in my hand just right and the tines are sharp enough to pierce that straggling piece of lettuce with a bit of dressing on it at first stab. My leopard print nightgown, lying down on tightly stretched white sheets with seven pillows, three under my head and two on either side. Un-fastening my bra and kicking off my shoes the moment I walk in my house and getting into my comfy clothes. Standing in front of people and feeling the anointing of the Holy Spirit envelope me like I had been shrink-wrapped in Saran Wrap and feeling as if I was having an out-of-the-body experience, watching myself as I spoke or sang, priceless. The moon in any stage but especially when it is full and faithfully glowing night after night knowing that everyone that has ever been born on the face of the earth has gazed upon this same beautiful orb. The sun shining on sugar white sand on a hot summer day and not worrying that I will have sun spots or wrinkles, just enjoying the moment with my portable radio listening to the local DJ count down the top 10. My son and daughter sitting at the table eating and trying to out-do each other with funny stories and imitations of each other. Taking my grandson to school and saying our morning prayer as we ride down Nickajack Road and then as he gets out of the car leaning back in to say, “I love you Mammy.” My granddaughter giggling over all the Valentine gifts she received from her boyfriend after fearing she was going to be single for the rest of her life. The expression on the faces of this same granddaughter and her friends as I told them the “facts of life” from my point of view, and then hearing them re-tell it year after year and knowing it is getting more and more blown out of proportion for the laughs the story gets. Having the dream where I am visiting with my parents and marveling at how young and strong they are. Listening to my music. Listening for the Voice of the Lord to speak to me. Having a light-bulb moment when a scripture comes alive in a different way after having read it many times before. Decorating for Christmas, and then watching the blinking lights

These are a few of my favorite things, but there is one more, it is when one of you tells me in person, sends a message to me via text, messenger, or Facebook, that tells me when you heard me teach or when you read my devotion you felt as if it were just the two of us sitting over a cup of coffee, in my big, fat, white, Brown Derby mug filled with steaming hot, strong, black coffee.

 
Posted By Harolene

There is a little food for thought in the musings of someone getting a year older, I thought I would share it with you tonight. You might not think it's very spiritual but the Apostle Paul does tell us in Philippians chapter 4, "I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.  I will walk the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over an imperfect body despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old. I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a car hits somebody’s beloved pet? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched onto my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. I like being older. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

 Merry Christmas!

 
Posted By Harolene

I am watching "The Sound of Music", a personal tradition with me at Christmas time, and I am feeling a little sentimental. As the beautiful music is playing and my Christmas tree lights are blinking I feel the same emotion I feel as I am watching the tree lighting ceremony from Times Square or I listen to the old Christmas carols such as “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “O Come All Ye Faithful”, or "Joy to the world, the Lord has come". The tears rise up in my chest the way they did tonight as I listened to young, innocent children singing the grand old carols at their Christmas program, loudly proclaiming that we should "Go tell it on the mountain!" I hear people complain that merchants put up the Christmas decorations earlier every year, and to that I say, "So what?" Every day the Christmas tree stands is a day we are proclaiming to the world that we still celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! OK, I realize that merchants are only trying to get buying gifts early on everyone's mind so that their merchandise moves out faster, again I say, So what John 12:32 says, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Jesus was telling them how He would die, lifted up, crucified on a tree, this would draw all men to Him. Granted, it wasn't a sweeping pine with branches decorated with lights, but a cross, made from the wood of a tree, but that old rugged cross had on it the brightest Light the world would ever see, Jesus Christ! John 8:12 Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in." In this household, several years ago, it had been a year with a lot of trouble surrounding us, which caused us much angst. I needed something to raise my spirits, so when it came time to get our tree I went out and bought a great big 9-foot tall tree and decorated it to the hilt! When the New Year's Day Rose Parade started, my usual time to think about undressing the tree, I simply could not do it. I decided to leave it up a few extra days. That few extra days turned into the tree still standing there as Valentine's Day approached, so I decorated it with red hearts and flowers and little pieces of candy. Easter was coming early that year, we decorated it with brightly colored Easter eggs, crosses, symbols of the resurrection, following that it was decorated with spring and summer flowers. The tree stood there in its place until late September. Were we honoring the tree? Did the tree have any special significance? No, to me it stands as a sign that Jesus came into the world and He would bring us joy and peace if we would only allow Him to do so! Luke 2:2-14 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “ Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Don't fret over the commercialization of Christmas, whether the world realizes it or not they are helping us celebrate the Reason for the Season, Jesus Christ! He is the brightest light we will ever know; so I say, "Shine on O Lord, our Lord!" Merry Christmas blessings!