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Posted By Harolene

I have been doing a little web browsing looking for the lyrics to a song that has been going through my head all day, well for a few days now. It would have to be old, I remember hearing it when I was a little girl when daddy and mother played their 45’s on the record player. I remember hearing a lot of Les Paul and Mary Ford so I am wondering if they were the ones who sang it, but I have looked at several lists of songs and didn’t see it, so I am just going to talk about it with my research having yielded zero facts.

The song started with a soulful voice singing, “Voices, voices, voices from long, long ago”…  I looked at a picture that my Uncle’s wife’s daughter posted of him with a little dog sitting up on his shoulder. He is the last remaining sibling of my dad and he is ninety-one. As an aside I thought of how my disapproving my grandfather would have been to see that little dog sitting up on his son’s shoulder. He was from a time and place that thought dogs should stay in the yard and then only if they were useful in some way, such a guarding your house and yard. But there my uncle sat proudly with the little fur-baby sitting on his neck. But I digress, when I saw his face my heart squeezed with the need to see my dad, seeing his eyes in my uncle’s face looking out at me, and my son said, “Mom next time you call him I want to talk with him”. I have learned to not ignore those feelings I get when something is imperative and this felt like one of those times. An example of those feelings being right was this morning when having taken my van to get new tires I suddenly couldn’t wait one more minute to go have the oil changed. It was not convenient timing and for a second thought about putting it off but that inner voice urged me on. When the young man pulled the dipstick out I could see him look at it and then brought it around to my window to show me that before they drained it the dipstick was completely dry! DRY? I was stunned. He told me there was no damage as yet but one more day driving like that could have ruined my engine. That is something I have never let happen before and I was actually embarrassed for anyone to know how negligent I had been, now here I am telling you, but the point is that I listened to that inner voice that told me to do it, so again I digress, I called my uncle and told him that his great-nephew would love to talk with him. My son had a wonderful chat with him and put him on the speaker so I could listen in. I enjoyed the conversation and hearing him laugh, it sounded so much like my dad.

Adam and Eve were given a beautiful garden in which to live and had complete control over everything in the place and in the evenings they listened for the voice of their Creator to call their names and have a little talk with Him. If they hadn’t messed up perhaps we would still be able to take evening walks with Him discussing the days events.

Moses heard a voice coming from the burning bush in the desert and got instructions to go back to Egypt and lead his people out of slavery to the Pharaoh and then on to the Promised Land. Again Moses heard the voice of God when he went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments written by the very finger of God.

Posted By Harolene

The word voice is used 469 times in the Bible and many of those times it concerned the voice of the Lord God, so to try and give you examples of all of them would be way too lengthy, so I will get to the point (I hope).

There are voices that maybe I don’t hear that often but that are instantly recognized when you hear them on the phone, even ones from three-thousand miles away, voices that are dear and give you a warm feeling to hear, voices bringing good news, voices of instruction and then there are the voices of admonishment, correction, bringing sad news, voices that have long since ceased to be that you would so dearly love to hear… all the above and more, but the most important thing you can ever do is to get in a quiet place and listen for the “still, small voice” that the Prophet Elijah heard. So many times we think that unless we hear thunder or feel an earthquake God is not moving, but I am here to tell you that He comes to us sometimes in the still of the night, in a dream or in a simple act of kindness from someone from whom you didn’t expect.

We used to sing a song that said, “You are the finger of God, don’t you see?” I agree with that and add that you can also be the voice of God in someone’s life today.

Now hopefully I can kill this earworm singing Voices, and replace it with something else!

Posted By Harolene

I know it isn't Christmas, or my birthday, which is redundant as they are one and the same; it isn't a holiday or an anniversary, but the subject of gifts has been on my mind all evening. The definition of a gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of payment. Although gift giving might involve an expectation of reciprocity, a gift is meant to be free.

When I was a little girl my dad bought a set of Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. My favorites were a story about some kids who started a club that left surprise packages for neighbors and shut-ins, and one about a selfish boy who always grabbed the biggest piece of pie or cake for himself. His mother set up a family feast in which the biggest and tastiest-looking items were the nastiest: chocolate candy filled with something bitter, a hollow pie. The boy learned his lesson that day and always waited for the others to choose first. The one I thought of today was the first, The Surprise Package Company.

What can you give, really give, to someone who has needs you can't physically meet, such as a large amount of money, or a new body part? As the kids in the story, I enjoy giving things that are unexpected and sometimes simply anonymous, just for the joy of seeing the look of surprise or pleasure on the receivers face. I gave time to my parents, taking them for an extra ride when they weren't going to a doctor's office or church. They didn't want things from me, they wanted my time. My daughter and son are very caring and help me out so much and while my daughter's family was on a vacation I noticed my son hanging out here a little extra. I knew he was tired from rising very early and working hard all day, so when he was staying around spending extra time I knew he was just staying to be company for me. It touched me that he would do that for me but then I thought about how we say 'what goes around comes around' and he was doing for me, what I had done for my folks. I looked at his tired face and suggested for him to go home, take off his clothes and get comfy, lay on his own bed, watch TV, just be with his wife. The relief I saw in his eyes was all I wanted, I had given him the gift of "letting go" with grace and love. What makes us this way? We were "made in His image" and He is love.


Posted By Harolene

As the time of year approaches when we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection from the grave of Jesus Christ, you have to remember that the greatest gift ever given was given freely, without expectation of anything in return. God gave His Son and His Son chose, in the Garden, to follow the will of His Father and die as the atonement of our sin, letting us come to the Mercy Seat with boldness. He loved us from the beginning of the world, while we were yet in sin.

Dottie Rambo penned a song that says it so well, "Amazing grace has always been my song of praise, for it was grace that bought my liberty. I do not know just how He came to love me so, He looked beyond my fault and saw my needs. I shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary, to view the cross where Jesus died for me, How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul, He looked beyond my fault and saw me need."  

James 1:2-8 "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it."

Our tests are the gift that keeps on giving by teaching us to strengthen our faith! Love the way you have been loved, give the way things have been given to you. I give you the gift of my prayers on your behalf, grace and peace be unto you, Amen!

Posted By Harolene

Two things have come into conversation with me today, one is truth and the other is guilt, just a few thoughts on each subject. “You can’t handle the truth”, you might recognize that line spoken by Jack Nicholson in the movie “A Few Good Men” and I think in most cases it’s really accurate, we can’t handle the truth! So many things are rolling through my head as I say that… truth about the politician you elected and trust the safety of your life and your country with only to find out he is inept, the pastor you listen to and have entrusted the safety of your soul and your spiritual health to realize he isn’t free of the chains of sin himself (or herself), the doctor you place the health of your body in his hands who you find out has given you the wrong prescription and your loved one ends up in the hospital due to his mistake (really happened in this household), but the main thing that you won’t accept the truth about is the person whose teeth you brush every morning, yes that person is you.

When a person asks you to “tell the truth” about something that concerns them, it is not the truth they are seeking for you to give them, it is a confirmation that what they are doing is the right thing to do! I often find myself in the situation of listening, and the struggle in my mind is this, if I tell them the truth and they do what ever it is I have advised them against, then they will be angry with me and I will possibly lose their friendship!

I will digress for a moment to say this, if you have to ask me if a person is right for you then chances are you already know they are not or you wouldn’t have to ask. 

I have spoken with more than one person today that is being riddled with guilt and in both cases it is undeserved! How is it that you let others decide your guilt or innocence in a matter and why you are willing to accept their judgment as the truth without examining it for yourself? Guilt never travels alone he always brings shame along with him so you get a double whammy! I think we all know right from wrong and if you are really wrong in a matter you know it so I’m not talking about being guilt free in the case of an outright horrible deed, I am speaking of the guilt we feel when a person isn’t pleased with us for whatever reason.

That type of guilt is one thing I have always had to deal with, I grew up trying to please everyone and when it didn’t happen I always thought there must be something wrong with me. If I could take back all the extra things I would do, or favors I did for anyone who asked, extra school work, being nice to people who were not nice to me, I would do it, but it isn’t possible. The only way I can make it count is to tell you to 1. Make sure you are right in the eyes of God and then 2. Please yourself first. When you are on a flight the attendant will tell you that in case of an emergency to put the oxygen mask that comes down on yourself first and then your child, why is that? Because if you don’t take care of yourself and you become incapacitated then you and your child are both in danger, that makes sense doesn’t it?