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Posted By Harolene

When a woman goes shopping for a dress, or a man tries on a new suit, they are looking for something that is flattering to their particular shape and figure. We come in all shapes and sizes, and buy all the magazines telling us how, or watch the TV shows that show giving us advice, or go to the gym to actually TRY to change the shape we are in! When you use a muscle you haven't used in a while, you will be so sore that it is very difficult to move, or you might even pull or sprain one in the effort to change your shape. What I am trying to say is, "no pain, no gain", it hurts to change.

In our spiritual walk and lives sometimes we just have to turn ourselves over to the "Master" potter to get the change we need. Jeremiah 18:4-7 "So I went to the potter's house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel." Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. Then God's Message came to me: "Can't I do just as this potter does," God's Decree! "Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you."  Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. If you want to sculpt your body you go to the gym, pump iron, sweat and work until you make yourself look the way you like, but if you want to look like God, He has to be the trainer that you trust to mold you into the person that is pleasing in His sight. Watch trainers work with people in the gym, they are not easy on them; they sometimes bring them to tears! Are you going to complain? Romans 9:20-21 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans?

Trust Him enough to place yourself in His hands and see what kind of vessel He makes of you, and if you are currently in a smashed condition, don't be afraid to be molded into a new shape, you might be happily surprised!

Posted By Harolene

I woke up this morning at 4 AM and couldn’t breathe, somehow a cold had found me and I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and made a pot of coffee and sat down in my recliner to wait for it to finish dripping. I kicked back to full recline and turned onto my left side, I was so cold I was shivering and I was trying to tuck my hands under my face to warm them, even though there was a coverlet close by somehow I couldn’t make myself reach out for it. I closed my eyes and I heard her say, “You’ve lost a little of your spark, haven’t you?” Without opening my eyes I answered, “Yes, I don’t know what’s wrong with me today.” I could see her so plainly, I reached out and took her hand pulling her towards me and asked her to lay on the recliner with me. She had on the little blue dress I saw her in last, the blue of her eyes was startling as she leaned towards me. I reached up and said, “Please hold me close like you did when I was a child” and I patted her shoulder indicated that I wanted to lay my head against it. With that I started myself into the realization of the day smelling the aroma of the coffee and feeling hunger pangs, so I got up from my cozy little womb in the chair to start my day, thanking God for letting me have that little visit with her.

I am assuming that you know I am talking about my mother who left us Christmas Day 2014. She was not a demonstrative person in the physical sense, she demonstrated her love for us in making sure our bodies, clothes, the house in which we lived and the bed in which we slept were spotless clean, and by her fierce protection of us. About a week before she died I was standing by her bed straightening her covers, she reached out and took my hand, I looked at her and she very slowly and plainly spoke, one word at a time, emphatically and said, “I love you”, I answered “I love you too mother.” This was after a long period of time that she would talk and we couldn’t make out anything she was saying. It warmed my heart because I knew it was coming from her very soul.

God is to us what the nurturing love of a dear parent is to a frightened child, safety, comfort and love, giving us the hope and courage to face life! Psalms 63:3 In your generous love I am really living at last! He never gets tired of loving us, never gets tired of us and holds us close, like a child. Jeremiah 31:3  “I have loved you with an everlasting love—out of faithfulness I have drawn you close.” He takes care of and is not ashamed of us! Song of Solomon 2:4 He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me.

I’m feeling much better tonight, I will say the prayer mother said with me when she put me to bed at night and say, “Nite nite mother, I love you and tell daddy I love him too!”

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. <3

Posted By Harolene

The word that has been running through my grey matter for a few days is 'balance'. As a noun it means an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. As a verb it means to offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another. To keep balance in our life is important with everything we do; you can eat sweets but if you eat more sweets than is good for you then you will be sick. I have a grandson and a son-in-law that are both diabetic and they check their blood many times a day to make sure they haven't had too many carbs which will drive their blood to heights that could cause major problems, in other words, in balance. But just as they don't want it to be too high, if it get too low then they could have a seizure, if that happens you have to get juice or squirt a sweet gel from a tube into their mouth so that their 'balance' is restored.

There are folk who can have a glass of wine without any bad effects, but there are people who have the tendency to be alcoholic that can't even risk one drink without risking their sobriety. It's the same with taking drugs, especially pain meds. My daughter had an operation and they sent her home with prescriptions for some heavy-duty pain pills, she took them the first night home, it was Oxycontin, she was in no pain. The next day she was hurting so bad and I asked why she didn't take another pill, she spoke with wisdom, she said "Mom when I took that pill not only was I not in pain but I felt a kind of joy inside of myself. I can't take that again or I won't be able to stop." Wow, she chose to suffer rather than take a chance on losing her ability to choose.

What about balance in relationships? People who have strong personalities can lead some of us around and we end up being a sort of slave to their every whim. They can emotionally blackmail us by crying, screaming, threatening suicide or replacing us in their life with someone who WILL do whatever it is they want. That is when you have to pull up your big girl/boy pants, square your shoulders and get out while the "gettin's" good!

Keeping balance means you eat right, you get the right amount of sleep and don't over indulge in anything that will make you physically unhealthy. You also need to be in spiritual balance which includes having conversations with God, reading His Word, and trying to the best of your ability to live according to His will.

I think that a lot of times we don't hear Him because we don't heed 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you." If you keep God at the head of all your wants, desires, and relationships then you will never get out of balance.

Posted By Harolene

I have a recurring dream, I am walking in the hall of a school and no one is there! I keep looking in the rooms to see if I can find someone but I never see anyone. I always find an office and there are blinds in the windows with the waning sun shining through, I am small, I am scared. The hall starts getting smaller until it is almost closing in and I can't see a door that leads to the outside, that's when I wake up. I'm not trying to analyze the dream, I'm pretty sure it originates from a place in me that had to change schools so many times because my parents were sent from church to church, so not worried about the meaning. My thought is that we all have things that come to us when we are caught "off guard", which is moments of stress when you are vulnerable, or right before you drift off to sleep, then it invades your dreams.

I prayed with a person this week that was terribly upset about a problem at work. As I was driving home, I continued to pray, I asked God to give them a miracle, so they would know for sure He had heard their request. Feeling emboldened by the Spirit I was feeling I placed it out there, "God I am asking that you let the answer come by the end of the business day, thank you and Amen!" I waxed even bolder and called the person telling them about the prayer and told them to expect an answer by the end of their business day. Next day I was anxious to hear the results feeling confident that my prayer had been heard, first phone call, "I couldn't sleep last night, I never heard anything. I tried to have faith and didn't realize I was thinking about it, but I had bad dreams all night trying to figure it out." I was disappointed, but told him to "hold on". Later that morning I got a call, this person's assistant had received a call after he had left the office that solved the problem! The assistant had taken the message and decided to wait until next morning at work to give it to him! I was so happy to know that God had answered the prayer exactly as we had requested, but they didn't know it had been answered and had a bad night full of dreams inspired to kill their faith not knowing the answer was already there.

The moral of the story is this: Don't let bad dreams or thoughts ruin your day, remember before you speak He hears!

Posted By Harolene

Recently my son, who drives a beautiful and fairly new Lexus called me to say that his battery was dead and could I come and give his car a jump start, so I drove to his office and there in the parking lot sat the shiny, black and very powerful Lexus dead as a door knob! I drove my old, red, battered van up to the front of it, connected the cables and, well you know what happened, the old red van gave the shiny black SUV a shot of energy and got it started so my son could take it and buy a new battery. It made me remember something I wrote about "everything old is new again" in the sense that "something old, helped something new again."

The last time there was an ice skating competition I was listening to the commentators who really seemed to know of what they were speaking! While the skaters were getting ready for their next competition the camera went to the commentators and I was surprised to see that it was two of the people I had watched a few years ago! Tara Lipinski who won Olympic Gold at the age of 15 and at the age of 14 years, 9 months and 10 days, the youngest skater - by 32 days- ever to win a World Championship Figure Skating competition! She has now retired from skating competitions. Her companion commentator was Johnny Weir, a Bronze medal winner was another of the exciting skaters and his flamboyant style caught the attention of all skating fans, also now retired and talking about how the others are skating!  The young skaters wearing the sparkling costumes and getting standing ovations are now the behind the scenes commentators talking about other young skaters in sparkling costumes and earning standing ovations!

Watching them I thought of the scripture from Ecclesiastes chapter 1 where the writer gives one of the wisest speeches you will ever read. Read it and be enriched…

Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.]
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
planet earth.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again—the same old round.
The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind.
All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
Everything’s boring, utterly boring—
no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
boring to the ear.
What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There’s nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it’s the same old thing.
Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”?
Don’t get excited—it’s the same old story.
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody’ll remember them either.
 Don’t count on being remembered.

Maybe that was the writer's fancy way of saying "Everything old is new again!”