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Wishing CALGON TM, could take you away?
From time to time, we can all feel overwhelmed.
“Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah (Psalm 61:1-4 NKJV).”
photo credit: Thomas Hawk <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/15301176742″>judas Kiss</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Ever been betrayed by a friend?
“While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: ‘The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!’ So he went right up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed Him.
‘Friend,’ Jesus asked him, ‘why have you come?’
Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him (Matthew 26:45-50 HCSB).”
Jesus knew who His betrayer would be. He knew what was in Judas’ heart. Yes, the Master knew very well. Yet, He called Judas friend.
‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ [Joseph Scriven/Public Domain]
1 What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Ev’rything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Ev’rything to God in prayer!
2 Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who with all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
3 Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In his arms he’ll take and shield you;
You will find a solace there.
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Thinking that you need to go on a diet?
My clothes have confirmed what I’ve been reading on the bathroom scales. I could ignore the scales; I have daily reminders when putting on my clothes. The first 5-7 pounds I gained showed minimal change; the last 5 pounds reveal a noticeable difference.
The signal light turned from caution to stop!
It’s time to put the brakes on. I don’t count calories; instead, I watch my portion sizes and cut down on sweets. This is not the first time I’ve gone this route; it takes patience and determination.
I’m tempted to overindulge. Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread.
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’
But He answered and said, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:3-4 NKJV).”
Christ hungered for a far greater food.
“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest (John 4:34-35 NKJV)!”
LORD, I want You to control my hunger…
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6 NKJV).”
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I was naturally blonde until my early teens.
For the next several years I cheated; I dyed my hair. I hope I wasn’t the brunt of dumb blonde jokes.
Some blondes are beautiful.
“A beautiful woman who rejects good sense
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout (Proverbs 11:22 HCSB).”
Pity the dumb blonde. She lacks common sense.
“… develop common sense, you who are foolish (Proverbs 8:5b HCSB).”
Some blondes are foolish.
“The fool says in his heart, ‘God does not exist (Psalm 14:1a HCSB).”
He does exist; He lives.
He knows the number of hairs on a beautiful blonde’s head!
“Indeed, the hairs of your head are all counted (Luke 12:7a HCSB).”
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Conversations about death and dying make many people uncomfortable.
Trying to relieve tension, they crack jokes about the afterlife. If unsure about where they will spend eternity, scoffers laugh off the truth about a literal heaven and hell. Living only for today (and what money can buy) the foolish forget you can’t take it with you.
Maybe you’ve heard what was sent with famed Frank Sinatra. I read interesting trivia in urbo.com. Sinatra’s friends tucked rolls of his favorite candy inside his casket. Someone put in dog biscuits for man’s best friend. I found one item very interesting; a roll of dimes was placed inside. Dimes? He made millions.
There was a time when dimes paid a crucial role in Sinatra’s life. His son, Frank Sinatra, Jr. had been abducted and held for ransom. The kidnappers feared phone tapping and said they’d only communicate through pay telephones. Frank Sinatra ran out of change during a conversation and panicked. Fortunately, he was able to get back in contact with the men holding his son.
To make a long story short, Frank Sinatra, Jr. escaped. The kidnappers were nabbed by the police and justice was served. It’s said that Ole’ Blue Eyes carried rolls of coins with him till his death. That explains the send off with rolled coins. So, some might say that he lived and died doing it ‘his way.’
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NASB).”
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At intersections… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
At train-tracks… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
Crossing over into new adventures… before crossing, stop-look & listen.
God speaks words of encouragement.
“Then Moses went and spoke these words to all Israel. And he said to them: ‘I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the Lord has said to me, ‘You shall not cross over this Jordan.’ The Lord your God Himself crosses over before you; He will destroy these nations from before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua himself crosses over before you, just as the Lord has said (Deuteronomy 31:1-3 NKJV).”
He crosses before you.
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed (Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV).”
As a Montana schoolmarm, I fight melancholy. I’m from one of Boston’s most aristocratic families, meaning nothing to people who have never traveled more than fifty miles from their birthplace. I’m an outsider with no one in which to confide.
Yet, I cannot renege on my pledge to God to instill knowledge in impressionable young minds. As Mr. Hankins, owner of the mercantile, would say, “By cracky that’s just what I’m gonna’ do!”
“Children open your McGuffey Readers. Today we will continue our study on the proper use of accented syllables.”
Twelve-year-old William rolls his eyes, stretches lanky legs under his desk and slowly reaches inside for his tattered book. Placing it atop the desk, he leafs through pages and looks upward at instructions on the blackboard.
“Turn to page thirty and copy the list of words onto your slates. After completion of that task, divide the words into syllables and underline syllables that you would accent. You have twenty minutes to complete your assignment. After you have finished, turn your slates over.”
I will never adjust to the irritating squeaking of chalk on slate. The class of fifteen does their work hastily. I announce recess and they head outside for swinging, jumping rope, and games of ball or marbles.
Collecting slates, I stack them on my desk and begin to grade student’s work. As a fledgling teacher, I find satisfaction in seeing how many have accurately worked with syllables.
Deborah, a strawberry-blonde in ringlets, with brown eyes and freckled nose, peers through an opened window.
“Teacher, can I ring the bell when recess ends?”
“Yes, you may now ring the bell.”
I view her standing tiptoe to pull the bell’s hemp rope. Smiling like a Cheshire cat, she watches classmates scurrying past her. Freddy, the class bully pulls her hair, as he kicks up dust, before coming inside. Wincing, she drops the rope.
“Freddy, I saw you pull Deborah’s hair; apologize this instant!”
He shuffles his feet on plank flooring as he approaches Deborah. In humiliation, he gruffly says, “I’m sorry I pulled your hair.”
“Class, I’m dismissing you early today because I have a meeting with the school board. I will see you Monday morning.”
Hearing the surprise of an early end of class time, boys and girls join in unison.
“Good bye, Miss Dunster!”
The room empties as my mind fills with anxiety.
Have parents complained? Will school board members terminate me?
Trembling, I gather my books and place them inside Grandmother’s tapestry satchel. I straighten my gray brocade suit and reach back to adjust braided hair. Sitting rigidly in a straight back chair, I hear footsteps coming up outside stairs. I rise.
Three school board representatives file through the opened door, and down the aisle.
“Good afternoon. Please take a seat.”
Mr. Griffin, spokesman-standing, wrings his wide brimmed straw hat with calloused hands.
“Miss Dunster, sorry ta’ bother ya’ Ma am, but we been talkin.’ Towns folk just can’t ford’ to pay ya’ a full months’ pay. Drought’s got ranchers in a fix.” He studies his scuffed boots, and then slowly looks up, searching my eyes.
Smiling, I warmly address the concerned gathering of country folk.
“Don’t fret; I have a small amount of money set aside from my last birthday.”
Tense muscles in necks begin to relax, as I move from behind my desk, to stand directly before them.
“I am willing to fill this teaching position, one month at a time, if that’s agreeable.”
Nodding heads of approval and extended hands to shake mine seal the agreement. I walk outside with them, lock the door, and meander to the mercantile.
I hope to receive long overdue letters from family and friends. Inside, I notice Mr. Hankins handing a pouch of pipe tobacco to an impeccably dressed man.
“Apple-blend, sir, you have made my day,” said the stranger. He pays with current exchange, turns towards me, and tips his Derby. “Good-day, Miss.”
I detect a Boston accent; heart aflutter, I search for a way to query his reason for coming to Montana.
“Hello; please don’t think me forward, but I’m far away from my home in Boston. I believe I detect a marked Boston accent.”
“Indeed! I’m Jonathan Loughton, here to research Chippewa for the Gazette newspaper. You would be Miss Dunster, the daughter of my editor and friend!”
With a steady gaze, he looks into my tearful eyes.
“Oh, for goodness sakes; you know Father!”
“Yes, and he sends his love!”