Making an Oath

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While camping out in chapter 5 of the Book of Matthew, a couple of things came to my mind while pondering verses 33-37…What does it mean to not break an oath or fulfill a vow to the Lord?

As a caretaker of those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, you come to realize that during the progression of this plaguing disease, you become more and more their navigator in life; they count on you and trust you. I have taken care of many clients with this mind crippling disease and have never broken my vow to give them the best of care. I have always been honest with the client and their family. I do my best to fulfill my vow.

What does it mean to fulfill a vow to the Lord and how do we do this?

In Matthew 5:33-37 Jesus was referring to the ceremonies of which Jews took oaths. He even went on to say that it was considered an undesirable procedure because it was all about trying to pull the wool over other people’s eyes. They were making oaths that were designed to impress; indicating that the person swearing on the oath had power over the things that the oath mentioned. They were keeping promises or commitments that they were apparently not going to keep by taking a silly oath. Jesus said,  Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. vs36…He didn’t want any of this foolery to touch us.

I am in no way a perfect person. I tend to make mistakes every day. I consciously  set out to do things starting on the right foot but sometimes land on the wrong foot. My intentions are good though. I do my best to not break my commitments. I have been taking care of the most wonderful man with Alzheimer’s. He is no longer in my care but now in a memory support facility. Although I will be moving on, I will keep my oath to him to see him almost daily. I will read him the poems we used to say. I will sing with him like I used to and I will allow him to read the obituaries like he used. I will do all of this because I took a vow to help him in his disease. This also is my oath to the Lord!

Jesus took an oath for each one of us as he hung on that old rugged cross. He promised us eternal life with Him in heaven if we believe. He did not attempt to ever pull the wool over our eyes.

This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life. 1John 2:25 NASB

Have you broken a vow? livingbygracepic.jp

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Matthew 5:31-32 Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman, commits adultery.

These two verses of Matthew 5 are always hard for me to read. I’ve read them over and over through my Divorced-Christian walk with God. I’ve heard several different preachers and Bible scholars preach and speak on the topic; but what does my own heart, mind and soul say on the subject of divorce? Remember, these are my thoughts. You need to go to God with your own failing marriage to God. I’m simply sharing from my own experience.

Divorced people want to feel justified and purified

NOT

criticized and chastised for their failed marriages.

There’s such a stigma about divorced people in the church and Christian community, even to this day when the divorce rate is running rampant. I don’t support divorce, but I don’t chastise it either.

I’ve been divorced twice and to this day I can say that neither marriage was a mistake. Were the divorces a mistake? I really don’t have an answer to that yet. My first divorce left me feeling abandoned and broken, empty and confused, angry and scared. I flew right from that marriage into the arms of another man. I didn’t skip or lightly tiptoe into another relationship-I RAN!!!

I flew with my bags filed with unresolved harsh-divorced feelings. It was wrong and unfair to both of us. His sins and failures trickled and then lingered into the relationship as well as mine. The second divorce left me once again, sad, confused, abandoned, scared and angry. One marriage lasted 23 years and the other lasted only two. Both divorces were awful.

So why does Matthew 5:31-32 convict me? Did immorality take place in one of the marriages?  Yes! What about adultery? Yes. Were they on my part? No! But for many years, I still wore the guilt of DIVORCE on my forehead. Why? Because people simply didn’t understand.

How can we remove the guilt and shame that we feel from divorce?

Does God want us to live in that shame?

Remember, these are my thoughts from pondering with God…I believe that we remove the guilt and shame from divorce when we truly repent. There are always two sides to every story; two sides to every feeling and fight. I had to spend many hours day-in-and-day-out on my knees asking God for His favor. I had to admit my faults and give them over for purifications. I had to cry out and saturate my pillow with my sinful tears in order to feel my shame being lifted.

The second part of having my shame removed was walking in forgiveness. No one is perfect and I had to climb down off of my own moral high horse and finally forgive. It doesn’t mean that I forgot the pain, but, I finally reached a point that I didn’t allow the anger and unforgiving spirit rule my day. Only through the help of the Holy Spirit, was I able to resist the evil thoughts that wanted to rear their ugly head every day.

God does not want us to live in shame but He will allow us to camp out there until our hearts are straight with Him. He tells us in Matthew 5:43, You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ and 5:44 tells us that Jesus said, ‘But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.’ That’s hard. I don’t want to love the men that absolutely broke my heart; but I had to allow God to put that love back into my heart. It’s not the love you have for a spouse but rather a love you have for a person. It’s a love instructed by God.

There can not be finger-pointing when it comes to divorce. We all can forgive somebody, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t consequences for actions.  It’s hard to think about standing in front of Jesus on judgment day and say, “I expect forgiveness, even though I didn’t  forgive so-n-so.” We all must forgive, and it’s not easy.

Mark 11:25 ESV

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

I wish I could give more solid advise to those who are thinking of divorce or are going through a divorce. All I know is that I had to come to my own conclusions on my own and do what I felt God was guiding me to do. Again, I’m not saying He is okay with divorce…But He is in the business of grace and mercy. He is loving and forgiving. Beth Oct 1 2015

Being Nourishing to Others

Food Saver Food Processor…How to Preserve Our Lives

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I’ve recently met someone who has taught me about what’s involved in vacuum packing food with a food saver. It’s very interesting stuff. He preserves all of his vegetables and fruits and even meats to keep them fresh and void of freezer burn.  He grazes off of these foods all winter long when fresh veggies and fruits are not available.

Of course, you know me; I can’t learn something new without it having some sort of impact on my heart, so I asked myself, how can I be nourishing towards others.

The first thing I do for others, is try not to judge them. I try to see people and things for what they truly are. God tells us that outward appearance is not what really matters.
Matthew 5:8…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Another way I try to be nourishing towards others is taking a prayer request seriously. I never shoulder a prayer request and turn it into an opportunity to gossip or create drama. When someone confides in me, I keep it that way. I protect the request and continue to pray in my own time with God.

Leviticus 19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

I am nourishing to others by being there for them. Because all things are inherently connected, no-one-being can exist on its own, isolated and apart from the rest of creation.

Colossians 2: 6-7 … So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught.and overflowing with thankfulness.

Nourishment is central  wellbeing of others and to our wellbeing. When we are able to nourish someones heart and soul, we too receive nourishment.

WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN NEED OF SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT, IT IS IN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO SERVE OTHERS THAT YOU WILL FIND THE ABUNDANCE YOU SEEK. (Steve Maraboli)

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Hanging with Debbie-Downers?

Who Have You Been Spending Your Time With?

Thought for the day: Does it matter who we spend the majority of our time with?

It was so incredibly refreshing to spend some time with a Christian today; someone who was not afraid to share his testimony and life. Someone who was positive and not a Debbie-Downer!

In the same way that we spend time with God, we should also spend time with other Christians. In doing so, we will become encouraged in our faith and realize that we are not the only ones that are struggling with life’s issues.

Beyond being encouraged by other Christians, we are also instructed to engage in fellowship with other Christians. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to assemble with other believers.

We are all a part of God’s family; maybe we’re not part of the same congregation, but God is not just about church family. Spend time with all Christians. We need each other in order to function properly. Ephesians 2:19 and Romans 12:5 talks about this.

When I need encouragement, I’d rather talk to one of my Christian friends. I know they will pray for me as I would for them. They will walk with me during difficult times. Hebrews 10:24.

We also need to hang together because there is so much negative influence in the world. When we spend time with other believers it helps us to re-focus. Our friends will affect us, whether positively or negatively. Choosing to spend time with those who really care, who will pray for you and are upbeat, is God’s way of working in us.

I don’t often share my struggles with others; call it pride or just my being introverted; but when I have the opportunity to share with other Christians of how I have triumphed through my own struggles, it not only helps me grow but them as well.

Relationships that are rooted in God’s truth exhibits love and understanding and demonstrates that we truly belong to God. John 13:34-35.

As you make the decision of who you want to spend your time with, remember to ask God to help you select the right friends. He will be glad to provide wisdom and discernment as you choose.women studying bible

Digging Deeper

How Can I Help?

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It’s awful when you have a loved one or a good friend or even a great charitable organization that needs your financial help and you simply just don’t have the money to give.  I’ve been in this situation several times. I’ve wanted to give financially but was unable to do so. You?

Recently I found myself saying, “God knows the situation and will provide. Just have faith.” But in all reality, I wanted to be able to be the provider but the request was too big for me. There was no way I could do it.

As parents, friends, sisters, brothers, cousins, Aunts, Uncles and grandparents, we find that we want to be the fixer of a financial mess for someone but at times might not be in the situation to help out. So, how can we help them and relay that God is the one that is providing?

Through faith and prayer,we can take their struggles to God. We can request that He watch over them and meet their need.We can always pray for a situation; nothing is too big or too small for God. I remember a time when some sweet lady-friends brought me a coffee and prayed with me right in my dining room. To this day, the memory still warms my heart.

Did you ever think that God may have put you in the situation to increase your faith? It may be a battle between your flesh and His will. Sometimes we have to give with blind faith.  I thought about that the times that I reached deeper into my own 1/2 empty pockets and helped out anyway.

Also, what if God is drawing this person closer to Him? I’ve been so broke that I was digging into the change jar for a can of formula for my baby. (Many years ago) I prayed so hard for money to come in and it always did one way or another. I just had to have faith in Jesus.

It’s all about discernment. We have to have the knowledge and discernment on how to handle the situation. Do we dig deeper or not? If you are in this situation and don’t have the money to give, know that God will always be ready to hear our prayers and guide you.

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Philippines 1:9-10  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Are You the Other Woman?

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Ladies, have you ever caught yourself wanting to be like her? Worse yet, did you ever attempt to be her?

Oh how often I have made a rash decision to try to become the other woman. You know the thin one, the one with the straight white teeth and perfect skin? How about the one who holds down the corporate job, has dinner on the table and still has time to read to her children before going to bed?

Have you ever tried to be the woman who wants what she wants and won’t stop until she gets it even if it’s the woman you can never be? I know I have and it did nothing but compromise my values and torture my heart. I wanted it so badly that I would have compromised my worth. That’s a deep dark want.

I don’t have him. I can’t have him. I don’t have that house; I can’t have that house. I don’t have that waistline and I most certainly can’t have that waistline at the age of 53. I don’t have that income nor those perfect crisp clothes.

BUT I DO HAVE…

An all loving God that knows what I want is NOT what’s best for me. He hears my sad voice crying and pleading and sometimes downright arguing with Him about something that I really want…and yet…He continues to love me and forgives me for wanting what is just not to meant to be mine.

What should I do?

Be happy with being single. Be happy with my little apartment. Be happy with my job choice and be happy being near family. I should be happy with the woman God created me to be, whatever that means. Single, maybe a little overweight, alone most often and private? Sure, why not. If that is how I’m supposed to be and if that’s good enough for God, then why am I not good enough for me?

OH WAIT!!!

I am happy being single. I am happy with my little apartment. I am happy with my job choice and I am happy being near my family; I am happy being a little overweight and I am happy being alone most times. I am good enough for me.

If you are struggling with trying to be the other woman, please don’t let the desire compromise who you really are. We are all given talents and abilities and if we would just learn to work with what we’ve been given, then we would be a much happier woman and feel good enough for ourselves.

Recycle Me for Your Service

Recycled into Service

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Do you ever feel you’re not good enough to help others? Feel like you have too many flaws? Too much sin?

During different seasons of my life, I have felt as though I have had nothing to offer others, or I have felt very unworthy to help them. Have you ever been there?

But, I find that nothing can be further from the truth. In being more tuned into my life now, I find that I have these flaws in order to reach out to others that might be struggling with the same issues. My sins and hurts can be recycled into helping someone else. I love that.

Look at how today, we can take an old dirty, dented or even mangled can, melt it down and purify it into something fresh and useful. Well, aren’t we the same way?

God will take our destructive abrasive behavior and turn it into something fresh and new but only if we succumb to the process. It doesn’t happen without some work. We have to be able to go the distance allowing Him to remove our sanctimonious, self-indulgent, and mangled hearts and recycle them into helpful soldiers.

Our lives can be a continuous recycling project. The process leads us into service, helping others, praying for others, and reaching out to others. We need to share our victories.

Are you needing to be broken down and purified for His service? Is there someone who needs to hear your hurt?

“God, help us to bring all of our hurts and sins to you for the recycling purifying process to serve others.”beth 3

Lessons Learned from Squishy Clam Sand…Beth Farley

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Lessons Learned from Squishy Clam Sand; It was a Good Time After all.

An anticipated day at the beach turned into a fun day spent with squishy clam sand.

I was so disappointed when I hung a left turn towards the beach and found the local police directing traffic towards the opposite direction. What a huge bummer. I was all packed with towel and sunblock ready to hit the waves but the beach was CLOSED.

How do you handle disappointments?

We headed back into town and tried one more spot. Knowing it would not have waves was okay, but what I saw was NOT at all what I was expecting. We pulled up and excitedly moved towards the beach. Within minutes I noticed that it reeked of bad clams and looked like black squishy mud. Determined to remain positive and playful, I marched forward in anticipation of what I might learn about this experience.

He held my hand as I jumped onto the extremely hot sand with broken shells. We found a spot on the other side of the beach and just looked at the low tide in disbelief. But, rather than sulk, we playfully made our way through the black murky clam mud making our way towards the clear ocean water.  Once we were in the water, I felt like I had been transported from muck to delight. It was magical. I could see right through the water. I could see our smiles looking at me through the reflection and I it was then that I decided to be okay with the change of beach and enjoy the playful afternoon ahead of me.

Sometimes life just throws us smelly situations that we have no desire to dredge through. I get it. I’ve been there so many times. I’ve had times where it was much more fun riding the wave than walking through the slimy junk.

If only we could just hold onto perseverance never despairing; never giving into the negativity or allowing the doubts to bombard us; that would be a perfect world, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

When I looked down at my feet getting all muddy as they were sinking into the warm squishy mucky clam sand, I found myself smiling. I found myself accepting this new experience. We made our way back to the blanket. I had lotion put on my back, had great effortless conversation and shared a fun experience…All because I changed my perspective.

If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating. Charles Swindle

Needing to change your perspective about a disappointment?

Hang on, the tide will come back in.20150714_072413

Brown Tail Moth and Generosity

Thoughts for the day: Are you a generous person? Is there someone that needs your help? Are you willing to give it?

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Have you ever heard of brow-tail-moth-rash? I never had until someone mentioned it. Actually it was several someones that told me about it when they examined the rash forming on my arm and neck.I learned a lot about the moth itself, the rash and the most effective treatments. But, what I really learned about it was GENEROSITY.

What do you think of when you hear the word generosity? When I looked it up on vocabulary.com, generosity is a quality that’s a lot like unselfishness. We have all been created to be generous but so many times we miss the mark.

Jesus teaches us to be generous in many ways. It may be with our financial contribution towards a worthy ministry, or physical help with the elderly. I never thought I’d see generosity  in the way I experienced last night.

I went up to the golf club and all of the women knew I was itchy and they all pulled out their sprays ready to spray me down. You see, if you get brown-tail-moth-rash, there is a very powerful prescription spay that works instantly. There I was, standing on the deck of the golf club, sweetly being sprayed from head to toe.

You would think that one would do that when you’ve known someone for years, but this my friends, was the generosity of some ladies that I’ve just met in the past month. GENEROSITY!

Acts 20:35 give us a great example of Jesus’ words:

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

And in Matthew 6:21 we are told that where our treasure is, there our heart will be. These ladies were spraying me with their whole hart, no strings attached, just wanting to help me. One woman gave me her magic spray to take home. That’s generosity!

Where’s your heart? When you’re being generous towards others is it for your own good or for their good?

Lord, help us to examine our hearts and give generously the way you ask us to. Amen.IMG_1158

Are You Afraid?

My Dog’s Fear

Thought for the day: What are you afraid of?

A few days back a family member came for a visit and brought her three dogs. They were well-behaved and friendly. Two were small and one was huge. My stinking dog was deathly afraid of them. They were harmless, especially the big dog; he had difficulty moving around and was extremely calm. While the dogs appeared to invade dog’s comfort zone, she climbed right up onto the top of the chair and rested herself on the back. She sat right on top of Bill’s head, so I snapped a picture. It looked like a fairly bald man was sporting a new wig. We were all laughing so hard. We found the whole thing to be very funny, however my dog didn’t. She was having nothing to do with the visiting dog thing and wanted everyone to go away.

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For those of you who know my dog, you know how cuddly she is. You know how much she loves people, loves to be on a lap resting with anyone who will allow her to. BUT, don’t bring your dog around; she will cower. I have tried all different types of enforcement in hopes that one of my methods would draw her closer to another dog, but to no avail. She’s just afraid. She’s eight years old and is not about to change now.

When the dogs left, she finally came off of the chair and regained her domain.

I started thinking about the things that I’m afraid of and how I don’t like to tell others. I will do anything to avoid talking about my fears. No one is really comfortable with sharing their feelings about their insecurities especially when they are meeting new people or seeking a relationship.

Have you had to share a fear with someone? Did they understand or laugh?

Sadly, I think in my youthful days, I’ve laughed a time or two about someones hang up. Ugh! It’s crazy how we judge like that and then the table turns on us. We become afflicted with a fear and someone doesn’t understand and chuckles under their breath. It’s just not right to judge the hang-ups of others.

God instructs us to not judge others!

James 4:11-12 ESV…Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

Is there someone in your life that you need to be a little bit more patient with and try to be more understanding regarding their fears?

Lord, I am in no way perfect and have my own hangups. Help me to be very sensitive towards the fears of others. Help me to judge not.beth new pic