Category Archives: Testimonies & Personal Stories

The Armor of God

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The Armor of God

Be Strong in the Lord and in the power of His Might!

We all get up and get dressed in the morning. Some of us have office jobs and our clothes have to be fashionable and classy. Some get dressed for blue-collar jobs, plumber, electrician, construction. Stay-at-home moms and babysitters might wear a t-shirt and sweatpants for comfort, affordability, and ease of cleaning. Since Adam and Eve’s little misstep in the garden we’ve all been wearing clothes, but do we know how to dress our Spiritual selves?

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Ever found yourself blindsided by life, or arrested by an attack of worry and fear? Maybe you woke up in the middle of the night to be battered by thoughts about work, coworkers with wicked schemes in their briefcases, a job or task that feels utterly daunting, or that you are soberingly ill-equipped for? Perhaps fears over medical issues or a scary diagnosis has your gut in knots? Maybe you are worrying about a child that is struggling with something or someone?

Rain falls on the just and the unjust. In this world we will have troubles, but we don’t have to feel naked and afraid through them, or take the punches lying down. If we are children of God, He has given us Spiritual Armor, as protection, so let us rise up and get spiritually dressed!

The Armor of God

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Withstand in the evil day, and to do all that we can do to stand – I can’t help but draw a parity between “the evil day” and Wyoming on an exceptionally windy day, and what a chore it is to try to stand against the swirling, battering tempest, much less walk in it.  I’m telling you! Maybe you know what it is like to get in and out of a car, or in and out of a house in such raging winds?  …Or the comical futility it is of having to almost literally claw your way across a parking lot and have any dignity in the exercise – hair blown upward to a tattered mess and then whipping across your face like a strobing blindfold, eyes filled with sand and dirt, breath sucked out of your lungs, shirt or dress blown up around your neck, hat gone and doing somersaults across the prairie, your body leaning hard into the pressing gales only to have the velocity change and knock you almost off your feet, and as soon as you recover the speed changes back again. Oh, and then, just to make things even more interesting, let’s add ice and snow to the equation. Right? Yeah, you know!!!!!  …Or you can picture it at least. (Laughing out loud!)

The word “withstand” in this passage is anthistemi (pronounced anth-is-tay-me) in the original language of the Ephesians.  Anti = against, and histemi = to cause to stand. My study Bible says this verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, standing your ground.

Think “antihistamine. Like when an allergen attacks us our bodies react badly by sneezing, our eyes water, and our nose runs like a faucet – we are out of control, but an antihistamine helps us to stand against it. An antihistamine stops the horrible, ineffective reaction that our body produces naturally and makes us strong.  It renders the allergen harmless.

So it is when we suit up in the Spiritual armor of God. All by ourselves, and even with a passel of friends by our side, we are hopelessly outgunned against Satan and often react badly: paralyzed by fear, angry or bitter, overcome by the poor-me’s, but Greater is He who is in us, than he who is in the world. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.  And His armor is an absolute necessity in this world.

“When the enemy comes in like a flood, God will raise up a standard against him”    Isaiah 59:19

The full armor of God helps us to stand. “Resist the devil and he will flee” it says in James 4:7.

“Let us put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore… Ephesians 6:10-13.

When I get spiritually dressed, I work my way from head to toe, because it helps me to remember all the pieces that way. Do you want to get dressed with me?

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Helmet of Salvation

Helmet of Salvation

I love that salvation is pictured as a helmet.  Without salvation we are dead-people-walking.  So let’s start with that.  Are you saved? Have you asked Jesus into your heart? Do you have Him living inside of you?  Our heads will always be vulnerable until the Lord’s salvation is living inside of us.

  • And take the helmet of salvation…

Even after we’ve asked Jesus to live in us there is still a major war going on for our minds. Satan cannot read our thoughts but he can plant them – sexually immoral thoughts, hate and envy, greed and pride, worry and doubt.  We must constantly withstand…

“Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor. 10:5b.

Don’t be deceived. Know this, that Satan got Eve to eat the forbidden fruit by first getting her to think about it, then look at it, and finally to touch it. Don’t let him trick you into doing his bidding by enticing you with the same vain imaginations. Catch those thoughts, toss them in God’s incinerator, and then let Jesus Christ, the head of the church, our Salvation, replace them:

“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate (think) on these things.” Philippians 4:8

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Breastplate of Righteousness

Breastplate of Righteousness

Another vulnerable place is our heart, for our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  Our hearts cause us to chase after people and things that are not good for us.  Our hearts can become bitter, and out of the overflow of our hearts our mouths speak.  Only the Lord’s righteousness can give us a new heart.  Create in me a clean heart O God (Psalm 51:10).

  • Having put on the breastplate of righteousness

Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness  (Romans 4:3, Genesis 15:16, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23).  Do you BELIEVE God?

“Let not mercy and truth forsake you…write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3

“Keep my words, and treasure my commands within you…write them on the tablet of your heart…that they may keep you…” Proverbs 7:3

“clearly you are an epistle of Christ…written…by the Spirit of the living God…on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23.

We worry so much about what we eat being bad for us, but it is not what we put into our bodies that makes us unclean, it is what comes out. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. If our hearts are pure, our words will be also. We must hide God’s word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him. If we do this we need not fret about what we will say when an enemy confronts us, because when that time comes those hidden words will come out. Matthew 10:19; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11. The Holy Spirit will wield them as a sword against our enemy!  And He’ll help us not to have the horrible, ineffective reactions!

Let’s reach our arms up (in surrender) through the straps of the breastplate, and receive (Christ) our Breastplate into place. Feel the impression of the cross pressed into the breastplate and rest assured that our heart is safe behind that cross of Christ.

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Belt of Truth

Belt of Truth

Martial arts beginners start with a yellow beginner belt, and as they become more skilled, they graduate on to the coveted black belt. Being a good Christian, doing the right things, hearing God’s will and doing it, these all take practice for us to become proficient.

  • Having girded your waist with truth

Wear truth like a belt, because, liar liar pants on fire, we don’t want to get caught with our pants down in an untruth. Lies destroy integrity. As Christians we must stay away from them. Guard against them. They are the devil’s playground. He is a liar and the father of lies. Let no lie depart from our lips.

And do not let that nasty devil lie to us either. Has he been in your ear about something?  Tempting.  Taunting.  What has he been lying to you about?  Strap on that belt of truth and find the promises of God in the scriptures.  They are the same yesterday, today, and forever!!!!  When the devil says we are worthless, remember that God created you for the sole purpose of knowing you.  He knew you before you were even born.  He knows every hair on your head.  He ordained every day of your life before you ever even lived one of them.  He has plans to prosper you, to give you a hope and a future.

Has Satan used people to sow seeds of doubt in your mind or your heart?  There is a way that seems right to men, but in the end it leads to death. Jesus is THE Way, THE TRUTH, and THE Life; no one comes to the Father but by Him!

If we ask Jesus into our hearts, and let Him wear the pants in the relationship, that’s how we’ll keep our belt of truth firmly fastened.

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Shoes of Readiness

Shoes of Readiness (for the gospel of peace)

Don’t be like my granddaughters, who, bless their sweet little pea pickin’ hearts, shuck those shoes the instant they enter a house, and then when it’s time to go, spend forever, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, sending us all off on a wild goose chase looking for them. Be prepared. Let us always be prepared!  Keep those shoes on!!!!!!!

  • And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…

Let’s be prepared every day for God’s will and for the work He has for us to do. Look for opportunities to randomly sow kindness. Seek to always be busy for the Lord. We don’t have to be nervous about it – for it is the gospel of peace, not war, that Jesus sends us out with. Jesus said, “My peace I give you! I do not give as the world gives.” His perfect peace casts out fear!

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18

“Seek peace, and pursue it!”  The gospel is neither high pressure, or mean, it isn’t insulting, or rude, it should never be argumentative, or hostile, or accusatory. It is not conceited, prideful, arrogant, self-seeking, or unprepared. The gospel is…. well….peace and love, man, peace and love – 1 Cor. 13.

We need a good, tough pair of hikers if we are going to make it up and down the steep cliffs of life, sensible cleats, for the rocky terrain out there is filled with loose gravel, cactus and centipedes, mountains and mud puddles, tall grass and fallen logs.  We’ve got a long road ahead of us and lots of seed to sow – Matthew 13:1-23.

“Every place on which the soul of your foot treads shall be yours…” Deut. 11:24

“How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news.” Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15

Pull those shoes of peace snuggly onto each foot. Grab the laces and yank hard, twist, and tie, not with pretty laces that break easy, but with a three-fold cord that is not easily broken. Tie those cords into a double bow knot so we don’t lose our shoes in quicksand if we should step in any of it today. And then let’s be about the Lord’s work, scattering seeds, and taking some beautiful peace and good news to our world.  We have the answer for what ailes humanity – the cure for the cancer of the soul!!!!!

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Shield of Faith

Shield of Faith

Do you have works? Check your wallet.  What are you spending your  money on?  Check your calendar.  What are you spending your time doing?  Faith without works is evidence of spiritual death. Have you laid your shield down somewhere? Where is it? Let’s find it in a hurry and pick it back up!!!! Of all the pieces of armor, it might be the most important. Even just a tiny mustard seed of faith can grow into a giant tree!

  • Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one…

The shield Paul spoke of was called a thureon, and was a plank of wood, 4 feet long and 2½ feet wide. It was covered with linen and treated leather. It was the one piece of equipment that all the others could hide behind. Picture a turtle, with tough skin, snapping beak, and sharp claws, safely tucked into his shell.  Only the shield will protect a warrior from blazing arrows, and believe me, Satan is generous with his flaming arrows.

The devil wants nothing more than to get us to lay down our shield of faith.  He is always attacking it.  If he can destroy our faith, he’s got us.  That shield is the one piece of armor that protects us from his weapons of mass destruction.

Have you had a crisis of faith recently?  Welcome to the club; I think we all have.  No sin has overcome us except what is common to man.  Has something happened that made you question God’s love or existence?  That, my friend, was the devil, and it was one of his perfectly aimed fiery darts.  He sprays them at all of us, aggressively, incessantly.  When you are having a crisis of faith, go back and find where you laid down your shield and take it back up again.  Read testimonies.  Talk to people who have experienced miracles.  Get in the word.  Pray.  Cry.  Work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  Connect with a faithful mentor.  Read the book The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.  Watch the movie The Shack, or Miracles from Heaven.  Joni Erickson Tada has an amazing testimony.  Do whatever it takes to find our faith again.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen!

Our faith will shield us from the accusations of the devil. Hold on to your faith! Hide behind your faith! It is the only thing protecting us against arrows of death and destruction.

 

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Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

How did Jesus fight Satan in His temptation in the wilderness? With the word of God! Have you hidden God’s word in your heart? God gave us the Holy Spirit the moment we asked Jesus into our hearts for many purposes, one of which is to remind us of the words of God that we’ve hidden in our hearts. We must, must, must be in the word. We must know the word, so that no one will ever be able to deceive us!

  • And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…

“The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and morrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

God’s word brings conviction. It shines a light on lies. It extinguishes deceit. It makes promises that increase our faith. The Holy Spirit will teach us all things that are written in the word, and bring to our remembrance all things that Jesus said (John 14:26). We can wield the word of God as a sword against our enemy, as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness.

One of my favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore, encourages her students in a Breaking Free video session, to “Get you some bullets – a word from the word – every morning, and load your weapon, because Satan isn’t afraid of the chambering SOUND of the shotgun. He’s only gonna run if he gets shot at with REAL bullets – scriptures.”  She has an excellent book, Praying God’s Word, and a couple of wonderful devotionals that I encourage you to get.

Fellow soldier, let’s load our spiritual magazines right now, and every morning, and be ready for whatever may come our way.  Here are some of my favorite Bible Promise Books.  They have categories which lead to specific Bible promises for every problem we could ever face.  Keep one in your car, your desk drawer, your purse, on your table.  So when we come face to face with fear, for instance, we can find scriptures that offer courage in that moment.  If depression, we can find joy.  Health problems? …healing promises!  And also be able to offer encouragement for others!!!!

Bible Promise BooksLucado Promise Books

No weapon formed against us shall prosper, all those who rise up against us shall fall!

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Spiritual Armor

Continual Prayer

  • Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit

Keep seeking, keep knocking, keep asking in Jesus’ name, and the door will be opened to us. Let the Holy Ghost pray for us when we don’t know what to pray, with groanings that cannot be formed into words. Pray out loud with our hearts and our minds and our mouths, but also inwardly and with the secret prayer language that the Holy Ghost came to give us, to keep Satan out of the loop, and have holy mediation. Pray by ourselves every moment of every day, and get together often to pray with others. Fast and pray. Ask the Lord to teach us how to pray and what to pray, as the disciples also did, and He will show us.

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Watchfulness

  • Being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

When I was first writing this blog post it was back at Christmastime, and I had a bag of treats sitting on my desk to give to my garbage man.  As I wrote I also was keeping an ear out for his rumbling truck. When I heard what I thought was it, I grabbed the bag,  and jumped and ran for the door, only to find it was a darned semi.  The next time I jumped and ran, it was only farm equipment.  Later still it was a dump truck.  Good grief.  Until this day I never really noticed how many heavy trucks traveled down the highway past my house.

Finally the garbage truck did come, and I was able to catch him, and tell him Merry Christmas, but wouldn’t you know it, God had a little object lesson waiting for me when I returned to my work.  His still small voice spoke to my heart and said, “THAT is the kind of watchfulness I want you to have for all things spriritual.”

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12

Our Lord wants us to keep one eye constantly open, watching, and if Satan picks on us, our families, or any one of the saints, we are to use our weapons to chase him away, before he gets a foothold.

Watch, for the devil roams around like a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour. He is an opportunist and goes after the easiest lambs of the flock. Let’s not be easy.  He comes to kill and to steal and to destroy, but do not fear, “Greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” 1 John 4:4.

At the cross of Christ, the enemy was defeated (Colossians 1:13-14; 2:15; Revelation 20:7-10). Let us stand together and have endurance in our watchfulness and fight him off together, calling 911-Jesus when we see anyone under attack, because a three strand cord (us, with our brethren, and entwinded with Jesus) is not easily broken.

THAT is also the kind of watchfulness we are to have for our Lord’s glorious return.  Our Savior, hallelujah, shall come for us one day, praise His glorious name, to snatch us away from this evil world (Thess. 5:6).  I pray He finds me and YOU ready, worthy, and watching!!!!!!!  Oh how I pray!!!!!!!!!

 

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Did you get dressed with me?  Yay!!!!!  Let’s go take a good look in the mirror at our bad selves, and not forget what we look like with all our armor on. Let’s not be sitting ducks when we get out of bed in the mornings, as we go throughout our chaotic days, or as we lay our heads down on our pillows to sleep at night.  Our Spiritual Armor doesn’t need to be laundered, so let’s just always keep it on!!!!  And like God’s mercies that are new every morning, may His armor be as well.  Put it on again whenever the Holy Spirit prompts us to put it on!

Rejoice with me, that our Father knows how to give good gifts to His children. Besides the gift of Salvation in His Son, we also have the gift of the Holy Spirit that stays with us always, and let us thank the good Lord for the gift of armor that protects us along life’s narrow roads and dark alleys, His hedge of protection He places around us, and His mighty angels that go before us, surround us, and are our rear guards.  Lord cast that devil away from us, far away, as far away as the east is from the west.  And if he should ask you to sift us as wheat today, I pray dear Lord you will tell him NO!  In Jesus’ name.

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Click on this image for a FREE PRINTABLE that you can color and tuck in your Bible

“My soul rejoices in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10

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Unless I Wash You

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Unless I Wash You

“”What I am doing you do not understand now,

but you will know after this.”

John 13:7

Have you ever been to a foot-washing ceremony? If yes, how did it make you feel? Were you uncomfortable taking your shoes off and exposing your stinky feet to someone you looked up to, like maybe a leader in the church, or the leader at a ministry where you volunteered? Sounds like I might have some personal experience, doesn’t it? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, you’d be right.

I worked as a counselor of sorts in the lending closet of a crisis pregnancy center for a time, and at one of our monthly meetings (where we would communicate information between the board, the directors, and the staff, and also have devotions and prayer), both of our directors rose up from their seats and began filling little tubs for each of the staff members. Our directors had just returned from a director’s retreat and explained to us how they had felt the Lord leading them to wash our feet. Oh no, I thought to myself, no, no, no! Que the panic attack of the century! Of all the hot summer days to be wearing my cheapo, made-in-China, dime store tennis shoes, and without socks. My feet are going to wreak! There’s no way I’m taking these shoes off my feet in this crowded room, much less let someone else take them off for me with their sniffer right down there at toe level. Oh heck no. Nope. Not happening.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t mean any disrespect, and surely didn’t want to put a damper on the spiritual experience at all, but I was squirming and sweating profusely, and was not in my right mind. I was scared to death that my racing thoughts would soon start spilling out all over my face. Thank God I was seated at the end of the chairs (a benefit of always sitting in the back of the room); this gave me a decent amount of time to try and figure out a game plan, an excuse, maybe, for running out early.

I didn’t run, however, and I’m not sure why not, except I was hoping someone else in the room would raise an objection, a genius excuse, and then I could chime in with my support, and the two of us would get out of it together. But no such luck. Each person seemed completely uninhibited, (of stinking course, gawd, why am I the only basket case in the room, ever), and each appeared to appreciate the experience. Lord have mercy.

When it got around to me, the last person, I tried everything in the book to get out of it, discretely, but the director wasn’t having any of it. She absolutely, positively would not take “No thank you” for an answer. So I begged her if I could then just please take my shoes off my own self and hurry and plunge my feet into the sudsy water while she was still a good distance away? Maybe she could hold her breath and we could spritz some air freshener in the room? And maybe I could wrap my shoes up in a grocery sack and toss them out the back door while everyone was distracted, please! OMG, I was so humiliated and embarrassed.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” John 13:3-10

You know what? My feet did not come out of the tub the same way as they went in. When they came out they were clean. They were stink free. The sweat and the dirt had been washed away. My heart-failure was over. I could finally relax and be humbled by the kind ministry taking place. Our director washed my feet, and also prayed for me while doing so, and spoke words of prophesy over me. I felt strength enter my body. I felt blessed.

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The Practice of Hospitality

Foot washing was first introduced in Genesis 18:4 by Abraham and 19:2 by Lot, and then in Genesis 24:32 by Laban, and Genesis 43:24 by Joseph. It is seen again in the strange story of the Levite and his concubine and the old man in Gibeah – Judges 19:21. Levitical priests were required to wash their hands and feet before entering the tabernacle (God’s house) Ex. 30:18-21.

It was once a common custom and courtesy in the ancient Near East to wash the feet of guests (as noted in my Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, NKJV, footnote for Judges 19:21). Most people of Bible days wore sandals, and all that walking around that they did in those days must have made their feet very dirty. Not only would it have been a welcome refreshment to get the sweat and dirt off their feet before sitting down to a meal, but it surely also helped keep the houses from being tracked into, and the bedding from getting soiled.

A note in my NKJV study Bible for Mark 6:11 says that Jews, returning home from a journey also used to knock the heathen dust off their sandals the moment they reentered Jewish territory.

This is probably the custom Jesus drew upon to instruct His disciples to knock the dust off their sandals as a testimony against any town or home who would not receive them or hear them when they preached the good news to them (Matthew 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5). Paul and Barnabas actually did this in Acts 13:51.

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The Hebrew word for ground or earth is adamah (Strongs #127). The Bible says “the Lord God formed the man (Adam) of dust (adamah) from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7), but after the sinful fall of mankind God said, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19). But, in case we should think it was only Adam whom God considers dust, “For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14).

In the New Testament there is the story of a sinful woman with an alabaster flask who “stood at [Jesus’] feet behind Him weeping; and washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil” Luke 7:36-47.

Jesus compared her actions to a foot washing, and He forgave her sins. And He forgave her sins!  (wait a minute….EPIPHANY!!!!)

What if a foot washing is something like a baptism – a mini cleansing of the sole from earthly heathen soil, which we are bound to get on us simply by being in the world?

Of course we are cleansed of our sins (past, present, and future) by our Savior’s blood when we are born again and baptized, so we are essentially cleansed and do not need any other “baptism.” But…we ARE imperfect humans, and in this world we will have troubles (John 16:33); we’ll slip up from time to time – lose our temper, tell a white lie, borrow something and forget to return it, show partiality to someone, disobey God, etc. We may think these are insignificant, or secret sins, but God sees them. He smells our stinky feet, and whether we realize it or not, we are tracking heathen dust into our homes, into our friends’ homes, and into HIS house! But I have good news. When we’ve gotten some inevitable earthly dust on us James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins to one another, and pray Jesus to … well … wash our feet of them (1 John 1:7-9 & John 13:10).

Jesus, after explaining to His disciples who He was in relation to God the Father said, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” John 13:14-15.

I have often wondered, since foot washing has really gone by the wayside in many modern churches, as far as a frequent practice, did Jesus mean His actions to be figurative? Did He simply mean for us His followers to humble ourselves and be willing to serve others in the lowliest of ways? Or did He really intend that we literally wash each other’s feet – to symbolize God’s forgiveness and the washing away of our little daily sins? To be honest, something tugs at me in my heart that Jesus intended the basin & towel to be more than a lost and forgotten ritual, but the saved person’s sort of confessional?  Plus, instead of falling into the bad habit of tearing down our brothers and sisters, pointing out all their little sins and flaws, we could have mercy to forgive them, love them, and get down to toe level with the Lord’s basin and towel.

The practice did continue in the New Testament church. It is on the list of the virtues of a godly woman in 1 Timothy 5:9-10: “She [is] the wife of one man, well reported for good works, brings up children, lodges strangers, washes the saints’ feet, relieves the afflicted, and diligently follows every good work.”

Could it be that the lowly chore was delegated to the women? According to Rabbinical Literature, Jewish wives were once expected to wash their husband’s feet, as well as prepare their drink and bed (Yer.Ket. v.30a, jewishencyclopedia.com); otherwise servants were expected to wash the feet of guests.

What’s kind of ironic about women being relegated to this chore is that we girls LOVE to have our feet washed, don’t we? In today’s modern world we don’t make foot washing a part of our hospitality practices any more, but we do still observe the ritual in a way – we just go to a special (non spiritual) place to have it done and we pay for it. We call it a pedicure, and it is definitely a treat! Wouldn’t it be neat if there were Christian pedicure places, where we could go and it would be safe, and we could confess our sins, and we could leave with a whole new lease on life? Maybe the next time I get a pedicure I will put my headphones on, close my eyes, and spend the time in quiet meditation, discretely giving my sins to God.

“Confess your sins one to another” it says in James 5:16 (see also 1 John 1:8-9).

Say… what am I thinking? You and I can do this right now. What have you been struggling with this week? This month? This year? Have you been tracking sins into your house, into God’s house?

May I wash your feet?

8 Unless I Wash

How about if you think of all the little shortcomings, and sins that have entangled you this week. What is it that is weighing heavy on your heart? What is it that is making you feel guilty way down in your gut, and holding you back from running the race our Lord has marked out for you? Go ahead, take a moment and write your thoughts down?

When you have finished calling to mind each and every ugly little thing that is nagging in your spirit, will you please then come sit in this seat, slip your shoes off, and slide your feet into this tub of hot, soapy water I have prepared for you. I’m going to dunk a soft cloth into the water and run it over the tops and bottoms of your feet, and then squeeze the water over them. As I do, I want you to imagine the Lord’s forgiveness washing over your shortcomings as you give each one of them to Him. You name them, I’ll wash that dust off with this holy water, and we’ll just go for as long as we need to until we’ve covered everything on your list. You are precious dear one. The Lord loves you. And He forgives you!

Now lift your feet out of the water and let me dry them with a soft, fluffy towel. Don’t you feel wonderful getting that off your chest?

Let’s now pour this dirty water out on a flower bed, or under a big oak tree in your yard. All this water is sure going make the flowers and trees grow and blossom, and as you watch them getting bigger and stronger I want you to know that YOU are becoming a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. God’s beauty for ashes!

“How beautiful…are the feet of them that bring good news” Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7).

Pray these verses with me: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the POOR; He has sent me to heal the BROKEN-HEARTED, to proclaim liberty to the CAPTIVES, and the opening of prison to those who are BOUND; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who MOURN, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isa 61:1-3

Go, be free, my friend, and sin no more. But if you find your feet dusty again, my door is always open. You come right back here and sit, and we’ll chat, and we’ll give those cares to God and let Him wash them all away again. Where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among us.

“I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” John 13:15.

Feast of Trumpets

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Feast of Trumpets

fall-feasts

Four Feasts we’ve studied (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost), three Feasts remain (Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles). The remaining three are fall Feasts, and all three take place at the last harvest of the year, the grape harvest, and within the span of about a month.

The Feast of Trumpets

This year (2017) the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, arrives on the evening of Wednesday, September 20 and will end in the evening of Friday, September 22, of this Hebrew Year 5778.

This is how it got started:

Then God spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying:

“In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:24-25

What was the offering to be made by fire to the Lord?

“… one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish. (a blood offering). Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil. (an unleavened bread offering). Also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, (scapegoat) besides the sin offering for atonement, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings.” Numbers 29:7-11

Rosh Hashanah is always observed on the first two days of Tishri, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. Why is a “New Year” celebrated in the middle of a year? Because it celebrates the end of one agricultural year/season and the beginning of another. It’s what we might call a fiscal new year, like the one when we have to choose our healthcare plans. In God’s kingdom it is all about the harvests, the harvest of crops and the harvest of souls. How many stories did Jesus tell where He used sowing seeds, watering plants, tending crops, and bringing in the harvests to describe His kingdom and our ministry on this earth?

The trumpet is often used to gather people. Trumpets, and shouts, were also used as a weapon of war, for example, to bring down the walls of Jericho. And in the same vein, “… I [Jesus] will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18 (KJV). I believe that we who are His will hear the trump of the Lord one day very soon, and that it will gather us from the heavens and the earth, to protect us from some severely ugly times. I believe God will allow the ugly times to come to hopefully show the deceived who they are truly worshipping, and hopefully it will turn their hearts.

It was seventy years after the death and resurrection of our blessed Savior, that the Jewish people became a scattered people over the face of the earth, their temple destroyed, and their land taken over, but it was prophesied that in the last days God would gather them again to their promised land (Deuteronomy 28:58-67). After just under 1900 years it has happened as prophesied. In 1967 the Shofar blew in celebration in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount after the victory of the Six-Day War between returning Jews and the occupants of the promised land. Since that time Jews have been allowed to return to their homeland! Even so, it is still fearcely squabbled over, and hard to believe that such a tiny speck of a place on the globe could be the object of so much violent hostility. It seems there will never be peace in Israel.

The holiday though is also very relevant to Christians, as we also are a scattered people all over the globe – as God wanted us to be so that we could share the gospel with every tribe and tongue and race and nation; and we are also scattered between heaven and earth. (Please check out: Should Christians Celebrate Rosh Hashanah?).

“And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year… prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” John 12:49-52

Clearly in the New Testament it is a trumpet that will summon and gather God’s people from all the places where we have been scattered:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

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This picture of “gathering people” reminds me so much of something from the little town where I grew up. Atop of the hill, in the center of town stood a charming little log church with a steeple. The pews were each hewn of split logs, and even the pulpit and altar were hand-made of logs and hand cut boards. When the time for Sunday Service came one of the elders or deacons of the church would undo the bolt on the doors, turn the knob, and pull the front double doors open, and then He’d begin clanging that big brass church bell, taking grasp of the thick rope that hung down into the front foyer with his two strong hands and pulling with his body weight, then letting the rope rise back up, pulling it down again, and letting the rope rise back up. The sound would echo across the rooftops and down that lofty steeple, causing all the nesting birds to take flight.

Magically, at the clang-clang-clang of that bell, folks began bustling from their houses and vehicles, all dressed in their Sunday-best go-to-meeting clothes. Ladies in dresses, spritzed with perfume, curled hair in hats, wearing makeup and white gloves. Men, freshly shaven, in suits with stiff collars and ties, and hair neatly parted and combed into place. Children, bathed, with shining faces, coiffed and suited and well-mannered, as miniatures of their parents. They all strolled and shuffled up that hill, smiling and greeting one another, and gathering through the open doors, taking their places in the rustic hardwood pews for a sit-down spiritual feast. Oh how lovely it was on Sunday morning to hear those church bells ringing! The piano playing. And the choir singing.

In the same way as the church folks gathered in to satisfy their hungry souls, so similar was the practice on ranches all over my rugged cowboy state. When supper was ready it was common to hear the cook or the wife step outside and run the wand around on the triangle and holler, “COME AND GET IT!” and here they’d come. The hard-working, broke-back, famished ranch hands would wobble to their feet, swing a leg off their horses, toss their tools in a box, remove their hats to wipe the sweat from their brow, and knock the dust off their pants as they started the journey to the chow hall. They all came a hobblin’ from the far corners of the fields, some smiling, and some grunting, and all eager to fill their aching bellies, have a laugh (or a cry), share a story, and then call it a night.

Can you hear the church bells ringing? Can you hear the choir singing? Can you hear a little lady belting out, “COME AND GET IT! O weary sojourner, come and hear the word of the Lord!”

Our Savior is coming! The Landowner is coming to settle accounts, and gather His grapes into the winepress. I don’t want you to be taken by surprise.

Scripture says, two men will be in the field and one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be in the kitchen. One will be taken and one will be left (Matt.24 & Luke 17). The wise virgins will go with the bridegroom and the foolish virgins will be left behind (Matthew 25).

“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking…until the flood came and took them all away…” Matthew 24:36-39

“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.” John 14:28-29 (NKJV)

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24: 23-27) …for those who are HIS!

Have you ever wondered why we dream that we can fly?  Not fly like a bird, but rather float like a balloon, but with the ability to maneuver up and down and left and right with our arms and legs, like we can in water, but without any resistance.  In my dreams I am able to fly above my enemies, just out of their reach.  I can go farther and faster than them.

(Thank you Carleen Sabin for making and posting this beautiful You-Tube video)

The word of God says that some of us will fall asleep (die), and some will just fly away (like Elijah). The redeemed will be blessed to experience the Rapture, the magnificent fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets.  The defiant, who refuse to hear the word of God will be left behind.  If you’ve been riding the fence, please don’t wait until it is too late.  Get with a believer or a pastor today. Don’t let the trumpet of God surprise you. Come, while the door is open.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever will believe on Him shall have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 18:9-10

He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life: he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the son of God. 1 John 5:10-13

Behold I [Jesus] stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

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Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

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Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

I’m a little late posting this for THIS year, or maybe I’m just waaaay early for next year?  Ha.  But, here are some ways I thought would be nice to celebrate Grandparent’s Day.  But, in all honesty, please don’t save them up for that one special day a year. If you have grandparents living close, do some of these with them as soon and as often as you can.  Time passes so quickly.  Memories fade.  The breath of life evaporates before we know it.  Don’t let it get away from you.  Our elders are a special treasure!

“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.”  – Psalms 71:9

 

Family Tree

If your family doesn’t already have one, let the kids start a family pedigree chart with their grandparent.  Let them do as much of the investigative work as they can to fill it in.  First let them fill in their name in the center bottom space, and then just above it let them fill in the names of their dad and mom.  Above those spaces are spaces for grandparents on the paternal and maternal sides.  Spend a day or at least an afternoon with grandparents collecting information: names, birthplaces, careers, military, where family died and are buried.  Ask for obituaries, photographs, family Bible notes, newspaper clippings and stories.  It’s actually a lot of fun seeing where your family came from, not just ethnicity, but travels, both foreign and domestic.  It’s also a great way to learn history.  It means so much more and is so much more interesting when you find out you had actual family living in those times and places and events.

Blank fan tree

If you would like the electronic file for this chart so that you can print one for your personal use, please send your request to mrshlovesjesus@gmail.com, and write “Pedigree Poster” in the subject line.

This is a Pedigree chart I created as a Christmas gift to my family last year.  I took the digital file of the pedigree chart above to my local print shop (also Staples, Copy Max, Walgreens, and even Walmart can print them) and had it printed on poster-size paper.  I printed mine in color on plain paper, but they can also be printed on photo paper, and then framed in poster size frames.

poster

 

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”  – Proverbs 17:6

 

photos

Beside the pedigree poster hanging on my wall I have a decorative tree with photos of hubby & me, our parents, and our grandparents, three generations.

 

Video Interview

On one of our visits to my husband’s folks’ house, we were blessed to have his uncle stop by for a visit.  He was in town to speak at a local high school about his experiences as a soldier in WWII (Europe).  He was often asked to speak at schools about his personal experiences, because he was such a gifted story-teller.  He wrote a book as well, which we treasure having a copy of.  We of course were very interested to hear his stories and so asked if he would share some with us, which he happily did.  We all sat around in the living room listening intently as he told of being on the boat and being soooo sea sick and all the other men being soooo very sea sick also, and then being dropped on the battlefield, and of his experiences as a Forward Observer, which was very dangerous.  I could kick myself a thousand times that we didn’t get video of that visit (which is why I make the suggestion to you now).  It is just so moving to hear a personal relative tell of historical events from their own personal experience, and see their facial expressions, and watch their body language.  It is just so much more captivating than a book in history class.  So I encourage you, if you have a grandparent, ask them to tell you a story about some important time in their life and video tape it.

“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  – Leviticus 19:32

 

video1Something our family DOES have, and I can tell you is an enormous treasure, is a compilation of my husband’s folks old home movies that they took on an old 8mm recorder.  They had the movies transferred to VHS when that was the most  modern thing, and gave us a copy.  But as hubby and I were watching these silent movies, we realized that much of those people and places were unknown to us.  So the next time his parents visited us we asked them to sit down and watch it with us and tell us where all those places were and who the people are.  I set up a cassette recorder to record their narration.  Many years later I took the old silent VHS and the narration on the cassettes and put them together on DVD.   Then I made several copies and gave them as Christmas gifts for our family.  It was the very next Christmas after grandpa had died and you can’t image what a treasure it was to the whole video3family to get to hear grandpa’s voice again, and laugh at his sense of humor, especially since the family had no idea we’d ever gotten that sound tract.

Also, if  you have been to a funeral recently, most funeral homes ask the family to bring them old photos for a video slide show, set to music, to play during the service.  Why wait until a person dies for this?  Ask your grandparents now if you can borrow their old photographs, and then scan them into digital form and make a slide show of their lives from birth to old age.  You can add captions to the photos that say where the photos were taken and who the people are, and you can also add a favorite song or songs of theirs to go along with it.  Most computers have the software for making photo slide show DVD’s on them.  I used Movie Maker to make DVD’s of our family vacations, weddings, and a memorial of our dad.  It would be a nice trip down memory lane for them to get to see their lives laid out in such a way, and a special thing to share with them while they are living.

“And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.”  – Ruth 4:15

 

Old Letters and Great Books

booksMy husband’s dad served in Korea, and wrote letters home to his parents a couple times a week.  We found the letters a while back, along with a bunch of pictures he took while in boot camp and on the front lines. We also were fortunate to get to inherit his army coat, a hat, and medals, maps, and various other personal objects from the war, along with the flag that was presented to the family at his funeral, and the bullet casings from the 21 gun salute.  Altogether the letters and photos, and photos of the objects made a wonderful book that is and shall forever be a cherished keepsake for generations.

I also collected all our family history, stories, pedigrees, photos, birth, marriage, and death certificates, newspaper clippings, obituaries, maps, military histories and pension papers, pioneer stories, censuses, etc. and made it all into a book (first a ring binder, and then a printed, spiral bound book with a hard cover) to share with my sisters.  I made scrapbook pages of the old photos and scanned those pages, and made separate chapters for each person, telling each person’s individual stories.  I visited courthouses, libraries, and museums in the towns where they lived (the ones that were closeby) and collected as much information as I could about them and the history of those areas (marriage, divorce, land records, court records, if they played on baseball teams, delivered mail, or worked in local factories, or acted, sang, or danced in theatre, etc.).  I visited cemetaries and churches and found headstones and church records.  I visited newspaper offices and got old newspaper stories and obituaries.  I will confess, it is a lot of work, but truly it is fun and rewarding work, and I sooooo encourage you to gather as much of this kind of information as you can from living relatives, while you can.   Honor your parents and your grandparents by preserving their legacy in words and pictures.  They will be delighted and honored to see all your efforts as well.

 “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” – Proverbs 20:29

 

Grandma’s Recipes

What is your favorite thing that grandma makes?  Why  not make a date to make it with her, and for heaven sakes cookbooksget her recipe!  Get ALL her recipes, and make them into a cookbook.  My husband’s family actually collected recipes from everyone in the family one year and made a family cookbook for all of us.  We all contributed, and we all paid for our own copies of the book, and it is very much a prized possession of mine to this day.  Each person that contributed recipes also told a story to go with it, like if it was the first meal they made for their husband, or if it was their mother’s favorite thing that they made, etc.

I have myself very fond memories of having picnics with my grandmother.  She always made her standard cucumber sandwiches, hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper, and a thermos of iced tea.  When’s the last time you went on a picnic with your grandma?  Or soaked your feet in a tub of hose water in the back yard?  …And listened to her tell stories about a time she got in trouble as a kid.  …Or what it was like as a teenager going to school. …Or her first boyfriend, or first date.  …Or what she and her brothers/sisters did for fun.

 “Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” – Psalms 71:18

 

Play a Game

My husband has fond memories of playing Yatzee with his grandmother.  It was her gamesfavorite game to play, and if he could beat her he felt like it was a real accomplishment.  Grandma was apparently very good at Yatzee.  My grandma liked to play cards, and her game of choice to play with us kids was Rummy.  She also showed us how to play Solitaire and let us play at the table while she cooked and baked.  I also remember making card houses in the living room, using the carpet to help hold the cards in place.  My sisters and I made elaborate card houses, some more fragile than others.  Does your grandma or grandpa have a favorite game they like to play.  Ask if you can come play it with them one afternoon.  Or, take them to play Bingo, or Pinochle or Bridge at the Senior Center, dominoes, Cribbage, or take them bowling, or to play miniature golf, or darts.  You might find out they’re pretty darn good at it.

“With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.”

– Job 12:12

Other Ideas

Go for a walk

Go fishing

Do some gardening (plant an herb garden in pots)

Go to church with them

Visit them and read them letters that they’ve gotten in the mail

Take grandma to get her hair and nails done

Take them to their doctor visits

Take them to the store to do their shopping, or run a few errands

Take them to a veterans memorial (if there is one with a spouse or loved one memorialized there)

Take them to a cemetery to put flowers on someone’s grave (for a loved one’s birthday rememberance, or veterans/memorial day)

Take them to a class reunion, or a small town annual get-together

Take them for a drive in the country

Play old records

Watch an old movie

Take them out for lunch

Invite them to your house for coffee (and devotions)

Take them to visit an old friend they haven’t seen in a while

Take them out for ice cream

Sit on a park bench and feed the birds, or the ducks (pond)

Take them for a boat ride (a little row boat across a pond or lake) and bring an umbrella for shade

Take them to a grandchild’s school event, or track meet, or soccer game

Take them to a rodeo, a fair, a car or horse race, or baseball game

Take them to lookout point after dark to look at the city lights

Ask them to teach you how to knit, crochet, sew, quilt, or tie a fly (fishing), etc.

Take them to the shooting range for some target practice

Rent a golf cart and take a drive through a scenic golf course

Take them for a drive to new parts of the city

Take them something you’ve baked or made and visit for an afternoon

Take a pizza and cokes and sit on the porch and eat it with them

Do something for them that is too hard for them to do themselves, but needs done, like vacuum, trim a tree, re-attach a rain gutter, paint, mow, move a hose, shovel a sidewalk, take mail out to the mailbox, light a pilot light, replace a lightbulb, put a heavy dish back up in the cupboard, put laundry away, etc.

Call and check on them at least once a week

Always tell them you love them, as often as you can

Send them cards and letters, with pictures

Pray with them and for them, for their health needs, and other needs

 

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” 

-Proverbs 16:31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOST & FOUND, the Parables of “Lost” Things

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LOST & FOUND, the Parables of “Lost” Things

I remember when I worked at the school district, the last week of school, that our bin of lost and found items would get drug out and the items hung up on racks, or laid out on tables in the front foyer, where parents and students would be coming and going, and hopefully they’d see an item that belonged to them and take it home.  I was always amazed at how much stuff would accumulate over the year.  Coats, hats, gloves, shirts, sweatpants, lunch boxes, shoes… just a myriad of things.  My goodness, didn’t anyone miss this stuff?

lostandfound1

I have lost things though, so who am I to judge?

I lost my cell phone once.  I had it and then I didn’t have it.  I always kept it in my purse. Then one day I went to lunch with friends and afterwards ran a few errands, and when I got back home and went to make a phone call it wasn’t there.  I stirred the contents of my purse around with my hand, and then emptied it out completely, dumping the contents all over the floor.  Nope, no cellphone.

I looked in my car, all over the car, under the seats, between the seats, in the console, and even in the backseats.  I looked on the garage floor (maybe I accidentally kicked it out with my foot), and under the shelves along the wall.  It wasn’t there.  It wasn’t anywhere.

Like most people now-a-days I don’t have a landline, or even another cell phone as backup.  And even if I had walked to the neighbors that day it would have been useless to borrow their phone.  I did’t know anyone’s number.  No one calls a NUMBER any more, we all call a NAME or a FACE.  Oh dear.  This was bad. This was my only communication with the outside world and it was gone, gone, gone, forever!

I went back in the house and looked on every surface where I might have laid the phone: the kitchen counters, the bedroom dressers, the bathroom, the laundry room.  I retraced every step I’d made before leaving the house that day.  And then I got back in my car and drove back to every business in town where I’d been, and asked if anyone had found a cell phone.  Not a one.

I came back home and sat in a panic in the middle of my living room floor thinking intently about what to do next.  And in the middle of my racing thoughts I heard it…I heard my cell phone ringing.  “My phone!  Oh my gosh, where is it coming from?  I jumped to my feet and dashed around my house like a raving maniac, trying to get to the sound before it stopped ringing…….and where did I find it?  My… PURSE!

It had slipped through a tear in the lining and was caught between the lining and the shell of my hard leather purse.  I felt like an idiot, and at the same time was soooooooo relieved to have found it.  So happy in fact that I wanted to drive back to every place I’d been, call all my friends, and tell them all, “I FOUND IT!!!!”

So, I completely relate to the thrill of the woman finding her lost coin in the story below.

Lost Things

Click below for the FREE PRINTABLE coloring page

FREE PRINTABLE coloring page, click >>>>>> Lost & Found

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The Parable of the Lost Sheep

 Matthew 18:10-14 (NKJV)  Courtesy of Bible Gateway

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.[a]

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:1-7 (NKJV)  Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.” So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

The Parable of the Lost Coin

Luke 15:8-10 (NKJV)   Courtesy of Bible Gateway

 “Or what woman, having ten silver coins,[a] if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Parable of the Lost Son

Luke 15:11-32 (NKJV)   Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and putit on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

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In my book, Come for Supper? the memoirs of a reluctant hostess I tell the story of how I came to know Jesus:

I was working for a small town newspaper and calling on a customer for an ad. This customer had a wrapping and shipping business located inside a liquor store on the east side of town. As I made my acquaintance on my first visit, the woman of this husband/wife team set me on my heels with a pretty direct question. One I wasn’t prepared for, or was even expecting that day. She asked me if I knew Jesus, and if I were to die today if I knew where I would be going. Wow…I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. She made me very uncomfortable. But her words haunted me for weeks after that.

I knew what she was talking about. I had been raised in Sunday school. I had Christian grandparents. My dad had always expressed how it would mean the world to him if his daughters would get baptized at some time in our lives. I always intended to get baptized, but being fresh into my young life I wasn’t sure I was done sowing my wild oats yet. Somehow I had it in my head that making a commitment to God meant the end of “fun.”

I avoided her in every way after that, but a month down the road when I stopped in to pick up their ad for our paper, being careful to go in the afternoon when I knew she wouldn’t be there, she WAS there and smiling at me as I walked through the door. DANG-IT! But as much as I make this out to be a bad thing, truly our conversation had been all I could think about. I had wrestled with God over what she said for weeks. So when she asked if I had thought about what we talked about, I humbly confessed I’d thought of nothing else.

She asked me if I was ready to make the commitment and I said yes, afraid I may not get a second chance. She whisked me off to the bathroom grabbed my hands and told me to pray with her, “Repeat after me” she said, and I did.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the words I prayed with her that day. All of them escape my memory. But something incredible happened in that bathroom when I said, “Amen.” My blood felt strangely carbonated in my veins, like life was flooding into me in some magical, spiritual way, very much the way life flooded into the Beast when Bell, the Beauty, kissed him and told him she loved him.  That very similar magical effervesence bubbled up inside of me and all around me. I was saved from spiritual death that day.  My legs were wobbly and weak. My mind was swirling. I absolutely was not the same person walking out of that bathroom as the person who walked into it moments earlier. I followed her out to her desk and stared in a daze out the huge picture window. All of a sudden I became aware of the sky and the most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen. It was magnificent with reds and purples. I wondered in my heart and asked God, “Have sunsets always been this beautiful and I never noticed, or did You make this one especially for me?”

Just as I thought this I saw a figment of angels in the clouds…thousands of them. They were all singing and rejoicing. It was so emotionally moving to me that I dissolved to tears. It was some months later that I came across the scripture that says, there is “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7.

The angels were rejoicing over me that day, a great cloud of witnesses, and God gave me a brief and beautiful glimpse.  And they are gathered to rejoice over you too!

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If you are reading this and have never asked Jesus into your heart, but feel His Spirit speaking to you, take heed my friend.  He is seeking you.  You didn’t end up here by accident.  God brought you to these words today for a reason.  He wants you.  Please trust Him!  Give Him your heart today.  You don’t need any fancy words.  You just need to talk to Him.  If you would feel better talking to a real person right now about this decision, that’s good too, and CBN has prayer partners ready to pray at any time of day, just give them a call (1-800-823-6053).  Pray right now, where ever you are, and ask Jesus to come into your heart while He is knocking on your heart’s door, and let Him be Lord of your life.  Don’t quench His Spirit!  Let Him lead you.  Trust me, it’s the best decision you will ever make.  And the greatest love story is…

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(This is a video of Glen Campbell, sometime soon after he got saved.  I’m a big Glen Campbell fan, and this is one of my favorite songs.  I am pretty sure it tells his personal story, and that’s really what I love about it.  At the time of this video it wasn’t recorded on a CD yet, but it has been since this time.  He actually recorded several Christian albums! Glen has gone on to be with Jesus, but his beautiful, personal songs and music live on for us to listen to, and you can get them at Amazon.com.)

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You are the Lord’s Pearl of Great Price!

You are His Hidden Treasure!

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The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44-46  (NKJV)

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Solid Rock

FREE PRINTABLE coloring page, click >>>>>> Solid Rock Printable

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I hope you have trusted Him as Savior today.

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God bless you my friend!!!!

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

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The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16 (NKJV)

20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

My Bible footnote says it would have been 6:00AM.

Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 

My Bible footnote says a denarius (a word of Latin origin) was the standard wage for a full day’s work.  The KJV uses the word “penny” or pence in place of denarius which in Roman currency of the time would have been ten asses (asses were bronze or copper coins used during the Roman Empire).  Denarius is the origin of the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro and in Spanish dinero.

Here are some example salaries and product costs as of the times of Diocletian in the third century AD:

Farm laborer monthly pay, with meals = 400 asses

Teacher’s monthly pay, per boy = 800 asses

Barber’s service price, per client = 32 asses

1 kg of pork = 380 asses (1 lb = 170 asses)

1 kg of grapes = 32 asses (1 lb = 15 asses)

* Source: Wikipedia

And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 

The third hour would be 9:00AM; and there were more people standing inactive, unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless: – barren, idle, slow“(Strongs #692 argos) in the “agora” (Strongs #58), which is probably the town square, market, or thoroughfare/street.

and said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. 

Their wage: whatever is right (just drawing attention to that).  The Greek word used is dikaios (1342) and it means “equitable” (in character or act); (by implication) innocent; holy, just, meet, right(-eous).

Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 

The sixth hour is noon and the ninth hour is 3:00PM.

And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle,[a]and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ 

The 11th hour is 5:00PM (an hour before quitting time), and is it just me or does the land owner seem kind of annoyed that there are folks just standing around idle all day?

They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’[b]

Again he promises “what is right.”

“So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, ‘Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.’ 

To pay them, the landowner worked his way backwards from the new hires to those with seniority (which btw, is an exact representation of the grapes in the basket.  The first grapes gathered are at the bottom and will be last to come out. The first grapes to come out of the basket are the last ones that went in).

And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 

Quite a generous wage for an hour’s worth of work.

10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 

The landowner was certainly a man of his word wasn’t he, although “fair” is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it?   Ever been hired for a job and completely happy about your wage until you found out what others were being paid?  My husband calls it O.P.M. (other people’s money), and it is the root of all discontentment.  Yep; been there and done that.

11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 

12 saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.’ 

13 But he answered one of them and said, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

I believe the “wage” in the parable is probably A TICKET TO HEAVEN, and when I look at it like that I kind of get a different perspective. I can’t help but draw a parallel with the thief on the cross.  Jesus told him as they hung on their crosses together, with the sun fading on the day, that today he would be in paradise with Him.  The thief had run out of time to do very many good works.  He was at the 11th hour of his life.  All he had time for was to witness to one last man, yet he got the same reward as our righteous King, as well as all the prophets and saints and godly Hebrews of the Old Testiment who had preached, and prophesied, and judged, and led, been faithful, and died before him.

The thing I have to remember is that Salvation is not earned.  It is a gift rewarded for saying yes to an invitation.

15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ 

My Bible footnote says that this parable blossomed out of the attitude that the disciples had shown toward service and rewards.

I find this a tricky thing about church. It is so easy when you belong to ANY group of people to look around at others and compare.  So easy to get hurt feelings about things.  So easy to get wrapped up in unholy competitions.

Am I the only one that is secretly longing for pats on the back for my good deeds? Sometimes tempted to brag about charitible things I’ve done just to make myself feel more spiritual or worthy to my peers?  Am I the only one that feels a twinge of jealousy when someone else in the congregation is liked more, fawned over more, appreciated more?  Am I the only one that is hurt when my fruit salad is passed over for Linda’s Fritata?  Or when Beth is chosen to lead next month’s Ladies Group instead of me?  Or when Emily puts a picture on Facebook and it gets 47 likes immediately and I don’t even have 47 friends?  Or when a certain, once unknown blog writer, celebrates her Food Network show and new line of kitchen wares filling up all the isles in all the Wal-mart stores across America and I count it a huge success if just one person clicks the “like” star on one of my posts.

Although rewards are part of God’s plan (Romans 2:6; Matthew 16:27; Revelation 22:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10), Jesus rebukes the spirit of serving for the rewards rather than out of love (1 Corinthians 13).

16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.”[c]  

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Click this link for the FREE downloadable coloring page: Grapevine  to use for your small group, or Sunday School class, or just to color as you spend time in prayer.

The last will be first and the first will be last…just like the grapes being gathered into the baskets, the last ones in will be the first ones to enter the winepress, but they will altogether be a lovely batch of vino.

Chosen vs. Called. 

The Greek word for Called is “Kletos.” Strongs #2822.  It means invited, appointed.  It is used eleven times in the New Testament (Bible Study Tools), and most of those times it is in reference to a calling to ministry or a special appointment, such as apostle or saint.

A calling is kind of a general thing, but it is usually geared to a specific group of folks.  For instance, I think of a ranch cook calling the hands for supper.  She yells or rings the bell and anyone on HER ranch who is hungry will come running.  A church bell calls ITS congregation to church.  A school bell calls ITS students to class.  The disciples, and we as Christians, received a calling from Christ to take the love of Christ to our neighbors.  Many are called.

The Greek word for Chosen is “Ekletos.”  Strongs #1588.  It means select, favorite, elect.

Choosing is much more personal.  We choose a mate.  We choose our clothes.  We choose what we want to eat from a menu.  Choosing is intimate.  This word is used 23 times in scripture (Bible Study Tools). Most of those times the word is translated “elect” as in “the elect,” the favorites of the called, the cream of the crop, the most exalted ones of the called.  Jesus called many disciples, but chose a smaller group of twelve apostles.  Of the apostles, Jesus chose an inner circle, Peter, James, and John as His elect.  Often He asked these three to come be with Him for something special, like healing miracles, the transfiguration, or the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Although the two words, Kletos and Ekletos are spelled the same, they are not pronounced the same and have different meanings.  They are homographs, but I have an uneducated hunch that there is an intended play-on-words in the Greek that is sort of lost in English, don’t you?

The same phrase is repeated in Matthew 22:14.

We all have an inner circle of friends, a small group that we trust just a little bit more, cherish just a little bit more.  I want to live my life in such a way as that the Lord would trust me just a little bit more, and cherish me just a little bit more.  Not to lord it over anyone, but just to have Him smile at me with affection.  I want to have a comfort zone thing with Him.  I want to have the trust/integrity thing with HIM!!!!  I have been forgiven much, I also want to love much (Luke 7:47)!

Personal Application

In penning this post I got to thinking about the shopping trip I made with my granddaughter this past weekend.  It wasn’t going to take us long to pick out some uniform pieces for school: a couple skirts, a couple pants, and a couple pair of shorts, but our little dash in to Old Navy hit a roadblock when we encountered the unbelievable, Disneyland-like lines for the dressing rooms, and then to pay at the end.  It was just crazy how many people were in that store.  I guess that’s what we got for not arriving there until afternoon on the half-price day of the tax-free weekend.

While we were in the monsterous line to pay we passed a bouncy-ball vending machine, and to help pass the time I dug some quarters out of my purse to let my little schnookums try for a pink ball.  One…two…three tries and one…two…three green/blue/yellow balls came out.  Well, shucks.  I asked her what she was gonna do with three balls?  She decided she would give one ball to her sister and keep the other two for herself, but I suggested she give the third ball to another kid in the store.  “Why?” she inquired.  “To be nice,” I riposted, and then I asked her to look around for a kid her age who would be a good candidate.  She looked around, but was overcome with fear and shyness.  She wanted me to do it.  I kept pointing people out to her, and encouraging her, promising that it would make her feel good to do it, but she just couldn’t get up the gumption to talk to someone she didn’t know.  I asked her to choose which ball she wanted to give away, and on our way out of the store I asked a little girl if she’d like to have it.  Although my little jelly-bean was too scared to step out and talk to another person, at least she was willing to give, and I was proud of her for that.

I feel the Holy Spirit challenging me in several ways today through the reading and studying of this parable.  Like my darling granddaughter, I too hold back sometimes, because of timidity.  My anxiousness causes me to stand around idle all day in my comfort zone waiting for a job to come looking for me.  Sometimes I find myself looking around to see if anyone else is stepping out before I do, so I don’t look foolish taking a leap-of-faith all by myself.  Consequently, I don’t make it into the vineyard until the 6th or 9th hour (if at all).  But then there are other times when I feel like I am the one who has been there all day, putting in the biggest effort, and here come others that have done barely anything and are getting lavish praise.  Sometimes I get jealous over favoritism shown to others in the small groups that I belong to.

In all honesty, I don’t accept praise well, but admit it is a nice reward to have someone notice my efforts (so that I can humbly dismiss them – ha, right?).  But to get very little praise or appreciation when others around me seem to be getting tons of praise for what seems like a fraction of the work, that is pretty hard to take.  Stumbling blocks.  Oh Lord, I hate the stumbling blocks in this Pilgrims Progress of life.  They are so hard to get past, but here’s what I’m feeling the Lord leading me to use as tools to help me climb over them, dig under them, and squeeze around them:

ladderTry to remember that Jesus made a fair deal with me when He invited me to work in His vineyard.

pick-axeRemember that He is a man of His word and will reward me with what is right. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

shovelStop looking around at the deal everyone else is getting, or get jealous over favoritism.  It’s Satan’s oldest trick to get us to LOOK at things we’re not supposed to have and then looooong for them.  There are far more harder working Christians out there than me who are going to be given the same gift as me in the end, and who have done a mountain more work.  Who cares if I am His favorite or not.  As long as I make it to heaven, who cares if all I have to live in is a pup-tent, and scraps from the Master’s table to eat.  Tis better to be in God’s kingdom than to be anywhere else.

RopeBe motivated by love, and not distracted by greed, or jealousy or even obligation, nor tempted into expecting a reward for every little thing.  To keep my eyes on the vineyard and not on the prize box.  To take the hard shell off my heart and let it swell for that person in front of me who needs a friend, or a sandwich, or a hug, or a kleenex, or a good laugh.

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Dear Lord Jesus, help me not to fall into the trap of comparison.  Help me to keep my eyes on You and consider only the prize that You have promised me.  Help me to be content with such things as I have.  Help me not to be idle, or crippled by fear or timidity, or green with envy and miss a great blessing.  In Your precious name I pray.  Amen.

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“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

 

 

How I Got Rid of My Little Toenail Fungus

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How I Got Rid of My Little Toenail Fungus

Never, never, never was this an issue for me in Wyoming, but apparently is a common problem in Texas.  I’m not sure I understand why.  In Wyoming we ladies have our feet cooped up in socks and shoes for most of the year  When not in shoes, our feet are usually in house slippers, and I even wore sockies to bed.  My poor feet rarely saw the light of day and rarely got a breath of fresh air except in the summer.

I confess that in Wyoming I used to get a pedicure maybe once or twice a year, usually in the spring and again sometime in the late summer, and that last nail polish job would (I’m kind of embarrassed to say) last for most the winter on my hibernating tootsies. Honestly, I didn’t spend too much time caring all that much about what my feet looked like in the winter; they were out’ta sight out’ta mind.  The only housekeeping I did to my feet during the dark months was to keep the nails short and filed with no sharp edges, so they wouldn’t wear holes in my socks.

In Texas, where our feet are on display for ten months out of the year, I notice my feet need work just about once a week.   And the little darlin’s breathe fresh air daily and get plenty of sunshine.  So it is kind of a head-scratcher why I have had so much trouble with this nail fungus thing – whatever it is?  Maybe it’s that mold spores and fungus have a greater survival rate in hot and humid climates than in the harsh winters and dry climates of the Rockies?

First Infection

I first discovered this fungus on my big toe toenail (shown on the left foot in photo above) when I was removing toenail polish several months after moving to Texas.   I freaked out, went crazy on Google researching this strange phenomenon, and then made a mad dash to the store to find my hopeful cure.  I purchased the most expensive brand of Tea Tree Oil, a #1-rated toenail fungus medicine with brush applicator, and a tube of Lamisil, suggested by the pharmicist.  I trimmed all my toenails close and sanded the tops to make them thin.

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I soaked my feet in an epson salt solution, dried them off really well, and then gave myself a thorough pedicure, removing all dead skin under and around the nail.  I did NOT polish my nails afterwards; I left them naked so they could breathe.  I washed all my sandals in the washing machine, HOT wash and rinse cycles, and then wiped them off with Clorox wipes to kill any residual spores.   I let them completely dry out in the bright, hot, Texas summer sun for a day.

I tossed out all my socks and bought new, 100% cotton ones.  I wiped down my dresser drawer with Clorox wipes and let it dry out in the hot summer sun.

I worked tirelessly to cure this fungus, if indeed that is what it was, with my over-the-counter remedies.  I never let my feet stay wet.  If I walked across wet grass, played in the sprinklers with the grandkids, or walked across the yard in the rain, I always toweled them off after, and after all my showers, with a clean, fresh towel that didn’t get reused or shared.

I kept my toenails short, but didn’t cut away the detached part on the advice of the pharmicist, although because I had sanded them really thin they did tear from the digging underneath with my fingernail file.  I also sterilized my clippers, files, knippers, etc. after every use.  I applied the Tea Tree Oil, the toenail fungus medicine, and the Lamisil cream after every shower, and made sure to get it up underneath each nail really good, and all over the tops too.

Months, and months, and months, and months went by with little improvement, but eventually the detached area slowly diminished to the point where I thought I was cured, and I relaxed my toe treatments.

Finally healed

And then this last January I noticed that the stupid thing was back.  UGH!!!!  Worse than before.  The detachement was almost to the root of my cuticle, and almost the whole left side of my nail.  Bummer!

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Now, I’ve heard there is a pill for this, but I didn’t want to treat my whole body for an issue under a small area of one toenail, especially when it costs money to go see a doctor to get a prescription, and when there are side effects to that medicine that are a little bit unsettling.  I’ve also heard that an alternative treatment and even more effective is laser therapy, but Holy Jemimah monkeys, it’s pricey, and may require several treatments to cure, which would mean several trips to the big city.  My toenails are not thick and yellow, they are normal and clear. They just have one little place of detachment.

So this time I followed my gut instincts and trimmed the detached toenail away from the cuticle beneath, using knippers so I could get in really close, and completely expose the area to fresh air and direct treatment.  Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt at all.  It probably does kind of make you cringe to look at it though.  I’m sorry.

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I then applied a drop of Clorox directly to the infected cuticle and nail with a Q-tip and let it soak in.

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I figured that if Clorox kills everything, including funguses on a variety of surfaces, I would do a clinical study of my own and see how effective it was on human tissue.  (Note: it honestly sounds less dangerous to me than prescription topical medications).  I used a Q-tip to apply a drop of Clorox to the cuticle, rubbing it into the skin and allowing it to soak in, and then over the nail, and I let it completely dry on its own.

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I wore nothing but flip-flops.  I again tossed out all my socks and purchased brand new ones.  I didn’t share my towel, or reuse it.  Everything got washed in the hotest setting on the washer and dried on the hottest setting in the dryer.

A couple of days later I applied hydrogen peroxide to the same area with a Q-tip, and let it dry on its own.  I spent the next month alternating my applications of Clorox or peroxide every few days.  After a few weeks I went to a once-a-week application, and then a once-every-two-weeks application, and finally once-a-month.

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Here’s what my toe looks like now after only six months:

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Here, look at the extremes side by side:

Soooooo, if you want my unprofessional opinion (I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV) …forget about all the fancy, expensive, over-the-counter medications that take forever to work and aren’t effective at keeping fungus away, and before you spend your life savings on doctors and prescriptions.  Just get a small jug of cheap old Clorox and an inexpensive bottle of ordinary old trustworthy Peroxide, both of which are easily found, some steril Q-tips, and give this a whirl.  In my personal experience they are much more effective, and obviously won’t harm your skin when used topically on the infected site in small amounts and in moderation.  And another tip…  DON’T POLISH your toenails.  For one, polish keeps your nails from being able to breathe, like they need to, and two, polish hides (yes, I know that you want to hide your issue, but) it also hides dirt and grime.  It’s okay to paint them for a special occasion, but don’t let them stay polished for more than a day or two.  I believe the fungal spores live in the soil, and if that soil is allowed to just sit under your nails for any length of time, it breeds infection.  So I keep my toenails naked, and clean.

Sending prayers of healing your way!!!

“Make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed..   Hebrews 12:13 NKJV