Monthly Archives: April 2020

Where Does Joy Live?

GraceSpeak

The substance of joy does not rest in this world.

Joy lives in the hope born of the resurrection.  It inhabits the incorruptible inheritance prepared for and kept for me. It is sustained by the power of God.

Trial and temptation may come against me, and circumstances may flip me like a burger on a hot grill, but I am secure in the joy unspeakable that is Jesus the Christ.

The temporary cannot thwart the eternal, nor can the uncertainties of this life overcome the sureness of Heaven.

Settled firmly in the character of our trustworthy God and His work on the cross, I am redeemed. Chosen by His grace, purchased with His blood, kept by His honor, I rejoice in His hope.

I Peter 1:Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a

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What Hasn’t Changed?

Covid-19 brought many changes to everyday life. Some are here to stay. For anyone reading this who has lost a loved one to Covid-19, please accept my sympathy. I know what it feels like to lose a loved one, but not to Covid-19, so your experience is different.

Although the virus brought changes no one expected, some things are still the same.

What hasn’t changed?

1. God is still here. He hasn’t walked off the stage. He wants to hear our prayers and help us in a variety of ways. He cares about us and desires relationship with us.

2. Covid-19 didn’t stop the sun from rising and setting, or the moon from following its pattern. The stars still come out at their appointed times. The virus didn’t stop the seasons from changing. Spring is here, fitfully at times, in the Northern Hemisphere. We can still enjoy the beautiful flowers and the trees coming out in their glory. Fall is in the Southern Hemisphere.

3. The birds are going about their business of building nests for new families. Robins moved in under the side porch of our house and built a nest across from the kitchen window. It’s fascinating to watch the robins’ diligence in providing food and raising their family. Canada geese set up housekeeping at a farm pond a few miles away. Every spring as I drive past the pond I see goslings with their parents. Woe to the dog, cat, fox, raccoon, or person who makes the mistake of getting between parents and young ones!

4. The virus hasn’t affected human ingenuity, creativity, or resilience. In fact, from what I’ve read, those values gained enhancement. Stories and pictures about birthday party drive-throughs, graduation party drive-throughs, church drive-ins and virtual church meetings prove that. People are finding different ways to do what they need and want to do.

5. Covid-19 hasn’t stopped people’s generosity or willingness to help out or spread laughter and joy around. Against the black backdrop of the virus, the stories of people helping other people shine.

6. People still want to communicate. I understand the post offices are busier now; maybe people are rediscovering the joy of letter-writing.

7. Regular household chores, and in this area with the warmer weather, yard work, still need to be done. Grass needs mowed; weeds need pulled; gardens need planted; and dust bunnies and spiders need to be escorted out of the house. The work is there, whether paid or unpaid, that work is there.

8. People still need encouragement, kindness, empathy, hope, joy, faith, and common courtesies, like “please” and “thank you”.

Yes, many things have changed. But some things have not.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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Flexibility–A Useful Tool

I wrote a post on flexibility in spending and saving money here.

Recently I thought again of how the attitude of flexibility makes life a little easier.

For three weeks or so, the grocery store I frequent had low supplies of bread. Before the pandemic I used to buy three or four loaves at a time to keep in the freezer. No more! Signs on the bread shelves stated the limit of one bread item to a customer. I put the loaf in the cart, then decided to hunt for bread substitutes. First, I spied frozen waffles. Good—I can eat them in place of toast. Then I saw a container of yellow cornmeal, and I remembered cornbread makes an excellent side dish with baked beans, spaghetti, pork chops, and many other foods.

Having flexibility, particularly in these times, is a wonderful way to avoid stress. You aren’t tied to a certain way to do things, or meet needs, but you have the willingness to look for substitutes. I’ve found the best way to have that attitude is to think in terms of generalities, not to be hung up on (for example) “Well, I’ve always eaten that kind of bread”, or “I always go to the movies Friday nights. What am I going to do?” Generalities say, “I like that bread, but maybe now’s the time to try English muffins; the store has a lot of those.” or “Yes, I like going to the movies, but the reason I do it is to de-stress from work. What other activity can I do that would accomplish the same thing?”

How are you using flexibility to live a little easier these days?

©P. Booher

 

 

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My wishlist for the “new normal”

David Rawlings says this so much more eloquently than I can; it’s worth reading.

David Rawlings, Author

Covid-19 – to give its proper name – has closed down the world. In fact, some of the commentary around us suggests that our lives will never be the same again – we may even lose some things we’d taken for granted as everyday. The other phrase that is kicked around the media airwaves is “the new normal”. What our society will look like on the other side of this pandemic is still – in some senses – a blank canvas.

I was thinking about those two things and thought “good.” There are some things that might benefit our society if they’re never seen again. But this strange time we live in is revealing some things I’d like to keep.

Starting with this…

Things to add to the _New Normal_ wishlist(1)

The growing imbalance over the past decade or three was something I grew to despise. Huge sums of money were being paid to people who danced in…

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Hangeth Thou in There

Michele Huey

 

The fruit of the Spirit is . . . patience. –Galatians 5:22 NIV

Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. … Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. –Hebrews 10:35–36 NLT

“Any time a man takes a stand, there will come a time when he’ll be tested to see how firmly his feet are planted.” –Author unknown

It all began with an email—one of those forwards I usually delete without opening. All my bad luck I can blame on deleting them, because most come with a curse or a guilt trip if I don’t forward it to seven or ten or a hundred friends within seven minutes.

But this one I opened and scanned the contents. Then my eyes stopped. “God, deliver the person reading…

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Messy Love

GraceSpeak

God does not fit into our rules and procedures and committee meetings. We can’t wrap Him up neatly, reach consensus, and place Him in a box.

God is about love, and love is messy.

Love places the receiver before the giver. It reaches to the unlovely and ungrateful and continues in the face of hatred. It goes beyond the expected and sacrifices itself for the good of another.

Love doesn’t make sense.

No wonder Pilate was confused when Jesus refused to defend Himself. Pilate, a politician, looked for a logical response, a debate.

Yet for the first time in Pilate’s life he was face to face with absolute Love – Love that refused to save Himself.

How do you fathom such love?

You don’t. You accept Him. You relish and cherish Him. You give thanks for Him.

And you spend your life living in response to this amazing Love.

It…

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Friday Photos–A Few Favorite Places and Memories

In the woods, along the creek

Along the trail

Wild Phlox, trees along trail

Along the trail

Up Among the Trees

Up Among the Trees!

Formal Rose Garden in Park

Formal Rose Garden

Little Buffalo, just below house

Summer 2004

All photos by author.

P. Booher

 

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What Was Jesus Thinking?

GraceSpeak

You know what Jesus was thinking about the night before He went to the cross?

You, and me, and all of the people who did and would follow Him.

How do I know that?

He prayed for us.

It is right there in the middle of the seventeenth chapter of John.

John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.

I don’t know what you are facing today or what you are going through, but take heart – the Savior prayed for you. You are on His mind.

Then. Now. Always.

Read His prayer for yourself.  John 17

The photo is a picture of my Crown of Thorns flower.  It has remained in bloom throughout the winter, reminding me of His unfailing love.  B. Mims

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Lesson I’m Learning: Circumstances Can’t Be Used to See God

For some reason, I used to think of God through the circumstances of my life. For example, in school I was teased a lot. Being a bit too sensitive for my own good, I took the teasing and non-invites to school dances and events as rejection. It was easy for me to think that if my peers were rejecting me, God was rejecting me too—for what, I couldn’t figure out.

Years later, I realize that circumstances and what people do or don’t do are poor ways of looking at God. If you try it, bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred, and prejudice will lodge in you and eat away at you. Throw in some depression and a lot of fear as well, and you’ll see why viewing God through the circumstances around you is an unwise, unhealthy choice.

Now, God’s grace enables me to think of Him through the lens of His Word—the only sure way to see and think of Him. Circumstances make shaky ground for anyone to pin a thought or belief on; God and His Word are stable, and solid. Circumstances can change quickly; God doesn’t change. As the Bible says, “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17b, KJV)

Tonight, by God’s grace, I know God doesn’t reject me. That false belief is washed away by verses such as: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16, NIV) Another verse: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4:10, NIV)

If you feel as though you need more stability in your life, consider looking into God’s Word. Ask Him for help. He’ll be glad you asked!

Further resources: God’s attributes: I Corinthians 13:4-8; God’s love as shown by Christ’s death: Romans 5:6-11

©P. Booher

 

 

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Keeping a Blessings Journal

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“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”(Philippians 4:8, KJV)

Many times in the Old and New Testaments God urges (and sometimes commands, as in Joshua 4:5-7) us to remember His blessings and what He has done. King David had many low moments, but came out of them by remembering God’s mercies and blessings to him and Israel. Remembering how God acted in the past gave David renewed faith and courage for the challenges ahead.

Some years ago I began keeping a blessings journal. I bought a 4″x6″ notebook and recorded blessings—like the time I was driving and almost caused an accident (the “almost” is the blessing part), the time I was standing outside a local store, waiting to cross the road, when I felt something brush the back of my leg. I thought it was a bug. Instead, it was the tail fin of a 1960’s-era car! I could have been run over! But I wasn’t hurt at all. I wrote about other events that “almost” happened and would have been disastrous, but they didn’t happen—blessings to me.

I wrote about things that did happen, like getting together with friends. Just last fall two of my friends and I went to a nature reserve and walked on one of the trails. We meandered around, listening to the birds, watching the fish in the pond, and enjoying each other’s company. Then we went to a restaurant to eat. My friends didn’t realize it, but that day was the day before my birthday. I knew I’d be working on my birthday, so I hadn’t planned anything, but just being with my friends was celebration enough.

I keep my little journal in my purse. I look at it when I have a few spare moments—on break at work, or even right before I go to bed. It reminds me of the many times God has blessed me. Taking just a few minutes to reflect on God’s goodness to me helps me combat worry and anxiety. God does not change; He has helped me before, He can help me again.

Resources: Psalm 63 and Psalm 142, among the many psalms David wrote, are especially timely.

©P. Booher

 

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