Monday, July 29, 2019

Fighting for my Marriage


Accident or Coincidence, or Spiritual Attack?
Is it accident or coincidence, that on the day that I published my God honoring poem, from my heart, called "Old Couples," that I wanted to leave my marriage, and throw in the towel and call it over, done, and history?  I wanted out.

I wanted OUT

But I had (have) one teen at home.  Three more years of high-school we have left.  And though she is fabulously grounded, glory be to God, I know enough to know that parents "splitting up," or discord at home can still have great negative effect on even teens or young adults.  I love my daughter more than anything on earth.  I hated the idea or hurting her, or making her life more difficult because of my own (or my marriage's) weaknesses, flaws, or failures.

But I wanted out and done so badly.   9 years ago, we were separated for an extended period of time, and expecting divorce.  You can read a post about that, HERE, and by the way, why do I dare to air some of my dirty laundry?  Just to be REAL, and give God glory.

We actually had a fair day of hiking, as family outing, just a few days before I lost it and was ready to leave it all.


I am not fake.  I am far from perfect.  Some days I feel like I have it more together than others.  Some days (like recently) I feel like an absolute failure.

COPE HOW??

When I feel like a failure, what do I do?  I guess anytime that I am in stress mode, I tend to withdraw, isolate, and I do SILENT treatment a lot, especially if others are around, because if I speak, I will BLOW UP.  Can't do that with the kids around, my thinking. And I do other things as well, like cry, pray, get in super creative mode maybe, and text or talk to my girlfriends.  This time, at home, I quit washing dishes for my family and I made my granddaughter a play space outside.  Am working on a post to share that, and will link HERE.

Her outdoor play place is not finished, but there will be a "water wall," a "mud kitchen," and some ABC manipulatives...


Wisdom from Bible-study

So I am BLOGGING THROUGH THE BIBLE.  We are doing Old Testament now.  I knew before I started this BTTB project, that God rewards obedience and humility, and His protection and blessing may be lifted in correlation to disobedience or dishonoring God.  At least that is a re-occurring theme in the Old Testament.

So that is another thing that weighed on me, when I WANTED OUT of my marriage.  Notice I am not telling why.  The WHY pales in significance in comparison to other issues here.

I, Me, Myself,

I know that I, ME, MYSELF, should not be the central focus here.  I am not called to lead a selfish life.  I am called to serve my Father in Heaven, through my standing in Christ Jesus.

I pass no judgement on others for divorce.  When my husband and I were in our late 20s and met each other, we were each divorced.  But we have kids together.  We have a grandchild.  We have made it through the toughest stuff.  Can't we continue NOW to not only stay together but to have hope for the future?

Just like 9 years ago when we were separated, my flesh cries NO.  But the Holy Spirit in me has urged me not to walk away just yet.

I have a plan.

I will share it with you, every step.  Pass or fail, I am not finished trying.  By God in me, I will try harder, longer.
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AGAIN, why do I share?  I have no greater reason other than I want to TELL ALL that will maybe encourage someone, or bring my father glory.  We know that He desires for people's marriage's to endure, and in fact thrive, because He despises divorce for the broken-ness that often results and the pain, heart-ache, rebellion that ripples outward, not to mention the pride and hard hearted-ness that often is central.

What Motivates Me?
Now if my love and faithfulness to my Heavenly Father is not enough to keep my trying, here is another thing that bounces in my mind.  I know that some Christians think that these Old Testament themes may not apply in modern times, but... all I can say is, "I have a healthy fear and respect for God, and fierce LOVE for my children, and I don't want to take any chances."

The Old Testament theme that motivates me is that when people MESSED up before God, often there seemed to follow prophecy of doom and gloom not only upon the person that let God down, but also upon his family or his children.  You  see if I am not motivated out of pure and innocent, beautiful love for my Father, I surely am motivated even more out of love for my children.

I want to live humbly and rightly before my Father not only because He is worthy of all praise and glory and allegiance from me but also because I want my children to be blessed because of me, and never to suffer because of me.

Would you?

Would you like to go along with us in our journeying through the Bible?  My blogging sister Angela has been building this FANTASTIC reference source that can connect you with our every BTTB post.

If you want to be updated on the implementation of my plan to save my marriage, subscribe by entering your e-mail address to Grandma Mary Martha.

To Him be the glory!  Sometimes when the sunshine seems to be hiding, we have to lean in closer to the Sonshine, knowing the storm clouds will pass.

OK, I have to go wash dishes now, and work on my plan...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

1 Kings Chapter 9-10


Blogging Through the Bible with a few of my Christian sisters, means that as we READ the Bible, we take turns to write a devotional and share our thoughts.  While it is a joy and great challenging pleasure, it is also intimidating at times, and as we soon head into Chronicles, I am going to confess that it is almost terrifying.  

Really part of why I am terrified is besides the content is heavy and thick at times, my sister partners in this endeavor have set the bar HIGH.  I am impressed over and over with the tributes, contributions, and comments that they share.  Such wisdom, insight, and encouragement they artfully bring!

I reflect on how this began.  I just wanted to read the Bible cover to cover and desired fellowship in the journey.  I declared my goal, in the online Christian Women's group called Titus Women's Gathering, and I invited others to join me.  I created a place there for us to comment as we went.  My comments were so long, I decided to write a blog post about each chapter or two.

This made my progress of reading the Bible cover to cover very SLOW.  I solicited HELP or partners to take turns with me, and Stacey and Angela answered the call !  Soon, Tatianna will join us in Blogging Through the Bible.  

Anyway, what these gals bring to the table is impressive, if you love sharing in God's word!

Catch Angela's post on chapter 7 and 8, > here<
Stacey's post on chapter 5 and 6, is >here<

Sincerity, passion, and humility I bring.  Nothing fancy or sophisticated.  Would you join us?  Join the reading and discussion!


1 Kings Chapters 9-10  

The temple has been built and Solomon is in heyday of his reign, blessed by God at every turn.  Politically he enjoys peace, respect and prestige.  Much of chapter nine details the gifts brought to him.

Interestingly, early in chapter 9 it is documented that the Lord visited Solomon again, and He expressed affection for the temple:

1 Kings 9:3
"...My eyes and my heart will always be there."

Chapter 9, verse 4-9, the Lord goes on to use words to impress the importance of obedience and reverence, as linked to blessings through the ages.  Obedience and loyalty begats blessing, and the opposite leads to the opposite...

Solomon Had it ALL

One staggering detail mentioned is of the amount of gold brought to him each year: 666 talents of gold (chapter 10, verse   14  which equals 25 tons or 23 metric tons according to Biblegateway.com's footnote.)  The thought occurred to me that what any single person or entity must own in modern times would  be a drop in the bucket comparatively. Solomon was rich, blessed and wise, and yet, his heart was in justice for the people.  

I chose the word justice rather than the word service because chapters 9 and 10 do give the vision of someone who lives in luxury and there is actually reference made to "forced labor," (NIV version chapter 9, verse 15).  KJV, makes no mention, but gives other specifics.

Solomon accepted his leadership and seemed to excel at everything about it..... administration, delegation, creative planning, problem solving, entertaining, schmoozing, judging, AND not least of all, SERVING his God and living accountably before Him.

ART in Our Lives

As  the intricacy of style of his throne seat is described (1 Kings 10:18 >>), something struck me.  Because of the commandment of, "Thou shalt have no graven images," sometimes I had wondered if  God did not wish us to be like the Amish or Quakers and live with PLAIN being a common standard, but now I think not.  

Such intricacy and art of metal, gold, wood, even stone and ivory were crafted and described in detail in the Bible, that more than ever I am convinced that rather than being opposed to intricate art, I suspect that our Father creator enjoys seeing what his creations create.  Perhaps  it is in His plan and design that art move us to joy and worship, and give many of us pleasure.

How blessed we are to know and serve such an awesome God!


Dear Father in Heaven, whether we be in leadership or "forced labor," leader, or follower, served, or servant, may we live to bring you glory.  You be our strength, wisdom, and guide please.

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord,"


May we seek to honor You Father, with our talents and our treasures, no matter how small they seem.


Lord, YOU are magnificent and so is your creation.  Thank you for our blessings here now, and for what you prepare for us in Heaven.  Your will be done on earth as in Heaven.  


In Jesus's name I pray, 

AMEN


*What verses can you find to support the idea that all honest work has value, and that all is done before the Lord? (thinking of the different jobs and people that it took to build the temple under Solomon's reign)

*Do you see a lesson to learn, in the reading of all of Solomon's riches?  What do all of his riches make you reflect on, or make you think of?

*Do you believe there is value in all Bible study?  Is God calling you to more diligently devote time to Bible?

*How to do you view the role of art in people's lives, or in places of worship?  Do you believe your view is ever worth conflict of division among God's children?

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May the Sonshine be rich on your path,

Disclaimer:  I did not summarize these two chapters.  You are missing out on a blessing if you do not read these chapters from scripture yourself.  My blog post is simply me sharing thoughts on what struck me most notably this time of reading.  I look forward to many years of reading and studying God's word, as he allows, and blesses me.



Friday, July 19, 2019

1 Kings 3-4


Welcome to this post of Blogging Through the Bible, brought to you by the sisters that have united for this purpose, determined to share in blog posts as they read through the Bible cover to cover.  Stacey finished the book of Samuel for us @ Scribbles and Sustenance, and Angela began the book of 1st Kings @ No Longer Lukewarm.  Now I bring to you, my devotional blog on 1st Kings chapter 3 and 4.

Until David's last breath it seemed that he witnessed conflict in his family.  Equal to the esteem and cushiness of his royal life, there was also hardship, responsibility, tough decisions, battles, and heartache, yet he always returned to focused on his Heavenly Father.

God in a Dream

At the beginning of chapter 3, David's son Solomon (born by Bathsheba) has been properly established as king, by David's and the prophet's agreement.  Transference of power has been made, and the Lord comes to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he would wish for above all else.

Solomon did not ask for anything like health, long life, wealth or other self serving blessing.  He asked for discernment that he could be a good judge and ruler for the kingdom under his rule. 

God blessed him with exactly this, and Solomon established a reputation as the wisest man around.  In fact God was so specific in His blessing on Solomon as to indicate he would be the wisest man ever, before or to come...
Dispute Over a Baby
(V. 16-28) tell of a story, famous among Bible students, of two women who come before the King Solomon with one baby, each claiming the baby was her own, when actually one mother's baby had died in the night.  King Solomon ordered the baby be cut in half so that each mother got half and one mother said, "No, do not harm the child. Give the baby to the other woman..."
Remarkable Wisdom
King Solomon discerned that to be the position of the true mother and so the baby was given UNHARMED to that mother.  People of his kingdom were amazed at this handling of such a sensitive situation.  In all the land Solomon was revered and appreciated for being wise, just, and knowledge filled.  He was truly gifted by God.
Dry Facts and Solomon's Reputation
Chapter 4 is all about documentation of names and positions, like a legal document of history, as well as documentation of the method of support given to this government, and more details about Solomon's famous wisdom.  People came to hear him speak. (Reminded me of a university professor.) 


 Oh Lord, build me to be strong and at least wise enough to always look to You, or Your Word, for answers, and to recognize carriers of Your truth.  All of my hope is in You, that I may live an up-right and honorable life.  In Jesus, I thank you for forgiveness of my sins. I want to desire and pursue Your wisdom, and Your will, above any selfish desires.  Thank you for calling me to be Yours, and for the countless blessings along the way.  In Jesus's name I pray. Amen.


Solomon sought God to give him wisdom to do his job well.  What do you mostly seek?  How do you seek it?  What verses do you claim?

If you were called into a great role of leadership, would you accept?  Who would be your helper?

All are not called to lead nations, but who do you believe you are called to lead?  In what capacity are you a leader?

What do you think is KEY to your success as a leader?

What was Solomon's success as leader due to?


If you appreciate this content, then sharing it with a social media icon tab below can help promote interest and participation in God's Word.  Thank you for joining us. We would love for you to comment and come back.


Friday, July 12, 2019

2 Samuel 22-23


2 Samuel 22 and 23 together remind me of the phrase, "reverse dichotomy."  I am going to discuss why, but first I want to be sure you know what this series is all about.

Determined to read the Bible cover to cover, a few sisters have joined me in rotation to BLOG as we go.  We are having a blast and know that you would be blessed if you join us in our Bible study endeavor. Additionally if you are a blogger; you might consider jumping into our BLOGGING Through the Bible turn taking to write and share.  If you are not a blogger, you can still add to the pleasure and academia by entering the discussion with a comment, and or sharing the post.

You can see what Stacey wrote @ Scribbles and Sustenance, and you can see what Angela wrote at No Longer Lukewarm.

The reason that I say chapters 22 and 23 are like a reverse dichotomy is because chapter 22 is a tender  and lengthy PRAISE offering to the Lord, from David, for His victories, mercies to him, and his blessings that he knows comes from God.  That in itself just seems sweet, because THAT is a wonderful place to be spiritually.

Don't us Christians LOVE it when the praise and thanksgiving is just pouring forth from our hearts, to our God?  It's fun to be at that comfortable happy place where we can reflect and realize we have indeed been blessed.   

I do think it is important here to acknowledge that at the same time David has been called by God to do the important job of leading Israel, he has been annointed, and protected; David has also been chastised and so it would seem disciplined when he veered far from God's will.  (Read all of 2 Samuel and you will see for yourself what I mean.)

Yet, David accepts the hard knocks.  He recovers, and he offers praise.  He does not become hard and bitter towards God. 

MAY WE DO THE SAME.  May we always have a heart that is turned toward's God, desiring God... and ready to praise His holy name.  

Now the reverse dichotomy is that while chapter 22 is warm, fuzzy, sweet and cozy, chapter 23 is brutal.  It reads like a history document of war facts and statistics.  Dry and factual, naming names, and declaring in some cases who killed how many, in service to David or Israel.

I really don't know what I of today, am to TAKE FROM this, except maybe humility and gratitude that my life is in such contrast.  How about you?  What are your thoughts?


Dear Father in Heaven, I am just grateful that I have never had to see or experience war first hand.  I want to look to You for wisdom and guidance.  I even want to look to the Holy Spirit through Jesus, to supply me in faith that endures through the bad times.  May I always strive to praise both after the storm, and by Your wisdom and work in me Lord, I DESIRE to praise Your name even when I am in the storm or the battle.  You are Almighty, GOOD, and worthy of praise always. Thank you for Jesus, His work, His sacrifice, provided by You. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN 

If you would like to read a summary of my understanding and belief, I offer this link to a post at a special collaborative blog where I write @ Telling Hearts.





Friday, July 5, 2019

2nd Samuel 16-17

Wow!  The book of 2nd Samuel keeps the reader intrigued.  One plot twist after another baffles the mind and paints further the picture of general LIFE that will be repeated.  What lessons might we learn from these Bible times? You might be surprised.

  Stacey lastly addressed chapters 12 and 13, @ Scribbles and Sustenance, and Angela last addressed chapters 14 and 15 @ No Longer Lukewarm.  I take turns with them, blogging through the Bible, here @ Grandma Mary Martha,  @Telling Hearts, if you would like to check more posts out.

Phrophecy comes true
It would appear that the Nathan's prophecy of doom and gloom upon David's house, has begun to come true, when there is all manner of sin and evil in his household, even between his grown children.  

At the beginning of chapter 16 David is fleeing from the seat of his royal throne ,his town, due to the unrest brought on my his son Absalom. Quite the shady character, Absalom never-the-less has his good looks in his favor, but furthermore, he has been "politic-ing" on the sly, against his dad, desiring his dad's downfall, and dreaming of the kingship being his.

2 Samuel chapter 16

In this context, a man named Ziba, of some prestige and means, brings a rather generous or lavish gift to David: a string of donkeys, loaded with 200 loaves of bread, 100 cakes of raisins, and 100 cakes of figs, along with a skin of wine.  To support David and his men, this presentation is made, and a blessing given to Ziba (and his family)  in return (v.4).

This is a sharp contrast to what happens next!

Opposition is Tolerated and Respected 

 Shimei is a distant relative of the former king Saul.  When David's entourage wanders Shimei's way, he greets David and his men with cursing, and a hail of rocks!  With no apparent fear for his life, he dares to follow and torment or scourge with his words, and rocks.  One of David's men, Abishai,  offers to cut that man's head off, but David calms him (v.10-12) and in v.12, David demonstrates humility and attitude of penance, as well as respect for his opponent (opposing party, Shimei).

2 Samuel 16:12
...Leave him alone; let him curse (me) for the Lord has told him to.  It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today. 

Rooftop Scandal
In v.15-23 more according to the doom and gloom prophecy of Nathan happens.  Absalom reportedly sleeps with his father's concubines in the sight of all of Israel, on the roof of his dad's palace.  This according to some ill advice from Ahithophel, who previously had been a respected and sought after advisor!

Downfall of a Great Counselor
Interestingly though Absalom did not seem to hesitate to follow that advice, he sought a second opinion on the war strategy advice from Ahithophel, 2 Samuel 17.

Absalom sought, and followed second opinion, and Ahithophel consequentially hung himself! 

Conclusion 
Through it all, David is the one who had been annointed by God to be king.  He is the one who we see in scriptures, still has a relationship with God, and is in touch with the priests.

David is the humble one, who would not even shut up the slanderer, curser Shimei.  He is the one who admits his flaw and sin and is willing to pay penance.

Rich Provision

Still on the run, all along, people come to assist and help.  In fact at the conclusion of chapter 17, Absalom is still hot on David's trail, but David and his followers are richly provided for with housewares and food that seemed to me to be lavish for that time (wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, curds, sheep, cheese!!)

What Next?

Tune in next, for Stacey and Angela to take us through the next chapters!  Would you join us, in our goal to read through the Bible in a year?  Would you like to join our Blogging Through the Bible rotation of posting as we go? We have been so richly blessed, in our efforts and we know that you would be too be blessed for time in His word.

Take-Aways from 2nd Samuel 16 and 17 
1) Humility is a good thing;  respecting views of ones opponent, like David  towards Shimei.   
2) God may appreciate penance on the part of the sinner.
3) God rewards and provides to bring about His will. 
4) Put too much self esteem or pride in a position, can be a fatal flaw (what led to Ahithophel's suicide).


Oh Lord, I am sure that I am not superior to David.  I want to learn from him.  May I, by the leading of your Holy Spirit, be humble in my path, respecting views that oppose my views or even perhaps views against me.  Let me look to YOU for everything,more that any singular person, or position, or life-role that I live.  When I sin, I pray that I would recognize it, and be willing to do some penance, and then get on with praising YOU, serving YOU, and living in JOY because of your rich provision and your preparations for eternity in paradise.  In Jesus's name I pray, AMEN


1) Can you remember a time when there was someone who spoke against you, and humility paid off?  You were rewarded in some way for humility, or things got better? Tell about it.
2) What advice would you give to a sister about how to know if humility is appropriate, or righteous indignation (like Jesus when He turned over the money changers tables in the temple)?  
3) How do you think David held on to his sanity in the family stress that he lived with in chapter 16 and 17?  What seems to be David's foundation, his base, that he always comes back to?


Disclaimer  This reading/blogging endeavor that I join Stacey and Angela on is very personal and simple.  My first goal is to read the Bible cover to cover.  My goal in blogging along the way is to share my thoughts and ideas.  I strongly urge you to read the scriptures for yourself.  I am not an authority.  I am not specially studied on any of Bible, and I do NOT translate in full.  Details and perhaps main points are left out of my blog post.  I simply write or blog about my thoughts and ideas as I go.  Thank you for joining me.  We welcome you to travel with us by reading, commenting, or actually joining our blogging through the Bible rotation.

God bless you in the Sonshine,


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Re-Cyle, Up-Cycle, Old Denim Jeans



Old jeans?  Legs grow or high waters?  Cut'em off for summer, and have some fun re-purposing!  My daughter spent a little time, and colorful embroidery floss to embellish some jeans that she cut off.  Then her friends join in on the fun by using a piece of the leg material to make hot-pads.

Both are great projects for teens!  Keep those girls busy, nurture a love of creating as well as confidence!

The jean shorts project is self explanatory I think.  For the hot-pads, we cut a double layer of OLD TOWEL and inserted into the leg piece.  Then all you have to do is fold inward the cut edges, and whip stitch or blind stitch or tack.  

For the girls' experience I am a believer in letting them EXPERIENCE and do it as they wish.  It is a learning experience and most of all I want them to experience pride, and hopefully give them a positive experience that they will build on in years to come.  I hope this is the first of many fun creative projects that they do.... say with old denim...




Free-style is how I would describe this design above.  Below, notice what is on her thumb.  Ya'll, it is a homemade thimble!!  Now I showed her how to use it, demonstrating with it on my middle finger, but this is how she chose to use it.  Far be it from me to interfere with autonomy and creativity at work.

I made extra THIMBLES out of literally a drinking straw split down middle and bent over finger and then fortified with masking tape.  I am the queen of improvising.  We did not have enough thimbles for everyone so I made one for everyone.

They had the experience of doing it this time.  Next time I will teach them the applique stitch.  These designs were their own.  I talked to them about options for not even 5 minutes, and showed them a few examples and got them started in concept and then left them alone, the way I knew they preferred to work.  I went and checked on them periodically, and praised them, and "I really am so proud of their products!"

 When I was a teen, my grandmother introduced to me the idea of making stuff for my "hope-chest."  Have you ever heard of this?  It is a super cool custom, or you could even call it a hobby, where-by a young woman prepares or gathers things, household linens (hot-pad) etc, which she expects to someday use when she sets up house-keeping for herself.

Have fun with creativity, kindness, sunshine, and Sonshine.  May you be blessed, and return again!  Sharing with a social icon below can help spread the goodness, and perhaps keep the link convenient for when you want to reference again, maybe because you have some old denim scraps...
Here are some other links to creativity my teen has enjoyed recently:   


A Rainbow of God's Promises; book recommendation


Colorful, vibrant, and full of promise, is the rainbow in the sky, by our Creator God.  Colorful, vibrant, and full of promises is the book of poetry by my blogging Christian sister Rita Kurian.  

At Telling Hearts, I shared a short narrative by Rita, talking about her book.  You can read it here<<

At Grandma Mary Martha, with her permission, I am honored to share more, words by Rita:

Through out the Bible, God gives us some 5,000 wonderful promises.  God keeps His promises and never breaks it.  Obedience to Him paves our pathway of delight with the joy and power of His promises coming alive in out lives.
This book takes the promises of God and shares them in the form of poetry to encourage us all the times with His promises for our different situations.
In cold stormy weather, we can huddle over a cup with a cup of coffee relishing His promises of protection, deliverance, healing and strength or a bright springy day, rejoice over His love, or in dark seasons, get His wisdom and mind through His riches in the Word as streams of living water are poured into out lives invigorating, reviving and refreshing us.

Revelation 4:3 "And He that sat was to look upon like jasper and carnelian stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in appearance like unto an emerald."


A great book of encouragement and beauty!!