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Rejoice!

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬ – “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

It is a time of rejoicing at my house. The boys’ soccer team at school has advanced to regional finals. For us, that is HUGE! It is the first time in the school’s history that this has been accomplished. We are super excited!

You know, I believe that if it is important to us, then it is important to God. I feel that He desires to be intimately involved in everything we set out to do and accomplish. I believe that applies to everything from grocery shopping to school sports to major life decisions. God wants to be a part of it all.

I know that in the scope of eternity that winning these games really doesn’t matter. But was does matter is how we approach them and how we win them. Do we do it with integrity and a desire to be fair or are we in it to win it no matter what? Do I tell my son to play hard and fair or do I encourage a hateful attitude toward the other players? Soccer games can get rough but it is the heart behind the actions that I want to be upright before God.

God already knows the outcome of all these games. I leave it up to Him. I’m just so very proud of my son, his hard work and his dedication to the team even during the difficult times.

So whatever you have going on this week in your life – rejoice. Remember, “This is the day that the Lord has made. We rejoice and be glad in it.”

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Making Assumptions

Matthew 1:1-6a – “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas (Judah) and his brethren; And Judas (Judah) begat Phares (Pharez) and Zara of Thamar (Tamar); and Phares (Pharez) begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz (Boaz) of Rachab (Rahab); and Booz (Boaz) begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; And Jesse begat David the king…”

(Note: The names that are in parenthesis are the names found elsewhere in the Bible spelled differently. I didn’t want any confusion.)

I was reading in Genesis 38 today about Judah and Tamar. Judah had lost his two sons and his wife. He was sad. He had no grandchildren because two of his sons had died before having children. He had promised his daughter-in-law, Tamar, that she could marry his other son when he came of age. However, for whatever reason, that hadn’t happened yet when he saw Tamar on the side of the road and thought she was a harlot. 

Now, Tamar was dressed like a harlot when she is supposed to be waiting for the son to grow up. But you need to remember, dressing like a harlot in this time meant she had her head covered. Judah didn’t know it was his daughter-in-law. That doesn’t excuse the fact that Judah slept with someone who wasn’t his wife. 

Yet, God used this situation and onto the scene comes Pharez.

What I want to emphasize here is judging others. When you look at the shortened version of the lineage of Christ that I have posted here, you see Tamar and Rahab and Ruth. These three women each displayed different character traits but they all had this in common – they were outsiders. They were different. They each married a man from the tribe of Judah. But Tamar was a Canaanite woman. Rahab was a harlot living in Jericho. Ruth was a Moabite woman. None of these women were in a favorable situation. Tamar got pregnant by her father-in-law. Rahab, well, we don’t know how or why she became a harlot but that is how the Bible describes her. Ruth was childless and seemingly doomed to widowhood and living with her mother-in-law in a foreign country. Yet God used each woman in each situation to bring about His will.

We see people all the time at the stoplight, in the store and even at church. And we automatically make an assumption about them. We judge their clothing, their manorism, their speech and many other details about them. I know that I do it without even thinking about it. But that is wrong. I should not judge. 

I know that in my own life and situation, I don’t want people to look at me and judge me by what they see on the outside. I want people to know me. I want them to see God’s hand at work in my life. And you can’t necessarily see that from the outside all the time. 

I want to encourage you, and myself, not to make assumptions about people. I want us to be more open to what God can and will do in someone’s life. No one in Jericho would have ever guessed that Rahab would one day bear a child that would be found in the lineage of the Savior of the world. Tamar never would have thought that this child she was bearing through this circumstance would be in the lineage of the King. And Ruth probably never dreamed that her great-grandson would be the king of Israel. You see, we never know how God is going to work in our life or in the lives of the people around us. 

Gray head

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

Yesterday, I had a patient that was a young teenager in Munich during World War II. I had a million questions to ask her, but since it was our initial meeting, I kept them to a minimum. 

As I was laying in bed last night thinking and praying about my day, many of the people I have treated in the past came back to my memory. I saw their faces. I remembered their story. I remembered our story. It made me smile. 

I have been so blessed to have had so many truly amazing and history filled people in my life. I treated a man who survived the beaches of Normandy. I have treated people who have overcome significant medical incidents. I have treated many completely ordinary people with extraordinary personalities – beautiful souls with hearts to share. I have treated people who have challenged me physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have cried in the bathroom because they passed away. I have listened to them cry and have laughed profusely with them. I have been there when they did something they never thought they could do. 

So as I was thinking about all of this, this verse came to my mind. The thing that I have right here and right now is my strength. Oh, I’m not ready to compete in any competitions but I can hold my own, so to speak. But I try to be strong emotionally and spiritually too. Sometimes people need that just as much as they need my physical strength. I do this because one day, I will be the gray head. I will be the one telling stories and crying with some poor soul that has to try and teach me how to get in and out of bed. Truly, I hope the Lord comes back before then. But if He delays, I know He will send me someone like me to laugh and cry with. 

My point is this, our aging population is vitally important. They have so much to offer. We can’t neglect or forget about them. They need love and compassion and respect. God has them here to teach us and nurture us and love us in a way that we don’t yet comprehend. So reach out to that person that is struggling to get their groceries in the car. Reach out to that neighbor who can’t easily bring in their garbage cans. Take some time to listen to their stories and hear the desires of their heart. God has them here for you. Love them. Happy Friday. 

Pineapples


1 Corinthians 16:13,14 – “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”

Don’t you love my new shirt?! I saw it and had to have it!

Pineapples are one of my most favorite fruits. I could eat them everyday! Traditionally, they have been used to indicate hospitality. But I love what is being expressed here!

“Stand tall” – Don’t let the world try and get you down. I know it’s hard. I know you feel beat down. I know that the days are getting longer and you are weary. I am too. But we MUST stand tall. We have to show the world that Jesus has given us a backbone that will not bend to the whims of this world. 

“Wear a crown” – Remember, you ARE a child of THE King! Act like it!

“Be sweet” – Words can make or break people. Let yours always be seasoned with love. Be the one that everyone wants to be around every single day. And remember, pineapples get sweeter with age, not more and more sour. 

So the next time you see a pineapple, remember – God put them here for our enjoyment and to occasionally remind us to stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet. Life is too short to be anything less than a pineapple. 

Heartbreak

1 Peter 3:15,16 – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

Wednesday was a tough day. And I’m not talking about all the running that I had to do. No, I’m talking about a conversation I had with a patient I see. 

God had set it all up. I had received a random text from my mom about my aunt’s email address. And my patient wanted to know if everything was okay, seeing that I checked the text from my mom. Well, that opened the door for me to tell someone about Jesus by using my blog. 

Here’s where it gets tough – she told me she was agnostic and proceeded to very sweetly tell me what she believed and why. It was clear through the discussion that she had already made up her mind about Jesus. She had rejected Him. And it broke my heart. When I left, I cried. I called my husband. I called my mom. I was heartbroken that this dear lady, whom I care about, had made the choice to die and go to Hell, even though she doesn’t believe in it. 

How do you go on after that?

It is tough. I have to work with this lady. I have to help her achieve her physical goals while knowing that her eternal future is in jeopardy. 

All I can do is pray for her. I will keep living differently in front of her and keep interjecting Christ whenever I can. I need to know in my heart that I pricked her heart every time I had the opportunity. 

I can’t save her. I can’t make her believe in Jesus Christ. I can’t change her mind. But I can love her. I can show her Jesus in my thoughts, my actions and my words. I can tell my brothers and sisters in Christ about her need and have them pray with me. That’s all I can do. And if the opportunity presents itself again, I will pounce on it…again. I just need to be listening and be aware of what God is laying before me. 

Does everybody know?

John 13:34-35 – “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

We are having a contest at work. We are supposed to bring in a picture from our wedding day and people are supposed to match the employee or resident to the correct wedding picture. Well, I protested! I told the activities director that it wasn’t fair! Everyone would know me! How many flaming red heads with big hair work at any one place??!! Now, my program manger does have red hair….

Anyway, I think everyone (who can see – remember, I work at a nursing home) will be able to pick me out in a heartbeat. But that’s ok. I am known by my hair. It has always been one of my greatest fears that I will have some sort of illness that causes me to lose my hair and no one will know me. I’ve been “that little red headed girl” my whole life. I feel like losing my hair would be like losing my identity. Vain, I know, but still. 

Yet on the other hand, I want to be known for other things. I want to be known as someone who is kind, who listens and tries to understand. I want people to enjoy being around me. I want to be remembered for providing for everyone under my wings. I want to be known as a Princess – and not the annoying kind, but rather the kind that is a child of the King. 

Jesus was talking to His disciples here and was encouraging them to love. He wanted their love to be so lived out and so unique that EVERYONE would know who they followed after – Jesus Christ. 

Do people know you follow after Christ before you tell them? Or are they shocked when you mention Him? If you were on trial for being a follower of Christ would there be enough evidence to convict you? Could the prosecutor call anyone to the stand to testify against you? 

Living and loving out loud. Being a follower of Christ should be as evident to others as the hair on you head (or lack thereof 😉).  It shouldn’t come as a surprise when you start talking about your Savior. It shouldn’t surprise someone to hear encouraging words from the Scriptures pouring out of your mouth. 

Does everyone know? 

Think about that this weekend. If everyone doesn’t know, well, you might ought to check into that. Start by attending church on Sunday. God has something you need to hear. Hey, here’s one for you, go one step further and attend Sunday school or Bible study or small groups Sunday morning. He has something to say to you there too! God is waiting for you to take the first step in letting everyone around you know that you are His. You just need to be willing to take the first step. 

Be a pineapple 

Ephesians 6:13 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”


I found this on the biggest time waster in the world, Pinterest. Love that but man, does it waste time!

However, I thought this was great! I have never really considered the personal applications of a pineapple. 

Pineapple is one of my most favorite fruits. I have very fond memories of pineapples. I also LOVE the taste of them. Their sweetness is unparalleled. But they are a booger to get open, sometimes. Their “skin” is so very tough and really attaches itself to the sweetness found inside. 

So, do you know how to pick the very best pineapple? You tug on a leaf of the crown. If it comes out easily, the pineapple is ripe and ready. If not, leave it for another day. 

Did you know that you can grow your own pineapple from the one you buy at the store? Yep! When you remove the crown, plant it. It will take several years, but eventually you will have your very own pineapple. Knowing that they take so long to grow really makes you appreciate them all the more. 

So, what does this have to do with my spiritual life, you might ask. First of all, a good pineapple will always stand tall. God doesn’t ask us to initiate a fight. He asks us to be prepared and stand tall – be ready to defend. Pineapples have a tough outer skin. We need to be tough as well – not allowing everything that is said or done to us affect who we are or what we do. Secondly, we need to wear our crown. We are children of the King if we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior. A pineapple is known by its crown. We should be known by our crown as well. And lastly, we need to be sweet. Being sweet can take many forms –  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Do you recognize those? Look up Ephesians 5:22,23 – the fruit of the Spirit. 

There are so many lessons to be learned from pineapples. This only touches the crown, so to speak. Pineapples also are a sign of hospitality (1 Peter 4:9). And we already touched on this one, but one could dive deeper into the armor of a pineapple. They have a core that extends from the base (foundation) that makes the fruit. I could go on and on, but you see what I mean? I never really put much thought into it but wow! God can truly use anything to express Biblical truths!

So, even if you don’t like pineapples, be a pineapple. Take a few moments this week and study the pineapple. Learn its traits. Apply the principles you can learn from this majestic fruit. Every thing around us is here for a reason, multiple reasons usually. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking it’s just a yummy fruit. The pineapple is truly a gift from God.