Sunday, September 30, 2012

Have You Ever Broken God’s Heart? What is Sin?

What comes to mind when you hear the word “sin”? I found some notes in my Bible and am sorry to say that I don’t know who the speaker was. Those notes were so good it prompted me to study and write this article.

When I am writing or speaking I most often use the phrase “breaking God’s heart” for things that are sin. Why? Because I think it gives an apt word picture of what our not-so-good choices do to God. He loves us so much that some of those choices we make do, indeed, break His heart.
Webster’s says sin is “to violate the divine law by actual transgression or neglect, An offence in general; misdemeanor, to violate human rights, law or propriety; to transgress. To do or commit wrongly.”

Strong’s Concordance has the familiar “miss the mark” and “trespass” for the word used in Romans 3:23

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. There are definitely other definitions of sin, sinner, sinned etc. found there also.

Have you ever been around a person who is all wrapped up in him or herself? Selfish SELF rises to the top in capital letters. Everything revolves around them. They are scheming and angling to make that so. Contrast that with someone who is all wrapped up in God, their Father, who has special plans for their life and time here on earth. Which one is more encouraging to be around? Which one gives you a glimpse of Jesus? Which one do you enjoy spending time with?

The essence of sin is building life around or all about one’s SELF. Sin draws us away from God and into rebellion then unbelief. Unbelief basically makes God a liar in the eyes of the unbeliever. If that person doesn’t believe Him then His promises aren’t true.  I wonder if the person filled with unbelief ever considers that maybe they haven’t grasped truth and reality, that maybe they are incorrect in their conclusions?
Sin could also be exemplified by an inner feeling of “wrong”. Our conscience, our heart and the Holy Spirit all do a good job, even when we are very small, of letting us know when we have crossed over that line. Yes, a person can choose to harden their heart and that seems to be hand in hand with rebellion. The choice is ours.

while it is said:“ Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Sin is simply putting something else before God.

Many times it has been explained as missing the target or missing the mark. Those who shoot rifles, pistols, arrows or even sling shots can relate to this good word picture.

Our sin against God leads to alienation and separation from God, not because He leaves us but because our actions and choices as a sinner made it so.

God is love, perfection and holiness. Why would we chose to be distanced from Him? He is perfect love who came down to die on that horrible cross for you and for me. He was perfect and holy enough to be able to offer Himself in that way giving us His righteousness. All we need to do is ask.

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

That is great news, I frankly can’t think of any better news to share today. If you are separated from God because of your choices why not take care of it right now.

Payday is coming and you have a choice: Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I implore you today to choose life. The liberator has come and he wants to set the captive FREE. How do I know? Because He has truly set this captive free!!

Come by my blog spot for more photos and interesting reading:
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mama Fufuka Kitty (supposed to be Greek for Princess)

We had decided to get a kitten. After we got to the Humane Society I began to think about how the older kitties might be euthanized….

“Hey, look at that Tortie over there, she looks about 9 months old….”

The kitty in question was curious and came to the door of the cage to sniff our fingers and she was purring!
“OK, maybe we shouldn’t get a kitten……. She’s SO unique and seems really smart….”

We took her home to our one bedroom apartment in hot Stockton California – you remember, don’t you, the one with the hardwood floors and no air conditioning.  Stockton, where it never rains from April until October and there is nothing but blue skies.  No clouds, not ever., Never. And HOT, did I mention the summer it was 114 at 4PM daily for a week in the shade? Or the time my sister and I fried an egg on the blacktop?

Well, Fu-Fu was quite the kitty.  We fed her on the utility sink after placing a piece of plywood on top of it. I’d never had a female cat before and had just decided she was gaining too much weight , diet time. She  was having trouble jumping up on the utility tub to get her food, when it occurred to me that maybe she was “with kittens”.  That began the process of scrambling around to see what the gestation period was for cats. 62 days.  She must have been in heat and gotten out and the owners took her immediately to the Humane Society. We had adopted her 60 days prior to that.  Pretty soon it became very evident that SOMETHING was happening.

“Yowl, rorow….. Meow….”,Was what she was saying as she moved around the kitchen in a very uncomfortable pose. Pretty soon she dropped a little bundle in the middle of the linoleum floor. (Did I mention this was a very old apartment?) The tiny package was totally wrapped in the placenta. Oh, I forgot to mention, I am also an RN.

By that time, I knew the kitten would die if Mama Fu-Fu didn’t chew off the band of placenta, quickly. Well, my roommate decided it was probably time for us to go to the Laundromat so I would live through this delivery.

When we came back 1½ hours later Mama Fu-Fu had delivered 3 pretty huge kittens. She had moved them into the back corner of the hall closet, totally ignoring the box with its towel lining we had fixed for her.  She was no dummy, it was HOT and the hall closet at least had a cooler corner.

“Look at those little guys, nursing and purring and kneading…”

It was a while before we could touch them as Fu-Fu was pretty productive. Several weeks later we noticed that the kittens were nursing only on one side and the other side was getting red and inflamed.

It was time for a vet to see our girl.  The vet wasn’t in and his assistant recommended using hot packs with Camphophenique and warm water to ease the discomfort. We did this (hot packs on a cat? It was quite a sight to see, believe me) for several days and she seemed even more miserable.  Her ears were hot and the thermometer said 104.  Yes, poor Foof had to put up with that indignity too.

We were trying to wean the kittens (at the suggestion of the vet’s assistant).  Fu-Fu got so creative in trying to get to those little orange boys she even learned how to open a heavy sliding wood door.

I did some reading and discovered phenol was lethal to cats.  That was a major ingredient in Camphophenique. 

“I think it is time to see another vet and write a letter….”

I composed a letter to the vet telling him that the sign of a good professional is to look things up and not suggest things with lethal ingredients in them. We never received a bill from that vet.

We took Fu-Fu to a vet who had to give her a shot to bring her temp down.  He said it was a good thing the kittens weren’t nursing because as small as they were the phenol could have gotten to them really fast.
Finally Fu-Fu’s mastitis subsided and she began being perky again.  We found a home for all 3 of her boys.
Old Foof was spayed and lived a happy life until she was 15 and went into kidney failure.  She was a wonderful cat who went outside with a harness and leash on (we walked when it cooled down almost every night.

I remember well one day when a neighbor lady went by walking a German Shepherd on a leash and Fu-Fu  ran knocking open the screen door and chased the dog, with the lady attached to the leash for over a block until I could catch her and intervene.

Yes, old tortie Fu-Fu can still bring a smile to my face.

See “Sketch of Muffy” for another glimpse of this wonderful kitty.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be Encouraged By Your Savior

Doesn’t it make your day when someone tells you that you did a really great job at some task you were in charge of? It should make you feel even better when the Creator of the Universe reminds you of His love. If you have been “made new”, become a “new creature in Christ” or been “born again” then this encouragement is for you!  If you haven’t been forgiven, there is no day like today and no time like the present. ASK. It is all about Him (Jesus) who died to set you free. I know. I was set free by Him and he has never let me down since!

My Child, you are mine for a purchased, paid price. I ransomed YOU with my life so that I might live in you and flow/move through your hands.

Doubt not your salvation. My Word is your assurance. Rest on Me, not your works. I am strength. I am love. You are mine and I will not let you down, drop you or push you away from my embrace.
Trust and believe me. I am your God.  There is none other like unto me. None came before me. Never will you be rejected by me even when you hurry, rush and are out of focus. I have compassion on you. Your page is clean – don’t condemn yourself but come before me, feast on my Word and I will lift you up the mountain with dancing feet.

Come into my embrace that I might comfort you – all is right. Focus on me and all else will be in perspective. Offer up your praises unto Jesus your Lord as they flow from your pencil, your heart, your tongue and your fullness in me. Be still and know that I am God and you are my daughter .Lift up clean hands before me, I have made them without blemish before the Father for praising Him. He delights in your openness and desires to fill and refill you.

Fear not, but trust as a babe. Open us your arms and heart, be vulnerable in His love. Allow healing to mend those crying, fearful parts as He recreates you, His daughter, His intended .Draw apart. Draw life from Jesus’ well that your heart and being may refresh itself and overflow to others, focus, not chaos; lifting love, not confusion, beauty out of ashes of consecration.

I loved you enough to die for you, let me live in and through you to touch others as you worship Me. My daughter, analyze not, nor dissect, but accept and let me love you through my Word.

In Philippians 3:8 Paul is speaking of considering everything a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as his Lord, for whose sake he (Paul) has lost all things. Paul considers them (all things) rubbish, I believe some translations even say “dung”, and that Paul may “gain Christ”. I don’t think there is much more that could be said in the way of emphasis in this scripture.

1 Peter 4:11 talks about speaking the very words if God if we speak. It also talks about serving with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, may this be such an encouragement to believers, new and older – as it was to me. May they sense Your personal love, concern and tenderness as You draw them closer to You. May You equip them to go forth into their Jerusalem and share in Your most incredible Name!  AMEN.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Please pray for Israel....

This came from my pastor in Woodland Park today – I also got a similar one from a former Navy Seal who has lived in Israel for 20 years and sent his family home a couple days ago…..:

Good Morning,

A Navy SEAL connected to my mom's church in the Springs is in Israel, and reports that he has not seen the level of military activity or intensity of preparation there as he is witnessing this week... tanks everywhere, troops everywhere. This is the zero hour, friends. PRAY FOR ISRAEL TODAY and continually! Pray for our nation!
Love and blessings,
Pastor T

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Love Living Where We Live

I once told my hubby that I could live anywhere so long as he is there. That’s still true and we have lived in many an interesting accommodation since being “hitched” over 26 years ago. Tents, rooms in Youth With a Mission hotel-dorm, with parents and friends, in apartments, condos, a geriatric RV and several homes we built together. Those abodes found themselves in Texas, Oregon, California and Colorado.

It SNOWS in Colorado. I once told Mick that I am ALLERGIC to snow and break out in hives at the thought of it. Being raised in Minnesota where the snow comes in around Halloween and stays until the spring thaw in March or April which comes complete with flooding. Yep, the snow piles up and gets dirty and then dirtier until if makes all the rivers nearby overflow and also makes hours and hours of sandbagging necessary…. You get the picture? That’s why I am allergic to snow. Little did I know there was a place where the sun shines over 300 days a year and the snow comes and GOES on a very regular basis.

Somewhere in there the Lord began talking to me about Colorado. I fought for a week and then gave in. Oh, my, what a most incredible blessing. We have been here 18 years and I totally love it. Snow evaporates at about 17 degrees and you can run around is simply a sweatshirt. The summers? NO humidity and at our house in the mountain meadow we had a high of 76 this summer. Most days were in the 60s and evenings in the 40-50s. When we finally got some rain (no humidity means little precip) those wild flowers simply outdid themselves, yellows, oranges, purples and lavenders all over the yard.

Toss in some mountain blue birds along with the humming birds, swallows, hawks and eagles , you simply can’t lose. Then there are the mama deer with their babies, those tiny spotted babies and a bit bigger are the newborn elk. I forgot to mention prong horns, fox, coyotes, porcupines, bob cats and mountain lions beside the bear cubs.

We are totally blessed to be living right where we are and I hope we can stay and stay in this majestic mountain place because I’m in love.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Footprints, Eagles and Our Lord Jesus

The footprints poem is pretty well known by now – the one where there are only one set of footprints in the sand and the writer asks where the Lord was during that time in her/his life and the answer indicated that this was the time when the Lord Jesus was actually carrying that person through their trials and struggles and that’s why there were only the one set of footprints. I got a snapshot of a different kind of “being carried”.

There are many scriptures in the Bible about eagles, lessons about how the mama eagle pushed the babies out of the nest and then quickly flies below them to catch them in her outstretched wings. There are lessons about eagles and how they use the winds of adversity to soar high above the storms.

This poem came from thought about some of both of these graphic word pictures.

Carried On

In timeless rest,
‘Neath wings of purest gold
By furnace fire tested,
I soar above,
Not on strength
Of my own,
But only that
Of my Savior’s love.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seeing Needs in Marriage (Words from the Lord series)

Looking back almost 28 years......

Child do not expect all needed changes to happen in you over night or in a day, you couldn't stand it. Growth is a process, in Me especially; water with prayer, press in, in the Spirit. I love you both and Am working. Selah.

Listen to My heart, daughter. Lay your head on My chest and rest in Me. I long to comfort and encourage you, to be the lifter of your head but you must first come and rest in Me.

Know that I love and am committed to you and him; each and together. Keep my word/work fresh in your heart and you shall grow. I'm speaking to him too. Selah, my love, Selah.

Newly Wed Prayer
Oh, my Jesus, it has seemed SO long! I long for languid moments in Your courts. I choose to spend time and be still before You today amid the clutter of boxes and the tyranny of the urgent, I pause.

Jesus, there is so much I desire for him and me and for us together in You….. to know how to respond to Your love more completely each day….. for us to be more definite/regular in joint prayer, times of worship and in the Word, tithing and praying for specific family members….

Help me know what to say, communicate without nagging and what not to say and Your proper timing.

Help him to press in so that he can feel the warmth of Your presence, smell Your closeness as you two work side by side daily.

Direct us in who to reach out to and how to share all You’ve blessed us with.

Help us each to become that mate You desire and Lord, help me to be in prayer without ceasing each day!

Let our care and tenderness for each other and You grow each day. Praise You Jesus.
Response to Newly Wed Prayer
Child, I desire to say on to you, you are my precious daughter/little one, do not lose sight of that.

Be not caught up in the cares of this world, do what you need to do with focus on Me.

I've given you to enjoy but also to bear fruit. Your main ministry is to your husband, I release you to that and much shall flow out of that.

Be bold for Me daily wherever you are, acknowledging Me in all things (verbally too).

Flow in your area of release, accept that challenge. I will do the impossible. Selah. I love you both, my child, draw neigh, I AM. That you might be.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Most Incredible Blessing Named Leonie!

Back when I was 12 I had 6 pen pals - long story short - I remembered the name and address of one of them several years back. I contacted the secretary of the Australian office of Every Home for Christ (because I worked for that wonderful Bible organization at the time) to see if maybe the national director knew my pen pal... he didn't but the secretary called Tingha and asked information for listings for Graham.

That was Leonie's maiden name. There were 2 Grahams and one had never heard of her and the other was not related but had lunch with her each Wednesday! We got back in touch and Leonie decided on our 60th birthday (year) we'd have to meet face to face. She began saving and came to Colorado to stay with us that June.

A more delightful lady you couldn't ask for. She, like me, had become a nurse. She, like me had come to the Lord as her Savior. We had both gone through nasty divorces (are there any other kind?) We found out after she got here that we both had green eyes... the parallels just did not quit.

When she came that first time we spent a week in Colorado and then took off for the mid-west. Stayed with my sister in Iowa with side trips to Minnesota where I showed Leonie the house I grew up in and the place where I wrote her letters from when we were 12. We got to do 2 family reunions - one for each side of the family since I hadn't been to see some cousins since high school it was quite the occasion.

She planned to come again in two years but Australia figured out there was a financial crisis and froze people's saving accounts in 2008  - she had to begin a Christmas Club account and start saving again making the trip in 2010.

This Wednesday she will fly into Colorado Springs for our third visit. I am so excited I cannot wait - guess I will have to though. All these years since we found each other again we e-mail, almost every day and sometimes several times a day. This time she will not only be able to go to church and Bible study with me but join in on our yearly Women's Retreat!

What a blessing this Sister is and I wish you all could meet her!

SOON!!! I will get to hug her neck once again!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Definitely Not a Butterfly

I signed on a popular “social media” site, posted photos, updates and really got into it several years back. I found old friends from high school, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. I found friends that I had done short term missionary training and service with in the mid 80s and got to hear from relatives who were too busy with life to drop a personal e-mail.

Rapidly, I began to see how this site and others like it were too personal with details for some acquaintances and too impersonal for those I want to stay in close contact with. Sharing my heart on a billboard for the world to see is not my intent. I want to share my heart with a few close friends, not broadcast to the world. Pretty soon I closed that account down.

Fast forward two years. I began to realize that the only way to keep up with some of the very busy younger generation people in my life is to “reenlist” in my social media account despite the things I didn’t like about it. Yes, there are still those who “friend” you and then you never have contact with them again afterwards. But the privacy settings have changed for the good now. I also get to see precious photos of my grand nieces and soon to be grand nephew. Their mamas are so swamped with life that this might not happen otherwise. I can’t go and peek unless I have an account with this media place SO…..I am up and running again.

I have found friends from long ago and far away. Some connect again and write – some exchange e0-mail addresses. I am going to be able to meet the daughter and granddaughter of a close friend because of this media station. They might even be coming here later this week.

I am definitely no butterfly but have come to appreciate the things about online social media that I hadn’t taken a close look at before and I am choosing to ignore those parts that I don’t like. My only regret is that Mick or I didn’t “invent” one of these sites. Had we done so we could have retired a long time ago and felt satisfied  that we helped many, many reconnect with those in their lives who were from “long ago and far away.”

©Marijo Phelps all rights reserved – use giving proper credit.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Favorite Things

Agreeing to disagree – my very best friend is a pretty liberal democrat. We have been really close for 42 years now. We agree on major things like God, family and standing by each other. How can this be? Over the years there are just some things we have agreed to disagree about. Paula dropped everything when Mick and I were moving from Texas to Oregon and I twisted my foot (and broke bones) in our final garage sale before the move. She cleaned our rental and helped Mick finish packing and drove one vehicle to Oregon, me, with my foot on the dashboard to keep the swelling down. I marveled and she said “Jo, you’d have done the same thing for me….”  After thinking about it for a minute I knew she was right.

Kittens – there is nothing better than interacting, laughing and playing with a kitten. They are soft, furry and purry. Feisty little things who think they are monster huge and will attack something (someone) 9 times their size to prove this. Our Jazzy at 2# proved this much to the dismay of our more sedate Hooney who weighs in at 18# and at 11 is much more dignified than this kitten stuff. He has forgotten how he used to be but I have photos.

Chocolate……Rich, smooth, melting on the tongue. A moment on the lips, forever on the hips…. Enough said.

Sunrise in the mountain meadow or sunset, clear skies, clean air and the skies all painted by the Lord to the delight of our eyes.

Writing with flight of thought, stream of consciousness painting word pictures for our readers.

Purple iris smelling like grape Kool -aid, beauty unsurpassed in their delicacy yet strong enough to survive our gale force winds.

Defrosting the chest freezer and finding some of the best soups I have ever made and dinner without cooking tonight.

Family and friends who are closer than a brother (or sister) and being blessed so much by both.

My “adopted” brother Eddie who married my roommate and best friend, they both have been with me through it all over the past 42 years.

My husband and male best friend, we are wired much the same and growing more in love and commitment to each other with the passing years.

My Lord and Savior Jesus, I would have been dead by now the way I was going without Him. He is my delight and the reason I can smile, my joy and my life.
Books, being able to read and write, the public library helping me to quench my literary thirst over and over again.

To be an encourager, if you think that you are in a bad place with terrible things happening always look for someone worse off to try to impact. This has been a life-long focus of mine and it really works for you and for that other person.

I like praying for our world in a large sense and for those people who are up close and personal. Prayer and Jesus change things on a daily basis.

I like learning, growing and studying more as the years go by. I think to stop would be to die in a way that I don’t even want to find out about.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.