Saturday, October 24, 2015

Blessings Celebration: 15 Years

There are moments in time that are etched into our minds. One of those moments for me happened on October 25, 2000. I remember the dark green sofa on which I was reclining. I remember trying to get work done to meet a deadline, in spite of battling bronchitis. I remember the deep coughing and then a searing burning sharp intense pain. I remember rolling off the sofa onto the floor in pain. I remember trying to get up and realizing that it was just too painful to move. I remember....... 

Over the past 15 years, I remember the numerous tests, procedures, surgeries, visits to specialists and the chronic pain and headaches. 

I also remember the amazing and wonderful blessings that God has showered upon me over the past 15 years. WOW! When I stop to reflect on those blessing, I can't but celebrate God's goodness. 

A few weeks ago I read Psalm 21:1-3.
The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
I really like that phrase, "meet him with blessings of goodness." As I reflect back over the past 15 years on all the blessings of goodness that God has given me, I can't help but praise Him. 

A few highlights of the Blessings of Goodness that God has given over the past 15 years. 
  • 1. Awesome Doctors.
  • 2. A friend who gracious opened her home to me, so that I could live within 5 min of a Dr. who would see me twice a day for a few weeks. And she has continued to be an encouragement to me over the years. 
  • 3. Spending time at my Sister's home following surgery and rehab. (God even made sure I was at the same rehab center that my sister would spend time at years later. That allowed me to know what my sister would be doing and experiencing.) 
  • 4. A ride in the Good Year Blimp. (Yep, really!)
  • 5. Introduction to an amazing FRIEND! And the friendship as grown stronger over the years. Truly a blessing from God. 
  • 6. A pharmacy mistake that led to them paying for an expensive medication! (A total God thing!)
  • 7. Contest wins..... oh so many! Some I enjoyed, some I passed along as gifts and some I was able to sell to help pay bills. Some of the highlights include: a bike, a HUGE grill, NASCAR grandstand tickets (which God changed to PIT Passes), tickets to a musical show, gift cards to restaurants, grocery stores, online shops, t-shirts, hats, autographed items... the list goes on and on!
  • 8. Timing. God's timing is always perfect. From using geese to keep me from leaving (that delay kept me from an accident), or car repairs delaying a car purchase until the right one was ready. To me moving to Florida and getting settled-in so that I could be here to help my parents during my Mom's hospitalization. To leading me to a different vehicle as I'll be driving my parents around. God is always on time, never late! 
  • 9. The Castle. I still am in awe that God made way to provide this awesome home for my parents and I. As I think through the details that God worked through and all that God taught me, all I can say is... "Thank you, Lord!" (Read about it here:
  • 10. And I can't forget Max, my parakeet. God gave him to me on April 2003 for my birthday. Max provided many laughs and silly companionship over the years. Max died on August 28, 2015 of a heart attack. I'm so thankful for all the fun memories I have of that silly little bird.
Meet him with Blessings of Goodness. 
I can honestly say, that God has met me with MANY blessings of goodness over the past 15 years. Very thankful for God's blessings of goodness! 

The Chariot

In August 2011, I was able to buy a 2012 Ford Fiesta. You can read about the details of how God led me to HIS best here:

A few weeks ago, my Dad decided it was time for him to stop driving. He turned 88 this month, and he thought it was best to leaving the driving to someone else. And that someone, is me. 

Although I really liked my Fiesta, it was not comfortable for my parents, and it was a tight fit with their walkers and if needed in the future a wheelchair. So, I started praying and asking God what would meet the needs for us. 

I claimed Psalm 21:1-3 as my car searching verses: 
The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
I was excited to
that God had waiting for me! 

Since my cars had been Fords, I started looking at a local Ford Dealership. I looked at their Used Inventory and thought maybe an Escape would meet our needs. They had one in my price range, however, because of the power seats, I could not get it reclined enough for my back. 
I then looked at a new Focus hatchback. In my price range, and the hatchback would give me more trunk space. However, it was still on the small side and would not provide much room for my parents. 

A friend recommended that I check out his Uncle's Dealership. But his Uncle wouldn't be there until after lunch. And since I was hungry, I decided to stop and eat lunch. I was hesitant to spend the money, since I was looking to buy a different car—but I was HUNGRY. lol I stopped at a restaurant I like, and I learned I had enough reward points for a FREE LUNCH! How cool is that?! A nice "blessing of goodness"!
And it was God's way of saying: 

After lunch, I went to Sorenson & Schade Chevrolet. I met Andrew and we discussed what I was looking for and what would meet my needs. He said he'd talk with the Uncle, and see what they had in their inventory that would meet my needs. 

I received a phone call from Andrew that he had two possibilities for me. I went back to the Dealership and Andrew told me that the first he'd show me was an Escape. I almost said, "Tried that, and the seats don't work for me." But God kept my mouth shut. 
I sat in the Escape and the seat reclined! No power seats in this model. Ok, one key factor taken care of. Next, would be to see if my parent's would find it comfortable and would the walkers/wheelchair fit? 
I was able to test drive the Escape for a couple of days, and I found it met our needs quite well. But would the price be such it would fit my budget? 

I went back to the Dealership and met with Andrew to discuss the specifics of cost. After trading my Fiesta and my Dad's car, we were able to get the payments low enough for me to afford the Escape with the extended warranty. 

Here is a picture of The Chariot. A 2013 Ford Escape. (Yes, I too find it amusing that I was able to buy another Ford, even if from a Chevy Dealer!) 
Andrew with The Chariot
Oh, but God wasn't done with His taking care of EVERY detail! On the way home from buying the car, I stopped at my insurance company to notify them. It was an awesome surprise that my insurance is now $24 less a month (due to being a larger and safer vehicle). That savings will help pay for the gas since it will use more than the Fiesta. Those "Blessing of Goodness" kept on coming! God knows EXACTLY what I can afford and makes sure He takes care of all the details—when I let Him lead and direct! 

Once again, God led me to HIS best. In this case it was working with Andrew at Sorensen and Shade and buying a 2013 Ford Escape. Thankful for God's timing and His blessings of goodness! 

If you are in the Winter Haven, FL area and are looking for a car, I recommend Sorensen and Schade. Ask for "Andrew W." is very easy to work with and is a real gentleman. (And if you tell them that "Rhonda S." sent you, that would be nice.)

Proverbs 7: 1, 2: In My Mind

My son, keep my words, and treasure my commands within you. Keep my commands and live, and my law as the apple of your eye. Proverbs 7:1, 2

Keep: observe = follow dictates of prudence, justice, kindness, wisdom
Treasure: hide, hoard, "Treasure Up"
Commands: of code of wisdom

Law: instruction
Apple of your eye: the pupil (of the eye), center

I enjoy music. Usually have music playing no matter what I'm doing. And I find that words, smells, events can easily trigger song lyrics to run through my mind. Often I am amazed that I can recall the words. "I didn't know I knew the lyrics to that song." Yet, because I had been listening to the songs many numerous times, I had "treasured up" the lyrics in my mind.

This is what I am SUPPOSED to be doing with God's wisdom and instruction. If I hear it and read it enough, it will be "Treasured Up" in my mind, so that when I find myself in a situation, I can recall God's wisdom. 

On Sept 13, 2015 I wrote about #TreasureUp (You can read it here:

God has "treasured up" wisdom—it's available for me, whenever I want it. And one keys to put His wisdom to good use is to "treasure up" wisdom in my heart and mind. If I want to but something into action, I must KNOW it. And in order to KNOW it, I must learn it and retain that knowledge. 

In order to accept and want to learn God's wisdom, I must have a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. For when I respect God, I'll want to learn and accept His wisdom and put that wisdom into action. 

What is in my mind for me to remember?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Proverbs 6:30-35: NO MATTER the reason!

People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house.
Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul. Wounds and dishonor he will get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. For jealousy is a husband’s fury; therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will accept no recompense, nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts. Proverbs 6:30-35

Actions have consequences—NO MATTER the reason! 

We justify all types of actions. We blame our past, or our ancestor's past, or our 'denied future'. We blame our circumstances. Our location. Our ........ we are great with making excuses that will justify any action. 

No amount of justification can ignore the fact when the action is simply WRONG. Sin is sin PERIOD! 

Notice Proverbs 6:30. We are not to despise, (to disrespect, regard with disdain, scorn, or contempt) the one who steals because he is hungry. However, we don't ignore the fact that he stole either. He has to repay 7 x even if it means he loses all he own. There are consequences to our actions! 

Proverbs 6:32
Lacks understanding: void of a comprehending mind, actually "destitute of mind". 

Some actions leave us shaking our heads as we say, "What were you thinking?" Adultery is one. Why would a woman and man destroy their marriage and home, and their own lives to take part in such sin? Often they think they can do it in secret. However, the consequences of the sin are destroying their own life! 

Actions have consequences—NO MATTER the reason!
Often we like to categorize sin. We like to think of "little sins" and "big sins". If we commit "little sins" (maybe a 'white lie') that's OK. Yet a "big sin", say like MURDER—that's just WRONG! We forget that we are not the ones who determine what sin is. God is a holy God and to Him —SIN IS SIN! There are no "white lies", there are not categories for sin. That is why there are consequences for sin—no matter the reason! 

Thankfully, God has made a way that we can be forgiven of our sin. 
If we confess our sins, He (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Confess: to admit or declare oneself guilty of what one is accused of
Cleanse: to free from the guilt of sin, to purify

Actions have consequences—NO MATTER the reason! And if I want to make sure that my actions are wise —I must have a heart that is permeated with a deeps sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG). 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Proverbs 6:23-29: Influence

For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life, To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattering tongue of a seductress. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, nor let her allure you with her eyelids. For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread; and an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals, and his feet not be seared? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; whoever touches her shall not be innocent. Proverbs 6:23-29

Commandment: code of wisdom
Lamp: light, guide
Law: direction, instruction
Light: illumination
Reproofs: for discipline
Instruction: discipline, chastening, correction
Way: of moral action and character
Life: as welfare and happiness; as consisting of earthly felicity combined with spiritual blessedness

Keep: guard, keep within bounds, protect

As I read this all I could think about was  "the mud never gets glovey." 
If you put yourself in a place where sin abounds you will be influenced by that sin. 
Sin is nothing new. However, our Nation has changed over the years. We have become a Nation that tolerates sin. Satan uses that tolerance to lessen our abhorrence to sin. 

However, remember that we are to live by GOD'S standards. He does not and will not tolerate sin. He cannot for He is a holy God! 
Having a heart that is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God will keep me from sin and allowing sin to influence my life. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Proverbs 6:20-22: Abiding Place

My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you. Proverbs 6:20-22
Keep: Guard with fidelity, observe
Command: precept, code of wisdom/law
Forsake: abandon
Law: instruction

Bind: knit together, join
Continually: of going on without interruption
Heart: memory
Tie: to lace fast, bind

Roam: walk about
Lead: guide, instruct
Keep: guard
Speak: to ponder

Proverbs 6:21
Bind them continually upon thine heart,.... Not upon the head or arm, as the words of the law were to be bound, Deuteronomy 6:3; to which there seems to be an allusion; and which may confirm the sense of the words given, that this respects the law of God itself, and the precepts of it, instructed in by parents; but they should be bound upon the heart, and have an abiding place in the understanding, affections, memory, and will; 
and tie them about thy neck; as an ornament, instead of a necklace of pearl, or chains of gold; they should be so far from being thought burdensome and troublesome, that they should be reckoned comely and graceful
John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
"Have an abiding place in the understanding, affections, memory, and will." What do I store away in my memory? What do I allow to effect my affections and will? Something will effect your memory, your actions, your thoughts, your motives. What will it be? 

If wisdom and instruction are abiding in my mind, my memory, than all I do, say, and think will be impacted by that is right. If I ignore wisdom and fill my mind with sinful thoughts and selfish ideas, then that will also be reflected in my life. 

Abiding place. Something will take up residence—either wisdom or foolishness. If my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then wisdom and and instruction will have an abiding place. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Proverbs 6:16-19: Dissimilitude

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19

Hate: enemy, foe, be hateful odious, utterly
Abomination: something disgusting (morally), an abhorrence

Proud look: arrogance
Lying tougue: falsehood, babbler, evil speaker
Innocent: free from guilt, clean
Blood: shed with injustice & cruelty

Heart: thinking, reflection
Devises: as one who works in, practices
Wicked: thoughts of trouble
Plans: device, purpose
Swift running: run even faster
Evil: injury, wrong, harm

False witness: injurious falsehood, in testimony in court
Speaks: breathe out, utter
Lies: deceptive thing
Discord: strife
Among: verbs of dividing
Brethren: kindred

Pride vs Humility
The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility. Proverbs 15:33

Lie vs Truth
‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. Leviticus 19:11

Murder vs Life
Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked. Exodus 23:7

Scheming vs God's plan
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Psalm 37:7

Quick to Evil vs Quick to Truth
So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19

Strife vs Peace
The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, and turned many away from iniquity. Malachi 2:6

Dissimilitude. Unlikeness. Difference.  Dissimilarity.
There is no question as to what God hates. For as a Holy God all sin is abhorrence to Him. The list of these items covers the entire person. Mind. Mouth. Heart. Hands. Feet. 

Dissimilitude. When my heart is permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God (Acts 9:31 MSG), then I'll hate the same things God hates. I will want remove myself far from those that are living a lifestyle that is dishonoring and hateful to God. 

Dissimilitude. It requires commitment to God and His holy standard. It requires wisdom and the desire to put that wisdom into practice. Remember there are no "white lies". There is to be no compromise. It's a total and complete act of distancing oneself from sin. Dissimilitude. 

Can others see the godly difference in me?