Sunday, November 8, 2020

Who Can We Trust?


We live in frightening times and we do not know what will happen in our country or our world. What do we do? Who has the answers? Are they telling the truth? So many questions and uncertainties. What looks like absolute truth, can be twisted to be shown as nothing more than cleverly concealed lies.

Who or what can we trust? Even while watching carefully, we can be fooled. Oh, how we need God's wisdom and direction. I am so thankful for His Word that never changes. It is always true and He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The God who made this beautiful world is the only One who can fix the problems in it. Will we trust Him? Will we search for another to trust? We tend to stay so busy in our lives and find there is "no time" for God ... and some think He isn't necessary anyway. What a sad way to look at life. Sometimes we stay so busy to avoid thinking or facing difficulties. 

     The beautiful fall colors add extra drama to the natural beauty of the scene. Peace and bits of order can be found in the colorful display of a variety of trees, bushes and other parts of nature. There is a richness in the blend of beauty, color, sounds of nature and gentle breezes. It is delightful to bask in the wealth of time in God's creation and talk with Him.

    Many times when alone in nature, my heart spontaneously sings, Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder. Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made........   and finish with the chorus of How great Thou Art. I ponder the words as my heart, and many times my voice, sings the words of the song in praise to the God who made such wonder. 

     The time in a natural setting can be restorative and healing as my focus returns to the more important while I turn my attention from the less important. 

What a beautiful world. No, I do not worship nature, but I sure enjoy it. I do worship the One who created nature and people. What a wonderful God He is.  

      Thank you for visiting today. I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Feel free to follow my blog by email or on google.


New Book by Katherine J Master -  A feel-good Christian fiction book with quirky characters, some mystery and light suspense along with the history of an old house and the family who lived there. A fun read that has wisdom from various sources, woven through the story.  


                                        Ordering information on the link below:

                                               New Beginning at Rosewood: 

                                   Finding Hope While Exploring an Old House

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Have Faith? In what?


Beautiful time of year, beautiful colors...  and winter is on the way. 

God made that beauty and we are to praise Him in good times and in bad.... in nice weather and not so nice...  in good economic times and bad... in good leadership and bad.... 

God knows the future, He knows ME and what I need, and I am so thankful to know Him as my Savior. I hope you also know Him and are growing in faith. We have many scary times we live in and many things out of our control. I'm thankful nothing is out of His control. 

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him:  for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

Other Posts you may be interested in reading: 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

How to Encourage Elderly Parents...

Parents and grandparents are precious... even when they are elderly and unable to do as much as they have previously done. They need more encouragement, especially in these uncertain and frightening times. Sometimes, something simple can encourage ...

 My parents have experienced difficulty as problems of  current times cut them off from visiting friends and family, decreased their outings, made them question their purpose in life, caused them fear and led to much loneliness. 

I wanted to help them, but was unsure how to do that. I was already sending cards, pictures and made many phone calls. Still, I could tell they needed more and were not flourishing, but were sad and "down".  They were very vulnerable, and listening to the "news" only increased the unpleasant emotions they were trying to process.

Their health was deteriorating bit by bit. Mom hasn't been able to read much for quite a while now, except for little bits of large writing. Dad puzzled me as he developed attitudes contrary to what he had always had and I was concerned. It took much digging in my talks with him to uncover that he had become unable to read his Bible as the words moved around and he couldn't understand what he was reading. This was making them very vulnerable to some questionable tv preachers and I was concerned.

 I wasn't sure how to help from afar, but they definitely needed some encouragement fast... and often. It seemed they were experiencing fear in several areas, like so many in our uncertain world.

I had the idea that if I could send some reminders of what is important in life, along with the cards and mail, they might enjoy reading those things in the days until I sent another card.

 I have a large collection of 3" x 5" cards I have written out for my prayer reminders and go through them most days. I have interspersed those prayer cards of thanksgiving, praise, needs of friends, family and others and many other prayer needs...  with verses I collect as I read my Bible daily. It is amazing how God will use Scripture, even those I know well, to encourage me as I read through some of them each day. It has been a blessing and has increased and improved my prayer life.

I thought that a similar idea could help Mom and Dad, so started making cards for them.

At first I wrote a few cards with Scripture, simple prayers and a few Remember when....? cards. Since Dad was having so much trouble reading and seemed so uncertain, timid, unsettled, angry and quite unlike normal for him, I used bigger cards... 4" x 6". I wrote with a fine point permanent marker on the cards and each of the three categories had a different color and I wrote large letters so they could read them easily.

That first group I sent to them was urgently done as I could tell they needed something... fast. I probably sent about 20 cards total that first time and it took quite a long time to do them. Several days later, Dad thanked me for them, but we didn't really talk about them. 

I kept sending a few cards most weeks and gradually added other categories. I give God the credit for giving me these ideas and I wanted to share this with you as it may also help your loved ones. 

Eventually, I added Songs, Quotes, Did you know...?, Remember when... ? cards and still continued the original categories also. I numbered the cards in each category and keep track of how many of each I have sent, so I know what to number the new ones I make. 

Originally, I thought they would put them into categories and keep them that way, but I think they are keeping them all mixed in without being in order and it is working well for them.

Once in a while, Dad and Mom would mention thanks for the cards and one day, Dad said that they read through them several times a day every day and they really liked them. As I added the newer categories, he seemed to come "alive" again and the stress and panic diminished. I wanted to remind them of happier days, of good memories, of things they could be thankful for... and it worked.

Dad will sometimes comment now on the cards of  things he had forgotten or things he can't remember at all and we talk about them. He laughs more again. No, it hasn't been "magic" and can't take care of all of the needs, but this has been a blessing to them and I am so thankful. 

The riddles are simple and silly, but I knew my mom would probably know some of them which could give her some confidence and interest in life. I haven't sent many of them, but it was early on when I was searching desperately for something to help them when I wanted to add another category.

The prayers were simple and designed to help them be thankful and change from focusing on the negative. I also encouraged them to stop watching the "news".

I have a friend who detests hand-written cards and notes and she does everything on the computer and wants it to look "better".  I do both and for these cards, I felt the personal connection was important and would touch them more to see that a person had written them, especially since we could not be together.

Sometimes I do beautifully hand-written cards, but I knew it would be easy to be so conscious of "perfection" that it would take longer and these were needed immediately. My life is so busy, yet this was an urgent need and I felt it was imperative to do it quickly and regularly, so these are not "pretty", but much love is sent through them and it is easier to do a few cards to add to a note I am sending to them, so I do it quite regularly.

The Scripture cards bring back to their minds familiar words from the Bible. The prayers help them direct their thoughts. The songs are simple and many are children's songs from their childhood which draws them back to happier times away from covid problems.

The Did you know... ? category came from when I taught homeschool...  we wrote a family newsletter and for a while I required each child to submit a Did you know...? article each week. I told them to find a fact and put it in the form of Did you know.... ? The kids did NOT enjoy doing those articles, though they enjoyed learning new facts. They LOVED hearing and reading the facts from siblings and Mom. It was a fun part of our newsletter. I know my parents enjoy bits of trivia also and knew these would be interesting to them.

The cards are not as desperately needed now as they were at the beginning, but I get the feeling they are still very important, even though Dad has encouraged me that I do not have to take the time to do it. I am thankful to see the benefits from this simple exercise.

So far, I have sent 27 Scripture cards, 16 Prayer cards, 18 Remember when... ? cards, 8 Song cards,
2 Riddle cards, 7 Quote cards and 4 Did you know... ?  A total of 82 cards, so far. Yes, it is time to send more and I will continue to send a few at a time. Maybe I will add more categories sometime.

This is my mom and dad a few years ago. I am thankful for them and they need more help, so I am helping them in the way I can. Thankfully a brother and sister-in-law are closer and can help them in other ways.

Our parents, grandparents, older neighbors and family members can benefit from our thoughtfulness. They are worth the effort and though this is a little thing, it can be used mightily by our wonderful Lord.

This is a time of great vulnerability and fear for many and our elderly suffer much. What a blessing it is to minister to them in little ways and encourage. This idea would be nice for elderly parents and relatives, but also for elderly church friends, neighbors, former co-workers and more. The ministry of encouragement is many times neglected, but is so important.

A similar idea could even work for a troubled teen, a tired mom, a grouchy neighbor... or anyone who needs encouragement... and actually, don't we ALL enjoy being encouraged?

Thank you for visiting today. I'd love to hear your thoughts of this idea and if you have encouraged in a similar way. I hope you have a great week and that you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

                                                                                             ~ Gentle Joy

Monday, July 27, 2020

Book Review ... Biblical Minimalism

Today, I am promoting a new book, called Biblical Minimalism, by Cheryl Smith.

In the book, my friend, Cheryl is very transparent about the journey God has taken her and her family on in reducing the material things they own. She is honest about the struggles of giving up things, yet also points out the great rewards of doing so. Rewards like having more time, energy and joy since her family is no longer weighed down by so many things to care for.

Cheryl writes in a conversational style, somewhat like you are sitting and chatting with her. Parts of the book may "step on toes" as we can give excuses of why we can't do this or that, but even those areas can lead us to think and evaluate. She shares related Scriptures and principles as she goes through the book. It is a book worth reading!

"To purchase the book, click HERE." 

Biblical Minimalism Book Trailer

Image preview
Biblical Minimalism: Following Jesus from a Life of Abundance to a More Abundant Life by [Cheryl E. Smith]
"Cheryl Smith is the author of the book “Biblical Minimalism,” the story of her family’s journey from a life of abundance to a more abundant life. She is the author of the blogs Biblical Minimalism, where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective, and Homespun Devotions, where she writes devotionals and conducts “Inner Views.” She loves to spend time with her husband and son in the mountains, sing and play Bluegrass music, and write." 

To purchase the book, click HERE!!

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Rejoice! .... Even In Troubled Times?

Today is Easter Sunday and a time to rejoice, even in this time of uncertainty and fear.  We do have a Saviour and He has already defeated death and hell. What a blessing!

I went outside this morning early, and enjoyed the sunrise and couldn't help but to praise God for His creation. I love the early morning when the animals and birds are waking up and yet there is a quiet stillness also. It is a wonderful time for reflection and prayer.


We live in a time when everything is uncertain … we are experiencing things we haven't even seen before with a virus we are told is dangerous and causing death to many. We are told to stay home, as a nation, and are restricted from regular activities - even meeting with believers at the church. Many are laid off of their jobs and the "temporary" time of quarantine is stretching out more and more. Businesses are failing and though the hope is to open them in a few weeks or a couple of months,  many will never open again. 

We have seen people in panic buying all of the toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towels, baby wipes and more as they frantically tried to deal with the fear of the threat hitting the whole world. It was a "Me First" time for many as fights over things in the stores showed. Panic ruled as information was given in bits and pieces with no real source to check for what the new rules were.

Even now, some form of martial law is in effect in many places, though thankfully it is a "soft" martial law which requires us to stay at home and only go out for essentials. Businesses not considered essential have been closed and many fined if they do not comply. So many things cancelled and the schools are closed for the rest of the year though they are trying to do some online teaching. A few months ago, we never could have imagined what we are now living. 

Probably not many have escaped the feeling of fear at some point... fear for loved ones as we hear of death and dire predictions, fear of having enough money to pay the mortgage or enough food to feed our family. Some face the fear of having no graduation, no prom, a wedding postponed, or having a loved one die and not being able to be with them in their sickness or even to say good-bye.

It is a dark time in so many ways and a heaviness seems to hang over our world. We wonder... when will things return to normal? Then we also wonder … WILL things return to normal? Maybe we wonder who is at fault and want to blame someone. Maybe we suspect we are not getting the whole truth but are being manipulated like puppets and we fear what is next. There are SO many ways to fear. 

What are we to do? Many are playing online games with each other answering questions about their life, or coming up with ways to entertain children at home and wishing to send them back to school. Time at home is precious, but as it goes on for so long, many yearn for a bit of normalcy. Some parents are "homeschooling" their children as they try to keep their kids from getting behind in school and come to the conclusion that they HATE homeschooling though this is an inaccurate picture of true homeschooling.

Many jump on the bandwagon of vaccines being a type of "savior" and are suspicious of any who don't go along with the program, so they allow a hatred to fester against those who make a different choice, convinced those people are endangering their children. There is so much misinformation and a crowd mentality has formed to get "anti-vaxers" to comply and the rights of people who choose natural ways of being healthy are trampled on because of fear. Real information is being limited and other information is being pushed - hard. Could it be part of a bigger plan? Could it be that we are being used to complete some not so noble purpose? 

Many probably feel helpless to change things and caught in a twilight zone type of experience where life looks normal, but then suddenly it doesn't. Everything is changing so fast and what and who can we even trust? 

"In the fear of the Lord is great confidence, and His children shall have a place of refuge."
 Proverbs 14:26

What a great verse! In these troubled and changing times, God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is worthy of trust. He can calm our fears, even if things really do stay bad for a long time. He has a plan and His plan is not being messed up. He is not helpless to change things. We have been a nation who feared God, yet the slide into darkness started slowly and has accelerated greatly. 

Who would have thought murdering babies would become so commonplace that it would be considered an "essential business" in a time of lockdown, but church isn't? Law enforcement has had trouble gaining new recruits for years because of the lack of respect given to officers and the high danger of the job. A noble job, yet one that can make officers an object of hatred with a target on their back. Who would have thought the debate on which bathroom should be used could ever be a real discussion?  Things are happening now that were unthinkable just a few years ago and they have become part of the "norm". 

Could it be that we are part of the problem? Are we praying for our elected leaders? Are we praying for pastors and teachers? Are we turning our hearts to the Lord in repentance and searching for any sinful ways in our hearts? Are we accepting that the sin in the world is just here to stay and there is nothing we can do? Are we giving up?

Maybe we need to repent and search our hearts, confess sin - little or big, and seek God.

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14

I hope you will join me in praying for revival, starting with our own hearts. 
How are you handling the stresses and fears? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.  Thank you for visiting.

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