Friday, December 4, 2009

Is it "Ho, Ho, Ho," or "No, No, No?"

Some people can't wait for Christmas (like me), but there are many others who dread it. If you're in the first category, you love it all...the music (I've been playing carols for weeks,) the shopping and of course, the tree and decorations.

The second group are the grinches. Ok, that's not a very nice word, but then, some of the "oh no's" can make it miserable for the "ho, ho, ho's." They could be your mother, your sister/brother, or like me, anonymous.

What do you do if you love Christmas and those around you can't wait for it to be over? My method is to stay focused on Jesus, and NOT just in my preparations. As I keep Him foremost in the quiet place of my heart, I remain in perfect peace. Well, maybe not perfect, but you know what I mean.

So, if you're decking the halls and all of your house, 

Forget about Grinches and that one sleeping mouse.
Open your heart and all of your mind,

Let go of worries, just leave them behind.

Look at the night star shining so bright, 

And you'll see only Jesus, His love and His might.

Now, if you're in the "oh no," category, I have nothing to say to you, except this: GET OVER YOURSELF.  OK, that might be a bit harsh. What I really mean to say is: Have a blessed, Christ filled Christmas.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

On facebook, many of my friends there are choosing one thing everyday to be thankful for until Thanksgiving. Awesome! There's just something wonderful about being reminded of all the things God has blessed us with in this country. Most posts contain simple things, like a warm house, a cup of hot coffee, or a crackling fire. But others have walked through some huge milestones this past year.

One family will be celebrating their son's ninth birthday, and he still has a Hickman Catheter from his second bone marrow transplant. They are beyond grateful for this birthday and the healthy progress he's making.

Some are missing family members who have died this past year, but continue to be thankful for those lives, regardless. They'll never be forgotten. It's a struggle, yet they do not despair.

Others have spouses, or sons and daughters in the military, and will have empty chairs at the dining table over the holidays. Still they say: "God is good, and we are grateful."

Me? I'm grateful for the small things like that fire and a good cup of coffee. But I'm also grateful to the Lord God of the Universe for His non-stop faithfulness to me over and over again. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Here it Comes, Ready or Not!

I was in a store yesterday, waiting for my husband who was running an errand. I slowly walked from rack to rack, not really paying attention to what was playing on the overhead speakers. But soon I began humming along.  Hummm...dreaming...hummm...of...hmmm...a white...What? Excuse me? A Christmas Carol, they were playing/I was singing, a Christmas Carol on Nov. 3rd. No way! Yes way!

Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, especially Christmas. But there needs to be a law stating Christmas Carols cannot be played during the first week of November.

Regardless, I refuse to get caught up in any marketing ploys used to push people into the yearly shopping frenzy. I will continue to keep Jesus at the center of the celebration and focus on the gift of His birth.

How about you?


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Woman of Substance

 She's raised six children, has twenty-two grandchildren and about that many great-grandchildren...and...she knows all of their birthdays...amazing! We're related, second cousins, but she's more like my mom/aunt, and we both love the Lord. Visiting her is a joy since before moving to Gresham, Or., from Montana, we hardly ever got to spend time together. Our visits usually center around lunch, a little shopping and lots of talking. 

Her memory is perfect most days, but it makes me sad to see her body failing. She, of course, doesn't like it either. During our last visit, I didn't want to leave, because every minute was so precious.

The good news for the two of us is this: We will have eternity together...loving, reminiscing, and worshiping the Lord God of the Universe. When she's gone, she will have left so much behind and for that, I am grateful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Like a Bird Wanders excerpt.

"Before reading this passage, I was afraid to die, now I'm not." A reader from Utah

Her lips parted, making an effort to speak to the Heavenly presence filling the room. Resplendent color overflowed every square inch, penetrating minute fibers of Grace's being, even her closed lids. Fragmented rays, brilliant with opulence, bounced off of each other, then mingled into jeweled shapes like the inside of a kaleidoscope. She opened her eyes, tried to raise her head. Too heavy. She so desired to reach out and touch the scarred hand extended to her, one chiseled perfectly like fine marble, emanating with the fullness of life. Peace pulsed in gentle undulations from the most exquisite being she'd ever encountered, while a fragrance light as air, flowed sweetly to Grace's last repose.

"Jesus, I knew you'd come." Her eyes blinked several times, fluttering like autumn's last leaf...drifting...drifting...  " You...Jesus." A slow, final sigh imitated the familiar breath of the morning breeze delicately rocking the windchime outside her window. No sign of struggle remained---only the graceful reflection of peace, her soul  now resting in the youth of eternity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm old, now what?

"Old" may be just a state of mind, but tell that to my body. It knows its old! It aches, and I'm pretty sure it can't get on a horse anymore. My new saying is this: "It is what it is!" That being the case what's next? Well, I'm praising God that my mind is reasonably sound and that I have the privilege of waking up every morning with the knowledge that I am loved by Him. This alone gives me courage to pray: "Here I am, send me." Then what? I wait. Though I'm well into my sixties (remember the photo of me has been photo shopped), God still has a plan for me. These are creative years and now I have time to pursue some deep passions, like writing.
I have time to give back to my family, including my granddaughters. I love picking them up for school, or going on a field trip, or taking them to Saturday garage sales. They don't care that I dye my hair, or still use words like "groovy." Or that I'm not always fashionable in the Berkies I wear daily.
Who ever we are, young or old, God will equip us for ministry. I once had a friend who didn't drive, and had some serious medical issues. She prayed constantly for others and wrote wonderful poetry, shared through a prison ministry. She was in her seventies at the time and called herself God's Little Sparrow. God doesn't want us to isolate ourselves, but share what we know about Him with others.
What will that look like in your life? I don't know. But, I do know that you have value in the Kingdom of God, and that the Kingdom of God is at hand!
Many blessings to you, Sharon

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Woman without a name.

She was an outcast half breed, shunned, despised...the lowest of the low. She'd given up trying to belong...well, for the most part. To avoid abuse and insults, she did outside chores in as much anonymity as possible.  The household needed water, but she waited until others left the city well.  One man remained, but she could wait no longer. With eyes down, she made the approach. 
Little did she know her destiny was about to change.
"Give me a drink."
Her head flew up and their eyes met. "How is that you being a Jew would ask me a Samaritan woman for a drink?" This had never happened. She looked around to see if anyone had heard the exchange. Severe punishment might await.
He told her that if she only knew who spoke to her, she could receive "living water."
"But sir, you have nothing to draw water, and where would you get this 'living water anyway.'" Perplexed, both hands went to her hips.
He told her that ordinary water only quenches for a little while, but the water that he could give  would bring everlasting life.
She couldn't take her eyes from his.  "Sir," she whispered, "I want this water you offer."
He then  said something strange. "Go, call your husband, and come here."
Her face burned with shame. "I have no husband."
Then the stranger, the Jew with unearthly kindness, looked into her soul  and spoke of the hidden things. How could this  possibly be?
Was he a prophet? Could he be the Messiah? "I who speak to you are He."
One encounter with the Messiah changed the woman with no name from despised and rejected to respected daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But why does the Bible leave out her name? I've thought about this a lot lately and I believe this: The Samaritan woman represents all women. Each of us has a need or a longing to be loved for who we are, to be accepted as a person of value. It's built in to us, one of our basic soul needs.
In all my years of counseling at the Pregnancy Resource Centers, there has been one ongoing theme: Looking for love in all the wrong places. That's what the Samaritan woman had done...marrying five times and living with a man. Yet still she thirsted, substituting sex for love. Our love requirements can never be filled by anything or anyone other than the love that Jesus offers us.
I'm so happy I know that and ever so grateful to have accepted the drink offering of the Messiah.
Signed, Sharon Bernash Smith, Princess

Friday, October 2, 2009

Secrets, can you keep them?

School mornings in our house often leaned toward the hectic. (Hectic is a polite word for chaos.) Chris, my youngest son told me one minute before the bus came that he needed notebook paper...yesterday. "I gotta have it or 'else.'"
"Maybe Randy has some in his room."
"Uh, probably not."
"Well, I'll check." Although I knew that finding any thing useful in my older son's room was low of the probability scale, I entered.
"Never mind Mom, I'll just borrow some at school." Chris ran down the stairs two at a time. Drama! (Girls, do NOT have a market on this.)
"Have a good"...door slam..."day." Turning to leave the bedroom, I spied an electrical chord snaking from the closet. Odd, I thought...(I'm very perceptive, even early in the morning.) Why would Randy need electricity in his closet? I slide the door open.
Inside, a rug hung decoratively on the end wall.  So, being the perceptive, early morning person that I was, I yanked it down.
There to my wondering eyes did reindeer...but a 3' by 3' gaping hole, neatly cut from the wallboard. By then, my mouth had fallen open nearly as wide. "Whaaaaaaaaaaa? (I should mention that I'm NOT as articulate as I am perceptive, early in the morning.)
Once inside I stood...on wooden floors. Previously the attic did not have a floor! How clever these little men.  "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" More astute articulation. Well now, my lovely country home had a cave room. Not only that, but my children had kept a secret room from both their parents. Well lit, but well hidden.
My heart skipped several beats fearing I might find questionable reading material or a stash of cigarettes. Insead I found a couple of old chip bags, a dirty glass and a dried apple core that looked remarkably like Elvis...the old Elvis.
I promise that the above story is true as I remember it. O.K., the apple core did not really look like Elvis...more like Judy Garland...the old Judy Garland.
At the time I found the cave room, I was a brand new Christian, earnestly pursuing what it meant to be a born-again Christian. I was finding deep healing from my past within a relationship with Jesus, yet there were places I just didn't want to go.  My secret rooms had doors with signs that read, "Do not enter...too much pain inside."
God knew what those rooms contained, and He offered me His hand to hold. "Come Sharon, and I will give you rest." One by one, the contents of those secret rooms were brought into the light of God's healing power. Through trust I experienced deep and abiding healing. I'd been waiting for thirty-eight years.
When Jesus asks us to deal with our secrets, it's not to shame us or heap on more guilt. His purpose is to make us whole in Him. "Not by might and not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord," became my life scripture.
There are times I still try to hide, but there is no place that God is not will to go to bring me more healing. That's a promise good to the day He returns, or calls me Home.
I don't know about you, but for me it took more energy to keep the secrets than to deal with them. I've learned that healing is God's business and His passion.
How about you? How long will you keep your secrets?

Friday, September 25, 2009

In all your ways!

     I'm not a person who wakes up in the morning shouting "Bring it on!" I like to ease into the day with coffee and news of the weather. (This because I walk early) I appreciate way, thus change is not a word I embrace. However, a mature person knows that change is inevitable, so a mature person should be prepared for it. Right? Come on, do you know anyone who really loves change. 
What if we changed the word to "alterations." I know when I've altered ill fitting clothing, it looks better and I'm more comfortable.  But then, I've been in control of those alterations. Bottom line for me is this: I don't like to lose control. Familiar routine is, well, familiar. Change brings the unknown and with the unknown comes risk and who knows what else.
"Trust the Lord in all your ways, (Sharon) and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths. Prov. 3:5-6
As I've learned to trust the Lord with all my ways and not let my own understandings interfere with His directions, I  have peace...true peace...peace that passes all understanding. 
Even though I don't like change, I do trust that God works out all things for my good. I trust HIM, not my circumstances. I'm trying to live one day at a time, and after all, every day brings about a new change. 
Thank you Lord that you know me better than I know myself. Thank you for the grace to face another day in Your hands.