Who Am I To Argue?

Grand Canyon

It all started on January 24, 2015. My sister Jane came over to show me something on her cell phone. I thought she had a photo of the new puppy she was getting in a few weeks. Much to my surprise, she was showing me a photo of a 60-inch flat Screen “Smart” TV on a beautiful cabinet stand. She explained that she and her husband Mark and her sons Noel and Luke and his wife Trish and my youngest sister Sophie [in Oregon] all pitched in to get a 60-inch TV for my 60th birthday [which is in August]. It was coming on Thursday [1/29], so that I would have it for the SUPER BOWL [2/1]. I was totally speechless. When I was able to speak, I said, “Jane, this is too much. You don’t have the money to get this stupendous TV with a cabinet besides. My 58-inch [dinosaur] TV is still good.” Jane pointed out that everyone pitched in and they got it with zero percent interest and had a long period of time to pay for it. She also told me the first thing Mark said to the clerk was, ‘Show me the best TV for watching sports.’ So, what better gift to give a sports fan who’s turning 60 than a 60-inch TV?” Jane made a good point there. Who am I to argue? When Mark and Luke set everything up on Thursday and the TV was tuned to ESPN showing the Grand Canyon, all I could say, and repeated several times, was “LOOK AT THAT!” When I came back to earth I thanked Mark and Luke profusely and gave them hugs several times. If my family wanted to give me such an extravagant gift, who am I to argue. [You know what this means? When I have a birthday with the year ending in 0, I’ll have to celebrate the whole year and not just the month, as I usually do.]

chicken wings

Judging from all the SUPER BOWLS I have watched, SUPER BOWL XLIX was the most exciting ever. Yes, the TV made it very special, as did my friends who watched it with me, as well as the phenomenal food [In-VINCE-able pizza, wings with homemade bleu cheese dip, shrimp and home-made cocktail sauce, trees (broccoli) and mud (hot peanut butter dip), sautéed kielbasa, chips, crackers, homemade dips, cake and whipped cream, and the appropriate wines to go with it all]. But the game itself was “sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat” exciting for the whole entire game [except for the half-time show]. We had more food than six people could eat during a four-hour period and the excitement was way over the top for me [I was maneuvering the whole time in my recliner, pressing against the back of the chair and moving right to left, as if I were helping the Patriot receivers dodge the defense and run as many yards as possible for the first down, and I grunted and groaned as if I were the one who was tackled]. It was hard work. But, who am I to argue?

Emblem Pats

B Super Bowl 2015

SUPER BOWL XLIX was decided in the last minutes of the forth quarter. In the last minutes of the game, Julian Eldelman [Brady’s nickname for the 5’10” wide receiver is “Micro-tron”] scored the go-ahead touchdown and the Patriot’s led 28 to 24. There were a few minutes left when Skyler Tyreece [Seahawk] made a juggling catch at about the 3-yard-line. Everyone thought the football hit the ground, but it never did. It bounced on Tereece’s body a few times, and then he grabbed it. In the seconds before the next play, I had flashbacks of heart-wrenching sports outcomes. Because two of my friends are Seahawks fans [sort of] and were watching the game with me, I thought of 1986, when I lived in New York state and was watching the 6th game of the World Series with a bunch of Mets fans [I can’t write anymore about it]. I also remembered the Giants vs. Patriots SUPER BOWL when Jermaine Kearse made that “Velcro-helmet” football catch. With Tereece’s fluky [almost miraculous] catch, I said to myself, “Okay. For some reason unknown to me God must want the Seahawks to win. Who am I to argue?” Just when I was wishing I didn’t eat as much as I did, another “miraculous” event took place. Even when all of the Northwest was screaming, “PASS IT TO MARSHON LYNCH!” [Seattle’s “bull-dozer” running back], the Seahawks’ coach had Russell Wilson [quarterback] throw the football instead. New Englanders can totally empathize with Seahawks fans. It must have felt like when all of New England was screaming at the TV in 2003, “TAKE PEDRO OUT OF THE GAME!” Except, this time, New Englanders were ecstatic at Pete Carroll’s decision for Wilson to throw the football, instead of handing it off to Lynch.

A. Super Bowl 2015

With that fatal decision, the unimaginable happened! The Patriot rookie, Malcolm Butler, intercepted the football! After that, the Seahawk were flagged for encroachment, which took Brady out of the end zone.The game was over, except for taking a knee and keeping the football safely cradled in Tom “Terrific” Brady’s capable hands. THE PATRIOTS ARE THE 2014 SUPER BOWL WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!

 

c Super Bowl 2015

It’s hard to understand why Seattle’s coaching staff made the decision they did. It must have made Lynch speechless [but what else is new]. As for me – Who am I to argue? “GET THE DUCK BOATS READY!”

 

gratitude

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” [I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – E.S.V.]

With a Grateful Heart,

Lydia

The LydJesua, heart, sand

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It’s Not the Gift Wrap, But the Gift (Part I)

Christmas Gifts 2

[All Scripture quotes are from the English Standard Version of the Christian Bible.]

By the time this blog post is sent out all the beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts, which took hours to wrap, after looking for just the right Christmassy gift wrapping paper and the perfect color ribbons and the “correct” size bows to accentuate the gift wrapping [not to mention the time spent looking for the constantly disappearing tape and the ever elusive pair of scissors], have been torn to smithereens [the gift wrapping, that is] in a matter of minutes. The shredded mound of wrapping paper have been shoved into a snow-white garbage bad with a red-ribbon pull-string and dumped outside for “Trash Day” pick-up [SIGH!].

believe god's love

Hopefully, everyone had a fun time opening their gifts and watching family and friends open their’s. Hopefully, everyone is happy with the gifts they have received on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day or Epiphany Sunday. I certainly am happy with all my gifts and I am thankful for family and friends who took the time to gift me with the things I needed or wanted. No matter how lovely and magnificent a gift can be, the excitement of getting that gift wears away as time goes on. However, if you have received “the Indescribable Gift” [See II Corinthians 9:15), Jesus Himself, He is the Gift that keeps on giving. Even when our excitement wears away, Jesus will “never leave [us] nor forsake us” [See Hebrews 13:5]. Jesus is our Forever “Friend who sticks closer than a brother” [See Proverbs 18:24].

baby inside Mom

During Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas [ending on Epiphany Sunday] Christians celebrate the Annunciation: the announcement made by the angel Gabriel to a virgin named Mary telling her that she will bear God’s own Son. Christians also celebrate the Incarnation: the God of all creation born as a human Baby – Jesus is “God with skin on.” Jesus is our “Immanuel” or “God with us” [See Matthew 1:20-23]. *The God Who is not restricted by time and space, Who is all-knowing and all-powerful, Whose appearance to people [called Theophanous] in the Old Testament would make them scared out of their minds [See Exodus 33:20 and Habakkuk 3:3-4, 16], became a vulnerable little human Baby! This mind-blowing thought came home to me in a brand new way, sending shivers up and down my spine, when I received a family Christmas photo from a cousin of mine. After looking at her beautiful family on the front of the card, the card instructed me to turn the photo “over”. On the other side was a photo of an ultrasound of a family member’s unborn baby. It was a “WOW!” moment. Just think – that ultrasound was exactly what Jesus looked like wrapped in Mary’s womb. The very first Christmas Gift was also “wrapped in swaddling cloths” and the best Christmas Gift ever!

[*“Why Jesus Came – 28 Meditations for Advent (#3 To be Immanuel – God with us”); by Carol Parrington (not yet published)]

Book of Luke

“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country…and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in [Elizabeth’s] womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the Fruit of your womb!’” [Luke 1:39-42].

book of matthew

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us)” (Matthew 1:22-23; Also see Isaiah 7:14].

baby jesus in manger

“And while they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for [Mary] to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” [Luke 2:6-7].

Gospel of John

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:1-5, 14].

CAMELS AND MAGIchrismas gold, incense and myrrh

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas [the Sunday nearest to January 6th], Christians celebrate Epiphany Sunday, commemorating the time the wise men [or Magi] visited Jesus, when He was about two years old. They gave Jesus gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh [See Matthew 2:1-12]. My friend Carol Purington writes this in her Advent Meditations: “Did these wise men understand the symbolism of their gifts? Gold for royalty, incense for deity, myrrh for mortality. Humans are born to die; we are sinners and therefore mortal – subject to the death penalty. But not this Baby, the Creator and Prince of Life, the Holy and Eternal God of the universe. Mortality had no power over Him. He experienced death only because He chose to die.” Did the wise men who followed the star that pointed them to the Baby Jesus and, in turn, pointed us to Jesus our Immanuel who suffered and died on the cross for us on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Resurrection Sunday? I believe God used them to do just that, whether they knew or not. Christmas is much more than a story about a Baby born in a cattle stall. That’s only the beginning of “the wonderful old story”. There is also the empty tomb. The wrappings of death could not keep Jesus in the grave!

Christ's hope

There’s more! Until next time, hoping for all of us to have a Blessed NEW YEAR!

The LydcHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMAN

Lydia

 

Clarifications and a Correction and a Conclusion

balloons and confettib-a-c noise-makers

 

a happy 100th

Imagine flying confetti raining down from the sky and balloons dancing in the air and a cacophony of noise-makers blaring away. What’s the occasion? Good question! This is my 100th blog post – a momentous achievement in which to celebrate and give thanks to the Lord. I also thank you, dear blog readers, in sharing this journey of discovery into God’s world and how He impacts our daily lives in every little thing. This being my 100th blog post, I am still working on getting things right and may need to write a 100 more to come close to producing the perfect blog post. I will use this post to give some clarifications, make a correction and a share a conclusion regarding my last post (Alas!).

Beliefs od Chharismatics and Pentecostals

Clarification #1: According to Wikipedia, “Pentecostalism began in the early twentieth century. It’s doctrinal distinctive was a dramatic encounter with God termed baptism with the Holy Spirit. This EXPERIENCE was one of empowerment for Christian life and service, and the EVIDENCE for receiving this experience was speaking in other tongues. Before 1955, Pentecostal doctrinal distinctive were not embraced by the religious mainstream [Evangelical Protestants]…The charismatic movement was a reversal of this previous pattern as those influenced by Pentecostal spirituality chose to remain in the original denominations [Anglican Communion (including Episcopalian), Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Reformed Churches, Roman Catholicism and Seventh-day Adventist]. The high church wing of the American Episcopal Church was to first feel the impact…of the charismatic movement…usually dated to Easter 1960, when Dennis Bennett, rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California, recounted his Pentecostal experience to his parish. The resulting controversy and press coverage created an awareness of the emerging charismatic movement. The movement spread to other mainline churches, where clergy began receiving and publicly announcing their Pentecostal experience. These clergy began holding meetings for seekers and healing services where the sick were prayed for and anointed. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal began in 1967 at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The term ‘charismatic’ was coined by American Lutheran minister Harald Bredesen in 1962 to describe what was happening in mainstream Protestant denominations. Confronted with the term ‘neo-Pentecostal’, he preferred to call it ‘the charismatic renewal in the historic churches’.”

baptism of holy spirit

Clarification #2: According to Wikipedia, “Charismatic Christians believe that the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament are available to contemporary Christians through the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, with-or-without the laying on of hands. These spiritual gifts are believed to be manifest in the form of signs, miracles, and wonders, including, but not limited to, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, healing, and discerning spirits. While Pentecostals and charismatics share in these beliefs, there are differences. Many in the charismatic movement deliberately distanced themselves from Pentecostalism for cultural and theological reasons. Foremost among theological reasons is the tendency of many Pentecostals to insist that speaking in tongues is always the initial physical sign of receiving Spirit baptism. Although specific teachings will vary from group to group, charismatics generally believe that baptism with the Holy Spirit occurs at the new birth and prefer to call subsequent encounters with the Holy Spirit by other names, such as ‘being filled’. In contrasts to Pentecostals, charismatics tend to accept a range of supernatural experiences (such as prophecy, miracles, healing or ‘physical manifestations of an altered state of consciousness’) as evidence of having been baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit. Also, Pentecostals have traditionally placed a high value on evangelism and missionary work. Charismatics, on the other hand, have tended to see their movement as a force for revitalization and renewal within their own church traditions.”

bridge of flowers

Correction: The name of one of the bridges connecting Shelburne Falls and Buckland, Massachusetts is The Bridge of Flowers. If you are a blog follower of mine, you get my post with all the typos I find after I have already sent it out. I did have my friend proof-read my last post, but I added the photos and their descriptions after the post was already edited. The typos I make keep me humble (Alas!).

becket pics3 becket pics2

 

becket pics4becket pics1Conclusion: The last days of my August Birth-Month Celebration was spent with my dear and long-time friend Holly, at her parents’ farmhouse in Becket, Massachusetts. We enjoyed peaceful quiet times, good conversation, and excellent simple gourmet meals with BACON, STEAK, SHRIMP and CRAB CAKES. We also watched wild turkeys meander in the field and spotted a deer with her fawn and had friendly visits from country neighbor folk. It was a wonderful ending to a very happy birth-month. I am so thankful to the Lord for His gifts of faith, family and friends. Now, onto “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Part X)” for next time.

Give Thanks Ps. 118banana split love

With a Thankful Heart,

Lydia

Thanksgiving in August (Before & After Photos)

Give Thanks Ps. 118

Since August is my Birth-Month, it’s a good time to begin each day thanking the Lord for all the blessings He has showered me with throughout my life. As I reflect and meditate on what God has done for me and my family, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for such an awesome God my Heavenly Father is. I cannot thank Him enough for sending His Only Son Jesus to die for my sins and be raised from the dead, so that I can live for Him, and with Him forever, in the freedom of His grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit. I do not know where I would be without the Holy Spirit as my “Life Coach”, my Counselor, Comforter, Helper and Friend. Hear are some of the things I am thankful for on my 59th Birth-Month:

Babci and Luke

My mom would do anything for her children and her sacrificial love continued to be poured out for her grandchildren. Both my dad and mom took care of my nephew Luke, my sister Jane’s first born son. There wasn’t anything they wouldn’t do for their first grandson, especially Bacci (Polish for Grandmother). Once my mom let Luke eat ALL four servings of the chocolate pudding she had made for him. “Luke really likes chocolate pudding.” she said. “How could I say no?” Luke and Bacci played all sorts of make-believe games with guns and football helmets and other toys. I think both of them liked playing these imaginary games.

Luke and Trish WedJane at Luke's Wed

(Mr. and Mrs. Luke Truehart and my sister Jane moving the pictures of our parents and Trish’s sister to the table with the other pictures and guest book)

Luke got married on July 4th of this year. My mom passed away in 2010, but a photo of my mom and dad, at Jane and Mark’s wedding, and a photo of Trish’s (Luke’s wife) sister who passed away, were placed on front-row seats, at the wedding, to honor them for the loving roles they played in Luke and Trish’s lives. It was such a joyful wedding. It was supposed to be on the beach, in Narragansett, R.I., but Tropical Storm “Arthur” forced it inside “The Towers” Reception Room. But that did not ruin the party. If anything, it made the wedding more meaningful. Both Luke and Trish had gone through very tough times in their childhood. Luke almost lost his life, at the age of fourteen, when he was struck by a drunk driver, which would leave physical and emotional scars for years to come.. Trish lost her sister, whom she looked up to and loved greatly, to cancer. It was poetically symbolic to have a storm raging during their wedding ceremony. God was saying, “Your marriage is stronger than any storm that comes in your life’s journey together.” (At least, that was what I heard.) It was such a blessing to see both my nephew Luke and my “new” niece Trish so happy. I thank the Lord for both of them. They are both blessings in my life.

Dziadzi and Noel

By the time Noel, Jane and Mark’s second son, was born, my mom was beginning to have trouble getting around, due to complications from her diabetes. Dziadzius (Polish for Grandfather) took over most of the baby-sitting duties. Although Bacci still could whip up delicious chocolate pudding when Noel and Dziadius came in from playing outside. Just as when I was a kid and my dad would play baseball with me by throwing balls to me to hit with a big wooden bat (even though he really didn’t like baseball), he would play with Noel outside, even in the cold New England winter days.

JANE and NOELPAM AND ME AT WEDDING

(Noel and Jane, Pam and me)

Noel was one of two Best Men at Luke’s wedding. He did such a great job giving the toast. He had written it out about twenty different ways, but I think he picked the best one. In his toast Noel talked about Luke being his best friend (there is an eleven-year difference in age between the two brothers) and how he could talk about anything, from cars to girls, with Luke and he would always give him good advice. Noel ended his speech by asking, “So, when am I going to be an uncle?” It is such a blessing to see Luke and Noel so grown up. I thank the Lord that they are both part of my life and blessings from God.

bridge of flowers Soph and me2

(Sophie and me at the Bridge of Flowers)

My sister Sophie came from Oregon to attend Luke and Trish’s wedding. My friend Pam and I were able to share a hotel room with Sophie. Sophie’s best friend from childhood, Terry, and Terry’s husband Leo also came to the wedding and stayed at the same hotel. It’s hard to have my baby sister live so far away, but we do see each other once a year. After the wedding, Sophie was able to stay for a few days longer. Pam, Sophie and I were able to visit the Bridge of Flowers and Glacier Potholes, in Shelburne Falls. Pam is one of my “helpers”, along with Luke and my sister Jane. Pam is also one of my closest friends and sister in the Lord. We have known each other for decades! I thank the Lord for my sisters Jane and Sophie, as well as my sisters and brothers in the Lord – Pam, Fran, Kathie, Wendy, Lynda and Rich, Priscilla and Jack, Holly and Mark and so many others who are part of my church family and who have blessed my life with their prayers and their friendship.. I thank the Lord for my two families He has given me and for the ways each have touched my life in special ways.

Luke's Wed JML

(Jane and Mark and me at Luke’s wedding)

(My sister Jane and her husband Mark have provided an apartment for me, on the first floor of their two-family house, which is also a humungous blessing for me. I have lived “under” them for about twenty years. Being so near is the reason I am so close to Luke and Noel. In a way, I do think of them and love them as “my own“.)

High School Graduation

My mom and dad have been gone for a long time now (my dad, 11 years; my mom, 4 years). There isn’t a day that goes by without me thanking God for my parents. My mom tirelessly fought for me to have an education, back in the 1960s, when having a physically disabled child in a regular classroom was a brand new idea. First, she arranged for a home tutor and Mrs. Holt taught me what I needed to know to finally attend regular junior high school. While my mom fought for my education, my dad taught me about God, and he also helped me with my math. Because of my mom and dad, I was able to graduate high school and go on to college and graduate school. Because of my mom and dad, I always knew that God existed and I grew to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I chose a different church to worship God and not the one my parents raised me in, but they were the ones who started my journey to know God. I will always be thankful to the Lord for my parents. They are the reason we are the strong family we are. When I look at my nephews Luke and Noel, I see my parents’ love shining inside them.

Mrs Holt and meLydia at HT

(Sleeping in class with Mrs Holt! and Preparing for Bible study at Hopetown)

Last, but not least, I thank the Lord for Mrs. Holt, Miss Stack, Professor Wilke and other teachers who saw the potential in me and helped me grow. Because of them, I became a teacher myself and taught at a small Christian residential school for disabled children and adults called Hopetown, in New York State. For six years there, I taught independent living skills to teens and had Bible studies with the adults. Later, I became a “House Dean Supervisor.” The school is no longer in existence, but I thank God for my time there. I grew as a Christian as I served others and met a lot of godly men and women who have influenced me to this day. I also helped teach the Bible at summer camps and weekend retreats with my friend Gail, from New York, my friend Linda, from Boston, and my friend Patti, from Pennsylvania. Because of my friendship with Linda, I met my friend Carol the Poet and Diane who works with Joni and Friends (a world-wide ministry with people with disabilities). I thank God for these godly women whom God has used in my life to help me grow and become more like Christ, through their examples of serving others in Christ’s Name.

blogging5cHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMAN

Even though I no longer work to get paid, I’m still working and teaching for the Lord and His people. I was a deacon at my church for six years, where God taught me how to use my spiritual gifts. I am no longer a deacon, but I still teach Bible studies in my home and I write long Bible study posts as a Christian Woman Blogger. I thank the Lord for the ability to use my spiritual gifts sitting in a wheelchair. I thank the Lord that He is not limited by my physical disability.

This is not even half of what I am thankful for. Now, do you see why I celebrate for the whole month?

Peace and Joy!

image0

Lydia

“The LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my Salvation…I will enter and give thanks to the LORD” (Psalm 118:14 and 19b).

 

HAPPY AUGUST BIRTHDAYS!

birthday cardbirthday gifts

I am taking a little break in the study of “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit” to wish my fellow August-Birthday-Buddies a VERY JOYOUS and BLESSED AUGUST BIRTHDAY! Yay! August is finally here! I have already told you, in a previous post, that I celebrate my whole BIRTH-MONTH. In so doing, I have more time to do all the special things that are on my “Birthday Wish List” (Now that I’m getting older, it takes more time to accomplish things – even fun things.). And, less you think that I’m thinking only of myself, celebrating the whole month of August takes the pressure off my friends and family. They do not have to remember the exact date of my birthday and they have more time to send me cards and shower me with gifts and plan “ROAD TRIPS”. Celebrating the “Birth-Month” makes more sense to me.

glasses on Bible

Where did the tradition of celebrating one’s birthday come from? As with most traditions and holidays, birthday celebrations have pagan roots. Birthdays were celebrated as far back as biblical times. Some may think the giving of birthday gifts started with the Magi giving gifts to the baby Jesus, found in Matthew 2:1-12. Actually, Jesus was about two years old when the Magi came to His house and there is no mention of it being Jesus’ birthday. The two birthday “parties” mentioned in the Bible are Pharaoh’s birthday, in Genesis 40:20-23, and Herod’s birthday, in Matthew 14:6-12 (Also Mark 6:21-29). Both birthday celebrations had anything but “happy” endings:

“Now the third day was Pharaoh’s birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials. He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand, but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation. The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Genesis 40:20-23). [Instead of Joseph being freed from prison, he remained there for awhile longer.]

“On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, ‘Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.’ The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in prison. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:21-29).

towel and basinChristian heelping another

These two examples are what NOT to do on one’s birthday. I may not kill anyone on my birth-month, but I may use it as an excuse to be self-centered and insensitive to others: “It’s my birth-month, so everyone has to cater to me and I have the right to take a vacation from serving others” NOT! The Psalmist writes, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). The anniversary of the day God gave me life is a reminder of why He gave me life and do what Jesus taught me in His Word: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…[and] Love your neighbor as yourself” (See Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:30-31 and Luke 10:27). Jesus also teaches me: “…You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42b-45) [See Matthew 20:25-28 and Luke 22:25-27]. My birth-month is not a time forget about everything God has taught me through the many years of sitting at His feet, but a time to do all that He taught me and continues to teach me in His Word.

Like other pagan holidays, Christianity influenced the tradition of birthdays. The early Christian Church introduced the Calendar of Saints, which associated each day with a saint or martyr. Roman Catholics began the tradition of taking the name of a saint for one’s self on his/her baptismal or conformation and celebrating that day as one’s “name day” rather than celebrate one’s actual “birth day” (www.giveagift.net).

WORSHIPbread

The celebration of birthdays in Europe began to ward off “evil spirits” on one’s date of birth by the giving of gifts, well wishes and gathering together with the “birthday” person to keep him/her safe. Our modern day, less ominous, birthday parties came from this European tradition (www.giveagift.net). The birthday party reminds me of what Christian Fellowship should be like: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…Everyday they continued to meet…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (See Acts 2:42-47). Did you ever think of a church service or a Bible study as a party? They are parties given for the Lord Jesus, but Jesus is the One bearing gifts for us, found in His [NEW BIRTH CARD] Word, with blessings which fill us with the JOY of knowing Him. He is our Shepherd Who will not let any evil harm us. “Thanks be to God for His Indescribable Gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15). Jesus gives us the Gift of His abundant and everlasting life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the Good Shepherd…” (John 10:10-lla).

birthday cake and candlesChrist trusting

Birthday cakes, candles and songs are birthday traditions which started in the United States and many other countries adopted these traditions (www.giveagift.net). To my August-Birth-Month Buddies: My prayer is, as we see more and more candles on our birthday cakes, may God’s Word become sweeter to us and His light grow brighter in us/ In addition to the traditional “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” song [written by Patty and Mildred Hill in 1893 and is now sung in at least 18 languages – Wikipedia], we also have a NEW song to sing to the Lord, placed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit of God. Let it grow louder and louder as the years go by!

“How sweet are Your Words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:103-105).

“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, praise His Name; proclaim His Salvation day after day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. For great is the LORD and most worthy to be praised” (Psalm 96:1-4a).

sunshine

Other countries have their own unique birthday traditions. Many countries in South America include dancing the waltz into their birthday celebrations (www.giveagift.net). My prayer is that we will be able to dance to the Lord with thanksgiving in our hearts for all He has done for us through the years and continues to do.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).

birthday pinata 2birthday pinata

In Mexico, Cuba, and Panama piñatas are big at birthday celebrations (www.giveagift.net). My prayer is for the Lord to help us persevere in our faith.

“Blessed is the man [woman] who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

“For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, PERSEVERANCE; and to PERSEVERANCE, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:5-7).

birthday spanking

Finally [the best for last], many parts of the world have the traditions of giving the birthday person claps, slaps, spankings, or ear pullings – one for each year of life and an additional one for good luck [or “a pinch to grow an inch”] (www.giveagift.net). My prayer is for all of us to respond quickly in repentance and learn much from the Lord’s discipline.

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight… My son [daughter], do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son [daughter] he delights in” (Proverbs 3:5-6 and 11-12).

cardinals

“‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).

No matter how old I get, I will always need my Father to guide me and show me the way.

HAPPY AUGUST BIRTHDAYS!

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Lydia