“It’s More Blessed to Give Than to Receive” (Acts 20:35b)

turkey stuffing

What happened with walnuts? In a previous post I mentioned the “Walnut Incident” and said I would explain it at another time. Well, it’s another time. Many moons ago, my sister Jane decided to try another recipe for turkey stuffing on Thanksgiving. The stuffing she made included WALNUTS, apples and cranberries, along with the more traditional ingredient. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? The problem was Jane neglected to tell her husband Mark about this plan. Generally speaking, Jane learned the hard way that men like cranberry jelly that slithers out of a can over “real” cranberry sauce and, when it comes to Thanksgiving, DON’T MESS WITH TRADITION, especially Thanksgiving turkey STUFFING. Mark took one bite and didn’t know what he was biting into. He wondered if there were bones in the stuffing or some other inedible objects. When Jane saw the look of horror on Mark’s face, she asked him what was the matter. “What did you do with MY stuffing?” he asked. When Jane told him about the WALNUTS, apples and cranberries, Mark said, under no uncertain terms, “You ruined MY Thanksgiving! All year long I look forward to the stuffing. The stuffing is MY favorite part of the meal and now it’s ruined! You just don’t mess with the traditional Thanksgiving meal! I didn’t know if I was eating bones or peels or what!” Mark had a few other choice words, but you get the idea.

Bunch of walnuts

When I first heard Mark’s “Walnut Woes” I thought he was going way over the top; whining about walnuts [“C‘mon man!”]. Jane created this magnificent Thanksgiving feast and all he talked about was walnuts. She did cook the canned corn he liked. I made up my mind then and there to make Mark’s “Walnut Woes” into the “Walnut Wars.” On the Christmas that followed that infamous Thanksgiving, I gave Mark a beautifully wrapped box of …you guessed it…unshelled WALNUTS. During another Christmas Season, I had my friend Pam glue two little eyes on WALNUTS and place them in strategic locations – on the porch step on the way to his car, on his windshield, on the seat of his car, in the mailbox. Wherever Mark went, he found Walnuts with beady little eyes staring at him. You have read about the Christmas Wise Men in my previous blog posts. I must confess I am a bit of a “wise guy” all year round.

Luke's Wed JML

[Lydia, Jane and Mark At Luke and Trish’s Wedding]

As the years have gone by, I have come to understand Mark’s point of view just a little bit better. It is startling to feel something crunchy in your mouth when you expect something to be soft. Jane should have talked to Mark about making the stuffing a new way before going ahead and doing it. In so doing, Jane “respects her husband” [Ephesians 5:33b], especially when it comes to food. Generally speaking, men like their food cooked in the same way, with no surprises. It seems rather boring, but true. As an objective observer [hum hum], a wife who prepares a meal the way her husband likes it is demonstrating her love for him. Also generally speaking, a husband who fixes a household item, which needs “muscle power” when the wife asks him to, within a week or two is the same as saying, “I love you” and he saves himself from the “nagging stage” that has to begin to get anything done. “He who loves his wife loves himself” [Ephesians 5:28b]. [I thought I would share my two suggestions for a happy marriage, out of my many years of observing married people – one for the wife and one for the husband.]

book for dummies 5

Anyway, Jane and Mark are still married and still in love, and I have stopped giving Mark walnuts for Christmas [I couldn’t find any in the shells. Can you believe it?] This Christmas I got him something far better and vastly more satisfying. First, you need to know that Mark, my nephew Luke, Luke’s father-in-law Tom and I have been in our own football pool for bragging rights.[You can see my “picks sheet” on the bottom right of the photo.]  For some magical mystical [knowing about football stuff and woman‘s intuition] reason, Mark has not won many weeks of the 2014 NFL football picks and I have won the last five out of six weeks, as well as one or two others. I don’t know what comes over me – maybe it’s my competitive nature – but I love to WIN, especially against Mark. When I win, I feel I win for all women sports “enthusiasts” everywhere [okay, maybe just in New England]. One day, as I was thinking of who I bought Christmas gifts for [I forgot I had already bought a gift for Mark and hid it in a very safe place, wherever that was], this idea came to me, followed by my bone-chilling maniacal laugh, which is never a good sign for the person my idea is for.

book for dummies 7

God created gift bags for people like me but, since I didn’t have one, Jane helped me wrap Mark’s gift. Jane was the one who helped me pick out the first gift I got for Mark and she also forgot about it [we are both over 50]. A word to the wise: If you ever see me with wrapping paper, tape and a pair of scissors, turn around and run – run as fast as you can.
Mark and his boys just came back from target shooting. Thankfully, he went upstairs first and put away his gun before he came downstairs for his gift. With all kidding aside, Mark is a very good sport and both of us have mellowed with age, as you can see by the smiles on our faces. I wouldn’t have given him the book, “Football for Dummies” if only one of us would be laughing.

book for dummies 4

[By the way, Jesus saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” is not found in the Gospels. The Apostle Paul did not have the Gospels to read because they weren’t written yet. Paul heard Jesus say this, as well as other instructions, from Jesus Himself, face to face [Acts 9; 22:10; 16:7; 18:9; I Corinthian 14:37; II Corinthians 12:8-10; Galatians 1:11-12; II Peter 3:16].

[Also see apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1805.]

“And as you wish others would do to you, do so to them” [Luke 6:31; Also see Matthew 7:12].

“Above all, keep loving each other earnestly, sins love covers a multitude of sins” [I Peter 4:8; Also see Proverbs 10:12].

decorated window

[Lyd’s Christmas Window Display]

Dear Blog Readers,

I am going to take a month off from blogging, in order to spend time on another writing project. Hopefully, you will “read all about it” in February. Also if any of you are having trouble with getting the pictures in my posts, scroll down to the bottom of the post and click: lydiag81655.

jesus aroseGod is our peacebanana split love

Peace,
Lydia

P.S. I finally did find the first gift I bought for Mark [his favorite liqueur with 2 nice glasses]. I gave it to him a few days ago. Knowing Mark, the bottle will last until next Christmas. Jane was the first one to remember I had it somewhere and I was the one who finally found it, hidden away in my coat closet. Getting older is a scary thing. That’s why we need each other.

Christian heelping another

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow…a threefold cord is not quickly broken” [Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12b].

A Person of Ministry

christmas gifts

(All Scriptures are from The Amplified Bible, except when otherwise noted.)

Who doesn’t like to receive gifts? Some actually may not like to receive gifts because they don’t know what to say or do when they are given a gift. Some feel awkward because they do not have a gift to reciprocate this gesture of friendship and caring. Sadly, some even feel unworthy and cannot possibly accept a gift. Sadder still, some think they are better off than the giver and the gift is far too beneath their standards. As for me, I love to receive gifts. On the first of December, I give copies of my “Christmas Wish List”, printed in red and green ink, to my family members. The gifts range from costing a few dollars to about $20.00 or a little more, so there’s something affordable for everyone to buy me gifts (When in doubt, a fine French red or white Burgundy or a California or Washington Brut Sparkling wine will do).

birthday giftsIMG_1887SHARP HILL ENTRANCE

When I hit the BIG 40, I started celebrating my “Birth-Month” and did something special everyday, during the month of August, from treating myself to a medium Dunkin Donuts iced coffee with cream and a Turbo Shot, to taking a road trip to the Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with “the Four Sisters”, to dining at a rustically elegant restaurant at a Connecticut Vineyard, with my “Winers and Diners Bible Study Group”. Because I celebrate for the whole month, it gives my family and friends plenty of time to send me birthday cards and buy birthday gifts. It takes the pressure off trying to remember the exact date of my actual birthday. When I am asked, “When is your birthday?” I say, “August.” When I am asked, “August what?” I reply, “August.” Although, lately, my birthday celebrations are starting in July and spilling over into September and sometimes October (if the RED SOX are still playing). As I get older, I need more time to celebrate and do all the things on my “pre-bucket” list.

casting crowns 1Helper Holy Spirit

The best gift I have ever received was the Free Gift of Salvation from God’s Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and His Gift of the Holy Spirit. It was a “package deal”. At the age of eighteen, I realized that I needed God’s help in living life with a disability (cerebral palsy) and life was not getting easier. It is very easy to fall into the “trap” of self-pity and self-centeredness and self-doubt. If we are truthful with ourselves, every one of us struggles with sin and doubt. Sin is “missing the mark” of where God wants us to be. I often fall short in practicing the “Golden Rule”: “So then whatever you desire others would do to and for you, even so do you also to and for them [others]…” (Matthew 7:12 ; Also see Luke 6:31). Instead of practicing the “Golden Rule”, I want to use the “Get-Even Rule” Every one of us finds the “Get-Even Rule” easier to follow: “Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and lash for lash” (Exodus 21:24-25). Because of our human tendency to “lash” out none of us are where God wants us to be. God wants us to enjoy a close relationship with Him. But, we want what we want. We are selfish by nature. Even the good things we do may be done for selfish motives. Yet, God loves every one of us and wants to shower us with every good gift. God gave us His Only Begotten Son to die in our place and to free us from the power of sin (our natural tendencies) and (spiritual) death. God also gave us His Holy Sprit. The Greek word Parakletos is used in the Bible to describe the Holy Spirit as “Counselor” (RSV, NIV), “Comforter” (KJV, ASV) or “HELPER” (NASB, NKJV).

glasses on Biblelamp unto my feetJesus Hug

“And He – that same Jesus Himself – is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also [the sins of] the whole world” (I John 2:2).

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only-begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish – come to destruction, be lost – but have eternal (everlasting) life” (John 2:16).

“He Who did not withhold or spare [even] His Own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?” (Romans 8:32).

“Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of all [that gives] light, in [the shining of] Whom there can be no variation [rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [as in an eclipse]” (James 1:17).

“See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!” (I John 3:1a).

Father, Son and Holy Spirit 2

We have learned from the “A Person of Mystery” series, that after Jesus’ Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, He promised to send His disciples (including us), “A Person of Ministry ” – the Gift of His Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, HELPER, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain with you forever, The Spirit of Truth…The Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall – will remind you of, bring to your remembrance – everything I told you…I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say, it is profitable – good, expedient, advantageous – for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (…HELPER…) will not come to you – into close fellowship with you. But if I go away, I will send Him to you – to be in close fellowship with you” ((John 14:16-17a, 26b; 16:7).

c. praying prostrateb. kneeing in prayer

In the Book of Acts, chapter 2, on the Day of Pentecost, we read about the birth of the Christian Church and how the disciples were filled with the Gift of the Holy Spirit and were able to speak in different languages to the crowd that had gathered. And Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke of the prophecy in Joel that was being fulfilled right before their eyes: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, God declares, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy – telling forth the divine counsels – your young men shall see visions (that is, divinely granted appearances), and your old men shall dream [divinely suggested] dreams. Yes, and on My menservants also and on My maidservants in those days I will pour out My Spirit, and they shall prophesy – telling forth the divine counsels and predicting future events pertaining especially to God’s kingdom (vv. 17-18; also see Joel 2:28-32).

comforter hsHelper Holy Spirit

At the first Pentecost, we see that the Holy Spirit is not “gender biased” “For God [The Holy Trinity] shows no partiality” (Roman 2:11). After Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, “There is [now no distinction], neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). To truly understand what this means, we need to understand what the word “HELPER” means in the Bible and not rely on the definition found in our modern culture. In today’s culture, “HELPER” means someone who is in a subservient role. In the Bible, the word “HELPER” means “HELPER/MEET”. In Genesis 2: 18 “…God said, It is not good [sufficient, satisfactory] that the man should be alone; I will make him a HELPER MEET (suitable, adapted, completing) for him.” In the Hebrew, the word for the HELPER/HELPMEET” is “ezer”, which is used in the Old Testament as “one who comes to the aid, to rescue, or deliver those in NEED of HELP (See I Samuel 7:12, II Kings 14:26, Job 29:12, Psalms 121:1-2). In the Book of Psalms, whenever the word “HELPER” is used, it refers to God Himself.

holy spirit over water

In the beginning, God created woman from man as a “suitable” (kenegdo), which denotes “equal” and “adequate” partner, and the two were created by God to demonstrate the unity and the equality of all human beings (See Genesis 2:18-20). As God the Holy Spirit is equally God as God the Father and God the Son, Adam and Eve were to share in that same kind of unity and equality as the Holy Trinity and enjoy close fellowship with the Triune God. Both man and woman were created in God’s image and were created to have a close relationship with God. They also shared the responsibilities of raising children and caring for God’s creation (See Genesis 1:26-28). It was only after the Fall, when sin entered the hearts of Adam and Eve, that caused the relationship between man and woman to be distorted with each other and with God (See Genesis 3:16). BUT GOD had a plan to redeem the human race from sin [wanting to be God and to lord over others]. That Plan was to give us Jesus, “His Gift, [precious] beyond telling – His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!” (II Corinthians 9:15), to die for the our sins and for the sins of the world. God’s “INDESCRIBABLE” Gift includes the Gift of His [indwelling] Holy Spirit (See I Corinthians 6:19) – the HELPER – Who aids us in our walk with God, rescues us when we walk away from God and delivers us from the lies of the world by revealing God’s Truth to us. What a Gift! How can anyone refuse this AWESOME Gift of God?

a spirit of truth

What a wonderful message Peter shared on the first Pentecost! But Peter was not done. What else did Peter say on that first Pentecost when God’s Spirit was poured out on His first disciples? Tune in next time to find out.

a nap with Tannin

I know I wrote “Be back at July-Thirty”, but the RED SOX were on the West Coast and the World Cup makes me crazy. How can a 90+-minute sporting event end in a 0-0 tie? I don’t get it!

(For more information Google: “Biblical Ishshah (Woman): The True Role of Helper/Help Meet” and “Men, Women and Biblical Equality [CBE International].)

This is my prayer for all of us:

“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from Whom His family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through FAITH. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in LOVE, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE of Christ, and to know this LOVE that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]).

The LydJesua, heart, sand

Lydia

Will the Real Pessimist Please Lighten Up?!

SWIRL THE WINEEore 2

We all know people who see the glass half-empty and have a “dark cloud” hovering over them and can think of all the reasons why something CAN‘T be done. We say, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?! And they answer, “It’s going to rain tomorrow.“ I knew someone that would say, “You better not laugh too much because tomorrow you’ll be crying.“ Once, I commented to a friend that my hanging plant was doing well and maybe it would bloom all summer. She replied, “These flowers don’t usually work that way.“ I thought to myself, “Thanks for bursting my bubble.“ Then, I said to her, “Maybe this plant will surprise us.” And it did produce flowers all summer. To be truthful, I can be a “half-empty” kind of person, if I’m not careful.

Eore

Jesus’ disciple Thomas sounds like a pessimistic type person. I can hear him talking in an Eeore-monotone-draggy voice. Eeore is the donkey in the Winnie the Pooh cartoons, who always sees disaster lurking around the corner and has a very low opinion of himself. We first hear Thomas in John 11:16, when Jesus wants to go to Jerusalem because His friend Lazarus has died. Jesus is already in trouble with the religious leaders and a mob had already tried to stone Him twice (See John 8:59 and 10:31-33). Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16b). Another time, when Jesus says to all his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4). Jesus said this after He told His disciples that He was going to be glorified by His Father and would not be with them for much longer (See John 12-13). After all this, “Thomas said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’” (John 14:5).

Christ's pierced

Next, we learn that Thomas isn’t with the rest of the disciples when Jesus appears to them after His Resurrection. When Thomas finally joins the disciples Jesus has already left, but they tell him that they have seen the Lord (See John 20:24-25a). Thomas refuses to believe them and says, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger in His side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25b). Where was Thomas? Why did he doubt that Jesus rose from the dead, just as He said He would? Before we judge Thomas, let’s read what Homer A. Kent Jr. writes in his book, LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: Studies in the Gospel of John, (p. 222): “The reason for [Thomas’] absence the previous week is not explained by John…It should be noted that Jesus did not rebuke him for his absence. Perhaps Thomas preferred to be alone with his grief.” Also, Merrill C. Tenney writes in his book, JOHN: The Gospel of Belief, (p.284): “[Thomas] was naturally of a pessimistic temperament as his previous utterances showed (11:16, 14:5), and his doubt seems to have been the product of his pessimism rather than a lack of confidence in Jesus Himself. After all, he knew that Jesus had died, and he could say, ‘The worst has happened just as I said it would.’” I also think Thomas was on his guard against being terribly disappointed and having his heart crushed again.

encouragementb. kneeing in prayer

Jesus met Thomas on his terms. John records, “A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to [Jesus], ‘My Lord and My God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’” (John 20:26-29).

a pleasant wordWORSHIP

Jesus is always willing to meet each one of us where we are and speak words of comfort and grace and to turn our doubts into faith and worship, as He did for Thomas. For those of us who have not seen Jesus and yet believe in Him, we have also been met by Jesus and have been touched by His pierced hands. Jesus calls us “blessed” and that we are! I do not believe Thomas had to put his fingers into Jesus’ hands or his hand into Jesus‘ side. Kent Jr. writes, “It is not stated whether or not [Thomas] still felt it necessary to handle the body of Jesus, although the subsequent words of Jesus may imply that ‘seeing’ was enough to satisfy him (20:29). But he did make to Jesus the greatest confession of any in the room: ‘My Lord and My God!’ The reality of the resurrection had satisfied the unresolved questions of a demanding Thomas” (p. 223).

believe god's love

Tenney writes, “The fact that [Jesus] knew what Thomas had said when He was not present was convincing proof of His supernatural knowledge, and His willingness to accept Thomas on his own terms was a marvel of condescension and compassion…All his unbelief vanished as he worshipped. For a Jew to salute another man, however he might revere him, as ‘Lord and God’ (28) could only mean that he had come to the point of worshipping Him as deity. The resurrection made the difference between the skepticism of despair and the worship which brings certainty. Thus belief in a risen Christ made a mourner into a missionary, a penitent into a preacher, the bereaved friend into an apostle of love, a timid and shrinking coterie of disciples into the fearless heralds of a new movement, and a doubter into a confessor. With the confession of Thomas, JOHN reached the high peak of belief: faith can rise no higher than when it avows Jesus of Nazareth to be its Lord and God” (p. 284).

As Jesus said it to Thomas, He is saying it to us: “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27b).

christ's anointed with expensive perfume

How do we remember Thomas? Sadly, most of us remember the bad things people do. A person can lead an extempore life, but make one horrible mistake and, from that point on, be remembered for that one mistake. I see it in the sports world and, sadly, I see it in myself when I am left to my own human devices. Most of us remember Thomas as that “doubting Thomas“. Jesus knows the same Thomas as the Thomas who made the Great Confession: “My Lord and My God!” I believe this is true because of what Jesus said about the “sinful” woman who poured costly perfume on Jesus head and washed His feet with her tears. Matthew 26:10-13 reads, “Aware of this, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for Me…When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’” [See also Luke 7:36-50]

SWIRL THE WINE

Do you see Thomas as “Doubting Thomas” or the disciple who confessed, “My Lord and my God”? Do you see the woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus as a “wasteful sinner” or a “believer who loved Jesus extravagantly”? Do you see me as a “disabled woman” or as a “woman named Lydia who loves Jesus and enjoys watching sports, eating gourmet food with just the right wine complement the meal, and writing about her ‘look on life’ and how God works in subtle and miraculous ways”? How do you view your neighbors, co-workers, relatives, people you meet everyday? Will the real pessimist please lighten up?! And that includes ME!

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(My nephew and I on Annual

Before-Easter ROAD TRIP)

Peace,

Lydia

Think, Fast, Pray, Read and Do “IT” (Part II)

fastballcatcher's mitt

It took me awhile, but I finally thought of how the disciplines of FASTING and PRAYER are connected without using a food analogy (I just didn’t think using peanut butter and jelly was appropriate). Fasting and prayer go together like a baseball and a catcher’s mitt. The “fast” ball would not have a target when it is thrown and would just go anywhere without the catcher’s mitt to show it target to aim for. The catcher’s mitt (Prayer) would not have a defined focus and purpose, if there wasn’t a “fast” ball to catch. Fasting helps us focus on prayer. And prayer is more defined and Christ-centered when we fast. When we fast to make more time to pray, our hunger reminds us of our need for the God we are praying to. We become more focused on Him when we are passionate about getting to know God better. (It’s the best I can do without using food.)

Jesus in the Gardengood friday6

In another writing, my wise brother in Christ reminded me of another definition of “passion” which I did not consider in one of my previous blog posts. He writes, “Many of us think ‘passion’ as something that we should desire. If we are ‘passionate’ about something, it means that we are driven with desire to fulfill a task. The meaning of the word ‘passion’ in the early Church meant ‘to suffer’ When we speak of Christ’s passion, we speak of His suffering during the events of His crucifixion.”

BURIED TREASURE

What am I “passionate” about? What am I willing to “suffer” for? Am I willing to “suffer” for the pleasures of my sinful nature: gluttony, pride, lust, anger, greed? These sinful pleasures come so naturally. My brother in Christ writes, “But in reality, these things cause us to suffer and are pulling us away from God. We cannot serve two masters Christ teaches us. (Matt. 6:24)” He also adds, “…to be healed from them, we have to fight. We don’t fight in our own strength, but in the Grace of Jesus Christ. It is still a fight, however, because healing from these [sinful] passions feels very unnatural to us. But in fact, the effects of these passions in our life are quite unnatural. We were never created for this.”

“What a man loves, that he certainly desires; and what he desires, that he strives to obtain” (Abba Evagrius, “Directions on Spiritual Training).

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

My brother in the Lord concludes, “In this life, we either strive to obtain God, or we strive to obtain the things that are opposed to God and are controlling us.”

fasting and prayer

What am I “passionate” about? What am I willing to “suffer” for? I want to be passionate for God. I want to be willing to suffer to know Him better, to love Him more, to do His will for my life, to love others as He loves me. To grow closer to God and do His will and to love others as He loves me, I must fight with the Grace of God. One of the ways to fight is to PRAY AND FAST.

PRAY AND FAST: During the times we usually eat a meal, we can instead use that time to pray. Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-13:

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“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, Who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your Name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’”

In what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer”, we learn that we need to see God as our Father Who loves us. At the same time we must honor Him Who is above all, with reverence and respect. We also need to pray for His Kingdom to come and that His will would be accomplished in the world. We also pray for our physical needs to be met one day at a time, as well as pray for our spiritual need to be forgiven and be given the grave to forgive others. We finally pray not to be led into temptation and for our Father to protect us from the evil one. Adoration and praise for our Heavenly Father, praying for our spiritual and physical needs and for protection are all in The Lord’s Prayer. These are the needs we all need to pray for.

praying hands

Prayer is a hard concept to grasp. God know our every need, even before we know them at times, yet He wants us to talk to Him and tell Him what He already knows. It is so strange, but not if we THINK about it outside our human “box” called the “brain”. Prayer is really for our benefit and not for God’s. Prayer is not only talking TO God. Prayer is talking WITH God. It is a two-way conversation. Prayer involves us talking to God, and it also involves us LISTENING to God. Before we say anything, we sit and wait, try to clear our minds of everything that is around us [That’s why closing our eyes is helpful] and be still before God. After a time, God will call to your mind what we need to pray about.

Many people my age, also younger and older than I am, like to use mnemonics to help them remember things. For example, a sister in the Lord uses General Electric Power Company to help her remember the order of Paul’s first four Epistles: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Another helpful way to remember things is using anachronismns. For example, the word ACTS is used by some Christians to order their prayers: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Personally, I have this thing about first praying in adoration, then confession. It sounds, to me at least, like I’m buttering up God, so that He’ll forgive me. I know….it’s just my thing. Anyway, I am more comfortable with praying in CAST: Confession, Adoration, Supplication and Thanksgiving. The reason I like to start praying with confession is I believe unconfessed sins get in the way of my relationship and my communication with the Lord. If I have sin in my heart, I want God to reveal it to me, so I can confess it and God will get it out of the way, so I can hear what He wants me to hear from Him and be able to pray for others (See James 5:16).

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses [saints of old], let us THROW off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him Who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

confession

PRAYER OF CONFESSION: Sometimes, it is good to learn from others as to how to pray. It also helps me to be able to use my own words in prayer after I have read the prayers of others:

“Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed. By what we have done and what we have left undone. We have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us, forgive us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Holy Name. Amen” (Prayer before Communion, in the Lutheran Church).

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin…Surely You desire truth in the inner parts; You teach me Your wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:1-2, 6-7).

“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth [spiritual malaise, faithlessness] faint-heartedness, lust of power and idle talk. But give me chastity [integrity, wholeness], humility, patience, and love to Your servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own errors and not to judge my brothers. For You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen” (St. Ephrem the Syrian – 306-373 A.D.).

“Abba Father, I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. I ask that your Holy Spirit’s light of truth might shine upon my heart and reveal to me all that is not of You. Give me eyes to see it, a mind that might comprehend it, and above all give me open hands to release those things up to You, that Your Spirit might be free to manifest Himself in and through me without impediment and without measure. It is my desire to be transformed and conformed to the likeness of Your Son Jesus in accordance with Your will” (John Burnett).

“God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13b)

My Good Side

After reading one or more of these prayers, we may want to wait quietly, as the Lord reveals specific sins to confess and ask for His forgiveness knowing, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). During the Prayer of Confession, the Holy Spirit may bring to our minds sins of omission or a person who we need to ask his/her forgiveness or someone we need to forgive. When the Holy Spirit tells us to do something, we need to DO IT.

me writing

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:9, 23-24).

“Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:17-18).

“’In your anger do not sin’ [Psalm 4:4]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).

With regard to confessing to one another, I want to make a suggestion: If someone has no idea that you have sinned against him/her in some way (had a bad attitude about the person or were uncomfortable being around him/her, etc.), and God has changed your attitude about him/her, I believe it’s best to keep it between you and God. For example, some people I know have told me, when they first met me they were very uncomfortable around me and had a very hard time understanding my cerebral-palsied speech. But they don’t feel that way anymore and can understand my speech. I had no idea they felt that way. It was sort of discouraging to hear that and it made me wonder how many other people feel this way. If you want to confess something to someone, I suggest you first ask yourself, “Why do I want to confess this? How will the person feel after I say this? Is it just to get it off my shoulders and make ME feel better?” I can give examples of the many times when my first impressions of someone were very judgmental (thinking he/she was a know-it-all or someone who just talks too much or is judgmental of others, etc.) I asked the Lord to forgive me and to change my heart towards that person, and He did and that’s where it stopped. It would be counter-productive to tell my friend I once had a bad attitude about him/her. God want us to THINK before we speak.

Jesua, heart, sanda pleasant word
“All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed…Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:2-3, 24).
“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (Proverbs 17:9)
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 19:2).

It won’t be long before we hear the thump of the FASTball hitting the Catcher’s Mitt – 19 DAYS and counting!

baseball in catcher's mittFenway's green monster

“Life Begins When the Season Starts!”

In Christ’s Love,

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Lydia

Spring is Just Around the Corner!

High School Graduation

(Who is that skinny, tanned kid?)

Back in the days of my youth (I don’t believe I’m actually saying that!), there was a popular song written by “The Byrds” entitled “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There is a Season). The first stanza goes like this:

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

Soon after I became a Christian and began reading the Bible, I discovered that this song came from the Book of Ecclesiastes, chapter three, verses 1-8. I can finish the song by quoting Ecclesiastes:

glasses on Bible

“…a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace”
(Ecclesiastes 3:2-8).

The writer of Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13)

liturgical calendar

During the past few months, we have taken and Advent-ure by following the Christian Liturgical Calendar, which begins with Advent, then Epiphany. During Advent and Epiphany, we saw every emotion and every situation described in the song by “The Byrds” and the writer of Ecclesiastes. We saw people following and obeying God which, in many ways, is not the “easy road” to travel. And we saw people who did not obey God and were only interested in maintaining their control and power over the people under them. We also read about things that were too difficult for us to comprehend. How I wish Herod did not order the murdering of baby boys; yet this is in the Bible (Matthew 2:16-18). Like Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and Magi, I need to trust God with what I don’t understand. What Ecclesiastes says is so true: We “cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end,” but we need to trust that God is good and “be happy and do good while [I] live” and be thankful for my food and drink “and find satisfaction in my toil [God‘s will for me to do]” because “this is the gift of God.”

Fenway truck day

In examining the Christian Liturgical Calendar, I see that nothing much is going on in February, March has Ash Wednesday and Lent, April has Easter (Resurrection Sunday), and Pentecost is on June 8, 2014. After that, there is another lull, during the summer into the fall, until Advent starts again. This can only mean one thing – God is a Baseball Fan and, maybe even a RED SOX Fan! Let me explain:

Jet Blue Park

February is jammed packed with important dates for the “REAL” RED SOX fan. First, on February 2nd, Groundhog’s Day, Punxsutawney Phil tells us when to expect “Baseball Weather” (the same day as the Super Bowl this year) to return. Second, February 8th is “Truck Day” – when the RED SOX equipment truck leaves Fenway “Pauk” for Fort Myers, Florida and Spring Training. Third, February 15th is when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training (after Lincoln’s Birthday and Valentine’s Day), and the first workout is on February 17th (Washington’s Birthday/Presidents Day). The rest of the team arrives on February 18th.There are inter-squad games on February 27th, with Northeastern University and Boston College, and a game with the Twins on February 28th. So, as you can see, February is pretty much booked with very important events for die-hard RED SOX fans.

After the Lenten Season , beginning with Ash Wednesday, on March 5th (spring officially starts for non-RED SOX fans on March 20th), Palm Sunday on April 13th, Good Friday on April 18th, and Easter Sunday on April 20th and Pentecost Sunday on June 8th, and a handful of state and national holidays, the rest of the spring and summer and fall have nothing going on as far as the Protestant Liturgical Calendar and regular calendar are concerned. The spring, summer and fall are when BASEBALL is played by MLB teams all over the U.S. AND Toronto and enjoyed by people like me. Coincidence? I think not.

Fenway's green monster

I have a T-shirt with a little baseball in the front and a BIG baseball in the back with the words, “Life begins when the Season starts!” There is some truth to that – At least the enjoyment of baseball starts when spring officially begins on February 8th, Truck Day (not March 20th). This may seem off the wall (really off the Green Monstah), but I believe Jesus makes life fun. I believe Jesus wants us to share His joy and be happy in all the good things He gives us to enjoy. For me, baseball is one of those good things. Jesus used baseball to get me through my childhood, having to deal with a disability (cerebral palsy). Talking baseball is how I made friends. Watching baseball on TV and listening to ball games on the radio gave me something fun and interesting to do. I believe Jesus had a hand in that. Jesus is not a kill-joy as some people portray Him to be. Jesus is “the Way and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6a) of the party After all, look at His first miracle in John 2:1-11 (a topic for another time). I experience Jesus’ joy in the beauty of spring and the new life He creates in the flowers of every color imaginable, in the new green grass and sprouting leaves on the trees, in the excited chirping of the birds, and also with the sound of the crack of the bat and thump of the catcher’s mitt. Every spring is a new beginning. Spring reminds me of all the good gifts Jesus freely gives for me and you to enjoy and be thankful for. Spring is a reminder that Jesus makes everything new and His forgiveness and grace are always there for me and you to enjoy and receive with thanksgiving and praise. With Jesus everyday is a new beginning – everyday is a spring day, filled with excitement and new beginnings. Yes, spring is just around the corner – when I and all of RED SOX Nation will hear the two words we have waited all winter to hear: “PLAY BALL!”

imagesCA1A2FRPFenway Park

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” -Rogers Hornsby

Tulip& RS hat

(My cat “Tulip” waiting for “Truck Day”)

I don’t exactly do that, but it takes football, hockey, and basketball (college and pro) to fill the void when baseball is over. Think about it.

Welcome to the new “followers” of my blog. This post is a light and fun post because my earlier posts were somewhat serious and dealt with more serious topics. I thought I would write a fun post for a change of pace. If you would like to read my previous blog posts, the link is https://lydslookonlife.wordpress.com .

Go SOX!

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Lydia

Sharing Sox

hanging red sox

There is nothing like putting on a clean pair of socks, whether they are brand new or right out of the dryer. Fresh, clean, warm socks on a cold wintry day make me feel comfy and cozy all over. They are my socks and no one can have them. Anyone who has taken gym class or played a sport, or has a YMCA membership knows that it is not cool to share one’s socks or wear someone else’s socks. It is not only un-cool, it’s down right nasty!

This is not the case with New Englanders and their beloved “hanging (RED) SOX.” The RED SOX are meant to be shared from one generation to the next. How many stories have you heard about a father passing on his love for his beloved RED SOX to his son, as did his father before him and his grandfather before him? Many of these stories were told after the RED SOX won the 2004 World Series and broke the “eighty-six-year old curse of the Bambino.” I heard sons express their heartfelt feelings, “A wish my dad was alive to experience and share this joy with me!” Fathers also expressed their relief, “I almost didn’t wake up my son in the ninth inning because I didn’t want to scar him for life, but I’m so glad I did! We were able to share the RED SOX winning the World Series together AT LAST!”

WS BANNER TWO

Everyone who is a “wicked big” RED SOX fan has their own unique story to tell. And now that we have experienced the RED SOX winning three World Series Championships, we have even more stories to tell about our beloved RED SOX and what their winning means to us. My RED SOX story is unique because, first of all, I’m a daughter and not a son. Secondly, I was the first person in the family who became a RED SOX fan. My fandom started in 1967, when the RED SOX won the American League Pennant, only to lose the World Series to the Cardinals. Thirdly, I passed on my love for baseball and the RED SOX to my mom, who was interested in everything I was interested in. My brother and sisters also became RED SOX fans, but they were not as fanatical (I prefer “loyal”) as I was. My dad, on the other hand, did not like baseball at all. He thought baseball players were paid far too much money and, as an ordinary “workman”, he worked harder than they ever did.

1967 was the year that began my long RED SOX journey filled with disappointment and heartache as the RED SOX lost year after year after year. Then in 1986, when I lived in a little town in New York, I invited Mets fans to come watch the sixth game of the World Series with me. I do not have to tell you what happened next. 1986 was the year I stopped watching baseball. I vowed that the RED SOX would never ever break my heart again.

choc. cupcakeTulip in box

After living for a short time in the state of New York, the Lord brought me back to my home town in Massachusetts, where I became very involved with my church.  I lived alone for a long time, in a small apartment, in a town next to where my parents and my sister and her family lived. In the 1990’s my sister and her husband, who owned a two-family house, asked me if I would want to come live in the apartment below them, because their tenants were buying a home of their own and would be leaving soon. Of course I said YES. The Lord blessed me with a beautiful home, with space to have people over, and being close to my sister was an added bonus. In a few years, I decided to get housemates in the form of two kittens and all was going smoothly. I did not need baseball in my life. I was busy and happy and enjoying my independence.

Trophy - Lyd&Pam

[My friend Pam and I with the ’04 and ’07 Trophies]

In 2001, the whole world changed on September 11th. A month earlier, my family’s world changed when my dad had a stroke and became severely disabled. He was the one caring for my mom who was already disabled. My sister and I took our parents to live in my apartment and we both took care of them. When our dad died in 2003, there was a big hole in each of our hearts, especially my mom‘s. During my lonely days as a child with a disability, baseball was my safety net. Baseball was where I found something to do when the neighborhood kids were riding their bikes and playing “dodge ball“. Baseball was something to read about and learn about. The RED SOX team was something I could belong to and root for as a fan. The RED SOX were people I could  think about, instead of thinking about myself. And the Lord would again use baseball and the RED SOX to help me deal with my grief by taking me out of my “lonely place” and give me something to cheer about. In 2003, at the gentle nudging of a good friend, I turned on the TV to the RED SOX game for the first time in decades, and I was hooked again. It’s like riding a bike – you never lose the ability to ride in the marathon that is baseball. Of course, the RED SOX lost that year, in another heartbreaker, but I vowed never to leave baseball or the RED SOX again, but just enjoy the ride.

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Baseball helped all of us, my mom and sister and me, to have something to look forward to at the end of the day. My mom could not stay up to watch the night games. She had a TV in her bedroom, but she preferred to just listen to my friends and me, as we cheered for the RED SOX. When it got to be too quiet, she would shout from her bedroom, next to the living room, “I don’t hear any noise out there. What’s going on? How are the RED SOX doing?” When a RED SOX player hit a homerun, my sister would stomp on the floor above us and my mom would say, “What’s happening? Who hit a homerun?” When my friends came over to watch a RED SOX game, before my sister helped her into bed, my mom would reassure all of us that we didn’t have to keep quiet. She loved hearing us having fun. We did not realize how much she was really into the RED SOX until the December Johnny Damon went to the “dark side” (Yankees). We were all having coffee after opening presents on Christmas morning, when my sister from Oregon called to wish everyone a “Merry Christmas.” We were all stunned when the phone was given to my mom and her first words were not “Merry Christmas”, but “Hey Sophie, did you hear what the stupid jerk did?” My nephew almost spit out his coffee!

Babci and Luke

[Mom and grandson Luke Playing]

That was mom. She was always interested in what we were interested in. Every year, she wanted a calendar of bridges, because her youngest daughter is a civil engineer and worked on bridges. Her other daughter loved to cook, so mom was always the taste tester. Her son loved to fish and mom would always love to eat the fish he caught. And there was her oldest daughter, the crazy sports fan. Mom also became a crazy sports fan. That was mom, always interested in what her children were into, and that carrying over to being a grandmother and playing whatever her grandsons wanted to play.

Trophy w Mom and Jane

It was such a special blessing to share the 2004 RED SOX World Series victory with my mom and sister Jane. We three were able to see the ’04 Trophy at a nearby park. I’ll never forget this tiny little woman, in a wheelchair, with a RED SOX cap on her head and a big smile on her face, looking at the BIG World Series Trophy in front of her nose. She looked up at us and said, “It’s so big! I hope they get to keep it.”

World Series 04

In 2007,  mom could no longer travel very much, but my nephew took a photo of the three of us, on our porch, in front of celebratory RED SOX World Series Champion banners which Jane made, along with Wally, the “sweep” broom, red gloves, and a RED SOX Mr. Potato Head. Celebrating the second RED SOX World Series Championship with our mom was “SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!”

WS BANNER ONE

[Yes, that is a gargoyle in the top right corner]

In 2013, our beloved RED SOX have won a third World Series Victory in ten years. It is somewhat of a bitter-sweet time for Jane and me. Our loving mom Victoria went to be with the Lord in 2010. We are saddened by her absence and miss her smile and the “unique” ways she expressed herself. We also miss “the good” Damon, Jane’s sneazy-barky little Schnauzer. Jane got her Damon in 2004, the year he was born. Jane didn’t tell anyone, but she had a feeling the RED SOX would win the World Series in the last year of “the good” Damon’s life. It did happen.

the good Damon

There are other special reminders that happened during the 2013 World Series that are uniquely special to my sister and me. One of the RED SOX relief pitcher’s last name is Workman, and that reminded us of our dad. He was always proud of being a good workman. It was because of all his hard work and savings that we were able to care for our mom when he passed away. Also, the television broadcast would often show the sign for Ipswich Street. Ipswich was where our mom was born and she would often talk about it. Even though I am sad that our parents and Jane’s “shadow” Damon are not with us anymore, I am happy for all the pleasant memories we will always cherish together. I am also happy that, just as in 2004, my brother John and my friends Fran and Pam were with Jane and me (her husband banished her down to my house because she was too noisy. What up with that?) to share the pandemonium of another RED SOX WORLD SERIES VICTORY!!!

High School Graduation

Throughout my life, my parents and baseball have taught me many lessons that I am still learning. My dad taught me the value of hard work and “family first.” Both my dad and mom taught me about unconditional love and thinking of others before myself. Baseball and especially the RED SOX have taught me “You win some, you lose some,” but always know that “the joy of victory” is worth “the agony of defeat.” Love and pain go hand in hand and everything is used of God to mold us into the people he wants us to be. Instead of playing it safe and never getting too close or too attached or too involved, God wants me to step out in faith and embrace all of life and enjoy and be thankful for all of God’s lessons, as well His blessings. I want to be able to say, “”Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:20b). And OH, What a ride!

glasses on Bible

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21).

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:18, 28).

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls…Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart” I Peter 1:6-9, 22),

“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 you knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:5-8).

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day – and not only me, but also all who have longed for His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).

WS AT CHURCH

[The Sunday after Halloween I gave out candy before Worship, Beard and all!]

As of this writing, there are about one hundred days before pitchers and catchers report to SPRING TRAINING. In the meantime, I have DVRed the four RED SOX wins, in the 2013 World Series and the Duck Boat Rolling Rally, to get me through baseball withdrawals. And, of course, I will now be better able to concentrate on Patriots Football and Bruins Hockey and pray for the Celtics. There are also college football and basketball that will get some of my attention. Did you notice how many sports are needed to replace the sport of BASEBALL? Anyway, I hope you will join me in celebrating the 2013 RED SOX WORLD CHAMPIONS for a little while longer, because we really don’t know when the next one will be. And here’s wishing that all your socks are fresh, warm, cozy and comfy all through the cold New England  winter months.

A “Wicked Big” RED SOX Fan,

Lydia