12 Days of Christmas Blessings: Day 12 — ‘A True Love’s Locket’

What if on the 12th day of Christmas, some girl’s true love gave her a locket?
And what if she lost it?
Here’s what I hope would happen:

HEART NECKLACE - GOLD

I found a locket nestled 'neath a tree.
It sparkled, and it twinkled, and it surely winked at me.

It looked forlorn, forgotten, skimmed with dew,
And I felt an intruder as I wondered what to do.

At last I reached and plucked it from the grass.
The chain was fragile – I could tell – and had a broken clasp.

A lovely heart, engraved on back and front,
Showed me it was a gift of love that someone still would want.

I opened it with tender, loving care,
And found, all safe and snug inside, a single lock of hair.

The curly tress was of the darkest brown,
And I felt so entranced by this small mystery I'd found.

But I was in a quandary what to do:
How to locate the rightful owner I had not a clue.

Then finally I thought, “I'll advertise,
and if the owner sees my ad, there'll be a nice surprise.”

I tucked it in my pocket, nice and warm,
And, eager to relay my news, I headed quickly home.

I couldn't help but sing a little song,
So happy I could have a part in helping love along.

~~~

As we come to the real close of the Christmas celebration, I hope you and your loved ones have enjoyed a happy, healthy, love-filled holiday season. And may you carry all that happiness, health, and love throughout this new year.

~~~

Success

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I’ve never touched a star;
Never tried to reach that far.
Perhaps my goals are all too short, too frail.

My dreams are all mundane:
Never seeking wealth or fame,
Nor for great contributions to be hailed.

But when all’s said and done,
I’ve loved folks – one by one –
And in the end, it’s Love that will prevail.

 

 

~~~

Honoring My Mom the Poet

TMOM'S PIC - SEPIA TINThis Mother’s Day, I’d like to honor my mom (who has been in Heaven with the Lord for over 30 years now) by sharing one of her original poems with you. I still miss my mother every day, but I do not grieve. I have the glad assurance that when I have run my race and come to the end of my own earthly journey, I will be with her once again and enjoy her company for eternity.

My mom wrote most of her poetry about “ordinary” people and “ordinary” events in life. To her, it was those simple things that made life truly precious and, therefore, made it “extraordinary.”

This little poem is one she wrote about being a mother and bringing up children. I thought it was particularly appropriate for today:

CHILDREN
by Vera Faye Pavloff

Children are a gift from God above
For us to cherish and shower with love,

To care for and teach them how to mind;
This is not easy, so soon we find.

Having patience with a wee little one
Is winning a battle that’s only begun.

Time spent with them is seldom too much
For knowing your child and keeping in touch —

For teaching them how to love one another,
And to always be kind to sister and brother.

You listen to all the stories they tell,
Add one of your own with something to sell.

Giving them freedom and time to dream
Is not quite so foolish as it may seem.

Persuade and guide them along the way,
And take time out to hope and pray

That they develop both character and mind —
One to your liking and much refined.

To show that you care and stay in command
You must use a firm but gentle hand.

When they’re older and much troubled too,
Help them by being both honest and true.

Part of the burden they really must bear
Much too often we think we should share.

Yes, raising a child is a pleasure for sure;
For each little crisis there is a cure.

When they worry to their wits’ end,
Always remember it’s on you they depend.

Bring them up in the ways of the Lord
And give them what you can afford.

When they accomplish whatever they do,
You know that you have accomplished too.

~~~
© Very Faye Pavloff 1970

And to all of you mothers out there who are reading this post: I wish you a terrific, jubilant, carefree, and memorable Mother’s Day, 2015!

So Who Loves Us Best?

It’s the month of love. So let’s take another look at this one-act play that I originally posted three years ago and remind ourselves who loves us best.


WHAT ARE YOU DOING, GOD?

MAN IN GOD'S HANDTime: Creation, Day 6

Place: Heaven, looking down at Earth

Participants: God, One Inquisitive Angel

CONVERSATION:

Angel to God: “What are you doing, God?”

God: “Creating a man.”

Angel: “What are you going to do with him?

God: “Love him.”

Angel: “What will he do for you?”

God: “Give me pleasure.”

Angel: “Will he give you pleasure that is different from what the rest of your creation gives you?”

God: “Oh, yes.  He will be a speaking spirit just like me, who will have the ability to choose by his own free will to love me and communicate with me constantly.”

Angel: “Have you thought that he might use his free will to choose not to love you?  He could end up giving you a lot of trouble.”

God: “Oh yes, he will give me a lot of trouble.  But he is worth it!”

Oh, that we would see ourselves as God sees us!

 

~

 

“““

Repost: ‘My Dad – A Job Well Done’

Today is a sad day for me. My father passed away. But because he loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all of his heart and has served Him faithfully since he was 12 years old, he went right from our family’s presence into the presence of Jesus.  So although I am sad for me, I must rejoice exceedingly for him.

In honor of his life and his loving care of me, I am re-posting this article about my dad (originally posted on Father’s Day, 2012).  I hope it blesses you, my readers.

DAD & MEJust what is a father’s most important job? To love? To provide? To discipline? Certainly all of the above would qualify as part of his job description. But, ultimately, I believe a father’s most important responsibility is to show his children what the Father God is like. That responsibility involves telling his kids about God.

But telling isn’t enough. Kids learn more from what they experience than from what they hear. And when children are told that God is their “Father,” they naturally relate that “Father” to the only other “father” they have experience with – their flesh and blood daddy. I have been inordinately blessed by God’s gift to me of a father who didn’t just talk to me about my Heavenly Father, but who excelled in demonstrating God to me. And although my life of 64 years is full of one experience after another of my dad’s faithfulness to show me God, there are three specific experience that are indelibly embedded in my memory.

The Word tells us that God is a father who enjoys His kids. He enjoyed recreation with Adam and Eve in the Garden; He enjoyed parties when He was on earth in the person of Jesus; He was always instructing Israel to have a party in His presence; and He even says He rejoices over us with singing and dancing. My dad has always been able to get into the spirit of having fun with his kids. When I was very small, he bought me a train that had a real steam engine with sparks and smoke that billowed out as it ran around the track. He delighted in playing trains with me.

But I think the events that stand out most clearly in my memory of a dad who was willing to come down to my level and have fun were the episodes in the grocery stores. My mom, dad, sister, and I always went grocery shopping as a family. That’s often a fun experience for kids, but my sister and I had the privilege of having a dad who wanted to add to our fun. So sometimes, if the store was not crowded, he would roll the shopping cart into a clear aisle, prop one foot on the bottom rung, push off with the other foot, and go flying down the aisle, grinning from ear to ear, all for the sake of bringing squeals of delight to two little girls. I’m sure others thought he was silly, but giving his girls such a treat was worth it to him. Those experiences left us convinced that dads loved to “play” with their kids, and they opened a door between God and me that made me sure I could enjoy Him just like I did my earthly dad.

The Word also tells us that God’s ears are always open to the cries of His children and that He is always present with them in trouble to deliver them. When I was a child, I was plagued by a lot of fears – most of them unnamed and foolish – but there nevertheless. God eventually got control of my life enough to deliver me from all fear, but in early years I often had serious trouble sleeping peacefully. Many nights I woke up sick, but I believe most of it was the result of fear. The cause didn’t matter, however. What mattered was that when I awoke and called for my parents, it was often my dad who immediately heard my cry and came to my side. Certainly my mom was equally loving and attentive, but for some reason my call usually woke my dad first. I have lost count of all the nights he patiently and lovingly gave up sleep to comfort and pray for me.

Once, even as a young adult still living at home, I became ill one night with alarming symptoms. I didn’t call for my parents, but my dad woke and heard me stirring around in the wee hours. He came to check on me and found me sitting in the living room, in the throes of, not only the symptoms themselves, but also the disabling fear brought on by those symptoms. He immediately suggested I make a bed on the living room sofa, gave me two aspirin, sat down in a big chair opposite the sofa, and started talking to me from God’s Word. He spoke God’s truth to me until he had talked me back into faith. He then continued to sit in that chair and promised me that he would sit there and pray until I was back to normal.

Within minutes I was sound asleep. I woke once some time later to see him still sitting in that chair praying. After that night I was totally delivered from that physical problem. But more importantly, my dad’s concrete example made me even more convinced that when my Heavenly Father said He’d be there for me, He’d really be there. I’ve never doubted it once since that night.

The Word also promises us that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for us liberally. My dad has worked hard ever since I’ve known him. He’s worked hard at earning money, at providing a peaceful and safe environment for our family, at serving the Kingdom of God, and at helping those less fortunate than himself. When growing up, I was aware that we were less than financially prosperous by the world’s standards, but we never felt that we wanted for any necessities. And, somehow, my parents’ efforts and sacrifices managed to provide a few extras as well.

One particular experience of provision during my early college years stands out. I was commuting to school at the time so still living under my dad’s roof. I got up one morning and walked into the kitchen, straight to the bread box, intent on making toast. The box was empty. Now, my dad generally left for work a little before the rest of us woke, and we had only one car at the time, so grocery shopping usually had to wait until he was home. When I saw the bread box empty, I thought, “Oh no! Now what can we do?” I wasn’t anxious to begin my day with a very long walk in the heat to the nearest store. Then suddenly, in the very next second, I thought, “Wait a minute! I know my dad. He would not have gone off with the car for the whole day and left all of us with no bread! I know he had to get us bread!” With that thought I began looking around, and turning to the other end of the kitchen, I saw a brand new loaf of bread in the middle of the table. Dad had been to the store to buy the loaf before he left for work.

That event may seem minor to many people, but at that point, God Himself spoke to my heart and said, “You see: In exactly the same way that you absolutely know without a doubt that your dad would not fail to provide even something as minor as bread, you can also know without a doubt that I will never fail to provide everything you need.” I have thought of this incident many times throughout my life. It has quickened my faith each time. And I have to wonder what my life would have been like if I had not had a dad I could trust so implicitly as my example.

Needless to say, I consider my dad worthy of being named “Father of the Year.” He will always be my winner. And whether he is ever awarded any earthly honors or not, there is an enormous reward awaiting him in Heaven for having exemplified so accurately that Holy Father to whom all creation will eventually bow its knee.

Thank you, Dad!  Happy Father’s Day!

 

For Love Of The Father

 

” . . . but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” John 14:31

CROSS, MNGR MESSAGE -- NEG BLUE BCKGRD
Well, Christmas has come and gone. And, hopefully, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ during this most festive of holidays. But let’s not stop with celebrating His birth. Let’s look anew at the reason for that birth. We find that reason in the words from our text scripture above: “. . . that the world may know that I love the Father.”

With these words, Jesus is personally explaining to His disciples the reason He agreed to be born as a human being and become the sacrifice for man’s sin. Until the reality of these words sank into my heart during a time of meditation one day, I had always believed that Jesus had been willing to go through the terrible crucifixion and separation from His holy Father just because He loved me so much. I had thought His love for us, the people He had created, had compelled Him to that cruel cross.

But this verse forced me to come face to face with the truth. It wasn’t love for us that caused Jesus to pay the awful price. Rather, it was His love for His Father: “That the world may know that I love the Father . . . even so I do.”

Now, to be sure, it was the Father’s love for us that caused Him to send Jesus. But it was Jesus’ love for the Father that caused Him to obey and carry out the plan. Indeed, love for the Father instigated and controlled absolutely everything that Jesus, the Son, did. We were the fortunate recipients of that beautiful obedience, but we were not the cause.

Most assuredly, as God, His love for us moved Him to compassion, but His love for the Father moved Him to obedience. He spoke and acted, not out of His own compassion, but only as He felt the Father speak and act in compassion. He tells us that repeatedly during His ministry. Because He was determined to be a continuously obedient vessel, He never acted or reacted because of what He saw or felt personally, but because He felt the Father’s leading and wanted to please Him.

That truth seems so simple, but when it finally settled deeply in my consciousness, it brought me to a new level of enlightenment concerning Jesus and what moved and controlled Him. Not only did I see Jesus in greater revelation, but consequently I was confronted with a greater understanding of what it means for me to be “like Jesus.” I realized more than ever that being like Him was much more than obeying commandments, walking in forgiveness, loving people, and reaching out to meet their needs in the power of God. Those endeavors are, to be sure, part of the Christ-like character. But the overriding requirement for being Christ-like, indeed the very root of Christ-likeness, is love of the Father.

Love of the Father must be our primary reason also for doing or refusing to do anything. Certainly, the right words and the right actions will get a job done or solve a problem many times. But speaking or acting because we believe it is what Jesus would do, or even because we love those whose needs we are trying to meet by those words and actions, never makes us one with the nature of Jesus. No, beloved Christian, only a passionate, all-consuming love of our Father God will bring us fully into oneness of nature and character with Jesus.

When we love the Father so much that we live to please Him, even hunger to please Him, we have truly entered into the nature of Jesus Himself. When no circumstance and no person moves us to action, but rather the leading from our Heavenly Father, Whom to please is more important than life itself, then we will have come to that place where Jesus is truly living His life in us.

Then the world will “know that we love the Father, and as the Father gives us commandment, even so we do.” They will see the same love of the Father that they saw in Jesus – a love that leads us to an obedience so supernatural that it compels those watching to turn to a God Who merits such a love.

Dear Christians, may it be our constant prayer that the love of the Father will be our only motivation in every facet of our lives from this day forward.


Touched

Have you ever watched sunlight caress a mountain? It moves over it slowly … steadily … possessively … eventually spreading its light and warmth into every possible crevice. It rests there as long as possible … moving away unwillingly … continuing to stretch itself … reaching out with little lingering fingers of light … trying to maintain contact as long as possible. That’s the way God touches those He loves.  Let Him touch you today.

Now My Heart Must Sing

I woke to face another day,
No glad expectancy,
For heavy disappointments were
Weighing down on me.

The day before had been so filled
With unsupportive words,
With problems piled four levels high
And everywhere closed doors.

The friends I’d counted on were not:
They came and went like rain:
All so enwrapped in their own lives
They couldn’t feel my pain.

It was just like so many days,
All running wearily,
So sad, with disappointments too,
All weighing down on me.

And though I knew I would survive,
That didn’t soothe my heart,
For sorrow deep and troubles too
Brought a longing to depart.

But then to Jesus I did run;
I saw it in a dream:
I stood below a gentle hill,
All carpeted in green.

When I looked up and saw Him there,
He stood beneath a tree,
And waited, smiling patiently;
He’d been expecting me.

I ran but didn’t feel the strain;
He grabbed me in His arms,
He wrapped them hard around me; held me
Strongly, safe and warm.

I’d never felt so light and free;
Engulfed with joy and rest;
No problem lingered to be weighed;
All I could feel was blessed.

And all the disappointments, though
So heavy they had been,
Took flight, and sadness too was gone,
Ev’ry conflict, ev’ry pain.

All threats and fears and torments sore,
All guilt, defeat, and shame –
In love so glowing and so strong,
All were dissolved away.

Then suddenly I saw a truth –
It caught me by surprise –
That Jesus’ joy exceeded mine;
I saw it in His eyes.

I’d known He would accept me, that
He’d made a place for me,
But never had I even guessed
How happy He would be!

He was so thrilled to have me there;
He laughed so loud and strong
That all things not of joy and life
Just vanished in joy’s song.

And when I woke to this new day,
His laughter still did ring;
His arms still held me close and warm,
And now my heart must sing!