Thursday, December 6, 2018

This is a Test Post

Dear Friends,

I recently discovered that some subscribers were not receiving my posts. In the hope that accumulated posts on my site had caused the problem, I've deleted all posts prior to this year.

You should have received my blog at the beginning of each month with book reviews now and then. I would so much appreciate if you would you click on the link below and leave a comment to let me know that this post arrived in your Inbox safe and sound.

Shirley

Book Review: The Gift of Years



Joan Chittister packs a lot of wisdom about growing old gracefully into the pages of The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully. Short chapters cover topics such as: Regret, Fear, Newness, Possibility, Relationships and much more. In fact, forty chapters are sandwiched between an Introduction and an Afterword on The Twilight Time, the time we may become dependent upon others. Even during those years, Chittister helps you see the wonder of a new beginning on the horizon.

I liked the book’s structure. Chapters open with quotes related to the topic and end with paragraphs addressing “A burden of these years . . . “ and “A blessing of these years . . . “ This technique draws you away from the negatives of aging to appreciate the positives.

She concludes a chapter on Limitations suggesting we see limitations as boundaries rather than barriers. By the time you finish the book, you realize there is much to enjoy and appreciate about growing older.

I recommend this book for anyone approaching the mature years. Her observations will inform you of the process and inspire you to embrace the journey of life with renewed enthusiasm. This would make a good gift for both men and women moving toward or living in the final years of life.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Better Than Eggnog

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Dear Friends,

Nurses recently told both Bill and me that we were dehydrated. They had a tough time inserting needles into our veins to establish intravenous connections. They urged us to drink more water so that the volume of blood in our veins would make things easier for them.

Bill and I had no idea we were dehydrated. We simply drank water when we became thirsty--but that was not often enough.

Just as we become physically dehydrated, we may become spiritually dehydrated. And just as Bill and I did not realize we were physically dehydrated, we may also miss symptoms of spiritual dehydration. We may feel perfectly normal, going about business as usual.

Here are three signs of spiritual dehydration:

A lack of interest in worship. You no longer attend church. You give little thought to praising God for who He is, to thanking Him for his daily grace. You really don’t feel a need to connect with other Christians. You have a nice group of friends with whom you have fun and conversation.

A lack of interest in working for the Lord. Perhaps you’ve never discovered your spiritual gifts. Or you may have little interest in using the gifts you know you have. Service for God becomes something to do if you have nothing else to do.

A lack of interest in witnessing for God. Perhaps you no longer think about talking about God in conversation. You’ve grown careless in your use of God’s name and you laugh at jokes told at someone else’s expense. You’ve forgotten your responsibility to live responsibly before God.

I’ve taken steps to keep my body physically hydrated. Each morning I fill a pitcher with water and try to drink all of it each day. And you know what? The more I’ve started drinking, the more often I get thirsty.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that she needed to be spiritually hydrated:  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Here are four things you can do to be sure you’re spiritually hydrated during the Christmas season:

Drink the living water by coming to Jesus and worshipping him on a Sunday morning with like-minded Christians. They will inspire you. The words of hymns and choruses will fix your mind on Christ, and you will become aware of him walking with you in the week ahead.

Drink the living water by making room in your schedule to read your Bible and pray. Set aside time that you keep just as surely as you brush your teeth. Find a Christmas devotional book to read. Each Christmas season I read Joni Eareckson’s A Christmas Longing. 

Drink the living water by looking for opportunities to say a good word for God, even if it’s just saying “God bless you” when someone sneezes. If someone shares a problem, pray with them. Send cards that remind people Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Include a tract that explains your faith. Take Christmas cookies to a shut in.

Drink the living water by enjoying God’s creation. Nothing is more refreshing than a walk in a woods or a meadow, pausing to listen to the birds, to ponder a snowflake. Feed the birds in your backyard, and thank God for their resiliency in cold weather.

There is no better time than the Christmas season to refresh yourself with living water. Meditate on the words of Christmas carols. Let Christmas lights remind you of the Light of the World. Throw some change in those red buckets. And rest assured the living water will flow through you to refresh others as well.

Have a blessed Christmas season. And feel free to leave a comment to share how you refresh yourself spiritually during the busy Christmas season.

Shirley