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As a writer, needle artist and photographer, I invite you to share my pursuits with me on this site. Among other things, there is a weekly post called “D-mail” that examines the spiritual meaning in current stories, both personal and news events.  I invite your comments at  cathycongerblog@gmail.com

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”  N. Platt

I read these witty sayings this week.  So great!

Earth without art is just “Eh”.

Let’s eat Grandma.  Let’s eat, Grandma.  Commas save lives!

“What trouble? you say. “It’s the trouble of not having any that’s the problem!”

But think about it.

Money, in truth, is one of the most unsatisfying of possessions.

It takes away some cares, no doubt; but it brings with it quite as many cares as it takes away.

There is trouble in the getting of it.

There is anxiety in the keeping of it.

There are temptations in the use of it.

There is guilt in the abuse of it.

There is sorrow in the losing of it.

There is perplexity in the disposing of it.

Two-thirds of all the strife, quarrels, and lawsuits in the world arise from one simple cause – MONEY!

Statistics say that the second most common reason for divorce is conflict over money (the first reason is unfaithfulness).

The Bible says,

“The love of money is the root of all evil.”  (By the way, it doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil)

Learn to handle money wisely.  It is a gift from God that He wants us to be good stewards of.

This comes from Ron Hutchcraft and I thought it was very good.

It’s time to wash the bathrobes again - for the boys to wear in the Christmas pageant. Like thousands of boys at Christmastime, I, too, was drafted into being one of those shepherds. I’m not sure my bathrobe got washed any other time of the year actually. Not to be petty, but I always thought the guys playing the wise men had a better deal. They got to wear some fancy clothes, and they had something to give to Baby Jesus when they came - I think we used to call it gold, frankenstein, and myyrh. But not us shepherds. Oh, no! Since the Bible doesn’t describe any specific gift the shepherds brought, we came empty handed. I thought we looked a little cheap. But I’ve learned something since then.

What the shepherds gave Jesus must have meant far more to Him than any treasure the wise men brought. It’s a gift that is within your power to give - but one that all too few of His followers ever offer Him.

Our Christmas word for today from the Word of God comes from Luke 2 , beginning with verse 15. The shepherds have just gotten heaven’s birth announcement from the angelic choir. They know the baby they’re going looking for is “the Savior … Christ the Lord.” The Bible then goes on to say: “The shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” The shepherds, of course, found the baby in the manger as announced. And then, “when they had seen Him, they spread the word about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

Well, there it is - the great gift the shepherds gave Jesus - the gift He wants from you. They told people who hadn’t met Jesus about their Savior. They seemed to understand instinctively that when you “come and see” Jesus for yourself, then you “go and tell” about Him to people who have not seen Him. And if you belong to Jesus, my guess is that there are a number of people in your personal world who have yet to see or hear who Jesus really is. You can’t imagine one day without Jesus. They’ve never lived one day with Jesus. When Jesus sent someone to tell you the good news about a Savior who had come here for you, He didn’t mean for you to just “go and hoard it” or “go and sit on it” - He’s trusted you to go and tell it to someone you know whose eternity depends on it.

We tend to think that communicating Jesus is something we delegate to a “pro” - a pastor, an evangelist, someone with all the training. But the plan of Jesus was evident from the day He arrived - that everyday believers be the ones to tell people about Him. Who could have been more everyday than cultural rejects like shepherds? But they were the first spiritual rescuers that ever spread the life-saving news about the Savior. And there’s only one way every unbeliever is going to have a chance at Jesus, or a chance at heaven, and that’s if every one of us believers becomes a rescuer. Your commitment to Jesus that you will do whatever it takes to bring some people He died for to heaven with you - that’s a gift that will bring Him incredible joy.
Jesus says He wants to trade our bondages for freedom, our mourning for comfort, our ugly ashes for something beautiful, and our despair for praise. And liberation from so much that’s dark in life is rooted in wearing that garment of praise, no matter what situation we’re in. Praise can set you free from discouragement, self-pity, frustration, bitterness, even grief. And, on any given day, there’s always something to praise Him for.

‘Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she’ll give you a baby If you give her a house, she’ll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she’ll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she’ll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of .’

It seemed appropriate today, in light of the passing of Charles (Chuck) Colson, Christian apologist and founder of Prison Fellowship, to include some well-remembered quotations from his writing…

“The dynamism and freedom that characterizes the West is the product of Christianity’s reforming itself and moving forward culturally. … The ascendancy of the West is the story of the difference that Christianity makes, and it’s a story we can’t let our culture forget.”

“I’ll tell you one of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder I’m not doing anything today or if what I do matters. I live everyday to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, and it may just be in my prayer time, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God. Now does that make you fulfilled? You bet it does! And it gives you joy about living.”

“May the Christian church never be regarded as a special interest group. We’re here because we love our neighbor.”

“In every action we take, we are doing one of two things: we are either helping to create a hell on earth or helping to bring down a foretaste of heaven. We are either contributing to the broken condition of the world or participating with God in transforming the world to reflect his righteousness. We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.”

“The Bible- banned, burned, beloved, more widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it is more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Pieced together scraps of Scripture have converted whole whole villages of pagan Indians.”

“The church does not draw people in; it sends them out.”

“We should always pray with as much earnestness as those who expect everything from God; we should always act with as much energy as those who expect everything from themselves.”

“We are not looking for power, … We are not looking for prestige. We are here because we care very, very deeply about the nation. … We love God, we love our neighbors and we act out of a love of God and love of our neighbors.”

“Christians need to take the lead in educating people that children are gifts, as my autistic grandson most surely is. By going down the path we’re currently on, we might one day get rid of genetic diseases, but only at the cost of our own humanity.”

“If our culture is to be transformed, it will happen from the bottom up – from ordinary believers practicing apologetics over the backyard fence or around the barbecue grill.”

“The church has been brought into the same value system as the world: fame, success, materialism and celebrity. We watch the leading churches and the leading Christians for our cues. We want to emulate the best known preachers with the biggest sanctuaries and the grandest edifices. Preoccupation with these values has perverted the church’s message.”

“The pro-life agenda has no meaning apart from its being rooted in absolute truth, in self-evident truths - truths that are true because they’re true, not because somebody says they are true.”

We must be the same person in private and in public. Only the Christian worldview gives us the basis for this kind of integrity.

“I don’t think the job of the church is to make people happy. I think it’s to make them holy.

“The greatest single scandal in evangelical assemblies, and I can really only speak for that, is the low regard individual Christians have for the church.”

“I learned one thing in Watergate: I was well-intentioned but rationalized illegal behavior,” he said. “You cannot live your life other than walking in the truth. Your means are as important as your ends.”

“When God wanted to defeat sin, His ultimate weapon was the sacrifice of His own Son. On Christmas Day two thousand years ago, the birth of a tiny baby in an obscure village in the Middle East was God’s supreme triumph of good over evil.”

“A government cannot be truly just without affirming the intrinsic value of human life.”

“What we do flows from who we are.”

“Moral crusaders with zeal but no ethical understanding are likely to give us solutions that are worse than the problems.”

“Christians should never have a political party. It is a huge mistake to become married to an ideology, because the greatest enemy of the gospel is ideology. Ideology is a man-made format of how the world ought to work, and Christians instead believed in the revealing truth Scripture.”

An old Cherokee told his grandson,

“My son, there is a battle between the two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil.  It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy thought about it and asked,

“Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied,

“The one you feed.”

This Tuesday I am turning 60 years old!  I don’t look it, they tell me, but I think I feel like I’m 60.  I can feel all the years of learning and listening that have enriched my life.  I can feel the thousands of delicious meals I’ve been blessed to eat and the millions of laughs and tears I’ve had that brought me closer to people.  My flabby muscles and stretch marks are there because I was fortunate enough to birth five precious children into the world.  The bags under my eyes attest to all the sleep I missed in order to take care of friends and family.  I feel the creaks and aches in my joints that remind me of the countless miles I’ve walked and stairs I’ve climbed to see the world. I feel all the wrinkles in my brow from worrying more than I should.  Because I smiled many more times than that, I have crows feet around the eyes and smile lines at my mouth.  My breasts have lost their youthful shape because I nursed five children and my legs have varicosed veins because I didn’t have much time to put my feet up.  My hands are wrinkled from washing a million dishes, clothes, faces, countertops, tubs and toilets and swollen from the multitude of hours sewing and knitting.  I feel 60 and I earned every one of the signs those years have left.  I’m a grandma, married to a grandpa for 39 of those 60 years. So on Tuesday I am going to celebrate my 60th birthday and that’s OK with me because too many people never get to live this long.   Besides, when I start to feel old, I just think about my Mom.  She’s going to be 86 next month!

I have reached the halfway point in my wheelchair sentence.  I’ve been in the chair for 5 weeks and have 5 more to go.  I have noticed an interesting phenomenon that has accompanied these five weeks.  I have plenty of things to do, but I’m not busy!  In my opinion, there’s a difference.  Plenty of things to occupy my time indicates choices -fun ones at that.  It is accompanied by feelings of peace and leisurely passing of time.  Even though I have work to do, there are very few “have to’s” .  Being busy, on the other hand, carries the connotation of being pressed for time, having too many “have to’s” to accomplish, and not being in control of my time.

I came across this humorous quote on the Net today and for the first time I can remember, I could say that it doesn’t apply to me (for the time being anyway).  Here’s the quote:

I’m so busy I don’t know if I found a rope or lost my horse!

I’ll tell you the truth.  Two days ago, I hit bottom emotionally.  I felt depressed and SICK OF BEING IN THIS ____CHAIR! and had a good cry.  I needed one because I hadn’t released my feelings about this whole crisis since it happened. The cry, by the way, was precipitated by an incident while getting ready for bed -which takes twice as long these days as it normally does.  I pulled back the covers and there was a big centipede crawling across my bed!!!!!! I screamed, “KILL IT!” at my husband and burst into tears.

However, today I realized that my stress-o-meter is registering a level quite a bit lower than before I broke my leg.  Hmmm.

I guess I should relax and enjoy this phenomenon because 5 weeks from now, it’s back to the rat race… or is it?  There’s a lesson here.

Palm Sunday
It was Palm Sunday and because of a sore throat, five-yhear-old Johnny stayed home from church with a sitter. When the family returned home, they were carrying several palm branches. The boy asked what they were for. His mother said, “People held them over Jesus’ head as he rode by on the donkey.
Wouldn’t you know it,” the boy fumed. “The one Sunday I don’t go, he shows up - and with a donkey too!”

Easter

One Easter Sunday morning as the minister was preaching the children’s sermon, he reached into his bag of props and pulled out a plastic egg. He pointed to the egg and asked the children, “What’s in here?”
“I know!”
a little boy exclaimed. “Pantyhose!!”

Pathway to Life

Your aspiration is your motivation,

your motivation is your belief,

your belief is your peace,

your peace is your target,

your target is heaven,

and life is like hard core torture without it!