About Beth Ann

I'm just somebody trying to better my relationship with Jesus and the people around me. I want to live the Christian Life as best as I can. My writing is mostly about my travels in life and where I want to go next.

New Years Prayer

I receive a blog from a pastor that I had while I grew up and this morning he posted a prayer that I would like to share with you.  Rev. Irvin Stapf sent this out this morning from his blog Life’s Meaning Ministry’s Blog:

Gracious and Holy Lord, I humbly bow before You as I begin the days of this new year. I give You sincere thanks for all the blessings You gave me in 2019. Even working in those things I didn’t really like I have seen Your hand. At the time they didn’t make any sense, but You have shown me again that, through faith, You do work all things for my good to shape me into a vessel useful in Your kingdom. No, Lord, I don’t always like the process, but I trust myself to Your wisdom and Your love.  I ask Your forgiveness for my sins of the past year, and especially those opportunities that I missed in helping others find a closer walk with You. I come now to the beginning of this new year. I know You to be a gracious Lord. One who does forgive, and gives a new start for each of my days. Your grace is new every morning. By the presence of Your Spirit, guide me through each of these new days and new challenges. My hearts desire is to please and honor You throughout my life. Your love has enfolded me ever so richly, and I give You my love in return. Let all of the days of this new year bring glory to Your Holy Name. I pray this through Jesus Christ, my Lord and only Saviour.  Amen. 

Do You Think God Can’t Use You?

I’ve had this list up next to my desk as a reminder that God can use anybody to do his work.  When I feel depressed or insignificant all I have to do is read over this list and I feel better.  So now I’m going to share it with you.

If you ever feel that you can’t be used by God just think of these persons from the Bible:

Noah was a drunk,
Abraham was old,
Isaac was a daydreamer,
Jacob was a liar,result-3236280_640
Leah was ugly,
Joseph was abused,
Moses couldn’t talk,
Rahab was a prostitute,
Gideon was afraid,
Samson was a womanizer,
Naomi was a widow,
Job went bankrupt,
David was an adulterer,
Elijah was suicidal,
Isaiah preached naked,
Jeremiah was too young,
Jonah ran from God,
John the Baptist ate bugs,
Mary Magdalene had demons,
Martha worried too much,
Zaccheus was too small,
James and John were self-promoting,
Peter denied Christ,
Thomas had doubts,
Paul was too religious,
Timothy had an ulcer,

And Lazarus was Dead!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or is it?  Most of us in the US will be getting up early to cook a turkey and pull together the meal of the year.  Family may be coming over and this is a test to see how well you can handle the stress.  There are some of us that love this kind of thing, doing all the work, watching family enjoy the meal, seeing some of the family that you haven’t seen in a while.  And then there are the rest of us….

Yes, I’m one that hates the stress and bother of having a ton of people at my house.  Let me give you some background on this:  My mother was one of the above described people.  She loved nothing more than fixing a ton of food and seeing 20 to 50 or more people descend on our home and enjoy themselves.  She actually catered my wedding reception for over 200 people without blinking an eye.  I grew up underneath this shadow.  Of course, while growing up I helped my mom do all this.  Thanksgivings, Christmas, she even had an open house on New Year’s Day every year.

Thankful HeartsFast forward about 15 years.  My mom is in a nursing home; suffering from multiple strokes and seizures.  It’s November and my dad calls to ask what I’m going to do for Thanksgiving.  Well, gee.  I’m backed into a corner and tell him I guess I’ll fix up a dinner.  Then it’s the transportation issue for my mom.  She’s in a wheelchair and unable to walk.  Lucky me that I’m working for an agency that transports handicapped individuals and have access and training to get my mom and transport her to my house (with permission, of course).  My brother abstains from driving an hour to come, so it’s just my parents and my family.

I wanted the day to go perfectly because this was probably my mom’s last Thanksgiving (it was).  Coordinating cooking with transport wasn’t easy.  Taking care of mom’s needs and handling it all was harder.  So, in the middle of all this…  I drop the turkey!  ON THE FLOOR.  I almost had a nervous breakdown.

The day didn’t get better after that; in fact, it went downhill.  Dinner was delayed while we cleaned up the mess (have you ever cleaned up the mess a dropped turkey makes?  Yuck!)  Mom started having seizures and didn’t stop.  I had to abandon it all to take her back to the nursing home.  The day, in my eyes, was a complete failure.

I let that day color the rest of the time I had with my mom.  I didn’t do everything with the grace and poise that she always had.  I didn’t meet the standards that she had set when I was younger.  I wasn’t good enough.

Since then, with God’s grace, I have a different outlook on the whole Thanksgiving holiday.  Looking back, I would have rather spent time with my mom and dad and family and maybe fixed a simple dinner.  I’ve learned since that time that you don’t have to have turkey.  We’ve had spaghetti, lasagna and mac and cheese in these past years.  We’ve invited people to join us at our simple family meals so they won’t be alone.  Yes, we still have turkey on occasion, but only if we feel like doing the whole deal.  Otherwise, it’s just dinner.

Be thankful and cherish what you have right now because you may not have it tomorrow.  Relax and love your family around you; they won’t be here forever.  Try not to get wrapped  up in the preparations of the meal.  If problems come up, and you know they will, take it “with a grain of salt” and continue on.  The world won’t come to an end. And remember to Thank the Lord always for this day and the other 365 days after it.

 

I’m A Nobody

Have you ever felt like you don’t count in this world.  Think that people should look at you and say “Just who do you think you are?”  Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt that way tons of times.

But Jesus changes that.  We are all somebody.  We all have worth.

Take a minute to listen to Casting Crowns (with Matthew West) sing about being nobody.  Lately I’ve been trying to live so the world can see nobody but Jesus.  I put the lyrics here so you can follow (or sing!) along.

Why You ever chose me
Has always been a mystery
All my life, I’ve been told I belong
At the end of a line
With all the other Not-Quites
With all the Never-Get-It-Rights
But it turns out they are the ones You were looking for
All this time

‘Cause I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

Moses had stage fright
And David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked twelve outsiders nobody would’ve chosen
And You changed the world
Well, the moral of the story is
Everybody’s got a purpose
So when I hear that devil start talking to me, saying
“Who do you think you are?” I say

I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

So let me go down, down, down in history
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus
So let me go down, down, down in history (Go down in history)
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family (It’s all I ever wanna be)
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus, yeah!

I’m just a nobody (Nobody)
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody
Who saved my soul (Oh, saved my, saved my soul)
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing (You gave me a song to sing)
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus (Nobody but You, Lord)
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus

Life Was Filled With Guns And Wars…

While we’re on Beginnings and Endings, I thought I’d bring up the very last ending, the Second Coming, ’cause Jesus is coming again.  That will be a beautiful ending and beginning for us, but not for others.

When I was a new christian back in the 70’s (I’m dating myself now), there were all sorts of debates about the Rapture going on that didn’t matter.  We were all concerned about how and when the Lord was going to return and what it was going to be like.  I’ve gotten past that now, because it doesn’t matter.  We have to be ready, every day for the Lord to return.  We have to live our lives as if in the next moment He will return.  We need to be about the Lord’s work every day.

This is a song that was a big christian hit back in the day…  I used to sing it with my guitar and usually a bunch of people would join me.  The video on this is from the 70’s, ’cause most of us grew up with Vietnam, war protests and political unrest.  It seemed like the Lord was going to show up any moment and that is the time when this song was written.

I Wish We’d All Been Ready by Larry Norman:

Letters to an American Christian – Book Review

If you’ve ever wondered how Christians should navigate and react to political situations this is the book for you.  Bruce Riley Ashford, who is a Dean of Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will help you through all the confusing rhetoric that is being spewed by politicians in Washington D.C.

The book is separated into three parts: A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, A Christian View on Hot-Button Issues and A Christian Hope for American Politics.  Each section has many chapters that are actually written like a letter to a political science undergraduate named Christian.  By writing in this format, Bruce Riley Ashford has kept the tone of the subject matter light and easy to read.   He covers many topics that are in the news today like abortion, gay rights and same sex marriage, free speech, religious liberty and Second Amendment rights, only to mention a few.

The first section, A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, explores the relationship between Christians and government and he also explains the separation of Church and State.  The second section goes over the top hot-button topics of the day that I listed above.  This section really helped me form and solidify my opinions on these topics.  Section three is about being a Christian Witness in the world and how to effect the culture around us.

I took a long time reading this book because I really wanted to soak in what the author was saying.  I can get very confused with all of the political rhetoric out there.  I’m interested in what happens in the “public square”, but back away when the yelling starts.  This book really helped me sort out the issues and learn how to, perhaps, join my voice with others.

I’m giving this book five stars.  If you are interested in the public forum, but can’t make sense of it all, and not sure where a christian should stand, this is the book for you.

 

Letters to an American Christian

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

Pet Peeve Rant

Beware, personal opinion rant coming up!!

For years I have noticed that the workers in my building will greet everyone they meet with a “Hi, How are you?”  and then they keep walking.  I just say Hello and also keep walking.  Why do they ask how I’m doing when they obviously don’t want to know?

The time when this would really, really bug me is when I was in the middle of caring for my husband.  I was “walking exhausted” all the time.  I lived on coffee.  In fact, I would drink a half a pot of coffee in the evening just to make it to bedtime.  During this time in my life I really wanted to stop these people and just lay into them and let them know how I felt.  But I didn’t.

Then there are the people that when you ask them how they are doing (and you really want to know) and they say they are “fine”.  What does that mean?  You look at this person and you can tell they are not “fine”, but that’s what they say?  What’s with that?  You are not “fine”.  You are feeling lousy, tired, beat-up, but yet you still say “fine”.  Please….

I’d like everyone who has the habit (because it is a habit!) of asking how everyone is doing and not really caring, to think about this.  If you don’t want to know how someone is doing, Don’t Ask!!  But if you do, take the time to stop and ask like you mean it.  That person may be having a really rough time.  If you ask how they are doing and they tell you about the rough time they are having, then you can listen.  Usually there isn’t a whole lot you can do to help them, but really listen, sympathize with them, pray with them.  Pray right there and then for them and then tell them you will regularly pray for them and then do it!

And to you all that are always “fine”?  Stop it.  Let others know that you are not fine.  If you  need to have someone listen to you, pray with you, then let others know.  I know that when I was in the midst of taking care of my husband that sometimes just talking to someone and praying with them would help.  It didn’t ease my situation, but it did help to lean on someones shoulder for a bit and unburden myself.

We in the body of Christ need to learn to trust and listen to each other and share our burdens.  So start a new habit today…  Ask someone how they are doing, and really mean it.