Tuesday, August 31, 2010


“The Hub” and I just got back from a few days' vacation in Utah.

We went to a Western Festival.

We absolutely LOVE all things having to do with the Old West!!

“The Hub” has been told, many a time, that he looks like Sam Elliott. (He does!) So, he has put together a whole “Virgil Earp” outfit (Sam Elliott played Virgil in the movie “Tombstone”) – complete with badge, holster, and gun (it’s a replica!!). I dress up in a lavender satin “city girl” dress, with lace gloves and a feather headband.

We are quite the pair!

One of our favorite things to do at this event is visit with the “stars.”

Those of you who are “Empty-Nesters” will probably remember such movie and TV stars as Peter Brown, James Drury, Don Collier, Denny Miller, Lee Meriwether, Wyatt McCrea (grandson of Joel McCrea), and Clint Walker.

Well, we got to visit with them all!

And the one thing that always impresses us is how very kind and respectful these people are. They are genuinely interested in all you have to say to them, and they are generous with their time. They truly embody what is known as
“The Code of the West.”

There are many versions of the “Code” – but they all have one thing in common.

They closely parallel Biblical principles.

So, without further ado, here’s a short version of “The Code of the West” – and a verse from Scripture that corresponds with it:

1. Live Each Day with Courage – “…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

2. Take Pride in Your Work – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord…” (Colossians 3:23)

3. Always Finish What you Start – “Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now…” (2 Corinthians 8:11)

4. Do What Has to Be Done – “Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

5. Be Tough, But Fair – “This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!” (Jeremiah 22:3)

6. When You Make a Promise, Keep It – “The godly are directed by honesty…” (Proverbs 11:5)

7. Ride for the Brand – “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ…” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

8. Talk Less and Say More – “…I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue…” (Psalm 39:1)

9. Remember That Some Things Are Not For Sale – "You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

10. Know Where to Draw the Line – “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)

If it's not yours, don't take it.
If it's not true, don't say it.
If it's not right, don't do it.

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8)

Happy Trails, ‘lil pardners…

See you on down the trail!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 30, 2010


Why is it that some sins just refuse to die?!

You know what I’m talking about…the sins you think you’ve dealt with, only to find them back again.

Like zombies scratching at the windows, clawing to get into your heart.


The apostle Paul knew what it was like to deal with “zombie sins”:

“I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway…I have learned this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.” (Romans 7:18-19, 22-23)

Can you relate?!

For me, the biggest "zombie sin" I deal with is fear. It seems that I am afraid a lot. I’ve been this way since I was a child. Yes, I have “a genetic predisposition to anxiety” – blah, blah, blah.

But, why can’t I once and for all just TRUST God?

I know people who are going through real struggles, real difficulties – financial hardships, addiction issues, marriage problems, etc. They seem to have more faith than I can muster most days.

What is it about fear?

What am I afraid of, you might ask? (It’s OK, you can ask…)

A lot…”the boys” – and all their life issues – work, marriage, money, their faith…

“The Hub” – issues about HIS faith…

My elderly parents – what’s coming in the future as I deal with their aging?

A thousand other "what if" things -

The random call at midnight, the scary diagnosis, the unforeseen accident…

Cancer, death…

Ah…there it is! The underlying fear – the BIG one that simmers underneath all the others.

I’m afraid of death.

OK, that was really tough to admit. Because as a believer, I KNOW where I’m going when I die. I BELIEVE every promise of God’s. But I’m still scared.

If I’m really honest with myself…and with you…even underneath that fear of death is another – the fear of not being in control. For death is really the final, ultimate thing over which WE HAVE NO CONTROL.

I’m a nice lady…(just ask me, I’ll tell you) – I don’t see myself as a control freak. But if I fear the “uncontrollable” – then what does that say about my willingness to trust God COMPLETELY??

I have nailed this “zombie sin” to the cross I don’t know how many times…just for it to come back and live another day.

But I guess that’s what it means to “take up your cross DAILY.”

So, for today, just for today, I’m going to fight this “zombie sin” with these weapons:

“For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”
(Hebrews 2:14-15)

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” (Romans 8:11)

“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?...thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, 57)

Do you have a “zombie sin” – does it have something to do with control???

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BIBLE "PICK 'EMS" - A Bit of Foreshadowing


A new "BIBLE PICK 'EMS" update is now posted on my other blog:

(For the complete story about "Bible Pick 'Ems," see my blog entry dated June 29, 2010)

(Scripture references for "Bible Pick 'Ems" will continue to be posted on this blog)


"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"To some the love of the ringing praises of men made strong appeal and they forgot that the silence of death hushes all but the voice of God. Others some the love of bodily ease set a-hungering for the delicacies of this world and sapped their stalwartness in their service of their King. Yet others again have let the love of a fellow-creature steal in upon a heart that should have had a single Lover and Him upon the altar-throne. So they all let other and mean loves come into their lives and cheat their God of an undivided heart.
Oh, if such our lives have been and are, as we look towards death, do not our minds keep saying: 'And after that - the dark?' But, if with God's help we have learned that 'the end of the commandment is love,' that all the fulfillment of our lives lies in 'knowing and loving and serving Him in this life,' then as the grave comes nearer and nearer to us, we know - 'and after that - the light' - the light of the eternal love of God...and the welcoming smiles of those that have gone before and sleep the sleep of peace.
Jesus, save me from my own heart's truancy. I know it well that You must be the only object of my love and in my thankful moments I would have it always so - but then! Away I go, back to the tinseled, loud-mouthed world, and many, many a time my heart is weaned from You, at least in little things. Teach me, dearest Master, teach this backward child that Yours is the only love worth having, that You and Heaven are the only goals worth striving for."

(From "My Changeless Friend" by Francis P. Le Buffe, c. 1921)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 27, 2010


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a phrase, a sentence, or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: neighbor

Who is your neighbor?
What can you do to reach out to them - to show them God's love?

"[Jesus replied]...The second [commandment] is equally important:
'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " (Mark 12:31)

Let me know what you think!!

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MANNA...Where's the Beef?

Place: A campsite in the Sinai wilderness

“Wife, what’s for breakfast?”

“Husband, you know – we’re having…”

“Oh yeah…manna…again…”

Do you ever find yourself acting like one of those grumbling, complaining Israelites?

Forgetting all the blessings God has given?

Dissatisfied with His provision?

What is it about human nature that makes us long for something “else” – what makes us feel like we’re “missing out?”

The Israelites had food provided for them every day – by the very hand of God. And yet, that wasn’t good enough!

“Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt…But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:4-6)

Hey, you guys – did you forget about God rescuing you from slavery???

It’s easy to point fingers at the Israelites – but truthfully, are we any different?

We do not live in a moral world – we live in a “more-all” world.

I want what I want, and I want it my way, and I want it now…and when I get it, then I want some more.

Pick up a magazine, read a newspaper, watch TV – it’s everywhere. The pervasive idea that the secret to contentment is moremore money, more fame, more power…more stuff.

We Christians can be fooled into this mindset, too.

Only sometimes our desires are disguised as “good” and “righteous” things. We want a bigger ministry or a certain spiritual gift or someone else’s talent. Or we want attention for our holy behavior or our wise words – but we want it from people, instead of God.

Or we get bitter when we see other people’s lives and wish our lives were more like theirs – easier, more successful, more “faithful” maybe…

Or sometimes it just seems so hard to follow Jesus. We don’t quite fit in, or we get left out, or ostracized or criticized – or downright persecuted! Sometimes it seems like it was “easier” somehow when we weren’t living “quite so closely” to the Lord.

We look back at Egypt, and long for meat.

Or sometimes we get so used to living life that we begin to take for granted the things that God provides for us each day. We get spoiled, and fail to see how fortunate we are.

Manna…we want meat. (Whine, whine, whine…)

So, today I offer up my “manna list” – things that I am grateful for:

1. I woke up this morning – that means God has work for me to do.
2. I am saved – that means that I am at peace with God.
3. I have eternal life – that means I can live life abundantly NOW, and I will
also live FOREVER with God.
4. I have hope – that means that I can live ABOVE circumstances.
5. I am a child of God – that means that He bestows all the treasures of the
Kingdom on me.
6. I have a good God – that means that I can TRUST Him, in everything.
7. I have His Word – that means that I have a resource for godly living
and I am free to read it whenever and wherever I want.
8. I can pray – that means I have direct access to the throne of God, anytime.
9. I have a God who listens – that means that those prayers go directly to
His ears, and to His heart.
10. I have a God who never changes, who will never leave me nor
forsake me, who LOVES me with a faithfulness I will never be able to
fully comprehend.

Oh Lord, thank you for Your gift of “manna.” Let me never take for granted the blessing of Your daily bread.

What’s on your “manna list?”

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The last thing I learned about God from Marty is this –

God NEVER lets go of us.

Marty has a retractable leash. It can be stretched out to about 25 feet. It allows Marty to run ahead, or lag behind. He has a certain amount of freedom on it. He can even wander off into the bushes for a while, but he can never get lost or run away.

That’s because, AT ALL TIMES, my son has a firm hold on that leash.

Marty is ALWAYS under his watchful eye, and Marty can never get away from him.

That’s how God’s love is we can never get away from it.

God does allow us freedom in our lives, freedom to make choices – either for good or bad reasons. We have the capability to run all the way to the end of the leash, even to “run off into the bushes for a while.”

I’ve been a believer practically my whole life – but I have had times in my life when I stretched that leash of God’s to the end. I was so eager to lead my own life, that I ran ahead, lagged behind, and yes, even ran off into those pesky bushes for a time!

But, even during those times of wandering, I was still firmly attached to God’s hand – He still held me with His love.

Psalm 139:7-12: “I can never escape your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there…if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me…but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

We are ever, ALWAYS, under the watchful eye of God, and firmly held in His grasp.

I find that to be an AMAZING statement!!

We can choose to look at God’s leash like Marty looks at his – not as an instrument of restriction, but as a tether of trusting reassurance. God, a loving God, a GOOD God, has us in His firm control, leading us on our “walk of life,” and He will NEVER LET GO!

Romans 8:38-39: “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrownot even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God has a firm hold on us, and we can never escape from His watchful eye, or His loving hand.

I am grateful for God's "retractable leash" - a “LEASH” that stretched all the way from Heaven, down to the cross, and is now firmly attached to me!

Thank you, Lord, for NEVER LETTING GO!

P.S. Thank you, Lord, for Marty - and for the lessons he teaches me
about YOU!

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Here’s the second thing I learned about God from Marty.

Marty had to have some minor surgery a few months back. Now, dogs are notorious for trying to pull out their stitches – so when we picked up Marty, he had a plastic cone on his head. You have seen these before – dogs wear them sometimes after a flea treatment.

They call them Elizabethan collars!

I guess because they kinda look like the old collars people used to wear in Shakespeare’s time – (can you imagine anything more humiliating to a dog?)

The “cone of pain” as I like to refer to it, is plastic, it’s stiff, and it’s cumbersome.

It magnifies everything a dog hears, it interferes with their peripheral vision, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s rather disturbing to a dog’s normal life. Many dogs are very stressed out by having to wear this cone.

Marty had to wear his for TEN DAYS!!

Do you know that Marty NEVER complained about that cone?!

He accepted it and learned to adapt to it. He figured out a way to reach his bowls and eat and drink with it on. He learned how to negotiate the room, and furniture, with it on. Yes, he banged into things (including us!) – but he never let it get him down.

He was still the same sweet dog, who continually wagged his tail!

Once in a while, my son would take the cone off to give Marty a little break from it. But when it was time for it to go back on, Marty would wag his tail, and put his head through the opening, knowing that my son had a good reason for placing this hardship on him.

Again, this gave me such a clear picture of how we should look at suffering.

God allows suffering in our lives – we often don’t know the reason why. But, we DO know our Master, and we can trust Him in times of hardship.

1 Peter 5:7, 10: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you…In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”

Yes, we can rest in God through suffering, trusting His love, and KNOW that HE knows the reason for it – we can be assured that He has a purpose for ita purpose that is GOOD.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Accept suffering.

Subject yourself to God’s wisdom, and trust that He is working everything to a GOOD purpose. Count suffering as joy.

“…when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” (James 1:2, 3)

Life brings many kinds of “CONES” to endure - what's yours?

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”

Monday, August 23, 2010


“The boys” are in their 20’s, and they aren’t married, so I don’t have any grandchildren yet. But three years ago, my youngest son bought an adorable beagle – so I like to tell people I have one terrific grand-dog!!
(Check out his picture on the sidebar!!)

From time to time, I am asked to “baby-sit” Marty (like I'm doing right now!).
I know, I’m a WONDERFUL mother…

But it doesn’t take any “arm-twisting” to get me to spend a few days with my favorite creature in the whole world (those with fur, anyway!)

Marty is very special – and he has taught me many lessons about love and faith and God. Over the next three days, I’m going to share some with you.

First of all, Marty has the most adorable way of letting us know when he’s hungry, or when he’s run out of water.

He has two dishes that sit in a holder. And when Marty needs something, he goes over to his bowls and taps on them with his paw. And then he sits there, staring at his bowls, waiting for someone to respond. If you don’t get up and take care of him, he’ll tap his bowls again. Sometimes he gets a little more insistent, and starts pushing the bowls around the room with his nose!

Now occasionally Marty has to wait a little longer for us to respond.

When that happens, he’ll come over to us, sit down by our feet, and wait expectantly for us to take care of his needsknowing that we will.

This gave me such a clear picture of how we should rely on GOD for ALL our needs.

Marty has relied on my son for everything, since the time when he was a tiny puppy. And this is how we should look to God – for He is the ONLY One who can take care of us, the ONLY One who fulfills every need.

Isaiah 58:9, 11: “Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply…The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.”

God is the One who takes care of us fully.

Philippians 4:19: “And this same God…will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”

God is right there, beside us – the One who has watched over us since before we were born. He is the true source of life, the fulfillment of our spiritual thirst and hunger, the only One who gives us the nourishment that will fill the empty places in our souls.

All we have to do is talk to Him.

He is listening.

Praying is like Marty “tapping on his bowls.” It’s communicating to God what you need. Now, sometimes God doesn’t answer our prayers right away. Then, like Marty, we have to sit at the Master’s feet, having complete trust in the fact that He HAS heard us, and He WILL respond in His timing.

Trust Him, even when it means waiting.

“Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6)

Are you TAPPING ON THOSE BOWLS, my friends?!

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

BIBLE "PICK 'EMS" - My Word Will Not Fail!


A new "BIBLE PICK 'EMS" update is now posted on my other blog:

(For the complete story about "Bible Pick 'Ems," see my blog entry dated June 29, 2010)

(Scripture references for "Bible Pick 'Ems" will continue to be posted on this blog)


"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Welcome to "Quaint Words!”

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!


One by one the sands are flowing,
One by one the moments fall,
Some are coming, some are going -
Do not strive to grasp them all.

One by one thy duties wait thee,
Let thy whole strength go to each;
Let no future dreams elate thee;
Learn thou first what those can teach.

One by one (bright gifts from heaven),
Joys are sent thee here below;
Take them readily, when given,
Ready too to let them go.

One by one thy griefs shall meet thee,
Do not fear an armed band;
One will fade, while others greet thee,
Shadows passing through the land.

Do not look at life's long sorrow,
See how small each moment's pain;
God will help thee for to-morrow -
Every day begin again.

Every hour that fleets so slowly,
Has its task to do or bear;
Luminous the crown, and holy,
If thou set each gem with care.

Do not linger with regretting,
Or for passion's hour despond,
Nor, the daily toil forgetting,
Look too eagerly beyond.

Hours are golden links, God's token,
Reaching heaven one by one;
Take them lest the chain be broken,
Ere the pilgrimage be done.

(From The Changed Cross, by Henry Altemus, c. 1897)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 20, 2010


Welcome to "Fan the Flame" Friday.

This is a weekly post that will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word and a question or two...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: Heaven

What do you picture in your mind's eye when you hear the word Heaven?
What are you looking forward to the most?

Let me know what you think!!

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

FIVE "W's" - AND AN "H"

Newsflash: Satan is alive and well…and he’s been busy.

He has visited most of my friends lately. Most of them are trying to speak out for the Lord. And Satan doesn’t like it. He’s been hurling spears of self-doubt into their hearts. Shooting arrows of self-condemnation into their minds. Exploding grenades of suffering into their spirits. Bringing bombshells of life-changing surprises to their souls.

Discouragement, defeat, despair.

He’s been after me, too.

Not in big ways – but in a thousand little ways – the “drip-drip” of anxiety that has worn me down, the steady hissing of those errant thoughts that get carried away, the temptation to worry about…EVERYTHING!

Including this blog…

You see, I had some computer problems this week…

And the incessant record started playing loudly…

What if my blog disappears?
What if no one can read it anymore?

(Followed quickly by these thoughts)

What if no one wants to read it anymore?
What if I say something wrong?
Or, oh no, what if I run out of ideas?

What if, what if, what if…

I found myself fretting about all kinds of issues. And then I realized I was striving to make this blog work…

So I looked up “striving” in Kirby’s Acrostic Dictionary:

S haron
T rying
R eally
I nsanely and
V ainly
I nstead of
N eeding
G od

Oh, Lord…forgive me.

Then He spoke to me:

“Sharon, you do your part, and I’ll do Mine. Just listen to Me, and I’ll do the rest.

I’ll decide who reads these words.
I’ll decide what you should say.
I’ll decide when to say it.
I’ll decide where these words travel.
I’ll decide why this blog is here...
(part of the reason is for what I want to teach YOU, Sharon)

I’ll decide how to get MY message out there.

Just give it to me, and LET IT GO…”

I was reminded yet again, that this is not MY blog, it belongs to God. And the privilege of serving Him is just that – a privilege.

Computer problems will not thwart the purposes of God. He will guard His Word as it travels through us. We must just do OUR part, and LET IT GO…the rest is up to Him.

After all, Satan may be the “prince of the power of the air,” but our Almighty God is KING!

“So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest…” (Matthew 9:38)

Where are you "striving" in your life - what is God asking you to LET GO?

BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I've always been sorta envious of people who had these wonderful testimonies.

It's just that I thought "my story" was kinda plain and simple...

I became a believer when I was about 3 1/2 years old. I don't remember it. But my mom does! She is the "angel" who brought me to the Lord. I am literally "eternally" grateful!

It seems that it all started with a "thumb-sucking" incident.

Yup, the secret's out...

I was a habitual "thumb-sucker!"

My mom had tried everything to get me to stop. Pleading, bribery, threats (actually, knowing my mom, that NEVER happened). The old "put something sour on her thumb" didn't seem to help either. It just gave me a lifelong love of Sweet Tarts.

Tired of hearing people say things like...

"Isn't she a little old to be sucking her thumb?"
"You know, that can give her buck-teeth."
"Must have taken her off the bottle too soon..."
"What a dirty habit! You never know where her hands have been!"

...she decided to take a different tack.

The conversation went something like this (as she recounts it):

"You know, sweetie, you're a big girl now."

"Mmm...mmm (with thumb firmly stuck in my mouth)"

"Wouldn't you like to give up sucking your thumb?"


"You know, there's Someone who can help you stop."

(This peaked my curious little mind - enough to remove my thumb,
by the way!)

"There is?"

"Yes, His name is Jesus. He wants to be your friend. He wants to live in your heart. And He can make you stop sucking your thumb."


"Yes, would you like Him to be your friend, and come into your heart to live forever and ever?"

"Forever and ever?!"

"Forever and ever!!"

"OH YES, I would like that VERY MUCH!"

And then my mom led me in a very simple prayer, in words a 3-year-old could understand, and I invited Jesus into my heart. I began my walk with Him that moment, and He has been with me ever since...

Oh yeah, from that moment on, I NEVER sucked my thumb again!!

It's a simple story, but it's my story...the way Jesus chose to meet me. All of us have a story - they're as different as fingerprints - as different as each unique person. Jesus is like that - He meets us at all stages of life, young and old and in-between, across all cultures and race, throughout the history of humanity - but, the wonder of all? HE MEETS US!

Maybe you have your own version of "sucking your thumb" - something you can't seem to get rid of on your own. Even as a 3-year-old, I knew that I needed SOMEONE bigger than me to help!

So, just talk to Him - He's your Friend. And He's waiting to meet you - in your need, in your pain, in your foolish ways, in your pride...in whatever place you find yourself...

...maybe for the first time.

" 'Yes, I am the gate. Those who come through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them...life.'
So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." (John 10:9-10 / Romans 8:1-2)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


OK, here goes...my list of some things that DO NOT paint "a pretty picture":

1. Me - first thing in the morning.

2. "The Hub" - first thing in the morning...Sorry, hon!

3. A slightly overweight cable guy bending over to "check a few wires."

4. An unknown bowl of "fuzz" in the fridge.

5. A COLEN ("Change-of-Life Empty-Nester") in a bikini.

6. OK, I'm just gonna say it...most NORMAL women in a bikini.

7. A Christmas fruitcake (sorry, all you people who bake or cook or do whatever it takes to make a fruitcake).

8. Mel Gibson's (or insert any celebrity) latest booking photo.

9. Trash at the beach.

10. The bottom of my trash can.

11. My hair the day BEFORE I get it colored (think skunk, 2-lane highway, 50-yard line, etc).

12. A dead spider in your sleeping bag.

13. A LIVE spider in your sleeping bag.

14. Me snoring - (it's an ugly secret - but it had to come out).

15. Gopher holes.


17. Any casserole I "try" to make.

18. Camels - (I'm sorry...I just think they're weird-looking...and they spit).

19. "Pink Eye" - (I'm not sure where this came from...).

20. The replay of Joe Theismann breaking his leg (football fans will be wincing right now).

21. Most people's feet - think about it...

Here's something that shouldn't paint a pretty picture...

"By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock. The light from the sun was gone...[Jesus] said, 'It is finished' Then he bowed his head and released his spirit...Jesus shouted, 'Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!' And with those words he breathed his last." (From Luke 23 and John 19)

...but it's the most beautiful thing in the world!

"They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn't find the body of the Lord Jesus...Then the men asked, 'Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn't here! HE IS RISEN from the dead!'" (From Luke 24)

Only God could choose the worst "picture" of human cruelty - the cross - and turn it into the most beautiful symbol of Love ever known!

Praise God for His gracious "reversals!"

"The message of the cross is foolish to those headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the VERY POWER OF GOD. As the Scriptures say, 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent...This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." (From 1 Corinthians)

P.S. For another "pretty picture" you might be interested in - check out my devotional "A LITTLE REMINDER" at Granola Bar Devotionals!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today I have the privilege of having a "guest post" on a friend's blog (Thanks, Wendy!)

While you're there, sit a spell - you'll love wandering around her blog.

Click on the link below and join me in celebrating our wonderful Lord!

I would be honored if you would read the post and make a comment!

(Isn't this fun?! I just love a party!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BIBLE "PICK 'EMS" - There is No God Like You!


A new "BIBLE PICK 'EMS" update is now posted on my other blog:

(For the complete story about "Bible Pick 'Ems," see my blog entry dated June 29, 2010)

(Scripture references for "Bible Pick 'Ems" will continue to be posted on this blog)


"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Since I got good response last week...(Drumroll, please...!)

I've decided to make "Quaint Words" a weekly post on Saturdays!

TA DA!!!

These posts will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books that I have found at antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales (with an occasional treasure from a bookstore).

I love the rhythm and sound of the older English language, and am blessed by other believers who have gone before me!

"A little probing often reveals bitterness in the heart, a great wrong which it seems impossible to forgive, a spirit of envy or dislike of some one which makes his success a source of discomfort and his failure an unconfessed satisfaction. When this has been laid before God, generally in private prayer, not in general terms but with specific mention of the individual's name, an awareness of God breaks out in the soul. This is entirely natural. It is necessary to agree with God in his feeling about an individual who has done wrong or suffered a wrong, in order to have any peaceful awareness of his presence. It is impossible to work with God for a friendly world so long as there is an unfriendly state of heart."

(From "What It Means to Be a Christian" by Edward Increase Bosworth, c. 1922)

(A listing of books and authors, and also dates of individual postings from those books, will be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Friday, August 13, 2010

"FAN THE FLAME" FRIDAY - Possibility

But far inside, a flicker of flame
A wish, a hope we can scarcely name,
Glows like an ember of deep desire
Just waiting to be swept into a blazing fire.

With separate twigs to start the fire
You light the spark of our desire,
And fan a flame we cannot start
And plant Your Spirit within our hearts.

Lead us, guide us, show us Your way
Give us inspiration on each and every day,
Expand our horizons, help us to proclaim
The wondrous glory of Your precious name!

© Sharon Kirby, July 30, 2010


I thought I would start a new weekly post called, "Fan the Flame" Friday.

It will be "short and sweet" (kinda like me...)

Just a word or a phrase, a sentence or a question...just a little something to "fan the flame" of your creativity!

Today's word: possibility

"Jesus looked at them intently and said, 'Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.' " (Mark 10:27)

What's your impossible possibility...

Let me know what you think!!

All praise to our God who turns the impossible into "Him-possible!"

“This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you…For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010


We have the biggest pepper tree in our backyard!!

Last year, we got a very ominous letter from our homeowner's association (truthfully, their "power" scares me a little...I'm just sayin') -

WARNING: Any trees overhanging "common property" must be trimmed by the end of March, or it will be done by the association and charged to your account!

OK...our pepper tree's branches and leaves were hanging over into the next county, truth be told!!!

So, I knew we had to trim that tree. And I figured that WE might as well do it, rather than have THEM do it and send a bill: "That will be $10,000, ma'am. Thank you very much." We talked to our gardener about it, and he assured us that it was a job "he could do at a reasonable price."

"The Hub" beat me home the day our tree was "pruned." He met me in the driveway...not a good sign.

"Sweetie, the gardener told us that we probably wouldn't like the results, remember?

"Yes..." (tentative hesitation)

"But he promised us that it would grow back, right?"

"Yes..." (growing trepidation)

"Just remember that, OK?"

"Oh, no..." (abject terror)

He led me by the hand (not good that he thought I needed physical support), around the corner of the house...into the backyard...

I was speechless!!

The entire tree had been trimmed back to nothing but BARE BRANCHES!!

I started crying...it was so ugly...and I was sure the tree was dead.

I barely ate that night, moped around for the next several days...looked at that tree a thousand times. I just felt so sad. That tree had been with us for 25 years - my kids had played in it...I HAD PLAYED IN IT! It had shaded the little playhouse, and blocked the street light, and stood there like a sentinel in our backyard forever...

GONE! Cut down in his prime by an errant chainsaw and a crazy tree-killing maniac...

After about a week of mourning, I started going out every day to talk to Mr. Pepper. I told him how much I loved him. Told him that "he could do it - he could come back to life - he could grow." I hugged him.

And you know what?

That tree started to grow back...

At first, it was just a few little green sprigs, then a few more sprouts, and then the greenery began to grow exponentially...more and more, and faster and faster. And by the end of the summer, Mr. Pepper had made a full recovery, and had never looked more beautiful!!

I was talking to my oldest son the other night - he was telling me how his new "revival" of faith was great...but it was kinda hard, too. He told me how he just couldn't look at things the "same old way." How some of his friends didn't understand him anymore. How the way he thought about work, and money, and life had changed.

I told him I understood...

God trims us...sometimes back to our bare branches...to prepare us for new growth.

"I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener...he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more...Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:1-2, 4-5)

Dear Lord, prune me where You will. Help me bear the pain of "lopping off old branches" of selfishness, and pride, of fear and disobedience. Prepare me for new growth. Make me into a beautiful tree that reflects the wise and loving hand of the Gardener of Life. Amen...

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I love crosswords!

OK, to be more accurate...


Get the picture?!

I'm a little addicted to them!

It's just that I love words...They're like building blocks. With them you can paint pictures, create characters, evoke feelings, convey thoughts - they can be shaped and kneaded and cajoled into all sorts of communication! You can do so many things with them!

There's only one drawback to doing crosswords...

When you do one out of the newspaper, you have to be careful what you use to write on! Otherwise, you end up with all sorts of little newsprint letters all over...(it's even worse when I do Word Search puzzles - can you say, little circles everywhere?!)

I did something similar the other day - had a quick thought I just had to jot down or it would be a "goner." (I really miss my brain...) Anyway, rather than get up and get a tablet, I just grabbed a scrap of paper, and wrote out my thought on the top of my laptop.

This morning, when I got my coffee and sat down, I glanced at the laptop before opening it. And there, barely visible, were some letters.

I realized that I had inadvertently "scratched" a word into my laptop...GRRRR!

All right, it's hardly noticeable. The light had to be shining JUST RIGHT for me to see it, otherwise it's basically invisible. Even so, I tried rubbing it off -
no use!

But, it's OK...

You know WHY?

Because the little word scratched into the top of my laptop was...PRAYER!

Isn't that just too precious?!

It was like a message had come to me directly from God.

"Sharon, it's the same way the Holy Spirit works in your life. I have Him write My words in your heart - and then, when the timing is JUST RIGHT, I shine My light on them and the words become visible."

Have you ever felt that way?

Like you were doing the typing, but Someone else was doing the talking?!


"When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths." (1 Corinthians 2:13)

"...don't worry about...what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking - it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10:20)

Oh Lord, what an honor and privilege to speak for You. May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, my rock and my redeemer...

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


What on earth is a "tater" you're asking?

Maybe you've figured out it's slang for "potato." (Oh, the English major in me is SO PROUD OF YOU!!)

But, what does THAT have to do with hitting them??

OK, boys and girls, here's a lesson in baseball jargon...free of charge!!


A home run. The term started to appear in the 1970s, specifically as "long tater". The ball itself has been known as a "potato" or "tater" for generations. A long ball is thus a "long tater", shortened to just "tater" for this specific meaning.

The phrase was coined by George "Boomer" Scott, a one-time hitter for the Boston Red Sox.

"The Hub" (like the new nickname for my husband?!) is a baseball fanatic!!

He loves using all the fun slang words...

You might remember I mentioned in a previous post that I took a speaker's training class from January to June. And I also mentioned (lamented) how DIFFICULT it was to get up in front of people - and speak - and then get CRITIQUED!!! (Read "criticized" - that's what it felt like to me!)

"The Hub" (I'm really liking this...) helped me so much with this!


He used baseball...OF COURSE!

He told me it was like I was new to the "major leagues" - and I had a lot of "raw talent" - I was just "un-coached." What a difference this made! Now I was able to accept a "critique" for what it truly was - coaching to make me more effective!

In the middle of June, we had our "graduation" night - (Remember that night, L and J?!?!). We had to present a 12-minute talk in front of about 40 women! When I was leaving that night, "The Hub" grabbed my shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Sweetie, go hit a tater!"

It was one of the nicest things he's EVER said to me!

That night I was VERY nervous. I knew that many prayers had been, and were at that moment, being offered up on my behalf. I'd done my "fair share" of it, too, let me tell you!! But I WAS SCARED!! Finally, it was my turn - I was the last speaker of the evening. I approached the podium, and looked up at the audience, and the most incredible, thrilling, powerful thing happened...


An instant calm came over me...and I could feel Him speaking through me!!

It was an amazing experience!

When I came home that night (after 11 P.M.), there was my dear husband waiting up for me. He put his arms around me and said (a little tentatively), "Well, how did it go?"

I looked up into his face, with tears in my eyes, and replied, "Honey, I hit a tater!!"

It's the same with everything else in my life - every dream, every venture, every opportunity, everything else I say, or write, or do...

On my own, I might be - three strikes, 'yer out -

But, with God's help...


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 9, 2010


"You're just like your dad..."

I hear this quite often. Evidently, I'm a lot like him - a regular "chip off the
ol' block."

Most of the time, this remark is meant as a compliment - I'm glad. There are many things about my dad that I really admire. And to think that I have some of his qualities is awesome!

Want to know some of those things?!

  • I am the oldest child and oldest grandchild in my extended family - he is too.
  • I am the only one of the kids who has his hazel eyes.
  • I am conscientious and responsible.
  • I'm reliable and dependable.
  • I really love reading!
  • I really love sports!
  • I really love my mom (OK, that one was easy!!)
  • We both have analytical minds.
  • He's intelligent...(I don't lay claim to this one anymore, but I used to be smart in school!)
  • He likes to travel.
  • He loves the outdoors.
  • He likes to talk.
  • He's fascinated by World War II documentaries.
  • He deeply loves his family, and appreciates tradition.
He's the one who taught me how to ride a bike, how to throw a baseball like a boy (Thanks for that one, Dad!), how to (sorta) understand geometry, how to think and question, how to speak up and "hold my own," how to properly wash a car...

The list could go on and on...

I owe my dad a lot!

And truth be known, I'm glad that people think we're alike!

Yes, he has weaknesses (and I share some of those, too!) - but they are far outweighed by his good qualities. I'm honored to share some of those qualities with him!

But, what about my HEAVENLY Father?

Am I like Him?

What are the qualities that I want to have?

It's pretty much summed up in Galatians 6:22-23:

"...the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

ALL of the qualities GOD possesses:

LOVE: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son..." (John 3:16)

JOY: "Honor and majesty surround him; strength and joy fill his dwelling."
(1 Chronicles 16:27)

PEACE: "For God is not a God of disorder but of peace..."
(1 Corinthians 14:33)

PATIENCE: "And remember, the Lord's patience gives people time to be saved." (2 Peter 3:15)

KINDNESS: "Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous." (Romans 3:24)

GOODNESS: "Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness...The LORD is good to everyone." (Psalm 145:7, 9)

FAITHFULNESS: "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." (Lamentations 3:23)

GENTLENESS: "Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart..." (Matthew 11:29)

SELF-CONTROL: "But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent...[He] made no response to any of the charges...(Jesus' behavior during His trial and His crucifixion showed remarkable self-control) (Matthew 27:12, 14)

Yeah, when people look at me, I just want them to see God in me and say...

"You're just like your Dad!"

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Sunday, August 8, 2010

BIBLE "PICK 'EMS" - Light of the World!


A new "BIBLE PICK 'EMS" update is now posted on my other blog:

(For the complete story about "Bible Pick 'Ems," see my blog entry dated June 29, 2010)

(Scripture references for "Bible Pick 'Ems" will continue to be posted on this blog)


"When in doubt, search God out!"

Saturday, August 7, 2010


STILL working out the "kinks" - but wanted to let you know a couple of things!


I will be updating "READ THROUGH THE BIBLE" - (Scripture verses for one-year Bible reading plan - found at the bottom of my blog)


I will also be updating "QUAINT WORDS" (This page will contain thoughts, poems, and prayers from old books - it can be found on my "QUAINT WORDS" page)

Thanks, dear friends...and pardon my dust!!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God"

Friday, August 6, 2010


Just wanted to THANK everyone for a truly blessed week!

Your support and encouragement MEAN EVERYTHING!

I'll leave you with just a few words from Scripture:

"I always thank my God for you and the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Corinthians 1:4)

"[I] always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As [I] pray to our God and Father about you, [I] think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:2-3)

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the GOOD NEWS about Christ Jesus...And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns." (Philippians 1:3-6)

And finally, always and forever...my immeasurable gratitude to a God who is so GOOD!

His faithful love endures forever."

(For a great praise Scripture, read Psalm 136!)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010


OK, yes, I'm actually going to use "jazz hands" in a post about God!!

Impossible, you think?!


First of all, if you don't know the concept of "jazz hands" let me explain. The following definition is found on Wikipedia:

Jazz Hands, in performance dance, is the extension of a performer's hands with palms toward the audience and fingers splayed. It is commonly associated with especially exuberant types of performance...

I personally think "jazz hands" are more impressive if you shake them around.

(FYI - a Google search on "jazz hands" brings up some pretty funny photos. I'm just sayin'...)

Here's the deal...sometimes God is JUST SO GOOD to me that I have to give Him some "jazz hands!!"

Lately, God is bringing me blessings that I'm pretty sure I don't deserve...but He's doing it anyway!

Here is a list of the things I'm thankful for, the things that have happened in the last month - the things that warrant spiritual "jazz hands" for God!

1. The courage to start this blog.

2. The words He's giving me to say.

3. The ability to learn new things - (I can't believe what I've learned how to do on this computer! This is TOTALLY the Lord's doing. Evidently, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you CAN teach an old dog some new tricks!)

4. ALL of the wonderful people I've met through this blog! Like YOU!

5. Your much-appreciated words of encouragement!

6. That I actually made it out of that 16-mile canyon/river hike I took in mid-July!

7. For my terrific, handsome, supportive husband...THANKS, Honey!

8. For my family - including my grand-dog, Marty, who I got to HUG on Sunday!

9. For my "Writer's Group" - L, J, and T...don't know what I'd do without you!

10. For wise and wonderful words from HIS WORD! (Like the alliteration, you English fans?!)

There are sooooo many more...but I thought you might want to read this post in one sitting!

So, for now - let's just lift those little "jazz hands" in praise for ALL the things our gracious God gives to us...EACH AND EVERY DAY!


I want to see all those "jazz hands" out in Bloggerland "waving for the Lord!"


BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


There is a power in FOCUS!

Our pastor had a very thought-provoking message the other Sunday. He talked about the power of "one thing."

Do you remember the movie "City Slickers" with Billy Crystal? In it, three guys from the city decide to go on a cattle drive. They are "tenderfoots" in every sense of the word. Their journey is funny, touching, and meaningful - all at the same time.

They are guided by Curly, the gruff and grizzled trail boss (wonderfully played by the late Jack Palance). At one point in the movie, Curly and Mitch (Billy Crystal's character) are riding alone to find some stray cattle. Curly then explains that all the stuff in life "don't mean nothing" if you know the one thing that is the meaning of life.

Mitch asks him what the one thing is.

Curly tells him that he has to find that out for himself.

Our pastor used this scene to introduce his topic, "The One Thing."

He then led our congregation through a series of verses, and asked each of us to claim "just one" for the summer. I'd like to give them to you - they're worth pondering...


"The one thing I ask of the Lord - the thing I seek most - is to..." (Psalm 27:4)

1. One thing I desire from God:
  • "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) - Do you desire to hear God's voice, to feel a sense of His affirmation - to know you're not alone?
  • "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) - Do you need rest?
  • He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name." (Psalm 23:2-3) - Do you need strength and guidance?
  • "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking." (James 1:5) - Is it wisdom or discernment you want?
2. One thing I want to experience:
  • "Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often." (Luke 2:19) - Would you like good memories with your family?
  • "Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it...will do no good." (Psalm 127:1) - Do you need protection for your family, your household, your finances?
  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." (Proverbs 3:5-6) - Do you need to trust God?
3. One thing I want to change:
  • "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12) - Is it time for an attitude change?
  • "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." (Romans 12:2) - Do you want God to change the way you act - to change the way you think?
4. One thing I need to let go:
  • "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you." (Psalm 51:12) - Have you lost your way? Are you ready to come home to God?
  • "No...I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:13-14) - Do you need to let go of something from your past?
5. One promise I need to claim:
  • "This is my command - be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) - Are you tired of being afraid?
  • "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor." (1 Peter 5:6) - Are you striving for something to happen, instead of "waiting" on the Lord's timing?
  • "Give all your worries to God, for he cares about you." (1 Peter 5:7) - Are you sick and tired of worrying?"
  • When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown...you are precious to me." (Isaiah 43:2,4) - Is this a time of great struggle or suffering - do you need to know God is with you?
When you really get serious about asking God for something - the one thing I ask, the one thing I seek - then God will get serious with you!

What's YOUR "one thing?"

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I'm not exactly a bird lover...but I love a good bird story!

I was lucky enough to know four of my great-grandparents! My mom's dad's parents (did you follow along with that?!) were the sweetest people around. I loved visiting with them. Except for one thing...

They had a very mean parrot!!

Her name was "Polly." Ordinarily, the image I think of when I hear the name Polly is, well...that wonderful old Hayley Mills movie "Pollyanna." Pollyanna was such a sweet, lovely young girl. I even looked up "Pollyanna" in the dictionary. Know what it said? "...a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything." Yup, that's what I thought. So, this parrot, Polly, should have been a nice bird! No way...

Think of the scary witch in "Snow White" - enough said!

My best recollections of Polly are how big she was, how pretty her colors were, and the words I inevitably heard the minute I walked in the front door: "Don't get near the cage!" I also remember my grandfather pulling me aside one time, and telling me his deepest secret - "It's OK. She doesn't like me, and I don't like her either!"

Then he winked at me...

I once asked my mom about the story behind this remark. Evidently, my grandfather and this parrot had a loooooong history. My grandfather was one of only two children in his family - the oldest of two brothers. The parrot played favorites. She LOVED Walter, the younger brother, and hated my grandfather. He told my mom that he couldn't understand it - he had never done anything to warrant such malice. Never teased her, never poked things at her, never said, "I really wanted a parakeet." It was just one of those things!

But, my grandfather had a VERY good reason for not liking Polly.

She was really a "stool pigeon" in disguise.

Growing up, that parrot would tattle on my grandfather. When he would try to sneak home late (which, knowing him, wasn't very often), Polly would squawk at the top of her little avian lungs, "Donald's home...Donald's home!" Yeah, you get the picture!! Polly was an annoying, accusing, threatening, mean old parrot.

But, she was caged!

A couple of months ago, I was in the middle of taking a Christian speaker's training class. Six long months of study, preparation, and giving speeches. The whole experience really tested me. It's hard enough to give a speech in front of people (read the "back story" on that in my entry, "Knockin' Knees") - but then to get "critiqued"...PAINFUL!

I didn't exactly "soar" on my first speech. The critique was difficult. I took it very personally, internalizing every comment, and convinced myself that, yes, just as I had always known...


I went to the depths of discouragement and defeat. And then began the internal dialogue:

"What are you doing, Sharon? You can never be a speaker. C'mon..."
"No wonder no one listens to you..."
"I'm no good. God will never be able to use me for anything..."

ON and ON and ON...

One night, when I couldn't fall asleep, God gave me a tremendous insight. These thoughts were DEFINITELY NOT coming from God - they weren't even coming from me! Satan was at work. And then a picture came to my mind (Thank you, Holy Spirit!) - Satan is nothing more than a parrot squawking away on my shoulder!

What a glorious revelation! It completely freed my spirit. The three mistakes we can make about the devil are these: 1) think he doesn't exist; 2) underestimate him; and 3) give him more power than he has. I have always been afraid of Satan. But now, God has brought him "down to size." He's just an annoying parrot on my shoulder - always accusing, threatening, and mean.

But, he is CAGED!

How did Jesus resist the devil?

He used Scripture!
  • "Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil...Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." (Ephesians 6:11, 13b)
  • "...hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil." (Ephesians 6:16b)
  • "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7b)
  • "We capture [all] rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5b)
  • "Stand firm against [the devil], and be strong in your faith." (1 Peter 5:9a)
  • "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." (Romans 16:20)
  • "Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, 'It has come at last - salvation and power and the Kingdom of God, and the authority of his Christ...[Satan] the one who accuses them before our God day and night...[has been defeated] by the blood of the Lamb...'" (Revelation 12:10, 11)
So when that mean old parrot, Satan, sits squawking on my shoulder, "Polly wants a cracker!" - I'm going to give him a little "bread of life!"

Take that, and BE QUIET!!!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am very fortunate to be part of a wonderful ministry at a place called Freedom Village.

It's an assisted living facility. A team of four of us go in on Fridays, and lead a "church" service for the elderly. We sing hymns together - the "old" ones...the classics, as I like to call them! We pray together, and share together. The people I have come to know in the past year are like family to me now. Our dear "fellow-worshipers" are so grateful - they constantly tell us how much we bless them! But, the truth of the matter is, they bless us even more!

Some people might think that a place like Freedom Village is depressing.

I must admit, these dear souls do touch my soul with bittersweet feelings. And from week to week, one is never sure who's going to show up - who's made it another 7 days. We've lost 2 people this year - I will never forget them. Dear Martha, whose only request was to sing her favorite song, "How Great Thou Art." All of a sudden, one week we learned that she was singing her song face-to-face with her Savior. And Jo, who was thin as a rail, but always dressed like she was going to a fancy dinner. Beautiful makeup, lovely clothing, jewelry - she was classy! She was always so appreciative of everything we did for her. I can remember hugging her frail little body - I thought I was going to break her. I can't wait to hug her again in Heaven!

Moments of sadness, sometimes -

but when I go to Freedom Village, I am touched intimately by the Holy Spirit...and my spirit SOARS!

There is nothing quite so sweet as seeing people show up in varying degrees of mobility - some are wheeled in, some wander in with their walkers, some shuffle slowly through the door in their slippers - but ALL OF THEM are coming to the feet of the Lord to worship!! It brings me to tears every week! Their faithfulness speaks volumes to me. Jesus is the lover of all - young and old - and He irresistibly draws EVERYONE to Himself!

The Lord has taught me something else at Freedom Village - he's taught me what true "assisted living" is all about!

The people who live here have medical monitoring, and meals provided for them - they are able to participate in activities, and have the wonderful freedom of knowing that people are "looking out for them."

Isn't that the way we're supposed to live?

We aren't supposed to live on our own. We are to experience "assisted living" - living our lives with the constant and ever-vigilant help of the Holy Spirit. We aren't strong enough to live for Jesus by our own efforts. He knew that - that's why He didn't leave us alone.


"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth...No, I will not abandon you as orphans - I will come to you." (John 14:16-17)

The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus Himself within us. He helps us live the way God wants us to live. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The Spirit gives us a whole new way to live our lives - "assisted living"...GOD'S WAY!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"