Thursday, June 30, 2005

Soul-Satisfying Contentment


Soul-Satisfying Contentment.

For me,
It wasn't in a wedding
or a marriage
or in bearing a child
or buying a house
or a car or a cat or a sofa.

For me,
It wasn't in a church
or a church position of authority
or an outside job
or all the money I wanted
or books
or gardens
or movies
or vacations
or food
or parties
or in collecting stuff.

For me,
It wasn't in being thin
or pretty
nor in the right hairstyle or clothes
or in friends
or being well-liked and accepted.

For me,
It wasn't in going to college
or in cramming my brain with facts
or using 9-letter words to impress others
or in being right.

For me,
It was only found in
friendship with Jesus.

Halo Scan Blues

Argh... So we all switched to Halo Scan because Blogger Comments had become unreliable..... And lately I've been convicted to try answering my comments more promptly, trying to set a good example and all that stuff. So of course what happens?

Halo Scan is now going bonkers.

Lately when I go to comment about all your marvelous comments I get messages like this after just making one simple comment of my own:

"Please wait at least 30 seconds between posts (another -41744 second(s))."

Hmm... Do you think I should sit here and count 41,744 seconds before trying again?

Hey, why not? I have nothing better to do.

Good grief.

Well, if you don't see a comment from me about your comment, please assume I tried. My comments are there--honest they are. And every one of them is ultra-witty and clever. Can I help it if Halo Scan has switched to invisible ink?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Energy (Or The Lack Thereof)


Summer is not my favorite season. Especially when we are having the hottest one here on record since 1967. Well, our tv weatherman said we are heading that way... (I wanted to slap him.)

Heat and Humidity and I do not get along. We fight a lot. And by the time I'm finished fighting and complaining and whining, I have even less energy than I had to begin with.

But I am learning. Learning to not waste my feeble bit of energy on complaining about what I cannot change. Learning to use wisdom on these days where the sun bakes the house, humidity rolls in like fog and our air-conditioners pant, pant, pant but just can't quite cool more than one room at a time.

I am learning to walk around slowly on these mornings after nights which never did cool down.... Learning that, although I'm creeping around feeling and looking like an 80-year-old woman (you think I'm kidding?) cleaning and straightening, at least I am doing what I can. At least I am able to walk (some people cannot). At least I have the kind of job where I can take the afternoons off. At least I am only like this during our occasional unbearable summers--and not all year long.

I am learning to save sorting through papers and writing and reading for the afternoons when I can sit still in front of the air-conditioner. To get my housework and gardening out of the way early. To be happy I was able to get any work done at all.

And to be thankful that we are "human-beings" instead of "human-doings." That God is more concerned with who we are--what's going on inside-- than what we do. And that He wants to be our source of physical strength as well as emotional, mental and spiritual strength, too.

That is something these ridiculous, hot summer days remind me of--that I am helpless without Him. That I'm no longer just saying that because it sounds right or holy or spiritually-correct, but that I truly mean it. And to God, that's not a bad thing at all.

***
"When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but on the abundance that's present--love, health, family, friends, work and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure-- the wasteland falls away and we experience joy in the real lives we live each day." ... Sarah Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Radical Obedience


Like I said in my last post, radical obedience to God changed my life.

What is radical obedience?

Radical obedience means doing what God tells you to do when He tells you to do it.

No matter what it is.

Even if it's something you've never, ever done before.

Even if it's something you've never seen anyone else do, either.

Radical obedience means saying "Yes" when your flesh is crying "No!" Not picking and choosing which of God's directions you will follow.

Radical obedience means God telling you what to do, not you telling God what you will do.

Radical obedience means going ahead rather than pretending you didn't hear God speak through your spirit or your conscience or your spouse or your pastor or your trusted friend.

Radical obedience means stepping out in faith even before you've had three signs, ten confirmations, two angel appearances and one lightning strike 'just to make sure you heard God right.'

Radical obedience will lead you to places you never thought you would go.

Radical obedience will lead you to say things you never thought you'd say.

Radical obedience may 'get you into trouble' but if it's trouble God stirred-up, He will cover you and make it right--though it may take time. It may even take getting to Heaven. Or it may take five minutes. With God you can never tell.

Radical obedience means doing right now what God tells you to do right now. Not two minutes, two hours, or two days from now. But now.

Radical obedience means doing next week what God tells you to do next week. Not doing it now or tomorrow. But next week.

Radical obedience will give you an inner joy that can be had no other way.

Radical obedience will change you forever.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Breaking Free From Shyness


After my last post, Sherry asked me just how I was set free from shyness. It's been a few years, but I'll tell you as best I can. If anyone has not yet read my post, The Curse of Shyness, it would help you understand this better if you'd read it now.

Back in the 1990's I told God --- and meant it -- that I wanted Him to do WHATEVER He wanted to do with me, no matter how much dying to self or embarrassment or humiliation it required. I wanted to have more of Him in my daily life. I wanted to become more like Jesus.

I'd said that many times before, but this time I'd grown sick of the way things were--the way I was--and I truly wanted to change. To move past the brick wall I always seemed to hit when it came to making changes in my heart.

Well, because my shyness was going to keep me from experiencing a whole new, bold walk with God, He had to deal with it right up front. So He began showing me in many ways and through many different people the selfishness of shyness.... the restrictiveness of it. Basically He showed me how it was just plain cheating me out of the fullness of the life He had planned for me.

Once I saw that, I repented of it--for holding onto shyness out of fear and pride like a shield. I'd heard years before that "shyness is pride in disguise" and I'd been offended when I heard it. (Proud? Who, ME?!) But now I saw it was true--so much of my shyness was fear of looking foolish or sounding ignorant. And I could go on and on....

So first came repentance. And then came the scarey thing--God told me (again, in a myriad of different ways) that I would have to walk out of my shyness. That He would walk with me, but always I would have to take the first step alone out of obedience to His voice, and then He would meet me out in those scarey places of boldness where I'd never been before. In other words, I would have to 'do it scared.'

He told me I'd obeyed the voice of Fear long enough--now it was time to push past that and obey His voice, instead.

So over and over for months and then years, God asked me to do some pretty wild things, especially at our church. He asked me to become an adult Sunday School teacher.... He asked me to stand in front of the church and give encouraging or prophetic words (all with my pastor's blessing, of course)... He asked me do and say things no one else was doing or saying.

He also asked me to do things for people at the supermarket... Such as, help them pick up things they had dropped... Offer to help them find what they were looking for... offer to let them go ahead of me in line, etc.

All of those things above were things, which for 30 years, I'd convinced myself I could never, ever do. For 30 years I'd let fear and pride lead me around by the neck all the while telling myself I was helpless to fight it. And yes, without God, I was. But with Him--and with His timing-- I could do those things after all.

Obedience was the key. Not the pick-and-choose kind of obedience, though. Rather, the radical, whatever-You-say-and-right-when-You-say-it kind. Over and over and over my obedience to God's Spirit walked me out of fear. Without that obedience, I would still be a scared rabbit today. But I'm not.

And yes, it took months, even years. We spend years and years getting ourselves into messes and we really need to allow God some real time to get us out of them. We all want 'drive-thru break-throughs,' but to God, a thousand years is as one day. He is not in a hurry, so it's important that we don't bail-out in the middle if things don't appear to be changing right when we think they should.

It's important that I add that God was simultaneously working on other areas of my life, breaking down walls one by one, leading to one thing: to rely upon the Holy Spirit and not my own words, my own thoughts, my own brain, my own strength. But Him--always Him. And that made a huge difference in the area of shyness.

It's one thing to have God inside us. It's a whole other thing to let Him out!

***
The term 'drive-thru break-through' is one I stole from Joyce Meyer.

Learning From Others


I won't whine to you about how our yard sale went yesterday. I got all the complaining out of my system when I told my favorite email group about it. Let's just say I'm glad it's over.

And yet, the people are always what make those sales worth the trouble to me. The sweetest people come and look over our stuff and they laugh and chat with us and others who they don't even know. The feeling, at times, is almost like a party.

Of course, not everyone is like that. Some people walk up the aisle, then back down, speaking no words, then rush back to their cars. Those are the people out on a mission to find treasure.

One woman bought the bread box I'd found at a yard sale when I was first married way back in the 1970's. I tried to strike up a conversation with her and she just kept giving me yes or no answers, so I let her leave. Perhaps she was in a hurry, but I think it was more that she was shy like I used to be. She had a cowering look I recognized. A look which says, "Please don't make me talk because I'm afraid I won't know what to say."

And in just that little exchange I understood why, back then, people were always saying I was hard to get to know.... hard to understand.... and that I appeared cold and aloof. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me those things.

How often shyness is misinterpreted as conceit!

But I don't hear it now, because God has changed me so much. But He couldn't change me, couldn't break me out of my shyness trap, until I wanted to be sprung from it. Really, really wanted to be set free to talk and laugh and care for others. And that only came after I stopped staunchly defending my right to be the way I wanted to be.... my right to be shy if I wanted and just tough to you if you didn't like it--or me.

And I had to stop saying, "I can't help it." Oh my, what a crippling disease that is.

I've written before about the curse of shyness. I'm still celebrating that I've been set free from it in nearly all areas. I'll never get over what this freedom tastes like.

***
"And the day came when the risk (it took) to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ... Anais Nin

Friday, June 24, 2005

Life Yard Sales


Tomorrow we are holding our annual yard sale. For the past two weeks I've been searching through drawers and cupboards for things I no longer need or like. I am even letting go of at least 100 books--perhaps more. My criteria for the ones I kept? They have to make my heart race a little when I think of rereading them.

I had many books which created not even a tiny blip in my heart.

It's good to get rid of what no longer means anything to you. To accept that we change and grow, and that losing interest in certain things is fine and a part of life. I used to let that very thing confuse and bewilder me. I used to race around trying to resuscitate and ride long-dead horses (so to speak). But there comes a time to give things away--release them-- even if they originally cost a lot or were gifts. If they served a purpose, they were worth the price. But a thing kept too long is a thing which weighs us down.

Life is one big growth process--or it should be if I want to stay healthy--and there is an ebb and flow to everything, rather like tide water. Things come, things go. People come, people go. Likes come, likes go.

Of course, some things, some people, stay in our lives forever. But nearly all of them experience change as well. If we're wise, we'll give them space to grow, even if we don't always understand the changes they make.

There is no growth without change. Once I stopped dreading change, I began growing--growing pretty fast, in fact.

There is no growth without letting go of weights and burdens and negative influences. Growing requires lots and lots of letting go--usually having to release your grip just when you've gotten used to things the way they are.

I'm glad we have a yard sale each year. It keeps me from getting too attached to my stuff so that I'm unable to see all the clutter after awhile because my eyes have grown used to it. Yard sales keep me from bogging down in my stuff and being unable to move around in freedom.

There is great freedom in letting go. There is a great promise of growth in welcoming change.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Anger, Part Two


In order to be set free from a nagging kind of anger, I believe we have to get deep-down, gut-level honest.

"Confess your faults one to another and be healed..."

There is a good kind of anger and a bad kind. The good kind alerts us to the fact that we (or others) are being mistreated and something constructive needs to be done to remedy that. The bad kind of anger? A type of monster--not always loud and vocal, but silent and seething, too-- who bites at our very souls.

The latter is the one I'm writing about here. And there is only one cure for it: we must allow God to shine His spotlight upon it so that we can see the monster exposed.... and how we, ourselves, have fed him his two favorite morsels: Control and Unforgiveness. Oh, he has other favorite foods, but I believe those are the two he craves.

Control--People who must always feel as though they are in control are the ones most susceptible to anger. Why? Because in this world, that sense of control is constantly being challenged. Life and people are forever in a state of change, so control-hungry people are forever fighting against that change. They're attempting to control people and situations, but it's like holding sand in their hands--and sand eventually disappears when winds of change come bearing down upon them. And the winds are always swirling.

Unforgiveness--Usually it crouches down inside a heart's darkest places and believes itself to be hidden. And yet it disrupts every other heart occupant around it, causing them to never be fully at rest. The physical body can escape only so long and then it will have to succumb to the knife of unforgiveness...and the wounds are often blamed on everything under the sun, but not that very knife.

How does God shine His spotlight? How does He let us know He is ready to work on an area of our lives so that we can be set free? For everyone, the ways are not the same, but here are some I've seen Him use:

If He's wanting to work on our need for control:

Suddenly all that we think we are controlling shifts, rather like the plates beneath the ground in an earthquake.
Suddenly our supposed control is challenged and broken on every side and we find ourselves in a constant state of trying to glue it all back together.
Every time we turn around we are hearing a sermon on control.
People start handing us books written about control...or those titles jump out at us, almost into our very hands, when we visit a bookstore or library.
We come across blogs posts written about control.
We turn on the TV and they're talking about control... or it's in movies we watch.
We find ourselves yelling a lot, flailing our arms a lot and making a lot of noise because we are losing control..... or because we are not wanting to let God deal with it... and are then finding ourselves utterly uncomfortable.

Have you ever been beneath that spotlight? I have, probably more than a hundred times in a hundred different areas God wanted to change in me.

Why does God want to change us? To become more like Jesus. To react as He would so that we will be examples of wellness to a sick world. So that we not turn people away from Him, but to Him, instead. And for our own sake--to teach us the ways of a healthy spiritual, mental and physical way of living. He cares that things like unforgiveness not eat at us like a cancer. He cares that we live in wisdom--that we thrive in such a way that we make people question just where our source of Life and Hope and Peace and Love is coming from.

And it is all about Love--even when it doesn't feel that way at all.

The answer? Cooperate with God. When He shines the spotlight, don't turn it toward an 'easier area' you'd like to change. Don't deny what the light exposes. Confess your faults... it will bring healing. Take each step God asks of you, no matter how small or how silly it may appear to be. Match your steps with His and He will walk you up the path to wholeness.

***

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Angry? Who, Me?

.
Meg asked me to write about anger...

It's funny... Two years ago I was having sinus problems for the first time and God led me to a terrific book called Sinus Survival, by Robert S. Ivker, D.O. He wrote that 90% of his chronic sinus patients have had problems with anger. So of course when I read that I said, "Well, that's not me!"

Ha.

(Note to self: Anytime I immediately come off with, "That's not me!," chances are, it probably is me.)

He then went on to quote another doctor, David D. Burns, who wrote that, "unhealthy, negative emotions--depression, anxiety, excessive anger, inappropriate guilt,etc.-- are always caused by illogical, distorted thoughts, even if those thoughts may seem absolutely valid at the time."

And then wham! He gave Dr. Burns' list of thought distortions and it was like reading my past and present diaries. Good grief:

1. All-or-nothing thinking. You classify things into absolute, black-and-white categories.
2. Overgeneralization. You view a single negative situation as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
3. Mental filtering. You dwell on negatives and overlook positives.
4. Discounting the positive. You insist your accomplishments or positive qualities "don't count."
5. Magnification or minimization. You blow things out of proportion or shrink their importance inappropriately.
6. Making "should" statements. You criticize yourself and others by using the terms should, shouldn't, must, ought, and have to.
7. Emotional reasoning. You reason from how you feel. If you feel like an idiot, you assume you must be one. If you don't feel like doing something, you put it off.
8. Jumping to conclusions. You "mind read," assuming, without definite evidence of it, that people are reacting negatively to you. Or you "fortune tell," arbitrarily predicting bad outcomes.
9. Labeling. You identify with your shortcomings. Instead of saying, "I made a mistake," you tell yourself, "I'm such a jerk... a real loser."
10. Personalization and blame. You blame yourself for something you weren't entirely responsible for, or you blame others and ignore the impact of your own attitudes or behavior.

Whew! Can anyone else identify with one or two of those?

Dr. Ivker goes on to say that when we are young, many of us are taught that having anger and expressing it, is wrong and we should repress it, instead. And after years and years of repressing it, we automatically hide our anger in a secret place inside without even realizing we're doing it. And once you've got a bunch of bottled-up anger, it's going to eventually blow its cork and shoot to the surface one way or another. And if not dealt with correctly, it will start seeping through our bodies in forms of disease... sinus problems, arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

When I was young, people told me this kind of information and holistic teaching were nonsense. Non-biblical, useless nonsense. Sadly, many of those same people sank, like ships, into anger, bitterness and thirst for control and now are suffering in their bodies every single day of their lives.

I don't plan on being part of that group.

***
In my next post I'll share some healthy responses to anger. For now, I'll give you some time to recover from the shock that perhaps, like me, you've got some re-thinking to do about anger.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Soul Ties


Eliz asked me to explain what I meant by "Forming soul ties with someone from the opposite sex" in my last post.

Soul ties... Over the years I have watched soul ties steal hearts, destroy marriages and wreak havoc with the children of those marriages.

Soul ties... I would define soul ties as allowing yourself to feel closer emotionally to someone of the opposite sex than you do to your own spouse. To look at that person as your true kindred spirit... to believe that that person understands you better than your spouse... loves you better... more... than your spouse.

Soul ties are dangerous. You can leave me messages in my comment box declaring otherwise, but I'm sorry, (or not sorry); I cannot believe otherwise... With my own horrified blue eyes I have watched soul ties between men and women who are married to others, lead to marriage break-ups... emotional distancing in marriages... utter confusion in children as they watch their parent's emotional infidelity... and even, horribly, I have seen adultery eventually happen and pregnancies outside of two (Christian) marriages take place. And I've seen the devastation ripple outward and outward among relative after relative of both couples involved--aged parents, grandparents, adult sisters and brothers and their families, aunts and uncles and cousins, friends--which that kind of thing touches like a knife and wounds.

I'll say it again--soul ties are dangerous. They start small, innocently... Letting the strings of the heart go just a little farther outward, as one would unwind fishing line on your pole in a lake... just a little at a time until woosh! Something heavy is caught at the other end. But this something is not a prize. Instead, it's a monster waiting to pull people beneath the waters of the lake. A tragedy one cannot release from the line with just a quick twist of the wrist.

***
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." ... Proverbs 4:23

Monday, June 20, 2005

Subtle Ways To Ruin A Marriage

.
1. Speak so often of your spouse's faults, that you eventually forget he/she even has any good qualities.

2. Barely spend any time at home.

3. Express more loyalty toward your children than to your spouse.

4. Spend very little time alone with your spouse. Rarely go out on dates.

5. Form soul ties with someone from the opposite sex.

6. Rarely go on vacation with your spouse and your family.

7. Take your spouse for granted. Put him/her near the bottom of your priority list.

8. Yell during arguments. Call your spouse names. Seldom let him/her express how they feel.

9. Play the Blame Game. Blame all your relationship problems on your spouse. Hold a grudge.

10. Always have the last word... the last dollar... and the last piece of cake.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Marriage On a Sunday Morning



As he usually does, Tom called me down from my dream room this morning before he left for work. Just as I reached the bottom of the stairs, Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade
began playing on my record player and as I hugged Tom good-bye, I told him, "Let's dance." And we held each other and swayed to the haunting melody, right there in our living room--at six a.m. on a Sunday morning and everything.

That's what marriage is all about.

Oh, not just the dancing, but the moving in one accord. The making adjustments in the way we dance because of Tom's polio-stricken leg. The way Tom supported my request for a morning dance.

The sweet calmness, even though this next year is so up-in-the-air concerning where we will live and what we will do for a living. The knowing our families won't like our plans, but realizing we must follow God anyway if we want to fulfill His plans for our life together.

The non-rushed, non-stressed-out-ness of Tom before he left for work. The being organized enough, peaceful enough, to have time for an impromptu dance.

The way Life still feels extremely good even though we've become empty-nesters.

The comfortable way I feel with Tom even in my short purple summer robe and with no make-up.

The growing-up and growing-old together and still being crazily in love, even after having faced many hard times these past 26 years.

That's what marriage is all about.

And the music plays on...

***

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Where Do You Wear Your Feelings?


Some people wear their feelings on their sleeve. And then one wrong word from someone, one wrong voice tone, one wrong glance and crash! Their fragile feelings go careening to the floor and shatter. And the whole day, their whole life, is ruined (they think).

Other people shove their feelings into a strong, dark box inside their heart. They allow no one to see how they feel about anything. But sometimes the box becomes too full, it expands and then explodes! ... affecting every part of the heart around it with the flying shards.

Some use their feelings as weapons. Feeling Offended is an especially powerful weapon to wield around at anyone who disappoints them. Heaven help the person who offends the easily-offended. Heaven help the easily-offended person who never grows-up into real freedom.

Others use their feelings as a compass to guide their whole life. That compass takes them to some pretty wild places--some good, some bad. And even the good places aren't all that good--more good feelings are required like gasoline to keep them there. To always run on feelings is exhausting--and expensive.

Some feelings are kept like marbles in a mouth... they come tumbling out whenever the mouth is opened.

And some people have learned to acknowledge their feelings, to know they are there and why they are there--to appreciate the good ones and work through the bad ones. Their emotions don't control them--they control their emotions....and all feelings are run past the eyes of God for wisdom in dealing with each one.

Where do you wear your feelings?

***
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." II Corinthians 5:7

"But the fruit of the spirit is.... self-control..." Galations 5:23

Friday, June 17, 2005

Would He Be Enough?



Would He be enough if...

Your family disowned you because of Him?

You were thrown into prison because of Him?

You were on a deserted island with only Him?

Your friends spread lies about you due to Him?

You could own nothing because you acknowledge Him?

All people ignored you because of Him?

He asked you to set aside your ministry for months and spend the time with Him?

Would He truly be enough?

***

Postponing Happiness



I've begun a whole lot of sentences in my life with, "I'll be happy when..."

I'll be happy when our bills are paid.
I'll be happy when we move to a bigger house.
I'll be happy when everyone likes me.
I'll be happy when I feel better.
I'll be happy when the weather cools down.
I'll be happy when the weather warms up.

...and on and on...

Only a few years ago did I learn that in reality, I was postponing happiness. Putting it off for a future, glorious day when everything fell into place in utter perfection.

Right... like that's gonna happen.

So I decided to just be happy now. To give myself permission to be happy even with the unpaid bills and the small house and the disappointed friends and the aches and the uncomfortable weather. I started choosing happiness instead of waiting for it. Many days I make a conscious choice to override my discontented feelings with contented ones, instead. Every day God is good. Every day there is a reason for thanksgiving.

No wonder I have so many good days now. No wonder everything looks different this side of 40.

***
Choose you this imperfect day... to be happy....

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Today Is The Day!


As a teenager, I used to look forward to special days laced with parties or school trips or family journeys with anticipation running over as though from a glass. My mother would tell me, "If you don't count on things too much, then you won't be disappointed if they don't happen." But I rebelled against that sad belief and kept on dreaming of big days and grand times ahead.

But now at mid-life I still amaze myself because I wake-up, stretch down to my toes, throw the covers back and smile secret smiles all the way to the kitchen. I make my pretend coffee in the microwave in my soft-yellow Fiestaware cup, hook my finger into the handle, then carry it carefully up the stairs, still smiling. I play my old Glenn Miller record, sit on the bed beside the breezy window, sip my coffee and start dreaming.

And I thank God that this will be a wonderful day if only for the fact that He will match all my steps and He will whisper hope and love and encouragement to me every summer minute. Every minute that I turn my head to listen.

I thank Him that this day, and all my days ahead, will be amazing simply because He is amazing. Just because He is here, I can count on more smiles and more dreams and more secrets and more being used to help others open their eyes to see Him standing beside them, too. (They are usually so surprised to see Him there!)

This day is guaranteed to be one of the very best I've ever had because He is the very best. Come what may, He will be here. If there is joy, He'll be here to share that joy. And if there be sorrow, He'll be here for that, too.

But I am anticipating scads and scads more joy than sorrow today!

Sorry, Mom.

***
"Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." ... Psalm 23:6

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It's All Spiritual

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Some people feel that reading your Bible a lot and praying a lot and going to church a lot means being spiritual.

This is what I believe:

When I am running errands, it's spiritual. I am taking the Lord God out among people who do not yet know Him. I am a living epistle read by all men out in the highways and byways of Life.

When I shop at the supermarket, it's spiritual. I am bringing home healthy food for my family so that we can live the length of days God intended for each of us. So that we can thrive in wellness and share Jesus with all our strength.

When I am shopping, it's spiritual. I am relying on the Holy Spirit to helpe me make wise decisions with my money. I am putting excellence into practice. I am being given opportunities to shine as a light, to leave this place better than I found it, to smile into another person's eyes.

When I am loving my husband, it's spiritual. I am obeying God according to His Word. I am loving not only in word, but in deed. I am being given a chance to love my husband in the same way God loves me--unconditionally.

When I am cleaning house, it is spiritual. I am creating a clean, healthy environment for those people and pets God has entrusted to me to care for the very best I can. I am serving God and serving man. I am caring for the presents God lovingly gave me. I am acting out of gratitude for what I have been given.

When I am dusting, mopping, washing, it's spiritual. I am being given a chance to meditate upon God, even walk with Him and learn from Him, as I perform these simple tasks.

When I am sitting in a doctor's or dentist's waiting room, it is spiritual. I am being given a chance to pray silently for all those sitting around me. And if I am blessed, I will be given a chance to speak encouraging words aloud.

When I am taking a walk, it's spiritual. I am walking and communing with my Creator. I am being given opportunities to speak to my neighbors about the hope that is within me.

To live in the moment and to live those moments with God on my mind--that is spiritual. That is life-changing. That is incredible.

That is my goal.
***

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The New Bible


Over the years I've watched The New Bible being written by thousands of Christians. It's a collaborative effort. Anyone who calls himself 'Christian' can add a verse or a whole chapter, even.

Maybe you've taken a peek at the advanced reader copy of The New Bible? Maybe you, too, saw these exciting new verses:

"Beloved, it's just fine to have heavy credit card debt. It cannot be helped in these latter days. There is no other way in which to live."

"If you've become so busy that you don't have time to clean and care for the things God blesses you with, just declare, "Temporal things don't matter. Jesus doesn't mind if my belongings have become a filthy, neglected mess." No one will even notice. You will still be a shining example of Christianity."

"Freely partake of high-fat, low-fiber, chemical-laden junk foods. Forsake exercising. Just pray and you will lose weight and be healthy again! If thou does get sick, blame it on satan or air-pollution or your lousy genes. It could never be your fault."

"Blame God when your dreams don't come true."

"Spend unlimited holy hours in church--more than in your own home. Your children will rise up and call you blessed because you left them at home and cared for the church with all your heart. And your spouse will always and forever be waiting for you when you decide to come back home."

"Neglect wisdom and instead, work yourself into an early, premature grave serving God passionately."

"Treat anyone wearing earrings, nose rings and tattoos as though they have deadly,communicable diseases. This will illustrate to them what the love of God is all about."

"Freely criticize pastors. Especially when you know you could do a much better job."

"Whatever you do, don't appear different! Dress like everyone else, swear like everyone else and act like everyone else. It's important that you blend-in and give the message that Christians and non-Christians are all alike. You wouldn't want to make anyone else thirsty for something fine and different. You wouldn't want anyone else to know there's a whole other way to live!"

(Sometimes even Miss Pollyanna has to vent once in awhile...)

Housework Philosophy 101


Ok, I confess... It makes me deeply sad when I read in other blogs that people hate housework, or even certain aspects of cleaning house.

There, I said it.

So to do my part in helping this great mass of misguided people, I am going to offer some help. Some advice.

Here goes.

1.) While you are cleaning house, it may help to remember that more than likely, you are cleaning some things you prayed to receive. Maybe God answered your prayers with that new couch, dishwasher, dining room set, etc. Why complain about caring for an answered prayer? And too, if God hears us complaining about the things which He's given us, why should He give us more if it will only bring future complaints to His ears?

(That's a good thing to remember, too, if you prayed for a larger house and are now complaining about having to clean such a big house.)

2.) If we are more careful, more conscientious to buy only the things we love, we will be more likely to enjoy caring for them. I have a set of yellow dishes with flowers and their French names written upon them-- after six years they still make me smile. I still enjoy washing those dishes in warm, sudsy water.

3.) Where is the burden in caring for your household things so to make your loved ones more comfortable? So to give them a healthy, cheerful environment? Why act like a martyr when in reality, you've been given a canvas (your home) in which to express the real you?

4.) Housework presents a wonderful opportunity in which to dream and meditate while pushing around a vacuum or dusting or sweeping.

5.) Housework is a terrific excuse for listening to your favorite CD nice and loud so that you can hear it as you walk from room to room. Ditto your favorite DVD.

6.) Never buy into the lies echoing all around you which say, "Cleaning house is menial." Nothing in this life is menial--it's only our attitude that makes anything small and unimportant. Jesus said that if we want to be great in God's kingdom, we were to learn to be a servant of all. When we serve God and others with gladness, then everything appears in a whole different light.

Everything looks different in that light--even housework.

Especially housework. You'll know you're doing it right when you start looking forward to it. Until then, keep practicing!


***

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mindful of Future Days



One afternoon I stood ironing Tom's shirts up in my dream room while watching The Road To Avonlea. A strange-to-others-but-not-to-me thought came to me as I swished the iron back and forth: "If Tom should die before I do, I will be thankful that I always ironed his shirts and pants. That I took the time to make sure he looks nice when he goes out around town."

Ok, that probably sounds a little weird to some of you.

But what I'm really saying is that I believe love considers another person's welfare first. Ironing isn't my favorite thing on Earth, but I do it so that both Tom and I will look our best. So that we won't look like sloppy, wrinkled Christians. (By choice, we don't have a clothes dryer--if we did, I would be certain to remove the clothes immediately so that they came out unwrinkled. Same concept.)

I like this definition of wisdom: Wisdom is to do today what you'll be satisfied with later.

Later. I like to think about later. I often ask myself, "Years from now will you regret that you did/did not do this deed? When you are in Heaven, will you be able to look back at yourself and be truly contented with what you see? Will you have lived fully and obediently?"

Sometimes, by asking those questions, I'm able to stir myself out of the old recliner and move my tend-to-be-lazy self into action. Thinking ahead has saved me from having a much longer list of regrets.

And that's a good thing.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Clarity

.

I awoke this morning thinking about Clarity.

How, when I've lived through years without something I needed or wanted, it was often because I was all foggy about Clarity.

Instead of "letting my requests be made known," I've, instead, whined and complained about not having what I wanted. I've looked at what others had and just wished I had that, too. Or I've made mental lists of things I don't have and then gone around frowning.

None of that is Clarity.

Instead of just telling Tom what I would like for my birthday, anniversary or Christmas, I used to turn those times into a test for him to see if he could read my mind. A final exam to see how well he knew me. How well he had listened to my complaining over the previous months.

Tests are not clarity. And again, neither is complaining.

I have walked through Life too much in the fog of vagueness. Wanting something, but not knowing quite what. Being too busy or distracted to sit down and get concrete pictures in my mind of what I'd like to have or where I'd like to go or what I'd like to do--and thus, not being able to write things down. How can I refer back to a non-existent list of vagueness?

I have been sick, and instead of praying for healing, just whined about how lousy I felt. I've forgotten to ask God what He wants me to have or be or do, and then pray accordingly. Specifically. Instead, I have blamed Him for what I felt was missing, when in reality, I wasn't clear on what I was asking. Or I wasn't asking for the right things.

Or more likely, more tragically, I'd only thought I'd asked for something, but in reality, I'd only complained about not having it. Or wished for it instead of praying.

God is not a wish-granter. He is a prayer-answerer.

Clarity. Clarity. Clarity.

May I always remember.

***

"...but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." ... Philippians 4:6

"You have not, because you ask not." ... James 4:2

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Silence Is Sometimes Golden

I used to have an argument with the saying, "Actions speak louder than words." Probably most teacher-types like myself would argue against anything which hints that sometimes we should just plain keep quiet.

But after you go around talking, teaching, preaching....talking, teaching, preaching... for a few years to all your friends and relatives--and then notice they seem to run whenever they catch your eye from across the room--well, you start to re-think some things.

You start to think about verses which basically say, "Hey! Instead of talking all the time, why don't you just live all your many words?"

Verses like these:

"Your personal convictions [on such matters]--exercise [them] as in God's presence, keeping them to yourself [striving only to know the truth and obey His will]."
Romans 14:22

"Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead [let your lives be so in contrast as to] expose and reprove and convict them." Ephesians 5:11

Oh, words spoken when God nudges you to speak them are extremely powerful, of course! Yet I've never known Him to speak powerfully and constantly through a 'spiritual' long-winded motor-mouth.

I have known Him to speak powerfully, though, through a life which is consistently lived in a day-by-day obedient, charitable, peaceful frame-of-heart. A life which, as a light, shines so brightly before others, that they are drawn mysteriously to it as moths to a flame..



P.S. Need a little more proof that actions speak louder than words? Here is a wonderful, haunting example written by Bonnie at Macromoments.

***
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to be silent and a time to speak..." Ecclesiastes 3:1,7

Friday, June 10, 2005

Legalism or Obedience--Which Is It?


Right-off-the-bat disclaimer: This is so not the last word on legalism. This is just as I see it.

Over the years, I've felt that God has asked me not to:
Swear,
Drink alcohol,
Watch 98% of R-rated movies,
Drive over the speed limit.

And I've felt He's asked me to:

Tithe,
Submit to my husband,
Live excellently out in public,
Live excellently in my home.

For me, that's all basic obedience.
Other people (not you, of course...heh, heh...) just might label it as legalism.

But here's where my basic obedience would become legalism: If I were to race around playing Holy Ghost Junior and I told you that you must:

Not swear,
Not drink alcohol,
Not watch R-rated movies, etc., on down the line.

Just because God has instructed me to do/not do those things, it does not mean that He's told you the same thing. Maybe He will tell you later and then it will be your responsibility to obey. But if God asks me to do something, it does not give me a license to insist that you do the same thing.

For one thing, when God instructs me to change, He sends Grace along to help me change. When I instruct you to change, I cannot give you Grace--so I am only giving you a burden. Something you are incapable of handling on your own.

Of course, God could speak through me as confirmation of something He's been trying to tell you already. That would be an act of obedience on my part. That's something different. But that's something which should only be done in utter humility and it probably wouldn't hurt me to have a bit of fear and trembling to go along with it.

But here is what becomes another big problem-- When, because God hasn't told you to do the above types of things, you assume He hasn't told me, either. And you then boisterously stand up and cry, "Legalism!" That is just as wrong as my trying to shove my God-led obedience down your throat.

Again, this is how I see it.

I think the Bible gives great advice when it tells us to let our words be few.

Maybe if we all just plain lived what we believed, instead of just arguing, er, talking about it-- maybe this world would be a kinder place... Especially if we could give people room--and time-- to grow. Especially if we could trust God to speak to others--and if we could trust others to listen for themselves.

***

Thursday, June 09, 2005

W.W.B.H.?


We're all familiar with W.W.J.D.?, right? But have you heard the new one? -- W.W.B.H.?

I can guarantee you haven't heard it before. Why? Because I made it up. Can you guess what it stands for?

I use it all the time. I ask myself W.W.B.H.? whenever I go to estate sales, yards sales and antique shopping (not that I even go antique shopping). I've used that term so often that now Tom even uses it, also.

Give up?

It stands for, "What Would Blondie Have?" As in, Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead of the 1930's and 40's movies. As in, what kinds of things would Blondie use to decorate her quintessential, oh-I-just-love-it 1930's house? (I know, I know. You are so grateful I explained that to you.)

W.W.B.H. helps keep me focused. It helps me to not look to the left or right. When I walk past tables full of cool, shiny-new paraphernalia which still tempts me, I can now just keep walking by because Blondie would not have had that stuff in her house 70 years ago. My house will never resemble Blondie's if I'm always filling it with modern things. It will always look a little modern, a little old-fashioned, and a little confused if I just grab things without asking myself W.W.B.H.?

It's good to know exactly what your goals are. To put them into words. To paint clear pictures in your mind. It's good to ask ourselves, "What do I really want? Who do I want to become like? Where do I want to go?"

I have done so much wandering in my life--doing a little of what I wanted, some of what God wanted and a whole lot of what other people wanted. I had no clear direction, no painted pictures in my mind, no specific goals. I was always a little this, a little that, because I had nothing specific to aim for. How could I aim for a target if there wasn't even a target to begin with?

Things are different now. I'm learning to listen to God's very specific goals for my life--and aim for them, instead of wandering willy-nilly, hitting and missing things along the way. But as always, in order to hear, I must listen. Listen oh-so closely.

And then step out--again--usually on water. That's often where listening takes me. And of course, it's never enough to just listen and then do nothing about what you've heard. There's always a whole lot of walking-it-out to be done.

***

"Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise." ... Ephesians 5:15

To read a wonderful article about the woman who played Blondie (Penny Singleton), click here. It's written by Ann Jillian, the actress, who attended church with Penny.

For sample pictures of the interior of Blondie's house, click here. . Scroll down.

Do you have your own unique W.W. saying? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Heat + Humidity = Uh-Oh


Summer days are here again... We've had three hot, humid days, though not of the Totally-Unbearable-Just-Wanna-Die variety, thank-goodness. But the kind where you go around blessing and all but kissing your air-conditioner.

Heat+Humidity, for me, equals one big Uh-Oh. It changes my life. Instead of having a leisurely sunrise quiet time, I save it for ten-ish, and instead, race around cleaning the house in the cool of the morning. I have been known to straighten the house, vacuum, dust, wash dishes, water plants, sweep, do a load of laundry, feed the birds, water the yard and then paint a wall--all before 9:00 a.m. You should see how fast I can move when I know that afternoon humidity will come rolling-in like fog. For in afternoons like those, I become a near-invalid.

No, really.

It's wild how a perfectly healthy woman like me can be flattened by something invisible. But it does happen--and that's when I hobble to our bedroom, collapse on the bed and retire until the summer evening's heat has broken like a fever. For hours I sit inches from the air-conditioner and bless its inventor and even the Great Inventor of the inventor, if you know what I mean.

Some things are the way they are. And I can either whine and kick and complain, or I can make the best of it. In this case, I can use my afternoon downtime to read and think and meditate and grow closer to God. I can look at it as His way of slowing me down and keeping me close to His heart.

And I guess I'm mentioning this so you'll know why I've not been faithful to blog-talk to you in the mornings. Please remember it is nothing personal, and nothing is wrong. It's only that for me, intense humidity means I must make changes. Summer humidity is my challenge to go with the flow. To keep a flexible, God-led schedule. To use wisdom to order my days.

It may not look like it or feel like it-- but it's a good thing.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Time Changer



On this hot, muggy afternoon Tom and I glued ourselves to our little air-conditioner and watched the Christian movie, Time Changer. We loved it. Loved the 53-minute documentary on the DVD afterward, too.

It reminded me of how little credence I used to give to integrity.

I would fudge on using cents-off coupons and think, "Well, it's just a way to beat a lousy commercially-soaked system."

A little, tiny lie would go rolling off my tongue and I'd shove down any conviction with a feeble excuse.

I'd nag Tom or put him down and then ignore the conviction to apologize....

...and then I'd wonder why I wasn't happy. Why I went around feeling that twinge of guilt all the time. Why I was moody. Why people weren't running up to me and asking, "What must I do to be saved?"

Time Changer reminded me today that obedience matters. Excellence matters.

Not legalism--no... no... no! True excellence, true obedience is not legalism and it grieves me lately how often some excellence is immediately hushed and harshly, wrongly labeled legalism (but that's another post). Rather, obedience and real excellence are a deep, deep desire from the heart to serve God.... to do what He tells you, even if no one else is doing that one thing... It's a response to a heart-change only an excellent God could make in a woman or man.

It matters that people be able to count on me to keep my word. It matters if I try to fulfill my commitments--to finish what I start, even when I don't feel like it. It matters if I try to do my best every day to obey God in a myriad of little ways--in all those tiny areas behind closed doors, as well as outside of them, too. And it matters that my life not just be one long loopy string of compromises. Those are the goals I want to grow into. I am aiming for those things.

Perhaps most of you have already seen Time Changer, but if not, I highly, highly recommend it. I was glad our local Hollywood Video store had it. I hope it will find its way into many, many homes.

***

Saturday, June 04, 2005

One Day Can Make Such a Difference


My oh my... I can hardly believe myself... I am actually looking forward to moving now! You can't believe it either, right?

But ever since yesterday--deciding to move South, not West--I've felt such a great sense of relief. As though I'll be able to continue living this Mayberry Life after all. Really, I'd tried so hard to accept that this phase of life was just that--a phase. A temporary blessing. That I'd have to live the next thirty years in a land where I no longer felt at home--or felt like my true self.

But now it appears Mayberry Life will continue, only in a different locale. Both Tom and I are very excited now about someday moving--and yet we don't have one single concrete detail! We don't know what kind of a job he will have for sure. We don't know which state we will end up in.

It doesn't seem to matter right now.

Yet we do know we will find a beat-up old farmhouse which needs us-- and in a place where the cheapest one is **not** over $250,000. That, and the general direction is about all we know.

We are thrilled to finally be in agreement. And we are elated to finally feel like God is leading us somehow through the desires of our hearts.

Everything looks different today than it did yesterday morning. I do believe Grace arrived yesterday afternoon with her suitcases of Courage and Hope!

The lesson for me and for those of you who are reading this?

Never believe that things will never change. Never believe your best days are over.

Instead, always believe that everything can change for the better-- if you'll only wait until tomorrow.

***

Friday, June 03, 2005

Happy Days Are Here Again!


Amazing news! Well, amazing for Tom and me.

Earlier this afternoon we got to talking and we realized something--over the past two years whenever we have discussed moving back West, we have butted heads and brought down a big, black cloud. And that is very unusual for us in this stage of the game--having been married 26 years and usually getting along great most days.

Well, the amazing thing is that today it hit me: the thought of moving back West--back where we had lived all our lives until 1993---well, it was making me feel horrible! It felt so much like, "Been there, done that, don't want to do that again." I'd lived in California 29 years, Nevada for 5 years, and we'd vacationed in both those states as well as Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

And well, nothing personal to any of you fine folks who live out there, but today more than ever I realized--those states are not where I belong. Only when we moved to our current Eastern state did I finally feel like I'd come home. Well, as much as a Christian can feel at home in a place upon this Earth.

So what's the big, amazing thing? Tom and I got to talking about moving someday, instead, to the southern states here on this Eastern half of the U. S. and well, we both got excited about it! I can't get over this, but I would move just about any place else along this Eastern seaboard--or even on the fringes of the mid-west--just keep me in these old-fashioned states where there's still a strong sense of history. Where old buildings and old houses are admired and respected (and are everywhere)-- not just torn down to make room for new construction.

Just keep me somewhere back here with that Mayberry sense of living and I'll be fine.

Woo hoo! The heaviness has lifted and we are both at peace again and we're anticipating good things ahead. Of course, our families out West are going to throw fits because we'd hinted we may be moving back there someday. But they'll get over it--in time. Or maybe they won't (certain family members have still not forgiven us for moving here 12 years ago).We will console them with the promise that we'll try to visit them a whole lot more often by plane--not my favorite way to travel, but oh well--some sacrifices must be made in any new venture. And after all, we have learned that following God is the most important thing. To follow Him is to follow the road to peace with God--and that is what matters most.

That is what this feels like.... And I am grateful.

***

P.S. Fish--After Tom and I came home from dinner at the park, I read your comment to my last post and was amazed to read that you'd written: "You both are in my prayers. I pray something comes along that can appease you both." Not only is that exactly what happened today, but at dinner, I'd even been telling Tom about what an inspiration you and Crystal have been to me. I even told him I'd move just about any place down south except New Orleans because the two of you had said, well, it's not quite shangri-la....smile... Anyway, I thought it was the most amazing coincidence! (God-incidence?). Thanks for your prayers!

And I do thank *everyone* for your prayers for us today. Really, I'm sure they helped us find this new direction and I will always be very, very thankful!

Warning:Not The Usual Pollyanna Stuff


Argh.

Tom and I drove out to the gorgeous Lake yesterday and picnicked in our park. That was the good part.

While we sat there dreamily munching and gazing out over the endless milky-blue water, Tom told me he'd asked the big-wig company boss about a certain job Out West, two-thousand miles away. One which would begin this summer.

That was the bad part.

Tom is thinking about moving again. Even though our house is far from ready to sell. Even though my parents, after 12 years of non-flying-anywhere, are finally flying out to visit us in October. Even though the couple who introduced Tom and me are also planning to visit us that same month (also from California).

Even though I am still madly in love with my dream-come-true, Mayberry town. Event though I waited for 12 whole years to decorate and play in those two big wonderful rooms upstairs--and have only had them just two little months now. And felt happy-and-satisfied-out-my-mind those short months, too.

Oh, I'd been preparing myself emotionally for an Eventual Move, but in a rather Scarlett O'Hara way: "I'll think about that next year!"

But now Tom's 'gypsy blood' (as it has been called by some) is stirred-up and raring to go. And now I must pry my heart's fingers from this Land of My Dreams one-by-one. Otherwise it hurts too much to rip them all off in one fell swoop.

Oh, not that he'll be taking that job he'd inquired about. When we came home yesterday the Big Boss called and, although he sounded like Tom would be a good candidate for the job, he did encourage him to look online at the prices of real estate in that area of Washington state. As it is, Tom would have to take a pay cut for this dream job--which in itself, isn't such a bad thing because when you find a real dream job, you almost feel like paying someone to be able to work there. So we looked online and ouch! Real estate is four times more expensive than it is here and well, with that cut in pay--no way.

So Tom has calmed down--for now. But still he is looking. And still my time in this dream place is on thin ice (a play on words because a major reason Tom wants to move is because of the winter ice).

Last night we ordered home delivery of pizza and chicken fingers and earlier we bought chocolate ice cream for dessert. Comfort food for Tom because this latest chance to leave has not worked out and because his wife is being a big, disappointed grouch about the whole idea of moving this year. And comfort food for me because Grace has not yet arrived with her suitcases of Courage and Hope to help me face this huge move. And comfort, too, because only recently have I come to dearly love this house as I should have all along (note to myself--next time, get a whole lot happier a whole lot sooner with what you have).

When we got married we married for better and for worse. This morning with a pizza-and-ice-cream hangover, it feels like worse.

But God is still good. And I can still pray that only when the right time comes to move--only after Grace arrives--will things work out. With Grace I can do anything--leap tall buildings with a single bound and all that... With Grace, this move will turn out to be a very good thing after all is said and done.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Marvelous Day


I forgot to tell you what I did on Memorial Day.

Tom had to work as usual. He's worked most holidays since we've been married (something I had to learn to just accept. Only took me 20 years--that's all.).

So during the 12 hours I was alone, I did the most amazing thing. Oh, I didn't go on a picnic alone, or anything. I did sit on the porch awhile, though, and felt gratitude for those who fought for our freedom. I watched my Mayberry-esque neighborhood laughing in the streets and then drive away on their own family picnics. And I sat there and felt I'd come such a long way from the days when I'd sit and pout all day because Tom had to work holidays. God pretty much had to drag me, whining and complaining, that long way until I 'got it'--until I understood complaining only made things worse. I'm glad He didn't just drop me and leave me somewhere (if I had been Him, I would have).

But I digress....

What did I do that was so marvelous on Memorial Day? I walked around my house and finally, after weeks and, in some cases, months, I took care of many of the little things which, every time I had passed them, had cried, "Put me away! Fix me! Clean Me! Trash me! Paint me! Mail me!"

Oh my... What a Freeing Thing it is to take care of what you have procrastinated for so very long. What a lightness to your head it brings. And what a sad realization it is that you could have had this lovely free feeling much sooner. And what an even sadder realization it is to discover most of these repairs or tasks took less than ten minutes.

For goodness' sake.

Well, we all have our weaknesses and now you know another of mine.

"Hi. My name is Debra."
("Hi Debra.")
"I am a procrastinator."

But I am learning. I am growing. I am becoming more free in this area.

God is good.

***
Note to myself: By procrastinating what needs to be done, I'm also procrastinating freedom and a sense of accomplishment.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Secret


Today's entry in the devotional book, God Calling, spills the secret.

The secret I discovered late in my 30's.

The secret I have found for a marvelous life.

The secret I wish I'd found sooner.

And here it is:

"Companionship.
The way of the soul's transformation is the Way of Divine Companionship.
Not so much the asking Me to make you this or that, but the living with Me, thinking of Me, talking to Me--thus you grow like Me.
Love Me. Rest in Me.
Joy in Me."

There. The secret is out.

***
"And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]." Genesis 5:24 ........ "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." Hebrews 11:5

"Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his [evil] generation; Noah walked [in habitual fellowship] with God." Genesis 6:10

***