“Yes— But . . .!”

Lord, I will follow You, but . . . —Luke 9:61

Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test of your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back? If you get into the habit of doing something physically, you will do it every time you are tested until you break the habit through sheer determination. And the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will come right up to what Jesus wants, but every time you will turn back at the true point of testing, until you are determined to abandon yourself to God in total surrender. Yet we tend to say, “Yes, but— suppose I do obey God in this matter, what about . . . ?” Or we say, “Yes, I will obey God if what He asks of me doesn’t go against my common sense, but don’t ask me to take a step in the dark.”

Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits. If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.

By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God. Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis— only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Faith is not about doing the things that seem comfortable to us.  Faith is about going out of your way.  The woman with the issue of blood, left her home to find Jesus.  She braved the jostling crowd, was on the dusty ground with her hand outstretched to touch the hem of His robe.  Faith is the persistent mother who wanted healing for her daughter.  She refused to back down.  Faith is the blind man who shouted out to Jesus, refusing to let the crowd quiet him.  Faith is stepping up and out.  It’s putting yourself on the line because you trust God.  No one, Yes, Lord, I will follow you but…” or “I will do anything You ask, except this…”  No more hesitations or excuses.  Remember that it is God who is asking you to step out in faith.  He would never ask you to do anything that is wrong.

Fanny Crosby

Frances Jane Crosby was born on March 24, 1820, in her parents’ small gray single-story clapboard Cape Cod farmhouse, that was built in 1758 near a brook of the East Branch Croton River, and standing just back from a quiet country road, Gayville Road, Gayville (now Foggintown Road, in the village of Brewster)in the township of Southeast, Putnam County, New York, about fifty miles north of New York City, near the Connecticut border.  She was the only child of her father John Crosby a poor widower, who had a daughter from his first marriageand his second wife, Mercy Crosby.   

In May 1820, when six weeks old, Crosby caught a cold and developed inflammation of the eyes. As the family physician was out of town, an unschooled traveling doctor who came in his place applied mustard poultices to treat the discharges coming from her eyes. According to Crosby, this procedure damaged her optic nerves and blinded her. Many physicians today, however, “suggest it is much more likely that her blindness was congential”, and that “at such an early age her sightless condition may well have escaped her parents”. 

In April 1825 Mercy Crosby took Crosby to New York City to be examined by Valentine Mott, then “America’s premier surgeon”, hoping that he might be able to operate and restore her eyesight. After consulting with ophthalmologist Edward Delafield, a co-founder of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Mott concluded that Crosby’s condition was inoperable and that her blindness was permanent.  At the age of eight Crosby wrote her first poem, which described her condition:

Oh what a happy soul I am,
Although I cannot see;
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don’t;
To weep and sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot, and I won’t. 

About her blind­ness, she said:

It seemed in­tend­ed by the bless­ed prov­i­dence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dis­pen­sa­tion. If per­fect earth­ly sight were of­fered me to­mor­row I would not ac­cept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been dis­tract­ed by the beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing things about me.

What faith!  Her faith comes from the environment in which she grew up in.  Her home environment was as sustained by “an abiding Christian faith”.  “At its center stands the Bible in the classic rendering of the Authorized Version. Crosby frequently admitted its centrality in her childhood home, where the family altar found a regular place. Although she could not read for herself, she memorized Scripture under the patient tutelage of her grandmother. Evidence suggests that this Crosby family pegged its understanding of duty, community, and family to the biblical text.

Shaped by the Calvinist reading of Scripture that years before had prompted the family’s migration to the New World, the Crosbys of Southeast understood that God had a purpose for whatever happened; they clung to the certainty that God was in control. They knew God as the source of true pleasure and believed that all they had—meager or abundant—came from God’s hand. … As lived out at home — at least in [Fanny] Crosby’s recollection — the Calvinism of these sons and daughters of Massachusetts Bay was serious without being dour, joyous without being frivolous. It refreshed the soul while sustaining the body, and so it seemed particularly suited to those who, like the Crosbys, eked out hard, meager livings from the land.” 

Encouraged by her grandmother and later by Mrs. Hawley, her family’s landlady, from the age of ten, Fanny had memorized five chapters of the Bible each week, until by the age of fifteen Crosby had memorized the four gospels, the Pentateuch, the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and many of the Psalms.

On Saturday, March 7, 1835, just before her 15th birthday, Crosby became the thirty-first pupil of the year to enrol at the New York Institution for the Blind (NYIB) (now the New York Institute for Special Education), a state-financed asylum that had been founded in April 1831, and opened on March 15, 1832.  At the time of her enrolment, there was 41 pupils, Crosby was one of the 28 “indigent blind” who were funded by the state of New York, at the rate of $130 a year.

Fanny remained at the Blind Institution for eight years as a student, and another two years as a graduate pupil and it was during this time that she learned to play the piano, organ, harp, and guitar, and became a good soprano singer.  Even as an old woman she “would sit at the piano and play everything from classical works to hymns to ragtime. Sometimes she even played old hymns in a jazzed up style.”

Fanny joined a group of lobbyists in Washington, D.C. in 1843 after she graduated from the New York Institution for the Blind.  They argued for support of education for the blind. Fanny was the first woman to speak in the United States Senate when she read a poem there.  When Crosby appeared before a joint sitting of both houses of the United States Congress, she recited these lines:

O ye, who here from every state convene,
Illustrious band! may we not hope the scene
You now behold will prove to every mind
Instruction hath a ray to cheer the blind.

On January 24, 1844, Crosby was one of seventeen students from the New York Blind Institution who gave a concert for the Congress in the US Capitol, and she recited a thirteen stanza original composition that called for the creation of an institution for the education of the blind in every state, which “drew calls for an encore”, and earned the congratulations of John Quincy Adams. 

On January 29, 1844 Crosby and nineteen other Blind Institution students gave a presentation to Daniel Haines, the governor; and the council and New Jersey General Assembly at Trenton, New Jersey, where she recited a twelve-stanza original poem calling for the aid and education of the blind. When President James K. Polk visited the Blind Institution in 1845, Crosby recited a poem she composed for the occasion that praised “republican government”. 

Fanny was a woman of action.  She travelled to Washington, D.C. and again spoke before a joint session of the United States Congress, with delegations from the Boston and Philadelphia Insitutions for the Blind, “to advocate support for the education of the blind in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York”, she spoke to the Congress on April 30, testified before a special congressional subcommittee, and sang a song she composed in the music room at the White House for Polk and his wife.  Among the songs she sang as she accompanied herself on the piano was her own composition:

Our President! We humbly turn to thee –
Are not the blind the objects of thy care?

In 1846 Fanny was an instructor of the younger children at the New York Institution for the Blind, and was listed as a “graduate pupil”. In September 1847 she joined the faculty at the New York Institution for the Blind, teaching English grammar, rhetoric, and Greek history, Roman history, and American history, where she remained until three days before her wedding on March 5, 1858. By 1848 there were 60 pupils enrolled at the Blind Institution.  While she taught at the institute in New York, Fanny studied music.  She befriended future US president Grover Cleveland who was 17 at the time and the dean of students; an assistant teacher of writing, reading, and arithmetic; and a bookkeeper and secretary to the administrator of the Institution from 1853 to 1854.  The two of them spent a lot of time together.  Cleveland often transcribed the poems Fanny dictated to him and he wrote a recommendation for her which was published in her 1906 autobiography.

Fanny began writing poetry from eight years old.  Her earliest published poem was on the theme of a dishonest miller near Ridgefield, Connecticut, which was sent without her knowledge to P.T. Barnum, who published it in his The Herald of Freedomof Danbury, Connecticut. 

Despite a serious illness that resulted in her leaving the Blind Institution to recuperate, Fanny’s first published book, A Blind Girl and Other Poems was published after encouragement by the Blind Institution in April 1844 by Putnam & Wiley.  It contained 78 of her original poems and addresses, including what Fanny described as her first published hymn, “An Evening Hymn”, based on Psalm 4:8.

Fanny was reluctant to have her poems published, but she eventually agreed to have them published as it would both publicise the Institution and raise funds for it. 

On a personal note, Fanny met her future husband, Alexander Van Alstyne, Jr in the summer of 1843.  Alexander was legally blind and it was his mother (a widow) who convinced Fanny to recommend him to be enrolled at the NYIB, and to take him under her personal charge.  During his four years at NYIB, Alexander and Fanny were casual acquaintances of Crosby and sometimes a student in her classes.

In 1848 Alexander became the first NYIB graduate to attend a “regular college”, when he enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he studied music, Greek, Latin, philosophy, and theologyand earned a teaching certificate.  He and Fanny married on March 5, 1858.  Sadly, they lost their only child–a girl, Frances who died in her sleep soon after she was born.  This loss made Fanny reclusive and she hardly ever mentioned that she was a mother.  It was in a few interviews toward the end of her life that she said, “Now I am going to tell you of something that only my closest friends know. I became a mother and knew a mother’s love. God gave us a tender babe but the angels came down and took our infant up to God and to His throne”

Fanny Cros­by was one of the best known wo­men in the Unit­ed States.  She was prob­ab­ly the most pro­lif­ic hymn­ist in his­to­ry. Though blind­ed by an in­com­pe­tent doc­tor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns.  What an achievement!  To this day, the vast ma­jor­i­ty of Amer­i­can hymn­als con­tain her work.  One of my favorites is Praise Him, Praise Him.

Fanny was a rescue mission worker.   She and her husband lived in a small, cramped apartment in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It was situated near one of Manhattan’s worst slums, just a few blocks from the notorious Bowery, a well-known “haunt for hopeless alcoholics and the main artery of a thriving red light district and pornographic center.”

Being so close to this needy area, Fanny became zealous in her efforts to help the people around her. She became a great fan of Jerry McAuley, a former convict who was converted after hearing the testimony of a friend. Jerry founded the Water Street Mission, America’s first rescue mission, to minister to those enslaved to alcohol and violence as he once had been. She often mingled with McAuley’s audiences, conversing and counseling with those she met. She did not believe in pointing out people’s faults to them. “You can’t save a man by telling him of his sins. He knows them already. Tell him there is pardon and love waiting for him. Win his confidence and make him understand that you believe in him, and never give him up!”

We salute this remarkable woman, dubbed America’s Hymn Queen, who did not spend her life in bitterness and defeat, but instead dedicated her life to Christ.  She reached out to the needy, showing them the love and compassion of her Savior.  She rescued the perishing.

“When I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

“Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see! I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be!”

Fanny Crosby

Sources:  Wikipedia; http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/c/r/o/crosby_fj.htm; http://www.christianhistorytimeline.com/GLIMPSEF/Glimpses2/glimpses198.shtml

Heavenly Gifts

Genesis 21:1-7

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
(JAMES 1:17)

How God our Father loves us so completely and consistently is beyond comprehension. Abraham and Sarah must have been overjoyed the day their first and only child was born. Surely their tent filled with laughter at the irony of such an old couple being blessed with this long-desired son. God’s promised child had arrived!

Only God can fill our hearts and fill them to overflowing. The Scriptures abound with references to His rich provision. In the Psalms He tells us, “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

Jesus said that since even we human parents know how to give good things to our children, how much more does our loving heavenly Father know how to delight His children’s hearts (Matthew 7:11b). Does your life seem void of all this goodness? Sarah must have thought so, too, after many years of waiting. Wait on the Lord; His good and perfect plans – with His timing – for you are sure. All His promises and gifts to you are “Yes” in Christ Jesus.

INSIGHT
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,/ Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth! (Joachim Neander, 1680)

 

Anchor Devotional

I can almost picture God smiling as He pours His blessings upon us.  I know that He was just waiting to bless me with a family.  At the right time, He did.  He answered my prayer.  Like Abraham and Sarah, my husband and I were overjoyed when God blessed us with our son–the son we had prayed for.  We will always be thankful to Him for this heavenly gift.

Spiritual Gifts

A few months ago I took a spiritual test to see what my spiritual gifts are, even though I already had a good idea of what they might be.  Last night I got the results from Cyberspace Ministry.  I have three gifts:  writing, exhortation and faith.   

The gift of writing is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to formulate thoughts and ideas into interesting and meaningful written forms so that the reader will find courage, guidance, knowledge, or edification through the words shared with them.  People with this gift:

  • can easily formulate their thoughts and ideas into effective written forms;
  • have skill with words;
  • can compose articles for newspapers, newsletters, etc., in an efficient and meaningful way;
  • feel secure in the fact that the words they write is of benefit to those who read them;
  • have been told that others have been helped and encouraged by their writing.

The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to minister words of consolation, encouragement, comfort, and counsel to other members of the body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.  People with this gift:

  • come to the side of those who are discouraged to strengthen and reassure them;
  • confront, challenge, exhort and encourage those who have gotten off track in their faith or life;
  • help others change their behavior by applying biblical truth;
  • often have people around them because they cheer them up by their simple attitude and demeanor and down-to-earth advice;
  • emphasize God’s promises and to have confidence in the Lord’s will.

 The gift of faith is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work, and to act on God’s promises with confidence and unwavering belief in His ability to fulfill His purposes.  People with this gift:

  • believe the promises of God and inspire others to do the same;
  • act in complete confidence of God’s ability to overcome obstacles;
  • have an attitude, in various crises that arise, not only that God can do something, but that He will do it;
  • advance the cause of Christ because they go forward when others will not;
  • ask God for what is needed and trust the Lord for provisions.

When I was a member of my church, I wrote for the newsletter; I became a member of the Communications team and one year I was the leader.   I am no longer with the church but I am still writing articles, stories and posts.  I sometimes answer questions on Yahoo Answers because it gives me the opportunity to share my faith and to encourage those who are seeking answers.  I have stepped out in faith and out of my comfort zone because I trust God.  He has blessed me with these gifts and will provide me with the opportunities to use them.

What are your spiritual gifts?  How can you use them to help others?  Here’s an opportunity to find out.  Check out what your spiritual gifts are by taking the test at http://www.cyberspaceministry.org/Services/Gifts/eng/eng-sga.html.

You can read Cyberspace Ministry’s lesson “Spiritual Gifts and You”, which explains the role of spiritual gifts in the life of each believer at :
http://www.cyberspaceministry.org/Services/Gifts/eng/eng-gifts.html

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.  And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all (1 Corinthians 12:4-6).  There is a gift for everyone.  In some cases, there are more than one.  Find out what yours are and use them for God’s glory and the benefit of others.

The Life To Know Him

. . . tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high —Luke 24:49

The disciples had to tarry, staying in Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, not only for their own preparation but because they had to wait until the Lord was actually glorified. And as soon as He was glorified, what happened? “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear” (Acts 2:33). The statement in John 7:39 — “. . . for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”— does not pertain to us. The Holy Spirit has been given; the Lord is glorified— our waiting is not dependent on the providence of God, but on our own spiritual fitness.

The Holy Spirit’s influence and power were at work before Pentecost, but He was not here. Once our Lord was glorified in His ascension, the Holy Spirit came into the world, and He has been here ever since. We have to receive the revealed truth that He is here. The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of a believer. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive reviving life from our ascended Lord.

It is not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that changes people, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into their lives through the Holy Spirit. We all too often separate things that the New Testament never separates. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience apart from Jesus Christ— it is the evidence of the ascended Christ.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit does not make you think of time or eternity— it is one amazing glorious now. “This is eternal life, that they may know You . . .” (John 17:3). Begin to know Him now, and never finish.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

Dame Shirley Bassey

Whenever I hear the name “Shirley Bassey”, I think of her powerful voice belting out the theme songs from the James Bond movies, “Goldfinger”,”Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker.  I reminisce about the album my father used to play when I was growing up–it was called “One of Those Songs” with the “one” crossed off and replaced with “Twelve” and I remember being impressed when I saw that Sean Connery had done a little write up on each of those twelve songs. That was and still is my favorite album. 

One thing I admired about Shirley Bassey was her ability to sing with such feeling.  You could hear the sadness in her voice as she sang some of the songs and in some cases, the desperation.  She was a woman who loved deeply and in each song it was as if she had to let the man to know that.  I have come to the conclusion that no one can sing like this Dame and I mean, no one.

Recently I stumbled across The Bassey Blog and saw pictures of her and she looks amazing–ageless and vibrant.  She recently became the godmother of a ship which she named Adonia in a ceremony in Southampton.

Shirley Bassey born born 8 January 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, Wales.  She was the last child of Eliza Jane (née Start) and Henry Bassey of paternal Nigerian and maternal English descent.  She grew up in the nearby working-class dockside district of Splott. After leaving Splott Secondary Modern School at the age of fourteen, Bassey first found employment packing at a local factory while singing in local public houses and clubs in the evenings and weekends. In 1953, she signed her first professional contract, to sing in a touring variety show Memories of Jolson, a musical based on the life of Al Jolson.

It was in1955 when a chance recommendation of her to Michael Sullivan, a booking agent, put her firmly on course for her destined career. He saw talent in Shirley, and decided he would make her a star. She toured various theatres until she got an offer of the show that put her firmly on the road to stardom, Al Read’s Such Is Life at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End. While she starred in this show, Philips A&R and record producer Johnny Franz spotted her on television, was impressed, and offered her a recording deal. Bassey recorded her first single, entitled “Burn My Candle (At Both Ends)”, and Philips released it in February 1956, when Bassey was just nineteen.

During that year, she also recorded under the direction of American producer Mitch Miller in New York for the Columbia label, producing the single “If I Had a Needle and Thread” b/w “Tonight My Heart She Is Crying”. She then travelled to Las Vegas to make her American stage debut at the El Rancho Vegas.

In mid-1958, she recorded two singles that would become classics in the Bassey catalogue. “As I Love You” was released as the B-side of another ballad, “Hands Across the Sea”; it did not sell well at first, but after a chance appearance at the London Palladium things began to pick up. In January 1959, it reached number one and stayed there for four weeks. It thus became the first number one single by a Welsh artist. Bassey also recorded “Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me” at this point, and while “As I Love You” raced up the charts, so too did this record, with both songs being in the top three at the same time. A few months later, Bassey signed to EMI’s Columbia label, and the second phase in her recording career had begun.

In the early and mid 1960s, Bassey had numerous hits on the UK charts, and five albums in the top 15. Her 1960 recording of “As Long As He Needs Me” from Lionel Bart’s Oliver! reached #2, and had a chart run of 30 weeks.  On 13 November 1960, Bassey made her debut performance on American television, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show.  In 1962, Bassey’s collaboration with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra produced the album Let’s Face the Music (#12) and the single “What Now My Love” (#5). Other top ten hits of the period included her second #1, the double A-side “Reach for the Stars”/”Climb Ev’ry Mountain” (1961), “I’ll Get By” (also 1961), and a cover version of the Ben E. King hit “I (Who Have Nothing)” in 1963.

During this period, Bassey appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine and sang at a Washington gala celebrating the end of President Kennedy’s second year in office.  I heard her sing, “I Who Have Nothing, and was moved because she poured such feelings into the words.

In the aftermath of her success with Goldfinger which was a #1 hit in the U.S and the only U.S. top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hit and the single inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, her sales in the UK faltered and continued to suffer until her comeback in 1970.  she returned to the UK with a record breaking run of performances at the Talk of the Town nightclub. 

It was during that year, she released the album Something, which showcased a new Bassey style, a shift from traditional pop to more contemporary songs and arrangements.  She achieved something no other artist ever had and that was she made this single  more successful in the UK charts than the original Beatles recording. “Something” was also a Top 10 U.S. hit on the Adult Contemporary chart.  Between 1970 and 1979, Bassey had 18 hit albums in the UK Albums Chart and she closed the decade with her third title theme for the Bond films, Moonraker (1979).

During the 80s and 90s, Shirley focused on charitable work and performing occasional concert tours throughout Europe, Australia, and the United States. 

In 2001, Bassey was principal artiste at the Duke of Edinburgh’s 80th Birthday celebration. Then, in 2003, Bassey celebrated 50 years in show business, releasing the CD Thank You for the Years, which was another Top 20 album. A gala charity auction of her stage costumes at Christie’s, ‘Dame Shirley Bassey: 50 Years of Glittering Gowns’, raised £250,000 (US$500,000) for the Dame Shirley Bassey Scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Appeal. Bassey topped the bill at the 2005 Royal Variety Performance, introducing her new song “The Living Tree”.

In 2007, Shirley performed “Big Spender” with Elton John at his annual White Tie and Tiara Ball to raise money for The Elton John AIDS Foundation.  In 2007, Bassey performed in Fashion Rocksin aid of The Prince’s Trust at the Royal Albert Hall.  Last year May, Shirley Bassey performed at the Rainforest Foundation Fund 21st Birthday concert at Carnegie Hall, New York City.

Shirley was married and divorced twice.  She had two daughters with her second husband, Sergio Novak–.  Unfortunately, one of them–Samantha was found dead in the River Avon in Bristol, England.  It was suspected that she committed suicide but Shirley always maintained that this was not the case.  On 24 March 2010, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they were undertaking fresh inquiries into the death of Novak, and specifically claims that the convicted killer Michael Moffat was involved in her death.  However, in October 2010 it was reported that the investigation came to an end, and concluded that there “is no evidence of any criminal act involved” in Novak’s death.  Shirley is currently living in Monte Carlo. 

In recognition of her career longevity, and admiration from the British Royal Family, Bassey was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) on 31 December 1999 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. She was invited to perform in 2002 at the Party at the Palace, a public celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. She was awarded France’s top honour, the Legion d’Honneur, to signify her popularity and importance in the culture of France (Wikipedia).  On March 30th of this year, Shirley, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, performed two very special songs to celebrate Mikhail Gorbachev’s 80th birthday, and in aid of the Macmillan Foundation. The event was held at the Royal Albert Hall (http://www.dameshirleybassey.com/).

We salute this amazing woman with a big voice.  She is the “Most Successful British Female Singer” according to the Guinness Book of Records.  She is a UNESCO Artist for Peace.   Shirley, nobody does it like you.

Diamonds never leave you… men do!

It’s hard for a man to live with a successful woman – they seem to resent you so much. Very few men are generous enough to accept success in their women.
 
You don’t get older, you get better.
 
 
 
 

Simplify

In a radio interview, a basketball superstar was asked about his knack for making the game-winning shot in crucial situations. The reporter asked how he was able to be so calm in such pressure-packed moments. His answer was that he tried to simplify the situation. “You only have to make one shot,” the player replied. One shot. That is the essence of simplifying a difficult situation. Focus only on what is in front of you right now. Don’t worry about the expectations of your coach or teammates. Simplify.

Recognizing that the challenges of life can be both overwhelming and suffocating, Jesus urged us to take matters in hand by simplifying. He said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt. 6:34). This was His wise conclusion to His teaching on the debilitating power of worry. Worry doesn’t accomplish anything positive; it just adds to the sense that we are drowning in the troubles we are facing. We must take things as they come­—one day at a time­—and trust Him for the wisdom to respond properly.

If you feel overwhelmed by life, do what you can today and then entrust the rest to Him. As Jesus said, “Each day has enough trouble of its own” (NIV).

Don’t worry for your future needs,
It will only bring you sorrow;
But give them to the Lord instead—
He’ll take care of your tomorrow. —Sper

We lose the joy of living in the present
when we worry about the future.

Our Daily Bread

To me worry shows lack of faith.  When we worry, we are in essence saying that we don’t trust God to provide for our needs.  We need to be like the birds who go about their business, not worrying about anything because they know that their Creator will take care of them.  We should learn from our children–who are happily going through life, not worrying about what they will eat, wear or anything because they know that we will provide these needs.  Let us show God the same trust and faith that our children show us.

Take Jesus’ advice and stop worrying.  It accomplishes nothing except more stress.  Take one day at a time.  Remember God is greater than your problems and troubles.  “God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”  Learn to let go and let God.  Simplify rather than complicate.