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Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Thanksgiving in reverse

posted by Ruth Graham

When I sit down to make my Thanksgiving list what do I put down?  ‘Friends’ and ‘family’ (most of them!) are at the top of my list. Then perhaps ‘health’, ‘freedom’…

Do I ever express thanks for ‘bad health’, ‘gloomy days’, ‘stress’, ‘conflict’? They wouldn’t be near the top of the list, if they were on it at all.

I began to think about this – it is a cold, rainy, dreary day here today. Raw. Winter-like. I wanted to try to think in reverse.

So it’s a gloomy day. It makes all the pretty days so much prettier. I am grateful that it grants contrast. I will appreciate the sunny days more. I know my brother in Seattle enjoys sunny days because there are so many drizzley ones out there!

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If I have aches and pains they remind me that I am alive and I am grateful for analgesics. There was a time when you just had to grin and bare it.

If my bank account is low I am thankful that I even have one and have been able to provide for my family. There are many in this world who have nothing.

If I am stressed it means I have a job that requires all of me, challenging me, using my brain. There are some with no job.

If I am overwhelmed it shows me I need to pace myself. I don’t have to do it all right now. There are those who are no longer able to do anything.

If there is conflict it means I am in relationship with someone and have the opportunity to grow from it. Some just walk away.

If I am lonely I can be grateful that I have known wonderful relationships and have beautiful memories. It can prompt me to reach out to someone who may be lonelier than I am.

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If I have regrets, I am thankful that I had choices and though I made bad ones, I can begin again. Some choose to remain the victim.

If I have questions and doubts I am thankful that these same questions and  doubts can spurr me on to look for truth. Some become inflexible.

I hope that is not “Pollyanna-ish” but it always helps to look at the positive side of a situation, if I can. (It make take some time for me to get there!) I recognize that sometimes I just want to be miserable – feel the pain. After all I earned this misery! And there is nothing worse than someone trying to cheer me up when I just need to feel miserable! Someone once said, “It is small comfort when you are drowning to be told there are others swimming.” But I want to move into positive thoughts rather than stay in the negative. I want to grow and live with a grateful heart.

What are you thankful for this year?

 

 

 

 

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How Do You Forgive Yourself?

posted by Ruth Graham

When we make a mistake it is easy to forgive ourselves – of course, depending on the mistake. I am thinking of a minor infraction – getting a speeding ticket. But if we repeat that mistake it becomes a little harder to forgive ourselves. And more than twice it becomes a real  struggle to forgive yourself.

If we continue to drive down the same stretch of road and continue to get speeding tickets you have to ask yourself ,”why”? Why do you keep making the same mistake over and over?

Of course when we fail in a big way, going against what we know to be right and against our value system, it only takes one time. We feel shame. Regret. Fear. For instance, if you are unfaithful to your spouse – it’s against your value system. You knew better but did it anyway. There is shame, regret. You are shocked at yourself. How do you forgive yourself?

I want to hear from you all – how do you forgive yourself?

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AHC Debacle vs God

posted by Ruth Graham

I have not tried – I don’t have the time – but I have heard that it takes hours to get the Affordable Care Act to answer the phone in order to sign up for this new health care plan! And if someone does answer they tell you the website is shut down for 42 hours and log onto the website – but you can’t do that since it is shut down! Crazy. The government at work!! Frustrating, isn’t it?

The President is probably as upset as the rest of us. This was his signature legislative acheivement and so far it has been a debacle. Poor planning. They did have 3 years and millions of dollars…but look what has happened. It’s a mess. Whether you support it or not, it is a mess. And perhaps in time, it will get sorted out. But how much will that cost us? I guess I don’t hold the President personally responsible…I doubt he would begin to know how to build a website much less one as big, combersome and complicated as this one seems to be…

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I would imagine he is pretty angry and has a few choice words to say to his staff. He is not in control of this. But the buck does stop at his desk. Someone must be responsible. But in DC they all seem to  pass the buck around so that no one is perceived to be at fault or responsible.

It is so comforting to know God doesn’t do “glitches”. He is never surprised. He never shuts down. He is always available and listening. No matter what our need He is attentive to it. No matter how many of us are calling on Him at the same time…no matter if we have called Him a dozen or more times about the same issue…He’s always there. He is never confused. He never hangs up. We never get an answering machine. And we don’t have to tell him which language we speak – He speaks them all!

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He is definitely in control. That makes me secure as His child. And I do have to sign up for that. I am not born as His child. I am born as His creation and He loves me as such. But I am not His child unless I ask to be. I hear so many people say “we are all children of God”. That isn’t true. We have to ask to be by repenting of our sin and asking for His forgiveness and Him to be Lord of our lives.

It is very simple and totally free. He is “standing by to take you call” and time day or night.

 

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Shut Down – Default

posted by Ruth Graham

Here we go again!

The leaders in Washington – regardless of party affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, age – are not leading. They will not let go of their own egos to try to do what is right for this nation. I am not sure they love our country.

It reminds me of the monkey who was so hungry. He looked high and low until he found a banana. It was in a bottle. He reached in and grabbed the banana. Now he had a problem: with his fist around the fruit it could not fit through the narrow bottle opening. He thought. He pulled. He looked. He did everything he could think of to get that banana out of the bottle. He wouldn’t let go of his treasured banana in order to get his fist out. The monkey was found dead still grasping the banana.

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Our leaders are going to let this country die as they hold onto their treasured programs, status and position. I am sure on some levels they are very good men who perhaps started out wanting to serve this great nation. They seem to have lost their way on the way to ambition and “being right”.

We have no statesmen anymore. Men willing to personally sacrifice for the betterment of their country. (I did appreciate those veterans who decided to open some of our national parks on Saturday. They took a stand for what they  believed was right.) Listening to the news is sad. There is no help on the horizon. Any “fix” is short-term. As someone said,”It’s just kicking the can down the road” – again. We’ve done that before; it brings us back to the same situation. The definnition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. By that measurement then all the leaders in D.C. are  insane.

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At times I do feel as if the inmates are running the asylum.

So where is God in all of this? Well, first of all God never shuts down. He is always available 24/7! And God never defaults on His promises! He is faithful. He does what He says He will do. We can take that to the bank!

God is still on His throne. Still in charge. His purpose is being carried forward – even in this.

Like ancient Israel we have disobeyed time and again. But God’s purpose is never thwarted  – it keeps rolling along. We can choose to honor God and repent of our godless ways (and yes, what we are doing is godless) or continue in this mess. It will only get worse. But there is HOPE.

But God is ready and willing to help us turn around. He answers when we call on Him. It is never too late.

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Let us pray for our leaders – that they will seek God’s wisdom, not just their own. That they will make righteous decisions. And lead us in godly ways. If “my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you; I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health…) II Chronicles 7:14 in The Message. That is our hope!

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