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100 dollars

And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22b.

I’m pretty sure that the foolish blunder of a certain young man is not what the LORD had in mind when He inspired the psalmist to pen those words. Still, I can’t help but think of this verse every time I think about an incident that happened at my home one summer evening.

This is a true story –everything on this site is.

It so happened that my family and I, and a house full of guests, were wrapping-up a really awesome Bible study. Even the smallest of children were very much involved. Truthfully, I was always awed by the insight that small children have in spiritual matters, and even more awed by that simple, child-like faith that Scripture speaks of –-the kind of faith that would be put into action that night.

During prayer time, the men gathered around my husband and prayed for healing. He had injured his back and was hurting rather badly. Everyone in the study group knew that my beloved had already missed a great deal of work, and trusted that he would be healed and able to work again soon, but they didn’t realize that my husband’s employers don’t offer any paid sick days. Needless to say, we were really feeling the crunch of missing a few paychecks, but we didn’t mention it, knowing that some of those assembled would offer us money they could not afford to spare. None of our friends knew that there was no money for groceries that week.

Even so, one of the little girls, a precious three-year-old with the faith to move mountains, suddenly declared, in her cute little drawl, “Well, I’ll jus’ pray for Y’shua (Jesus) to give you some money.” And pray she did!

I’ve never seen the Lord answer prayer so fast. In no time at all, there was a commotion outside our house. Being closest to the door, I was the one to check it out. Without being too graphic, let me just say that a car full of drunken young men had parked out front and the driver, who was apparently afraid of having a potty accident in his car, decided to water our lawn instead. My timing was awful. Not only did I see what the young man was doing, my presence at the door gave him cause to behave even more indecently and obnoxious. Of course, I didn’t stick around for the show, so I didn’t see what happened next. Somehow, during all his stumbling, and fumbling with his clothes, he accidentally dropped a $100 bill.

After things quieted down, my boys went outside, which was highly unusual because we were getting ready to fellowship and nosh (snack). But my youngest son insisted that he needed a breath of fresh air and his brother wanted to join him. Normally, they would have gone out back, as we rarely use the front yard, but God had a plan, and we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).  Thus, the boys found the $100 bill almost immediately.

There is no doubt that the bill was dropped by the drunken young man; he came back to look for it later that night. Everyone had long since gone to bed when I heard the unfamiliar sound that caused me to look outside. The same young man, this time alone, had parked his car in the same spot as before, and was frantically searching for the money. However, before I could react, he staggered back to his car and drove away. I could not have returned the money even if I had wanted to.

I’m just guessing here, but once the young man realized what he had done, he probably regretted his lewd and irresponsible behavior. After all, $100 is a pretty big chunk of change to lose for such a foolish act. But this was a Proverbs 13: 22 moment; the young man was reaping from the seeds of iniquity he had sown, but my family, on the other hand, was able to go grocery shopping and pay a small bill.

Did I feel badly for the young man? Yes. But at the same time, I rejoiced in God’s provision. I would never have guessed in a million years that the LORD would have provided for my family in such a unique way, but perhaps God used that young man’s indecent behavior to provide for him as well. After all, valuable life-lessons, with their consequences, can be just as profitable to one man as a financial blessing is to another.

Dear reader, I pray that this will be a week of blessing for you as well, no matter your need, or how God chooses to get that blessing to you. May this be a week to expect the unexpected.

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A brief hello

Greetings to you all.

Although I have taken some time off from posting due to a health issue, I am anxious to share my heart with you all once again.  Thus, I am writing this brief note to let you know that both Rays of Light and Polished Pearls will be returning sometime this week.  Till then, may God bless you all.

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During this time of year, my thoughts often drift back to those cherished days of yesteryear, when my beloved sang our children to sleep. There, in our worn-out old rocking chair, they were comforted by both his warm embrace, and by songs of God’s Amazing Grace and boundless love for them. As I listened to the sleepy yawns of our precious children, I knew they would sleep peacefully.

Now that our children are pretty much grown, I pray that they continue to live their lives enveloped in God’s peace. And I pray that, no matter their age, or where they are, they never forget the message of the songs that their daddy always sang to them when they were little.

¹On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t really say that our Messiah was crucified upon a cross. The word cross is the chosen translation for the Greek word stauros, meaning a stake. The Bible also says, four times, that He was hanged on a tree. However, there are enough archaeological artifacts from the first century remaining to indicate that the stake -or tree- was probably erected with a cross beam.

So which is correct, and which word should we use in conversation? As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter. Our soul focus (spelling intentional) should be Yeshua haMashiach (Jesus Christ in English), and His atoning sacrifice for our sins. That’s what this song is about:

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

This past week much of the world rejoiced in the Messiah’s resurrection by way of either Passover or Easter. Which is correct, and which should we celebrate? Unlike the subject of the cross versus the stake, God has given us very specific instructions regarding this matter. Therefore, it is very important!

While I have my own definite understanding of which is the correct celebration (Passover), I respect my fellow brothers and sisters in the LORD and choose, therefore, to rejoice with them in the LORD’s resurrection rather than debate the subject of Passover versus Easter. I will say this, though, if you have never studied what the Bible has to say about Passover, you should. You might just be surprised.

Finally, dear reader, I truly hope that you were greatly blessed in your celebration of our LORD’s resurrection. Until next year’s celebration, may we all continue to sing:

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

Postscript: For most of the Jewish population, Passover is still a celebration of YHVH’s (God’s) deliverance from Egypt. They do not acknowledge Passover as a celebration of the resurrection because they do not yet accept Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah. However, more and more Jews are beginning to understand, and accept, Yeshua as Messiah. At this, my heart rejoices. Additionally, more and more Christians are beginning to observe Passover again. I rejoice at this also, because it is not just some “Jewish” thing -it is totally a “God thing.”

P.s.s. Whereas the King James Bible, and a few other translations, uses the word Easter in Acts 12:4, the Greek manuscripts actually use the word pascha, or Passover. To verify this point, here is the same verse in other Bible translations: 1560 Geneva Bible: And when he had caught him, he put him in prison, and deliuered him to foure quaternions of souldiers to be kept, intending after the Passeouer to bring him foorth to the people. —1867 Darby Translation: after the Passover — 2000 King James: after the Passover — 1382 Wycliff Translation: and wolde aftir pask (and would after Passover).

Old Rugged Cross. George Bennard. 1913. Public Domain
He’s Alive sung by David Phelps
¹Old Rugged Cross sung by Carlene Moody

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How Dumb Are We?

Wow! Where has the time gone? I’ve been so busy working on an exciting project that I scarcely noticed the days flying by at the speed of light. I am so close to finishing up my project, it will be several more days before I can get back to blogging. So, I thought this would be a good time to introduce my Polished Pearls blog to those of you who haven’t visited there yet –and vice versa. You can always get there quickly by clicking the link at the top right of this page. But for now, you can just click on the link below to read an archived message called:

click here  → How Dumb Are We?

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Reading my Polished Pearls blogs just got easier! Now you can simply click on the Polished Pearls tab at the top of this page then click any blog by title.

For your convenience, here are the blogs to date:

The Life-Guard
Easy CZ Christianity
HE’s Got Your Back
Never Alone
Count It All Joy
Too Heavenly Minded
This Book
Dying To Self
Mostly Dead
Murphy’s Law
They Surrendered All
Loose Lips
Nails in the Fence
Smile Awhile
Oopart’N Me
Blind Sight
Do You Have a Dream
Honest Man
Swedish hymn Den Kostliga Pärlan

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photo credit: The Gorilla Foundation

Back in the eighties, it was common for young people to ask each other, “What’s your sign?” They honestly believed that everyone’s “sign” revealed a lot about them.  I never bought into any of that, but I did learn a lot about people by just watching them. I’ve always believed that non-verbal communication often speaks louder than words.  Perhaps that understanding is one reason why the Lord called me to deaf ministry.

My sign today (or should I say sign language) is A.S.L, which stands for American Sign Language. I love the ability to communicate with hearing impaired individuals, and I enjoy watching the expressive way they “speak.” Knowing sign language has come in handy many times; sometimes in rather unexpected ways. For instance, I recently had a unique experience with a gorilla. Of course, we didn’t carry on a lengthy conversation, but he did tell me he was sick.

Let me first explain, some gorillas do know sign language. Have you ever heard of Koko? She is a Western Lowland Gorilla who was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971. Placed under the tutelage of scientist Francine Patterson, Koko has learned over one-thousand signs in which to communicate with humans. She wasn’t the first gorilla to learn sign, but she has certainly excelled at it. Because of Koko’s accomplishments, scientists continue to pursue inter-species communication through the use of sign language and they are having good success.

Whether or not the sick gorilla at our local zoo had ever been formally taught sign language or not, he was clearly communicating with sign. Every time I visit the zoo, I linger at the indoor gorilla enclosure for a while and sign to those intriguing primates just to see if I can actually elicit an understandable response.

One day, as I stood there signing “How are you?” one particular gorilla caught my attention. He fixed his gaze on me and I am almost certain he was frowning. “How are you? I asked again. The gorilla then clearly signed, “Sick. Stomach-ache. Headache.” To be sure I had understood him correctly, I signed back to him, “You sick?  “Sick- stomach ache- headache,” the gorilla repeated. A closer look at the precious gorilla revealed that he did have a runny nose and puffy eyes.

I wanted very much to find one of the zoo keepers, but there wasn’t one available. As the next best option, I gave the information to one of the general staff. The message probably never got passed-on, which saddened me greatly because this gorilla was asking for help and I couldn’t give it.

There have been several times I felt that way while at my children’s high school. At one particular event, I took the time to really ‘see’ those teenagers. And rather than being disturbed at the obnoxious hair colors and styles, piercings and tattoos, and the repulsive clothing, I was able to see them through the same eyes with which I watched the gorilla.

Many of these young people were desperately trying in their own way to communicate. They weren’t using sign language, but with their body language and body image, they were clearly shouting: Look at me! I’m hurting neglected, scared and so on. I stood there wondering, how many of us are really “listening” to these young people.

Koko has many critics who insist that she may have learned to imitate some gestures but has no concept of their meaning. Likewise, there are lots of adults who look at today’s teens and think, they are not conveying any particular message; they are just a reflection of their culture. That may be the case with some, but there are a great many that are desperate for someone to notice –someone to care.

There are also countless others out there who seem to be happy and have their lives in perfect order, but looks can be deceiving. If we looked through God’s eyes, it is quite probable that we would see everyone quite differently.

When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).

As God’s children, we are to have the same love and compassion as our Heavenly Father does. I pray that we all continuously strive to gain a slightly different perspective; one that will cause us to alter our perceptions in such a way that we are more aware of the needs of those around us.

Most importantly, when we do detect that someone is hurting neglected, scared and so on; may we always be quick to show them the love, mercy and compassion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The world can sometimes be a very dark place, and there are times when we all need a ray of light to bring hope.  Jesus is that light!  Will you be the one He shines through to brighten the lives of others?


postscript: Koko has her own website. You can learn all about her and the Gorilla Foundation here:
The Gorilla Foundation -Koko

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Mostly Dead

Wesley died and all hope with him. His true love would now be forced to marry the disdainful prince and live unhappily ever after, or so it seemed. But as fate would have it, the hero of The Princess Bride was not really dead. He was, we are told, “mostly dead –there’s a big difference between dead and mostly dead!”

Granted, it is easy to sometimes think that some of our hopes and dreams have withered and died. We have probably all faced that at some point. Mark Twain said, “Lord save us all from… a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.” Perhaps he was referencing Proverbs 13:12: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

When I think of that scripture, I think of a natural tree. It remains dormant in the bleakness of winter –its branches bare. However, when spring arrives, the tree bursts forth with abundance. Solomon said:
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven
(Ecclesiastes 3:1). Likewise, the fulfillment of hope also arrives at its appointed time.

Always remember, circumstances might be such that hope has seemingly died, but there is a big difference between dead and mostly dead. All it takes to revive hope is one simple prayer. Then, in its proper season, that hope which has been deferred will burst forth with fulfillment.

May we all find comfort in knowing this.

~postcript: The devotional featured above is a sample from my Polished Pearls blog. All of the devotionals on this site are very short nuggets of inspiration. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can click here:
Polished Pearls

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Polished Pearls

Hi everybody,

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve just started a brand new blog for those who prefer one or two-minute inspirational snippets.

The new blog is called Polished Pearls.

You can quick launch it anytime from the Polished Pearls tap at the top of this page or from my blog roll found towards the bottom right of this page.

Unlike Rays of Light, which features full-length (true) stories, Polished Pearls will feature very short posts. They may be an inspirational quote, video, Scripture with brief comment – anything that catches my interest regarding faith or character, etc.

Hope everyone likes the new blog site. Rest assured, Rays of Light is continuing. In fact, I have two or three blog irons in the fire right now.

As always, be blessed, healthy and happy.

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Nestled snugly on a mountaintop in the Tonto National forest, is a small, cozy house which I had the privilege of calling home for one summer during my youth. There, the Arizona sky is swirled with turquoise and tangerine, and the ever-present fragrance of fresh air and pine exhilarates the senses. It is no wonder that so many Native Americans and pioneers chose to settle this area and never leave.

I had plans to attend college in the fall or else I might have planted my roots there as well. Being an adventurer, I could have easily spent every moment of every summer exploring the vast display of nature’s treasures throughout Tonto’s three-million acres.

Admittedly, winters would have been a little more challenging for an outdoorsman like me because there isn’t much to do when you are completely snowed in. I would have managed quite contentedly though. Until one has experienced first-hand the solitude of living apart from the pandemonium of this world, it is hard to imagine the inexpressible tranquility that such a quiet life affords.

I had never experienced the harsh winters of the mountain, but my grandmother told me many stories about them. Tonight, as I watched orange and amber flames dance atop the logs inside my fireplace, I fondly recalled one of them.

Each night, after the dinner dishes were cleared, Grandpa would build a fire large enough to thoroughly warm the house until long past bedtime. The house had electricity but it was always turned low during sleeping hours. Nestling under two or three hand-made quilts atop a feather bed usually kept everyone warm, but I’m told that stepping out of bed into the frosty morning was rather unpleasant.

One morning after a particularly heavy snow, Grandpa awoke to find a big raccoon curled-up on the rug in front of the fireplace. How it got there was a mystery at first. He wasn’t an especially feisty coon, though. Grandpa simply opened the door and the coon walked out without a fuss.

The following morning the coon was back on its self-assigned rug in front of the fireplace, and the next morning, and the one after that. Each morning, just like the first, Grandpa opened the door and the critter headed outside as if he were a beloved household pet merely going out for his morning business.

The mystery was solved by day three when Grandma noticed little ashy footprints coming from the fireplace. Apparently the coon had waited for the fire to go completely out then managed to work his way down the fireplace, leap over the hot ashes and settle in for the night.

Because of this, my grandparents nicknamed him “Jack” from the old Mother Goose rhyme:

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.

A simple metal mesh would have thwarted the cunning houseguest, but apparently he had become such a welcome diversion to the monotony of winter he was allowed to continue his nightly visits.

Jack slept in the house for about three weeks then stopped coming around for reasons unknown. Knowing my grandparents, they would have let him sleep on the rug for the rest of his life because they were very warm and caring like that. After all, they welcomed me there for a whole summer when I needed a place to stay.

I guess that is why I sometimes think of that old raccoon story. My world at the time was as bleak and cold as a frozen winter and yet, like Jack, I was offered a warm place to rest my cold, weary soul with no strings attached. Beyond that, I was loved and cared for by people I barely knew.

A great many summers have passed since the one spent on the mountain and most of my memories of those days have faded. Even so, in the same way that the old coon was able to stay warm by the ashes of those long-ago fires, I still have enough memories remaining to warm my heart when I think-back on them.

Dear reader, never underestimate how deeply a kind word or deed can impact others. There are many people in today’s world who’s hearts have grown cold -wounded souls looking only for a warm place to rest. Let us be swift to offer them that refuge.

> Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.(Matthew 25:34-40)

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“The depression then became so fierce that the resulting mental breakdown caused stroke-like symptoms in my body. I thought perhaps I could finally die. Not so. I couldn’t even breathe without….”

As a youing adult, I had very little knowledge of who, or what, ‘Jesus Christ’ was. But that did not stop Him from coming to me and revealing Himself in a supernatural, radically life-changing way. How He did this still astounds me more than twenty years later. You can read about this under the testimonies tab above.

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