Christmas is Commercialized!


Decade after decade I have heard this cry from Christians and non-Christians alike. Is it true? Of course it is! Humanity has always been experts at quantifying the dollar value of everything including you and me. Just browse a life insurance policy and see how much your right arm is worth should it depart from your body. Yes, everything about Christmas is for sale except for its true meaning, which is totally free and can only be delivered by the Savior. Mankind’s profiteering from a sacred celebration is nothing new. Remember how Paul got into trouble when his actions and preaching endangered the local goddess trinket market? One example among thousands to be certain.

Christmas is unique in that it is appealing to Christians and Non-Christians alike so the market is wide open for the venders to make profit. However, we, as Christians, should not gripe about the ‘early’ celebrations; instead, we should see it as a golden opportunity to share Christ’s love with others. I love Christmas and everything about it except the secularization of it. I see the early season as a fantastic opportunity to shine for Jesus. Regardless of what the profiteer’s motivation is for Christmas, you and I, as Christians, should welcome it and ask our Lord to reveal opportunities to lead people to his healing love.
I have seen far too many judgmental people slamming others who are professing their love and excitement for this Holy loving season. I would prefer to say that this condemnation came from the secular alone but the majority of it is emanating from those claiming to follow our Christ and Savior. If you are one Christian who turns into the Grinch at the Early Christmas introduction then please pray that God will soften your heart and ask him to allow you see, hear, and feel with His heart when you interact with others this Christmas season. If that season is introduced to you early then embrace the opportunities instead of keeping your Christian Christmas love locked up for a period of no more than 3.5 weeks and not a single moment more! This is the one time of year that everyone is exposed to Christ whether they like it or not so why not plow the fertile ground and welcome with heavenly vigor the opportunity to share?

Jpeg

Is Christmas commercialized? Absolutely and it is a grand opportunity for all Christians to be overly generous with the love, joy, peace, and hope that comes 365 days a year to all who bow before our Savior’s throne. Please, Christian brothers and sisters don’t waste a single moment of the “early” Christmas season. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Fur Babies


I love dogs with all that I am but I had a problem with this term, fur baby, when it first became vogue. I am still not thrilled about it and I am reserved when I apply it to myself but others, who are critical, must understand it is a term borne of pain. For those of us who have not been blessed to have our own children must find ways to repurpose the endless well of love we have been given from our creator. Certain things happen within our beings that require our nurturing, loving souls to find a recipient to receive all that we must give. Even those who have had the awesome privilege to love a child as their very own find that they feel a deep loss when that child becomes independent.
I will speak of my own experience in an attempt to avoid causing offense or pain to another. My “furbabies” are dogs. I love them each with every inch of my being. I am deeply grateful for each dog I have had the honor of welcoming into my heart. I know God has placed each into my life for a very specific reason and I am convinced I would not be motivated to get out of bed if my dogs did not need my attention. They provide unconditional love, put up with my crabby moods, look at me as if I am the most amazing person to ever live, and they forgive…everything. They are marvelous creatures who know only loyalty, courage, and a depth of love humans have never achieved.
Does that mean my arms have stopped burning to hold a tiny child, who stares up at me in wonder and amazement? Has my heart stopped yearning to pour my love and devotion into my child? Daily, my ears strive to hear a little voice caress my soul with a single beloved word, “Mommy”. A small, chubby hand grasping mine to find safety and security or to lead me to his or her newest discovery will only ever happen through the love I lavish upon my niece and nephews. Thousands of spilt tears and hundreds of thousands more yet to fall for children I will never have, for those who belong to the ungrateful and undeserving, and for all who have been snuffed out before they were able to draw a single breath are added to the unseen ocean of grief. Dried up, useless breasts will never nourish my child as that time has long since passed. I believe that was the hardest day in my life, when I knew the possibility of cradling my baby in a fierce embrace was no longer possible.
I filled this void by working to fix other’s broken children. I advocated and protected other’s children from the evil of this world but my home was a tomb in its deafening silence until I was able to welcome a “furbaby” into my life. Over the years, my dogs were the only things that have come close to filling the void of an empty womb. I spoil my dogs rotten, I love them endlessly, and I consider them a permanent part of my family. We, who possess furbabies, have found an outlet to pour all the unused mothering and nurturing that eagerly sought a home, a soft place to land. Dogs only want to be loved and my heart needed to love them so it is a perfect match.
Naturally, I am describing all the soft, warm fuzzy parts of being a mother to a human child in the full knowledge that much heartache exists within that same glorious miracle. There is no sharper pain or deeper agony than that of a mother’s or father’s heart as she or he watch their child suffering without the ability to help. My words would never diminish the double edge sword that is the reality of becoming a parent to a human child. Traversing my descending years, I find myself more grateful than sorrowful that my only “children” have been of the canine variety. The only sorrow of welcoming a dog into one’s heart is the day you must say good-bye. I have had to say farewell too often to both the human and canine loves in my life. Yet, that is reality. Great love will always birth greater sorrow while branding you with the refusal to deny the opportunity to have had this miracle. As for me, I am grateful for the children, who I loved, but who will forget me. And for the “furbabies”, who never forgot me and whom I have woven into the strong heart and soul they helped protect and build, gratitude is not an adequate term.


Hence, if you lavish judgment like a fool or offer condemnation like an ass then I pray you will learn compassion and a degree of understanding that will enable you to look beyond your own walk upon this Earth. Yes, look beyond your own steps and glance to the left and right to see how your brother and sister stumbles, crawls, and grasps for the strength to claw their way forward in this unforgiving world. Look through Jesus’s eyes instead of your own to see the love keeping those struggling in pain and suffering moving forward.

 

Trees


It has finally started to cool off here for autumn. I do love autumn although each season holds its own joy and glory. God gives us so many gifts if we take the time to see them and experience them in full. I love the way the trees change in every fashion. The leaves changing from every hue of green to a spectrum bursting with every color mankind can perceive. They reach the apex of their existence, pulsating with the crescendo of their entire lives into one final display of beauty. Their final act is the graceful descent of each leaf to the forest floor where they will provide life sustaining nutrients to the next generations. But it is not only the leaves that change. If your hand caresses the trunk or branches of a tree in all four seasons you will feel a distinct difference in texture and tension in the bark. in Spring, it is velvety and supple as the water has been drawn through its roots to nourish the leaves, seeds and fruits of any given tree. The river of water is being drawn up into each vein until it reaches the canopy. That gives the tree flexibility needed for growth. The summer season solidifies it’s strength allowing it to withstand the fierce storms that serve as threshers of the weak or those whose roots have not dug down deeply enough to hold fast to the earth.

Autumn is not a prelude to it’s death or long sleep as many perceive it but it is a culmination of two seasons of growth, fruition, experience, and hardiness. It is during autumn that the tree is able to spend everything it has collected in an effort to prepare for the next generations. It is spending considerable effort to build storage wares for the long winter ahead, deny nutrients to parts of itself that have proven weak, destructive, or useless. Everything is moving at a slower pace but the strength is building. The perseverance and fortitude is at an all-time high because it does not have to prepare for the possible as there are only inevitable occurrences in its lifecycle. Of course, there are always outside forces that could interrupt, change or halt its progression in some manner but it only knows to continue. If cut down, its stump will bud. If insect or disease hit then its seeds have already carried its lineage forward to places far from harm. If drought or flood should move in then it may retreat until the environment is welcoming once again but it always moves forward, beyond the now into an uncertain and unknown future because that is what it was created to do. Even if its wood is used to create something for our use, it is then transformed and its life has more meaning than it had to begin with. Consider how many important choices are made by mankind sitting in a wooden chair at a wooden table. Life never leaves the tree regardless of what transformation it undergoes.

Yes, autumn finds the tree a bit more ridged. Its bark is rougher and the water rivers within it have slowed down. No longer will its life blood flow just beneath the surface; instead, it is retreating to a depth that will allow the nutrients to sustain the tree but make it durable against the cold that promises to come. The smell of the wood and fallen leaves is not one of rotting decay as one would encounter in a bog, marsh or swamp but a retreat of life that is simply blown by the wind. The fragrance is now mature, a rich seasoned wood odor that fills the senses with comfort and sense of security.

The branches are losing their flexibility and instead are becoming stalwarts of strength to sustain the cold to come. There is usually a lull in storms during this time so that it has opportunity to build defenses against the winter storms that will come. By the hour of the first snow fall the bark has turned to armor. It is ready to face the brutality of the winter gale keeping it’s precious lifeblood locked securely within. Branches no longer bend with the storms; instead, the tree groans against the onslaught. It’s creaking can be heard clearly as it buffets the bitter winds as you lay comfortably in your warm cozy bed made from one of it’s brothers…perhaps?

Twigs and even branches that could not hold on another moment bounce haphazardly atop your roof tapping upon your windows entreating you for respite. Nevertheless, you remain snuggled beneath piles of warm blankets awaiting the cessation of the howling winds. Once the storm has passed and you might think you would find disaster after the tempest …they remain, the trees, although battered, remain. You pull back your curtain revealing an ice laden window pane. Blowing upon it creates an oval birthed by the warmth of your breath. Your eyes are filled with the snow and ice laden landscape. The crown and glory of which is surely the grand trees holding millions upon millions of ice diamonds within their branches. God fashioned beauty created from chaos and a monument to his utter majesty and love.

There is silence. Silence so complete, so loud that it hurts your ears. The tree stands proud for it has withstood time upon time of life’s endless joys and heartaches, abundance and want, life anew and death replenished. It is a monument glistening as if from some ethereal plain in a majestic culmination of its existence. The trees have seen it, experienced it, known it and are certain of certainty. There is no tomorrow, there is only now and we must work as diligently in the today as we are not given tomorrow. The trees teach us much if we listen, if we see, if we pursue to know more beyond ourselves. They are a gift of knowledge and experience if we stop long enough to listen.
Of course, that only speaks to the tree itself and not to all the lives whose existence is dependent upon it’s survival. Some have learned to grow and change with the tree itself knowing that a symbiotic relationship with it is one that is the most beneficial to all. Others only take without giving and still others are only interested in destroying what they cannot understand or have for themselves. The saddest of all are those who are blind to the beauty, strength and majesty of these glorious gifts to creation. I am grateful for the trees and my ability to see beyond only me.

My Child


Tender and strong,
who was I before you came along?
My lungs expand as yours expend,
each breath a tutor in strength.

Love was but a word,
an idea,
an abstract
a toy
until you taught me
it’s permeating depth.

Ferocity was foreign
until you demanded
more of me than I
had known
possible.

Truth was all a lie
until I became
utterly lost
within your eyes.

Each tear you shed
collected and treasured.
Each cry recorded,
engraved upon
my soul.

Protection, I promised
from your very first
moment.
Slaying dragons,
chasing shadows,
kissing boo boos,
holding hands.

No one will hurt you
No one can.
I will always
defend my little
man.

So young.
You are but a whisper
in my hands.
Yet, here I take my stand.

Your strength
shames the tears
that burn a course down
my cheeks pooling
into the tapestry
of my being.

The battle fought
within,
I cannot reach.
I do not know
where even to
begin.

God, help me!
Show me!
Gird me!
I cannot stand alone!

I hold you through the pain
and through the tears.
How will I bear it
in your tender
years?

As your eyes pierce
my being asking why,
As your hand reaches for
mine,
As your prayers
plead Jesus
to heal,
my heart breaks
and mends and breaks and
mends again.

You, you are my child
my heart, my love and my
mission.

A CROSS TOO HEAVY?


“Take up your cross and follow me.” Jesus commanded
This one statement is enough to tell all of his followers that the path of Christ is not going to be one of ease and pleasure.
However, there are times in a believer’s walk that the cross she or he is asked to bear may feel soul crushing. The light may appear to be devoured by the ever-present darkness desiring to destroy you. I have been treading upon a war-torn path most of my life with destructive battles being fought at every turn.
The groove my cross has gouged into my path has become cavernous. Yet, the deeper it digs into the earth of my soul the greater multitude of footprints abound near to my own.
Tis such a battle I have been engaged in of late and the enemy is fierce, for he tries to steal my health, my mobility, my faith, my hope, my humanity but he is failing on all the important fronts. He can have this broken shell if that is what provides him false hope, for his end is near.
If your cross is feeling a bit too wearisome and you feel an overwhelming urge to lay it down, know you are not alone. I have contemplated such an action many a time over my lifetime. Christ never expected us to carry our burdens alone even when humans fail us. Perhaps, especially when humans fail us we learn how steadfast his devotion and love for us really is.
‘Taking up your cross’, is not a euphemism; therefore, do not deceive yourself into thinking the Christian life has no earthly cost. There is no Christian “lifestyle”; rather, it is a life commitment and the difference becomes glaringly clear when any degree of hardship enters into a person’s life.
Anyone can be faithful, devout, and committed when the weather is fair. It is easy to obey and love God, the Father, when your mind is telling you that you don’t need him because you have everything under control. Control is a grand illusion that can be destroyed very easily.
Hollow faith becomes transparent when hardship arises and the “believer” flees from God because he or she believes the lies of the great deceiver. Satan has all the time in the world and beyond to think of ways to destroy you and he has had plenty of practice so he is good as this trade. Hence, if your faith is weak or just a thin façade you have used to fool yourself and all those you love then you are easy pickings for a prime predator of souls.
A warrior in the faith is a sought-after prey for the king of demons, for a warrior does not fall easily. Satan is relentless and vicious because if he can take a warrior down then many will fall with him or her. I am blessed to know many warriors and I can attest that Satan’s attacks have been cruel and ceaseless. Yet, I can also proclaim that these courageous men and women have been steadfast and perseverant allowing a multitude to find the love and forgiveness of our Savior through their suffering. Your suffering will never be wasted if you allow God to use it. I have seen both the good and the bad results of how people handled their suffering. Pain is involved for both those who curse and blame God and for those who ask God to use their suffering to bring others to forgiveness.
The “blamers” bring about bitterness and anger that act as a poison to themselves and to all around them. Relationships are destroyed, marriages end, families become broken and Satan is exceedingly happy.
The “faithful” trust and obey God’s word bringing about fruit they may never see. However, if they handle suffering in a positive way it too effects all around them in a positive manner whether or not the observer is saved or not.
This doesn’t mean that the suffering Christian is jumping for joy and singing loud praise songs while in the midst of painful turmoil like some half-crazed martyr. Sometimes it is evidenced by patient who doesn’t swear at and degrade his or her caretakers because he or she is suffering. sometimes it is as simple as their prayers being overheard by unbeliever or a struggling Christian as they lay terrible suffering in a hospital bed. The ways God uses our suffering are far more than we can even conceive.
One of my most cherished pieces of scripture is, “Jesus Wept”. He knows our pain, he feels our pain and he cradles us in his loving embrace to steady our sobs of agony. There is no problem or pain that Christ cannot handle.
There is suffering so great that he must carry us for a time upon our paths, for the wound is nearly mortal. And in those times, we often wish it were a mortal wound, he understands. He will never leave you even if all you can bear is for him to be near… waiting for you to call upon him. He will wait. He will wait because you are his beloved.
I am a warrior. I do not stay this in boast, for there are more times than not that I begged for God to take this burden from me. Alas, he has not so I pray; instead, for unbounded strength. Strength, perseverance and wisdom are the weapons with which he equips me. Using the scripture written upon my heart to fight the king of all lies when he attacks, which has been often of late creates a never ending need to continue to write the scriptures upon my heart and mind through ardent study. The Father has generously gifted me with a multitude of faithful family and friends who surround me when Satan’s attacks are most vicious. They are my earthly backup aided by the army angels of God.
The Cross is heavy. The Cross has always been heavy so do not be surprised when troubles and sorrows visit your door. Instead, gird yourself with scripture and knowledge of what you believe and not only what you are told to believe. Is your faith fair-weather only or can it withstand the hurricanes of life? Make no mistake, Satan plays dirty and he will use anything to steal you from the Father…anything. He has no rules and there is no line he will not cross to destroy you…so you better start working on that faith.

Satan’s Scourge


 

 

Crafty demon you are,

picking on God’s

children like a

schoolyard

Bully.

Tear sinew,

rip flesh from

bone.

Break my bones

if their crack

brings delight to

your fallen

Spirit.

Sear my flesh,

Oh, Beautiful One,

if my cries lighten

your burden.

 

Let your scourge

test my resolve.

Loose your

wickedness

upon this

broken

shell.

 

For, your realm

is in decay.

Hell’s

foundations are

crumbling.

You are

in

your

final

death

Throes.

 

So, break this

body if you must.

Brand my flesh, rob

me of all Earthly

Beauty, for

your end

is

Near.

 

I

Stand against

you

with God’s

Army Angels

standing as a fortress

in front,

at both flanks

and legions after

legions bringing up the

rear.

 

Take this useless frame,

twist it,

turn it,

burn it

but you will

never lay claim

to

my

Soul.

 

“Come Lord Jesus, Come.”

Revelations 22:20

Love Pledged


This work is dedicated to my Nephew and Niece’s fourth wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Bobby and Mary! Love Always.

Was it only yesterday
that I explored the depth of your
gaze? Or have a thousand
years passed since I gave
my heart away?

Loved ones seated,
quiet sniffles,
as a soft breeze cools
the nervousness upon our brows.

Gently, you brush a wayward
tendril that worked its way from
my hair ornament. I feel the heat rise
in my cheeks as your light touch
sets me aflame. My nervous smile is
reflected by one of your own.

Can it be? Can this all
be more than a dream? Are you
standing so strong and handsome
right here in front of me?

The love held firmly in your eyes tells
me that this is going to be. The words
you have pledged a thousand times before, you
will vow once more in front of
God and all the world.

Please let my legs hold me, he pleads as
he holds firmly onto his bride.
His heart is pounding so hard that he is sure it is audible
to all.

She loves me, she loves me and
I love her more than life itself. I
cannot believe she said yes, but
she did and now she is standing here
just there in front of me.
The brilliance of her beauty is
nearly blinding. I feel my
soul melting into hers as we
vow our eternal love.

Can I be…everything she needs me to be?
Can we be everything He needs us to be?
Will I be enough?
Will we be enough to stand the
tests that are sure to come?
Yes, our love will grow and
strengthen no matter
what lies in the future.

“I do”, she says confidently.
A smile broad and wide tells of her joy
as she quiets his fears with her pledge.

“I do”, he promises with his own joy-filled
countenance.

She and He are now We,
two have become one
flesh.
The very next step they take
upon their journey
will be
…as husband and wife.

An unstoppable team
regardless of strife, for
this love is pure and
comes but once in a Life.

Soul Pairing


Nancy and Joel Honse, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I love you always and forever.

Peaks and Valleys

by
Tina Blackledge
7-11-197

Ice crystals bounce together
as they dance in a suspended
atmosphere. A Cascading resonance of delicate
pings and clinks inhabit both time and space.

Where am I?

Were those words spoken aloud
or just whispered among my thoughts?
The clear melodic sound of the collision of
crystals eliminates all other sound.

Am I dreaming?

Goosebumps cover your flesh revealing
a chill in the air placing your senses in a state of
acute awareness. Glancing down, you notice
you are wearing a modest pale blue shift
graduating in tone to the floor
toward a deep ocean blue.

A delicate strength inhabits
a length of it, which you allow to pass
between thumb and forefinger
revealing a softness so light,
you are uncertain
if you have felt air alone.

Is this Heaven?

You command your mind
to reason a frame of reference
but to no avail. No memories

View original post 587 more words

What God has joined…


In honor of my Sister, Nancy Honse and Joel Honse’s anniversary. Happy Anniversary!

Peaks and Valleys

What God has joined…
By
Tina Blackledge

May 20, 2011

We are created
being part of a whole.

Souls search for their mate.
Finding one another
sets the unbreakable bond.

Both willingly
abandon self to become
one whole.

The bond is set.

Love grows beyond
the confines of human
understanding.

The bond is set.

What God has joined together, let
no man put asunder.”
A greater weight than
the words entail is held.

The bond is set

No power on Earth or in Hell can
break it.

The bond is set.

Devotion to God first,
and each other second.

The bond is set.

This is the secret.

The  Bond is set.

View original post

Get UP!


 

Tears of exhaustion cleansed the

 

grime from her weary eyes.

 

The hard earth beneath her felt as

 

if bundles of clouds had been

 

fastened together giving tense limbs an

 

imagined comfort.

 

 

 

Gasping crisped air into

 

overburdened lungs sent a sear

 

throughout her torso lending

 

logic to the fact she yet lived.

 

 

 

Her spirit commanded,

 

“Get up.”

 

Her aching frame bade her

 

 “sleep.”

 

 

 

No amount of will could

 

force her eyes open and

 

the thought of sweet surrender

 

was exquisite.

 

 

 

More insistent but

 

still easily ignored,

 

“Get up, Now!”

 

 

 

Rhythmic breaths began

 

to take over allowing

 

her conscious awareness

 

slip ever closer into

 

the sweet void.

 

 

 

Slight vibrations rippled

 

beneath her.

 

Someone was walking

 

toward her…

 

 with purpose.

 

 

 

A delicate, crisp sound like

 

that of tiny ice molecules dancing

 

atop the rim of a fine crystal goblet

 

teased her ears and sent

 

shivers down her spine.

 

 

 

The sound, gentle as it was, brought

 

her to full awareness.

 

It was…irritating.

 

She wanted to rest, just

 

rest.

 

 

 

“Get up”, came the

 

command.

 

 

 

With reserves she did not

 

think she possessed, she

 

managed to raise herself

 

up to one elbow.

 

 

 

Hand raised to brow, she opened

 

her eyes just a sliver to see

 

who was cruel enough to give

 

such a command to a dying woman

 

eager for glory.

 

 

 

The enormity of light

 

burden her tired eyes

 

causing her to clinch them

 

fast again.

 

 

 

Warm hands gently cupped her face.

 

A soft, loving kiss was delivered

 

to each of her eyes.

 

 

 

“Open your eyes and…see.”

 

 

 

Slowly, she obeyed letting in just a bit

 

of light. Feeling no pain,

 

she opened them both and

 

was awestruck.

 

 

 

Feet firmly planted on

 

the ground in front of her

 

stood a glorious warrior. He

 

shone like the son wearing

 

a golden breastplate, helmet, greaves,

 

and carrying a large blazing sword. In the

 

other hand, a shield engraved with God’s

 

Holy name, Yahweh.

 

 

 

Her eyes came to rest upon his two enormous wings

 

that lay at rest upon his

 

back but whose length trailed behind him. She

 

heard the delicate ice crystal sound every time he

 

moved them.

 

 

 

“I am Michael, an Archangel

 

and I am in charge of God’s Angel Armies.

 

You need to get up and take the

 

next step,” he explained.

 

 

 

She said nothing but her

 

eyes communicated her

 

weary reluctance.

 

 

 

“Woman, look around you.”

 

 

 

Something akin to a

 

veil of fog lifted away

 

revealing mighty

 

and fierce battles being

 

fought. The wars were raging

 

both near and far no matter

 

which direction she peered.

 

 

 

Thousands upon tens of thousands of

 

warriors, like Michael, were engaged

 

in terrible battle with what looked

 

like…demons. Yet, nothing was being

 

touched on the Earth. People were going about their

 

lives without an inkling that there was more…much

 

more.

 

 

 

Her eyes darted to Michael in question.

 

“We have always been here, God sent us

 

to protect you all but you still have the choice

 

to give up or fight. We stand by your side and fight

 

what you cannot see. But, you have to choose to

 

 Get Up.”

 

“You must choose to keep moving

 

forward no matter how many

 

times you are knocked down.”

 

 

 

Her eyes pleaded with him to tell her,

 

HOW?

 

 

 

“You have the Holy Spirit inside you,

 

God’s only Son died for you! God, our

 

creator loves you. He knows how hard it is

 

to walk through this world and he never expected you

 

to do it alone. The Father

 

continues to send help to you but

 

many of you reject it…reject Him. Look

 

at the legions around you. We fight alongside you

 

but we cannot make you choose to follow Christ. We

 

cannot make you stay on the path. We cannot make you get back

 

up when you have been knocked down for the 1000th time. But,

 

I promise you this…Get Up, and we will go back into battle

 

with you. You are not alone.

 

Woman, Get Up!”

 

 

 

Standing with new fire in her

 

eyes she smirked,

 

“How about we

 

 go make the Devil nervous?”

 

 

 

GET UP!