Saturday, December 9, 2017

A VIEW UP THE STAIRCASE

If you keep your mental antennas up, you can find inspiration in surprising places.
My neighbors shared a Christmas letter with me from their longtime friend Mike. It made an impression on me. I can't do better than repeat part of it in his own words so it can bless you too—“you” as represented by the approximately 2-3000 views a month my blog is privileged to receive. Go, Mike...

“[In speaking with a realtor friend earlier in the year, he showed me a flyer describing a house he had been contracted to sell.] The photographer included the image of a young girl standing at the foot of the grand staircase of the house he was trying to sell. The picture touched me as worthy of some contemplation. In it I imagine her standing at the beginning of her life's journey represented by the stairs before her. Each step on the stairway of life brings a promise of many things: loving and being loved, happiness and tears, success and failure, personal growth intellectually and spiritually, understanding, the power to become who she will be, and the discovery of the love and wonder of God in her life.

“As I reflect on my life's journey, to date, I've reached the 72nd step. How many steps remain is known only to God. When I began to climb, I had no idea what the journey would bring, or of the many people I would encounter on my climb. Today, as I look back and reflect, I realize how blessed I am to have encountered so many friends on my journey. Whether our acquaintance goes back many years, or is of more recent vintage, I want you to know I have been richly blessed that you became and remain a part of the fabric of my life. For this I thank God with all my heart. As Helen Keller said, 'So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.' Blessed by your friendship, my life's journey has been very good.” Thanks, Mike, I agree!

I, Leona, started out like the child in the picture on my own life staircase journey in the Iowa heartland in the midst of what they called "The Great Depression."
God set before me the particular staircase which He planned before I was born for me to climb. (Ephesians 1:4) And He planned for all the many friends who would enrich my life through the years on that long climb which I didn't know would be crowned with longevity.
I am rich indeed with fellow-climber friends! I have probably never met most of you who view my blog posts throughout the world, but in some mystical way we too are part of each others lives, as are the rest of my many friends whom I have met face to face and heart to heart through the 92 years I have been climbing my staircase of life. I echo Psalm 103:5 “He [God] satisfies your [years, life, mouth, necessity and desire at your personal age] with good; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's [strong, overcoming, soaring]!" See Isaiah 40:31. Yes, blessed by your friendship, my life's journey continues to be very good.

The little child pictured in the photo contemplating the steep staircase ahead had to take it one step at a time, as I have had to do. There were times I stumbled on those stairs and though I might tumble backward. In life we are subject to progressive time and we must do the same. As we each reach the top of life's staircase, of course we aren't wearing the same shoes we started out with in infancy. I grew up in the era when parents bronzed their baby's shoes to preserve them as a keepsake. Mine were never bronzed, but I don't feel neglected or deprived. Would you believe? For whatever reason, I'm still in possession of mine. Mine are unique, however, in that I doubt anyone's baby shoes are preserved like mine with chicken droppings still stuck to the soles from running around in the barnyard as a toddler!



By the time we reach the summit of our life's staircase, some of us may no longer be wearing dress shoes with high heels but orthopedic supports in our SAS or New Balance practical footwear. And the view of life near the top of our climb shows us a vast panorama compared to the limited and unknown view from the bottom step. If we needed help in climbing life's stairs, and we all do, God was with us to hold our hand tightly as we advanced from childhood through adolescence, prime of life and advancing age. We don't know about the future, but we know Who holds our hand--Great is His faithfulness! Yes, blessed by your friendship, I too can say that my life's journey has been very good.

Thanks, my friend who is reading this blog post, thanks for being my friend as we have met somewhere in the Providence of God and for His purposes along our climb on our individual staircases of life.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

NEW BOOKS ARRIVED EARLY!



The shipment of Leona's new book WRITING FOR THE SUPREME EDITOR was already delivered TODAY—a week earlier than promised by the publisher! Leona can put all the books you need for your Christmas list giving into the mail promptly.The easiest and speediest way you can be sure to receive your book order in time for Christmas giving?Email your order right away to leonachoy@gmail.com. Be sure to include your mailing address.


Your check can follow in the mail to Leona Choy 497 Devland Dr. Winchester, VA 22603 made payable to Leona Choy. Or you can use your credit card through paypal.me/LeonaChoy.


Since Leona promised a pre-publication paid-in-advance DISCOUNT until December 10, she will still honor that if you order and put your check in the mail before December 10.


The discount price will be only $10 per copy plus $4 s/h 
until December 10.
After that, the list price will be the regular $12.95 
per copy plus postage.


Isn't that a thrifty reason to hurry and place your order for gift giving to your friends and family?
Happy reading!
Leona welcomes feedback from her readers

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

IN RESPECT TO PUMPING MINI-IRON....


“Physical therapy might help to jump start you,” suggested my doctor after having zeroed in on a current disorder of my bodily “earth suit.” Apparently my calendar-challenged body needed more exercise....

That launched me into a three times a week encounter with a young trainer chap named Kevin at the Kinetic-Balance Center. The trajectory he prescribed for me was not what is commonly thought of as body building and pumping iron with bulging muscles as the goal. I was to concentrate on trying to rescue, strengthen, and then maintain what puny muscles I had left as a nonagenarian after sitting for protracted periods for too many years at my computer in my writing studio.


Kevin told me to continue my prescribed regimen at home daily and buy some dumbbells for weight lifting. I had visions of the torture equipment in workout rooms depicted on TV, I asked how heavy they should be. “Two pounders,” replied Kevin. I bought them for a dollar apiece at a local thrift store. It didn't take me long to realize that was about all I could manage to lift anyway.


In addition to the P.T. program, I was to continue my thirty minute daily trip to nowhere on my recumbent stationary Schwinn 270 bike which time period was equal to five miles in distance—and gave me a few paltry calories to spend. In the flush of my initial enthusiasm for success, I was beginning “to take thought” that I really might be able to “add to my stature” (i.e. alter my body) if not by “a cubit,” (18 inches!..Jesus, were you exaggerating on purpose?) at least by a smidgen of strength for my mushy muscles.


After some weeks on that program I concluded exactly what Jesus had already told me in Matthew 6:27. “Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?” One Bible version paraphrased it, “Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?” Some translations expanded the meaning to include “adding a single moment to your life, a single hour to your age, to your span of life.” The Message Bible applied it vividly: “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch?” 
Bottom line? Nothing could be accomplished by simply “taking thought” (or being anxious, worrying). Even sweat and discipline and perseverance wouldn't cut it. That's true even for the man who by arduous training (or taking steroids?) attains a bulky body like the one pictured with this blog post. If he doesn't maintain his regimen, his exaggerated muscles degenerate to flabby again. So what's Jesus getting at?


Bible scholars differ in their interpretation of those verses, but some light is shed when the Matthew 6 verse is taken in context with 1 Timothy 4:7-9. Comparing translations, some read “bodily discipline, physical training of the body, exercise” “has some value, in some ways, has limited benefit, helps a little, is somewhat profitable, is not entirely useless.”


Bodily exercise is contrasted with godly exercise or “training in holy living.” Spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, useful for everything.” “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” The Message Bible hits the mark again: “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both for today and forever,” both for the present and the future.





So? I'll at least try to keep on hoisting those two-pound dumbbells and continue pushing those bike pedals to nowhere. It does “profit a little.” I know that I ought to exercise my temporal body because it tends to drag me toward the slippery slope of inactivity which in turn hinders my health and ability to do the work for which God called me.

Without exercising myself to internal godliness, even if I was able to pump serious iron, such physical exercise would be of little and temporary advantage. My priority daily spiritual exercise must be to present my mortal body, my "earth suit" to God in spiritual worship (Romans 12:1) for the welfare of my soul, to the pursuit of a holy life, since godliness is profitable in all things in the present and in the future.We can't beat that for a lasting result!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bonus Gift Book Offer Extended by popular request

Available for the asking with the purchase of any of Leona's books 
including her latest releases.

190 page Gift book from Leona Choy
Author voiced!
A CD of the reading of the first 74 pages by the author included with the book.This is Leona's First Poetry Anthology now out-of-print in its original format.  A Collector's Item! Order your author signed copy 
while they last!
From the Introduction

    In our early years we struggle to fulfill ourselves through education, our jobs or careers, possibly in marriage and family relationships. Perhaps through our talents or skills or the approval of others. Time seems to be on our side. We rarely give its earthly termination a thought. 

    Suddenly, so it seems, we find ourselves in the mature years of life. It dawns on us that we aren't done yet! We haven't finished what we started. Many dreams haven't materialized. We are forced to abandon some and readjust others. We didn't achieve all our goals.
    WE HAVEN'T YET BECOME WHAT WE HAD HOPED TO BE.
    In frustration and then panic we may frantically try scrambling up some earthly ladder toward completion, attainment or success. Whatever happened to fulfillment? We stare into the face of increasing limitations.
    When we were younger, time seemed to drag its feet. Now time is pushing the accelerator down with both feet. Life is like mist or smoke: when we try to catch it, our fingers close around nothing. We keep asking, "Where did the time go?" Have we lost the entire centerfold of life?
    LIFE IS CROWDING US INTO A CORNER!
    Have you ever had the urge to seize a significant moment and hug it tightly? You want it to last forever. Perhaps a particular period of life or some enjoyable experience. Do you remember the childhood game of "Statue"?  You were supposed to "freeze" in whatever position you were when the command was given. If only you could freeze time at some ideal age or without any changes in your family situation, your strength or your health. Or preserve an especially happy moment.
    Fantasy!  Let's admit that we really wouldn't be satisfied if we could stop time at this or any other moment. Besides, we might miss what God planned for us just around the next bend.  It may be better than anything we've experienced in the past or present.  We might miss the invigoration of a fresh challenge or a hurdle to leap over.
    Sometimes the Lord saves the best wine until the last!
    In any case, we don't have a choice.
    As human beings we are temporarily locked into earth's time frame. The clock ticks on until one day we step over into a thrilling eternal dimension where "time shall be no more."
    TODAY is the best day for the child of God!  The choicest moment is right now.  The Lord must have something special in mind to keep us hanging around on planet Earth.
    We've already lived our yesterdays! Thanks for Your generosity, God!
    We don't  know about our tomorrows. We trust You with them, Lord!
    So today is the only time for which we are accountable. We have the awesome opportunity to live it totally for Jesus.
    May God help us not to let today slip through our fingers without living it up and celebrating life to the fullest. We may still have time to be faithful stewards of the rest of our lives.
    LIFE MAY BE CROWDING US. But we have NOW!  And we may still, through the generosity of God, have the opportunity to add more of life's pages in full color in the days and years ahead.
Postscript

What gives significance to this book is that I wrote it the year I was recovering from major lung cancer surgery and just before the sudden death of my husband the very year this book was published.  The
"more of life's pages yet" about which I hardly dared to speculate above--given the circumstances I faced--have so far turned out to be twenty-seven years. Let us Celebrate each day as a loving gift from God and let Him do the counting of how many years He has planned for each of you who reads these words.

Below is the flagship poem from the book title, page 64.  Listen to Leona reading it on CD--in her more youthful voice!

 Life- Stop Crowding Me!

Life, stop crowding me!
I can't keep up with you.
I want to stop and enjoy
what I've become
and grown into
but you keep pushing me
faster and faster.

I want to pause and savor
the luscious flavor
of what I've waited for
worked for, hoped for
but you never allow me
the costly luxury
of cementing the moment
I've achieved.

You jostle me too swiftly
to the next stage
the new role
the greater struggle
the higher level
the fresh experience
before I'm finished with this one.

Just let me catch my breath
and take a look around
to see what I have found.
No such luck!
It's best for me, I guess
not to be sedated
with all of earth's success
but to be impelled
to keep motivated
forced forward
provoked higher
propelled onward
accelerated
to stretch my pace
and run life's race.

Otherwise--
I'd tend to spend my time
sitting beside the road of life
resting and complacent
appeased and pleased
but wasting away
to my own dismay
accomplishing nothing more.
Yes, I'd smell the roses
but in a placid daze
basking in the sun
instead of pressing on
and burning out
in a beautiful blaze!

Phil. 3:12-14


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Advance Discount on Leona's New Book!


Just in time for Christmas giving!


Do you smell the printer's ink as the presses roll?

Leona's latest book is close to “birth!”

The “due date” for the anticipated “delivery” at her door is 
December 10, 2017!


Whenever Leona has a new book released, she offers a limited time discount for ADVANCE ORDERS that are PAID UP FRONT.



The normal price per copy of $12.95
 is discounted to $10 plus S/H $4!

Leona will mail out your pre-paid orders FIRST.


Send your order and check with your name and mailing address to:


Leona Choy
497 Devland Dr.
Winchester, VA 22603


or you may conveniently pay by Credit Card through:

paypal.me/LeonaChoy

Be sure to include your name and mailing address.
Notify Leona of your order by email first: leonachoy@gmail.com
and follow with your payment.


Enthusiastic readers of Leona's many other books

will not want to miss this new one!

Ordering Leona's new book or any of her other books

is an easy and meaningful way 
to cover your gift list at Christmas.

Buy multiple copies for family and friends
at this advance discount! 

What is Leona's new book about?

Leona looks into the rear view mirror of her lifetime and traces God's hand and purpose in her career trajectory in this latest of her autobiographical sequels. She uses a magnifying glass to examine the multifaceted steps in her calling as a writer—a wordsmith,
 as she refers to herself.


Her secret, shy childhood attempts to write rhymed poems while sitting on a branch of the apple tree in the back yard of her Iowa heartland home were the first stirrings of what was to be a lifetime of Writing for the Supreme Editor. As years passed by and her literal journeys took her to experience life and ministry in other cultures and parts of the world, she became known 
from her mid-years as a multi-genre writer.


Leona was not content to be widely published herself, but her greatest joy was to teach workshops on the craft of writing and encourage new writers. She has continued and escalated that writing journey into her nonagenarian years 
with more than 45 published books,
 foreign language translations and editions.


Some of her intriguing chapter titles are Beginnings and Before, Selfie-writing, Spreading My Wings, Cave Walls to Cyberspace, Legacy on my Mind, Passing the Writing Baton, The Joy of Psalming, Over Mountains, Plains and Seas, 
Homespun Writing, and In Pursuit of Dreams.
HURRY! 
 This discount offer for her new book is valid
 only from now until December 10th

BONUS for QUICK RESPONSE!
To the first 10 people who order her new book, Leona will include as a FREE GIFT one of her other books with an accompanying
 one hour CD of her own reading 
of the first 74 pages of that bonus book.
  Be one of the "FIRST RESPONDERS!"
Be sure to request it when you order.






Thursday, November 9, 2017

BITE-SIZED GENEROSITY


God didn't have to do it that way when He put Planet Earth's creation design in orbit. Instead of 24 hour days, “there was evening and there was morning, one day,” (Genesis 1:5) He could have established longer time segments for humans, animals and vegetation. He could have ordained an earthly orbit of the sun to give us several days of daylight in succession in which to labor and stretched to several nights in a row for our renewal in sleep.

In His wisdom and concern for our mortal frailty and our need for more frequent physical and mental restoration, God decreed our living time to be portioned to us in 24 hour bite-sized segments called days. Each morning we have another fresh new day in which to start over, and He supplies us with renewed strength to encounter it! That's really all we can handle at a time, right?

What a generous provision! No matter how badly we may have failed or come short yesterday, God gives us a clean, fresh today. “It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Your faithfulness” (Lam.3:22,23).

When the Israelites in their trek out of Egypt were supplied by God with manna to eat, He gave it strictly on a daily basis. “And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating.”
Psalm 130:6My soul waits for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
1 Chron. 23:30 “And to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening.”
Psalm 5:3 “In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”

Psalm 90:14 “Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 143:8 “Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life.”

In gratitude for God's gift of each new day, can we do less than entrust the day to Him and let the Holy Spirit edit the hours according to the will of God?

FRESH START
Leona Choy

Another untainted day!
Lord, I'm overwhelmed
with Your munificence
to provide for me so generously
from Your stockpile of time
with a fresh start
each new dawn
regardless of the way
I blew yesterday.

God is in my now
this moment His
and His this day
so I must turn
from yesterday
and not expect
to live in retrospect
looking over my shoulder
to see either ghosts
or a pleasant memory.

God is in my now
so all of daily life
is holy ground
each duty crowned
as a royal moment
by the presence of The King.

My burning bush
is my present state
where God speaks to me
in the present tense
saying, “I AM” here.
Because He lives eternally
I can celebrate now!
On this delightful thought
I meditate
and find my joy today!



Monday, November 6, 2017

DILEMMA OF THE DOORS

IN OUR DAILY LIVES WE ARE CONSTANTLY ENCOUNTERING DOORS.

Some are open and we freely walk through presuming God is leading us. Other doors seem closed and we aren't sure what to do about them. If the door is locked, we could break the front door down and barge in—to our peril. Or we could look for another way to get in—a side door, back door or a window. However, that's dangerous—we may be mistaken as intruders.

There are entrances that don't have an actual material door, like the entry to a sheepfold in Jesus' analogy. It was simply an opening in a circle of stones or some sort of barrier across which the shepherd himself would lie across at night to prevent his sheep from sleep walking and snarling wolves from sneaking their way in to do harm. The shepherd was the door. Jesus claimed that He as the Good Shepherd is the door. (John 10:9) He warned against those who would attempt illegitimate ways of entry.


There are doors that confuse us because they seem to be swinging or rotating doors. We enter as if to walk through but as we walk we find ourselves rotating around and ending up outside again. Were we mistaken that the door was open?


Some doors are double and triple bolted and barred and guarded by security people.
These are No Trespassing doors. Let's not even approach them. Usually they are clearly marked so we don't have any excuse to mistake them.


Other doors are warm and friendly and we are entrusted with a key so that we can go in and out at will like family.


It isn't easy in our daily Christian walk to discern how best to deal with particular doors. Moreover, the Holy Spirit's guidance is unique to each of us and specific to situations. We need to pray for wisdom to recognize God's leading in any given circumstance. We like friendly doors where a WELCOME mat makes the decision for us. Rotating doors give us pause since we thought we were meant to go in but we find ourselves on the outside again. 
By all means we don't want to trespass anywhere God has clearly forbidden us. Let's not break a door down that God didn't mean for us to enter. The Lord did endow us with free will so we may actually attempt to do that sometime to our humiliation. However, there are God-guided occasions when even breaking through a roof is permissible. (Mark 2:4,5)


We are instructed to knock and ask and seek (Matthew 7:7) and not attempt forced entry. If God has planned for us to enter a certain door or escape through one, neither “four squads of soldiers, double chains, and guards in front of the door” (Acts 12:6) can keep a door from opening, nor can any man shut it. We are familiar with some doors in medical or office buildings that automatically open to us as we approach them with no effort on our part. God doesn't intend to confuse us with closed doors but delights in opening the right doors for us at the right time. (Rev. 3:8; Acts 14:27) In the case of the apostle Peter incarcerated in prison (Acts 12:10) an angelic event occurred whereby “an iron gate opened for them by itself.”


How about the doors we are encountering today? Would the bottom line of our dilemma of the doors be to simply trust and obey what we are instructed by Jesus Himself? “Knock....” That is, PRAY. Let's knock in faith trusting in the goodness of the Lord that He will give us enough light upon our path to know how to deal with a specific door. And then listen to God's reply to our knock and follow His directions.


Thursday, November 2, 2017

RE-CALIBRATING MY DAY

I believe in signs, whether they are man-made or God's invisible direction signals. One of the most vocal and visual signs 
is posted at railroad crossings.

Here we find wise life and death traffic advice and also hidden spiritual implications. The material consequence, if the sign is obeyed, prevents you from being mangled to death with your vehicle when run down by an unexpected speeding train.


The spiritual consequences of not heeding this advice have repercussions for our well-being as Christians and the quality of our daily walk with the Lord.


I find that during any given day, as the hours tick by, my life sometimes begins to feel increasingly scattered in many directions. There are times when I feel fragmented, disintegrated. Everyone seems to want a piece of me and I don't have enough to go around. I have so many things on my plate that it is heaped high. Like the pieces of a puzzle, my day, my life needs to be assembled together again with care. “Recollected” is a good word for my need, with the emphasis being on re-collected. All the fragments need gathering up into some order. That's where the above sign's message comes in with good advice.


STOP! That comes first. I simply have to stop whatever I'm doing and take stock of my situation. Put on the brakes. Let my interior engine idle. Stop the noise, the dissonance, and embrace the silence so that I can think clearly. I shouldn't go any further, cross any lines, make any decisions until I'm re-collected and put back together again—something Humpty Dumpty couldn't accomplish even with all the help of his military entourage. Only when I'm still can I know how far off course I may have drifted.


LOOK! Look around. Look both ways to see whether I've taken on too much or have been put upon by others. Who has dished out all the things on my plate? Am I following God's orders or my own inclinations and plans? Is the enemy of my soul pushing me in every direction to distract me from my God-given trajectory for my day and for my life? I need to open my eyes to see what is happening to me.


LISTEN! After I've taken the above two actions, it's time to listen. I need to tune out the static that interferes with a clear audio signal from God. In this more tranquil state I can finally begin to focus on priorities, discern between what's important and what is just the tyranny of the urgent. Here is where God can whisper to me and point out what unneeded barnacles are clinging to my life and how to detach them from me.


Perhaps I need to take action on this spiritual exercise more than once a day, if I feel what is called “discombobulated”—a strange but descriptive word for being bewildered and unable to think straight. We all know that feeling at times. Like being disoriented or lost in a maze or caught off balance. There are times when we may need to take a whole day off to catch up with ourselves and reset our course. This is especially important when I'm facing some critical decisions and need clarity of mind and certain direction from God. STOP-LOOK-LISTEN is the key.

When using a GPS while driving and inadvertently making a wrong turn or failing to follow the voice or visual instruction of our device, we need to re-calibrate. To admit our error, start again, and follow the instructions to a new course to arrive at our desired destination.

When I hear God's still small voice in the quiet of my STOP—LOOK—and LISTEN experience, and if I don't heed His voice but persist in forging ahead in my overheated, impatient state, I will pay a price with the consequences. I will get run over with the speeding train of life. God has made a way of escape for us: There is safety in BELIEVING IN SIGNS.






Saturday, October 28, 2017

BACK TO KINDERGARTEN?

I prefer to say I'm “concerned” about something or someone. I shy away from admitting to the word “worry” as if it were a naughty four letter word.

 But if I'm honest and look within at my inner self, I see the ugly evidence of anxiety. In excess, worry is an addiction. As a Christian supposedly mature from a lifetime of faith and trust in God, certainly mature in calendar years, I nevertheless have to declare, as participants are required to do in AA meetings, “My name is Leona and I'm a recovering worrier.” As with any addiction, one is always still in process. Even as a child of God, I tend to slip back into worry. I try to excuse myself that it's just a part of the package of living. After all, there's a whole lot to be “concerned” about, isn't there?

The dictionary defines “anxious” as distress or uneasiness due to apprehension or anticipation of danger or misfortune or the future; troubled in mind, fearful, disquieted, nervous, on edge. Okay, so the fact is that anxiety and worry, is a mental condition. I originates in the mind. God has created us with free will and that includes our choice of what we think about. God has made us capable of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). 
That is not something God is going to do for us. It is a matter of mind control. It's our responsibility to go after the wild worries with a net and capture them and bring them back to orderly confidence in Christ. The apostle Paul makes it clear that it is our business to “set our mind on the things above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). I have to admit that it's those earthly things that make me anxious.

Philippians 4:8 is a comprehensive litany of what we should think about—all positive and confident—and without a hint of worry or anxiety or apprehension or fear or distress on the list. “Let your mind dwell on these things!” That means me. No excuses or self-justification.

The Scriptures are full of anti-worry, anti-anxiety teachings. Let's put a magnifying glass to some of the details and with David, the Psalmist, pray “Try me, know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). Yes, it's all in my mind. What good does worry do anyway?

Matt. 6:27And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span?” Other versions say add, a single foot to his height. [Exercise and nutrition obsessions?] This instruction focuses on anxiety about how long or short a time God wants me to live on Planet Earth.

From the mouth of Jesus Himself, (Matt 6:25) "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” That takes care of anxiety about mealtimes, shopping for clothes, housing needs, and all other concerns of the human body and daily living [body building and illnesses and health insurance?] To break it down still further, “anxiety about the cares of this life, and the deceit of riches” [careers and salaries and retirement benefits] in 13:22 worry about those things “choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” How about anxiety for how we should answer people in our witness, our speech and words? (Matt. 10:19)

In Luke 10:41 Jesus zeroed in further on anxiety about food preparation and hospitality and spiritual priorities, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” Compound that with seemingly just anxiety about what's going on in society and politics and government and international affairs today (Luke 21:26) Who isn't worried? “While men's hearts are fainting for fear, and for anxious expectation of what is coming on the world. For the forces which control the heavens will be disordered and disturbed...be of good cheer, I have overcome the world....” And anxiety about relationships that are confused, about married life or the lack thereof? (I Cor 7:32) “I want you to be free from anxieties.

To sum it up, Paul warns and instructs, (Phil. 4:6) “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” That's the bottom line to cover anything else I'm inclined to be worried or anxious about.


I stand without excuse. When worry rises up in my mind, I need to  get back to kindergarten, backtrack to the basics of my earlier, more simple childlike walk with God and trust in His providence as the antidote. Under ordinary circumstances, children don't worry. They trust that their needs and wants are provided for them. 

 I need to focus on the certainty of His love and mercy and Fatherly care for me in all the intimate details of this mortal life. Back to trust and a peaceful heart and mind. And to do my part to capture those wayward anxious thoughts with the free will God has given me and the strength that Jesus provides.



Wednesday, October 25, 2017

ON SLIPPERED FEET

When I was in middle school "back in the olden days" we learned to sing classic songs like The Road to Mandalay. I was intrigued by the description of a sunrise as "the dawn comes up like thunder out of China 'cross the Bay." No, it doesn't! Dawn always arrives quietly, gently, as if wearing bedroom slippers.

I admit to ignoring dawn most of the time as I remain snuggled under my comforter with the window curtains drawn. But on rare occasions like the one I've described below, I've experienced the awesome splendor of an unforgettable sunrise which the Creator paints for us so faithfully and regularly whether we are aware of it or not.



 
  CAPTURING THE AUTUMN DAWN
Leona Choy

I wait in pre-dawn darkness
watching for the sun's first ray while
blue and gray overlay 
the achromatic horizon.
Silently a blushing tint of anticipation
steals from beyond the tree line
to lighten the purple shadows.

I begin to see the frosted fence rails
hidden by the unlit night
green pines stand motionless
revealed now in stark silhouette.
An eagle in flight sails slow-motion across
the powder-blue canopy of sky while
golden streaks dispel dusky apparitions.

The eerie scene begins to assume
familiar friendly features while
mist still hugs bronzed tree tops
shorn of autumn brilliance.
Another eagle circles and returns...
is it her mate seeking her?
Frost has aerosoled late October grass
turning the meadow into an albescent carpet.
For a moment dark clouds threaten to hide
the sunrise as I wait, scarce breathing:
Will I miss the main feature after all?
No! I rise to my feet in worship!
Burnt-gold leaps boldly upward
thrusting aside the indigo mass
showering me with warmth and brilliance.



The blazing sun catapults into view
as from a celestial launching pad
into the space of a fresh, new day
blushing the shy white clouds crimson.
I cannot bear to gaze upon this spectacle:
I shade my eyes at the flaming finale.

A fog blanket still shrouds the valley below
but God begins to paint powder-blue across
the vast sky canvas with a wide brush
until a daytime dome appears overhead
paling deep hues into muted pastels.

An alarm clock jangles by some distant bedside
forcing me reluctantly back to mortal thoughts
by the intrusiveness of prosaic human routine.
But I have been an awed and adoring spectator
privileged to stand on nature's sacred ground
to view the miracle of an autumn dawn.

I stand transfixed in silent worship 
not of created sun and nature's video display
but of the Creator of heaven and earth.
The memory of God's enchanting wake-up call
lingers through my day's mundane routine
reminding me that God is over all
of ordered nature, seasons, space and time
and human endeavors...
including mine!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

DECLARATIVE LIVING



We were calendar-challenged, longevity-ites sitting around after lunch leisurely sipping our De-cafs and exchanging views about the merits and bedside manner, or lack of it, of the various -ologists each of us was consulting. 

"It seems the only time I go out and about is to keep my doctors' appointments. A pretty dull life otherwise,” offered one of our impromptu experts. “Where's the blessing of long life? Why am I still here? Declining health and limited strength—it's all downhill,” added another.

An octogenarian chimed in: “The younger generation is taking over and nobody wants to hear our accumulated wisdom. The Apostle Paul had it right when he wrote that it is 'far better to depart and be with Christ.' There's nothing left for us here anymore. To die is gain.”

Why would anyone choose to stick around on earth just to become useless and fragile and fade away while being a burden to others?” another agreed.

Don't take his words out of context,” reminded one of our younger girls, a mere septuagenarian. “Those verses in the first chapter of Philippians were Paul's personal letter from prison to his friends who were probably new Christians. He would have known that he really didn't have any choice because his life and the length of it was in God's hands. He would have been quite aged himself as he wrote this.”

Actually, Paul was simply exploring two alternatives. One was to be with Christ in His eternal state, and the other was to remain in the flesh longer. This result of the second, he wrote: “would mean fruitful labor for me...for your sake...more necessary for your progress and joy in the faith.” So Paul said he was convinced that he would probably remain alive to keep preaching and witnessing for Christ. History tells us, however, that he only had a short opportunity left. In a few short months he would be martyred and literally depart to be with Christ. Meanwhile, he was imprisoned, isolated, and spent his time writing letters.

Was this seemingly insignificant activity the important “fruitful labor” he imagined doing? It turned out that Paul's major spiritual legacy for the years, the centuries, the millenia to come was not primarily actively traveling around preaching but letter writing. And not with the ease of a computer or email or even a typewriter, but with painstaking efforts on scrolls while in a dank prison or under other adverse conditions. Did he know what a permanent impact his letters would have until this very day? He took his apparently small window of opportunity and God enlarged it and gave it permanence beyond his imagination.

I recently read an insightful meditation related to our discussion in wisdomhunters.com so I shared it with my fellow longevity-ites:


Am I living in such a way that in my joys and in my sorrows I intentionally and explicitly tell others of God’s faithfulness in my life? You and I have been given relatively just a few short years to live. While you still have breath, take time to tell of God’s faithfulness in your life, of His power and His loving kindness to you and those you love. Don't let your life be a missed opportunity to encourage and strengthen the faith of others, even those not yet born. Your faithfulness in life and death can be a story of God’s mighty acts that lives on for generations to come! Take time to write out the stories of God’s faithfulness in your life so that they can be preserved for future generations.”

That's a wake-up call to action for all of us but especially for us who are already in the autumn/winter season of our lives. That's exactly why we are still here, still in the flesh, no matter how old or tattered or fragile our “earth suit” has become.

The psalm-writing King David knew that very well and spelled it out clearly in Psalm 92:12-15. He said that God's expectation and mandate for us in advancing years was to “keep growing and flourishing and stay planted firmly in our faith and yield fruit in our old age” – and do what? “To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” To intentionally speak up for God and leave no doubt in the minds and hearts of those dear to you and in your circle of influence that God is your Rock.

Why are we still here as the years tick by? The answer is simple: To leave a legacy with our family and friends and our circle of influence whether we speak to them, write letters to them like the apostle Paul, or write down in some user-friendly way a witness to your faith in God. “Let each generation tell its children of Your mighty acts let them proclaim Your power” (Psalm 145:4 NLT). Has God's goodness and mercy followed you in your ups and downs of life? Are you thankful? Are you blessed? Declare it!


You don't have to write a book or be a polished communicator. God expects of us only what we are capable of. Do you need help? My book below is available to you to order by email, leonachoy@gmail.com. I will walk with you step by step to leave footprints on paper as a legacy of your life to pass on a precious treasure to your posterity more valuable than a rich estate.