“On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

~~Edward Mote, 1834 (chorus of the hymn, My Hope is Built)

My day at work was busy. I didn’t even take a lunch. When I arrived home, my husband was getting food out of the refrigerator for dinner. I paused and looked at him, being all domestic and everything. I realized that it just ain’t what it used to be. We are older. We may reside in the same bodies, but odd shiftings of sorts are taking place. A house once loud and busy with three boys is now quiet. Families around us are also “empty nesters” which has transformed the dynamic of the entire neighborhood.

Life consists of a series of changes that we then have to make adjustments to. Kids grow up and leave to do their own thing, jobs evolve or we take new ones, and important people in our lives die. It can feel like we are on a perpetual merry-go-round, because we are a part of a fluid society and world. More than ever before, people travel to and even move to different states or countries. It not unusual to have 12 to 15 jobs in a lifetime. Complete career changes, even as a person gets older, are not rare at all. Continue reading

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            “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Janee-flowerWe said “see ya later” to Janee in June this year when she died after a very long battle with cancer. She has left us with many memories. We will not forget her beautiful singing voice. Many of us have one of her lovely hand-stitched hankies, which she carried around so she could hand them out to whoever she met. Her favorite color was purple. Most of all, though, she will be remembered for her genuine love for people.

Janee’s comments on Facebook posts and in greeting cards always concluded with “love and prayers.” These were not just superficial words without substance. Janee meant them. Whoever she wrote those words to, I know she was praying for them. Continue reading

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For Susan

“I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going.”  Psalm 139:5 (The Message)

This is my friend, Susan Gardner’s, story as she told it to me. ~~~  Be blessed, Tammy

I was alone in the room.  No one could come in with me.  There would be no one to sit with me or even to hold my hand.  No one could step in and take the treatments for me.  No stunt double would be hired to take the hard hits—no action to be accomplished by proxy.  To have the radiation extinguish the cancer, I had to be there.  The isolation made me acutely aware that no human could help me.  In the pain of such profound aloneness, God revealed Himself to me in the most amazing and loving way.  The Master of the universe didn’t remove me from that room or decrease the number of treatments which, of course, would’ve been more in my comfort zone.  No.  Rather, I realized it was just Him and me, and He assured me that His presence was enough.  His words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 became real to me:

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9, (NIV) Continue reading

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“Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”~~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King spoke those words in his “I Have a Dream Speech” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., just 4½ years before his untimely death. This is one of the most widely recognized quotes in all of history.

Every day at work, I look at the many pictures I have in my office of my three boys, my husband, and others. I am very aware of how I am free in Christ to love them and other people who come into my life, a truth I’ve known in my head for many years. I’m still working at getting that into my heart. I’ve struggled to let myself love like that because of old and wrong recordings in my head that I listened to.

In fact, that kind of love is exactly what Jesus commands us to exhibit as His followers. We are fulfilling the law when we show people love, consideration, and respect.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34)

“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

For me to be afraid of loving others, to withhold my feelings for people was really against what Christ teaches. So, I prayed and ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to love as He would have me to.  I want to love those around me according to His Word, not the words of the world which can be spoken behind a façade of selfishness and deceit. I want His love to fill me up so much so when I interact with others, all that love cannot help but automatically flow out of the abundance in me.

Imagine what the world would be like, or your own life, if we all loved others the way Christ loves us. Not a love that says I will only love you “when you look and talk like this or that” or “if you have the same opinions, interests, etc., as I do” or “when you become the person I want you to be.” We honor God when we show others the same love and respect as He gives us.

But, how do we love the way God does? True, we cannot be infallible as He is. We cannot possibly love in the perfectness He displays. But, I do believe we can love beyond our perceptions when we see others through God’s eyes and allow Him to love them through us.

Ask Him (I’m speaking to myself here also) to show you how to demonstrate His love to others.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)

He is faithful, and He knows our hearts. I believe He is very pleased to fulfill our requests when we ask for something that can only bring good to everyone around us and will draw people to Himself. I want to surrender to Him daily to fill me up with His love and mercy to give out to others.

“Oh, Lord–You have given me this gift of Your love to demonstrate to others whom I come into contact with each day. It is Your love in me that I will pass on to others in my life–without fear.”

Blessings–be immersed in His love for you, Tammy

©2018 Tammy Maseberg All Rights Reserved


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All Around Me

 “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .”  ~~Hebrews 12:2

There was Moses and the parting of the Red Sea.  David killed Goliath the giant with just a slingshot and a rock. Both miracles were done by the power of God, and they still happen today, too.  I prove this on those mornings when I get to the gym by 6 a.m. and am wearing publicly acceptable clothes.

The world greets me when I walk into the building, from the music playing to the programming on the televisions.  Quite a few people are already there, believe it or not, but I don’t know anyone.  That’s okay, because I prefer to reveal any exercise intolerance I have away from the eyes of friends and family.  The TVs are tuned to a variety of stations.  I choose a treadmill positioned in site of one I can tolerate—like HGTV or The Travel Channel—a screen not telling me of the state the world is in right now.  This means I must avert my eyes from all the news channels.

I put my ear buds in and listen to music that gets my mind set in the right direction for the day.  The images and words captioned on the TVs tell of a world falling apart and of people who are filled with hopelessness and self-destruction.  However, I can choose to listen to a different message—God’s words of assurance of His love for me and the peace He can give me, even in the midst of turmoil.  I wonder if anyone here is aware of this alternate message of good news, one contradictory to what society tells us.

What does it mean to fix our eyes on Jesus?  I would describe it as setting my focus on Him and simply trusting Him.  This doesn’t imply we ignore all the turmoil and say it isn’t happening.  That would be naïve and a lie.  However, if we are just looking at the storm around us, we won’t be able to hear the voice of God.  His goodness and promises will be drowned out by the clamor of the world, noise that brings despair.  The following verse helps me to have the right focus:

     “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  ~~Romans 8:37-39

What a comfort for this time we are living in!  I can’t control what happens around me. However, I can choose to turn my concentration away from all negative speech and actions.  Then, I need to look to Jesus and His promises and not the things of this world undeserving of my attention.  Those “things” can be like spoiled children—the more attention you give to them, the more attention they demand and feel entitled to receiving.

So, be encouraged because God is still in control and He loves you so very much!  He longs to help you through any distress you are experiencing personally and to deal with all the trouble going on in the world.  He will give you peace in the midst of all things, if you ask Him.

       “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~~John 16:33

Be blessed! Tammy

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Black Eyes and Bullies

“In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?”

~~~(Psalm 56:11, NAS)

Most everyone recognizes the familiar whistle and opening melody from The Andy Griffith Show. We are transported back in time and reminded of a less complicated day gone by.  Andy and Opie are strolling toward their favorite fishing hole to spend time together as father and son.  Aunt Bee is at home making pot roast and apple pie.  The town men are sitting outside Floyd’s Barber Shop drinking bottles of pop and shooting the breeze. Somewhat idealistic?  Perhaps.  But, the lessons taught on the show, I feel, are still relevant for today.

One episode features Opie being intimidated by a bigger boy named Sheldon.  Sheldon bullies Opie into paying him a nickel each day to be granted passage down a street he has claimed as his territory.  Reluctantly, Opie complies because if he doesn’t, Sheldon has promised to give him a knuckle sandwich and to pulverize him.  Barney becomes suspicious, so he follows Opie one day and sees the confrontation between the two boys. Both he and Andy are heartbroken that Opie is not only afraid of his tormentor but is also afraid to tell anyone.

We all have “bullies” we encounter now and then.  The adult version of what Opie faced can still be manifested in the form of physical abuse but also emotional, sexual, or mental abuse which can be just as sinister. Illnesses, disappointments, or other losses can also be great oppressors.  All these issues can prevent us from moving forward in our lives.  The fear we feel can keep us in bondage, both emotionally and physically, as we struggle to get beyond the troubles plaguing us.

Just as Andy and Barney were sad to see Opie so scared, I think God grieves when He sees His children full of anxiety.  He doesn’t want us to be afraid.  This is clear, because He tells us over and over in the Bible to not fear but to trust in Him:

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.”  (Deuteronomy 31:6, NAS) 

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.” (Jer. 1:8, NAS)

“for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, ‘Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.’”  (Mark 6:50, NAS)

Later, Andy tells Opie a story to teach him to stand up for himself and not be afraid.  Thereafter, Opie successfully defends himself against Sheldon, although resulting in a black eye. When he shows off his battle scar to his Pa and Barney, he says, “Ain’t it a beaut?”  Andy embraces his son in bear hug.

God, as our heavenly Father, wants to surround us with His loving arms to comfort us during, and after, facing and standing up to the “bullies” in our lives.  He is aware of what we go through and sees the scars left behind—our black eyes, so to speak.

Trust Him with your life, your whole life, even the stuff you don’t want anyone else to know.  He’s able, and willing, to carry any burden you bring to Him.  He loves you so much!

Be Blessed!

You can see the episode on www.youtube.com, search for “Opie and the Bully.”

©2017 Tammy Maseberg All Rights Reserved

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Being a Witness

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…”  ~~Hymn lyrics by Peter Scholtes

Peter Scholtes wrote the above words in 1968 to a hymn of the same name.  At the time, he was a Catholic priest in St. Brendan’s Parish on Chicago’s South Side.  Although it only took him a day to write, the song is widely known and has been sung by countless people.  Jars of Clay and Rebecca St. James are just two of the Christian artists who have recorded it.  You can read more about Mr. Sholtes’ life and how he came to write this song at the following website: http://www.pscholtes.com/obituary.cfm

But, does the world really see the love of God in us?  What kind of attitude do people sense in me?  When Jesus walked on this earth, He was very clear in His instructions of how we should act as His followers.  He said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)  In Matthew 22:34-40, the Pharisees tested Jesus by asking Him what commandment of the Law was the most important one.  He told them the greatest and foremost commandment is to love God.  The second greatest is to “. . . love your neighbor as yourself.” (NIV)  In Galatians 5:14, Paul repeats Jesus’ words and then in verse 15 adds, But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” (NAS)

As followers of God and His gospel, we are witnesses for Christ.  The question is this:  are we good witnesses or bad witnesses?  For the most part—when people see me, hear me speak, watch my conduct in day-to-day life—do they see a good representation of Jesus and His character?  Or, do they hear words and see actions from me contrary to what He taught and displayed?

How can those who don’t yet know Christ want to be in His Church if they don’t see hope and encouragement waiting for them there?  And, the Church is made of up of us—God’s people.  So, it is up to us to show them what Jesus portrayed to all mankind when He came to this earth.  That is, love and acceptance along with guidance and hope for a meaningful future.

There are many things and circumstances in this world to bring discouragement—stuff that can be beyond anyone’s control. So many people are also weary of being battered and bruised emotionally by other people. We should offer something different, something so appealing that they will come running to the One who can give them everything they need.

It is very simple. Love one another. Love those in the Church and those who are not.  And, if there is someone who insists on causing trouble, walk away and continue to love them from a distance.  Remember what Jesus said:  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34, NAS)

So, let God’s love shine through you onto others around you.  You will be blessed beyond what you can imagine.

Lord, help me to be a good witness and representation of You—every day.

Be loved with His love, Tammy

©2017 Tammy Maseberg All Rights Reserved

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