Author: Nancy B. Gibbs ... Bestselling Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Guideposts Books, contributor to thousands of national magazine, anthologies, newspapers, and devotional guides.
Monday, July 26 2021
What little pet peeves do you carry around with you? There have been ongoing debates as to whether the toilet paper should be rolled off from the top or the bottom. There are clever reasons for both ways, but in my opinion, just as long as we have toilet paper I’m happy.
Now, I have to admit there are some things that bother me. “Groceries half put up.” Roy has a way of leaving cookies on the island. He knows I have a love affair with cookies and every time I walk through the kitchen I pick up one or two. If they were in the cabinet, where they belong, I’d have to do a little more to get ahold of them. I’d eat less that way and the cookies would last longer. But every time I say something about it, I’m chomping on a Chocolate Chip delicacy. He doesn’t hear me!
I’m sure there are many little things I do that annoy him. He’s a perfectionist while folding up clothes. If I get them halfway neatly folded, and tucked away in my closet I’m happy. He’s annoyed that every crease wasn’t straight, when I return to watch tv.
I try to keep my stuff as straight as possible. His stuff has a way of creeping out of his study.
He is one of those “box” people. He cannot throw away a good box. And just because they are stacked neatly in a corner doesn’t mean they should be there in the first place. In my opinion boxes should go in the garbage.
I clean up by dumping unneeded stuff in the garbage can. He keeps old bills and newspapers. Of course when I bring it up he tells me he keeps them because I probably have an article or two in them. He’s so sweet - both he and my pet peeves. What can I say then?
Pet peeves steal our joy. Instead of eating the cookies on the island, shouldn’t I just put them up? I could cut out my articles and throw the rest of the newspaper away after we both have read it. When I empty a box I should not tempt him to save it by leaving it in the middle of the living room floor. And maybe I should take a couple more minutes to fold my clothes.
While there are pet peeves, I also possess many blessings by “my man” being with me. He cooks most of the meals. He buys most of our groceries. He does his own laundry and sometimes mine (see above). He takes care of our pets. He names every stray cat and makes sure I call them by name.
I have time to write and share God’s messages to the world because he does the things I hate to do. A few weeks ago I walked into the kitchen and there was the most beautiful banana pudding on the island. I couldn’t believe he made it all by himself. There may be a few little things he does which annoy me; but there are many, many more things he does to bless my life.
Therefore, I will focus on the good and stop worrying about the cookies on the island. I’ll throw away my boxes before he gets the chance to inspect them, and I’ll cut out my articles and stack them on his desk. I’ll fold my clothes and put them away while he’s in the kitchen making banana pudding. But mostly I’ll thank God that He sent my soulmate to me. Pet peeves or not, he is the most incredible man I’ve ever known.
Love your mate. Overlook the pet peeves. Think on the good and be happy today! Love the one you are with. For one day you may be rejoicing in the memories and wishing you could do it all over again.
Friday, July 23 2021
The Tiny Bird
A few days ago I noticed a tiny bird on our bird feeder. It was sitting on the perch and pecking so hard that seed was falling to the ground. I stopped a few minutes to take notice. It was so little that it could have easily fit in the palm of my hand.
As I stood there watching it, I thought about how much God loves even the tiniest of birds. I thought about how He provides for them, just as He provides for me and you. God watches them as they fly around our neighborhood and shoos the cats away when they get too close. God created all things and I'm certain that He loves everything He designed and made.
He especially loves us! We are small enough to fit in the palm of His hand. And when we are afraid, stressed or sad, I believe He holds us. He wraps His fingers around us and tries to comfort us.
He shoos away the bad things that we find frightening. But sometimes we do like the tiny bird would probably do if I caught and held it. We fight Him. We think we are in danger and even possibly all alone.
But if we would simply stay calm, close our eyes, and remain in Him, we can know that He has His hands on us. We can "rest assured" that we are safe in the hands of our Lord. Nothing can defeat us, because in the end Jesus wins.
Thursday, July 22 2021
Mix it Up
I got up early this morning to bake a pound cake. I’ve used this recipe probably 100 times. I can always find it in my trusted cookbook by the discolored pages where I have spilled milk, butter and flour on the recipe.
It dawned on me this morning that life is somewhat like baking a cake. The recipe told me to start out creaming the butter and shortening. Then I was to add the ingredients, a portion at a time. “Here goes a little flour” I said. Then I added an egg. Next was a scoop of sugar, and then about an eighth of a cup of buttermilk. All the while, my mixer was humming and working to its heart ‘s content.
As I mixed it all up, I noticed how smooth the batter was. I’d be surprised if you could just dump everything in a bowl at one time and then start mixing. My mind was going in circles much like my mixer. It was 5:00 am. Where’s the coffee?
Where am I going with this? Our lives are much like this pound cake. If we put too much fun into it and leave out the work, we fall short on payday. If we work too hard and never have any fun, we burn out quickly. We need to alternate our work days just as I had to alternate putting the ingredients in my bowl.
If we don’t spend time cleaning our house, dust bunnies attack the furniture. If we spend too much time sweeping and mopping we find ourselves on the sofa taking a much-needed nap.
I sometimes find myself neglecting some things and spending too much time on others. Like my cake recipe, we need to alternate our activities each day.
We all need a little bit of adventure at times and God knows our work constantly calls out our name. So grab your calendar. Spill a little fun activities on a day. Maybe a picnic could fit well between work days. And how about a husband/wife weekend getaway. Putting a little fun in the mix makes our marriage run smoothly. Like my batter was so smooth our relationships could be too!
Another thing that helped my cake was sifting the flour. (Getting the lumps out.) We certainly need to sift out the lumps from our home/marriage. If we don’t, the lumps can be the beginning of a breakup.
Life is truly like making a cake. Add a little bit here and put a lot of God there and we will be blessed. We can be sure that God’s presence is the absolute best ingredient of all. We can be happy if we will add every ingredient in life alternately. And always make God the icing on the cake.
Saturday, July 17 2021
Enjoy God’s Peace
Sometimes, I find myself like a tangled up ball of yarn. It’s difficult to get everything done, no matter how hard I try to keep moving forward. I’m sure you experience the same things, at times.
Do you know what Jesus says about that? “Come to Me.”
That’s it. He gives us a short and simple answer. He wants us to believe in Him and to have faith in Him.
He doesn’t begin explaining how we should live our everyday life. He doesn’t always tell us how to take our bucket of troubles and turn them into pleasures. He watches us from heaven as we get frustrated, while trying to unwind our issues.
Again, He says... “come to me... I will give you rest.” Then He smiles down at us.
Then we might say... “I have to go. I have to hurry. I need to get there.”
But He says, “slow down.” He puts an obstacle in our path. We are late. But Jesus says, “I protected you.”
Wouldn’t we all be better off if we just trusted God each minute of our life? Would we be happier if we just simply decided to enjoy His peace? If we simply follow His guidance, one step at a time, peace will be ours.
Is your day today filled with busyness and struggles? Give God your ball of yarn and watch how He gets all the tangles out for you.
But it will only happen, when we turn our fears into faith. Please don’t struggle needlessly. Trust God! He won’t let you down.
Wednesday, July 14 2021
When you ask God for something, do you truly expect Him to give it to you? God made many promises in His Word. Some of my favorites are “I will be with you. Ask and you will receive. Give and I will give you more. My grace is all you need. You can do all things through me.” I could go on and on and on.
God’s Promises are real. But He does call on us to do some things before He follows through with His promises. “Follow me. Be obedient in Me. Have Faith. Feed My Sheep. Read My Word. Spend some time with Me.”
I could go on all day long telling you how important it is to follow God’s instructions for living. When we walk in faith and invite God to go along with us, there’s not enough demons in the universe to pull Him away from us.
When we love God, it is impossible for anyone to take His favor away from us. God wants to show us favor. But He also wants us to invite Him to spend time with us.
There have been many people to tell me that they don’t ask God for the little needs in their life. They reason that He’s busy working on the big problems. So they don’t ask!
But for today, he wants you to ask! He cares about the big things and the little things. You may not have time for Him, but He has time for you. Trust Him. Follow Him. And ask Him for what you need. You just might have a big blessing coming your way.
I heard someone say something like this one time. “I’d rather ask God for many things and receive a few of them, than ask Him for nothing and get it all.”
Ask and you will receive! God is the God of favor today and forever. Remember He loves you enough to answer all your requests.
Monday, July 12 2021
Hope for Another Day
I’ve heard it said that a person can live for several days without food and water, but they can’t even live a second without hope. Regardless of how bad things are getting in our country, if we compare ourselves to others in our world, we are so blessed.
We are living in a free country, but we could lose that freedom if we are not careful. We are blessed to live here in the United States and we should be thanking God every day of our life and for what He has done for us.
Shameful are those who turn their back on our flag. Shameful are they who refuse to stand when our National Anthem is played. My feeling is if they can’t respect our country, they should leave our country and see how that works out for them.
There are people in other countries who are starving and in need of medicine. There are people dying every day. Why can’t those who live here appreciate what we have, instead of complaining about what we don’t have? Those starving would give anything to live just one day here.
We have it easy here. We are given food when we are hungry. We are given a place to sleep when we are tired. We receive medical care when we are sick. But the greatest thing we have here in the USA is the right to worship as we please. In other countries if they profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they will meet Him immediately.
The next greatest thing we have here, but losing it quickly, is hope. We can hope for a better tomorrow and may get it.
We can hope for our every dream to come true and then witness miracles among us. We can hope for our eternity, give our lives to Christ, and have the assurance of a Heavenly Home.
So for today, please thank God for your blessings. Take a look around your little corner of the world and be grateful for what God has given you.
Appreciate the food on your table, the family around you and a comfortable place to sleep. And stand and salute our flag, say your prayers, and act like the person God created you to be.
Your actions could change our country and world. Your hope for tomorrow may just rub off on somebody else. But above all let’s lift up the Lord Jesus Christ and bring glory and honor to Him.
Sunday, July 11 2021
Focus on the Birds
Yesterday, I was at my desk writing when something grabbed my attention. I heard the sounds of a bird’s song. It was chirping away. I stopped what I was doing and listened. I wondered if the singing was coming from outside my window.
Then it dawned on it that a bird was singing on national television. There was a news anchor reporting on all the bad news going on in the world on my television.
He was standing outside. Obviously the bird was in a tree nearby. The louder the anchor talked, the louder the bird chirped.
It was almost comical. The reporter was trying to keep our attention with his bad news. But the bird was trying to show us that, with God, life can be something to sing about.
While drinking my coffee this morning, I realized how blessed as a nation we are. I woke up today in a comfortable bed. I had coffee pods in the kitchen. I grabbed a cup of coffee and went to my favorite chair to spend some time with God and to write this article.
It is my opinion that because life is so good for us (yes, I agree that we have problems in our country), that sometimes we should just turn off the racket and hear the birds sing.
God has blessed us beyond measure. If we counted our blessing today, starting with a bird’s song, we would still be counting until the day we leave this world behind.
But then, immediately following, we will enter into a place where thousands of birds are showing out and singing to their heart’s content. In that place there will be no more pain, no tears and no bad news. We will be able to focus on the bird’s songs without interruption or any bad news. Has it ever dawned on you that there is NO bad news in heaven?
So if you have lost someone recently, dry away your tears, and know that if they knew Jesus, your loved one is now in heaven, listening to the birds singing.
They are not in pain. They are not sad. They are busy, yes, very busy while counting their many blessings.
Will you, today, listen to the birds, and smile?
Saturday, July 10 2021
The most difficult of all goodbyes is the last one. It’s so hard to walk away when you know you won’t see your loved one again. That’s what makes death the most dreadful event any of us will ever encounter in life.
As a pastor’s wife, there have been many times that I will pray with someone, knowing it’s the last prayer that I will pray with them. As many times as this has happened, deep in my heart I feel an indescribable pain. I don’t take this role lightly. Last prayers are very important to the person I’m praying with and also to myself.
When my last day comes and I’m about to leave this world I would like for there to be someone praying for me while the angels escort me away. Jesus is the last Name I want to hear.
I want to have asked forgiveness from God and to be “okay” with all people. If there’s any discord between me and someone else, it will be on their end, not mine. For I pray regularly for those who don’t like me. And yes I know there are a few. God does too!
Mostly, however I’m so blessed with the thousands of friends I have. God has been so good to me. I love the Micheal W. Smith song, “Friends.” Yes. Friends are friends forever if the Lord is over them.
For those who don’t know the Lord, they can oftentimes allow hate, contempt, misunderstandings and anger to rule their life here on earth. That’s sad for them. They are not hurting the persons they are angry with. They are hurting themselves.
Those who hate have never been real friends at all. I remind myself of that occasionally. But we are not accountable for anyone else’s actions or the way they feel. We are accountable for ourselves and only ourselves. If a friendship can be forfeited because of a misunderstanding, that friendship was never rooted or true in the first place.
Death truly leaves sad goodbyes, but we can know that if both parties love the Lord there will be a fond hello once again.
But those who walk away because of anger, without saying goodbye, will lose out for eternity. Gods Word tells us that we can know the Christian by the way they love each other. That means there should always be fond goodbyes and peace among us and our brothers and sisters, if at all possible.
I read a quote a few days ago that said “don’t think of death as the end.”Think of death as a brand new beginning. Where do you want to start your new beginning? I hope your answer is heaven.