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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cleanse and Clean

The word ‘cleanse’ and ‘clean’ are used multiple times throughout the Old and New Testaments. Psalm 51:2 states, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!”

One day I decided to wash my ‘not-so-dirty’ kitchen curtains. What I wasn’t prepared for is that I did not know how to operate my new washing machine. My curtains were of the delicate kind – the kind that the manufacturer probably says, “We always recommend hand washing all lace curtains for the best results.” But, I wanted to try the quick, easy, and risky approach by washing them in my new washing machine. I convinced myself my machine had cycles appropriate for the lace fabric. The major problem I encountered was due to the fact I never read the instruction book on how to operate the machine. In addition to that, I did not look for the care instructions on the curtains.

To start with - I put way too much detergent in my machine which was evidenced by an extraordinary amount of suds! The suds were pouring out of my machine onto the kitchen floor – nice white fluffy suds - EVERYWHERE! In my endeavor, I started with the ‘Baby Care’ cycle. But, I soon realized I couldn’t open the washing machine door at the end of the cycle, I assumed the child lock was on. But, do you think I would know how to open the child lock? Absolutely not! Not wanting to spend the time to read the instruction book, I continued with my own plan. When the ‘Baby Care’ cycle finished, I started the ‘Delicate’ cycle in hopes that magically the door would open when the cycle had run its course. When the door wouldn’t open after the ‘Delicate’ cycle, I thought the third time would be a charm, so I started the ‘Quick 30 Minute’ cycle. When the door wouldn’t open after the ‘Quick 30 Minute’ cycle, I turned on the ‘Rinse-Spin’ cycle. Finally, at the end of that cycle, the door unlocked. So, my ‘not-so-dirty delicate curtains’ went through 4 unnecessary cycles of wash.

My washing machine had a clear glass window in the front. So, as I sat and watched my curtains go around and around through each cycle, I thought about how much God needs to clean us up sometimes. We might think we just need a little ‘rinse and spin’, but He knows if we need to go through the big, heavy-duty cycles like the ‘Synthetic’ or the ‘Blanket’ cycles. And just as I observed that day, God is going not going to let us go. He will keep cleansing and cleaning us up until he is ready to finally open the door and say, “That’s enough for now my child!”

But, what if I had read the instruction book? Would I have saved time and not put myself through so much worry, concern, time loss, or unnecessary cycles? I believe I would have.
So, today, let’s take out the Word of God (our instruction book) and read it. Let’s ask God to show us our sin and where we fall short; let us confess our sins; and let Christ to forgive us and cleanse us. And maybe, just maybe, our frustration will lessen and our time can be used more wisely.

My curtains had a happy ending. They were clean and white as snow when finished. God can clean us up also - Let Him.

God bless you.
Patti Greene

Bible Verses:
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
Isaiah 1:18 ESV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 ESV

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Psalm 51:2 ESV

Dear Heavenly Father, Please keep me in Your Word daily. Let me read it for instruction on how to live my life. Let it be my guide and direction for every step I take in life. Let me continually see my sin and confess it daily, so that I will not have to go through a big hard cleansing all at one time. Protect me Lord and keep me grounded in You and Your Word. Amen.

To receive notification when new blogs are posted on this site, please fill in your email address in the “Follow by Email” block on the upper left portion of this blog. And don’t forget COMMENTS are always welcome.

Books by Patti Londa Greene

Awaken Me: a devotional prayer journal

God, It’s Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study

Thursday, May 21, 2015


In Lessons Learned in Life, Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s pet dog in the comic strip Peanuts said, “Always believe something wonderful is going to happen. Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted. Smile, cherish the little things, and remember to hug the ones you really love.”  Snoopy’s profound quote reminds me of a verse I read recently in Luke 6:38 [ESV]: It states, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Basically, these two statements tell me that we may encounter tough times, but we should keep doing kind things for others, and when we do that, we will be blessed - not necessarily in verbal praise or in monetary ways, but by having a happy heart!


A few weeks ago I was in Star Furniture looking for some new chairs for my living room. As I was strolling the aisles, a lovely, elderly employee named Raymond* eyed me and told me I reminded him of his country - South Africa. I was intrigued as to why he said that since I just returned from living in Africa for two years. He quickly told me the leopard shirt I was wearing triggered memories of his birthplace and where he had lived most of his life. I told Raymond that my husband and I had just enjoyed a lovely vacation in Cape Town, South Africa ending our trek with an intriguing safari at the River Lodge Reserve in S.A. He bubbled over sharing about the country he had left 15 years ago for a move to the United States. I had made a Shutterfly photo book of our South Africa vacation which, when I told him about it, he wanted to see it. I emailed the link to our book to his wife’s email account later that day.
Then, yesterday, I needed to go back to Star Furniture to order a replacement piece for a piece of furniture I had bought there years ago. On my errand, I decided to throw my Shutterfly book into a bag for Raymond to see in case his wife overlooked my email or didn’t know how to open the file which I figured might be the case because of her age. [Please, don’t blast me for elder age discrimination, but I know how my parents are with their computer!]

Luckily, Raymond was working in the store when I returned. We both sat down on one of the store couches while he intently looked at every picture. He commented on places he had been: Table Mountain, Table Bay Hotel, and the Cape Town coastline. He smiled as he saw familiar sites and asked questions when he saw something new. He complimented my photographic skills especially when he was looking at the hyenas, tigers, and giraffes.  As I sat there watching his joy, he even stopped to educate me on South Africa's sausage tree* when I asked him about it.

Raymond was a true picture of gratefulness. His joy made my heart full. It wasn’t a big effort on my part to place the book in my bag as I was heading out to Star. It didn’t take a lot of time to sit with him and let him ponder the good old days. I was reminded that thoughtfulness towards others creates blessings on both sides. And, please don’t take me wrong. I hope I am not sounding proud by sharing this story. I pray this blog is taken with all the humility I can muster. But, I wanted to share how sometimes just a small gesture of love is all that is needed to create a pocket of happiness for someone else.

As I read AOL’s online news yesterday, there was an article about a 5 year old boy, Josiah Duncan, who noticed a disheveled, homeless man sitting down at a Waffle House in Alabama. Josiah was sitting with his mom when he noticed that no one was waiting on him. He became troubled so he started asking his mother some questions and she explained what it meant to be homeless. Soon afterwards this young boy “jumped up and asked him if he needed a menu.” When asked what he wanted to eat, the man asked if he could have some bacon. Josiah told the man he could have as much bacon as he wanted. Before the man “chowed” down his bacon, this young boy asked the man if they could bless the food. He agreed and 11 other customers began to pray. Wow! This one small gesture directly affected not only the homeless man, but also his mother, himself, and 11 other customers.
Let’s all pray to develop a lifestyle of kind gestures. It really is the little things that count. And, as Snoopy says, “Never take a day for granted.”

God bless you.
Bible Verses:

Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4 ESV

Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 ESV


Lord, let me lift my spirit up to you: today, this week, and this month. Help me to create a lifestyle of kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. Remind me it is the little gestures in life that sometimes mean so much to others. Remove any empty gestures of love I may be tempted to show. Allow me to be an instrument of Your love – touching others with loving acts of kindness. Amen.

To receive notification when new blogs are posted on this site, please fill in your email address in the “Follow by Email” block on the upper left portion of this blog. And don’t forget COMMENTS are always welcome.

Books by Patti Londa Greene

Awaken Me: a devotional prayer journal
God, It’s Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study

* Name changed
* a.k.a. the Kigelia Tree

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Friends and Friendship

My friends remind me of flowers. They come with different names, different looks, different colors, and different occupations. They come with different parts, different fruits, different talents, and different purposes. Some flowers bloom at night and some flowers bloom during the day.

Our friends may be like us or they may be totally different than us. When I look at my close friends today, none of our relationships are the same. Some need nurturing; some need to nurture me. Some give me advice; some I give advice to them. Some like to eat at Mexican restaurants; some like to chat in their homes. Some like to talk politics; some do not know a thing about politics. Some friends are around for a season; some are around for a lifetime. Diversity reigns in friendships – and it’s so much fun.

Over the years, I have had many different kinds of friends. Some have been there to laugh with me; others have been there to encourage me; and others have been there to pull me out of a pit! My friends are valued treasures. They each have had a purpose in my life even if only for a season. Each friendship has been distinctive and productive.
My daughter is VERY social. I think she has around 1,800+ Facebook friends. When she had her third baby, I looked at her Facebook page and she had over 500 congratulations within 12 hours after the birth. That is incredible to me. I can tell you that she did NOT get her social energy from me. I am one of those people who usually have only a handful or two of good, solid friends at a time. I really can’t handle much more than that and be the type of friend I want to be (or should I say the type of friend God made me to be.)

Friends can be the biggest blessing ever. They are treasures to be valued. But, they can also be a huge disappointment if they stab you in the back or if they don’t fulfill their promises to you. But today, I want to talk about the kind of friends that love, nourish, and influence us for the better. Those are the friends I am most grateful for and those friends are whom I want to honor today in this blog.
A question I hear expressed over and over again is, “How should friends treat each other?” I want my friends to be gut-wrenching honest and respectful with me. I want my close circle of friends to cheer me up, to minister to me, to build me up, and to accept me for who I am – the good, bad, and the ugly. I, in turn, hope I can be that same kind of friend to them. The most hurtful thing I have experienced with friends, or should I say ‘so-called-friends’ is when I have found out they have betrayed a confidence and/or gossiped about me. Some of you know how painful that can be. It’s not nice.

On Pinterest, I found this quote by Ed Cunningham. On the post he says, “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.”  How true is that? With casual acquaintances we expect to say, “Hi, how are you?” anticipating the common answer as "I'm fine.” But, with our friends, we want more than the “I’m fine” response. We enjoy listening to them, learning about their life, and loving them.
Our friends shape our lives. They help us make the right choices. They will pray for us. They will support us in our anguish. And they know when to give us breathing room. Social media friends are nice for a little chat every once in a while, but face-to-face communication is best for deep friendships. I love my ‘SHOW AND TELL’ friends. Those are my friends I can stuff my purse with grandchildren pictures, my newest lipstick, my ‘not so good’ sewing attempt, and just share them. It is through this sharing that they will learn what made me who I am today. And, I love it when my friends turn around and share their “deep moments” with me, like perusing their wedding album, showing me their garden, or taking me to their favorite hangout.

The Bible talks of many friendships. God and Abraham were friends. Abraham trusted God to lead him in the right direction. Jonathan and David had a deep friendship that started in their youth. Even though they had parted due to necessity, their love for each other and their immediate family remained strong until death and even after. Ruth and Naomi were brought together through Naomi’s marriage to Ruth’s son. When Naomi’s husband died, their friendship continued and their friendship brought peace, joy, and contentment to each other. Then, there is Peter and Jesus. Peter stood by Jesus until his death. Even though Peter had denied Jesus, their relationship reconciled and continued. You might find yourself in the midst of one of these kinds of friendships right now. If so, be grateful - they are God's gift to you.
Unfortunately, some people do not have many or any friends. This type of loneliness is tragic. Many times loneliness engulfs someone while they are living or working around multitudes of people. When I first moved from St. Louis to Houston, I struggled with loneliness. Sure, I met people at work, but they were casual acquaintances. I remember for years not having even one person that I knew well enough to call up on the phone to talk to. Even being a church member was not meeting my “friendship quota.”  Friends take time and between working a full time job and having a body that tired that I required a daily nap, I could not make friends. I just was doing all I could to get through the day juggling my job, the kid’s school activities, and my much needed daily siestas. Occasionally, a nice long phone call or a random chat would meet my need, but it was not too long until, I was feeling lonely again craving what I could not give, but still I longed to have.

In 2012, I retired from my job. I suddenly found myself with time to make some friends. I knew that close friendships take time to cultivate. I started praying for the Lord to show me who would meet my “friend need.” I realized I had to create time and be the initiator of “friend time” – sort of like how young moms plan play dates for their children. I needed to make adult play dates. I decided to invite people out to lunch just so we could chat and get to know each other. Unbelievably, I now have the reputation of having a "LUNCH MINISTRY" meaning I go out to lunch and get to know people. While I can’t say that everyone I reached out to reached back, but those who did usually became my good friends. I have not obtained thousands of friends, but I do have some very close friends that are there for me no matter what. But, it took time and effort on my part.
As I have mentioned, my relationships with my friends are all different. Most of these friends and I have a spiritual connection; we talk about God and spiritual matters also.

Below is the first word that came to mind when I was thinking of my friends. Their names have been changed, but just look for their diversity.

Gail – What fun we have laughing!
Penelope – A good political discussion gets our minds moving.
Sheila – Oh boy, we share pictures of our kids and grandchildren when we are together.
Kris – In the old days, ice-skating together was cool.
Betty – When I need encouragement, Betty is always there.
Bobbie – I listen. Bobbie listens. We learn from each other.
Debra – A deep chat on books, publishers, and business can nourish us both.
Jolie – Crazy. Oh crazy Jolie. We are so different but we can act crazy together.
Andrea – Fashion, purses, shoes, shopping – that is our link.
Wilemenia – It never fails. We go and eat Mexican Food! We love it.

If you find yourself lacking in friendship, you most likely will have to make the first step. Invite someone to breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anywhere that suits your fancy - somewhere where you can converse and get to know one another! Understand that not everyone you desire to be your friend will want to be yours. They may be overloaded with other responsibilities or life issues, so do not allow your feelings to be hurt. Each attempt to cultivate a friendship is one step closer than you were before. I have been in positions where I have inwardly though that I could never be friends with so-and-so. And guess what God did? He made some of them my very best friends. Show yourself friendly, be interested in those you encounter, and keep praying.

My friendship ramblings could go on, but I will stop now so you can spend a little time meditating about friends you have had, friends you have now, and friends you will have in the future. Sometimes you end up with a weed (a bad choice of a friend) and you need to walk away. Other times you may end up with a big ‘ol pink Gerber daisy type friend to laugh and share your life journey with. Best wishes all!

Bible Verses:

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
Luke 6:31 ESV

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Romans 12:10 ESV

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

Lord, thank you so much for the friendships you have allowed me to have and those I have right now. Allow me to be the kind of friend that will honor you and your Word. Let me recognize and reach out to people who need a friend. Let me love others as I honor You and Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Comments are welcome.

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal (ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)
God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study (ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Peter: A hot-head!

We all have different personalities. Most of our character traits and personality traits develop when we are in childhood or are given to us from the Lord for a purpose we may or may not see right now.


Today, let’s take a look at Simon Peter, also known as Peter, in the New Testament. Peter was a fisherman who later became a disciple of Jesus. He is one of the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus. Peter was a strong personality who, to outsiders and insiders, could appear inconsistent in his Christian walk. He could be a boastful, impetuous, impulsive hot-head at times. Some say he exhibited a lot of the characteristics of a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). In John 18:10, we see Peter’s impulsiveness when he quickly drew his sword and struck the high priest and cut off his right ear. In John 21:7 when Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection, Peter heard another disciple say, “It is the Lord,” and immediately he threw off his outer garment stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. In Matthew 26:33, we see an example of his pride when he says to Jesus, “Though they all fall away because of you. I will never fall away.”
Throughout our Christian journey, we will experience ups and downs, passivity or assertiveness, or even denial as Peter did when he denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed. But note what Peter did as soon as he realized he denied his Lord. He wept bitterly and was so sorrowful he had hurt his Lord and discredited Jesus’ name. His sensitivity came out when he thought he had made a shipwreck of his life by dishonoring God. In 1 Timothy 1:10, Paul charges people to wage a good warfare saying “by rejecting this, some have made [a] shipwreck of their faith.”

But Peter changes. After Pentecost, in the Book of Acts, we see Peter becoming more steadfast. He is continuing to develop a Godly character. We find him not so self-centered or proud. We see him growing in his Christian faith. Sin can lead us to doubt God. But Peter is keeping his faith strong and learning from his experiences. He is growing and maturing in the Lord.
How can we follow Peter’s example in this area of faith when it is so easy to get discouraged when we don’t see answers or God’s directions fast enough? Romans 10:17 states, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” We can put ourselves under the teaching of God’s word through preaching, personal Bible study, and Christian fellowship. Our faith does matter to God. And, even when we are faithless, remember that God does remain faithful [2 Timothy 2:13]. By becoming a life-long learner on the ways of God, our faith and trust in the Lord will grow. We will become more mature believers, and it will show in our lives through a deeper love for God and our fellow man.

Ah, but Peter matures a little more. He is now writing 1 and 2 Peter. It is hard to believe that this hot-headed disciple from the Gospels is now a great leader of love, humility, and respect for authority. He is now imparting wisdom to others teaching them how to:

-          Be born again to a living hope;

-          Be holy;

-          Be Godly husbands and wives;

-          Be stewards of God’s grace;

-          Be discerning of false prophets and teachers; and

-          How to live in the Last Days.

Peter’s life is an example of sanctification. Bible Study Tools says to, “sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer.” Our designer is the Almighty God. As believers, we are all somewhere along a timeline as we are being sanctified in the Lord. We may be in the hot-head stage, the maturing stage, or the imparting wisdom stage. But, wherever we are in our spiritual journey, the Lord desires our faithfulness. As Proverbs 3:3 says, “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your heart, so you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.”

Awaken Me: A Devotional Prayer Journal (ISBN 978-1-4627-2578-6)

God, It's Me: 181 Days for Young Adults to Become Passionate about Prayer and Bible Study (ISBN 978-1-4627-3821-2)