The Real Deal: Never Dented Treasure by Jo Russell

“Your mom and dad told me that you are the proud owner of a new car!” the rancher/pastor commented to a young woman attending services who had grown up in the church. He marveled that she was now a career woman decked out in heels with her first apartment and car.

“Can I see it?”

Carrie hesitated – for good reason. She had worked three years for the car. Carrie didn’t want anyone close to her shiny vehicle, but especially not the pastor.

Just as long-standing as Carrie’s history was the rancher/pastor’s familiar presence on the local highways in his well-rounded muddy pick-up truck. The metal body gave a whole new meaning to the words, “totaled out.” Some parts of it looked like it had been worked over by a thousand-pound steer. It might have been.

Local law enforcement officers saw the pastor more often than family. Besides the clergyman’s generosity and many missions of mercy in the area, the officers knew him as a lead-footed driver.

“I don’t want to park next to you and get the car all scratched up,” she said.

“Fair enough,” he smiled. “Where is it?”

She took him outside and pointed down the road two football fields away to a shiny red car.

“Is it still new?” he asked.

“Yes,” she insisted with a smug look on her face.

You might wonder, what would be the difference between her new car and it being classified as used? Fifteen minutes in the parking lot of the local grocery store. Dents guaranteed.

Some shoppers even speculate the carts are possessed! They claim carts roam around the parking area all by themselves, nosing up to vehicles like a momma cat nursing kittens.

Others believe that collision shops have remote controls on the carts that bring more customers their way than is the norm for any rural area. You can always blame the wind, too. But all result in love bites that give a vehicle the look of a used car.

Ah, a new car! It was nice while it lasted!

Jesus advised, “Do not store up your treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” [Matt. 6:19-21 NIV]

So what treasure is He talking about?

Invest in relationships, beginning with Him. Build your portfolio with selflessness, kindness, family values you model and teach from the Bible. Give anonymously gifts of food, money, or gift cards for someone in need. Try sharing with others the difference God has made in your life. Use your words wisely. Show compassion to others in any way that works. All these investments are priceless.

For example, in our rural area, bicyclists train on the twenty-mile stretch between here and the nearest town. Sometimes they get flats or breakdowns they can’t fix on the road. I have been one of them. It’s a very long walk.

What would Jesus say if your car was slightly scratched from carrying the bicycle and the rider in your car to the nearest town?

“You careless and inconsiderate driver! Don’t you respect my commandments? What about ‘Thou shalt not scratch or damage thy vehicle even unto parking a half mile from thy destination for protection and a cardio workout!’”

Or “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”

Which is treasure in Heaven?

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

Tomboy? Outsider? Feminist? God Loves Us All By Jo Russell

Tomboy? Outsider? Feminist?
God Loves Us All
By Jo Russell

Tomboy. It’s a word not everyone loves. But God does.

While living in Sentinel, Arizona, population 17, my 9-year-old twins soon discovered that the only playmate in the community was an 8-year-old girl. While Marie’s mother struggled to keep her feminine, my boys dragged her off to do fort-building, fake shoot-outs, and pretend four-wheel-drive camping trips.

Their influence was evident when Marie asked her mother for six guns for her birthday. She got pierced earrings. She wanted a grenade. She got a tea set. She wanted a camp stove. She got brass doll furniture.

One day Marie returned from town with a loom and weaving set for making potholders.

She started to work right away and brought over the finished project to the boys.

“Handcuffs,” she said proudly. “I made them just for you.”

Tomboy? I’ve been accused of being one myself. After a shop class

with women students outnumbering men three to one, I bought myself a compound miter

saw for Christmas. It’s been fun!

Easy and quick as they are, labels just stick to the surface.

God doesn’t use them. Instead, he wants us to unfold with unique

qualities, talents, and abilities. They make each one of us one of a kind.

What encouraging words of acceptance between us and God, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” [Psalm 139:13-`14 NIV.] Add to that the power of God’s promise in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before you were born, I set you apart; I appoint you as a……”

With a glimpse of what you see of your life so far, you can fill it in….Or leave the blanks to God and let him surprise you! Tomboys! Outsiders! Activists! It’s all good!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing  2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

Dare to Do the Impossible! What Can’t You Do With God’s Help? By Jo Russell

Shortly after Ford Motor Company reintroduced its sporty Mustang, a highway patrolman parked under a tree by the isolated two-lane highway and yawned – until the bright Chevy Camaro and new Ford Mustang tore down the road side by side. It was a 50 mile per hour zone.

One hundred two miles per hour and rising! That’s what the radar read. With lights and siren going, the officer sped after them. Still, he knew that two V-8 muscle cars could max out at 160 to 170 miles per hour. Long minutes and distance passed before the two vehicles’ drivers noticed they were being tailed. Both slowed and pulled over.

Surprised at his first glimpse of the first driver’s face, the patrolman barked at him, “What do you think you were doing?”

The grinning man turned up his hearing aid and had him repeat the question. “Officer,” he said, we know we were speeding and we’ll pay the fines. We just wanted to see if we could still handle this”

The officer checked both of the drag racing drivers’ licenses. One senior was 85 and the other 87 years old.

Unlike our elderly racers, God directs us to respect laws. Hee did not advise these seniors to take on the dangerous and irresponsible act of street racing on a public highway.

However, God’s assignments may surprise us and stretch us beyond what we think we can do. For with God, there are no limits due to age, health, income, or status. Achieving the difficult, impossible, and unattainable becomes reality when God is involved.

Imagine the difference in our attitude.
When we kick the “t” off “can’t,” it reads “CAN.”
Take the “i-m” off “impossible” and see the “POSSIBLE”.
Take the “un” off “unattainable” and you’ve got “ATTAINABLE!”

Hold this verse in your heart and mind,
“I can do ALL things through Christ, which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. [KJV]
Believe, smile and let the journeys begin!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips; check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

Do What? Look for What on the Playground? By Jo Russell

The school secretary punched the speaker phone to answer as she put a second call on

hold, and noticed the small child entering the office. She had to deal with it all. A

parent’s voice came over the speaker.

“Mrs. Ford here. I need to talk to Jason’s teacher. It’s really important.”

“The teacher is busy with her class at this moment. Could I have her call you back? She has a break in about 35 minutes.”

“No, this can’t wait.”

I rarely interrupt our teachers.”

“This is something like an emergency. I have to talk with Jason’s teacher.”

“Can you tell me the nature of the emergency?”

“No, I really must deal with Jason’s teacher herself.”

“Okay, I’ll transfer you to the classroom phone.”

Startled to hear the phone ringing when it wasn’t recess or lunch, the teacher stopped her

lesson. The call had to be important to be transferred during class time.

“Mrs. Ford here. This is an emergency!” she began. “Jason lost one of his gloves on the playground. Could you find it for him?”

To Mrs. Ford, her need for Jason’s glove outweighed children’s learning.

God is the creator and savior of the world, our protector and provider. When we put our urgent prayer requests before Him, how do we sound?

Consider the Lord’s Prayer in Luke 11, which begins, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name [calling his name sacred and holy]. A third of the prayer adores God. The rest is about asking for forgiveness and needs, but honoring God receives first place.

Mary, sister of Lazarus, honored Jesus when he came to visit once by bathing his feet with about a quart of expensive oil worth about a year’s wages. Jesus affirmed it was the right thing to do.

John the Baptist honored our Lord when he told the religious leaders, Pharisees and Sadducees, that he would baptize with water for repentance, “…after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” [Matt. 3:11].

How do we honor God when we pray? Let your honor and respect for God begin with Him. Our lost gloves can wait.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips; check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

Answers for the 7/1/2012 Bible Quiz By Jo Russell

Answers to the Bible Quiz: Thanks for your responses!

Our winner is Michelle B. from Nashville, TN.! Congratuations!  

1. Answer: B, Book of Esther 

 

2. Answer: C. Mary, sister of Lazarus, John 12:1-6.

 

3. Answer: B. Priscilla, Romans 16:3-4

 

4. Answer: D. Queen of Sheba, as she went to see King Solomon. 2 Chronicles 9:1-12

 

5. Answer: C. Ruth. Book of Ruth 1-3. daughter in law of Naomi; later wife of Boaz.

 

6. Answer: Zipporah , wife of Moses. Exodus: 18:2-3

 

7. Answer: C. Rachel. Genesis chapters 35 to 50. The first son was Joseph. The second son was Benjamin, one of the tribes of Israel. 

 

8. Answer B: Sarai wife of Abraham, Genesis 18:9-19

 

9. Answer A: Jochebed, mother of Moses.  Exodus books 2 to 12.

 

10. Answer: C. Jehosheba : 2 Chronicles 22:11-12

 

11. Answer: C. Deborah, Judges 4

 

12. Answer: D.   Jesus healed all of the above.

Death: Tabitha / Dorcas  Acts 9:36;

Female problems: woman with bleeding problem, Luke 8:42;

Mental illness: Mary of Magdala,  Mark 16:9, Luke 8:2

 

13. Answer: C. Lois   Timothy. Daughter was Eunice, grandson and preacher, Timothy. From  2 Timothy 1:5.

 

14. Answer: A. Miriam, sister of Moses, Exodus 15:20 and Elizabeth, cousin to Mary, and mother of John the Baptist. Luke 1:41-45. 

 

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing  2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bible Quiz: Acts of Confidence and Courage by Jo Russell

One popular past feature which generated lots of response has been the quiz
“Poor Richard’s Almanac or the Bible?” [July 31, 2011]

Now, hot off the press, a fresh, new Bible query! I haven’t had to work this hard since taking grad classes and learning to barbeque chicken.

Answers will be posted Friday, July 6. To win a free copy of Jo’s book, respond to jorussell@buttontogod.com with answers and a mailing address. The first reader with 100% correct will receive a free copy of Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out?

1. Old Testament: Born to ordinary parents, then orphaned and raised by another family member in the country today called Iran, this woman turned heads with her beauty and intelligence. This woman is honored with a special day called Pûrim.

A. Hannah
B. Esther
C. Rahab
D. Orpah

2. New Testament: She washed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil and dried them with her long hair. The oil smelled up the whole house and was worth about a year’s wages.

A. Mary of Magdala
B. Lydia
C. Mary, sister of Lazarus
D. Woman at the Well

3. New Testament: Working with her husband, this loving and hard-working woman created tents and opened her home in Greece as a place for weary traveler Apostle Paul, even at the risk of their lives.

A. Tamar
B. Priscilla
C. Tabitha
D. Mahlah

4. Old Testament: She must have enjoyed food along with power and wealth. This royal traveled far looking for wisdom and advice from another leader. She paid for his time and trouble with expensive spices, precious stones, and gold.

A. Queen Mary
B. Queen Cleopatra
C. Queen Herodias
D. Queen of Sheba

5. Old Testament: What daughter-in-law modeled love and loyalty for her widowed mother-in-law?

A. Anna
B. Miriam
C. Ruth
D. Marian

6. Old Testament: She married a shepherd, had a couple of sons, and expected an ordinary life. But her husband’s mysterious past included exile, even though raised as a king’s son. God chose him for a special leadership role that would prove that in crossing water with His help, you may not even get your feet wet.

A. Zipporah
B. Sarah
C. Eve
D. Isabelle

7. Old Testament: Even though beautiful and loved, the second wife got a raw deal. She wasn’t able to have children for a long time. When she died giving birth to her second and last son, this sensational lady never got to see either of her famous two sons grow up.

One became prime minister of Egypt; the other headed up a small tribe of honored leaders. Apostle Paul was a descendent of the tribe from the second son.

A. Deborah
B. Delilah
C. Rachel
D. Sapphira

8. Old Testament: In Bible times, children were an asset instead of a liability. This retirement age woman passed up menopause and all hope of a child. She set her moisturizing face cream aside, figuring fighting wrinkles was hopeless, too. But thanks to a God who works through the impossible, the stick turned blue. She became the mother of all nations.

A. Ophelia
B. Sarai
C. Leah
D. Hagar

9. Old Testament: This humble mom’s name means “Jehovah is Glory.” Today, authorities would not approve her setting her son afloat in a basket in the river. The infant was too young to swim. But God raised the boy to be a guerrilla leader who fought oppression and won.

A. Jochebed
B. Michal
C. Noadiah
D. Lily

10. Old Testament: In a world awash with murder, betrayal, and bad choices, this good-hearted princess married a faithful priest and saved her nephew Joash. They raised the boy in the temple to honor God and live by his laws.

A. Phoebe
B. Mara
C. Jehosheba
D. Bathsheba

11. Old Testament: This prophetess took down an enemy commander with a tent stake.

A. Anna
B. Martha
C. Deborah
D. Mara

12.Jesus honored women. When He walked the earth, he cured women of

A. Illness resulting in death
B. Female issues
C. Insanity or mental illness
D. All of the above

13. New Testament: A gray-haired grandma living in Asia influenced and raised up a young grandson to be a preacher mentored by Apostle Paul.

A. Mary
B. Lydia
C. Lois
D. Hadassah

14. Both New and Old Testament: Two women in the Bible who experienced the role of prophetess included:
A. Miriam and Elizabeth
B. Noadiah and Naomi
C. Hannah and Mary
D. Deborah and Dorcas

Thanks for following my blog. Submit your answers as soon as you know them on jorussell@buttontogod.com.

It’s been very close to a year since I started this blog. How am I doing? I welcome your comments and feedback.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]