Real Need and True Friends by Jo Russell

At the site declared a disaster because of a wildfire, the news cameras focused on the visiting U.S. President at the time. The media expected the Chief Executive to be the center of attention as he addressed the crowd of thousands of rural residents.

A safe distance away from the flames and major highways, the evacuees had endured more than a week of hardships. Each quickly distinguished between real needs and wants. No one knew when they’d be going home – if they even had one left.

Real needs won out when the cameras scanned the crowd during the President’s speech. One evacuee held a sign high, “Kathy, bring clean underwear!”

When it comes to real needs, we can count on God. When it comes to true friends, we can count on God as well.

But what of the needs that are above and beyond the basics? What if you need just the special words to mend a relationship? A raise? More time with your family? The sale of your home as you relocate? Decisions for assisted care for older family members? Do you dare ask? Yes. God is not surprised with life and deals with it.

Think back to Jesus’ ministry. Jesus and Peter came to Capernaum when a collector asked them for the temple tax. As the son of a king, Jesus owed no tax. But to keep from offending, he decided he would pay the tax for both of them-–in a most unusual way. [Matthew 17:24-26]

“Doesn’t Jesus have a pouch or any money?” Peter might have wondered when Jesus told him to go fishing. Jesus told Peter the first fish would have a four-drachma coin in its mouth. That was the full amount for the tax for both of them. It was just enough–not too much or too little. They also got a meal out of it, too, because the tilapia, a mild fish, is good eating – even in restaurants today.

So don’t be afraid to ask for needs–above and beyond–or just the basics, like clean underwear.

[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, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Free Mother’s Day Gift for You, Friends and Family:
Amazon.com Promotion: Free download of the second edition of
Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out?
Starts Thursday, May 9 through Sunday, May 12, 2013.
Click here for Kindle application download.

Americana comes alive in author Jo Russell’s humorous stories with Biblical concepts that make this study fun and helpful. Men, don’t feel left out! Laughter is good medicine for all Read and enjoy!!

Which Button will encourage you to love God and your life wherever you are along the way! This new edition e-book is compact. As Oasis Christian Bookstore owner Betty in Payson, Arizona, summarized, “It’s a hoot!”

Save the dates! May 9 to 12 for Which Button download!

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Free download of e-book Amazon.com May 9 to 12, 2013. Happy Mother’s Day!

Free Mother’s Day Gift for You, Friends and Family:
Need more time, joy and love as well as a funny bone?
Amazon.com Promotion: Free download of the second edition of
Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out?
Starts Thursday, May 9 through Sunday, May 12, 2013.

Click here to download free Kindle Application for your PC or device.

Americana comes alive in author Jo Russell’s humorous stories with Biblical concepts that make these Christian devotions fun and helpful. Men, don’t feel left out! Laughter is good medicine for all. Read and enjoy!!

Which Button will encourage you to love God and your life wherever you are along the way! This new edition e-book is compact. As Oasis Christian Bookstore owner Betty in Payson, Arizona, summarized, “It’s a hoot!”

Save the dates! May 9 to 12 for Which Button download!

Not Enough Allowance, But Plenty of Love By Jo Russell

“No fair!” seven-year-old Billy protested. “Tom got more money than I did!” Then the tears began to flow. His dry-eyed older brother, Tom, smiled, clutching bills that made him the richest kid under ten in the county.
“I told you that your allowance is based on how hard you work,” their mom calmly explained. “Let’s check the list.”

Billy and his mom compared the two lists of home and ranch chores. One was longer than the bi-monthly grocery list for trips to town. The shorter list, Billy’s, still had lots of space around the chores done after being scribbled on a sticky note. Still, Billy hadn’t yet seen the connection between work and pay.

“I hate my brother! He always gets everything!” cried Billy as he turned to Tom. “You can’t come in my room anymore. I won’t let you play with my toys!”
His mom sent Billy to his room to think and cool down.

But a few days later when the weekend came, affection and love resurfaced as the two brothers were head-to-head hatching a plan that required teamwork.

“I’m sorry. I don’t really hate you. You’re my best friend,” Billy admitted.

“You’re mine, too. Billy, I have an idea that if we put out money together, we can buy that truck we want. It works out for both of us!”

So they did. Alone, neither could have bought the toy truck of their dreams. Bonded together in forgiveness and love, they became an unstoppable team.

Remember this promise: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” [1 Peter 4:8 NIV]

Besides fights between siblings, that verse is useful to remember when having issues with family, coworkers, friends, and anyone who hurts us. Smother the world with love? Why, isn’t that the best way to prove we’re set apart from it?

Grown now, Billy and Tom think so. So do I.

[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, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com ande Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Need more time, joy and love as well as a funny bone?

 

Free Mother’s Day Gift for You, Friends and Family:

Amazon.com Promotion: Free download of the second edition of

Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out?

Starts Thursday, May 9 through Sunday, May 12, 2013.

Click here to download free Kindle Application for your PC or device.

 

Americana comes alive in author Jo Russell’s humorous stories with Biblical concepts that make this study fun and helpful. Men, don’t feel left out! Laughter is good medicine for all. Read and enjoy!!  

Which Button will encourage you to love God and your life wherever you are along the way! This new edition e-book is compact. As Oasis Christian Bookstore owner Betty in Payson, Arizona, summarized, “It’s a hoot!”

 Save the dates! May 9 to 12 for Which Button download!

Jenny’s Puddin’ Pies By Jo Russell

Jenny’s Puddin’Pies
By Jo Russell

“Jenny is one sick three-year-old,” commented Nurse Nancy to her coworker at the local hospital. The youngster had had abdominal surgery. The heavy dose of antibiotics left her listless and grouchy.

“She won’t eat, and we’ve been trying,” added Nurse Janet.

“Yep, and we can’t even ply her with goodies.”

But her pediatrician, Dr. David, had to keep Jenny fed in some way, so he had the girl hooked to a feeding tube. She didn’t like it and let everyone know.

Days went by and still the nurses coaxed Jenny to eat. “Ice cream?”

She shook her head.

“Hamburger?”

Nope, not that either.

“Pudding?”

Jenny put her hands over her face and hollered, “NO!”

Children bounce back, but Jenny didn’t seem to. No sparkle. No joy of life. No smile.

Dr. David was concerned. He had already been by to see the wee patient when his colleague, Dr. Morris, checked the girl. The woman doctor decided on a novel treatment.

Later that day when he checked on her again, Dr. David expected to see a listless Jenny moping in bed in a spotless room. Instead, her heard giggles and found the three-year-old sitting on the floor with a messy cafeteria tray in front of her. Jenny’s smile was outlined in brown, which also had dripped on her gown and sprinkled in a circle around her on the white floor. Jenny had been eating the wet dirt, her own puddin’ pies. It was more fun than at home!

“What is going on?” Dr. David fumed to his nurses. “This is not a medical procedure! Who gave her these mud pies?”

The nurse blushed, “Dr. Morris, sir. She said that Jenny’s intestines have none of the good intestinal bacteria left because of the antibiotics. She told me that if Jenny’s body needed it, the girl would eat the mud.” The nurse paged the woman doctor to explain.

Dr. David and Dr. Morris shared a quizzical look as Jenny finished up her mud pies. Soon, the nurses restored the room and Jenny to order. Time would tell if the oddball treatment worked.

Just a few days later, the girl was glowing with a smile. After she finished all the food on her lunch plate, the little patient demanded, “Ice cream with gummy worms!”

With her defense system back up, Jenny was soon well enough to go home.

Jenny’s defense system was up to a fight with the good bacteria inside the same way that infusing ourselves with the Bible inside of us provides everything needed for inspiration, guidance and defense. God’s words start on the outside, but stay on the inside. They transform the body, mind and soul. Just as the good bacteria helped Jenny fight her way back to health, holding the Bible’s words inside provide a solid defense. Nothing could stop Jenny. Nor can anyone a Bible-infused you.

But some distance themselves from the Bible. Because they don’t read the Bible much, the words of God are faint inside. A few words or phrases are just not enough input in a spiritual life. Just as Jenny’s mud pies restored a balance of immunity and defense to fight for her health with just enough mud, a reader needs to build God’s words up inside as a defense against all types of attacks.

Somewhere in between too much and too little is a balance. Wherever you are, to get closer to God, you need to know Him. To know Him is to read His word, the Bible.

Author Alice Camille wrote “Read the Bible? Me?” for Catholic Digest. She commented, “Don’t we get our multivitamin of Scripture with three readings and a Psalm on Sundays… and do we really have to know more than Father has to say about it all in the homily?” She went on to summarize that “you do get the Biblical multivitamin at Mass, but no one mistakes the multivitamin for the full pleasure and experience of a meal. To consume more than the basic nutrients of Scripture, we must engage these stories more personally and completely. Not because we have to, but because we’re missing something wonderfully good if we don’t.”
[http://www.catholicdigest.com/articles/faith/praying/2010/08-16/read-the-bible-me]

Wonderfully good. Not just the adventure, mystery, and thrill, but the stories of faith and miracles all through the Bible. God is there for us. We can find Him anywhere, but we hear from Him in our quiet moments, prayer, and by reading the Bible. We’re not alone. Though God’s defense doesn’t show on the outside like a military parade, it does show in our strength on the inside and faith in Him as our warrior and defender – forever and always.

It’s easy. No need to eat mud pies. Just use the Bible to build up the fighting forces inside you for optimum spiritual health.

[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, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]

Learning to Like Onions and Life As It Is by Jo Russell

Normally, you couldn’t keep Bryan away from mac and cheese with a team of Clydesdale horses. Instead, the four-year-old was staring at his food.

“What’s the matter, Sweetie?” his mom asked, wondering if he were sick.

His brother was munching down the new variation with gusto, making “Mmmm” sounds. Soon John reached for seconds.

But Bryan lamented, “I can’t eat this, Mom.”

“Why not? It’s your favorite!”

“Not like this. It has onions in it.”

“So? Onions are a spice of life! You’re going to have to learn to like onions. ”

His face was full of concern as he started to pick out the onions from the casserole.
“I’ll learn to like onions when I’m five and I’ll learn to like girls when I’m fifteen.”

Years later, Bryan, the married man, made “Mmmm” sound while eating roasted chicken breast smothered with mushroom sauce, cheese, and caramelized onions. Obviously, he learned to like both onions and girls.

Sometimes God will move an obstacle for us. Sometimes he plows through it with us. Sometimes he just leaves it alone, working beside us, knowing that he can make up for any weak areas we have.

Though Paul’s request is for the healing of a physical ill in this passage, he writes, “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’…That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” [2 Corinthians 12:9-10] NIV.

Through it all– the challenges and even the onions, God is with us, making us able
to be strong and to learn to like life whatever comes our way.

[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, available from her website, www.button-to-god.com and Amazon.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]