Friday, November 28, 2008
God in Heaven, show me mercy, grace. Whisper only pure thoughts to me during the next few weeks. Thoughts that I may share, that others will see the meaning of Christmas in me.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Paul was writing these words while he was in chains in prison. He was arrested for preaching the gospel. Everything in his surroundings shouted "limitations," but instead of looking at his surroundings, Paul kept his eyes on the limitless God. He kept looking for the open door of opportunity that God would have for him next.
No matter what "chains" you may feel like you are in today, remember, we serve a God who's in the business of setting people free. Remember, He has equipped you with His power. He's promised to walk with you all the days of your life. When doors look closed all around you, when your surroundings look limited, when you feel like you're in chains, remember, God is still at work in your life.
Like Paul, keep your hopes up. Keep expecting. Keep believing. Pray for those opportunities to be opened to you. If you fall, get right back up and press forward with even greater determination to accomplish the dream that God has planted in your heart. The prayer of the righteous avails much, so keep praying because He promises to break the chains and open doors of opportunity in your life.
Father in heaven, I choose to take my eyes off my surroundings and focus on You. I choose to focus on the passion and dream You've planted in my heart. I trust that You are working behind the scenes, opening doors of opportunity. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
(Thank you Jill)
Monday, November 17, 2008
No time for worry, stress, running, franticly purchasing the wrong gift. The perfect gift...Jesus! Without Christ, there is no CHRISTmas. Why not celebrate Him. Take your children to the mall, pick a name from the "Angel Tree". Celebrate by donating food to a soup kitchen or your favorite homeless ministry. Even volunteer there. Together as a family put together a shoe box, or two. Just be together, be still, in his word, celebrate his birth, and the meaning of his birth.
A fond memory I have of Mamaw...each year the five of us, (closest grandchildren), put up her tree and had yummy treats. She always had something on her counter for our sweet tooth. we always celebrated the Advent each week. A very important part of Christmas.
Something to think about-
40 gifts of Hope
1,000 hours of prayer I challenge each of you here...
If you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto thee.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I have learned much through studying God's word and meditating on God's promises. But I also learn by the way I see God working through the experiences of my life. For instance, after a long series of tests and illnesses, I learned that our walk with Jesus Christ goes through valleys of loneliness and suffering, shadows and light, that lead us to green pastures where our God feeds us.
When I have felt abandoned, God's word has said to me: "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). After reading that, I felt new strength. At dawn one day, when deep pain in my leg was keeping me awake, I felt Jesus' consolation and peace. After that, I was able to fall asleep.
Through trust in God's promises, which are reinforced by my own experiences, I have learned to wait patiently for God's answers to my concerns. Even when the storm surrounds me and my ship looks like it is about to sink, I can be patient because I know that Christ's light will lead me safely to a peaceful harbor.
(Jesús Quintanilla Osorio)
Read Romans 5: 1-5
Little is much if God is in it.
(from the upper room)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
My friend Julie was sick with a chronic, mysterious affliction that had her living on liquid protein and pain medications. As her weight dropped to under 100 pounds, our conversations nearly always centered on her symptoms and my suggestions: "Maybe you should try this - or this - or this. ..."
After a while, I had nothing to say; I couldn't pray anymore. Julie wasn't healed, and she wasn't getting better. I wanted to avoid her because I couldn't find a remedy for her illness. Then one day, while reading about the king who said, "I was sick, and ye visited me," I saw with new eyes what the Lord expected of me. The king didn't say, "I was sick, and you healed me," or "I was sick, and you gave me all the right answers to fix the situation." The king said, "You visited me."
How marvelously simple! I realized that what my friend needed was my care. By caring about those who are sick - giving of our time, not solutions - we touch the heart of God. Ministering to those who are sick is not about our ability to solve problems or offer advice. It's about letting people know that they are not alone. It's about showing that God cares for them, and so do we.
(Leslie J. Wyatt)
God, help us give our time to those who need us. Open our eyes to see their real needs. Amen.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My wife and I reared two children and prepared for our golden years. Then our daughter's marriage failed. She and our three grandchildren came to live with us. Now we are six people in a small frame house. My wife and I are back at work, and our plans for a leisurely life have been placed on hold. We went through a range of emotions and eventually settled in self-pity. By the third year, however, we began to look at ourselves and our circumstances from a different point of view - because of God's word.
The Lord asked Cain, "Where is Abel thy brother?" "I know not" was Cain's response. Then Cain asked a question, the first question human beings asked of God: "Am I my brother's keeper?"
The disciples had questions too. They came to Jesus as he sat on the Mount of Olives. As he talked with them, Cain's age-old question was answered. The Lord described our obligation to care for and to provide for others, that when we do this we are caring for Christ. (See Matt. 25:40.) Can we indeed drink of his cup, bear the cross, and lay down our lives for "the least of these"? We can and must. Without question, Jesus makes God's business our own. When we care for those in need, we care for Christ.
Do you believe in what things you do not see, can not touch? During the children's sermon Ricky asked, "What is Faith?".
I love the metaphor of a chair...Find the chair closest to you. Look at it closely. Examine its design. Is it structurally sound? Is it sufficiently engineered? Will the materials chosen by the manufacturer support your weight?
Most likely, you picked a chair that you believe will support you. That's belief. You applied logic, knowlege and experience to make an informed intellectual decision.
Now sit in the chair...That's faith! At one point, intellectual assent only goes so far. True living requires that we put our beliefs into action. Intellectual belief without actionable faith is hollow and meaningless...
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. -Hebrew 11:1
Lord, "let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth". Amen.
I so much enjoyed my visit with Todd and Jill. I knew I would take them to Cades Cove, and I'm glad I did. It was a perfect day. Examining the old log structures, I found Joy in watching Todd and Jill do the same. They thrive on it. But as I really examined each one, I was also thinking. In the pioneer day, when people lived so simply, were they not humbled, joyful. Like other Christian folk, they built Churches and their belief in the Bible was the source of their strength in such a challenging environment. In particular, the Cades Cove settlement provides proof of the abilities and determination of this Early American Scotch-Irish culture. I found this interesting article...
Early Thursday morning, we head North, far North...the longest distance in this country I've been. Ohio is very flat...unlike the mountains and valleys here in East Tennessee which I am so fond of and couldn't trade anything for. Northern Ohio is beautiful...breath taking. Miles and miles of farm land, undeveloped, which I love. We traveled many hours to arrive at our Mount Vernon destination. Friday morning we head out. God surely directed my path as I drove, forever it seemed. Getting lost several times along the way. Roadways are not marked, construction re routes me in places I don't need to be. Finally I arrive at my destination and it makes the trip worth it. Of course, I thank a sweet gentleman whom I don't know, and will most likely never see again. I traveled down the same road at least three times before spotting him standing out in his driveway. We decide he is our last hope. He draws a map to the town we need to be...then I call the Miller's and sweet Linda directed us right to her door. I surely don't expect to see an early cabin in this place that we've traveled to, but there it is, serene, beautiful in its manner. Ralph and Linda Miller are lovely hosts. As we arrived to great food, (we hadn't eaten since 9 that morning), Linda is all smiles. Her shop brimming with wonderful aromas of Christmas...early painted furniture and smalls. Todd and Jill take us up to the cabin, and it surely is a wonderful home...we were greeted at the door by wagging tails. Mac and Charlie Gibson are great door greeters. We find sweet Claire nestled in the cozy bed upstairs. Loyal companions these three are.
We have no idea how to make our way back to the warm, dry comforts of our hotel, so Todd leads the way...directing us safely back to Mount Vernon. As I lay in bed, I was thankful that God kept us safe in our travels, placing the gentleman at just the right time...he always does that you know. We are never lost, if we have faith that he will direct our path.
Early Saturday morning, we head over to the Dan Emmit Conference Center. They've built a nice fire to keep the anxious shoppers warm. It was overwhelming how everything inside had changed since we were first there on Thursday afternoon before all the wonderful artists and dealers had set up all their lovely booths. So much to see...I wanted to photo all the lovely booths, but for respect, I did not...I'll post when Candy shares the show pictures. She and sister Max, (and all their family and friends) did an outstanding job promoting this show. Great hosts they are.
I was most thankful for this time away to fellowship with old friends, and new ones too. I am most thankful for my dear friend Delores for reading maps and directing me too...most of all I'm thankful God directed us safely there and back home. It was also good to know I was missed:)
Find Joy in this day-
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
On Sunday evening while my sis and bil were at church, someone broke in their house.
Monday night my best friends house burned. Although not a total loss, she is pregnant, and she and "Little", (dog) were home when she realized something was burning. Husband is Chief of Police. Witness saw a man leaving the property just before fire was reported. Now homeless until investigation and clean up process.
Not enough -
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
I'm updating my website tonight...hope you can come for a visit.
Find Joy in this day-
Friday, October 31, 2008
Appearing forlorn, the little girl crouched in the corner of the ward near a woman with bandaged limbs. She was there to spend her school vacation with her mom. But her mother was no ordinary patient, and this was no ordinary ward. This was a mission to treat those with Hansen's Disease. It was not exactly a place you'd expect a little girl to spend her vacation.
During my visit there, I witnessed the impact of leprosy on people and their loved ones. I thought about the passage in 2 Kings 5, and I could imagine how desperate Naaman must have been to be cured. When he heard about Elisha, Naaman went to the prophet's door, only to have a messenger tell him to wash in the Jordan River. Despite his anger and mis-givings, Naaman acted on God's direction that came through the prophet and was rewarded with a miracle.
Like Naaman, I've found that God's directions don't always make sense to me. They may challenge my understanding of how to deal with my circumstances. But when I act in faith on what the Bible says, its promises prove true. What God has promised will surely come to pass because God is trustworthy.
My dearest Barbara aka Miss Prudence is sharing her talents in a special giveaway.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
for thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety
Phone rings late...for my house anyway. It's Deena! My silly, funny friend who I love so very much. She always makes me laugh. I think I make her laugh also with my "country talk"...she calls me sweetie. So, she shares with me the best news...out shopping, cell phone rings, has no idea how to turn off speaker...MRI shows that the tumors that are not gone are less than half the size they were originally. So excited, I hope I remember it correctly. Quickly, I whisper, "Thank you Lord for this miracle". "HE" is using Deena in such a way...a way that has touched so many lives, even those who are well, healthy. She has brought such joy to my life since first meeting her years ago, Pre cancer. Yet she's still the same Deena.
God in Heaven, today I thank you for the miracle of healing, answered prayers, hope, lasting friendships. Let me remember these moments which bring warmth to my heart.
The two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus were so busy in their thoughts and in their discussion that they did not recognize Jesus when he began to walk with them. How this story reminds me of my walk with Jesus!
As a Christian leader and trainer, I often find myself extremely busy in ministry, training ministers in spiritual formation and Christian leadership. Recently, though, I have realized that in doing so much work "in the name of God," I have neglected a basic element in my own life of faith: intimacy with God and growth in my personal spiritual formation.
When we become busy in our "doing" for God and forget to spend time in God's presence with scripture and prayer, we will find ourselves becoming tired and frustrated with our work. In our ministry for Christ, we miss Christ's ministry to us.
I have learned that I need to have intimate times with God constantly, even as I go about doing things for God. My Christian service has changed for the better as I have prayed, "Lord, help me and lead me as I daily serve you."
(Sammy N. Gumbe)
Faithful God, help us to be constantly aware of your presence. We seek your love and your wisdom as we spend our days serving you and those you call us to love. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Lee passed away on Saturday evening. The Dr. gave six months with not treatment options. I'm grieving with this family, but there is relief that he did not suffer. Pray for the family, and for Lee and Jill who will be making decisions about travel.
Thank you for the messages of concern. I know Todd & Jill thank you also. She is Jill Peterson- Frontier Homestead. Lee is Todd's brother.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
If we come to Christ, hungry, thirsty, starving for the friendship of the divine, we shall be filled in God’s sacred silence.
My son and I attended a football game in a city three hours away from our home. As we settled into our seats, the air was full of excitement over the game about to be played.
Although we didn't personally know any of the other people in the stadium around us, we were immediately accepted into the group because we were all wearing the colors or jerseys of the home team. Regardless of who we were or where we traveled from, the only thing that mattered on game day was whose colors we were wearing.
As Christians, we are called to be clothed in Christ, spiritually wearing his "colors" of truth, faith, and love as boldly as any team jersey. And we are called to accept all who share our allegiance to Christ, even if their homes are far away or they are of a different nationality. At the football game, fans of many colors and ethnic backgrounds cheered together as one for their team. As Christians, let us make sure we're wearing Christ's colors.
Lord Jesus Christ, help us to be clothed in you in our interests and behavior. Give us boldness to live for you as openly and enthusiastically as we cheer for our sports teams. Amen.
~ "His" art scattered in colors of Fall throughout the Mountains here in my lil valley
~ Tidy landscaping filled with pumpkins galore (pics to come)
~ Lovely, Blessed Teachers
~ conversations with Deena
~ little surprises in the mail (unexpected simple thank you)
~ Mercy, Grace
~ Lovely small group of Special Education students I worked with yesterday
Monday, October 20, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I think Tuesday was totally skipped from my life. How did I miss it? I need time...more time.
I took Cody to the Dr. He has a mild case of whiplash. Dr. wanted him to take meds, but Cody will not take a pill. I guess this is a good thing, but he really needed this medication.
We have the estimate for the damage. Oh my, I had no idea it would be so much. $2500. I tell you, I am so anxious to get a bill for the adjustment they will surely make on our premium. I don't pretend to understand how it works. I pay my premiums for years...no claims...then one claim, and the rates go outrageously high. I still count my blessings, it could be much worse.
Today is Deena's Autumn Open House...I have nothing for you. Lest you'd like to see 3 tiny pumpkins nesting in my old rusty green grass cutter. This is where my need for time comes. The summer flowers still linger, withered, ugly. I need to finish laundry, a project I started for my friend in NC months ago, clean the flower gardens, plant mums, place bittersweet. I won't think of starting Christmas offerings. When will that happen. I also have company coming in a few weeks...from Texas. My home needs to be welcoming for this dear soul. Positively, I have no time for worry. I gave Cody and Jesse-Ray to "Him" as they drove away in the fog this morn.
Lord, help me manage time, prioritize, slow down. Bring order to my chaos...Amen
* the promise
* late night bonfires (watching Mark return to childhood)
* morning fog...I won't have to take my morning walk
* the ministry of music - (Promise of a lifetime - Kutlass)
Monday, October 13, 2008
The kindest of words have been sent to me over the past few days through email, and phone calls...each of you inspire, encourage. I will keep these words and thoughts hidden in my heart always. The scripture I shared on Saturday holds truth. Though I shall face trials, pain and suffering, I will stand firm. Nothing will separate me from the love of God. So I thank each of you, for visiting my blog, for the time you've taken to share thoughts, words of encouragement, care and concern. I wish you peace and smiles.
I will reply to each of you, just let me get settled with Cody, and we have to take care of the insurance stuff today...estimates, and such.
Yesterday the four of us rushed in from church, changed, and back out the door to Knoxville. It was AYSO day with the Lady Vols. I will share more tomorrow. I'm off to take Cody to the Dr. He is rarely sick, and her certainly is not one to complain, but He's complained this entire weekend with his head and neck hurting. From the accident? Not sure, but Sister Elaine says he needs to be checked.
Find a Blessing in this day my friends...