Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I search my soul...what is it I'm to do, what did God make me to be...he made me to love, laugh, share a smile, kind word, helping hand, lend encouragement. Bear ye one another's burdens, and this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. I can do all these things with Joy, but at times, I feel empty. I can't love, until I love myself.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2: 10
Recently I listened to a series from Chip Ingram, Your Divine Design.
I've made a list of my strengths and weaknesses.
Loving heart ~ Willingness to forgive - the want-need to "fix"
Worry ~ Not letting go - poor self esteem
I'm afraid, what if I fail, I have so many insecurities. So do we all...let's do it together. What we are most passionate about. We'll get strong, we'll have Joy. We can be a paint brush in the hands of the Master. Let us do what God made us to do...
No good thing will be withheld from those who walk uprightly. -Psalm 84:11
What are your strengths, weaknesses? Feel free to share comments, suggestions.
Dear God, nudge me into the water, open my heart to what it is you made me to be. Amen
Friday, September 26, 2008
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. -Psalm 146:1-3
I come to you this morning with a heavy heart.
Deena shows such courage, and her faith is strong.
I want each of you to rally-pray for a miracle.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Thank you E
About once a month I receive an advertisement for a new women's health/beauty spa.
It includes a long list of the services and package deals they have to offer.
They describe their spa experience as:
These very attractive, glossy, multi-page mailouts include everything - except the pricelist.
I recalled their claims as I sat in my rocker this morning.
I have 2 weathered wooden rockers on my patio (try saying that quickly 3 times!).
This morning as I rocked in one, I gazed at the other, now immobile and empty.
Just yesterday, my friend, Barbara, had occupied that rocker.
By my calculations, we spent approximately 29 of her 44-hour visit talking and laughing and catching up.
As I reflect on our time together and consider what it meant to me,
I could use all 16 of those "spa" adjectives to describe my "priceless" experience.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The drive to the hospital was snowy. The grandparents in my car were in shock. Their daughter and five-year-old grandson had been in a terrible traffic accident. The daughter came away uninjured, but the grandson had fared much worse. The grandparents in my car were pleading with the Savior much as the father in the Mark 9 passage pleaded for his son's healing.
As the days of waiting passed, they were desperate to find the right prayer. The condition of the child worsened; the church stood with them, praying through the pain. How could we believe? We began praying, "Lord, help our unbelief."
The Lord heard and gave those grandparents a week more with their grandson. That helped them to deal with the tragedy they were facing. As the little boy neared death, we learned that another family was praying as well. Their little girl needed a heart. God helped two families through times of great pain. Though one child died, the little girl whose name we never learned lives on. The family's compassion mirrors the compassion of the One who helps our unbelief.
(David B. Smith)
Loving Father, strengthen our faith in the most painful moments of life. Amen.
Progress- Leaning on HIM
Cody passing his Language, and Science Gateway
Kind words from a friend
Monday, September 22, 2008
Now, a sigh of relief...I realize, how selfish I've been. Had the outcome been different, I would accept it...the world won't end if he doesn't stay on top. These grades...quiet a bit lower than last years, but I am well pleased. I am more pleased that My God cares for Jesse Ray. In a way I can never compare.
Dear Lord, in the midst of my chaos and selfish ways, help me to make room for you.
As I reflected on our conversation, I realized that I often treat God the same way. In my anxiety to be in control, I often fail to stop and listen in order to hear what God would have me do. Like my intern, I often end up having to backtrack and consider what God was trying to get through to me in the first place. If I don't slow down and give God the chance to work in me, I make my life more difficult.
Learning when to listen and when to act, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to move in our life, is something that we learn through an active relationship with God. The key is to cultivate openness with God that makes our whole heart available to God. And if we are patient, God's work will be completed in us, at the appointed time.
Loving God, help us to open our hearts to you so that we may live for you and bring glory to your name. Amen.
During our church services, the children gather for a lesson in front of the congregation. The woman who leads this lesson does an excellent job, allowing time for the children to question, to think, and to respond in their own words for all to hear. A recent discussion focused on the idea of light. At one point she asked them, "What happens if you don't have any light?"
"It gets dark," one responded. "You might get really cold," another offered. "You'd bump into a lot of things!" said a third.
Those last spontaneous words spoke to me like no others in the service. We all find ourselves in darkness at times, stumbling around and searching for light. Sometimes we bump into things that hurt us. During these times, we may feel as if we are lost. We may even think that God has abandoned us on our journey.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus calls himself the light, the one who shows us the way to God. Turning to God and asking for help through the shadows will help us find our way. Our good and gracious God is always there, illuminating our lives and igniting the spark in each of us.
"A time to pluck up" - Harvest times comes in the Autumn of life. We draw on the resources we have 'planted', just as we harvest the vegetables from our garden to be put up for "another day". The American Dictionary gives one of it's definitions for 'pluck' as "Resourceful courage and daring in the face of difficulties; spirit."
Matthew 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
This morning I've been thinking about rocking.
Have you ever noticed how people sit in a rocking chair?
Some just sit and never rock - in my opinion, that's a waste of good rocker space.
Others rock gently back and forth, peaceful like - definitely my style preference.
Some use rockers like exercise equipment - hands gripping the armrests, pumping and pushing off with their feet.
And there's definitely a correlation between talking and rocking.
The more excited the talk, the faster the rock.
That's how I instantly recognized that I had a problem this morning.
I was sitting in my rocker, conversing with my Father, bringing him up to speed on all that's going on
in my life and on the sorry state of the world - when I realized I'd rocked myself halfway across the room,
propelled there by my endless recitation of problems and needs.
Back up that rocker and slow down!
Look again at what I read just 3 days ago in The Message translation of 2 Corinthians 4:
"We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken." (vs 8-9) "We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, 'I believed it, so I said it,' we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God's glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." (vs 13-18)
And say what I believe.
I believe God is in control.
I believe God loves me.
I believe God is good always and in all ways.
I believe God holds me in His hand.
I believe God will never release His hold on me.
I believe God.
There it is - the gentle rhythm of peace once again.
I love gardening, but I was unsure of what vegetable seeds to plant during the fall and winter. My father suggested mustard. He also suggested scattering the seed on the prepared ground rather than sowing in rows. I took his advice.
Usually, I plant in rows, which makes it easier to recognize the weeds; anything not in a uniform row is usually a weed. So if I scatter the mustard seeds over the ground, how will I distinguish between mustard and weeds? Then I remembered the parable about a worker who had a similar problem. He wanted to pull up the weeds as soon as he saw them. However, he was instructed to wait and let them grow together with the crop. If he acted too quickly, he might inadvertently pull up the crop along with the weeds. In time, their difference would become apparent.
Likewise, Christians are called to be different from non-believers. As followers of Christ we are meant to talk differently and behave differently. However, we must not judge, criticize, and condemn others; God is at work in their lives, too, and we cannot know what they may grow to be. Let us obey and trust that God will bring about a good harvest.
(W. Leon McBride)
You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
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; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. -Psalm 139 1-18
Lord, help me today...manage my time, so that I may help others, that I may read, laugh with Cody and Jesse Ray, and not rush this time away. In your name- Amen...
These things doth bring me joy...
-knowing, believing "This too shall pass"
-the smell of Autumn
-fresh cut grass...green grass
-letting my friends know I'm not perfect...yet still they love me
-finches & red birds
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In my quiet time this morning from 2 Tim. 2:4...being available to God anytime. " If we remind ourselves at the start of every day that we are God's servant, interruptions won't frustrate us as much, because your agenda will be whatever God wants to bring into my life. Servants see interruptions as divine appointments for ministry and are happy for the opportunity to practice serving." Your blog adds on to that thought.....being aware of EVERYONE around me and in my life today. So......as I leave for Target this morning I will be more aware of the woman or child next to me in the aisle and in the check-out lane...I am leaving the house with a new "gusto"!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
Theres a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work
He's buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?
Ive Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all alone
Saturday, September 13, 2008
My sister lives far away, and I have not seen her for many years. She does not know the Lord, and I pray constantly for her salvation. Since I am not able to be with her in person, I have asked God to send a Christian into her life who will share the gospel with her. I always pray that this unnamed believer will hear God's call and minister to my sister.
One day it occurred to me that perhaps someone far away is praying for a Christian in my community who will witness to his or her loved one. With a growing sense of awe and certainty, I realized that a brother or sister in Christ whom I have never met could be praying for me to "proclaim salvation" to someone he or she loves very much. In that moment I knew that as I am praying for someone to witness to my sister, I need to be listening for God's call to reach out to someone near me.
Friday, September 12, 2008
The birds of the air, and they will tell you'
Ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
And the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
the hand of the Lord has done this?
In His hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being."
-Job 12: 7-9
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I enjoy picking up my 10-year-old, Emily, after school. She wants me to be near the front of the carpool line when school dismisses. One day I asked why it was important that I be among the first in line. Her response was that when she walks out of the school, she can see me in line and know for certain that I am there. She needs the reassurance of seeing me.
In this passage, Moses was a bit like my Emily. He needed reassurance. Moses was a brave leader, a committed follower of God, but he was weary. Although he knew that God was with him, he needed reassurance.
We have likely been through periods in our lives when we believed God was there, but we needed reassurance because our experience didn't make us sure of God's presence. In disappointment, grief, or anxiety about a decision to be made, we long to see God.
Like Moses, we can ask, pouring out our need to see and to know God's presence in our lives. Moses models for us boldness in unashamed, honest prayer. God heard Moses and responded, and God will do the same for us. Reassurance may come through the love of a friend, the beauty of the natural world, a song on the radio, or an unexpected call that encourages us. We can ask for assurance and then watch for God's response.
(Sharon Allred Decker)
O God, "show me your glory." Amen.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
The rain falls gently
Quenching the thirst of a landscape
Parched by the rays of the hot summer sun.
The song of the birds is now silenced.
The petals of a once brilliant flower have faded
A bright, azure sky with soft white clouds is gone,
Replaced by the gray dampness of the season.
The caressing breeze of summer
Has turned into the blustering winds of fall.
Leaves, once proudly perched on the limbs of trees,
Now dance gaily through the air,
Brightly colored in the warm tones of autumn.
Children laughing merrily on their way
As they hear the crackling sound of leaves beneath their feet.
A jack-o-lantern sits in the window,
Showing a wide, toothless grin or scowling frown.
The snapping of pitch from a burning log,
The faint scent of pine filling the room.
Flames leaping about as if it were a ballet
Performing for its audience.
The soft, comforting glow of candlelight,
Bringing with it serenity and quiet thoughts.
I sit in amazement watching all that is around me.
Yes, there is a God.
Only He could have made the wonders I see before me.
I will accept the solitude and indifference of winter
So I may anticipate and appreciate
The re- birth of spring.
by Linda Christensen
God in heaven, I thank you for change...my I accept it gracefully
Monday, September 8, 2008
To everything there is a season
time for every purpose under the sun.
time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal ...
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
time to mourn and a time to dance ...
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.
God in heaven, Show me grace, show me mercy...show me the need, that I can go and lend my hand.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
a state of sanctification by God; the state of one who is under such divine influence; "the conception of grace developed ...
Scripture clearly presents grace as something beyond mere "unmerited favor". It is a reality which embraces and permeates every aspect of our life in Christ.
In Christianity, divine grace refers to the sovereign favour of God for humankind — especially in regard to salvation — irrespective of actions ("deeds"), earned worth, or proven goodness.
Grace in mentioned 170 times in the Bible. Consider some of the ways it can be defined:
1. Grace is God's unmerited favor. That is, grace is God doing good for us that we do not deserve. In the Bible, grace and mercy are like two heads of the same coin. Mercy is God withholding judgment or evil that I deserve; grace is God giving me blessing or good that I do not deserve. Because of God's mercy, I do not receive the judgment of God against my sins; because of God's grace, I receive eternal life and a promise of heaven though I do not deserve them. Both mercy and grace come to me though the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Grace can also be defined as God's sufficiency or God's fullness in the life of the believer. God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2Corinthians 12:9). That is, the grace of God in Paul enabled him and empowered him in his weakness. Another verse states, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (2Corinthians 9:8). God's grace working in us supplies the sufficiency whereby we may abound to every good work. I like to call grace "God's enoughness." By this I mean that God is enough for us no matter what the situation we face.
This being the case, you can see that grace is first of all necessary for salvation. Ephesians 2:8 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." One aspect of salvation is called justification. That is the act by which we are declared just (righteous) before God on the basis of the payment Jesus Christ made for our sin. The Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by the grace of God (Romans 3:24; Titus 3:7).
But not only are we saved by the grace of God--we also serve the Lord and live the Christian life by the grace of God. The letters of Paul always speak of a blessing of grace for the believers (along with peace). Just for an example, Romans 1:7 states, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Paul is speaking to believers who are already saved and on their way to heaven, but he also recognizes that they need grace for living the Christian life. They need God's strength and sufficiency.
A good verse to help explain this grace by which we live is 1Corinthians 15:10 where Paul testified, "But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." It was God's grace that made him what he was. It was God's goodness working in him that made him the great servant of God he was.
So, obviously, we also need the grace of God. We need it first of all for salvation. Without the grace of God, we cannot have eternal life. However, we also need the grace of God for our daily walk with God. We are weak and prone to stray. Jesus told us that we can do nothing without Him (John 15:5). But God provides daily strength through His grace working in us. We should seek this grace for living from him. Then, we should believe that He will provide what He has promised and walk with assurance that His grace is working in us.
(Pastor David Reagan)
God in heaven, Show me Mercy as I walk in darkness, May your grace be with me always. Open my heart to your will, that I may clearly hear your whisper.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
My friend Laura recently held a dinner party at her home. When I arrived, I noticed that almost everyone had brought something to contribute. Guests came carrying desserts, vegetable trays, and flowers. It seemed they all enjoyed giving something out of respect and love for my friend. Laura said that we need not bring anything, but we all told her that we just could not show up "empty-handed."
Jesus told a parable about a party that God will host in heaven. If we respond to an invitation on earth by bringing a gift, how much more so should we plan to bring something with us when we accept God's invitation into heaven? We obviously cannot bring a bouquet of flowers or a plate of cookies as our gift to God. What God wants is a gift that has eternal importance. Since God does not desire that anyone miss this event, God's wish is that we introduce as many people as we can to Christ and bring them with us to the feast. Then as we walk through heaven's gate and take our place at Christ's table, we won't come in alone.
Eternal God, may we respond to each opportunity - today and every day - to lead someone to you. Amen.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
As I awoke this morning with darkness in my heart, I find today's devotion comforting...
Dear Lord, you are our refuge in good and in bad times. In your infinite mercy, bring peace and comfort to those of us who face days sometimes filled with pain and depression. Help us to realize that through you there is joy and the promise of lasting peace. Help us through the rough times. Walk before and beside us so that we may walk in your footsteps and reach out to you in our journey on this earth. Help us to focus on our blessings rather than our misfortunes, dear Lord. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayers. Amen
My high-school wrestling coach from years ago intended our two-hour practices to make us not only stronger but also tougher. And tough meant one thing: no water breaks. As I pushed myself to complete one more drill, practice one more move, and challenge one more opponent, my cotton-lined mouth drove me to steal wistful glances at what stood at the far end of our practice room: the water fountain. I knew thirst, and I could think of little else but water.
Isaiah reminds us that we also thirst spiritually. Our deep needs and complete inability to meet them on our own constantly drive us toward relationship with God. Like parched athletes beset by trials, we steal wistful glances at the eternal life God has promised. When I honestly face the disappointments of life, I become free to accept God's offer of grace. God quenches my thirst.
I rarely think about the dry-mouthed feeling I had in those wrestling practices when I attend church. That community meets my need for connection. Volunteering in ministry meets my need for purpose. Relevant Bible teaching meets my need for insight. With so much spiritual water available, who could be thirsty?
Dear God, help us to bravely face difficulties. As we admit our thirst, teach us to turn to you with our longings. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
On our last visit To my friend Delores' we so much enjoyed watching Jesse Ray and Carli. She took a real liken to him.
Mom and Dad were detained at border from Canada. For more than 2 hours. They were "randomly" picked for a complete search. Now we know everything happens for a reason. But, I could hear the fret in Mother's voice as she was telling me. If they would search the people who needed to be searched, maybe there wouldn't be so many drugs and illegals coming in...but, I think the worst of it was they had just stopped at a tiny road side farmers stand, and purchased peaches. They wouldn't let them keep the peaches????? They were in Jackson Hole a few days back, and here is the web cam of them. They are the tiny specks under the Antler arch. So sweet. They had snow yesterday in the Rocky Mountains. I sure do miss them...but alas, they are making their way back to good ole Tennessee.
Todays devotion is very fitting as I have been told of a wonderful lady and her husband, Margaret and Bill. They lost their daughter Amanda, at a very young age. I've had Margaret on my prayer list for many months now. Sometimes, when I don't know just what to ask of God, I tell him just that...that I am unsure of his plans, and he knows the need. I pray for comfort and most importantly, Peace for this couple as they mourn...still...deeply for Amanda. Thank you Barbara for keeping me informed.
My 87-year-old mom is a pistol. She moves in high gear, even with her walker, and always has a ready smile and a twinkle in her eye. After Mom was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, we moved her to Florida so that we could look after her.
One evening when I called to say goodnight, God nudged me to read that day's devotion from The Upper Room. Mom listened until I finished reading and said she'd take that thought to bed with her. I began calling to read each day's meditation. When I called while traveling and Mom learned that I didn't have my magazine with me, to my astonishment, she read to me. She now reads to me every night I'm traveling - though she can't read even one paragraph from the newspaper.
Reading the witnesses from The Upper Room is something Mom can do for herself and for me. After she read a meditation about the Holy Spirit's praying for us, she told me it was a comfort to know that the Spirit intercedes for her when she can't quite focus on what to say to God. She comprehends and retains the messages from The Upper Room. I'm grateful for this miracle and for her continuing faith.*
(Mary Webb Walker)
O God, help us to trust that your love is stronger than anything life brings us. Amen.