1 Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

And I show you a still more excellent way.
1Corinthians 12:31b (NAS)

Saturday, December 31, 2011


Servant and leader are not two words that we would put together to describe someone.  Usually, we think of someone being either one or the other.  Either they are a leader or they are a servant.  A leader is one who is highest in rank or authority, an important, influential person.  A servant, on the other hand, is subject to an owner or master and is made to do tedious and sometimes menial work.  Which of these words would best describe you?  Are you a leader or are you a servant?

We don't have to look far in scripture to see that when God calls an individual to be a leader, he also is calling that person to serve.  The best leader is one who is subject to his owner, (God) and one who is willing to sacrifice his own desires to serve the needs of others.  Jesus is an prime example of a servant leader.  In Hebrews 10:9a he said, "Lo I come to do thy will, O God."  He was subject to the Father when he prayed in the garden, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)  He taught this principle to his disciples, as seen in Mark 9:35, "If any man desire to be first (a leader), the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."

While reading 1Samuel I discovered another servant leader. Samuel served Israel as both prophet and priest for many years and was respected as a great leader.  In chapter 12 we read Samuel's words  as he is about to retire.  As, I looked closely at these verses, what I found was a picture of what a servant leader looks like. 

  1. He showed them how to live by his example.  (Verse 3)
  2. He reminded them of the righteous acts of God in the past.  (Verse 7)
  3. He instructed them in the truth.  (Verse 14 & 15)
  4. He interceded for the people.  (Verse 19)
  5. He advised the people which direction to take.  (Verse 20)
  6. He reassured the people that God loved them.  (Verse 22)      
  7. He taught them the good and right way.  (Verse 23)       

We can all learn from Samuel's example of what a servant leader looks like.  It would do us good to evaluate our own leadership roles, whether it's in our homes, our workplace, our church, our community, or our world.  We need leaders who will live exemplary lives, who will speak the truth and teach what is good and right.  We need leaders who will intercede for those God has  placed in their care.   And remember that Jesus said he that would be first, must be the servant of all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What did you get for Christmas?

I received some great gifts this Christmas; things that I will enjoy for many days to come.  A new pair of earrings, a Kindle Fire, cookie mix in a penguin oven mitt, and cute coffee mugs just to name a few.  My heart is full as I give thanks to God for a beautiful Christmas.  Beautiful, because I spent time with my family and friends.  Beautiful, because we kept reminding ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas.  Beautiful, because we worshiped and gave our  hearts anew to Christ, who is at the heart of Christmas.  As I thought about these things, I began to see that I had received many gifts that maybe I had taken for granted.
  • I held and loved our granddaughters.  I got down on the floor and played and snuggled and laughed with them.  My granddaughters gave me the gift of JOY.
  • This year we had all three of our children in our home and we enjoyed many meals together, played games, and talked for hours about our future plans and reminisced about our past.  I am so proud of each of them because they have committed their lives to following Christ and doing what is right.  (Psalm 127:3)  Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.  My children gave me the gift of PEACE.
  • I held my husbands hand when we took a walk and when we prayed.  We looked into each others eyes as we watched our children take care of their children.  My husband gave me the gift of LOVE
  • I was blessed to spend time with my mom and dad, brothers and sister, and nieces and nephews.  The family home was teaming with grand kids and babies and everyone was talking at once.  I wanted to be a part of every conversation, but, I could only stand back and watch and hear bits and pieces of their lives.  Being with my relatives makes my heart steadfast,  because these are my roots.  My relatives gave me the gift of FAITH
  • We also enjoyed an evening with our office staff.  It's so nice to work with people who are honest and trustworthy and work together as a team.  My friends at work gave me the gift of GRATITUDE.
  • Christmas would not be complete without spending time with church friends.  I sang "Happy Birthday Jesus" with the kindergarten Awana class and we talked about the best gift that we could give to Jesus.  I enjoyed a lovely evening with the ladies in women's ministry.   I volunteered to help with the Christmas Bash and was blessed by the people who shared their story with me and humbly prayed for God to intervene in their lives.  My church friends gave me the gift of KINDNESS.
Joy, peace, love, faith, gratitude, and kindness.  These are like beautiful gifts that God gave to me this Christmas.  He wrapped these gifts in the friends and family I share  my life with.  But none of this would be possible without his best gift of all - the gift of Jesus Christ, his son who was born at Christmas so that we might have eternal life.  (John 3:16)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.  James 1:17

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Power to Tread on Serpents

While the grand kids were here for the holidays, they wanted to go to the haunted house located on 76 Country Boulevard near the old Walmart store.  It wasn't what I would choose to do for an outing, but, I went along for the ride.  This time though, they insisted that I go through the haunted house with them, since I had never been inside.  Arm-in-arm we entered the dark passage way that takes you past all kinds of grotesque and scary looking monsters.  There were ghosts and vampires, demons and devils, the insane, surgery that had gone bad, and clowns.  A few added surprises were strange noises, things that jumped out at you, and even puffs of air that sent ear-splitting screams from the kids.  They huddled behind me, I said a prayer, and we inched our way through the maze of terror and death.  I have to admit it increased my heart rate and felt a little creepy, but, I spoke the name of Jesus and calmly lead my grand kids through the dark caverns unharmed.

The following day was Sunday and during the worship service at church the Holy Spirit reminded me of my experience in the haunted house.  Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we have an enemy, the devil.  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world-forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."  We have a real enemy of our souls, Satan, and he wants to destroy us.  There is a war being fought right now, between the forces of good and evil, for the souls of men.  But time is running out for Satan, for 2000 years ago Jesus Christ, God's only son was victorious over sin and death.  His death on the cross paid the penalty for our sins,  winning for us forgiveness and a restored relationship with the Father.  Sin no longer has power to enslave us and separate us from God's holiness.  The way is opened by the blood of Jesus.  Three days later he rose from the dead, victorious over death and the grave and now we have the promise of the Resurrection from the dead.  "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"  1Corinthians 15:55.

As believers, Christ dwells in us by the Holy Spirit and because of him, we can walk into the dark places of the enemy without fear.  Just like when we were in the haunted house, we are surrounded by wickedness and darkness, but, praise God we have the light of the world that lights our path and we have the truth so that we will not be deceived.  Through prayer and the name of Jesus, we can release those who are held captive in a prison of sin.  When we were going through the haunted house, we never knew what was around the next turn.  Through Christ, we have available the armor of God, so let's take up the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  The grand kids and I made it safely to the exit of  the haunted house, and  likewise, Jesus said in Luke 10:19, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My eyes shall see what my heart has known,
when I behold his face
and I gaze into the eyes of love
that saw my sin and loved me still.

My hands shall reach
and hold and feel
the nail-scared hands that carried sin
and paid the price that I might live.

My ears shall hear in a different way
the sweet sounds of heavens air
and peace like waves upon the shore
shall wash away my cares.

My nose shall smell the sweet incense
of prayers of all the saints
as we gather round the throne of God
to praise his holy name.

My mouth shall taste the wine of heaven
that he promised to share with all
who long for him and live for him
and love not their life, but  him.

Revelation 21:5a   And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Creative Process

Start with an empty page,
a blank canvas,
a collection of data,
a pile of materials,
a waiting face,

Yielding to the hand that guides,
not knowing the destination,
but, simply obeying the call,
to be ready.

Chosen for a specific task,
that flows from the heart,
driven by an insatiable desire,
a Divine spark,
compelled to shape and mold,

Watching as the beauty unfolds,
feeling so alive,
giving thanks to God for,
the creative process.

Exodus 36:2   And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, even every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it.  (The work of building the tabernacle).

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving List

While roasting the turkey on Thanksgiving day I had my kitchen radio tuned to Dr. David Jeremiah's daily broadcast called Turning Point.  He message was about Giving Thanks.  He said that gratitude should be expressed; that it is not thanksgiving until it is expressed.  As I thought about this idea of giving voice to my gratitude, I realized I should be saying "thank you" a lot more often than I do.  For me that starts with thanking God for everything.  But it also means being thankful for all the people he has placed in my life.  To express my gratitude, I started a list of people that I am thankful for.

Romans 1:8, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. 

I am thankful -
  • for my Dad who continues to give God praise after a year long battle with cancer; whose faith has been tested and tried and proved to be genuine. 
  • for my Mom whose faith never waivers; her life is built on a solid rock.
  • for Betty and her hospitality to me and my family; we have stayed in her home many times in the past months.
  • for Glen and Barbara; for being available when Dad and Mom needed them most.
  • for Andy and Charlotte; for overcoming difficulties and obstacles and giving the rest of us courage to do the same. 
  • for Sherwood and Sonia; for inspiring me to read the Bible through as they have. 
  • for Norma and all that she does on a daily basis to help Dad and Mom by checking on them, bringing them meals, and helping with their medications.
  • for Larry, for being the most interesting person I know and for sharing his heart with me; for being a great Dad, Grandpa, and Gepaw and for being a man who doesn't back down.
  • for Melanie; for giving 100% everyday to everything she does and for teaching me to believe. 
  • for Hannah; for teaching me to be joyful, to have fun and to enjoy life and for being unafraid to speak her mind. 
  • for Philip; for being an awesome dad who loves his family and puts their needs ahead of his own; for his keen sense of justice and a desire for order and peace in the world.
  • for Teresa; for being a daughter-in-law that I can trust to be the best wife and mother that she can be because she desires to be a Godly woman. 
  • for Taylor and Martin and Kate and Audrey; who give me a glimpse of the future and the courage to share my faith unashamedly.
  • for Kris; for being a true friend and for being so kind.
  • for Jeane, for being my role model; In all the years that I have known her, I have never seen her unhappy, angry, or ill tempered.  I have never heard her complain or criticise others.  She is the most gracious, loving person I have ever met.

There are many more of you that I am thankful for; old and new friends and family at church, at school, at work, in all the places I have lived.  I am so grateful for you and how you touched my life.  It is good to give thanks.  May it become our lifelong goal;  to express our gratitude in true thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Worship is the Doorway

It has been my habit in my prayer time to praise God for who he is; telling him that I love him and that I long to be with him.  This morning, his response was crystal clear.  For he began to tell me who I am.  I am his child, chosen and elect, beloved, more precious than silver or gold.  I am his costly treasure, the apple of his eye, and the pearl of great price.  I am precious to him, his little lamb, his delight.  I am the joy set before him, the reason for all he does, his prize. 

Wow!  What a beautiful way to start the day.  Worship truly is the doorway to his presence.

Psalm 100:4  "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Give Thanks to the Lord; for He is Good

Each morning in my prayer time I have been thinking of one of God's attributes and praising him for it.  I just choose a word that describes God and use it as a tool to worship Him.  For example, God is Sovereign, God is Holy, God is Just, God is Trustworthy.  As I meditate on what that characteristic means, I think of ways that God exemplifies that quality.  It has been a good tool to help me in my daily devotions to know him better and to love him more.

One word that describes God is the word Good.  God is Good.  Goodness is his nature.  Every thing that God does is good.  All of his works are good.  He made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good".  (Genesis 1:31)  Not only are the works of creation good, but he shows us his goodness everyday by his provision and care. 

Somehow, I think good is one of those words we use so often we don't attribute it to God.  We use the term loosely in our greeting, "Have a good day".  We say "This pizza is good."  But, when we say, "God is Good", we mean so much more.  God's goodness is entire, flawless, perfect, unblemished, whole, able, authentic, exemplary, benevolent, moral, righteous, and upright. 

Think about it, because God is Good.

Psalm 106:1a  "Praise ye the Lord.  O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Those Whom God Calls

 I do not know how a preacher gets up to speak every week if he thinks about the awful burden of responsibility that is his.  To speak for God!  It is a very humbling experience to stand before God's people to say, "Thus saith the Lord".  At times, I'm certain they must question their ability to perform their duties. "What if  I mess this up; profane God's name?  What if I cause someone to stumble or what if I do not speak the truth?"  I have experienced some of this kind of trepidation myself whenever I click on the Publish Post button for my blog.  The biggest danger for me is that pride can easily slip in and I can loose sight of my original motive in writing, that is, to glorify God. 

We have many examples in scripture of God using less-than-perfect people who felt unworthy or ill equipped to lead others.  Men like Moses who did not think that the people would listen to him and Gideon who questioned whether God really meant it when he called him to lead the people.  In each case, God equipped these men whom he called with the skill and knowledge that they would need.  In 1Samuel 9&10 we have the account of Saul being chosen by God to be the first king of Israel.  God reveals to Samuel that Saul is the man that he has chosen and when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the Man..... but Saul expressed some reluctance to this new calling upon his life, even to the point of hiding when the tribes were being presented for selection.  God confirmed his calling of Saul not only by Samuel's words but by empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  In chapter 10 verses 9 & 10 we read, "God gave Saul another heart and the Spirit of God came upon him and he prophesied among them."  In addition to these confirmations, God surrounded Saul with a group of men to assist him because he knew that Saul would need help.

So we can surmise that those whom God calls he also equips to do his will.  Jesus understood this principle and talked about the fact that he was dependent on the Father in John 8:28b,  ".....I do nothing of myself; but as my father hath taught me, I speak these things."  Jesus knew that his Father had sent him and that he had never left him alone.  His ministry grew out of  his relationship with the Father and he always glorified his Father.

We too can do nothing without the Father's help.  And unless we are in an intimate relationship with God our Father and his son Jesus Christ, we have nothing to say or give.  I think it's important to give credit where credit is due.  For me personally that means before I write a blog post, I wait until I have a topic or idea of spiritual significance.  This is usually something I read during my Bible reading or something that came up in a conversation or something I experienced.   I pray before, after, and during the process.  I never know for sure where my writing will take me.  But, I definitely feel that the inspiration comes from the Holy Spirit.  He brings it all together, reminds me of things, helps me choose words, gives me scripture to support my ideas.  So all glory to God, for without him, I can do nothing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If You Seek God, You Will Find Him

I have seen  you, Lord;
Seen you in the sunset, seen you in the storm,
Seen you in the face of my newborn baby. 

I've seen you in my friend,
Seen you in your servant,
Seen you in your Word.

Most of all, though,
I've  seen you in my singing,
seen you in my prayers,
seen you in my quiet times,
seen you in my tears.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29;13)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Learning to Hear

One of the best tools I have found to help me with my prayer time is a Prayer Journal.  Through the years, I have tried various methods of keeping track of my prayer needs; which has resulted in a huge stack of spiral notebooks where I recorded the names of people I was praying for, answers to those prayers, along with sermon notes, and things I learned along the way.  But, the best method I found was one designed by Becky Tirabassi, a 3-ring binder with dividers and pages to record Praise to God for who he is, Admit my sins, RequestsThanks for blessings and answered prayers, Listening to hear what God is saying to me.  I recently purchased a new binder because the old one was falling apart, which afforded me an opportunity to review my old journal pages.  What I discovered when I reviewed these pages was a record of a decade long quest to hear God. 

Prayer should be a two-way conversation that includes speaking and then listening, not just reading off my laundry list of prayer requests.  Journaling my prayers, organized them so that I could keep track of my personal exchanges with God, or rather the Holy Spirit, who Jesus sent to be our teacher to guide us into all truth.  (John 16:13). 

In the Listening  section of my journal I would write down what I thought I heard him saying, then I would ask questions to discover if it was truly God's voice that I was hearing, or my own voice, or the voice of the enemy.  I used a lot of trial and error to try and figure this out, but found comfort in Jesus' promise in John 10:27, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me". 

Not only does Jesus promise us that we will know his voice, but we also have the scriptures which we can use to test what we have heard.  If it doesn't line-up with the Word of God, then its not truth.  In fact, many times his answer came through scripture verses that I "happened" to be reading that day.  Those verses would be exactly what I needed to hear. 

Other times, though, I had to wait on answers to my prayers.  Yet, God's timing is perfect and time will tell whether the thing was true or not by whether it comes to pass or not.  Learning to hear God is like learning to do almost anything, it takes practice.  The results are well worth the effort though, because spending time with God in prayer is how we learn to hear his voice. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How To Start the Day

I believe that how we start our day can affect how our day turns out.  Here is an example.  You get up late, because you overslept; so you rush out the door ill prepared to deal with the demands of your day.  Don't you just hate when that happens.  Or, maybe your a teenager and you never get caught up on your sleep, so in the mornings you are grumpy and irritable because you stayed up late on Face book instead of getting to bed on time.  Wouldn't you agree that the morning sets the tone for the rest of  our day. 

For me, morning is the best time of the day.  I feel rejuvenated from sleep and I can think more creatively in the morning hours.  Every morning is like a new beginning; an opportunity to start fresh and do it all over again, and hopefully to do it better this time. 

Years ago I read a book by Joseph S. Carroll, called, How to Worship Jesus Christ.  I highly recommend it because it changed my life.  The thing I learned that has stuck with me through the years is the importance of starting each day in submission to God, that is, to start each day with a simple prayer, a prayer of submission.  This prayer has become for me an established routine.  As soon as my mind leaves dreamland and comes into consciousness, I think of God.  I may say this prayer from the warmth of my bed, but many times I kneel beside my bed or a chair, and I thank God for the new day.  I offer my life to him, asking that his will be done in me.  Again, what I do is acknowledge that he is God and I am totally dependant upon him for everything I need and I can trust him, no matter what.  This prayer of surrender takes only a couple of minutes, but it fine-tunes my heart so that I can hear what he would say to me today and it helps me focus on what is of eternal consequence.

There's more, of course, to worshiping Christ than this two minute prayer in the morning.  But, somehow it  makes all the difference between having a good day verses having a bad day. 

Song of Solomon 7:12,  "Let us rise early and go to the vinyards;"
Psalm 63:1,  "O God, thou art my God; I shall seek thee earnestly:"

Prayer of Surrender

     Lord, I am empty.  The slate of my mind is wiped clean, ready for your hand to write upon it.  I yield my life to you, and I wait upon you, Lord. 
     All things are in your hand and I know that you are real.  You are here beside me, you love me, and you have a plan for me.  You are all I want and need; you are the essence of all my hopes and dreams.  You hold the key to the future and I wait patiently for your touch, your direction, and your help.
     Light of Heaven, shine on me, I pray.  Make me completely yours.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why Not?

Nearly everyone I know has several copies of the Bible laying around their house, but, I think we would be surprised to see how many people actually open it and read it on a daily basis.  In addition to these paper copies of the Bible, we have available to us, Bible "apps" for our computers and cell phones.  But having the Bible readily accessible does not necessarily mean that we will take advantage of it.  Why is it that Christians fail to study God's Word even though they know that they should.  I did my own survey, asking if it is important for us as Christians to study the Bible.  The results were unanimous.  Everyone said "Yes".  We also know that we should floss our teeth and take our vitamins and get more exercise, but, we don't always do these either. 

If we know that it is important to read and study the Bible, what are the reasons people give for not reading their Bible.  In his article,  Why should we study the Bible? , Dr. Richard J. Krejcir gives four reasons why Christians do not study the Bible.  The reasons are:
  • Apathy - I can't get motivated to do it, other things are pressing, I just don't have time, I'm too busy.
  • Arrogance - I already know what it says, I don't need it,  I can figure this out on my own, I've got this, it's not relevant for today. 
  • Confusion - I don't understand it, there are so many interpretations, I don't know how to do it, it's too difficult.
  • Falsehood - It's not really important, nobody knows for sure, I would never do that, I'll get by somehow.   

For me it's apathy, I'm not disciplined  and I tend to waste time.  Every morning I putter around my kitchen and laundry room doing what...., I'm not sure.  What I need to do is drop everything and get to the business at hand - spending time with God in prayer and Bible study.  I need to make it a priority, the thing I do first.  Each one of us is given a 24 hour day; how we use it is up to us.

Dear Father,  forgive me for wasting precious time doing things that will not matter in eternity.  Help me to make the most of the time that you have given me, Lord, and to make Bible study a priority.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  (James 1:25)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Only Book You Need to Read

My Granny Poole said that it's the only book you need to read.  I did not believe her at the time; I must have been maybe ten years old and thought her naive if she only read the Bible.  Now that I am as old as she was when she said it, I am inclined to agree with her.  I can still see her sitting there in her chair with her Bible opened in her lap, reading God's Holy Word.  She knew a secret then, that I have only since discovered - that is - everything I need to know is in God's Word.  Do you want to know what God is like?  The answer is in his Word.  Would you like to know what's going to happen in the future?  You can read about it in the Bible.  Need help with your marriage, your finances, raising your children?  The Scriptures will tell you what to do.  What about your health, your job, your in-laws, your leisure?  You name it, it's in his Word.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words shall not pass away.  Matthew 24:35.

But gaining knowledge and understanding are not the only thing that you receive when you read God's Word; God's Word has the power to change your behavior.  Whenever you read and study the Scriptures, you no longer sin or go astray; iniquity does not have dominion over you and you will not be ashamed.  You will be free from bondage to sin, putting your trust in God. In Isaiah 55:11 we read, So shall my Word be which goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Little by little, verse by verse, precept upon precept God's Word will change your heart as you read it daily and apply it in your life.  Your heart will be cleansed and enlarged, increasing your capacity to love God and others.  You will have an upright heart with a bent to do good if you allow God's Word to change you from the inside out. 

No other book is like the Bible.  The Bible is unique because it's author is God himself.  Some say it's his love letter to us.  It contains everything that he wants us to know.  I find new things every time I open it's pages, even in passages that I have read before.  I never get tired of reading or studying it because it speaks directly to me and to my situation.  Sometimes when I read it, I am encouraged to persevere, to keep doing what I'm doing; other times I'm comforted, finding assurance that God is with me through every trial.  Some days it makes me joyful, happy, and excited to read about his promises to us his children.  Then there are also times when I read the Bible and I feel convicted or sorry because I realize I have not done the things I should.  Always though, I sense the mystery and majesty of the Scriptures; because I realize that my understanding is limited and his Word contains so much more than I will ever be able to know and understand.  I feel as though I could spend a lifetime reading and studying and still only scratch the surface of what it all means.  O how I love thy law!  It is my meditation all the day.  Psalm 119:97

What about you; have you read any good books lately?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No man can come.....except

You've heard the expression, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."  This principle applies to sharing your faith with someone who may or may not receive it.  In fact, our best arguments may fall on deaf ears, and our heart-felt plea may be scorned or laughed at.  Why is that, we might ask?

I am not the 'pushy' type; I do not force my opinions on others, but there have been times in my past when I felt impressed to share my Christian faith with a friend with whom I had established a friendship.  For example, I shared my personal testimony of faith in Christ with my college roommate.  I have had theological discussions with colleagues at work and I talked about what Christ  means to me with a neighbor who was a stay-at-home mom, like me.  Come to think of it, there have been numerous occasions when I have had the privilege of sharing with friends, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But, aside from my children, I have never lead anyone to Christ.  Most of the time, my beliefs were accepted and the individual with whom I shared expressed genuine interest.  Looking back, I feel confident that God used these discussions to help the person to grow spiritually, to confirm what they believed, or to guide them in making good decisions.  

But, I have not always received affirmation when I shared my beliefs with others.  I remember one particular friend who had a daughter the same age as Hannah and even though we came from completely different backgrounds we were instant friends and spent hours talking about everything from our families to what we wanted out of life.  I grew to love her and and her family.  But, we could never see eye to eye when it came to talking about Jesus.  I talked about being born-again and having a new heart.  She talked about religious rituals and traditions and said my faith did not make sense.  She looked at things from a logical, scientific point of view and my experience did not pass the test of reason.  She has since moved to another state and we no longer have our long talks anymore, but I still think of her often.  

In John 6:22-71 Jesus talks with the multitude and his disciples about a difficult saying: he refers to himself as the Bread of Life and the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood if one is to follow him.  Naturally, they do not understand.
  • Jesus tells them in verse 29 that God's will is that they would believe in the one he has sent and in verse 40 that the Father's will is that those who see and believe will have eternal life.  So, it is clearly God's will that we would believe in Jesus, his son.  But, evidently, not everyone will believe. 

  • In verse 36-37, Jesus tells them the trouble is, you haven't believed even though you have seen me, but some will come to me - those the Father has given me. 

  • In verse 44-45, he continues his discourse, declaring that no man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him.  And then he quotes from the prophets about being taught of the Lord which is a reference to the new covenant.  (See Hebrews 8:10-13) 

  • Verse 63 helps us understand the new covenant and that it is the Holy Spirit that gives us eternal life.  He repeats in verse 65 why it is that some would not believe, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it is given unto him of my Father.   

So, is it a waste of time for me to share my faith since the outcome is dependent on God?  Of course not, for who am I to say who will be saved and who will not.  My responsibility is to proclaim Jesus every time I have the opportunity.  And besides, I cannot save anyone, but I can pray.  I can pray that God would draw my friend to Jesus and I can pray that the Holy Spirit would quicken their heart to believe in him.    And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of him.  1John 5:14-15

Thursday, October 13, 2011

December 21, 2012

Our next door neighbor came over on Saturday to help Larry stain our deck.  "What do you think about all the hype about 2012?" he asked.  Come to find out, he had been watching the documentaries that have been on the History Channel the past months and he was intrigued; talking about the world coming to an end on December 21, 2012.  "You've got to admit," he said, "there has to be some truth to it because of all the different sources that are pointing to that date."  He was referring to the ancient Mayan calendar, the Hopi Indians, Nostradamus, the Bible Code, and scientists who predict a massive Solar storm. 

Larry and I looked at one another with one of those "knowing" looks that couples who have been married a long time use to communicate with each other.  Then later, when we were alone, we continued our discussion of the 2012 Domesday theory.  Neither of us had thought much about it before now; because a lot of the information that you see on TV is speculation, or just plain weird.  We had lumped the 2012 end of the world talk in with paranormal activity and UFO sightings; topics of unverified supposition.

What do I believe about the future and the things that will happen when the world as we know it comes to an end?  Our source of authority is the Bible so that is where I will look for information.  The next event we expect will be the rapture of the Church. See 1Thessalonians 4:13-18.  Christ will claim his Bride (the Church) and we will celebrate the wedding feast for seven years with him in heaven.  See John 14:1-3.  That seven year period will coincide with the Tribulation period here on planet earth.  See Revelation 3:10.  The last three and a half years of the Tribulation period will be a time of great troubles; including war, economic failure, earthquakes, and stars falling from the sky.  After these things Christ will return to earth with the Saints to destroy the Antichrist, imprison Satan, and establish his Millennial kingdom. See Revelation 19:11-20:3.  The events associated with the return of Christ are certain and infallible.  They are well documented through out scripture. 

How does all this fit in with 2012 Doomsday theories?  I'm not sure, but I am confident that there is a day of reckoning coming when life as we know it will drastically change.  Evil has been running rampant ever since Adam & Eve chose to disobey God, but evil will not be allowed to continue indefinitely.  Satan's days are numbered and God will triumph in the end.  If it happens in 2012, so be it.  But my confidence is not in Mayan calendars or the words of a mystic; my confidence is in the certain Word of God. 

In the last words of the Bible, Revelation 22:7,12,20, Jesus says three times, "Behold, I come quickly."  And with these words Jesus reminds us of his greatest promise - his return.  May we have confidence and not be ashamed at his coming.  See 1John 2:28.

Monday, October 10, 2011

When God Seems Far Away

Have you ever had one of those days when God seems a million miles away?  I had one of those days today.  I felt as though God had forgotten me.  I tried reading my Bible and the words just lay there on the page.  Worst of all, my prayers seemed to have no power.  We've all experienced it; the loneliness and void of feeling separated from God.  So what do you do when you can't find God? 

First of all, let me reassure you that God has not gone anywhere.  He is right where he has always been.  "Thy throne is established from of old;  Thou art from everlasting."  Psalm 93:2.  And God is still on his throne, irregardless of how I feel.  So, if God has not moved from his place, I must be the one who has moved and I must take steps to return to God.  Here are a few things that one can do.

1.  Confess your sins as soon as you are aware of them.  Unconfessed sin can keep us from God's holy presence.  In Psalm 32, David tells of how he felt when he had sins that had not been dealt with.  He goes on to tell how he felt once he had confessed his sins.  So be quick to confess your sins because they stand between you and God. 

2.  Praise God for who he is.  Think of as many words as you can to describe God.  For example, God is holy, he is just, God is loving, patient, and kind.  God is merciful.  Or sing a praise song.  Psalm 100 tells us to "enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise."  Praise is like a doorway into God's presence.

3.  Remember what God has done in the past.  Remember the special, precious times you have spent with him.  Remember when he answered your prayers.  Remember when he spoke to your heart.  Remember how he has blessed you with so many blessings.  Remember how much he loves you.  "Remember his wonders which he has done, his marvels, and the judgements uttered by his mouth," Psalm 105:5 

4.  Do something for someone else; help a neighbor or friend, cook an extra casserole to share, offer to babysit.  When we do things for others, it takes our mind off of us and our problems and helps us see the needs of others.  Putting others first pleases God. 

5.  Be obedient.  Do what you know to do.  Keep praying, keep reading the Word, keep loving God and others!  "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."  James 4:8

Making this list was just what I needed to bring me back into God's presence.  He doesn't seem so far away anymore.  He has not forgotten me, in fact, he reminded me of his final words to his followers before he went back to heaven, "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."  Matthew 28:20b,

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Deal with the sin in your house!

I said "No", to Hannah.  She wanted to go with Lynette and her boy friend to Ozark to watch a volleyball game and I didn't think it was a good idea because it was a school night and I don't know the boy very well.  It felt good to assert my parental authority and I probably should say no a lot more often.  Especially since I have been reading in 1 Samuel this week. 

Let me explain what I mean.  In chapter 2 we read that Eli's sons knew not the Lord and they sinned in the office of the priest.  Eli scolded his sons, but to no avail.  So God sent a message to Eli, through a man of God.  The message was not good.  God said that Eli did not have respect for the Lord's offerings and that he honored his sons more than he honored God and that he allowed sin to continue in his house.  Because of this, God was going to cut-off Eli's family from the priesthood, his two sons would die in one day, and God would raise up a faithful priest that would do God's will. 

Wow, being a parent carries a lot of responsibility; God holds parents responsible for their children's behavior.  It's not enough just to chasten them for their bad behavior, but the behavior must be corrected.  "For I have told him that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not." (1Samuel 3:13)   A parent who fails to teach their child to obey, is dishonoring God. 

Raising a child is never easy, no matter what their temperament; and deep down, I know that Hannah has a tender heart and a humble spirit.  So I have tended to spoil her and let her slide by when it comes to enforcing the rules for our family.  I have done things for her that she should have done.  I have overlooked grumpy attitudes and hateful remarks.  And all of theses are signs of disrespect in a child; things that I should have taken immediate action to correct.

Forgive my weakness, Lord, for being a permissive parent, for letting disrespect and a rebellious attitude creep into my house. Help me to see it for what it is and to nip it in the bud.  Lord help me to be a good parent who holds to the highest standard of obedience,  a parent who is unafraid to deal with the sin in my house.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Maybe I will go away for a while.

Maybe then you will see the truth,
Maybe then you will know that I care.

Maybe if I am gone, you will have time to think.

Maybe you will remember the words I said,
Maybe you will even understand.

Maybe in time you will see things differently.

Maybe you will not think me so archaic,
Maybe you will be able to see with your heart.

And maybe, just  maybe, you will see me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Before and After

Our church is doing the small group study, Just Walk Across the Room,   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VysahP_x7Wc&feature=related  in an effort to help us as Christians to share our faith with others.  One of the exercises we are challenged to do is to put in writing our "Before and After" story.  Before and after Christ, that is.  To tell how our life was before knowing Christ and how our life is after knowing Christ.

For me the story starts a long time ago, when I was just a child.  Even as a little girl, I could sense God  calling me.  I was raised in a christian home, by christian parents and grandparents who taught me by their example the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I accepted Jesus as my savior at a young age and had a child-like trust in him. 

During my teen years, I struggled with peer pressure and the pull of the world and I'm sad to say, the world won in that struggle.  I did things that I knew were wrong on Saturday night and then I would go to church on Sunday morning.  I straddled the fence, so to speak, during my teens and young adult life; confessing my sins and then falling to temptation again.  I knew that I was "saved" because salvation is based on the truth that when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for my sins. (Ephesians 2:8)  But, I was lacking in the commitment department: I was still carnal, a lukewarm christian.  I never stopped going to church, but I had a deep longing in my heart for something more.  I felt empty and disappointed with my life and how things were going.

But, one day a friend invited me to a ladies Bible study.  And for the first time, I began reading God's Word for myself.  I remember getting so excited that I read the whole book of John in one day.  The Word of God became alive to me, and it began to change my life.  (Hebrews 4:12)  That ladies Bible study was just the beginning of a life-long quest to find out more about this God who loved me so much he would die to save me from death and hell. 

I learned also about the Holy Spirit and his role in my life as the Comforter, and I asked him to fill me completely and to take control of my life.  When I surrendered my life to him, yielding every area of it to him and his will, sin no longer ruled in my life.  (Romans 6:6)  I wasn't straddling the fence any longer.  Gone were the days of running with the world and its crowd, because now I was walking daily with God's Holy Spirit as my guide.

Before I surrendered my life to Jesus and gave him the keys to my heart, I was living a miserable and defeated life.  After Jesus became the Lord of my life, I now have joy and peace and enjoy sweet fellowship with him everyday.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do I really have to go to church?

"Do I really have to go to church?" she said.  "Me and God are OK.  I don't have to go to church to go to heaven.  I just can't go to church now.  All I do is cry and the people all look down on me and judge me because of all that's going on with my family."  I was speechless, taken aback, because I love to go to church; can't imagine why anyone would not want to go. 

Do you remember the children's song, I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me, Let Us Go Unto the House of the Lord.  Well, that song is me.  I'm ready to go to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night or any other time if there was a reason to go.  In fact, I'm miserable if I don't get to go to church.  Just ask my family; whenever I'm late for church, I suddenly become a speed demon when driving to church.  I may even reach the speed limit. 

But her question made me wonder, just why do we go to church?  Here are a few of the reasons I came up with, to explain why I go to church.

  • Jesus went to church.  (Luke 4:16) "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as was his custom, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read".  Jesus went to church or synagogue, and to the temple in Jerusalem several times a year.  Remember the time his parents lost him when they went to the Jerusalem, and where did they find him?  Why he was in the temple discussing scripture with the Rabbis.  He told his anxious parents that they should have known that he had to be in His Father's house.
  • God commanded it.  (Exodus 20:8)  "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy."  God himself observed the Sabbath by resting on the 7th day after creation.  I believe he created our bodies and souls, in such a way that we can be renewed or rejuvenated if we will observe a Sabbath rest.  Granted you don't have to go to church to rest,  you can do that at home or anywhere.  But going to church is one way we "keep it holy".
  • We go to  church to offer sacrifices.  (Exodus 34:22-23)  "And you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.  Three times a year, all your males are to appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel."  We no longer offer sacrifices during our worship, but we sacrifice in other ways, by giving of our time, talents, and resources.  We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices the apostle Paul said in Romans 12.  I believe that would include our service to God and others.
  • We go to church to worship God.  (Psalm 95:6)  "Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker."  This is the part of church that I so look forward to;  to focus on him, to sing to him, to thank him, to offer my life in submission to him.  I believe that this is the true worship that Jesus was speaking of when he told the woman at the well that true worshipers were those who worship in spirit and in truth.  (John 4:23-24)
  • We go to church to study the Bible.  (2Timothy 3:15)  "And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,"  At church we study God's word in age appropriate classes, from childhood to senior adult; there's something for everyone.  Through the years, I have been in some wonderful Sunday School classes.  I have been grounded in my faith by the consistent, weekly times of Bible study. 
  • We go to church to fellowship with other believers.  The church is the body of Christ and made up of many members.  (1Corinthians 12:14) But we are one body in Christ.  Which means that we are in this thing called life together.  We need each other, to share the burden, to hold us accountable, and to encourage us.  God placed us in the body with other believers to help us.

Craig Groeschel has written a book called The Christian Atheist.  In his book he makes the point that some Christians  say that they believe in God, but live as though they don't believe that he has forgiven them for instance, or that he can change them.  He devotes one chapter of his book to the fact that some Christians believe in God but not the church.  He says in Chapter 12 that God is not calling us to go to church,  but he is calling us to be the Church, the hope of the world.  Since Jesus lives in believers, we represent him to the world. 

I have been the beneficiary of many blessings as a result of going to church.  It's sad when an individual, because of shame or guilt or fear, decides not to go to church.  To do so, is to miss out on the joys of going to church.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Prayer of Openness

    Open my mind that I may know the truth,
    discerning good and evil,
    and choosing to walk in your holy way. 

    Open my eyes that I may see,
    your presence and power with me right here,
    teaching and leading me to follow you.

    Open my mouth that I may speak,
    of your wonders and mighty acts,
    sharing boldly with everyone I meet.

    Open my hands that I may give freely,
    from the abundance that you have given me,
    blessing and sharing with others.

    Open my heart that now belongs to you,
    write upon it your words of eternal life,
    that I may be a living testimony to thee.

    in everything by prayer.....

    Do you pray about everything?  I mean e-v-e-r-y thing.  We have been instructed to do so in Philippians 4:6.  We read, "Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God". 

    My experience has been that I pray when trouble comes knocking on my door, like when a friend is hurting, or my child is sick, or there is conflict in a relationship.  It's during these times that I call out to God for help.

    I pray at mealtime, at bedtime, and in the morning at the start of the day.  I pray at church or when I am with other believers.

    I pray when I receive a prayer request or when someone asks for prayer.

    If I were to take a poll of my peers, they would probably say that their prayer life is similar to mine, involving a few minutes of prayer, here and there, throughout the day. 

    But, when I look at Paul's words in Philippians 4:6, I get the feeling that prayer is more than what I have made it.  Prayer should proceed, cover, and follow every part of my day.  Would you like to hear it said another way?  Thanks to BibleGateway.com we can read it in no less than 29 English translations.
    • Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  (New Living Translation)  
    • Do not worry.  Learn to pray about everything.  Give thanks to God as you ask him for what you need.  (New Life Version)
    • Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.  (Amplified Bible)
    • Don't be anxious about anything, rather bring up all your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.  (Common English Bible)

    What then, do we pray about?  Everything!  Your lost keys, what to eat for breakfast, the project you are working on, the lost person who lives next door, your mom & dad's failing health, which college to attend, how much of your income to tithe, you name it - that's what we should be praying about - "everything". 

    Isn't it wonderful that God cares about our "everything".  He wants us to tell him about it, and when we talk to God about the things that concern us, we are growing closer to  him in our personal relationship with him.  Think how much time you spend talking with your family; your children, your spouse, your siblings, your parents.  These are the people you are closest to and it stands to reason, if you spend time talking to God, you will grow closer to him. 

    Hannah called from school, looking for her homework; thought she may have left it at the house, - in everything by prayer.  Melanie is traveling down to Louisiana to visit with her kids this weekend, - in everything by prayer.  Daddy had a PET scan on Wednesday; we are still waiting on the results, - in everything by prayer.  Andy has been unemployed for several months, - in everything by prayer.  Do you pray about everything?  You can. 

      Monday, September 19, 2011

      Parenting 101

      I have a new favorite author.  Her name is Elizabeth George.  I heard her speak at the Living with Passion and Purpose Conference at our church last weekend.  She is a grandmother, like myself, who has written over 60 books on various topics; marriage, spiritual growth, time management, and parenting just to name a few.  She is a precious saint who shared from her heart her own experiences and what God had taught her through them. 

      From her book table, I purchased a book for myself, Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart, and one for Hannah, A Young Woman's Guide  to Making Right Choices.  In her books she cuts right to the chase when it comes to living a life of passion and purpose.  I have been challenged this week after reading Chapter One of Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart, to be the "Bell Sheep" for my daughter,  Hannah.  Which means that I am to lead by my example. This is just the first of many roles of moms that she discusses in her book.  She presents the information in such a way that I felt excited and motivated to put it into practice.  Even though I have been a mom for over 40 years, I still have a lot to learn about raising a daughter after God's own heart. 

      I have committed  Deuteronomy 6:4-7 to memory because these verses are foundational for parents; to love God with all your heart, soul, and might, to have his word in your heart, and to teach his word diligently to your children.  You might ask, how are we to teach our children?  Verses six and seven tell us how we are to teach them; it is by talking to them.  We talk to our children all day long, in our houses or when we are in the car.  And if we have his word in our hearts, it will be easy to interject it into your daily conversations.  Simple, practical advise to make teaching our children a part of our daily lives.  These verses from Deuteronomy have made my approach to parenting more purposeful and hopefully, more effective.

      Those of you who know me, know that I have always been quiet, never been much of a talker.  Therefore, I have the added challenge of breaking an old habit.  Which means that many days, I will have to force myself to "talk"; to ask questions, to be creative and interesting.  But, no matter how hard it may be, it will be worth the effort, because, more than anything, I want to be the "Bell Sheep" for Hannah.  I want to be there to help her when she needs it, to teach her how to cope with all that life will bring.  I want her to be a woman after God's own heart.

      Monday, September 12, 2011

      Hannah's Namesake

      Hannah wanted to know why we chose the name Hannah out of all the names we could have picked for her.  Evidently, it was one of the most popular girls names in 1995, the year that she was born, because every where she goes she meets other Hannah's; at school, at church, at dance competitions, and at swim meets.   At the time, we  did not realize it would be such a popular name.  When we were choosing a name for our soon-to-arrive new daughter, we looked in the Bible to find a biblical name, one that would have spiritual significance.

      Hannah's name means 'Grace' or favored, making her name Grace Grace or double Grace according to Pastor Roy Bryan Moore. He pointed this out when Hannah was dedicated to the Lord years ago.  And God's sovereign grace is found through out the story of Hannah as found in 1Samuel, chapter1.  When we first see Hannah, she is a very sad lady; crying her eyes out, refusing her husbands words of comfort, and grieving to the point of forgetting to eat.  And why is she so sad?  Her sadness is the result of a deep longing, an unmet need, a strong desire to have a child.   In verse 5 we see the reason why she had not been able to have a child, "the Lord had shut up her womb."  But, Hannah does not give up on her dream of being a mother, she turns to God in her grief and prays 'in bitterness of soul'  (verse 10).  She makes a vow to God, that if he will give her a son, then she will give him back to the Lord all the days of his life. 

      All these events, the deep longing for a son, the barren womb, the sadness and grief were part of God's plan for something wonderful that he was about to do.  He was preparing a man to lead the nation of Israel into a period of revival and Hannah's son would be that man.  He would serve as priest and prophet for many years to come and be used by God in a mighty way.  If you haven't guessed it yet, his name was Samuel and Samuel's name means "because I asked him of the Lord". 

      God chose Hannah to be Samuel's mother.  In verse 19, we read, "and the Lord remembered her".  She  exhibited courage and determination in the face of a hopeless situation.  In spite of great opposition, she kept asking and she kept believing until God granted her petition. 

      My prayer for you Hannah is that you will be like your namesake; that you will cling to God and keep asking until he gives you the thing you desire.

      Friday, September 9, 2011

      JESUS IS

      Have you ever heard one of those exhaustive lists of the names of Jesus?  Every time I hear one the Holy Spirit rises up in me and I feel like 'shoutin'.  The preacher starts in Genesis and goes all the way to Revelation speaking the names used to describe Jesus in the Bible.  This week in our Tuesday morning Bible study we started a study of the book of Hebrews.  One of our exercises was to list all the descriptions of Jesus found in Chapter one.  It is quite an impressive list that the writer of Hebrews gives us to establish the supremacy of Jesus over the angels.  In Hebrews 1: 1-14 we read that Jesus is:
      •  God's son
      • Heir of all things
      • The one who made the worlds
      • The brightness of God's glory
      • The express image of God's person
      • The one who upholds all things
      • The one who purged our sins
      • The one who sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high
      • The one who laid the foundations of the earth
      • The one who made the heavens
      • The one who remains, who is the same, and shall not fail 

      Continuing through the book of Hebrews we find other descriptions of who Jesus is.
      • In Chapter 2 - He is the Captain of their salvation
      • In Chapter 3 - He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession
      • In Chapter 8 - He is the Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle
      • In Chapter 9 - He is the Mediator of the new testament
      • In Chapter 12 - He is the Author and Finisher of our faith
      • In Chapter 13 - He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep

      Don't you just love lists; bullet points that make things clear and concise.  We make shopping lists, to-do lists and we use them for evaluation purposes or in making decisions.  A list can be a useful tool.  I felt that it would be beneficial to make my own list of names for Jesus.  Of course, my list is not all inclusive, but simply descriptions of Jesus that I could recall from memory.  Sweet words because it is like worship, yet powerful because of what they represent.  So here goes!  Jesus is:
      • The Alpha and Omega
      • The Beginning and the End
      • Creator
      • Provider
      • The I AM
      • The Sacrificial Lamb
      • The Captain of the Host
      • The Bread of Heaven
      • The Living Water
      • Savior
      • Redeemer
      • Friend of the Sinner
      • The Great Physician
      • One like a Son of Man
      • The Word of Life
      • The Way, the Truth, and the Life
      • The Light of the world
      • Everlasting Lord
      • Eternal God
      • Begotten, not made
      • The Maker of heaven and earth
      • The Lord God
      • The Suffering Servant
      • The One who takes away the sins of the world
      • The only Hope of mankind
      • The First born from the dead
      • The Head of the church
      • The soon and coming King
      • The Bridegroom
      • The Lion of Judah
      • The Lamb of God
      • Jesus, He  is  Jesus

      Thursday, September 8, 2011

      The Beautiful Sleep

      Beautiful sleep, blessed sleep
      covers tight around my chin
      wrapped in warmth
      enveloped in quiet
      inhale, now exhale
      exhaustion gives way
      afloat on the sea of unconsciousness
      like a babe
      no worries or fear
      escape into nothingness
      sweet dreams
      full of people; babies, and family and friends.

      Toss and turn and twist
      fluff the pillow
      throw off the covers
      no comfort in this bed
      the clock shrieks the time
      waiting, waiting
      longing for the sleep that never comes
      and then to wake with irritation
      and envy
      for those who sleep
      the beautiful sleep.

      Proverbs 3:24 
      When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

      Psalm 4: 8
      In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety.

      Wednesday, September 7, 2011

      He will even use a headache

      God says in his Word that we are to rejoice in trials.  In James 1:2 we read, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."  Well, I have a headache this morning so I will give thanks to God for this trial.  To do so is not foolish; James goes on to say in verses 3 and 4, "because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  So, I will give thanks and be joyful, for because of this headache, I must rest quietly in bed, making this an excellent time to pray and meditate on God's Word.  If I had not had a headache, I would be busy with my daily activities, getting ready for work, doing the laundry, etc.  But instead, I have the privilege of spending time with the one who loves me more than I can imagine.  How blessed I am.  He will use something as simple as a headache to say I love you.  He desires to spend time with me and he will interrupt my day, causing me stop and consider and listen to him.  He knows what I need, and what I need is a fresh touch of his presence.

      During his final hours on earth, Jesus prayed for his disciples and for those who would believe in him because of their message, "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you,  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me," John 17:21.  Jesus wanted us to be one with him and one with the Father.  How wonderfully, marvelous, that God, the Almighty, the source of all life, would want to be associated with me.  He wants to know me; to be joined or connected with me.  Look again at Jesus prayer.  Why did Jesus pray for us to be one with him and with the Father?  "That the world may believe that you have sent me."  God's plans and purposes are so far-reaching.  My headache is not only a  blessing for me in my personal relationship with Christ, but, it has eternal consequences.  God desires to reach others besides myself; he wants the world to know who Jesus is.  Jesus, the only begotten son of God, who lived a perfect life and died in my place to pay for my sins, and not only mine, but, the sins of the whole world.  That's not all though, he rose again and lives  forever with the Father in heaven and one day he's coming again to receive those who are his. 

      Therefore, I will consider it pure joy that I awoke with a headache.  For, because of it, I have enjoyed sweet fellowship with my God, who everyday loads me with benefits.  My faith has been tried and it is producing patience in me,  and patience will have its perfect work of making me mature and complete, not lacking anything.

      Tuesday, September 6, 2011

      The Power of a Song

      It's Sunday morning worship time and I'm late.  So now I'm anxious as well as discouraged and tired.  I'm alone, so I slip quietly into the pew and loose myself in the crowd of worshipers that surround me.  The piano plays familiar cords, I relax and say a silent prayer.  I feel safe.  Slowly, the music fills the room and we sing the timeless words of an old hymn.   The words seem written for me and this moment.  God's sweet Holy Spirit washes over me as I surrender, releasing all my fears; bringing cleansing, healing, comfort, and reassurance.  It can happen without warning or maybe I'm riding in the car or at home listening to Christian  radio, when the lyrics of a song speak directly to me and my situation, bringing tears to my eyes and causing my heart to swell with pure joy.  These times like numerous other times, God used a song with its powerful words to minister to my soul.

      Some of the best songs are the old hymns; the ones I learned as a child and sang all my life, like Old Rugged Cross, I will arise and go to Jesus, and Trust and Obey.  These can speak to me wherever I am, no hymn book needed, because they are forever written in my memory.  I start to sing a line or two that I remember and before long I'm singing all the verses and the refrain. 

      Songs can comfort, songs can inspire, songs can convict, songs can heal, songs can encourage.  What about you?  What's your favorilte old hymn?  What song has ministered to your heart at a time when you needed to hear from God?  Hannah says that everytime she hears the David Crowder Band sing How He Loves she remembers the awesome time she had at Student Life.  It was there that she heard for the first time, the story behind the song.  Recently, Jeane shared with me the lyrics to No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts.  The message of the song is to trust God and know that all things are in his hands, no matter what.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=OA3MSqufJP4  Just last week Daddy was working in his garden and he felt moved to sing the old hymn, Have Faith in God and as he sang the words out loud, God's Holy Spirit spoke to his heart reassuring him that God hears his prayers and that God will answer him. 

      So keep singing your songs to the Lord and let that song have it's powerful effect on your soul.  In Psalm 92:1 we read, "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Thy Name, Oh Most High.

      Saturday, September 3, 2011

      Blessed are the poor....

      I have been reading Angela's Ashes: a memoir, by Frank McCourt who paints a vivid picture of the impoverished lifestyle endured by Irish immigrants who came to America looking for a better life.  They suffered disease and malnutrition, they went without shoes, and lived in unspeakable housing conditions.  The book is a real eye-opener, making one wonder at just how much the human soul can bear because of poverty and misfortune.  Thinking of my own childhood, in comparison, I realize that I was not so poor as the McCourts from Limerick, Ireland.  And even though we had no indoor plumbing in our house, and no central air or heat, we never went hungry and we always had enough clothes to keep us warm.  Lack of proper medical care and poor health and nutrition took the lives of three of the McCourt children.  Ignorance and lack of education are also associated with poverty.  With all the negatives that are associated with being poor, could there be any advantage to being poor or does poverty only have negative effects?

      What does God's Word have to say about being poor?  God has compassion for the poor, we read in Psalm 140:12, "I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor,"  and he expects us to do the same.  See Exodus 22:21-27.  There is no shame in being poor.  In fact, Jesus himself was poor.  His parents were poor; they offered a sacrifice of two turtledoves or two young pigeons, rather than a lamb, when they dedicated their new infant to the Lord.  When Jesus called his disciples to follow him in Luke 9:58 he warned them that, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head."  Discipleship comes at a great cost; those who would follow Christ have to forsake all.  He goes on to say in Matthew 19:24 that, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

      From these verses we can gather that being poor does have its advantages and maybe poverty is a blessing.  Riches can be a hindrance that keeps us from following Christ; as with the young man in Matthew who asked what he could do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus requires that we give up everything.  If our hearts are entangled with wealth and possessions and things, then our hearts do not belong to him; and we are spoiled and think only of ourselves.  But Jesus said in Matthew 5:3, those who are poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the kingdom of God. The poor in spirit are the submissive ones, the ones with humble hearts.  And a humble heart is a heart that will listen and obey; a humble heart is a heart that Christ can use for his glory.  On the other hand, a heart that is filled with pride and self is still holding tightly to the things of this world.

      I thank God that I was born into 'poor' circumstances, and because I was poor, my heart was humble.  I have been blessed through out my life and it has been to my advantage that I grew up in a modest, simple home.  I had fewer temptations and less things to ensnare my heart.  From my childhood beginnings to the end of my journey, it is his grace that covers me and keeps me and will bring me safely to my eternal home. 

      Tuesday, August 30, 2011

      God Bless You!

      From across the hallway, I heard Brad sneeze three times.  "Achoo!"  "Achoo!"  "Achoo!" 
      "God bless you."  "God bless you."  "God bless you."  I said.  We both laughed.  But, now I wonder, just what do we mean by the words, 'God bless you'. 

      Later, in my car,  I'm reminded of those words, and again I wonder, what do we mean when we say 'God bless you' to someone or even more, when we pray these words.  I have prayed many times that God would bless my family, my friends, my church, and myself.  Was it just a general expectation that God would prosper us, or that we would be happy, or have a good day?  I have to admit, I have thought that God's blessing was little more than this. 

      But, God's blessing is so much more.  When God blesses us, he will not simply give us things to make our lives happy and prosperous,  but, he will give us things that will bring us closer to himself.  And what more could we desire than to know God and to be in a thriving relationship with him.  Each time that I say God bless you, what I mean is that I want God to bring you closer to himself.

      Let's name some ways that God blesses us or brings us closer to himself.  Time alone with him to meditate, to pray, and to read his Word is my richest blessing.  Also, he places within us a hungry heart that causes us to long for him and keeps us ever searching for him.  The people in our lives who encourage us and are not afraid to be truthful with us are also blessings.  Trials are blessings in disguise that teach us to trust him and to rely on him for every need. 
      In contrast, we could add,  sometimes when God blesses a person with wealth and success, the blessing can become an idol.  An idol can be anything that takes the place of God in our hearts.  That person may become preoccupied with the things that wealth can buy or he may come to believe that he earned success and therefore does not give God thanks for blessing him. 

      I wanted to take this idea of blessing even farther, so I asked my family, "What blessings or things bring you closer to God?"  For Larry, it was running, because it makes him feel alive.  Melanie said that for her it's listening to Christian radio on the way to work and school, because the songs help her worship God.  Being with other Christians was what Hannah said brings her closer to God.  We can see that Gods blessings are many and varied, and may be different things for different people, but we would all agree that we are truly blessed by God.  So, the next time you pray for God to bless someone remember that what you are asking is that God would bring them closer to himself.  Have a blessed day!

      ......blessed are the people whose God is the Lord.    Psalm 144:15b   

      Saturday, August 20, 2011

      A Future and a Hope

      This morning, as Hannah grabbed her lunch and backpack and headed out the door for school, she stopped , then turned to reach for the car keys, and standing there before me I see a young woman.  When did she stop being a girl and become a young woman?  This summer, she turned sixteen, got her drivers license and a job, and everything is different now.  I no longer drive her where she needs to go and she has gained her independence.   I wave goodbye and watch from the front door.  And as I watch her drive away, I pray for her safety and well- being. 

      But, I want more for her, so much more.  I wonder.  Have I done enough with the time I have had with her?  Did I teach her that true happiness comes from having a relationship with Jesus Christ?  Did I instill godly principles of honesty and integrity?  Did I show her by my example that having a good day is the result of hard work and self-discipline?

      The questions keep coming.  Will she make good choices to take care of her body and mind?  Will she remain pure in her thoughts as well as her actions?  Will she remember that God is always with her and call upon him for help and guidance?

      Raising a child is an enormous responsibility and I know that I have made many mistakes bringing up my children.  Ephesians 2:4, "But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us,...... " reminds me that God's mercy is his compassion for us.  He takes pity on us and saves us.  Raising a teenager can be downright scary.  I want all those things and more for Hannah, but I realize that she is mine for only a little while.  She will be an adult and have to stand on her own two feet.  But God is rich in mercy....

      In the book of Jude we find one of the most beautiful benedictions in scripture.  It is the perfect place to end this discussion.  "Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand  in the presence of  his glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.  Amen.  Jude 25.

      Friday, August 19, 2011

      Do I need the Holy Spirit?

      The answer to my question may seem obvious,  but, some people seem to believe that they can manage their lives just fine on their own without any help from the Holy Spirit.  His role in the life of the believer  is of great importance, so important in fact, we would not be saved except for the Holy Spirit.

      In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus, "except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."  The one who draws us to Jesus is the Holy Spirit and we can only be born again by the Spirit.  I would not be saved, except the Spirit wooed me and drew me to Christ.  I can remember how I cried that night many years ago at Vacation Bible School commencement when I recognized that I was a sinner and that Jesus had died for me.  With the help of the Holy Spirit I went forward during the invitation and prayed to get saved. 

      Jesus called him the Comforter in John's gospel; the Helper, and the Spirit of Truth.  He goes on to describe the Holy  Spirit's work; to convict, to guide, to comfort, to teach, to empower, to conform us to Christ's image.  The Holy Spirit has continued his work in me by directing my steps,  instructing me, and reminding me of the truths in his Word.  He keeps me from being deceived or misguided, he strengthens me when I am tired and weary, he motivates me and I become excited about living everyday for the kingdom of God.   His work in me is ongoing as day by day I ask him to fill me. 

      Just what is his purpose?  Why does he do the things he does?  Well, he is making me fit for heaven; a pure, spotless bride.  He is making me to be Christ to a lost world as I live my life before others.  Do I need the Holy Spirit?  My answer, emphatically, is yes!  I cannot by my own reason or strength do anything to save myself, nor can I live a holy life, or do the the things that please God.  I need the Holy Spirit.  Read Paul's words in 2Corinthians 3:6, "....but the spirit giveth life."

      Wednesday, August 17, 2011

      A Prayer for Daddy

      I wrote this prayer last December, before we knew that Daddy had cancer.

      My Daddy is heavy on my heart.  He asked for prayer.  He's tired of fighting this battle; he needs encouragement.  He has lived with pain in his face for well over a year and it has slowly intensified.  Pain has taken its toll; he is irritable and cranky and takes it out on Mama.  They are my parents and I love them; they sacrificed for me, prayed for me, and loved me and now I feel sad that they have to get old and sick and feeble. 
      Be gracious unto them, oh Lord; have mercy.  Do not leave them in this hour of trial.  Speak to Daddy of your truth, show him you are with him, give him faith to endure. 
      I do not know why you choose this lot for him, but, I trust you.  I believe you are working good in this situation.  I believe you never leave us or forsake us.  I believe you are in control, God. 
      Comfort him, strengthen him, keep him from the evil one.  Fill him so full of you that Jesus overflows in his life.
      I pray for an end to this pain.  I pray for peace, your peace that we cannot even understand. 
      Guide him to the truth, the truth about himself and about you.  Keep him on the path you have for his life.  Fit him for heaven.  Sanctify him in truth. 
      I pray for your will to be done, Lord God Almighty.  For the pain we endure now is only for a while, but, it works an eternal weight of glory in our lives. 
      I pray that Daddy keeps his eyes fixed on you, that he leans upon you for everything, that he looks steadfastly on Jesus until Jesus is revealed to Daddy and through Daddy.
      I ask these things in Jesus name, Amen.

      When we pray, we have the wonderful privaledge of talking with the Almighty, so be honest with him and ASK whatever your heart desires.  ACKNOWLEDGE that we are dependent on him for everything, that we can do nothing.  Then,  ACCEPT  his answer, trusting him with the final result. 
      Luke 18:1

      Monday, August 15, 2011


      Omniscient is one of those fancy, theological words that people seldom use and many do not understand.  If it is so difficult to understand, then why even bother to bring it up?  My reason - to challenge you to consider the attributes of God.  For, to know God  is our highest calling, our chief goal in life.

      A.W. Tozer, in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, gives meaning to the word omniscient, "To say that God is omniscient is to say that he possesses perfect knowledge and therefore, has no need to learn.  But it is more; it is to say that God has never learned and cannot learn."

      We can add, that nothing escapes his attention.  He is mindful of everything; everything concerning me, everything concerning his kingdom, and yes, everything concerning the world.  He knows all things.  Nothing is hidden from his watchful eye.  My mind is limited.  I only know what I see, what I hear, or what I experience.  God can see in the darkness; he knows the private thoughts of every person.  He is not limited by time, as we are, but sees the past and the future as well as the present.  His word tells us that he knows the number of hairs on my head.  For that matter, he knows my heart rate, my blood pressure, my cholesterol count, you name it, he knows it. God has intimate knowledge of me.  He knows what I will do even before I know I have a choice.

      Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgements, and his ways past finding out!  Romans 11:33

      Sunday, August 14, 2011

      Sin is Ugly

      Sin is ugly;
      no matter who wears it.
      It's our fleshly garment,
      our fatal flaw,
      our parental curse;
      ugly, marred, destructive,
      none can contain it,
      like cancer,
      it spreads its dark fingers
      where we cannot see.
      It makes us do the unspeakable.
      I thought I could out-smart it,
      that it wouldn't get me.
      But, I was wrong;
      none can escape it's deathly grip.
      And now, whenever I see it,
      it makes me sad,
      it hurts,
      because I've seen what could have been
      and I weep for what is lost
      and I pray,
      God help us!

      For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
      Romans 6:23

      He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
      2 Corinthians 5:21

      Saturday, August 13, 2011

      How can I influence others?

       I asked Hannah what she had learned while at Beach Blast this summer. 
      "How to influence people", she said. 
      That certainly perked my interest and we began discussing what that would look like; how it would play out in our day to day lives.  If I would have the power to affect others, I must be deliberate, engaging them by my actions.  I won't be an influence if I ignore others.  I won't be an influence if I am too busy to look at them or too preoccupied to notice them.

      Later that week, I had an a return appointment at the Breast Care Center.  Because of a spot that showed up on my mammogram,  they wanted me to come in again for more pictures.  I was a little concerned, but trusted that everything would be OK, and it was.  But, that night, as I sat there in bed thinking about all that had happened, I realized that I had missed a golden opportunity to be an influence for others.  I could have said a prayer for someone that day.  There may have been some other woman in the waiting room, who did not get a good report. But, I never looked to see.  I showed up for my appointment with a book to read and I really never looked at the other women.  I had spent the whole 90 minutes reading.  Sitting there in my bed, I felt so selfish, I felt as though I had missed out on a blessing because I had been totally focused on me and my life.  I felt so ashamed.
      "What kind of Christian am I?"
       God could had used me if I had been sensitive to his Holy Spirit. 
      "Forgive me, Lord,"  I prayed, "I'm listening now, and I want to do better".

      What he is teaching me is, that I should be praying for everyone whose path crosses mine; not only the women in the waiting room at the Breast Care Center, but, the staff that works there, the girl who cuts my hair, the businessman that walks into our office, and the checkout lady at the grocery store.  I encounter people all day long; a thing which should never be taken lightly.  God would have me really look and see those around me.  How do I do that?  Well, I can't, but, by his Holy Spirit I can be given new eyes to see the sick, the lonely, the troubled, the weary, the lost.  And if I see, then I can pray, and maybe I can even be an influence.