Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  {Ephesians 5:19-20}

It's only two days until Thanksgiving. I have much to do as I know some of you do too. If I don't stop, and pray, and talk to the Lord, I will lose the peace in my heart. What is a season of thanks if the cook is out of sorts? It kind of defeats the purpose of the thanks in the giving. I can give thanks and I can give, if I am in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday I wrote about christians giving thanks always out of a joyful heart. It is impossible to do this unless you are in communion with Christ. I don't mean that you have to take communion every day, but that you be in contact through prayer 
and the Word.  This is true even more when we have very busy times, and everyone is counting on that turkey being better than life. It seems the more we think about "the turkey" the better we remembering it tasting. That can be a tall order to fill.

Thankfully, all of the special side dishes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and desserts can make even a not so good turkey seem fantastic. The excitement of having family and friends together for another year can also add to a turkey that might not be the best. It is for the gathering together that the season is for, not the food. I wouldn't say that to my brother-in-law though. He is all about the food. 

Giving thanks, it is a wonderful thing! It keeps our hearts clear of ugly things, that only trap us into believing lies. Our God reigns, and we are His precious children. No one can take this from us, unless we allow it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and try to keep things in perspective when the cranberry sauce spills onto your good white tablecloth. Lots of love,  Ann   

Monday, November 20, 2017

This is my turkey plate. It sits on the table near our front door. It reminds me of my Grandmother's dishes with the brown design around the edge. It can be odd what memories are triggered by seemingly innocent trivia. It's turkey time again, and yes, I have mine in the refrigerator, or on the table if you want to be literal.

Thanksgiving is a christian attribute. It is part of who we are as the people of God. It becomes part of our everydayness when we see what goodness He has placed in our lives. Why did He save me? Why did He call me to be His own? These are questions we can ask ourselves, but there isn't any answer, at least not now. It is His absolute goodness that we are in His family, and the fact that we chose to say yes to His call.
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant', I have chosen you and have not rejected you."  {Isaiah 41:9 }

I am so glad that you said yes to Jesus to follow Him, to listen to Him, to obey His word. Maybe you can't say that you have said yes; there is no better time to do this than right now. The most wonderful gift of saying yes to Jesus, is that He cleanses us from ALL sin. All you have to do is ask Him! He has done the work, and He took your place as the sinless son of God. It is His gift to give to you.

Dear Jesus, I come to you now. My past is yours, my present situation is yours, and I want to spend my eternity with you in heaven some day. Please cleanse me of my sin, my wrongdoings, my shame, and make me free. I know that I have to do my part by staying away from those things that hurt me, and pull me down. Put a christian in my life that will help me to understand more of this new life. Thank you for making me new. In your name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Here I am, in my kitchen again. I kind of like this picture because it doesn't show all the dirty dishes, and messy counters. When I look at it I feel there is hope. I'm just being silly, but having a corner of your space looking acceptable is a huge thing. I have piles in one corner or the next, and I feel accomplished when I dissolve one.

 I am trying to dissolve my piles, not move one thing to another pile. This means removing stuff from the house. Clothing,  old decor, things that appear, and you're not sure what do with them. When you have others bringing items into the house, the "I don't know what to do with this"pile can grow exponentially. There are many who need the items I don't need. We have a Mission on Long Island that gives and gives and gives to those in need. Most importantly, they give in Jesus' name.

During this time of thanks, we remember the giving part as well.
One goes with the other,  as the word thanksgiving exemplifies.
"And thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever."   { Revelation 7:12}

Because we have been given much we can give much. And our giving is not begrudgingly, but with thanks. Hopefully you can see my plate. It says, "Let our life be full of thanks and giving." We give thanks to God first, but out of this giving flows; a natural desire to bless, and the cycle continues. It is how God works in us, to do His will. See what you can do to give to someone today. Ask God to put needs into your path, so you can bless someone today. People are hungry for love and positive attention. You may be surprised how easy it can be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

" A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."  {Proverbs 25:11}

This proverb has given me a sense of completeness, as if now everything is right, and we can rest. You can almost see that shiny golden apples reflecting the deep silver finish of the bowl surrounding them. There is purity, and goodness here. The silver has been through the fire, to remove all the dross, or impurities, so it is ready for service. The apples have been chosen for their vibrant color, free of blemishes.

There is someone I know who is free of blemish, sin or stain. He dwells in misshaped imperfect containers, like you and I. His perfection made Him one with God, and obedient to come to our disgruntled, fallen world. His beauty shines so far beyond anything we have known on this earth, and yet He is humble, and mighty all at the same time. Just a glimpse of His beauty and we are overcome, undone by the vision of His Holiness.

Everything stands still for that moment, because we don't know what to do. Did we see Jesus, or was it a dream? Did He reveal Himself to mere mortals like us, or is there some mistake? Does He do such things today? Yes, He does, and He will if you look for Him. How do we look you say? Let your heart be open to Him, as you read His Holy word, allow the Spirit of God to move upon you as you pray. Live as if you have already seen Him.

One important way we can be His hands and feet is to give. There are so many ways to do this, because the needs are all around us. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do, and do it. Don't tell anyone, so that you get a pat on the back. Let it be between you and the Lord. It will be your own apple in the pitcher of silver, and you will be blessed. Thank Him that you are counted worthy to pour out his beauty.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I know that God has given me grace in many areas, but the one area I notice it most is in my kitchen. I used to get upset easily when the dishes would pile up in the sink after I thought I had cleaned up for the night. I take it in stride now, simply because I'm glad that my kids are cooking for themselves. Should I get after them to clean up after themselves, yes, But I'm glad that anger isn't my first reaction. Someday I may wish they were here again, so I will take this inconvenience in stride.

Most of what I consider an inconvenience may not be a big deal to anyone else. It all comes down to our perspective, and what we think is acceptable or not. We might loose our tempers if someone cuts us off on the highway, when someone else finds it annoying, but not worthy getting angry over. Perhaps it comes from our storeroom of peace within. If I pray in the morning before I start my day, my outlook tends to be positive. My perspective is more other oriented than self oriented, but I can't stop praying about this. Do you find this to be true in your life?

A heavenly perspective loosens us from the grip of self, and causes us to see outside our own little, closed in corner of life. Yes, there is much more going on that we need to explore. This season is one of Thanks, but all you see in the public square has to do with filling ourselves with our own care and desire. Caring and giving only come when our eyes become unglued toward selfishness. God is glad to remove the glue that holds our eyelids shut, by getting us in His word, which dissolves all selfishness and self awareness. 

When we realize that we can influence our world for eternity's purposes somehow our own little world shrinks to nothingness.
I didn't say this would be easy, only well worth it. Peace will cover us in mountains of inner rest and contentment. Following in God's ways here on earth fulfills His plan and gives us a soul that is content and happy.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
                                  Look full in his wonderful face,
                                  And the things of earth will grow strangely                                        dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Friday, November 10, 2017


"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.  {Psalm 57:1}

Do we understand the difference between mercy and grace? I was told that grace is getting what you don't deserve, and mercy was not getting what you do deserve. In other words, grace is a blessing, and mercy is put into place to keep you from being judged for your sin. Mercy is the picture that Jesus draws for us when He cries out for Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me."  { Luke 13:34}

Our first verse is a child of God calling out to God. The second is God calling out to His children. This is a perfect picture of how our relationship with God works.We call, He hears and answers according to His plans and purposes. As we grow in this relationship, we begin to realize that His hand is extended purposely to mold us into who He wants us to be, and as we grow, we yield to His hand. My problem, and I think you will agree that it fits you too, is that I have thoughts in my mind and plans about how I think my life should go.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."  {Proverbs 27:17}

God sharpens us and the pressing that He puts on us will form us into useful servants for the plans that He only has. When trouble comes, and it will, we can rest and be safe under the shadow of His wings. With a world full of more evil, and death than we previously realized, we can be sure of God's will to be done in our lives, whatever comes our way.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."  {Proverbs 16:18-19}

I was embarrassed, and a little humiliated last night, which was all my own doing. It was Election Day, and I went to vote with my husband and two of my children. Not a big deal, one would think, except it became one for me. I am not the neatest person around, and I tend to do things quickly even though I might spill, or drop something. I had a relaxed attitude when given my ballot to fill out, and not really giving much thought to it.

As I complete the ballot, I see that I made a mistake. I cross out the mistake, and place the ballot into the voting machine. The machine rejects it. I try again. No good. I am told that I need to get a new ballot, and start over. The 5 people sitting at the table where I had to return my invalid ballot were not amused. They became my judge and jury. They explain the process all over again, and then give me a new ballot.

This time I feel that I will get it right, but I'm still not so careful. I proceed to fill in the little ovals with the black felt pen, Oops, I accidently made a little pen mark in the wrong oval. Oh no, I said to myself. Maybe it will be alright. I place the ballot into the machine. No good again. At this point I am mad, not at myself, but at the silly process. Why can't we have the machines with the little levers that we had for years, I am saying in my head. What about the days when we used pencils and you could erase! I dread having to go back to the judges and explaining again, what went wrong. I get a lecture about how to do this simple task, and this time I am told I won't have another try if I fail to make this right.

One of the ladies in the judgement seat didn't hear that the men told me this was my last attempt. She started to tell me again and I said, yes, this definitely is my last time, because I'm not doing it again, even if you tell me I can! I was mad, and feeling a bit stupid at this point. I got it right, and we were on my way, but I was not happy about my attitude. "Oh Lord, I really got mad about nothing." I said. My attitude was foolish, and a bit haughty for sure. I didn't regard this process as an important thing, and I took it lightly. To make matters worse, one of the men in the judgement seat recognized my husband from his television commercial, and was fawning all over him. Sigh,.

All I could say to the Lord was, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." When I thought I was something more than I was, I fell, flat on my face. Oh yes, and I am thankful for it. I don't want a prideful heart. I need to be reminded that anything I am is because he paid the price for me. What others think or understand is not important. Only what's done for Christ will last for eternity. Thank you Lord.

BTY- One of the "judges", said that I wasn't the only one who messed up a ballot. That does help.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." {Proverbs 2:6}

What's a mother to do? A child is sick and cannot do any work, so she claims. One of the dogs continues to wet the floor, or rug and now the sofa? The dog is an easy fix. Since she doesn't use the wee wee pads much, I got her a diaper. Hopefully she will dislike the diaper enough to wait until she goes out. What about the child? The Lord gives wisdom, and this situation may take more than today to fix. What this child may not understand, is work doesn't go away, it piles up.

The wisdom that we need is not new, or revolutionary. It won't entice scholars or professors of any type. It is so simple that most will not think of it as wisdom. Some will miss out on proverbs or the words of Jesus, simply because the words of wisdom aren't found in a Shakespeare sonnet, or a college textbook although I certainly am one of many who want them there. These words are too simple for the cosmopolitan or aristocrat to notice. It would do them good to stick their noses into the center of the Bible once in a while.

Wisdom is not taught, as much as it is caught. I know that may sound cliche, but knowing what is right in a situation can take a lot of years growing in the undercurrent of wisdom. It comes from God's heart. It comes from love, and patience which can't be taught so much as caught. I would have had no idea what to do with a teen who would't do her homework while home sick ten years ago. I would have forced the issue, and made it ugly. She will learn her lesson.

I never understood how much wisdom my mother had when she would leave situations alone, so that the person could find out for themselves about their conclusion. This is wisdom too, knowing when to move and when to be still. So often I say what I'm sorry I said, or did what I later wished I hadn't. Words cannot be taken back once said. I need Jesus so much more than I ever realized. You might be feeling the same way. Seek out a matter, find the conclusion. Look for the words of wisdom in the book of wisdom, that never changes. Far beyond our earthly understanding, seek the treasure, and the gold. It is "far above rubies."


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Today is November 2, and it is warmer today than any day in October. I just love it. I love the way this water fall makes the water look inviting, although I'm sure the store owners nearby would not think that is a good idea. If I think it would be fun to wade through, what does a child think? It would be next to impossible to keep me out if I were 4 years old. It speaks refreshing, and relief on a hot day. It sounds tranquil, and peaceful, as if I am the only one listening to it splash down on the rocks. It compels us to be quiet, as if a sudden hush moved through the area. No one wants to break in on the beautiful sound.

Why is water a common theme in the Bible? It is something everyone can identify with. Without  water we cannot survive, and we can diminish our health by not drinking enough of it. I had been struggling with getting enough water each day, until a friend recently told me about her quart container. She fills with water and lemon in the morning, and refills it at noon. She knows she is getting at least 8 cups of filtered water a day. It is pure, clean unadulterated natural water, oh, except for the lemon. The lemon makes it easier to drink.

When we are thirsty for more of God, we don't need lemon or anything else to make Him more palatable.  He is pure, genuine love, that beckons us to draw near to His heart, for no cost or requirement, except to keep Him at the center. Nothing can quench our thirsty soul like Jesus. This is why He tells us to stay away from those things that seem to fill us for a short time, but we need to be filled again and again, as if someone was playing a cruel joke on us. Who wants to make a mockery out of God's word? The enemy of our souls, and god of this world, who wants us kicked back to being who we were before Christ set us free.

He is the liar, who whispers in our ears, "You can't trust God, He doesn't love you, how could he love you?" And you and I can say to him, "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but endures forever. "{Psalm 125:1} We will also say,"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." {Lamentations 3:23} And we will need to tell him,"He saved us, not because of the righteous things that we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit." {Titus 3:5} The reason why we need to know God's word, and hide it in our hearts is because the devil can trick us and cause us to fall if we don't know what God says.  The power of God's word backs off the enemy, and makes him defenseless. It is our sword that thrusts through the enemy, and gives us victory. Praise God.

Listen to the words from this song:           Let the King of my heart
                                                                   be the shelter where I run,
                                                                   The fountain I drink from
                                                                   Oh, He is my song.
Let him be your song today!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"The grass withers, and the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows on it; Surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."            {Isaiah 40: 8}

This is the time of year when we see the flowers fade, and the vegetation begin to shrivel up and die. It isn't a sad thing, just the cycle of living for our place on this planet.  If you live in a southern climate you are blessed because you don't see this cycle as clearly as we do in the north. If you live farther north that New York you have seen it already, I suppose. What it reminds us is that seasons come and go, and all have a purpose, and a reason. This flower in the picture is from a month ago, today it is brown and has fallen to  the ground in a deep fade of cycle and progression. Jesus said, "Yes, indeed! I tell you that unless a grain of wheat  that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain; but if it dies, it produces a big harvest.   {John 12:24}

Fading is something that happens to me too. I stand strong on some things and then I might not feel too concerned about others. I am fallible, and I don't always realise what is most important, but that's when I look at God's word. It is infallible, and undeniably the most read book around. It has been a best-seller for many years, and before that, every home in America had one. This is not true today, but 50 years ago, I think it was close. 

Upholding the Bible, and following after God are not popular things to do in our culture, but then, we are not supposed to be like our culture. The people of God have been called to be like Him. But wait, if we look at our verse for today, we see that God is the one who breathes on His people. Why would He do a thing like that? He may not exactly, but He allows circumstances to breathe on us, so we will know that there is a God in heaven who will meet us at every turn. 

Getting to know God means that we rely on Him, and trust in His eternal goodness. And what about the grain of wheat? It dies so that it will bear more fruit. Jesus is talking here about Himself, falling into the ground in burial, and rising to overcome every human weakness, for us. Have you ever heard of anything more glorious than this?And the incredible truth is, that it was set in motion before the world began. Yes, God knew before He created man- kind that we would fall, and that His only son would have to redeem us, and He made the world and all of us anyway.  What a perfect picture of unselfish love!

Monday, October 30, 2017

My friends and I were talking about my youngest daughter who just celebrated her sweet 16. We were at the party and the subject came up about Stephie wanting her way, and not allowing us to play "our music" at her party. One of them said, "She is not the boss, you are." Which is true, however the other one said, "I think Ann is trying to keep the peace." This is certainly what I try to do when it comes to balancing four children, a husband, and my own desires as well. We did get "our music", and the DJ was very gracious in playing music from my husband's era, the 60's, and christian music which I love. Sometimes it is all in how you approach matters.

I'm not saying that I am a great peacemaker, because I'm not. I say and do things that could be said in a nicer way, or with more finesse. I am better at waiting on the Lord for the right words and attitudes than I was in the past. I am a work in progress, and will be until the day I die. God doesn't have an expiration date, where He will cut me off after a certain amount of tries. He is long suffering with all of us, and will wait for a bountiful harvest. What I know about Him is better today than yesterday, and then other times, I feel as if I don't know Him that well. Especially when I notice the enormity of who God is, I remember that He said He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. In our dailyness, we can forget the vast resources of all that He possesses and how He works in our lives.

He works in a quiet way, and if we don't look carefully, we can miss what He is doing. Our society is caught up in busyness, for the sake of being busy, and not really doing what is best for us or our families. As His children, we need to watch out for the busyness that leads to nothing. I can say for myself, I can spend too much time on Facebook, doing nothing, but 2 hours have slide by, and all I have for it is screen shock. What I refer to as screen shock is the memorized feeling we can have after looking at a computer screen for too long, without anything to show for it.

We need down time for sure, but I can do a lot better at making my down time progressive, and not blank. I want to engage in meaning time like reading good literature that will enhance my walk with God. Let's make our down time effective so that we can experience more of God's peace, and become the peacemakers that our world is longing for. We were bought with a price, and we are here on earth, because God ordained this as our time to influence those around us, and even the world, through the internet. Peacemakers are very important to God, and to us, because we need to see how it is done through those who go before us, in obeying God, and His principles.

Friday, October 27, 2017

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place."   { 2 Corinthians 2:14}

If you are anything like me, you love fragrances. This time of year, what I smell in the air can make me hungry. I go to a local Farmer's Market and everytime I walk past the apples, the sweetest, deep aroma beckons me to come closer. When I get the apples home, there isn't the same deep smell, and when I take one to eat, it only has a slight fragrance. I wonder if this is the same when Christians are together? Do we give off a deeper scent when we are all together, or are we just a group of people gathering under the same beliefs? Does our worship lift up a sweet aroma to God's presence, or are we just like any other group that sings together?

I choose to believe that our praise is a sweeter aroma when we worship together. This has to do with faith, because we know that faith builds our ability to believe God and His word. As believers gather in one accord, we rub off on one another, because our hearts come with expectation when we meet at church or other events when christians gather. Certain aromas can trigger memories, and feelings from our past. I was at a special event recently and I wore my favorite perfume, that I have had for many years. A very close friend said to me, "Oh I love that fragrance, and they don't make it anymore."She had given it to me, and it brought back memories about our friendship. We shared a special moment of how precious we are to each other.

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."{ 2 Corinthians 2:15} Do we smell different? Not really in the fragrance sense, but there is something about us, that others want. We have a spiritual way about us, that draws other people to us, and many want what we have. Have you ever been told by a person that there is something different about you, but they are not quite sure what it is? This is what the Apostle Paul is referencing to in this verse. It is a sense of well-being , not a scent that we delight in with our nose. It can also be referred to as a confidence, a completeness that beckons others to wonder about what do we have, that I don't have.

When I got saved, I immediately had a sense of being different. I couldn't really say why, except that I felt joy like never before. I thought to myself, "this is awesome, but will it last? It did, although through many ups and downs it wanned a bit. I'm not saying that emotions have to be present when we dedicate ourselves to Christ, but I am saying that we do change, maybe a little quicker at first, and then over time, our fragrance becomes stronger, like the many apples in the box. I have to end here, and eat one of those apples.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

God knows our needs even before we ask Him, but He requires us to ask, so that we know that He answers prayer.  He wants us to know that we are part of how prayer works. He invites us in, as my picture displays, because He desires relationship with us. What an incredible thought. He invites me in. I don't deserve to be invited into His presence, I can't earn being in His presence, It is only by the finished work on Calvary, the work of the cross where Jesus died, that I can enter in.

"He brought me to his banquet hall, and raised the banner of love over me."{Song of Solomon 2:4}  HCSB  This is what God declares over those who will walk with him. It says in the book of Revelation, that we will have a banquet with our God when the earth is no more, but this verse from the Song of Solomon was written with a different idea in mind. This is a reference to the King, loving the beloved. Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are the bride. The people of God are referred to in the Bible as His bride, and she is making herself ready.This is funny to me, since this picture is from a big banqueting hall.

The opened gates inspire our thoughts about being welcomed in. The Father welcomes home His children, through the gates of heaven. The floodgates of heaven can mean God is pouring down a blessing, or judgement. For our purposes today, we want to remember how awesome our God is, in blessing His children. He longs to bless us, but I know I can sometimes get in His way. I try to fix relationships because I want to have someone else do things my way, in my time frame.

God has promised that if we allow Him to work, He will do a good job. He has said He would leave the 99 sheep to go after one that is lost. He will hear our prayers. He will take us to be with Him, after our natural bodies cease. He will wipe away our tears, and He will hold them.  He will give us" the peace that passes all understanding."He will give us "Grace to help in our time of need." He has said that "He will never leave us or forsake us." I can't possibly list all of His attributes here, but you understand what I am saying , I think. He promises that if we trust in Him, that He will be our everything, and He means it. Give Him praise today, because He is worthy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?"    {Psalm 27:1}

This picture was taken in front of an Inn in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. I like the quaintness of places like this. It reminds me of days gone by. My grandmother took me to these kind of places, and she's been gone for more than 30 years. It's good to have happy memories; the memories that are not so happy, we need to deal with those too. Fear had ruled my life for too long, and now I choose to take on situations that I usually would run from.

A few weeks ago I went to a local Film Festival, and as one of the speakers was talking about his film, I raised my hand during questions, and asked if we could pray for him. He said yes, and the woman in charge said I should come to the front. As I walked down, I said to myself, "I am out of my comfort zone!" I could sense the Lord saying, "Yes, that's where I want you."It ended well, but this is just an example of what I need to do to overcome fear. I'm sure you have your own set of fears that you can overcome, but God's grace.

The Bible says,"The fear of man is a snare, but those who trust in the Lord shall be safe."      {Proverbs 29:25} The victory only comes when we hide ourselves "in Christ. { Ephesians 1} This entire chapter written by the Apostle Paul tells us who we are, as believers. When we are "In Him,"we are chosen, redeemed, beloved, forgiven, adopted,  and given grace. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is a guarantee of our inheritance. This one chapter is so full of who He has made us to be. It's a lot to take in, but you will be blessed and overcome with thankfulness if you study it. It is well worth it.

We learn fear from others, but mostly from our parents. There is a spirit of fear, but God has not given it to us. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."    {2 timothy 1:7} At this time of year, let's remember that "Fear has torment, and God is not the author of that.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

"Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."      2 Corinthians 1:3-4

As I was listening to a message this morning about our "Why do we do what we do"in regard to our writing, I couldn't help but think of you. I write because of you. I write because God put in my heart many years ago, to encourage women, with the same comfort I have been comforted with. It is a passion of mine, because I know so many women need encouragement. Jesus said,"In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world."     {John 16:33} This verse brings me a lot of comfort because I don't know anyone else who can do what Jesus has done for me. When I allow Jesus to rule and reign in my life, I have good cheer, or in today's translation, lots of joy.

My fears and troubles are in the background, they do not lead me, He does. Do I understand all that there is to know about God's leading, no, but what I do know is that He is faithful, and He loves me, and with this, I can move ahead. This is what He has been making me aware of, that we keep moving ahead. Don't get caught in a dispute, or someone's else's opinion, do what you know to do because God says it in His word. He doesn't want us to be moved by every idea that comes our way, and He wants our hearts free from debates or arguments that will weigh us down. Let go of the little entanglement as well as the big ones, so you can be free to move ahead. I say this to myself more than to anyone else. What good is it, if I hold on to little spats or misunderstandings, and can't hear God? If I do this I can't be of any good to anyone.

It feels so good to let go of these things, because even though we may think of them as "not a big deal", they crowd together and can lead us to believe evil about others or groups of people. When these negative feeling go around in our heads it is as if there is a multiplication of ideas. These can distort what is true, and cause us to overreact. I have been there, and I’m guessing that you might have been there too. Stopping the negative at its root will save us embarrassment later on. I almost got myself into a situation like that today actually. Thank God I stopped and reworded my text before I sent it.

Words of grace are better than words of criticism. Ask the person if you misunderstood or have a wrong idea about a matter. I am usually wrong when I assume something that hasn’t been verified.
Give the other person the benefit of explaining to you what the circumstances are that you may not know. I know it is hard. I tend to jump to conclusions without much information, but I want that to change. This is my prayer. I hope this will help you are it has me. Blessings, until tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When I look into the sky, it reminds me of heaven. I don't know if everyone thinks that way, but I do. One of the reasons is because it seems to go on forever. I guess it really does do that. Where does it stop, or where do we begin? It is all a mystery, for now. When the time is right, He will sweep us up into his arms, and bring us to His forever Kingdom.

"But of that day and hour no man knows, "Jesus said. {Matthew 24:36} So if someone claims to know "the day and hour" they most likely are wrong. What we do know is this: We know the signs of the times. We know that our culture has pushed God out and tried to block anything that has to do with Jesus. We know that many children don't know who Jesus is, let alone what He has done for them. Adults don't know who he is, or how important he is to a just society. The ten commandments are treated like a relic from the past, and the history books don't even exist in some places. If they are available to students there is no reference to the God who raised up our nation.

How did we get this way? One day at a time. The christians were told to stay out of the public arena. Secular thinkers filled in the gap. But God is on the move, as He always is. If we look at Hollywood recently, people are horrified by the antics of Harvey Weinstein, and are throwing him out of power. All these years he got away with harassment, rape, and all sorts of evil, and now the line has been drawn. Thank God! Although there has been little acceptance when a christian says, "this is wrong," those same people are coming out and saying"This is wrong."Hallelujah.

Science now can prove that life begins at conception, so we need to pray, that the blinders come off of those who still proclaim that abortion is a good thing.Those women who have been damaged by abortion need to be heard. Pray for the voices of God's people to come forth, and open the ears of the deaf, the eyes of the blind, that Good will once again reign over our country. If we had to name one thing that has grieved God's heart about America it is the evil of abortion. Does God still save? Yes, He does. Can He redeem our land from evil, Yes, He can. He is a good good Father!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth." { Proverbs 27:1}

It's true. We don't know what a day may bring. We know that we have certain errands to do, or when we have to do the laundry, but there are things around the corner that are coming our way, and we are not at all aware. This is where are trust in God comes into focus. When we realise that He is good, then everything is fine, or not. Some might say that He is unpredictable, and we can't have peace. I say, that He is unpredictable, in His passionate love and desire to bless us.

I read an prophetic word from a wonderful lady recently.Some of you may have heard about her. Her name is Cindy Jacobs. As she was relating what God put on her heart, she said," You have to give me some faith to work with." This is God, saying to us, declare my word, speak the truth, and don't complain anymore. Isn't this what He has said in his word to us from thousands of years ago? "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."   {Hebrews 11:6}

Does God reward those who earnestly seek Him? Let's look at scripture. The apostle Paul was blessed so much by God, that he could sing while in jail. Joseph was blessed for his many years of faithfulness to God, and became 2nd in command over all of Egypt, which meant He could save Israel from starvation. David, who as a boy was sent out into the fields to watch the sheep, and later penned his great worship songs that he learned while doing so. They are a huge part of our Bible, and teach us so much about God's nature and love for His people. We would be lacking if we didn't have The book of Psalms to guide us.

How about today? Can people in our day believe God and see His rewards? When I was dating my husband for six years, God told me to trust Him. I did, and now we have been married for 28 years. We are still in love. God is good! When my son Matthew was a baby, we had a full house. My father in law lived with us after his wife died, and he was at loose ends. A friend gave my Father in law the money to buy a condo in Florida, which he loved, and Matt got his own bedroom! I would never have imagined that one! God made a way for us. I could go on and tell you many answers to prayer and seeing God's intervention in our personal lives. We may think these things only happen in Bible times, but the truth is, we are loved just as much by God as those we read about. Can we trust God to take care of us in this day in which we live? Absolutely!

Friday, October 13, 2017

I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; its surface was covered with nettles; its stone wall was broken down. { Proverbs 24:30-31} 

Would you look at my green house? My husband purchased it a few years ago to put blueberry plants in so that no animals would touch them. It is in the woods and it is covered with weeds. How can anything live or grow without sunlight? When we bought this cute house, we didn't have as much shade as it has today. It didn't take long for the trees to overcome it, and the weeds inside to spring up out of the skylight.

Our greenhouse  also has a few broken sections from soccer balls, or golf balls hitting it. It remains as a reminder to me of what can happen too quickly if we stop for a moment, instead of moving forward. I know we all need times of rest, and God gives us these, as I said a few days ago. I am talking about never looking back, or giving in to lies, fears and torment. It is one of the reasons why Jesus tells us to look to him, because He is on the move. He has plans to prosper us, and not to harm us, {Jeremiah 29:11}, to give us a hope and a future. When we get distracted with other things we can move off the good way, and fall for the bad.

Distractions are my worst enemy. In a household such as ours so many things can pull for my attention. Our  three dogs for example, two of them are on medication and have serious diseases. Not a big deal most of the time, except one of them is prone to leave us gifts on the floor which is brought on by her meds. We have thrown out most of our rugs, and we have had long periods when she is fine, but right now, not so fine. This is what the Bible calls "Little foxes that spoil the vine."{Song of Solomon 2:15}Did you know that God answers prayer for our pets?

When we are aware of the divisiveness of our enemy, and how he works, we can be released from bondages that once held us captive. I am in awe of how good God is to us, who follow after Him. I never would have thought, before I knew the Lord, that his loving-kindness would reach far enough to pull me to His side! Even after 42 years of being His daughter, I can't understand why He loves us so, and how incredible His plans for us can be. We never stop growing in God, we are never too old, or too sick, every opportunity we encounter He can turn it around for good. If you feel that some weeds might have started to grow in your life, yank them out, by turning to the Lord and asking Him to turn you around. Talk to an understanding friend who can pray with you, and encourage you in God. Nothing that we can do will keep us from His side," if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."{1John 1:9}. Have a wonderful blessed weekend! Love and prayers to you, my dear readers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Do you need to be refreshed? Of course you do, sometimes more than others. Just think how wonderful it is to jump into a fresh pool on a very hot muggy day. The refreshing feeling makes you tingle all over, and the coolness brings you back to life, so to speak. Our spirits need to be nourished just as our bodies do. We know that we are to eat three times a day, and what is good to eat, and what is not. What about your spirit? What is good for our spirits health?

What happens when our spirits are depleted? We can feel unsettled, or worried. life seems to be a heavy burden, that we can't get through. The joy of our salvation seems a distant memory, and we call out to God in a desperate plea, not a trusting one. I have news for you, God is in the refreshing business. Psalm 19:7a in the NIV says:" The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul."Yes, His law and ways bring completeness to our souls and spirits. How wonderful, that God has given us His word, that  brings wholeness. There are so many words out there, from many different sources, but they don't bring life, like God's word does.

His word inside of us will delight our spirits, souls and bodies. God brings total refreshment to us, so that everything is working to its fullest potential. Proverbs 11:25 NIV says:" A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed." When we give out of pure motives, God says He will take care of our needs. That is a statement, not a question or a nice thought, but a sure thing. Jeremiah 31:25 says: "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint."

Acts 3:19 says: "Repent , then, and turn to God, so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,. God is forever promising that He will be our everything, our all in all. Look to Him, by reading the Bible, and going to a Bible believing church. Talk to other believers and encourage each other in the faith. Do what God says to do, and stay away from sin. As you turn your eyes on Him, He will fix His eyes on you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. {Psalm 119:105}

It is so warm out today, I decided to show you some summer flowers. Notice the open window in the top center. Open windows remind me of release and freedom. Summer also gives us a feeling of newness and abandon. Our spirits can feel these truths because we can be free twenty-four seven.  What is around us doesn't have to dictate what we feel. "The earth is the Lord's and all its fullness." Psalm 24:1 When we are released from lies and fears, we are released forever, not for a season. When God says" it is done", it's done.

Remember when Jesus was on the cross, the last thing he said before He died was "It is finished." John 19:30. His work was completed, our work, just beginning. Which brings me to our verse for today. God's word has everything we need to live a godly life. His word is a daily light for our steps. In our everydayness of life, in our day in and day out His word supplies our strength for the battle against sin and distractions. We need the light for our path just as much, but in a different way. The light reaches out, beyond any day, and gives us hope for the future. It stretches on to illuminate the "here  after" of heaven and life without the dirty grime of sin.

I was walking along the pier in the harbor of Port Jefferson near my house this morning, and I said to myself, what makes this different than heaven? It didn't take long for me to answer, because as I looked down into the water I could tell that it was not as clear as in year's gone by. Although it was a perfect day, the signs of corruption were still visible. Perfection will only be in heaven.

Another sign of imperfection are the leaves falling off the trees. This yearly season speaks of decay and loss, but only to be replaced by new life , after the winter. The seasons of our lives can be the same, but Jesus can complete our souls, so when moving through these places we are not ever alone. Our job is to keep His word as our lamp, so that we can see the light.  Blessings and love.

Friday, October 6, 2017

We are enjoying some beautiful days this week! I hope you have had a chance to be outside and experience it! Every day is a gift at this point, because the cold is coming. God supplies us with many things to be thankful for all year long. Living on Long Island we see beautiful beaches and woods, and many farms that speak of the bountiful blessings of this time of year. It's easy to get caught up in city life, and forget that we have much more than that here.

Our nation has been blessed with abundance and we can forget that others do not have a fraction of what is easily at our fingertips.  As God's child I don't want to take any of His blessings for granted, but of course I do. It seems that we don't realize how much we have, until we don't have it any more.I think of Solomon because he had more than enough, but he still wanted more, and it led to his demise. So many wives and concubines, but never enough. Their spiritual wickedness led Solomon to follow them, and he should have known better, we can say looking from our perspective.

Perspective is a strange thing. Blindness seems to change our perspectives, and our desire for wrong things mesh together to cause loss in our lives. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." {Hebrews 12:2} Only when are eyes are lazer focused on Jesus, do we have victory over sin. Solomon's mother warned him, in Proverbs 31 to be careful of women. " O my son, O son of my womb, O son of my vows, do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin Kings." {Proverbs 31:2} What a wonderful mother! Did she know what was right for her son? Yes, she certainly did. Her name was Bathsheba, and she didn't have an easy life either.

I can think that those who are in leadership, Kings, Presidents or those who are wealthy, have an easy life. This picture is portrayed on television and in social media. Only the opposite is true. Those who are given much, much is required. {luke 12:36} On the shoulders of our President rests the people of the world. Prayer is necessary to help our leaders stay on God's plan for our nation, and all others. Even though it seems that our Congresspeople and Senators are out for their own good, God is able to step in and and stop this whirlwind of selfishness. Will you pray? Will you call on God to bring some understanding to those who should be looking out for the good of the people, and what's good for our land? I know I can count on you, my treasured readers to stand for what God has planned!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. { Genesis 18:19}

I love these two! They make me smile every time I see this picture. My nephew Zac is in the grey suit, and my son Matt is in the blue. Zac is 21, and Matt will be 23 in December. They have been best buddies since babyhood. Zac lives in North Carolina, and I don't see him often, which is why this picture is so precious to me. Both of them are in college, and will graduate soon. What excitement to see what God has for them in the future. Lots of Mama prayers going up.

Most christian parents pray for their children from the time of conception to the end of their lives. Life becomes more serious for our youngins each day that goes by, and when they are ready for adulthood, the prayers continue, leaning on the truths that we have taught and lived before them. Chuck Swindoll, a seasoned Pastor and Teacher put it this way: "Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."Childhood is such a crucial time in any one's life. As I get older, I see it more clearly than before. I think more about my own rearing, in light of my life as a parent. I am more likely to forgive my parents for their shortcomings as I see my own.

Sometimes my fault in parenting seem to loom over me like a thick dark cloud, that threatens to pull me apart, because so much of my identity is wrapped up in being a parent. This is when I remind myself that God does not require us to be perfect, but to be as diligent as we can in what we do for Him. No person on this earth was ever a perfect parent. God is the only one who can live up to this call. Since we are all imperfect, our children will be too. Prayer is the great strength that can fill in the blanks between our mess ups and miscalculations.

Abraham was promised that his descendents would be a numerous as the stars. If you look up at the sky on Long Island, perhaps you will get the feeling that stars are a rare thing, but in ancient Israel the sky was bright at night because of the multitude. We know that God was ever faithful to Abraham, and the people of God flooded the land. The people were taught godliness and righteousness, and so were my own. I'm sure you can say the same about your family. Many years bring solid foundations and the end of what we have taught has not been seen. Only God knows the end, and he still hears a mother's hearts cry. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old they will not depart."   {Proverbs 22:6}

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised." { Song of Solomon 8:7}

Maybe you have heard the saying, you can't buy love? I think Solomon had that idea when he wrote this verse. Money can do many things, good and bad, but honest, genuine love cannot be bought, traded or transferred. Imagine a person going to the bank and depositing money into their love account? What a silly idea, although some have tried to buy love with their wealth. Many of us have known those who will try to influence us with their money. How sad, for those who think they have nothing else to give!

Love is one of the most basic emotions, as I remember seeing a baby smiling up at her father today at prayer meeting. We need to "Keep" our hearts with all diligence, as Proverbs 4:23 tells us. The word keep here in the hebrew means -"above all keeping." It is more important than most other things, because out of it flow the issues of life, or wellsprings as one translation puts it. People can do a lot of strange things when they are "in love", and regret those actions later on. We are taught by Holy scripture to watch where our affections go toward. It reminds me of the fairy shooting arrows at people and then they are "in love."

Love isn't something that comes upon us as an emotion that is here in a flash and gone tomorrow. Love is steadfast, enduring, committed, and deep. It doesn't wear off, or disappear. As we look towards God we see love in its most purest form, and it is almost too much for us to look upon! He is radiant, beyond anything that we will ever see or know. More real than the hottest fire on earth, more glorious than any of earth's great wonders. Our words are limited to describe who He is in all of His splendor!

Did you ever hear this song: Can you see the mountains tremble, Can you hear the oceans roar, When the people rose to sing of Jesus Christ the risen one. Verse 2- Did you feel the people tremble? Did you hear the singers roar? When the lost began to sing of Jesus Christ the Saving One  And we can see that,  God,  You're moving A mighty river through the nations And young and old will turn to Jesus  Prepare the way of the risen Lord!     Open up the doors and let the music play  Let the streets resound with singing  Songs that bring Your hope  Songs that bring your joy  Dancers who dance upon injustice.  I won't type any more of it but , if you can look it up on google and listen, you may" love" it, as much as I do!  The name is "Did you feel the Mountains Tremble" sung by many different artists, but I like the way Matt Redman does this.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

This setting is one that we would see in an older home, and if you go to Shelter Island, you will find homes from the 1920's that are like new, but with their original elegance. It is quiet, and still when I have visited, which fits the time frame of the homes. There are modern homes as well, but where our friends live the homes are mostly pre-world war two era. 

The stillness is unbelievable to me because of the amount of houses in the community! I don't live on a busy street, but I see cars and people go by. No one seems to be in these neighborhoods, even on beautiful summer days. Are they out on boats, or shopping in Greenport? The waterway is almost empty too, so that is out. Maybe I have a hard time with stillness? Do you find it hard to relax and let everything go on without you? The people in Jesus' day did. He said this to the local people that he could see and touch, but it was meant for us too. The Holy Spirit has a way of making ancient words in the Bible seem as if they were newly spoken.

We see in Isaiah these words, "Ho! Everyone who is thirsts, Come  to the waters; Come buy and eat." Isaiah 55:1 As Isaiah is speaking he isn't talking about himself, he is sharing what is on God's heart. Again, God is telling us to come, and as Isaiah explains that no money is needed,  "Let your soul delight in abundance;--- Hear and your soul shall live." God is admonishing the people to rest, and take in what I am saying to you, your whole being will thrive!

If we look at Genesis, we see that God rested on the seventh day, but we don't seem to think that rest applies to us? How can we go on and on when God himself give us the perfect example of rest right in the front of the book? Prosperity as the Bible interprets it means that our soul, body and spirit are rested and filled. Can you take a few moments today to call upon the Lord, and allow Him to fill you with His peace and rest? He is singing a love song to you, can you respond to him today? I know I will and I believe you will too.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me. {2 Corinthians 12:9}

As the days grow shorter and cooler I realize that I do like this time of year! Each season does have a special blessing to it. My husband doesn't agree, and he never has liked winter, but I think he will like autumn this year. He has a new hobby/exercise this year. It is called 10,000 steps. Some of you may be  enjoying this exercise too. It grows on you, to the point that your legs want to get up in the morning and go!

My legs want to go, but my head feels heavy, and I know that the ragweed is still around. I have learned some great ways to calm the symptoms, but getting rid of them is still a mystery to me. I have learned to rest in God's sufficiency and go ahead with my day, with symptoms in tow. If you will excuse me for a minute, I must make some ginger tea. Thank you. 

It used to be that I would cancel my schedule, put work off, and stay still until I felt better. No more of that for me! Life is too short to allow anything less than a hospital stay to get in the way. This is not my own strength as you might have realized from our verse today. Prayer and praise have a lot to do with my new attitude and strength. The days are numbered by God, and as I get older I want to make them count, for Him. Not that I didn't feel it important before, but I guess life becomes more crucial than in younger years. We realize our purpose to a new extent, and want to accomplish it. I also feel I better understand my purpose than before. I guess you may feel the same way too.

Life can be so unforgiving, turmoil and hardship plague our world. One day we are here, and the next, well you know what I mean. Las Vegas had a terrible catastrophe last night. For such senseless killing, we have no answers, but God's grace can be sufficient for those who mourn today, and tomorrow and the day after next. Please take the time to ask God today to bring comfort to those who are suffering physical pain, and for those who are at a loss for what to do, because they are heart-broken. My heart is broken for those who were enjoying a concert and unaware that they would be traumatized any minute. God said to the apostle Paul:"My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. God meant those words for us too, because He is no respecter of persons.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"Bless the Lord, all my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.  {Psalm 103:1}

What is it with this generation? So many of them want to take their own picture. I know it is wrapped up in all the lies that social media tells kids, and wanting to measure up to what "others" say about them, but what are our young people saying to themselves? What are you saying to yourself?

What we say on the inside may be different than what comes out of our mouths. When we have peace within, we say good things to ourselves, regardless of what anyone else might say . What if your self talk isn't good? What if all you do on the inside is belittle who you are and what you do?

Most of us, at one time or another have experienced self-doubt, fear, anger or other emotions that rob us of what God says about us. We get lost in the mess of what our old self says, and we don't hear clearly what the new-woman on the inside says.Our soul is caught up in turmoil instead of blessing the Lord. This can cause damage to our self-image, and pull us into despair and depression.

I have good new! Jesus is in the business of changing what we say to ourselves! How do I know? He has changed me, on the inside, so that my self-talk displays who He says I am and not what I learned in a mixed up household. My family had so many things working against it, but by God's grace He lifted me out of a negative self-image, and made me ALIVE!  When I learned what God said about me, my life changed, and it is still changing today, 40 years later! This was a process, and may take time, but it will be the best use of your time ever!

He calls you and I "His beloved" in the Song Of Solomon. He gathers us under His wing as a mother hen does with her chicks. Matthew 23:37 He calls us "His daughters." He gives us a crown, but in our awe of His splendor we cast them at His feet. He promises to "never leave us or forsake us," even when we forsake him. He forgives us when we ask him to, not 7x7 but 70 x 7, which really means forever. He takes us back if we have wandered, and He doesn't hold a grudge. His love for us is never waning, not half hearted, but always passionate, and all-encompassing. When we meditate on what the Word of God has to say, our lives go from black and white to technic-color. Praise His Name!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"My lovingkindness and my fortress, My high tower, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge"
{Psalm 144:2}

This is a crazy time of year! Children are getting acclimated to school, the weather is changing, we are saying goodbye to the summer weather, and embracing the coolness of Autumn. I enjoy all the seasons, however I felt this summer went too quickly. Part of it was because I had 4 different trips to North Carolina during the month of July! Graduations, summer vacation, conferences and visits with family, all of which I enjoyed greatly.

I'm not complaining, because God has been so good. In our verse for today, David writes of the goodness of God, while he is in dangerous circumstances. He is the King, and a battle is going on. To say the least, he is in a hard place! What he does determines the life of his people, and most importantly his army. He calls on the Lord to give Him guidance and direction, but he also reminds himself and us at the same time, that God is the one he hides in. God is his fortress, or fort as we would know it. Israel was never well equipped for battle as their enemies were. They didn't have a fort, but from early on they learned  that God was the only one who could equip them.[Unger's Bible Dictionary: fortress}

Isn't it true, that when we are the most ill-equipped to win in any situation we have the most faith? Why is this? We rely on God and all of a sudden all the verses that we learned years earlier come back to us, and we see that He was the only answer all along! He puts us in precarious situations to grow us, to cause us to look up! He never wants a people who are clones of him, he wants people who want to follow Him. We need His help to get us in the right direction.

It was good for David to rely on God, and not have a physical fort to hide behind. If he had a fort where would he learn to trust God for the victory? Do you sometimes feel as if you are out on a limb, by yourself, with no help? Make yourself declare the promises of God, His goodness toward you, and soon your feelings will follow your words! All who are strong in God had a circumstance where they had to rely on God's word to be true, before their heart and mind followed. After thousands of years, God still honors those who put their trust in Him, and take Him at HIs word.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When we are following Jesus, a great adventure can be around the corner, or maybe you are involved in one right now! Our God loves to take us on trips, adventures that seemly come out of nowhere, but He has planned them for us from the beginning of time. How incredible to think of what takes us by surprise was in God's plan all along! Help me Lord, to glean all the good that I can out of these wild rides.

I was stunned when my daughter Stephanie was ready to be delivered, and I got to the hospital, got checked in , and every sign of labor stopped. I thought , oh well it will begin again, one hour, two hours nothing. I was sent home. That had never happened to be before, and she was our forth child. Something new and different, was happening! When you think you have everything into a nice neat package, and you have figured out how God works in your life, he will through you a curve ball. Why? We are not supposed to try to figure Him out!

God is wildly unpredictable, and He likes it that way. He doesn't want us to be shaken up, He want us to trust. He wants our faith to grow, and grow, and grow, and if you are anything like me, you sometimes takes three steps forward, and then two steps back. He is forever faithful no matter what I do. Back to Stephanie, I go into labor again, about a week before my due date, now I'm sure this baby will be born. No, she was playing games with us. On the way home this time I was discouraged.

Another week goes by, and it is October 31, our church has a Harvest Festival and a friend takes our children to it for me. I rest, and I know this is not the day, because it's her due date, and babies are never born on their due date. Ha! My water breaks, and I call my husband. He is on his way home. He calls a neighbor to come and sit with me. My husband is so nervous because I tend to deliver fast.
My husband stumbles in the door, runs upstairs to get my suitcase, drops it and everything falls out. I had carefully placed each item into the case, but we don't have time for that now.  We go to the Doctor's office, and he examines me, and now the water is out all over the place. My doctor tells us we could go to the hospital or we could go home, and wait for labor. My husband knows my history and he very confidently, but not calmly says, "We are going to the hospital!"

He doesn't have time to check in, before Stephie appears, and we are overjoyed! The doctor didn't make it but that didn't matter to me. She came at the exact time that God had planned. Everything  was fine, but God's grace! This is the verse that I meditated on while waiting for a child. "My times are in your hands;"as the psalmist said to God , so I said to God, and He was faithful!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"    {Mark 8:36}

I took this picture one day out on a walk with my husband. It spoke to me of our American heritage,  and the flag is part of it, but the house reminds me of a common American style. I love the flag pole, because when I was a child, my Father had a flagpole put into our backyard. He was a World War Two Veteran, and had a great love for our country. He also taught History, and so the two collided to make a loyal citizen. I am a happy recipient of this heritage.

We all realize that this country is not perfect, as no country ever can be, because it is filled with imperfect people. Just because we have made mistakes doesn't mean that we should forgo every other part that has been good. When a christian makes a mistake, we need to get up, brush off our knees, and walk on. Don't look back, but move ahead to what God has for you. The more time we spend wallowing in our mistake, the less time we have to press in to what God has for us. The same is true for our nation.

Divisiveness, hatred, and separation have broken us more than ever, and only Jesus, and His tender touch can lift us from this grievous place. Those of us who have been here a while know what we had in the past, in way of a more controlled society. "Move Lord, because without you we have nothing!" Certainly this is God's desire to mend and make whole. Our young people can be taught to loving disagree with someone who has a contrary opinion.

Who will pay the cost? Who will lay down their life for their friends? Jesus, yes, and He paid the price for all of us. What about us? Will we be transparent before the lost, and live a life that pleases God? This seems to be harder than ever to do, but it is worth it. Pleasing God is the only thing that is worth anything in my opinion, and I know I'm being very opinionated today. I feel it needs to be said. Any life that is worth living is one that is gaining victories for the kingdom. I am saying this for me more than anyone, and I feel I need to pray. Will you pray with me?

Father God, we are a needy people, and our need for you is evident. I know that anyone who asks in faith will have what they ask for, when we ask according to your will. I believe it is your will to make us more like you. Help us to listen to your written word, and allow it to change us, however you want. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for you. "  {Jeremiah 32:17}  AMP

There are times when many of us wish we could just give up, or go someplace where no one will find we or know me. At this point I usually need a breathe of fresh air, a little girl time with one of my friends or a little shopping to change my focus. Notice I said, "a little shopping,"because I'm not out of control, only a bit out of gear. Any of these will push my gears back into the right place.

Prayer is one of the most important ways to get me functioning at my best. I have to focus on the Lord and not give up, since my allergies are trying to take over my head. The ragweed has been giving me headaches, and a bit of dizziness too. He knows some days are hard, and He sees us through. Can you imagine an earthly father saying to his child, No, I'm sorry you are too sick, I'm not going to get you some water.? How much more our Heavenly Father will comfort and give us the aid we need.

I felt so far out of my comfort zone last night though, when I was trying to critique a story that a sister in the Lord had written for our writer's group. The idea of the group is to strengthen our writing by giving helpful hints to each other. I just didn't like saying something that might offend or hurt her, but it's called an Iron group and the point is to sharpen each other. I gave her disclaimers about how new I was at this, and that I really didn't know what to say. It hurts to grow, when we are so comfortable in our own space!

The problem with "our own space", is that it isolates us from those whom God has sent us here to touch. He is gently nudging us out to a wider space that incorporates even those who we have never met, like the writers in my group who are from all different parts of the United States. It took me months before I would say yes to this group, because I knew I would be vulnerable. Isn't vulnerability the place that we least like being in? I know it is for me, but how will I know Jesus better than to trust that He has my back, on new circumstances as well as the old? I'm glad that He say to take one day at a time, I can trust Him for that, and so can you!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

"And they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." {Revelation 12:11}

Did you know that your story matters to God? It also matters to the many people that will read it and be touched. John Eldredge, in the book "The Sacred Romance" shares from scripture how God has us on a magnificent journey, and if we follow Him, there will be drama, the unexpected, and great love revealed. The problem comes with us not knowing which way the journey will take us. This is what G.K.Chesterton is quoted as writing in "The Sacred Romance:" "The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not except."

None of us wake up each morning and say, Oh great! What fiery trial will beset me today! We want everything in life to go along smoothly, and without resistance, but then we wouldn't recognize our need for our Savior. God, in His divine wisdom knows what calamities will show us what this world is all about, so that we draw near to Him. He takes no pleasure in suffering, because as a Good Father He would never place hardship on us in this way. If it produces fruit in our lives by teaching us a valuable lesson or causing us to grow in patience God declares it sandpaper to knock off our rough edges. He is more interested in our spiritual growth than our comfort.

Our verse today is a well known one, but several versions  use different words to explain the beginning.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. {Psalm 55:22}

Our verse today is rather well know. I tend to overlook the well-known because I know it.  I guess I'm overstating the obvious here, because what often occurs for me is the well-known slides off the plate of my understanding. It loses its effectiveness in my life because it becomes common to me.

I am glad for this verse from Psalm 55, and intend to allow it to bring fresh meaning to my heart. I can't even begin to tell you how many times it has brought peace and rest. I learned it from the King James Version, which reads, Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain thee, he shall never allow the righteous to be moved."  The word care in the Oxford English Dictionary means "A feeling or cause for anxiety." The word burden from the same dictionary means ,"something carried or an obligation causing hardship." These words are similar, but not the same. It may seem like grasping for straws, but looking at these words from different perspectives can help us with understanding.

 The word burden gives us a heavy feeling, when care seems to be lighter. What is important to see here is that God cares for our feelings and our burdens! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end! No matter what your care, minute, or burden, huge it is under His banner of love. Song of Solomon 2:4 from the amplified Bible reads: "He brought me to His banqueting table and His banner over me is love {waving overhead to protect and comfort me."} I love the extra notes that the amplified gives us. Waving overhead, proclaiming victory and peace to us!

When I proclaim victory over my situation, especially when I don't feel it, my emotions follow victory. Some people may see this as being untruthful about my situation, when actually I am lining up with what God says about me. To think that The God over all creation cares about the smallest needs in my life! This is what I want to proclaim to a lost and dying world!