Converging Closure and the Journey

December 31
The wind is gusting up to fifty miles an hour...
it must be trying to blow 2008 out of here and bring
on 2009! The fabulous technology of laptops and
wireless has afforded me the comfort of writing
from bed under a down comforter...cozy! Piled
around me on the bed are 2 Bibles, 3 journals,
3 devotional books, 2 books on Psalms, and 2
study books and Jesus is speaking through them all!

The ascension of Christ still lingers in my mind.
Just as we close the door, leaving 2008 behind and
journeying into 2009, Jesus left his role as God in
the flesh and journeyed off to love us from heaven.
Yes, Jesus went, but Jesus continues to come into our
lives day after day, after day.

The word converge is looming.
Definition:To tend or move toward one point or one another;
come together; unite in a common interest or focus
.

Occurrences have passed that we cannot change and those
results converge with the uncertainties we face as we step into
today and tomorrow, but we go with confidence that Christ is with
us, moving us towards heaven, with the common focus as believers
to share this Good News with others!

Let's pray three amazing scriptures:
Joshua 1:9, Lamentations 3:22-23 and Hebrews 4:12.

Father, you have commanded us to be strong and of good
courage; to not be afraid or dismayed for You are with us
wherever we go. Because of Your great love we are not
consumed for Your compassions never fail...they are new
every morning and Your faithfulness is great! We will
go with the flow of life as we face 2009 trusting in the
Word of God which is both living and active; sharper than
any double-edged sword and able to penetrate even to dividing
soul and spirit, joint and marrow and able to judge the
thoughts and attitudes of the heart! With the excitement
of knowing You are always up to good, we wait as faithful
servants seeking Your next assignment. May Your kingdom
come. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Relinquish

December 29
Relinquish-to withdraw or retreat from;
leave behind; give up; to stop holding physically;
release; to give over possession or control of.

Webster's explains this is not a word related to
strong feeling, yet rather a yielding.

Finishing up a study of Luke, Jesus is found
ascending into heaven and relinquishing His bodily
presence on earth...yielding to God's plan. The
disciples are blessed to witness this and the Word
says they worshipped Jesus and returned to Jerusalem
with great joy, staying continually at the temple,
and praising God.

With the New Year approaching it affords us a great
opportunity to reflect back and ask the Lord to
reveal what we might want to relinquish from our
lives in order to grow closer to Him!

Let's Pray: Father, to be closer
to You is the cry of our hearts. If there are habits
or situations that are controlling us, help us to
relinquish those and cling to You. In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Sustaining Peace

December 28
A violent stomach virus has been flying through our family
this Christmas. Frustration sets in as a mother when you
can do nothing to relieve the symptoms of such an illness.
The prayer..."Father give them sustenance to get through
this" has floated off my tongue.Sustenance is defined as
something that gives support, endurance, or strength;
to sustain is to give support or relief to.


Finishing up a study of Luke, I am thinking about what
was sustaining the apostles after the crucifixion and
resurrection of Christ. They were hanging out together.
Can you imagine their conversations? Then Jesus shows up
and scares them speechless! They think He is a ghost.
He says...Peace be with you!

In Beth Moore's "Personal Reflection Series" she asks the
reader to consider what their countenance would reveal if
a photograph was taken of them. Does our countenance
reflect a peace of someone who is walking with Christ who
sustains them?

A comment I made to one of my children reveals a false
since of joy that we can be trapped into...I said, "When
my children are happy, I am happy." My children's joy
cannot be where my peace comes from. Yes, I continue to
pray for happiness in their lives, but the Lord has them
on their own journey and it will by no means be one without
bumps.

My peace must come from Christ alone and the remembrance
that He is always in the photo with me!

Let's Pray: Heavenly Father another year
has come and gone,it was just a blink to You. We thank You
for sustaining us through the ups and downs. If we close
our eyes right now and call to Jesus, He is here. Jesus
whispers, "I love you my friend" and we are strengthened to
go on and face another day in peace, believing in the promises
by faith. Praying in the name of our Lord, Amen

Ponder the Wonder

December 24

On the fireplace mantel in my bedroom sits a
beautifully hand carved Mary on a donkey, with
Joesph by her side. Oh, the journey they made!
My litter (what I like to call my children who
were all born so close together and play together
like a litter of puppies) has traveled far and overcome
airport and traffic hurdles to get home for the holidays.
What should have been a five hour trip took one son
eleven hours. They are happy to be together and
moving around in a pack, making the most of their days
together. The four boys left here together at 4AM to
drive one girl friend to the airport, then they are
heading to a local dive that stays open for 24 hours
to have breakfast together! That's fellowship!
Yesterday our three week old grandson arrived. This
is his firt big family gathering. The festive cheers
and belly laughs at the dinner table were a bit much for
him, so I took him into the living room and sat by the tree
with him. His mother came in to say she hated for me to miss
dinner and all the tales being told. I assured her I was
perfectly content to sit there and ponder the wonder of this
precious child.
Sitting there I thought about Mary in the stable that first
Christmas morning and the pondering and wondering she must
have been doing. No way could she ever imagined what lay
ahead for her son and for all mankind who calls Him Savior.

Jesus is the reason for the season, may He be a big part
of it always!

Merry Christmas to each of you.
Love, Boo

Angels on Either End

December 22

Angels...Mary heard on high in Bethlehem that starry night.
Angels by the tomb of Christ gave some women quite a fright!

There are angels watching over us, every step we take. Most
of you know of my white birds which sail into the cove early
in the morning. Usually it is just the single Holy Spirit, but
on occasion the Father and Son join in the sight, which delights
me!
This morning I think the twelve disciples came along for the ride.
One of our children said, it looked like a flock of angels soaring
around the dock. When I went to the other side of the house to let
Moses(our dog)out, two black crows were stationed at the top of our
driveway by the gate. It appeared as if demons were blocking the entrance
to our property. I began to pray for the battle encamped around us.

As I sat down to write by the Christmas tree, I noticed on the table a
small fictional book by Max Lucado called An Angel's Story.
I want to share the introduction with you.
"Spiritual beings populate the stories of Scripture. Angels singing.
Demons infecting. Heavenly hosts fighting. Satan's gremlins invading.
Ignore the armies of God and Satan and you ignore the heart of Scripture.
Ever since the snake tempted Eve in Eden, we've known: there is more to
this world than meets the eye.
We know less than we desire about these beings. Their appearance? Their
number? Their strategies and plans? We can only imagine....I tried to
imagine the spiritual conflict around the coming of Christ. Surely
there was much. If Satan could preempt Christ in the cradle there'd be no
Christ on the cross. Don't you think he tried? I do too. The conflict
was, no doubt, far grander and dramatic than anything we can fictionalize.
But we can be sure of this: we know who won. Because we know He came."

Let's Pray: Lord, we thank You for the creation of angels.
May we encourage them with our songs of praise and cheers of thanksgiving.
What a grand time it will be when we hear and see their choirs singing in
Heaven. We stop right now to give thanks to the angels who watch over us.
Father, I am going to place a pair of angel wings on my kitchen island as
a daily remembrance of the unseen blessing angels are. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Smile Indulgently

December 20-21
Indulge:to give free rein to; to take unrestrained pleasure in; gratify; to yield to the desire of; to treat with excessive leniency, generosity,
or consideration.

There will be a variety of indulgences this Christmas/New Year's season.
For many the financial atmosphere may bring a change to the gift indulgences
of previous years.

I had a 2:30AM wake up call from the Lord and went and hung out by our tree
with a couple devotionals and a journal. It was a sweet time. One devotional,
from God Calling had the title "Smile Indulgently." It read, "When
things do not fall out according to your plan, then smile at Me indulgently,
a smile of Love, and say, as you would to a human loved one, 'Have Your way
then' knowing that My loving response will be to make that way as easy for
your feet as it can be."

We choose what we indulge in. May we take unrestrained pleasure in and
indulgently love on Jesus in this week ahead. Let's give praise for the
baby who was born in a manger, walked here on earth setting an example for
us, and died an excruciating death because He loved us so much and was
obedient to His Father. We may get a smile on our faces when we bite into
Grandma's Christmas pie, but when we smile indulgently at Jesus his radiance
in us, lights up a room!

Bright Morning Star

December 19

For the past three days the fog has settled into our valley
and on the top of the mountain where we live. Our son's
flight this morning was cancelled and I will have to drive
him to Greensboro. A few other disappointments/frustrations
are being juggled in my life, (tis the season) so the Lord
and I were chatting this morning. He sent me to just the right
devotional which related this idea...In times of discouragement
and disappointment, failure and fear, indecision and
indecisiveness, grimness and grief we can call out to God to
give us courage to hold out until our morning star rises in our
heart. (2 Peter 1:19)
Revelation 22:16 says I am...the Bright and Morning Star!

May the fog and darkness be lifted from your day and the
Bright and Morning Star light your path and give you peace.
Love, Boo

Invitation

December 18
To invite someone is to request their presence
or ask them to participate in an activity or event.

Living in my hometown in the same neighborhood for forty-seven years made for some party hopping at Christmas time. There were times there were multiple parties to attend on the same night. Then moving to a resort/retirement area the only party we attended the first year was our own where I invited total strangers! Whether you like to go out or not, it makes you feel good to have your presence requested by others!
Studying the Word this morning there is one reference after another where people invited others to their home. Revelation makes an exciting note of the ultimate invitation!
Revelation 19:9 Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' "

Making the guest list for a wedding is tough. The limitations come in several forms from space to financial to personal desires.

Matthew 22:14 makes this mention in a wedding parable:
"For many are invited, but few are chosen."

If we know the bridegroom we will not be left outside the church!

Let's Pray: Lord, Your invitations are numerous! "Come to me you who are weary and I will give You rest." You tell us to come to You like little children and lay our burdens down. You have made clear that for those of us who know You as Savior we have an invitation to occupy a home that You have built for us!
Father, for those we know for whom it has been difficult to give an affirmative RSVP...maybe they have felt they don't have proper party etiquette or suitable attire...may we give encouragement and share how they don't want to miss this party!
Forgive us for the times we have left You off our guest list. Just as You asked Zacchaeus if You could come to his house, You want to be invited into our homes!
You may be represented in our homes this holiday season as a baby in a manger. May You always be recognized as our God, King and Savior whose name we praise!
We love You Lord and pray in Your name, Amen

Reign/Rain

December 17

The word on my heart this morning was reign.
Great word! I began to sing "And He will reign for ever
and ever!" (Coming right from Ex. 15:18)

Do you ever analyze where your dreams have come from?
Sometimes I do that with the words God gives me. Last
night my husband was watching Fox News and listening
to the latest of the Chicago mess and I kept hearing the
phrase "President Elect." Maybe that had me thinking
about the reign of Christ and the hope in 2 Tim. 2:12
If we endure, we will also reign with him.

Then I laughed and thought, maybe it was "rain" for all
day yesterday and last night I was coming in and out of
the rain. By my bed are several devotionals I enjoy, but
rarely get to read these days. Selecting one called "God
Calling" my faith was increased and the reality of God
being so very personal confirmed. Check out what I read
for Dec. 17th.
"Conditions of Blessings"
"Rejoice in the fact that you are Mine. The privileges
of the members of My Kingdom are many. When I said of My
Father, 'He maketh His Sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,' you will
notice it was of temporal and material blessings I spoke.
I did not mean that believer and unbeliever could be treated
alike. That is not possible. I can send rain and sunshine
and money and worldly blessings equally to both, but of the
blessings of the Kingdom that would be impossible."

For me the message was not about reigning or rain...it was
about how real and personal our God is! He speaks and I need
to remember to take time to listen!

Let's Pray: Reign in our lives Lord! Be forever
real! Savior like a Shepherd lead us and rain down Your hope upon
us on parched days that tend to zap our strength. Father, Christmas
treats will abound in the days forth coming, but there is nothing
that can compare with tasting of Your goodness. We love You.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Adoration

December 16

The word today is adoration.
The definitions allow it to cover a broad spectrum:
to worship or honor as a deity or as divine;
2:to regard with loving admiration and devotion;
3:to be very fond of
.

I awakened singing "O Come Let Us Adore Him" and thought to myself that is what this season is to be...a time for us to reflect on our adoration for and appreciation of the Lord. When we gather these next few weeks will we share the likes of Psalm 22:22
with others. Check out The Message below:
Here's the story I'll tell my friends when they come to worship, and punctuate it with Hallelujahs: Shout Hallelujah, you God-worshipers; give glory, you sons of Jacob; adore him, you daughters of Israel. He has never let you down, never looked the other way when you were being kicked around. He has never wandered off to do his own thing; he has been right there, listening.

True confession here. With adoration on my mind and reading the third definition to be very fond of, my mind did slip to our precious new grandson who is two weeks old. I do adore him!

Let's Pray: Father, we come today to worship You and the gift of Your Son, the Perfect One! With hallelujahs in our hearts we will sing out carols of praise and top on our list of giving will be a gift that brings glory to You.
The world can spin out of control around us, but like a ballerina finding her spot, when we are focused on You...all is bright! In Jesus Name, Amen

Preparation

December 15
Preparation:the action or process of making something
ready for use or service or of getting ready for some
occasion, test, or duty.


It's ten days before Christmas and one day before our
first Christmas program at SMLCA, so no wonder that I
would awaken with the word preparation on my
mind. Today the middle schoolers are coming here to
make sugar cookies and study the Christmas works of
Helen Steiner Rice and the Christmas art work of
Norman Rockwell...the dough is made, but I am really
not prepared!

Refreshment came the moment I began looking up the
word prepare in my Bible concordance! Then
when I went online to www.biblegateway.com today's verse
was: “But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid,
Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child
and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name
Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the
Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his
father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob
forever; his kingdom will never end.
”- Luke 1:30-33
Wow, now there is an example of a life in which God prepared
the way for a big assignment!

May your hearts be thrilled as you reflect on all God has
prepared for you. He will see you through!

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so,
I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place
for you.
John 14:2

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than
all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It
was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets,
some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the
body of Christ may be built up.
Ephesians 4:10-12

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they
had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who
love him."
1 Corinthians 2:8-9

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be
prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give
the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with
gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15

As one of my students says when he is frustrated.."Snap."
I don't want to close my Bible and go to work! I could
hang out here in God's Word all day!

Let's Pray: Lord, You have prepared all things!
Whew, what a worker bee You are! We stand in amazement of
who You are and all You have done and continue to do! Father,
this time of year our "to do" lists can get a bit out of whack.
Will You please control our time and give us minds to see what
is of worth to You and have the Holy Spirit convict us, stopping
us and put us into action, prayer or maybe even being still when
need arises. In the Mighty Name of the One who came to earth to
die for us! Amen

Double Whammy

December 13-14

Yesterday I was blown away when after writing
the devo I went to get on the treadmill and
picked up a book I had started last month.
Opening to the next chapter the word
anointing stared at me again.
(Just the word the Lord gave me yesterday.)

Studying in two different books today, both
happened to be on knowing God has Abba
Father, Daddy! Beth Moore says, "Abba acquired the
warm, familiar ring which we may feel in such an
expression as 'dear father.' When Christ fell on
His face and cried out to God to 'take this cup
(of crucifixion) from Him, he cried, 'Abba, Father.'"

It is our Abba, Father, who gave us the 23rd Psalm,
which speaks of His adoring love for us...a love that
lasts forever. With that love in mind we finish up
studying this Psalm with these final verses turned into prayer....

Abba, Daddy, we love You! Thank You for your love letter
to us and the assurance which tells us....surely goodness
and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives and we
will dwell in Your house FOREVER! You are the Good Shepherd,
who laid down His life for us. May we love You well and be
obedient to Your calling on our lives in response to this
warm relationship You have established with us. In Jesus
Name, Amen

Annointed

December 12
Thou anointest my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.


Have you ever been anointed with oil?
Years ago I was very ill from an infection following
back surgery. The doctors could not get the cultures
to grow to help them identify what IV antibiotic would
be most effective, so it looked like they were going
to have to open me back up. A friend asked if she could
bring her minister and have him anoint me with oil and
pray for me. I was open to anything at this point. I put
on a pair of loose fitting overalls and a bikini undies,
thinking he would need to anoint the incision on my back
and this would be the most modest way for this to happen.
Boy was I surprised when he anointed my forehead!
The amazing thing is the next day I went to UVA for what
we thought would be more surgery and thesurgeon said,
"I think your body is trying to heal itself and you will
be much better off if this happens and we don't have to
do surgery and antibiotics! Praise the Lord the healing
did occur.


Our cups do run over from the goodness of the Lord.
We just don't focus on that enough. When you are in
your kitchen today, take time to take a cup and let the
water overflow and thank the Lord for His abundance of
mercy, compassion, provisions and love.

Like a good shepherd....Jesus is near!

Let's Pray: Lord, thank You for
shepherding us on the mountain tops and in the valleys.
If we need sheering today, help us to stand still, trusting
You and recognizing the benefits of this process. May we
take time to reflect on how blessed we are to be annointed
by You and rejoice in the fact that our cups overflow from
blessings we often neglect to recognize! May the joy of
the realization of who we are in Christ light up another
life today. In Jesus Name, Amen

Preparing a Table

December 11
Thou preparest a table before me in the
presence of mine enemies.


There is some table preparation going on
these days! My dining room table has a
long garland of pine and pine cones
running down the center of it and
crystal candle sticks with candles
waiting to be lit. The food prep will
begin in about ten days when my crew
starts arriving! It is always a joy
to prepare a table for friends and family
and God feels the same way! Oh, what a
banquet we will share together one day
dear friends!

In Keller's book for children on the 23rd
Psalm he explains: "Some of the finest sheep
country in the world lies on high "table"
lands...A good shepherd will take time to go
ahead of his flock to make sure the mountain
pastures are safe."

I've had three wonderful days caring for my
new grandson and his parents. I've prepared
meals, laundry, Christmas gifts for their
friends and the house. Today I leave knowing
God has prepared my way home and He has prepared
the way for this little new family to walk in
His ways!

Sheep Sheering Scenarios

December 10
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.

Say what? Comfort from a rod or the hook of a
staff around our necks????? The rod actually
was a wooden club that the shepherd carried and
was very skilled with. He could throw that rod
and kill a snake in a split second. There have
probably been times in all of our lives he should
have tossed that club at us and knocked some
sense into us!
God gives us a rod to toss out there and use for
our defense...His Word. We need to memorize it
and have it ready to pull out at any moment.

I wish God had used the hook of his staff more
often in my life and drawn me back from situations
I did not need to wander into.

Keller has two excellent "sheep" analogies:
"Sheering sheep is hard, dirty, smelly work, but it
helps the sheep before they go to the summer range.
The shepherd does this miserable job for the
welfare of his flock. Sometimes when we get proud or
sassy, our Master has to shear us down to size with
His Words. 'It hurts, but it helps.'"

"Sheep playing follow the leader can cause damage to
the land. They cut gullies into the ground and damage
the grass. They don't think, but just do what the sheep
in front of them does. People act like this sometimes as
well, just following the crowd. Unfortunately, the crowd
goes the wrong direction at times, leading us to trouble.
We shouldn't be foolish. Jesus, our kind Shepherd, comes
to lead us down the proper path and wants us to follow Him
in ways that are useful, kind and loving."

There is a wonderful old hymn about our life with the Shepherd.
Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us
Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, do Thou befriend us, be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Let us early turn to Thee.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Let us early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

We Never Walk Alone

December 9
Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death.

That would be "yea" as in woe, not "rah, rah."
We do walk through some tough times and sheep do too.
Sheep get caught on cliffs and stuck in thickets and
there is a tiny insect which can inflame their skin and
be very irritating (like sin in our lives). Poisonous
weeds can be a hazard so the shepherd pulls those up
to avoid the sheep eat them. Rams fight for the right
to mate cracking their heads together; sometimes even
killing each other. That sounds dumb, but no more so
than some of the stubborn quarrels we get ourselves into.
Shepherds grease the heads of their rams to prevent this.
We need the gracious healing oil of the Holy Spirit to help
us slide through some rough situations.

Keller writes this about conditions for sheep:
"The weather is usually good, but fierce storms can blow
up suddenly and the shepherd shelters his sheep under trees
and talks to them quietly until the storm is over. For us
days can start out cheerful and bright and unexpectantly
go wrong. A fight with a friend, a mood change with a
parent or teacher, or other unexpected disappointments.
Ask Jesus to talk you in His arms and keep you close
until the storm blows over."

Yes, there is a Good Shepherd and He cares about us
deeply and no matter what we are walking through Psalm
23 tells us we are to fear no evil for our Shepherd is
faithfully with us!

Like a Good Mama

December 5-7
He leads me beside still waters, Ah refreshment.
He restores my soul. Ah, healing.
He leads me in paths of righteousness. Ah, guidance!

The commercial says, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."
Well, as I am studying about shepherds and the care they give
their sheep I see an analogy to a good mama! Twenty-four hour,
versatile care! Offering refreshment and convincing us to
take a break, healing our hurts and showing us the right way!

My heart goes out to moms during the holiday season. In
addition to the all consuming daily family roles, holiday
baking, gift buying and wrapping, decorating, school programs
and get togethers are added to their busy schedules. I don't
think the shepherds got caught up in all of this. Try as
I may, I cannot undo it at my house.

I think I will set up a sheep station and copies of the
Twenty-third Psalm to remind us to take time out to be
with our Shepherd. (And our mamas!)

Let's Pray: Lord, yesterday I read a story about your
birthday party. It was very convicting as the story
shared what a strange sight it was to see people giving
each other gifts and not You, the birthday boy. You said it
appeared a bearded man in a red suit was the guest of
honor, not You. Please change our focus this Christmas
and let it be about You, not the hoopla. May the way
we do Christmas be contagious and give others the courage
to celebrate our loving Shepherd who came and set a very
good example of how we are to live. In Jesus Name, Amen

Rest

December 4
He makes me to lie down in green pastures.

Can you remember back to your preschool days and
rest time...a break in the day when we were made to
lie down and rest. My guess is the Lord has had to
stop everyone of us in our tracks at some
point in our adult lives to insist we rest. Often
that resting provides a frame of mind where we can
reflect and know that He is God!

Rest...another timely message for this time of year.

This weekend I have the opportunity to go love on our
brand new grandson and give our son and his wife some
rest. Whether it is a grandchild, a hurting teen, a
struggling college student, heart broken young adult
or maybe a very elderly parent, one of the greatest
gifts we can give to another is to snuggle up to them
encouraging them to sit and rest!

How precious those moments must have been for Mary
when she sat and held Jesus! Who do we know that
might simply need to be held?

Let's Pray: Father, as the Good Shepherd you have
lifted us up out of despair and carried us to safety
time and time again! Today, give us eyes to see others
in need and show us how to shepherd them with loving
care. In Jesus Name, Amen

No Wanting

December 3
"I shall not want." Now there is a verse
for this time of year! Every mall in America
has a Santa, who is asking "What do you want?"
I think I will go sit on his lap and say..."I
want everyone to fall in love with Jesus!"

In Keller's children's book on Psalm 23 he says:
"Picture a fat, frisky, happy sheep never complaining
or grumbling. We can be like that if we let the Good
Shepherd care for us. We may still have troubles and
learn hard lessons growing up, but we don't have to be
afraid or uneasy because we know and trust Jesus."

Sheep are happy in the countryside with their shepherd.

May the Lord teach us contentment today.
May he use the hook of his staff so we don't stray.
May we learn there is peace when we walk in His way.

Baaaaautiful thoughts!

More Shepherd Thoughts

December 2
The Lord is My Shepherd-Keller writes:
"Not every shepherd is kind. Some are cruel,
lazy, and unloving. A bad shepherd doesn't
give his sheep fresh water, green grass, shade
from heat or protection from harmful insects and
animals. Their life is miserable and they wish
they could be free to follow a good shepherd.
Some of us are like that too. We never come into
the good generous care of God. We do not really
know and follow Christ. We have never been set
free from our old owner. Quite often that old
owner is our selfish nature. We are being the
boss of our lives. A smart move is to let Christ
take over our lives by inviting Jesus into our
hearts.
Sheep are special to the shepherd because he has
paid a lot of money for them and put a lot of hard
work into caring for them. It is the same for Jesus.
He paid for wrong doing (sins) by dying on the cross
for us. Even when we go astray, He comes looking for
us. A shepherd searches all over for his lost sheep.!

Let's Pray: Lord, Precious Shepherd,
we give thanks for all you provide for us. As we wake
up this morning may we acknowledge Your presence,
protection and provisions. When we see Nativity scenes
and the Christ child in the manger, may we be quick to
remember the Christ who became man and died upon the
cross for us. In Jesus Name, Amen

Here's a fun idea. Make a shepherd's staff and us it
for a book mark to remember whose care we are under!

The 23rd Psalm

December
There is no way to slow time down.
It is on a roll and rolling faster the
older we get! What we do with that time
is to be evaluated. A splash of being still
and knowing He is God must fit in with the
time spent investing in the Kingdom's work,
while the human side of us has many desires
we are trying to satisfy! Oh and the essentials
of dirty laundry and housework.

Being the holiday season and our focus being on
Christ, I thought we could be like children and
wander with Phillip Keller through his book
A Child's Look at the Twenty-Third Psalm
and glance at who Jesus is as our Shepherd!

The Lord is my Shepherd
"The Lord" is a favorite name for God, who made all
people. We are His children and his calls us His
sheep, because we behave like sheep wandering off and
getting into trouble sometimes. "Jesus is always ready
to help us. He does not become moody or mean like some
people. He understands us. He gives us His life, energy,
and guidance to help us succeed."

Let's Pray: Lord we come bowing before You, admitting our
need to be led in the right direction. Reach down today
and guide us in Your ways. We love You caring Shepherd.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Rejuvenate

November 29
Awakening with a flash, I peeled my lids open praying
it was a 6AM hot flash and not the 2AM one. Praise the
Lord, it was 5AM. I had no clue what day it was though.
Did I need to get the turkey in the oven? Were my lesson
plans done? Could I sleep another couple hours
until church? Were there other people staying here?
I called out, "Help me Lord, I have no clue what today
is!" He answered back....rejuvenate.
Ah,there was my word and it was a welcome one!
Clicking on the computer, I couldn't wait to get the
definition, but the phone rang. A very tired voice
said, "Mom, it's time."
Our first grandchild was on the way!.
The Lord still comes first, so I decided it best to
stay faithful and write to you before I get in the car
and head out of town to welcome this little fellow.
Rejuvenate:from the Latin word juvenis young;
to make young or youthful again, give new vigor to;
to stimulate.
Wow, is that a God thing or not. I have a strong feeling
this grandchild will rejuvenate us all.

With Thanksgiving behind us we shift gears into Christmas
mode and the thought of the greatest gift that was ever
given...a little Jewish baby, who would change our lives
forever. May the gift giving we plan to do this next
month reflect the heart of Paul who wanted to testify
with joy the gospel of the grace of God!

But none of these things move me; nor do I count my
life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy,
and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to
testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
--Acts 20:24

Let's Pray: Jesus, you are the rejuvenator
of our lives. The Word of God brings refreshment, vigor and
stimulation into our very being and gives us a hope to go on.
Find us faithful today of Your calling Father...the calling
where You call us Your children! In Jesus Name, Amen

Happy Thanksgiving

November 27
The turkey soaked in a brine bath all night and is
waiting to be dressed! The table is elegantly set
and each place setting has a place card with a name
and a gold label baring a word. (Everyone balks at
my game playing, but it is like a good work out, you
always feel better afterwards.) The assignment is
to share a thought/memory that the word evokes in
you. What it does is assure each person the chance
to speak at the dinner table! May you make memories
with people you care about today.

Rolling over this morning and looking across the
room at the clock it appeared to say SOS.(5:05 AM)
Realizing it was Thanksgiving I thanked God for the
help He always sends.
The old hymn from the early 1700's,God Our Help in
Ages Past
,immediately came to mind. I thought you
might enjoy these lyrics as you reflect back on the
steadfastness of God!

Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone, And our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood, Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,To endless years the same.

Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,“Return, ye sons of men:”
All nations rose from earth at first, And turn to earth again.

A thousand ages in Thy sight Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night Before the rising sun.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood,With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by the flood, And lost in following years.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day.

Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower’s hand
Lie withering ere ‘tis night.

Our God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last, And our eternal home.
Go to this site to hear this hymn on an old organ!
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/o/g/ogohiap.htm

Disconnect

November 26
Disconnect:to sever the connection of or between
Using wireless Internet it is not unusual to try
to get on and find the word "disconnnected" staring
at me.
Yesterday, I received a call from the son of a hospice
patient I had last year. This is his first holiday season
without his mother and he was obviously disconnected from
everyone. He was quite drunk and shared he had been for
months and had cut everyone out of his life. The question
he had for me was if I thought I should allow his doctor to
put him in the hospital for detox.
There are times when we need to "detox" from that the world
has to offer us and fall on our faces in the repentant mode
and be reconnected to Christ. The Message has a couple
excellent passages to draw us back.

Matthew 6:14
In prayer there is a connection between what God does and
what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance,
without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part,
you cut yourself off from God's part.


Colossians 3:3-8
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real
life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ
in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life,
remember)shows up again on this earth, you'll show up,
too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content
with obscurity, like Christ.

And that means killing off everything connected with
that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust,
doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it,
and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That's a life
shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It's
because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode
in anger. It wasn't long ago that you were doing all that
stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now,
so make sure it's all gone for good: bad temper,
irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.


Let's Pray: Lord, keep us connected to Your amazing
power source. Speak clealy to us this day and help us
to disconnnect from the activities that pull us away
from You and your purposes for us. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace
This is definitely worth the watch.
It is a fabulous rendition of Amazing Grace
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtrnB4FZ-yc

Copy and paste the address above.

Woven

November 25
Looking across the room I see piles of
beautiful yarns I hope to weave together
into rugs, blankets, and scarves. The
word "woven" jumped out at me. The
dictionary defines weave:
to form by interlacing strands .
How interesting that is what our DNA does!
Heading to Bible Gateway, most of the woven
references are to cloth, but Psalm 139:13-18
is all about us and our Creator!
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was
made in the secret place. When I was woven
together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Hmm, I think God is preparing my heart to
meet my first grandchild! He is due to
arrive Thursday!

Let's Pray:: Father, You are Creatorof us all.
Each creation holds a special place in Your heart.
My prayer today is that each created being open their heart
and place Jesus there as their first love. May we fall down
and worship Christ our king and may all creation sing of His glory!
In His name we pray! Amen

Familiarity

November 24
Familiarity:a state of close relationship;
one who is well acquainted with something
.
I've been walking through a dark spot with
someone who is far from their home. We
realized it might be theraputic to get
back to his roots, his homeland, where
things were more familiar. There is
such security in that position. Being raised a
southern, mountain girl; that is where I
feel secure. Now I still thrill when I
see the ocean or the palms trees of Florida,
but a comfort comes over me when I drive
back into the valley where I was raised and
can sit back and have a glass of freshly brewed
sweet tea in my hand while I take in the beauty!

Our real security is in Christ and we must
become familiar, well acquainted, in close
relationship with Him to experience the peace
and comfort He longs to provide. He knows us
and wants us to know Him!
Psalm 139:3
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.


Let's Pray: Lord, thank You for caring
enough to know us intimately. May we walk in a way each
day that we become more and more familiar with who You are
and what You are constantly doing for us. In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Clicking Away

November 22-23
Opening my laptop to write the evotional...
there staring at me was Mel Gibson and the
statement that he was paying his mistress big
bucks to keep their affair a secret. I clicked
to read more, but instead it took me to a quiz
on whether certain stars with the same last names
were related...I clicked again. Meaningless,
meaningless was all that I read. Leaving the
laptop I picked up a study journal I am working
through and dove into Luke 17 on the Coming of
the Kingdom of God. A quiz is taking place there!
The Pharisees are quizzing Jesus about the kingdom
of God coming...they are envisioning a kingdom that
will bring material wealth...Jesus speaks of a
spiritual kingdom!
Luke shares a comparison of the days of the Son of
Man to the days of Noah and Lot. "People were eating
and drinking, buying and selling, planting and
building."
Interesting I was lured by Hollywood herself this
morning and then read of such lifestyles. Just as we
are only a click away from temptation on the Internet,
we are only a click away from Christ's return. We are
not to know the time or the season, but to be as GPS
devices and show the way! There is no limit to the free
tickets available, so we should be leading others to the
source of this free gift!

Let's Pray: You are amazing God! As the lightening flashes
from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of
Man will be in His day
! What a time of rejoicing that will
be for many Father and a woeful jolt of reality for others.
With all that we have to do on this pre-Thanksgiving weekend
Father, may telling of Your love to someone who is lost be a
possibility that comes to fruition! Guard our hearts and have
us click on Jesus! In Whose Name we pray, Amen

Where the Action Is

November 21
Prayer is where the action is! One of the greatest
gifts given to our school is the group of mother's
who gather on Wednesday mornings to pray for our
students, parents, faculty and school needs. Moms
In Touch is a wonderful organization that instructs
these moms in the process of praying scripture.

For me, prayer is an invitation to God to come into
my life and lead me, love me and let me know He is
in control! When our children were young and I
wanted to be certain they were listening I would say;
"Put your ears on." Our heavenly Father is probably
saying that to us.

Let's Pray some Psalms:

Father we come before You comforted in just knowing
that Your love endures forever. We praise your holy
name with all our inmost being. We find rest, O our
souls, in You alone; our hope comes from You. God,
You alone are our rock, and our salvation; You are
our fortress and we will not be shaken. We will
trust in You at all times and pour out our hearts
to You, for You, God are our refuge. In Jesus' Name
Psalms 62,103, 107

Calamity

November 20
Seeking the Lord is like a treasure hunt
(at least when I am writing the evotional).
One clue leads to another. This morning the
word the Lord gave me was calamity

a state of deep distress or misery caused by
major misfortune or loss; a disastrous event marked
by great loss and lasting distress and suffering.


I wanted to say, "No thank You Sir, I would like
another word today." Grabbing my Bible I checked
the concordance for...calamity, misery, misfortune..
nope, nope, nope. I knew He had a message for me
so I persevered. Ah, yes, there she be distress!

Then Jonah 2:2 stared right at me: In my distress
I called to the Lord.
My Language Arts class
has been working on a journal project based on Jonah,
so God took me write back there this morning. Yesterday,
I had explained to the children that sometimes we may
sense God speaking to us by how he brings the same message
or verses to us over and over again in a variety of ways!
Bingo, he just did that to me! The writer in this
journal says, There is nothing that will bring us closer
to the Lord than being in the belly of a fish. When we
experience intense suffering, the best things we can do
is to pour out our hearts to God.

Maybe we aren't in that belly today, but we know
someone who is. Let's reach out and touch them and
let them know God is there with them!

Let's Pray: Lord, You who can do all things, could make
life calamity free...but You don't. You know what stirs
our hearts into actiona that bring You glory. May we
continue to call to You in times of joy and times of
distress, making You the very fiber of our lives. May
what is woven of our lives be attractive to others in
a way that draws them to You. Hear our cries! In Jesus'
Name, Amen

Cozy Connection

November 19
It's freezing, no it is below freezing.
I woke up thankful for my down comforter
and wireless Internet that allows me to
email right from my cozy bed! No sooner
was I feeling great about the set up than
Moses whined needing to go out, so out of
bed I went, onto the cold tile kitchen
floor to open the door to a brisk wind
waiting in the darkness. The light of our
lamppost was shining brightly against the
stark black background of our woods. Even
though my cozy solitude had been abruptly
interrupted the light was a reminded that
even when we are taken from our comfort
zones, the Light of the World is still there.
I looked up and the sky was laden with stars.
The disruption had turned to delight because
I was able to make a connection with God.
Moses ran back into the house and went
directly to his food bowl...ah, another
message for me...to be hungry to feed
upon the Lord. Climbing back under my
comforter to click on my computer I was
thankful for the Cozy Connection I have
with Christ!

Let's Pray: Lord, we praise You for you
steady constantness! The world around us
changes, throwing us curve ball after curve
ball, but we are always safe with you, never
left out! Father, just from the emails we
receive from friends or turning on the news
we could become discouraged, but we choose to
look up and see the stars You have hung in the
sky and think of the hope of heaven beyond and
the fact that You are watching over us and will
never leave or forsake us. We love You Lord!
In Jesus' Name we find comfort. Amen

Journey with James

November 18
I hate to leave James. What a friend he is.
The half-brother of Jesus is said to have
become a leader of the church in Jerusalem.
He cared enough to spur us on. He started
by telling us to not merely be listeners of
the Word, but doers of what it says. Then he
closes out with the most powerful proposition...
a life of faith, lived out in prayer!
Verses 13, 16
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray
for each other so that you may be healed. The
prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.


Prayer packs a powerful punch. The greatest advice that
can be left to us by anyone is....Pray!

Complete

November 17

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there's just something
about that name..." That is what I woke up
singing! The leaves are down and the sunrise
easier to see from my bedroom window. The sky
radiates with pinks and purples right now!
The barren trees are no longer a hiding place
for birds or squirrels, there is full exposure.
We may think we are hiding at times, but God
always has full exposure to our hearts and
minds.
Complete is the other word which has been
hanging on me. James 1:4 tells is God is
working on us so that we may be mature
and complete, lacking in nothing. He has a
plan!
We've been walking in a tough place with one
of our children for over a week and the word
that appeared to be missing from his life was
"joy." God's Word couples "complete" and "joy"
together in two amazing verses which I am praying
will be an encouragement to you today, wherever
you may be wandering...or wondering!
Philippians 2:1-4 If you have any encouragment
from being with Christ, if any comfort from his
love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any
tenderness and compassion, then make my joy
complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and
purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or
vain conceit, but in humility consider others
better than yourselves. Each of you should look
not only to your own interests, but also to the
interests of others.

Now read John 15:11 and find out how remaining
in Christ's love can make our joy complete.

Let's Pray: Father, loving You
is the passport to joy and the only way to be
completely what God created us to be! Fill us
with the Holy Spirit today as we venture out
into a world lacking real joy! In Jesus' Name,
Amen

Hoard

Hoard-(definition:verb)to keep (as one's thoughts) to oneself.

That was my "word" at 4AM this morning. Hmm, I thought,
am I nesting for the arrival of my first grandchild and
needing to clean out closets and give away things today?
Is my heart responding to the great need for food at some
of our community pantries? Looking up the definition,
I had an "I should have had a V-8" type revelation.
We often "hoard" the thoughts and promptings the Lord
gives to us to share with another.
Who have we invited to church with us today so that they
might receive the Word of God?

Both of the Bible studies I picked up yesterday were about
the "coming of the Lord."
Who do I need to pray for to come to the Lord?
James says to the Rich Oppressors in 5:3
"You have hoarded wealth in the last days."
May we never be guilty of hoarding what God has given us...
not just materially, but most importantly spiritually...
His Love!

Standing Patiently

November 15-16
James 5:7-11
...be patient and stand firm, because the
Lord's coming is near.
Don't grumble against each other.

James continues writing and is having us
reflect on Job's perseverance and the
happy ending that story had. An ending
full of God's compassion and mercy,
although none of us would want to tread
where he trod, even for a double dose
of blessings.

So what comes from being patient
and standing firm...ah...it is the
closeness and familiarity we begin
to possess of the one whose hand we
are holding during the waiting period.
We really get to know Him!

We may look at the comment "the Lord's
coming is near" and think...OK, that's
been said for a long time now...is there
truth in that...is it just a teacher or
parent's trick to make us behave? I find
it more to be a method of helping us meet
the Master intimately!

What does God want each of us to take away
from these verses in James 5 today? For me
"don't grumble against each other" is the
part in staring at me in bold. I am tired
of the political hoopla, the battering back
and forth. It is what it is right now and
we are called to be what we are as believers
in Christ..."Salt and light" to a very lost
world.
Let's Pray: Father, with You there is
purpose in our lives! You are the Master
Chess Player, moving your children around
with purpose...to bring glory to You.
Wherever we land today, may we know that
You have led the way and we can hold on to
You, standing our ground patiently until
the next move comes along! In Jesus' Name,
Amen

In the World

November 14
Oh woe, to me who is so worldly.Today's passage is from
James 5:1-4 and there is nothing warm and fuzzy about it.
I decided to go to some commentaries hoping to find
something a little fluffier to brighten your up coming
weekend. I Googled "James 5" and clicked on a You Tube
site expecting to get a live sermon! It was about
LeBron James and game 5 of some basketball series!!!!!
I was so convicted. What is ahead for those who don't
know the Lord is not a pretty picture and we need to
have a compassion for those people.
Here's the less than pretty passage.
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.

Let's Pray: Lord, You are the just and mighty King. Forgive us when we don't want to read the painful passages and look at the reality of what happens to the lost. You are so compassionate and caring and we were created in Your image, so please Father have those characteristics come out in our lives today! The picture isn't very pretty in America today. As Your children, we need to wake up and make a difference for Your kingdom. The harvest is plenty, may we be found faithful workers. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Braggadocios

November 13
James 4:15 (The Message)
And now I have a word for you who brashly
announce, "Today—at the latest, tomorrow
—we're off to such and such a city for the year.
We're going to start a business and make a lot
of money." The word is braggadocios!


James says, You don't know the first thing
about tomorrow. Boy we are learning that
with the stock market! ... Instead, make it a
habit to say, "If the Master wills it and we're
still alive, we'll do this or that."

Let's pray we can make His plans our plans
and be pleased with that process.
Father, help us figure out that our focus should
be first on Your fabulous framework for our lives!
For You have the knowledge of the days to come
and what is best for us. Forgive us for plowing
ahead with our selfish agendas and help us to
turn ourselves towards you...seeking your
wisdom and plans for our lives. The element to
be on the watch for in our discerning is that all
You would have us do will be glory to You. May
we measure up today and reap the blessings of
doing things Your way. In Jesus Name, Amen


Transformed Judgements

November 12
James 4:11-12 speaks about
not slandering or judging one another.
We have enough on our plates to not
have to be taking on the role of judge!
Instead of "Laying Down the Law"
we should try "Lifting Up in Love."

If we had a body barometer (an instrument
which measures pressure) I think we
would be amazed at how much more
beneficial positive affirmation of others is
for our own bodies, than the negative,
defaming, judgement calls we sometimes
make.

Our opinions are like pimples waiting to
be popped. We just want to get them out
there, but our actions make a mess and
leave a real sore spot and an open wound
behind.

Let's Pray: Lord, You are a perfect judge
and can handle all situations without our
help. When we keep our minds steadfast
on You, we know that You are before all
things. May we hold up a mirror to ourselves
and remember quite often, things are not
what they seem. When we put the shoe on
the other foot we can think of numerous times
people are probably thinking one thing about
us, when they don't have a clue what is going
on behind closed doors. Bring that thought
to mind when we get ready to make judgement
calls about others and transform our judgements
into prayers of compassion. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Too Close For Comfort

November 11
James 4:7-8, 10
Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from
you. Come near to God and he will
come near to you. Humble yourselves
before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

A story was shared with me about a man
who gave testimony before his Christian
friends of his struggle with an addiction .
The man assumed his friends would become
encouragers, prayer warriors and support
him as he trusted Christ to strengthen him
in the battle against this addiction. To the
man's surprise, slowly his friends stopped being
with him. The person telling me the story seemed
shocked by this behavior as well.
The man had chosen to come "near to God" and
allow God to clean him up. My guess is the friends
were uncomfortable because of some dirty spots of
their own they didn't want revealed. Being around
this man and his faith, made God too close for comfort!

Let's Pray: Come near to us precious Father and point
out the places in which we need improvement. Forgive us
for the ways we have faltered. Lord, please give us
friends who are encouragers in Christ. Those who are
willing to even be on their knees for us and wrap their
arms around us warts and all. Thank You how you have
shown us time and time again, when we are humbled
before You, you will lift us up! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Trust Jesus

November 10
I love it when God awakens me with
a song in my heart....
It is so sweet to trust in Jesus
And to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know, Thus says the Lord!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

James 4 is all about submitting
our selfish selves to God. He says
our quarrels come from the desires
that battle within us. And that we
are adulterous people who forget
that friendship with the world is
hatred toward God? He says that
when we ask we do not receive
because we ask with wrong motive...
for our own pleasures, not God's glory.

Ok, I am battling here...for if we are
not kind and reaching out to the world,
why would they want our Jesus. I am
guessing the difference sits in the words
"friendly" and "friendship." We can be
kind, compassionate, offering hospitality,
and friendly to someone without committing
to a friendship.

Like the song says, we have to trust Jesus and
take him at his word!

Let's pray: Father, we face choices today and
are trusting You to show the way. Forgive us for
our tendency to step out on our own. Guide us
forward and be our comfort. In Jesus' Name,
Amen

A Wealth of Wisdom

November 8-9
James asks us...Who is wise and understanding
among you? Let him show it by his good life,
by deeds done in humility that comes from
wisdom....Where you have envy and selfish
ambition, there you find disorder and every
evil practice....the wisdom that comes from
heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving,
considerate, submissive, full of mercy and
good fruit, impartial and sincere.

With all the hats I wear, a day rarely goes
by that I don't need wisdom. The problem
arises when I don't take time to seek it from t
he correct source. Yesterday was a non-stop
day for me. When I finally hit the bed I was
saddened when I realized I hadn't been
alone with the Lord all day. I had flashed up
some prayers on behalf of others, but I had
never waited to hear God's take on any
situation. My eyes had not searched through
the Word to find a treasure beyond the
morning devotional reading with its warnings
about the tongue. My mind was checking off
worldly requirements from my list and when
the day was done, I missed Jesus.

The wonderful list above of what comes from
heavenly wisdom is what I want filling my day.
Wherever we are today, may we each head off
alone for a spell to get a hold of that peace!

A commentary from a site called Bible Tools
reads: If a person is of a pure spirit, then peace
tends to follow. First, this occurs because a
pure-hearted person is at peace within himself.
He is therefore not self-righteously, self-centeredly,
and discontentedly seeking to impose his will and
way on others to control their lives.
Such a person will not induce conflict.

Let's Pray: Lord, you are a wealth of wisdom!
A freebie, we often forget to take advantage of.
Forgive us for the times we trust in man and get
ourselves in messes! Even our own hearts can
lead us astray. It's mind boggling that you know
us better than we know ourselves. Fill us with
your wisdom...we will need it in the days
approaching. May we clothe ourselves in
purity, peace-lovingness, considerateness,
submissiveness, being merciful and bearing
much fruit, and be seen as impartial and
sincere children of the King! In Jesus Name, Amen

T is for Tongue!

November 7
You can brush it, wash it with
antiseptic, tantalize it with incredible
tastes, but I believe our hearts, minds
and the Holy Spirit are the tools which
ultimately tame this body part which
can wound and help heal others. Oh,
yes, there are many times when we
have to bite it as well!

...the tongue is a small part of the body,
but it makes great boasts. Consider what
a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among
the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person,
sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself
set on fire by hell. ..no man can tame the tongue.
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the
tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with
it we curse men, who have been made in God's
likeness. James 3:5-9

Let's Pray: Lord, we lift Your name on high today!
Forgive us for the times our tongues have brought
disappointment and pain to others. You did not
intend them for that purpose. You call us to be
encouragers, servants and a people who use their
tongues to speak of Your amazing love to others!
We give you the reins to our tongues today and
ask that You guide them to be a blessing. May we
be slow to speak and have wisdom and discernment
as to what our tongues will spew forth this day.
In Jesus' Name, we pray, Amen!

Secure Investments

November 6
James 2: 14-26 Faith and Deeds
17... faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action,
is dead. 18But someone will say, "You have faith;
I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds,
and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good!
Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
26As the body without the spirit is dead,

so faith without deeds is dead.

Deedily do and dodittly dee! Whatever God
is up to; I want it to include me!
Today I took my 88 year old father to the
funeral home to say good-bye to a friend of
65 years. (I had to ward off the funeral home
guy, who was ready to put my Daddy in a box!
They met 6 months ago to discuss his plans.)
My father was pleased to see his friend looking
so peaceful, but hated she had not had the chance
to vote yesterday! :)
Then Daddy said, "Time is going so quickly. It
seems as if the months have flown since summer
began."
What do we do with our faith.? We have believed
on the Lord Jesus and been saved...but then what?
Are we out and about the Lord's business, doing
the deeds He has set out for us to do?
I agree with my earthly father; the pace has picked
up and I want what I do with the time remaining
here on this earth to count for the Kingdom. It is in
living that way that my faith will increase! What a
secure investment!

Lord, lead the way throughout our day. Increase
our faith and find us quick to pray!

Favortism Forbidden

November 5
James 2:1-3
Favoritism Forbidden
My brothers, as believers in our glorious
Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism.
"Love your neighbor as yourself,"you are doing right.
But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted
by the law as lawbreakers. Speak and act as those
who are going to be judged by the law that gives
freedom, because judgment without mercy will be
shown to anyone who has not been merciful.
Mercy triumphs over judgment!

The ending of that passage sounds like a game of
rock, paper, scissors!
I received an email from a reader the other day
who has just endured the first year anniversary of
her precious daughter's death. It has been a blessing
to walk along side this sister in Christ this year through
email. I've never seen her face, I don't know what her
house looks like or what kind of clothes she wears, but
I do feel like I know her heart well. I told her I carry her
in my heart and the space she holds contains both sunshine
and rain/tears. The sunshine equates with the brilliant
memories she has and the rain/tears represent the the
voids that are left here on earth.

Our eyes form so many of the favoritisms we create.
If we only saw the hearts of others we would think
much differently.
We have these things in common...
We are all sinners needing to be saved by grace and
everyone who has faith in our Lord Jesus Christ will
bow before Him as Lord.

Come January we will be under the authority of many
new leaders. We must submit to that authority and
pray daily for all the leaders to have hearts for the Lord!
November 3-4
James 1:26-27
If anyone considers himself religious and
yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue,
he deceives himself and his religion is
worthless. Religion that God our Father
accepts as pure and faultless is this: to
look after orphans and widows in their
distress and to keep oneself from being
polluted by the world.

Funny...the song that came to mind after
reading this passage was....Whistle While
You Work! We are better off whistling
than allowing some things to come out of
our mouths when we are out and about.

No matter the outcome of the election,
there will still be the work of the Lord to
do and we still need to Be joyful always,
pray without ceasing and in all things
give thanks. 1 Thes. 5:16-18

God have mercy on us and keep us from
the pollution of this world!

Our Actions Matter

November 1
James 1:22-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do
what it says is like a man who looks at his face in
a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away
and immediately forgets what he looks like. But
the man who looks intently into the perfect law
that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not
forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—
he will be blessed in what he does.

My husband had fallen asleep with the TV on,
while I was clicking away on the computer. An
episode of House about a very arrogant doctor
came on. My interest was spiked as I heard the
husband of a patient say he had witnessed a miracle
from God when his wife's heart started beating again.
Some time passed, probably a commercial too, and I
heard this doctor saying very derogatory comments
about God. Then he brashly said to the husband, "You
better not be praying." I clicked that tube right off!
I was so offended.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes this book we
are studying because he believes our actions matter.
He is speaking very directly to the Jewish Christians
about their worldly habits. It is possible to believe
the right thing and live the wrong way. What is the
message we send to others concerning who Christ is
in our lives?

Let's pray: Father, You created us for Your good
purposes and long ago planned work for each of us to
do that would bring honor and glory to You and
blessings to us. May we not forget that as we
head into today. In Jesus Name, Amen

Jump Back Jack

James 1:19-21
19My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to
speak and slow to become angry, 20for
man's anger does not bring about the
righteous life that God desires. 21Therefore,
get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so
prevalent and humbly accept the word
planted in you, which can save you.

I failed the test, my guard was down I
was in reaction mode and pulled the
trigger (my tongue) quickly and
precious people were wounded in the
battled that ensued.
Today's verse for the day on
www.biblegateway.com is
1 Peter 5:8-9
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy
the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. Resist him,
standing firm in the faith, because you know
that your brothers throughout the world are
undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”-

Now the mission is to seek forgiveness and
bind up the broken hearted; finding my
strength to do so in the Lord and God gets
the glory for the great things He continues
to do.
So "Jump back Jack" (meaning the devil)
in the name of Jesus! Greater is God than any
darts you are tossing.

Let's Pray: Lord, we know it is of no
surprise to You, but there is a battle going on
and it is ferocious! Keep us on the alert and
slow to speak, but quick to pray for only You
can save the day! May the prayers and cries
of your people abound in a fashion like never
before and may that become the norm for us,
not just an emergency call for this specific time,
but a way of life that becomes a familiar pattern
to many who maybe are just seeing the Light...
Jesus in whose name we pray. Amen

We Make a Difference

October 30
When tempted, no one should say, "God
is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted

by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each
one is tempted when, by his own evil desire,
he is dragged away and enticed. Then after
desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and
sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
James 1:13-15Check Spelling



John Piper lists 12 Sins We Blame On Others
1) Anger
I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were
easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better,
or if my spouse were more considerate.
2) Impatience
I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic
jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have
so many things to do, and if the people around me
weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!
3) Lust
I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many
sensual images in our culture.
4) Anxiety
I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were
just a little more secure—if I had more money,
and no health problems.
5) Spiritual Apathy
My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant
and I would struggle with sin less if my small group
were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were
more engaging, or if the music in the worship service
were more lively, or if the sermons were better.
6) Insubordination
If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders,
then I would joyfully follow them.
7) A Critical Spirit
It’s not my fault that the people around me are
ignorant and inexperienced.
8) Bitterness
If you knew what that person did to me, you would
understand my bitterness. How could I forgive
something like that?
9) Gluttony
My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful
cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.
10) Gossip
It’s the people around me who start the conversations.
There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to
say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid
sharing what I know.
11) Self-Pity
I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/
ministry is so difficult.
12) Selfishness
I would be more generous if we had more money.

Hmm, one of the names of God is El Roi, the God who
sees. He sees the truth. Yesterday, my husband and I
were visiting his 89 year old aunt, who lives in a nursing
home. She was asking about the new school. Excitedly, I
shared how refreshing it is to be able to pray with these
children and teach from the Bible. Years ago she worked
at the same private school my husband worked for 20 years.
Eight years ago a Head Master came on the scene who
forbid the use of prayer. He wouldn't allow FCA, Moms in
Touch, or Young Life to step foot on the campus. The
students no longer said the Pledge of Allegiance. Then it
hit me....I taught at that same school thirty years ago and
we opened the day with The Pledge, a scripture reading,
and prayer. There was even weekly chapel. Over the
year, the masses were non-responsive to uphold the
right to do these things and a few lone voices changed
the tide...not just at this one small school....across our
nation. We need revival in this land. God's people
need to be heard. We need to pray that all God's
people will speak on Tuesday and not be lazy
and blame others for what this nation has become.
We do make a difference.

Let's Pray: El Roi, You see all and there is great
need. Keep us from our sinful ways and focused
on Your purposes. In Jesus Name, Amen

Hymns for Him

October 29
Walking in the house after work yesterday I was
drawn to the piano. I tend to tinkle with those
ivories when I am either elated or distraught;
subconsciously, (because by faith I am joyful
always) I believe I was distraught over this election.
Come Tuesday, I feel we are in a no win situation as a
nation and I pray the body of Christ is prepared to act
as what we are called to be.
Back to the piano...I had a long list of "to do's" but
it just seemed right to sing to the Lord. My daughter
gave me The Christian Life Hymnal a couple years
ago. Randomly flipping it open, the pages fell
upon Onward Christian Soldiers. The title of that
section in the hymnal is Loyalty and Courage.
Wait, it gets better!
Kind of in shock that God knew where my heart was
at that moment, better than I did myself, I challenged
Him to another flip. I was blown away for I didn't even
realize this hymnal had a section called National Hymns
and there before me was America the Beautiful. As I
began to sing the tears formed with heart break for what
we have become as a nation. Turning back one page and
singing My Country, 'Tis of Thee and the lyric "Land where
my fathers died, land of the pilgrims pride, I thought of those
two particular groups and our pledge to be One Nation Under
God. The song on the adjoining page was not familiar to me,
but the lyrics sent a chill down my spine.
Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
in the strife of truth with falsehood for the good or evil side;
some great cause, some great decision, of f'ring each the bloom
or blight, and the choice goes by forever twixt that darkness
and the light.
Then to side with truth is noble, when we share here wretched
crust, ere her cause bring fame and profit, and tis prosp'rous to
be just; then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands
aside, till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.
Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be
wrong, yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim
unknown, standeth God, within the shadow, keeping watch
above His own.
Not wanting to leave the presence of the Lord, which I was
obviously in I took one final flip...the section was entitled
Hope and Assurance; the hymns...How Firm A Foundation
and on the other page another unfamiliar one but a WOWer...
God Will Take Care of You.
The first verse:
Be not dismayed whate're betide. God will take care of you;
beneath His wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

I've decided to type up all these lyrics and this Sunday morning
we will have a time of praise and prayer here at our home
following the Sunday Celebration service we are holding at 9:15.
Whether we are Democrats or Republicans we need to join hands
and pray that we might remain One Nation Under God!
Please email me at boojoyful@aol.com if you would like to join us.
I need God to provide a piano player for that morning as well.

With much love and genuine concern that those we love know
where they are headed, not only as a nation, but as one loved
and desired by God!

Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace Jerusalem....
and for our United States as well.



Crowned

October 28
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test, he will
receive the crown of life that God has
promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

We've all watched the thrills, chills and tremblings
of a beauty queen when that crown is placed upon
their head! Can you imagine what it will be like
for those who love the Lord, when the crown of
life is placed on our heads?

At first glance one could read this verse and think
"If I tough it out, I will be rewarded for my
persevering." I go back to Ephesians and
believe our "free gift" salvation is the greatest
gift we receive and it is due to nothing we have done,
but available because of what Christ did for us.
The end of this verse relates the real requirement....
because I love Christ and trust in him there will be another
gift for me. A crown of life placed on my head and the
heads of all my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Hmm, wonder if we are to wear those things
everyday in heaven or can leave them at home and just
put them on for special occasions.

Let's Pray: Lord, You are The Giver of so much!
Forgive us for how we plow through a day without
so much as a thank You at times. Our minds cannot
comprehend what lies ahead for those of us who love You.
Father, likewise we are missing out on many of the
blessings available right here on earth, because we
do not take the time to get to know You in a way that
would afford You the opportunity to teach us so many
of Your secrets. Help us find the time today to be
with You in a very private personal way. Speak to
us, please show us Your wonders.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Not What They Seem

October 27
The brother in humble circumstances
ought to take pride in his high position.
But the one who is rich should take pride
in his low position, because he will pass
away like a wild flower. For the sun rises
with scorching heat and withers the plant:
its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed.
In the same way, the rich man will fade away
even while he goes about his business.
James 1:9-11

Things are not always as they seem.
The poor may feel like they are weighted down,
on the ground side of a see saw, when in reality,
if they are trusting in the Lord the richness of their
faith puts them on top.
The wealthy, who think they are riding high, without
Christ, become humbled when they realize the
blood of Jesus cannot be bought. While they are
in pursuit of material things, the brevity of life and
the opportunity to store up treasures of eternal
value are racing by.

A vocabulary for my students this week is
vague: not clearly expressed or understood.
The message of salvation is very clear.
Jesus came to this earth for sinners and His
desire is that none should perish, but have eternal life.

Let's Pray: Lord, you are so clear in your love for
for all of us, rich and poor alike. Give us eyes to
see others as You see them, precious in Your sight.
Your children are treasured by You and may we
treat others with the respect due them. Today help
us to see the good in everyone. May we look at them
and think...hmmm, I wonder what purpose God had
in mind when He created this person? Does this
person know how much he/she is loved?




May No One Doubt

October 25th
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be give to him. But when he asks, he
must believe and not doubt, because he who
doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and
tossed by the wind. That man should not
think he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double minded man, unstable in all he
does. James 1:5-8

Doubt:to lack confidence in. (Merriam-Webster)
Double-minded- to be unstable and lack conviction
in one's beliefs; to change loyalties or ideas. A person full
of hypocrisy; one who uses truth and lies in whatever
situation to benefit themselves in one way.
(From www.seekgod.ca)

The disciples were right there hanging out with
Jesus and they experienced doubt at times.
In the last month have you worried about
finances or your health?
Does Jesus bash us when we waiver and say
we have no faith? Nope, he is gentle and says,
"Oh, you of little faith."
We need to remember Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest
who has gone through the heavens. Jesus, the
Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we
profess. For we do not have a high priest who
is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but we have one who has been tempted in every
way, just as we are-yet without sin. Let us then
approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to
help us in our time of need.
Let's breathe, believing in the one who gave us
breath!
This was my wake up song this morning!
What a Great Hymn!
Rise up O men of God, Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength,
To serve the King of Kings, To serve the King of Kings.
Rise up O men of God, His Kingdom tarries long,
Bring in the day of brotherhood, And end the night of wrong,
And end the night of wrong. Rise up O men of God,
The Church for you doth wait.
Send forth to serve the needs of men
In Christ our strength is great, In Christ our strength is great.
Lift high the Cross of Christ, Tread where His feet have trod,
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up O men of God, Rise up O men of God.

Let's Pray: Oh Father, what holy character you have!
You did raise up Your Son for us, so spur us on to rise up
to the occasions You place before us and serve You with
a single minded focus on Christ. Christ, the pure and righteous
one, who shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins.
We do ask for wisdom and faith to flow into our lives
strengthening and encouraging us and then give us
convictions that have us stepping out in faith sharing what
we know as true in our lives with others. In Jesus Name, Amen

Where You Lead

October 24
Dang, I never know where the Lord is taking me.
Life with Him is like the TV show Survivor...a
new challenge or adventure every day. I am
beginning a study with my students on Randy
Alcorn's book Heaven for Kids (The adult version
is just called Heaven. I am feeling pulled to the
book of James as well, so just hold on with me
and we shall see where it all leads!

We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord
Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting
for him to return as our Savior. Phil. 3:20

Well that is a big AMEN right there. How about
coming back before this county falls apart? Uh, but
there are so many I love who are not ready to enter
into Your presence. Then I read how James begins
his book....James, a servant of God and of the Lord
Jesus Christ.
Studying the NIV Women of Faith Bible I read:
According to James, if we truly believe what
Jesus says, we will show it by living godly lives.
To merely say we have faith is insufficient. Living
in faith should pair adoration with action and
supplication with service. Such a faith will make
a difference to us and to others; how we live and
what we do really does matter to God.

Let's Pray: God, you are Almighty and You have a
grand plan....we want to know it, but realize in Your wisdom
You unfold what You think it best. Forgive us for all the
times we have not had servant attitudes. Spur us on
to make a lasting impact for Your kingdom. When we
see others who are lost fill us with compassion that acts.
Help us to believe James 1:2-4 where speaking through
James You tell us...Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds, 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. Living for You is exciting Lord, may our
daily actions reveal that to others! May there be a
smile upon our faces this very day that causes others
to think....what is he/she on? Ah, that would be a big
dose of Jesus and the hope of the Word!
In Jesus Name, Amen

The Body

October 23
Blackaby finishes this study on When God Speaks
by looking at God speaking through the church.
As the body is one and has many members, but all
the members of that one body, being many, are one
body, so also is Christ...the body is not one member
but many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not
a hand, I am not of the body,' is it therefore not of the

body?...if they were all one member, where would
the body be? 1 Cor. 12:12, 14-15, 19)


He emphasizes how disharmony keeps the Holy
Spirit from doing a mighty work in churches. "If
God is going to redeem our world, it will be after He has
restored His body, the church, to wholeness and
effectiveness with each member functioning under the
head as God has placed them in the body."


Let's Pray: Lord, with You all things are possible and
we need to live like we believe that. We need to tell of
Your faithfulness to generation after generation. Please
Father, let revival start in each of our hearts, spreading
into our homes and expanding into our churhes and
communities! We need you Lord and a dark and dreary
world needs our churches to shine brightly. We shall
not fear, but stand confident in Christ and spread His
love to others. In Jesus Name, Amen

Sing:
The Church's one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation By water and the Word:
From heav'n He came and sought her To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.
Elect from every nation, Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation, One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses, With every grace endued.
'Mid toil and tribulation, And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation Of peace for evermore;
Till, with the vision glorious, Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.
Yet she on earth hath union With God the Three in One
And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly, In love may dwell with Thee.