Surprise...the Spectrum

September 30

Well, the first surprise is that September has come and gone. Whether that is a good surprise or one that possibly brings devastation depends on the individual. Everyday we deal with the unexpected, sometimes from coincidence or the forces of nature, other times from the nature (both ends of the spectrum) of people. There are those who spread joy through the unexpected surprise of a helping hand or much needed gift that brings a lift. Opposite end...the grumble, bumble who sets out to steal joy, toss out a stumbling block and purposely inflict pain on another.

Air travel is such a set up for surprise through the suspense it holds! Putting ourselves at the mercy and expertise of others, plus the forces of random choice we have no idea what lies ahead. We could be on time,late or never leave. The people we sit next to at the gate area and on the plane could be kind, chatty, sick, miserable or a NFL (Nut for the Lord) who wants you to know Jesus loves you! :)


Wondering where the air travel analogy came from, I just remembered I spent an hour and half until after midnight working on a ticket for one of my children last night! I best start praying for those flights now!

We have no clue what or who faces us in the hours ahead. Combine hormonal middle school students and a teacher in the height of menopause and you have a package for surprise. The remedy for life's surprises is to hold onto what is constant and never changing...grab the Word of God.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me. Psalm 138:7

Let's Pray: Lord, we have no idea what awaits us today, but we can be certain, if we seek You, you will show us the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Breathe

Rarely do we think about breathing until it becomes difficult.
Rarely do the majority of people think about God until life becomes difficult.

Researching verses with the word "breathe," I found most were related
to our first breaths when God breathed into us, or our last ones pending death.
Another breathy moment is the time in which God breathes the Holy Spirit into us.
2 Timothy 3:16 refers to the scriptures, which since from God are awesome
for us to inhale and exhale unto a needy world.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

This week as we plug into the Word let's feel God breathing His wisdom and love upon us.

Order

September 28
Yesterday my word from the Lord was order. In a rush to get to church I didn't have time to linger and listen. Arriving at church I noticed on the order of service that it was Deacon Ordination Sunday. Hmmm, Order in our Nation!

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.- 1 Corinthians 2:14

Most of the world does not get Jesus.

Typing in "order" on Bible Gateway in the NIV brought up 291 verses containing "order". I chose this one for us to feed upon today.


I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:18

The Unknown

September 26-27

For the believer there is no need to fear the unknown,
for you never go there alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Again and again I see answers to prayer and have learned it is much better for
God to fight my battles. Mighty is He!
For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again,
"The Lord will judge his people." It is a dreadful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.-
Hebrews 10:30-31

Dig Deeper

September 25
Today I'm beginning a 30 day devotional with a couple friends called One Month to Live. Day One begins with a quote by Alan Sachs,
"Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives."

While I think the study will be very thought provoking, day one is void of scripture.
Each chapter begins with a wonderful quote, but reading the Word of God always seems to have more sustenance. Challenging myself, I am going to try to dig deeper and apply a verse to each day.

Colossians 4:5
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders;
make the most of every opportunity
.

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today.

I know for certain whether I have 30 days remaining or 13,000 I want to be with Jesus each day!

Which Way to Go

September 24

This morning I received a devotional from a friend on how there are periods in our lives where we are just to love God. We don't always have to be ministering. Feeling good about that I switched to the blog and began to pray for the message God wanted me to share today. (The Holy Spirit does the work here, so I count this as my therapy time, not hard core ministry.) Not hearing any immediate message I opened one of my devotionals and found this verse staring at me on today's date.

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

So how do we know which way to go? We start by sitting at Christ's feet, loving Him and listening for what He has for us. We stay attentive and compassionate, ready for action prompted by the Spirit and trust we will be equipped by the Spirit for the job. Jesus took time off and God will grant us reprieves as well!

Let's Pray: Lord, we love the way you lead. As our feet hit the ground today, direct our paths. Control our minds so that we don't miss what You are telling us.
Keep us so close that we can't help but follow. In Jesus Name, Amen

Wide, long, high, deep

September 23
Ephesians 3:17-19
...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Today is my 31st wedding anniversary. The love required for a marriage to survive has to stretch wide and long and be willing to journey to the highs of life and hold on to survive the depths of disappointment and pain which come.
Talking with friends yesterday we all agreed that life dishes out some painful experiences, but for the person who loves the Lord those times allow us to know the love of the Lord to a depth we probably never would have, unless the disappointments in life not led us there. Like the verse explains, it is in those places that God's fullness takes over and we realize there is no other place we would rather be!

Let's Pray: Oh, Great God, thank You that You are so real and really, really on Your throne. Ruler of the nations, we bow in humble adoration to You this day. May the depth of love You have for us, overflow onto someone else this very day. Help us to love with the sincerity of Christ in whose name we pray, Amen

It's Really Simple

September 22

Visiting with a neighbor last night she exclaimed, "This Christian walk is really very simple to understand. It is all about loving the Lord and loving your neighbor." Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul all have the words "Love your neighbor" penned in their books!
From the Old Testament to the New Testament these simple truths run true.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

The entire law is summed up in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself.
Galatians 5:14

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you,
in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:7

Let's Pray: Lord, You are so lovable. You are giving, caring,
compassionate and wise. Day after day I meet these others we are called to love and the task is not so simple! Change our hearts today Father. Make them function as
Jesus' heart did. Full of grace, overflowing with forgiveness and acceptance and always open to let outsiders in. Unleash us in Your name and through the power of the Holy Spirit today to a lost and hurting world which can be transformed by the love of Christ. In the name of the Son who so gracious did come! Amen

Something's Gotta Give

September 21
Falling back to sleep this morning after being roused by my husband, I awakened in a panic knowing I would be late for school. I rolled over and said, "Something's gotta give in this life, we can't keep going like this."

Priorities- something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.

Rushing to get out the door, all I know is my time with Jesus has to be numero uno.
His way is the best way and without sitting and being still before Him there is no
way to know!

Let's Pray: Lord, I think there was a song I heard once about you that had a lyric which said, "Closer than a heartbeat." Forgive me when I rush and run on my own
steam, forgetting the greatest gift ever given to me gave me the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide me in all things. Because of the Holy Spirit, Father you are closer than a heartbeat. May the smile on my face today show others that while the world may be going crazy and even the events close to be at times to be out of control I can smile in total peace because I have a piece of the Trinity in me! In Jesus Name, Amen
Let's step into today singing praise! May our smiles and our joy make others very curious about us!

I am with You

September 18-20
Whew, TGIF. This has been a hectic week for me at school.
God is such a creative teacher. The verse pounding in my head this morning was a challenge to find on Biblegateway. I knew I wanted the one which talks about God being with us until the end of time.
My hubby gets credit for finding the passage in Matthew 28:20B
...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

I just wanted the "with you" part, but God wanted me reading the "obey everything I have commanded you."

On the home page of Biblegateway today is this verse:
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.”- Philippians 2:3-4

Good tip of encouragement for a teacher!
Have a great weekend.

Remembered for...

September 17
We watched a DVD on Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee in preparation for a school field trip to Lexington. One of the other teachers and I said we kept getting chill bumps from the tales which were told. What godly men! Over and over again the story line referred to the faith of these men. Jackson was truly a man who prayed without ceasing and was excited to see Jesus, even at the young age of 39. He said he had always wanted to die on the Lord's day and his wish was fulfilled.
The video spoke also of the admiration the troops had for Jackson and a total trust in him.
What a great way to be remembered...a man of great faith who prayed without ceasing and was totally trustworthy.
Hey, Jesus has the same legacy!

Let's Pray For generations You have been praised Father. From the beginning of time "faithful" has been added to your name. What an amazing reputation You have. May the footprints we leave behind, the memories in our
photo albums and the ones ingrained in others hearts leave a yearning for others to know You and love You as we do. In Jesus' Name, Amen

In the Twinkling of an Eye

September 16
God awakened me at 1:15AM with the title of today's devotional. I should have just gotten up then and written while the stars were twinkling. Life can change in the twinkling of an eye. Heading to Back to School Night last night I was on top of the world, full of joy and then bam...two phone calls changed my perspective on the day in a twinkling of an eye. Calling to the Lord, I reminded myself where my joy comes from...the Lord, not my circumstances. "Father, I need you to restore my joy before I have to address these parents." During our faculty prayer time the tears dripped down my checks. How will I get it together I thought? Then in a twinkling of an eye I entered the room full of parents and they were singing How Great is Our God. Worked for me!

In a twinkling of an eye...Joseph's brothers threw him in a pit. Life as he had known it changed, but his faith did not.
Jesus asked in Luke chapter 8... (Like he didn't know.) Who touched me?...Somebody touched Me..for I perceived power going out of Me... And in the twinkling of an eye the woman who had been bleeding was healed.

Yesterday, in a twinkling of an eye, I was dumped out of a kayak into the lake in my clothes and had to continue supervising our club time looking rather drippy. :)

Life changes, life on earth even ends, and for those of us who love the Lord at some point in a twinkling of an eye we will see Him face to face.

Let's Pray: Father, we praise You for being our constant in a changing world. Forgive us when we forget that Your steady hand is upon us and we start to panic. Help us to remember, this life is not the end of the story...the best chapters are yet to come for they will be lived out with You! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Things Money Can't Buy

September 15

In the Middle School Bible class I am teaching we are studying an overview of the New Testament. We've just finished taking a look at Matthew, the despised tax collector turned follower of Christ. The curriculum called for an exercise where the students were to pretend they had been given $500 to bid on items from a life supply of candy or clothes, a sports car, 100 Bibles to be distributed to a foreign country, food for starving people, a movie or NBA career to the number one pick...a happy family! We discussed which choices had a good return on their investment, then we tossed around examples of things which money cannot buy.

The new picture on the blog is of a dear friend, who my husband baptized here at Shiloh this summer. She has battled various cancers for several years. This summer she requested the summer off from treatments. This morning she will have a scan to see how things are. I found great comfort in a devotional I read last night and an email to the same affect from a friend trusting the Lord for a job for her son.
"The world sees strength in action. In My Kingdom it is known that strength lies in quiet. In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength," says the Lord.
Money cannot buy my friend a clean scan or peace for those of us waiting to hear, but God can provide a peace which passes understanding and perfect healing for her in His time!
What is it you desire which money cannot buy? Ask Your Provider to make a way!
In Jesus' Name.

Opportunity

September 14
On the property across from us stands a white birdhouse on a tall pole. God impressed upon me the importance of us being light in an often dark world.
The word opportunity led me to sniff our some scriptures my concordance.
Here are some great verses with which to step into a new week!

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10

...making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.
Ephesians 5:16

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every
opportunity.
Colossians 4:5

Looking up I could see the reflection of the birdhouse in the lake.
Proverbs 27:19 stirs us to ponder the reality:
As water reflects a face, so a man's heart reflects the man.

Hmm, likewise what we make of the opportunities which God puts before us, to bring Him glory, reflects our hearts. How blessed we are to be called His chosen ones and serve Him.
Let's Pray: Open the eyes of our hearts Lord to where You want us working. We are mesmerized by all You do. Forgive us when we are in taking mode and forget the joy that comes from giving back. Help us to look at situations and then ask the Spirit to show us opportunities to act on Your behalf. May today be a "Glory Getting Day" for You our King of Kings and may many accept the free gift You have to offer! When we place our heads on our pillows tonight, may we also see ourselves placing our heads in Your lap and looking back on a day where we saw You all around! In Your Name, we pray, Amen

Use the Name-Jesus

September 12-13

One day this week a student came to me and he had stapled his fingers together. Quickly I said, "Help me Jesus, as I reached with my fingernails and pulled that staple out!" Last spring we drove to Nashville when tornadoes were touching down around us. At one point a tanker truck hit the side rail and swung towards our car...again the cry..."Help us Jesus!"
Thursday we had students here for our fishing, wakeboarding and kayaking clubs...two of our Middle Schoolers were fishing from a double kayak and a LARGE (weighing as much as one of the students) turtle surfaced beside them sticking his enormous brown head up in their faces. I think, "WHOA" is what came from their mouths, but "Help us Jesus" would have been an option. One boy wanted to try to hook the turtle. The other had enough sense to say, "No way, who knows how far he would pull us!"
Today I was reading in the devotional book God Calling and it says, "My Name is the Power that turns evil aside, that summons all good to your aid. Spirits of evil flee at the sound of 'Jesus'."
This writing goes on to challenge readers to speak the name of Jesus, not only when you need help, but also in love.

Let's pray and say the name of our Savior in absolute adoration:
Father, the beauty of this fall day is magnificent. You are amazing. We press our hands to our hearts and feel each beat, We say "thank You" for the gift of life. Now touching our fingertips together and closing our eyes we imagine Your touch. We open those hands and lift them in praise to You and use our voices to say..."We love you sweet Jesus" in whose name we have the privilege to pray. Amen

Short Time

September 11
Leaving for work, my husband nudged me at 6AM. I had overslept and responded with, "That was a short night!" Realizing today is the 8th anniversary of 9/11 is yet another sign of how fast time flies I thought about the importance of making the most of our time.
I am preparing to start a one month devotional study on a book called "One Month to Live". The premise is a challenge of how we would live if we knew we only had 30 days left here on earth.
Jesus had a brief time period on earth, but packed a lot into his ministry days and made an eternal impact. Just stopping to pray, I asked the Lord, "What do you want me to say about that Father?" His reply..."Just ask them to love Me."

I am not sure what time you will get up today or how many hours you will be awake.
Evaluate those moments and challenge yourself to a percentage of time sharing about Jesus with others and personally sharing your love for Jesus with him!
Loving Jesus and loving each of you!

Sisters in the Throne Room

September 10

Bam, band, whoa, where did that one come from. That is how things felt at school yesterday as one teacher did not show up, a child had an emotional meltdown, and the board meeting was going on down the hall while our headmaster was fighting the flu and a tooth.(I've caught his toothache!) It was also the first AWANA night for
the church we rent, which meant we had major clean up to do before we left.
We had to call in impromptu faculty meeting to deal with a student situation, but God
used that time for good as we all began to pray. When we came up out of prayer, one
of the teachers said she could just burst into tears. Yikes! No, it was a good thing for it was a God thing. She explained that when she prays she always envisions herself the throne room with God on his throne and giant white columns all around.
As she prayed she saw those of us praying together as sisters praying together before the Lord! What a beautiful picture.
This past weekend we saw someones debutante pictures and I was explaining to another woman the debutante process, which ends with a ball and a beautiful white dress.
If I didn't have to go off to school this morning I would love to try to paint a picture of the glory of God shining down on a group of women, bowed before him in their beautiful white dresses!
The awesome thing is for now, we can come in our rags or our nightgowns and even have wet hair and still be beautiful in His sight!

You know when a crowd gets excited and cheers and chants? Well, that is how this victorious passage makes me feel.
"Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, 'In the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.' All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the Lord all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult." Isaiah 45:23-25


Let's Pray: Father, we all have people to see, places to go and things to do, but none have more importance than entering Your courts with praise this morning and lifting our voices of adoration to YOU! We come into Your presents with thanksgiving in our hearts and give you praise, and bow before You Mighty One. In Jesus Name, Amen

9/9/09

September 9

Oversleeping this morning, I quickly prayed for the Lord to allow me to
come into His presence and hear from his this morning. He gave me an
interesting image....a tanning bed. Now I have never experienced one of
these, but from pictures am guessing they are kind of like a panini maker.
You get in and lower the top, but not totally like a coffin. Then I suppose
bright lights aluminate your body and give you a tanned glow! How kool
would it be if we could fill ourselves with the Holy Spirit the same way.
Actually, we don't have to go anywhere. We can lie in our own beds and ask
to be filled up in a way that makes us glow!

Twenty-one years ago I gave birth to our baby...number six.
I am praying he has a wonderful day all the way down south in Auburn, AL.
In honor of the 21 years I began going to chapter 21 in various books of
the Bible for my quiet time.
Just hitting Proverbs, Psalms, Matthew and Luke filled me up! I will share a
couple passages below and ask the Lord to speak to each of you from His Word.

Psalm 21
O LORD, the king rejoices in your strength.
How great is his joy in the victories you give!
You have granted him the desire of his heart
and have not withheld the request of his lips.
You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed
a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days,
for ever and ever.
Through the victories you gave, his glory is great;
you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
Surely you have granted him eternal blessings
and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD;
through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace.
In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up,
and his fire will consume them.
You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes,
they cannot succeed;
for you will make them turn their backs when
you aim at them with drawn bow.
Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.

Then some end times predictions from Luke 21:
10Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12"But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By standing firm you will gain life.

We are to be Stars

September 8

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save if for a rainy day.
Perry Como, was singing away in my mind this morning. Ok, more than half of
you are saying..."Who is Perry Como?"
Where are you going with this Lord? Is there an acronym for STAR? Stopping
to go brush my teeth and glancing on the toothpaste tube my eyes feel upon the words, "Brilliant Sparkle". Ah, confirmation for sure that star was what the Lord wanted me seeking out this AM.

Philippians 2:14-16
Do everything without complaining or arguing,so that you may become
blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and
depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as
you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of
Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.


Blameless and pure...that is a heavy load to tote and we are not to tote heavy loads. Lloyd John Ogilvie sheds some light on this topic
in one of his devotionals.
"You do not ask me constantly to take my own spiritual pulse, but rather to
become more aware of the pulse beat of Your Spirit working in and through me.
Light of the world, shine my words, radiate Your glory in my attitudes."

There is a star who has fallen upon us and we can put Him in our pocket and
have him there for everyday! His name is the Holy Spirit and he is our work
horse!
Shine Jesus shine! We love You Lord!

Clean Stall

September 5-7
Entering a public restroom today I was greeted by a very chipper
attendant. She chirped something which caught me off guard and I replied,
"I beg your pardon." She said, "A clean stall awaits you."
All I could think of was Jesus and I responded..."No one said that to
Jesus." I think I took her as off guard as she had taken me, as she gave
a perplexed, "Huh?"
"Ya know, Jesus being born in a stall. I don't think the inn keeper made
reference to the stall he was offering to Mary and Joseph being
clean necessarily."

We have so much.
Ephesians 3:20
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,according to the power that works within us.

Let's count our blessings before we go to sleep.

The View

September 4
Depending on which window I look out of my house, I get a different view.
When discipline problems occur at school you can get totally different views
from various parties involved. God gets the full view though and knows
the truth! Praise His mighty name.
For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. Proverbs 5:21

What a blessing that we serve a God who sees all and loves us just the same!

Configuring Updates

September 3

Turning on my computer this morning it was in spin mode...
nothing was happening, so I shut it down to start over. When
it came back on it said, "Configuring Update".

What a picture of our spiritual lives...they are never complete
this side of heaven and in constant need of updates! So let's
open God's Word today and "reboot" our lives. His Word is never
out of date for it is living and sharper than any two edged sword!

Let's Pray: Father of the Living Word, breathe Your
breath on us today. Help us lay our woes and fears quickly at Your feet.
Erase the pain, the doubt, any anxiety and on a clean slate in red marker
write Jesus Loves You and may we wear that fact in clear sight today.
Give us a hunger for Your Word which will never cease. Fill us to overflowing
so we have plenty of Jesus to give away to others today. Thank You for your
constant updates! We love you Lord. In Your Name, we say Amen!

Endangered Species

September 2
My students are writing a paragraph on an animal which is on the
endangered species list. Thinking about the assignment related to
our lives made me realize the Future Believers of America are a rare
and an endangered species. We need to do our part to protect the
Gospel and the right for it to be preached freely in our nation.
This past week four lives were changed for all eternity at our
school, because these students prayed to receive Christ. Another
young man publicly recommitted his life to the Lord.
Teaching in a Christian school is definitely where the action is...
when the Holy Spirit is on the move it is a thrill to be watching!
Be part of rescuing an endangered species...tell someone about
Jesus today!

Matthew 7:14
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it.

Security

September 1
My husband had to leave for work way before sunrise. Letting the
dog out after his breakfast I instinctively locked the door when he
returned, because it was still pitch black out. I am not a big fan
of being alone (that worked well since we had so many children) and
kind of laughed at the thought of that door bolt being my security!
The Lord quickly whispered...I am your security!

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.

Isaiah 54:17

Prosper- one of my students asked me the meaning of this word yesterday.
"To succeed in an enterprise or activity; to become strong and
flourishing; to cause to succeed or thrive."

Those who come against the Lord's beloved will not experience prosperity.

Security! Yesterday I had the privilege of praying with two young men
in my class as they asked Jesus into their heart. A third wanted to
pray and recommit his life to the Lord! I looked at them after the
prayer and said, "No one can ever steal Jesus from you. They can rob
your things, they can beat you and toss insults at you, but they cannot
take Jesus out of your heart!" Now that is security!

Let's Pray: Lord, as the red ball of fire, we call the
sun, is beginning to rise securely in the sky, so the hope of our salvation
rises with us this morning. We lift Your name on high, we love to sing
Your praises. We are so glad You're in our live. We are so glad You came
to save us! May the joy of our salvation flow into the life of another
today. In Jesus' Name, Amen