Jump Start

July 30

My walking partner is out of town for two weeks. Walking alone can get really boring so I contemplated using my husband's elliptical machine a few days a week and take a break from walking. This morning was delight though and the great outdoors lured me into her as I chose my IPOD to be my companion. Casting Crowns and Andrew Peterson really got me going. Sometimes we just need a jump start to get into a rhythm.
Three fourths of the way along the battery in the IPOD died and I was left in silence. I had a choice to make as I neared my car...get in and go home or continue the walk realizing the Lord might want to utilize the silence to speak to me.
I persevered!
Who is it you know that might just need a jump start back into their faith walk?
A simple invitation to church or maybe to join you in a Bible study this fall could make the difference to someone who has gotten out of rhythm in their walk with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.

From Repulsed to Renewed

July 29
Again and again the phone rang and the voices on the other end called themselves heartbreak, rejection, and frustration. Wanting answers from the Lord, I grabbed my Bible and headed to the dock. Before my feet even reached the walkway a rental pontoon boat pulled up near our dock filled with a loud boisterous family looking for a place to swim. Resentment began to creep into my heart..."Couldn't you go somewhere else where there isn't a person trying to enjoy the privacy of their own dock" I thought.
No sooner had I spread my towel in my lounge chair than a boat whizzed by with a wake boarder well within the 50' dock limit...music blared from the boat's speakers and our floating dock rocked violently from the waves formed by the boat's wake.
"You've got to be kidding me, I thought. This is a Wednesday, where have all these people come from."
Repulsed by my reactions I asked the Lord, "What has happened to the woman who would have normally asked these people in for lemonade and invited them to church on Sunday?"
After dinner I opened my email and a friend had recommended the preaching of a pastor named Jim Denison. I never got to his online sermon, but the C.S.Lewis passage from Mere Christianity on his blog caught my attention.

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally, we shall insist on seeing everything–God and our friends and ourselves included–as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

Now I don't believe we become devils and neither does Pastor Denison, but I do believe it is easy to grow into a grumble and get stuck there. We need to take our reactions of resentment and repulsion and replace them with a renewed spirit. Growing weary the other day a girl friend and I closed out our prayer time with ABC praise. We took each letter of the alphabet and found a reason to praise which began with that letter. It really helped our attitudes. We did get stuck on "Q" and "X". We rejoiced that we could put an "x" over Satan's attempts to discourage!

God's Word has some powerful insight related to renewal.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

Impact

July 28

The past two days my husband and I both have come upon serious car accidents as rescue workers were arriving. One involved a firetruck and took the lives of two veteran firefighters in our community. Both were reminders of how quickly life on this earth can be over.

When the word impact was on my mind in the early hours of the morning I wasn't certain if it was to be comprehended in the noun or verb form. The verb form brought to mind the accidents and I prayed for all involved. The noun form which Webster's defines as:the force of impression of one thing on another caused me to ponder the paths we are on each day and the possibility that God puts us in the presence of others for a purpose...to share His love and help position them in a place where they are open to the working of the Holy Spirit.

Let's pray we have a positive impact on people today pulling them towards a propensity to pursue a relationship with Jesus.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 3:14

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,...will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Jhn 14:26

"Getting to know God in all the ways that are possible is a lifelong journey."
Henry Cloud and John Townsend

God Makes Me Smile

July 27

Heading out to walk this morning I was dry as could be. Returning home I was drenched. By the time I was in the house and dried off one of the biggest downpours of the summer occurred and I grabbed my Bible study supplies to hunker down and be with God. The first book I opened had this verse...
Test me in this...and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Malachi 3:10
This is the kind of God I serve...one who places that verse before me in a downpour and makes me smile!

The remainder of the message, which I will share, came at a perfect time. I had just listened to a YouTube message a friend sent me and was convicted to how limited my prayers have been for this nation and the serious issues we face. I've kinda taken a defeatist attitude when it comes to where we have gone as a nation and just prayed Jesus would throw up his hands and come back!
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=qtjfMjjce2Y

My husband and I have been facing some other enormous need issues and our prayers there have been wee ones compared to what God is capable of providing. John Henry Jowett summed it up this way:
"God's ability to perform is far beyond our prayers-even our greatest prayers! I have recently been thinking of some of the requests I have made of Him innumerable times in my prayers. And what have I requested? I have asked for a cupful, while He owns the entire ocean! I have asked for one simple ray of light, while He holds the sun! My best asking falls immeasurably short of my Father's ability to give, which is far beyond what we could ever ask.

I remember when I saw the Grand Canyon in person...I was blown away by its enormity. Think, that is just one painting in God's gallery called creation! We are talking BIG God! Maybe we ask small not wanting to appear greedy and if the prayers are all about us and not centered on God's will and bringing him glory they are off base to begin with. Learning to pray in His will takes a special heart condition...a heart for him. When our prayers become properly aligned my guess is God smiles and we should go for the gusto! Pray big!

May we smile today as a natural reaction because of whom we know God to be and the realization we are loved by Him! Come on now...let me see those teeth!

"If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours."
Richard De Haan

C'est la Vie Eternelle

July 26

God puts the pieces of the puzzle together when we take time to sit with him and listen. The phrase "Hope is Happening" is what I kept hearing this morning.

In Streams in the Desert and on my calendar were these verses today:

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.
John 13: 7

By faith we eagerly await through the Spirit
the righteousness for which we hope.
Galatians 5:5

We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed;
we are perplexed, but not in despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8

Then an out of town spiritual encourager called and we were discussing similarities which we are seeing at this stage of life and she said, "C'est la Vie."
Immediately correcting herself she exclaimed, "I should be saying, such is eternal life." Typing away she researched her French and emailed me:
C'est la Vie Eternelle Yes, that is the hope that is happening...the hope of eternal life to come! Praise the Lord...I am ready to face today knowing the Father has already seen what is ahead!

Great Finds

July 24-25

Once again we are in "at home wedding mode" as well as helping another child move, so I find myself scouring the shelves of TJ Maxx, Marshall's and Target. I've had some friends helping me look for specific products. I even had a stranger approach me in the Greensboro TJ Maxx after looking in my cart and ask, "What are you planning?" A few minutes later she came up to me again and had some candles she thought would go well with my color scheme. Handing me her card she exclaimed, "I love to look for things in TJ Maxx. Call me and I will keep my eye out for you." Telling her I lived out of state didn't seem to phase her excitement to be part of the search! Elation set in today when a girlfriend called from Atlanta and had found the paper napkins for my son's rehearsal dinner.

There is a thrill of satisfaction which comes with finding what you are searching for...be it the perfect house, car or a pack of napkins. Oh, I remember well the Christmas of the Cabbage Patch doll. I had friends on the hunt from Virginia to Florida.

Jesus is a great find! God created us with void causing us to seek Him out. The things of this world are an easy find, but not fulfilling. When we find Christ, the houses, cars, and napkins of this world pale in comparison with love which overflows in relationship with Him.

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

Order Up!

July 23
This morning I was praying away before I even opened my eyes. Many of you know I have a dear friend and kindred spirit who has battled cancer for six years. Praying a way for her this morning, I was laying out for God a list of specifics for her. Then I heard him say, "While you are at it Boo. Just how is it you would like me to be bring her home to the streets of gold later in life when it is her time?"

Ugh, I realized my prayers sounded like a customer at a restaurant placing an order. "I would like to order healing for my friend, with a side of no need for meds, chemo or radiation. Instead of a salad I would like her to have a day full of laughter and for dessert a promise that she will be pain free from here on out."

Oh my. God loves my friend more than I do and he aches that she is having to endure this dreadful disease. He has her in the palm of his hand and has amazing angels surrounding her and people in place as encouragers. God has a plan, but my prayers had a tone to them which implied I felt He was not on the job.

Matthew 6:7-9 says: And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name..."

Praise the Lord He knows our hearts and is patient with us as our faith grows and when our prayers are babbly! There is no special formula to our prayer lives as exemplified by David through the variation in the Psalms. Those prayers waiver from praise to crying out in crisis mode. The important thing is to stay in communication with our Creator.

Lord, how quickly we forget who You are and how far above us (literally and figuratively)You are. Enthroned upon the heavens is the Lord, God, Almighty! Thank You, thank You for being willing to communicate with us. I didn't talk to one of those ants I smushed yesterday, yet we are probably smaller than ants in comparison to your stature and You care about every thought which passes through our minds. Take those minds Father and have us surrender them to You and Your ways. May not only our thoughts and actions reflect Your will and Your ways, but our very prayers and desires line up with what would bring You glory. All hail Lord Jesus, our King! In whose name we pray, Amen

Vacuuming Oreos

July 21-22

Yesterday's entry slipped away as I was out of town for the day and obviously had my priorities messed up. I started to simply email today..."I am here" because I am in a rush to get things together for the truck our daughter is packing to take to Minnesota. The "I am here" comment made me think how we don't always feel the Lord "right there" but we know He is there. So to those of you who were wondering or worrying..."Where is she?" All is well, just chaotic.

If you walked in my kitchen right now you would find my pantry doors open. Realizing the ants I've been battling don't like the light, leaving the doors open seems to keep them from those shelves. The other day I questioned...if they aren't in these cabinets where have they gone. Found them! Opening my front hall closet I saw them scurrying across the floor. Grabbing my vacuum I began to suck them up. Then I moved a box of dog treats on a shelf and unearthed another army of them.Thinking I had conquered the culprits I began rearranging dog treats and WHAM!
We have a box of dogie cookies similar to Oreos. Inside the box the plastic tray and covering was full of ants. I couldn't vacuum fast enough. Then I realized they were even hiding out in the cookie crevices down by the cream, so I began running the vacuum around the edge of the cookie and I could hardly keep up with all God had to say to me.
He began with how sin prefers to stay in dark places and cannot stand the light. (Thus the ants hiding out.) Pouring His Word into our lives and surrounding ourselves with like minded friends whom we trust to love us and speak truth to us is key to exposing the darkness which wants to tempt us bringing disobedience and discouragement to our days.

The cream analogy was profound, since those critters were found last. When you think about drugs, prostitution, pornography, corrupt leadership often the dealers/suppliers/leaders are the ones living the high life (in the cream if you will) and the last to be exposed. The ants which were panicking and running frantically were easily sucked up,while the others in the cream almost got away. Power and financial security often keep us from finding God as quickly as those without protective padding. Interesting how often prominent non-believers want to pass off our faith as a crutch for the weak.

Our home is supplied with a central vacuum so those ants were sucked down into a vat in the basement. I really needed to get on with my day, but God was so clear that if we don't reveal the source of our sinful behavior and totally rid ourselves of sinful temptations they will resurface. Picking up a can of ant spray I headed to the basement and opened the container and sprayed the debris with ant killer.

We can't hide from God.
Hop off to Psalm 139 and chat with Him about that fact.
In verse 23 be willing for Him to do a "sin search" in your life and be your personal exterminator by accepting the gift of His Son.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23

Just as some of us may think we live in a pest free house, there are creatures lurking in our midst and believe it or not sinfulness is on the shelf of our life wanting to take over.

Romans 3:22-24
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Psalm 103:1-5
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.


Lord, we thank You for stopping our day and allowing us to get our priorities right and come before You. Vacuum out the sinful spots that are waiting to erupt and infest our lives. Just as my house needs to have crumbs and dirt removed,so does my heart for it can quickly grow corrupt and anxious. Step in Lord, convict us, have us be quick to turn to repentance and follow You. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Prayer Worriers

July 20

One of my marvelous mentors was here attending church Sunday and she shared during the women's prayer time the power of praying scripture. She and I share in vigilant prayer for the total ceasing of cancer as a source of suffering upon this earth.

Psalm 91 is the passage she took us to that morning. I have it below in The Message translation and encourage you to turn it into a prayer. As she was reading to us, she interjected we are to be prayer worriers. The intent was to say prayer warriors.

Oh, but how often am I a prayer worrier. Praying without fully believing there is a way out. So let us lift our swords high and head into our prayer times expecting to be victorious warriors!

Psalm 91
You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow, Say this: "God, you're my refuge. I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge, the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you, harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God, "I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!"

Lather Up

July 19

Getting ready for church yesterday I realized I really needed to shampoo my hair and time was of the essence. Kneeling over the bathtub, squirting a glob of shampoo into my hand, I started to rub it in and realized my hair needed to be wetter to get an effective lather going. If I just squirted the shampoo on my head, it would be ineffective. The substance needed to be worked into my scalp for the best results.

The Word of God is similar. Our Bibles can sit by our bedsides or on shelves in our homes, but until we prepare our hearts and consciously lather the scripture into our lives it isn't going to change us.

And heaven forbid we go after a product like Pssssst. How many of you remember this? It was a powdery substance you sprayed on your hair when you didn't have time to do the real thing and wash it. Gross and double gross.
There are some Psssst religions out there. They want to just spray a "life is lovely" religion on you, without any substance. Life is a lot and not always lovely. God left us an amazing book to lead us to the way it should be lived. So let's lather up and let God's Word breathe life into our lives as He directs us today.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Napkin

July 17-18
Walking up Moonriver Lane this morning I decided to do "ABC" prayer or praise. This is when you take a letter of the alphabet and ask the Lord to place on your heart a praise or prayer request beginning with that letter. When I got to "N" the word "napkin" came to mind. I was stumped at first and asked the Lord if there was a message in that word.
A napkin is a protective covering, which is what the Holy Spirit is for us spiritually. When we confess our sins and accept Christ, we are sealed...covered by the Holy Spirit.
A napkin cleans up our messes. You know when that little bit of soup dribbles out your mouth or that glob of mayonnaise gets caught in the crevice of you mouth. Jesus came for the same reason...to clean up our messes! :)
A napkin sometimes gets stained. A little bit of my blueberry salsa stuck on one the other night.
Sin had left a crimson stain, but Jesus washed it white as snow.

This is stretching it but....
When believers take their final "nap" they will be with "kin".


Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God—
John 1:12

If you are struggling today and think God is taking a long time in hearing your cries. Email me at boojoyful@aol.com and I will send you two encouraging devotionals today. One is #110 from Psalms Now and the other is July 17th from Streams in the Desert.

Power, Potential, Passion

July 16
The misuse of words can be a hoot! I may have mentioned earlier that one of our sons just realized he had been calling rip rap, riffraff his whole life. There is a contemporary dictionary, which I think is called the "Urban Dictionary". My children have told me not to go there because I would be offended. Hmmmm?> Merriman Webster has a section on their site called the Open Dictionary and it gives great insight into unoffensive contemporary language.

Did you know w/e means whatever.
w00t is one of my favorite contemporary words meaning to triumph over.
B.K. means Before Kids
Baba is someone who does not worry about anything. Ah, to be a baba!


Words carry power, potential and passion.
The power to lift up, the power to tear down.
The potential to bring laughter, the potential to bring tears.
The passion to instill love or the passion to spread hatred.

James 1:19 evokes wisdom related to our words.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be
quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.


"Words are like nails driven into a wall.
Even though you remove the nail, the hole remains."
Robert Jeffress


Father, May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts today be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. May what we say lift someone from the doldrums of life. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Escape and Pray

July 15

The calls and emails kept coming with heavy hearted concerns of others. There wasn't a darn thing I could do to change any of these situations. Then I opened the email from the caterer my son and future daughter in law had selected for their wedding and it stated they had accepted another contract for that date. The bride and groom to be had flown all the way down here from Minneapolis and were thrilled with the chef they had selected. Panic tried to set in and my mind wanted to race. Grabbing my Bible I needed to escape to the dock and just be still before the Lord, but I realized a neighbor had asked to use the dock so her grandchildren could swim. I wanted to cry, but I decided to cook instead. We had guests coming for dinner and I wanted to bake a cake. Opening the pantry door I saw them marching by....1 ant, 2 ant, 3 ant, 4...You've got to be kidding me, what else could go wrong! Unloading six shelves of staples I smooshed every ant in sight. My pantry would impress Martha Stewart with how organized it is now.
The dock became vacant and I grabbed my Bible study book and Bible. While getting situated on a lounge chair, my Bible blew open to Psalm 27 where I had verse 14 starred. It read...
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Those simple words offered encouragement for the people in every situation I had encounter that day. As for the caterer, I chose to praise and thank the Lord and believe He had something better in mind. Heading back to the kitchen I put the finishing touches on dinner and we had a fabulous night of fellowship and ended by singing the praise song "Give Thanks".
Opening my email, before closing my eyes for the night was another piece of correspondence from the caterer. She wrote that my son had called her and she was sorry for any stress she may have caused, but she had her dates wrong and they were available for the wedding! PTL I didn't go into action mode and call other caterers...I had waited and prayed and the Lord worked it out.

"Prayer should be the key of the morning and the bolt of the night."
Henry Gariepy draft

Knowing Words...Knowing the Word

July 14

Reading in two different devotional books yesterday I was floored by the words facing me which I have never uttered. If someone asked me what those words meant there would be little confidence in my reply. A choice stood before me. Take the time to look them up and learn, or say, "This is not of eternal value, who cares and go on my way." Taking the challenge I decide to grow.

recalcitrant-obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
2:difficult to manage or operate; not responsive to treatment

dissimulate-to hide under a false appearance

duality-a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles one of which is good and the other evil

capricious- from caprice- a sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action; a sudden usually unpredictable condition, change, or series of changes

timorous-of a timid disposition, fearful, cautious

How do we handle the Word of God, which is filled with so many foreign and incomprehensible comments and phrases? Do we walk away with an attitude of defeat feeling there is no way we can understand the mind of God or do we approach the Bible with intrigue and a desire to grow in God's ways calling upon the Holy Spirit to be our dictionary?

God, we come to You today in awe of who You are and humbled by the way You love us. We hunger to know more of Your ways Lord and confess that at times we are just overwhelmed and feel inadequate to comprehend Your purposes for us. Spur us on to be teachable and may may we find confidence in David's words in Psalm 32:8 where he is trusting You to instruct him and teach him in the way he should go. As important as our understanding of the English language is to our daily interactions, may we value the eternal consequences of comprehending Your Word and being able to explain it to others. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wondering, Waivering, Waiting

July 13
Chatting away about life in the kitchen with friends this past weekend a phrase popped out of my mouth that had me scrounging in a drawer for a pen and paper.

Sometimes don't you wonder what God is up to, to the point it causes you to waiver in your faith? Then you realize in the wait for the tides to turn He has grown your faith in amazing ways which might not have been accomplished any other way.

Joseph's brothers certainly brought despair into his life and he had a lot of waiting periods, but God was always at work.
In the end he was able to look at those men and say,
You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. Genesis 50:20

Grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:18

Father, You are always at work and amazing are the works of Your hands. Ah, Lord to have your stamina. When our hearts begin to wain, wondering if the wait or often weight of life will pass, please bring to mind the wonders of Your ways. Thank You for stories such as Joseph's and the pictures of hope they paint. In Jesus' Name, Amen

His Business

July 12

Often we feel like life just isn't fair because it isn't turning out the way we wanted. Jesus was only here for thirty-three years. At the end He said,
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. John 17:4
How profound. There is so much for us to learn in that statement. Jesus didn't finish everything his disciples wanted him to do and certainly not all the multitudes hoped he would do, but His obedience and priorities were to do what God had called him to do.

Galatians 9:9-10 says:
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Look at our "to do" list. What is the driving force behind those tasks?
Are they our desires; the demands/requests of others; or have we fallen on our faces before our Father and sought His purposes for the day.

When we are not seeking His will, most often we are seeking self will.
Oh, to be able to have the mind of Christ who loved to be about His Father's business.

May our summer routines not take us out of the routine of being still before the Lord first thing each morning.

Encourage One Another

July 10-11

Stirring up a dessert for house guests for the weekend my mind floated back to the home of a neighborhood friend. While I normally do not tell names and tales too, I will simply call this woman Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Smith had five children and was always at home, usually in the kitchen, unlike many of the mothers in the neighborhood who had maids and were off to their Jr. League meetings, bridge clubs, tennis groups, and weekly hair appointments. Most of the jobs which my friends' fathers held were a well known fact: attorneys, bankers, a VP at the railroad and owners of their own successful companies. Where Mr. Smith worked was never discussed much. I remember thinking it had something to do with electricity.
The Smiths also were the only people I knew who attended a Baptist church. Most of my friends attended the large Presbyterian or Episcopal churches downtown. (We weren't part of the in crowd, but I loved our neighborhood Methodist church.)
Mrs. Smith always had a smile on her face and spoke with the warmest most welcoming voice. Their home could easily be described as a safe haven and her children all developed the same sweet spirit as their parents. Somewhere along the way, Mr. Smith became the president of the Electric Steel company which he had worked for and was every bit as successful as the other fathers, but remained very humble.
I'm not sure when it hit me how relevant their faith was to their lives and how their home life exemplified Biblical principles, but now I see it is Jesus who made this family stand apart.
All this led me to think about the letters we write to people when their parents die and all the nice things I would have to say to the Smith children. Instead I decided the thing to do was to pick up the phone and call Mrs. Smith while she is still alive and let her know I've seen Christ in her all these years.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

PPP

July 9

Looking out the window I longed to be down on the dock with a girlfriend who had come by so her grandchildren could swim. Two loads of laundry lingered on the table waiting to be folded and more stared at me from their baskets needing to be suds upped, my grocery store run had not been attempted, plus after several phone calls (I did iron through these) and feeding the neighbor's cat I hadn't done my Bible study. I grabbed a piece of Chili chocolate (yum) and contemplated my situation.

"Priorities, prayer and purpose," came to mind.
Yup, that sounds like a God thing.

My purpose in life is doing the will of my Father and this can only be revealed when He is my first priority and I am seeking Him through prayer. Sticking a load of wash in, I picked up my Bible study and exhilaration arrived as God washed me up with his Word.

I highly recommend Sharon Jaynes' study...The Power of a Woman's Words.
Get the companion workbook and study guide. God's correction is so gentle and loving. Yesterday's chapter was on the power of a woman's words to her husband.
Sarah, Eve and Job's wife all used words which were less than encouraging to their husbands. The book lists 25 things to never say and 25 things your husband longs to hear. (No..."I have a head ache", nor "Let's get it on" are not on there.)

The words we speak have so much power and what we put into our minds, as well as with whom we choose to fellowship, has so much influence over what comes out of our minds.

The joy of the Lord brings me peace!
Exalt the Lord our God. And worship at His footstool-He is holy. Psalm 99:5

Father, You created our mouths. May all that flows out of them today cover others with hope, love and a longing to know you more. In Jesus' name, Amen

Reveal Yourself to Us

July 8

In elementary school we had the SRA reading program. It was an independent, self paced, program and is still marketed today by McGraw Hill publishers. The 12 x 12 x 12 box set on a table in the back of the classroom and contained stories which you read and then answered a series of questions. A checking key was provided and after passing a certain number of stories in one level you could move onto the next. I loved the challenge!

Our spiritual walk is a similar program. There is always another, more challenging, level before us. The purpose...to keep us reliant on the Holy Spirit and not on ourselves. I've been blessed to fellowship with a sister in Christ this past week and we were amazed in the similarities of the trials we have both experienced this year. God was so gracious to bring us together so we could see we are not alone in in this lesson learning process. We both know for certain God is about to reveal "a new thing" in our lives.

Reveal: to make known through divine inspiration;
to open up to view.

Whew, this is what happened to John in a BIG way while exiled by the Romans to the island of Patmos as a result of his proclamation of the gospel. He received quite the divine inspiration and was told to write this Revelation down. Now there is no way I am going to lead you on a journey through Revelation, but I do want to leave you with this thought today.

Revelation 1:8 says..."I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, ans who is to come, the Almighty."

Everything and everyone who has been, is now and is to come is from the Creator God, who is the authority over all creation. Whatever it is that we treasure, God controls. Talking to another "old" friend today, who is having similar revelations, we three agreed... God is leading us to let go of a lot...children, houses, things...and look to Him alone.

The same God who spoke to John, longs for our attention and to reveal Himself and what is to come in our lives to us. Whatever "it" is in our lives today, "it" is to be all about Jesus!

WOW..great thought...the end result for everyone will be Jesus!
The revelation of His face is the last level in the box of life!

Packing a Punch

July 7

While Jude only had 25 verses which made the Bible cut, they were obviously important words. Think about that. At times we may only be afforded a few moments to speak to someone, but the words we have to share may be of eternal value.

Let's listen to Jude's words as if he has stopped by during one of his journeys and is sitting in our family room sharing from his heart.

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Verses 20-21

Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to what You have on our agenda today. Who is the person who needs to hear our voice, feel our touch, or read a word of encouragement from us? Ready us for action to make a difference to a hurting world. In Jesus' name, Amen

Choose to Rejoice

July 6

I am rejoicing because I just realized it is Tuesday and not Wednesday!
Elation sets in when I gain a day!

Let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God.
Psalm 68:3

I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Psalm 13:5


We have some friends who have just received devastating news about their father's health. The whole family was vacationing on the lake and the father/grandfather had to leave to go home for a doctor to go over scan results. Even after receiving news which has their hearts heavy, the children and grandchildren headed out on the lake and enjoyed their final day. Watching them tube, jet ski and swim staying close to one another my heart was so encouraged to see their strength is in the Lord.
While their faces had been filled with tears on Sunday as they shared their fears, it was obvious they were trusting in the Lord as they chose joy!

Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You.
Psalm 5:11

Each day holds it troubles, but in every moment we can choose as well to rejoice in the joy of our salvation. We gathered around our friend Sunday and laid hands upon him as we prayed. As I thought about the faces of his adoring wife, two sons, two daughter in laws, and eight gorgeous grandchildren I thought..."How rich with love this man's life is." Yes, he has a rough road ahead of him, but he has blessings surrounding him that give him the ability to rejoice.

Let's stop and count of blessings right now and rejoice.

Face to Face

July 5

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use pages and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. 2 John 1:12

A dear friend, whom I have not seen for two years and her husband are here visiting.
We used to live in the same neighborhood and now we live several states apart. While emails, phone calls, card and gift exchanges keep our relationship alive I feel like John in the above verse...my joy has been complete with this face to face exchange the past few days.

Looking into someone's eyes, holding their hands in prayer and hugging them in sincere embrace allow for love to flow in a way only God could create.

Taking to time to get off alone and seek God face to face affords us the opportunity for the same sort of exchange with our Creator.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Psalm 105: 4

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Ah, the joy which we become complete beyond our wildest expectations is the joy of seeing God face to face in heaven.

Serenity Now

July 3-4
My husband loves to watch old Seinfield shows. The TV in our kitchen was on the other night with the show where George's father has come up with a stress release plan. When a stressful situation occurs he shouts, "Serenity Now." Serenity is the state of being serene, which is defined as:
clear and free of storms or unpleasant change; marked by or suggestive of utter calm and unruffled repose or quietude.

Hmm, no where in the Bible does is state that life on earth will be serene.
1 Peter 4:12 says:
Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you,
don't be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you.


Beth Moore says: "I don't know a single person who truly seems to bear the mark of God's presence and power in his or her life who hasn't been asked by God to be obedient in a way that was dramatically painful."

My guess is it will all make sense when we see Him face to face!

Why do we testify of God's love?

July 2
Avalon has a beautiful song called Testify.

All the colors of the rainbow All the voices of the wind
Every dream that reaches out That reaches out to find where love begins
Every word of every story Every star in every sky
Every corner of creation Lives to testify

For as long as I shall live I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences When words are not enough
With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live I will testify to love

From the mountains to the valleys From the rivers to the sea
Every hand that reaches out Every hand that reaches out to offer peace
Every simple act of mercy Every step to kingdom come
All the hope in every heart will Speak what love has done

For as long as I shall live I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences When words are not enough
With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live I will testify to love


The Message translation of 1 John 1:1-4 puts into words so well what our motive for testifying to God's love should be.

1 John 1 The Message
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we're telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us. We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy!

Ay Yie Yie

July 1

Brace yourself! My walking buddy is a Yankee and I love her! My children know one of my most frequently used exclamatory phases is "Lawsie, lawsie"! My girl friend on the other hand, with her elaborate NY intonation will react to astonishing news with an "Ay, Yie, Yie" (not really sure how to spell that).

We were both stuck to the pavement in our running shoes this morning by the shock of what "went down". (I think that may be a NY phrase as well.)

In earlier posts, I have written of God revealing his presence to me through a yellow butterfly. This monarch follows me everywhere. Nudging me and pointing, my friend acknowledged the butterfly's appearance before us on the road. I exclaimed how amazing the longevity of the butterfly had been this season and noted the coloring seemed to be fading on the butterfly. "Last night the butterfly came to the hammock where my husband and I were lying and I actually thought it was going to land on my knee," I relayed ecstatically. My heart thrilled at this symbol of God's presence. Then we both gasped and grabbed for each other, frozen in our tracks with our mouths open. A blue jay flew right in front of us and ATE the butterfly! Immediately prayers flew out of my mouth and my friend said, "What does this mean?"
My thoughts went to the spiritual battle which surrounds us and how in so many ways there are attempts to extinguish God from our nation. My friend referred back to how I had noticed the fading color and praised God for quickly taking this creature so it did not have to suffer. Sharing the story with my husband his take was..."The bird was hungry!" :)
2 Peter is where we left off on our New Testament journey and in chapter 3 Peter speaks of "The Day of the Lord".
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief" (or a blue jay gobbling a yellow butterfly)..."You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming."
Let's Pray:
Father God, how amazing is Your love for us. Our knees buckle to bow before You as we think of the sacrifice You gave in the life of Your precious Son. The song..."Are you ready?" has come to mind. Who is it we are wondering if they are ready to see You face to face? Do we need to tell of Your love to another today? Prepare our hearts in a way that we are over joyed when you snatch us from this earth and we see You face to face. Equip us with the essential tools to relay that confidence of our faith to others who may wonder. The sense that You are preparing some of us for the death of a loved one is powerful right now. Be our peace, Lord. Be our peace. In Jesus' name, Amen