It's A Boy

November 30
Yesterday I had the privilege of joining my daughter for her ultrasound to see if she is having a boy or a girl. Having five younger brothers I think a part of her was thinking a girl might be nice. Not this time. It's a boy!
Today is St Andrew's Day. Lloyd John Ogilvie writes: "Lord Christ as Andrew the fisherman left his nets to become Your disciple, so too today I recommit my life to answer Your call. 'Come, follow me!' He took took You seriously when You promised him and the other disciples, 'I will make you fishers of men.'"
My precious daughter came and crawled in my bed this morning for us to do our quiet times together. She has been involved with a ministry called Young Life since her high school days. She has been a student participant, summer camp volunteer and paid summer staff, a volunteer leader as a college student, and now as an adult is still a leader and also the administrative assistant in the city where she lives. As she was studying God's Word she shared with me this thought: "It seems to be that there is a shortage of godly men in our country. We are always praying for male leadership in Young Life. It thrills my heart to think that my husband and I have the opportunity to raise up a boy who may become a strong male Christian leader."

That is such a perfect example of where our hearts should be. We look at the circumstances we are in, praise God for what He has given us and evaluate how those gifts and resources can be used for His glory! Oh, boy!

Let's Pray: Father, We praise Your name! You have formed each of us to your perfection. What we may see as flaws, You plan to use as a draw...a way to draw us and others closer to You for our good! Open our eyes Lord that we might see Jesus today and desire to be like Him. In His name we pray, Amen

My daughter just shared this quote by Charles Day Fouchauld:
The more we lack everything, the more we resemble Jesus crucified.

Hmm...Look to Him to look like Him!
Love to each of you today. Tell someone about the life of the Dec. 25th birthday boy today.

Resources

November 29
The word rang loud and clear when I awakened..."resources." Was I dreaming about my MAC computer appointment today and all the resources available to on this machine? Searching and seeking, I began by reflecting on the prefix "re" which means again. Hmm, ok, sometimes we have to go to our resources again and again. Continuing I looked up the definition of resource and saw God there....A source of supply; an available means; a natural source of wealth (smile, ok that may be in heaven); a natural feature or phenomenon that enhances the quality of human life; a source of information or expertise (you've got to love those when thinking of God as our greatest resource).
Then I was led to break away the prefix and look up the word "source". Therein I found what God wanted me to remember about him today.
Source: A point of origin.
It all goes back to God, who is and has been and will always be. No matter what is tossed at us today His love, his sovereignty and His Kingdom to come remain steadfast.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
Proverbs 18:10
Let's Pray: Father, when it comes to all the world's resources, we are elated to know You as our ultimate "out of this world" resource! Of all the connections we could have to supply assistance, Jesus is the One to which we are thankful to be connected. Grow us in the resource of Your grace and wisdom. In Jesus Name Amen

Hallelujah

November 27-28
Hallelujah! You can't say that word and be sad.
Our youngest, an Auburn graduate and current grad student, watched last night's football game against rival Alabama from his fiance's home in Florida. I believe we heard his "hallelujah" after the game, all the way up here in Virginia.

Shrek has a "Hallelujah" song and I found an amazing version performed by 4 male vocalists on Youtube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2NEU6Xf7lM

There is a wonderful Amy Grant song called Better than a Hallelujah with these lyrics:
We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful, the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah

Interestingly, there is no reference of the word "hallelujah" in the King James version of the Bible. Searching the NIV translation, it is not until Revelation that this word, which is an expression of praise, joy or thanks, appears.

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “
Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns..

We will sing hallelujah all day long in heaven with ease! Bring it on! A spirit of thankfulness and praise help us to have those same attitudes of rejoicing here on earth.
"Hallelujahs are the language of heaven, and they can become the language of your heart." Sarah Young (Jesus Calling)

Let's Pray: Great is your name and worthy of praise. Let all the earth rejoice. Forgive us when we fret. A life with Jesus should have no regrets! Whatever today brings, we will bring it to You and sing....hallelujah! In Jesus' Name, Amen

Nutty Mix

November 26
Snacking on a bag of fruit/nut mix I told my husband life certainly did work well for us as a couple. The sunflower seeds, cranberries and raisins were most appealing to me, while he only wanted the big almonds in the bag. Together we weren't wasting a thing, but complimented one another with our differences. He said, "We are a nutty mix!" God created each of us with various gifts, personalities, likes and dislikes. Like everything He does, he has a purpose in His plan.

The Message translation of the Bible has a great message for us concerning our uniqueness and the responsibility we have to handle our gifts with care!

Romans 12:4-8 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Let's Pray: Jesus, people certainly saw you as nutty! Praise God we can say we see You as the ultimate gift and Giver of Gifts! While millions of people around the world are out gift shopping on this day titled "Black Friday" prod us to take inventory of our spiritual gifts and how we are using them. Also, help us to love the people we see in this world as "nuts". That feat becomes more attainable when we realize they are Your precious creations and have a purpose. Where we are weak, help us realize and give thanks that quite often You put someone in our path who is strong in that position! In Jesus' Name, Amen


His Gentle Whisper

November 24-25
Rough night. We just realized we've been victims of credit card fraud, our mailbox was smashed in, our republican primary candidate for our state senate seat lost and I have overslept two hours on the day before Thanksgiving. Yaaaaah...Put on the praise music fast!
When you pass through the waters I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2a
The "to do" list was toppling yesterday, yet I took time out to go hear the testimony of a widow, whom I have just met in a spiritual accountability group, as she shared on the first year anniversary of her husband's death. Then our group met and shared for two hours. When I got to the grocery store there was Thanksgiving madness! I was so calm though, because I had taken the time to be still before the Lord.
Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
L.B. Cowman wrote: "For the hearts that will cease focusing on themselves, there is the peace of God which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7); quietness and trust (Isaiah 30:15), which is the source of all strength; a great peace that will never make them stumble (Psalm 119:165); and a deep rest, which the world can never give nor take away. Deep within the center of the soul is a chamber of peace where God lives and where, if we will enter it and quite all the others sounds, we can hear His gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12)

At this holiday time, let's pray for one another to still find holy day time and be still before the Lord.

Got Questions? Gnocchi I do!

November 23
Walking the grocery aisles of Target I looked at a packaged item called gnocchi. I had no clue what it was. The directions said to put it in boiling water, but that was all. Being clueless, I decided to Google it when I got home and found out it is an Italian product similar to a soft dumpling. What did we do before Google? We mostly relied on the encyclopedia.
Often we are either too lazy or too embarrassed to ask when we don't know something. Do we avoid asking Biblical questions? I recently came across a Christian web site called:
www.gotquestions.org
It is filled with random questions concerning Christianity. Yesterday's topic, related to what the Christian's focus should be on Thanksgiving, was excellent.

Sleeping with a man involved with ministry, who has a head and heart full of Biblical knowledge, I thought about pastors, Christian educators and other ministry leaders. While they have their time to shine and spread God's Word in the pulpit or when addressing groups, so often a lot of their time is spent putting out fires, praying with others over problems, and listening to complaints. I wonder how often to they have someone schedule an appointment, send an email or make a call to discuss a faith based question. Wouldn't that just thrill their heart!
Got questions? Go to some God based sources and get some good answers.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:'When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to me.'...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 4:7, 11-12

Love to be Loved

November 22
JOY! Yup, plain and simple that is what I feel when I am around our grandson. This picture kind of says it all. We had not seen each other in two weeks and were both shivering with excitement when we ran into each other's arms! Whew! What a high!
You can see more pics on our daughter in law's blog...www.thoseandrews.blogspot.com.
She is much more creative than I when it comes to web design!

That initial encounter Saturday morning between Parks and myself, as thrilling as it was, will probably pale in comparison to what it will be like when we see Jesus face to face. The wonderful thing about being with someone you love, who loves you back so unconditionally, is that it is not just the initial meeting that fills up your soul. Whether it was getting him out of his crib at 6AM, wiping peanut butter and jelly from his face, or bathing his little body, the love abounded. Don't you just imagine eternity in heaven will be filled with the same extravagant love no matter what the activity on hand.

We don't have to wait wait to enjoy those loving encounters with Jesus. As we enter into this week of Thanksgiving our hearts should be overflowing with joy as we express appreciation for the life we have been given...created in Christ Jesus...God's workmanship...whew we...what a privilege. Schedule in a praise time this week...it can be as simple as going alone out to your car and turning on a Christian radio station (which PTL we are blessed to have in this nation) and singing along with your hands lifted high! (Ok, if this is new to you, be sure you are in your garage or on an abandoned road...smile.) If you really want to feel the love, open your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to make the Word come alive and pour God's love out over you.

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:16b

Let's Pray: Lord, you are the lover of our souls. Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving for the love you hand out to us time and time again. Forgive us for the times we have been too busy or complacent to receive what You were just waiting to give us. Make us mindful of the needs of others and may we be vessels which pour forth your love this very day. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Mixed Nuts

November 26
Snacking on a bag of fruit/nut mix I told my husband life certainly did work well for us as a couple. The sunflower seeds, cranberries and raisins were most appealing to me, while he only wanted the big almonds in the bag. Together we weren't wasting a thing, but complimented one another with our differences. He said, "We are a nutty mix!" God created each of us with various gifts, personalities, likes and dislikes. Like everything He does, he has a purpose in His plan.

The Message translation of the Bible has a great message for us concerning our uniqueness and the responsibility we have to handle our gifts with care!

Romans 12:4-8 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't.

If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Let's Pray: Jesus, people certainly saw you as nutty! Praise God we can say we see You as the ultimate gift and Giver of Gifts! While millions of people around the world are out gift shopping on this day titled "Black Friday" prod us to take inventory of our spiritual gifts and how we are using them. Also, help us to love the people we see in this world as "nuts". That feat becomes more attainable when we realize they are Your precious creations and have a purpose. Where we are weak, help us realize and give thanks that quite often You put someone in our path who is strong in that position! In Jesus' Name, Amen


Methods of Madness

November 20-21
Do you need a reason to rejoice today? You could rent your favorite movie or open up the book of Exodus to chapter 14 and read the Red Sea story! Ah, what a victory! Pharaoh had let the Israelites go from Egypt. Moses, who by this time in his life was used to listening to the Lord and obeying, was comprehending the latest instructions to have the people (Israelites) camp by the sea.
Then the Lord throws in a kicker..."And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them." Say WHAT? Give these people a break Lord! Here is where we have to keep listening to the Lord and thus be able to trust the madness in some of His methods.
He continues: "But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord."
If you don't know the rest of the story, you must read it and thrill in the climaxes like Moses saying to the people: "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."
Or the Lord saying to Moses: "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen."
Oh, it's all I can do to not type the rest of the story!!!!
The point for us to take away is that God is all about gaining glory and seeing His Kingdom come. He is spurred on by the love He has for us and wanting His best for us and our families. While quite often his methods seem like madness or unjust actions, His ways are not our ways and He sees a MUCH bigger picture than we will ever be able to comprehend this side of heaven.

So the question is....do we trust Him in the madness?
If we are just looking at our needs and not God's plan, we will miss it in a moment.

Many of us are in the midst of what appears to be madness. We are facing unknowns and for some of you those are literally questions like...Will I have a roof over my head? Just this week we've seen God work. Some neighbors lost their home and were moving to an apartment to be told a couple days before they could not come because of their dog. The U-haul was ready to load, but they had no idea where it was going. Then it happened...a place came through which is ten times nicer than the first option. The mother told me, "I just had to trust God."

God is great at showing up and showing off today, just as he did at the Red Sea!

Pain

November 19
Jesus Calling has a devotional which reads:
“Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you. The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal. You seem to think that I empower you equally each day, but this is not so. Your tendency upon awakening is to assess the difficulties ahead of you, measuring them against your average strength. This is an exercise in unreality.
I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. The degree to which I strengthen you on a given day is based mainly on two variables: the difficulty of your circumstances,and your willingness to depend on Me for help. Try to view challenging days as opportunities to receive more of My power than usual. Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do. As your day, so shall your strength be."

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4
(Great Psalm which has us look back into history at God's faithfulness thru crummy times.
Ugh, I am thinking of Moses and his 40 years in the desert).

I learned to start singing praise and just seek the face of the Lord when the mental battle of life gets horrific due to pain (physical or emotional). It works.
My prayer for you all today it that the reasons to rejoice will be so grand that they mask your pain or that in your pain and seeking Him he takes you to a high place that gives you a HIGH which overrides the pain. My heart's desire for those in pain is that Jesus would give them a day that makes them feel like dancing.

ACTS

November 18
Unable to get back to sleep, after a 3AM hot flash I decided to pray my way back to sleep. Choosing the "A.C.T.S." technique of prayer I began silently (as not to awaken my bed buddy) singing a praise song to "A"-acknowledge who God is.
Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart
And give Him praise, and give Him praise
Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your heart
Your voices raise, your voices raise

Give glory and honor and power unto Him
Jesus, the name above all names
There was a second song, but I can't remember it now. Moving on to "C"-confession, I asked the Lord to gently scrub me with a soft sponge, removing any filth. (PTL-I can't remember all those things right now either and the beauty of God's forgiveness is that he has forgotten them as well.)
"T"-thanksgiving began by snuggling up next to the hot (in more ways than one) body next to me and thanking God for a husband who fears God, stands firm in His faith and stays in His Word. Then I gave thanks for my earthly father and grandfather, who abundantly gave to their children in a way that allowed us to buy Shiloh. I was heading into "S"-supplication and asking the Lord to show me what was next here at Shiloh. The upkeep is tough as we get older and no longer have children nearby to help. If we are to continue to use this property to bring Him glory he will give us the strength to persevere. The devil must not have wanted me to know the answers because I fell back to sleep! :)

And in the night His song shall be with me-A prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42:8b
Let's Pray: Lord, You are a listener, longing to hear and then speak to our hearts. Have us take our ear plugs out and slip away to a quiet place with You today wearing attitudes of expectancy. May Your joy be our strength as we face this particular day, remembering You are a Father who wants to give good gifts to his children. The gift You have for us today will most likely be a total surprise and maybe not on our wish list, but You give only what we need to make us more like Your Son. We are desperate for what You give! ACT now! In Jesus' name, Amen


Reconcile vs Conceal

November 17

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
Matthew 5:23-24

Conceal:to prevent disclosure or recognition of; to place out of sight

Reconcile: to restore to friendship or harmony; settle, resolve.
Coming out of a time of prayer this morning I turned to the passage of scripture above, which revealed I'd missed some spots in my confession time. As I read Matthew 5:23-24 and took in the word "reconcile" the word "conceal" came immediately to mind. We are slow to reconcile our hurts/differences with others because it is much easier to conceal (to place out of sight) that there is a problem and just move on. In the ways of the world that is fine and dandy. Just move on to the next relationship and see how long it lasts. For Christians the problem isn't so simple because it creates a blockage to our prayer lives.
Is there someone you are dodging in the grocery store aisles. With the holidays upon us who are you prone to avoid at Christmas parties or pray you don't have to sit near at the family dinner?
This verse actually has a little twist to it. Usually when we are talking to the Lord it is about people who have hurt us. This charge to us is to go to people who have something against us.
Does it guarantee they will welcome us with open arms? Nope, but that's for God to handle. All He asks us to do is our part.

Let's Pray: Abba, Father, from the beginning of time You have had a plan for abundant living for Your children. Just like the detailed instructions and packs of screws which come with putting together Ikea items or a new grill, when we follow the directions it works out beautifully and we have a useful item. You created us to be useful for Your purposes, but we need to follow Your directions. Life really is all about relationships and the most important one to have intact is the one we have with You. You never disappoint. We've been created in Your image, but are constant works in progress. May Your words sink into our hearts and minds and bring forth improvements in our lives today. Oh, to be like Jesus! A man who listened to the word and did what it says. In His name we pray, Amen

Disconnect

November 16

Driving into the city yesterday, my eyes were drawn to the broken yellow lines signaling an appropriate passing lane. My morning had been a bit rushed and I was heading in to do some baby gift and Christmas shopping before meeting some friends. I had quieted myself in the Word but there had been several interruptions during that time and I felt a disconnect from the Lord. Those broken lines represented what I felt...too much space between the Lord and me.
Immediately following the broken lines were the two parallel solid lines! What a great reminder that Jesus is walking shoulder to shoulder with us.

Picking up one of my girlfriends, she explained she was feeling a "disconnect" from God. "I'm not mad at Him, " she explained, "just not connected like I would like to be."

I felt the closeness return as I picked up the Jesus Calling devotional this morning and read this verse:

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Psalm 73:23-24

Prayer is our plug in!
If we want to stay connected we need to spend time with both our Bibles and our hearts open, sitting before the Lord listening.

"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. Matthew 6:14

Let's pray: Always waiting with open arms, You are all we need Father. Forgive us when we pull the plug and pull away from You. Place a pen in our palm, position paper before us and bring Your written Word alive, as we plug into Your letters of loving guidance for us. Transform our minds making Your desires our desires, for therein lies our joy. In Jesus' Name, Amen


Let's Have a PowerWow

November 15
The wet fall leaves gathered on our upper deck and were staining the wood. Grabbing my trusty, lightweight, electric blower I tried to blow them out from behind the deck furniture. A couple pots of mums caused a blockade, so I tried to pick them up and move them. With the blower in one hand, I proceeded to try to lift the pot with the other hand. Halfway up, it slipped and I cracked the pot and spilled dirt on the deck. For some unknown, ignorant, reason, I attempted to move the other pot the same way and endured the same consequences. The Lord whispered..."So often my children attempt things in their own strength, which I never intended them to do. I will provide the power, if only my people will plug in."

Let's go to God's Word for a PowerWOW.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Great is our Lord and mighty in power. Psalm 147:5

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Let's pray Colossians 1:9-12 for ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ!

God, although your ways are far to great for us to understand, we come today believing in Your Word by faith. Please hear our prayers for ourselves and the Body of Christ. Since the day we heard about you (fellow brothers and sisters), we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father. Fill us today in a way which will have a huge impact for Your kingdom and has us singing from the rooftop as we acknowledge a Power Source we may have never experienced. Train us this very day to lay our ways at Your feet and pause to be filled by Your Spirit. To You be all glory, honor and praise. Life with You Father is exciting! In Jesus Name, Amen


E.T. Encounter

November 13
I so related to President Bush Thursday night as I heard parts of his interview with Bill O'Reilly. Mr. O'Reilly was stating how many people in the media hated Bush when he was in office and how he wished the President had fought back. President Bush replied that he wasn't a hater, so he really couldn't understand people who hate others. He said what he did know was that he is comfortable in his own skin, because he can look back and know he made decisions reflecting his character and strong morals.
Call me a nut, but I don't care. I am going to give testimony to what happened in my life yesterday.
This is the quote which was on my calendar.
"Trusting God is believing that He is good and wise even when we cannot explain all that is going on." Leith Anderson

My morning quiet time had taken me to the story in Matthew 8 of the leper who Jesus healed. Max Lucado writes a riveting saga of what life for a leper meant in Old Testament days. Telling your spouse and children good-bye as you are banished to a leper's colony where you would possibly never be touched again. Loneliness, longings and rejection become your new way of life. Those pictures were obviously tucked away in my mind as I headed out for a morning walk. I veered off my usual path to the driveway of a bank repossessed home. Looking down in the gravel driveway were enormous acorns. Picking up 5 with their great big caps on the Lord whispered..."Why do you just want the ones which are complete and intact?" "I don't know. I guess I find them more attractive and better to display," with honestly I replied. Ugh, then I experienced crummy feelings as brief thoughts of the leper story came to mind. Five more steps and I saw a beautiful crimson leaf which I picked up. "Hmm, didn't go for those old dried up brown ones did you?" my Maker gently confided. I considered grabbing a smashed acorn and a brown leaf, but they would have messed up my jacket pocket. Oooow. So like the world.
Turning my focus back to my praise music I continued up our driveway. About 30 feet from the main road I saw a skeleton of a man walking along. He was wearing a baseball cap, black warm up pants and a red fleece. At first glance it appeared he only had one arm as a hand could be seen out one arm of the jacket, but not the other. Stopping I started to turn and go back down my driveway to avoid an encounter, but then I thought of the leper whom no one wanted to touch. Also, I was concerned for the curve ahead in the road, which this man was walking towards. He was on the wrong side of the road and actually a bit in the street. "Good morning!" I hollered. He walked right over to me. "My name is Boo," I smiled, "what is your name?" "E.T., " he replied. Smiling up at Jesus, I thought...of course it is!
"I've never seen you out walking before. Where do you live?" I asked with a bit of concern in my heart for this fellow.
Putting his finger to his chin, he ponder and couldn't come up with a street name. "Well, which direction?" I asked with concern. Looking left and right on the street, he finally pointed towards the woods. We discussed the beautiful weather, how much I love Jesus, and how he felt there were very few people in church these days who actually knew Jesus. He said he loved to read his Bible. Then he asked me if he could hug me! Standing there by my mailbox we embraced. I told E.T. since he wasn't able to tell me where he lives, I would show him how to get to my house. Pointing to the number on my mailbox and pointing out the name on the street sign I asked him to come visit sometime. "Where is your wife?" I inquired. With gentleness and the kindest eyes he explained he didn't have a wife and that he was blessed he had never had to go to a doctor, but he got along fine. "Do you live alone?" was my next comment. Almost laughing as if I should know the answer he said, "I am never alone." "Oh, right," thinking how dumb of me..."we always have Jesus." "And the children," he added, "I call them the little ones." Hugging me again, he then looked me right in the eye and planted the gentlest kiss on my lips I've ever experience and he turned and began walking back the way he had come.
My first thought was to scurry down the driveway, get in my car and go look for him, but in my heart of hearts I don't think I would have found him. I turned to walk down another gravel road before going home and expected to see him standing there. God said, "I am so glad you are learning to expect me!" Plugging my IPOD back into my ear the song "Amen, Come Lord Jesus" was playing. With my hands lifted in the air I sang along not caring who heard me or thought I was crazy. The whole 1/2 mile walk home I wanted E.T. to show up. Twirling in the road like a five year old I felt as if I could fly as the sun shone brilliantly upon me. Obedience makes you feel that way...free!

Somebody needs to feel the Lord today. When we give ourselves way for Jesus we get so much more back.
Be watching!

Spiritual Maturity

November 12
I may have mentioned before that I have a hard time believing how old I am. I still think of myself as a young mother, not a grandmother. When I am with these young gals I feel like one of them. Chatting with some fellow teachers about an upcoming "Grandparents' Day" event and skit, I suggested some of us dress like grandparents. One of the 30 something teachers said, "And just how would that be Boo, since you are a grandparent?" I was shocked. I'd never thought of myself as a grandparent. Years ago, the Lord placed an elegant woman in my path at church to mentor me. For 25 years I've said, "If I ever grow up, I want to be like her." While I am all for being young at heart, when it comes to spiritual maturity I can't wait to be ancient!

Discussing a troublesome situation with a young woman just this week, my response was that I saw the situation at hand as an issue of disobedience and I wouldn't want to be consciously messing with God that way. I explained I felt it wasn't my place to interfere, but to pray and I shared with her a study from Habakkuk which has been a great training tool for me.

The study by Nancy Leigh DeMoss begins by telling a story about a teenager struggling with doubt about her salvation and coming into her parents' room at 2AM to find her mom on her knees by her bed praying. DeMoss says, "The concern of a mom who would kneel by her bed in the middle of the night is similar to that of the prophet Habakkuk, who was burdened for the spiritual well being of his people. After an impassioned plea for God to act on behalf of the nation of Judah, Habakkuk said, I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me. Habakkuk 2:1
Habakkuk was not just on the lookout for dangers that could threaten his people's future. He was on his post, watching for God. He was waiting to hear from the only One who could truly help.Like a watchman, you need to be on the lookout for danger that threatens your family or other young people in your life. Like Habakkuk, and like the mom interceding in the middle of the night, that watching needs to be done on your knees before a God more powerful than any worldly threats."

Talking with another friend whose heart was crying out for her children I came up with this quote:
Pray it, don't say it!

The first young woman emailed me this:
"In our staff meeting this morning we talked about how spiritual maturity is measured by the length of time it takes you to trust God. The quicker you get to the place of knowing he's in control the more spiritually mature you are you are. (Boo) Seems like your time gets quicker and quicker!"

May we grow in grace!

11-Veteran's Day

November 11

A good writer would take time to do research on her writing topic, but I am not! I cannot tell you why November 11th was selected as Veteran's Day. In Canada today is called Remembrance Day (Not sure of the history behind that one either. Strike two towards any journalistic endeavors.)

This morning I read this Andrew Jackson quote: Every good citizen makes his country's honor his own and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in its defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.

He gains protection. Reading this statement is where I was drawn to the number "11" and the date which was selected for Veteran's Day. Those two number ones, standing side by side, reminded me that we do not stand alone. Whether on the battle field of war and fighting for our nation's freedom; whether on the battle field of illness fighting for our health; whether in the battlefield of our hearts and minds fighting for our faith through the God given desire to find Christ; we do not stand alone. God is watching over each of his creations wooing them to His Son so that He can give them the power of the Holy Spirit to walk, not beside, but within them.

As we remember our Veteran's today and our current military personnel sacrificing their lives for their fellow Americans, let's do so with passionate pray that they may all come to know Christ and therefore be able to grasp the meaning in this sustaining verse below & the devotional which follows.
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.
Psalm 105:4
Jesus Calling
“Do not let any set of circumstances intimidate you. The more challenging your day, the more of My Power I place at your disposal. You seem to think that I empower you equally each day, but this is not so. Your tendency upon awakening is to assess the difficulties ahead of you, measuring them against your average strength. This is an exercise in unreality.
I know what each of your days will contain, and I empower you accordingly. The degree to which I strengthen you on a given day is based mainly on two variables: the difficulty of your circumstances,and your willingness to depend on Me for help. Try to view challenging days as opportunities to receive more of My power than usual. Look to Me for all that you need, and watch to see what I will do. As your day, so shall your strength be."

Let's Pray: Lord, may we learn to start singing praise and seek Your face when the mental or physical battles of life gets horrific. For those in pain we pray they might have
reasons so grand today to rejoice that those would mask their pain or that in their pain and seeking You, You would take them to high places which give them a HIGH overriding the pain. Our heart's desire for those in pain is that Jesus would give them a day that makes them feel like dancing. Thank You for lives willing to be like Jesus and make sacrifices for others. In Jesus' Name, Amen


Rise Up Oh Men of God

November 10
What a fun morning. Before I opened my eyes the hymn Rise Up Oh Men of God was on my brain.
www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh576.sht
Then the number 55 came to mind, which I thought was strange until I rolled over and looked at the clock and it was 5:55AM. What came next was a hilarious prompting from the Holy Spirit. The song...Do You Know the Muffin Man? It made perfect sense to me. I had forgotten to pack my husband's lunch last night and I had baked some wonderful muffins to go in his lunch. Also, I needed to "rise up" out of bed to make pancakes for his breakfast. I was in great spirits to preform this act due to God's sense of humor!

Quieting myself for my time with the Lord, my heart thrilled as I read a suggested scripture verse from the devotional, Jesus Calling.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. Psalm 89:15-16

"Now I don't care who you are "(as the Blue Collar Comedy Guys would say) that there verse is going to put a spring in your step and get you to celebrating who you are in Christ!

The number 55 was still lingering, so I looked up Psalm 55 and cried out for several friends in agony from chronic illnesses. I was still hungry for God to speak and tried to remember what other books might have 55 chapters. Ah, yes...Isaiah. This chapter had me hooping and hollering, well, actually singing praise and clapping my hands, by the time I finished it.

So get your joy on, grab your Bible and read along. Here are some tasty morsels to tempt your spiritual taste buds and draw you to the whole chapter.
Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. (v.3)
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. (v.6)
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the Lord. (v.8)
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands! (v.12)

Whew, sounds like a party to me!
Ugh. The thought just came to me that there is someone reading this who doesn't feel worthy to party with Jesus. We aren't worthy; that is His whole purpose and His joy...to transform us, to raise us up to be men and women of God. Part of the family!

Check out Jude 1:24-25 and believe today in the transforming love He has for you.
Make this our prayer today.

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen


Pray for Preparedness

November 9

We are entering a season of preparedness. Is the turkey prepared; are the football teams prepared to get to a bowl game; are the preparations for the holiday decorating and baking complete; are the children prepared to possibly not receive every gift on their list?

We do our best to prepare for tests, office presentations, interviews, marriages, new babies, grueling medical treatments, retirement,the list goes on and on.

How often do we reflect on our preparedness to defend the cause of Christ and share our story of why we consider Him Lord of our lives?

But in your hearts revere 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

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:13
Today, God may place someone in front of you who needs some answers. They may feel more comfortable discussing faith with you than walking into a church building. Today may be their last day on this earth and God has placed them in your path for you to tell them your story of why you love Jesus and how you know Jesus loves them.

Let's simply pray: Lord, for it is by grace we have been saved by faith, not from anything we ourselves have done, it is a gift from You, not by works, so that none of us can boast. We are your workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which You prepared in advance for us to do. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we may be prepared for the work You have for us this day. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Newness in the Neighborhood

I am trying to simplify the blog by putting some new elements in a tool bar under the main picture. Home is where the daily devotional will be. Recipes will keep a list of posted recipes.
Current Book studies will be listed as well.
I thought it would be nice to study the names of God, so those will come up each week.
I hope this isn't confusing. Just remember to click the little word "home" if you feel lost!

A Missed Moment in Madness

November 8
Today's title came to me Saturday after I had allowed a wedge to wiggle in between my husband and myself the night before. We don't even know what led me to vacuuming at 8:30PM and him to going to bed without saying good night, but that was all it took for division to set in. The next morning we were both quick to apologize for allowing the enemy any ground. Our hearts were distraught at the thought of what if the Lord had called us home during those moments, as well as an aching for any moments missed together. Time on this earth is short and we should make the most of precious moments.

There is dual meaning in the word madness in today's title,
yet both can rob us of the life God intended for us to live.
One way to equate it is with anger and Proverbs 22:24 warns us about anger.
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered for you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.

Another option to avoid is madness as it relates to the fast pace of the world and what the world tells us in important.

Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.1 John 2:15

Let's Pray: We praise You Lord for the moments you have given us. From the moment You thought about creating us, You had a purpose for us. Forgive us when we get selfish or anxious with our moments. Train us to trust You and to desire to follow You with a sold out for Jesus attitude, which will lead us down a path to marvelous moments. Lord, I try to avoid getting political, but once again You have impressed upon my heart the need to pray for our men and women in public office. Give them hearts to follow You, for when pleasing You and bringing You glory is their primary purpose then they will make decisions which will bring blessings to our nations. The pattern is as old as time and can be seen time and time again. For this moment we choose to honor You Father and thank You for what You did through Your Son for us. You have saved us from the madness. In Christ's Name, we come to You and pray. Amen