How Life Plays Out

January 31
In the movie, Stranger Than Fiction, the main character realizes his life is being written for him and is trying to determine if the author is writing a comedy or a tragedy. (Realizing if it is a tragedy, it will result in his death.) Tragedies are tragic, because the characters are powerless to save themselves from their plight.

Christianity is more of a romance! While death, pain, and sin abound in the scripts of our lives, we have a Savior who provides a happy ending.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and
uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Not one of us knows how today will play out. It may bring great elation to some of us and devastation or even death to others. I am thankful for a faith which provides stability in the wild ride called life.

PT Savior, like a shepherd lead us! Forgive us when our gaze drifts from You and we allow ourselves or others to author our lives. May we trust in the plan of your most gracious hand. When the battle is fierce in the valley, lead us out and position us on a high place of refuge and restore our weary souls. In Jesus' name, Amen

Steadfast

January 29-30

Yesterday, after five days in pajamas and not coming out of this flu, I was beginning to think I'd been drugged and wasn't going to be able to shake this stuff.
Wait! Holy Spirit alert! The white bird just showed up, came straight down the cove towards my bedroom window, flapped her wings at me and did a u-turn as if to say, "You are going to be sailing smoothly again soon!" What a lift to my morning. Whether that means back to good health or onto heaven, I am up for either. Sometimes we just need a sign of hope on the horizon or a little help from our friends to keep on keeping on.
The Lord has been that help for me today by putting the devo thoughts together in seconds. The word on my heart was steadfast: firmly fixed in place, not subject to change, firm in belief, determination, or adherence. You know, like our marriage vows..in sickness or in health, for richer or poorer...steadfast!
Clicking on Merriam-Webster to look up the definition of steadfast, the word facing me on the opening screen was mercurial, which means the opposite..."changing moods quickly and often".

Remembering that God is steadfast is encouraging in itself, but when we look in the face of what the opposite of that would mean the appreciation for who He is intensifies.

Looking up yesterday and today's scripture references in Jesus Calling were two verses with the word steadfast. Thank You Lord, that made it easy.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

Psalm 112:7

Then Peter authors one of my favorite passages which equals steadfast encouragement for our faith in 1 Peter 5:6-10.

Let's pray it:

Father, we humble ourselves under Your mighty hand, that you may lift us up in due time. We cast all our anxiety on You because You care for us.

Train us to be alert and of sober mind. Remembering our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Teach us to resist him, standing firm in the faith, because we know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

God of all grace, who called us to Your eternal glory in Christ, we trust that after we have suffered a little while, You will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast. To You be the glory, in Jesus' name, Amen.

I Will Follow

January 28
God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him.
Proverbs 28:9

Just as a coach will not continue to send in the athlete who does not carry out his plays, God must weary of us not carrying out His instructions. We seek, knock and ask for Him to speak to us and then so often, we aren't in agreement with his game plan and ignore His instructions.

Check Out Chris Tomlin's Song "I Will Follow" under Hear Ye Hear Ye

Uphill Battle

January 27
Opening my calendar I was hoping for some scriptures to pray over a friend who received a disappointing report from her cancer scan Tuesday and now her mother has been admitted to the hospital with a dangerous infection. Staring me in the face was
1 Corinthians 15:57.
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“A grateful heart is always ready for a miracle.” Deborah Norville
Ugh..."I don't think that is going to cheer her up Lord," I thought and read on to January 28th.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. Philippians 4:11
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our disposition, and not our circumstances.” Martha Washington
(Well, Miss Martha, I don’t think cancer was as rampant back in your day.) I wouldn't blame my girlfriend at all if she threw something when she read that verse. Grappling for a more comforting verse I flipped over a couple days and found Habakkuk 3:19

The Lord God is my strength...He will make me walk on my high hills.
(It must be this flu I am battling as I read high heels instead of high hills.)
“In the midst of tough times, don’t push away from God but run to Him in prayer.” John Hull

Corrie Ten Boom lived out the verses above so graciously as she thanked the Lord for the flea infested mattresses in the freezing cold prison, because it kept the guards from coming into her quarters and allowed her more time to lead Bible study. She learned to be content and kept her eyes on Jesus. Faith takes the focus off of us.
Do you remember the childhood feeling of riding your bike up a hill when you could pedal no longer and you had to get off and push it up the hill? Another friend, whose husband has had an affair on her, just called. Her divorce is final and she is pushing ahead with life and in a new city looking for a place to live. These friends, like so many others, are facing uphill battles concerning life's circumstances. We can thank God for those He sends to walk beside us, to be willing to push the bike for a little while, and to remind us of His love even when the path is dark.

PT Lord, I believe You are a God who moves mountains and that anything is possible for You. Take over Lord and relieve the burdens of those who are weary. Teach us to be aware of Your presence and to be thankful even in the darkest of storms. In Jesus’ name, Amen

PS. I am on day three of a terrible flu, so if this makes no sense tell the Lord!

Reveal

January 26

Today's word is reveal which means to make known or open up to view. While I've never attended one, I thought about the resorts that call and offer you a free weekend if you will just come and listen to their real estate spiel. Reality TV is constantly revealing a new make over either physically (The Biggest Loser), decoratively (Extreme Home Makeover) or relationally (Bachelor/Bachelorette). Having the flu I opted out of listening to the President reveal his plans for our nation last night. I was encouraged by the prayer requests from the Presidential Prayer Team this morning. If you don't get their emails here is the address.
PrayerTeam@Presidential-Prayer-Team.org

Studying the scriptures we find reference to God revealing his wrath, Word, knowledge, mysteries and ultimately his righteous acts and Christ. Check out what John says:
Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways,
King of nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. Revelation 15:3-5

Back to the offer to come and hear the real estate spiel...are we willing to sit each day and wait upon the Lord to reveal his plans?

PT Open the eyes of our hearts Lord, open the eyes of our hearts. We want to see You. In Jesus' name, Amen




Look Up

January 25

I hope the link above opened for you and you were able to receive the "Look Up" card today.
God is up to something. He is always doing a new work, sometimes we are just too busy to notice.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber...Psalm 121:1-3

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

God has had me over the grill (hot coals) the past few days (trying to tenderize me). The scenarios have been beyond belief and at times I wondered why He even bothers continuing this training course with me. Amidst all the obstacles we have house guests (a young couple with whom we have been doing pre-marital counseling and wedding planning). They have gotten to see marriage in action, while some interesting darts were tossed our way, some huge faith hurdles placed before us and hugs, kisses and prayerful looking to the Lord that keep us keeping on.

Now I am sick and can't go for cake testing. :( Fever, headache, cold, dripping junk down the back of my throat have gotten the best of me and slowed me down. A long road trip ahead of me tomorrow may have others preferring to not ride with Miss Germy. Feeling really crummy, I opened the devotional by Sarah Young called, Jesus Calling and found comfort in these words for a day where I most likely won't get much done.
"Sit still in the light of My Presence, and receive My Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones."

PT Lord, even in the lowlands, ok yes, even from the pit, we come and offer You our sacrifice of praise and profess with joy and thanksgiving the name of Jesus. Transform us from the inside out and hold our hands along the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen
See if you can pull up this Godtube about a praying parrot and repeat after him!


Graduate Level Courses

January 24
After a sermon yesterday, I realized I was smack in the middle of a "Master's" level course.
The Master, Jesus!
The minister gently explained if you find yourself dwelling on the negative, you are lacking in your faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

My head was spinning and my heart receiving the truth of his message. Confessing my lack of faith and inability to think BIG, which means think God, I jotted down these revelations in my notebook and stepped forth into Sunday professing change.
I had also proposed to avoid phone calls and emails on this day, but eleven contacts later through phone and emails trepidation, which Webster's defines as a nervous or fearful feeling of uncertain agitation had set in an overtaken my day. I don't think my faith, which the minister explained could move mountains, could have swept away a dust bunny on my floor.

The familiar words of Jesus revealing his impending departure from earth to the disciples in John 16:33 come to mind...
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

In that first sentence lies the key to peace and faith. It cannot be found within ourselves, but in Jesus. So we rise up another day, realizing there are lessons to be learned as life is lived. There will be moments of joy, gusts full of grief, and a land mine of questions in between, but we are not expected to face any of them alone.

PT God, you are our god, and we will always love you! We will seek You in the morning and learn to walk in your ways, and pray that step by step you will lead us and guide us to follow You all of our days. In Jesus' Name, Amen

The Spectrum

January 22-23
Today holds ahead a wide spectrum of activities for me as I attend a baby shower for one friend's daughter in law and a memorial service for another friend's father. Life throws us a full spectrum of experiences. We can go from euphoria to answering a phone call and crying out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me."
If you want to read an action packed story today, go to 1 Kings 18-19 and check out a blast from the past where Elijah is challenging the Baal worshippers to a bonfire contest. Elijah's God wins big time and the event concludes with the slaughter of the prophets of Baal, which ruffles Queen Jezebel's skirts to say the least! She sends this message to Elijah, "May the gods deal with me, bit it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them. (The dead prophets)" Elijah, goes from elation to pure panic and heads for the hills. (Actually the desert.) It's a great read, with angel caterers and an appearance from God Almighty.
Best of all it is confirmation that God's faithfulness is unshakable and He is in our lives to cover the full spectrum of emotions we will encounter in life.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

PT Let's make the lyrics to Be Thou My Vision our prayer this weekend.
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light
Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I , Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not nor man's emptly praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are
High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision O Ruler of all

I Trust My Father

January 21

A friend stayed with us the other night while he was on the road raising funds for a prison ministry. He shared the story of a high wire act which performs in some of the prisons. In the act a daughter climbs up and sits or stands on her father's shoulders while he is on the wire suspended in the air. Part of the act is someone asking her how she can do that. Her reply...
"I trust my Father."
These two verses were listed in a devotional I was reading this morning and it made me think of the high wire act!
...neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27

We trust pilots flying planes, friends and even strangers on the highway driving cars, baby sitters and teachers with our children, investors with our money, the FDA with food and drug inspection, some politicians establishing the laws we are to live by and the list goes on. Those are all tangible individuals who can suffer consequences if they let us down.

Where does your heavenly Father rate when it comes to trustworthiness? Because He is not visible or held accountable by our laws there is a huge element of faith required in our relationship with Him. Although, He does come with some amazing references. The Bible is such a rich history of God's faithfulness. To know Him is to love Him and trust in his everlasting arms.

PT God, you are our place of refuge from the storm and an ever present help in times of trouble. You are the conk shell into which we can climb when the waters get rough. Forgive us for keeping You tucked away as a safety net. May You be part of everyday...the times of rejoicing, the times of trials and the miles that pass in between. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Not Fully Charged

January 20
My first six months of 2011 are crammed full of activities, most which are not of my initiative but involve the lives of those I love. Yesterday, I found myself a bit agitated recognizing all the loose ends which need to be tied for completion. The weather was a balmy 48 degrees and I decided to fore go some chores and take a walk.
For Christmas my daughter and her husband had given me a blue iPOD Shuffle. If you aren't familiar with these technological wonders they are basically a one inch square, half inch thick, stereo which clips onto your clothes and holds hundreds of songs! Amazing!
Opening the box I was excited to load songs onto it from my computer and plug in the earphones and go for a walk. Reading the directions (ah, such an informative process) I noticed the iPOD had to be plugged into an activating computer for three hours before it could be used.
Disappointed, because praise music always enhances my walking pace, I set out without sound.
Probably not twenty paces out the Lord was quick to say... "Your problem is you are not fully charged. You've put a lot into the past few days, but not enough alone time with Me."
He was right. While I had enjoyed the fellowship of several of my children and basked in the overflowing love of my grandson, the inner most parts of my soul had not been plugged into the Word. (Confession...I did the 18/19th blog before I left town not wanting to take time away from my grandson.)
We function better when we stay connected to the one who knows us best.
That is why 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to "Pray without ceasing."
Psalm 107 says, "He satisfies the longing soul."

Thinking back to the iPOD I came up with a this...I Pray Over Decisions!
Stay plugged into the One who loves you most.

Lists

January 18-19
Have you made a list today? Lists instruct us, keep us organized, help us communicate needs to others, can be satisfying to check off, or can be so overwhelming they cause us to punt a project.
What lists have you made the past few months? Mine amazed me.
Grocery, Christmas lists (multiple types from meals, gifts, decoration needs, etc), wedding lists (too many to list), baby shower guest list, traveling directions with a list of stops along the way, packing, scripture memory, prayer, writing ideas, computer direction list, recipe, luncheon guest list, house chores, yard chores, light bulb list, and of course this list of lists!

The Bible has many lists.
The Ten Commandments
Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23),
Gifts of the Spirit in various places,
Qualities of a Maturing Christian
So don't lose a minute in building on what you've been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can't see what's right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.(2 Peter 1:5-8)

In Chuck Swindoll's book The Finishing Touch he has some good insight into lists.
"Early church Fathers, the Reformers, the Puritans-have been inspired by these lists to reduce spirituality to two lists known as 'the seven sins and the seven virtues' of saintliness.
The former includes-pride, envy, anger, sloth, avarice, gluttony and lust.
The latter: wisdom, justice, courage, temperance, faith, love, hope.
Even though it finds its origin in one whose life was not centered on Christ our Lord, Mahatma Gandie's own list of 'seven deadly sins' in the form of contrasts deserve our attention:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without a conscience
Knowledge without character
Commerce without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principle"

Micah 6:8 has a simple list, which in itself is still difficult for us to adhere.
To do justice.
To love kindness.
To walk humbly with God.

PT Father, we can't even imagine Your "To Do" list. Your Word speaks of the Lamb's Book of Life, which contains a very important list of names Revelation 13:8 Today may our focus be one of praise and thanksgiving for the lengthy list of benefits because we are Your children. Help us to evaluate our earthly list and check to see that the focus of the items thereon bring You glory. In Your Son's Name, Amen

Now What

January 17
A church was using our home this weekend for a conference with the leadership from several of their church plants. The man coordinating the food was to call me. I was attempting to text my husband a three sentence long message, when half way through it my text disappeared and there was a number and a spinning thing on the screen. I hit a random button hoping it would take me back to my text message. In frustration I said out loud, "Now what?" Then to my surprise a man's voice sheepishly said, "Uh, this is Jeff calling about the food for Saturday." I was so embarrassed, somehow I had unknowingly answered an incoming call.

My son and husband have teased me throughout the weekend. When I walk in the room, they will very sarcastically say, "Now what?" "Can't you just hear God when we come to him in prayer?" my husband chuckled, "Now what? Can't you see I am listening to someone else?"

It's Monday Lord. Now What?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

PT Dear Lord, You are one who does not get frustrated. Ah, so different from all of Your creations. Forgive us for letting our feathers get ruffled. Instead of reacting in exasperation help us to turn for inspiration. Praise Your Name for You are The WAY! Show us the way!
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Feet, Faith and Being Fed Up


January 15-16
Rarely do I know where the Lord is going with this devotional when I begin. At Christmas I took some photos of my grandson's feet, which have not led him into much trouble besides mud puddles, so I thought about where our feet lead us.
Reflexology, the massaging of the feet, brings great relief and I've found it to have good diagnostic tendencies...much different from whatever foot fetishes are out there for a certain NFL coach, but those thoughts were dead ends. Pulling up a Biblegateway search there were 247 references to "feet"...a whole lot of foot washing going on back then and some falling at the feet of Jesus yet to be done. Then I landed upon it. Romans 10:15
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
There is a huge difference in our responses when you see the florist at the door, than when a police officer is standing there.
What a great challenge. Where can our feet appear and be a welcome sight this weekend?

Faith
This week I have hugged on two people whose faith has wained and mine took a big dip at one point as well when I thought, "I'm tired of all the pain and messes out there." Then my eyes fell upon the verse pictured on the plate above. Next to the plate was a piece of paper where I had written.. "One day at at time...one step of faith at a time..."
Fed Up
When those words came to me, I thought...how easy it is to get fed up with life, but faith requires being "Fed Up" as in "Filled Up" with Jesus. ...fixing our eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) We can relinquish the load to Jesus and let him carry it for us...For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10 Jesus has beautiful feet and His presence, even though invisible is welcome.

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

PT Open the eyes of our heart Lord, we want to see You. Increase our faith, make our feet willing to walk in Your ways and fill us up with wisdom which is worth more than diamonds, or rubies or gold! In Jesus' name. Amen.

Examination

January 14
Taking my own advice yesterday, I surrendered to some time alone with the Lord. Looking at Moses on the floor I realized he had found the only streak of sunlight on the carpet and laid right in its path. I thought..."Sit in the Son's rays."
Sensing a chill in the air I turned on the gas fireplace and sat in front of it. Ah, sitting by a fire allows heat (or Christ) to radiate. Looking at the flickering flames with amazement I wondered if fire astounds us because it is something we cannot do ourselves. If so, we should be astonished by Christ for the same reason. The minutes were flying by and I was enjoying the intimate time of fellowship. "Examine me from head to toe," I requested of the Lord.
Feet-"Where am I going that might not be pleasing to God?" A reminder game to mind that "omission" can be a sin as well, so it is wise to question..."Where I am not willing to go?"
Knees -mine are full of pain, so there came a quick reminder to pray for so many who are enduring awful physical pain. The other suggestion...be flexible and responsive to what the Lord is doing.
Buttocks-Jesus cushions the blows we take. :) Also Jesus is our front and "rear" guard!
Torso-It is a container of varying, precious parts, which all have specific roles. Rather similar to the body of Christ. Interesting point....recognize our heart condition affects the rest of the body.
Head-the control tower! Who is at the controls? Whose orders do we take?

Then the big question came...Wherever I ask you to go, will you go? Today? Tomorrow?

Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. Psalm 26:2

Dilute

January 13

The word on my mind this morning was dilute, which means to thin, weaken, or diminish. Maybe I was dreaming about pouring apple or orange juice for our grandson, and diluting it with water. All I know is when I thought about how the word might be referenced to Christ what came to mind was the way we busy ourselves and show priority to things other than Christ.
Watching the Auburn-Oregon game was priority for me Monday night. My husband and I enjoy the TV show NCIS, so don't expect us to answer the phone from 8-9 PM on Tuesday night. For some people nothing will get in the way of their exercise class or their tennis/golf time. Family night is an awesome idea, but does it come before time with the Lord?
If we had a passion meter attached to our bodies which registered the amount of time we gave to the Lord each day, how often would it read empty? In our marriages we wouldn't tolerate our spouses having affairs. Hmmm, I wonder if God looks at our diluted, diminished time from Him as cheating on Him.

Jeremiah 2:2 says: I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me.

PT God, if we get real we will recognize who you are as our Creature. You didn't have to make us at all. Time and time again in Genesis 1, after you created something you said it was good.
The more we nurture a relationship the richer it becomes. Forgive us for not realizing You created us with a desire to be "in relationship" and "in love" with us. May we give you a huge chunk of our day each day. Kind of nice that You are invisible, so we can slip you into any situation! Oh, wait...You are there anyway, we just need to acknowledge You! Help each of us to take the next 5 minutes and do nothing but tell You we love You, thank You for caring about us and giving You our undivided, undiluted concentration so You can speak to us. In Jesus' name, Amen

Answers

January 12
If you look very closely, you will see in the water what is either the head of a beaver or a muskrat. This creature has made his daily jaunts in front of our dock for a couple years now. My curiosity is always peaked when I see him, but his pace is slow and steady so I seldom watch for long. I've always assumed he is headed to an uninhabited area north of our property for some sort of daily work and then swims home at the end of the day to around ten acres SE of us which also have no home or dock. Never have I taken time to actually wait and see where he goes. Yesterday, around 3:30 looking out of my shower window I spotted him. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me how much our prayer lives can be like me watching this critter. At first our interest is peaked and we launch into a prayer time with the Lord. Usually the process progresses slowly and we lose interest, either assuming we can't really hear from the Lord or not really believing He will answer our desires.
Grabbing my towel, I picked up my camera and headed to our screen porch. I was freezing and so I ran back in and slipped on a pair of my husband's shoes which were close by and threw a blanket, which was draped across a chair, around my shoulders. My husband questioned, "And what are you up to?" "I'll explain in a minute," I replied.
Total amazement set in as that little fellow took a right turn and proceeded right down the center of our cove, never decreasing his pace. I became a bit leery when I thought he possibly has been encamped on our property somewhere all these years. Maybe that is who Moses is barking at around 3AM each night. Within minutes the trees blocked my view and my attire was not suited for venturing out into the freezing temperatures and the ice capped lawn for a better look. So like many of our prayers....I am still waiting for answers but I have faith that one of these days I will know! Like many of our prayers, I will most likely forget about it until another event brings this situation back to mind.

Earlier that day I had been studying in Luke about some individuals with incredible faith. It made me think about the families of the victims in Arizona, as well as the medical personnel who have been attending to them. In one interview a doctor said when Christina Taylor-Green arrived at the hospital she was dead, but they attempted to resuscitate her and even performed surgery. That's faith and compassion!

Luke 8:48 has an amazing quote which Jesus makes to the woman who believed so strongly in Christ's powers to heal that she simply reached out and touched his robe.
Then he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace. Jairus was a grieving father whose daughter had died. Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, 'Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.'

Billy Graham says in his book Unto These Hills:
"Many of us want to do a work for God, but few of us want to spend hours in prayer to God. It goes against our natural inclinations to pray, which is precisely why prayer counts so much with God. It is unnatural. It is, in fact, supernatural! And it always gets God's attention.
I am sometimes amused when people tell me, 'God answered my prayer.' What that means is that God gave them what they asked for. But if He had not granted their request, He would still have answered their prayer. We forget that 'No' and 'Wait' are also answers, as is 'Yes.' I have answered every request made by my children to me. The answer has not always been what they wanted, but is has always been what in accordance with what I have thought was best for them at the time...And remember, whether prayer changes our situation or not, one thing is certain: Prayer will change us!"

In Luke 17:5 the apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith!"
May that be our prayer today!


Stuck

January 11

While snow and ice have been recking havoc all over the south, there are people who are stuck. Stuck in airports, stuck in their cars which have gone off the road, stuck in hotels unable to get home as is the case of some island residents near Charleston where they had to close down iced bridges.

We allow ourselves to become stuck spiritually. Conditions in our lives ice up and we slide off the path God had us on or ice pellets clog our ears and keep us from hearing the Lord. PTL ice melts and we can get back on track spiritually. Faith is a huge snowplow which paves the way to more than we could ever imagine.

"Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation." Andrew Murray

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

PT Father, all power and glory is Yours! You are beyond our comprehension, but there is peace in that fact! Forgive us for our lack of trust and allowing ourselves to get stuck in ruts of "woe is me". When we examine the areas of our disappointment they usually weigh heavily on the side of what the world sees as important and not factors of eternal value. When we look towards Jesus we see things a whole lot differently. When we slide, may it be to His side! In Jesus' name, Amen!


H & H


January 10
Comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Hugs and hand holding lower blood pressure and reduce stress according a Headline News report I heard over the weekend. It made reference that if you don't have a human to hug, a pet makes a good substitute. I can confirm that snuggling up to Moses is a comfort...oh, yea and my husband likewise. I would be more willing to offer Moses on loan than my helpmate!
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ
1 Peter 5:14
Another way to reduce stress and lower your blood pressure is to sing praise and pray. My husband knows something is up when he hears me playing praise music on the piano. When I went into labor for the first time with our daughter, I headed right to the piano for comfort. A woman was visiting Shiloh once and had a panic attack. Her friends called me to come outside, she was turning blue. Immediately I laid hands upon her and began to pray over her and she calmed down. Prayer and praise can be like pulling a parachute cord...they can slow down a descent and give you the opportunity to pursue peace!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. John 14:27
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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15

The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11

The Arizona shooting on Saturday is a sad reminder of life's fragility. It can be gone in seconds. We should treasure the times we share with those we love and never let them leave without a kiss and a hug! (Don't panic...the kiss can be cheek to cheek!)

PT Oh, Compassionate Father, you know all our needs for you wired us with longings which are intended to lead us to you. Thank You for the warmth received through hugging and hand holding. May we be found faithful today to pass the peace of Christ onto someone else through a gentle kiss, an extended hand which holds on or a heavenly hug! How we long for the day we hug Jesus face to face. In His name we pray, Amen






Got You Covered



January 8-9
Big, fluffy flakes of snow blew throughout the afternoon yesterday. When my husband came in later that evening he said, "We have quite a nice covering out there." Pulling up my soft Egyptian cotton blanket and a satin comforter at bedtime, I thanked the Lord for a cozy bed, awesome covers and for the example that feeling of warmth, peace and quiet is of His love for us.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Our grandson has blackout curtains in his room and they do an incredible job of keeping every ray of sunlight covered and from coming into his room. (Good plan by his mom for hopefully longer naps). God knew from the get go that we would need covering which provides comfort and protection, but also He knew we would need to have our sins covered.

You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Psalm 85:2

As we fall at the feet of Jesus, confessing our sins and seeking forgiveness, He can confidently say, "Got you covered!"

What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make us whole again. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.



Upping Your Love Quota

January 7
Going off to a quiet place to be with the Lord yesterday the song...All You Need is Love came bounding into my mind. Then immediately the verse, God is love, followed.
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

The current news story of the homeless man (Ted Williams) with the golden voice is such a testimony to the difference love makes. This morning on the Today's show when they asked him why he thinks he will not fall back into this lifestyle of drugs and alcohol he replied that he has been sober for two years and the difference this time is he has learned to keep his eyes on God. He said all this media attention and the job offers have made him a bit anxious and he was talking to a psychiatrist yesterday saying he thought he needed a nerve pill. She said, "You must learn to meditate, not medicate."
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.Psalm 36:7

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

While it is obvious this man's family, who has probably been deeply hurt by him, is skeptical to believe he can turn his life around and not be affected by the money coming his way, it is encouraging to see the love and support from total strangers who want to see him succeed. There probably isn't one of us who hasn't had the same opportunity to come alongside and support someone who has lost the confidence of their family. Love changes lives and conquers a multitude of hurts and sins.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. - Ephesians 5:1-2

...neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39

PT God, your love is mighty! May the power in the verses above fill each of us up and strengthen us to step into a world of hurt, pain and loneliness and make a difference in the lives of others this very day. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Fleas In Your Naval


January 6th
"Do you have fleas in your naval?" a young kindergarten student asked my husband this question and then explained, "We sang a song about it... Feliz Navidad." No fleas here, but I tell you some grungies can hide down in our belly buttons and really stink if you don't clean them out. Sin starts to stink too when we don't get it out through confession.
Dreadlocks remind me of unconfessed sin and the way it grows making such a mess. I am guessing the only way to get rid of the dreadlock hairdo is to shave the mess off. Sin requires a total trashing as well. When I was searching the net for a picture of dreadlocks, since some of you may be clueless to what they are, this cute girl in the picture above kept coming forth. Honestly, I was hoping for someone much sketchier looking to represent sin. Then it hit me. Sin is sneaky. It likes to come to us in a pretty wrapper appearing attractive and beneficial. How to we avoid getting fleas in our naval or sin in our lives?

Psalm 105:4 says: Look to the Lord and seek his strength; seek his face always.
Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world.

When we are earnestly seeking the Lord and making a conscience decision to walk in His ways, not the world's, then sin is going to surface and we can ask the Lord to quickly swoosh it out!

Going to Biblegateway I searched the word sin, hoping to end with an encouraging verse. There were 1364 verses on sin! That should tell us the magnitude of the problem. Digging into the Word brings such relief! As I began to look through those hundreds of verses I realized the search brought up any work with "s i n" included. One which was referenced a number of times in Psalms was the word "sing".
I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise. Psalm 101:1

When we confess our sins there is reason to sing....the fleas are gone from our naval!

PT Heavenly Father, You hate sin and so should we. It is an ailment which is excluded from your heavenly realm. Thank You for the process of confession and for Christ's blood which was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Thank You for being patient with us and gently pulling us back to right relationship over and over again. May today be a day which we are quick to flee from wicked ways. In Jesus' Name, Amen