Push Us Along

The Load of Life
April 2-3
Looking out the window a small boat could be seen pushing a pile driving barge, loaded with wood, out of our cove. The captain must have forgotten his lunch and left work for a break, as he was heading back in the cove in less than an hour! As I watched him trudging along, I thought about how similar our lives appear at times. We are loading down, moving ahead slowly and trusting in our Captain Christ to carry the burden for us and get us to our destination.

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

Evidence


April 1
In my packing process for the travels ahead, I picked up a white bathrobe and noticed that although it was brand new, it already had "mohair" (Moses, the bulldog hair) on it. Our expectant daughter is highly allergic to dogs and rocking that new baby in dog hair wouldn't be a good thing. Out came the lint brush and I got to work. Clean as I may around our home, to the point of even vacuuming this dog's brindle body, the evidences that a dog lives here show up on furniture, the floor and our clothing. Ok, I admit, I've even found "mohair" in the refrigerator and have no clue how it got in there.
My mind switched to Jesus gear and I prayed that the evidences of Him as Lord of Lords in my life are visible to others, like "mohair" in my house....always leaving traces.

Every time I think of you-and I think of you often!-I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There's no end to what has happened in you-it's beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
1 Corinthians 1:4

PT
God, You are here. The birds outside are singing their praises to You and the sun has not even up. May we commune with You throughout the day and may the evidences of our faith been visible to others through jubilation or trial. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Deep in the Clutter

March 31
Our bedroom has been overflowing with clothes and bags for four days now as I am packing and trying on clothes for three different events. I literally have things laid out over the bathtub. My precious husband has not said a word and just worked his way around it all. A text message beeped on my cell phone and I had no clue where it was among all the mess. What a blessing to be able to call the number and zone in on the position of the phone.
God doesn't always appear to be that easy to find, does he? We have to sort the clutter of our minds, quieting our souls before we ring Him up. Don't panic if He doesn't answer immediately. Quite often His silence is an answer in itself, pushing us to look deeper in the clutter of our lives for His answer, which most often is a whole different style from ours.

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


Glad Tidings

March 30
A very special young woman, whom I've mentored for ten years, is getting married this weekend and my husband has the privilege of performing the ceremony. While working on song selection she asked his opinion of singing Joy to the World. His personal opinion was that there are so many good choices available, that if she selected a Christmas carol in April, people might focus on why that had sung and miss the message and exchange of vows. Point well taken, but I have to say those are lyrics we should keep in our hearts all year long, not just for December.
A similar situation posed itself to me while working on today's devotional. The phrase that had come to me was glad tidings. Researching the background, it relates to a Christmas Carol and Luke's verse proclaiming the angel's announcement of Christ's coming.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10

Glad or Good Tidings means "Good News!" We do have good news to share about our Savior and it should be shouted to the rooftops all year round!

When was the last time you told someone what Jesus has done for you? He may come back before December, so share the news today!

PT
Father, Your grace and mercy are beyond our comprehension. Thank You for Your plan of salvation and loving us enough to send Jesus to earth to suffer for us. Forgive us for our mindset. We pour time and energy into doing good deeds, planning special church programs, gearing up for mission trips, getting dressed up for Easter and Christmas and praying for the courage to share the Gospel. These are all worthy efforts, but in our day to day walks we are afraid to share with people that Jesus Loves them, that He laid down his life for them, and that the story of His life is really good news that can bring glad tidings to their everyday situations. We avoid this Lord, because we want them to like us. Ugh, and we call ourselves Your children and ask prayer, after prayer request from You for everything from parking places to prosperity. Please forgive us and give us the courage, which comes from a deep abiding love, to lift Your name on high in a way which honors You, praises You and gives You the glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen


Restoradoration

March 29
I am blessed to live in the South where the pace is slow, the tea is sweet, the rockers (as in chairs, not musicians) sit waiting on the porch, and the dialect has a warm welcoming twang and sometimes the vocabulary is in a world of its own. Attending a local meeting last week, the director called upon a person on a panel to share an example of a point she was trying to get across. The man began..."We were just outside conversating when...." Biting my lip, I grabbed my husband's notepad and wrote conversating, so that later we could discuss this particular word.
In my quiet time the word restoration came to mind as God impressed upon me the importance of resting in His presence and praising Him. The new word in the title was birthed restoradoration. No need to chose between rest or adoration, they can happen at the same time!

"It's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for" those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself-Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration. John 4:23

For that process to take place we need to be resting in His Presence!
PT
Lord, may restoradoration take place in our lives today! In Jesus' Name.


Relax and Be Molded

March 28
Sitting in the dental chair, awaiting the electric drill, the dentist lifts up his arm brandishing his large Novocain needle. He grabs your jowl and begins shaking it as he said.... "Relax". The doctor pulls out the pointed, rubber, hammer to check your reflexes as you sit on the side of his examination table. The command comes before he gives you a whack..."Relax". Even the luxury of a massage can cause the human body to stiffen, in resistance, as a stranger begins to work deeply into your muscles.
The Lord brought to mind the phrase..."Not my will, but Yours" and the song lyrics to:
Have thine own way Lord, Have thine own way.
You are the Potter, I am the clay,
Mold me and make me after thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Do we offer resistance or does God find us relaxed and pliable when He comes alongside us to make adjustments? The fatherly recommendations comes: "You need to forgive that person."
Is our response, "You are right Lord" or "You've got to be kidding me, after what they did to me. I'll never go near them again." The bitterness wells up inside us. We refuse to mold to Christ's likeness by offering forgiveness. When we are out of His will and holding onto our ways, some marvelous experiences for God's glory, coming down the pike, pass us by. The fact that God is righteous and sees all is never taken into consideration and we feel the best outcome for the circumstances will come from our control. This sequence occurs because we are thinking aboutself not about God's will.
The the pain is horrendous, the diagnosis comes and life as we knew it is out the door. How unfair. What have we done to deserve these health issues that rob us of life's simple pleasures. Then the voice comes..."My child, I am so glad you know me as Savior and Friend. Thank You for suffering alongside me. We have work to be done here. See the doctor and that nurse over there? They are so wrapped up in their careers and finding ways to help their patients that they have no time for Me. My hope is that your joy and love for Me will influence them. I love them so much and long for a relationship with them. Are you willing to help? Oh, and dear one, next time when you are in the waiting room with all the other patients will you follow My lead and put your arm around the ones I point out and hand them a scripture card. So many are fed up with Me for allowing this disruption in their lives. If they only knew my tactics are full of purpose. It is the quickest way for me to reach them and their family members, because right now their names are not in the Lamb's Book of Life."

Song writing doesn't seem to be registering on my career path right now, but the Lord quickly gave me these lyrics in song form the other day and they kind of go along with relaxing and going with God's flow.
If it's not for Your glory
If it's not for Your gain
Keep me far from it Father
In Your will may I reign.

PT
Open our eyes Lord, open our eyes.
Help us remember we're not to disguise,
All of the ways Lord, You love us so well,
Give us the courage about Jesus to tell.

Father, may we chill out, relax in Your presence, and offer no resistance to the plans You have before us. Trust and obey, we know there's no better way. In Jesus' Name, Amen

We don't know the Father's timing.
Acts 1:7
He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the
Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.

Abundance

March 26-27
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10

The word abundance jumped out at me in this passage. My mind wandered and I thought I should post a "bun" recipe. (Buttermilk biscuits will have to do for now. Check under recipes.)
Another option would be to video a group of people doing "A Bun Dance". LOL
The definition in Merriman-Webster actually surprised me.
Abundance- an ample quantity.
My inclination would be to think of abundance as "way more than we need". You know, like the fishes and loaves with all the leftovers. Instead it leans more towards the story of the Israelites and the manna, where they were take take just what they needed.

Philippians 4:19 goes right along with that thought.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
God doesn't say He will meet everything that we think we need or covet.

With our budget a bit tighter than years gone by, I find myself in a negotiating process with God when I am shopping. When I find the item I think I need I set a price limit and I say, "Ok, Lord, if this is the one then have it be under $ (and designate a certain amount)." If it doesn't make the mark it goes back on the shelf. I read another good shopping tip recently, which said if you buy a new item, give one in the same category away. Example, if you buy a new pair of shoes, give an old pair away. A friend told me last week, whenever she buys a new cookbook, she gives an old one away. My guess is most of us have an abundance of many things, but what we really desire is an abundance of love, trust, compassion and respect from others.
Jesus came to be our abundance in life.

PT
Fabulous Father, you overflow when it comes to meeting all our needs. Jesus, just to think that you have gone ahead to prepare a place for us in heaven is more than we can fathom. And Holy Spirit, here you are with us waiting to fill our requests. Forgive us when we think we need more than whatever today supplies. Even if our last heartbeat and breath are today, Your ways are sufficient for Your children, we will be with You and have no needs. May our lives be exhibits of gratitude to a gracious God. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Back Into Your Presence

March 24-25
Yesterday, I was on the road traveling all day long and I listened to a Karen Kingsbury novel on tape. It was a great distraction. Getting back into a routine this morning I found myself saying, "Lord, let me get back into Your Presence." While the novel was entertaining and actually had me in tears several times, as it was about a young woman who had gotten pregnant and gave her baby up for adoption, it was fiction. There is enough true life drama going on, which I would have probably been better off praying for as I drove, but I indulged in this escape. The delight in knowing God is you find yourself craving to be drawn back into His Presence.
Nothing like the real thing baby.

In 1 Samuel 3:8-10 Eli is helping Samuel learn to recognize God's voice.
God called again, "Samuel!"-the third time!
Samuel answered, "Speak, I'm your servant, ready to listen."

PT
How blessed we are God to have a heavenly Father who longs to speak to us. We come into Your presence with thanksgiving in our hearts and give you praise! May we grab pen and paper and steal away with You in strictly listen mode. Servants awaiting their orders with gladness.
In Jesus' Name, Amen

The Real Walk

March 23
The more real life experiences we encounter, the more compassionate a person we become.
It is eye-opening when we take time to taste life from other perspectives. My husband sent me this link today and I can honestly say I have never thought about the lives of these people.


Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12


Off Track-Temptation

March 22
These weeks before Easter I am delving into Jesus details. In J. O. Sanders book, The Incomparable Christ, he writes about Jesus' tempting trials with the devil. "Satan endeavored to induce Jesus to act in a manner contrary to complete dependence on God, by asserting a measure of independence springing from self interest.
Don't we fight a similar battle the moment we wake up each day? If we were honest and had a graph displaying the percentage of time spent on issues of self interest vs the time spent on utter surrender to God and his game plan I know mine would not be balanced.
Last night conviction set in as I got in bed for some reflecting time with God on my day. The main purpose of my day had been about a paper plate and matching napkin hunt. How hollow.
The part which was most convicting, as I looked back, was that I had been in seven stores that day and I did not converse or connect with any other person in those stores. I couldn't tell you the name of one person at a register, nor the color of the eyes of another person. Never taking the time to notice others, I was totally in the devil's trap of self-interest and of no worth to the Lord and what He was up to yesterday.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
Ephesians 6:10-11

PT
Lord, how blessed we are that Your mercies are new every morning. Thank You for the blessing of being able to confess our short comings, receiving Your forgiveness and being able to be used by You once again. What a friend we have in Jesus! Clear our minds today of clutter and allow us to see clearly your plans and your purposes. Whether we are on the end of being encouragers and directing people to Your presence or needing encouragement and redirection ourselves, ready our spirits for the encounter. Quiet us in a way that we hear from You and rejoice simply because we are in relationship with You. Also, as You have instructed us, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." Psalm 122: 6-7

Philanthropist

March 21
Philanthropist is the random word ringing in my head. The definition is a person who makes an active effort to promote human welfare. Philanthropy is an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes. Jesus qualifies!

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21




A Speck of a Day


March 19-20
Heading out to the trails I am sure I looked a sight wearing brown and pink rain boots, yoga pants, one of my son's button down shirts and hot pink rubber gloves, while carrying a tarp and a pitch fork. The plan was to clean some leaves, which had pile up, out of our creek. Approaching each mound, I realized there was a log (plank) in each place creating the back up of debris. For two hours I hung in that creek with God and had some deep, deep conversations.
He immediately began by illustrating that what seems to be a mess on the surface most likely has a bigger sin issue underneath. Kindly, He shared, "Sin is the bottom line, but nobody wants to admit that." Another interesting lesson came as the water flow was increased by me moving lots of little river rocks out of the way. The small sins we engage in build upon one another and decrease the flow of the Spirit in our lives.
Today, I can hardly move due to all the lifting, rolling, squatting and hauling I did, but I had a banner day with the Lord yesterday. Areas of my life which were clogged are now open. God even said, "Now we can move forward to the next step Boo." Later, relaxing in the hammock, I recalled those words. At one point the sun's rays were magnificently beaming out from behind a cloud and I thought....this is it...the next step....God is going to take me home right from this hammock! Not, I am still here.

How can you say to your brother, "Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye" when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

PT
Lord, you have a Master plan. Forgive us for the times we forget we have a Master and instead create disaster with our lives. Don't leave us like we are. Please transforms us. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Mind you P's and Q's

March 18
From Wikipedia
Mind your Ps and Qs is an English expression meaning "mind your manners", mind your language", "be on your best behavior" or similar. There are several different theories as to the origin of the phrase, but there is no definite proof as to which is correct. One origin of the story of "mind your Ps and Qs" comes from early printing presses. Printers placed individual letters on a frame to print a page of text. The letters were reversed, making it easy to mistake lowercase p's and q's in setting the type. A reminder to stay watchful of the details could have come from this time as well. In a similar setting, the expression has been attributed as an adage for teaching children to spell.
Another origin comes from English pubs and taverns of the seventeenth century. Bartenders would keep a watch on the alcohol consumption of the patrons; keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed. As a reminder to the patrons, the bartender would recommend they mind their Ps and Qs.

So, why was this phrase on my mind this morning? Yesterday, there was a knock on my door and it was a man from the county tax appraiser's office performing an assessment of property values. He introduced himself and then said, "From the look of these scripture signs in your yard you are not ashamed to call yourself a Christian." Whoa, Nelly! That was a first and probably a lot nicer than what some people think when they see them. We proceeded into a wonderful conversation about the Lord and seemed to be very like minded. He was very knowledgeable. Out of left field, he asked me this question?
How do you explain such a good God allowing evil in the world?

Me, oh, my! Was I ready to give an answer?
I need to mind my P=proclamation, as I minded the Q-question.
My reply began with the fact that God's Word explains we were created with free will. In doing this our love for God would be the "real thing" from our hearts, not a response He had programmed us to have, therefore meaning a lot more to Him. The fall from God's good ways began in the angelic realm with Lucifer getting greedy. When Adam and Eve were created they had the ability to choose good or evil. They choose to do their own thing which ushered in sinful ways for mankind. Humanity continues to gravitate to doing things our way, thinking of self first, which often sets evil in motion against others.
While evil brings suffering, I believe suffering establishes an urgency to access the Presence of God in a way a bright sunny day, with everything going our way might not. This in turns strengthens our relationship with God and acclimates our earthly minds to contemplate the reality of an eternal heaven; thus putting into perspective the process of this limited earthly journey.
Yup, dear friends, the world is volatile right now and we need to be ready to give a reason, from God's Word, for why we believe. What we have to share and the spirit in which we share it could change a life for ever and ever. Amen?

PT Let's pray Romans 15:13 and 1 Peter 3:15

Father, we trust you and revere Christ as Lord. Being the God of hope, please fill us with all joy and peace. In doing so, may we overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit and be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give a reason for the hope that we have. Equip us to do this with gentleness and respect in a way which brings you glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Prayer Request:
I am not a fan of snakes and am going out today to clean debris from our creek. Please pray that I will not disturb any snakes! The devil probably isn't over joyed with my proclamations and may send one of his side kicks to ruffle my skirt!
I am wearing boots and long pants....not a skirt! :)




Protect Your Mind

March 17
Moses, our bulldog, began to whine around 11:15 wanting to go outside and gaze at the stars. I had only been asleep about thirty minutes and was not at all pleased with this decision. Coming back to bed, my mind began to wander (funny, first I typed wonder...it did that too). Unfortunately, it drifted to troubling things and I could not get to sleep. By 2AM I was so agitated, I couldn't even get ABC prayers going. I probably should have gotten up and read, but instead I plugged in my IPOD and prayed praise would help me drift off to sleep.

We pray so often for physical well-being, but it is just as important to pray for the protection of our minds. Check out these scriptures today.

The mind governed by the flesh is death,
but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

God's there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. Psalm 145:18


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me like down in green pastures, he leads me besides quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3
Let's remember to pray for the minds of those in Japan. Pray that in their distress they might hear and receive the Gospel message. Pray also for the equipping of missionaries to that area, that their minds might be led by the Spirit.

While typing this devotional, I received an email with the link below about an autistic man.
God has created all kinds of minds and each one has a unique purpose. Check out this fellow's amazing story.

Simply Because You Love Me

March 16
The clock read 5AM. Wait, that is really only 4AM, because of Daylight Savings Time. Trying to close my eyes and go back to sleep the Lord had another idea which required me to get up out of my cozy bed. I balked at first using the excuse that He certainly didn't want to break my morning routine of a quiet time with him. The response..."Oh, believe me, you will be more awake and receptive to our quiet time after you do this." The humanness of my soul switched into a bargaining gear. "So, if I do this You are going to bless me and maybe answer some of those prayer requests we have been discussing?" "No, I am simply asking You to do this because You love me," was His reply. Ugh...those are the kind of moments you know you've heard from God.

My feet hit the ground and as I headed out of my bedroom I thought...How often do I do something for the Lord simply because I love him? Motherhood and married life are full of actions done purely out of love, but as for our life with the Father, I think often the mindset settles more on thoughts of all the things He does for us because of how He loves us. Maybe we think because He is God he doesn't need our love, but His Word teaches differently.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5
Deuteronomy 11:22 (Msg) ...love God, your God, do what he tells you, stick close to him.

Reading today in Billy Graham's Unto These Hills the scripture reference is Psalm 139:23-24.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

In his devotional Graham states: "Unless God is revealed to us through personal experience, we can never really know God. Most of us know about God, but that is quiet different from really knowing God. He goes on to talk about the proper sequence contained in David's prayer in Psalm 139. "First he prayed that God might know him; then he prayed that God might cleanse him; and last he prayed that God might direct him. David's transformation, as a result of this prayer, was full and complete." David loved God.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
While I was obedient to what God asked me to do this morning I didn't start out with a cheerful heart. Then my attitude changed and I found my joy in doing this for Him. Shortly afterwards the recipient of God's requested action didn't seem elated with the offering and I allowed my joy to be quenched. (I guess not everyone is ready to be disturbed at 6M) Already, I had forgotten for whom this was being done...it wasn't for the recipient, it was to be done...
Simply, because I love God and He asked me too.
PT
Lord, you shine brighter than any other. Last week I did a lot of silver polishing and it required some elbow grease. This morning I feel as if you have been buffing and polishing me Father. Thanks for finding me worth the effort. May we all go forth today, full of love and appreciation for You and may that love radiate out into lives which we never dreamed of touching.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Passing On Praising

March 15
How often do we praise the Lord?
Yesterday morning, while typing away on the devotional, my heart was stirred to go downstairs to the piano and play some praise. PTL there are no neighbors near by, although sound does carry rather effectively over water. Sorry fellow "cove" ers. Instead of following my instinct, I procrastinated, passing on the praise time and heading into the mundane chores of the day.
What was I thinking...passing on praise...pathetic.
Finally, I made my way to the piano and my countenance was lifted higher and higher as I sang praise to the Lord.

There are 194 references which come up when you search "Praise the Lord" on Biblegateway under the NIV translation. Sounds like there was a lot of praising going on!

I will praise the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of the God! Deuteronomy 32:3

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
2 Samuel 22:47

Studying in Deuteronomy chapter 10:12-21 today the question was posed...
"What do you think God expects of you?" Here is the answer from The Message:
Live in his presence in holy reverence, follow the road he sets out for you, love him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you, obey the commandments and regulations of God that I'm commanding you today. Live a good life.
Sing Out...
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

PT Father, may we be all about praise in Your Son's name, Amen




Eagles' Wings

March 14
What a beautiful weekend we had here in SW Virginia. Sitting out on our patio yesterday, I became so hot I took off my sweater. No sooner had it dropped from my shoulders than a wild wind whipped in sending a chill across my body which had me scrambling to get my arms back into that sweater. Once again I thought about the amazing power of God to change things in an instance.
Looking down on my lap, at the Numbers passage in my study Bible, this question was posed on the page. "Under what circumstances are you most prone to forget who God is and what he's done for you?" As I finished reading, the wind whipped up again like a roaring lion!
I journaled...Over and over again, like the tides of the ocean or the sun coming up each day, You are faithful. Your faithfulness does not mean life is easy, but that you are with us through it all and waiting for your perfect time to bring us home.
The fellowship was so sweet, but rudely interrupted as three crows flew into a tree by the water and began their obnoxious caw, caw. Then I got a "God Moment". I began to sing out loud filled with the Spirit and asked the angels encamped around this property to shoo those crows away. They spread their slick black wings and flew across the cove to a neighbor's yard. Before their legs hit the ground a gorgeous eagle appeared soaring on the wind currents. This creature circled higher and higher without flapping a wing as the image of the moon created a magnificent backdrop. It was a "God-time," which increased my faith.
Celebrate God. Sing together-everyone!
All you honest hearts, raise the roof!
Psalm 32:11
PT
Father, you are worthy, worthy to be praised. How often do we do that though? Forgive us for the mornings when You are not the first things on our minds and for the evenings when we fall asleep without thankful hearts for making it through another day. Open our minds and our hearts in a fashion that we don't miss the "God Moments" where you intend to show us how to soar above our current situations on eagle's wings. May today be the day when we shout...now that was a "God-thing". In Jesus' Name, Amen

Change in a Second


March 12-13
Life can change in a second! Just ask Seth Greenberg, the basketball coach at Virginia Tech. In last night's ACC tourney, victory was sounded for the Florida State team, but after review, the basketball had not left the players fingers when the clock ticked down to zero. The escalating and deflating emotions both teams experienced had Greenberg and probably many more in tears.
Those shell shocker moments in life when you don't know what to think, like diagnoses of cancer, death, divorce or even earthquakes and tsunamis as Japan is experiencing, are heart stoppers . When the unexpected happens, where does it leave us?

There is more to miss in life than baskets. I believe with all my heart that God desires to speak to us daily. Some days the snippet of His purpose may be as simple as reaffirming He is with us as we step outside to see a flower which has just bloomed; or He might prick our conscience with the promise of his provision as we see a robin flying to a nest with a big fat worm. Other days we may linger longer with Him as he unveils a project, which seems off the wall to us, yet He is asking us to join him through sacrificially serving. Then there are the unpleasant times where He allows pain to teach us something we otherwise would not have learned, but He is by our side.
The one we don't want to miss at the buzzer is the moment the Spirit stirs our heart and God reveals to us how deep and wide his love is for us. And even though we have committed foul, after foul, He has a game plan which allows his Son to take the penalty, so we can win the game against death and live victoriously forever.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

If you haven't seen yourself as sinful or maybe your sins are weighing so heavily upon you the disgrace and embarrassment has you not wanting to face God, just ask him to come to you, right where you are. He wants you on his team. He has more plays for you to carry out than you can imagine. Jesus is always Coach of the Year and has written down game plans which will help you through whatever moves might be thrown upon you.
Step up to the line...Confess your sins. Ask Jesus to be your Savior...
and score!

God's Chisel

March 11
Rather than read today. Take 9 minutes and click on the godtube link below and really listen to this message by The Skit Guys. Powerful, powerful.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

God did such a great job when he created you.

PT
Creator God, you do hold us in the palm of your hand and lift us up. Thank You. Forgive us for the standards we set, which are not Yours. Bring on the chisel, so that others may see Christ in us. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Beautiful Picture

FORGIVENESS- IT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE SMILING!












March 10

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7
Last week when we went to visit our grandson we took an art easel. Loving to construct, he really enjoyed watching my husband put the easel together. There are two sides to the easel...a dry erase board and a chalk board. Both of these materials offer a way out when you make a mistake. What a blessing that God had the same idea when He sent Christ, out of the comforts of heaven, to come to earth and be the Eraser for our mistakes.
The boards on the easel are not cleared without some effort on the artist's part. The eraser must be picked up and put into action. Likewise, the forgiveness of our sins takes action on our part. We must set up the initial account accepting Christ as our Savior. After that we must actively confess our sins and ask to be washed as white as snow.
What a beautiful picture of love!

PT
God, you've always got your A game on. We know You do not slumber, nor sleep and probably don't even blink. Our days are filled with mess ups, but Your Son, the Redeemer for our sins is oh, so, perfect. Yes, He is altogether lovely. Father, it is our heart's desire to be like Christ. Examine us today and may our mouths spit out the confessions of sin which have us bogged down; and may our slates be washed clean so that we might step into today as a beautiful picture of a life filled with Christ. In Jesus' Name, Amen

The Tie That Binds

Bless Be The Tie that Binds

March 9
Four AM I awakened and I was singing...
Blest be the tie that binds, Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds, Is like to that above.
(The entire hymn, with a a link to organ music, can be found above under "Hear Ye Hear Ye".

Me oh my, do we live up to the hymn though? Is our example of Christian fellowship reflecting what is to come in heaven? Some of the encounters we experience with fellow believers signal warnings to the rest of the world...
"If that is Christian camaraderie, count me out. I will find amity elsewhere."

Researching the definition of bind and considering it in the context of being bound to our brothers and sisters in Christ was quite thought provoking.
There were negatives which are visible in certain religions/churches/relationships:
To confine, restrain, restrict and to put under obligation.

Let's dwell on these positives and evaluate whether we can say this is unswervingly true of the fellowship we share with other believers.
Being bound means:
to make secure
to wrap around and cover
to cause to stick together
to make a firm commitment
to protect and strengthen
to have an emotional attachment
to form a cohesive mass

If you aren't finding that kind of fellowship, keep looking, it does exist. Don't let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.

PT
Father, You are the one who so graciously has forgiven our sins and bound us to Christ for eternity. What a faithful friend we have in Jesus. Prepare our hearts, our minds, our mouths, for what is to come today and may all we do and say and pray be a reflection of what is happening in heaven today. In Jesus' Name, Amen

A PITy Party

March 8
Sarah Young warns in Jesus Calling..."Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face. Don't even go near the edge of the pit. Its edges crumble easily, and before you know it, you are on the way down. It is ever so much harder to get out of the pit than to keep a safe distance from it. That is why I tell you to be on guard. There are several ways to protect yourself from self-pity. When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me, it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself. Also, the closer you live to Me, the more distance there is between you and the pit. Live in the Light of My Presence by fixing your eyes on Me. Then you will be able to run with endurance the race that is set before you, without stumbling or falling."

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

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

PT
Father, You have a plan for the pitfalls of life. Hallelujah! Thank You for the guard rails you have in place. May we be quick to grab hold of those and hang on to You and run from the traps such as self-pity. We we fix our eyes on Jesus, we remember all He endured and how victoriously He arose from the pit of death! Show us the way dear Lord. Show us the way. In Jesus' Name, Amen

My Father's Business

March 7
When you have a bank account you usually make deposits and withdraws.
If we could view monthly statements of our spiritual lives how would they appear?
The deposits would come from the securities and investments we are making to enhance our spiritual growth... Bible studies, prayer lives, sermon notes, etc.
The withdraws become visible when we put those "learnings" (kind of like earnings) into action in a way which brings glory to God and gives others a glimpse of what Jesus is like.
From an early age, Jesus knew what it meant to be about His Father's business.

And when they (Joseph and Mary) saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, Child, why have You treated us like this? Here Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You. And He said to them, "How is it that you had to look for Me? Did you not see and know it is necessary for Me to be in My Father's house and about My Father's business? But they did not comprehend what He was saying to them. Luke 2:48-50

PT
Father, the instructions you have left for us are full of wisdom and ways for your work to be done.
Forgive us when our focus hovers on our needs and desires and Your ways and Your wishes (which will be done) are far from our earthly priorities. There is comfort in this story of Mary and Joseph, who had to know better than anyone who Jesus was, yet they were limited in their comprehension of His work and His wonders. Help us to not hoard the spiritual deposits of knowledge we are learning about You, but to withdraw them from their place in our lives and pass them on. In Jesus' Name, Amen

He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
Colossians 1:28

My Father's Business
I learned the incredible knowledge that Jesus came to save.
I felt so warm and fuzzy knowing of His love and all He taught and gave.

My Bible was my resource and I kept it safely by my bed.
Inhaling all those scriptures, but not choosing the Good News to spread.

The thought then occurred to me of what my life might have been.
If no one had taken the time to share with me about my deadly sins.

Hoarding is so selfish and certainly not what Jesus taught.
I best get out and about My Father's business and
not face Him in heaven and be distraught.

INTERESTING...after writing the blog I turned on Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio show.
Today she has Anne Ortlund on speaking about Multiplying of Effectiveness.
Invest in others and disciple. Check out: www.info@reviveourhearts.com



Follow the Wild Goose



March 5-6
Wild Goose Chase
by Mark Batterson is a challenging book. The Wild Goose equates to the Holy Spirit. This book will take you out of your comfort zone...it was a gift to me from the type of friend we all need in our lives...a godly one, who keeps you accountable.
(More to come on accountability in the days ahead.)
Standing at the ironing board my Spirit was moved by thoughts that were definitely from God.
You know the ones which are not things you would bring upon yourself. A call to uncomfortable obedience, which can cause you to scurry and get busy or hope someone calls on the phone and interrupts His instructions.
No such luck, He got his request out.
Immediately I responded with several "I don't want to's". I KNOW BETTER.
The request related to an area of disobedience which I have struggled with for nine years!
PTL...the phone is ringing, I don't have to confess specifics. :)
The Lord let me get out all my expressions of why I didn't want to do this and then gently reminded me..."But it’s not about what you want is it?
Follow the Wild Goose and bring glory to God.

Temptation

March 4
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Matthew 28:20

"The big eye, don't lie!" was a quote my older brother used often to firm up his arguments. Unswervingly, I hold to the belief that God's watchful eye is upon us. Many occurrences in my bear witness to how God steps in and makes a way out!
Presently, I have some huge prayer issues before me and the only direction I want to go is God's direction. A friend told me about a fast she is doing for a specific prayer need, so I decided to try a modified version eliminating meats, sweets, and all beverages except water from my diet. Not easy when you are married to a sweets and meat lover!
The other day I was craving just a snippet of chocolate and went downstairs and opened our snack (funny, I just typed snake) drawer, where I knew there was a bag of Hersey's nuggets. When I opened the drawer right beside the chocolate was a tiny bag of walnuts and almonds.
I laughed out loud and praised the Lord for providing a way out!

Yesterday, I received an online devotional with the following message:

A friend of mine fasts regularly, and to my astonishment, he never complains or seems to be the least bit ruffled by the experience. For myself, I find that fasting changes my whole disposition. I asked him his secret once, and he said, "It's no secret really. All I do is pretend that the empty feeling in my stomach is really the Holy Spirit moving around, making itself comfortable inside. That way, the gnawing isn't unpleasant but it's quite comforting to think that God is so very close." I tried to follow my friend's advice, and it has worked wonders for me. I will let my hunger turn my mind to God!

Yup, my Shepherd knows my every move and more times than not He puts the anti-temptation message I need to hear in black and white right before my eyes!

PT
Father, our tongues are getting tempted to taste or talk what they should not,
Our feet and hands are prone to wander towards what could be dangerously hot spots.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit, who equips us with all our needs.
And keep our hearts humble and steadfast in their desire to follow Your lead.
In Jesus Name, Amen

Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.
Psalm 119:2


Sheep Shape

March 3
Are we in sheep shape and willing to follow our Shepherd?

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.
John 10:14

Is our heart's desire to be able to say as Job did...
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
Job 23:10-11

Are we willing to follow Christ's lead and walk in his ways?
Loving, because He first loved us.
Forgiving, because we are forgiven.
Making intercession for others, because He is our great Intercessor.
Trusting and seeking our heavenly Father,
because Christ was our example to live in such a way.

I just did a hundred crunches this morning, working on my physical shape.
Now I am going to read Psalm 100 and rejoice as I say...
"I am a sheep from his pasture!"

Psalm 100 from The Message
I chose this translation because of the word sheer :) I know that's baaaaaaaad.

On your feet now-applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God. We're his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty, all generous in love, loyal always and ever.

PT
Trustworthy Shepherd, we adore You! Our heads bow in remorseful confession today as we think of the times we have wandered and broken Your heart. Obviously, we are clueless at times of the benefits of obedience. Thank You for loving us with such and intense depth that Your eye is steadfast upon us. Many of us are hurting deeply dear Shepherd with physical, emotional and even spiritual pains. Cradle us in Your arms, sing sweet hymns in our ear, and remind us that there is much more than this temporary dwelling. In Jesus' Name, Amen






Splendid

March 2
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Last week my husband and I went to the movies and saw "The King's Speech". At one point someone said in their eloquent British accent "Splendid"! I reached over in the dark theatre and squeezed my husband's leg and whispered in his ear..."I think you are splendid!" It is our new buzz word around the house. Today, I think I will paint a sign to put up which simply says, "splendid".
Looking up splendid in Merriam Webster's online dictionary I got a good laugh as a Victoria's Secret advertisement came bounding across my screen. Yes, there are those (probably some of the very males who grew up in this house) who would say the young women in those ads, modeling underwear, are splendid.
The dictionary defines the word this way: possessing or displaying splendor; shining, brilliant, marked by showy magnificence; illustrious, grand, excellent, out of the ordinary.

Me oh my, that describes my God and the 1 Peter verse above gives testimony to the grandeur and splendor that comes from knowing Him. Sneak off to a quiet place with Him today and allow Him the opportunity to thrill your heart and reveal His splendid love for you!

Do you remember note taking days when you wished you knew short hand? You just couldn't record all the key points of the teacher's lecture. That is how I feel with the Lord this morning, He is throwing so much good stuff as me, I can't write it all down fast enough in my notebook.

PT (Prayer Time)
Father, You are splendid in deed! While we often sit baffled, You have it all figured out. Though we cannot see You, we choose this day to believe in Your love and commit to take time to dwell in Your presence and tell You of the love we have for You and the appreciation for the hope of heaven to come. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Here is a link to Chris Tomlin's teaching and take on the splendor of the king in his song How Great is Our God. This Youtube link has a British interviewer, so you will get a taste of that fabulous accent I was talking about from The King's Speech. Kind of fun!