Loving Us Thru It All

May 31
Today's life lesson is a bit off color...please don't take offense. This weekend and just now, several of us have been the recipients of insufficient diaper containment and caught a lap full of mess. The reactions which have followed, as we gathered ourselves together and headed into clean up mode, make me think of the messes in life which get tossed God's way each day. He keeps loving us through it all and helps us to clean up the undesirable situation.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Dedicate




May 28-30
Wikipedia defines the word dedicate this way:
Devote (time, effort, or oneself) to a particular task or purpose.

Merriam Webster's definition is: to devote to the worship of a divine being.

The Free Dictionary says: To set apart for a deity or for religious purposes; consecrate.

What a privilege it is as parents to receive the gift and miracle of a child. By focusing on the Giver of Life Himself, we venture into the daily and sometimes complicated task of parenting through trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit and continually seeking Him. Our children and their needs are forever changing, so the process of training them up as they should go requires wisdom and support from those who have trod before us.

We gathered Sunday at Shiloh honoring a wonderful group of parents who recognize what a privilege they have had bestowed them. Their hearts desire is to train their children up to love the Lord. Through a dedication service they made this proclamation before the Lord and the rest of us offered our encouragement and prayers for the task at hand.

We have a good and gracious gift in the unconditional love of the Lord. We need to pass it on and tell of its wonder!

Deuteronomy 11:18-20

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,

The Grinder

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

May 27
Our pepper grinder wasn't putting forth much of a product. Tightening the screw on the top did the trick. The added pressure produced a much nicer chunk of pepper! Glimmering with delight over a successful solution to my pepper mill problem, I stopped to think of my own life.
God has produced some of the best changes in my life by allowing me through the grinder!

The A Action


May 26
In Peter Lord's book, Bless and Be Blessed, he addresses some "A" words which when appropriated and showered upon our lives and the lives of others take living to a lush height.

Appreciation

Acceptance

Approval

Affection

Attention

Affirmation

Admiration

I am writing each one of these on a piece of paper and then applying the name of the person I feel I am being led to extend the "A" action towards. Got to run right now and show the 6 week old grandson in my bed some approval, attention and affection! Three down, that was easy!






Fully Charged

May 25
Glancing at my cell phone, the screen stated Fully Charged. I thought, "I wish I was fully charged this morning!" There are times in life when tremendous tasks tower over us and we start to tremble or down right crumble and quit. The thousands of tornado victims in this nation come to mind.
God loves us and wants us to cry out to him.
But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Psalm 22:19
Ephesians 3:18-20 is such a passionate passage. It challenges us to have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is and to know that this love which surpasses knowledge will fill us up (have us fully charged) to the measure of all the fullness of God. It reminds us that God is able to do immeasurably more than we are capable of asking or even imagining.

His love, power, and guidance are there for the taking. May we tune in to Him today and reap the benefits of being filled up by the Father! May that love that fills you up, pour out upon someone else today and bless them in a special way.


What We Dwell On

Be devoted to one another in love. Romans 12:10
May 24
Lakescapes Nursery, in Union Hall, VA is one of those "feel good" places. The pottery, fountains and plants are soothing sights that immediately lower your blood pressure. The owners and staff are the most upbeat, sweet spirited, delightful people, who greet you with a smile and a kind word. Even, CJ, the dog pictured above, makes you feel welcome. CJ came to visit Moses (our bulldog) yesterday. While they were swimming, (Moses was just having a soak, while CJ swam laps around him) I told CJ's master, "CJ has such a good life!" His heart warming response is so true. "We all do, we just tend to dwell on the problems." So true.

This morning I picked up Peter M. Lord's book "Bless and be Blessed-How Your Words Can Make a Difference." Watch for highlights from this book, under the sub-category "Blessed" here on the blog. Also, check out the song I posted today under "Hear Ye Hear Ye" called This is the Stuff that Drives Me Crazy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7vR2Bx4nLU
With a focus on "blessings" This Sunday at Shiloh we will have a special time of speaking a blessing over the children. Hope you can join us.

Still Here

May 23
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36

Around 5:30 on Saturday my neighbor called to say, "Well, just wanted to see if you are ready to go. You did hear that the Lord is coming back at 6PM EST?" We both laughed and agreed we were more than ready for heaven, but we trusted God's Word more than Harold Campings' predictions. Around 5:55 I was in the kitchen cooking dinner and decided to have some fun with my son and husband...I left a note which read...."Luv u, been raptu....." They laughed!

One day, there will be people left standing on earth and they will not be laughing...they will be wishing they had listened and loved the Lord with all their hearts.

A Different View

May 21-22
Several weeks ago I shared with you that a duck had laid 9-10 eggs in one of our planters on our dock. Thursday evening we went down to check on her and there was one loan egg abandoned in the nest and she was swimming along with three little ducklings. My heart was heavy as I bemoaned the fate of the other babies. Late last night, I heard a duck quacking in what appeared to be a panic. I jumped up, turned on all the exterior lights and ran onto my screen porch and screamed out into the darkness..."Leave those ducks alone!" Things quieted down and then about an hour later the scene repeated itself.
We lose things in life...jobs, homes, health, relationships, marriages, loved ones, our joy...
but no one can take away our Jesus and the love the Father has for us.
The verse on my calendar today read:
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Psalm 94:19 (New NIV)

I could not recall ever reading this verse, but found great comfort in David's honesty that his anxieties were many. Just this morning in a prayer time with my husband, I had asked the Lord to keep me from being fearful and then along came this Word! Typing my way to Biblegateway, I enjoyed munching on this verse in some other translations and hope if your heart is troubled in any way, you will be encouraged.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. (NIV)

When the cares of my heart are many, you consolations cheer my soul. (ESV)

Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, "I am slipping I'm falling, " your love, God, took hold and help me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up.


Stained

"Come now, let us settle the matter," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18
May 20
Discussing the need for an updated pair of blue jeans my daughter commented, "Those white jeans look good on you mom. Who are they by?" I didn't even know, but appreciated the compliment. When I got home I took three pair of white pants, which all had some stains and began soaking them in Oxyclean. What occurred were three pair of white pants with huge brown stains all over them. The leather designer label had bled on to all the pants. Re-soaking the two no-name pants brought forth some clean white pants in which I had never received a compliment. The fine fanny fitting designer pants came clean everywhere except around the label. I contemplated just wearing a belt, but the stain went below the belt line. Then it came to me...cut off the fancy label and re-soak them. Hmm, then nobody would know they were designer jeans. Designer jeans are not of eternal value! Off with the label!

Isn't that how sin operates in the world...we think we need to indulge in it to gain acceptance, inclusion, or self-satisfaction, when in actuality it is staining our lives and needs to be totally cut out!
From Jesus Calling today.
"When your sins weigh heavily upon you come to Me. Confess your wrongdoing, which I know all about before you say a word. Stay in the Light of My Presence, receiving forgiveness, cleansing and healing. Remember that I have clothed you in My righteousness, so nothing can separate you from Me. Whenever you stumble or fall, I am there to help you up.
Man's tendency is to hide from his sin, seeking refuge in the darkness. There he indulges in self-pity, denial, self-righteousness, blaming, and hatred. But I am the Light of the World, and My illumination decimates darkness. Come close to Me and let My Light envelop you, driving out darkness and permeating you with Peace."

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10


A Piece of Peace in the Storms of Life



May 19
The past week has been filled with unpredictable weather. We were out on the boat this weekend headed toward sunshine and white fluffy clouds. I turned around in my seat to hold our grandson and saw a big storm brewing from the south, back towards our home. We contemplated the choices of racing home towards the storm to the safety of our boathouse or rushing on towards the sunshine hoping the storm didn't follow us.
Today, the first three devotionals I studied were all "peace" related. My mind thought..."Ugh, what are You preparing me for today Lord?" Life is full of storms and try as we may we can't run from them. We do serve a mighty God who stands beside us through the struggle.
Yesterday, the naval jets were in full force on their practice runs over Virginia Beach. The sound of those engines is so intimidating. My grandson and I had strolled to the park. Each time a jet flew overhead he would run to me and press one ear against my leg and cover his other ear. I would place my hand on top of his to help keep the sound out. After the reverberations of the sound waves left our proximity, he would go back to playing. This exhibited a perfect picture of God's love...we can run to him, find security and peace knowing He is close by, and then step back into the process of life.

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. Psalm 50:15

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

Just as God is peace to us, He calls us to be peacemakers like himself.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

So whatever we face today may God bring on a piece of peace to see us through!

"When suffering comes, learn to trust each day into God's hands."
Billy Graham

Hearts

May 18
Today during a time of prayer, I realized I was praying for people with hard hearts, broken hearts, open hearts, hearts of gold and hearts of stone. The load was becoming heavy and the Lord said, "Let it go and focus on Me! Lay your burdens before Me and watch me work!"

"Anyone can pass judgment-but can they lay down their lives in love, intercession and faith for the one judged? Can they target an area of need and rather than criticizing, fast and pray, asking God to supply the very virtue they feel lacking? And then persevere in that love-motivated prayer until that fallen area blooms in godliness? Such is the life Christ commands we follow!" Francis Frangipane

Here is what the Lord has to say about hearts....
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7





My Shepherd


May 16-17
Psalm 23... Think About this Psalm of David's
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Hmmm. "I shall not want."
Looking back on the past few weeks, what are things you have wanted?
My husband always adds to his dinner blessing by asking God for a good night's sleep.
I want good health for some people who just can't seem to get it.
Many have wanted the Mississippi not to flood and tornadoes to be non-existent.
There are thousands of college students wanting good grades on their final exams and others desperately wanting to find a job.
Spouses, babies, someone to love...all fall into a category of things desired.

When we tally our "want list" up, how does our desire for relationship with Christ and the wanting of God's will fit into the list?
Sometimes He allows things to come into our lives which cause us to lie down by still waters and contemplate the situation.

The Happy Family


May 14-15
Many Chinese restaurants serve a dish called "The Happy Family" containing chicken, pork, shrimp and veggies. Great analogy of how families are a good mix of personalities and characteristics. Establishing a happy family is not an easy feat and it requires unconditional love which goes against our human nature.
1 John 4:7 says: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.

On Wednesday and Thursday God dropped a dynamite message, unexpectedly, in my lap through a radio show called Haven Today. www.haventoday.org
Go to archives and click on May 11 & 12th "Close Calls-Affair Proofing My Marriage".
Even if you think you would never have an affair, which counselor Dave Carter defines as starting by: "Two people sharing feelings for one another," I think you will be blown away by the warning signs in this message.
Realizing how temptation creeps upon us when we are weary and often vulnerable, this series offers valuable insight to ward off attacks.

I caught some pics of another Happy Family on our property. Mama Duck is still on her nest on the dock, but Mrs. Goose and Mr. Gander were strutting their stuff and teaching their three babes to swim today.


Mama Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

May 12-13
Visiting with some friends this week brought a time of much needed refreshment to my life.
We hugged, ate amazing caramel cake, sipped on tea and shared how "not" perfect our lives are in the comfort of sincere friendship.
One of our sons was visiting my 91 year old father recently and came home with a great quote from his grandfather: "Life is just a series of challenges we have to see ourselves through."
WOW...there's a scoop of wisdom!
One of my girlfriends shared how she had not picked up her mail on Saturday, so she grabbed it on the way to church Sunday and noticed a Mother's Day card from her son, so she tucked it in her purse and waited for a quiet moment in church to read the card. Opening the card it began to sing OUTLOUD..."Mama told me there'd be days like this!" Don't you love it!

We do not know what tomorrow holds, but we do know who holds tomorrow and who loves us with a passion.

I will not forget you. See I have inscribed you on the palm of My hands. Isaiah 49:15-16




Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

May 12
Yesterday, I forgot about the dusting, the stacks of laundry, my suitcase which still isn't unpacked from grandchildren visits and the recipes I want to cook and I headed off to sit and laugh with good friends in my hometown. There was so much refreshment in being with women my age who are honest enough to say, "Life isn't perfect."

My 91 year old father gave one of our sons a bit of wisdom a few weeks ago. His quote,
"Life is full of circumstances we have to see our way through." Amen!

Life often dishes up the unexpected. One friend shared how she had forgotten to get the mail the Saturday before Mother's Day, so on the way to church she grabbed the mail. In the box was a card from her son, who now lives in another state. She stuck the card in her purse and waited for a quiet moment during church to open it and be touched by a sweet message of love from her son.
Opening the card, it began to play OUTLOUD..."Mama said there'd be days like this!"
Don't you love it!

We don't know what the next day holds, but we can know the One who holds the next day in His hand!

May these verses speak to our hearts as we work our way through the circumstances of today.
The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile. Psalm 94:11

For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11

Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? Ecclesiastes 8:7

Within the past six hours two young mothers have walked through my door facing what most would see as devastating situations. Life has dealt them circumstances that their mamas probably never told them were possible. Right now it is hard to imagine what God's thoughts or plans are allowing these things to happen, but we talked about learning to be content whatever the circumstances and believing God can work all things for God for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

May we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding!

Filled Up

May 11
No, that is not Moonshine, although I do live in the Moonshine capital of the world. We do serve up a great glass of sweet tea around here in these Mason Jars though.
When you look at the glass do you see it as half full or half empty? If we spiritually evaluated ourselves today, how much filling of the Holy Spirit would we sense in our lives?

Look at what God's Word says we are to be filled with in Ephesians 5:17-19

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord...

Again and again, before the bestowing of the Holy Spirit to individuals, Moses watched the Spirit of God fill people for many different purposes.

Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze. Exodus 35:30-32

Zechariah 4:6 "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit," says the Lord Almighty.

PT

God, you are before all things and so powerful. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit today, sending us out into a lost and hurting world as heavenly ambassadors. When we feel discouraged, downtrodden and don't know which way to turn, may we lift our eyes to where our help comes from and trust in Your power to see us through. In Jesus Name, Amen

The Garden Bench


May 10
The hunt has been on for over a month to find a garden bench to match this one I found in March at TJMAXX for $49. From Roanoke to Nashville and Lynchburg to VA Beach, I've run into almost every TJMAXX, Marshall's and Home Goods in search of this item for our patio.
Sunday, as I combed the rows of merchandise in VA Beach the Lord stopped me in my tracks.
"You haven't sought me for a moment today child," was his gentle truth expressed, "yet you are frantic to find this piece of pottery for your patio." Part of me thought by confessing that truth and asking for forgiveness I would then see the blue and white wonder as I walked from the store. Not so.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

There is something satisfying to me about hunting down a specific item. Especially in a discount store. Things go out of style, get broken or stained and are temporal. The thrill of an item hunt cannot compare with the fulfillment exuded in spiritual seeking. Truth revealed sticks with your soul and carries you into eternity.

PT
Lord, we know of your wondrous love for us. The plans and purposes You have for us line up perfectly with Your promises. May the top of our "to do" lists today say..."Seek the Lord first!"
When we dig into Your Word, and fall on our faces before You listening for your will and your way, confessing our sins, please be faithful to give us a holler back Lord. We love You so. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Top of the List


May 9
Well, don’t tell my children, but grandchildren have replaced them at the top of my daily prayer list! I heard a great message on Revive Our Hearts yesterday on “trust,” so that was the focus of my prayers for my precious grandchildren. I prayed that they would trust Jesus as their Savior, trust God in all his provisions, purposes and promises and trust their parents’ love to be what guides all the decisions they make for their children..


I am also praying for my marriage as I realize for the first time in my life it is easy to leave my husband to go see grandchildren....I’ve always cried leaving him....now I cry leaving the grandchildren!

Proverbs 17:6
Children’s children are a crown to the aged...

Reese



May 7-8th
We are rejoicing in the birth of our granddaughter, Reese!
Colossians 1:9
For this reason,
since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

Cheerful Heart

You can buy anything at Target
May 5-6
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
(And probably breast milk too.)
Proverbs 17:22

All we are dealing with here at my daughter's is more information than needs to be shared. We are trusting in God for healing and all of our needs! While it has been a rough 3 weeks, we are praising the Lord for this precious child and looking for what God is up to in the places He is sending us. It may be from our sleepless stupors, but we find reasons to laugh around every corner. We had to go to Target after a doctor's visit for some meds and supplies and found the basket of the buggy the only place to set the car seat. One of our sons is a Target executive and so we took this picture and sent it to him. God is so good. We need to cling to Him and one another.

The Target son's wife has a wonderful blog. Check out her tribute to my father and another special someone in their life.

Keep a watch on another daughter in laws blog and the arrival of their second child any day!

Pour It In

May 4
We daily need to pour the Word of God into our hearts and minds. Whether through devotionals, yearly Bible reading, Bible study, calendar with scriptures or a memorization program (or all of the above) we need to choose to listen to God's instruction. On my calendar
yesterday, today and tomorrow are these verses.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him. Psalm 145:18

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39

Not My will, but Yours, be done. Luke 22:42

In one of my devotionals I am reading I stare upon this reality.
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

If we want to live Christ filled lives, we need to know what Christ is like. So while we pour physical food into our bodies today, let's be certain we have also poured in God's holy word!

Please pray for my daughter and her newborn son. Another infection seems to be invading her body. I am packing quickly this morning and flying back to Nashville with Psalm 145:18 as my confidence.




What If....

May 3
A friend sent me this link to a song called "Blessings". The lyrics are powerful.
Hope you enjoy this and allow the words to penetrate your heart and maybe the Spirit will reveal the answers to what you may had thought to be unnecessary suffering or disappointment in your life.


We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win

We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?


Ducklings


Look closely at the planter in the right hand corner behind the chairs.

This is what Mama Duck was sitting on.
Off she flew,
unable to look back at what could have been the ill fate of her babies.
May 2
My son and I went down to clean out some large planters on our dock to ready them for new spring plantings. Nearing the planter, he feared it held a dead duck...a few steps more and Mama Duck flapped her wings and quacked continuously. "Definitely not dead and definitely not happy," were the immediate thoughts of my assistant! Laughter rolled out of me as I heard my husband and son talking as if they were friends of the mother duck...."We told you that location looked too good to be true!"
We had a group of women coming that day to walk the scripture trails and have Bible study on the dock and I had really wanted to have it spruced up, but being in grandmother mode I could not bring myself to disrupt this happy home. Now in addition to awaiting the arrival of our first granddaughter this week, I am watching for several ducklings to hatch!
(Joanie, don't you be coming by on that jet ski, giving them a fright!)
Romans 12:18 says:
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men...(and God's critters).