Trick or Treat

October 31
Yesterday, as I was looking for whipping cream in the grocery case my eyes settled on a dairy product in an Almond Joy flavor. It didn't say exactly what you were supposed to do with it, but I surmised it was a coffee creamer. I've never had a cup of coffee, but I really love Almond Joys and I like hot chocolate, so I was thinking I could use it in some way to enhance my hot chocolate. As I unpacked my groceries I was curious about this product, so I took a swig. It was tasty, so I had another swig and placed it in the refrigerator. Before all the groceries had been put away, I was feeling rather nauseous and guessed it was from consuming the Almond Joy juice, straight up, on an empty stomach. My treat, tricked me!
There are many things in life which are enticing, but in the end trick us and are not the treats we thought them to be. When we take our last breath and step to the other side, we will be in for a trick (rude awakening) or a treat (the heavenly realm)?

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” Psalm 14:1
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Psalm 12:15

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Proverbs 4:18-20

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Matthew 24:42

Call Upon the Father

October 29-30
Call Upon the Father
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

For years we lived in our hometown where our parents were. It was such a blessing for our children to see their grandparents on a regular basis and for us to have the support of our parents. My husband and his father coached football and basketball together for twenty years.
My father, who's occupation was a road builder, has a brilliant engineer's mind and has helped us design everything from home additions and play grounds, to bridges across our creek.
Growing up help was always just a phone call away. Even if he was away bidding a large highway job, he had an office staff, work crew and heavy equipment to solve any problem. We had a small elevator in our home growing up and I remember my mother getting stuck in it and telling me to call Carl, one of the best of the company's superintendents. He arrived and had her out on no time! Those were the good ole days!
The next generation has come along and one of our sons is a builder, but lives five hours away.
He came a few weeks ago to start us on two bathroom remodels. I've become a regular DIYer and learned online to take out sinks, vanities, toilets, shower doors and old tile! There have been many times I wished I could just call my Father and help would be on the way.

Our heavenly Father, may not have a whole construction crew readily at our disposal, but He cares about all the messes we get ourselves into and will show us a way out. I'm pretty pooped from all this work and on a deadline with 18 coming here for the Thanksgiving holiday (we need our's too cold to bathe in the Lake). I decided to get a bid for someone else to paint the upstairs bathroom as it needed the ceiling done as well. An older gentleman and his wife arrived. They gave a very reasonable quote and he said, "I will be here in the morning."
Moses took right to John, who explained he loved animals and had four dogs....are you ready for their names....Jacob, Joshua, Moses and Gabriel. Hmm, I called out to the Lord to provide help and he sent a very sweet spirit?

Journey Proud

October 27
This week my husband has been out of town attending a conference. Wednesday morning, when he was quietly finishing his packing in the wee hours of the morning, I called out to him..."Are you journey proud?" "Am I what?" he replied. Laughingly, I said, "I don't know, that is something my mother and grandmother used to say. I guess it means are you excited about your trip?" Then it hit both of us! As believers, we are journey proud, for we are headed for the ultimate destination. A journey beyond comparison!

My mother looked forward to heaven. The verses she wanted read at her funeral were
John 14:1-3. On my calendar that year, which had a daily scripture verse, was this reference the day she died. God is so good!
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God;believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:2-3

What a gift we give to our family and friends when we let them know we are journey proud concerning our upcoming trip to heaven!

Fall in love with Jesus

October 27
The frothy whipped cream atop my steamy hazelnut hot chocolate left a mustache above my lip that our bulldog longed to lick off. The sun had left our yard and was shinning on the tree tops across the lake, so there was a chill in the air. Being alone this particular evening I looked at Moses and said, "Let's grab my Bible and steal away with Jesus." Wrapping a raggedly knitted scarf, which I made years ago, around my neck I grabbed a cozy blanket and we headed for the hammock. (Getting Moses in that hammock was a feat!)
I opened my Bible to Isaiah 43:1-4 and felt the love!

Isaiah 43 When You're Between a Rock and a Hard Place

But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.

How quickly we forget the magnitude of the love of the Father. Let's just stop and tell God how much we love Jesus.

Time Investment

October 26
By two o'clock I was missing my husband greatly. Mondays seem like such long days. The weather was gorgeous, but I was stuck inside on a major clean up project in our furnace/storage room. When he walked through the front door, I suggested we hit the hammock before the sun went down. Serenity now! We rocked back and forth and recapped our days for each other and pondered why certain trees had lost their leaves and others were still clinging to their foliage. One of the trees our hammock was attached to was almost bare with the exception of a few walnuts hanging overhead and one red headed woodpecker jumping around. There was not a sound to be heard, nary a boat on the Lake or a leaf blower blasting. Even the woodpecker kept quiet.

What a wonderful time to be still and reflect on the power of God, evident in the changing seasons.

Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Tuesday, three o'clock. Sitting on our dock, I awaited pick up from some friends, whom I had asked if I could hitch a ride with, to enjoy the October grandeur on the lake. With warm sugar cookies in hand I jumped on board and left my chores behind. Before they arrived I had been reading Psalm 148 in "Solo" The Message devotional and took to heart the challenge therein.
"Allow the words to wash over you in their vividness. See specific birds or wild beasts, sense the chill of the ice, hear the roaring of the ocean. Watch ever action of the characters. Compare the way each created thing uniquely praises its Maker." I'll post the psalm below. to do list is overwhelming, but I am choosing three actions:
To stop and bask in God's love, which is radiated upon us in his magnificent creation; to be still and know that He is God; and to reciprocate by praising Him and telling him of my love.

Invest time with your Creator today!
Psalm 148
Hallelujah! Praise God from heaven, praise him from the mountaintops;
Praise him, all you his angels, praise him, all you his warriors,
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, you morning stars;
Praise him, high heaven, praise him, heavenly rain clouds;
Praise, oh let them praise the name of God - he spoke the word, and there they were!
He set them in place from all time to eternity;
He gave his orders, and that's it!
Praise God from earth, you sea dragons, you fathomless ocean deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and ice, hurricanes obeying his orders;
Mountains and all hills, apple orchards and cedar forests;
Wild beasts and herds of cattle, snakes, and birds in flight;
Earth's kings and all races, leaders and important people,
Robust men and women in their prime, and yes, graybeards and little children.
Let them praise the name of God— it's the only Name worth praising.
His radiance exceeds anything in earth and sky;
he's built a monument—his very own people!

Praise from all who love God!
Israel's children, intimate friends of God.

An Attitude of Gratitude

October 25

You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
"God's fingerprints were on your life before you had fingerprints of your own."
Eddie Lawrence

Being part of an Internet prayer ministry, based in Mississippi, has been a blessing to my life for many years. Janie, the coordinator, is the mother in law of a pastor from our past! :) She is a kindred spirit, a woman who loves Jesus with a passion, and an individual who exercises with obedience our call to pray without ceasing. Two years ago, she called upon our group to pray for her niece, living in CA, who experienced complications with her pregnancy. What ensued were heart wrenching prayer request for this little fellow, Gian, and the life threatening surgeries and ordeals this family would face. Today Gian's mother writes:

Dear All,

Just wanted to send some pictures of Baby Gian to you. I hope this offers encouragement and hope to all of those that seem to have insurmountable health issues. This baby is the definition of God's perfect work. Two years and one month ago, there was so very little hope and even if by some miracle, Gian survived, what would his quality of life be? Well, let me tell you...he is smart, beautiful, loving and brings joy to every person he meets! He still has special needs, he still has the trach, he still has a feeding tube and we have yet to hear his little voice but he is the happiest and most fun loving child I have ever met.

I know how important our prayers are and how effective our prayer chain is but when we get to see the power of God's love with our own eyes, it is to know HIS perfection. As always, please remember Gian in your prayers and know that not a day that goes by, I offer my thanks to HIM for his grace.



Another motherly mentor of mine, who lives in Virginia, chants this phrase in her unforgettable southern draw...
"God is good, all the time!"

And like Kathy, we need to give Him the glory for all He does. Keep spreading the joy Gian!

A Grand Plan

October 24
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15

"The peace of God should act as a guide when it comes to knowing the will of God."
John Hull

The mist was so thick on the lake the past two mornings that kayaking was not an option. My husband headed out on our acreage to blow the scripture trails and ended up spending the afternoon with a chain saw cutting up a large tree, which had fallen blocking the trail.

Life dishes out road blocks in all shapes and forms. Our dream house gets sold before we can purchase it, the college of our dreams rejects us, the baby we dream of does not come, the company we work for lays off half its' work force, the one we've loved leaves us via death or divorce, and where we thought we were going, the plan we had designed for our life, is blocked.

Sometimes hurdles, detours and roadblocks are God's way of redirecting and guiding us towards the path He has for us. How quickly we forget He created us with a purpose and it is a grand plan! If we love Him we will want his will for our ways!

Don Moen wrote a song with these lyrics based on Proverbs 3:6
"In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths."
God will make a way Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see He will make a way for me
He will be my guide Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength For each new day
He will make a way He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see Heaven and earth will fade
But His Word will still remain
He will do something new today


October 22-23
Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Psalm 141:9

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

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

AOL news writes:
"When it comes to speed traps set by law enforcement to snare unsuspecting drivers, it turns out that drivers are trying to help other drivers slow down and avoid the hefty tickets.
One such county where there has been a kind of headlight driven on-road social network has been Volusia County, Florida where some 2,900 motorists earned tickets between 2005 and 2009 for flashing their headlights at other drivers to warn them of the approaching speed trap.
The police didn't like being ratted out, so they issued tickets to the whistle-blowers turned headlight flashers."
A lawsuit has ensued claiming flashing headlights to other drivers is protected under the First Amendment and should be considered free speech.
The amazing Apple company has a program on their iPhones called: Trapster. It not only shows you were radar is set up, it also shows you which intersections have cameras and if they are actively recording.

The Bible is full of warnings. Moses warned and warned the Israelites. Noah was warned and took it to heart, building the arc. Paul lived and breathed to warn us!

So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Acts 20:31

Jesus has an important warning recorded in Revelation 22:12:
Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

We need each other's warnings, expressed in love. Passionate preaching from our church pulpits on the woes of our ways and not just ear tickling is imperative to our spiritual growth. Thankfully, we live in a country where Christian broadcasting is allowed and throughout the week we can tune into shows with great biblical teaching and sincere trap warnings!

Faith of Our Fathers

October 21 I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8

Bargaining with the Lord yesterday, I tried to convince him my life would be much easier if I didn't have to write this blog each day and the enemy would lighten up his attacks. I even offered to serve Him in other venues. He said nothing back. Ugh, be careful what you wish for, right? I've been up since 3:30 writing away!

While I am not up for catching any more flack than I usually do, being in the NFL (Nuts for the Lord), and while I am not getting on a political bandwagon and endorsing any one of the republican candidates as my pick yet, the Spirit keeps prompting me to share about how Newt Gingrich responded in the last republican debate to a question about whether the faith of political candidates is of relevance.
Interestingly, the comment about the details of your faith being between you and God, which I made reference to yesterday, is made by Gingrich.

"Now, I happen to think that none of us should rush in judgment of others in the way in which they approach God. And I think that all of us up here I believe would agree. But I think all of us would also agree that there's a very central part of your faith in how you approach public life. And I, frankly, would be really worried if somebody assured me that nothing in their faith would affect their judgments, because then I'd wonder, where's your judgment—how can you have judgment if you have no faith? And how can I trust you with power if you don't pray? Who you pray to, how you pray, how you come close to God is between you and God. But the notion that you're endowed by your creator sets a certain boundary on what we mean by America." Newt Gingrich

The hymn, Faith of Our Fathers, is an excellent reminder of the responsibility we have as American citizens to let our faith shine in a way it will be passed on.

Faith of our fathers, living still In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy Whene'er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers! holy faith! We will be true to thee till death!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,Were still in heart and conscience free.
And blest would be their children's fate, If they, like them should die for thee:

Faith of our fathers! holy faith! We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers, we will strive To win all nations unto thee;
Mankind shall then indeed be free.

Faith of our fathers! holy faith! We will be true to thee till death!

Faith of our fathers, we will love Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers! holy faith! We will be true to thee till death!

Detroit 11.11.11. is an effort to show power of prayer and the presence of faith in this nation. Check it out and pray on that day, in a powerful way with expectancy!

"On November 11-12, 2011, thousands from across America will gather in Detroit to fast, pray and cry out to God. We will gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis-economic collapse, racial tension, the rising tide of Islamic movement, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn.
But the place where they say there is no hope, God has chosen as His staging ground for a great communal healing and His house of prayer for all nations. Therefore, we are calling the nation to a 24-hour solemn assembly, daring to believe that Detroit's desperation can produce a prayer that can change a nation."

Oldies that Make You Think

October 20
The numbers on our bedroom clock shined in a burnt orange hue stating quietly that it was 5:46AM. My mind blows me away at times like this. The first thought of the day came in the form of two oldies titles. From Ghost Busters-"What ya gonna do when they come for you?" and Motown Hit "Are you ready?"

While neither were created with spiritual undertones, both titles pose important questions.

On the Huffington Post news this morning (I know, way too liberal for me, but that is who took over AOL news and it pops up on my computer) is a story of a couple who had been married 72 years. They were in a car accident and taken to the ER and placed in intensive care. The medical staff decided it appeared important, with their ages of 94 and 90, to keep them together. They were holding hands when the husband died and while he was not breathing, the monitor still registered a heart beat, because his wife's heart was beating through his hand. She died an hour later. Precious story, but the big question is: Where are they now? Were they ready for this day? Are their family and friends aware of what they believed about life after death?

While there is truth in the cop out statement, "This is between God and me" the second part of that statement sometimes goes like this ... "and it doesn't concern others." My guess is there are people who are concerned about the eternal resting place of those they care about. And furthermore, as believes we are commanded to go and tell of God's love and ultimate sacrifice.
God didn't sent Jesus to die on the cross and have it kept a secret.
"Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life." Acts 5:20

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 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 15:50-52

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20

But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah's. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing-until the flood hit and swept everything away. Matthew 24:37-39

Do your friends and family know what ya gonna do when God comes for you?

Today on Godtube Mandissa has a song of challenge for us called "Born For This". It's a "rock out" tune, so if you are in a mellow mood you may want to wait. :)

I Don't Get It..Show Me the Way

October 19
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding.
Job 37:5

Shopping for a piece of replacement tile, I tried to find a picture of my bathroom on an iTouch. (A skinny phone size piece of computer equipment, which has a camera as one of its applications.) Not being very technologically savvy, I tried to swipe across the screen and find the picture. A picture appeared and I said to the young gentleman helping me, "I have no idea what that is." "Oh, that would be a picture of my counter, which you just took," he replied, "but I won't charge you for it." "Sorry. Would you like to look for the picture?" I inquired, "I don't exactly "get" how this works." My husband and I laughed and laughed when I got home. Living on the older edge of 50, do we get points for trying to learn how to use these new mechanisms or does the younger generations see us as hopeless?

Watching sporting events with a group, you are certain to hear from the fans..."I just don't get why the coach called that play...or...I just don't get why he/she (the player) did that."

Discussing faith with a young gentleman last month, he explained how he wanted to believe in God, but there were too many things he just "didn't get" about God. The best response was the biblical response that God's ways are not our ways...they are much, much higher...PTL...for we certainly can't create life or move mountains! (Funny, my father reads these posts and he is saying right now...."You certainly didn't have a problem creating life." Let me clarify, we can't create life on our own.)

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

There are many times in life we attempt tasks when we have no idea what we are doing.
There are numerous encounters/trials which happen and we just don't get why they were allowed to touch us. If we draw near to God, he will come to us and make our paths straight. It might not be the path we picked, but instead of standing in a puddle of misunderstanding, we can take the hand of the one who is "The Way" to show us the way!

Give Thanks

October 18
Be joyful always, pray without ceasing and in all things give thanks. 1 Thes. 5:16-18

On my personal prayer list right now are four individuals with weighty situations.
One baby with a lesion on his brain, another young woman who has battled infertility and is now pregnant and struggling with complications, an elderly couple whose savings have been depleted and a young college girl struggling with heart break which has her very heavy hearted.
Others and I have knocked, knocked, knocked on heaven's door interceding for these individuals.
Today's Godtube pops up in my email and blows me away. It is as if God is saying, shift gears into thanksgiving. God is so personal if we let him in!

Love is Invincible

October 17
Flood waters can't drown love. Love can't be bought or sold. SOS 8:7 (MSG)

Whoa! This was a deep study I was drawn into on love. The challenge question was to ask the Holy Spirit to teach us what God created love to be like. Having just come off over two weeks of grand baby love, my first thought was that there isn't much more pure a love than that of a young child towards a parent or grandparent. The bond is really unexplainable.
I posed myself the questions:
"What do we learn about love from life? Which loves have we tasted that are conditional?"
The conditional list grew and grew as this debate began.
Friendships and the love that grows out of them are established due to surrounding conditions. The durability of most are based on the way we treat one another.
Teachers/Coaches: Last night we were watching a rerun of a TV show called Friday Night Lights, about a football coach and his wife who is a guidance counselor/principal. The relationships these two careers afford an adult to establish with young people can have life changing impact. At one point in a story line last night, I said about the coach, "Why can't he just say, 'I love you' to that player?" Watching events unfold and thinking about my personal school experiences, most students would probably say that love from coaches/teachers is very performance based.
Sibling Love: for years I've told our children I have two requests of them. One is to love the Lord with all their hearts. The other is to love and stand by one another all their lives. Sibling love is powerful, but not always played out to completion in life.
Body Of Christ: this certainly should come under the unconditional column, but just walk in any church or Christian organization and you will see otherwise. Committees take away commitment to this love.
Spousal and Parental Love: are the two, in my opinion, which come the closest to unconditional love, but I know some of you are gasping right now, saying "Really?"
There are some pretty prevalent conditions, which sway those categories over to the conditional category.
The love which is committed and has no conditions, is powerful and stands the test of time, is not performance based, and endures no matter how poorly we treat Him or greatly we disappoint Him, is God's love. He forgives over and over again, welcoming us back into the fold, longing for us to look into His face and feel perfect, invincible love.

The next question is...."Why do we spend so little time cultivating our relationship with the One who loves us so well?"


October 15-16
Disciplining ourselves to obey the Lord can be a task at time. He isn't standing in front of us, holding a wooden spoon or a grade book, but He is present. Whether it was my menopausal 3AM hot flash or simply a flash from the Lord, I almost sat up in bed the message came so clearly. "FACE". I knew that was the word for this weekend's devotional, yet awakening three hours later, my natural instinct was to try to think about what quick devo I could write so I could go make pancakes and play with my grandchildren.
Closing my eyes to pray, the word was very clear again "face". Again shifting into my control, I thought....hmmm Moses saw God face to face, David was always falling on his face or asking God not to hide his face from him....or maybe we are to face our trials. Stop! I knew I needed to open the Word and feed upon it. What?! 374 references for the word face.
Digging in, I asked the Lord, "What is it You want me to share?" I realized He knows the needs of each of you who read this devotional and asked him to direct me to the verses which He intended to use to minister to you this weekend. Take the time to write down the verse that is for you. Feed upon it. Seek His face and thank him for his personal love note to you today!

Proverbs 15:13
A happy heart makes the face
cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
Yesterday, I took a couple of our grands to visit their GREAT grandparents. Their happy little faces delivered a gracious dose of joy.

Whatever you are facing today, you are not facing it alone.
James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

What do others see when they see our faces?
Proverbs 27:19
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart

2 Corinthians 3:18
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.

Isaiah 25:7-9

...he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.In that day they will say,“Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

3 John 1:14
I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings.

Remember the doors of Shiloh are always open!

Red Sea Rules Recap

October 14
Rule 1
Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
Rule 2
Be more concerned for God's glory than your relief.
Rule 3
Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord
Rule 4
Rule 5
Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.
Rule 6
When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
Rule 7
Envision God's enveloping presence.
Rule 8
Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.
Rule 9
View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
Rule 10
Don't forget to praise Him.

Red Sea Rules #10

October 13
Don't forget to praise Him.
Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:

I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted.
Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.

The LORD is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exodus 15:1-2

"Wash your face every morning in a bath of praise." Charles Spurgeon

Morgan shared of standing in the back of his church during the praise time one Sunday and watching several people sing with heartfelt gratitude, but says he was bothered by the number of people who were not singing. Some were looking around side to side, shifting their feet, others even whispering to their friends. He thought, "Maybe we need a crisis."

My mind drifted back to 9-11 and the people pouring into churches mid-week to pray. How few enter on Sunday morning with attitudes of gratitude. A story was shared of a man who sent his grandchildren a birthday card each year with money inside. All the children, except one, would write him a sweet thank you note. He shared that she was a dear girl, but the not writing back made him sad and disappointed and he found himself less eager to do things for her in the future.

Hmm, wonder if our heavenly Father feels the same way. Yesterday, I drove past a home with an American flag in the front yard and I found myself thanking God that I was born in America. Pouring a glass of water I realized how I take that blessing for granted...some people hike miles for water. Opening the refrigerator I had three choices of fruit and two choices of yogurt for breakfast...or wait...did I want to fry an egg or have a bowl of cereal. Instead of focusing on what we do not have, let's shift gears and thank God for all He has given us.

The Blue Ridge Mts are bursting forth with praise this time of year. Let's take a prompting from them and put on our praise even in the midst of our problems! Alleluia!

I am creating a couple new praise projects that I will send ASAP. Morgan lists several ideas in the book as well.

Red Sea Rules #9

October 12
View your current crisis as a faith builder for the future.
That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Exodus 14:30-31

"A faith that can't be tested can't be trusted." Warrren Wiersbe

Our faith grows at different rates and waivers at various times. Scripture clearly identifies that faith is measured and rewarded by God.

"O woman, great is your faith! Let is be to you as you desire." Matthew 15:28

"Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Matthew 8:26

In this ninth chapter a quote by Brother Lawrence is found: "The trust we put in God honors Him much and draws down great graces...When God finds a soul penetrated with a living faith, He pours into it His graces and favors plentifully; there they flow like a torrent."

Morgan says, "Our faith grows when we choose to apply God's promises to today's problems and use the experiences to mature us for tomorrow's challenges. In a sense, we are storing up faith for times ahead. That's why the Bible is full of promises. We never encounter any situation for which God has not provided a precious promise to bear us through it."

What are we doing to build up the faith of others?

Red Sea Rules #8

October 11
Trust God to deliver in His own unique way.

The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.

The Egyptians said, "Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!" Exodus 14:21-22

Yesterday, I watched a powerful Godtube video of a young man named Christopher Coleman. For years, I feel certain he wondered why God had made him the way He did. I doubt deliverance or purpose ever entered his mind. Nor did what God was calling him to do. If there ever was an example of Isaiah 55:8 "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," this story fits the bill.

Morgan teaches this truth in this chapter: "We must view God's deliverance not by emotional reflex, human standards, or even common sense-but by biblical truth."
Well worth the read are the storied on deliverance through miracles, providence, and as my Mama loved to say..."God's mysterious ways". John 13:7 is a key verse for Christians. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'What I am doing
you do not understand now, but you will know after this.'"

Haven't you had times when you said, "God, I have no clue what you are up to."
One of the greatest mementos we could leave our loves one would be a journey of the tough times God saw us through.

Red Sea Rules #7

October 10
Envision God's enveloping presence.
Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
Exodus 14:19-20

Four Suggestions
1) Affirm His nearness in your heart.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go. Genesis 28:15
2)Visualize God's presence in your mind.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27
3)Access God's nearness through prayer.
What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? Deuteronomy 4:7
4) Reflect His presence in your demeanor.
Be joyful always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16

The song lyrics...."Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head up high, and whistle a happy tune, then no one will suspect, I'm afraid" just came to mind as correlating to this rule. Instead of whistling a happy tune, we benefit by keeping scripture written on our hearts and quoting a Bible verse and remembering we are not alone!

Red Sea Rule #6

October 8-9
When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
The Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward."

Day by day the Lord pours out his steadfast love upon me. Psalm 42:8 TLB

"Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount, So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time. Matthew 6:34 TLB

Morgan lays out a plan..."When you don't know what to do next, cast out fear and seek light for the next step. Trust God for guidance in small increments; and if you can't see what lies dimly in the distance, do what lies clearly at hand."

Can you imagine the faith of the Israelites to take that first step into the Red Sea? I bet not all of them could swim! I am not much of an adventure movie watcher, but being the mom of 5 boys I've heard my share of action packed movies playing in the house or car. Harrison Ford starred in Indiana Jones films where he and his father were treasure hunters...there were a lot of times they had to take a step or leap of faith. Motherhood is full of "taking the next step by faith" moments.

If we pray throughout the day...He will make a way!

Red Sea Rule #5

"Oooh, Mama Boo, this is some good stuff in this little book!"
October 7
"Stay calm and confident and give God time to work."
This is my favorite chapter so far! Morgan seems to agree as he says, "This is hard for me. (Speaking of keeping our emotions under control.) The very word emotion is the word motion without the e in front of it (e for erratic, I suppose.) The other day I was sharing with my daughter how I wish 30 years ago I knew what I know now about the Lord. I felt I had to be the "Defender" of my children and stand up for them in the battles of childhood and being a student. What I needed to do was put into action the phrase I pass on to so many parents now..."Pray it, don't say it." In other words...less motion caused by emotion!

Check out how The Message interprets Moses' words of wisdom during the Red Sea Scenario.
Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again. God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!"
Exodus 14:13-14

Acquiring aches and age, loving the Lord more and more each day, and tiring of the evil antics of humans, I truly have come to a point where I long for heaven. That mind set, along with recognizing who God is affords one the opportunity to stay calm, confident and prayerful for the work God is doing.

"Leave room for God," is a phrase Morgan recalls reading in Romans 12:19 NIV. He continues, "I cannot solve every problem, cure every hurt, or avoid every fear, but I can leave room for God. I don't have to have the answer to every dilemma, but I can leave room for God to work. I can't do the impossible, but He is able to do "exceedingly abundantly above all" that I could ask or imagine (Ep. 3:20). The Lord delights in the impossible."

Morgans leaves us with these supportive scriptures:
Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you...Deuteronomy 1:29-30

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Romans 8:31,37

I think there was a TV show long ago called "Make Room For Daddy". Are we making room for our heavenly Father to act in our lives.

Red Sea Rules #4

October 6
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them-Egyptians! Coming at them!
They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. Exodus 14:10

I bet they cried out! Can you look back in your life and recall times you called out to God? There have been three times this past year in our car when accidents almost occurred. I've been quick to shout out a "HELP US LORD!" Eight years ago, when our son was recovering from a horrific automobile accident and had broken his neck, while lying in the hospital a case of the hiccups came upon him. They would not stop and each hiccup was excruciatingly painful to his body. In desperation I dropped to the side of his bed and cried out to God to stop this torment. Just a few months ago, when our daughter was in crisis during the delivery of her child and rushed off to surgery, I went in a bathroom and cried out to God for mercy.

Morgan states..."When you face impossible odds, pray urgently, unfeignedly, unitedly. And trust the great prayer-answering God who grants mercy and imparts grace to help in time of need."

Red Sea Rules #3

October 5
Acknowledge Your Enemy, but Keep Your Eyes on the Lord.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James 4:7-8

Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13

Morgan writes: "Every time we resist the slightest temptation, we honor God. Every time we overcome even the smallest problem by trusting and obeying our Lord Jesus, God is glorified in our lives. Whenever we choose character over convenience, faithfulness over ease, or honesty over deceit, we bring honor to the Lord Himself. When we serve Him with watertight obedience even in small things, God is glorified, just as at the Red Sea."
"These things, " wrote the apostle Paul about the events of Exodus, "happened as examples for us." 1 Corinthians 10:6

This is an enlightening chapter filled with real life examples of the schemes the devil devises. When awareness of the battles surrounding us occurs in our spiritual walks it is easy to shift our focus, almost with a paranoia, to the darts flying through the air. Yes, we are to "Be alert", but not fearful. Choose for our eyes to shift to the Lord's covering, like the cloud leading the Israelites, and remember there are angels watching over us, every step we take. Hallelujah, we've got the good guys on our team. Our God never leaves us, nor forsakes us.

Interesting analogy just popped into my head. When we are out driving we are to be aware of the movement of the other cars, but have confidence in the vehicle we are operating and the skills we have acquired as a driver. So, while we are aware that Satan is up and at it each day, we are cautious and evaluate movement, but we walk in the confidence of Christ, equipped with the Holy Spirit, surrounded by unseen angels with their swords ready to be drawn and trust in God Almighty who is the one who tossed Satan from heaven in the first place.

My daughter told me about a prayer time she was involved in the other day. A group had gathered to pray over a couple struggling with infertility. While praying a distraction was occurring and trying to interrupt the prayer time (definitely a devil scheme). One woman in the group prayed for God to bind the enemy, another woman piped up and said, "Yes, Satan you can just go straight to Hell. That's where you belong anyway!" Now that is what I call nipping it in the bud!

Red Sea Rules #2

October 4
#2 Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief.
Whew, wee. This is not the way our selfish, sinful selves are wired. Morgan states, concerning our times of trial and troubles, "Our natural instinct is to ask:
How did I get into this mess, and how can I get out?
How quickly can I solve this problem?
Why did this have to happen to me?
There is a better approach, one that results in an entirely new way of looking at difficulties, that puts our problems into a different context and creates a new paradigm for dealing with tough situations. The next time you're overwhelmed...try asking, "How can God be glorified in this situation?"
The Biblical examples, which Morgan uses, lend a hand to our being able to understand the workings of God.
1) The man born blind in John 9, whom Jesus healed and taught a lesson to the disciples by saying, "This man was born blind to that the power of God could be displayed in his life."
2) How about Lazarus' death. Now there was a tomb side thriller!
Jesus saw things a bit differently than Mary and Martha who were hurt Jesus would allow this death. Jesus explained, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
A story is told in this chapter of a young man arrested for assault and armed robbery. His mother, heart broken, went to visit him in the juvenile detention center. He asked her to bring him a Bible and from that day he lived his life as a totally different person. Page 27 reads: "Like the experience of the Israelites at the Red Sea, the worst moment of her life was really her greatest day, for the Lord is in the business of delivering His people..... His own way His own time .....for His own glory."

We had the privilege of working along side a dynamic youth pastor for several years.
His signature saying was, "It's all about Jesus." Is Jesus' name even on our "to do" list today?
Will we challenge our children when they walk out the door to "Give God the glory today! There are great things He is going to do."? In the overwhelming situation which faces us will we look to the Lord and say, "Be glorified through this Father. Be glorified."?

My mind needs daily reminding (love that, never actually dwelt on that word "reminding" and realized it means my mind needing some help) and renewing (ah, making new again) aid from our God given Helper the Holy Spirit when it comes to remembering I am not the main character in this story....that role belongs to Jesus! Be glorified today! Be glorified.

As we look down our prayer lists, and there are some very painful situations on those lists, how often do we add the end phrase, "Be glorified in this Father. Make it count for the Kingdom."?

Interestingly, while praying before writing today the phrase Hidden in Your Heart was on my mind. This chapter on being more concerned about God's glory than my relief needs to be a "reread" until living this way becomes a habit hidden in my heart.

His Kingdom is coming and it is going to be grand! Have a glorious day with Jesus and remember He never leaves you or forsakes you.