Missing Immediate Obedience

July 31
6:28AM...rang out in orange lights on the digital clock by my bed yesterday morning...I'd stayed up late watching the Olympics and really wasn't ready to greet the day.  My husband came in the room to say he'd been up since 3:30AM... Moses had demanded to go out and moon gaze. No sooner had we finished chatting than I saw the "red ball rising" in the east.  "Get your camera," I sensed God saying.  Instead I decided to open emails.  The first one was the Adrian Rogers devotional below.

July 30
Obedience Brings Blessing
“Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” - Jeremiah 7:23
In 2 Kings 5:10, we read that God chose to heal Naaman, who was a leper, in a very unique way. God told Elisha to tell Naaman to wash seven times in the Jordan and he would be healed.
Why seven times? Why not eight or five times? Because the number seven is the number of perfection in the Bible. One is the number of unity. Two is the number of witness. Three is the number of deity. Four is the earth number. Six is the number of man.
When God told Naaman to dip seven times, He was saying, “If you want Me to bless you, not only must you obey, you must obey perfectly.”
If you want God’s blessing upon your life, you cannot just obey in part, you must obey perfectly. What wife wants a husband who is 85 percent faithful to her?

 Enough said.  Grabbing a robe and my camera I scampered down the spiral stairway off our screened porch and dogging sprinklers, I headed towards the sunrise.  In just those few minutes I'd missed it.  Ugh.  I thought back to all the times I'd missed "immediate obedience".  I knew what God had in store for me that morning was not the sunrise, but something "deeper".  Turning my heart to Him I was ready for whatever the morning held.  In the next few days I will unfold the various elements to the story...truth be told, I know there must be something coming.  Something much bigger where I will need to have Immediate Obedience.
Sensing the instruction to turn from my favorite wide water view and walk back to our cove, I continued to dodge sprinklers and came upon this scripture sign.  A reminder it is not about me, but about God and the gift of his Son.
 Deciding the pontoon would be a good place to ponder, I went to sit down and saw this orange fellow. I am NOT a spider fan.  I've had my share of spider bites, so this was an immediate distraction. At first glance he appeared to be dead and caught in this web, so I sat down beside him!
 Ah, but he was only sleeping and my presence sent him scurrying up a sticky strand of web thread to the pontoon boat cover.
My mind drifted to Beth Moore's study on Patriarchs, which I have just embarked upon.  I recalled Abraham's encounter with God and wondered if I might get to see God's glory.  Living EXPECTANTLY is thrilling.There is a large old turtle who has lived in our cove for years, but he is rarely seen.  I wondered if God was planning on speaking to me from the depths of my heart and He would surface today.  Thirty minutes had passed and lessons on reflections and ripples occurred and will follow. My husband came out to leave for work and hollered..."You be careful!"  Then he jogged down and took a picture of me in my short robe and long nightgown on the back of that boat, before he left.  :)

Then it happened...the big bubbles, the ripples and the turtle's head.  Before I knew it his shell surfaced as well.  Wanting a better shot, I stood up on the back seat of the boat and I guess my RED nightgown startled him and he expediently dove under with a splash!  It was so exciting!

I didn't want this time with the Lord (or the turtle) to end.  Heading back to the house, I could hear the phone ringing.  It was my husband.  Knowing the spiritual battles we seem to draw into our lives, he was certain I had fallen in the lake with my camera!  He just needed to hear my voice and remind me once again to be careful.  In his wisdom he knows when one gets in immediate obedience mode life can get wild!

Off to jury duty today!  Bet there will be some life lessons in that environment!

No Gimmicks, Please! Something New "R"

July 30

Double your order today for free!
After comparison shopping online for over three hours for printed cocktail napkins, I about "lost it".  Each site looked to have an amazing deal.  The "double your order for free" sounded amazing, until I realized the original order was "double the price" of the other sites.
Last month our son in law was saving up for a great 30% off your total order at a pharmacy.  It was later that he realized even with the 30% off, Target would have been less expensive.  There are no real deals except Jesus! God has no gimmicks!  The gospel is clear and simple.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9  

The "R" glossary terms in my Bible go right along with this process.  

Repent -to consciously turn from sin to God; to be sorry for what you have done and to resolve not to do it again.  
Redeem - to obtain release by paying a price, to buy back.  
Redeemer - one who delivers from bondage or trouble.  Though Jesus is not specifically called "Redeemer" in the New Testament, he is the one in whom believers have redemption.  
Redemption-deliverance and freedom-described in the New Testament as freedom from the penalty of sin by payment of a ransom.  Through his death on the cross Jesus paid the ransom for us an set us free.

Just give me Jesus!


Immediate Obedience

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, 
and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 
Luke 16:10

July 28-29
The tears dripped down my cheeks as the prayer time continued...I knew I had failed the test and my heart broke.  The task had been simple. While praying the other day, the Lord gave me a vision of some small children's building blocks sitting on my husband's desk at work (He is Head Master at a Christian school).  I didn't even go with the Lord and listen further, I just thought there was no way my husband was going to let me set children's blocks on his office desk.  The next day he and I were in a time of prayer for something totally unrelated and I began to pray for my husband and his faculty.  I prayed:  "Lord, equip them to be encouragers, as Paul was to young Timothy. Help them to realized they are "building" the next generation."  Conviction hit...the prayer continued and was powerful and I new right them, as simple as those 4 little blocks were I had disobeyed the Lord and not shared the idea.  Sharing with my husband, he thought it was a powerful visual to have on his desk as a reminder of what they are called to do...shape these young lives.
No sooner had I gotten up from praying than the Lord gave me a burden for a 3 week old premie baby in my hometown.  It was such an immense heaviness that I felt I was to email the mother, but I was busy.  Hmm, how long would it have taken to email a prayer?  Two hours later I am standing in the grocery store and notice a voice mail on my phone. It is a close friend asking me to pray for that baby...she was headed into very risky heart surgery.
Again, I was so convicted.  If I can't be found faithful in the little things than why would God  trust me with larger missions?
Bowing my head in repentance, I felt Jesus hug me and say..."Listen and learn, listen and learn."

Make you laugh:
After seeing this entry, my husband was relieved to see the four LITTLE blocks.  He confessed he thought I wanted to put those BIG cardboard, brick looking blocks on his desk, but he was willing to go along.

Something New "O" & "P"


July 27
Offerings and Places
There were so many specific types of offerings in Old Testament times.  I wonder who kept the calendar to know when to do what?  Burnt (for sins), Drink (a sacrifice of dedication to God), Fellowship (symbolizing peace and fellowship with God), Grain (an act of worship), Guilt (eased guilty consciences with restitution for sin), Sin (required blood sacrifice), Thank (expression of gratitude), Wave (ceremony where offerings are lifted up in dedication to the Lord).
How blessed we are now to not be bound by the law, but by our hearts.  Have you offered your heart, mind and soul to the Lord?  What is your heart attitude when the offering plate is passed?

Reading in 2 Timothy 4:1-8 MSG this morning, Paul has a take on offerings, as he encourages Timothy:"You take over. I'm about to die, my LIFE an offering on God's altar."

The Bible refers to The Holy Place, The Most Holy Place and High Places.
Here is how we differentiate.
The Holy Place-"Part of the Israelite sanctuaries (tabernacle and temple), located just outside the Most Holy Place. Contained the altar of incense, the table for the bread of the Presence and the lamp stand.

The Most Holy Place-The inner sanctuary of both the Old Testament tabernacle and the temple, containing the ark of the covenant, the symbol of God's presence.  The high priest alone was allowed to enter it once each year on the Day of Atonement.

High Places-Places of worship often associated with pagan religious practices, immorality and human sacrifice. Religious objects were placed on the tops of hills to appease pagan gods.  Generally, Israelites were forbidden to worship God there, and God commanded them to destroy these areas.

Most important for us, is the place Jesus holds in our hearts?  Do we see Him as a man who walked on earth or as "the way, the truth and the life, through whom acceptance as our personal Savior is the only way to our Heavenly Home with God the Father.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. 
 No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

Serve it Up Any Way You Can

July 26
Rushing into the kitchen to grab a bite of lunch, I was wishing I had time to make a bowl of fresh peach/mango salsa like I had the day before.  I decided to just eat the peach and the mango and be satisfied.  There was no time for chopping and tossing!
My thoughts shifted to our intake of Jesus. It can come into us, like a full course meal, with praise music, hymn singing, scripture reading, corporate prayer and a lengthy sermon; or there are times when we  only have time to bite directly into the Word, or to stop and prayer, or sing Hallelujah as we drive along.  We still get nourishment, it just comes more in a self-serve or drive through fashion at times.

So however you can, serve  up the Word of God today...don't go without it.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Something New L, M, N

July 25
Grabbing my husband's hand we entered into a time before the Lord yesterday.
While listening I heard these powerful words:
"Be still and know that I am God.  It is the advancement of my kingdom that should be your greatest cause."
Again, I respond to the question, "How do you know when it is the voice of God?" "A clue for me is when it is NOT something you would tell yourself, but a statement which alines with the Word of God."

The glossary words I chose for today line up with my seeking this week.  The difference is easily distinguished when a measuring line is held to the things of the world which we are drawn to, in comparison to the things which God calls us to do.
We felt the Lord was testing us this spring to be willing to place Shiloh on the altar for three months by listing it "For Sale". While the process of getting it ready to sell was hard work, we felt that the sale would make life easier financially and physically with all the upkeep and my husband's commute to work.  With two new grandbabies and a son's wedding, it made no earthly sense to consider a move this summer, but we were obedient and willing.  Not one person came to look at the house to buy, but someone has come looking to use it possibly for a kingdom cause, which will take us out of our comfort zone.

The study I am doing on Daniel lines right up with the consecration which comes with a Nazirite vow.
Glossar word number two. Daniel was taken into captivity by the Babylonians, but he would not compromise his standards when it came to drinking the King's wine or eating his food.
When we seek the Lord, he puts the pieces together and teaches us deep truths that draw us closer to Him.  Often, that close relationship requires tough decisions and bold stances which accentuate dying to self and seeing things from Jesus' perspective.  What is the saying..."No guts, no glory!"  Does that pertain to the heavenly realm?

Glossary Words
Measuring Line "(1)A rope, string or cord of a specific length used for measuring. (2) Sometimes used to picture God's thorough and calculated punishment of Judah and other nations, but also used as a symbol of restoration.

Nazirite "One who demonstrated total consecration to the Lord by taking a vow of separation and abstinence for the purpose of some special service; the three standard prohibitions were abstaining from grape products, from haircuts and from contact with dead bodies."

How do we measure up when it comes to advancing the kingdom?
What vows have we taken before the Lord?  Have we upheld them?

God will help us to soar like an eagle....
 when storms rush in.

Wanting An Encounter

July 24
Wanting an encounter with Christ I packed a bag with my Bible, a notebook and a few other reference books.  I also packed my camera and a zoom lens, before locking the door and heading out.  I regretted not taking an iPod loaded with praise music.  An overcast Monday usually affords privacy on our dock.  This past weekend a blue heron had appeared strutting his stuff for our grandson and I hoped he would reappear.  Most of all I hoped Jesus would show up and speak to me.
My soul felt as if it had been eating junk food the past six weeks and  sense that before I could begin to feed upon meat and vegetables I needed to detox spiritually (repent).  Inviting the Holy Spirit to embark upon a sin search is a process in which I tend to procrastinate.  Turning my heart to the Lord, two blue herons appeared in the distance.  I took this as notification that Christ would come near when I confessed and cleaned up my act.

Watching and waiting for over thirty minutes for those herons to take flight convicted me that I had given the Holy Spirit maybe three minutes to point out my sins.  Why is it so difficult for us to sit alone with God?

"Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10

Moving forward from a time of repentance, I began to dig deep into the book of Daniel.  John MacArthur did a study years ago on Daniel titled: "An Uncompromising Life".  I came away with these key points:

1) "We need to be like cups that are filled with love-when someone bumps into us, love spills out onto them.
2) When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way he causes their enemies to make peace with them.    Pr. 16:7
3) "Allow God to place you where He wants. Don't seek your own advancement."
    (Now for Daniel that meant being placed in Babylon and then at 90 years old into a lion's den.)
4)   Be alert and of sober mind. 1 Peter 5:8
5)  Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  Proverbs 4:23

And the biggie:

"The point of life is to please the Lord."

Look closely and you will see the progression of the blue heron coming near.  It began sitting way off on top of the second boathouse roof in the first picture. There is a second heron behind it.
I shot these with a zoom lens.

Something New "H", "I", "J", "K"

July 23

We will go for a double hitter on "Holy Kiss". "A sign of mutual respect and trust; the equivalent of a handshake or hug."
There is a woman from our home town who was a big "greet ME with a kiss" person.  If you entered her presence, she presented her cheek to you for you to kiss.  It drove my husband crazy.  The concept is Biblical.
Greet one another with a  holy kiss.  2 Corinthians 13:12
Pictured above are some sweet kisses.  
I play a game with one of our grandsons requiring a kiss.  When he comes to me asking for something, I say..."It's going to cost you."  He grins and says..."A kiss?"  I nod and he lays a sweet one on me!

I am glad God thought up kissing!  :)  Greet someone in the name of Christ and bestow on them a holy kiss today!

Intercede "To pray for another person, usually to obtain God's help.
 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.  Colossians 1:9

Justification "The act of God whereby he places us in right relationship with him; a declaration of innocence or righteousness, a freeing from guilt or blame.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.
Romans 4:25

Lord, it's Monday and I feel like there is a mound of work ahead of me.  One of the biggest loads is my prayer list.  Please multiply my time as I choose to let the chores wait and allow me to slip away with you today and intercede on the behalf of many.  I offer up a kiss to you sweet Jesus and try to grasp the kind of love which was willing to die for me.  In Your name, Amen

Something New "F" & "G"

(I'm doubling up this week, as I have double the love to spread around here with a couple cute grands.)

July 20-22
Fear of the Lord "An attitude of reverence or worship in the presence of God-an attitude of humility and awe more than dread and fright."

The first time I looked down into the Grand Canyon I was in awe of God. I'd seen pictures of the Grand Canyon and even stood amazed in a surround theatre at Disney, as the camera took you on an aerial flight through the canyon, but none of those prepared me for standing there in person.  My guess is that "high" is  minuscule in comparison to the state of elation we will experience when we enter into Heaven and stand in the presence of God.
I am thankful our grandchildren have a respectful fear of the water.  Viewing how immense it is they know better than to jump right in.  Likewise, Moses has the same respect even in is life jacket.
A respectful fear of the Lord is a good thing!

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 (AMP)

Glory "An essential quality of God's character, his glory is his worthiness. Everything about him testifies that he is worthy to receive praise, honor, and respect.  In the New Testament, Jesus is revealed to be the Lord of glory.  In the Bible, glory is often associated with brightness or splendor.

So...glory, Glory or glory!  They are all good!

So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last!  My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you. Psalm 63:2-4 

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  1 Corinthians 2:8

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." Luke 2:9 

Something New-"C" & "D" & "E"

Took us awhile to figure out how to make this baby bathtub work in the kitchen sink.  
Reading the directions helped!
July 18-19
The standard of measure below sounds like the way I measure ingredients when I cook  (a pinch here and a smidgeon there). It obviously got the job done in Old Testament Days and is good enough for a heavenly construction reference, but would probably drive our builder son nuts!  I guess you'd have to be sure all your workers arms measured out to equal cubits!  The three glossary words I have chosen today remind us whether related to our work, our way of life or what we wear, God is into details.  If we take the time to seek Him, He will direct our path.

“You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You're blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That's right—you don't go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I'd never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I'm going to do what you tell me to do; don't ever walk off and leave me.” Psalm 119:7 MSG

Cubit- "a unit of measure 18-21 inches in length-from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger."

The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall. The City was laid out in a perfect square. He measured the City with the measuring stick: twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal. Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits. The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass. The foundations of the City walls were garnished with every precious gem imaginable: the first foundation jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate a single pearl.  Revelation 21:15-21

Dissipation- "Living only for your own pleasure, wasting your life on foolish or evil pleasures."

But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can't afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don't loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about! Romans 13:11-14

Ephod-"One of six articles of clothing specified for Israelite priests' uniforms.  A sleeveless garment made of fine twisted linen."

"Have the Ephod made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen by a skilled craftsman. Give it two shoulder pieces at two of the corners so it can be fastened. The decorated band on it is to be just like it and of one piece with it: made of gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and of fine twisted linen. Next take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them in the order of their birth, six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of filigreed gold. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod—they are memorial stones for the Israelites. Aaron will wear these names on his shoulders as a memorial before God. Make the settings of gold filigree. Make two chains of pure gold and braid them like cords, then attach the corded chains to the settings. Exodus 28:6-14

Lord, daily we need direction to experience your best for our lives.  May we not toss Your Word aside (as we do instruction manuals) and try to figure out how to put life together on our own.  May we be found faithful to seek You and desire for You to instruct us and teach us in the ways we should go.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

Something New -"B"

July 17
Breastpiece-A colorful pouch nine inches square, attached to the attire of the Old Testament high priest. Twelve precious stones on the pouch represent the 12 tribes of Israel-so when it hung around the priest's neck, the people could be close to his heart.

Maybe the tradition of wearing crosses or the names of our children on charms came from this description of the priest's breastplate.  I visited a sweet friend this weekend who has a cross which contains some of his wife's ashes. He said, "She is always with me."

A friend of mine sent our daughter in law a heart charm with a blue footprint to honor her new baby boy.
Beelzebub-Satan, the prince of demons.  In the Old Testament, Baal was a Canaanite deity, whose name was expanded to Beelzebul (meaning Exalted or Prince Baal).
Going on a Beelzebub hunt I came across this profound thought.  (This passage from Matthew chapter 12 is following up Jesus healing a demon possessed man who is also blind and mute.)  The Pharisees attribute Jesus' ability to heal to the power of Beelzebub.  Jesus refutes their arguments by pointing out that such a scenario would require Satan to be working against himself.  Jesus proves that he can enter Satan's realm and be victorious!
Hallelujah!  What a Savior.
But the Pharisees, hearing it, said, This Man drives out demons only by and with the help of Beelzebub, the prince of demons.And knowing their thoughts, He said to them, Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being brought to desolation and laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will last orcontinue to stand. And if Satan drives out Satan, he has become divided against himself and disunified; how then will his kingdom last or continue to stand?  Matthew 12:24-26

So watch out for Beelzebub and keep Jesus close to your heart today!

Something New "A" Terms

July 16
Flipping through my Women of Faith Bible, page 2096 came into view.  The "Dictionary of Terms".  I have a personal challenge of learning something new everyday and thought I'd dig deep and hopefully come up with something new (a term definition or verse) for each of you!  Let's take what we learn and ask God to apply it to our lives in an unexpected manner.

Abba-An Aramaic (the common language in Palestine at the time of Jesus) word best translated Daddy.  Abba was a deeply personally and affectionate  word, that most of Jesus' contemporaries would have considered disrespectful in addressing God.

Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.  Mark 14:36

Abyss-A bottomless pit where, at the end of the age, Satan will be banished for a time.  The Greeks used this word to describe the underworld or spirits, suggesting a place so deep it is unfathomable. 

A Thousand Years ] I saw an Angel descending out of Heaven. He carried the key to theAbyss and a chain—a huge chain. He grabbed the Dragon, that old Snake—the very Devil, Satan himself!—chained him up for a thousand years, dumped him into the Abyss, slammed it shut and sealed it tight. No more trouble out of him, deceiving the nations—until the thousand years are up. After that he has to be let loose briefly. Revelation 20:1-3

Asherah Pole-Wooden poles, perhaps carved in the image of Asherah, Canaanite goddess of fertility, love and war.  Baal was the best known Canaanite fertility god.  God, the Father, had enough when the Israelites fell into Baal worship!

They threw out everything God, their God, had told them, and replaced him with two statue-gods shaped like bull-calves and then a phallic pole for the whore goddess Asherah. They worshiped cosmic forces—sky gods and goddesses—and frequented the sex-and-religion shrines of Baal. They even sank so low as to offer their own sons and daughters as sacrificial burnt offerings! They indulged in all the black arts of magic and sorcery. In short, they prostituted themselves to every kind of evil available to them. And God had had enough. 2 Kings 17:16-17

New from a wordily perspective: The Iron Cross
My husband was helping one of our sons set up a fitness training area in his yard.  They were hanging "rings" from a tree.  My husband requested a very difficult move called "the iron cross".  I'd never heard of that one.
 Evidently it is much easier done on your father's shoulders!
Praise God his shoulders can hold us all!

Friday the 13th

July 13-15
Taking an early morning walk with my husband, we were taken back as a black cat began to cross our path.  Being an animal lover I was tempted to go pet the cat, but obeyed my man's urge to keep my hands to myself.  Jokingly he shared that his father had always warned them to stay clear of black cats...especially on Friday the 13th.  He chuckled and continued saying, "What would God think of us being superstitious?"  Turning around to go the other direction we were stopped in our tracks as FIVE deer, one being a large buck, ran right in front of us.  We laughed at the damage those deer could have done to us compared to one little black cat.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Making the Most of Quiet Moments

July 12 
My man has no problem dozing off "wherever" to catch up on needed sleep!  Glad he has a strong "football hold" when he does it with one of the grandchildren in his arms.
The other night I could not sleep.  A nightmare (funny, first I typed "night mare"....a horse in the dark) combined with a bulldog wanting to go outside had awakened me.  Trying to get back to sleep, I began by telling the Lord how much I love him and then began "breaking out in exclamations of thanks" to God for each of you and lifting you up in prayer!
This verse gives me a happy heart! How blessed we are to have one another!
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.  Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer.  I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.  There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6  MSG

Another good sleepless night remedy is to choose this time of stillness and no distractions to listen to the Lord.
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.  1 Samuel 3:9

I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention.  Job 32:11-12a

Let's Pray:
Precious Savior, we are so thankful you are a God for all times.  Whether in daylight or darkened skies You are with us.  May we make the most of any quiet moments, whatever the time, by seeking You and listening to that still quiet voice.  As afternoon summer showers fall upon many of us this time of year, may we be reminded to shower You with our love and our appreciation for creating us to be your children.  We know not how many days we have upon this earth.  May a day not go by that we are not in fellowship with You.  In Jesus' name, Amen

A Bowl Full of Cherries

July 11
Summer cherries are so delicious.  As I sat eating some the other day, I thought about three of the elements of a cherry.  The stem, the seed and the delectable substance.  All are necessary for the cherry to be all God intended it to be.
Thinking about those three elements in relationship to our lives, being all God intends for them to be, I realized we need a stem/spirit connecting us to Christ and keeping us in communication with him.  We need a vibrant seed or heart willing to produce fruit in our lives and we need the substance of who we are (our minds, talents, gifts, personalities) to be pleasing in God's sight and attractive to others so we will be an effective witness.

Where Do You Take Your Hurt

July 10
When your heart is ripped out and stomped on, when you see no way out of your circumstances, or when life hands you a load of hopelessness, where do you take your hurt?  The pills, alcohol and chocolate are within reach, so are the credit cards and online shopping tempts you to buy your happiness. Heading to the gym to workout the disappointment is an option or driving to see whoever might have a sympathetic ear.
David didn't have easy access to our modern day fixes, but he did have wine and women. Being a man after God's own heart, he learned to pour his heart out to God.

"Psalm 143 is a prayer of David, during a time when he is obviously under a great deal of stress, possibly written while Saul is persecuting him.
In this Psalm, David asks God to speak to his heart first thing in the morning and give him reassurance. He pours out his heart to God, expressing his fears and even his weaknesses. He admits his feelings of hopelessness and his fear of crumbling under the weight of his stress. "I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear." (vs. 4 NLT)
David prays for God to lavish His favor upon him. He lifts his hands in prayer, asks for mercy, and pleads for guidance and deliverance from his troubles. David calls for wisdom and seeks rescue from his distress—and he does all of this each morning while spending time with the Lord." Tracie Miles

To whom do we entrust our troubles?  On the Wisdom Hunters Website I read this quote:
"Trust perseveres because it is buoyant in its belief in the unfailing love of God."

So when pain, anxiousness, and fear of the unknown set in, run quickly to the Word and don't lost hope. For by taking your hurts to Jesus, someone who cares for you, you find a safe place to lay your burdens down.