The Way that Seems Right-Check Your Soul

October 31

James MacDonald's devotional today on fits right in with the study on Jonah.  He references these verses for consideration when we are in the decision making process.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.   Proverbs 16:25

If you don't believe this watch today's Godtube and the story of Ananias and Sapphira.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  Proverbs 3:7

Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.   Proverbs 4:26

When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7

The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

The story of Jonah closes out rather realistically.   But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry...'Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life'....
Jonah 4:1,3  I appreciate his honesty.  Recapping the scenario: Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh, because of the evil these people had reeked on others.  In the belly of the fish, he realized the importance of obedience and he also knew the character of God.  God is merciful and he didn't want to see Nineveh...the enemy...receive mercy, so he went hoping to see them get what he felt they deserved.
He prayed to the Lord and said, 'Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country?  Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.'
Jonah had just tasted of the lovingkindness and slowness to anger quality of God after being tossed into the sea, but deep in his heart, he wanted God to "make things right" and destroy Nineveh.  We are no different from Jonah.  We want God to even the playing field of life and make things right!

True confessions here.  More than once, in my life as the wife of a coach, I found myself saying to God,  "Certainly you are not going to let them win after that cheap shot they took on our player?"
When something unfortunate happens to someone who has wronged us do we feel rather satisfied, justified or do we offer aide?

Shirer writes: "Are we willing to extend grace to others as God has extended it to us?  Do a quick self-inventory and consider this: When God graciously takes care of our needs, shows up in our discomfort, or calms our anxieties, our first inclination should be to offer an extension of those same healing properties to someone else.  His grace to us should make us more gracious to others.....He (God) is able and willing to soften your heart to match His desires. Ask Him to cause you to line up with His purposes-not just in action but in the deep recesses of your souls as well."

Let's sing...He's still working on make me what I ought to be......SMILE


Who Knows

As Pooh Bear would say, "It is a blustery day."  29,000 in our county and the one next to us are already out of power.  The devastation up the coast and what is occurring to our neighbors in W VA is shocking.  Once again, as a nation, we turn our prayers to the Lord for deliverance.
The blog site is telling me I am overloaded with photos and need to buy more space at a yearly rate.  Bear with me while I figure out how to delete old photos and avoid purchasing this service.  The possibility of loosing power today is great, so if you don't hear from me you know we are sitting by the fire listening to our transistor radio.  :)

October 30
Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion 
turn from his fierce anger so that will will not perish.   Jonah 3:9  

Do you ever come across a passage and read it over and over again?  Jonah chapter three has sucked me in for some reason.  Ten short verses have it filled with realization, rationalization, trust, belief, obedience and deliverance.  Two simple words: 
"Who knows?"...
state a fact of our faith....there is much we do not know, but we do know God is capable of anything!  In the storyline we've been following, Jonah has finally reached Nineveh and told the King there is "some bad" headed their way in 40 Days. The king didn't suggest they party and promote evil for 39 days and then shout, "Sorry, God!"  They stripped down and dressed in sackcloth and hoped for the best, but accepted "Who knows" attitudes.

Shirer reflects on similar sentiments by King David as he fasted and wept for his dying son. (2 Samuel 12:22)  Also,  the prophet Joel (Joel 2:14) and Esther in Esther 4:14.  Shirer writes: "None of these people pretended to be able to control or manipulate God and yet they rested in the knowledge of God's merciful tendencies and hoped in Him.  They believed God was powerful enough and sovereign enough to steer their circumstances however He wished....They left room for "who knows" in their walk with the Lord...They simply did their part and then trusted God would do His even if what He might choose would be different from what they desired."

This "who knows" attitude is filled with freedom as we relinquish our requests to God, trusting in His sovereignty.  What are some of your big "who knows" prayers?  I've intimately been involved in praying alongside friends for some of these "biggies" listed below. Not all have had what we in the world might consider merciful results, but I still trust God.

1) Who knows if the cancer will return?
2) Who knows if I will ever bear a child?
3) Who knows if God will restore my marriage or send me a godly husband?
4) Who knows if the one I am praying for will come to salvation in Christ?
5)  Who knows if we will lose our house from this financial devastation?

What we do know, for those of us who trust in the Lord, is that whether here on this earth or with Christ in heaven, His love endures forever.

and read the story of Jonah and the King of Nineveh. Watching the waters rage on the coast last night I thought about the storm Jonah was in and being tossed into the waters.

Push Out the Old

October 29
Hurricane Sandy is strutting her stuff and is going to try to blow us away.  The dock umbrellas are down, the furniture stacked, my husband made a grocery run for non-perishable food that does not need cooking and we are praying for no trees to fall here at Shiloh.  High wind gusts flipped a tractor trailer this morning, which was trying to make its way across the mountains on I-77.
Many trees have dropped their leaves.  Some, like the crape myrtle in the photograph are shaking their brilliant tail feathers. Others leaves have turned brown but are still hanging on.  We've often wondered about these trees and found our answer last week in a devotional.  I believe it was written by Adrain Rogers.
Let Your New Life Push Out the Old!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17
Our eyes delight to see those trees in autumn which turn glorious colors, then drop their leaves one by one. But there are certain trees that hold their leaves until spring. They wither and turn brown, but they don’t drop. Not until spring do these trees lose their leaves—when the new leaves push out the old leaves.
That’s exactly what happens to our old habits and our old lives when we find the Lord Jesus. The new life pushes that old life off.  It’s not a matter of plucking off this leaf and knocking off that leaf. The Christian life is not forged in that manner. Our new life replaces our old life when we are born again.

Better than the Belly of a Fish

(Was going to post me in the nightie, but not appropriate.)
October 27-28
After just breaking an egg into the frying pan, Moses (our bulldog) barked to go outside.  Barefoot and still in my nightie, I stepped out the door.  Forgetting we have a temporary doorknob on the front door, which locks behind you, I closed the door.  It wasn't until we headed back in I realized what I had done.  First I gave thanks we live on 5 acres and no neighbors can see me close up.  I thought there was an extra key to another door hidden in the garage, but first my bare feet would have to oooow and ouch along the gravel driveway.  Starting to grumble about the way the day was starting, I thought...
"This is better than being in the belly of a fish!"
Staying in the Word helps put life into perspective.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  
Matthew 28:19
Jonah, finally went! And because...
The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.
He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8
Because of the way Jonah finally faith, trusting in the Lord...Jonah's message only took one day to affect the Ninevites and an entire city turned to God.
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, 
and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, 
and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12

Shirer encourages us to be equipped with the Word of God, so when the opportunity arises to share about Christ's love, we are armed with the gospel.  Here are several excellent verses to put to memory.
If the idea of memorization seems overwhelming to you, pray about it and watch what God will do.
Print these verses on cards and keep them in your purse, wallet, or car so you can hand them out to others.  I have these typed up in business card format.  If you email me, I will send you the attachment.   Romans 3:23 and 6:23 are the verses which were brought to me.  They became alive and changed my life of all eternity. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the passage which brought truth into my husband's life and Christ's sacrifice made sense.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believed in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
 John 3:16

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 Romans 5:8

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

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-
it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ,
and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-6

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves,
it is a gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:11-12

Jonah Prayed and Went

 Fall is beginning to fade away way too quickly.  Winter is supposed to whisk in next week.

October 26
Jonah willing let the sailors toss him overboard. He recognized his guilt and was ready to receive the consequences.  Shirer lists four steps for reconciling with God.
1. Acknowledge our sin
2. Accept God's discipline
3. Ask for forgiveness
4. Act on God's direction

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish.
Jonah 2:1

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, arise, go to Nineveh.
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord.
Jonah 3:1-3

We serve a God of second chances (look at Jonah, David, Sarah, Aaron, Peter, and ME) and we walk a walk in which we can see the magnificent work by the Holy Spirit.  It is interesting to me that Jonah was spit out of the great fish back near Joppa, his starting point.  Wouldn't it have been easier if he had landed in Nineveh?  God placed him back at his decision making point. A 500 mile hike to Nineveh.
My girlfriend was praying for my obedience and prayed I would be able to do what God is calling me to do with JOY!  There is a difference in responding to a request out of the mode of "because you told me to" and an attitude of "I will serve with joy"!

Father, I pray that we your children would learn to say, "Yes, here I am send me" the first time, but when it takes more persuasion that  You will call on us again and find us willing to proceed with Your plans with a spirit of joy.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

Trying to Sleep through the Storm

This child of ours could sleep anywhere when he was young.
 Even with siblings on top of him.

Still into adulthood and now...

 fatherhood, he can snap a nap!

October 25
Although I'm still in chapter one of Jonah, the action is escalating.  We will see how, as Shirer puts it, "God had even orchestrated Jonah's life, Jonah's rebellion, and Jonah's consequences so that they would be tools needed to convert sinners.  The storm created by Jonah's rebellion was the perfect backdrop for them to meet the one true God, the One who governed the sea."

But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down, and fallen sound asleep. Jonah 1:5

The story of Jonah is one I began hearing as a child in Sunday School, but up to this point I don't believe I've ever studied the aspect of Jonah sleeping through the severe storm.  The captain of the ship had to rouse Jonah, while everyone else was up and in a panic.  The author shares various commentators views on how this could have happened.  Exhaustion, knowledge the storm was from God and he was ready to meet the consequences, a hardened heart, or possibly guilt from the sin of disobedience was easiest to deal with by sleeping it away.  Shirer believes Jonah may have felt justified in his decision to go to Tarshish, not Nineveh.

She writes: "I can't help but wonder if Jonah's justification led to a lack of sensitivity to God.  After all, the hardening of a tender heart almost always starts with a justifiable action. Was a hardened heart the real reason Jonah slept through such a tumultuous storm?  Was he too calloused to God's desires, His prompting and even His correction to take note of the storm?  He was, after all, on a run from God not only with his feet but with his heart as well."

The story gets even more interesting in that the captain of the ship awakened Jonah to call to his god.
Shirer states: "The world with its pagan thoughts and ideals, shouldn't have to rouse us back to intimacy with the one true God.  Rather, the soft stirring of the Spirit's conviction in us should be enough to cause us to "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."  (Ephesians 5:14)

It took casting lots and having the lot fall on Jonah before he told them who his one true God was.  When they tossed him in the sea, it became calm immediately.  Whoa....Yahweh got the hooray!  The Bible tells us they were so stunned by what God did that they begged him for mercy because they had thrown Jonah overboard.

Shirer points out..."Again, these pagans had regard for human life when Jonah, the believer, had no regard for the lives of the Ninevites."

Praise God he is merciful and willing to work all things together for the good of those who love him.
Instead of sleeping through your next "storm of life" ask God to teach you in the midst of it.

Promise yourself you will take time alone with the Lord today...even if you have to get in the bathtub and pretend you've been tossed into the sea.
The next time you see an egg, remember how quickly it can become hard, especially in boiling situations.

Consequences for Disobedience

October 24
Here's an aside...from Jonah, but actually rather related in the area of disobedience.
Hope this youtube link makes you laugh today. It came from my dear friend Bob, in Minneapolis.

If that didn't bring you a bit of laughter, 
maybe our grandson as a frog on a log will bring joy to your day.

I started the Jonah study to support a friend, who is doing the study.  Another friend had the workbook (already completed) and loaned it to me.  In week two there is this question:
"Right now is the knowledge of God's ubiquitous presence comforting or discomforting to you?  Why?"  She answered "comforting" because "I am not running-I don't think".  I appreciate her "I don't think" honesty.  The same response crossed my mind,  but it was revealed to me that was WRONG.
God used the friend (totally unaware to her), with whom I offered to do this study, to convict me. She nailed my ten year area of disobedience in an email.  Opening up to her, I now have a feeling this younger woman is going to keep me accountable.
I don't want to go to Nineveh!  I just want to baby sit my grandchildren.

Shirer points out..."The decisions you are making today will impact your tomorrow.  How you choose to respond to God's leading right now will determine how your future unfolds.  Every "David" will end up in a web of deception.  Every prodigal will find himself in a pigsty, and every Jonah will look up and see storm clouds gathering. It's only a matter of time."

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you 
but to fear the Lord your God,
to walk in OBEDIENCE to him,
to love him, 
to serve the Lord your God with all 
your heart and with all your soul.
Deuteronomy 10:12

He Knows Our Name

Kevin!  Fly the friendly skies with him!
 October 23

Chapter Two of the Jonah study is titled “On the Run”.  Whew, that is what I was as I traveled from Minneapolis back to Moneta yesterday.  The flight out of Minneapolis was delayed almost two hours.  I had 12 minutes in Chicago to get from one terminal by shuttle bus to another terminal.  Fortunately, the second flight was delayed 2 hours as well, but during the wait it changed gates three times!  Should have worn my tennis shoes and not the cute ones that have left me with blisters on both feet.  

Flying into Roanoke,VA you are usually on what I call a “puddle jumper” and you fly out of gates, which have flights A, B, C, & D leaving from that one gate.  It was a mad house at O'Hara.  There were no seats available in the gate area, as there were 8 -12 flights waiting to leave in that two hour period.  Many people did not speak English and the announcements were very hard to hear.  Eventually, I found a seat, but sat for over an hour and watched a tired frazzled tyrant of a gate agent treat customers very abruptly and without any sensitivity to their plight. Two young mothers, who did not speak English, missed their standby seats because this woman brushed them off telling them they should have picked up their boarding passes at the podium.  Podium was  not in their vocabulary for sure.  The looks on their faces were so forlorn.  Another young mother of three came to check on her flight to told it had already gone. She said, "You told me it would leave at 4:30.  It is only 3:30."  "Well, you shouldn't have left!" was the reply she received.  The mother burst into tears.  A security guard took pity on her and showed her the way to customer service.  One rather timid young man, who was a flight attendant flying standby, asked the agent for her name (her name tag was clipped on backwards and you couldn't see her name) and she refused to give it to him.  He said, “I will not be intimidated by you.”  Then she barked, “You better get on that flight now!”
It was making me sick to my stomach watching people being treated this way, but like Jonah... I didn't want to be involved. Reflecting on a conversation with my son this past weekend, I felt the right thing was to talk to a supervisor.  This woman needed to either pull a BC from her back pocket or go home.  The supervisor took her to a private area and spoke to her, but obviously identified me as the “complainer”.  This woman walked over, got in my face and said, “Nice job lady” as she proceeded to walk off. I stood up and followed her and kindly said, “I have been sitting here for over an hour praying for the Lord to help you with your stress level, so you would be kind to people.”  She walked off and never turned back.
Finally, boarding my flight, which fortunately had a different agent, the cutest flight attendant came across the P.A. system and said, “I y'all I am Kevin. What a day this has been y’all!  I promise we are going to get y'all safely to Roanoke.  I want you to sit back and relax and let me know how I can make your trip more pleasant.  Remember, my name is Kevin!”   Then this young fellow went on to say he had not eaten all day and had grabbed a burger and to excuse him while we took off he was going to devour his meal.

Pulling out a scripture card with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, I scribbled…”You are a breath of fresh air.”  I also put my email address and told him he had won a free weekend at Shiloh!

We need to live lives where we are not ashamed to give someone our name.  Jonah knew God knew his name.  He knew he couldn’t hide from God, yet he high tailed it 2,000 miles in the wrong direction to avoid the task to which God was calling him.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?   Psalm 139:7
 Shirer shares she found this in a devotional which compiles various scriptures and puts them in the first person as if God was speaking directly to you:
“I am all around you, hovering over you even as you seek My Face.  I am nearer than you dare believe, closer than the air you breathe.  If My children could only recognize My Presence, they would never feel lonely again.  I know every thought before you think it, every word before you speak it.  My Presence impinges on your innermost being.  Can you see the absurdity of trying to hide anything from Me?  You can easily deceive other people and even yourself: but I can read you like an open, large-print book."

He knows our name! And He knows where we need to obedience to Him.
After a long day, it was good to see the mountains of home!


 All creatures great and small are God's handiwork.
 These baby blues are His handiwork.
The mountains and the sea are His handiwork.

YOU are his handiwork!
October 22
Presently, I am in a study on Jonah by Priscilla Shirer.  Jonah 1:1
The word of the Lord came to Jonah...
From there Shirer makes the truthful statement "I hate to be interrupted."  During this political season there are certainly a lot of interruptions.  I was up in our loft area playing with my grandson the other day and the phone rang.  The descent from the loft is a bit challenging...ladder like.  Most likely by the time I would make it to the phone it would have stopped ringing, but in the back of my mind I wondered if it was one of our children needing something.  Being the landline the odds were greater it was a political survey, so I ignored the interruption.  
We learn from Jonah, when God speaks and redirects, it is best to not ignore the interruption.  Shirer remarks, "I wish Jonah could have seen his life laid out in four simple chapters like we can.  He would have seen that what he considered an interruption was really an invitation to participate in one of the more supernatural events in all of the Old Testament-one that would not only make a mark in the Old, but New Testament as well.  He couldn't have known that his story would be studied by millions desiring to draw closer to his God."

There are interruptions in life which are more disruptive than a missed phone call.  Health issues and injuries, death of a loved one, betrayal, rejection, job losses resulting in relocating or losing a home, a call to serve, etc.  When these enter our lives we need to remember the bigger picture, remember to whom we belong and remember God is always up to preplanned good works!
Shirer plots it out this way for us:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

1. You are His.
    All scripture is inspired by God and profitable
2. You are His workmanship.
    I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;Wonderful are Your 
    works, and my soul knows it very well.  Psalm 139:14 (NASB)
3. You are a masterpiece recreated Christ Jesus.
     Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.
     Ephesians 4:24
4. You are created masterfully for the purpose of being equipped to accomplish good 
    So if someone cleanses himself of such behavior, he will be a vessel for honorable use,    
    set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

5. You are equipped to accomplish good works that were prepared beforehand by God.

    Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.  Before you saw the light of day, 
    I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations-that's what I had in mind for you.
   Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)

6. You are equipped to accomplish preplanned good works by simply walking in them.

    The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He   
    walked.  1 John 2:6 (NASB)

So Father, whatever happens today, as they say at Burger King...
Have it Your way!

Break My Heart with what Breaks Yours

October 20-21
Hosanna by Hillsong

The lyrics from this song were singing in my heart, before I even opened my eyes this morning.

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am, for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

This needs to be printed off and posted in my house for me to read each day.  

Another really Kool thing happened as I began my morning prayers.  Often my initial acknowledgment and greeting is to "Lord", others times "Father" or "God" and sometimes "Sweet Jesus".  After saying "Lord" this morning the nicknames kept flowing...Lover of my Soul, Provider, Sustainer, The One Who Makes My Heart Sing.  When we call out to God do we remember he is our Creator in whose image we were made, The One Who Hung the Stars, Ruler of the Universe, Hosanna in the Highest?  Saying Sweet Jesus we are offering accolades to the One who loved us enough to die for us, the One who has built the home in which we will live eternally and the One who makes our joy complete.
How sweet it is to commune with our All in All each day.

Have a wonderful fall weekend and sing Hosanna in the Highest!

Charlotte's Web Made Me Cry

 Moses dressed for his first viewing of Charlotte's Web.

A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17
October 19
Fortunately, since our library only had the movie Charlotte's Web in that format, we still have a VCR.
Early on in the film my grandson and I were dancing around to the chipper, pick me up song, sung by Charlotte titled: "Chin Up".
"Chin up, chin up. Everybody loves a happy face
Wear it, share it. It'll brighten up the darkest place
Twinkle, sparkle Let a little sunshine in
You'll be on the right side Looking at the bright side
Up with your chinny chin, chin.

This happy tune alines well with Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

When Charlotte died I wanted to sob, but I didn't want to upset my sweet little buddy. Uncontrollable tears poured down my cheeks, but I held in the sobs. My surprising response to this  classic piece of literature, which I have watched in film form numerous times, read to my own children and taught in the classroom, really caught me off guard.  Googling Charlotte's Web quotes, this dialog between Wilbur and Charlotte hit the nail on the head, it revealed the grief I still carry missing one of my best friends who died earlier this year.
"Why did you do all this for me? he asked.  "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."
"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte.  "That in itself is a tremendous thing."

Friendships are such a treasure and we should take time to nurture them.  A friend whom I had not seen in awhile gave me a ride to meet my husband the other day. She shared how it was so refreshing to have a friendship where you can go months without seeing each other, but pick right back up where you left off.  Life keeps us so busy.  Just as water breaks are needed, so are breaks from our routine to take time to recharge our friendships.

Here is another quote worth meditating upon.
..."A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies.  By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle.  Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little bit of that."     E .B. White, Charlotte's Web   

We might rewrite it to say:
"My life can't help being something of a mess, with all its' temptations and sin. By helping others, hopefully our testimony puts us in a position to share with them about the love of Christ and lift all of our lives up a trifle.  Heaven knows anyone's life can stand to be a little bit more like Jesus."

There is an unlikely friend out there just waiting to be found!  Have a great day living Jesus' way!

You're the Best

We fished with imaginary stick fishing poles...
 pretended trash we pulled from the lake was treasure...
 ate ice cream until he got a brain freeze at the local creamery...
 fed hotdog buns to Rufus the calf, two fat sheep, 2 billy goats and 1 BULLY goat.
 Then we drove to a hillside and sat and watched heavy equipment grade the land.
An important safety lesson was learned as we found a flattened, baby, lizard on the garage floor.
His mama must not have taught him to stay clear of moving cars.

 Coming back home we did the laundry and snuggled in the warm clothes from the dryer!
 The evening was magical as we sat by the fire, under the stars
wrapped up in a blanket and ate warm mini cinnamon buns.

October 18
The next day, after a wonderful adventure in the woods,  were sitting at the counter eating a very late lunch of leftover pizza, watermelon and sliced strawberries.  This precious 3 year old looked at me and said, "Mama Boo, you are the best."  All I had done was be there for him.  I'd listened to his stories and tried my best to answer his questions.  I fed him when he was hungry and held him close reminding him he was created  and loved by God  and oh, so very important to many people.

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 
encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God,
who calls you into his kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

God knew we would never outgrow the needs of being fed, encouraged, comforted and noticed.  He created us that way so we would seek and find him. He is our treasure.  Today, Lord we say,

You are the best!

Happy 30th

Our son's Christening with his great grandmother.
 Christening day with Granny & Davedaddy..eating her pearls.
 Christening Day with Chick
And the little boy grew to be a gorgeous godly man!  Thank you Jesus!
October 17
One of our sons  is celebrating his 30th birthday today.  He has accomplished a lot in thirty years.  As I began to reminisce about those 30 years this morning and pray for him, I thought about how Jesus' ministry began at 30 years old and last only three years, but in those years he left us lessons to last through all eternity!

Subject to Change

6AM train track construction
6:30 AM the bulldozers and front end loaders are at work.
7AM pancakes with Papa 
7:30 Pumpkin Pose
8AM Morning Devotions

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart 
be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

October 16
Yesterday, the plan was for me was to travel to Charlottesville, VA with a friend in celebration of her 60th birthday.  We were going to peruse the ground of UVA, take in some art galleries and maybe even Monticello, but the plans were changed a bit as my daughter in law surprised me by driving from VA Beach with two of our grandchildren and meeting us for lunch.  My girlfriend was gracious about shifting gears a bit and enjoying the day with these youngsters. She told me of trip plans she has this weekend coming up with three other couples to go to the Outer Banks. On the information sheet, she requested the group leader add..."Plans are subject to change."

That is a good way to face each day, realizing we occasionally have to change tracks and set on another course.  The plan devotional wise had been to begin sharing from a study on Jonah I have embarked upon, but by 6AM I was up building train tracks.  "Oh, Lord, there may not be time to be alone with you today," I whispered. Then I realized I would just switch to a devotional on a 3 year old's level.  Grabbing two children's books, we looked at question number one in 99 Questions God Answers for Kids.
"The Bible promises that God loves me.  What should that mean to me?"
"If God had a refrigerator in heaven, your picture would be on it!  And that fact should make you feel very good about the person you are and the person you can become.  God's love for you is bigger and more wonderful than you can imagine."

The other book had us sing "Rock My Soul". He loved the beat, but I am just waiting for him to ask me what a bosom is.

Shifting gears and being subject to change is not always a bad thing.  I am content today to remember...
God is love!

You are Beautiful

October 15
 Attending an exciting high school football game Friday night, as the guest of the star quarterback, we arrived early to watch warmups. Not only the team was warming up, but also the band, the cheerleaders, the water boys and security guards!  With camera in  hand I was walking around taking pics of the process.  Turning around I noticed a high school girl sitting all alone in the front row of the stands sobbing. While waiting a few minutes to ponder the situation, I searched my wallet for a scripture card and found one from the Song of Solomon 4L7b.
Quietly approaching this young lady I said, "You are obviously very upset.  I have no clue what is going on in your life, but I do know that Jesus loves you more than you can even imagine and wants you to read the words on this card and feel his love.
You are beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, 
beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.
As she read these words, a smile broke loose across her face and her tears dropped off her checks. The sobbing ceased as I gave her a hug and walked away.

The game was exciting. The funnel cakes covered in powdered sugar tempting.  Our quarterback friend impressive as he knelt to pray with his offense on the sidelines before taking the field the first time.  (A rare scene at a large public high school).  But what I can't get off my mind is the impact fifteen words from the Lord had on a young African American girl, when this crazy old white woman had the courage to follow her heart and simply speak of God's love.

Below is a picture of our quarterback and his favorite receiver after the game!  They are delightful young men!  Definitely different bodies types, but the same sweet spirit!  I was having so much fun with them, I almost made them miss the bus back to school!  Yikes!

The next pic is a new little buddy of mine, who boogied to the band the whole night!
Below, the quarterback giving the old people some love!

 A breath taking sunset, which reminds us God's love is all around!

Have a great week dear friends.  
Step into this October Monday knowing you are loved beyond our human comprehension! 

Don't Let it Slip On By

My maternal grandparents.
October 13-14
Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Friday, I opened the godtube video below, which had come by email.  I was really in a hurry and it didn't look very exciting (didn't even list an artist). Fortunately, I watched and I hope you all will listen.
Time is precious, relationships should be cherished.  Don't let a day slip by without investing in one!

My father is 92 and he is more than precious. He was a very successful businessman, but he always found time for family.  My mother, who died 12 years ago,  had a serious drinking problem, but he stood by her and loved her in the good times and bad.  Several beautiful albums sit on his coffee table and he goes through them every day to keep the memories fresh.  Every dance card from their college dances graces one album!  In another room, every space is covered in stacks of pictures.  Selecting his favorites, he is making copies for all his grandchildren.  These photographic memories bear testimony to the love they knew.

Like the man in the video, my father lost a son.  My brother drown 25 years ago and son died 13 years ago.  At the age of sixteen, my grandfather was murdered and 11 days later I found my grandmother dead from a heart attack. When you lose someone so close to your heart, there is a magnification for the importance of loving those you have left. Lately, each time I visit my father, he gives me an old photograph to cherish. He continues to teach me the importance of commitment.
Don't let time slip away, without investing in the lives of those you love.  A visit, a card, a Skype session, a phone call or picture by email help us keep connected before our time on earth slips away.

Yet, The Harvester

A harvest of grapes at the home of my dear Gladys who raised me.
October 12
Brandon Heath, a friend of our daughter's, has a song out titled The Harvester. Hearing it for the first time this week, I seem to constantly be drawn back to the lyric
Those who don't know you or just don't know yet.

The little word yet keeps staring at me.  Have I given up praying for some situations thinking they will never come?  What I need is to shift gears again and say, "Lord, I'm back with this specific request that hasn't been answered YET."
Heading to Merriam Webster here are some alternative phrases for yet.
Up to now
So far
At this time
Up to the present

Let's take each of these phrases and ask God to stir our hearts toward individuals, who have not been harvested yet!
Up to now, Father, ________has not come to know you personally.
So far, God, __________has not been willing to go to church with me and worship you.
At this time, Lord, ________still sees no need for You or himself as sinful.
Up to the present, Jesus, ________'s heart is still full of bitterness and unforgiveness, please help them to surrender their hurts to you and trust again.
I know You are not finished YET Lord.

Watch Brandon's video, then put your knees to the ground and painful as it may be, sing to the Lord in what may be a weary sound. Ask him for strength and the ability to be a harvester for the kingdom and see the needs of those who don't know Him yet!
Up with the dawn and the rooster crow Been that way since I don't know 
Throw a little water on my face Get out the door and greet the day 
Put my knees down on the ground  Sing to the Lord in a weary sound 
Ask Him for the strength I need  Break my heart like a weed 

For all that we've grown  How could we forget 
Those who don't know Or just don't know yet 
Let's harvest this field From sunrise to sunset 
The Master is coming We are not done yet We are not done yet Yet 

Bring out the sickle Bring out the pail 
Bushel full of wire And a fork to the bale 
Work through the pain in the rain or shine C'mon y'all we still got time 
We still got time 

The turning of the season  Is upon us, my friends 
Now's the time All that was sown Is there for the reaping 

Round the Bend

October 11

Walking up our 1/2 mile long driveway there are several bends in the road, which leave you wondering what you will find around the corner. As I walked the other morning, I thought about how life is full of bends in the road. I thanked God for his words in Lamentations 3:22-23 which say:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I decided to change up the lyrics in Great is Thy Faithfulness, just a tiny bit.  Instead of morning by morning new mercies I see....I went to "MOMENT by MOMENT new mercies I see.  Today I am taking out pen and pad and listing the many ways I have seen His mercy these past few months.

Continuing my walk I came around one bend and found a field of friends!