Abundance of Life


May 31

"Unlike Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord's calling out from Egypt, but they did not follow Him into the land. Many Christians repeat this same error today. They have followed the Lord as He led them out of the spiritual death of sin and guilt. They are "out of Egypt." They are forgiven of their sins.  They have a new life in Christ. However, they do not follow the Lord on "into the land."  They do not follow by faith into abundance of life.  They do not follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, for fruitfulness, for a life of spiritual victory." Bob Hoekstra

 ...for they have wholly followed the Lord."  Numbers 32:11-12

I am preparing for a summer Bible study with a group of women, which is led on DVD by Priscilla Shirer, called One in a Million, Journey to Your Promised Land. I came across the above writing of Bob Hoekstra online, where he expresses so nicely how many people are simply satisfied with the salvation step and miss abounding into the deep fellowship, personal transformation, overflowing fruitfulness and spiritual victory.

Imagine going to a wedding reception and when you arrive you are in a room where they are passing a refreshing wedding punch.  You see the wedding cake and look forward to when it will be cut and the delicious sugar and buttery concoction melts in your mouth.  Hours pass and you chat with the other guests who come and go in the room.  The cake is sliced, you enjoy your piece and go home.  The next day at church people are all a buzz about the amazing food at the wedding reception.  Say what?  Had you stepped out a bit further into other rooms you would have found the seafood room with enormous shrimp, lobster cocktails, crab cakes and scallops sautéed in vermouth.  A carving station was located elsewhere and had a succulent ham and the largest, juiciest prime rib anyone had ever seen...and oh, my,  the yeast rolls and fresh horseradish.  There was a chef behind a grill who designed your personal pizza to order and two others making quesadillas filled with any ingredient imaginable.  The fresh fruit and vegetable table with its ice cravings was a sight to be seen.  You missed it all, because you were just standing there waiting for the cake.

That's what some Christians do.  Come into my life Jesus and I'll see you again when we cut the cake at heaven's door.

Lost but now I'm Found

The Andrews kids and their four Maltese..Spirit, Kindness, Patience and Truth
May 30
Dusk was upon us and night would not be far behind.  Our neighbor called, quite distraught, that her new little Maltese had run.  She had been searching for 30 minutes, but could find her nowhere.  Shiloh sits on five acres and our neighbor has three acres.  The driveway is a half mile long through dense woods.  Finding a tiny white fluff ball appeared to be a daunting task and by this time the owner was quite concerned what critter in the woods may have already killed her.
My husband and I headed out in different directions to help with the search.  While deep in our woods I thought I heard a dog barking over in the 130 acre development behind our property.  Walking to our neighbor's home, I share this information and suggested we get in the car and drive a few miles to that neighborhood.  Before we left I took her hand and prayed for God to protect this tiny canine and lead us to her.
Heading up the driveway we found my husband and he climbed in the car to accompany us.  The whole way over the two of them were saying, "There's no way that little dog could have gotten all this way."  I called several friends asking them to be on the lookout for the dog.  Entering the other neighborhood I saw some people cooking out together and asked if they had seen the dog.  Negative on that reply.  Checking out a side road we turned around discouraged as darkness neared.  Heading to exit this development, two large deer jumped out of the woods and quickly disappeared into the forest.  Then as quickly as they ran into the woods "Liz", the Maltese, came darting out into the road!  "Praise God," I shouted.  That little one was wet and had obviously forged our creek, climbed the side of a mountain and probably followed the scent of that cookout in the other neighborhood!
As I reflected on the urgency of our search, I thought about our Father God and how desperately he wants to see each of us come home!

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.  Luke 15:32


Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep."  Luke 14: 4, 6

Softened


May 29
 

"Today, if you hear his voice, 
do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion." 
Hebrews 3:15

There were birthday cakes to be baked and muffins to be made and I had forgotten to take the butter out to soften earlier.  Time truly was of the essence, so I quickly stuck a couple sticks of butter in my back pockets hoping they would soften by the time I had all the other ingredients measured out.

Oh, that it would be that simple to soften some hard hearts, when it comes to the standoff they have established in reference to Christ coming in and controlling their lives.

Come Back to Me


May 28
Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God 
with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment."
Matthew 22:37-38

As quickly as a slippery fish can slide off your fingers after being caught or a succulent oysters escape from your fork, the habit of making time for God can be stolen from your day.  One of the most amazing characteristics of God is the way he waits for our return in love.  (Funny, how we lack the patience to wait for answers to our prayers, yet receive His grace over and over again.)
It is almost 10 o'clock. I'm not sure where my morning went, but it wasn't being spent with the Lord.  The day started a little later than usual and I embarked on my new summer routine of plant watering and dead bloom picking.  A couple phone calls, a knock at the door and then I remembered I hadn't written the devotional.  
Picking up Jesus Today,  by Sarah Young, in hopes of entering God's presence, I chuckled at what I read.  "It is crucial to make you relationship with Me top priority-nurturing and strengthening your connection with Me.  Nothing is as important as understanding Me: knowing and loving Me as I truly am. This requires focused time with Me as well as ongoing communication with Me throughout your day. The clearest, most trustworthy teaching about Me is in the Bible."
Ok, so I pick up Solo, The Message and continue my read through the Bible.  Here's today's reading from Hebrews 4:12-13
God means what he says. What he says goes.  His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything whether rout of defense, laying us open to listen and obey.  Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word.  We can't get away from it-no matter what.
Not wanting to leave His presence I opted for one more reading from Jesus Today.  Check this out:

"Because your mind is easily distracted, you must keep coming back to Me again and again.  Do not be discouraged by your tendency to wander off in tangents from your true Center in Me. Simply keep making the needed adjustments to return to Me.  Make these little corrections joyfully-trusting in My unfailing Love."

Oh dear friend, if you've drifting away in the manipulations that May can bestow upon us, return to the One who loves you best.  Spend time with Him today.

Memorial Day


May 27
I pray I can accurately express what my heart is feeling on this Memorial Day. Over the years I had the privilege to listen to my father share stories from World War II.  When he talks about it, he reflects on the camaraderie with the other soldiers, the sustenance which came from the letters from home, and the joy of coming home.
Our military men and women give the ultimate sacrifice...their lives...for our freedom.  I'm sure we don't thank these soldiers or the Lord nearly enough for the gift of freedom we have been given, at great expense of others willingness to fight.  Our religious liberty, the right to free speech and the privilege to vote make us thankful to be Americans.
On the spiritual war front battles are waged every day.  A victory has been won, through great expense, on that arena as well.


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Thinking back on the aspects of war, which my father has shared, these correlate perfectly with the Christian battle field.
The camaraderie with the other soldiers. Praise God for the Body of Christ and the fellowship within.

The sustenance which came from the letters from home. Praise God for the letters in the Bible which sustain us and guide us on this pilgrimage.

The joy of coming home.  Oh, my!  The hope of heaven. What a day of rejoicing there will be when we enter his gates with praise and thanksgiving and say..."I am home!"


In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; 
make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted."
Isaiah 12:4

Here is a beautiful song called "Heaven was Needing a Hero Like You".
http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WKZL6PNX&utm_source=GodTube%20Today&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=05/27/2013

Prepare Your Heart

May 25-26
Exhausted from cleaning out our laundry room and other chores, I stopped and sat on the floor to count rattan chargers for an upcoming party.  My mind was blank and then the words came...
"Prepare your heart."  What does that mean Lord?  Prepare my heart for what?  Immediately, the phone rang. Caller ID showed it was my husband's cell phone. "What's wrong?" I inquired.  "Nothing." he replied. "Are you crying?"  "No, I'm just plumb tuckered out and some words from the Lord gave me a startle, " I spoke into the phone.

"Prepare your heart."  That could relate to a hundred different things to come. Positive and negative.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  
Isaiah 43:18-20

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3:15

Every day since, the words have come to me again.  What an excellent reminder "prepare your heart" for whatever God has on the horizon.

Lord, prepare our hearts to love you more deeply, prepare our hearts for joy, prepare our hearts for trials, and prepare our hearts for Your return. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Death's Good-bye is Love's Hello

May 24
Do you ever come across a simple, powerful truth that just stays with you?  Tuesday an email from Godtube popped up announcing a new Amy Grant song.  At first I thought of all I had to get done that day and almost didn't take time to listen.  Then I remembered the importance of just being still and praising God and decided to tune in.  While the whole song is quite moving, there is one lyric which has stuck with me:
Death's good-bye is Love's hello.

For those of us whose salvation is secure in Christ, exiting this world means entering the arms of "Love"...Love is Jesus himself!

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  Psalm 27:4

 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.  1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Weebles Wabble, But They Don't Fall Down


May 23
Say what?  Yes, I awakened thinking of "Weebles".  And just what could the spiritual context be behind these little toys?  Well, "Weebles wabble but they don't fall down."  That is how God wants us to walk this walk on earth.  Though we may stumble, if we cling to "Truth", stay spiritually alert, and allow Him to lead us in upright paths we will not fall.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.  Psalm 37:23-25

I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; And if you run, you will not stumble.  Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.  Proverbs 4:11-13

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble...2 Peter 1:10


The Wonder of it All.

May 22
The wind blew the pinwheels in the yard around and around to the delight of the children.  The little boy laughed at the antics of the squiggle worm in his hand. Tears of joy poured down the cheeks of the new mother as she realized the tiny bundle she held was God's gift to her.  The elderly couple sat on the park bench content to hold hands and reflect on their 60 years together.  A grin graced the face of the dying woman as she was about to exit earth and be ushered into heaven with Jesus.  The one who calmed the storm, who held the blind man and set the captives free loves each of us so much he bled and died for us.  The wonder of it all is so much to behold.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.  Job 5:9

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:5

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.  Psalm 65:8

We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.  Psalm 78:4
   

Right Place at the Right Time


May 21

Waiting for a phone call to meet someone on the other side of the lake, I was getting anxious as the minutes ticked away.  My great nieces were coming to spend the night in preparation for a big birthday party the following day and I had a list of chores to accomplish.  It was 9:00AM when I embarked upon my journey and tuned the radio on to Victory FM. For the first time in months I was listening to a broadcast by Focus on the Family.  Priscilla Shirer was the speaker. I was quite interested to listen, because she is the Bible teacher for the DVD series we are using in our summer women's Bible study here at Shiloh beginning in June.

Do you ever recognize that God has placed you in the right place, at the right time, for a really RIGHT reason?  The 30 minute drive ahead of me flew by as I experienced about every emotion possible, while listening to this broadcast.  Laughter, learning, tears, and conviction all set into my soul.  Actually, I was both elated and exhausted when I arrived at my destination.  What I really wanted to do was email a group of my Christian cohorts and say, "Check this out right now!"

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID=%7B3A360AC3-1646-48B0-BA6E-C1C55521D91A%7D

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

Biblically based Christian broadcasting is useful for those things as well!

Extravagance


May 20
The same morning as the word "thrills" came to me the word "extravagant" entered my mind.  Both of those words are full of exuberance!  They energize me.  Check out these passages which tell of a love beyond belief, which is available to us.  Oh, how my heart aches for those who are not experiencing the  love of Jesus Christ.

The Experience
The One that God sent speaks God's words.  And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly.  He turned everything over to him so he could give it away-a lavish distribution of gifts.  That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, lie complete and forever!  And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life.  All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.
John 3:34-36

The Generosity
But there is another urgency before me (Paul) now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I'm completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won't be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead.  but that matters little.  What matters most to me is to finish what God started; the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.
Acts 20:22-24

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It's way over our heads.  We'll never figure it out.  Is there anyone around who can explain God?  Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?  Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?  Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him.  Always glory!  Always praise! Yes. Yes, Yes.  Romans 11:33-36

The Love
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

 May you experience, the generosity,  of God's extravagant love, today!

Thrills


May 18-19
During my quiet time the other day I found myself saying, "Jesus you thrill me!"  The word thrill made me smile, so I searched for it in The Message translation on Biblegateway.  These three verses resonated in my heart as I thought of Christ, my bridegroom.  Where are we looking for thrills?
Proverbs speaks to the emptiness of looking in all the wrong places.

Your addicted to thrills?  What an empty life!  The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.  
Proverbs 21:17

Here's great marital advice.  Yesterday, I emailed these to our children hoping they'd get a thrill from these bits of wisdom!  Hmmm....no response. I guess the message left them speechless.

Men- Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers. Bless your fresh-flowing fountain!  Enjoy the wife you married as  a young man!  Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose- don't ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted!  Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore?  for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger?
Proverbs 5:17-20

Women- My dear lover glows with health-red blooded, radiant! He's one in a million. There's no one quite like him!  My golden one, pure and untarnished, with raven black curls tumbling across his shoulders.  His eyes are like doves, soft and bright, but deep-set, brimming with meaning, like wells of water. His face is rugged, his beard smells like sage, His voice, his words, warm and reassuring. Fine muscles ripple beneath his skin, quiet and beautiful.  His torso is the work of a sculptor, hard and smooth as ivory. He stands tall, like a cedar, strong and deep-rooted, A rugged mountain of a man, aromatic with wood and stone.  His words are kisses, his kisses words.  Everything about him delights me, thrills me through and through!  That's my lover, that's my man, dear Jerusalem sisters.
Song of Solomon 5:10-16

The Free Gift



May 17
Running into a department store to pick up a pair of shoes,  I was startled by an announcement over the loud speaker.  Two ladies were talking at the register next to me and I couldn't make out what was said on the PA system, but no one moved, so I assumed it was not an emergency. While I was paying, the man's voice came on again..."Come immediately to the table by on the first floor, by the down escalator for your free gift. These will be given out on a first come basis."  I had to pass that section on the way out of the store and sure enough about 20 ladies appeared mesmerized by a gold box on the platform stage and the man in the purple shirt who was touting the benefits of this little red plastic corer/juicer. He was from QVC (I think those are the right letters for the home shopper's network). Like the others, I was suckered into watching his show and receiving a "free gadget".
But wait!!!  He shouted, "Now ladies, what comes after one? Yes, "two",  we have another gift for you."  Out comes this shining silver grater. And the show began.  Ten minutes into his demonstration I really needed to go, but I was tempted and thought I actually might enjoy this kitchen aide.  Then the catch came..."It regularly retails for $29.95, but....", I was out the door. It wasn't a free gift. The gift part was the discount.  Disgusted with myself for being suckered in, I hustled to my car.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, 
it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.  
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10

Salvation is a free gift!  We cannot earn it or pay for it.
We simply must admit we need it and receive it by faith, there's no catch!



w00t!

Elated with a new rocking horse!
May 16
w00t! is a contemporary word I came across a few years ago.  
You spell it: small "w", zero, zero, small "t".  
It is a synonym for pure elation!  Being thrilled beyond belief.
That is how I felt yesterday while studying in The Secret Place. 
I  was shouting "w00t" and "wh00pee"! It's all about Jesus!

Here is my biggest w00t quote from Chapter 40 of Secrets in the Secret Place: 

"Jesus was saying we ought not come to the Scriptures 
to gain knowledge about a Book; rather, we ought to come 
to the Scriptures to gain knowledge about a Person."

Oh, how I pray we can each get to know Him better today!

May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely 
be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!
Galatians 6:18



Actions of Dedication


May 15
On Mother's Day we had the privilege of attending our grandson's baby dedication.  The pastor was clear in his explanation that this was not like baptism when someone professes their faith in Christ, but rather a ceremony where parents make a commitment to God to bring their child up in the training of the Lord.  It was refreshing to see so many families taking the spiritual aspect of their parenting roles so seriously.

Looking the word dedicate up in the dictionary, definitions refer to: devotion to the worship of a divine being; to being set apart; and to being committed to a goal or way of life.

Scouring Biblegateway the NIV listed 39 Old Testament verses on dedicating things, but only one New Testament reference.  The day we became owners of Shiloh, I knelt by a big tree and dedicated the property and our care and use of it, to the Lord.  It's been a wild ride!  Besides our homes and children, what can we dedicate to the Lord? What can we set apart and be committed to using to bring glory to God?
Marriages, money, jobs, vehicles, voices, church service, prayer life, daily walk, etc.

Proverbs 20:25 states:  It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one's vows.

Obviously, we are to take seriously our actions of dedication.

Heard it Somewhere

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? 
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, 
who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.
Psalm 24:3-4

May 14
Attempting to get back in the swing of things, after a weekend away, I grabbed my Bible and was looking for a pen when the phone rang. "Moses, is bathed and ready for pick-up. If you are here by 11:30 you will not be charged for an additional day."  The day shifted gears and out the door I went.
Praise God we live in a nation where Christian radio is permitted.  My drive into the city allowed me a wonderful time of learning on Victory FM!

Chatting with the women at Bible study last night I told them about a wonderful example I had heard on the topic of being blameless.  The speaker explained that if a young man stood trial for stealing a car and went before the judge and the charges were dropped, he might still have sinned, but was no longer blamed.  That is what Jesus does for us when we stand before him with a repentant heart.  The sin happened, but He washes us clean and remembers our sin no more.

This morning I pulled the radio show back up online and listened again while doing some chores, but I did not hear this example. Who knows where I heard it!  It makes a lot of sense to me though.

www.backtothebible.org/index.php/Back-to-the-Bible-Radio-Program/What-Does-It-Mean-to-Be-Pure.html

Woodrow Kroll states: "Blamelessness is not sinlessness.  God does not require sinlessness."  God knows we cannot be sinless, but we can strive to stay clear of sin.  He goes on to say, "God is the measure of sin.  Sin is anything that is an offense against God. The transgression of His standards.  Sin is what God says it is."

Each time we wash something this week...our hands, bodies, dishes, clothes, cars, etc. let's ask God to give our hearts and minds a scrub a dub dub.


Keyed Up


Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands!  
Psalm 100:1
May 13
Friday, I boarded a plane to head to our grandson's baby dedication. As I sat down the man in the window seat beside me had a tambourine in his lap.  It made me smile.  I thought...there may be some praising going on on this flight.  No sooner were we airborne than did he pull out his KEY BOARD!
That fellow played his keyboard from Charlotte, NC to Minneapolis, MN!  He graciously allowed me to take a picture.

Whether in the shower, the car or in the middle of a store...sing to the Lord today!

Cherish


May 11-12
Praying today about a word that describes a mother's love the word cherish came to mind.
Merriam-Webster's defines cherish this way: to hold dear: feel or show affection for; to keep or cultivate with care and affection, nurture.

Many of us have experienced a mother's love.  All of us have the opportunity to experience God's love.

...you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God.  
God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure.  
Deuteronomy 7:6
Rejoice in knowing you are loved!

Disguised






May 10
Tamar was told, "Your father-in-law has gone to Timnah to shear his sheep. "She took off her widow's clothes, put on a veil to disguise herself, and sat at the entrance to Enaim which is on the road to Timnah. She realized by not that even though Shelah was grown up, she wasn't going to be married to him.  Judah saw her and assumed she was a prostitute since she had veiled her face.  He left the road and went over to her. He said, "Let me sleep with you." He had not idea that she was his daughter-in-law. Genesis 38:15-18

Playing dress up has been a favorite activity at our house for years.  One son, seen on this "stick" horse as Superman, still has a blast in adulthood.  There are some intriguing Bible stories where dressing up to deceive (disguised) plays an intricate part.  (If you've never read Tamar's tale, check out the full story.)

Here's our tough question. Are we clearly identified as Christians, passionately appreciative for what Christ did for us on the cross or do we just disguise ourselves as such on occasion?

He Gets the Last Word

May 9
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.  You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world.  So keep a firm grip on the faith.  The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ-eternal and glorious plans they are!- will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.  1 Peter 5:8 MSG


Turning on the news, we learn that three young women in Cleveland, Ohio had to learn to be content in what is most likely the direst of suffocating circumstances. My mind is truly struggling to process what happened. That was not God's will for those young ladies.
Night before last I thought about how little attention I pay to what is going on around our sparsely populated neighborhood.  There is no way I could hear someone pounding on walls.
Traveling home along back country roads yesterday, I was behind a school bus.  My mind drifted into wonder about each family dynamic as those children were met amidst a dreary wet day. Most students  jumped into cars where doors were pushed open to welcome these little ones after a long day. Some parents got out, gave a hug and then put their children in the cars.  One precious grandfather, stood in the rain, hugged his grandson, held his hand and together they ran in the ran down the gravel road towards home.  (That one was my favorite.)  Then it happened.  The bus stopped, the boy crossed the road and began the step mountainside incline up the gravel driveway to a worn out trailer.  There was a car parked up next to the trailer, but no parent with an umbrella, no open door, no hug. That child turned his head back and looked at each of us who were lined up in our cars behind the bus. What awaited that young fellow behind that trailer door?  My guess was there was not a glass of milk or a plate of cookies.
Minutes later, I enter the bank to cash a check.  The bank teller answered a phone call and then ran out from behind the counter to the manager's office.  You could hear her exclaim..."It's the school. There was no one at the bus stop to meet your children!"
My heart drifts back to the boy on Lost Mountain Road. (Yes, that was the name of the street.)  What does that bus driver know about that situation? What are the rules about dropping a child off?  It would be so simple to deduce and make excuse this is none of our business.
Then you turn on the TV and hear what we've heard this week.  The Bible teachers us to be on the alert!  We are to have concern for the welfare of others. Today I will call the county and ask about the "bus" rules and I may just drive back down Lost Mountain road and at least pray.

Let's come together and pray for people who have had to learn to be content in heartbreaking circumstances and ask God how we can make a difference to a hurting world.

Circumstances

May 8
The word circumstances keeps arising in my world this week.  A couple days ago I read an Adrian Rogers devotional in which he said:
"I ask some Christians, 'How are you doing?'
 They say, 'Okay-under the circumstances.'
How did you ever get there?  Circumstances are like a mattress. You're supposed to be on it, not under it.  Under the circumstances, you suffocate; on them you rest pretty well."

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Nancy Leigh DeMoss posted:

“We tend to look at the circumstances of life in terms of what they may do to our hopes and conveniences. When a problem threatens, we rush to God, not to seek His perspective, but to ask Him to deflect the trouble.
Arthur Matthews was serving as a missionary in China when the Communists took control. He spent years under house arrest with his wife and daughter, and his writings show what it’s like to embrace the plan and purposes of God in suffering.
'An escapist generation reads security, prosperity, and physical well-being as evidences of God’s blessing. When He puts suffering and affliction into our hands, we misread His signals and misinterpret His intentions.'
The next time you face a trial, don’t resent, resist, or run from the cross. Instead, embrace it and trust in the heart of the One who died for you."

Paul teaches us in Philippians about contentment in whatever the circumstances.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Philippians 4:11

Another message from Ms DeMoss this week:

"It’s natural to try and fulfill our longings by looking to people and circumstances. The problem is, people and circumstances inevitably let us down. When things don’t turn out the way we expected, we get disappointed. That’s why so many of us seem to be always disappointed!
For years, I looked to people and circumstances to make me happy. And what a perfect set-up that was for disappointment.
It was so liberating to learn that the deepest longings of my heart couldn’t be fulfilled by any person or thing. Things burn and break; they get stolen or lost. People can move or change or die.
But Psalm 16:11 says that fullness of joy is found in God’s presence. God may not fulfill all our longings according to our timetable. But ultimately, we will be fulfilled in knowing Him.
Are you looking to anything or anyone other than God Himself to fulfill the deepest longings of your heart?

So nibble on all that today and then join me tomorrow as I share an aside to this lesson related to the circumstances of those young women in Cleveland who were abducted and a back country road ride I took yesterday.









Five Minute Drill

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you 
to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.  
1 Peter 3:15
May 7
As I've said over and over again, small group Bible study is like a banquet buffet. There is so much (wisdom) there for the taking as we learn from one another.  One member of our group challenged us last week to know a "Five Minute Drill".  To be able to share the Gospel with another in five minutes.

My husband shared a story of a man who was weary from his friends constant desire to tell him about Jesus, so finally one day he said, "OK, I'll give you five minutes to tell me what's on your mind."

Do you have a condensed version of all Jesus means to you?

The same gentleman in our groups shared this quote:
"The problem with testimonies is that you have to live them."

The Transformation Process

 Facial expression realizing your outdoor party is rained out...
Facial expression realizing cake and a chorus of happy birthday are just as good indoors!
Transformation!

May 6
Small group Bible study is such a blessing. To have a setting with people whom you can be comfortable seeking truth is a treasure. My husband was leading a group recently and gave a couple examples of unusual ways to acquire desired change:
One... If you are tired, exercise to get energy.
Next...The Bible says if you want to be first, you must be last.

Change is uncomfortable for many people.  But the Bible says:
Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:3

The study we were working on issued this challenge: "What characterizes a life mastered by God?"
My reply, "Transformation." If we want to be like Jesus, we need to change from our sinful ways.
Transformation is a life long process!

As for God...I the Lord do not change. Malachi 3:6

We change our shoes, our clothes, our bedding (unless we are a male college student), the flowers in our garden, who we sit by in church (ha, NOT for some pew possessors), but those sinful habits which have been hanging around for decades can be hard to turn from.

Praise God, we don't have to do this on our own.
When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of your from your wicked ways.  Acts 3:26

Sole, Soul, Seoul

May 4-5
Looking for some recent notes which I'd taken on a message about the fear of God, I was baffled trying to locate them.  Walking into my dressing room, I noticed a pair of shoes on the floor and the word sole,  came to mind. Recognizing it was the Lord sending me down a different path, I inquired...
"Would that be sole, soul, or Seoul?"
Heading off to Biblegateway with my inquiry, after reading about the sores on the soles of Job's feet, I settled upon many verses related to "heart and soul".

King David gave this preface to those building the temple in relationship to specifications.
Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.  1 Chronicles 22:19

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Deuteronomy 6:5

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  Psalm 42:2

Hmm, wish the FDA had done that before they set "the morning after pill" on the loose.

We need to evoke some serious Christ centered soul seeking into our decision making process.
Loving God, seeking God and meeting with God on a regular basis greatly influences the "soul" decisions we make.

Oh, Manna!

...he rained down manna for the people to eat,
he gave them the grain of heaven.
Psalm 78:24

 May 3
Wait? Is that manna our grandson and his dog are eating?  No, it's a T.P. party!
It caught me off guard as I was studying a chapter in Secrets of the Secret Place  titled "The Secret of Manna Gathering".
Sorge writes: "We know the manna of the wilderness was good for only one day; if kept over into the next day, it would rot (Exodus 16:12-31).  It's still true that yesterday's feeding in the word will never sustain us for today. One of the primary functions of the secret place is to be fed afresh each day in His word....No man is to teach you how to find this knowing relationship with God; the Holy Spirit Himself will be your teacher....It's not that difficult to learn how to gather manna.  Just get out there and start working.  Pick up your Bible, and begin to labor in it...All you must do is shut your door....The secret is: Learn to gather your own manna. Then you'll have something to share."

Oh, manna, do we need God's Word to sustain us! What we gonna learn today.    :-)

Equal Status



May 2
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!
Last week our pastor delivered a fabulous sermon in a series he is currently giving called "I Need to Change".  He stated, "God likes to do something new!"

That's a good thing because we all need a little sprucing up along life's rugged road, don't we? For days now I've pondered another comment he made, "We treat everything in our schedules as if they have equal value."  Sad, but it's true for most people.  They look at their weeks events and list off the "to do's" with equal importance.  Grocery store, workout, drive carpool, Bible Study, dinner and a movie, pick up dry cleaning, go to church, grab lunch with a friend....etc. Our daily time with God should be the highlight event of each day.

We were blessed to help host a high school youth group of 25 amazing young people this past weekend.  When one of the parents invited me to attend the first "talk" session out on our patio, I started to opt out realizing I had desserts to make for them that night and a birthday cake to bake for my father.  Quickly, God spoke to me saying..."Don't be a Martha, come and sit at my feet and learn."  He was right! That, along with getting to share some hammock time with one young lady, were the highlights of my day. Being with Jesus is of more value than any other time in our day.

Instrument of Peace

May 1

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=WKY6YLNX&utm_source=GodTube%20Today&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=04/26/2013

Besides the very important message in this song, for us to be instruments of peace, I was taken back and realized how seldom I thank God for the gift of song.  Music moves my soul everyday, whether instrumental, by the birds, or a vocal chorus or tune turned out by acoustical guitar.  I believe there will be daily concerts in heaven!