From God We Learn How to Live


June 29-30
Last night, after enjoying a delightful outdoor dinner with friends, we scurried home and boarded our pontoon boat to try to capture an 8:42 sunset.  As we idled out of our cove, the excitement of what this week holds for "lake goers" came into play as we passed docks adorned with our American flag and youngsters swimming at dusk!  I decided to take this week ahead and hopefully capture through the lens of my camera what it means to be an American living on a lake in the mountains of SW Virginia!

Recently, during a Bible study here at our home, some controversial social issues were being discussed.
The judgmental  phrase was tossed out and I replied that the Bible is pretty black and white on sin issues.  Then I mentioned that historically, God has removed his hand from nations who remove themselves from His ways.  One woman was not happy with me for the comment and stated I was trying to invoke fear. Personally, I am not fearful of Jesus coming back...I actually long for his return.
I'd much rather He come back than live here in a nation governed void of godly principles.

The same God, who brought Saul to a life altering experience, is still on his throne today and is changing lives.  State it or not....we are and will always be "One nation under God...under God's authority that is.  As we step into this week of celebration for America, may we pray for God's sovereign will to be done in our nation.

Check out Job's take on who God is.
From God We Learn How to Live
Job 12:13-25
True wisdom and real power belong to God; 
from him we learn how to live, also what to live for.
If he tears something down, it's down for good;
if he locks people up, they're locked up for good
If he holds back the rain, there's a drought; it he lets it loose, there's a flood.
Strength and success belong to God; both deceived and deceiver must answer to him.
He strips experts of their vaunted credentials, exposes judges as witless fools.
He divests kings of their royal garments, then ties a rag around their waists.
He strips priests of their robes, and fires high officials from their jobs.
He forces trusted sages to keep silence, deprives elders of their good sense and wisdom.
He dumps contempt on famous people, disarms the strong and mighty.
He shines a spotlight into caves of darkness, hauls deepest darkness into the noonday sun.
He makes nations rise and then fall, builds up some and abandons others.
He robs world leaders of their reason, and sends them off into no-man's-land.
They grope in the dark without a clue, lurching and staggering like drunks.

 

Here's a Thought


June 28

My husband and I just went for a lovely, pre-heat walk. Chatting away, we chuckled at the polite ways people phrase their disagreements. You know...in a fashion which places the discussion on the back burner.

After your comment they may respond, "That's a thought."  "Hmm, lot's to think about."  "I'm not sure I've ever considered that."

Our daughter-in-love (better than daughter in law) has taught her children incredibly polite manners.  One of my favorites comes into play if you are eating at someone's home and they offer you a dish you'd prefer not to eat.  Instead of saying, "Ewww, I don't like that," you politely say, "It's not my favorite!"  My husband and I are learning that works well in numerous "choice" categories....TV shows, clothing options, etc.

God created us with the freedom to choose, but Jesus doesn't mince words when it comes to the qualifications for getting to God.

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

If you come across someone today who has never considered eternal life, share the thought in the verse above.

     

Set Everything Right

 Happy 2nd Anniversary to this cute couple this week.
Happy 33rd Birthday to this sweet girl today.
Happy First Birthday to this little man today!
June 27
This morning I awakened and inquired, "Are you there God?"  "I'm right here my child," he said.  Then immediately my cell phone gave a "ding".  I must have received an email, but it was as if God was sending a confirmation of His presence. It made me smile!

I've learned that it is not always for me to know what God is up to at a certain moment.  Obedience is where the action is and I am to obey His lead, even when I have not a clue where the finish line lays. Late last night, as my lids were drooping, I was hanging out in Biblegateway placing the Word of God on my mind as I drifted to sleep.
This passage from The Message, which David wrote, spoke to me.

I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart, I'm writing the book on your wonders,
I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I'm singing your song High God.
The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces.
You took over and set everything right; when I needed you, you were there, taking charge.
You blow the whistle on godless nations; you throw dirty players out of the game, 
wipe their names right off the roster.  Enemies disappear from the sidelines, their reputation trashed,
their names erased from the halls of fame.
God holds the high center, he sees and sets the world's mess right.  He decided what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts.  God's a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you're never sorry you knocked.
Psalm 9:1-10

I do think as a nation we continue to make decisions, which boarder or maybe even jump boldly into the category of godless nation.  It saddens my heart to see so many people who have no need for God.
The reality is God has no need for us, but loves us passionately and is ready to take us into His arms when we turn to Him.

Below is a Focus on the Family report concerning The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling yesterday.
Today's Supreme Court decisions overturning part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and failing to rule clearly on California's Proposition 8 case are deeply troubling. They worsen the widespread confusion on the definition of marriage.

Ironically, the family and I have just landed in Washington D.C. for a tour of historic Williamsburg. From the small television in the back of the seat on the airplane, I watched the proceedings from the steps of the Supreme Court as reporters analyzed the news coming from inside the historic building.

Together, the Court neglected to uphold the will of the people through their elected representatives in Congress and the public votes of more than seven million California citizens.

Yet, however disappointing the rulings may be to those of us who embrace natural marriage, the decisions should not elicit a spirit of despair.

To be clear, the Court rulings responded to two complex cases asking narrow legal questions. Legal experts will spend days dissecting the pages of opinion and case law. And yet, for most Americans, the big picture is more of what the Court did not do:

It did not create a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage as it did for abortion in 1973.

It also did not declare same-sex marriage a civil right on the order of ethnicity or nationality.

Today's two rulings do not touch the 38 states across our nation that enshrine natural marriage as law. And the two rulings don't diminish the job of the Church to proclaim God's truth to a culture that desperately needs it.

The critical role of man-woman marriage is not diminished by these rulings today. The essential need for children to have both a married mother and father is not lessened by the opinions.

Proponents of same-sex marriage are hailing today's rulings as a turning point for the institution of marriage and, indeed, the debate will continue.

That's why, especially in the days to come, the Church will have a new opportunity to shine its light into a confused culture.

It is time for everyone who supports the natural definition of marriage to recommit and affirm the sanctity of their own marriages. We must humbly confess the damage we have done to marriage by our own collective careless treatment of it. As we continue to distance ourselves from God's design for marriage and family, Christians will need to take their oath and commitment to marriage more seriously. Though the divorce rate among committed Christians is lower than among the general populace, it remains far too high.

The single greatest argument we can present to the world on this issue of marriage is to personally live out marriage in all its God-ordained fullness and radiant beauty.

As the culture continues to spin in different directions, it's more important than ever to get back to basics.

Go and Grow


June 26
About a year ago, I challenged myself to learn something (any little nugget) new every day. This devotional thought for today has challenged me to learn something new in the Bible every day!

A woman attending the "One in a Million" Bible Study I'm hosting confessed at dinner Monday night that she had really only been coming for some fellowship and to meet some other Christian women. She was not interested in doing the study part. Then when she was put on the spot by an email laying out some questions that would be discussed over dinner, she realized she would actually have to do the study.  In the midst of studying, the Lord impressed upon her heart that He was not finished teaching her here on earth!
Another woman shared how she did not like the study, because it was stepping on her toes....pointing out too many areas of needed improvement.

No matter our age, may we all be spurred on to "go" to Bible Study and church and continue to "grow" in wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as much as possible this side of heaven.

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

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.  1 Peter 2:1-3

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people-the faith and love that spring from the hope store up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.  In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world-just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace...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, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  Colossians 1:3-6, 9-

Steady as We Go

 My great nephew trying to steady himself and not fall in the creek!

June 25
Nik Wallenda made me sick to my stomach Sunday night as he tight rope walked over the Grand Canyon.  Squeezing my husband's hand, I said over and over again during those 22 minutes...
"Why is he doing this?  This is crazy."
Nik and his Dad were connected by an audio device. Nik continually thanked Jesus and called on God to calm the winds!  His father constantly encouraged him..."You're doing great. Steady as you go."

In Bible study last night, Priscilla referred to a needed travel technique for wilderness times as a "Steady as We Go" approach.  She stated we can learn to appreciate the wilderness times in our lives by anticipating how wonderful the end of them is going to be!

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 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 from 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 119:1-8

Fishers of People


"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people."

June 24
Day after day we watch fishermen cast and cast and cast their lines into the waters of our cove. I don't think I've ever seen anyone reel something in.  Do they ever encounter discouragement?

Jesus calls us to fish for people.  When we share the Good News of Christ, we don't always find people  who want to become hooked on Jesus.  Telling of Christ's love is a great pastime of which we should never become tired.



      

Complain, complain, complain

June 22-23
Complain, complain, complain. That was me as a young mother with six children...mostly concerning their schooling or the other when I'd get caught up in gossip with friends. It sickens me now to realize the opportunities I missed out on for the Lord.  While we were still seen as "religious fanatics" back then, because our overall lifestyle was different from the majority, I was a grumbler not trusting in God to work all things together for good.  I thought He could use my help or that my complaining to others would bring sympathy and comfort.

In the current Bible study I am embarked upon the author writes: "The spirit of complaint often takes this pattern. It begins as frustration and spreads into a raging flame of disgust, whining, and longing for something other than what God provides.  Complaining is what kept God's people from passing their spiritual tests.  Again and again their gaze proved so tightly focused on what they wished would happen that they despised reality....Make no mistake about it-a grumbling spirit will rob you of what God designed the in-between time to teach you. It will keep you from getting the most out of your journey with God."  (Referring to the Israelites in the wilderness.)

Yesterday, my husband took a vacation day and we pretended we were far off in the Caribbean.  We forgot that we are the caretakers for Shiloh and pretended to be guests vacationing here. Today, I'm asking the Lord to forgive me for grumbling about the money and effort it takes to take care of this place and thanking Him for giving it to us.

The Bible Boat was a great place for a nap after a lovely ride yesterday.

Check out this advice on complaining. It's a great reminder, since we can't hide our hearts from God.
We can allow Him to hear our hearts and pray to him to change them.

Complain if you must, but don't lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.  Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.  Psalm 4:4-5 (MSG)

Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged.  The Judge is standing at the door!  James 5:9

Remember, grumbling is contagious.  When you see a brother or sister in Christ with the symptoms suggest a dosage of prayer and thanksgiving.

Expect the Unexpected

June 21
Now this is a fun way to live...expecting the unexpected, because of whom we know God to be.
Priscilla Shirer challenges us to live practicing watchfulness. Watchfulness for God to show up and show off because He is a God of supernatural activity!
Shirer writes, "When I get bogged down by difficult times, I  now expect the Lord to do something unexpected to either free me from my situation or help me to deal with it.  Either way,  find that He raises my level of awe regarding His ability."

Do we think back and become ignited by the characters in the Bible who trusted God and went through UNBELIEVABLY unexpected experiences. I'm talking about  Noah who built an ark without seeing a drop of rain. Daniel who entered a lion's den without fear, David who stood before a giant with a sling shot, and Mary and Martha who stood with Jesus before their brother Lazarus' tomb.  The Israelites grumbling in their sandals or bare feet, but certainly no boots, and were slow learners even though seeing the Red Sea part, manna fall from heaven and a pillar of cloud by day and a cloud of fire at night.

In You, O Lord I have taken refuge. Let me never be ashamed. In Your righteousness deliver me.
Psalm 30:1

When I take our grandchildren out to wander around Shiloh, we go with the expectancy of seeing something fabulous.  Last week we saw a toad on the basketball court, two enormous dragon flies mating, a butterfly land in the sand right in front of us, a big striped bass swimming by and pinwheels spinning rapidly fueled by the wind.  We were content to sit back and watch the show!



Last night I received an email from a new friend whose son has battled a brain tumor for 10 years.  He has chosen not to take treatments.  He had a MRI this week, which hundreds of people covered in prayer. His mother emailed to say the oncologist was amazed to see improvement in the MRI without treatments. He inquired as to what they were doing?  The mother was able to say, "Hundreds of people are praying for him."  I think everyone of us who knows this family expected the unexpected from these test results!  Praise the Lord!

Follow Up

It was good to have the whole gang home.
June 20
Tuesday, two different people made the statement "Follow up with me" to me. One was a physician's assistant whom I was seeing for a pain in my leg.  She prescribed an anti-amflamitory drug and then said, "Follow up with me in two weeks."  An hour later, I was visiting an area nursing home and engaged in conversation with a gentleman sitting out front. Forty-five minutes later, after he had challenged me to help him with a project, he dismissed me with this statement, "Follow up with me. Don't disappoint me."  As I drove away from that establishment I felt like God was issuing the same request.  "Follow up with me daily, my child!  Don't disappoint me, we have much to do."

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.  John 10:27

Fear Not

Our newest backyard toy! A roller coaster.


June 19
in Exodus 14:13 Moses states: "Do not fear."
The Bible study I am currently studying had some fabulous statements to encourage us to flee the fatiguing experience fear imposes upon us.  The teacher, Priscilla Shirer, charged us to not engage in fear, but to exchange it for the emotional state of victorious living as we remember that victory through Christ is guaranteed in Scripture!
Listen to some of this one liners this author expounds upon in her study "One in a Million."

"Fear can paralyze you and you don't move with God."
"Fear in an intellectual anticipation of what could go wrong."
"Fear causes you to forget what God has done."

Let's step into today "Fearing Not" for our God, the author and perfecter of our faith, the very one who set our life into motion creating us with a plan and a purpose and most of all a desire to see us choose to dwell with Him forever in a heavenly home, is out and about our business today!  Amen?  Amen!

Long for His Presence

Celebrating a 1st birthday with two of our grandsons.
 Sharing his birthday cake with Mama Boo
Overjoyed to be together.
I love being with these little cousins.
June 18
At Bible study last night I shared a story which happened ten years ago related to having prepared a beautiful candlelight dinner for my husband and two youngest sons.  (Our oldest child is a girl and when she left for college I was left living with six men. Every now and then I'd do something girly...flowers, candles, a patch of pink, etc.)  The table was set and an elaborate multi-course dinner prepared. Being a coach and our sons playing on sports teams, my husband was good about calling and letting me know when they began the 50 minute drive home after practice.  This particular evening that amount of time had passed and my mind wandered to deer which jump out in our rural area and cars which swerve on these country roads.  I began to think the worst and imagine my life without these fellows.  Dropping to my knees at the bench by our table I cried out to God, "Were are they? Bring them here!"
The reply was undoubtedly God, "Why do you not long for my presence in the way you long for your husband and sons? Look at the time you've spent today preparing this special meal and table for them and you haven't spent a second with me."
Ugh. Guilty as charged.  I quickly confessed and sought forgiveness. The moment I did, the headlights from my husband's car came down the driveway.  My fears were put to rest and my heart received the needed change.

A wrong number on my cell phone awakened me at 4:45AM. I decided to get up before the sun and hang out with Jesus.  In our Bible study by Priscilla Shirer last night she encouraged us to "practice watchfulness" and look for God's activity in our day.  As I opened some devotional emails I came across this one written on Proverbs 31 by Suzie Eller.  It is right on the same lines of what I share last night.  My you long to be in the presence of God today.


"Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!" 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)
My granddaughter Elle is almost three. Recently we had a family event and Elle and her parents arrived before we did. It had been a few weeks since we had seen her, which is unusual. When we walked in the door, a wide smile filled her face and she ran into my arms.
For the next several minutes Elle circled around the crowded room. Each time she made her way purposely back to me, placed both hands on my knees, looked me in the eye and said, "There you are!"
It was as if Elle wanted me to know that, in the midst of a crowd, she delighted that I was in the room.
I wonder if I show my Savior this same joy? I wonder if I seek Him like 1 Chronicles 16:11 teaches me to.
In a crowded schedule, do I carve out time to find Him?
The reality is that sometimes, if I am not intentional, my time with Him can get pushed to second or third place behind deadlines, bills to pay, errands to run, events to attend. And yet when I seek Him out and sit in His presence, I realize all over again how beautiful it is to worship Him, to feel the pleasure and love of a Heavenly Father.
In my crowded thoughts, do I pause and say, "There You are!"
Or do I let anxiety, anger, frustration, or worry take center stage, forgetting His promises of comfort, of strength, of peace in the midst of storms. Yes, He's there for He assures us that He is (Joshua 1:9; Romans 8:38-38; Hebrews 3:15). But do I ask Him to shine His Light on my troubled thoughts?
In my crowded life, do I invite Him in to every area?
Time with God is not confined to a prayer time or a few moments reading Scripture. Instead, we are invited to live and move and breathe in Him (Acts 17:28). That means that He is with us as we parent, as we go to work, as we reflect on a beautiful sunset, or as we comfort a friend. As believers, we don't just have to live. We live in Him, and He lives in us.
Elle had many options that day. Aunts and uncles held out open arms. Toys and books were offered at every turn. Cousins gave her kisses.
But she delighted in me instead. She didn't have to, for I love that little girl with every fiber of my being. But the fact that she loves me back with abandon is sheer joy for this grandma.
How long has it been since you delighted in God? Or experienced His pleasure in your presence? He loves you; that we know for certain. But what if today you pushed aside crowded thoughts, a crowded schedule, and a crowded life to proclaim with delight, "There You are!"
Dear Heavenly Father, I delight in You. Not for what I might receive, but simply because of Who You are to me. I love You with my heart, my soul, my mind. No matter the crowd I find myself in, with You is where I long to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.



The Comfort of Canine Companions






June 17
The first photo was sent to me by a dear friend, who observed one of her friends using her thumb to pacify her dog!  The second photo was taken at our home, when Moses, our English bulldog was determined to win the friendship of a dinner guest, who was known to not be a fan of dogs.  I'd say he succeeded!
The third photo is one of our daughter-in-laws dancing with her brother-in-law's dog on our patio. The fourth dog's owner is a fabulous pianist and "Jed" is her biggest fan. He lounges in this chair by her piano when she when practices!  The final photo is our two year old granddaughter sprawled out on the floor imitating how our bulldog lies on the floor!
Do you think God knew there'd be days when we would be just plain peopled out and need a canine companion?
Try as I might I couldn't find a flattering scripture verse about dogs.  God would probably prefer that Jesus be our best friend.  :-)  But our critters are a comfort.

Mark 1:12-13 does say...At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus our into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by Satan. Wild animals were his companions, and angels took care of him.

I've never thought about this, but I bet there were some dogs running alongside Jesus in every town he entered.

Can't Get Home


June 15-16
The winds whipped up and I called my husband at work as I was driving home. Being fearful of all the debris flying in the air and the reality of the power these summer storms pack, I knew that a tree could easily blow over onto my car.  By the time I reached the driveway hail was doing her damaging dance. I needed to set the phone down to get in the door and asked my husband to call me back on the house phone.  Minutes past, I scurried to secure a few items on the deck and realized it was too late to worry about things which had already blown in the lake.
Why hadn't my husband called me back? Finally, I called him and he explained upon walking outside his office and looking at the storm approaching he realized the possibility of getting caught by downed trees and decided to head home.  Sure enough, about 10 minutes later he called and exclaimed, "I may not be able to get home."
Attempting to take the back country roads he had come upon a downed tree much too large to try to move.  Turning around he set out towards another route, but soon thought the most promising route would be to go about 30 minutes out of his way and get on a larger road.  Being pelted by hail and heavy rains he recognized the potential danger he was in.

But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3:20

The quote "I may not be able to get home," had me thinking of people who question their acceptance into heaven.  They wonder if they've done enough to be able to get to their heavenly home.  Somewhere along life's way they've interpreted a "salvation by works mental".

We don't have to find the way home to heaven, if we've found Jesus. He will make our passage clear!
There will be twists and turns in life, even road blocks, but there is total assurance from Jesus that those of us who have been born again will be in heaven!

Stain-So What?


June 14
For the past hour I've been scrub, scrub scrubby with Oxy-clean and Clorox in an attempt to get red clay stains out of my favorite white pants and a couple pair of shorts.  Last week a beautiful white knit top succumbed to the red clay stain after being washed with another article of clothing which contained the nasty mud.  At one point in the scrubbing I thought..."Who says it is wrong to wear stained clothing?" Ripped jeans are popular.

Then the correlation of clothing stains and personal sin entered my mind.  We get comfortable with our "stains" and begin to justify it is alright to go out into life displaying them.  We take the attitude that others need to change and get over our "stains" bothering them.

God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  
Hebrews 12:10

Instead of justifying of stains. Let's allowGod to scrub on us a bit today!

Road Block

Our beach construction site.
June 13
The third word/phrase from the prayer time with a friend this week was road block.  Coming out of prayer I admitted that I didn't know what that meant.  Another friend who was praying with us recognized how our friend had been blocking a deep heart issue, which was keeping her from freedom in Christ.

Heading off to Biblegateway this morning I did not expect to find road block in a scripture search.  These two make potent points.  May they bless you today as you seek the Lord and ask him to remove anything or anyone blocking you from the riches that await you in Christ.
Job is so direct, so honest with God.  We can be too.
Why does God bother giving light to the miserable, why bother keeping bitter people alive. Those who want in the worst way to die, and can't, who can't imagine anything better than death, who count the day of their death and burial the happiest day of their life?  What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?  Job 3:20-23

I have shown you the way that makes sense; I have guided you along the right path.  Your road won't be blocked, and you won't stumble when you run.  Hold firmly to my teaching and never let go. It will mean life for you.  Proverbs 4:11-13
 
For me, busyness is a major road block.  It keeps me distracted and from allowing God to be God of my life!  There are times that God uses the road blocks for our benefit as he did with the Israelites in the wilderness.  He directed their paths in the opposite direction of the promised land, because the road blocks were used for character building and disciplining towards dependance in God for all things.
I've seen road blocks in my life which were fabulous protective barriers.  Ones which forced me onto the paths God needed to me trod.

So let's step into today being superior supervisors of life's journey and the paths we take.  Evaluate our road blocks...tear down the ones which are tossed by the enemy and adhere to the ones which have been established to redirect our paths.

Journey


June 12
The second word in the trio, which came out of a prayer time yesterday, was journey. Seemed like an appropriate word to contemplate as I'm in this study concerning the Israelites journey to the promised land.
Several hours after the prayer time I opened my study and Shirer had written;"If you've made a decision...to fully embrace the journey with God, I have a warning. This journey will  not be easy...God often chooses a wilderness journey for us to give us an opportunity to experience Him in a way we might miss in a place of ease and convenience."

I think I'd mentioned I was praying with a precious sister in Christ and felt the Lord telling her she needs to take a journey to a place WAY out of her comfort zone and face some demons that keep haunting her.  I called her and told her to go get this study!  It had her name all over it.

While we were talking I shared how I hate to throw up. I told her I'll do lamaze breathing, pace, anything to avoid the action of throwing up. I'm miserable in the "trying to blow it off" period.  During the actual process of getting sick, I'm usually begging Jesus to take me to heaven.  When the action is over I feel so much better and wish I'd just gotten it over sooner.
I honestly feel that once my friend faces this fear and gets it behind her, life will be so much better.

Just a few hours after she left our home she called. A friend had picked her up here and she was crying so hard the friend suggested she get a cup of coffee.  After drinking the coffee...SHE THREW UP!
She called me to say she realized God was not going to let her off the hook.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life-for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me.  Psalm 138:8

Vulnerable

June 11
In the midst of praying for a dear, dear sister in Christ three words came to me.
Vulnerable, journey and road block.  This week I want to search deeply and learn scriptural lessons from those words.
Plugging vulnerable into The Message translation I came across this powerful lesson God has to teach us.  He is quite concerned about our influence not only on non-believers, but also fellow believers.

I'm chewing on this teaching and thinking about fellow believers who have vulnerabilities to "old associations" and how my life reaction to those areas could cause another to be "thrown off track."

Living for the Lord requires alertness.  Allow God to search your life style, the places you dwell and what your day to day associations say to the body of Christ.  If changes are necessary trust the Holy Spirit to pave the way.

But fortunately God doesn't grade us on our diet. We're neither commended when we clean our plate nor when we can't stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.
1 Corinthians 8:8-9

Simplicity


June 10
Jumping back into my Bible Study after a delightful family reunion here at Shiloh, I'm struck by the creative visualization of the simplicity of Christ the daily provision of manna for the Israelites illustrated.

In my study by Priscilla Shirer, I read:
"The simplicity and singleness of the manna in the wilderness symbolized the Christ who was to come. When presenting Himself as the true Messiah to the Jews Jesus clearly said, "I am the bread of life." (John 6:35) While the manna of the wilderness could not provide eternal life, Christ did and will to anyone who will receive it."

Simply choose Jesus to change your life today!

I Can't Find God


June 8-9
We had a wonderful weekend with around 60 family members here for a family reunion. A bunch are still downstairs together.  At one point a great niece of mine came up to  me and said, "Aunt Boo, I can't find God. I don't know where he has gone." I promised her He was still with her.

We all have dry spells and wonder if God is ever coming back. The solution lies in where we've strayed from our quiet time, praise and prayer.

And for me right now...getting a good night's sleep to be able to study His Word and listen!

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, 
you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.  
Deuteronomy 4:29

Shackled

June 7
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

 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Psalm 31:4

Do you have tools in your home/garage/kitchen which you rarely utilize?  Maybe you think they are too much trouble to get out or put together.  My husband bought a new power trimmer for our trees, but he has not used it because he has not wanted to take the time to put it together, so the other day he was sawing away with the manual saw. 
Our son and his wife suggested we purchase a lovely grater/mincer from Williams Sonoma for Christmas.  We purchased it, but I'm still hand mincing garlic and even used a knife and scissors the other day to grate lemon peel, because I didn't want to take the time to wash the new gadget.

We have this amazing tool for our faith...it is time in the word and listening prayer. So often we don't want to take the time to stop and be with God and seek his direction to be set free from our burdens.

In Priscilla Shirer's study, One in a Million, she tells the story of how a baby elephant is shackled early on to teach it to not escape.  As it grows larger, it does not recognize it's strength and if that shackle is on it stays confined.  What is it you need to be set free from?  Fear, bitterness, jealous, addictions, gossip, doubt?  Remember right now the reason Jesus came....to set WE captives free.  Choose today to unlock the shackles that are holding you back from experiencing joy in Christ.

...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses, knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

Stand By Me


June 6
There is an old beach tune with the title "Stand By Me".  Our bulldog is so faithful, wherever I go he stands or lays by me. Prepping for a colonoscopy last week he positioned himself right in front of the potty. I could feel his concern for me.


Hebrews 13:5 says:
God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

What a blessing, as well as an accountability tool, when we remember we are not alone!

A Contriving Devil

June 5
Monday night our summer women's Bible Study got under way and we committed to journey to our promised land, in hopes of being that One in a Million, who gets to enter into the land rich with milk and honey!  Priscilla Shirer minces no words...she divulges right off the bat our sin issue!

Reading on page 16 of the member book, my life has been enriched as I recognize the truth about the tactics with which our enemy plays.
"The enemy of our souls knows our strengths and weaknesses, and he has the goal of contriving ways to keep us under his thumb.  He wants to burden each of us to the point that we no longer feel passionate about being people of God. He does it by convincing us that freedom in Christ is a dream. He encourages us to keep returning to the very sins from which Christ freed us.

Shirer supports this premise with a verse from Hebrews:
Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.  (12:1)

She points out how the verse states "the sin", making it very personal and specific to us!

Today Father we come to You admitting our weaknesses and our daily need for a Savior!  Save us from ourselves today Lord!  May we put our lives on Holy Spirit copilot and be confident in who is leading! We choose to take the HIGHway, which is His way!  In Jesus' Name, Amen



My Prayer

June 4
We are in a serious at church entitled "Insanity".  Last week the pastor introduced this new series explainng, "It is about Deke Andrews' life." I guess that was better than saying, "Deke Andrews' wife."

The message was quite powerful as the pastor explained Paul wrote this "THANK YOU" letter to the Philippians, after being beaten, whipped, and placed in the stocks there.  The letter begins....I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3

His point to us..."Loo for the good in people."

Hmm, sometimes we have to look a little bit harder to find that good  in certain individuals.

I've decided to memorize the verses below and pray them for someone everyday.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11

A recap of the verses:
Pray they will grow in love.
Pray that they will make wise choices.
Pray that they will do the right thing.
Pray that they will live for the glory of God.

An Anticipated Encounter

June 3
A young couple and their 3 month old son were visiting this past weekend.  They returned last year after having been missionaries in China.  I met the young woman 13 years ago on the campus of VA Tech when we took one of our sons to orientation. It was within moments of meeting her that I knew she was  a believer. We exchanged contact information and have encouraged one another these many years.

We talked about the importance of being intentional in sharing our faith with our children. She shared with me ideas from a child rearing book she is reading called Preparing Him for the Other Woman. Ideas such as training beginning by the time they are three to train your sons to hold the door for women and older people.  Begin showing your sons videos of super heroes in addition to David fighting Goliath.  Teach these little men from an early age they are to be warriors and protectors of their women.  The one I loved the most was praying daily with your child that you would have an encounter with God that day.

The author gave an example of heading out Christmas shopping and coming upon a young teenage mother who was crying.  Instead the author and her son took this young mom shopping!

Let's anticipate an encounter with the living God today!

Ugh...time for honesty. I went to Bible Gateway looking for a verse about encountering God.
Instead I came upon James 1:2

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.

We've been going through a rough patch around here.  I'd asked a group of friends to be praying for us.
Looks like what I need to do is "count these trials" joy and put on a happy face and encounter God in the trial, for He is there with me!

Wilderness Times

Find rest today for your soul!
 This fake gator resides on our patio as a reminder to stay on the alert for spiritual danger!

June 1-2
In the beginning of the word wilderness, we are exposed to the fact we are going to have a "WILD" time!  Ask Jonah when you see him, what his reaction was to Big Fish Wilderness! Bet that was wild!

When I think of the Israelites complaining to Moses and asking where God could possibly be, all the while God was pouring manna down from the skies each day to feed them and placing a pillar of clouds to guide them, I think of how often we grumble.

God had a reason for allowing his favored children to wander around for 40 years and He has purposed in our wilderness times.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.  Deuteronomy8:2

"I am certain that one of the reasons for the wilderness seasons of our lives is so that we'll start expecting more out of God than ever before. Stop complaining and start asking for and anticipating God's supernatural activity.  Expect the unexpected." Priscilla Shirer

The wilderness is our training ground.  My heart aches for a dear friend who just saw her son off to Paris Island. He's becoming a marine.  She will not see him until August 23rd and by design, he will be a different person.  God puts us in boot camp when it becomes necessary to reshape us.

Moses said, This is what the Lord has commanded: "Take and omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt."  Exodus 16:32

Somehow in my studies of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, I've missed this detail of keeping an omer of manna. Do you think it was set out on the kitchen table as a daily reminder of God's provisions?  I'd like to give each of our children a jar and instead of having manna inside, have strips of paper with recollections of wilderness times in our lives and how God shaped us, grew our faith, brought us to love him more deeply and led us out to the other side.