Heads Up

July 31
Heads up! God provides for all of our needs.
Last week I was walking early in the morning with a friend. The husband of another friend drove by in his truck and stopped.  With fishing poles hanging out the back he hollered, "You wanta fish?"  I looked at my girlfriend and thought...well, that isn't exactly what we'd planned but I guess we could.  Turning back to this fellow I said, "Sure, we will go fish."
He said, "No. Look in the back of the truck bed.  Do you want that fish?"  "Oh!" I exclaimed. "I'm not sure I could walk all the way to my car carrying it."  Actually, it was still flopping around.  Kindly, he drive the fish to our house, where our daughter answered the door and found a man holding a BIG fish.
LOL.
The night before I had been too tired to go to the grocery store, but the last thing I'd said before bed was..."I'd sure like to have some fish for dinner tomorrow night."  My daughter and I laughed at  how God provided a fresh fish right to the door step!


You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.  Psalm 145:16

Get Dressed


July 30
Today I'm heading off to have a hole cut in my forehead to remove a carcinoma.  The doctor's office told me to be prepared to stay all day, because the type of procedure they are doing allows them to study the tissue after the first extraction and then go back in for more tissue should there be any cancer cells remaining.  I've put right much thought into what to wear.  The first assumption is that the office will be cold to keep germs away. Next I want to be comfortable and then finally, if blood drips on me I don't want the clothing to be any item that I would be concerned over that fact.
How much thought are you putting into today's attire?  We should invest as much time on our internal appearance as our outer.
The Adrian Rogers' study on the Armor of God was excellent!  He describes the articles of armor in this fashion:
The Belt of Truth- Our Integrity
The Breastplate of Righteousness- Our Purity
The Shoes of Peace- Our Tranquility
These first three items are to be worn daily!  Never be seen without these!
The next items are to be "taken up" or "picked up" when needed to combat the enemy.
The Shield of Faith- Our Certainty
The Helmet of Salvation-Our Sanity
The Sword of the Spirit-Our Fightin Words



Protected


July 29
The summer protection solutions...Off and sunscreen!
I'm embarking on a journey into Ephesians 6:10-20 with a group of friends tonight.  We will study God's protective armor, which is available to us as we battle through life in the spiritual realm.  Lots of good nuggets should surface to pass along to you the next few days.  If you have a chance tune into a Youtube sermon of Dr. Adrian Rogers on this topic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNK7RToBVXI

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that  I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.





Near to God


July 27-28
With lead lids drooping and my head ready to hit the pillow, I began to pray, "Lord, where are you? I don't sense your presence."  "I've gone nowhere, my child. It is you who have been slip sliding away from me," God replied in his fatherly tone which silently traipsed across my mind..


Come near to God and he will come near to you.  

James 4:8

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them 
the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?  
Deuteronomy 4:7

Sometimes God speaks to us when we least expect it.  Other times our lives our such a clutter and flurry of activity we allow little opportunity for Him to be heard.  The weekend is here.  Your pace may be quickening or possibly puttering down. Which ever we face, God is still around and ready to converse if we set the stage for Him to speak.

We are here Lord.  We love and adore You.  We need You. We want to hear from You today!


Be Happy


July 26
While bathing our 1 and 2 year old grandsons together the other night, the two year old dumped a pitcher of water right on top of his little brother's head.  Immediately, I turned to him and said in a stern voice, "That was NOT nice."  He looked up at me, obviously shocked by my tone and said....
"Be happy!"
Totally flustered by that response, I took his advice and in a much "happier" tone, explained how his antics were not enjoyable to his little brother.
I highly recommend the "Be happy" quote when someone is getting on your case!  It makes one evaluate both his words and his tone.


Discipline in love is necessary though.

Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
Deuteronomy 8:5


The Seventh Beatitude



July 25
This past week I studied a series of devotionals by Lloyd John Ogilvie in his book Quiet Moments with God.
The Seventh Beatitude entry spoke a truth into my life, which I wish I'd been praying all my life.  I hope  this writing blesses you and therefore those who encounter you in your daily living!
I plan to turn this into a daily prayer for myself!

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called Sons of God.  Matthew 5:9  
Blessed Father, I praise You for the peace that came through Christ and the blood he shed on the cross.  Your Son came to bring peace and has called me to be a peacemaker.  Today in my relationship with You, Father, I want to express my family likeness by manifesting the fruit of the Spirit of peace, and will accept my calling to be a peacemaker.

I pray that I will not sow discord, fan the flames of misunderstanding between people, take sides in petty conflicts, or participate in gossip.  Rather, I seek to be a peacemaker and share Your peace with those around me.  Help me try to bring healing of hurts and reconciliation of estrangement and brokenness between people.

My constant prayer to You is, “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.”  Work through me to communicate serenity, tranquility, and joy.  Help me be quick to forgive, slow to judge, and resourceful in conflicts.  I confess anything that robs me of Your peace so that I  can receive anew Your grace and commit on this day to be a peacemaker.

Farewell





July 24
Just rip my heart out and stomp on it.  These two are journeying to Bellingham, WA where our son has a teacher assistantship and will work on a masters.  It is SOOOOO far away.  This is the son we almost lost in a terrible accident ten years ago.  Moses is actually his dog, but ended up here at Shiloh.  Their parting was gut wrenching.  That bulldog knew it was their final farewell, as he is nearing the end of his earthly years.
Farewell is defined in Webster's as meaning to get along well.  Ha, fare thee well!  These two will get along well, even after a ten day road trip to their new home.

Scripturally speaking these two verses speak to how we should say farewell.

All these are the tribes of Israel, the twelve tribes. And this is what their father said to them as he blessed them,  blessing each one with his own special farewell blessing.  Genesis 49:28

When our time was up, they escorted us out of the city to the docks. Everyone came along-men, women, and children. They made a farewell party of the occasion!  We all kneeled together on the beach and prayed. Acts 21:5-6

The truth be told, I was crying too hard to kneel in the driveway and pray.  I looked at my husband and said, "What was I thinking being so supportive of this decision. I should have raised a stink!"  Our son looked at me and said, "Mama, I know how much you love me and that means so much. Thanks for wanting us to be happy."  And I do.  Fair well my son!

The Great Adventure





July 23
Life is a great adventure!  Last week we pulled out an old Peter Pan costume I had made for our youngest son, who is almost 25!  The fun began! Watching our grandson take our bulldog, Moses, for a walk around Shiloh in that costume thrilled my heart.
I wonder what thrills God's heart as he watches us on this earthly adventure called life?  Probably, it's the things we do for others and the times we sit and simply praise the Lord and tell him how much we love him.
Take time today, during life's adventure, to weave in some moments that thrill God's heart.


Good friend, take to heart what I'm telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.  Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom; set your heart on a life of Understanding.  That's right-if you make Insight your priority, and won't take no for an answer, Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold, like an adventurer on a treasure hunt, Believe me, before you know it Fear-of God will be yours; you'll have come upon the Knowledge of God.  Proverbs 2:1-5 MSG

Just think-you don't need a thing, you've got it all!  All God's gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. Ad not only that, but God himself is wrapped up by Jesus.  God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus.  He will never give up on you. Never forget that.   1 Corinthians 1:7-9

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8).

Sing Over Me


July 22
These two wee ones are with us for ten days. Being only 13 months apart, they are on the same schedule which helps.  (I think?)  The one year old used to love to go to bed, but now no matter what the tactic, the tears come at the sight of the crib.  Both boys listen to a wonder CD I purchased from Revive Our Hearts called Hidden in My Heart.  The lyrics are scripture put to music.  This little toddler was tuning out the tunes, so I decided to sing my own scripture over him and it WORKS!  Well, it at least cuts the crying until the moment he hits the crib and by then he's so droopy eyed the tears aren't worth the effort.
We sang God is love, Angels watching over  you, Be still and know you are loved, Don't be anxious or worry, God made the sun, the stars, the moon and you, God knows every hair on your head, etc.

On a less spiritual side, but one my husband says he is not the least bit apologetic for, as it has proven in our household to lift anyone's spirits, a little bit of beach music makes for a cheerier day!

Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  1 Chronicles 16:9

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.   Psalm 89:1





Many Hats




July 20-21
One of our grandsons and I dug through an old collection of hats I have and had a hat party the other day!  He became a soldier, Indian chief, Santa, Mexican dancer, conductor, chauffeur, cowboy and just plain silly in some hats.  As executives of our own lives, we wear many hats in our daily routines and decision making. Nutritionists, launderers, pilots, fashion designers, maintenance workers, professors, etc.
God can wear any hat we need him to in our lives.  He is the Great Physician, Provider, Listening Ear, a Comforter, a Mighty Warrior and Defender, our Father capable of mothering us, a Counselor-who is the source of all wisdom, our joy, and a fabulous Designer. The realization of this truth evolves as the relationship we have established with Him through Christ deepens due to our lingering in his presence.

There was a quote (not sure of the origin) "To know me is to love me."  That holds true with Jesus,

What hat is it you are needing God to wear today?  Go to Him believing he can be all things.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and 
will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, 
like a spring whose waters never fail. 
 Isaiah 58:11

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 


Smile





July 19
A young lady was visiting our home recently and when I was not able to come into a room the moment she called me, she put a pout on her face.  The facial distortion immediately dampened my spirits. Later when I could stop and talk to her, I explained the power our facial expressions have.
A smile can change a person's day.
Whether the glimmer comes from someone you live with everyday, a total stranger, a newborn babe or the person behind a counter, it has the power to put a spark in your step.  And here's the real zinger...it's absolutely FREE!

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?  Why are you crying the blues?  Fix my eyes on God-soon I'll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face. He's my God.  Psalm 42:5 MSG

Uncharted Waters Part 1



Help me Jesus!  I wrote this devotional late the other night and obviously forgot to post it the next day, going on to writing July 18th's message and posting it on the 17th.  Sorry, I'm in grandparenting mode.  .
July 17
The grandchildren are here for a couple weeks, so if I waiver a day or two know I am most likely still alive, but possibly lacking in the ability to write!  I know I need this Jesus time, so I am trusting the Spirit to equip me for both tasks.
Still hanging with Joshua, after The One in a Million study I was encouraged by this message in The Women of Faith Bible referring to chapter 3:1-17 in the book of Joshua.
I don't think there is one of us who doesn't want to know...
How do I discover God's will for my life?

God has a plan. He himself will led the Israelites.  The waters of the Jordan parted, but only when the priests walked forward by faith, and their feet touched the water's edge.
Have you ever sensed God leading you into uncharted waters, to a place you've never been before?
How can you discover God's will?
What is a prerequisite for knowing God's will?
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned through the Spirit.  The person with the Spirit makes judgements about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgements, for, "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:14-16

How can you be sure you meet the requirements?
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true.  And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:20

What is the first thing you must do when you seek God's will?
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it  will be given to you.  James 1:5

What are some of the blessings you receive when you follow God's will?
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him an he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.  Psalm 37:4-6

Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."  Isaiah 30:21

God, here we are...delighting in who You are...seeking Your will for our lives, and giving thanks that we have eternal life through Jesus.  Show us today where to walk.

Uncharted Waters Part 2

My husband and grandson were tossed into the water yesterday, when a boat came too close to our floating dock and he was standing on the edge dipping our grandson's feet into the water.
He was dressed in his grass cutting attire.  Even has his shoes on!
Fortunately, two of us were right there to help.
July 18
Continuing in the Women of Faith Study in Joshua, I read.


You have three primary resources for knowing God's will. How are you utilizing these means of guidance?
The Bible- Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105

The Holy Spirit-But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  John 14:26

The Mind of Christ-The person with the Spirit makes judgements about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgements, for, "Who has know the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.  1 Corinthians 2:15-16

This lesson goes on to say: "The daily business of life may lead to a false sense of security.  You're busy, you're doing good things, so you think you're following God's will.  But if you haven't actually consulted him, you can miss doing God's will."
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,  you will receive what he has promised.  Hebrews 10:36
"Those who follow God's will discover the truth of his promise: "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them  and make the rough places smooth."

"When you pray, ask God to reveal his will to you. Expect an answer, but don't be surprised if you must wait.  Remember:
Sin and disobedience can hinder your prayers.
Physical or emotional exhaustion can prevent you from hearing the Lord's direction.
Allowing your own desires, rather than the Holy Spirit, to control your life will blind you to God's will.

You may, however, have to put  your feet into the water first, as the priests did at the edge of the Jordan  (Joshua 3:15-16).  That means you must begin to obey God's clear commands before you will see the path opened in front of you.

Whom Will We Serve


June 16
Monday night ended our study called One in a Million, but I wanted more meat, so I headed directly to the book of Joshua in my Women of Faith Bible and picked up some nuggets I want to share for a few days.

This commentary says the key passage for the book of Joshua is found in verse 24:15
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living, But for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.  

Sunday night I completed reading a novel called "The Land of the Blue Burqas". I had read this book when it came out a couple years ago, but wanted to read it again after a neighbor shared how if had changed her life.  The first time I read it with a hunger to understand the lives of Afghan women more. This time I read with a passion to see how the author shared Christ in a Muslim country.  Powerful, powerful.

The Joshua verse, on whom will we serve, combined with this book have me praying in a different vain for non-believers.  I want to share simple perspectives from this author's experiences that shed much light into the differences of our faiths.

Only appropriately authorized Muslim scholars or mullahs are permitted to even write verses from the Quran.  If you want a verse you have to pay for it to be written down. The average person can't pull out their Quran, highlight verses, jot them down and stick a verse or two in their child's lunchbox.
Christians read scripture for understanding...for truth to speak to us to guide us, strengthen and encourage us.  They can't do this.

Also, where we see God as a father, with whom we can have intimate conversation over every detail of  our lives through prayer, they do not believe Allah has children.

The Afghan people are not free to study other religions and decided for themselves what they will believe. Owning a Bible would be a crime. Conversion is a crime.  One person explained this to the author in this way..."If one man is allowed to become a Christian, then all Afghans will become Christians and we will no longer be a Muslim nation."  The whole identity of their country is threatened  by the idea of Christianity.

We should pray daily for our religious freedom to continue in this nation and for it to be brought into existence in countries where it is not allowed.

Last night, as we closed out our study, one woman wept as she shared the freedom she has found in life lived for Christ. I pray that would be a revelation for many people today!
In Jesus Name!  I love you and He does  too.

Remedy


July 15
One of the best parts of summer is that my husband, who is the head of a small Christian school, does not have to leave for work at 6:45 in the morning and we have the time to walk and pray together. He has a delightful sense of humor and the time together is always a blessing.
Last week he was educating me on some remedies for ridding your yard of mosquitoes.  Online, one suggestion was to have a cage of bats you can release to eat the mosquitoes. Another suggested solution was to have an outdoor fan, which runs at least 10mph...mosquitoes do not care for a breeze. Maybe we will just stick with spraying Off on those encountering issues.

Our yard has become inhabited by some voles and the list of solutions to rid a yard of those critters has been extensive. My husband returned from the hardware store with a battery operated stake, which goes in the ground and sends off vibrations these rodents don't welcome.  We live on 5 acres though, so my feeling is they will just scurry their furry little bodies further out and burrow along in that area.  One friend said her neighbor goes out with an ax when he sees them tunneling along and tries to "whack" through the soil and get' em that way! I bet that is entertaining to watch!  :-)

God's Word is very clear that we each have an issue which needs remedying. It's called sin.  There's no reason to be in a quandary over sin...God has a full proof solution!  A dose repentance and claiming Jesus as Savior!  Amen!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  James 1:21

A Trigger to Pray


July 13-14
Dear friends are visiting us with their three children this weekend. Friends of theirs, from long ago, are also vacationing here on the lake this week and came by with six children.  Both these families love the Lord and were anxious to catch up on how God is guiding them through life!

When I came across this verse it thrilled my heart, as I thought of friends we love dearly and some we don't get to see very often, yet it is such a privilege to pray for them.

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.  Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's  Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present.  There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Philippians 1:6 MSG

Distracted


July 12
Years ago my in laws' home was robbed while they were outside doing yard work. Yesterday, I listened online while a reporter described how a man was distracted by a neighbor who asked to swim NAKED in his pool. Unfortunately, he hung around and watched her swim while her husband robbed the house! In the report the homeowner elaborates that after she finished swimming he invited her to church! Oh, my!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/10/nude-swimmer-distracted-man-burglary_n_3574394.html?1373479735&icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl3%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D342428

Life is full of distractions...maybe not all that creative, but Satan is a clever devil!  Thursday, my plan was to slip away with Jesus around 9AM and dig deep into Bible Study. I thought, I'll answer one more email before I head off.  Then I was drawn into a Groupon site. I'd never investigated Groupon and an hour later.....busted and distracted!


But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.  Luke 20:40

Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted. Psalm 55:2

The Moment of Salvation


July 11
The tiniest thing God teaches me excites me! In the One in a Million study I'm a part of right now we are focusing on Joshua's obedience. Shirer writes in regards to Exodus 17:8-13, "Joshua didn't dispute the calling, try to renegotiate, or even attempt to trade his post for another.  Willingly he accepted the role God planned for him, even when it may have seemed less pleasant or even less spiritual than those tasks assigned Aaron and Hur."
She challenges those in this study, "Will we accept our posts?...Often we become so consumed with envy over what God asks someone else to do that we fail to get around to what God asks of us."

Meditating on this lesson brought about an "ah ha" moment for me.  It took me back to the UVA hospital bedside of our son, following a tragic automobile accident.  He didn't want us to ruin a Young Life camp experience for our two youngest sons, by telling them of the life threatening situation their brother was in.  My reply to him was this..."God my want to use this tragedy in someone's life. If ONE person comes to know Jesus through this it is WORTH the pain."

My mind drifts back to sitting in my living room asking a precious friend, who had just turned 50 that day, if she had ever prayed to invite Jesus into her heart.  She prayed that day!!!  Every chair or table we've ever set up, message that has ever been presented and song sheet we've ever printed off for church and Bible study here at Shiloh would be worth that ONE life coming to know Christ.

Personally, I would much rather email with all of you and hang here at Shiloh and minister than have Beth Moore's schedule.  You may be pouring juice for VBS this summer or keeping the church nursery week after week.  Maybe your smiling face, as the greeter at your church, is the one that will keep someone from taking their life that day. If we are walking in obedience in the place God has us, we are VALUABLE to God. What seems like a minuscule task may be the motion that triggers the moment of salvation for another.  Now that is VALUABLE!



The Godly Husband





Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25


July 10
This series of photos, which I caught of a young couple who are about to embark on a tubing adventure, speaks clearly towards how to be a godly husband. In the first shot the husband is preparing his wife for the adventure being certain she has the right protection.  The second photo shows her apprehension, but that is quickly calmed as you see his precious smile and the confidence he is pouring into her, in the third picture.  They are about to head into unknown waters together, but the thrill and growth comes in that they are doing this together!
Isn't marriage like a wild tube ride. There are rough waters and we even get tossed off at times, but we climb back in, facing life together, encouraging one another along the way and then lift our hands, with a thumbs up and shout of victory when we make it through another day as man and wife.

Dilemmas...


July 9
This past weekend we hosted a young adult event at the request of some of the 20-30 year old age group at our church.  They wanted to camp on our property and we were faced with the dilemma as whether to tell them about all the black bear sightings in our neighbor the past two weeks.

As they arrived, one couple asked permission to attach hammocks to our trees.  I shuddered at the thought of them being nibbled upon in the middle of the night!  At that point, I felt it was important to be honest about the furry visitor to the neighborhood.  We'd also had torrential rains the whole week and the hour since they had arrived received an addition inch and a half.  There ended up only being nine of them spending the night, so they camped inside! Dilemma resolved.

The dilemma of mankind's sinfulness began a long time ago in a garden.  God resolved that issue in a major way!

You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we're in-first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death.  That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses.  So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses.  Even those who didn't sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of Go still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God.  But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.  Romans 5:12-14 The MSG

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud.  A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.  Romans 8:1-2
  



A Name



July 8
My sister gave me these adorable towels with the grandchildren's names embroidered on them.  Now when they visit they have a personalized towel!  In between visits they decorate my laundry room as a reminder to pray for these precious ones.

It's been interesting watching our own children wade through the options when naming their own children.  Names evoke emotion and memories.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe.
Proverbs 18:10

The name Jesus conjures up a variety of reactions when spoken to people.  What descriptive words or adjectives are awakened in your being when you say His name.  
Sacrificial, powerful, loving, compassionate, miracle making...
Savior, Babe in a manger, God in the flesh, the One who walks on water and turns water into wine...
Lover of my soul...

Today, do these five things with the name of Jesus...
Sing it in a song lyric.
Speak it in a love address to Him.
Speak it to another person.
Write it on a piece of paper.
Write out a scripture which includes this name.

I often tell you how God blows me away with what He provides. I just went online to search Biblegateway for verses including Jesus' name and found today's scripture which goes right along with today's devotional theme A Name.  The God-incidences in my life keep me so encouraged!

I will bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to Your name. Psalm 138:2

By the way...there were 1310 verses in the New Testament including the name of Jesus. Plenty from which to select.
Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39

 


Top This

July 7
In a final salute to the Fourth of July week, one of our sons sent this picture of himself flying high!
I guess with God all things are possible!!!!

Abundantly Filled Up


July 6
A potluck party normally leaves guests feeling satisfied or stuffed.  We experienced such a filling on the Fourth of July. Through everyone participating and bringing a dish, we had food in abundance. It is God's intent that we come to know Christ and thus receive the filling of the Holy Spirit and life lived to abundance!
How sad it would be to be invited to the banquet table (or pot luck) and never taste of the abundance which awaits us.  We have each been created, birthed into this earthy existence and issued an invitation into abundant living through relationship with Christ, but most people never fill up on God's goodness.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  
John 10:10

Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through
 the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  
1 Peter 1:1-2

 

 

Summertime Refreshment




July 5
Like the Beach Boys' song...it is "Fun, Fun, Fun" around here this time of year.  Vacations should be a time of recreation, rejuvenation, restoration and refreshment.  God's Word is full of refreshment. Just plug the word refresh into Biblegateway and be encouraged.

Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat-refreshing! 
Proverbs 25:13

Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
Proverbs 27:9

Our women's Bible study is growing closer and closer in relationship each week.  Monday nights are truly a time of refreshment.  Priscilla Shirer closed out her study in the 5th week challenging us with these two questions.
"What kind of influencers are in your life?"  (Are the individuals who draw you close to the Lord and his Word?)
Then the clincher..."What kind of influencer are you?"

I love a glass of lemonade on a hot summer's days to bring summertime refreshment.
A friend bearing prayer and a scripture of encouragement, likewise brings refreshment in a dry and weary land.  





Red, White and Blue





July 4

God-devotion makes a country strong; God-avoidance leaves people weak.  Proverbs 14:34 MSG


Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.   Proverbs 14:34 NIV 


On this day, when we stop to thank God that we live in America, the land of the free and home of the brave, there is a bit of a heaviness for me when I reflect where we are as a nation.  There are two views which can be taken from the Christian camp...one being that we are doomed and under God's wrath.  Another which takes the viewpoint "All things are possible with God and we should pray for repentance and revival in our land."  Some days the first seems much easier than the later. Oh, me of little faith.
Michael Youssef is an Atlanta pastor, who is from Egypt. (We should be in prayer for that nation.)
Today he posted a message of "hope," which I have posted below.  In all of our celebratory actions today, may prayer for our nation be on our agenda!



By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our great nation, we are also dealing with threats that could bring about her demise. The threats we face today are far more dangerous than ones we have faced before because they emanate from within—accomplishing what foreign armies never could. It is true, America has faced great threats before, but her people have always known how to turn to God for help.
Our predicament is much like a magnificent home that is protected by a high fence, barking dogs, and an alarm system—but it is being destroyed by termites.
Today, we are dealing with leadership who has abandoned our spiritual foundation. These leaders even have the audacity to deny, mock, and act ashamed of the God of our Founding Fathers.
However, I am writing today to encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, because those who know and love the Lord must never give in to apathy and discouragement.
Israel of old faced catastrophic circumstances, but it only took one man who refused to give up. He was willing to sacrifice, stay on his knees and trust the power of God as he stepped forward courageously to see the restoration of his nation. 
Israel had a series of corrupt kings and a series of warnings from God. He appealed time and again for them to repent.  They refused and so God’s judgment came upon Israel and they were taken into exile by foreign invaders.
But, 70 years later, God fulfilled His promise and restored Israel through a pagan king and a faithful servant of God, Nehemiah. 
During a time when very few people recognized the devastation of God’s people and the shattering of Israel, Nehemiah saw the broken walls and the burnt gate and he wept.  Right now, there are too few people weeping over America.
As I have sounded the warning bell repeatedly over the last few years, the response I have received is disheartening. People call, write in and respond on social media saying, “Why bother? America is already under judgment.  This has all been prophesied. We are in the end times. Leave it alone!”
Yet, when Nehemiah heard of the broken walls that symbolized defenselessness, he did more than weep. He prayed. He planned.
Today, the walls of our culture are leaving our citizens defenseless. The gates of our culture are burnt and destroyed. Christians are being persecuted in our military. School curriculums are denigrating the Christian convictions of our Founders. Hollywood deliberately lies about or denies the Biblical foundation of our nation. Government policies denigrate and destroy marriage and family as the bedrock of society.
Technology was meant to be our servant, but it has become our master—robbing us of our freedom. On our money it says, “In God We Trust.” Now, in truth, it is in money we trust.
You may be asking, “Michael, where is the encouragement you promised?” 
Here it is. Thankfully, with all of these broken walls and burned gates, it is a great time in history to be a Bible-believing Christian because we have an amazing opportunity to see the hand of God work more powerfully than ever before. We may have the chance of seeing God manifest His power once again.
However, we must follow Nehemiah’s example and pray and plan rather than giving in to anger, despair, indifference or apathy.
If Nehemiah teaches us anything, he teaches us that one person plus prayer and faith in a mighty God equals God’s mighty power at work. However, this must be a sincere movement of faith, not an attempt to manipulate God. 
God is not impressed with our outward displays of devotion without inward commitment. God is not impressed when we hand Him our crumbs with no sacrifice. God is not impressed with how high we can jump for Jesus. He wants to see how straight we walk once we land.
God wants to do His business with men and women who mean business.
So, how did Nehemiah go about God’s business?
First, he identified the problem. Then, he took the problem to the Lord in prayer. He did not waste his time getting angry. He did not waste his time in recrimination. He did not waste his time blaming others.
He fully identified with the people’s sin that brought about this disaster. He did not pray for “their” sin. Rather, he confessed his own sin.
When was the last time you prayed in agony over your sin and the sin of the nation?
When was the last time you wept over the sin of apostasy in the church?
When was the last time you felt anguish at hearing the name of Jesus mocked and ridiculed?
There are three things about Nehemiah’s prayer that I want to share with you from Nehemiah 1:4-11.
  1. His prayer began with praise.
  2. He prayed persistently.
  3. It was followed with a plan. When you pray for something, be prepared for your heart to do something. Prayer is not an excuse to do nothing. It does not absolve you from responsibility to act when God leads.
Nehemiah’s prayer was a call to action . . . on his own part first.
When Isaiah was privileged to go into the presence of God and heard the question, “Whom shall we send?” he did not say, “Here I am . . . send my sister.”
No. He said; Here I am. Send me.”
This should be our response, too:
Here I am. Send me . . . to my neighborhood.
Here I am. Send me . . . to my workplace.
Here I am. Send me . . . to my campus.
Here I am. Send me . . . to the harvest.
This Fourth of July and beyond, may the Lord give each of us the spirit of Isaiah and Nehemiah and may God bless America as we repent and turn to Him.


Rain, Rain, Rain





July 3
The rain, rain, rain came down, down, down and all the vacationers had to ...simply sit inside and rest!
What is normally the busiest week in our lake resort community has been a wash so far.  Once again we face a wet soggy day today.  Nary a tuber or skier took to the cove yesterday. Our houseguest has kept her eye glued to the weather channel app on her phone watching for the green/yellow glob to move away from our area, so we can make a dash to the dock.  My husband graciously made a grocery run yesterday and found the aisles packed...probably every grandparent was escaping the chaos of their home and looking for refuge at Kroger!
There will be battle stories told the remainder of the summer related to how people survived this wet week.  Knowing how God works, it's easy to see how this weather pattern has forced families inside together to strengthen relationships and communicate, slow the rapid pace which can consume a day of lake activities, save on boat gas money (which probably has been spent buying more groceries from the getaway spot or toys at the Dollar Store) and maybe brought more parents/grandparents to a position of prayer!  :-)
We will see if I have this peaceful outlook come the weekend, when we have allowed a group of 20-30 year olds to use the property for a camp out and they end up camping in!  LOL

The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace.   Psalm 29:11