Power, Purpose and Preparation

The bees were a buzzin yesterday!
August 31-September 1
"You've got to be kidding me?  Come away with you right now, Lord, with all I need to get done?" Our  youngest sons was on the way home with is wife to celebrate his 25th birthday. It was 3 o'clock the birthday cake and cupcakes were not iced, I had not even been to the store for the weekend haul of groceries, and God was asking me to take a "time out". Could I possibly be hearing him correctly?

"There is power, purpose, provision and preparation in the times we share together," my Father reminded me, so off I went.  No sooner had I sat down in my quiet place than I remembered..."It's Friday! I haven't sent my quarterback his message!"  Wait, what had God just told me? I began texting,
"There is power, purpose, provision and preparation in the times we share together." I passed the message along, with an addendum.  "I want you to say, 'God with you I can overcome obstacles!' Now get your sling shot ready and go face those giants tonight! Rah, rah! I love you."

They were playing one of their tougher opponents.  The radio broadcast we usually listen to was not working, so we had to wait for text messages from the father of this young man.  At one point our QB threw and interception and when they entered the locker room at halftime the game was tied at 10-10. UGH!  10:27PM the final text came...."We won 38-17!"

What giants might we be facing today?  What does our playing field of life look like?  What  purpose has God called us to, which he hasn't hesitated to assign to our agenda called "life," because He knows if we will only hang out with him first, we will receive the power, provision and preparation to carrying through to completion.

Let's sing...What a mighty God we serve!  What a mighty God we serve. Angels stand before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice. 
Psalm 95:6-7

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  
Philippians 1:3-6

Ingredients



August 30
Our son is coming home to celebrate his 25th birthday and would like me to bake a cheesecake.  Heading to the grocery store for ingredients, I was disappointed to find they no longer carry graham cracker crumbs to make your own crust.    An additional step of crushing the graham crackers (a key ingredient) will now be needed for this birthday treat to be a success.

Yesterday, I spent the day with an amazing group of high school seniors.  These students have the key ingredients for not only a successful senior year, but for life!  They are humble, kind, considerate, full of joy and laughter, appreciative, prayerful and seekers of truth.

Paul lists the necessary ingredients for God's peace to be with us.  No, it's not a spoonful of sugar, like Mary Poppins suggested.  It involves the practice of applying the following things to our thought life.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:8-9

Time Poor

May our love for God's Word mushroom.  
Saw this cute creation of God's in our woods!
August 29
Author, Ann Spangler uses the phrase "time-poor" to describe our lives these days. She makes an interesting observation stating: "It’s not just a lack of free time that keeps us from the Bible; it’s that we have too many competing sources loudly demanding a piece of that limited time. The Bible doesn’t scream at us for attention the way TV news, advertisements, work responsibilities, and family duties do—it invites us to engage with it. But it’s hard to hear that gentle invitation when our ears and brains are tuned to respond to only the loudest and most immediate demands."  

I chuckled with a friend the other day, who felt a bit exasperated at the thought of beginning scripture memory at 60 years old. If we can't even remember where we put our car keys or what day it is, how will we ever memorize scripture?  We concluded the best thing to do was to make an attempt and pray for the activation of the Holy Spirit to be our "cheat sheet" and help us recall the verses when needed!

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Joshua 1:8

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


We can enhance our opportunities to study the Word by keeping it readily available.  Download Biblegateway or another Bible app to our phones. There is even an audio Bible on Biblegateway, so we can listen while traveling!  Print or purchase scripture cards and keep them in plop down places to reach over and access.  A great idea is to punch a hole in the corner of scripture memory cards and slide those on a key ring that will fit over the turn signal in our cars. Then the cards are easily accessed to glance down and work on memorizing at stop lights or sitting in traffic.  Sign up for a read through the Bible program or sprinkle devotionals throughout the house!

Don't be "time poor".  Keep God's Word at your finger tips and enrich your time with him each day.




4 Cornerstones


August 28
A godly friend passed on some notes of  knowledge she had gained from her pastor.
The 4 cornerstones of thought....they should be the 4 corners that fence in our thoughts and keep us in the truth .... Not entertaining the lies of the enemy!

1. God is good.
          Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
          Psalm 145:3 
2. Nothing is impossible
          Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all
          things are possible.'  Matthew 19:26 
3. Everything was won at Calvary
4. We are each significant in God's eyes

Anytime we go outside of this safe territory and think things that are contrary to God's thoughts----we are in trouble!
Whew, wee.  We do have to take every thought captive.
Write these four truths on cards and place them in the corners of your mirror.  

Moses found them to be a most encouraging addition to his day.



Strengthen me to Surrender

August 27
It was that early morning prayer time, before your eyes have opened and you are melted into your mattress. Consciousness is just occurring.  "Say what?"  The first lines of prayer to God were clear, but startled me.  "Strengthen me to surrender to Your way today God."  Where did that come from?  Obviously, it was the Holy Spirit groaning for me, before I was awake and knew what to pray.  Coming from Him, it is "right on" and a powerful request.

Human nature does not lend itself to surrendering.  Most of us are fighters!  You know, put on that armor and stand our ground, not wavering.  Surrendering to God and his ways is a daily exercise with grand benefits!

Sing the familiar hymn: I Surrender All
http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/441

Placement


August 26
I have the privilege of praying each Friday for a high school quarterback, who also does some punting.  He came into our lives 18 years ago and has grown to be an outstanding young man.  Each game day, I ask the Lord to give me a word for him.  Last week, when I awakened, all I was hearing was "barroom"?  Like vroom!
I texted him early and said I really didn't think that was God's message unless he was warning him that he was going to be lured into a "bar room" before the game.  Just to be sure I warned him to stay out of bars. LOL
He asked me to keep praying and send him the "word" when I got it.  It was close to 4 o'clock when "the word" came and I knew he'd be heading into the locker room. It was AMAZING!  Here is what I texted him:
"I just got the word!  It is placement!  While I pray for perfect placement of every pass, kick, and handoff on the field this season, more importantlyI pray you place your eyes daily on God's Word and keep placing your future in his hands! Oh (his name), God makes me cry for joy sometimes when he speaks to me. It is not by accident God has placed you as the leader of this team!  I love you and am praying He will equip you and give you strength every place you go."

The Biblegateway verse for this day was spot on for a quarterback!
When I said, "My foot is slipping, your unfailing love, Lord supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy."    Psalm 94:18-19


Where has God placed you today dear friend?
Who needs your encouragement this week?

The Heart of the Matter

August 24-25
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Jeremiah 17:9

Yesterday, I caught myself evaluating where my heart really was in relationship to what was motivating me to engage in a couple activities.  Both circumstances were worthy causes, but were they for self fulfillment or to fulfill the Lord's will for my life at this time?
We have to continually be watchful of our hearts.  They can lead us astray!

The Bible sites the tendency for hearts to become lustful, bitter, jealous, grudging, hateful and even hardened.

One of the issues regarded the desire to come to the defense of another person.  This person is an online personality, whom I don't even know, but she was speaking down to an assistant on the program.  Just little cutting remarks.  There is a place to reply with comments and I wanted to write..."Be nice to that fellow."  Then I realized I did not want to get caught in online "chats".  Instead I took the experience and evaluated my own life and asked God to protect my mouth from ever verbally demeaning another person in public.

Oh, Father, guard our hearts this day. When our emotions begin to run amuck, draw us to yourself and teach us your ways, which are often difficult to understand.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

Surround Yourself


August 23
With whom do you surround yourself?
You know the verse As for me and my house we will serve the Lord?  Let's switch it up a bit...
As for me and my house we will surround ourselves with:
the presence of the Lord, with excellent teachings on the truth from God's Word,
with the Body of Believers who will sing praise with us, love us, and encourage us to grow in our faith and service to the Lord,
and with a close counsel of friends who will be accountability partners, prayer partners and dancing in joy partners!

Take a friendship evaluation quiz.  Outside of your family, consider the people with whom you spend the greatest amount of time.  What does that fellowship look like?  Does the interaction with these individuals bring your closer to the Lord, encourage you to be more Christlike, challenge you to increase Your knowledge of God's Word, leave you feeling peaceful, and afford you and opportunity to pray or be prayed for?

Who we invest ourselves in definitely rubs off from their exterior into our interior!

"Oh, but I don't work in a Christian environment," you say.  My guess is God has a prayer partner for you somewhere in that work environment.  Have you prayed and asked him to bring such a person to the surface?  There could be a neighbor, you have never approached, who would love to gather around God's Word one day a week over a cup of coffee.  There could be a mom in that carpool line who would exchange a daily devotional with you over email each week and then meet you at the park with the kids to discuss it.  There may be a Bible study opportunity waiting right around the corner that will equip you for life's hurdles in a way you never thought possible.

Choose this day with whom you will surround yourself.
Choose people who draw you into the Presence of the Lord and cause you to be more like Christ.

Do you see what this means-all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:1-3

Those who trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people. Psalm 125:1-2

The Last Days...of Seersucker

 Our daughter's August wedding theme was seersucker and lace.
There were a lot of seersucker suits in that bridal party!
I will attempt to wear all of these this week.
August 22
The street corners are adorned with school children waiting for their buses. Cars are packed to the hilt, as college students return to their campuses. The high school stadiums will be filled this Friday night with cheering fans as kick off occurs and I'm counting the remaining days that I can wear my summer whites and seersucker shorts. Once again, the last days of summer are upon us.

A canopy of clouds adorned the sky last Sunday morning in a most unusual fashion. I said to my husband, "Do you think this is what it will look like when Jesus returns?"  We agreed if we saw him in the next few moments we would hold hands in hopes of spending our last earthly moments attached!

Paul writes a "last days" scenario in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with such people. 

Can you imagine how differently we all would live if we knew the day of Christ's return or the date of our last day on earth?  My first thought was the world would be a nicer place, as many would want to be in good standing with God and those they love.  The truth might be there'd be so many people without faith they'd be going for all the gusto they could selfishly get.
God's hope is that we spend everyday promoting the love of Christ and his kingdom which is to come.

If today is my last day I'd like to say, "I love you and Jesus does too!  Hope we will be hanging out together in eternity.  If you question that as a reality for your life...call me soon!"  :-)

Take Heart

August 21
At times, when you are studying God's Word and something just jumps out at you!  It may be a Word taken out of context in the particular passage you are studying, but the Spirit uses that word as a trigger to shoot you down a trail of discovering a lesson from the Lord.
While studying in the 23rd Psalm...even though we walk through the shadow of death, the author I'm studying under, exclaimed the reality..."There are going to be valleys in life for all of us. The Good Shepherd Himself assured us 'in this world you will have trouble.  BUT TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world.'" (John 16:33)

"Take heart" will not let loose of me.  Praise God, I have taken Jesus into my heart, but where have I gone from there.  With a heart for the Lord am I pouring out my heart to others.  Do I listen with compassion to others when they share from their heart.  Am I able to share, from a sincere heart, that the void they are trying to fill can only be filled by asking Jesus to come into their heart?

May each of us "take heart" today of what is going on around us in the lives of others.  Consider this conversation starter: What's going on in your heart?

Just came across this precious video. It is proof we don't always know what is going on in the lives of others.

http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=00121MNU&utm_source=GodTube%20Must-See%20Video&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=08/21/2013

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.  Psalm 86:11

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.  Proverbs 16:9

Stepping out with Jesus today!

Good Morning to the Shepherd

August 20
Our Bible study had a wonderful time hanging out in Phillip Keller's book A Shepherd's Look at the 23rd Psalm last night.  Oh, we like sheep have gone astray...day after day!  Let's rejoice this morning that we are under The Shepherd's care!

Wherever you happen to be grazing today, find some quiet time with the Shepherd and sing this song below to him. Click on the link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcNLvufzbz0
    Our Bible Study Bear with a couple of sheep!
     



Worth Repeating


August 19
Our church small group is currently studying the book of Acts.  In relationship to Peter's miraculous escape from prison, in Chapter 12:5, we are asked to look at how the community's prayers for Peter had a role in his escape.  The study, by Greg Laurie, states guidelines I think are worth repeating.
Effective prayer:
           Focuses on God rather than obsessing about our needs or trying to impress others with our
           profound words.
           Seeks to align with God's will rather than changing God's mind.
           Is therefore rooted in a knowledge of God's heart as expressed in God's Word.
           Is passionate and persistent, not discouraging or frustrated by waiting.
           Is offered in unity with others.
           Isn't always perfectly free from doubt.

Practice persistent prayers today with a passionate heart which is aligned with God's will and prepared to wait for his outcome.  When our prayer request concern others pray in a way that fulfills God's greatest yearning.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, 
but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

Wait and See

 Moses waiting on the boat patiently for sunset!

August 17-18
Talking on the phone to a sweet friend, who has been going through a year long trial related to her husband's job, she calmly said to me at one point in the conversation, "We will just have to wait and see."  The words wait and see continued to echo loudly after I had hung up the phone.

Another young friend, whose first baby died within an hour after birth, was waiting to deliver her second child. All is well!  Two couples, we love, have waited for two to five years for their homes to sell. One of them sat by and watched as their beloved home was auctioned off for a fraction of its worth. Still another faces false legal accusations and must wait  upon the Lord to make clear their path.  Last night we waited with hundreds of others as a beloved youth pastor was in surgery for cancer.  It was 1AM when the "out of surgery" email finally came, along with a message from the doctor of "We will just have to wait and see."

David waited in a cave, hiding from Saul.  Moses and the Israelites waited and wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Sarah didn't wait long enough for God's promised son and made a mess of things taking problems into her own hands and the repercussions are erupting in the Middle East to this day.

We have Christian Egyptian friends, here in America, whose relatives live in Egypt.  I can't imagine what the day to day wait is like for them with the turmoil there.

One day, the Lord will return!  Whew, wee, it will be better than any Fourth of July fireworks! But for now we must say, This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24) and...wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord.


Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.  1 Corinthians 4:5

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.  Psalm 5:3

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14

We wait in hope for the Lord' he is our hope and our shield.  Psalm 33:20

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Psalm 37:7

Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.  Psalm 38:15

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  Psalm 40:1 

Assurance vs Insurance


August 16
Whew, I was ticked off, as I read a letter from our insurance company explaining that we need to be aware that if we are hospitalized at a hospital in our network that does not necessarily mean the pathology, radiology, anesthesiology and neonatal departments are in our network due to the fact these services are contracted out separately.  Thus, we may be responsible for those fees!  WOW, so do we need to start investigating now to see if there is a  hospital in our network, which also has these groups in our network.  I haven't been to the hospital where they didn't draw blood and take an x-ray, ultra-sound, or scan of some sort.  I think I'm out of the woods neonatally, but my goodness this information got my blood pressure up.

The definition of insurance was: a means of guaranteeing protection or safety. There is no guarantee about insurance in America anymore.

I know...learn to be content, learn to be content!

Here we go with assurance!  Check out what Merriam Webster has to say:

The state of being assured: as security, a being certain in the mind, confidence of mind or manner; easy freedom from self-doubt or uncertainly; something that inspires or tens to inspire confidence. 

So we say "Thank You, Jesus, for the assurance of our faith, because of what You did for us on the cross and how You walk with us daily."

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

Where insurance frustrates us, assurance steps in and saves us.

Distracted

Oh, my man, I love him so. Thanks for the sunset ride last night.


August 15
While researching some definitions for the devotional, my eyes gravitated to a quiz on Merriam Webster. It was a visual quiz.  The computer flashes up a picture and you choose from four possibilities words for the correct name of the visual.  Wait...this was my time with Jesus, but I fell for the temptation.  Then, I was just like Mrs. Gad-about (from the other day's devotional or Eve), I distracted my husband and drew him into the activity.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/namethatthing/index.htm#quiz-top

Did you just fall for the temptation?  We are so easily distracted.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.  Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left' leave evil in the dust.   Proverbs 4:23-27


The "Find"

August 14
Earlier this summer I made a new friend at a nearby pool. While talking one day, she told me about a "shark" noodle she had seen which she was coveting.  This particular noodle had a shark head, tail and saddle to sit upon, sounding much more comfortable than the standard pool noodle.  My search began!
Nowhere on the web, could I find such a noodle.  Last week, visiting the home of one of our sons, excitement set in as he opened his garage door and there was...a shark noodle!  Pointing me in the direction of the store in which he had found said noodle, I had to be satisfied with two crocodiles. These fellows certainly brought smiles and they are VERY comfortable!  I had found the FIND!

The Old Testament is filled with "finds"...the dove on Noah's ark needed to find a place to perch, God and Abraham began a bargaining process to find, 50, 40, 30...decent people in Sodom in order to spare the city, Naomi's hunt was to help find Ruth a husband, and Samuel was sent to sort out a batch of brothers to find the next king...David who was out Shepherding sheep.
Proverbs 18:22 states: Find a good spouse, you find a good life-and even more:the favor of God!

Finding Jesus is the ultimate find!
It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.  Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, party of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.  Ephesians 1:11-12

What are you looking for today?  I hope you find it!

Mrs.Gad-about

August 13
"I Shall Not Be in Want" 
A Shepherd's Look at the 23rd Psalm by W. Phillip Keller

There are lessons to be learned in our everyday occurrences of life.  Mr. Keller takes on the perspective of a shepherd, as he teaches some valuable lessons in his book first published in 1970.   Chapter two is on contentment and insight about a sheep, named Mrs. Gad-about,  from Keller's personal flock.
He writes:   “This one ewe produced more problems for me than almost all the rest of the flock combined.” She was always looking for a way out of the fenced area. “With “Mrs. Gad-about” it was an ingrained habit. She was simply never contented with things as they were.  She taught her lambs the same tricks. They simply followed her example and soon were as skilled at escaping as their mother.  Even worse, however, was the example she set for the other sheep…I finally came to the conclusion that to save the rest of the flock from being unsettled, she would have to go. I could not allow one obstinate, discontented ewe to ruin the whole ranch operation.  It was a difficult decision to make, for I loved her in the same way I loved the rest.  Her strength and beauty and alertness were a delight to the eye.  But one morning I took the killing knife in hand and butchered her…She was a sheep, who, in spite of all I had done to give her the very best care, still wanted something else.  She was not like the one who said, “The Lord is my shepherd-I shall not be in want...

It is a solemn warning to the carnal Christian-backslider- the half-Christian-the one who wants the best of both worlds.”
 Contentment is a learned characteristic for humans, but the more we come to know our Shepherd the easier it is to be content. Praying that today each of us will be content with what God has on the agenda!

It's Crummy/Crumby

On our morning walk today, God showed off!
August 12
There are times a word is placed on my mind and I know I'm supposed to go search the Word for a lesson.  We have a pullout drawer where we keep our waffle iron and our toaster and it gets a little crumby when these appliances are put away without cleaning them well.  This morning, as I looked at the drawer, I thought if I was a mouse that is where I'd like to live! Then the word came: crummy or is that crumby.  Presently, four friends I love dearly are going through a really crummy  time.
According to the dictionary the spellings can be interchangeable in the adjective form.  Plugging crummy into multiple translations in Biblegateway I came up with zero hits.  Next, I simply tried crumb.   The passage I am posting is the entire eighth book of Mark, but it is packed with a powerful message. I hope you can hang out with Jesus long enough to read it in entirety. I sense there is someone besides me who God wants to read this.  Shoot me an email if you were the one!  I've placed in bold the statement stoppers those phrases which have really challenged me to look deeper.

boojoyful@gmail.com
I think my challenge was all the way down in verse 38.
A Meal for Four Thousand  Mark 8 (MSG)
At about this same time he again found himself with a hungry crowd on his hands.  He called his disciples together and said, "This crowd is breaking my heart. They have stuck with me for three days, and now they have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they'll faint along the way-some of them have come a long distance."  His disciples responded, "What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?"  He asked, "How much bread do you have?"  "Seven loaves," they said.  So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd.  They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well.  The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected. There were well over four thousand at the meal.  Then he sent the home.  He himself went straight to the boat with his disciples and set out for Dalmanoutha.  When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. Provoked, he said, "Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you'll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee."
Contaminating Yeast
He then left them, got back in the boat, and headed for the other side.  But the disciples forgot to pack a lunch.  Except for a single loaf of bread, there wasn't a crumb in the boat.  Jesus warned, "Be very careful.  Keep a sharp eye out for the contaminating yeast of Pharisees and the followers of Herod."
Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, "Why are you fussing because you forgot bread?  Don't you see the point of all this?  Don't you get it at all?  Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand?  How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?"  They said, "Twelve."  "And the seven loaves for the four thousand-how many bags full of leftovers did you get?"  "Seven."  He said, "Do you still not get it?"
They arrived at Bethsaida. Some people brought a sightless man and begged Jesus to give him a healing touch. Taking him by the hand, he led him out of the village. He put spit in the man's eyes, laid hands on him, and asked, "Do you see anything?"  He looked up.  "I see men.  They look like walking trees."  So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus. Jesus sent him straight home, telling him, "Don't enter the village."
The Messiah
Jesus and his disciples headed out for the villages around Caesarea Phillippi.  As they walked, he asked, "Who do the people say I am?" "Some say 'John the Baptizer,'" they said.  "Others say 'Elijah." Still others say 'one of the prophets.'"  He then asked, "And you- what are you saying about me? Who am I?" Peter gave the answer: "You are the Christ, the Messiah."
Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: "It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive."  He said this simply and clearly so they couldn't miss it. But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. "Peter, get out of my way!  Satan, get lost!  You have no idea how God works." Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am.  Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is not help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?  What could you ever trade your soul for?  "If any of you are embarrassed over me, and the way I'm leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that  you'll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels."





You Don't Walk Alone

My baby, our oldest son makes a good body guard!
August 10-11
My husband and I had headed out for an hour long walk.  Nearing the end, I realized I was about to make him late for a meeting, so I told him to go ahead to the car and I'd keep walking and he could pick me up.  Within minutes of our parting a truck came around a bend at quite a rapid clip and obviously was not looking at the road.  I jumped into the grass for safety.  Getting back on the pavement it wasn't long until I heard pounding footsteps approaching.  I turned my head, but with the bandage on my forehead, my vision was impaired.  It appeared to be a young man in camouflage shorts. Rotating my head back to the forward position, out of the words came a young man who must have stood seven feet tall. His body was emaciated, his head bald and his skin ghostly white.  The runner behind me was closing in and I immediately thought these two were going to accost me. Crossing to the other side of the road and reversing my direction, relief set in as I saw my husband approaching.

I had allowed fear to enter into my mind.  In our Armor of God study one of the most powerful statements by Adrian Rogers is: "It is important for the Christian to realize that they do not fight for victory, they fight from victory."

Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.   1 John 4:4  We are on the winning team!

Instead of tucking tail and running (ok walking rapidly) I wish I had taken my stand and girted my loins with the truth ( Ephesians 6:14) that there are angels watching over me, every step I take and....vocalized to these fellows...."Jesus loves you!"

Think/Talk About These Things

My husband can be seen on the right, paddling home.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, 
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 
Romans 8:32
August 9
My husband has grown to enjoy the stories told through country music.  One of his favorites this summer is by Toby Keith and  carries the title: "I Want to Talk About Me".  The lyrics are a hoot. I've posted them below, as well as a link to the song, in case you want to sing along!  Yesterday morning we were kayaking and he was singing the chorus.  I told him I bet Jesus wishes we would talk about him and what he has done for us more often.

On a towel rack, in my bathroom, hangs a towel with a reminder from Philippians 4:8.
Jesus is all these things, so let's think and talk about Him more often.

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

"I Wanna Talk About Me"

We talk about your work how your boss is a jerk
We talk about your church and your head when it hurts
We talk about the troubles you've been having with your brother
About your daddy and your mother and your crazy ex-lover
We talk about your friends and the places that you've been
We talk about your skin and the dimples on your chin
The polish on your toes and the run in your hose
And God knows we're gonna talk about your clothes
You know talking about you makes me smile
But every once in awhile

I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, usually, but occassionally
I wanna talk about me
I wanna talk about me

We talk about your dreams and we talk about your schemes
your high school team and your moisturizer creme
We talk about your nanna up in Muncie, Indiana
We talk about your grandma down in Alabama
We talk about your guys of every shape and size
The ones that you despise and the ones you idolize
We talk about your heart, about your brains and your smarts
And your medical charts and where you start
You know talking about you makes me grin
But every now and then

I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, usually, but occassionally
I wanna talk about me
I wanna talk about me

You you you you you you you you youyouyouyouyou
I wanna talk about me

I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, usually, but occassionally
I wanna talk about me
I wanna talk about me

Special "Mo"-ments


Look closely on Moses right paw and you will see a baby butterfly. It's brown/orange.
August 8
Our bulldog, Moses ("Mo" for short) has been such a blessing to our life.  He has out lived his projected longevity for an English bulldog and we are so thankful.  His demeanor, snuggle tooth, droopy eyes and beefed up body bring joy to others and especially us.  His gas...not so much.  When I reflect on the way he has loved and protected our grandchildren these past five years it actually brings tears to my eyes.  Some of you who have visited here have sat on our couch and been comforted by him.  One friend had tears dripping down her cheeks and he lumbered up beside her, placed his paw on her shoulder and gazed into her eyes with a depth of concern that left the rest of us in the room gasping and then laughing until tears fell down our cheeks.
Tuesday, he and I sat out on the front entrance to the house awaiting the arrival of my husband from work.  A tiny baby butterfly took a liking to Moses and kept landing on his behind, his paws, and his head.  The occurrence was aggravating Moses and each time the creature lit upon him Moses would clamber up and move. I had such a delightful time watching this play out.  Moses and I have always carried on a one sided conversation, where I explain exactly what's happening in life.  I believe he understands me and appreciates my honesty! Chuckling, I explained to him that this tiny creature liked him and wanted a friend, so he acquiesced and allowed the flutter winged creature to rest upon his paw.  Being a brindle bulldog, I found it quite fitting God sent a brindle butterfly!

There is another special moment in history involving someone acquiescing in a manner of great magnitude resulting in transforming eternity...
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

What Do We Do...

August 7
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  
Hebrews 10:23
A dear, dear friend was here for Bible Study Monday night and said the older she has gotten the more she has hoped for things to just go well in life, but she recognizes that is not promised anywhere in the Bible.
Actually, James tells us trials are going to come and to "consider it pure joy" when they do, because they test our faith and produce perseverance.  James 1:2-3  Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4:11 to "learn to be content", inferring life isn't naturally a bowl of cherries or Cherrios!  (Which ever sounds more appealing.)

So... What do we do with what we've been dealt?
We turn from our wicked ways and turn to the Lord, we trust in His ways and we praise him for his provisions.  We cloth ourselves in the Armor of God and march out into life (being with fellow believers and singing hallelujah helps) and standing firm in the faith, we keep on keeping on for Jesus' sake.

Boo and her bear in their armor with some of the Monday night prayer warriors.
The soldier on the left is wearing her husband's combat boots!

I like how Psalm 119:160 is expressed in The Message. The short version in the NIV states:
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.  Psalm 119:160
or in The Message
Take a good look at my trouble, and help me-I haven't forgotten your revelation.  Take my side and get me out of this; give me back my life, just as you promised.  "Salvation" is only gibberish to the wicked because they've never looked it up in your dictionary.  Your mercies, God, run into the billions; following your guidelines, revive me. My antagonists are too many to count, but I don't swerve from the directions you gave me.  I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing; they walked away from your promises so casually!  Take note of how I love what you tell me; out of your life of love, prolong my life.  Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth.  Your righteous decisions are eternal.

Whatever we've been dealt has been allowed to touch us by our loving Father, for he knows how to use it for our good and his goal of making our character more like Jesus.  Jesus is the door...the way into heaven and the way out of trouble! The armor of God is available to all who believe on the name of Jesus...who by the way, has already won the victory for us!  The devil is biting all he can before "pit" time.  Knowing how to resist him empowers how we deal with the tough times we are dealt.




Our Escape

Fish trying to escape the grasp of some children at our local marina.
August 6
Awakened by an awful nightmare, where I was helping one of our sons escape a life threatening situation, I was visibly shaken and still trying to plot out how to get someone to safety in such a situation.  This day and time your phone, your car and security cameras make it difficult to hide.
The word escape  was blaring in my mind.

Noah, his sons and his wife entered the ark to escape the flood waters.  Moses was placed in a basket and floated down the Nile in a brilliant escape attempt which saved his life.  Daniel,  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had successful escapes from a lion's den and a fiery pit, led my angels. The spies escaped from Rahab's rooftop. Joseph appeared not to have done as well in escaping unfortunate situations, but God worked those all together for good.  Saul tried to pin David to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him and later escaped with the help of his wife.  And Jesus' parents led him in a valiant escape of impending death by orders of Herod and then Christ endured the ultimate escape from death in the tomb.

Jesus is our escape!  While most importantly he frees us from sin and eternity in Hell, he provides an escape from the day to day evil, trials, and heart break we experience.

Job had such an amazing attitude. I do look forward to visiting with him in Heaven.  He says,
"You'll take delight in God the Mighty One, and look to him joyfully, bold.  You'll pray to him and he'll listen; he'll help you do what you've promised.  You'll decide what you want and it will happen; your life will be bathed in light.  To those who feel low you'll say, 'Chin up!  Be brave!' and God will save them. Yes, even the guilty will escape, escape through God's grace in your life."  Job 22:26-30

Escape the riggers of today with Jesus. Let him love on you!  He's better than a "Calgon take me away" day.

Dig, Dig, Dig It



August 5
Studying the Armor of God, I listened to a series by Dr. Tony Evans. Pastor Evans shared that if he told you he’d buried $100,000 in your back yard, you’d race home and dig, dig, dig.  Digging would be worth it. We should approach the time we spend digging into the Truth of God’s Word with the same vigor and excitement. It is worth it!



I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  
Psalm 119:15

What are we digging for today... love, the world's acceptance, social status, job recognition or advancement? 
The unfolding of your words gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:130

If we choose to dig into God's Word we will find a valuable treasure he has hidden there for us.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 
in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2-4 

God-you're my God!  I can't get enough of you!
I've worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts.
So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.
Psalm 63:2-4

DIG IN TODAY!

Sensitivity

August 3-4
I am constantly amazed at how our sensitivity is heightened when we experience first hand a trial we have never tasted.  Having cancer diagnosed and then cut out of my body has left me wondering if it has spread to other parts of my body.  Walking closely along side friends and family members with cancer, I've been pulled to my knees to pray for healing, sat with them through chemo, have shed tears by their bedside in times of prayer and even fasted for a cure. Never have I tasted as closely the anticipation that this disease is running rampant, undiagnosed, somewhere else in my body.  My sensitivity is heightened.

Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around.  It gets us back in the way of salvation.  We never regret that kind of pain.  But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
And now, isn't it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God?  You're more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you've come out of this with purity of heart.  And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter. My primary concern was not for the one who did the wrong or even the one wronged, but for you-that you would realize and act upon the deep, deep   ties between us and before God. That's what happened-and we felt just great. 2 Corinthians 7:10-13

The sensitivity I hope to see heightened is for the salvation of those I will encounter in doctors' offices the next 3-4 months.  More than physical healing, I intend to pray for their spiritual salvation and pray God will give me the opportunity to initiate conversations to such an end.

Last night was the first time I'd felt like getting out.  My eyes have been swollen shut and my body felt rather blah from the pain meds and anti-biotics.  My boyfriend and I decided to do a couple laps around the house, not realizing our security system was catching our stroll. Later when we saw the video, I told him I looked old and he looked like one of our sons taking me for a walk.  Hopefully, the video will play for you.
God's word says to be joyful always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all situations. I thank God for continually teaching me how to be more like Jesus and I thank Him for placing a godly man to walk alongside me.


http://www.remoteinternetvideo.com/player.asp?ses=214815y5886SEC0639Laq3a232nyY97hgsq&acc=Sec0729977&f=20130802_191345.mp4

The Battle is the Lord's

August 2
The battle is the Lord's. 1 Samuel 17:47

John MacArthur teaches, "When Satan attacks, don't fight; report to the Commander, remembering the battle is the Lord's."

MacArthur also writes on areas in which the enemy attacks us.
1) Undermining God's character and credibility. He wants us to doubt God, as he made Eve doubt.   
     He wants us to doubt his Word, his power and his love.
2) Making it hard to live the Christian life.  Satan doesn't want your life to be easy.  He wants it to be   
    very difficult.  Three ways he attacks our lives are: 
   a) Persecution from friends, family members, and work colleagues.
   b) Peer Pressure-fear of losing friends or not being liked
   c) Peaceful Preoccupation- easy to be a Christian in America.  (This was written in 1986.)
3) Confusing the believer with false doctrine.
4) Hindering the believers service to Christ
5) Causing division in the Body of Christ
6) Urging believers to trust in their own resources
7) Causing believers to be hypocritical
8) Making believers worldly
9) Causing believers to disobey God's Word

So when we see these darts being tossed our way, we need to lift up our shields of faith allowing truth to shine forth and expose the darts.  We need to have on our helmets of salvation and remember who has won the victory

Listen


August 1
Being prepared by my surgeon that my eye was going to swell shut, due to surgery for skin cancer, I decided to write this short devotional on the way home from Richmond, VA where I underwent surgery Tuesday.  A short, yet profound,  informational blip came across a Christian radio station we were listening to on the ride to Richmond.
The DJ shared that Mother Teresa was being interviewed and was asked what she says to God when she is praying. Her reply, "I don't talk to God when I pray. I listen." The interviewer then asked, "What does God say to you." Mother Teresa answered, "He doesn't say anything. He listens."  The DJ then stated,
"If you don't  understand what she was saying, you haven't learned what it means to pray in the Spirit."

Looks  like the next week, I will be needing to lay low and do lots of listening, while my head heals.


For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.
But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.  
Proverbs 1:32-33