Dirty Pool


April 30
The devil plays dirty pool.  I shared how grief took a bite out of me yesterday concerning my father's birthday.  Jesus and I were having a growing time and I was getting to a good place when the phone rang.  We are facing a  home repair issue and it was the builder with the quote.  The quote was five times what we'd been told to expect!  I wanted to vomit. It's obvious this builder didn't really want to take on this tedious task, but I felt as if I'd been slapped across the face.  We had been taken advantage of by the first builder, which has caused this current issue.
Here's the kicker.  What I would have done is called my father, who always had the answer to all building problems and loved solving them.  My initial reaction was…The devil is playing really dirty on this day when I'm already hurting.  The lesson for me is…You still have a father to go to, go to your heavenly Father.  (I of course called my husband and son before I prayed. I'm still a project in progress.)
Shifting into control gear, there was another lesson to be learned.  I've been SLOWLY beginning to clean out the house, so when God calls me home our children will not have so much to deal with.  The other day God challenged me to take all the money I might make in a yard sale and give it to our church, which has just voted to buy land and build a building.  It took me a moment to reach obedience, as I'd rather spend that money on our chidden and grandchildren.  When the phone call came from the builder my immediate thought was we would need every penny of what we could sell to cover this new expense.  God quickly reminded me to take inventory of where my security lies.  Just yesterday I had texted 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 to a friend. Now I needed to wade through those words myself.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed,…Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light ad momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Our Father



My father, son and grandson's hands the day he died.
April 29
Today would have been my father's 94th birthday.  I think I will make his favorite coconut cake and lemon ice box pie and eat them both!  I thought I was doing pretty well with the idea of him celebrating this birthday in heaven, until my Bible Study buddies closed out our time together yesterday, holding hands and saying the Lord's prayer.  As soon as we said, "Our Father, which art in heaven,"  I lost it.  For my earthly father, art in heaven with my heavenly father.
Originally, I'd asked a friend who just lost her father if she'd like to get away for the day, but she had a previous invitation.  What I decided to do next was to think about the things I miss most about Daddy and allow God to fill the void.  That sounded great and spiritually mature, until I got to what I desired most.  His touch. The way he held my hand, touched my forehead, kissed my check, and put his hand on my knee when we were sitting on the couch together was what I realized I long for.
After my mother died, which was 14 years ago, I quickly realized how much Daddy missed her touch. When friends or family would go with me to visit, I always said, "Be sure to hug him. He misses my mother's touch."
Ok, to be honest and not saintly strong, I'm sobbing now.  The thing I want most I can't have, so what do I do with that? I've got Daddy's night shirt curled up against me and wish he and our old bulldog, Moses would just come through the door. My mind is flooding with the names of friends who have recently lost their spouses. I can't fathom the ache of not having my man next to me at night and I think of how my father endured 14 years without his wife.
So grief has jumped up and bitten me again.  My comfort rests in knowing God created our hearts for this experience.  He allowed Jesus to grieve as well.  God knows exactly how I feel.
We are having horrendous storms and tornado warnings are expected.  As my husband was leaving for work I told him, "It's ok if my Daddy sends for me in a funnel cloud!  It would be a quick way to be zapped up to heaven and be with him again."
We do need to pray for the safety of people in these storms raging across our country and also for anyone who does not know "Our Father, who art in heaven."

Loving Learning-Softie


April 28
This past weekend was one of our favorite's of the year, when a youth group from Harrisonburg, VA comes to the Lake.  They are a polite, appreciate, refreshing group of young people, who have a genuine hunger to know more about Jesus.  Last night we sat under the stars by the fire pit and didn't want the evening to end.
Today, as I dug into a new study called Divine Design, I found myself just as excited as these youngsters to be learning more about the Word and the Lord.

Author Nancy Leigh DeMoss was sharing that the Hebrew word for woman is ishshah, which comes from the root word soft.  This was new to me.  She writes: "Softness is at the core of what it means to be a woman.  If you look up the dictionary definition of "soft," you'll find that it means not hard; yielding readily to touch, flexible, pliable, delicate, graceful; not loud; quietly pleasant; calm, gentle, kind, tender, compassionate, and sympathetic."  (I maybe qualify in 8 of the 14 areas, if we count stomach and arm flab for the "not hard" category!  I have work to be done.  Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit and make me pliable!)

The past week I've been thrown into controversial conversations on creation, gender and marriage.  Recapping some of those conversations with my husband this morning, I said, "Why don't people want to believe what the Bible says about God?  He is amazing. Look at all He has created and the sacrificial love He displayed coming to earth to die for our sins.  What is not to love?"

The verse below is the reference DeMoss was using in relationship to her soft statements.  Being the weaker partner doesn't offend me in the least.  My old aching back could not have begun to carry all the things my husband did for me this weekend.  :-)

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.  1 Peter 3:7

I totally buy into these beliefs about God.
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.   Deuteronomy 32:4

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
Psalm 18:30

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.  
Romans 12:2

If we love learning about His Word, we will learn how easy it is to love Him.

The Path…I Choose


April 26-27
God created us with free will and allows us to choose our path in life…and into eternity. This past weekend our daughter was visiting from Minneapolis.  One evening the around the table discussion led to the gender neutral issues she faces on a regular basis in that city. One of our daughter in laws laughed as she said I have the most perplexed look on my face as I tried to comprehend the gender neutral language, which our daughter was saying these friends of her's preferred she use when addressing them.

It saddens me that people have not experience the love of God, which allows them to see that they were fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator. Whether  we are born male or female, black or white, with limbs or not, with downs syndrome or born blind, God see immense value in our life.  I know this is a tough topic.  My point in this devotional is not to address the topic, but to share with you the path God just directed me down, as I was thinking through this issue.  Once again, He has shown himself faithful to be aware of every detail of my life.

Two days after the discussion with our daughter, a friend stopped by to walk the scripture trails here at Shiloh. I shared with her how baffled I was over the "new" gender neutral pronouns.  I told her I was heading inside for some Jesus time and to come in and visit when she finished her walk.  Opening a drawer where I keep Bible studies, which I have yet to do, I took the one on top. I'd never seen this book before and surmise that someone gave it to me. It is called Divine Design by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassain.  I was blown away as I began the introduction which focused on….are you ready….gender.
I want to share some of the notes I took that afternoon.  "God's eternal power and His divine nature find their ultimate expression in Christ.  Together male and female (gender) testify to the character of God and portray the greater reality of Christ and the church. Men were created to reflect the strength, love and self-sacrifice of Christ.  Women were created to reflect the responsiveness, grace and beauty of the bride He redeemed.  And marriage was created to reflect the covenant union of Christ and His bride."

A woman attending a "True Women's" conference stated, "When I approached gender roles from a human perspective the whole discussion seemed silly.  Then it clicked that God wants my womanhood to tell His story. I was wrapped up thinking my womanhood was about me, my relationship and what I wanted out of life. Ultimately, its not about me, but about telling the story of Jesus."

That helped me so much!  The big difference lies in the paths we take. Are we living a life…all about us and what we want it to be or do we believe we were created by a loving God and we are seeking His purpose for us, while on this short earthly journey before we head home? 

Two days later my husband emailed me an article, to make me aware of how far this issue going.  (Our daughter had already shared the "Y" she attends has added gender neutral locker rooms.)  You can read below what is happening to high school sports in Minnesota and South Dakota.
"The South Dakota High School Activities Association is considering a proposal that would allow transgender students to participate in extra-curricular activities according to their self-identified gender rather  than the gender listed on their records.  Meanwhile, the Minnesota State High School League is about to begin the same discussion. 'Our legal counsel is in the process of drafting a transgender policy,' said MSHSL director of information Howard Voigt. 'More than likely, it's going to be on the agenda for consideration at the June 2 meeting.' Transgender is a term for a person who does not identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. A transgender extra-curricular policy, for instance, could mean that a boy could play girls basketball or girls volleyball if self-identifying as a girl."

It's my understanding from our daughter that her gender neutral friends do not see themselves as a he or she. Not sure what team they would go out for.  A young man having dinner here the other night described it as confusing and all at the dinner table agreed, God is not a god of confusion.

God is keeping his finger  upon me and walking me through my concerns. Yesterday, he sent this excellent devotional by James MacDonald on Whose Path are you on?  As of today, I'm sticking with God's way!  Do I love my friends on other paths….absolutely.

Recognize

Do you recognize us in our wild west get up in 1991?  I had a short perm!
April 25
Last night we had dinner with a precious young couple.  As we were praying together, the word recognize, came clearly to mind.  I prayed that God would speak to each of us in reference to what that word might represent in our lives.
We talked about how important it is to have discernment and recognize when the enemy is slinging dirt our way.  A couple of us confessed we had recognized we might not be totally listening to God, because we don't want to go in total obedience to where he was leading us.  I prayed we would recognize the depth of God's love for us.  My husband counseled these two, who are dating, on the importance of recognizing marriage is a commitment.  Earlier in the day, the recognition of the power in prayer came to mind as I committed to extend my daily prayer time.

1 John 4:1-3 has powerful words related to recognizing Christ.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognize the Spirit o God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has cone in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 

Ask God to reveal to you what it is he wants you to recognize today.

Relief

April 24
My man is seriously struggling with allergy issues and has had very little sleep the past few nights.  At 4:00AM he was still in bed, an answer to prayer, but at first I panicked that he might be dead sleeping that long. (Sad, I know. Yesterday, he gave up and got up at 2:30AM)  I decided to get up too and pray for him and others facing struggles. The word that immediately came to me was relief.

Looking up the dictionary definition I found this: a pleasant and relaxed feeling that someone has when something unpleasant stops or does not happen.  The removal or reducing of something that is painful or unpleasant. Ease, alleviation. 

That fits the needs of so many categories in which I'm praying for others.  Cancer, allergies, back pain, head aches, surgery recovery, loneliness, spiritual attacks, false accusations, homes to sell, etc.

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. 
Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1

In the "slang" dictionary the word they gave for relief was PHEW!  My prayer is that for all those on my prayer list needing relief, today will be the day they say, "Phew! Thank You, Lord!"

Frozen

What's to come!
April 23

I knew this morning I was to write about how we can become frozen in our faith.  Trying to log onto my site, it became…..FROZEN!  I took that as confirmation.  Our granddaughter's currently favorite movie is a cute Disney movie about two princesses. The title Frozen.  One princess possesses powers, she wishes she didn't have, but she causes the world around her to freeze.  Hmm, we all know some people whose presence places a chill in the air, don't we?

While sprucing up the yard on Monday I came across my beloved camellia bushes.  This time of year I enjoy doing a centerpiece with them floating in a beautiful crystal bowl, but last week's frost had harmed them.  Leaves and buds had turned brown as well as the blossoms which had been early birds and opened.  As I plucked the discolored buds from the branches and tossed them in the trash can I thought of what happens to our faith when we freeze up.  We are of no use to the Lord at that point; we are not fruit bearing.   I snipped off the ends of the branches, where the leaves were all brown, and hoped new growth would come.  Then I thought….hmm, that is how God feels about us related to the pruning process. He snips away the gross, damaged areas in hopes new growth and beauty will burst forth!
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, 
while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
John 15:2

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:17 

Good Things

 Following bunny prints for prizes
 Quiet walks in the woods
 SLOW tractor rides with Papa
 Hunting dinosaur eggs
 Chasing bubbles
Popcorn and a good movie

April 22
The house is silent again, as all the little footsteps have headed to their homes. Most of the toys have found their way back into the closets or up to the loft.  My heart tugged as I put away the Winnie the Pooh plates,  Hello Kitty flatware and Nalgene water bottles.  Oh, no! We forgot to make the homemade play dough and I never finished the matching Peter Pan costumes.
I received so much joy in coming up with fun activities for our grandchildren.  Today Matthew 7:11 came to mind.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

As I go through grandmother withdraws this week, I hope this verse will come to mind and I will spend a large amount of time in prayer, asking God for the good gifts of wisdom, understanding, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.   Shoot, instead of filling plastic eggs at snack time this past week with marshmallow chicks, goldfish, raisins, pretzels and cheerios, I should have put in prayers for the fruit of the Spirit for our grandchildren.

Praying for those things now!

He Paid it All





April 21
Our hallelujahs have been sung, eggs have been dyed and hunted and some have done the bunny hop.  The Easter story has been remembered, most likely followed by a delicious brunch, so where do we go from here?
As I packed our Easter decorations into the tomb of our holiday closet, I said to our son in law, "Well, I guess I don't have to come in here until Thanksgiving/Christmas."  So what do we do with our remembrances of Christ from April to December?  Are there still celebrations of His life, His love, and His ultimate sacrifice in our "off" months?  When people enter our homes is it easy to tell we love Jesus or do they reflect a love of self and the things of the world?
He paid it all!  He paid the price for the sins we commit 365 days a year.  May a day not pass that He is not remembered in our homes/lives.

Here is a song which was new to me, called He Paid It All.

Lifted Up



Now is the time for judgement on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, wild draw all people to myself.
He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
John 12:31-33

April 19-20
Day after day, I learn lessons from watching our grandchildren.  Yesterday, as I watched our son lift his children up in the air to make a basket on the basketball court, elation spread across their faces with the realization of their success.  We are so similar, as we are quick to accept the accolades for our success and don't acknowledge how our heavenly Father lifts us up in all we do.  Without Him nothing is possible.
I rejoice with you all this weekend as we celebrate how the Son Of God was lifted up and reigns on high at the right hand of God the Father.  We are grateful, that not only has He been lifted up, but that He left Word that he has gone to prepare a place for us!

What's Good about this Friday?

What I think we will look like when we see our heavenly Father.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, 
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18
April 18
"Christianity is for the weak.  People who cling to Jesus, just haven't been successful in their own lives. A loving God wouldn't have only one way to heaven."  You've probably heard these statements from people who see the story of Jesus on the cross as foolishness.  Paul's words in Corinthians address this specific issue.  When you actually come to a place of acknowledging your sin and experience Jesus in an indescribable relationship you can say….To those of us who are being saved it is the power of God.

What's good about Jesus dying on a cross? Without His death there would be no resurrection and defeat over death.  The most incredible VICTORY, which has ever occurred, is better than any sporting event or military battle. It's the victory over death, which unleashes the hope of heaven and realization of a life which is not only everlasting, but PERFECT!

So, today as we praise God for this unique way to provide for the forgiveness of our sins.  As our heads bow with disappointment knowing we have sinned and will sin again, as we touch our own hands and feet imagining the pain of the stakes driven through Christ's body, maybe we even sketch out  a cross and write the words "Thank You," we know there is a whole lot of good that came out of what many see as a dreadful day.

Thursday before the Crucifiction

Knitted Eggs
April 17
Have you ever thought about how a loved one spent their last week before they died?  For many people they are quite ill and the days and nights are long and drawn out…heaven can't some soon enough. For others death comes unexpectedly, but I've seldom considered what went on in their lives the week before their last breath.
With Jesus, we have a written account of his final Holy Week. He certainly was not on vacation.
Sunday the palm branches were waving as the cheers of "Hosanna in the highest" brought a sense of jubilation.  Monday, the tables were over turned and Jesus was ticked that what was to be a house of prayer had been turned into a den of robbers.  (Matthew 21:12-13)  Tuesday, he amazed the disciples with his power to make a fig free immediately wither and he challenged their faith saying, "If you believe,  you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."  (Matthew 21:19-22) Then he went on an entered the temple courts and began teaching and opened up debates among the chief priest and elders.
That brings us up to Thursday, Maundy (meaning commandment in Latin) Thursday.  The disciples gathered for what was most likely the Passover Meal with Jesus, he humbled himself and washed their feet and bestowed upon them a very important commandment.
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.   John 13:34  It is at this same meal where Jesus tells Judas to go on and do what he plans to do.

Tonight at our home we will wash one another's feet (or maybe send the girls for pedicures). Which ever way, we will express our love for one another.

Lord, we humbly come before you realizing we are so underserving of your love and forgiveness.  How blessed the disciples were to walk on this earth with You.  How blessed we are to be the recipients of the blood You shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  Today, with obedient hearts and the help of the Holy Spirit we say, "We will love one another!"  In Jesus' Name, Amen

He Was Willing


April 16
While preaching this past Sunday our preacher stated, "Jesus GAVE his life, no one took it."

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I receive from my Father.  John 10:17-18

Whether you watch Law and Order, NCIS, or another detective related show…when the bad guys/gals are being apprehended there is usually an intense chase, sometimes some fence climbing or a dart into a dark alley.  When Judas leads the authorities to arrest Jesus, Christ walks TOWARD them.  He was doing what his father sent him to earth to do.  Certainly He had built relationships, which would be hard to leave (his own mother for example) but Jesus knew his purpose and although he dreaded the process (If it's possible remove this cup from me.), he went willingly.

Each night this week,  I want to be intentional (my word for 2014) in sharing from the gospel with our grandchildren. I hope the weather will be decent and we can have fireside chats outside by the fire pit.
Here are some questions we will take a look at related to the Easter story to deepen our understanding of what HAD to happen in order for us to rise above sin's hold on us and enter heaven.

1) Did Jesus fight back when he was arrested? Why did he act this way?

2) Did Pilate want Jesus to be crucified? Why did he listen to the people?

3) How does it make you feel knowing Jesus died for you?

Occasionally,  we have things happen here where my husband and I say, "No one could make up this story.  It's unbelievable."  That's the way I feel about the gospel! It's not make believe…it's the real deal!

Remind Me!


April 15
Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.  1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4

The words I want to remind you of the gospel keep resonating in my mind.  Each morning I want to wake up being reminded of the gospel, of what Christ did for me. I don't ever want to take that for granted.  Yesterday, in the Dollar Store, a lady had taken a really long time with her checking out. Several items had been wrung up and then she wanted to go exchange one item. It seemed to take forever, then she let her adult daughter and her two granddaughters, who had been shopping, come up to the counter in front of me and pay for all their items.  When they were finally all finished, she turned to me and said, "Sorry for all the confusion and that that took so long.  Happy Easter!"  I just smiled, but really wished I'd said, "Aren't you so thankful Jesus died for you? or How amazing is it that Christ rose from the dead? Yes, the remembrance of that day is a happy occasion."

I think I will teach this hymn to the grandchildren this week….it makes a great action song!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oN77HjfAc8k

Lord, thank You for the amazing gift of salvation we celebrate at Easter.  May we go beyond eggs, chicks and bunnies this week.  May we go to the foot of the cross and say thank you.  In Jesus' Name, the one who paid it all, Amen!

Holy Week

Original artwork by our oldest grandson.
April 14
The palm branches are done waving, HOLY Week has begun. Jesus knew what was ahead and he was WHOLLY committed to God’s whole plan.  Today my heart has headed to take a look at what it means to be holy.

An now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12

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

A sweet, sweet friend received a bridge lesson from her 88 year old father last Wednesday afternoon and then they went out to dinner.
The next morning she made time to go for a walk with him down by the river.  Then they parted ways…she headed to Target and her daddy drove about 3 blocks and had a heart attack and died.  He is now blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father!  How amazing is that.  Now that’s an awesome way to experience Holy Week…in the presence of Jesus who paid it all.

Easy to Imitate

 Hair slicked down before leaving for school.
This young man with a spikier hairdo.
 Our grandson working frantically with his fingers to spice up his "do" like the older boy.

April 12-13
I watched quite an interesting phenomenon unfold yesterday during an elementary school program. Our son has taking great efforts to style his son's hair neatly,  before he left for school. Sitting in the audience I saw our grandson watching some of the older boys on stage for this Grandparents' Day program. All of a sudden he began picking at his hair.  The teacher's assistant sitting near him was baffled as to why he was doing this.  I realized it immediately. He liked this young man's style  and desired to imitate him.
Actually, he did a pretty amazing job of transforming his hairdo.

Admirations brings about imitation.  Advertising is always setting a trap for us.  We need to be aware of what/who we are imitating.

The Old Testament warns….When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Deuteronomy 18:9

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.  Hebrews 13:7

Why aren't more people drawn to imitate Christ?  Is it because he came to serve and that seems beneath some people?
If we claim the name Christian we should imitate the qualities of Christ:
He was forgiving, served sacrificially, sought out His Father's will, loved unconditionally, was patient, peaceful, full of purpose, and prayerful.

Choose this day who you will imitate!

Grandparents' Day


April 11
Sorry to be so late today, but last night we drove five hours to be able to be present at Grandparents' Day in VA Beach this morning.  The love this young fellow bestows upon us is just plain sweet.
To listen to these children recite scripture and sing praises to the Lord blesses the soul.
I count it a privilege to be called Mama Boo.
The other day I read a sweet, sweet story by Karen Kingsbury about honoring the older generation. She is intentional in training up her children to visit nursing homes at Christmas time…spreading joy. I'm praying our grandchildren will still love us when we can't roll on the floor with them and hop like a bunny.
Here is Karen's story.
They were singing Silent Night. It occurred to her that the nights were all too silent for many grandmothers.  She writes: "Done with their mothering and even their grandmothering, these women are often lonely and afflicted, the people in their lives too busy for them.  As we sing, I look at my own children and find myself silently praying that they will be the type of adults who will care about the generations who have cone before them."  She wrote this prayer" "Dear Lord, help me be mindful of the aging women in my life and community. Let me be a part of the solution to their loneliness and affliction, and help me train up my children and grandchildren to love and care for the generations that have come before them. In Jesus' Name Amen

Idol those Idols

Spring is trying to pop out!
April 10
Priscilla Shirer's has some powerful teaching in her Gideon study and warns of making her readers a tad uncomfortable, as she leads them to name some habits in their lives as idols. Gideon got in a bit of a jam with God over his obsession(idol) with earrings.  (Hope I've peaked your curiosity!)

I'm stepping back a day or so from my Bait of Satan…take no offense study and really dwelling on these pointers and passages from Shirer.  The song Lead me to the Cross just popped into mind. Let's listen to that first.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdq9Q8wJdjc&feature=kp

So, Lord lead us to the cross where we can take Priscilla Shirer's suggestions and...
1) Pinpoint your tendencies. Ask the Lord to clearly show you where you normally turn for comfort, acceptance, approbation (praise), and connection during good and bad times in your life.
Put me on trial Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.   Psalm 26:2

2) Restructure your allegiances. Recommit to a God-centered existence in which you consistently acknowledge and seek God before turning to other things or people for approval or acceptance.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and He will give you everything you need.  Luke 12:31

3) Rearrange your priorities.  Refuse to indulge improper passions. Restructure your life to exclude the idols that have become your go-to-activities or relationships.  Cement boundaries in place and enlist accountability to keep you on track.
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2

Whew…good Godly advice!
Let's pray about it:
Oh, Loving Father, there is no one higher than You.  You are above all things and there is nothing or no one we should desire more than You.  Test our motives and create in us pure hearts which seek Your Kingdom above all else.  How blessed we are to be called Your children and have such a grand inheritance as heaven awaiting us. May we commit this day to set our minds on things above and not the temporal things on earth.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

Forgetting the desire for a white roosters and imagining the white horse on which Christ will return to earth!  Now that's going to be a great day!

Cock-a-Doodle Doo

April 9

I have to share this funny, yet convicting story with y'all. Back in February I was in a restaurant with one of our grandsons.  On the buffet was a huge ceramic rooster and when our grandson went around that end of the buffet he said, "Cock-a- Doodle Doo!"  Right then I set out upon a search for a large solid white ceramic rooster for our kitchen. I thought it would be a good reminder for me when my "Peter tendencies" arise, as well as bring pleasure to this cute grandson.

Yesterday, while doing Bible study, Priscilla Shire, posed a question similar to:  "Is there anything I am mastered by, obsessed with, consumed by, allowing to get out of line, or that is offensive in my life?"
Immediately, I thought…"My rooster search has become an obsession."  This past weekend I hit every TJMass/Marshalls/HomeGoods between Nashville and Virginia.  I'd run in, look for a rooster and run out.  At one point I found one for $9.99, but put him back on the shelf thinking certainly I will be able to find a larger one.  Reading the lesson, I realized I had to let the rooster hunt go, but in the very next breath I realized I was going to a town today with a TJMaxx and just maybe…..

Whew! Idols are a nuisance! Ha Ha…check out this rationale…."Lord, what if each place I go to look for the rooster, I agree to tell someone Jesus loves them?"

You know the credit card commercial that goes…"What's in your wallet?"  I'm asking myself, "What's your idol?"
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
1 Corinthians 10:14 

Up From the Grave

April 8
Does Easter morning excite you as much as Christmas morning?  This is an emotion packed song three sisters recorded for Godtube!  Be blessed.

Funny, an old cheer just came to me…."Get fired up for VICTORY!"

You Scratch My Back...


April 7
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” 
Proverbs 11:25
Attending a women's conference recently, I was the recipient of a couple good shoulder massages.  After the break, the hostess had us turn and rub the shoulders of the person to our left and then the woman to our right.  My husband would call this "team work".  I would call it do unto others as you would like them to do unto you!

As we approach the cross this Easter season, we focus on the amazing act of Christ…dying for our sins….enabling us to receive forgiveness from God.  God wants us to do unto others as we have had done unto us in the area of forgiveness.  Are we willing to forgive 70 times 7?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?"  Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.  Matthew 18:21-23

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if  you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven.   Luke 6:37

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.   Matthew 6:12

Let's Pray:
Lord, thank You for forgiving us this day. For forgiving us yesterday and for the work done on the cross which allows for our forgiveness tomorrow.  May we be willing to offer to others what we so graciously have received. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Serve With Love

Our grandson hitting the courts!
April 5-6
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, 
not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.
Romans 14:13

Serving, "Love-Love". Growing up as a competitive tennis player, I never did figure out the sense in the scoring of that game.  Love, fifteen, thirty, forty? Wikeapedia has several interesting theories worth checking out, if you are curious
.
The latest chapter I studied in John Bevere's book, takes a look at Christ's attitude as he came to earth to serve.  Bevere's writes of these light bulb key differences between a slave's attitude and a servant's.
(Funny, I'm thinking back to yard and household chores, which mount up this time of year, and I see myself needing a little attitude adjustment.  I don't have to pull those weeds, I'm blessed to have a yard where I get too.  I'm not only going to wash all the windows, I'm going to clean all the outdoor globes on the landscaping lights too, because I am so blessed to have a house!  And while I do all my chores, I will put on praise music and praise the Lord for the time I get to spend with him while doing these things.

A slave has to-a servant gets to.
A slave does the minimum requirement-a servant reaches for maximum potential.
A slave goes one mile-a servant goes the extra mile.
A slave feels robbed-a servant gives.
A slave fights for his rights-a servant lays down his rights  

The Bible has some excellent input on serving.  Let's read up!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despite the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.   Luke 16:13  

…the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
Luke 22:26

Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.  John 12:26

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  Galatians 5:13

This biggie is the meat of the matter when we come to the cross. It's a gold nugget to put in our memory banks.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of  Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 
Philippians 2:5-11

Let's Pray:
Lord, the "To Do" lists are long this time of year. Please remind us to have our service to You and your  purposes at the top.  May we be found faithful to "spring" into action serving You with joy!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Unjust Treatment


April 4
Life is not fair, but how we process those treatments of injustice establishes how we go on living life.
My mind is swarming with remembrances of unjust treatment in my own life, in friends' lives and in the world. I just started to list some specifics and realized…NOPE, not going there.
Walk into any work place and I guarantee you can get an earful of how unfairly some employees feel they have been treated.  The same is probably true in most homes/classrooms, where students feel a parent/teacher had his/her favorites.  Sit with a group of friends around coffee and most can tell of when they felt mistreated, misunderstood, or misrepresented. These life experiences make it tough to keep on keeping on as we persevere through life trusting in the Lord.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen new, who cry out to him day and night?
Luke 18:7

The alternative to trusting in the Lord is to allow the offense to erupt in anger and our hearts to harden from the pressure of pride.  It's really not beneficial to our health and certainly doesn't add to our happiness. The easiest fix is to exit from these relationships. Yikes.  What if God operated in that accord?

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you 
unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.
 Matthew 18:33

Our daughter overheard me correcting one of her boys the other day. I was not asking for a simple, "I'm sorry." I wanted an outright "I was WRONG to have pushed my brother off that box, it could have hurt him."  She said in her Bible study class some mothers had just been talking about how it is much easier to say, "I'm sorry" than "I was wrong".
Fast forgiveness is the best fix!  
It brings about peace and stomps on the devil's antics.  Stay away from the pity party, plant peace!  
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

God's got our back and he is a just God. In His perfect timing he will even the score, but in the mean time, we are not to be mean! We are to live lives that bring Him glory.

Let's Pray: Lord, your grace is more than we can comprehend. We are thankful for the total forgiveness You offer, yet so slow to dish it out to others ourselves.  Even when we feel trampled upon, allow us to look up to to Your loving arms and remember You make all things right! Oh, what a delight it will be, when we are dancing in heaven and there is never a reason to take an offense.  In Jesus' Name, Amen 

Offense Taken


Looks like he might be saying, "Them's fightin' words."
April 3
Nary a day has past, since I started this Lenten season study on not taking an offense, that some occurrence has popped up and started to offend me.  The good news is I've been quick to say, "I will not take an offense!"  The flip side of the coin is that nary a day has pasted that I haven't offended someone!  Sorry, not my intent.
Jesus certainly offended the Pharisees.  Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? Matthew 15:12 (He called them hypocrites.)

Jesus offended some of His closets friends.  Martha and Mary were a bit offended when Jesus didn't come immediately and heal Lazarus.
So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.  John 11:6

My bold expression of my faith has offended many, but in reality, if I love Jesus and don't share about  my relationship with him to others, they should be offended that I don't care enough about them to tell them my stance on the secret of eternal life with God.

Here is a real biggie from Paul in Galatians 5:11 -The fact that the cross is the only way to salvation offends people, but that is the truth, and there's no way I'm going to preach anything else!

Whew!  How many times have you been told you are so narrow minded and judgmental to believe God only has one way for people to get to heaven?  We didn't make up the rule!  God did and it is an extremely gracious gift!  Praise God there is A Way and his name is Jesus.

Let's pray:
Jesus, we love and trust you.  The cry of our hearts is to be found faithful and obedient to You.  We recognize the gospel carries an offensive message to many.  Please fill us with the Holy Spirit and equip us to fulfill the job you have for us to do. Show us when to wipe the dust from our feet and move on from some and when to dig down deep and disciple others.  When the times arrive in which we feel imprisoned, as John the Baptist and so many other disciples were, help us remember that is it faith in Christ that sets us free!  Thank You for the gospel. In Jesus' Name Amen

Keep Filling Me Up

April 2
What a beautiful day it was yesterday!  I pulled out the water table for a couple of our grandsons and filled it up. Then I went inside to get the water toys. When I came out all the water had drained out of the boat, because I had forgotten to put the stopper in the drain.
Immediately, I thought about the Holy Spirit and how easily he is drained from our lives. We have to replenish our surrender to His ways daily and ask Him to fill us up!
In the Spiritual Disciplines group, of which I am a participant, this week's exercise is related to the Holy Spirit. I'm to take 15 minutes a day and wait on the Spirit to enter every corner of my life.
My secrets, desires, failings, victories and my all!

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
John 16:13

Grace to the Humble

 Tinker Bell singing praise and Peter Pan being contemplative
Tinker Bell is whispering that Jesus loves Peter!
April 1
Be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
1 Peter 5:5

"Trials in this life will expose what is in your heart-whether the offense is toward God or others.  Tests either make you bitter toward God and your peers, or they make you stronger. If you pass the test of humility, your roots will shoot down deeper, stabilizing you and your future. If you fail, you become offended, which can lead to defilement with bitterness…Christians who experience hurts and disappointments often become offended with the Lord because they believe He should give them special consideration for all that they have done for Him. They are serving Him for the wrong reasons.  We should not serve the Lord for what He can do, but rather for  who He is and what He has already done for us."  John Bevere

This passage brought me to a place of making up a song to sing.  Join me. You choose the tune!

Thank you, God, thank you, God, for loving us at the depth which you do. Saturate our minds with humble adoration for the grace you have lavished upon us, so we might come into fellowship with you and receive an unimaginable inheritance.  It's not about us, Jesus, it's all about you and the glory you deserve.  Forgive us for our selfishness and pride, help us set all that aside while we live to worship and serve you.

This scripture came to mind.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Romans 13:11