Handel's Messiah

May 31-June 1

I'm in a group which gathers once a week to study the disciplines of Christ.  Each week we select a specific assignment related to a particular discipline.  One week my assignment was to listen to Handel's Messiah.  We were to practice the incarnational tradition.  Go Holy Spirit go!  Grabbing my CD's I took them with me to my ironing board.  It wasn't long before I was looking for a piece of paper to jot down God's messages for me in-between the sweeps of the iron across cloth.
Three scriptures sung to this dynamic music captured my thoughts and flowed together in a most practical manner.
For we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6  Yup, we've all messed up, by being "I want" driven instead of "God" driven.
We shall be changed related to 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52…Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
God took me to a really neat place with this. I know at Christ's return we will be changed, but the Holy Spirit is capable of making significant changes in us right here on earth.  Most of the 11 women who were present had prayer requests that related to a need for change in themselves or someone they loved, so I took each of their requests and prayed for that specific change to occur.
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.  Romans 10:15.  I jumped in the car and ran up the road for a pedicure!  (Just kidding.)  God changes us for His purpose…to be in a spiritual position to take the gospel to the uttermost ends of the earth…or maybe just to the end of the driveway to the garbage man.

A friend issued a challenge the other day.  "What would our lives look like if we lived knowing someone was always watching?"

Let's Pray:  God, you are our god and we will always praise You.  We shake our heads in disbelief that you come after us, as sheep who have gone astray, time and time again.  Change us from the inside out Lord and set our feet on a course each day that brings glory right before Your throne, with shouts of hallelujah!  May our lives reflect the life of Christ has Handel's Messiah does. In Jesus Name, Amen

A Church Divided

May 30
Heart wrenching…is the best way to describe the prayer concern I've been carrying for three friends serving churches in three different denominations.  In each case, there is division within the body that is tearing people apart.
Tuesday, a week ago,  this verse appeared as the selected verse for the day on Biblegateway and spoke directly to the heartache my friends are experiencing.

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you,
but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 1:10

What are we doing to strengthen the unity of the Body of Believers with whom we worship?

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:23-25

Your Sins will Find you Out



Thanks for the shorts, Braydon.
May 29
Most of you know I have some rather aggravating back issues.  Mulching isn't one of the best activities for me, but presently my hubby is ailing more than I am.  It takes about 8 pick up loads of mulch to spruce up Shiloh and we've slowing been chipping away at the project. I was strictly instructed to not lift a pitchfork while my man was a at work, but temptation and disobedience got the best of me.  

The plan was to unload a whole truck full, head up the road, get another load, and put the truck back in it's place.  About 6 shovelfuls were left in the truck before lunch time, when my husband VERY unexpectedly pulled into the driveway.  He gave me a glare and said, "Your sins will find you out."  Immediately, a childhood occurrence flashed back.

My grandmother lived about 5 houses away, but across a very curvy,  busy, street, which I was not allowed to cross.  The day before I'd been at her house and she had a delicious chocolate cake.  That particular afternoon my mother was out and I decided it was worth the risk to go see my grandmother and get a piece of that cake.  Cutting through the five yards, I made it to my grandmother's driveway and as I was waiting to make the mad dash, when down the road drove my mother and grandmother.  Caught in the act, when I got home, my pants were pulled down and I was spanked with the back of a clear, blue, plastic, hair brush.  I never attempted to cross that road again.  

But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the Lord;
and you may be sure that your sin will find you out.
Numbers 32:23 

End of the story…he forgave me and let me mulch a little more last night!  :-)  

The Jesus Doll

May 28
Maybe it was the class gerbil, goldfish, or another pet that you or your child had the privilege of bringing home and caring for over a weekend or even holiday. If my recollection is correct, one of ours had to care for a Cabbage Patch doll as part of a grade school project on responsibility. The doll was to go with us everywhere, as if it was a sibling.
Last night I heard the sweetest story from one of our sons.  Sometimes he carpools to work with a neighbor, who while not a believer, sends his children to a Lutheran Day Care Center.  On Wednesday evenings this church offers supper at the church, which this family takes advantage of, as well as allowing their children to attend choir those evenings.  While driving to work one day, the neighbor told our son that their child had brought home the Jesus Doll from class.  The doll comes complete with a back pack filled with Christian stories.  The child is instructed to take the doll everywhere they go to reinforce the lesson that Jesus is always with you!  Do you love it?!!!!  Oh, I do.  What a ministry this church has established!
Our son shared how this family had taken pacifiers away from their three year old and they were giving   some gifts as a reward for this tough step in life.  When they asked, "Do you know who these are from?" The child answered, "Jesus!"  Oh, may a little child lead them.
What an open door our son now has to discuss his love for Jesus with this neighbor.

Psalm 73:22-28 speaks to the reality of God's presence.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And earth has nothing I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.  But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of your deeds.

C.S. Lewis

May 27
"Who are all these people?" my husband and I asked each other as we strolled through the grocery store.  The summer crowd has descended upon our lake community and there are lots of new faces. There are also the familiar ones who move in for either the summer or at least Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends.  There is an air of excitement as we reconnect with these people and pick up where we left off at the end of last summer.  Laughter is good for the soul and we certainly did a lot of that with friends this weekend.
A cheerful heart is good medicine.
Proverbs 17:22

Today on my phone this C.S. Lewis quote on friendship popped up.  Therein lies reason to thank God for the people he has placed in our lives and to watch expectantly for more friendships He wants to develop.  Will our hearts be open?

"In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few year's difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting…any of these chances might have kept us apart.  But for a Christian, there are strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work.  Christ, who said to the disciple, You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, I can truly say to every group of Christian friends, You have not chosen one another.  The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out, it is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others. C. S. Lewis


Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Memorial Day

May 26
Check list; The table cloths, the picnic basket, a cooler of ice, sunscreen and beach towels. Pick up the chicken, the chips and the watermelon.  Be sure we have enough cash for ice cream later.  It's a holiday!

I wonder how many people would know the root history of Memorial Day if they were stopped on the streets and asked.  Will we talk about it to our children and grandchildren today?  If a flag is flown at our home what will be our explanation.  Here comes my 2014 word intentional again.  How intentional will I be with how I honor this day.
After a bit of Google research this morning I learned this event originated on May 5, 1868 (three years after the Civil War) and was called Decoration Day.  It represented a time for the nation to reflect on the lives of those who had given their lives by placing flowers on their graves.  In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day to be a national holiday which would be held on the last  Monday in May and would honor all soldiers who had died in the nation's wars.  The nation is supposed to stop at 3PM and remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.

While I've prayed several prayers for the families of servicemen who have died (our son and four men whom I love like sons are serving now or have served recently and called for prayer), I have never personally attended the funeral for someone who lost their life while serving.   Yet, here I sit reaping the benefits of living in a nation protected by a mighty military.

Let's intentionally choose to dedicate a time of prayer this Memorial Day to the families of those longing for those they have lost.  Below is a beautiful song set to photographs.

http://www.godvine.com/Heaven-Was-Needing-a-Hero-a-Tear-jerking-Tribute-to-Fallen-Soldiers-3369.html?utm_source=inhouse&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=memorial-day

You all know my nutty "love Jesus" mind.  Is their a Disciples Day?   Is there a day the Christian community remembers those who lost their lives for our faith?

Talking Seraphs

May 24-25
All of a sudden the tears were pouring down my cheeks as I drove.  How I wish you had been with me.  Oh, dear friends, it is a sound I know we will hear when we are in the presence of the Lord.  Being surrounded by car speakers, in the front and back, made this recording so powerful.  As you listen on your computer try to imagine being surrounded by this sound.
Click on the link below and go to May 23rd.  You can move the cursor to pick up the message at either 19 or 20 minutes. (20 if you are in a real rush …the theme is being in the presence of the Lord). Chuck Swindoll is teaching on seraphim.
The end of what I want you to hear will be at 22:45.

http://www.insight.org/broadcast/library.html

May your holiday weekend be filled with many moments when you know you are in the presence of the Lord!

Addendum:
Opening up Jesus Calling I had to laugh how today's message goes along with getting into God's Presence.  Oh how I want to hear the seraphim's wings flutter and hear them sing "Holy, holy, holy!"

Check this out:  "Bring Me your mind for rest and renewal. Let Me infuse My Presence into your thoughts.  As your mind stops racing, your body relaxes and you regain awareness of Me.  This awareness is vital to your spiritual well-being; it is your lifeline, spiritually speaking.
There are actually more than four dimensions in this world where you live. In addition to the three dimensions of space and the one of time, there is the dimension of openness to My Presence. This dimension transcends the others, giving you glimpses of heaven while you still reside on earth.  This was part of My original design for mankind.  Adam and Eve used to walk with Me in the garden, before their expulsion from Eden.  I want you to walk with Me in the garden of your heart, where I have taken up permanent residence."

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.
Psalm 89:15

The song Amen is playing in the background on our outdoor speakers. I am psyched up!

Freedom

May 23
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. Galations 5:13

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that  you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows.  For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself.  That's an act of true freedom.  If you bite and ravage each other, watch out-in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?   Galatians 5:13


This passage in the NIV popped up before me and over and over I've been thinking about the fact we are "free to serve one another humbly in love."  It's a privilege.

Go Looking For God

May 22
We have to be intentional in the way we live.  While on a long road trip alone recently,  I was intentional in my seeking out Christian radio stations to listen to on my day long trek.  Distractions came in the way of phone calls, direction seeking and praying (with my eyes open of course).  At some point the Christian station I had previously been listening to left broadcasting range. Adrift in various thoughts as I drove I'm not certain how long it was until I heard a couple really raunchy lyrics, which caught me off guard.  It was then I realized I was no longer where I thought I was radio station wise.
We can easily get off track when we are not intentionally  looking for God!

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.  Proverbs 18:15

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.   2 Corinthians 10:5

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Work Prompted By Love

May 21
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.  We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.   1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

I'm on an exhausting work mission this week and came across this verse that was "spot" on!  The words that grabbed me at first were work prompted by love.   Love and love alone is why I am doing what I am, but heading into day three I need to see that my endurance will be inspired by hope!  I've just killed eight mosquitos, swarming around my bed!

Summer is a fabulous time for missions work, whether at home or abroad.
Merriam Webster has a variety of definitions related to the work  mission.   For what I am attempting to accomplish I'll go with: a task or job that someone is given to do.

My prayer is that in the months ahead God will set before me a weekly mission.  An assignment which I can sense is God ordained and Holy Spirit sustained!  While my hope is that I don't have to leave Shiloh to fulfill the missions, I will be willing to follow wherever God leads.

Today, I am reflecting on all the times in life I've been the recipient of labors prompted by love.  Ha, ha…just living with me is a labor of love by my husband!  While I can go back to the times my mother or father held a wet washcloth upon my forehead when I was nauseous, some of the sweetest times are selfless acts of love I watched our children lavish upon my parents when they were alive.

Works prompted by love are worthwhile in the Lord's eyes!    

Go With the Teachable Moments


May 20

Standing on a step ladder, my frustration grew as I tried to replace the bathroom fan cover and a couple can light fixtures.  I'd taken the economical way of asking a neighbor to help me with a ceiling leak issue at a discounted price.  You get what you pay for. I was left to do things I really didn't have the skills for, but the girl from Dancing with the Stars, who has no legs, inspired me to persevere.  Only moments into this project I felt God teaching me.

Here are three things I learned.
#1 You get what you pay for and Jesus paid it all, so that those who believe in Him will "get" eternal life!
#2 It is good to pray and persevere.
#3 Sometimes we strive to do things that we aren't capable of doing, like working our way into heaven.  It's not going to happen.
At one point I realized the bulb neck (not sure if that is the proper term, but it works for me) was broken and no matter what I tried, that bulb was not going to shine.  Aren't we like that?  We are broken and sinful and without a replacement, like Jesus in us, we are not going to shine in heaven!

While the project was taxing, the lessons learned have put a spark in my step today!

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind
toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5-6


He Works it Out


May 19

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 for us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.  Ephesians 1:11-12

This passage keeps popping up…I guess I'm supposed to go deep.  How many times have you heard friends say, "I wish I knew my purpose, what I am here for?"  If we don't know Christ, we aren't going to figure out how to live gloriously.

What was the last situation you needed to have worked out?

Thursday, I sat with five girl friends and we attempted to work out a date to get together again.
Today, I worked with a group at church as we figured out to most effectively feed 50 people.
If you live in a home with teenage drivers you may find yourself trying to work out whose driving which car when.  If  you have a senior in high school you may be attempting to work out the finances for where they will be able to attend college.  For those in college you may be working out class schedules.  For those with younger children, working out the summer calendar may be mind boggling.

This passage in Ephesians assures us that God is always working out what is best for us…even when we take the wrong path, he works to redirect us.  When we process the fact that God has a plan and a purpose for us, we should want to know what God had in mind. It takes time in God's word to build a relationship with Jesus.


Singing all the Way

May 17-18
Tuning into one of my favorite Christian radio stations, I sang all the way to Roanoke, VA yesterday.  I tried to keep one hand on the wheel, while the other one was lifted in praise. I was boogying for sure in my seat.

Check out some of these tunes and dance your way through the weekend!
Worthy of Praise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5dDwGUywIs

More Beautiful You  (Funny, I was driving to the Beauty Parlor!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7UJE22Td9s

Just Be Me  (This was my favorite by Laura Story)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VRUU8UBXCk&feature=kp

Hello My Name Is  (Don't miss this one!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuJWQzjfU3o

This is Amazing Grace (You can't listen to this one and not be filled with joy)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjXjkbODrro

Now these are on my phone and I'm going to walk through the neighborhood, praising all the way!



Vulnerable


May 16
Vulnerable-this word popped up in two different studies I was doing last week.  Merriam-Webster defines it as: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack or damage (vulnerable to criticism); easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally or emotionally. 

 In Nancy Leigh DeMoss' Divine Design study she writes: "Over the years, I have discovered that ever God given strength, if not perpetually safeguarded and surrendered to His control, can become an area of weakness and failure.  It is precisely in the realm of those strengths that the Enemy often targets us for attack-knowing that if he can bring us down at those points, we will be more likely to concede territory to him in other areas.  In that sense, a person's greatest strength may also be their greatest area of vulnerability."

Beth Moore writes: "Whenever we get deeply involved we open ourselves up to anguish and anxiety.  There are people we love so much it hurts.  We open ourselves to attack or damage."

During the same week one of my very favorite soul sisters wrote of an attack she and her husband were under.  The initiation of this attack came from someone they had been in close relationship within the body of believers.  Their vulnerability to love like this has left them wounded.

2 Peter 2:12-14  (I think this is The Message)
These people are nothing but brute beats, born in the wild, predators on the prowl. In the very act of bringing down others with their ignorant blasphemies, they themselves will be brought down, losers in the end.  Their evil will boomerang on them. They're so despicable and addicted to pleasure that they indulge in wild parties, carousing in broad daylight. They're obsessed with adultery, compulsive in sin, seducing every vulnerable should they come upon.  Their speciality is greed, and they experts at it. Dead souls!

Whew! I'd never read that one before and there was that word a third time.  So, I asked the Lord, "What's the deal with the word vulnerable showing up three times in two days?"  He showed me how an area of strength had placed me in a position of vulnerability. I need to put on my big girl panties and stand firm in the faith, recognizing my enemy the devil is on the prowl!

Too Much Information


May 15

I know this is too much information, but there is a purpose.  I wrote this while sitting on my bed in only a bath towel.  Thirty minutes prior I had received an email from a friend, being real,  and my response was to call her and say "Let's just bag every responsibility we have today and go on an adventure, like Peter Pan."
She must have been in the shower or doing her quiet time (safe from my temptations), because she didn't  answer.  That prodded me to pick up a study I'm doing on Divine Design and the Spirit got moving.  Realizing the time, I rushed upstairs, grabbed a banana and was about to get in the shower to make a 10:00 appointment.  In a matter of five minutes God had given me FIVE titles and scenarios for devotionals.  Odds were by the time I got out of the shower, checked email, answered the phone (fell into the devil's distractions) all those ideas would be gone from my aging mind.  So there I sat…naked before the Lord going with the flow of his thoughts, but I wrapped in a towel not trusting these computer cameras.  I smiled and waved at the camera in case anyone  was looking.

Here's an on the side technological tip I learned the hard way.  If you are face timing (not sure about skyping) the recipient of your computer/phone call can push something and take pictures of you.  Our son has taken some very unflattering pics of us in our animated calls with the grands!  We are always making silly faces, acting goofy, etc.  Ok, back to the spiritual lesson.  :-)

This devotional actually makes the sixth scenario God gave me that day, for there is a good lesson in training ourselves to follow the promptings of the Spirit.  There are times we need to stop, drop and pray. Also there are times we need to stop, listen and obey.

Go near and listen to all that the Lord our God says, Then tell us whatever the Lord our God tells you. Will will listen and obey.   Deuteronomy 5:27

Warning Signs



May 14

While tossing the breakfast dishes (ha, be real Boo…it was just a banana peel and a cup) in the dishwasher and trash, I noticed our fountain outside was low on water and starting to make a grinding noise.  I was already running late, but ignoring this deficiency could put an added strain on the motor and burn the whole thing out, so I grabbed a pitcher and went out to refresh the fountain.  It began to whistle a happy tune and spewed forth happy, dancing water!

That grinding noise was a warning sign for me to make a correction.  BINGO, HELLO!  Doesn't God send us those sort of signs in our own lives?
Has He ever told you:
You are putting a strain on life and full of anxiety by trying to control this situation.
You are sick because you are working too long.  I created a day of rest for a reason.
You just had a flat tire, because you are headed in a very wrong direction. Stop, turn around.
Your bank account is depleted.  You might want to evaluate the difference of needs and wants.


The NIV references 112 verses related to warnings.  Here are a few.
Yikes!
The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them along with Korah, whose followers died when the fire devoured the 250 men. And they served as a warning sign.  Numbers 26:10

Listen to the love of your life…your wife.
Saul sent men to David's house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, warned him, "If you don't run for your life tonight, tomorrow you'll be killed."   1 Samuel 19:11

Hmm, guess most of us are somewhere between  a youth and a king.  I could say more on this one, but the NSA is monitoring me.
Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.
Ecclesiastes 4:13

I can't wait to meet Noah!  Love this kind of faith.
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.
Hebrews 11:7

Had to through this in after a week of running into divisive people!
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.  Titus 3:11

You Are a Mother To Me

The four kids my mother loved.  (I'm the baby.)
May 13
A tug on my heart came, as I read the words of a friend whose only child has turned away.  Her grace, her beauty, her smile make her such a delight to be around.  The thought flashed into my mind, "You are a mother to me." Two other friends, who have never had children, entered my thoughts.  They are such a delight to me and fill voids that were left when my mother died.
A mother is unconditional love; a mother is there. A mother laughs with you, cries with you, directs your path and takes you for an ice cream cone on the tough days.
Thank God for the people he puts in our lives to love us and just be there when our mothers are gone or when their lives are in such a state, that they are unable to show the love we  need.

A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17 

Take time to list and thank God for the mother substitutes you have had.

Real Life Happens at 3



May 12

Our three year old grandson is tasting the trials of real life. He has been forced to give up his pacifier and now the diapers must go and the training pants come on.  It's interesting how differently things are viewed as a mother and a grandmother.  I kept my security blankie (actually it was one of my grandmother's nylon nightgowns) at her house until she died when I was sixteen!  I'll have to come up with some empathy actions for this little fellow.

Beside our grandson's bed is a story Bible and I pray that in real life he never gives his love up of going to bed reading a Bible story!


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33 

God's Girls-The Helpers!

 My mother and our daughter above...
my mother in law and our daughter.

May 10-11
Julie, Kara, Karol, Jane, Pam, Margaret, Pam, Peggi, Joan, Joanie, Sandy, Betsy, Karen, Ellen, Valerie, Beth, Dora, Michelle, Suzanne, Judy, Judy, Ellie, Joyce, Stephanie, Patti, Debbie, Debbie, Pam, Linda, Paige, Gladys, Jaime, Terry, Teri, BettyAshton, Mallory, Jenna, Travis, Heather, Trenda, Beverly, Betty, Jennifer, Jennie, Nikki, Lisa, Laura, Nancy, Diane, Kathy, Megan, Heidi, Stacy, Rosalie, Cathy, Dib, Kenzie, Barbara, Sue, Holly, Bonnie, Helen, Paula, Barb, Susan, Vicki, Fran, Connie, Cheryl, Debbie, Donna, Donna, Marcy, Kaye,   Penny, Gretchen, Judy, June, TK, Kitty,  Shannon, Tina, Stacy, Meg, Joyce, Ann, Pat, Mary Anne, Suzy, Lynne, Tracy, Betty, Marsha, Nancy, Maggie, Faith, Anne Lee, Jane, Becky, Julie, Elizabeth, Tallulah, Sarah Belle, Pam, Blaire, Brooke, Helen, Danielle, Andrea,  Ashley, Shelley, Ann, Mary, Lori, Elisabeth, Andrea, Val, Sandi, Patti, Celah, Stephanie, Janice, Judy, Jan, Julie, Katie, Katey, Tara, Lori, Jackie, Denise, Lisa, Kay, Mary Francis, Moyra, Venita, Ravelle, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy, Ellen, Ellia, Holly, Erin Elizabeth, Amelia, Liz, Sandra, Sondra, Beth, Page, Mary, Susan, Susan, Alice, Kathy,Jenny, Lynn, Elaine, Eleanor , Agnes, Robin, Dawn, Kerrie, Mitzi,Meg,Tammy, Tammy, Lynnea, Carol, Darci, Crissie, Kim, Ginger, Alison, 
Prayers of thanksgiving for some fellow mothers began flowing out of my heart this morning, but as the  names flashed through my mind I became equally compassionate for some friends I love who have never given birth and started to pray for them, giving thanks for how much richer my life is with them  in it…Rachel, Trish, Claire, Phyllis, Linda, Edna, Maggie, Kelly, Tess, Stephanie, Mandy, Carolyn, Tiffany, Nicole, Lauren, Maggie, Taylor, Emily, Julia, Cindy, Florence, Ruby, Annie, Kim, 
The list of friends who had lost children was next, along with the mothers and grandmothers who have gone from this earth.

There has been a peace at the end of this process and it has come from my current study of Divine Design by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassain.  God has always had a plan in place with the end purpose of bringing him glory and bringing as many people as possible to a saving grace through Christ.
Kassian writes this about women…"Yes, God created women to be soft responders, but He also expects us to make wise, intentional, God informed choices about what we respond to. God doesn't want His girls to be wilting, weak-willed, wimpy women.  He doesn't violate our personalities.  And He doesn't want us to be responsive to the wrong things."  She gives the example of Eve responding to the trap of the serpent.
So wherever we are today, let's be thankful we are God's girls and keep looking longingly for what He's up to with our lives.

Ha, Ha!  I just said to my husband. "What's a good mother's verse to use? I'm tired."  (Meaning wanting assistance.) He laughed and said, "Im tired."  2 Boo 4:26

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Genesis 2:18  

To all you helpers… I love you.



Where People Go

May 9
Last night my husband got home later than usual, because they had an open house at the school where he works.  Walking through the doors he commented, "I doubt many of your peers are sitting in front of a television watching the NFL draft, as you are." So what was my intrigue?

For one, I enjoy college football. (Not the NFL.) My husband played at the University of North Carolina in the 70's and UNC has had a very talented TE (tight end), Eric Ebron, who hoped to be drafted.  Eric made sure it was a special day, draft or no draft.  While in New York City, he proposed to his girlfriend atop the Empire State building just hours before the draft!  :-)  What a guy.


Here's another part of the process that interests me. There where you go aspect. These talented young athletes receive multiple college scholarship offers and contemplated with their parents or high school coaches, which school might be the best fit for them.  While scholarship athletes are being bought in a sense, and they have a commitment to carry out for college if they want to have their education paid for, they have a choice in where they are going.  In the NFL draft, you are sitting waiting to be owned by one team.
In the case of Greensboro, NC born, Eric Ebron, Detroit will now be his home.  He was the 10th pick overall in the draft.  A huge accomplishment.  My maternal brain starts wondering things like: how far from home these young men will be, if they are leaving Christian fellowship they've been plugged into, will they fall into financial despair or disrepair with all the money that is being thrown at them?

As I awakened this morning, thinking about this process which continues into Saturday, the idea of where people go related to eternity came to mind.  We are all headed somewhere and our eternal resting place is our choosing. The Head Coach has recruited us since he created us.  Will we accept the call?

Check out these verses related to where Jesus told the disciples he was going.

Jesus answered, "Even it I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But yo have no idea where I come from or where I am going." John 8:14

That's how I felt watching the suspense of the draft last night!  :-)  Listen to how Thomas replied to Jesus' announcement.
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
John 14:5

Praise God we live in a time and have the written Word, so that we can know how to follow Jesus and get to where we want to be for all eternity.

Here's a real comforting comment which God had told Jacob in a dream, after Abraham had sent his son off on a great adventure, to establish his home elsewhere.
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.   Genesis 28:15

Lord, the paths we take may never surprise you.  They may disappoint you, but they never surprise you.  You are fully aware of what waits for us at every turn.  I pray for these football players in America who are stepping up to the next level. For those who know and love You, keep them steadfast, committed and useful tools for your kingdom.  For those who don't, surround them with believers and soften their hearts for a message that will change them in greater ways than the money they are about to receive!  In Jesus' Name. Amen

The Consequence

The first rose of summer at Shiloh.
May 8
Our pastor continued to step on toes as he made his second statement Sunday.
"Most of our pain is a consequence of our sin, not a trial."
Yikes, ouch, oooo, so uncomfortable.  The categories of suffering were reeled off.
Spiritual suffering.  It is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God.  1 Peter 2:19
Divine suffering. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.   1 Peter 4:14
But then came the discomfort.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 1 Peter 4:15
Just as we were getting comfortable in our seats, thinking we didn't fit into any of those categories our eyes were opened to the suffering we bring upon ourselves. Murder = hateful thoughts. Thieves = those who steal time from their employers may end up losing their jobs. Those stealing away the interests of their spouse, may find their spouse no longer interested in them.  The categories and activities of sinful behavior, which try to captivate our lives every day are endless as are the consequences they birth.  And then the boom lowered, as he stated that our meddling behavior brings about extremely unfortunate consequences in our lives.

We are always looking for ways to comfort ourselves and others.  Maybe repentance is the actual solution to peace and comfort.
Give God the glory…we need to get over ourselves and look for the greater purpose.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trail you are suffering; as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13

If You Want Me To

May  7
Our pastor gave a knock it out of the park sermon on: "God is in control of the good and the bad" last Sunday.  He forewarned the congregation they might not like some of his statements, but to please hear him out.  Two starter verses:
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.  Psalm 115:3
I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.   Isaiah 45:5-7

#1 God has a purpose for suffering.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, all himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  1 Peter 5:10

These are Boo thoughts that follow:  We are here at our training camp, being shaped and formed for our eternal home.  Some of the biggest and best lessons I've learned and some of the times I've felt the deepest love from God were in times of great suffering.  I'm a work in progress. God will have his way with me."

Our pastor said, "God cannot be described with human words. We are limited by space and time, God is not. A day is coming that our human brains cannot comprehend. We cannot fathom what God has in store for us. "

The morning after pondering all these thoughts, this song, which I'd never heard before came on the radio.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVYRc7LtvUA

Totally Trustworthy

Today we pray with an attitude of trust that God will lead our surgeon to remove all the cancer cells from my husband's forehead.
May 6
I received an assignment from a spiritual formation group, which I'm involved in, to meditate on a scripture each day this week and ask God what he has for me to learn from that particular verse. The next instruction is to turn the verse into a prayer.  The verse I selected yesterday came from Sarah Young's devotional book Jesus Calling.
Young writes, "Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy.  Come to me with confident expectation."
The statement really was timely as I had felt a trust had been betrayed by someone this past weekend.  I'd decided to tackle the issue by "praying it, not saying it" and moving on with confident expectation that God would work all things together for good.

The verse: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95:2

The catch is to come to God with thanksgiving before he delivers a positive outcome.  We come before Him in this manner, because he is totally trust worthy.

The prayer: Lord, find me faithful to come before you in thanksgiving, no matter what I face. May my heart always sing out to you!  In Jesus' name. Amen 

  


What's in it for Me?




May 5

Say what Lord?  "What's in it for Me?" was God's response to one of my prayer requests. It caught me off guard, until I reflected on the verse which came up during the ending conversation in our neighborhood Bible Study.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Colossians 3:23 

Would our prayer requests change, if each time we evaluated…."How will the answer to this prayer bring God glory?"

Again and again the reality that this life is not about me, but has a much grander perspective beyond my  comprehension, has been coming to mind.  We are not expected to grasp the ways of God, but we are to continue to seek him.  In the seeking I continue to learn deep truths.

At our granddaughter's 3rd birthday party this weekend, the theme was "Frozen" a recent Disney hit. The theme song is titled "Let it Go!"  One day God will call to us and we will let this life this earthly life go and enter into the Glory of God's presence and realize, it all really is about Him!


Comfort


May 3-4
The plea for prayer came as our daughter decided her now three year old son needed to give up his Wubbies.  (Pacifiers with a small stuffed animal on the end.)  Creatively she snipped off the pacifier part, and told him they had worn out, but he could still have the stuffed animal. The tears came pouring out and he began to suck on the stuffed trunk of an elephant.  "Gross!" our daughter texted.  Then came the information from friends, who have walked this road before her, that it usually takes three days of tears until they accept this heart break and are able to go to sleep without the pacifier. I texted her back that I was guessing the three years of comfort those pacifiers had brought to bedtime and a little boy's broken heart for various reasons and "boo boos" was well worth the three days of rough, tough, bedtime and nap times.

This episode ensued on the exact same day that I was tearful over the loss of my father.  Talking tearfully to our adopted daughter I said, I'd concluded that despite the pit in the stomach feeling of grief I was incurring, it was definitely worth the 56 years of love from a godly father which had brought about these feelings.

I am so thankful, this grandchild mentioned above is being raised in a home where he is being taught o he one true source of comfort, that surpasses all others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
2 Corinthians 1: 3

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
Psalm 119:50

 May your unfailing love be my comfort.
Psalm 119:76 

Too Valuable to Use?


May 2

Spring cleaning is a lot of work. We are blessed to have some beautiful china patterns, because that was a hobby of my father's.  Putting away my winter china, I was getting ready to take out an everyday pattern that I've had since we were first married.  Then I looked at a lovely pattern, which was my grandmother's and thought, "I rarely use this because of how valuable it is."

Bong!  The thought crossed my mind that that is how some people look at prayer. They save it for critical times, as if there is a limit to how many times they can access God.

Everyday we will be using the pretty pattern this spring and we will also be treasuring the value of prayer and daily appreciating its value as well.

Pray without ceasing!
1 Thessalonians 5:17

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: 
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 
And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him.  
1 John 5:14-15

David had a heart for the Lord and a prayer connection which exemplified "real life".  Again and again in the Psalms he writes of his prayer mode saying…"I cried out."  In Psalm 66:20 he states:
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! 

God created prayer as a means of fellowship and communication.
Whether you see it as a perk or a privilege of our faith, it's intended to be used often.
Our prayers are valuable, but our calls are not limited!

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16 

Lessons are Pouring Forth


May 1

One of our daughters called on my father's birthday to just love on me and listen to my tears.  She said, "Isn't there someone you could be with today? Are you going to Roanoke?"  I explained the weather was horrendous with terrible storm warnings and I thought I was really meant to be with God. I told her truthfully in the sorrowful state I was hearing God over and over again.

I had gotten out some paint to do some touch ups on walls where the grandchildren had left their marks and also to test a color for a stairwell gallery to display some of this daughter's art work.  Sitting on the top stair I noticed a piece of shoe molding had come loose and it appeared one of my tapestry needles had fallen down in a crevice.  There was such a spiritual lesson in what followed next.  I set forth in a valieant recovery effort for this little instrument.  Taking off the shoe molding I attempted to snag the needle with a knife. That wasn't working well and I was wishing I had a magnet.  Even though the weather was awful, I contemplated going to the hardware store to BUY a magnet. (Which by the way would cost more than the tapestry needle.)  Diligently, I continued to try to snag the tiny piece of metal with my steak knife and success came forth, but it wasn't a tapestry needle. It was a random piece of metal of no apparent use.  There was lots of JUNK in that crevice surrounding it...dust, old Moses hair, paint chips, etc. And the lesson poured forth.
How often do we see people seeking for something they think of is value?  Maybe we ourselves did this for a long time.  We bypassed Christ and his "free gift" for various reasons and were willing to taste of anything else. We waded through a lot of junk striving for something that in the end was of little value compared to the riches found in Christ.
Praise God, we live (for now) in a country where the Bible is readily available online, in most every bookstore, and in most church pews.  The only digging we need to do is within the pages of this great book.  Love, freedom, forgiveness, truth, wisdom, comfort, peace, knowledge, understanding and grace will jump off those pages into our hearts if ask Jesus into our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to be our magnet to pull these gifts from the pages into our lives.