Madness to Gladness



September 30
Yesterday, in a Beth Moore study, she used the phrase Madness to Gladness to describe what Paul was explaining in 1 Thessalonians 3:5-6
For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.  But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. 

Our son and his wife went from madness to gladness  yesterday.  Our daughter in law began having contractions a week early. A friend of theirs, who works out at the Cross-fit gym they own, is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital and told them to come by and she'd check on things.  As she was checking our daughter in law began to bleed and had a placenta abruption and was rushed to the operating room for an emergency section.  They gladness came when the doctor safely delivered a 9 lb 3 oz baby girl!  So I'm off to snuggle another one!

Harvest

September 29
As long as the earth endures, 
seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.
Genesis 8:22 

There is a slight chill in the air. Bring on the colors of fall!  Bring on the reminder that God is still on his throne and bringing about change on the earth and in our lives as well.

#He'sstillworkinonme

Nothing Foolish About That




The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God
but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them
because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
                                                                1 Corinthians 2:14  
September 27-28
Ha, not sure if what persuades a grandmother's heart is always from the Spirit, but it's an unexplainable urge at times.  We made a mad dash to VA Beach for some sweet baby love and there is nothing foolish about that!

A friend read this scripture the other day and said she thought of me; 
thinking I'm rather nutty when it comes to Jesus.

If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God;
if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
For Christ's love compels us…
2 Corinthians 5:13-14

The Intent

September 26
For  three hours I plugged into Thessalonians.  I was so exited and wanted to share with someone. I began writing an email to some groups I'm involved with currently.  Deleting it, I realizing they would probably find me nuttier than usual.

I may have mentioned, I've been listening to a chapter a day on audio as read by Max McLean. Additionally,  I've pulled up a John Piper sermon each day related to the specific chapter I'm studying. I'm learning so much I could bust. It's better than a college course.  All the while my plants are thirsty, my ironing is towering to the ceiling and I can no longer blame the dust on the fall air.

Related to 1 Thessalonians 2 (which is flat out amazing) John Piper wrote:

"This message is intended to lead you down paths that will deepen and strengthen and intensify and lengthen your joy-by pointing you to the work of God, the word of God, and the ways of God.

And one of the ways of God that leads deeper into this kind of joy is the pathway of self-giving. I'm not talking about giving your money, though the happiest and healthiest saints are always the most generous. I'm talking about giving your self, or giving your soul.  That's what this message is about."

May the joy of the Lord in each of you be deepened, strengthened, intensified and lengthened today, while you are working for God, reading His Word and walking in His ways!  In Jesus' Name, Amen

A Foursome

September 25
I took a challenge from my spiritual discipline group yesterday to listen to a chapter from the Bible a day, for the next week. Max McLean's voice,  on www.Biblegateway.com , makes that easy to do. Since I'm currently studying Thessalonians,  the time appropriate choice was to apply this commitment to those two books of the Bible.
Delving into chapter 1 I took verses 2-4 and upped the challenge a bit.  I committed to do these four things in relationship to my sisters loved by God in this group.

1) Always thank God for all of them
2) Continually mentioning them in my prayers
3) Remember….their work produced by faith and their labor prompted by love
4) Encourage them to endure with hope for the sake of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

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 1:2-4 

Doing a New Thing

September 24
You are probably familiar with Isaiah 43:19 which says:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Awesome verse!  Well, this morning I did a new thing, in the area of spiritual development.  I love how God sends me on these treasure hunts, when I'm digging in the Word.  Now I can't even remember why I opened Biblegateway, but the verse of the day caught my attention.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 10:35-36

www.Biblegateway.com has a new layout, so as I was searching for a link to get this verse in context I noticed a megaphone icon and clicked on it and the entire book of Hebrews 10 was read to me out loud by Max McLean in his amazing voice!  What a fabulous chapter it is!  Treat yourself to this message from the Lord today!  You will be blessed! 

I haven't checked this out, but my guess would be maybe every passage is available on audio!  So glad I got to do a "new thing" today!


Affectionately Desired

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us.
1 John 4:16

September 23
Beth Moore, in her study Children of the Day, states: "You can't call yourself unwanted."
In the third session of this study she goes into six important maternal and paternal parenting qualities God exhibits over us.  The second one is my favorite.  We are affectionately desired  by God.  God loves us and desires a relationship with us.

Moore went on to describe Jesus waiting in our bedroom for us to get up each morning and take note of  his presence.  Wake up, wake up. I'm here, talk to me!

Makes me think of baby sitting a few weeks ago for our 3 and 5 year old grandchildren, who are early risers. One morning, at 5:15, I heard their little feet pitter patter into the room where I was sleeping.  My eyes were NOT ready to open, so I laid there thinking they might wander back to their room, but instead I felt little fingers gently poking in my back…"Mama Boo, Mama Boo, it's time to get up!"

Before you rolled out this morning, did you say, "Jesus, I'm here! What's up for today?"

Here's a fun thought…read Micah 7:18

Who is a God like you, 
who pardons sins and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. 

There are some of us who might want to say…Lord, have mercy and let me sleep in today!  :-)
Get up and run into the arms and activities of one who loves you perfectly.

When you are feeling blue just remember you are AFFECTIONATELY DESIRED.
It might make you blush instead of blue!

A Skunk's Tale


September 22
The day was approaching when seven people from our church were going to be baptized here at Shiloh.  The beach had been weeded, mums and pumpkins placed around, but prayers had not been said around the property for protection.  Recalling a bee attack from the week before, my husband set out in the night to pour gasoline down the bee hole.  With flashlight in hand, he shined the light towards where the hole was located and jumped back at the site of a skunk with its head stuck down in the hole.

Years ago, we had a dead fish stinking up our shoreline two days before our daughter's wedding, but I have the feeling a skunk firing off on my husband and the baptism area would be even more disgusting for people to smell.  Fortunately, the skunk just wandered off, my husband got about his bee business and God delivered a glorious day for the baptisms.

Let's take time this week to ask God where we need to shine his light on the path of life, so we don't get in a stinking mess!  :-)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105

 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
Proverbs 4:18 

Two Voices

September 20-21
"How do you know God is talking to you?"  Have you been asked this?
Do you ever battle with two voices? Can you see the image, sometimes portrayed in TV or movies, where the devil is on one shoulder and the angel on another?

Traveling back from Nashville, I encountered two voices, and followed one which took me down the wrong path. Immediately, I thought of the discernment that is needed in life.

I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
Psalm 119:125

Check out Paul's challenge here in Ephesians 1:15-19 from The Message translation.
That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you-every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks.  BUt I do more than thank.  I ask-ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory-to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him-endless, boundless strength!

The route for home was on my car GPS.  Yes, after 17 years of traveling this path, I know the way, but I do like to see the miles and minutes of arrival tick down.  Needing a place to stop and walk, I used my phone GPS to enquire as to a safe place to stop and do this…you know, like Marshalls or TJMaxx.  :-)
I took the exit recommended by the phone, but then the car GPS told me to go in a direction, trying to get me back on the interstate. I obeyed, not making the distinction between the two and forgetting the car GPS was still on the job.  The phone GPS gal pops back on and I realized the conflict.

Godly discernment takes concentration and a knowledge of the directions in which God might lead us.
Biblical knowledge plays a key role, as God would never direct us onto a path which goes against his Word.

Praying daily for discernment is a good thing.  Too bad there isn't a capsule we can swallow that guarantees discernment!

The Solidarity of Suffering



September 19
"The Solidarity of Suffering" is the title in my Beth Moore workbook today.  It often feels like we are so alone in our suffering, but God promises that he never leaves us.
Yesterday's Beth Moore lesson had me write down that we are to "live continually aware of God's presence." Hmmm, continually?  That would mean in the good times and the sad.

"Enoch walked with God 300 years." Genesis 5:22  Something must have been going right.

So often, in the onset of suffering, we panic or zone out.  I'm famous for this.  It's like Novocain coats my body and mind and I'm numb.

Our daughter opened her Bible study to this exercise yesterday.
Objectives:
"Realize that there is no glory without suffering; there is no resurrection without crucifixion, and there is no life without death.
Grapple with what it means to embrace suffering, crucifixion, and death in your life.
Practice the skill of identifying an area of suffering, struggle, or hardship in your life and asking the questions:
"What is God up to in my life through this situation?"
"What does it look like to take the pain I am experiencing to Jesus?"
How does He want to bring forth resurrection life through this situation and call forth my glory to His glory?"

Quite honestly, I thought that was a little harsh for her to have to handle, but God knows her heart and the way to healing and she knows God at a depth that allows her to trust him.

The questions take us back to the old familiar…."It's all about Jesus and God getting the glory, not about us."  Wait, wait!  Don't tune out.  For when we can sincerely get to this place, the getting is really, really good.  Resurrection life occurs in the solidarity of our suffering.

Downward Spiral

 The marble maze we made this morning.


September 17-18
Sometimes life feels like a downward spiral and we wonder what is at the end.  As the boys and I made this marble maze this morning, I reflected on all the twists and turns that life takes.  Our daughter has just had her second miscarriage in five months and it HURTS!
Yes, we know lots of women have them.
Yes, we know she is blessed to have two children.
Yes, we know that God is sovereign and we trust him.
Yes, we believe that life begins at conception and therefore we long to know this little life that didn't come to be here on earth.

Once again I'm in a study of Thessalonians and as I've been here grieving with my child I had to read…
We are not trying to pleases men but God, who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4

Whew, Beth Moore writes about how, after being striped, beaten and imprisoned, Paul and Silas kept on keeping on with their boldness for Christ.  Today, I almost found myself saying, "Please don't put yourself through this anymore. Why don't you look into adoption?"  But it's not my story. It's not my test. (Well, I've had to do a heart check the past few days.) It's not my walk with Jesus, it is my daughter's and I love watching what God is always weaving together in her life for His good, because she is faithful to let him use her.  She knows there is a bigger purpose.

This afternoon, nap time has come and I've been able to get into the Word.  1 Thessalonians 2:8 states:
We cared so much for you (Paul addressing his fellow believers) that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because  you had become dear to us.

It's a blessing to watch the body of Christ love on this sweet family.  This is how God intended for life to look when the downward spirals show up.







Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to thyself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:22-24 

September 16
 Some days we just need to know this passage in Lamentations  is true!

As the Crow Flies





September 15
One of my favorite sisters in Christ said to me one day, "You just see God in everything don't you?"
I do think there are lessons to be learned all around us.  Watching a group of crows in our yard the other day had me thinking.
There was one picking away at the berries in a dogwood tree and three others were posted below the tree on the ground.  As soon as I moved to my bedroom window, they squawked and took flight.
Standing perfectly still, I thought they would return and allow me to get a picture, but they were obviously aware of my presence.  Hours later, they were back again and I realized if I stayed about 8 feet back from the window they were not aware of me and I could shoot a couple pictures. These birds were sticking together and definitely on the alert.

What was the lesson?  It is important to stick together with like minded friends, who will warn us when danger is approaching.

There are many Bible battles recorded where the soldiers had to trust their leaders and those standing guard. The Israelites and the Red Sea, Gideon, Joshua at Jericho.  Here in another battle in the book of Joshua the Lord is giving specific instructions:

"Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai.  For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai….Listen carefully….All of you be on the alert."  Joshua 8:1, 4

Thank God for the friends who have your back!  CAW CAW  or is that Call, Call!

Crack me up…I was traveling out of state today and used Siri for directions and I kid you not she said, "It is 30 miles away AS THE CROW FLIES!"

Get Your Joy On

This one always has her joy on!
September 13-14

Whew, yesterday, I had one of those days where joy doesn't come naturally, it comes by faith.
While bearing some sad news for someone dear to my heart, it was tough to get my joy on.
We had a precious father/son combo here at Shiloh using the property for what is called Passport to Purity.  A five gallon water jug burst and leaked through to a bedroom ceiling creating quite a mess.  Add to the my dermatology appointment and nineteen stingy frozen spots and I was at the point of telling Jesus he'd have to get my joy on!

With the days events I had not written a daily note of encouragement to the ladies doing Bible study here this fall. Opening the Beth Moore lesson I had to chuckle at the words facing me on page 27 of Children of the Day.

"Joy in hardship is weird…People who retain delight while walking through demoralizing circumstances are not normal.  They are either delusional, detached, or, in the case of the new Thessalonian believers, engulfed by the Holy Spirit."

Oh, Lord, I want to be engulfed by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name. Amen!

Paul and disciples had been booted from the region for preaching Jesus. Look at how they exited…

So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.   Acts 13:51-52

I Know Your Deeds

September 12
The trifecta has struck in my life once again.  Since last Sunday's sermon, "I know your deeds," from Revelations 3:8 has popped up three times in my quiet times.  My first thought was…"Do I think I'm hiding something from you, Father? Search my heart."

Our pastor shared a cute insight…he said the angel of the church in these references in Revelation
means the message was being given to the pastor.  He chuckled at the thought of being referred to as an angel.

The reference of "I know your deeds," made me think back to a note I'd written one of our grandchildren recently.  After reflecting on the visit, I felt it was important to write this child and tell him I was aware of all the wonderful ways he helped this ole grandma, while I was there.  Sometimes it's a nice boost to have our deeds recognized.

God may have something totally different for you in this passage today. I've included a couple more of the verses in this chapter, which encourage us to keep on keeping on in a very real and evil world.

May God lift you up today if you are down and if you are up, may he use you to lift another!
Love, Boo

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true,  who hold the key of David.  What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.  I know your deeds.  See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name…Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.  I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
Revelation 3: 7-8, 10-11

Gray Hairs




September 11
Funny, I started looking for some pictures of gray haired friends and realized they all dye their hair!
I did come across one of my father and one of Deke's parents who wore/wear their gray hair proudly!
Maybe I am supposed to type up this verse and take it to the nursing home in our community and take photos of those with lovely gray hair.



Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he,
I am he who will sustain you. 
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Isaiah 46:4 

Granted a Pardon


September 10
This morning I received the above photo and an explanation.  This individual had disobeyed his parents and was about to receive the consequences…a spanking.  Recalling a story told at our home, where one of our sons was in a similar predicament and went to his room and put on multiple pairs of underwear, this young fellow followed suit. The creativity of his actions caused his parents to laugh and issue a pardon THIS TIME for his disobedience.

Whew!  We have received a HUGE pardon for our sins haven't we.
Let us be grateful as we step into today!

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives 
the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

 Micah 7:18-19

One Up



September 9
Having been an elementary school teacher and a mom, I've heard many a braggadocios statement…
"I'm faster than you!  May ball went further than yours! I scored more than you!  I got an 'A' and you only got a 'B'."  Babysitting one night, I heard such a comment and instead of the normal reprimand of "That's not very nice." I posed this question.  "Do you think Jesus ever said to the disciples, "WOW!  I caught a lot more fish tonight than you did."  A contemplative, "No," was the reply.  My follow up, "We should all try to be more like Jesus."

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.  Romans 15:5  


She daydreams of a place where the coffee is strong and there is nowhere she has to be.

September 8
Our daughter, Jiewon, posted the above attachment on her blog.  Flying back to Paris a week ago, she began living that very daydream.  For the next year she will work on the completion of her doctorate in French Literature.  Later, she emailed to say a good friend had arrived. They are enjoying walks and sitting in cafes to work together.  They also were heading out Sunday to check out a new church.

Whether you are in good ole Moneta or Paris, France we all need godly friends in our lives with whom we can walk, break bread, drink coffee, and worship the Lord.

That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up.
They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together,
the common meal, and the prayers.
Acts 2:42

Everybody's Doing It

September 6-7
Coincidences often blow me away. Today, I had gone down to the dock to read more out of Crazy Love.  Chan was teaching on signs of being a lukewarm Christian.  Reading, "Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.  They desire to fit in…"  I heard this comment from a young man on the above house boat, which had cruised into our cove. "Everybody's doing it."
That comment fit right in with what I'd just read on the behavior Chan spoke of where we are sometimes caught up in the desire to fit in.  WILD!

Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers throated the false prophets.
Luke 6:26

Our Children's Children




September 5
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, 
and his righteousness with their children’s children.
Psalm 103:17


Lord, 
Thank You for these precious lives. 
I pray that our children and grandchildren will fear you, love you, obey you, serve you and praise you.  
May I take seriously the responsibility a grandparent has to pray for these offspring continually and be an example of joy in the Lord for them.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

A Day to Praise


Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.
Thank You Father for the safe delivery of grandchild #7.
We love him!
September 4th

An Average Day


September 3
Yesterday a few thinks on my mind were... I noticed that the nail polish was coming off two of my toes and I'm out of town without touch up polish.  The temperature was over 100 and a dread of the day was how many times I'd have to be out in the heat and I had an emphasis on being sure the grandkids stayed hydrated. (I did pray for construction workers in the area.)
Then I picked up Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love, which had me challenged spiritually the moment my eyes hit the introduction and it has held my interest right into chapter two where I just read:
"On an average day we live caught up in ourselves.  On an average day we don't consider God very much.  On an average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor."

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?   You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  James 4:13-14

Even after reading that, I didn't turn off the mundane of the daily schedule and sit before the Lord.
The only contact I had had with God was flash prayers for the needs of others.  My morning had started with telling Him how much I loved him and the children and I singing, This is the day the Lord has made, but that was the extent of the depth.
What if it had been may last day and I'd given Him no time.  :-(
Chan writes, "We tend to live our lives as though our lives would go on forever."

Lord, help us make today be more than average. Help us make it about You and giving You glory!  When we put our heads on our pillows may we say, "Today I saw the Lord at work!" In Jesus' Name, Amen

Would You Rather..


September 2
Lately, I've been playing Would you rather? with our five year old grandson.
The first two options yesterday were…Would you rather be thrown into a pool of trash cans or a pool of alcohol?  I inquired as to what kind of alcohol, stating that wine can really stain.  He clarified it was the kind in the doctor's office that stings!  :-)  

Right back at him, I tossed the options of sitting in a bathtub of marshmallows or one of cole slaw?  He needed clarification on the cole slaw!  Marshmallows quickly won out!

On August 25th I read Psalm 25 and almost every day since, I have gone back to read these words again.  I'd rather pour God's Word over myself than pour myself into a good novel.

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
I trust in you, do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, 
but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God my Savior 
and my hope is in you all day long.  
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love for they are from of old. Ps. 25:1-5