Trust

August 31
It's always such a privilege to get to host the senior class, from the school where my husband works, for a retreat day.  To hear the hearts of these students and see the love they have for one of another is a blessing.

Worry of the unknown is always a prayer requests...colleges, careers, leaving home...those things will all unfold in one way or another and they see the clock ticking away.

There were two great quotes last week from students.

"It's easy not to worry if you have no thoughts in your head!"  Well, there's a plan!

"You don't know everything, you just have to trust."

Two of the most popular scripture verses on our trails for this group were:






Short Lived


August 30
Some things in life are short lived, one of those is how many years your granddaughter thinks it is fun to dress alike!  We have matching bathing suits/rash guards!

Today she shared the sweetest story about the scripture memory they do as a family.  She said, they were working on the verse "In the beginning God..."  We say, "In the beginning God created..."and then say each of our names.  Then we say...."In the beginning God created EVERYTHING!

The years you have to captivate your children/grandchildren with your faith can be short lives, but placing the Word of God in their hearts will stay forever!  So go for it.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:1

Times Running Out



August 29
Summer whites!  The old rule of wearing no whites after Labor Day is out the door, along with most fashion rules from my childhood, but it's still engrained in my head, so I've been wearing white shorts or pants all week long dreading putting my bright summer clothes away.

Everyday,  I'm trying to venture down to the water and enjoy a swim, just because I know time is running out and the water temps will begin to drop and a chill in the air will keep a quick splash from being less inviting.

We hate to see a long awaited vacation end, we wonder if we will have the opportunity to take advantage of a fabulous sale or get to use a valued coupon before it expires.  Schools and colleges are back in session and deadlines will be set for papers and projects, students will pull all nighters because...time is running out!

There is another deadline facing each of us. One of eternal value. Whether our hearts stops beating and our loved ones say good-bye or whether the rapture occurs and in the twinkling of an eye those who belong to the Lord are taken up with him into the heavens, time is running out to make that decision.

Yesterday, fifty-two people were baptized at the 4H center here at Smith Mt Lake yesterday!  They made a life changing decision to tell the world of their faith and follow Jesus in baptism!

If you read these devotionals, more than likely you love Jesus.  If that is the case tell someone today about that love relationship.

"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."
1 Corinthians 15:51-53

"For this reason you also must be ready;
for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will."
Matthew 24:44

Perspective

August 27-28
 The last weekend in August!  Oh, sweet summer of 2016 how quickly you have passed.
I thank God for a sweet granddaughter to spend this next week in the lake with me!

Last month I was asked by a young friend to pray for a sweet family, whose young husband is dying.  It is a beautifully written piece and a reminder, we all are dying, hopefully we are dying to new life.  You won't regret taking the time to allow these words to flow into your heart and my guess is you are praying for someone who may find peace from reading this as well.

https://themessybeautiful.org/2016/08/20/dear-world-why-we-know-this-pain-will-not-be-wasted/

"You see, Chad's story hasn't been altered.  The plans have never changed.  The same God who knit God together in his mother's womb, who called him fearfully and wonderfully made and said all his days were ordained before even one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16), that same God is using the ugly places of this life to complete this fearfully and wonderfully made process.  The same God who said He would work all things together for out good is doing just that!  (Romans 8:28)  Lori Jude

"Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:3

Extended Prayer Coverage

Yum.
Thai Swordfish over Coconut Rice
Has nothing to do with anything, but it was delicious!  :-)

August 26
Not sure if I posted a quote from a Philippa Gregory novel yet, where Queen Kateryn shares her sin of "failure of obedience."  Well, I've come to realize I was guilty of a similar sin Tuesday.

Leaving our local Kroger around 2:15 Tuesday afternoon, I had a strange sense as I approached the back of my car to unload my groceries that I was going to be robbed. This has NEVER happened to me here in good ole Moneta. Checking the parking lot surroundings, there appeared to only be my fellow senior citizens taking advantage of their Tuesday 5% off shopping extravaganza!  The scene from the movie "War Room" immediately came to mind where Miss Clara is being held at knife point in a parking garage and she tells the robber, "In the MIGHTY name of Jesus drop that knife!"  It freaks the guy out so badly that he runs!  The police and the main character, Elizabeth, are shocked over how calm Clara is, but she simply states she trusts God to protect her.  I felt the very same way and was ready to call on the name of Jesus.  Loading up my groceries, I did lock my door right after I closed it, but then went on my way with nary a concern.

When my husband arrived home from work around 6:00 we were curious to see a helicopter flying quite low over our house.  What we didn't know is that the bank which adjoins the Kroger parking lot was robbed around 4:30 that afternoon! The man fled on foot and the police were looking for him.

So, you might wonder, where was my disobedience.  I believe with all my heart that my spirit was alerted to the evil in the area and I should have been praying a broader prayer that went beyond my own circumstances.  Once again I'm reminded it's not always about me personally. My prayer focus should have been for anyone in danger.

You know how we are often awakened in the middle of the night.  My first prayer used to be "Lord, let me go back to sleep."  Now the focus is more on asking the Lord if he wants to speak to me in the quiet of the night.  The other concentration should be on whether or not I am to be praying for someone in danger at that moment.

"For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same
function, so we, who are many, are one in body in Christ, and individual members one of another."
Romans 12:4-5  

So let's keep our hearts cleaned up, seeking forgiveness of our sins, and be willing to pray for one another.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much,"
James 5:16

Thankfully, no one was injured during the robbery. The robber is still on the loose, so let's all pray for  him to turn himself in or for the sheriff's department to apprehend him quickly.

Tickle the Ears of Angels. Make a Joyful Noise!


Out on the boat late one July afternoon, 
I looked up and saw an airplane flying past the moon.
It's the tiny white dot below the moon and to the right.
The magnitude of what God created versus 
what man has made spoke to me of His grandeur.

August 25
Sometime that same week, I read this in Jesus Calling:

"When you Worship Me in spirit and truth, you join with choirs of angels who are continually before My throne.  Though you cannot hear their voices, your praise and thanksgiving are distinctly audible in heaven.  Your petitions are also heard, but it is your gratitude that clears that way to My Heart.  With the way between us wide open, My blessing fall upon you in rich abundance.  The greatest blessing is nearness to Me-abundant Joy and Peace in My Presence.  Practice praising and thanking Me continually throughout this day."  Sarah Young  

At the time I read this we had 22 people staying in the house and I was struggling to make time to worship the Lord. I think I was worshipping eight fabulous grand babies!  Later, I thought, I'm able to get in worship mode on Sunday mornings with 600 people around, I can do this.  In my journal I wrote: "Lord, help me come up with a plan, which allows me time to praise and give thanks and listen intently to Jesus, even when Shiloh has others in the house.

Recently, a friend asked me that if God is all knowing and our futures are plotted out, why do we bother to pray.  My reply is that God created us to be relational beings, particularly when it comes to our relationship with Him and prayer is how that occurs.  Sarah Young makes another impactful point in her entry above.  Our praise and thanksgiving, as well as requests, are audible in heaven.

Oh, how I hope I remember everyday to make a joyful noise by singing praise and give thanksgiving to God, which tickles the ears of angels and all the inhabitants of heaven.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.  God is spirit. and  his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.  John 4:23-24

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  Psalm 100:4

Clip, Snip, Pinch

A geranium about to burst forth.

August 24

Gardening is good for the soul and the soil.  Every time I'm out clipping, snipping and pinching away dead growth I stop to realize it's good to allow God to do that to me as well.  There is so much mess hidden behind the facade of our faces.

One morning, I was pulling away old dead blooms from a gerber daisy plant and underneath, tightly bound, were future blooms waiting for just the right time to stand tall and burst forth with their beauty.

It made me think of the future generations who have so much to offer.  They are hidden behind our lives, watching and learning how to live.  I want them to see the importance of recognizing the dead and diseased areas of our hearts and see us ridding ourselves of these things by confessing them to God and turning from our wicked ways.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness
in the heavenly places."
Ephesians 6:12

Plotting

Going to miss these summer fruits!

August 23
Whew! In a current study on Mark, I've gotten my feathers ruffled as I reflect on all the plotting of the Pharisees.  The dictionary defines plot as:
 "a plan made in secret by a group of people to do something illegal or harmful."

"In order to accuse Him, they were watching Him closely to see whether He 
would heal on the Sabbath...Immediately the Pharisees went out and started 
plotting...how they might destroy Him."
Mark 3:2,6

Pairing the remembrance of this story with our current election year scene makes me heavy hearted.
I hate plotting and it goes on at all levels.  Certainly in the business world, the sports world, and the world of romance.  Also, more uncomfortably because we've probably been privy to it, it's there in our churches, our neighborhoods, the hallways of our schools and sometimes even right across the kitchen table rearing it's ugly head for the purpose of self-gain.

If I could buy a magic potion, it would be one to change the hearts of man.  To rid us of our sinful ways, of self-righteousness and turn our hearts to genuinely loving one another.

Oh wait!  There is such a potion available and it's free!!!!  We just need Jesus to be poured out and welcomed in as the One who can forgive our sins and change our wicked ways.

Wake Up Call

August 22
Let your light shine was an understatement this particular morning.  About 6:25AM, as I was just rousing, the sun hit the mirror on the armoire in our bedroom and it reflected right onto my face!  After a late night of Olympic watching, I had hoped to sleep in, but this silent wake up call had me up and at it realizing I need to get out and let my light shine and not hide it under the covers!

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lame and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it give light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see you good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."  Matthew 5:14-16

Wonderfully Weaving

August 20-21

One more Ruth thought...while this story suffices to be a good read from the simple outcome of joy being bestowed on a couple widows, God is up to so much more.  We see it has a happy ending for Ruth and Naomi, but what God sees in the grand scheme goes so much further.  He sees the family tree of Jesus!  God is so good at wonderfully weaving a gorgeous tapestry.

Discussing God's ways, with a friend over dinner last night we had to remind each other that we can't come close to comprehending the realm of God.

In my Ruth journal I wrote, "I praise You Lord for the magnificent ways You work.  You can take messes and make them marvelous, heartbreak and bring about unending happiness, fear can become freedom to walk and wake without fear. All things are possible with You when we surrender and walk in Your ways.  You began this summer calling me to a Summer of Surrender. While it has been quite painful at times, emotionally and physically, never for a moment have I questioned You were right beside me. Keep weaving our earthly lives in ways that bring You glory and bring others to the  saving knowledge of Christ."

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, 
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28 

New Friends



August 19

This summer I've written to several young girls, while they were away at summer camp. In each letter I encouraged them to be on the look out for new friends that God is placing in their path.  Smith Mountain Lake life provides a similar opportunity as many families come here for the summer or on vacation and have an opportunity to reunite summer after summer with one another.

Watching our grandson make a new friend from our church just thrilled my heart. They were instant buddies!

We are never to old to make new friends!  We just have to open our hearts and allow them in.

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

Here's hoping we each make a new friend today.  Let's pray specifically for students from college age all the way down to day care as they start a new year, asking God to fill them with courage, kindness, and open to hearts willing to welcome new friends into their circle of life.

The Never Ending Story


August 18
Had to laugh during the study I did on Ruth the past few weeks.  After reading the verses where Naomi told Ruth to “wash, put on perfume and her best clothes” before heading to see Boaz, I journaled a challenge to do the same for my husband by the time he came home from work.  Our grandson had been here for nine days and I was a bit bedraggled. That particular day was cold and rainy, yet our grandson and a friend entertained themselves for hours engaging in outdoor nerf wars, fishing and swimming in the lake which was much warmer than the rain drizzled air.  Brrrr! Coming inside we opted for warm showers and our jammies.  Not quite the picture the Bible story had motivated me towards. (With our grandson here, it was not a sexy nighty I donned.)  Ah, maybe another day.

If you've never read Ruth, take the time to do so.  Such a good true story! So often in life we think "the story is over," but God is just getting started on making something new.  For believers, even death does not bring an end to our lives...the glorious life with Christ, the eternal life in heaven is just beginning.


"In Christ, there is no such thing as a story beyond redemption. There is only resurrection, restoration, and rejoicing...take a step back from whatever it is we are trying to control our way out of.  Instead of planning and building, let's sit in the promise of our Redeemer, believing that God is sovereign and His redemption is already ours."  She Reads Truth



"Praise the Lord, who has not left you without a family redeemer today."
Ruth 4:14


Are you in a pit today, seeing no way out or sensing you've reached the end of your story and you feel as if life has little value left?  Remember, you are the child of a King. A King who is always up to good and part of a never ending story!

Lessons from Wild Life #2






"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

August 17
Heading out on our deck to water our plants, I was shocked to see the parsley had been decapitated.
The gate to the deck had been left opened and I considered the possibility that a very daring deer may have maneuvered the steps and come up for a munch.  If so, why had the deer not eating the geraniums, which  they love?  Moving towards the second parsley pot, I noticed it still had a couple sprigs.  Then I saw the cleverly disguised culprit.  A bright green and black striped caterpillar, which blended right in with the parsley stems.  Moving back to the first pot, two more were spotted lying still, fat from their feast.

Our enemies, be they the garden version, spiritual, national or emotional, are usually very clever in their tactics.  We need to stay alert and when under attack, pray for discernment and wisdom, asking God to deliver us from the battle.

"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 

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."
Ephesians 6:17-19

Stepping Stones



August 16
Earlier in the summer I went outside and sat in our rocking chairs under our deck and watched an enormous afternoon thunderstorm blow through.  It was seeing the power of God play out right before my eyes.  Taking this picture of the rain drops bouncing off this stepping stone I pondered how Jesus is our stepping stone to heaven.

Two of our children used to attend Bethlehem Church in Minneapolis.  Many of you may have heard of the extremely insightful preacher/teacher John Piper.  His online ministry is called www.desiringgod.org  Our daughter forwarded me the prayer he gave at a funeral last week for a family of five who attended that church.  They were traveling to a missionary training event in preparation for their missionary assignment to Japan and were all killed in a car accident.  They stepped into heaven.

Speaking with our son the other day he said the television interviews of the parents of this young couple and grandparents of these three little children have be a powerful testimony to the assurance we have in Christ.  Pipers prayer is spot on to how we feel when those we cherish are taken from us way too soon for our liking.

http://www.people.com/article/pals-family-five-dies-car-crash

http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/john-piper-s-funeral-prayer-for-a-family-of-five


 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take
you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place 
where I am going."
John 14:1-4 


Jesus is not only our stepping stone to heaven...he is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Winners


August 15
We've really been enjoying the Olympics this year.  Having our 7 year old grandson with us, who loves sports, made it even more enjoyable.  After playing hard all day, none of us were able to stay up at night, so we taped the games and watched them the next day!  I stayed up both nights for the team and individual all round gymnastics competitions.

Waking up a bit groggy Friday morning I thought...
"I would not have done that if there wasn't a huge chance of the US coming out a winner in the all round gymnastic and so many swimming events."  That thought led me to contemplate the time I spend chasing Jesus and digging deeper into his Word.  If I wasn't convinced through real life experiences that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is sitting on the throne, victoriously in heaven, I wouldn't spend all this time with him.

Jesus Calling had a fabulous entry August 8th about going deep with the Lord.

"I speak to you from the deepest heaven. You hear Me in the depths of your being.  Deep calls unto deep.  You are blessed to hear Me so directly.  Never take the privilege for granted.  The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude. I am training you to cultivate a thankful mind-set.  This is like building your house on a firm rock, where life's storms cannot shake you.  As you learn these lessons, you are to teach them to others.  I will open the way before you, one step at a time.

Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; 
all Your waves and billows have gone over me.
Psalm 42:7

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
 Psalm 95:1

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man
who builds his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew
and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:24-25

Go deep this week!  He's waiting for you!

Thrills


"More waves, faster, go in circles!"
These cousins enjoyed some tubing thrills!

August 13-14
Check out Proverbs 21:17
"You're addicted to thrills?  What an empty life!  The pursuit of pleasure never satisfies."
While we are not to live for thrills, for they do not satisfy, temporary ones are out there.

The Olympics provide some thrilling moments.  
Can you imagine bottling up all the adrenaline poured out at the Olympic games! You'd have a potent potion worth a lot of money!

As a child, Christmas morning was probably the most thrilling day of  the year!  Back in my college days, I was working on my pilot's license and flying planes over the lake and our beautiful mountains was pretty thrilling. Certainly my first teaching job was a thrill! A nail bitingly close college football game has always gotten my heart rate up and excited me.  Watching my boyfriend, get off the plane in Orlando, Florida when he'd fly in from Roanoke for a weekend was truly thrilling. I lived for those weekends together. (Yes, I did marry him.)  Birthing six children, after eight months of anticipation  was total exhilaration. We never knew the sex either, so that added to the excitement.

In the world of academia being acknowledge, placed on the podium, seeing their findings and thoughts in print can be anticipated as the ultimate thrill.

What thrills our hearts changes as we age.

In an interview with Michael Phelps, it was enriching to hear him say that while all these gold medals were amazing, nothing could compare to his beautiful baby boy and fiancĂ©.  Those were the things he cherished now.

For a Christian, experiencing another person coming to the knowledge of Christ as Savior is pretty off the charts exciting!

What thrills your heart?  

For me, I believe with all my heart that the greatest thrill remains.  The thrill of seeing Jesus face to face and realizing the life yet to come is more than we could ever imagine.

Take in 1 Corinthians 2:6-9

"We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it's not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out of date in a year or so.  God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes.  You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest-what God determined as the way to burn out the best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is.  If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. 
That's why we have this Scripture text:
No one's ever seen or heard anything like this.
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it-
What God has arranged for those who love him!

I will leave you today with this thought...
"Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.  You're a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, never dropping a leaf, always in blossom."  Psalm 1:2-3 

Anniversary

Nine years ago, August 11th, we had a really fun wedding here at Shiloh.
This picture is of our daughter and her new husband
tipping over in a bench towards our creek!
The grasses saved them!

August 12
It has been such a privilege to watch their love for one another grow and to see Christ at the center of each of their lives as well as their marriage.  Happy Anniversary you two!
Have fun at the Pink Hotel!

"Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.  But because of immoralities, each man us to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.  The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband...."
                                                      1 Corinthians 7:1
Here's The Message translations take on this important passage related to marriage and singleness.
I've never read it before today. Great Godly advice.

Now, getting down to the questions you asked in your letter to me. First, Is it a good thing to have sexual relations?
2-6 Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.
Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.
8-9 I do, though, tell the unmarried and widows that singleness might well be the best thing for them, as it has been for me. But if they can’t manage their desires and emotions, they should by all means go ahead and get married. The difficulties of marriage are preferable by far to a sexually tortured life as a single.
10-11 And if you are married, stay married. This is the Master’s command, not mine. If a wife should leave her husband, she must either remain single or else come back and make things right with him. And a husband has no right to get rid of his wife.
12-14 For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer but who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer but he wants to live with you, hold on to him. The unbelieving husband shares to an extent in the holiness of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is likewise touched by the holiness of her husband. Otherwise, your children would be left out; as it is, they also are included in the spiritual purposes of God.
15-16 On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you’ve got to let him or her go. You don’t have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can. You never know, wife: The way you handle this might bring your husband not only back to you but to God. You never know, husband: The way you handle this might bring your wife not only back to you but to God.
17 And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.

Brave

Cruising out into our cove, we came across this dock with a huge ladder
and the children were climbing onto the roof and jumping off.
(Notice the tiny girl on the right. Probably six or seven years old.)
There are some things in life which require bravery and other things which just aren't smart.

August 11
Our pastor just started a series called "Brave."  The key verse this particular Sunday was...

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way
into him who is the head, into Christ."
Ephesians 4:15

The Message translation gets to the nitty gritty, referencing verses 15-16.

"No prolonged infancies among us, please.  We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for imposters.  God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love-like Christ in everything.  We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do.  He keeps us in step with each other.  His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love."

It takes courage to talk to others about our love for Jesus.  The US Men's diving team of David Boudia and Steele Johnson have shown such bravery on the International platform which the Olympics has afforded them. Check out this article.  I did not realize that, at the age of 12,  Johnson endured a life threatening accident hitting his head on the concrete platform.  That's bravely on his part and his parents to get back out there!

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2016/08/09/watch-usa-divers-tell-nbc-reporter-they-won-silver-medals-thanks-to-their-identity-in-christ-n2203161


Walking Buddies

August 10
I'd be spoofing ya, if I said I grasp the details or concept of Pokemon Go.  While out for a morning walk, a neighbor allowed our grandson to get in a photo with the Pokemon she spotted on her path.
While I didn't see him, I do know what it is like to walk with someone who is invisible to the naked eye.  His name is Jesus!

We have an awesome, powerful, invisible friend.

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

We have an invisible body guard.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Pal, 46:1

And what lies ahead for believers is beyond anything we've ever seen or imagined. Even wilder than Pokemon.

"Since ancient times no ones heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.  Isaiah 64:4

Lessons in Wild Life #1


August 9
Three ducks have been swimming up to our dock recently. Two are larger than the third.  Our grandson thinks it is a mother, father and their child.  I'm not sure that it isn't simply the old concept of three don't play well together...two gang up on the third.  Either way, it's heart wrenching to watch as one of larger ducks bully the third when "Cheezits" are tossed in the water.  If the smaller one attempts to eat one of the treats the larger duck pecks it in the neck.  We even tried distracting the two  larger and getting the smaller one off to the side, but you can see the fear in it's eyes.  Makes me so mad.

We watch a similar scene unfold at a location where we go feed sheep and goats. There is one fellow I call the BULLY goat. He is so mean and greedy.

I'm currently reading a Phillipa Gregory historical fiction series on the Queens of England in the 1500's.  Whew, necks got more than pecked, heads rolled! Servants and underlings were placed in precarious situations.  All my life it has troubled me to watch individuals be cruel to others.  Joy abounds when we encourage one another, but selfishness tends to surface faster than the surrendering of our rights or "needs."

"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice!
Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.
Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

"For where you have envy and selfish ambition, 
there you find disorder and every evil practice."
James 3:16

The ABC's of Life Day 6

When this cute thing arrived last Monday, we loaded up a Kroger credit card
and told him he'd be doing his own shopping while here.
August 8
He's doing great learning comparison shopping skills and how to check expirations dates.
If you read Day 3 where I mentioned him talking me into buying him an ice coffee...
you will laugh that I'm very close to consuming the first cup of coffee in my life.
Keeping up with a seven year old boy, 24-7 isn't for sissies!
He does have a sincere heart for the Lord though, which helps. 
We are only on the letter "R" in his journal, but wanted to finish these off for you.

Day 6

U-Under his wings you will find refuge his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
    Psalm 91:4

V-"Very truly I tell you, the one who believes had eternal life."
    "I'm telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life,
     eternal life."
    John 6:47

W-We love because He first loved us.
     We, though, are going to love-love and be loved.  First we were loved, now we love.
     He loved us first.
    1 John 4:19

X-Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord!
    Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder our lives under God.
    Lamentations 3:40

Y-You are the light of the world a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
     Matthew 5:14
    "Heres another way to put it: You're here to be light, bring out the God-colors in the world.  God is 
     not a secret to be kept.  We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.  If I make you
     light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I'm putting you on a 
     light stand.  Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine!  Keep open house;
     be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God,
     this generous Father in heaven. 
      Matthew 5:14-16

Z- Zion hears and is glad, and the daughters of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments O Lord.
     Zion, you listen and take heart!  Daughters of Zion, sing your hearts out: God has done it all!
     Psalm 91:8

The ABC's of Life Day 5

Overjoyed with his purchase of a shark's tooth necklace!
He has room right there in the middle for a new tooth!
August 6-7

Day 5
Q-Quench not the Spirit.  Don't suppress the Spirit.
     1 Thessalonians 5:19

R-Rejoice in the Lord always.
    Philippians 4:4

S-Set Your Minds on things that are above, not on things that are on Earth.
    Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground,
    absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on
    around Christ-that's where the action is.  See things from his perspective.
    Colossians 3:2

T-Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.
    Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.
    Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep
    you on track.
   Proverbs 3:5

The ABC's of Life Day 4

Wild hair after early morning tubing.
Notice his fine woodworking skills.  I bet Jesus and Joseph never made a candy machine.
August 5
Day 4
M-My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

     Psalm 121:2

N-No eye had seen, no ear has heard, and o mind has imagined what God has prepared        
     for those who love him.
     1 Corinthians 2:9

O-Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
    Psalm 119:18

P-Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes 
   of the devil.
   Ephesians 6:11


The ABC's of Life Day 3



He talked me into buying him an iced coffee.
I've never had coffee in my life, so didn't grasp the kick it obviously has. BONKERS
#shouldhavetextedhismom
August 4
Day 3
I- "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me."
   John 14:6

J-"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
   Hebrews 13:8

K-"Know that the Lord, he is God!  It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."
   Psalm 100:3

L-"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

The Message translation will be typed up and placed somewhere that I can meditate on it regularly.

   "Love never gives up.
    Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head. doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always, 'me first.'
   Doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others gravel.
  Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything,
  Trusts God always,
 Always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

The ABC's of Life Day 2

These cousins are bonding at bedtime!

August 3


E-Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.  The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.  There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. James 1:17

F-Fear not, for I have redeemed you I have called you by name, you are mine. 
I've called your name. You're mine.  When you're in over your heard, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end.
Isaiah 43:1

G-Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
     Thank God no mater what happens.  This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ to live. 1 Thessalonians 5:18  

H-He is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

    Psalm 62:6

The ABC's of Life Day 1


It's not often we can all get together but 22 of us managed to make it work this summer!

August 2
Our oldest grandson is visiting for awhile. He is such a joy!  Our daily goals are to learn something new, do something for someone else, grow physically and spiritually, eat or drink something wonderful, get in the lake, and laugh at least five times every day.

Join us on our spiritual growth journey the next week or so.  We are doing ABC scriptures and discussing how they can apply to life!  Some days I may add The Message translation to help him comprehend the verse.
Here we go:
Day 1  
      
A- A soft answer turns away wrath.   
     A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.
     Proverbs 15:1
     
B- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
     Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk.  Be gentle with one another,
     sensitive.  Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
     Ephesians 4:32

C- Children obey your parents in the Lord for this is right.
     Ephesians 6:1

D -Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
      James 4:8
     So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.  Say a
     quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time.  Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life.
     Quit playing the field.  Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out.  The fun and games are over. Get
    serious, really serious.  Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll
   get on your feet. 

(Not sure why it came out so funky. Sorry)

Ironing Again

This one knows how to swing through life!

August 1
On July 25th I shared how my mind tends to drift to negative thoughts when I'm ironing and weeding.  Being conscious of that, as I picked up my iron once again I chose to take all my thoughts captive and concentrate on listening to the Spirit. 

I sensed a nudging to email a specific group of believers and share, "Remember, it's not all about us, let's be on the lookout for what God is calling us to today."  Just as quickly as that thought came, came that thought that I am not my sister's keeper and I don't want to be in their faces with suggestions. Nobody likes to hear that God told them to tell you something! I was sticking by my "pray it, don't say it" philosophy and didn't email.

Doing it MY way, I took the above thoughts to my journal and wrote.  Then I heard more....

Stop, Look, Listen!

The best blessings are found in obedience when you surrender to His will and His ways.

The best views in life come when we look beyond ourselves to the needs of others.

Selfishness stinks!

Hmm, washing and ironing do have to get done.  Now I see why some people turn on a show while they do it.  Then they don't have to listen to the Lord.

Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.
Psalm 119:34

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,
as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 4:10