Light in the Darkness


The night lights of the pedestrian bridge, which crosses the Tennessee river in Chattanooga.

September 30
 Where is your favorite spot to see the city lights?  Flying into a city at night, it's enchanting to look down from the plane and imagine what's taking place where each light is twinkling.
We have very few street lights here in Moneta and fortunately only two stoplights! Walk out onto our five acres at night and you can find pitch dark! Pure darkness can be intimidating.  The Bible uses darkness to equate with sin, evil or death.  The light which Christ brings to our lives, on even the darkest day, is inviting and life giving.

"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:4-6 

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  
John 8:12 

Be light wherever you go!

Rejected

Our granddaughter and I play a fun pageant game with her Disney Princess set.
The competition includes three segments:evening gown, talent and an individual question.
We narrow it down to the top five and then the three finalists. So much fun!
At the end, although rejected, the losers flood around the winner with shouts of false jubilation.

September 29

My cell phone rang and the caller ID said, Lafayette, LA.  Not recognizing the number, I did not answer the call. Moments later my brain registered that one of our children lives in Lafayette and his wife has been awaiting surgery, so I hit the redial button.  The response was "Your call has been rejected."  Rejected?  How dare someone call and bother me and then reject me! What a harsh word.
My computer dictionary defines reject this way:

"Dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate or not to one's taste; 
fail to show due affection or concern for; rebuff."

When we call out to Jesus we will never be rejected or dismissed. Disciplined and set back a straighter path, possibly, but not rejected.  Those who love Jesus will receive a crown!

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."  Revelation 3:19-20

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him."   James 1:12



Buy Back

My granddaughter and I made delectable edible bowls!
Fill this with ice cream and whipped cream and a smile will follow.
You melt white chocolate, dip a balloon in the chocolate, then immediately into sprinkles.
Refrigerate briefly.  Then pop the balloon and peel it away from the candied bowl!
It's just one of those little things that makes life a little sweeter.
Although it can't compare with Jesus, it was a fun activity!

September 28

Finishing up a study on Hosea, I asked the Lord what he wanted me to take away from the study.
The phrase "buy back" was what crossed my mind. "What does that mean?" I inquired of the Lord.

Here's where the thought process went.  Hosea did it. Yes, Hosea set the bar very high. He bought Gomer, his runaway wife, back out of promiscuous lifestyle.
God had Jesus pay the buy back price for each of us and He does it again and again as we fall into the cycle of sin and repentance.  Now the question is...Do we offer the same redemption and forgiveness to others who are under our judgement?

"The Lord said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress.  Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods...' So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver...Then I told her, 'You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.'"
Hosea 3:1-3 

Child of the King




A friend with whom I'll spend eternity, 
sent me this cute picture in an email reminding me that I am a child of the King!  

September 27

After reading my friend's email, although bedraggled from 10 hours of traveling and already in my night gown,  I rushed to my armoire and pulled out my favorite tiara and shot this photo back to her!
She was right!  Remembering who we are in Christ pumps up our perspective on life.






"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  
And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him."
1 John 3:1

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
 your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Matthew 6:9-13

No Idea



While walking through a park in Chattanooga, TN on a hot September day, I captured this photo of a boy standing in the center of a splash pad.  Our daughter laughed and said, "He has no idea he's about to become famous on your devotional!"

September 26

"For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:11

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  But about that day of hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  Matthew 24:35-36

"Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?" Ecclesiastes 8:7

We are constantly being viewed, photographed and even videoed by others or surveillance cameras.   We are clueless to how many others know what we are doing.  That should be enough to keep us on our P's and Q's. There is so much we don't know, but we do know and are wise to remember that God knows everything!


Bride of Christ



September 24-25
Last night some cherished friends picked us up on our dock and took us out on the lake to celebrate 38 years of marriage. I thank God my husband has remained faithful to me all these years.  I'm sure there are multiple times he would have loved to have jumped ship!
I also thank God for His faithfulness. Daily I give Him reason to abandon me, but His love is steadfast.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever."
Psalm 136

"May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Someday I will be united with Jesus and recognize Him as my bridegroom.  As believers in Jesus we are the bride of Christ!

"As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; 
as a bridgegroom rejoices over his bride, so will God rejoice over you."  
Isaiah 62:5 



We wait with great anticipation for the day our Bridegroom comes for us!  

We say. "Come, Lord Jesus!" 
Revelation 22:20

Here's fun look back!  How I pray he never leaves me!  I know what you are going to say.  After he shed his football weight that first year of marriage he has not changed one bit!!!!  And only three pair of glasses the whole 38 years!












Summer is Over





September 23
Summer may be over, but the temperatures in Nashville this week led one to believer that summer was in full swing.  Do you ever wonder why God designed the seasons?

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

"God spoke: 'Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, every sort of fruit-bearing tree.' And there is was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, and fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that is was good. It was evening, it was morning-Day Three.
God spoke:'Lights! Come out! Shine in Heaven's sky! Separate Day from Night.
Mark seasons and days and years, lights in Heaven's sky to give light to Earth.' And there is was."  
Genesis 1:13-15 (MSG)

I find that I'm almost always ready for the next season.  The seasons do "mark" memories from over the years and each holds its special joy.

Each season has a reason!  And those reasons can be related to our cycle of life.
Spring-new life
Summer-growth
Autumn- harvest
Winter- rest or death

We may try to rush a season.  A teenager longing to be married and have children. A businessperson wanting rapid growth in their career.  A sixties something longing to cash in/harvest the years of hard work and retire.  And even as we get older those who long for Jesus are ready for the trumpet call!

We are called to learn to be content in each season and trust God's purpose for that time in our life.
"I know that it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Philippians 4:12

I thank God for the cycle of life, for the seasons and for the hope of eternal life.
Hmm?  What will the seasons be like in Heaven?  Let's pray today that many will come to the saving knowledge of Christ, so that they get to experience heaven!

Make a Joyful Noise

This was an awesome musical exhibit in a park in Chattanooga.
Our grandson's could have banged on this metal for hours!
Probably wouldn't be a hit if we had a similar set up designed for their backyard in Nashville!


September 22

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture..."   Psalm 100

I remember memorizing  Psalm 100 in 4th grade Sunday school!  Starting a day with praise puts the day into the proper perspective!  One of these grandsons was a little whiney the other day and I said,  "Make a joyful noise!"

Lord, today we choose to praise your holy name with gladness, we lift our voices to You in joyful song. Even if it doesn't sound perfect to others we know You hear it as beautiful for You hear what is coming from our hearts!

Praise is the best way to start the day!

Deeper Fear and Trust


September 21
"Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil."  
Proverbs 3:7

Our daughter in Chattanooga has been visiting churches and Sunday I attended one with her where they are in the midst of a series on Job.  Not the most popular of studies, but one of the most potent!
This particular Sunday the preaching topic was on how God is limitless and powerful and Job recognized he was limited and powerless.

He shared how in Job's "tango" with God he came to both a deeper trust in God and a deeper fear of God.

My prayer for each of us today is to be thankful we have a source of higher wisdom than ourselves.  It's okay to not know it all!  What a mighty and righteous God we serve!  A God who is just waiting for us to come to Him.

"'God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts,  you double-minded.  Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." James 4:6-10 


Meet My Father

We hosted a bridal luncheon and a bridal shower last month!  Such sweet times.

September 20
Last night I had the privilege of having dinner with two lovely young ladies.  We were discussing the woes of weddings and the engagement period.  I shared how our daughter was asked on a date with a young man. After the first date, she realized he was not a Christian and that she shouldn't be dating him, but she really liked him.  She told him she didn't date anyone who had not met her father first. So he said, "Let's go meet your father!"  It was an eight hour drive, but they made it.
The story continued with how after reading Day 7 of The Purpose Driven Life, he prayed to receive Christ. 

Our daughter kept praying for things she wanted to see come to fruition in this young man's life.  A commitment to the Lord, church membership in a Bible based church, active in men's Bible study, etc.  Each thing she brought before the Lord in prayer came forth and they became engaged and have been happily married for nine years.  He is an amazing spiritual leader in their home and church.

One of the young women I was dining with said, "So she brought him home because she wanted him to meet her Heavenly Father, as well as her earthly father."  Exactly! 

"Jesus answered. 'I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."   John 14:6-7

I'll Fly Away



The deceased's only grandson.
September 19

There are things that happen in my life resulting in the roll of chill bumps across my body.  Those times when NOBODY can come close to persuading me God is not on his throne and fully aware of every detail of our lives.

Thursday, while I was attending the funeral of a dear friend's father, the closing hymn was Alison Krauss's song, "I'll Fly Away."  As the song was being sung, the Abbey doors at the cemetery opened and the family began walking out to where the casket was setting.  I was positioned in a spot where I could see my girlfriend and her mother by the casket.  As I listened to the song a hawk flew right by.
I could not wait to get outside and watch that hawk fly away!  Only God could have orchestrated such a spectacular farewell. And this gentleman is faring very well in heaven!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMXoWe2ztE

Worship Mode

Life is good with God and for a boy driving a John Deere.

September 17-18
September 14th's Jesus Calling was a reminder that we were created to worship the Lord.
“Worship Me by living close to Me. This was My original design for man, into whom I breathed My very breath of Life.  This is My desire for you; that you stay near Me as you walk along your life path. Each day is an important part of that journey.  Although you may feel as if you are going nowhere in this world, your spiritual journey is another matter altogether, taking you along steep, treacherous paths of adventure.  That is why walking in the Light of My Presence is essential to keep you from stumbling.  By staying close to Me, you present yourself as a living sacrifice.  Even the most routine part of your day can be a spiritual act of worship, holy and pleasing to Me.”

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

So, as I drove to Roanoke for my 6 month skin cancer check up, made a visit to my husband's mom who isn’t feeling well, stopped by to see close friends who are grieving the death of a loved on, 
and then had to undergo some testing for pain I’ve been having; I chose to WORSHIP on the way. Turning on a Christian radio station, here is how God showed up and rocked my morning.
I highly recommend this worship series if you are ever in the dumps or in doubt that God has you covered.

Mandisa was belting out her song…”Stronger.”  I hope you have time to listen and can see this video!

Then the DJ says… “Are darts hitting you?  Claim Philippians 4:6 and live it out."
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

The next song that comes on is Phil Wickham singing "This is Amazing Grace!”  
When the lyrics hit the refrain:
 “I stand for all you’ve done for me” I almost stood up in the car and waved my hands out the sunroof!


The next thing I knew, going over Windy Gap Mountain, a school bus had halted  traffic to almost a standstill with all its stops.  I started to be concerned I’d be late for my appointment and the DJ says, “You might be stuck in traffic and frustrated.  Just take this time and realize all God has done for you and ask him how you can be a light for him today.”  Are you kidding me?  This is how awesome it is to be in God’s presence.

Then a song, which was new to me, came on.  “In the Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson


Then Building 429 reminded me that this world is not my home.  “Where I Belong”


Definitely one of the best rides to Roanoke ever!


Elated

This little fellow loves school buses, so we had a bus birthday party for him!
His Papa has his commercial driver's license, so we were in luck.
Elated would be an understatement.

September 16
I can remember picking up an old vocabulary workbook, probably left over from my older siblings,
and in the first lesson was the word elated.  The meaning: ecstatically happy! That word stuck with me. I wanted to go through life elated and bring that kind of joy to others.

Be joyful always!
1 Thessalonians 5:16

There is so much that elates me in the Bible, but when I plugged it into Biblegateway only one verse was referenced. If you read all of chapter 11 the battles and threats are every bit as gory as those in the Philippa Gregory novels I'm reading about 14th and 15th century England/Scotland.

In verse 9 it says: "They told the messengers who had come, "Say to the men of Jabesh Gilead, 'By the time the sun is hot tomorrow, you will be rescued.' When the messengers went and reported this to the men of Jabesh, they were elated."

Where in your life could you stand a scoop of elation?  Are you waiting for a message of hope, of rescue?  It may not come by footman, or by a messenger boy on horseback. It may not even come by US mail, but if you cry out to God for a rescue and open His Word, you will find reason to be ecstatically happy. 

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."
2 Samuel 22:20 

Behind the Lens

What you looking at?
A friend took this photograph of me taking photographs!
September 15
In the current She Reads Truth study on the book of Hosea, a group of us were sitting around the kitchen table discussing what we had learned.  "How awful would it be to have to marry a person who was known to have promiscuous behavior?"  Before we all started verbalizing our opinions (judgments) of Gomer, I popped in a clip from a Jennifer Rothschild DVD on the study of Hosea.

Jennifer shares that Gomer's father's name was Diblaim, which means a double portion of raisin cakes.  Raisin cakes were a known aphrodisiac!  That was a new fact for me.  She states that more than likely Gomer had been raised in a very promiscuous home and could have been subjected to "God knows what" as a little girl. Her point being, before we judge Gomer, consider the upbringing that may have led her to her lifestyle.  We all stopped to realized how quick we are to judge.

Yesterday in Jesus Calling, Sarah Young wrote, 
"Come to Me and rest.  Give your mind a break from its habitual judging.   You form judgments about this situation, that situation, this person, that person, yourself, even the weather-as if judging were your main function in life.  But I created you first and foremost to know Me and to live in rich communication with Me. When you become preoccupied with passing judgment, you usurp My role."

WOW. I was so convicted over judging the weather. I need to look at the weather as God's perfect plan each day! I don't know how many times in August I said, "This humidity has got to go!"

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged."  Matthew 7:1

"But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 
'Why did you make me like this?' Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?'"  Romans 9:20-21

Wise Ole Owl

September 14
The father of one of my closest friends has died.  His health has been failing for a long time and his wife has been steadfast in his care.  She's one of the wisest women I know.  Every time I sit in her presence I learn from her.  She exudes love, hospitality, grace, southern charm and wisdom.

Life will be different for her in the months to come, but there is no doubt in my mind the Lord will carry her through this time of transition for she will seek Him in all things. Her wisdom comes from the Lord!

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding."  Psalm 111:10

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:6

"It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools." Ecclesiastes 7:5

"Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."  James 3:13

$ Pass it Forward

September 13
Visiting a swimming pool recently, a woman entered the pool area and got out her money to pay a water aerobics instructor.  The instructor was already in the pool, so before the participant placed the money in the designated area she said, "Someone has written on this bill...'Jesus loves you!'"  The instructor said, "I needed to hear that today."

Who are we walking past each day that needs to hear those three simple words?

Go get your bills out and write away!

"But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love."
 Psalm 33:18   

"For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord.
Psalm 117:2

"Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever."
Psalm 136:3

Remember, I Will Carry You


September 12
A year ago I was in my car headed to Nashville, TN to visit our daughter's family for three days.
Two hours after arriving, I had an Ischemic stroke which left my left side paralyzed.  Your cards, flowers, gifts, visits and prayers were an overwhelming presence of God's love.

This past weekend we were hosting a Young Life staff retreat at our home, Saturday morning one young lady saw me trying to go down the steps with a tray full of breakfast food and asked if I needed help. The slowness of my left leg, especially on steps, is a reminder of what happened that day.
At first my pride drifted towards embarrassment that this young woman saw me as disabled, but quickly those thoughts shifted to thankfulness.  I replied, "I need to do this to keep this leg strong.  A year ago it didn't work at all, so I will take how far I've come with a huge offering of thanksgiving."


The day after the stroke in ICU with our son who had flown in from Minneapolis
About 10 days after the stroke at the hospital rehab, 
when we convinced the doctor to allow Deke to push me outside in the wheelchair.
He brought my camera so I could try to take pictures of flowers. It felt great to be outside!

Our daughter ministering to the whole hospital floor with her harp!

"Even to your old age I will be the same, 
and even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
and I will bear you and I will deliver you."
Isaiah 46:4


Transformed Daily

Happy boaters!  These two were loving being out on the lake over Labor Day!
September 10-11
This quote comes from the current She Reads Truth study I'm doing on Hosea.
"...the story of the Israelites is a cautionary tale.  The Israelites weren't any different from you and me.  They simply forgot.  The truth of God, which gives freedom and life, was not a part of their daily diet, so their souls began to stray, and their lifestyles followed."  Sharon Hodde Miller.

Well, I agree by saying a hearty “AMEN!”  I’ve walked in the dry land too many times, because my focus on the importance/urgency of other activates led me to  I walk right pass the water source!  The Living Word of God!  There are Bibles throughout our house, in my car, on our computers, phone as well as verses embedded in my heart.  Access to the "truth of God" is in easy reach, the only excuse, when it comes to unplugging, lies within my priorities.

In order to walk in the Spirit, to be transformed daily, we must renew our minds.


 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1


Caught Ya

September 9

I keep a small camera onhand for our grandson to use.  This particular morning he caught our granddaughter and me in the bathroom before we'd changed our clothes.  We were getting ready to brush our hair. Her face sums up about how we felt about early morning photos!

Such a good reminder to live our lives in away in which it doesn't matter who sneaks up on us.  Whatever the act we are in should be pleasing to the Lord.

"Teach the oder men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teach what is good. Then they can urge they younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."  Titus 2:2-5

Disguised


September 8
We love to play dress up around here.  This cutie took a garland of balloons and made a dress!
Another one of our grandchildren is into super heroes and loves wearing a disguise.  I laughed this morning, as I was walking and remembered our grandson has a Pokemon Go account on my phone. If I got a whim to play I would be "Sparky" a dark haired boy.  Who would ever suspect a grandmother walking around would have that as her icon!  What a disguise!

God's Word reminds us that "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light."  2 Cor. 11:14

Brandon Heath as a song called "Jesus in Disguise" and it's a neat reminder that often when we are totally unaware Jehovah is passing by.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AXD3Xq6Z6U

God's Ultimate Aim

Rainbow pancakes will brighten your day!

September 7

My husband and I are currently doing a study on Hosea together, through the ministry of She/He Reads Truth.  It's a tough one bringing you face to face with the reality of our sinfulness.  A quote from today's notes says:

"As we read the book of Hosea, we learn no one is beyond the reach of Gods' forgiveness.  No one is too wrong to receive mercy.  God may bring judgment and consequences for our sins, but His ultimate aim is restoration, as demonstrated even in the way He renamed Hosea's children."

I just told my husband, this is a tough one!  If we are honest, there are people whom we believe have committed wrongs which don't justify them receiving mercy.  Times the thought crosses our mind "I hope I don't have to spend eternity in heaven with that one."  Sin is sin to God. We are each His precious creations and a great price was paid which is sufficient for all.  Today when we pray, instead of praying for someone to get caught, let's pray for someone  to be restored to a right relationship with Christ and their sins forgiven.

Behind the Wheel

Learning to drive the Pontoon from Papa

September 6
This one loves to be behind the controls, whether on the boat, the tractor or the car.  What is the intrigue of being behind the steering wheel?  It's amazing it even a young age, we want control.

"This is what the Lord says-your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: 'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.'" Isaiah 48:17