Timely Word

Blessed to baby sit while these two hiked to a waterfall near Pigeon Forge, TN.

October 31
Cozied up on the couch, I was having a heart to heart with our 4 and 5 year old grandsons.
One was bemoaning how sad it made him to have to confess his sin and ask for forgiveness.
That prompted the other one to share he had been sad at school, when a child on the playground called him a baby.  Then the four year old piped in that someone had called him, Kermit, at school.  I asked if that made him sad. He said, "No, it made me angry!"

It was a fabulous conversation on the power of words.  We talked about how once they run off your tongue you can't grab them back.

We decided to have a  kindness contest to see who could bring the most joy to others.

"A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!" Proverbs 15:23 (NASB)

"Congenial conversation-what a pleasure! The right word at the right time-beautiful!" 
                                                                                                                  Proverbs 15:23 (MSG)



One Thing Leads to Another

October 29-30

Our neighbors at the top of our driveway, who bestowed much grief upon our entire private road community, have moved.  While walking with a friend, who remembered what had happened 9 years ago, she asked. "How did you deal with that on a daily basis for two years?"  I told her everyday on the way to work, I would literally drop to my knees at the court ordered gate and pray for God to allow me to love those people and not grow bitter.  The neighbor was standing there by the road every morning in his pajamas watching.

I knew and still know that bitterness blocks our access to God and when I'm not hearing from God I'm hollow.

Makes me think of Romans chapter 5:3-5

"'There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steep of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary-we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

One Liners

October 28
Prior to entering an MRI machine recently, I inquired if the tech had any prayer needs. She had a quick one liner reply: "No, I'm good."
Fortunately, I didn't come back with..."No, you're not good. You're a sinner!"

"For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

Another one liner...
"We SHOULD love one another." 1 John 3:11

Hmm...we should love one another, but we don't always do it.

This past year's health issues have had me leaving doctor's offices after learning "one liners" with things I can no longer have.
Plavix -I can't have alcohol. (That one is no problem.)
Gallstones- I can't have dairy, fried food or red meat.
Heart Issues-I can't have caffeine.

Isn't it grand to know we will never be told we cannot have Jesus!

Cheers to this one liner!
"With God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26

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



Shelf the Self-Desire in Me

This magnificent bird living in our cove knows I'm amazing by him!
October 27

The 2AM wake up had occurred and I decided to pray myself back to sleep.  Prayer requests from three different study/prayer groups came to mind and I dug in.  In between, holiday plans, recipes, and winterizing chores came to mind and would interrupt the praying.  Recognizing I'd never acknowledge the Lord, beyond "Here's the list, Lord" I was embarrassed. With eyes still closed and my head lazily on my pillow, I approached Him in reverence inquiring what His purpose might have been in having me await in the stillness of the night.  I came with my own selfish desires, not considering Jesus might have had an agenda to whisper into my head in the quiet of the night.

Bless my hubby's heart, opening my laptop in bed I began to click away this message as a reminder of the need to constantly be dying to selfish desires.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21

Full Moon-Applause of Heaven

The moon was magnificent this particular night.


October 26
Ever since I had the stroke, I attempt to do some brain games on my computer a couple days a week. The challenges get harder and harder, so seldom do I break any scores anymore.  Persevering is the importance in the process, not the applause or bell ringing of the program telling you, you are awesome!

What an excellent analogy to our faith.  The longer we walk with the Lord, the tougher the lessons become as He fine tunes our spiritual lives. Keeping our eyes on Christ, the Perfecter of our faith, as we persevere through this earthly realm is what is key; not looking for accolades as to how well we are doing.

"Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2 

Inner Aliveness

This was the first tree of Fall Color in our Yard

October 25
After months of physical pain and investigation into the cause, the latest MRI would point towards an awful messed up back.  A twelve day steroid course has brought relief, but the problems still exist and surgery is not on my "want to do list."  Diet and exercise are the way I hope to cope.  Add to that a big scoop of trusting Jesus!

October 20th was projected to most likely be the last 80 degree day of the month here in Moneta and I did't want to miss it.  I wanted to just grab a book and go sit outside, but the household chores and some weekend cooking needed to be addressed.  While in the kitchen, I opened an email from a friend and was blessed by David Jeremiah's teaching on Russia's roll in the end times. I listened as I cooked and cleaned.  Very interesting.

http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/Default.aspx  (This might take you to the Oct 20th teaching.)

Afterwards, I sat down to seek the Lord in the quiet of the moment, having been scurrying around and missing His fellowship.  I started by opening Jesus Calling and there was the exact encouragement I needed to find related to my physical problems.

"And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

We need to go to Him though!

If your old body is aching, check out Jesus Calling October 20th

"I am your Living God, far more abundantly alive than the most vivacious person you know.  The human body is wonderfully crafted, but gravity and the inevitable effects of aging weigh it down.  Even the most superb athlete cannot maintain his fitness over many decades.  Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone.  Do not be anxious about the weakness of your body.  Instead, view it as the prelude to My infusing energy into your being.

As you identify more and more fully with Me, My Life becomes increasingly intertwined with yours. Though the process of aging continues, inwardly you grow stronger with the passing years.  Those who live close to Me develop inner aliveness that makes them seem youthful in spite of their years.  Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me."

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."  Psalm 139:14

I'm never disappointed when I spend time with the Lord!



Longings


October 24
Looking in my drafts, for a misplaced email, an old one popped up with these photos one of my dearest friends.  She died of cancer four years ago.  Seeing the first picture evoked such longing for her fellowship.  Then the second picture, of my husband baptizing her, sans the wig, immediately brought to reality her amazing life in heaven now and established the proper perspective.  We should long for heaven!

"For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven."
2 Corinthians 5:2

In The Message translation...
"For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tens and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven-God-made, not handmade-and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again.  Sometimes we can hardly wait to move-and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an un furnished shack, and we're tired of it!  We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies!  The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead.  He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.

Now there's a longing!

Signs



October 22-23
The Entry to our home is "festive fall" right now.  Year round our yard is filled with scripture signs, which are a comforting reminder to me to the faithfulness of God.  The Old Testament is full of examples of God using signs...and yes, they go beyond the concept of billboards or text messages.

On Biblegateway, the NIV translation lists 189 verses related to signs.
Genesis begins with many signs related to creation.
There was a star in the sky, which was a sign to the wisemen where to find the baby Jesus.
There was a rainbow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant between God and earth.

Exodus is action packed with signs pointing to the power of God. Moses heard God in specific ways.

"You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of this country.  But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgement I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites."   Exodus 7:2-4

Daniel is one of my favorite heroes of our faith.
Listen to his words and how he uses signs to tell of how personal God is.
"It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me."  Daniel 4:2

The theme of Luke 21 is Signs of the End Times.  It's a good read. Here is a short excerpt.
"Teacher," they asked, "when will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?  He replied, "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them.  When you hear of ways and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away."  Then he said to the, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." v 7-10

Disappointment, even though he knows all things, can be heard in Jesus' voice as he says:
"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." John 4:48

How blessed we are to have the written Word of God in addition to his signs, which continue today.

The Book of Revelation reminds us the devil has the ability to perform signs.  There is a very fiery sign which awaits him though.
"They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty."  Revelation 16:14
"But the beast was captured, and wtht it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Revelation 19:20


Let's Take Notice of the Word

The wedding we attended last weekend was a country affair.
I was brave enough to don the cowboy boots our children gave me on my fiftieth birthday,
along with a leopard dress, some fashionable friends talked me into.
My man, on the other hand, stayed pretty traditional.

October 21

There are books in the Bible I just can't get enough of and John is one of those. More than likely that is the book you were directed to read when you first came to a saving knowledge of Christ. I'm currently in a nine month study of John, through Bible Study Fellowship. I did this same study about 25 years ago, but it is just as fabulous this time around.  One twist I am doing is adding The Message translation to my study and I want to occasionally share my excitement over what is jumping off those Bible pages to me.  May these words thrill your heart as your remember that Jesus has been around since day one!

"The Life-Light"
"The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.  Everything was created through him; nothing-not one thing!- came into being without him.  What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.  The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out. John 1:1-5 

"The Life-Light was the real thing: Every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice.  He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten.

The  Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.  We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out... John 1:9-14

I've gone through and highlighted points I want to meditate on, as well as pray to live out in my day to day living.

To Be God-inside-Minded we pray:
"I trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.  In all my ways I acknowledge You, and You direct my paths.  I walk in the light of the Word.  Holy Spirit,  You are my Counselor, teaching me to educate, train, and develop my human spirit.  The Word of God shall not depart out of my mouth.  I meditate therein day and night. Therefore, I shall make my way prosperous, and I will have good success in life.  I am a doer of the Word and put Your Word first."
In Jesus' Name. Amen

The Day is Coming



October 20
What a gift the glorious day called yesterday was! In the afternoon, a friend who is going through a burdening transition called and came over.  We chucked the remainder of the day's chores and sat outside by the water and remembered who God is.

"What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus raised him from the dead, we've been given a bran-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven-and the future starts now!  God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.  The Day is coming when you'll have it all-life healed and whole." 1 Peter 1:3 MSG

Pondering a recent decision she made it really helped to remember God is sovereign and he had allowed the pieces of her puzzle to fall into the places which brought the recent actions she had taken into play.  We forget, God has our best interest at heart and he knows exactly what is ahead for us.  He knows if we will be stuck in bed with a fever and the flu tomorrow,  if a job changed is about to occur, and he knows the exact moment Jesus is coming back!  Quite often, the uncomfortable situations He allows us to face implode the impetus which is needed to move us from spot A to B.
Where He leads....will we follow?


To Be God-inside-Minded let's pray:
"Father, I am becoming spirit-conscious. I listen to the voice of my spirit and obey what my spirit tells me. My spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit and dominates me, for I walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. I examine my leading in the light of the Word." Help me in this walk. In Jesus Name, Amen


Sticky Situations

The parents of the bride!


October 19
This summer I encountered what seemed a traumatic situation at the time. There was evidence that a mouse had been in my car. I was quite unnerved and wanted to trade the car in!  When I took it to my favorite mechanic, to be certain nothing was nesting in the engine area or underneath somewhere, without resolve he went straight for the spare tire area.  A mouse had moved an entire pack of peanuts  (probably one by one) from the front of the car, to the back, and had set up house keeping in the center of the spare tire! No, way!  He'd even nibbled on an old bathmat I had been using for hauling plants and made a cozy bed!
We vacuumed every inch of that car and there have been no more sitings, but I refused to drive the car without sticky boards throughout.  My grocery have rolled onto the sticky board in the back and my sunglasses case got stuck in one in front of the passenger's seat!  After 6 weeks, I think the mouse has moved on or been eaten by our neighbor's cat, so I've let my guard down and an down to only one sticky board!

Our pastor delivered an amazing sermon Sunday on dysfunctional families and the pain which can come from us all being imperfect people.  He read off a soap opera series of dysfunction family situations in the Bible, which went beyond sticky!

Sharing that family wounds are slow to heal, he encouraged us to not focus on the person who hurt us, but the power and grace of God bring forgiveness and restoration.  The old adage that, time heals wounds is false, and he goes on to say, "Jesus Christ heals wounds!"

His five key points are worth repeating.
1) Acknowledge God's sovereignty.
2) Admit the truth about dysfunction. (Dysfunction means-not working right.)
3) Refuse to play the victim. (Choose responsibility for your life.)
4) Set boundaries-don't let others drain you.
5) Be sure you belong to the family that matters most...God's!

"And he answered them, 'Who are my mother and father and my brothers?' And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, 'Here are my mother and brothers!  For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother!'"


Let's keep filling up with the Holy Spirit. To be God-inside-minded today let's pray:
"Thank You, Holy Spirit, for directing me and illuminating my mind.   You lead me in the way I should go in all the affairs of life.  You lead me by an inward witness.  The eyes of my understanding, are being enlightened.  Wisdom is in my inward parts.  God's love is perfected in me.  I have an unction from the Holy One." In Jesus Name, Amen


Woke Up Whistling

More wedding shots. We sat on hay bales covered in quilts.

October 18
One night last week I had a fabulous night's sleep and woke up whistling to the Lord. The first tune was an original and then I broke into an old hymn...."Up From the Grave He Arose!"
What an awesome way to start a day.

Biblegateway is encouraging today as well.

"I'm sure now I'll se God's goodness in the exuberant earth.  Stay with God! Take heart. Don't quite.
I'll say it again: Stay with God."  Psalm 27:14 MSG

Right now, in this very moment, we are with You, God. Show us the way for this day.

To Be God-inside-minded we ask:
"Lord, Your searchlight penetrates my human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.  You actually gave me Your Spirit (not the world's spirit) so I can know the wonderful things You have given us. I am a child of God, born of the Spirit of God, filled with the Spirit of God, and led by the Spirit of God.  I listen to my heart as I look to the Spirit inside me." In Jesus' Name. Amen"

In the current study Im doing on John, through Bible Study Fellowship, we are taking a look at John the Baptist and how he enthusiastically steps back from his ministry to usher Jesus' ministry in.  He explains that Jesus comes to give us a spiritual birth! Unlike the physical birth from our mothers, only Jesus can deliver the Spirit of God into our lives.  May we be conscious today to be led by that Spirit.
It's the best way to go.

Prayers That Avail Much


Photos from a precious wedding we attended Saturday




October 17
Our pastor was preaching and came across the word fret in a scripture and said, "That's not a word I use often."  Avail, in the title of a prayer book I am using, Prayers That Avail Much, evoked a similar sentiment for me.

Avail-"to help or benefit."   What a great description of what prayer does for us!

Opening to page 5, I read, "To Be God-Inside Minded"  There's a good daily goal, but it doesn't come naturally.

Germaine Copeland wrote these five scriptural prayers.  You may want to print them off and take one out into the world with you each day this week. I'll try to remember to post one again each day at the end of the devotional, so we can pray them into our hearts.

"I am a spirit learning to live in a natural world. I have a soul, and I live in a physical body. I am in the world, but I am not of the world.  God of peace, I ask You to sanctify me in every way, and may my whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.  Father, You called me, and You are completely dependable.  You said it, and You will do this. Thank You for the Spirit Who guides me into all truth through my regenerated human spirit."

"Lord, Your searchlight penetrates my human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.  You actually gave me Your Spirit (not the world's spirit) so I can know the wonderful things You have given us. I am a child of God, born of the Spirit of God, filled with the Spirit of God, and led by the Spirit of God.  I listen to my heart as I look to the Spirit inside me."

"Thank You, Holy Spirit, for directing me and illuminating my mind.   You lead me in the way I should go in all the affairs of life.  You lead me by an inward witness.  The eyes of my understanding, are being enlightened.  Wisdom is in my inward parts.  God's love is perfected in me.  I have an unction from the Holy One."

"Father, I am becoming spirit-conscious. I listen to the voice of my spirit and obey what my spirit tells me. My spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit and dominates me, for I walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. I examine my leading in the light of the Word."

"I trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.  In all my ways I acknowledge You, and You direct my paths.  I walk in the light of the Word.  Holy Spirit,  You are my Counselor, teaching me to educate, train, and develop my human spirit.  The Word of God shall not depart out of my mouth.  I meditate therein day and night. Therefore, I shall make my way prosperous, and I will have good success in life.  I am a doer of the Word and put Your Word first."

The Blanketed Path

October 15-16
God has blanketed our scripture trails with a gorgeous green carpet of moss!  May this weekend provide you an opportunity to sit in God's creation and sing praise to Him!11

O my soul, bless GodGod, my God, how great you are! beautifully, gloriously robed, Dressed up in sunshine, and all heaven stretched out for your tent. You built your palace on the ocean deeps, made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings. You commandeered winds as messengers, appointed fire and flame as ambassadors. You set earth on a firm foundation so that nothing can shake it, ever. You blanketed earth with ocean, covered the mountains with deep waters; Then you roared and the water ran away— your thunder crash put it to flight. Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out in the places you assigned them. You set boundaries between earth and sea; never again will earth be flooded. You started the springs and rivers, sent them flowing among the hills. All the wild animals now drink their fill, wild donkeys quench their thirst. Along the riverbanks the birds build nests, ravens make their voices heard. You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water. You make grass grow for the livestock, hay for the animals that plow the ground.

You are amazing Lord.  Today, we pour out of love for You and lift your name on high! Thank You for your wonderful plans for each day. We trust in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wait! There's more!  Today's Biblegateway is too good to pass up.  Let's keep praising, because God's so grand!

2 Samuel 7:22 MSG

“This is what makes you so great, Master God! There is none like you, no God but you, nothing to compare with what we’ve heard with our own ears. And who is like your people, like Israel, a nation unique in the earth, whom God set out to redeem for himself (and became most famous for it), performing great and fearsome acts, throwing out nations and their gods left and right as you saved your people from Egypt? You established for yourself a people—your very own Israel!—your people permanently. And you, God, became their God.

Just Breathe


October 14
We are so excited to be attending the wedding this weekend of two of my husband's former students. Hopefully, I will remember my camera and have some good pics to post next week.  In the wee hours of one morning this week, I wrote this to the mother and the bride to be.

I've bene praying for you two. Starting Thursday I'm setting my phone alarm to ding every 3 hours from 9-9 as a reminder to pray for y'all to take a deep breath and stop and enjoy the moment no matter what you are doing.  God willing, this is the only time the two of you will go through this wedding experience together.   Do not grow anxious, but cherish each moment. Stop, hug, hold one another's hands.  Wink or smile at one another across a room when you can.  This time is a precious gift given to a mother and a daughter to share. Don't give the enemy a foothold to steal any joy.  I promise you he is going to try!  


When you are getting dressed for each event the next few days, even putting on your pjs mom or your sexy nightie Saturday night, bride, I"m praying you remember you are clothed with the love of Christ.  


"Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh."

Romans 13:14  

Winds may blow, rains may come, people may not show up or show up at the wrong time.  Food may burn or spill, toilets may overflow, but remember, you two godly women:


"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25  


Everyone has a different way of doing things and while this day is all about the bride and groom; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends are going to say the dumbest things and think they know what is best.  


"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.'" 1 Peter 5:5  

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patients."  Colossians 3:12  


My guess is y'all have already had to say, "God you are in control!" more than once since this engagement period began.  He is in control and he loves you all so much and has been excited about this union since the day he created this bride and groom to be! 


I'm praying you don't miss the moments and like the song says, "Just Breathe!"


Honest and Uplifting



October 13
We have a long time friend, who stepped into our lives years ago and spoke wisdom and truth at a crucial time. He moved away almost thirty years ago and we lost contact. Facebook afforded us the opportunity to reconnect and be in email contact once again.  Last week, I received an honest and uplifting email.  Combining this experience with his enthusiasm for life he's using a trial for good and becoming an encouragement to many. He wrote:


"After one week, I am now out of the Senior Behavioral Center... my care was exemplary...I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and concern from all of you. I can never thank you enough. With my new freedom, comes a continued burst of energy and enthusiasm for life. 

I want you to know that I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The few drugs I had been taking over the years for mild depression were totally wrong and contributed to and/or exacerbated the condition and undoubtedly contributed directly to the incident which caused my hospitalization. I have had a total do over."
Thank God for being the designer of "total do overs."  Thank God for forgiving friends and family, whose love is deep enough to walk beside us no matter the depth of our screw ups.

"A friend loves at all times."  Proverbs 17:17

"Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed  to you."  Acts 13:38 

Scarred


October 12
Sorry I was so late with the devotional yesterday. I'd had a sleepless night and forgot to post one. Forgive me Lord, for my mind was not on you.

Yesterday was a rough day.  My perfect driving record was scarred.  While driving into the city for a doctor's appointment I was pulled over for going 39 in a 25 mile an hour zone!  Noticing he was reading my license plate "I'm4Joy" as he approached my car, I said to him.  "I'm guessing this isn't going to be the most joyful moment." He smiled and said, "Do you know why I pulled you over?"

Thanking him for doing his job, I then asked if I could pray anything for him in addition to praying for his safety.  He was thinking and I said, "How about for a wife and children."  He said that would be great, he had both.  I acknowledged I would pray he would bring his children up to love the Lord.
"Im working on that," he replied.  Enthusiastically, I share about our church. He seemed genuinely interested.

I'm praying God works this encounter for good and the young officer takes me up on my invitation to bring his family to our church.   Walking away from my car he said, "God bless you ma'am."  I think I unraveled him, because he walked off forgetting to give me the ticket. I hollered after him and he was very appreciative!  (Not enough to tear up the ticket though.)  I told him my seven children were going to be elated my record was scarred.

Well, the day got worse.  I stole a cucumber from the grocery store! It was in the top of my cart and I didn't see it until I went to place the cart in the return aisle in the parking lot.  By then it was 5:30 and I was worn out, so today I will have to go back to the store and turn myself or the cucumber in!

Thinking about my scarred profile, prompted me to think about the scars on Jesus' hands and feet and my sins that placed them there.

"But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we were healed. " Isaiah 53:5

Yesterday, I was a thief and a law breaker. Praise the Lord, today I know I am forgiven.


Profound


October 11
LOL.  This sign is sitting by our fireplace.  One evening, my husband and I were sitting chatting after he arrived home from work and I came forth, in a soft poetic voice, with these profound words "I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze, the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sun burnt leaves."  He was speechless.  Bursting into laughter, it made us both smile.  He had no clue where I had come up with those eloquent words.

Genesis 1 reads somewhat the same way.

"Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with see in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good."  Genesis 1:11-12

We are so blessed by the beauty of each season.  Seasons change and so does life, but all this was planned from the beginning by a God who adores us.

Up Close and Personal

Animal friends at Booker T. Washington National Park
October 10
Just as my cow photo is up close and personal, so is this message from Jesus recorded in
Matthew 5:11-12. MSG

"...count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak about you to discredit me.  What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens-give a cheer, even!-for though they don't like it, I do!  And all heaven applauds.  And know that you are in good company.  My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble."

Can't you just see Jesus discussing this with the disciples?   He could also have said, being my friend will win you no popularity contests, but it will bring you eternal life!  This advice still holds true for us today.  The truth is Jesus and the conviction that comes with the truth can make people squirm.
Sticking up for Jesus is sticking up for the best friend we could ever have.

What's Cooking

Baking Birthday Cakes


October 8-9
It was so much fun baking a cake for this little fellow and seeing the joy he had blowing out his candles and digging into his cake.  I wish I had prayed this scripture as a prayer over him. I'm claiming these verses right now for each of our grandchildren.

"So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well.  Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.  Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God."  Philippians 1:9-10 

Uncertainties

“Trust in the Lord forever, 
For in God the Lordwe have an everlasting Rock.
Isaiah 26:4

October 7
Last week, in my quiet time in the shower, the word "uncertainty"  was impressed upon my mind. Inquiring of the Lord, where He might be going with that the thought, came reality that the only thing we are certain of is that we will die someday.

Our daughter and her family embarked on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas on Monday. The uncertainties in the weather found them rerouted on a ship to Cozumel, Mexico.  They were to return today to Port Canaveral, but that port is closed so they are still sailing around the Gulf.  Hurricane Mathew has brought about tremendous uncertainties this past week and he continues to leave questions in the air.  We continue to pray the storm takes a westward bend back out to sea.

One power outage these storm victims will not have is loss of the power of Jesus. No storm can blow that away.  Unexpected storms in life will blow our way, but Paul so eloquently reminds us what our faith rests upon in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

"And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.  I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."




Two Realms


October 6

"Living in My Presence means living in two realms simultaneously: the visible world and unseen, eternal reality. I have equipped you to stay conscious of Me while walking along dusty earthbound paths." Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

"Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
  Poor, yet making many rich;
  having nothing, and yet possessing everything."  
2 Corinthians 6:10

Just as there are two realms, the physical world and the spiritual world, there are two powerful forces at work...good and evil.  We aren't the ones who hold the power.  We are the vessels which listen and decide whom we will follow.  We give ourselves/humans too much credit. It's God who is working all things together for good and Satan who is weaving together schemes of downfall.

"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"Submit there fore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you."  James 4:7

Let's keep our eyes on the heavenly realm today; allow the Holy Spirit to fill us up and show us the way; and tell the devil in the might name of Jesus to go away.



What Do We Know?


October 5

Our church has been studying the life of Joseph and in Bible Study Fellowship we are studying the life of John.  Two key points have been processed by my brain.

#1 John the Baptist knew who he was not. In John 1:19-25...
     He was quick to admit to the Sanhedrim, he was not the Messiah, not Elijah and not the Prophet.
BSF notes say, "John the Baptist's constant aim was to turn attention from himself to the good news of Messiah's coming."  He said he was simply a voice..."I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

   God calls us to be lots of different things in our lifetime.  We don't have to know what God is up to, we know he is always up to good, so we just need to be obediently available to whatever work He is doing. It may simply be to offer a meal or open the door of our home, our office, our car.  The call may be to pick up a pen and write a letter or type a text or email.  Sometimes it's a bigger sacrifice and we have to venture further out of our comfort zone, but we can know He is the trustworthy One at work and he will direct our paths.

#2  Joseph knew who he was.
   Our pastor taught us that yes, he knew he was a slave, but what kept him from succumbing to temptation was knowing he belonged to God. Having sex with Potiphar's (his boss') wife would be dishonoring the God who had redeemed and blessed him.  The God who had saved him from the pit of death, his brothers had tossed him into.

"After a time his master's wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, 'Lie with me.' But he refused."
Genesis 39:7-8

How about us?
While we know we are not gods (and thank God for that), we do know we are the children of the King of all Glory and with that comes eternal blessings and a call to be obedient children while we are on this earth.  He deserves glory and honor and praise.

"And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.' And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on throne, to Him who lives forever and ever..."  Revelation 4:8-10

Under Attack

This summer we played pirate games.
Going out on the boat and "staying alert" for pirate attacks was so much fun.
The particular afternoon pictured above a gang of six Seadoos came flying upon us,
way to close, jumping our wake.  I yelled out "Attack, attack!  Get the canons ready!"
If only we had brought our water balloon launcher, we could have had some fun!
(I'm laughing out loud..water balloons self corrected to watermelons.
Now that would have created a stir.)

October 4
What has snuck up and attacked you lately?  A diagnosis, a betrayal, a bill?

Our pastor preached a powerful sermon Sunday as part of a series called "You'll Get Through This."
The October 2 sermon probably won't be online for a few days, but is worth checking out. http://www.franklinheights.org/sermons

In the sermon he challenges us not to be naive about the evil force at work to kill, steal and destroy us. 

"Be sober minded: be watchful.  
Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
1 Peter 5:8


 Sunday night a small group of us gathered together and we prayed for our minds and our hearts.

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts: 
murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander."
Matthew 15:19

The Trappings of This World

This old go-cart is one of our worldly treasures!

October 3
She Reads Truth is camping out these days in 1 John.   The instructions in chapter 2:15 are...

"Do not love the world, or the things in the world."

The lesson calls us to differentiate between those things God created and called good and those things belonging to worldly ways "according to the inclinations of our hearts."  There are three specific areas the author pulls from 1 John and poses a question for us to ponder.

"The lust of the flesh. Do we indulge our bodies with food, drink, touch, and comfort?
                                   Are we seeking luxury over knowing Christ?"
The lust of the eyes.   Do our minds crave world extravagance and grandeur?
                                   Do our ears strain for applause and accolades?
The pride in one's possessions. Do our eyes rove for treasure, possessions, and delights?
                                   Do we covet the trinkets of the world?"

The author responds with "My answer to all these questions is 'Yes'- a thousand times 'Yes!' Gimme those tacos, massage my feet, get me a robot butler, and bring down the house with your applause.  We're all enticed by the comforts of this world.  But John is teach us that all these delights belong to the world, and the world is passing away. We shouldn't tie ourselves to a ship that is sinking. Instead we should tie ourselves to the Anchor who is pulling us heavenward. We should reserve our deepest affections for God...He is our real treasure, and our very great reward."

Pulling into the grocery store parking lot, I first passed a high end (for Moneta) gift shop.  The Fall flags were flapping, some creative pumpkins staked into the ground smiled at passer byers and a cute dress caught my attention in the window.  I kid you not, my thought was "I'm headed heavenward and don't need to accumulate more things!"  I didn't even walk into the store.

The trappings of this world reach out for us everyday.  We must choose to put Jesus before them.
So here's my funny thought...you know those cardboard air fresheners people hang from their rearview mirrors?  Maybe they should make one that looks like Jesus, so when people are lured by the sights confronting their eyes, Jesus will be swinging back in forth in front of them!  If we are conscious to keep Him first and foremost in our thoughts and consistently call out to the Holy Spirit for direction, our lives will smell fresher!

(Praise God He has given us the Holy Spirit to convict and direct, it's the condition of our hearts and minds as to whether we listen.)

Leaf Art

Our granddaughter's artwork, now adorning her Papa's office!

October 1-2
Here's the word which keeps popping up in my life day after day.
Steadfast-"resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering."

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."           Psalm 51:10

"My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music." Psalm 57:7

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." 
                                                                                                                                      Isaiah 26:3
"Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
                                                                                                                             1 Corinthians 15:58

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