A Message in the Light


Jesus said, "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.
I provide plenty of light to live in."
John 8:12 MSG
December 15
Tis' the season for lights! This one caught me by surprise.
Walking into the bathroom of our Charlottesville hotel room, I cocked my head sideways to read the quote which lit up on the bathroom mirror.
"You know our practice at placing our guests at their ease."  
Thomas Jefferson

Ease is defined as "the absence of difficulty or effort."  I LOVE that!

Jesus is the Light of the World and he has come to be our ease.  There will not be an absence of difficulty or effort, but the load is lightened by allowing Jesus to walk through it with us.  Call upon His name.

Forever Home

Good-bye Nashville, we are heading to Virginia.

December 14
Twenty years ago my husband, our five sons and I drove away from Nashville, with me sobbing, as we left our first born at Vanderbilt University.  This weekend our daughter will pull away from that exact corner where Lowes Hotel sits and head on a new adventure.  They are leaving so much love behind, but trusting God is sending them on another great adventure and it's so much closer to family!

"I will bless you... and you will be a blessing to others." 
Genesis 12:2
Ann Voskamp wrote: "He will bless you-the God of invincible reliability, the God who has infinite resources, the God who is insistent love. You can always go ahead and breathe-He will bless."

This sweet couple thought they had purchased their forever home, but we all know that is in heaven! 
We also know there is a Body of Believers in Charlottesville, VA just waiting to welcome them in to fellowship and service to God.  And I know I can be there in 2 hours and 20 minutes to help at anytime.

"Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods. His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.
Thank God who did it all!  His love never quits."
Psalm 136:1-3, 26 



The Greatest Gift



Our Minnesota grands visiting Santa.

Hope you get to crawl up in God's lap of love today.
December 13
Has anyone asked you what was one of your favorite Christmas gifts?
I remember the year I received skies and boots, another year a new tennis racket, and one year a new sled. As a child, one year I received a doll and a beauty parlor chair. It was so much fun putting rollers in that doll's hair...then out came the scissors for her first hair cut, but that hair never grew back and she wasn't much fun without long hair to brush.

We can't cut up or use up the gift of Jesus. It's the gift that keeps on giving into eternity. God's Word never grows old and unlike a novel we have read, we don't know the details of how it will end, but we do know life in heaven is a never ending story!



A Weary World


This Eiffel Tower lamp made me laugh!

December 12
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!

She Reads Truth posted this:
"I love this line from the Christmas carol, "O Holy Night." The world was weary, tired, and broken.
Yet, when Christ was born, hope came alive!"

We've been weary in this floor refinishing phase at Shiloh, but we've seen Jesus in the kindness of others. Stopping by to drop something off at a friend's house she said, "Come in and let me make you some lunch." It was wonderful to eat without a mouthful of dust! Then she invited us to their neighborhood Christmas party, which was such a breath of fresh air for these weary workers. Another couple got us out of the mess and we went out to eat.  My walking buddy made us a fabulous dinner and we were able to walk to her home on a very snowy night.  The day which was probably the most discouraging, as I went to leave the house UPS delivered a box of Godiva chocolates from one of you Boojoyful readers. It was as if Jesus himself wrapped his arms around me and said, "I am with you, let's have chocolate!" The Body of Christ is unbelievable! A huge thank you to the feet of Christ!

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
Galatians 6:9

Ann Voskamp blessed me too with her writing:
"Jesus doesn't show you the steps to get to heaven-Jesus is the steps to heaven.
 Jesus doesn't merely come down to show you the way up-Jesus comes down to make Himself into the Way to carry you up.
Jesus doesn't ultimately give you a how-to, because Christianity is ultimately about Who-to.
Every religion, every program, every self-help book is about steps you have to take.  Jesus is the only One who becomes the step-to-take you...He comes to us not in spite of our failings-but precisely because of them."

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28


God's Timing


December 11
Oh my, this transformed Bucket List needs to seep deeply into my heart.
We are living in a mess, but it's no surprise to God.  We had hoped to have our floors refinished in November, but they got delayed until December 4th. Then the floor sander became sick..and on and on we go.  Nary a light, nor decoration is up, just a thick coating of dust covers the whole house and every nook and cranny. Sanding was to be done in one day, but it progressed into three.

While it makes me so sad and overwhelmed to think about putting Humpty Dumpty (the house) back together again, God has provided for us in a most gracious way through a dear couple who has given us their town home to stay in and it's less than two miles away. The same friend gave me the Advent book The Greatest Gift and it really ministered to me in these discouraging times.
The key verse yesterday was:

"Abraham called the place The Lord will provide.
Genesis 22:14
Ann Voskamp wrote:
"You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Perform.
 You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Produce.
 Every mountain that every Christian ever faces, the Lord levels with sufficient grace: The Lord Will Provide...Worry is belief gone wrong...Peace is belief that exhales."

Her challenge was to write 10 different ways God had provided that day. It wasn't even 8 o'clock when I did this.  God has provided:
1) A wonderful warm waterfront place for us to call home.
2) The most patient husband in the world to keep me calm.
3) Three Bible Studies to keep me in survival mode. God's Word is amazing.
4) An encouraging phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in a long time and she said, God
    placed me on her heart with a message on endurance!  Bingo!
5) Hot tea on a cold, cold day
6) Painters to help with what I can't do.
7) A fabulous chiropractor to go to since I have sciatica
8) Prayer
9) Friends and a sweet daughter checking on us and inviting us for lunch/dinner.
10) A decadent box of Godiva Chocolates as a surprise gift from a friend.

Opening my laptop yesterday I saw the news of fires raging in California and people having to evacuate not knowing if the fires will reach their homes.  I thought, "Put on your big girl pants and give thanks. In God's timing you will get back in that house."


Peace with a Purpose

These are just a few of the Christmas lights at the Boar's Head Resort in Charlottesville.
The decorations and lights are beautiful.

"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
 “I am the Light of the world; 
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  
John 8:12
December 8

Peace:One dictionary defines it as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

Why do we desire peace?  It makes us feel better.  We want things to go as we planned. We forget God is up to good weaving things together!
A friend and I were talking recently about choices people close to us make which can seem inconsiderate, leaving a hurt in our heart. That "What about me!" expletive comes out.  She laughed out loud, as she said we must remember..."It's not about us!"

I'm having those feelings right now in the midst of a home improvement project. Paying big bucks for inconvenience after inconvenience and a lack of respect for my time and schedule.  Then somewhere recently I read:
"You need My peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life. Sometimes you are tempted to take shortcuts in order to reach your goals as quickly as possible. But if the shortcut requires turning your back on My peaceful Presence, you must choose the longer route. Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence."

Whew, that's a doozie I need to post somewhere in my house!  Better yet, on my heart.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Holiday Grief

A lamppost near the lake!
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119:105 
December 7
The holidays stir up sweet memories and many of those memories relate to a loved one who is no longer here to celebrate with us. It can be a very difficult time of year.
A sweet friend of mine lost her husband last month, another lost her sister this week, for one friend this will be the first Christmas without her mother, while a couple others are approaching the anniversaries of the loss of their children.  Each of you has a story of longing, I feel sure.

Another friend eloquently email me on the topic of holiday grief:
"When I was a child I never thought of Christmas as a sad time until I was 16 and my 7 year old brother died following surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Now, at Christmas even in the midst of the joy, I think of those I love who are no longer with me to celebrate. It is a joyous season and we wish everyone we love was around the Christmas table."

The girlfriend who lost her husband last month posted this song by The Piano Guys, on Facebook.  It is beautifully presented.  I hope it brings healing to you heart if you are hurting and affords you the opportunity to share a precious gift with someone you know who is experiencing grief.  Let's keep our hearts open and sensitive to the hurt that is around us.


"Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go."  Jamie Anderson

Anticipation


Our son is an amazing home builder in VA Beach.
Last year they finally got to build their own dream home and he built a gym/playroom
over their garage.  This past week he has added a climbing wall element to two walls of the room.
He painted this amazing design himself.  The holds are the next thing to go up.

December 6
I can remember thinking of December as a month with mountains to climb!  Shopping, baking, costume making for school programs, party after party, addressing Christmas cards...whew!  
Yet, the anticipation was so much fun.
An email from Lifeway came yesterday and included this message:
"During this season, we celebrate by remembering something that really happened-the first coming of Jesus Chris, born meek and lowly as a humble king wrapped in swaddling clothes all those years ago in that manger in Bethlehem.  But it is also a time to anticipate something we're still waiting for: Jesus' glorious return as the Mighty One of God with the words "King of kings and Lord of lords" written on his robe."  Rev. 19:16  

"Historically, believers in God are marked with expectation and anticipation.
Abraham and Sarah waited for God to fulfill His promise to give them a son.
David longed for a temple for Jehovah in Jerusalem
The magi followed a star, expecting the celestial sign to take them to the King of Jews.
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ, believers have awaited His return." 

Hallelujah, He is coming again.
I'm ordering a trumpet ornament for our tree as a reminder that one day soon, the trumpets will sound!

"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."  1 Corinthians 15:51-52 

Once and For All

Tree in the dining room at The Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville, VA

December 5
After just two days of seeking the Lord during Advent, I'm overflowing from the time with Jesus.
Every radio message, devotional book, study guide and email I've received on the topic has left me enriched.  God has placed on my heart to focus on Jesus as the "LIGHT" of the world this season. So, I will try to bring that theme into the photographs.

The phrase "Once and for all" was my revelation on Sunday.  I had read Isaiah 9:6-7

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
 And the government will rest on His shoulders;
 And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
 On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
 To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
 From then on and forevermore.
 The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." 

As I thought about the face that Jesus came as a permanent sacrifice for our sins, I thought he did it,
Once and for all.  Then I chewed on those words in a way I never have.  Previously, when they flowed out of my mouth they were most likely in expletive form. "I saying this "Once and for all." Im cleaning up this mess, "Once and for all."  I think the phrase's emphasis was on done, finished, never again!
But when I say those words in like of Jesus' sacrifice for us I'm overwhelmed with the magnitude of coverage they represent.  Jesus came to earth and died ONCE for ALL of us.  We must only believe ONCE to receive the sacrificial gift to cover ALL of our sins.

Oh, sweet friends, that is really what Christmas is all about.  Who needs to hear this today?
Jesus, died once and for ALL. Oh, how He loves you and me.

A New Perspective-Words that Bring Healing

This is the view from our daughter's apartment in Charlottesville.
It will be a big move for them after 20 years in Nashville.
Lots of new perspectives, new friends, new opportunities to serve the Lord.

December 4
God gifted me a new friend this summer who has been so much fun.  We just clicked and are both members of the NFL, Nuts for the Lord! Although she doesn't live her year round, we see each other at least once a month.
She texted to inquire about my neurology appointment the other day and as I shared my discouragement she wrote back great encouragement. Here is part of what she wrote:

"Oh my dear sweet sister...  This is a Psalm 46:10 time.  Remember the great I AM... Look how far you have come in your healing.  All I can say right now is this... I didn’t know the “Before Boo”.  I know THIS Boo and she is one amazingly wonderful sister who encourages many as she loves them IN THE LORD!!!  See you soon."

It was such a perspective changer. Instead of longing for "before" I need to grasp hold of what God's plans are for me now and rejoice always!  Remembering who is behind our discouragement is also important. Then the flip side is who our Victor is!


"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they every dreamed of." 
John 10:10 


None of what happens to our lives surprises God and He works all things together for good for those of us who are called according to his purpose.  Remembering that God's purpose and perspective are way beyond what we could ever imagine affords us the opportunity to lay our burdens down!

Discouragement

Brain Injuries: Put on a Happy Face and hopefully no one sees what it looks like inside your head.

December 1
At the recommendation of one of my physicians, I went to see a local neurologist.  Having had the stroke in Nashville and adoring those docs and never hoping to have a stroke again, I've put off seeing a neurologist here.  It was a discouraging appointment.  Not up for sharing details here, but I want to address how we handle discouragement. Sitting alone in a dark room like I did that first night probably wasn't the best way to proceed, but sometimes we have to get alone and process!

The following morning getting into Bible study was a healthy choice.  Accidentally, okay providentially, I ended up in Colossians 3:12-17 and I found great healing there.

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 

First of all, who can be downtrodden when you recognize you have been chosen by God and are beloved by Him.
Second, there is great peace, which comes from being part of the love of the body of Christ.
Third, the reminder to be thankful in all things is a very healthy perspective.
Finally, whatever you do, whatever shape you are in to do it, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus for He has done so much for you!

Forgo the Gifts-Get Together

This is our oldest grandchild. He turned nine this month!
Wish I could see him everyday!


November 30

Passing through a town where one of my besties works, I called to see if she could take a lunch break and meet for a quick bite.  It was probably the only time we'd see each other before Christmas.  I told her I decided instead of a gift this year I wanted to foot the hotel bill for us to take a couple nights away this winter.  She said, "That's a great idea, we do not need anymore stuff,  we need the time to be together."

Time and prayer are two of the greatest gifts we have to give away.  Isn't it interesting how the seasons of life change your perspective on what is important.  

This holiday season has the ability to conjure up a deep loneliness and longing for many people.  Oh, what I've give to be able to go sit and visit with my nephew, my brother, my parents and grandparents once again.  When our longings creep in let's commit to look outward and see those who need a simple hand on a shoulder or a table to break bread with a friendly face.  Maybe God is calling us to have a "Get Together."

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."  Acts 2:42

November Gratitude
Heavenly Father, You are always with us!  Thank You that because of our relationship with You we never walk alone.  Help us to fine tune that relationship and find joy in the simplicity of being with You.  Fill us with You Holy Spirit and direct our paths to be encouragers to others and to offer up not only hospitality, but the gift of salvation available through Christ.  He is the reason for the season. And it's in His name we pray, Amen

Growing Up


This three year old performed a perfect lipstick application!

Keep those kisses coming!

November 29
The grands are growing so quickly, sometimes I think we should just sell Shiloh and make a continual grandparent circuit... Minnesota to Utah, to Louisiana, to Florida, to Tennessee and across Virginia. Then repeat the loop when the weather permits! They certainly all live in fabulous parts of the country.
There is such a desire to be aware of all their accomplishments, whether a first tooth, loosing a tooth, their favorite things and wishes and dreams. There are just so many of them and I must remember it's really all about Jesus, not just about grandchildren. Isn't it an amazing thought that God is omni present and aware of every detail in every life!  For this moment I stop and stand in awe of who He is and all He does.

This has been fabulous month to focus on the One who is the reason for our thankfulness and now we get to enter the precious Christmas season.  May we continue in praise and thanksgiving for our King.

November Gratitude:
"Father God, You have been so very faithful to me over the course of my life, showing Your care and provision time and again. I'm so grateful for the way You have walked with me, sustained me, encouraged me, strengthened me, comforted me, and loved me in every season. Thank You!" ROH

"And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, 'For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel."   Ezra 3:11





Remember the Sacrifice


November 28
Rising early one day last week, I headed over the mountain to the big city for a hair cut and errands.  As seems the norm lately, four hours later my brain was exhausted and I needed to rest. Placing my "Be Still" necklace one of our daughter in laws gave me around my neck, I laid down on our bed.  Then it hit me...with all my "to doing it" I hadn't stopped once to thank Jesus for his sacrifice or to simply say, "I love You." I wished I could call my grandparents and parents and thank them for the monetary and time sacrifices they made for me all those years.

How often do we stop to give thanks for our forefathers and the sacrifices they made to establish this nation?  Do we ever contemplate the conditions on those tiny ships that sailed to the New World? Do we think about all the people who didn't survive the journey or the first winter?

Living in the mountains and being the daughter of a road builder, I often think of the people who cut the trails from settlement to settlement. That was hard work!

What are we establishing that those who come after us will have reason to offer thanks?
Are we leaving a heritage that points to Christ?  It's the greatest gift we have to give away.


November Gratitude:
From Revive Our Hearts:
"For most people, happiness is tied to circumstances—to what is happening in their lives. For Christians, however, happiness or blessedness is not dependent on the weather, the stock market, or how our last haircut turned out.

Real happiness—that unshakable sense of peace, contentment, and well-being—comes as we remind ourselves of the blessings we have in Christ and then respond with thankfulness."

Treasured Times

 A Thankful day at VA Beach

November 27
One of the highlights of our visit to our son's home was taking two nights to watch The Sound of Music with this sweet family.  The two older children had performed a "Broadway Hits" program at their school for Grandparents Day and I inquired as to whether they had seen most of the movies from the hits they sang.  DoReMi was the impetus for the selection for my all time favorite movie!

Before the movie I asked my husband to give our grandson a bit of background on World War II and who Hitler was.  This personality, along with the Baroness who really only wanted the Captain and not his seven children, led into a fabulous discussion on mean people and our propensity to sin.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

 Hands down, "My Favorite Things," with bed jumping and pillow fights was the favorite song.  Buzz, buzz "when the bee stings!"

November Gratitude
I am thankful for the opportunity to invest in the lives of our grandchildren and pray that while we don't live close by, they will always remember how deeply they are loved by their Mama Boo and Papa.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

Whoa!

Watching these two maneuver all over this house in VA Beach hanging lights at every level
had me saying "Whoa!"
The end result is enchanting!

November 24
A couple weeks ago we had the Nashville grands at Shiloh for a visit, while their parents parents worked on details for their move to Charlottesville. The first morning they were with us I pulled out their favorite cinnamon minis for breakfast. Then I asked if they would like a banana, pear or apple slices.  In unison their voices cried out..."We never do that!  We don't have to eat anything healthy at breakfast!  Our mom never makes us do that!"

"Whoa! Okay, Okay!" I replied.

What was the last thing that set you into a quick panic, needing to set the record straight?  There might have been stories told around the Thanksgiving table yesterday that needed a "whoa there" and some correction due to a different recollection.

Years ago I remember sitting in a book study on prayer and a women spoke up and said, "It doesn't matter what you believe. whether you are Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, or Christian.  All ways lead to heaven."  I opened my Bible with a "Whoa, that's not what the Bible says," moment.

Lord, give us the courage to speak up boldness with gentleness and love when Your truth needs to be upheld.

November Gratitude from ROH
"One of my friends paraphrases Romans 5:8 this way: 'God demonstrated His love toward us in this: while we were in open, hostile rebellion toward Him, having no interest in Him-not only that, but also actively despising Him and all that He stands for- Christ died for us.' How can we not be inexpressibly thankful?"

"Father God, thank You once again for loving me when I was Your enemy. Awaken my heart to the heights of Your mercy toward me a sinner.  Teach me to cultivate a grateful heart for all You've done and all You are.  Thank You!"

The Shiny Potty



Tuesday night I went from this costumed bedtime, 
to a middle of the night potty hugging with an upset tummy.

November 23
Had it not been for this 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge from a friend, I'm not certain I could have had the attitude I did waiting out an upset stomach at our son's home.
I thanked God:
For a beautiful home in which to feel lousy.
For a private bathroom with clean floors, a cushy clean bath mat to sit upon, and a shiny spotless hug.
For a cozy plush blanket I found to wrap around my shoulders and that I had changed from my spider man pajamas with the long zipper, to PJs that were easy to pull down to sit on the potty when needed.
For the sound of fighter jets (we are in VA Beach) flying overhead reminding me of the incredible military our nation has practicing every day, so they are ready to defend us.  I also prayed for all those military families who sacrifice so much peace and comfort with their loved ones who selflessly put themselves in harms way for us.
For a God who is ever present!

November Gratitude:
The Challenge posted this yesterday reminding us to always give thanks:
  • Morning and evening. David instructed the Levites "to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening" (1 Chron. 23:30).
  • Three times a day. Daniel came before God at morning, noon, and night, setting aside specific times of day to give thanks for His goodness and faithfulness.
  • The middle of the night. "At midnight I rise to praise you," the psalmist wrote (Ps. 119:62). Moments of wakefulness through the night are calls to be mindful of the Lord, thanking Him again as we settle back to sleep on a soft bed of gratitude.
  • Continually. "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be continually in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1). At every conscious thought of God's blessing, our automatic reflex should be—and really can be—instant gratitude.
And why not? After all, as David said, "I will give thanks to you forever" Ps. 30:12

Proverbs 17:6

Grandparents Day at Norfolk Academy
Impressive public speaking in 1st grade.
November 22
"Grandchildren are the crown of old men..."  Proverbs 17:6


Not saying his old, just crowned!

What a blessing it was to attend Grandparents Day for two of our grandchildren. The program they performed, encompassed Broadway hits and was both entertaining and educational. Sitting in that gym watching close to 1,000 grandparents wave, blow kisses and click away taking pictures made you almost able to reach out and touch the love in the air.

Do you ever stop and consider why God created family or why He chose to create us with this huge capacity to love others and not just Him?

Not everyone has a loving family unit.  Isn't there a song that has the refrain..."Wont you find somebody to love?"  Let's pray for those who aren't finding it easy to be thankful this season.
There are children who need nearby grandparent figures in their live and "old men/women" who could find great joy in fulfilling that role for a child.

November Gratitude
Father, we thank You for the establishment of the family unit and the opportunity to be loved by a mother and father.  We pray for those who don't have that blessing in their lives and ask that others would take them in, making them feel that love and pointing them to You and the love available through You that is greater than any other. In Jesus' Name, Amen




Be Givers


November 21
There is great joy in giving. Secret giving is fun as well.  Years ago a family snuck onto our property and left a gift each night for the 12 Days of Christmas. It drove us crazy with delight.  It became a tradition for our family to pick someone each year and pull the same pleasing prank.

For years, each Christmas season, I've selected a worker at our grocery store to slip a $20 gift to along with a note of appreciation for how hard and faithfully they work. It's so much fun!
This year I'm hoping to have the opportunity with some of our grandchildren to watch them be creative givers.

Jesus set the bar high, by giving His life for our sins. May each of you find great joy in giving!

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35).
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:17).
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7).

November Gratitude
Revive Our Hearts gave a challenge yesterday to focus gratitude on your immediate family and make a list of a quality you are thankful for related to each individual. You may want to share that acknowledgement with them this week!

Pray:
"Heavenly Father, I choose to thank You for each member of my family and for how they enrich my life.  Help me to express thanks to them and grow in patience toward them.  Cultivate in me a heart of praise and grace for those who know me best and see me most.  Thank You!"

Pray it forward.


November 20
Sitting on my bed I watched the fog drift out of our cove.  It was such a reminder of all the things we cannot see clearly and just have to entrust to God. Immediately, three amazing wives came to mind who are walking through rough medical diagnosis with their husbands. Even though they can’t see clearly what is ahead with treatments and their outcomes, nor can they see God face to face, they know He is on his throne weaving things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Walking in the knowledge of who He is and how He loves us brings us peace.  I prayed they would be filled with peace, overwhelmed by God’s love and would find lots of moments to kiss their husbands with thanksgiving because they have them today!

November Gratitude
"We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

Prayer from Revive Our Hearts
"Lord Jesus, I want to love people the way You showed us.  Help me to express my gratitude to others for specific ways they have invested in me and enriched my life.  Thank You for giving me people who love me and care for me.  Open my eyes to every person who needs encouragement from me for how they have loved me.  You Thank You!"

It's A Boy

It's a boy and they are moving to Charlottesville

November 17
Most of you know our daughter had three heart breaking miscarriages. Last summer she gave up that desire of her heart and sold or gave away her baby gear. As Gomer Pyle says, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"  They are pregnant with baby boy #3 and also her husband received a promotion and they are moving to Charlottesville, VA!  This will be the closest to Shiloh we've had a grand baby reside!

Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah...just some of the many mothers who have gone before us and been surprised with the news of their pregnancies.

"Behold, you are with child, and you will bear a son..."  Genesis 16:11
November Gratitude
Father, I thank you for the gift of new life. I thank You that you are in control of our lives and know what is best.  Thank You for the opportunity to tell little ones about Jesus and to be thrilled by their precious faith. In Jesus' Name Amen

Bloom

The doomed dollar mum.
November 16
Walking through the garden center at Lowe's a couple weeks ago I noticed their mums were on sale. Some were at full bloom. Others had never opened up.  Inquiring as to the sale price I was informed they were $1. At that price, it was definitely worth the risk of seeing if this plant would bloom. I placed it in a planter at my front door where it would get plenty of sun, but nothing happened.  Maybe it was the chillier evenings that kept those buds from bursting forth.  As I brought a few other plants inside hoping they would endure the winter, I thought I might as well give this one a chance to see if it would bloom inside and it did!!!!

Each day as I've watched it open up a little bit more it has made me think about those people who are bound tightly against opening up to Jesus in their lives.  Maybe if we take them in and nurture them their faith will bloom someday. The environment in which we live does affect our growth.  Just as pouring sunshine, water and fertilizer onto a plant helps it to thrive, pouring time, God's Word, prayer and praise into the lives of others may help open their hearts to the Lord.

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

November Gratitude
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!  Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."

Let's sing out our praise to the Lord today.

Hanging in There


This is one of the funniest pictures ever!
This grandson was strapped in while his mommy went potty.
Definitely designed by a mom!

November 15

Sitting around the table, everyone of us in our small group had a prayer request related to a huge physical need.  We realized cancer seems to touch every family.  That evening and in the days to come as I looked over my prayer list, I found myself crying out for God to eradicate cancer from the earth! The other common bond we have is how thankful we are for one another.  There are people you will hear your plight and say, "Hang in there" and there are people who listen and PRAY!

"Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles."
Philippians 4:14 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can
comfort those in  any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
Corinthians 1:3-4  

Sarah Young wrote: "Everything you endure has meaning and purpose. Suffering can build your character and prepare you to help others who are struggling.  So talk freely with Me about the difficulties in your life, and ask Me to use them for My purposes. Of course, you can seek relief from hardship, but be careful not to overlook the blessings hidden in it."

There is purpose in everything God allows to touch our lives.  The big reminder is that we are not alone in the process. God is with us.

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

November Gratitude
I thank God for the Body of Christ who comes alongside and walks and prays through life with us.

Provisions



November 14
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
The Message translation says,
 "Attention, all!  See the marvels of God!  He plants flowers and trees all over the earth..."

As I looked out my bedroom window at  large buck nibbling the grass and a  loan fisherman pulling in breakfast I thanked God for all his provisions for us.  I could add to Psalm 46:10...
He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, he puts cows, turkey and deer in our path and fish in the waters so we can eat!  (I need to get that cow and maybe a few chickens and a goat.)

Sarah Young wrote in Jesus Always, "Trust Me to lead you step by step through this day. I provide sufficient Light for only one day at a time.  If you try to look into the future, you will find yourself peering into the darkness. My Face shines upon you only in the present!"

"The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you." Numbers 6:25

November Gratitude
Father, we thank You for all the provisions you make for our lives. For the very life we have been given, for the food we eat, the air we breathe, and every beat of our hearts.  You are before us in all things. In Jesus' Name we come with gratitude. Amen

Hay Y'all



November 13
After receiving a message from an elementary school friend, my mind drifted back to childhood memories and sleepovers! My husband and I deduced that girls seem to do this more than boys.
What was interesting was reflecting on the "mood/temperament" within those homes and especially the fathers.  Fifty years later, I could still remember the father who joyfully made pancakes on Saturday mornings, greeting us in the kitchen with a smile and his big mug of coffee, while allowing his gorgeous wife to sleep in.  The father who was hardly ever seen and never acknowledge the children in the house. The father who took to his dark study and smoked cigars and coughed and coughed. As well as the friend whose father had died way too young leaving my girlfriend to be raised by her working mother and grandmother.
I messaged my friend back and acknowledged the happy memories I had of staying in her home and how much fun her mother was.  She replied, "You had the best boy/girl parties. I can still remember a pair of red velvet bell bottoms I made myself for one of those parties."  (We are talking 5th or 6th grade!)
What memories have been made within your walls!

November Gratitude
Thank God out loud.
“Let us offer the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”  
Hebrews 13:15

Thank God with song.
“With my song I will thank Him.” 
Psalm 28:7

"Thank God with prayer.
“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”  
Colossians 4:2

Daniel prayed and gave thanks privately three times a day, but we are also called to give praise and thanks publicly.

“I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; 
I will sing praise to you among the nations.”
 Psalm 57:9



Tarnished




November 10
Pulling out a favorite necklace to wear, I noticed that the clasp had tarnished.  My ride was about to pick me up, so I frantically scrounged around to find my polishing cloth. Recognizing there was no way I'd go out with a tarnished necklace, I was saddened by the realization I was willing to go out with unconfessed sin in my heart.
Turning quickly to the Lord and asking Him to create in my a pure heart the much needed process began.

"Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as now; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool."  Isaiah 1:18

November Gratitude
"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

Revive Our Hearts quote: "The salvation we have in Christ is a 'many-splendored thing," a diamond with countless brilliant facets. Stand in grateful awe of His work for you today."

Sugar Pie Honey Bunch



Love these three Chuckleheads


November 9
After praying with a friend in need, early yesterday morning, I suggested she put on praise music. As we clicked off our phones I thought...I should do the same thing.  Our daughter had just set me up with Pandora (a music option) on my phone so I hit that button. The song lyric that popped on said, 
Sugar Pie Honey Bunch, I love you!" What a great welcome into prayer and praise time!!!

"I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty, and find myself safe and saved."  Praise 18:3

"I'm thanking you, God, out loud in the streets, singing your praises in town and country.
The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness."
Psalm 57:9-10
November Gratitude
Today's challenge is to see what acts of generosity might spring forth from our gratitude, by following through on the promptings of God's Holy Spirit in relation to our giving."

The Revive Our Hearts Prayer
"Lord Jesus, show me today how to express my gratitude for You and Your goodness through my acts of generosity today. Let me hold loosely to my time, my resources, and my possessions so that I might freely give them to bless others in need.  I choose to trust you to supply my every need so that I might meet the needs of others, for Your name and Your glory.  Thank You!"  In Jesus' Name

Bedlam


November 8
Back in the 80's when we would go to the UNC football games we had our children pick a cheerleader and a football player pen pal.  That gave them someone to focus on and us college students to invest in and pray for.  One of those players became a part of our family and we love him deeply.  It's been a blessing to watch him raise his family and invest in this next generation.  His oldest son dug himself deep into my heart as a little boy and is now a senior in college and I have the privilege of cheering for him as a college quarterback every Saturday.  This month he is on the cover of the Fellowship of Christian Athlete's magazine and the is a fabulous article about him.  Young men and women like this fill me with such hope for the gospel being carried forward.

http://www.fca.org

Saturday was Oklahoma State's rival game of the year against Oklahoma. It is nicknamed Bedlam and that it was.  Our guy's team lost in the last minutes. Such a heart breaker.

In one of the Revive Our Hearts entires on gratitude I found this passage to bring solace for not only the outcome of this football game, but so many struggles we all face in life.

"You see, we tend to think that if we could just figure out what God's doing and what His purpose is in these circumstances in our lives, then we could thank Him. But the test of my faith is, "Am I willing to make the sacrifice of thanksgiving when I don't have the answers, when I don't know the why's of what is going on in my life, when there is no way to make sense of what has happened?"

She continues and shares a suggested attitude of gratitude pledge written by a man named Russell Kelfer on how we can yield our rights to God.

"Having been born again into the kingdom of God, I do hereby acknowledge that God's purchase of my life included all the rights and control of that life for all of eternity.

I do further acknowledge that He has not guaranteed me to be free from pain, or to have success or prosperity.  He has not guaranteed me perfect health. He has not guaranteed me perfect parents. He has not guaranteed me perfect children. He has not guaranteed me the absence of pressures, trials, misunderstandings or persecution.

What He has promised me is eternal life. What He has promised me is abundant life. What He has promised me is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, and self-control. He has given me all of Himself in exchange for the rights to my life.

Therefore, I acknowledge this day the relinquishment of all my rights and expectations and humbly ask Him by His grace to replace these with a grateful spirit for whatever in His wisdom He deems to allow for my life.
His servant.

November Gratitude Challenge
(Referencing the story of the 10 lepers who Jesus healed and how only 1 came back to say thank you, consider this.)
"Who's the one who got the closest to Jesus? Who's the only one who got close to Jesus?
It's the one who was grateful.
When you and I express gratitude to Jesus, that's when we get closet to Him than we ever have been able to be before."

"Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back praising God with a loud voice."
Luke 17:15

Care For Others


Love this sister helping her brother whose vehicle was stuck!

November 7

Baby sitting for two of our grandsons I was helping one deal with a little "having to go second" issue.
I explained that the Bible says we are to think of others better than ourselves.

"Be kind to one another with a brother's love, putting others before yourselves in honor."
Romans 12:10

As we were talking, his younger brother was obviously listening in said, "Care for others and treat them with love."  I was blown away and inquired, "Where did you learn that?"  "At church," he said.
"You have an amazing church, " I replied.

November Gratitude
Nancy Leight DeMoss said, "I think that an unthankful Christian is really a contradiction."
She challenges us:
"We need to thank the Lord out loud. We need to speak our thanks, not just think it.
  We thank Him with music.  We sing to the Lord-'Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving.'
  We thank Him with our prayers as the apostle Paul often did in the New Testament epistles.
  We thank God privately and thank Him publicly."

Prayer
"Lord, I desperately want to live like You did-as a Servant who came to give Your life as a ransom for others.  Show me how to serve others and lay down my demands so others would be blessed. Cultivate in me a heart of humility and gratitude that looks to give instead of get. Thank You!"


Climbing Mountains



"Let's go on an adventure," the older brother said to the younger.
November 6
Life is full of hurdles to cross and mountains to climb. God's Word tells us to expect challenges and trials and recognize they have benefits.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-4

"My desire is that you learn to trust Me in all circumstances."  Sarah Young

Awakening for my middle of the night time with Jesus, I began praying over an overwhelming list of needs.  As I was praying a song from way back when, came to mind.  The lyrics were quite fitting.

Song Lyrics for "People Need the Lord"
"Everyday they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes.
 Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where?
 On they go through private pain, living fear to fear.
 Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears.
 People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
 At the end of broken dreams, people need the Lord.
 When will we realize people need the Lord?
 We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right.
 What would be too great  cost for sharing with one who's lost?
 Through His love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear.
 They must hear the words of life only we can share.
 People need the Lord, people need the Lord at the end of broken dreams, He's the open door.
 People need the Lord, people need the Lord.
 When will we realize that we must give our lives, for people need the Lord.
 People need the Lord.

November Gratitude
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving." Colossians 2:6-7

Revive Our Hearts Challenges Us...
"In this passage we’re told to abound in thanksgiving.
Do you want to have joy? Do you want to cultivate a thankful heart? Start with the gospel.           Think often about your Savior. Camp in Scripture passages about the gospel.
Let gospel truth seep into your soul so deeply that you can’t go a single day without praising the Lord for what He’s done."
Then... let's pass the gospel on!







The Candy Queen




November 3
The Candy Queen costume this precious granddaughter selected just screams party!  
(I think it's actually a lollipop, but for devotional scriptural reference we will go with "sweet".) My mama called everyone Sweetie!  I catch myself doing that these days, thinking "WOW, that sounded just like my mother."  Wouldn't it be a great testimony if we found the actions/words of Jesus unconsciously pouring out of us!

"Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, 
sweet friendship refreshes the soul."
Proverbs 27:9

"Listen, dear friends, to God's truth, bend your ears to what I tell you. I'm chewing on the morsel of a proverb; I'll let you in on the sweet old truths, stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother's knee. We're not keeping this to ourselves, we're passing it along to the next generation-God's fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done."   Psalm 78:1-4

November Gratitude #3
Revive Our Hearts wrote three amazing statements we can be thankful for:
"The gospel makes us new creatures in Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
"It sets us free from the slavery of sin."  (Galatians 5:1)
"It writes 'forgiven' on our hearts." (Ephesians 1:7)

"Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:20
Revive Our Hearts Prayer for Today
"Father God, I am so very grateful that You see my distresses, hear my desperate cries, and willingly provide Divine deliverance.  Thank You for Your goodness, for Your steadfast love that endures, for me, forever."  In Jesus Name, Amen

A Fallen World

My stomach muscles are sore from laughing at this little one all weekend!

His smile brings joy and brightens the day!

November 2
Sunday night our church small group was breaking bread together around our table and sharing prayer requests.  I had noticed one of the ladies had her arm across her chest in an unusual manner and inquired if she was alright.  She sheepishly confessed she had fallen and injured her hand, which was quite painful.  When you get our ages you don't want people (especially your children) knowing you've fallen! I told her not to be embarrassed and shared about a fall I had taken that same week.  Well, that opened the flood gates! Five of us confessed to falls!  Even my own husband, who had not let me know about some tumbles.

Like our three year old grandson above, my husband is a joy bringer!  As he closed out our group's prayer time he began..."Father, we know we live in a FALLEN world..."

Let's hold tightly to God's Word and gather its' wisdom.

"Don't love the world's ways.  Don't love the world's goods.  Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father.  It just isolates you from him.  The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity."  1 John 2:15-17 



November Gratitude #2
I'm thankful for a husband (who hates to paint) who has helped me paint two bedrooms the past 3 days!  I'm thankful God has sustained me from these stroke issues to the point I can drive to Charlottesville today and pick up two grandsons.  I’m thankful for a faith that can flourish even in the hardest of times, because it is founded on what Jesus has done and looks toward what is to come. Amazing!

Revive Our Hearts Prayer Today:

God, You are the source of light and life and all joy—show me who You are and open my eyes to see You rightly. Overwhelm my heart with Your power, goodness, love, and glory, that my heart would default to praising You in every moment. Thank You!