Different with the Same Passion

May 22
We know better than to cruise the lake on a summer Saturday, but thought May 20th wouldn't be too crowded. Wrong. It was a gorgeous day and people were making the most of it. Our plan had been to find a quiet cove to anchor in and read, but that wasn't going to happen. Grabbing my camera I was amazed at the diversity in boating styles represented.  Ha!  The photo missing is two grandparents on a pontoon!  That's because most locals know better than to be out in the chaos!

As I clicked away the thought entered my mind of how different God's children are.  We come in all colors, shapes and sizes. We motor about life at different speeds, with different personalities, but the commonality is our love for Christ, like all these boaters love Smith Mt. Lake.

These boaters may all end up at the same marina chatting over their love for the Lake.  Hopefully, we will encounter some sort of Christian fellowship this week and rejoice over the greatness of God!

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone
who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Romans 1:16

Happy Birds

May 20-21
While the large magnolia tree in our yard is the evening porch for multitudes of birds, it is off of our screen porch where the chirpiest of birds on our property can be found. They are so happy! Not a worry in the world. A cat could be on the prowl after them, but they are not stressed!

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you."
Psalm 55:22 

My skin is saggier than last summer, my hair is grayer, my gums are receding and my walk is slower,   but like the birds, I have Jesus in my heart and I am happy.  Hope you feel like singing a song today!

"Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with  one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Romans 15:5-6

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. “Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. ..."
Matthew 6:25-34

Father, thank You for Your loving care. For the encouragement that comes from Your Word and the fortitude to persevere knowing You created each of us with a purpose.  May we be found faithful to sing out our praise to You today. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Into Our Selfies

May 19
Our pastor has embarked on a sermon series entitled "How's Your Soul?" It's fabulous! (The sermon series that is).  He shared that Yellow Stone National Park has opened for the season and park guests are asked to sign a statement of agreement for 10 things they will do while in the park. #1 is to be cautious and practice safety while taking "selfies."  Accidents have been occurring due to risky selfies on ledges and with animals.

He then said, "We are into our selfies! The more we focus on ourselves the more we neglect our souls."

Five days later I opened Jesus Always and read a similar message:
"To increase your awareness of My Presence, you need to learn the art of self-forgetfulness. You were not designed to stay focused on yourself. However, Adam and Eve's disobedience in the Garden of Eden made selfishness the natural bent of mankind.  The inclination is a deadly trap, but I've equipped you to live supernaturally...you have My Spirit living in you.  Ask this Holy Helper to free you from self-centeredness....Ask My Spirit to help you look beyond yourself with eyes that really see."

"You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you."  Romans 8:9

Father, we step away from the mirror of "all about me" today and seek Your face.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, give us eyes to look out and see the day from Your perspective.  In Jesus' Name, Amen

I'm sure I've sent this link before, but this is one of my favorite Brandon Heath videos.
Give Me Your Eyes


Walk With Me

May 17-18
The other evening I asked my husband, "Will you walk with me?"  He grimaced and moaned.  After a long day at work that really wasn't on his wish list.  Whenever we walk around Shiloh a "to do list" manifests.  This particular evening the walked turned into cleaning our dock and replacing lights until after 9PM when we could see no more.

"Enoch walked with God faithfully for 300 years!  Noah walked with God and got into a really BIG project!"

Walking with God can lead into working for God, but there's really no better place to be.

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plan."   Proverbs 16:3

"How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!" Psalm 92:5

Satisfaction Guarenteed

My joy comes from the Lord.

"...yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation."
Habakkuk 3:18

May 16
"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him."
John Piper
How many promotional product tag lines include the phrase "Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back?"  Can't say that I've ever been disappointed about hanging out in the Bible and wanted to renege on my walk with Jesus. God's Word satisfies.

There is a praise song which has the chorus line…My joy comes from the Lord.  Again and again God has to refresh my mind to this truth.  My joy can’t be in how my husband makes me feel, the affirmation I get from other people, the laughter that comes from the grandchildren or the faithfulness of a pet like Moses.  My constant is my Creator and the relationship He created me to have with Him.  A relationship with a guarantee to satisfy throughout eternity.


May 15
A younger sister in Christ posted on Instagram her new life verse.

"My flesh and my heat may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26

What are some things you have scrapped because they were such a mess, total failures in your eyes that you decided it was just easier to start over?  I've tossed baked goods, knitting projects, paintings, writings, clothing, fishing poles and even friendships.

Unlike the majority of the items mentioned above, marriage is God made, not something established by human hands. Not something He wants scrapped, but totally refreshed, restored.  While friendships are relational in nature, they are not bound by a covenant to God. Yes, our friendship with God/Jesus is the exception.

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
Proverbs 18:24

Coming alongside a wounded couple one night, my husband and I recognized the spiritual battle warring around them.  His assignment was for them to read Ephesians 6 and learn how to put on the Armor of God.

The next morning, as I read Psalm 73:26 I wanted to go deeper in studying this verse and came across two excellent sermons by John Piper.


Piper lays out 5 guidelines for times when we are feeling despondent. Just ready to scrap life.

  1. "Find your trusted friends. Who are they? Who are your inner ring?
  2. Open your soul to them.
  3. Ask them to fight with you, to wage war with you, to support you, to watch with you and pray with you.
  4. Pour out your soul to the Father.
  5. And rest in the sovereignty of his wisdom, come what may. “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
 God is greater than any problem we have.  FIGHT for what is of value.  BELIEVE.

Faith In Action

May 13-14
Yesterday's Jesus Always entry had me recognizing our faith takes action to operate correctly.
This weekend let's see if we are:
Praising the Lord for simply being Present.
Thanking Jesus for being a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Trusting God is always with us.
Talking to Jesus about "thoughts and feelings, our struggles and pleasures."
Believing  He cares for us deeply and hears our prayers.
Seeking Help and accepting our limitations
Looking Out and seeing where God is at work
Rejoicing always because God can do "immeasurably more than we can imagine."
Remembering "Nothing is impossible with God."
Refusing "to be intimidated by daunting circumstances"

"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?  Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God-soon I'll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face. He's my God."
Psalm 42:5 (MSG)

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, 
according to his power that is at work within us..."
Ephesians 3:20

"For nothing will be impossible with God."
Luke 1:37

The Wrong Turn Was the Right Choice

May 12 
A girlfriend accompanied me to Low Moor, VA to visit an assisted living facility where the lady who raised me is now living.  This precious woman was celebrating 88 years of life and probably close to that many years of loving Jesus.  While she is frisky as ever, dementia is robbing her memory. Every time I leave her the tears well up and my heart tugs so hard.  I love her deeply.

When we departed, I was trying to hold it together and busily sharing stories about life with my girlfriend and I totally missed our exit.  This friend is the Queen of Apps and a master of phone technology. Immediately she had her phone GPS rerouting us.  Back into the mountains we went. The landscape was gorgeous.  Rounding a curve, coming over a mountain, we were both speechless at the view before us. I said, "I've got to pull over."

Being raised in the mountains, I find them to be a sanctuary.  
This was such a gift from God.  He knew my heart was hurting.

As we continued to stare and take in the beauty of this area,  I said, 
"Why is there an enormous wind sock over there?"
My car co-pilot said, "Look there is a plane!"
Driving a little further we saw the grass runway!

Thelma and Louise probably would have knocked on the door of the house and asked for a ride.
Next time!

The wrong turn we took, turned into such a blessing. I'm not sure we could ever find our way back, but we'd certainly like to.

Keep your eyes open!  God can work with us and make a wrong turn become a blessing!

"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit  have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace."  Romans 8:5-6

Moosic to My Ears

More cow adventures.

Some setting has gotten out of whack. Sorry

May 11
The She Reads Truth community is currently studying The Psalms of Ascent and this morning's entry was Psalm 128.  The person adding commentary today wrote two sentences that I've read over and over this morning.

"We don’t just think about God; we live in response to His Word to us. 
Obedience is a path to joy."

If we are not pouring scripture into our lives, then we do not know how to respond to life in a Biblical fashion.  Faith is a life long walk, a progression, with twists and turns and fortunately there are places along the way to sit on a rock or a stump, sip some water and ponder what God is teaching us along the path.  Occasionally God sends us a walking buddy who brings encouragement.

The "Word" posted on Biblegateway today says:

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, 
just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  
Ephesians 4:32 

"So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing."

1 Thessalonians 5:11

May God's Word enter your life today and be received as Moosic to your ears!

Forever Young

"...but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  
Isaiah 40:31

May 10
Sunday night our church small group watched a 2006 documentary titled, "Young at Heart." It's the story of a senior citizen chorus based out of Massachusetts. While not a Christian based film, it had a wonderful message on staying active, being in community with others and spreading joy at any age.

Their theme song is called "Forever Young."  The following morning I opened Jesus Always and there was a devotional which said:
"Invite Me to enter into your circumstances-including your thoughts, feelings, and decisions.  Communicating with Me will help you focus less on trivial matters and more on glorious realities.  While you wait in My Presence, I will renew your strength.  Regardless of how old you are, you're always young in My Presence!"

God never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge. He knows not only everything we are doing, but every thought before we think it.  These little "coincidence" as some might say are instead to me "confirmations" of how aware He is of everything that touches our lives.

Picture Perfect

Sometimes a picture says 1,000 words.
I love how our grand dog adores and guards our newest grandson.

What a reminder of how close Jesus is to us!

May 9
Part 2 of the Shark Tank Saga...
Psalm 124:8 and Philippians 4:6-7 had my attention, but I was still weary from the battle.
Brandon Heath’s song Your Love was playing in my mind, so I pulled it up to play on my phone. Oh the healing balm. Afterward listening to it four times,  I texted Brandon and told him how thankful I was for his ministry. He wrote me a sweet note and said he was heading in to write a song that very moment. 

My weekly BSF questions were completed, but I had not read the notes, Oh my goodness.  The part were Mary sees Jesus in the garden after his resurrection hit home. Suffering is to be expected.
“Jesus’ affection for Mary caused him to reveal Himself to her. She was among the first to see, talk and touch the resurrected Jesus.  But such a privilege always carries responsibility.  Jesus immediately gave Mary a task.  'Go and tell.'  
A Shared Commission-When you deliberately give the message of Jesus, you will share His sufferings as well as His Power and Presence.  Do not fuss over difficultiesbut rejoice.  He sends you with the same resources: prayer and the Holy Spirit.  He also promises you the eternal success, deep satisfaction and power to bless others that sustained Him….The Holy Spirit empowers believers to give the gospel call to repent, believe and receive forgiveness….The commission is the great privilege and solemn responsibility of every believer.
More affirmation followed from an individual who'd been a key element in the heartache which had been occurring. The words shared could not have been more meaningful or filled with any deeper love.  Again I was sobbing.  The training course was not complete though.
The chapter on gratitude/thanksgiving came in the form of  a message through  Jesus Always.

"Tell others about it. (What God has done.)  This blesses both them and you, and it pleases Me….I want you to linger in gratitude.  This is the most delightful place-where the Joy of My Presence shines warmly upon you.  You often pray fervently for something until you receive the answer you desire.  When I grant your request, you respond joyfully and thankfully.  But your tendency is to move on rather quickly to the next matter. I want you to remain for a while in an attitude of grateful Joy. Instead of experiencing only a short-lived burst of gratitude, let this pleasure flow freely into the future by training yourself to recall what I have done.  One way is to tell others about it.  This blesses both them and you, and it pleases Me….”  Jesus Always.

We have to slow life down enough to absorb the lessons that God is trying to teach us.
So when you are to the point of crying out, be sure to look in His Word and up as well!

While life may not look picture perfect to us right now, it will when we get to heaven.

Shark Tank

May 8
My husband says I would never make it as a college football coach's wife. The daily message board thrashing and cheers, which can quickly turn to jeers, from the stands would crush my heart in no time. He's right!

Recently, a dear friend we'd been counseling suggested a full time ministry project for my husband and I to consider.  Shaking my head,  she inquired, "Why?" I simply baulked like a chicken.  Wait?  That sounds like some of the disciples, who loved Jesus dearly, but couldn't take the heat.  I get it!

I felt like I'd been dropped in a dry and weary land and was no longer cut out for ministry. When Jesus has victory in someone's life whom we are helping here at Shiloh, the devil darts start flying and targeting people I love or our health.  Right now I find myself waving the white flag and saying like on the Shark Tank show, "I'm out." I can't be in the midst of these ferocious battles any more Lord. Count me out.

One day last week, I was oh so low. Not able to sleep fearing the pain in my heart would bring about another stroke. I cried out to God, "Take me home, but please don't let me have another stroke."
Obviously, I'm still here.  My mind wandered back and forth as to who I could call to come over and literally fall on their face with me in prayer. Sometimes we are too weary to even call out for help.  Not knowing how to even get out of bed, I opened the She Reads Truth email for the day and Psalm 124 reminded...My help comes from the Lord.

Next I clicked on Biblegateway for the day. Are you kidding me?  
"Do not be anxious about anything, 
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7
Could God speak anymore clearly? Oh, yes, He had more to say. I'll share that for tomorrow.

God's Word is a soothing balm. Walking with Jesus is not for the faint of heart.  It takes faith, for the battle in the spiritual realm is real and cruel.  God knows my heart, so he knows there are days I don't want to play anymore and want to say, "I'm out!"

A Little Pooh in/on my Cup

I have this sweet children's cup, which has Winnie the Pooh in the base of the cup.
So when you finish your milk or juice he's smiling up at you!

This Starbucks' cup of Poo is a different story.
My husband hates giving out his name, Deke, at restaurants because they never get the pronunciation correct and call him Dick or Dyke.  So, on this particular day he decided to use my name, "Boo."
Waiting alone in the store for his order you can imagine his dismay when they called out, "Poo!"

Oh, laughter does lighten the load of a day!
Maybe that is part of their Starbucks training!

May 6 -7
Its not a laughing matter, but an incomprehensible thought that God knows all of our names. 

 "And the Lord said to Moses, 'This very thing that you have spoken I will do,
for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.'"
Exodus 33:17

"But not thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel;
'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'"
Isaiah 43:1

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it is altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me..."
Psalm 139:1-24


May 5

This is my new favorite instructional verse!  

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. 
Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. 
Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 
Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

What's Your MOOd?

Cow cards, cow placemats, cow cake and cow grandparents make the MOOd a little more fun.

May 4
Mood- "a temporary state of mind or feeling."

In Malachi 3:6 the Lord is doing some cleaning up among the Israelites. He makes the statement:
"I, the Lord, do not change."  His mood is consistent!

Moods change. Sometimes very quickly and they are certainly swayed by circumstances. Lack of sleep, external stresses, heartache, sugar and hormonal levels play a big part.  :-)  Lack of control of moodiness often causes people to inflict emotional pain on others.  In the moment much damage can be done.

The enemy loves to be on the look out for when our guard is down, when moodiness is on the loose and use this weakness to bring dissension among believers in their marriages, families, friendships, and churches.  When Satan can destroy unity in the Body of Christ he has accomplished a great victory.

"Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."  1 Peter 5:8

Once we were walking alongside a friend in a terrible pit.  His mood was LOW. His world was caving in and his marriage falling apart.  He really needed Jesus and cried out and what a transformation took place.  Early on in the process I said, "You need to choose what is of value."
Our relationships with one another and with our Savior are so valuable.

Be on the alert!
Think hard before you throw someone away.

"Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32 

"So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.  Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.  And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.  It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.   Colossians 3:12-14

Wake Up Call

While baby sitting we added a little adventure to our day by creating an indoor slide!

May 3
I've decided to call my middle of the night escapades with Jesus "Wake up calls." One las week was so sweet.  My husband was spooned up against me sending signals of security amidst a windy rain storm.  I felt so loved and safe.  Jesus reminded me, "No matter where you are, you should feel secure for I AM with you."

We can know God loves us, just like this little one knows her Daddy loves her.

To Whom Do You Belong

May 2

"Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven,
but you are members of God's very own family, 
citizens of God's country, and you belong in God's household with every other Christian."
Ephesians 2:19

The framed statement below was given to a young elementary aged boy in our church, by his parents, upon his baptism.  That's what I call a confidence builder.

The reminder of to whom we belong is important at any age.
Walk in confidence today, if you are the child of the King!
If you aren't a hundred percent sure, call me. Let's talk about it!

Stacked Against You

Yes, I was on a cow kick this winter.
This little one out scored everyone in the stack the cow game.

May 1
How often to you feel that life is stacked against you?  Not only can you not get ahead, you can't even catch up.  Laundry alone is proof of that!

There is another area that often gets the best of us.  Our thought process. How often do our minds wander off to the unpleasant.  Just the other morning I heard my mind say in reference to another, "She's not a very nice person."  Immediately, Jesus replied, "Well, I AM. Why don't you think about me and brighten your day?"

It's so true!

"Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditation on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious-the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.  Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies."  Philippians 4:8-9

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up agains the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."   2 Corinthians 10:5 
Lunch that says a bunch!
After I made this creative lunch my grandson grabbed the celery broke it in half saying,

"Let's make him smile!"
One simple action makes such an improvement.
Ha! Kind of like asking Jesus into your life.

April 29-30
Heading out the door, I grabbed a new pair of jelly shoes by Trendsup that I'd purchased for $16.99 on Amazon. They are so light and comfortable.  The perfect summer lake shoe. I thought,  "I need to tell my friends about these."

The thought process on sharing continued realizing the difference a friend's tip on Johnson and Johnson's No More Tears baby shampoo made in opening up a clogged oil gland in my eye.
It saved me from surgery!

Now some women may not share their special recipes or secret beauty tips, but there is a life saving tip we should all be quick to share.

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

The wages of sin is death.  Romans 6:23

If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  Romans 10:9

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  1 John 3:16

Who will you share with this weekend?

The Sweetest of the Sweet

Our son sent this picture.  He was on his own baby sitting for his two sons a few weekends ago
and decided they'd have a contest to see which sugar cereal is the best!
Growing up, we didn't allow sugar cereals during the week, it was a Saturday treat.
Sounds like his house adult rules may be similar to his childhood!

April 28
Presently, I'm joining the She Reads Truth community in a study of miracles.  Today, contributor, Sharon Miller wrote:
"The Gospel accounts of Jesus conquering death (as in Lazarus and the religious leader's daughter) seem like the ultimate of all miracles.  But really, they were only a short-term (and yes, miraculous) solution to a long-term problem.  The only source of real and lasting hope is not a miracle, but the Messiah. 'I am the resurrection,' Jesus said to Martha.  
As glorious and dazzling as a miracle can be, it has only an ounce of the power and glory of the Savior."

The stories of miracles in the Bible are amazing and certainly draw us in when we are considering who Jesus is.  The more you get to know Him, you come to realize He's the sweetest of the sweet!
The I AM Himself, is better than anything thing He did.

May you take time today to feel His love pour out all over you and recognize His Presence in every detail of your day.

I love you Jesus!

A Junket

 While visiting a dairy farm recently, we came home and turned into cows ourselves.
After we journey to heaven we will experience a transformation!

What you talking bout lady?

April 27
Today's Merriman Webster word of the day is junket-"a trip made at another's expense."
For those of us who love the Lord and call Him Savior.  We have an amazing trip to heaven awaiting us and it is only made available at the expense of Christ's sacrifice!!!!

In 1 Corinthians 6 & 7 Paul is preaching on sexual purity and marriage. In both incidences he reminds believer that "...you were bought at a price."  

Listen to how The Message translation expresses Romans 5:9-11.
"Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.  If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!  Now that we have actually received this amazing with life with God, we are no  longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

1 Peter 1:18-21 gives another reminder of the payment made for the junket which lies ahead and the peace we can experience now by knowing the payment has been made.

"Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know.  He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.  And this was no afterthought...God always knew he was going to do this for you.  It's because of the sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

I don't know what trips you have on your calendar this summer, but I do know for those of us saved by God's grace through Christ Jesus, we have quite the unimaginable journey ahead and the cost of this junket has been paid in full!  Now that's a reason to get up and do your hallelujah dance!

The Light of Heaven

Sparklers bring such a thrill, so will the light of heaven...FOREVER!
God's Glory will be a light like we've never seen.

April 26
Yesterday, I read this entry in Jesus Always, by Sarah Young and thought.  Who do I know who's headed to heaven soon.  The thought entered my mind, it could be me and this was to excite me about the journey.  Ends up, the father of a dear friend, since childhood, had passed from this earth into heaven just hours earlier.  He would have been 96 tomorrow.  What wonderful words for this friend of my to read as she thanks the Lord for her father's faith and the comfort of knowing where he is spending eternity!

“There will be no night in heaven, for the Glory of God gives it Light.  You will not need nighttime for sleeping, because your glorified body will always be full of energy.  Tiredness is one of the main things people have to contend with in this this world, especially as they grow old or sickly.  But there will be no fatigue in heaven and therefore no need for sleep.

The Glory-Light of heaven is perfect and brilliant, without a speck of darkness in it.  There will be no sin there-nothing to hide. You will see everything through glorified eyes, as you’ve never seen before. Colors will be more vivid; faces will be more vibrant.  You will be able to look fully into My Face.  Your experience will be far better than that of Moses, who had to hide in the cleft of a rock while My Glory passed by.  He was allowed to see only My back, but you will have no such limitations.  In heaven you will see Me face to Face-in all My Glory!”  By Sarah Young (Written in the voice of Jesus)

Make "Em Laugh

Laughter is good for the soul.

Our last small group study was on laughter, joy and happiness.  What a joy it was to gather each week and laugh together. We watched clips from Tim Hawkins and Jeanne Robertson, which had us chuckling, but taking turns reading church bulletin bloopers out loud made our bellies hurt we laughed so hard.

1) Do to the pastor's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
2) Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist.  Come
     hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
3) The Rev. Merriwether spoke briefly, much to the delight of the audience.
4) The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy"
5)  Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having
     trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Nelson's sermons.
6)  Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship
     that began in their school days.
7)  Weight Watchers will meet at 7PM. Please use the large double doors at the side entrance.
8)  The 1991 Spring Council Retreat will be hell May 10 and 11.
9)  The choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
10) Tuesday at 4PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

It's amazing the difference a simple word can make.  Just like it's amazing the difference one solitary life made when He came to earth as a baby to die for the sins of the world.  We can laugh, smile, and radiate joy, because we know the best is yet to come because of the gift we have received.  
His name is Jesus!

"You never saw him, yet you love him. 
You still don't see him, yet you trust him-with laughter and singing.
Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to:
total salvation."
1 Peter 1:8-9

Brain Shift

"She is at a place 
in her life
where peace is her priority
and negativity cannot exist."

April 24
This quote popped up, like an advertisement, when I was reading some blogs.  It caught my attention as I thought back to my own mother growing older and it seemed like one day she had a brain shift and had come to a place where she just wasn't going to be riled anymore.  Peace was her priority. Unfortunately, although she had a passionate love for Jesus, for many years she also had a very real addiction to alcohol that had robbed her of peace and joy.  That peace that passes understanding was evident the last years of her life.

Sarah Young writes, "The nature of addiction is that you need more and more of a substance to get the same effect as before. This is a self-destructive trap. However, the more you make Me (Jesus) your Focus, the less dependent you are on other things."

One definition of addiction is: enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity.

Do you have an addiction? 
Is there a thing, person, activity which you show more devotion to than Christ?
It may be robbing the peace that Christ planned for you?
Let's take time for a brain shift concerning the priorities in our lives.

Lord, Jesus, today we pray that we may look up and make peace our priority by turning on the Holy Spirit as the Controller in our lives. Through that act help our brains shift as we become enthusiastically devoted to YOU! You are a life changer. Thanks for loving us.
In Your precious name, Amen

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7

The Journey, The Hunt

The Saturday before Easter provided a wonderful day for an egg hunt.

April 22-23
 We are always hunting for something, aren't we?  The car keys, our phone, the perfect pair of shoes, a new job, the man/woman of our dreams, what God's purpose for our life is....  Things that bring satisfaction in this world.

As I set off on this seeking journey a couple months ago these are steps I jotted down in my journal.

The Journey-Seeking Him-Simple Steps to Take
1) Approach Me- Return, return, return to Me.
2) Remember you are not of this world. 
3) Keep your arrow pointed out  (away from selfish desires)

On day twelve, I wrote down that I heard the Lord say, "I will not make you wait long.  You will know My plan."  Then my husband said, "Remember with the Lord a day is as a 1,000 years!" 
Ha! Thanks!

March 21st brought this message from Jesus Always"I may not answer your prayers quickly, 
I am doing something important in your life-far beyond simply solving your problems."

A quick reference and remembrance...God's ways are not our ways.

We don't get it.  God is up to good with us, but often we don't recognize His purpose in the process.  
We forget we are not of this world and we are not designed to comprehend the mind of God.

We are aliens and that's a reason to praise the Lord!
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he has made for you-from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. Friend, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it.  Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.  Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices.  Then they'll be own over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
1 Peter 2:10-12   

Our journey, our hunt, will end in a heavenly place.

It's Not About Us

April 21
Years ago, we were teaching in the youth department of a large church, a new youth pastor came onboard.  The hashtag he lived by was #it's all about Jesus.  At some point in our faith walks, the gears shift and we realize...this life journey is not about us, it's about what God wants to do with us.  The initial journey begins when we recognized we've been bought at a precious price...the price of Jesus' life.

Sarah Young so beautifully writes in the voice of Christ in Jesus Always,
"There is no condemnation for those who are in Me." I want you to enjoy the wonder of walking through your life as My follower-totally forgiven!  The best response to this wondrous gift is to live in gratitude, seeking to please Me above all else.  You don't need to do good things to secure My Love, because it's already yours. Just let your desire to please Me flow readily out of your grateful heart. Thanking Me frequently will help you stay close to Me, ready to follow wherever I lead."

Wait, what?  We aren't to initiate our walk and just ask You to bless it?  We are to follow Your lead?

Ha! This just made me think about walking with our grandchildren.  I bet they tire of my continual explanation of why they must hold my hand in a parking lot.  The explanation is that I am higher up than they are and a car can see me in their mirror and stop,  but there's a good possibility they would not be able to see a child who is so much lower!

Whoa.  God is higher up than we are. He sees all things.  He wants to hold our hands, keep us close, and lead us into a life that has eternal benefits, which we are not able to see.

"From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind."
Psalm 33:13
Yesterday, I began to fret over uncertainties...God immediately said, "Stop looking outward. Look upward!"  It's not about us and doing what appeals to us. It's about believing in our Creator and that he created us for a specific purpose. We must look to Him to discern that purpose.

Transformation- The Greatest Easter Gift Ever

God's love is amazing and is showered upon us in so many ways.
A new path.
April 19
Transformation:a thorough or dramatic change.
That's what Jesus is all about.  He came to earth to transform us from sinners bound for a dreadful death, to the realization that we can be the forgiven sons and daughters of the King, with our greatest eternal destiny waiting for us.  The choice is ours.

"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right  to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.  John 1:12

One of our sons posted on Facebook recently a message of God's transforming power in his life.  

"The last 30 + years I have been walking blind to the most amazing gift I could ever receive.  I knew who Jesus was, I went to church with my family, I even went to a Christian college and studied ministry.  Yet, I never felt worthy of God's grace and I ran as far from it as possible.

I am so thankful to finally be learning what this amazing relationship with Christ is about and to be following his purpose and plan for my life and no longer chasing after my own.

His love is perfect and never failing. He is Risen!"

Do What is Better

April 18
So, I'm back, but still not certain of the exact format.  God's not finished with this training course!

Back in early March, I was driving home from a baby sitting gig and the Spirit prompted me to pull off the road onto an overlook.  I started to resist, because I wanted to scurry home, but heard these words in my heart.   "Do what is of better. Do what is of value?"  Looking down into the valley below was a little red brick church with a white steeple.  God had my attention.

About 30 minutes away was the assisted living/nursing home facility where the woman who raised me was now living.  What was of value, was to change the course of my day and go spend time with her.  Oh, yes, I got the blessing!

This past Easter weekend I was a mix of Mary and Martha.  Groceries have to be bought, meals prepared and the house cleaned up, but time can always be made to sit at the feet of Jesus.

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 
but few things are needed-or indeed only one.  
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:41-42 

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

The Women
The Cross

April 7
It's the middle of the night, I've long ago learned not to pray to go back to sleep, but to seek the face of Jesus in the quiet of the night. With Good Friday only a week away, that's where my mind drifted...to the foot of the cross.

While Jesus hung here in the most horrific pain and humiliation imaginable, I probably would have been hiding out at home with a pillow over my head, so I couldn't hear the hammer hit the nails and praying "God save him!"  The images on the movie/TV screens and in books are more than I can bare.  Yet, the women who loved him most were there to be with him in his suffering.

How could Jesus's grieving mother, Mary of Nazareth, most likely a widow by this time, have stood this torment.  Years ago, we watched one of our sons struggle for his life following a devastating car accident.  While death tried to grab him for days, it was nothing compared to the public humiliation and false accusations which caused Jesus to be stripped, whipped, beaten, and hung on a cross.  Right now a tear drips down my cheek as I think of Christ's mother.

Salome, whose name means "peaceful," had known Jesus before His public ministry began. Makes me think back to the many friends of our children who sat at my kitchen counter sharing a meal with our boys.  Her sons, John and James, became disciples.  She gave up her life as the wife of a well to do fisherman to follow Jesus and invest in his ministry physically and financially.  Being seen publicly at the cross had consequences for her and her sons.  She took the risk and stood by Him.

Mary Magdalene's presence doesn't surprise me.  This woman adored Jesus!  He had cast seven demons out of her and she was sold out for this man who brought her salvation and gave her newness of life.  Her devotion was present at the cross, but also at the tomb.  She was the first to arrive at the open tomb on that great Resurrection morning. 

These women didn't run away and hide.  They stood by their man.  

The past two weeks I've prayed fervently with a large group of people for a thirteen year old, whose name is Josh.  Josh just had a brain tumor removed and his mother has stayed by his side.  Another acquaintance will not leave her home, because her husband is terminally ill. While two others who are dear to me have stood by their men in painful legal battles where false accusations have been hurled at them in courtrooms.

Who is God calling us to suffer alongside?  
Are we willing to be uncomfortable?
Are we willing to make a sacrifice?

Jesus gave up incredible comforts when he left heaven and came to earth.
Jesus suffered great physical pain and emotional pain as he sacrificed His life for our sinfulness.
Jesus is walking alongside us today in every situation we face.

Here's a happy thought. Those gals of the Old Testament were sold out to the end and they received the greatest reward...being first to see the empty tomb!  Interestingly, they were going there in suffering service again to anoint Jesus' body.  When they got there it was quite the surprise party!

Stand up, stand up for Jesus!