Friday, December 26, 2008

Pictures of Granddaughters

I spent time this morning posting pictures to my previous "Granddaughters are Precious" blog from over a week ago. I'm still learning how to take pictures on a digital camera and download them to the computer and post them to the blog. Hubby is being very patient with me, for he knows I am technologically challenged! Anyway, please go back a couple of posts and enjoy the pictures of our time with Princess and Angel.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Good Morning, Jesus!! It's your birthday! All over the world this morning people are celebrating this day...a day set aside to commemorate your birth into our world over 2,000 years ago. I just want to stop and say THANK YOU!! for coming as a babe in a manger, knowing you would be exiting our world on a cruel old rugged cross. But you came anyway. You loved us anyway. You forgave us anyway. And today I want you to know that I LOVE YOU!!

I have thought about what to give you for your birthday. I don't have the riches of the three kings that came at your birth, so I have nothing elaborate or expensive to wrap and hand to you. I don't have the power of politicians who reign and rule our world today, so I can't you give any valuable property. I'm not even a leader in the I cannot even install you in a position of authority.

Therefore I have been contemplating what would make you happy, Jesus. After all, you created this world, so you already own everything anyway...and you have all Power, so you do not need a mere "position". You have the final say, for you are Sovereign, you are the ultimate Ruler...King of kings, Lord of lords. So what can one person give you that would make a difference? It was then that I was reminded of what Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians : Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.

I thought to myself, "Yes! That's it! I will give you my mind for Christmas! But then I had to ask what that really give you my "mind". Well, it's something you have been talking to me about most of 2008...ever since I started preparing my message for the retreat last spring, "Hope Springs Eternal". So, I went back to the words of Paul in the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible, and this is what I read in Philippians 2:5-11:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When I was a child at the age of 11 I knelt before you, Dear Jesus, and gave you my heart. When I was a young mother at the age of 30 I knelt at your holy altar, Lord Jesus, and surrendered my complete life to your service. Today, a grandmother who is still learning how to please you, I want to give you my mind...I want my thoughts, my ambitions, and most of all my attitude to be the same as yours, King Jesus, so that you might be exalted in my life and honored above all others. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Granddaughters Are Precious!

This is the week that we have our two granddaughters with us in Michigan for a time of bonding, playing, loving, laughing...just enjoying being together. We picked them up last weekend, and Daddy will be taking them back home this coming weekend. Meanwhile my time is dedicated to them. They are still sleeping this morning, giving me a chance to share what I've been thinking.

I'm thinking how GOOD my heavenly Father is. He has entrusted these two very precious lives into my care, not only for this week, but for all time. They are covered by my prayers every day...even throughout the day I will stop and think about them and ask God to watch over them. While they are here I will do my best to make them aware of how much God loves them, as well as how much I cherish them. These girls are so easy to love, so easy to care for. They are very sweet...polite, well-mannered, obedient, excitable, innocent, playful, beyond intelligent, gifted in so many ways. But for me the most important thing is that they have Jesus in their heart, as they become accountable.

I want to be able to spend eternity with them, for I am truly enamored with their creativity and beauty and personalities.

My Princess is old enough now to play games with me...clue, back gammon, and chess with her Grandpa. She assists me in preparing the meals, and we enjoy watching "7th Heaven" together. She is also very good at being an older sister and playing with her sibling, including her in various activities...such as yesterday they were putting on a show together, with a keyboard...a musical show. One can sing beautifully (in her genes from the maternal side of her family, although Daddy has a pretty good voice also), and the other one is called "Rocker Chick" because she is in constant movement when the music starts. Princess and I have "our" song..."You Are My Sunshine". I've sung it to her across the years, and she found a birthday card to send me that had the song in it. I found a singing frog that sings the song, and that was one of her Christmas gifts. (We are having a Granny Bag each day they are here...they get to choose from the bundle of packages under the tree). She came into our lives when our Pekingese puppy was a year old, so Tuxedo and Princess have sort of grown up together, and she will give Tuxedo special attention.

My Angel loves to play with things that teach her. She likes using "Leap Frog" to learn her words, and "Big Bird" to play various learning games. We spent time drawing pictures with her new markers yesterday, and playing meal time with her new play dishes and plastic eggs. She gathered up the Christmas Teddy Bears (my collection from across the years) and set them around her table for a tea party. She has declared that Kefli, our Shih Tzu, is her very favorite dog...her best friend. I love to hear her giggle while Kefli is climbing all over her trying to lick her.

Tonight, even though it will be snowing and perhaps in the high teens, we have a Horse and Carriage Ride reservation at Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. We will just bundle up and go out to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas. I love to watch the faces of these precious granddaughters...they have so many expressions, and it's fun to watch them light up when something excites them. Yesterday Angel opened her gift and had a box of Cheerios. To observe her reaction, you would have thought that was the greatest gift she could ever receive! Princess had to tell her to look at what was inside the box...Grandma is pretty good at disguising gifts. The little stuffed puppy inside that plays "Jesus Loves Me" didn't excite her near as much as taking the paper off a box of Cheerios! Tonight it will be fun to watch their faces as they see all the Christmas lights in the Sculpture Park as we take our ride, and all the decorated Christmas trees inside, and the model trains going around their various tracks. It will be a special outing.

Well, the day is about to begin...I think I hear voices heading my's time to have breakfast, open a gift, and play!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Butterscotch Brownies....and other sweet thoughts

Just stuck the butterscotch brownies in the oven. Tomorrow night is our monthly ILNC Leaseholder's Potluck, and I'm taking lasagna and brownies. We always have a variety of foods to choose from, and it's fun to cook for each other once a month. This comes on the heels of Grandma's Cupboard...a food pantry program for our senior citizens and low income families. What a blessing this program has been for ILNC the past several years!! And now, with the economic belt having to be taken in a notch or two, we've seen the need all the more.

Well, now for some highlights of my reading this past week. I feel so in need of a daily tune-up, and I am grateful that God is faithful to highlight those things I need to give thought to and improve on. Here's a few:

1. Love is not rude. I must strive to be a person who is pleasant to be with. I must treat others in the way I want to be treated. Avoiding people, criticizing people, talking about them behind their backs....very, very rude...very unkind. I don't want people to treat me that way, so I must be careful not to do the same to them. I guess it's best summed up in this phrase from my journal: Learn to be a joy...not a jerk!

2. How I think determines my attitude, and my attitude determines my reactions. I often struggle with negative thinking, and it drags me down, leads me into feelings of anger, and it affects my relationships. I know that I should think on whatever is lovely and pure and beneficial to my mental well-being...I know that, but I don't always practice that. Big room for improvement in this department!

3. The Love Dare book has really been challenging me on a daily basis to reexamine what real love looks it displays itself. Going right along with thought #2 above, love will choose to see the positive and best in people, and not focus on the negative. When I determine to focus on the positive qualities of a person, I will find that it creates more blossoms in that relationship, and the garden will become much more fragrant.

4. Lately I've been a little concerned about our finances...or lack of. So when confronted with the question, "Worried about money?", I was reminded that I don't need to be, for God will provide. He gives me this promise in Matthew 6:32-33: Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern. Thanks...I needed that reminder!

5. Depression is something that plays no favorites. Not only have historical giants struggled with it (Abraham Lincoln, Mozart, Ernest Hemingway), but so have biblical giants (Jonah, Jeremiah, David). Even Jesus was touched by depression when He was on the cross and felt abandoned by His Father, calling out "My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me?" But there is value to be found in depression. In the midst of our pain we find that God is right there with us, drawing us to Himself if we allow Him to. (I recall how I spent my days basking in His presence when I felt I couldn't face the daily routine of life. I leaned on Him for strength and guidance, and He saw me through that tunnel experience. In fact, He even rewarded me with a trip to His land....the land of Israel. I honestly felt that Jesus was my partner on that trip, and I can only say, "Thank you, Jesus!") So...there are many successful and famous people who suffered with depression prior to or during their greatest achievements. Depression is common, but one must go on with life to get through the tunnel...and we do it by hanging on to the hand of Jesus.

6. Regarding our passion for's much easier for satan to slip in and defeat us when we do not remain close to God...passionate about our relationship with Him. When the circumstances of life close in on us, that is all the more reason to draw in closer to the Source of our strength and purpose. Even as He hung dying on the cross, Christ's passion for us was uppermost in His mind and heart. In was His passion for us that put Him on that cross. It was part of God's overall plan to provide redemption for us. We are reminded, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength... Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight, so all will go well with you... For we are righteous when we obey all the commands the Lord our God has given us. (Deuteronomy 6:5, 18, 25)

7. I'll end this blog with God's Word to me this morning: You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God... Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil. (I Peter 3:4, 11-12)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Changes...I love them!

Decided to revamp this blog a bit...give it a new title (since I will no longer be quoting any source except God's Word...He has given me permission to do so, no matter what version I choose to use), and what I share here will be what I am thinking about.

Like that picture? Hubby and I made a ten day trip up along the west coast of Michigan all the way to Mackinac Island and back home again back in October. We tried to stop at most of the light houses along the way. Have you ever walked in sand dunes? It is NOT easy!! Look again, way out past the light house....see that ship passing through on Lake Michigan? Michigan is a great place to visit, vacation, in any season, but I highly recommend the fall color season.

Well, stop back again never know what I'll be thinking!

Any guesses where the above picture was taken? Surely all true blue Michiganders will recognize this spot. It's best gotten to by bike, and the whole area is surrounded by water. In fact, there are no motor vehicles allowed! Bikes, horses, carriages...a step back in time..."Somewhere In Time"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Recap of Dec 1-3 Reading

The books I am currently reading are all listed in the side bar. I typically finish the complete batch of books prior to pulling out a "new" batch. In this particular batch are a couple of brand new books and a Christmas gift book from my son and his wife. The rest are all "reruns". I am continuing to read through my shelved books one more time before unloading them. I have several years' worth of books to reread, so it's nice now and then to have a new book in the batch.

In one particular new book it was noted that no electronic reproduction could be made in any way, shape, or form without written permission of the author/publisher. I respect that. My gut feeling is that if the other books I read were written in this day and technological age, they would contain the same warnings. Therefore, I will no longer quote from any of the books to avoid doing something illegal. Instead I will paraphrase what stands out to me, and perhaps a note about how it applies to me...or what I need to think about. I cannot say it as well as the author, so I am sorry that the actual quotes will no longer be available.

Four of the books in current listing are being read "devotionally". By that I mean I read a chapter per day from each book and comment on it in my journal. They are short, devotional size, chapters, and I feel like I'm getting a tidbit each day from each book. I also treat each book as though it is God himself talking to me about things I need to pay attention to, learn, grow in. So as much as I enjoy my prayer time with the Father, I can hardly wait to get to my four books to see what God has to say to me each day. From there I write my journal notes as I feel inspired. Perhaps I will start sharing that daily, or as time permits, but tonight I will recap my reading/thoughts from the first three days of December.

By the way, not sure I have any followers on this particular blog. I am still continuing my Reflections on Genesis Blog as I have 6-7 more posts to complete the book of Genesis. I will leave that blog up and running once I complete it, but there will not be any new posts after Chapter 50. I had two other blogs...a weekly menu blog and a Journey of Hope blog (my original blog). I shut both of those down. I was conscious that many people may not have sufficient food to eat in a week, and I felt that posting my menu was too much. I obviously eat too much food in a week, and need to cut back and think about those who are struggling with having even the basics of life. My Journey of Hope blog contained many of my earlier writings in life...papers I had written for classes I had taken, sermons I had preached, well as personal comments about my life. I am sensitive to others and tried not to post anything that would expose others beyond what they have already exposed about themselves. However, there was fear that could happen, since I am such an open book. Out of respect for family members, I shut that blog down. It was during a sad time in my life, and perhaps I jumped the gun too early, but I felt several urgings to do I did. So, for now, this is my only "personal" blog in which I will share my thoughts. However, I will not be mentioning specific people or sharing personal intimate details of my family.

With those disclaimers, I am now ready to recap three days' worth of devotional thoughts:

Monday, December 1, 2008:
1. Depression affects a huge number of our society. I myself experienced clinical depression back in 1987-88. Often depression will cause us to not want to eat, yet not eating tends to only make things worse. We need to eat a balanced meal even when we don't feel like it. Also, how we respond to events in our lives has far more to do with how we feel than what actually happens to us.

2. God has made me unique. The sooner I accept who I am, and quit trying to be who I am not, the quicker I can get on with what God has planned for me to do.

3. When it comes to forgiveness, there are three areas in which forgiveness needs to occur:
-I must forgive others.
-I must forgive myself.
-I must forgive God, as He forgives me. Then I can build a bridge and get over matter what has happened to hinder my advancement in life.

4. If I am going to learn to love, I must recognize that love is first of all patient and kind. I need to control my emotions so they do not control me, and practice extending mercy and gentleness to others by my kind words and thoughtful actions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008:
1. When we think no one understands us, Jesus always understands. He is so focused on others, rather than on Himself, that even as He was headed to His own crucifixion on the night He was met by the soldiers in the garden, he took time to heal the ear of one of those who had come to arrest him. No pity party for Himself...He still sought to do what was best for others...even His "enemies".

2. A beautiful woman is one who serves others and shares in their lives, allowing God to shine through her. But she does it all without desiring recognition or reward. Her spiritual demeanor is like a fragrance to those around her.

3. Even when we think we are going through horrible persecution, bad things that seem to have no purpose other than to defeat us, God is using that time to draw us closer to Him so that we might better reflect who He is by our attitude and actions. Only through persecution of the early Christians did the church grow. What will God do through those who allow persecution to refine them and make them more in His image?

4. When it comes to love not being selfish, God's Word says it best:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008:
1. To avoid being depressed, I need to focus on my accomplishments, not my failures. I need to be patient with myself as much as with others!

2. Each "opportunity" we go through is a time for us to learn and grow and move forward in wisdom. May I be willing to say yes and seek the positive results from the adversities in my life.

3. I must get to the place where Jesus is always my main focus. It is from Him that I receive my purpose and the power I need to fulfill that purpose.

4. Love is thoughtful. Rather than rushing ahead with the words that come to mind, think about how they will be received, and choose to say things kindly and with respect.

5. God honors faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed. He can do mighty things for those who have faith and believe.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I've been tagged....

I was tagged by Robin on her book reading blog and challenged to grab the nearest book to me, go to page 56, and type the 5th sentence and a few following it. Well, the nearest book is a brand new one I bought and have on a shelf for my next batch of reading...and to use for possible blog ideas. It's featured in the movie "Fireproof" and is titled The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick, published by B & H Publishing Group in Nashville, TN, copyright 2008. And the 5th sentence of page 56 reads:

"Unfortunately, stubbornness comes as a standard feature on both husband and wife models." (and to go on...) "Defending your rights and opinions is a foundational part of your nature and make-up. It's detrimental, though, inside a marriage relationship, and it steals away time and productivity. It can also cause great frustration for both of you." (end of paragraph)

I'm supposed to tag five other people with the same challenge, but I'm not into passing tags along...I don't follow that many blogs. I'll just say that this book is probably going to be very challenging to me when I start reading it. It's a 40-day do this kind of book to enrich, or even save, a marriage. What marriage doesn't need enriching? So, I'll be back to this book in about a month, at my current rate of reading.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

True Worship

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable ad perfect. Romans 12:1-2

"For Paul, worship means "to present your bodies," or, in our language, "to offer your very selves." In true and genuine worship, everything we have is to be offered to God; every part of our lives is presented as a "living sacrifice." Worship, then, is not limited to a ceremony, an occasion, a service, a place, or a particular time during the week. The worship events that punctuate our lives are intended simply to gather and focus all the parts of our lives. According to Paul, all of life, all of who we are and all that we do, is the content of our worship. Worship is the drawing together of the whole of our lives and the offering of that whole to the Lord. All of our humanity and all of our relationships--to God, to the world, and to one another--are brought into worship. We offer our brokenness and remember our wholeness. We offer our alienation and uprootedness, and we recall our rootedness in the history of God's people. To offer ourselves so totally to God is what Paul describes as "spiritual worship."

Paul's next words are about conformity to this world.... Paul is saying that conformity to the world is more than a failure of lifestyle or politics; conformity to the world is a failure of worship. The integrity and vitality of our worship is tested in our relationships to the world. Paul, knowing how often we will fail these tests, calls us to be transformed. He wants us to have our minds renewed so that we may know the will of God, that we may know what God is saying to us, that we may know "what is good and acceptable and perfect." Without this transformation, we will continue to conform to the patterns and structures of this world; without this renewal, we cannot know the will of God because our attachments to the world cloud our vision and obstruct our hearing.

...In worship we are refreshed and renewed, our vision is rekindled, and we remember again who we are and what we are about."

(The Call To Conversion, Jim Wallis, HarperSanFranciso, 1981, pg. 140-141.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Letting Go

"Do you want to hold on to your kids?

Then let go. Laugh with them, cry with them, rejoice with them, and dream with them. But let go of them. Then when they come down the driveway to see you, you can know that the only reason they are coming is because they want to see you.

And you will begin to realize the deep joy that comes from having what you are willing to lose."

(See you at the house, Bob Benson, pg. 128)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Burn Brighter

"When we think of words like commitment and surrender, I am afraid that most of us have the idea that one of God's favorite things to do on a rainy afternoon is to figure out ways to "whoof" us out. In reality he wants to live in union with you so that you will become far more than you ever dreamed you could be. He wants you to burn brighter and shine farther and illuminate longer that you ever thought was possible.

And our oneness with each other, and our twoness, should be the same way."

(See you at the house, Bob Benson, pg.119)

Psalm 77

I'm awake all night -- not a wink of sleep.
I can't even say what's bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,
wondering how to get my life together.

I read this in Psalm 77 this morning, and it spoke to's exactly where I am right now. Life isn't making a lot of sense to me these days. Even though I trust in God, the human in me at times struggles with things inside me that I can't even express or explain. I suspect this is a common phenomenon in people with my make-up. Not engineers or scientists...who deal with facts. I deal with emotions, but somehow I've managed to put a lot of mine on the back burner, or I've buried them. I must go on and leave certain things to God to handle. But in my heart of hearts I am sometimes confused and sad.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Serving Others

"When Jesus says, "A man should lay down his life," I believe that what he is trying to get us to see is that this is where joy and love are found. Not just for the receiver but for the giver as well. He is reminding us to release our gifts and graces and let them flow out of us and into others, knowing that as we do, joy and love will come flowing back to us."
("See you at the house.", Bob Benson, pg. 86)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life, as it is

"When God wanted to show his deepest feelings about us, he sent His Son. And he didn't send him to live in a castle. He demonstrated God's love in the midst of life at its best and life at its worst. He came into the world in such a way as to say , "I am one of you." Why else would he be born in a manger? It was to say to us that we were never to be surprised at where he turned up. Once and for all he was saying, "I am here to be involved in life."

He entered into life wholeheartedly. He identified with it. He put himself within the limits of life and made no claims of immunity. He joined in exploring its possibilities. He suffered and worked at it. He addressed himself to the ills of society. He pleaded for the poor and defended those who were attacked. He entered into disappointments and struggles that are the daily occurrences of every man's life. He embraced the world as his own. He came into the sweat, dust, and tears of life.

Jesus was a holy man. But I think we often think it was because he withdrew from life. There were times when he had to be alone with the Father. But I am beginning to believe that his holiness did not come because he withdrew from life; he was holy because he entered into life at every level.

Some people imagine a Jesus who, when confronted with sorrow or sickness, slipped into a phone booth and took off his glasses and put on his God suit. It helps me more to know that he didn't have some sort of spiritual overdrive that lifted him out of the context of life. He hung in there and wept and bled and talked and healed. He was not less involved with life than we are. He was infinitely more caught up in it.

As I go to work each morning, I come up the hill to where I-65 and I-24 merge. As you top the hill, you can see the skyline of Nashville in the distance. It is nearly always interesting to see. Sometimes it is sparkling in the morning sunlight and sometimes it is shrouded in fog. As all the lanes come together everyone is jockeying for position. I'm trying to stay in the outside lane as long as I can because it is faster. Finally I have to get over in the right line to catch I-265 around to the office. Other people are trying to do just the opposite. Frankly, I hardly ever pray over the city.

One morning Jesus came riding over the hill from Bethany and looked down on the city of Jerusalem. It was a city that had great meaning to him. It was a city in which he had preached and healed. It was the city in which he was to die. As he saw the city in the morning mist, his eyes filled with tears and he prayed. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you to myself, like a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not."

Now I ask you, who is the most involved in life? Me, blowing and honking and changing lanes, or Jesus, weeping and praying over the city? Jesus loved life and people and flowers and causes and was more aware of them than we are. In that very sacrament of humanity, his dignity and likeness to his father was magnified. In the process of revealing God to us, he also demonstrates that humanity is possible and desirable.

So the great challenge is for you to live your life in union with him. The union is here. This is the place. You are the one. The union will manifest itself in the everyday noise and the crowded streets of your life. You can be what you are. You can think what you think. You can have your temper. You can have your will. You can have your emotions. He will bring his life as the union. It is in that life together that you are gently transformed and remade."

"See you at the house.", Bob Benson, Generoux Publisher, 1986, pages 53-54)

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Voice of God

"I am not sure exactly what all I think we mean when we say that we are made in the image of God. But part of it, I believe, is that the calling voice of God is sounding out in the caves and caverns deep beneath the soil of our souls. And it is by obeying this call we learn who we truly are and what we can become.

So if I do not seem to hear him speak from the outside, and if there does not seem to be any message from the sky, then I must listen to the voice that is within me. For that voice, too, is the purposeful, calling voice of God to us."

(See You at the House, Bob Benson, page 45)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


"Prayer is the link between the physical and the spiritual world -- and since the spiritual world controls the physical, getting connected to the world above affects our functioning in the world below. And because prayer is relational, the Holy Spirit will communicate God's heart back to us by connecting with our human spirit so that we'll hear God talk to us in the deepest part of our being. That's why prayer cannot be rushed. It's also why taking time to meditate and be still before God is so important. It allows the Holy Spirit to share God's thoughts with us, so that we begin thinking His way."
("The Word for You Today", Fall 2008, pg. 12)

Friday, September 12, 2008


"Because God is holy, holiness remains the standard that all humanity must meet, yet that all humanity - save One - has failed."
(Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, pg. 31)

That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Get Up and Run!

"Victory belongs to those who keep looking at the goal, not the going; not the process, but the prize; not the trial, but the treasure that's promised to those who persevere. A twofold theme of Christianity is rising again and running the race. But you can't win if you don't run and risk falling. And no matter what caused you to fall, the word for you today is, "Take God's hand, get up, and run!"
("The Word For You Today", Fall 2008, 9/7/08)

Friday, August 29, 2008

I will rejoice IN this day the Lord hath made.

"Some days the road seems too long and the climb too steep. Max Lucado describes them as days when "Hope is Hindenberged by crisis. You never leave the hospital bed or wheelchair. You wake up in the same prison cell, the cemetery dirt is still fresh, the pink slip still folded in your pocket, the other side of the bed still empty. 'This is the day' includes divorce days, final-exam days, surgery days, tax days, sending-your-firstborn-off-to-college days.

God made this day. He knows the details of each wrenching moment. He isn't on holiday. He still holds the conductor's baton, sits in the cockpit, and occupies the universe's only throne. 'We will rejoice and be glad in it!' Oops, there's another word we'd like to edit: in. Perhaps we could swap it for after? Or through, or over. 'I'll rejoice when this days ends!' Paul rejoiced in jail; the Hebrew children remained resolute in the fiery furnace; John saw heaven in his exile, and Jesus prayed in the garden of pain.

You no longer have yesterday. It slipped away as you slept. You don't yet have tomorrow. You can't spend its money, celebrate its achievements or resolve its riddles. Days are bite-sized portions of life: 84,000 heartbeats, 1,440 minutes, a rotation of the earth, a sunrise and sunset, a gift of 24 unlived, unexplored hours. And if you can stack one good day on another, you'll link together a good life. 'This is the day,' live in it!"
("The Word For You Today", 8-29-2008)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Jesus loved people so much that one day He would die for them. But that didn't stop Him from saying no when He needed to. Appeasing people in order to win their approval is never a good idea; it puts somebody other than God in the driver's seat. Instead of getting sidetracked, Jesus
(a) made prayer and uninterrupted time with His Father a top priority;
(b) recognized that doing God's will was more important than "being all things to all people;"
(c) refused to let other people's definition of what was urgent, distract Him from fulfilling His life's purpose. So, don't get sidetracked."

("The Word For You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 50)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

God's Presence

"Somewhere along the way, I stopped demanding that God fix the problems in my life and started to be thankful for his presence as I endured them." (Lisa Beamer, Let's Roll, pg. 68)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


"Our expectations must be met in God alone, and then we will have the right perspective to ask God for the healing and grace we need to respond to others."
(Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Published by Revive Our Hearts, copyright 2005; Day 12 of "30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge for Wives".)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sanctification is Centered in the Heart

"Sanctification goes farther than the external. It is more deeply rooted than the dress, the mannerisms, or the conduct. Sanctification is centered in the heart. The test of sanctification, then, is more than the slamming of doors, the length of the skirt, and the paying of tithes. The test is: Do I exemplify Christ in my spirit, my attitudes, and my motives? I'm sure you have seen some adult rebuke an adolescent when the spirit the elder showed was far worse than the misdemeanor of the youngster. Sanctification takes away that critical spirit, that lazy attitude, the wrong motive, the ugly character, and deposits in its place a spirit of divine love."

(What Is Sanctification?, Leslie Parrott, pg. 15)

Keep Life Simple

"Jesus lived a simple life and spoke of simple truths. He never worried about getting His message across in bigger and better ways. He never worried about numbers or Nielsen ratings. There were no fireworks to mark His speeches, no gala celebrations to trace His progress, and yet He managed to change the course of the world.

Lord, help me not to become distracted by commercialism. Let me remember that in dying on the cross, you taught us that the greatest gift we can give is ourselves. Amen."

(A Moment a Day, Margaret Brownley, pg. 146-147)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


"Drifting always takes place when we make the Scriptures only one avenue of revelation among many. The peak of self-centered carnality is to think my academic opinion is equal to what God has spoken. My thinking made superior to His wisdom and revelation is the pinnacle of folly. Folly still abides in believing God is speaking His Word, but I must interpret it for my day. A thorough knowledge of theology and my culture does not give me the ability to adequately apply truth. The indwelt Author must speak His Word to my life and I must listen intently as He applies it to my living. "Jesus is Lord of my life" means that I bend my entire life experience under the authority of what He speaks through His Word. I am not adequate to interpret it; I must surrender to it!

The Author of the Scriptures will not allow us to drift if we listen to His Word. He will not allow us to miss His revelation of truth for our day, if we will come under the authority of His Word. Is this not the solution for our drifting?

(Stephen Manley, "The Evangelists' Perspective", summer 2008, pg. 19-20)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Walking By Faith

"When you make up your mind to trust God the odds are usually stacked against you... Sometimes faith doesn't change your circumstances, it changes you by giving you the tenacity to hang in there when the check doesn't come in the mail, the doctor says, "It's malignant", your spouse asks for a divorce, the kids are running amok, or the place you've worked for 30 years closes its doors. Faith gives you the fortitude to endure these things, confident that God is working on your behalf. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb 11:1)'s talking about a lifestyle. Anybody can go the first few rounds in the ring; it's when you're knocked down in the ninth that you need the faith to get back up and keep fighting. When the plane you're flying on encounters turbulence you don't throw away your ticket or bail out, you sit still and trust the pilot. So discount your circumstances, dethrone your doubts, and start walking by faith!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2 Peter 1:3-9

God's divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own glory and goodness. In this way he has given us the very great and precious gifts he promised, so that by means of these gifts you may escape from the destructive lust that is in the world, and may come to share the divine nature. For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add brotherly affection; and to your brotherly affection add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

James 3:17-18 and 4:7

But wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace.

So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. Come near to God, and he will come near to you.

God Sent A Crab

"A Word from Joni's Sister...

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. -- Ephesians 1:11

My name is Kathy Eareckson, and Joni is my little sister. I'm the one who was at the beach that day when Joni dove off the raft and broke her neck.

I will never forget that Saturday afternoon in July 1967. I was a teenager, like Joni, and had planned a swimming date with my boyfriend. I knew Joni had hoped to play tennis with her friend that afternoon, but when the match fell through, I asked if she wanted to join us.

We drove to the beach on Chesapeake Bay, and wasted no time in heading for the cool water. I stayed near shore, but Joni made a bee-line for a raft anchored further out in the water. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch. A crab pinched my toe! Startled, I shouted to Joni, "Watch out for crabs!" She didn't respond. In fact, she was nowhere in sight. Not on the raft. Not in the water. Something told me to go find her-quickly. I reached her just when she was beginning to drown!

What are the chances of a crab pinching someone's toe and getting her attention just in time to respond to an emergency? A million to one. Every time I've been tempted to doubt God's hand in those terrible circumstances that day, God brings that humble little crab to mind.

From the big events in life down to the tiniest of details, he is great, he is sovereign, and he is in control. ********I've learned from Joni (actually, the Bible) that through puzzling, perplexing, and even heartbreaking as our circumstances might be, we can trust him. Bow low before the throne of your Father who loves you, and cares about every detail of your life.

Praise you, Father. It's so amazing that a God who spins great galaxies across the void of space would care about the seemingly small events of my day.
Joni and Friends"

Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Friday, June 27, 2008

James 1:19

Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hebrews 12:14

Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.

This is a power packed verse, and I think we "Christians" do not grasp the depth of what is being said here...the admonition of how we are to live. God is often just a convenience to us to pull and use when we need a Kleenex. But when we are faced with instructions on how we are to live, we tend to think they are optional.

This scripture speaks to me the simple truth that if we hope to see the Lord, we must live a peaceful and holy life. We cannot do that on our own...we must have the Holy Spirit living within us to empower us to be peace loving and to live lives set apart for God's use.


"We try to manipulate His will to ours and sometimes call it faith. We push forward in the arrogance of our own stoic determination, limited by our finite vision, rather than pull back in the simple trust of His infinite plan.

We expect Him to change the sovereignty of His omnipotent heart, instead of humbly asking Him to give us a heart willing to be changed.

"Be still, and know that I am God," (Ps. 46:10) means, "Relax, let God be God."

A Moment A Day, Adapted from How to Do Everything Right and Live to Regret It by Fay Angus. Copyright 1983 by Fay Angus. Published by Harper & Row, San Francisco, CA. Used by permission.


"'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- I Corinthians 15:55-57

Not long ago I visited a funeral home and was stunned to see the way they "advertised" their services. Funerals are now portrayed as "celebrations of life." Funeral services now have themes: if the deceased enjoyed fishing, then funeral directors offer a display of rods, reels, nets and other fishing doo-dads to decorate the casket. If the dead person liked gardening, then its watering cans, hoes and rakes, and sunflowers with a floppy straw hat cocked sideways on the coffin. We are kidding ourselves when we romanticize death as the beautiful climax of a life well lived. It is an enemy.

It is an even greater enemy to the unbeliever, for death then becomes his threshold to hell (that's nothing to celebrate)! Jesus spoke of hell more than anybody, and he made plain that rejecting his offer of eternal life would result not in non-life, but the misery of God's wrath (John 3:36).

As hell is the worse outcome of this life, so eternal life is the best. It is the supreme and ever-increasing happiness where all sin and all sadness will be erased... all that is evil in this fallen world will be removed... all that is good will be preserved and intensified. We will be changed so that we are capable of more happiness than we could possibly conceive in this life. That's something to celebrate!

Oh, if only unbelievers could see the unspeakable horror of treating God with indifference or contempt in this life. Unbelievers have only this earthly life in which to hear the Gospel and respond to Christ's invitation. Today, will you be encountering someone who doesn't believe in Christ? Share with them your testimony and pray for their salvation.

Blessed Redeemer, today make me mindful of every opportunity to share your love with those who don't know you.

Joni and Friends"

Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hebrews 12:1-4

As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne.

Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shape Your World

"You can either contribute to the good in your relationships, or to the decay. Find a way today to shape the world around you by giving, serving, and sacrificing. Confess to your friend or spouse any selfishness which may have eroded your relationship. Nurture the good. Create, produce, and shape into a higher order of loveliness, your world around you and the people in it."

Joni & Friends
Taken from Pearls of Great Price. Copyright © 2006 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hebrews 4:12-16

The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of man's heart. There is nothing that can be hid from God; everything is all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves.

Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God--Jesus, the Son of God. Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us be brave, then, and approach God's throne,where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Character - Choices

"Our lives are like icebergs. Only 15 percent is visible; that's reputation. The rest, our character, is below the surface, hidden. Character is what we think but never share. It's what we do when no one's watching. It's how we react to everyday aggravations. It's how we handle failure--and success. The thing that has made us what we are is our choices. At the end of a successful career, Joshua challenges the people of Israel: Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) So the choice is yours!

("The Word for You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 11)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

God Loves You

""My child, I love you. I love you." He emphasizes. "Do you mind if I hold you tightly for just a moment? You need to calm down. You've been running."

As I snuggle closer to Him, He gently probes, "Why do you think you are pleasing me only when you are actively accomplishing something for me? Don't you know I am much more interested in what you are becoming than in what you are doing for the advancement of my kingdom? Learn what it means to be still. Just be still---and get to know me. I am your Protector, your Provider, your Comforter and your Healer. And, my child, I dearly love you. Understand that.""

(A Moment A Day - Practical Devotions for Today's Busy Woman, Peg Rankin, page 38...see sidebar for book info)

Do You Want to be Whole?

"Life isn't going to get completely fixed. We're never going to experience wholeness this side of eternity. Someone once said, "In worshiping God we realize we were never created to be whole. What we were created to enjoy is fellowship with God, who alone is whole and complete. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that God wants to give us wholeness. What God wants to give us is himself."

Joni & Friends Daily Email Devotional

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Magnify the Lord

"As Christians, our lives are a little like that jumbo screen. Through our actions and attitudes, we enable others to see God better. When we let the Lord showcase his grace and power in our lives, when we display his peace and patience and joy in our daily attitudes and circumstances, then we truly are magnifying him."

(Joni and Friends/Daily Email Devotional -

Friday, June 6, 2008

God's Work in Us

"Before every "showing" there's a "hiding." God gets us alone and does a work in us that cannot be accomplished any other way." ("The Word for You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 6)

For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

God's Grace Seeks Us Out

"The Psalmist said, You hem me have laid your hand upon me...Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are the depths, you are there...on the far side of the sea...your hand will...hold me fast. (Ps 139:5-10). Isn't grace amazing? Peter said, God is patient...he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost. (2 Pe 3:9). God will follow you to the ends of the earth to give you another opportunity to surrender your life to Him. How many opportunities has He already given you? Isn't it time you stopped running and surrendered your life to Him?"

("The Word for You Today", Summer 2008, pg. 6)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

3 Reasons Why You Need Jesus

"Jesus loves you! He desires to have a relationship with you, and to give you a life full of joy and purpose. Why do you need Him in your life?
  1. Because you have a past. You can't go back, but He can. The Bible says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8). He can walk into those places of sin and failure, wipe the slate clean, and give you a new beginning.
  2. Because you need a friend. Jesus knows the worst about you, yet He believes the best. Why? Because He sees you not as you are, but as you will be when He gets through with you. What a friend!
  3. Because He holds the future. Who else are you going to trust? In His hands you are safe and secure---today, tomorrow, and for all eternity. His Words says, "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen." (Jeremiah 29:11-12).

If you'd like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus today, please pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I invite You into my life. I believe You died for me and that Your blood pays for my sins and provides me with the gift of eternal life. By faith I receive that gift, and I acknowledge You as my Lord and Savior. Amen."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 53)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Expectations

"The God who lives within you is limited by one thing only: your inability or unwillingness to believe in yourself. The more you believe in yourself, the more you'll be able to accomplish. And if you keep believing and expecting, you'll someday find yourself doing what you once considered impossible. Why? Because "With God all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26) It's said that if Michelangelo had consulted his doubts or his critics, he'd have painted the floor of the Sistine Chapel instead of the ceiling, and his work wouldn't be around for us to admire. The truth is, great results begin with great expectations!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)

I Thessalonians 5:16-24

Be joyful always, pray at all times, be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.

Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil.

May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being--spirit, soul, and body--free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


"Change only takes place when you:
  1. Decide to change.
  2. Change the way you think.
  3. Take a small step every day toward change.

God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished. (Php. 1:6)"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 50)

I Thessalonians 4:1-12, various verses

Finally, our brothers, you learned from us how you should live in order to please God... God wants you to be holy and completely free from sexual immorality... God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness... Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living, just as we told you before. In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Dennis Leonard writes, "Give your loved ones the dignity of making their own mistakes and learning from them. If you're always getting into someone else's business, you're not only going to burn out, you're hindering God from working in their lives...They belong to Him not you!"

Colossians 3:12-15, 23-24

You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity. The pace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body. And be thankful.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for men. Remember that the Lord will give you as a reward what he has kept for his people For Christ is the real Master your serve.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Walk By Faith

"Poet Patrick Overton said, "When you come to the edge of all the light you have and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you'll be taught to fly." Remember, We walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7) And just when you think you've learned how to do that, you'll face a situation that requires you to learn it all over again!"

Colossians 1:21-23, 26-27, 2:6-7

At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel.

God's plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ in is you, which means that you will share in the glory of God.

Since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him. Keep your roots deep in him, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Philippians 4:5-9, 11-13

Show a gentle attitude toward everyone. The Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.

In conclusion, my brothers, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable. Put into practice what you learned and received from me, both from my words and from my actions. And the God who gives us peace will be with you.

...I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who Are You?

"Paul writes, "Everything is permissible for me -- but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me -- but I will not be mastered by anything." Paul measures his actions by the yardstick: "Is it beneficial? Does it have the potential to control me?

...You have the right to fill your mind with any kind of garbage you choose. But understand this, constant exposure to the wrong things will weaken your character, rob you of self-respect and eventually enslave you.

When it comes to replacing bad habits with good ones, only one person is going to make it happen -- you. Your character is the sum total of your everyday choices. Day by day, what you think, what you choose and what you do is who you become."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 46)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Following Your Passion

"Would I rather live with the pain of risk, or the pain of regret?"

"There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few that catch my heart. It is those I consider to pursue." (John Maxwell)

(Both quotes in "The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 45)

Philippians 2:3-11

Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another's interest, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:

He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God.
Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant.
He became like man and appeared in human likeness.
He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death---his death on the cross.
For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.
And, so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees,
and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Joni's Devotional

Copied from my email devotional from Joni Eareckson Tada. (Is this legal to copy?) This devotional goes right along with my most recent post and comments on the Ephesians passage on putting on the whole armor of God.

Who's the Enemy?

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

You've had it happen. You read a book on marriage with your spouse, set goals, make promises, and six months later the situation is the same. The same unmet expectations and hurt feelings. Your marriage could move forward if only your partner would shape up.

Or maybe it's the family. If they would just be more sensitive, more careful with the way they ask for things, you wouldn't get so down. You wouldn't feel stepped on or demoralized. If they would say "thanks" once in a while, depression would be a thing of the past.

Perhaps it's your friends. If only they would make the first move to plan a luncheon date instead of your always calling. If they would show a bit more consideration, they would be real friends.

But wait. Remember who your problem person really is. Because Christians have, in fact, only one enemy. The enemy is not your spouse. It isn't your children or your friends. The Devil is your only enemy. And he would love to keep your spouse spiritually retarded. Your kids, a bunch of selfish ingrates. Your friends, thoughtless and insensitive. This is exactly why you need to shower extra love and abundant prayer on these very people!

Remember who your support person is. Jesus Christ is your help and shield. He is the one who has called you to love your spouse, nurture your children, and lay down your life for your friends. It's the best way to defeat the Enemy in your life ... and in the lives of those you love.

Today, Lord, I ask You to enrich the lives of those whom You've placed near to me. Where there is contention, please sow Your love. Where there is disappointment, give hope. Use me to touch others with Your love.
Joni and Friends

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

Who Am I?

Copied from Robin's Blog - "Think On This":

"Who am I?
This or the other?
Am I one person today, and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once?
A hypocrite before others,and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?...
Who am I?
They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thine."~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, May 16, 2008

Ephesians 6:10-17

Finally, build your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.

I never read this passage of scripture without recalling the time our youngest son preached from this passage at East Brainerd Church of the Nazarene in Chattanooga, TN, back in the early 1990's. I believe if he had opportunity to cross over from this life into the next and could truly experience the evil forces at work, he could preach this once again with such conviction and passion that those who heard him could not doubt there are two forces at work in our world.

It appears that satan's forces are winning...they certainly are deceiving many, including those who have been Christians. We know that in the end Christ will reign supreme, and only those who have claimed Him as their Savior will truly taste the victory. I wish those caught in the bondage of living for selfish pleasures could truly see they have sold their souls to the devil and there is never a better day ahead for them. Today is the best day they will have. The chains of bondage are drawn tighter and tighter until there is no escape.

I pray the Jesus Christ will break those chains that bind the ones I love and set them free to be the giant of a person that they were created to be! Battles in the kingdom of God will be lost if they do not step into their leadership roles and press on toward the goal of ultimate victory over evil and eternal damnation.

I pray for more warriors for God's side to come forth and take their stand. It's a serious world, with a very serious outcome. I can no longer stay silent. Time is short. Only what is done for God will make an eternal difference. For my children and my grandchildren I pray for victory over the forces of evil...that God's angels will protect them from the Evil One. May those who come behind me find me faithful!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ephesians 4:1-3

Live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.

Ephesians 2:9-10

For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so no one can boast about it. God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Galatians 5:13 - 6:10, various verses

As for you, my brothers, you were called to be free. But do not let this freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires control you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.'

What I say is this: let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature. For what our human nature wants is opposed to what the Spirit wants, and what the Spirit wants is opposed to what our human nature wants.

But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.

Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. A person will reap exactly what he plants. If he plants in the field of his natural desires, from it he will gather the harvest of death; if plants in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit he will gather the harvest of eternal life. So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.

(My life verse is Galatians 5:13...the first verse in this passage.)


"Weariness can cause you to lose perspective and make decisions based on what's convenient, rather than what's good for you in the long term. Remember the H.A.L.T. sign: when you're Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired you're vulnerable, and you'll make bad decisions."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 39)

Sunday, May 4, 2008


"Having a steadfast purpose simplifies life. It defines what you do and what you don't do. It becomes the standard you use to evaluate which activities are essential and which aren't. Without purpose you've no real foundation on which to base your decisions, allocate your time, and use your resources. You tend to make choices based on circumstances, pressures, and your mood at the moment. When you don't know your purpose you try to do too much, and that causes stress and conflict. It's impossible to do everything people want you to do; you have just enough time to do God's will. If you can't get it all done, you're trying to do more than God intended. A steadfast purpose makes your lifestyle simpler and your schedule saner. And it leads to peace of mind: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast. (Isaiah 26:3)"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 37)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Galatians 2:19-21

I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. I refuse to reject the grace of God.

"I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me...
I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live,
Jesus Christ now lives in me!"

(chorus that runs through my head now and then...also, verses and chorus are basis of one of my recent sermons...given at Vicksburg Community Easter Lenten Service 2007 and Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene Wednesday night service, fall 2007)

Thursday, May 1, 2008


"Your character is the sum total of your habits."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 36)

Galatians 1:4-5

In order to set us free from this present evil age, Christ gave himself for our sins, in obedience to the will of our God and Father. To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


"Character provides the opportunity for longevity in any career, any relationship, and any worthwhile goal... What a man is, survives him, and that -- makes a lasting difference!"

("The Word for You Today, Spring 2008, pg. 35)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


"When life gets overwhelming remember:
1. God's still looking out for you. When things look bad, remind yourself that God's bigger than your problem...
2. Don't think about quitting. Every time you reach the breaking point it's a test. You have before you a series of choices that will add up to either quitting, or persevering through to victory...
3. If it doesn't have your name on it, don't pick it up! Stress comes from micr0-managing others and assuming responsibilities that aren't yours. Establish healthy boundaries...
4. Your breaking point can be the start of a breakthrough... So keep going -- by God's grace you'll make it!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 35)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Just Do It!

"Understand this: you don't have to do anything to earn God's love, but you must obey Him in order to walk in His blessings. So, what has God told you to do? If you want victory in your battles and success in your endeavors, start doing it!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 33)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hanging in There

"If what you're doing doesn't produce resistance, it's not worth doing. The winners in your Bible are described this way: 'Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle.' What turns weakness into strength? Faith that refuses to back up, back down, or settle for less than what God has promised."

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008, pg. 32)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


"God allows certain things to take place in our lives to teach us important principles like: (a) developing new skills and ways of thinking; (b) showing grace and controlling our responses; (c) maintaining our faith when times get tough. Paul writes: the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper (Col.3:12 AMP); Be glad for all God is planning...Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always (Ro 12:12 TLB). When you spend time in God's waiting room, He's developing qualities in you that simply can't be developed any other way. When He's finished you'll come out stronger and wiser. And you'll have the maturity to handle what He has in mind for you. So don't let the enemy rattle you or engineer circumstances that put you into overdrive. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. (Psalm 37:7)"

("The Word for You Today, Spring 2008, pg. 32)

2 Corinthians 4:1-5:10 (various)

God in his mercy has given us this work to do, and so we do not become discouraged. We put aside all secret and shameful deeds; we do not act with deceit, nor do we falsify the word of God. In the full light of truth we live in God's sight and try to commend ourselves to everyone's good conscience. For if the gospel we preach is hidden, it is hidden only from those who are being lost. They do not believe, because their minds have been kept in the dark by the evil god of this world...

Yet we who have this spiritual treasure are like common clay pots, in order to show that the supreme power belongs to God, not to us. We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. At all times we carry in our mortal bodies the death of Jesus, so that his life also may be seen in our bodies...

The scripture says, 'I spoke because I believed.' In the same spirit of faith we also speak because we believe. We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence...

For we know that when this tent we live in--our body here on earth--is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home he himself has made, which will last forever...

So we are always full of courage. We know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord's home. For our life is a matter of faith, not of sight. We are full of courage and would much prefer to leave our home in the body and be at home with the Lord. More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there. For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. Each one will receive what he deserves, according to everything he has done, good or bad, in his bodily life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Forgive Yourself

"When guilt and condemnation tell you your sins are too big for God's forgiveness, remember what Paul said: " save sinners. I'm proof -- Public Sinner Number One...someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy...evidence of his endless patience." Before his conversion Paul persecuted the church, killing and torturing believers. It's how he made his living! And if he could learn to forgive himself, you can to! In fact, when you don't you're implying that your transgressions are beyond the scope of God's grace to forgive and Jesus' blood to cleanse. And that's a bigger sin - pride! Pride and a judgmental attitude feed off each other the way humility feeds off forgiveness. God said, "I am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake. And I will not remember your sins." (Isa 43:25) When you adopt a humble attitude and work on forgiving yourself the way God has, it is a lot easier to overlook other people's mistakes. Give it a try; you'll be amazed!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008,pg. 31)

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now, "the Lord" in this passage is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom. All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.


"A grudge shackles you to the offender, and you become the hostage! Dwelling on something your parents did, or on how an associate took credit for your work, or on what someone said about you, makes you, not them, miserable. You walk around in turmoil and they don't even know you're upset! Why give somebody that kind of control over your life? What's important is what happens in you, not to you. So forgive, forget, and move on!"

("The Word for You Today", Spring 2008,pg. 31)