Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I am convinced that the Lord God responds to every prayer we utter. Many times we are unaware of the answer because He doesn't answer in the way we envisioned. God's ways are not our ways... and we often limit Him with our feeble imaginations.

Sometimes when God heals, it is a "miraculous healing"... such as when Jesus opened blinded eyes, cured the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, or made the lame to walk again. I believe He healed my heart when the massive blockages that had shown up on the first nuclear scan and been confirmed on the second nuclear scan were gone when the heart catheterization was done. (The awesome power of prayer!)

Other times God's healing can come "progressively"... such as when someone has suffered an illness, a heart attack or stroke... or been in an accident of some kind. Their prognosis is not good at all... but despite the doctor's negative predictions, they begin to improve... little by little... until they recover.

We may think of healing as the absence of sickness and pain... the freedom from disease or infirmity. I believe there is another kind of healing... at least for believers.

A special pastor of mine used to pray for "God's ultimate healing" when he prayed for the sick during our intercessory prayer meetings. I had never heard that term before I heard him use it, but the more I thought about it, the clearer it became.

What he meant by the "ultimate healing" was to leave behind the sick, injured, or diseased "body of flesh" that they were "wearing" on this earth, and to "put on" the new perfect body that Jesus promised for all His children once they leave this life on earth behind.

The Word talks about different kinds of sickness and disease. When Lazarus was so sick... and Mary and Martha were urgently calling for Jesus to come quickly and heal him, Jesus told his disciples that this was not a "sickness unto death but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."(John 11:4) There are illnesses from which we will recover... but there are others which are a "sickness unto death". In this situation, death is the "ultimate healing"..

Deep down, we all know that each and every one of us will have "a day to die"... a day to pass from this temporary, finite world into an eternal, infinite world where the Lord waits for us now.

As believers, our desire is to be with Jesus... to be in His presence.... and to "rule and reign with Him" forever. To be with Jesus means that we leave this world behind us.

The apostle Paul said that "to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord". For a believer, it means that when we take our last breath on this earth, the next breath will be with Jesus.

None of us are looking forward to our own death... or to the death of those we love. It is so hard when those who are most important to us are gone, and we can't see them or speak to them.

My mother and I were extremely close. All of my life it had been just the two of us and we depended on each other for everything. Even so during her last days following her massive heart attack, I asked the Lord to "take her home". She was in so much pain. Each time the medications wore off and she "came to herself", she would cry out to God to take her home. She begged Him to help her... and He did.

The Lord “healed” her. He answered our prayers with His "ultimate healing". Now she is no longer in excruciating pain with a heart damaged beyond repair. She is whole and healthy and happy... and with the One she loves more than life itself.

I envision her often in Heaven. She is with Layna Grace, the baby Samantha lost several years ago... and with Clifford the big red golden retriever that I am convinced was an "angel" the Lord "loaned" to us for a season. Clifford came into our lives and touched us with warmth and peace... and then he was gone.

I picture them running and playing... and being so full of joy, peace, and love. And it takes away some of "the sting" of their absence. There is no where my mother would have rather been than with Jesus. No one has ever loved Him more than she did... and to be in His presence was what she desired most.

The enemy wants us to be afraid... and to go kicking and screaming from this world... dreading what is ahead... but as believer's we know that God is with us always. We have nothing to fear from His hand.

"Where could I go from Your spirit? If I go to the heavens you are there. If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me; your right hand will hold me fast...." Psalm 139: 7-9.

Our days are in His hands. We have nothing to fear from the Lord... and only Heaven to gain. The end of this life can sometimes be viewed as "God's Ultimate Healing".

Putting our trust and our faith in a kind and loving Creator is the smartest thing we will ever do.

Hold fast to Him... as HE holds fast to you!

Trust in His love and never be afraid.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As a Believer, I had always thought that I would "rise to the occasion" and be "strong in the Lord" when the issues of life came upon me. I had faced many stressful situations in my life... and had always relied on the Lord for strength, courage, and peace to come out victorious. He has never let me down.

Some things in life are inevitable. Death, for instance, is as natural as life. From the moment we are born, we begin dying... but knowing that doesn't keep us from wanting our loved ones to live forever.

A little over four years ago, my mother died. She suffered a massive heart attack and lived for nine days following.

Having been an "only" child and a fatherless child for most of my childhood, my mother became even dearer to me. Momma was my greatest "fan", was always "there" for me through thick and thin, and encouraged me in every way she knew how. She loved to introduce me to her friends as her daughter, her Sister- in-Christ, and her best friend.

Momma had to make her own way in life from the time she graduated from high school. To say my momma was independent would be a gross understatement. She was always a hard worker, a "go-getter", and did whatever she did with all her might.

This included her service to God. She was thrilled to do whatever she could... from teaching a class to cleaning the bathrooms at church. She picked up anyone who didn't have a ride, and worked in the church's "Clothes Closet" resale shop. She cooked for those who had been ill or lost a loved one. She prayed on the phone with anyone who had a need. She had a "card ministry", and always had a huge selection of greeting cards from which to choose in her home.

Momma was the most GIVING person I have ever known. Every time I visited her, the last thing she would ask me as I left for home was, "Do I have anything here you want or need?" And if she did, she would give it. She did everything she did with love and enthusiasm.

When Momma died, I was totally "blown away". I guess I thought I would have her forever. Commonsense would tell one that they could probably expect to outlive their parents. Facing life without her was something I had never even considered and one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Friends and family tried to console me with the fact that she was in Heaven now... with Jesus...and experiencing no more pain... strong in her brand new body, and I knew there was no other place she'd rather be. While I could agree with the truth of the statement, that didn't soothe the pain of not being able to see her, touch her, or talk to her.

In response to her passing away, I basically "just sat down"... or "shut down". I stopped going anywhere except to work. I lost interest in shopping or hanging out with friends. My office at work and my home were my "safety zones"... and those were the only places I was comfortable.

My church attendance fell off. I didn't want to see people. I had always been an encourager to the Body of Christ at large... but the loss of my mother caused me to "turn inside myself"... and keep everyone else on the outside.

It has been my experience in life that the "enemy of our souls", satan uses the same devices on us that have worked successfully for him in the past… SO-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o many times before. In my case, he likes to turn all of my attention on me!

Sometimes he's done it through a physical infirmity... sometimes he has used our finances...or a relationship with friends or family... but as long as he can get my eyes and my mind off of Jesus, the SOURCE of all peace and joy and strength, and on myself, he can defeat me.

At the same time, I was very ashamed of myself. I knew better than to let this get me down this way. The really sad thing about all of this is that Momma would have been very disappointed in me. She would have expected me to be an overcomer. She would have expected me to "stand strong in the power of His might" when my might was gone... but I had allowed my flesh to overrule my spirit... and paralyze me with grief. The condemnation was overwhelming.

There is an old Indian folk tale that says within every person there are two dogs... a "good" spiritual dog and a "bad" fleshly dog. These two dogs are inside an individual, constantly "warring" against each other for control.

Which dog will win? The dog that is fed the most.

When I "feed" the "carnal fleshly dog" (by giving place to grief, sorrow, condemnation, etc.) more than I feed the spiritual dog (by turning to God for strength, casting my cares on Him, and asking Him to come along side of me and help me with my burdens), the carnal side wins. It's all up to the me... and which dog I feed the most.

I am so thankful that the Lord didn't give up on me, and that He made a way for me to return to Him. He didn't chastise me, and beat me over the head with all my "wrong-doings". He took my sins and threw them far away... "as far as the east is from the west..." and put me in right-standing with Him.

I had to:
1. "come to myself" (recognize my sin),

2. "turn for home" (repent and go the other way), and

3."come back into the Father's waiting embrace'...(accept forgiveness and healing from the

just like the prodigal son did when he realized that he had squandered everything his Father had given him... and that he had no where to go but home. (Luke 15:17 and following...)

When I came to the "end of myself"... and realized how long I had been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for Jesus to "come and take me home"... instead of "working 'till Jesus comes", I stood up and fixed my sight on the "Promised Land"...

And NOW! I will now "OCCUPY!" ' til Jesus comes!

1 Corinthians 10:12 says, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

It happened to me.

It could happen to you.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008


A water bearer in a distant land had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack on it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For two whole years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments…perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor, cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer. "Of what are you ashamed?"
"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old, cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old, cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again, the pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and everyday while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have had this beauty to grace his house.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weaknesses." Therefore… I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me...for when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Corinthians 12: 9-10

God can take the weaknesses and flaws that we see in ourselves

and use them in ways we would never imagine.


Our limitations become tools in His hands if we will only submit them to Him for His use.

Each of us has our own unique flaw.

We must accept each person for who they are and search for the good in them.

Remember to "smell the flowers" on your side of the path...

FROM ONE "CRACKED POT" TO ANOTHER ------- and have a great day!!

Monday, October 20, 2008


At the ripe old age of 54, almost 55, I have been through a lot of different stages of life. Many "seasons" have come and gone.

Through my childhood, my teen years, young-adulthood during which I married and had my children, their childhoods, the "ups and downs" of their teen years, through my middle age, and on until today, God has given me a beautiful life...of happy memories, some sad memories, incidences in which I can rejoice, and instances that I truly regret.

Over the years, I have discovered that the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a very accurate description of the "cycles" of life:

**** "To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace." **

Through the good times and the bad times, just as winter follows fall and spring follows winter, we go through one season, and then the next one begins.

In the midst of each season of trial or testing, it can seem like it will last forever but, praise God, "this too will pass"! The Lord gives us new hope for a better tomorrow while we faithfully walk through the "classroom" of today.

My husband and I have been married for 31 years. As we approached our first anniversary, we felt like we had reached a real milestone since neither of my two previous failed marriages had lasted for a year.

Our children were born, grew up, two of three married, and now have families of their own which brings us to one of the JOYS of my life... my "GRANDCHILDREN"! I used to think people were a little "looney" when they went on and on about their grandchildren. It wasn't until I had my own that I understood the "special-ness" of grandbabies.

Over the last 30 years I have been a nurses aid and laundry worker at a nursing home, a store manager, a cook at a restaurant, and finally a bookkeeper which I have now been for the past 16 years.

As happens with all families, my family has faced various and assorted illnesses, diseases, surgeries, and medical conditions. My father, his parents, and my mother all died of heart disease at an early age. My grandmother died of a stroke in her early fifties.

During the last 20 years, I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety attacks, social anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and advanced osteoporosis with deterioration of my spine.

Pain has been a constant companion for longer than I can remember. Some days, it is manageable... and some days it isn't. There are periods of time... sometimes weeks... that I can function normally and keep up to date with all my responsibilites... and then there are days that I spend in bed, waiting for the pain medication to "kick in" and relieve the discomfort.

Without a moment's hesitation, I can say that God has been with me every step of the way... when I thought I couldn't go on, He was always there to encourage me, sometimes walking beside me, sometimes carrying me, and always ministering to my needs as only He can.

When I was in my very early thirties, I went in as an outpatient to have a laproscopic test run. As I was waited for the tests to begin, I was looking out the second story window of my room when I saw a red sportscar drive up to the building and park. A black haired, dark complected man got out of the car, and went inside the hospital.

Expecting to wake up back in my room, I woke up in intensive care (where I remained for nine days). The physician had pierced my intestines twice as he tried to insert the scope into my abdomen. Consequently, an oncologist who "just happened" to be at the hospital, and "just happened" to be unoccupied at the precise time he was desperately needed, had been called in to perform a "bowel-resection" on me, cutting me from top to bottom, to repair my "punctured interior".

When I woke up, the oncologist who had made such a timely appearance was standing by my side. Imagine my surprise when I realized he was the gentleman in the red sportscar that I had observed from the window earlier. The Lord had sent him to the hospital at the exact time he was needed. Our God is always "on time".

A little over eight years ago, as I was preparing to accompany my daughter to the hospital to give birth to her first child, I fell down her front doorsteps, breaking my ankle into many little pieces. Surgery was required to insert the eight screws, metal plate, and various wires that put my ankle back together.

My bosses loaded up my file cabinets and my computer, and set them up in my home so I could work from the wheelchair in which I sat for the next three months.

It is a humbling experience to have to ask someone to help you get out of bed because you can't get up on your own. During that time, the scripture that often came to mind was Psalm 23:2 which says, "He maketh me to lie down....(in green pastures)." The Lord had my attention!

The donation of my husband's kidney to his pre-teen niece twenty years ago was a unique experience for our family. We just weren't sure what to expect. It was a very stressful time as he was tested to see if he was a matching donor.

Having this very large man as a patient at a children's hospital where everything is designed for a "child-size" patient was a hoot! He seemed more than a little "out of place" in this building usually inhabited by infants and children instead of adults.

Diagnosed with diabetes in his late fifties, he was injured in a fall a few years ago , and is now disabled. He doesn't go out to work each day as he did for so many years. He has become my "number one cook and bottle washer" for whom I am very thankful! He does so much of the cooking that I wonder sometimes if I've forgotten how! And his menu of items he can prepare is ever growing!

During all of these different scenarios of life, God has shown Himself to be faithful, time and time again. He has been our Comforter and our Peace when life seemed hurtful and unsure. He has been our Great Physician through all the medical, physical, and emotional issues. He has been our Provider when we were off work without pay for each accident or surgery.

The Lord used all of these different "episodes" of life to teach me "life-lessons" that I might not have learned otherwise. He taught me patience... so that even though I live in this "instant world", I don't have to have everything I want the moment I want it. He taught me contentment... so I'm not constantly searching for "bigger and better and more". He taught me commitment... to know that the bond I have with my husband isn't controlled by my feelings, but by a decision I made, once and for all, "til death do us part".

The Lord showed me that I could trust in Him to provide whatever we needed... in every area of our lives. He demonstrated a better way to live, a love for us that is almost too much to comprehend, and many ways to simplify our lives. He has proved Himself to be the Source of every good thing that we have.

On my way to where I am now, I have been "pursued and overcome" by blessings... and I have faced a lot of hard decisions. I have made some good choices, and I have also made some bad ones. Life would probably have been much more simple if I had learned all my lessons the "first time around"... ... but, sadly, some of them I have had to repeat... more than once...(or twice).

Often I have used my life as an example to warn my children about the mistakes I had made. I wanted so much for them to learn their lessons from my mistakes instead of having to make their own... but it seems to me that there are some things we only learn from making our own mistakes, and feeling the pain of failure. Experience is a memorable teacher.

We may wonder why we face difficulties and trials in our lives. Why do we ever have to do without something we are convinced we need? Why would someone we love choose to walk out of our life? Why does a child develop cancer and die? Isn't the parent supposed to die before their child? Why can one couple have more children than they can care for, and another couple who desire to be parents more than anything else in the world be childless?

These are questions I can't answer... but I know someone Who can. The odd thing is that because I have learned how faithful and how trustworthy the Lord is, and how much He loves me, I don't feel the old urgency for ready answers. It is enough for me to know that HE is in control, that He loves me beyond anything I can comprehend, and that HE ALWAYS has my best interest at heart.

God has a plan for every life. Each and every detail of each life is planned... with some variation because He gives us freedom of choice. He wants us to serve Him because we love Him... not because we are a "puppet on a string" that He can cause to dance over here and dance over there. He has planned the length of each person's life. We all come to this world with a task to perform that was designed only for us. No one else who has ever lived will be able to complete the task HE has assigned to me.

There will always be parts of our lives that we won't fully understand. If we could see "the big picture" from God's perspective, life might make much more sense to us... but, with our "finite" little minds, we would be overwhelmed. If we saw the "end of our story" from the beginning, iIt would be more than we could take.

God's ideal for us is for us to live one day at a time. Why? Think about the feeling that comes when God reveals to us one of our faults. The conviction, sadness, and remorse that comes when we realize we have "missed the mark" is to give us incentive to overcome this fault. But what if God showed us all our faults at one time... like in "the big picture"? Would that overwhelm us to the point of despair? In my life, God usually deals with one area of my life at a time. When I gain understanding about that area, He moves on to the next. It's all part of His "Master-plan".

I personally don't believe that God brings bad things on His children. I believe that we bring a lot of things on ourselves by our poor choices. The Word assures us that what we plant determines the kind of crop we will harvest. If I plant good seed, I'll reap a good harvest... but if I sow bad seed... I will have to pay the price.

I believe that the "father of all liars" satan wants to wound us and kill us, physically and spiritually. His plan is to prevent us from making Jesus our Savior... and Heaven our eternal home. To this end, he devises wicked plans and schemes to cause us to doubt God, and to cause us to try to live this life in our own strength, instead of living it through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

The Lord uses the hard things that come in life to purify us, to cleanse us of our old carnal ways, to expose our wrong-thinking, and to teach us to be more like Jesus.

When people let us down... when plans go out of control... when we meet adversity, we have a choice. We can either let the situation make us "bitter"... or we can let it make us "better". We can allow the difficulties to be a productive thing in our life and help us become stronger. Or we can throw up our hands, throw a little fit, and sit down and pout. It's our choice.

We've all heard the saying, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger"... and I believe that's true. Realizing we are not all that God wants us to be can be a painful realization, but a necessary one for us to get on the path we need to follow.

Another reason our life is filled with "hills and valleys" is so we can take the lessons we have learned, and use them to minister to others who are going through similar situations. Through sharing our experience with them, they may be "comforted with the same comfort" with which the Lord comforted us.

Because we have walked where they are walking now, we can remind them to "hang on"... not to give up, but to remember that "to everything there is a season", and that "this too shall pass". And as their season passes, someone will come along who needs to hear what they learned from this trial in their life.

I have shared some of the "seasons" of my life with you so that I could say to you, "Maybe I have been where you are right now. I understand what you are facing. I have walked this same road on which you are traveling. Take my hand and let me walk with you. Let my hurts and disappointments, my joys and my victories bring hope and comfort to you. Turn to the Lord for all of your answers. He will always answer your every prayer. And HE will never.... ever.... let you down."

And so around and around goes the cycle of life. From season to season, we are experiencing... understanding... learning... changing... growing... sharing... and ministering the love and hope of God to a lost and dying world.

Our God is a great God... a God of mercy, willing to give us everything we need to serve Him effectively in this life.

We need only recognize that His Word is truth, apply it to our hearts and minds, and walk it out... day by day... in the presence of this "great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us". (Heb. 12:1)

Glory to His Name!!!!!


Friday, October 17, 2008


Many years ago in a small church in Ireland a message was given in which the minister said that Jesus' words, "Abide in me, and I in you," mean to simply say in every circumstance, "For This I have Jesus," and Jesus will say, "For This You Have Me."

While he was speaking, a telegram was delivered to the young pianist. It read: "Mother very ill, take first train home."

At the conclusion of the message she shared the telegram with us, and she added: "I have never traveled alone, but, 'For This I Have Jesus.' I must cross the channel and make connections on the other side, but, 'For This I Have Jesus.' Then I take a long train trip to the south of England, but 'For This,' and all the suspense along the way, 'I Have Jesus.' As she spoke these words, we saw the Light of Heaven upon her face.

Several weeks later a letter came from her, which was a song of praise. She wrote, "As I traveled that long sorrowful journey, I continued to say, 'For This I Have Jesus,' and He answered, 'For This You Have Me.'

"As I reached home my sister fell sobbing on my shoulder saying, 'Oh if you had only come ten minutes sooner you would have seen Mother who so longed to see you.' Instantly I looked up and said, 'For This I Have Jesus,' and He came between me and my sorrow, and vain regrets had no power over me.

We had never had a death or funeral in our family, and they all depended on me for every decision. Acknowledging my ignorance I said softly, 'For This I Have Jesus,' and He gave me His wisdom for every detail. There was also His perfect peace for all legal matters that needed attention.

"Now life has become joyous and victorious as in every circumstance I continue to say, 'For This I Have Jesus.'


What is the circumstance in your life today that is beyond your control? Is it sorrow, sickness, suffering, fear, unsaved relatives, disappointment, discouragement, guidance, finances, misunderstanding, or another trial? You, also can look into His face and say, "For This I Have Jesus," and He will say, "For This You Have Me.

"Consider the lilies how they grow:
they shall toil not, they spin not;
and yet I say unto to you that Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.
If then God so clothe the grass,
which is to day in the field,
and to morrow is cast into the oven;
how much more will he clothe you,
O ye of little faith?"
(Luke 12:27, 28)

"God is our refuge and our strength,
an abundantly available help in trouble.

Therefore, (because He is our refuge and strength)
we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the heart of the sea;

Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling."
Ps. 46:1-3

We will trust... and not fear because God is our "hiding place"... and our strength.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


My Momma had a "green thumb". Any plant that she touched thrived, and grew lush and beautiful. She could take the smallest bit of a plant and grow it into a thing of great beauty.

I, on the other hand, have a "BLACK thumb". I can take the most beautiful healthy plant and reduce it to "compost" in an amazingly short time.

Momma knew the way to bring out the best in a plant... just how much water... and just how much fertilizer. She knew whether that plant enjoyed the bright sunshine... or whether it flourished best in partial shade.She always managed to put that plant in the "best environment" to get the most positive results.

When a gardener plants a seed, they don't plant an pumpkin seed and expect a watermelon to grow. They don't plant a tomato plant and expect to receive oranges. Corn is used to grow corn, and potatoes are used to grow potatoes.

All things in nature can be seen in spiritual parallels. In the spiritual realm, I can't "plant" angry words and actions, and expect to "reap" a calm atmosphere. I can't plant seeds of discord and strife, and expect to "reap" harmony in my household... or my workplace... or my school.

If I want to see love and joy "growing" abundantly in my friends and family, then I must plant words and actions of love... I must "sow" those thing which will produce what I want to "harvest".

Is it my desire to be treated with respect? Then I must treat others with respect. Do I desire to be shown kindness? Then I must make it my habit to treat others with kindness.

I want to "grow" a "harvest of love" in the "garden of my family"... so I should concentrate on treating each of them as I want them to treat me. I should put their wants and desires above my own, and be willing to let someone else have their way... or go first.

In the "garden of life", we must plant "seeds" of love, kindness, honor, trust, and dependability if we want to "reap a harvest" of these qualities in our own lives.

One of God's spiritual principles is... "whatever a person sows, that shall they also reap."

What kind of seeds are you planting?

Lord, help us to only speak words that impart your grace and love to others!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Last Week I threw out worrying,
it was getting old and in the way.
It kept me from being me;
I couldn't do things God's way.

I threw out a book on MY PAST
(Didn't have time to read it anyway).
Replaced it with NEW GOALS,
started reading it today.

I threw out hate and bad memories,
(Remember how I treasured them so)?
Got me a NEW PHILOSOPHY too,
threw out the one from long ago.

Brought in some new books too,
called I CAN, I WILL, and I MUST.
Threw out I might, I think and I ought.
WOW, you should've seen the dust.

I ran across an OLD FRIEND,
I hadn't talked to in a while.
His name is GOD the Father,
and I really like His style.

He helped me to do some cleaning
and added some things Himself.
Yes... I placed them right on the shelf.

I picked up this special thing
and placed it at the front door.
I FOUND IT- its called PEACE.
Nothing gets me down anymore.

Yes, I've got my house looking nice.
Looks good around the place.
For things like Worry and Trouble
there just isn't any space.

It's good to do a little house cleaning,
Get rid of the things on the shelf.
It sure makes things brighter;
maybe you should TRY IT YOURSELF.



May the Lord open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that
you will not have room enough to receive it all.
Malachi 3:10.

May the Lord bless you exceedingly abundantly above all you could ever
hope for.
Philippians 4:19.

I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me. Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Many years ago, when my children were still in elementary school, Sunday mornings were always a “memorable” time for us as a family unit.

It seemed that no amount of planning ahead would get us all out of bed, fed, properly dressed, and out the door to Sunday School and church
in a timely fashion.

At times, it felt like “an unwelcome intruder” had entered our home, stirring up everyone’s emotions and causing conflict. Raised and angry voices may have put us out the door in time, but how effective do you think
the Sunday school lesson and the Sunday sermon were after such
an early morning display of impatience and anger?

Could it be that we sometimes find it is easier to be pleasant and kind to those with whom we come in contact OUTSIDE our home than to our family?
“Behind closed doors”, are we tempted to think it’s okay for us to “be ourselves”, “take off the mask”, “let our hair down”, or “just let it all hang out”?
If we were truthful, I think many of us would admit that we have been guilty at one time or another of being more courteous and polite to co-workers, friends, or even strangers than to our own family.
What is it about family life that causes us to become more demanding, more critical, and less forgiving with those who are dearer to us than anyone else?

According to the principles of God, harmony within our family is of great importance. Proverbs says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.”
It is amazing what a smile and a kind word will do to
transform the atmosphere in a home.

Strife tears down the “shield of faith” and its protection for our family. Anger stops prayer results… and invites satan and his “demonic sidekicks”
into our lives.
Discord and unforgiveness are deadly to any relationship. Allowing them to remain in our home and family environment can paralyze the
Power of God in our lives.

What happens when we don’t recognize what’s going on in our family, take responsibility for our own actions, and stop satan, the author of confusion” and the “accuser of the brethren”… from his plan to cause division in our homes?
James 3:16 says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion
and every evil work”.

As believers, we don’t want to allow the enemy access to our family by taking our anger and dissatisfaction out on those with whom we live, thus rendering ourselves powerless to overcome satan.
Let’s put the power of harmony to work in our homes and in our families. Let’s ask the Lord to open our eyes and to direct us to where we should begin.

It all comes back to the choices we make. Our intention should be to “tell the truth… in love”…. while at the same time, treating everyone with whom we interact… whether family, friend, or stranger… with the respect they deserve. Almost any message will be better received when it is spoken by a calm voice and in such a way that “builds up” instead of “tearing down”.

Sarcasm and criticism can do a lot of damage to a struggling individual. We need to stop and think before we speak, and make it a priority to be an "encourager" who leaves each one with whom we interact feeling more positive when we leave them than they were when we arrived.

In days gone by, I heard a comment that went something like this: “In future years, people may not remember what you said to them… but they will remember how you made them feel.”
Let’s stop and think before we speak. Words can cause damage that may never be restored.

I wish I could tell you that I have perfected the practice of always building others up instead of bringing them down. Perfected? No. But God has taught me to pause... to stop and think before I speak. Many times I am able to overcome the urge to have the last word or to say something that is not constructive or is hurtful. It's taken time... but God is faithful. His grace will help us overcome any habit or shortcoming that needs to be changed.

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Lord, please teach us to demonstrate the attitudes that Jesus taught so that our homes may become “sanctuaries” of love, peace, and safety for all of our family. Amen!


DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I like to read books that help me understand myself better, and one of the interesting facts I've run across is that if you grow up not liking yourself, then you'll always have a hard time liking other people. Does this mean someone like that can't love God, either? -- Mrs. A.N.

DEAR MRS. A.N.: No, it doesn't -- not at all. Admittedly, some people may have a harder time than others learning to love God; if you grew up thinking everyone disliked you, for example, you may end up falsely thinking that God doesn't like you either.

But no matter who we are or what our background has been, the greatest discovery we can ever make is that God loves us just as we are, and He wants to welcome us into His family just as we are. Others may fail us or even abuse us -- but God never does, because His love for us is constant and beyond measure.

How do I know this? I know it for one reason: Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, was willing to give His life so you and I could be forgiven of our sins and spend all eternity with Him in Heaven. Listen: If you had been the only person on earth who needed to be saved, Jesus Christ still would have been willing to die for you. God loves you that much! The Bible says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).

Don't let your feelings of worthlessness, or anything else, keep you from Christ. Down inside we all yearn to be loved, and even when others don't love us -- or even if we don't love ourselves -- God still loves us. Respond to His love today by asking Christ to come into your heart and life -- and He will.

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Jesus loved us so much that HE made the supreme sacrifice for us. He left Heaven, became a human, and died a cruel death on the cross so that we might be lost... once and for all.

Jesus shed His precious blood so that our sins would be forgiven and we would be "justified" with God. It would be " just as if I'd" never sinned.

When Jesus came into my heart, HE forgave all my sins... past, present, and future. HE gave His life as a sacrifice so that my sins would be taken from me. HE has removed them from me "as far as the east is from the west"... and even when I can't forgive myself, HE still forgives.

God's specialty is taking the guilty, the unloved, the undesirable, and the rejected... and using them for really important assignments in His work here on earth. Where ever we are today, God can make it better, God can take a "nothing" life and make it into a "something" life.

When God uses the regular everyday people like me and you to accomplish His plans, the praise that comes from a successful mission is sure to go to Him. There will be no doubt that you and I couldn't have done these great and mighty works in our own power.

I can tell you these statements are facts because I have experience with God. Over the last 35 years, HE has done miraculous things for me... Big things like protecting me from a tornado or healing the massive blockages that were found in my heart... all the way to little things... like showing me a sunset and filling my heart so full of love that I thought it would burst. Sunsets have become my own personal "love letter" from God each time I see one.

Time after time, God has shown His love and proven Himself faithful. He has met my financial needs when there seemed to be no way. He has touched my body, strengthening me and relieving my pain more times than I can remember. He has healed torn relationships and restored a lost daughter to me after 35 years apart.

Even when I have failed Him, He has continued to pour out His love on me... constant and beyond measure... always waiting for me to reach out to Him once again... and His love for you is just the same.

If you haven't made God part of your life, turn to Him today. Ask Him to forgive your sins and to come into your heart. He can take a messed up life and make it "clean and shiny".... transforming it into something entirely different. Experience the Love of God for your self. Reach out to Him. You have nothing to lose.... and EVERYTHING to gain.

And if you do know Him, make yourself available to Him. He can use you to accomplish the miraculous. All you have to do is be willing.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Isaiah 40:31 reads, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint..."

We've all heard the word "nesting" but have we ever taken a close look at true nesting in action? This is neat. When a mother eagle starts building her nest, she begins using items we wouldn't at all expect for such a job -- sharp thorns, broken branches, rocks.

Later, she places on top of it a layer of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for her eggs.

Her eggs eventually hatch and her little ones grow to flying age. As with any creature, growing up is never an easy thing. That's precisely when mom begins "stirring up the nest."

With her strong talons, she begins pulling up the thick carpet of fur and feathers, bringing the sharp rocks and branches to the surface.

As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. Eventually, this and other urgings prompt the little eagles to leave their once-comfortable abode and move on to bigger and better things like learning to fly and eventually making homes and families for themselves.
It would be an easy things to get a little too comfortable in our "nests"? We've had all the warmth, comfort and free meals we could want... but all good things come to better things... "with the Lord"! The "nest" is warm and snuggly...
but it's time we learned to fly!
Let's not be bitter at the Lord for "plucking up" our "comfortable nests". He wants us to be all that we can be! He wants us to accomplish all the things He has for us to do -- to reach our fullest potential -- to experience the amazing sensation of flying, even soaring, high above our problems and issues
and whatever other distractions
hold us back from growing up in Him.
There are times when we allow the trials and tests of this world to overcome us... and to "ground us" from "flight"... but we must do all we can to set our minds on God and to throw off any hindrance that would
attempt to "bring us down".

Let's take the leap of faith today. There's so much work to be done!


"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.... All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.... A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." Proverbs 15: 13, 15, 30

Our attitude colors our whole personality. We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can choose our attitude toward each situation.

The secret to a cheerful heart is filling our minds with thoughts that are true, pure, and lovely, with thoughts that dwell on the good things in life (Philippians 4:8). This was Paul's secret as he faced imprisonment, and it can be ours as we face the struggles of daily living.

We must look at our attitudes and then examine what we allow to enter our mind and what we choose to dwell on. We may need to make some changes.

"As a person thinks.... so is he." How we think affects our overall mental well-being more than anything else.

A famous preacher once commented that we may not be able to "stop a bird from flying over our head... but we can keep it from building a nest in our hair". W e cannot

Thoughts come from many directions. Some thoughts are like "fiery arrows"... sent from the enemy to distract us from the truth about Jesus and the life He purchased for us with His own blood... when He died on Calvary's cross in our place.

We may not be able to stop all these thoughts from coming through out minds... but we can certainly choose to reject those which are unfit, ungodly, or immoral. We have the power to set our mind upon those things that Jesus told us to think about... those things which are good and wholesome and healthy and of good report.

"The joy of the Lord is our strength." Thinking wholesome thoughts can fill us with joy, strengthen us, and bring a smile to our faces.

Choose to think on the things of God and the words of His Bible. These will lead us to a more peaceful and more contented life.

Remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us should fill our hearts with such gratitude that it would outweigh many emotions that would seek to divert us from the Lord.

Every wrong and evil act in life began with a single thought that should have been rejected and replaced with a positive thought.

Choose your thoughts carefully.

Friday, October 3, 2008


A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully. Before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw a bud that would soon blossom.

He also saw the thorns, and he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant, burdened with so many sharp thorns?"

Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and before it was ready to bloom, it died. So it is with many people.

*~*Within every soul, there is “a rose”… the "God-like" qualities planted in us at birth, growing amidst the “thorns” of our faults.

Many of us look at ourselves and see only "the thorns", the defects. We despair; thinking nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to "water" the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.

Some just can’t see "the rose"... or the gifts within themselves. It takes someone else to show it to them. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns and find the rose within others.

This is the truest, most innocent, and gracious characteristic of love - to know another person, including their faults, recognize the nobility in their soul, and yet still help another to realize they can overcome the “thorns” of their faults and life's experiences.

If we show them the rose, they will conquer the thorns. Only then will they blossom, and most likely, bloom thirty, sixty, a hundred-fold, as it is given to them.

Our duty in this world is to help others, by showing them their roses and not their thorns. It is then that we achieve the love we should feel for each other. Only then can we bloom in our own garden.

(Rose Photo by Samantha at Mama's Musings)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


"We know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." I John 3:24

"A boat doesn't sink because it is in the water; it sinks because the water gets into it. In the same way, Christians don't fail to live as they should because they are in the world; they fail because the world has gotten into them. We don't fail to produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit because we live in a sea of corruption; we fail because the sea of corruption has gotten into us.

It can happen almost without our realizing it. At one time we were dedicated to Christ, surrendered to the will of God. But little by little the chilling waters of the world crept in. We became preoccupied with the things of this world rather than the things of Christ.

Most ocean-going ships have pumps running constantly, sucking out any water that might have leaked into the hull. Similarly, we need to keep the "pumps" of repentance running. We need to plug the holes with the truth of God's Word. Don't let the world sink your ship!"

By Billy Graham


An addition from my Bible study goes along with the above:

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:7-8a


"How can you come near to God? James gives five ways:

1. Submit to God (4:7). Yield to His authority and will, commit your life to Him and His control, and be willing to follow Him.

2. Resist the devil (4:7). Don't allow Satan to entice and tempt you.

3. Wash your hands...and purify your hearts (that is, lead a pure life) (4:8). Be cleansed from sin, replacing your desire to sin with your desire to experience God's purity.

4. Grieve and mourn and wail in sincere sorrow for your sins (4:9). Don't be afraid to express deep heartfelt sorrow for what you have done.

5. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up (4:10, I Peter 5:6)."

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How blessed we are to have such a loving and forgiving God... Who is "not willing that even one should perish".

Precious Lord,
Forgive us for the times we have failed You.
Forgive us for not loving each other as You have commanded us to do.

Show us Your will and Your way to live our lives.
Help us to walk the path You have set before us.

We thank you for Your love, Your mercy, and for Your sweet Holy Spirit
Who continually draws us to You.

Turn our hearts in the direction You would have us go.

Help us to be Your hand extended to those in need.
Let us be Your workers "in the world" but not "of the world".

Renew our minds through Your Word.

Lead us and guide us in everything we say and do.

All praise and honor to You, Lord.

In Jesus' name, we pray.