Friday, August 31, 2012

Stop Snacking and Start Feasting!

Lately our grandson Blake hasn’t been eating much at mealtime. He’s pretty worn out from pre-K school and he rarely wants to quit playing just for a plate of food! A very active 4 year old that boy is.  The other night around 9 o’clock he managed to get himself a bag of chips and was found eating them as he sat in a chair. He said he had gotten hungry and couldn’t sleep! His mom explained the importance of eating a good meal during supper. She told him he would have to start eating a healthy meal or nothing else.  The chips filled his tummy but they didn’t do much for his nutritional needs.

Oh beloved! Have you been snacking on what the world has to offer? Does it seem to you that others who partake of whatever they want are happy and full while you feel empty and unfed? Run to the Lord’s bountiful table of health! His Word is your absolute necessity and without it all of us tend to fill up on junk.  Not only does His Word fill you and make you spiritually healthy, God will bring other believers into your life who desire the sincere milk of the word and the meat as well. Great fellowship can be found at the Lord’s banquet!  He loves you so much that He has a plan to fill your heart and mind so that you can rest in His presence and have strength to resist all the junk the world wants to offer you! Now that’s love!

Psalm 103:5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Acts 2:28 You have shown me the way of life, and You will fill me with the joy of Your presence.

Song of Solomon 2:4 He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much He loves me.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

In the Shadow of His Wings I Take Refuge

We are all watching what may be the worst hurricane of the season. Friends and family along the Gulf Coast have battened down the hatches. Memories of childhood storms come back to me. Often we would leave Houston altogether and go north until the storm subsided. Back in the 60’s my father was on a barge in the gulf when a hurricane hit.  My mother didn’t know the condition of those men out there until after the storm had passed.  We watched the news and just like people are doing today, we kept our eyes glued for any information.  It’s an odd thing about hurricanes. They are incredibly fierce and yet inside the eye, the center of that storm, there is complete calm.  While the storm whirls about wreaking destruction everywhere else, inside the eye no havoc, no chaos, no trouble.
Oh beloved, you may be in the storm of your life. It may have been raging for quite a while and you’ve tried to hang on, hunker down and keep going. It’s hard I know. I too have weathered storms in my life. And, because I made it through I can encourage you as well. You will make it through; you will come out the other side. But more than that, you can rest in the center of the Father’s will knowing that He will keep you from the havoc, the chaos the damage. Regardless of what you are going through, His Word is your Storm Shelter. His Word is Your Guarantee. His Word is His Bond. Trust Him this morning for in the center of His Will is love, peace, purpose and strength.  He loves you and He’s for you so He will see you through!

Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him.

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful and gracious to me, O God, be merciful and gracious to me, for my soul takes refuge and finds shelter and confidence in You; yes, in the shadow of Your wings will I take refuge and be confident until calamities and destructive storms are passed.

Hebrews 6:18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Lord's Greatest Delight is our Relationship not Our Performance

She was trying so hard to get her daddy’s attention. Tugging on his hand as he towered above her, she saw that he was busy talking with someone. Occasionally he’d shake her off and motion with his hand, but he never looked away from the conversation he was having. She jumped and said his name a little louder. She must have been desperate to talk to him. Frantic, knowing no other way to get daddy to respond, she began to pirouette and tip toe. Other folks noticed the little princess and began to applaud as she performed. The performance grew greater as the crowd ooh’ed and ah’ed. This was great! She was loving the performance and forgot all about her daddy. As her daddy looked the way of the commotion, he smiled and walked over to her with obvious pride. She stopped as their eyes met and she realized she hadn’t even noticed his attention.

Aren’t we like that little child? Often we pray, we seek God, we live in His light. After a while we get
desperate and because we may not have heard from Him, we resort to performance. We don’t know what else to do. After all doesn’t our Abba Father love us more when we’re doing things? Acting right? Behaving? Ministering? Before long performance has taken the place of relationship and we’re so busy that we don’t realize He’s been with us all along. Finally we stop and see that our Abba Father's greatest delight is always the relationship, the intimate fellowship, the love songs we sing.

Oh beloved, Maybe you’ve been seeking God and you haven’t heard His response. It could be that in your desperation you’ve traded relationship for performance and it feels great! Run back to your Daddy God this morning and keep seeking His face, for it’s only in that intimate time with Him that we find our way in this world and our place of service. He promises that He always has time and He will never shake you off! He loves you, He always listens, He always answers and He’s on your side!

John 6:29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one He has sent.”

Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.

I Chronicles 16:11 (Amplified) Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Are You Asking? God's Answer Will Come!

My parents used to write notes on the mirror in the bathroom with a bar of soap. Usually it was "I Love You". Sometimes it was a reminder to pack something or the like. I too leave notes on the mirror. They're easy to wipe off by a little water and a cloth. Yesterday as I was in the bathroom cleaning up after one of the grandkids took a shower, I noticed an old note on the mirror. One I had long wiped away. But because of the steam, there it was plain as the day I had written it! Although I had forgotten about it, it was still there waiting to be revealed again. 

Oh beloved, our prayers are like writing on the mirror.  We give it to God. We talk with Him often about the need, the want, the heart’s cry. We ponder and we wait.  We go about our daily lives and carry on. We might even forget about it. But the Lord never forgets.  One day, just like the message in the steam covered mirror, God’s answer will come. He will reveal His character, His will and His way. It’s not for us to know why delays happen, why promises seem distant or when He needs to answer. We know, by the Word He has spoken that He is always with us, always hearing us, always taking unconditional care of all that matters to us. Go ahead and talk to Him about your life and don’t leave anything out. You do not know when His answer of love will be revealed, but you can always trust that He loves you and has your absolute best in mind.  He’s no ordinary confidant, He’s our beloved Savior!

I John 5:15 And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for.
Psalm 65:5  You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas.

Monday, August 27, 2012

God's Love for You Will Never Pass Away!

As Stella crawled across the room she was babbling and heading straight for me.   She crawled up to me and I reached down before she had a chance to climb my legs and scooped her up.  I didn’t wait until she got all the way to me before I picked her up.  I was so delighted that she was coming to me that I couldn’t wait to hold her in my arms. Once there we looked one another in the eye and both of us smiled.  I smiled because I love her and it is a pure blessing to be holding my sweet granddaughter in my arms. She smiled because she loves me and feels perfectly content to be with me.

Oh beloved, you may be thinking this is just another ordinary day. Your situation has not changed, your problems have not ceased, your heart has not been lightened.  Maybe all you can do is crawl. Maybe you don’t think you can even crawl across the floor. This morning why don’t let your Abba Father pick you up.  None of us has to wait until we get up on our own to be picked up by Him.  Wait! I see Him now, holding out His arms of love for you! It’s His heart’s desire to scoop you up and whisper sweet love words into your heart! He’s right here, right now and He’s full of love and tender care for you.  True contentment despite all life’s troubles is found in the Arms of God.  He will look you in the eye, He will tell you the Truth about you and He will never ever put you down or walk away from you.  His greatest pleasure is to hold you and bless you and revive your heart.  Your greatest blessing is to let Him.  He loves you always, He’s for you eternally and that’s all that will ever matter.  All other things will pass away but not His love for you!


I Corinthians 13:13  Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Romans 8:39  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Thessalonians 3:5  May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

Isaiah 63:9  In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ever Feel Like a Frayed Knot? You Don't Have To!

I am a craft show junkie. I don't ever buy a lot but I love to go through barn after barn on fairgrounds. The one in October at Hot Springs is one of the best. I spied one of those cute crafty things a couple of years ago and it made me chuckle. It was a piece of heavy multi colored cotton rope tied into a knot with the ends frayed.  The note attached to it said, “I’m a frayed knot!”   I find myself tied up in knots at times. Don’t you?   We don’t have to be, if we look to the Lord’s Words to us.  His message doesn’t tie us up, it frees us.  Instead of frayed knots, we have the other “nots”. You shall not want.  You are not ashamed. Not afraid. Not shaken. 

Oh beloved, next time you are tempted to get tied up in knots, rehearse the faithfulness, the tenderness, the mercy of God and remind yourself that with God, troubles are not a problem! He loves you and He’s with you always and He’ll always keep you in His care!

Psalm 16:8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want.

Psalm 56:11 In God I have put my trust.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

He is the God Who will Meet all of Your Needs!

My mother was quite an overcomer. One of the times that things looked bleak she had peritonitis. She knew things were bad because she could see herself in a mirror in the hospital room. She recounted that her arms and legs were black. She remembers a doctor coming into her room and announcing to the nurse and whoever else was there, "She'll not make it."  She prayed often. She was mostly worried about her children and knew that she needed to get better for them.  During her time in the hospital, only one pastor ever visited her.  She didn't know him, but he was a faithful man who visited the sick. 

God answered my mother’s prayer and healed her body completely.  After she went home she went to the church of that pastor who visited and joined his church, because he had been there for her. 

Oh beloved, this is why I go to the Lord for all my needs. Because He is the One Who hears me when I call. He has visited me in my distress, He has taken me to new heights and He has restored my soul!  He is the only True and Faithful God. His promises are more numerous than the stars in the sky. And, He is always with me. He was with my ancestors and He will be with my descendants.  I know Him, so I go to Him. He has proven Himself to me over and over, so I Trust Him.  Today you can trust Him for everything. For your past, He promises forgiveness. For your present, He promises relief. For your future, He promises Heaven.  Won’t you try Him today?  He’s worthy of your praise, He’s mindful of your prayers and He loves you just the way you are! Not only that, His plans for you are fantastic. He won’t leave you in your present state! He is the Lord God Almighty and He is worthy of your Trust! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.

Psalm 50:15  “Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.”

Psalm 116:1 I love the LORD because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.

 Psalm 31:7  I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul.

Psalm 23:1  The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Psalm 116:2  Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It is In the Heights that We Really Learn to Know Him

As I was looking at the photos taken of our recent ride to Petit Jean I was reminded of what a daring man I married! Several photos were taken, not only by me, but others that showed him on top of boulders, out on the cliffs and overlooking chasms. All these years I’ve watched him launch out to places I don’t dare go.  He has always asked me to go along with him, but most times I declined. On the rare occasions where I mustered up enough courage to go with him it turned out to be so worth it! The view would be so wonderful, the scene exhilarating and the realization that I had the courage to go with him was great!  I find that my husband has taught me a lot about life, about taking chances and about looking at the scenery rather than concentrating on the fear and I’m thankful again that He’s mine.  

Oh beloved!  Our walk with God is like this. We love to stroll with Him in the meadows where there’s not much trouble, few decisions and no stress.  Yet it is in the heights of the unfamiliar that we really begin to know Him and to trust Him and thus to follow Him. While it may seem safer to reside in the valley, it is up on the mountain that real change takes place - the mountains where we’re out of our comfort zones, loose from our earthly bonds and clinging only to Him. Why don’t you take His Hand this morning and say yes. Yes to the unknown, yes to the higher calling, yes to the place where you will live with “less of me and more of Thee”.  His marvelous plan is out of this world for you.  Not only that, the view is astounding and the air is fresher. You can trust His plan, you can climb up and be full of courage as together you and the Lord walk the walk He has planned for you.  Take a chance today and watch how your life lets go of the fear holding you to the meadow.  He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.


Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Mark 8:34  Then, calling the crowd to join His disciples, He said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.

Psalm 94:18-19 “I cried out, “I am slipping!” but Your unfailing love, O LORD, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

Psalm 143:10  Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Julia Child’s 100th birthday was celebrated recently.  Many of us grew up watching her cooking and cavorting on the educational network. Some of us have the misfortune of remembering the 70’s Saturday Night Live episode parody of Ms. Child as well.  It was noted that during an interview about her life, she explained "I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.” 

After graduating she enrolled in college to become a writer. She enjoyed writing but none of her work was ever published. After graduating college, she moved to New York and worked at the prestigious home furnishings company W&J Sloane. After transferring to the store's Los Angeles branch, however, Child was fired for "gross insubordination." After her marriage, her husband was transferred to France where she began to find her niche in life. Her autobiography, published after her death, centered on how she fell into her true calling as a chef.  There were many opportunities afforded Julia, who grew up privileged. However, the calling on a person’s life cannot be bought.  It must be found, nurtured and worked through.

Oh beloved, did you know that God has a wonderful calling on your life? It’s one that’s tailor made for you.  You may be struggling with your present circumstances, trying to see where you fit in or finding your place in this world.  Don’t count God out of your plans. His way is going to give you great and wonderful opportunities and fulfillment beyond your wildest hopes! But don’t count everyday life out entirely.  Most gifts and callings come to fruition right out of the middle of an ordinary life.

Run to the Lord this morning and spend time with Him, for that is where your calling comes from. He’ll speak into your heart, He’ll help you dream dreams and He’ll carry you through to His place for you in the world today. He loves you so much that He’s got something for you to do that no one else can do. He cares about you so much that He’s willing to give you time spent with Him!  What a Savior! What a Lord!

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Galatians 1:15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.

I Peter 4:11 …Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Running Out of Steam? Let Christ Be Your Strength

I rented a commercial carpet cleaner the other day.  I was skeptical but I thought I’d try it. I have to admit I was pretty amazed at the results - at least with the cleaning of the carpet. What I didn’t like was the weariness from lifting gallons of hot water and pulling a heavy machine along the carpet. Back and forth. Lift and shift.  The commercial says this machine is “screaming mad at dirt”. But I say it was screaming mad at me! 

The next morning I found achy muscles and a sore back. I had to move very slowly! But the carpet looks great! After the wrestling match I may wait until more muscle is around to attempt this. I have to admit though, I am rather proud of the way things turned out.  I was wanting to give up, go to bed and hope for the best but I persevered.  As I pat myself on the back I am reminded that right about midnight I was panting and ready to quit.  And asking God to give me supernatural strength.  So it was the Lord who came through on my behalf.  I asked, He provided and I was able to finish the job.

Oh beloved, you may be running out of steam. Your last ounce of strength may be more empty than full.  The Lord hears your cries and He is answering each call on your behalf. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Let Him take over and pull you through to victory.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that just as we admit we can do no more, He steps in and says, “but you can, through Me!” He loves to reward you through your diligence to seek Him in your trials, efforts and pain. Yay God! Yay you! One day He will put His arm around your shoulder and together you will observe the blessings that come after the work is done! What wondrous love is this to know the Creator of Heaven and Earth has your best in mind.  He loves you and He's there for you always!

Psalm 42:8  But each day the LORD pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.

Psalm 121:2  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!

Isaiah 40:29  He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Isaiah 59:1 Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call.

2 Corinthians 12:9  Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do You Need a Fresh Start? You can have One!

It’s the first day of school and many households are re-learning getting up and getting going. Summer break is over and children are putting on new clothes, new shoes and donning backpacks. Some are riding the bus and others are being carried in the family car.  Old friends will be hugged and new friends will be made. Some students will cry, some mothers will cry.  The cafeterias will be baking and the playground equipment will be full. It’s a fresh start kind of morning.

Oh beloved, do you need a fresh start? Is it time for a change? In your attitude, in your demeanor, in your outlook? Today, like school children all across America, you can have that change. You can put on a new look and walk a different walk. I know things have been bad for a long time. Maybe someone’s tried to help point the way for you but you’ve rejected all help. You may be angry, tired, frustrated, hopeless, dejected, miserable.  There is One Who will pick you up and take you where you’ve never been. It’s never too late to let God teach you in His School. Run to Him this morning and open His Study Guide. It’s more than a book – it’s God Breathed! God’s Word is True and it’s written just for you. Because He loves you He can take all your misery, all your mistakes, all your futility and restore your faith, your joy and your hope. Try Him today! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that matters.

 Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.

Jeremiah 17:14  O LORD, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!

Psalm 6:2  Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony.

Lamentations 3:22-23 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!  His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Are You looking only at Your Circumstances? Look to God!

We had a ride planned yesterday but early on there was thunder lightning and heavy rain. Probably the heaviest rain our county's seen in months. Mid morning the weather broke and we headed out for our destination. It remained cloudy and cool the entire day, which made for incredible riding. An August day in Arkansas with a high around 76 degrees is unheard of. We rode to Petit Jean, ate a late lunch and went to survey the bear caves. While there someone checked the radar on their phone which showed heavy rain coming in. Much discussion went on about hurrying to leave, putting on gear, making it home.  We knew that any moment it might start raining but some folks had never been to Petit Jean so we continued the plan, hoping to outrun the rain. There was frequent looking to the radar which still guaranteed a deluge.  Finally someone said, “If all we do is look at the radar we will miss the fun of all we’re doing right now while it’s not raining.” As it turned out it never rained on us despite the gloomy radar.

Life is a trip full of ups and downs and changing weather.  Often the road we travel has its potholes, steep hills and hairpin curves.  Just like the weather life’s circumstances can change in an instant. We may be having the time of our life and suddenly it’s all different.   We may spend much time looking to the future, knowing that a storm is brewing and we wish we could avoid it.

Oh beloved, if you continue to look only at your circumstances or what you think may be ahead, you will miss the beautiful life God has given you! Everything you will go through in life is sifted through fingers of Love. God knows the road ahead, He knows the weather and He knows your heart. He is more than able to care for you throughout life. He’s not only able to get you through, but because He is going ahead of you, you can enjoy today full of joy in Him without dread of the future. Run to Him this morning, quit looking at your circumstances and let Him show you the beauty of this day.  How much does He love you? Enough to give Himself up on your behalf. How much does He care for you? Enough to send His angels to guard  your entire life.  Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider, has grace for today and bright hope for tomorrow prepared just for you!

Philippians 4:6-7  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 91:11  For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.

Proverbs 15:15  For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

Isaiah 43:1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.

Deuteronomy 31:8  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Friday, August 17, 2012

Your Life is a Canvas and God is the Painter!

One of the photos our youngest daughter took of me and her three children at our front window had really good lighting effects. It was so good that one of my friends referred to it as a Vermeer. She’s an art major, so she knows these things. I had to look up Vermeer and found that his art had lots of shadows and sunlight beaming through in ways that highlighted the scene. Vermeer, like other famous artists, created many masterpieces. With brush and paint and a blank canvas, these artists would create something extraordinary. The entire scene wouldn’t show up with one touch, but as artist put brush to paint to canvas, slowly the magnificence would appear. Each canvas started out the same, blank and devoid. But at the touch of the master’s hand every one became unique and special in its own right.

Oh beloved, you are a masterpiece! Your canvas is being painted by the Grand Master Himself. Each touch of the brush, held lovingly in His hand is going to make you magnificent! Don’t struggle at the touch, but rather revel in His creation – you! There’s not another like you in all the world. You are special. You are unique. You are priceless. Run to the Master this morning and let Him put you in the best light. He so lovingly touches your life and so amazingly blesses your days. Thank Him and let Him continue what He started – you are a one of a kind!

Ephesians 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Jeremiah 10:23 I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.

2 Corinthians 3:18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

There are many phrases popular among Christians and non Christians alike. One of the best is “God helps those who help themselves”. The quote originated with Benjamin Franklin who believed in God but that God did not intervene in earth's affairs, so all responsibility was incumbent upon people.

Somehow we equate improving our situation by our own self efforts with God and thus begins a long stint of trying to please Him by being good enough, working hard enough or being strong enough. Not only do we try to please Him this way, we try to make ourselves better this way. None of this works.   So finally, we find ourselves winded, worn out and weary.  Or we find ourselves in a trial and wonder how we got there with “God, what did I do wrong?’ hanging on our lips…

This thing called faith starts and ends with Christ! We find ourselves utterly empty of anything good, able or authentic. We call on the One Who is Excellent, Capable and Genuine and we ask Him to come in and change things for us. We admit we’re unable.  We find that He doesn’t want to just change “things” for us – He wants to change us!

Oh beloved, are you wondering how you’ll ever make it? You’ve tried. You’ve begged. You’ve worked. You’ve managed. You hate for anyone to know that you aren’t going to make it on your own. Maybe it’s time to let Christ in. To your situation… your trial… your problem… your failure… your life....  He’ll take what you can’t do a thing with and make it beautiful for His glory and your good!  This is the Good News everyone’s waiting for! He loves you and He’s for you and He has a marvelous plan for your life! Now that’s worth thanking Him for!!!

Psalm 34:2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart.

Psalm 70:5 But as for me, I am poor and needy; please hurry to my aid, O God. You are my helper and my savior; O LORD, do not delay.

Matthew 9:36 When Jesus saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Romans 5:6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Lord Says You are Wonderful and You Are Important!

In the movie “The Help” Aibeleen is the maid of the Leefolts, who have a 3 year old daughter named Mae Mobley. The mother mostly ignores the child so Aibeleen is the one who in essence raises her. Every day Aibeleen tells Mae Mobley “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”  

Mae Mobley’s mother remained aloof and uncaring throughout the movie. We all know that children need love and affection to blossom and grow into emotional and spiritual adults.  We adults need love and affection as well. We thrive on kindness, generosity and we feel most fulfilled when love is given and returned in kind.  Our confidence is boosted when we feel our needs are met by someone else.  People throughout history have spent their entire fortunes looking for love and affirmation.  Although the movie never lets us see how Mae Mobley turns out, we all feel that Aibeleen’s continual verbal support must have done wonders for the lovelorn child. 

Oh beloved, the Lord wants to hold you close and speak words of affirmation into your life this morning.  He speaks the Truth to your heart and says to you that you are beloved! Not only that, He says that you are important to the Kingdom of God, you are bought with a price and you are one of a kind! Maybe no one ever told you how wonderful you are, but God’s Word is full of His wonderful thoughts about you. Maybe you have heard God’s Word but you’re not confident that He’s speaking to you personally.  Keep reading, keep believing and it will become second nature to you.  Each one is written especially for you! Let God hold you close and let Him love you!  Open up His Love Letter daily and let Him speak Truth into your life! With God’s affection we don’t have to look to a person to give us fulfillment. Instead, we will walk in fulfillment and be able to share the Truth with others. Oh how He loves you, oh how He’s passionate about you, oh how His plan for your life is ready to unfold!

 Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

1 Thessalonians 1:4 We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be His own people.

Jude 1:1 I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

Hosea 14:8  I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.

Isaiah 43:4 Others were given in exchange for you.  I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Got Challenges? The Word of God is Your Stepping Stone

Our family loves the Indiana Jones movies. No matter how many times we watch them, we still get involved in the plots. In The Last Crusade’s opening, we find our hero contending with not only the bandits chasing him, but also the train's inhospitable occupants. Indy is continually fighting for and against things and people, but somehow wins in spite of the disastrous situations in his life.  My favorite scene is of a passageway of stepping stones marked with individual letters. For this challenge Indy deduces that he must spell the name of God in order to proceed. As he makes the first step, the rock collapses beneath him and he nearly falls into an enormous chasm below.  He regroups and thinks of the correct spelling for the Name of God and proceeds, carefully at first and then with confidence gets through the test. It is only by stepping correctly that he survives to advance.

In many ways we believers are like Indiana Jones. Our lives are fraught with dangers, trials and snares. The enemy gives us trouble and we have to find our way through to victory. Challenges are presented and we must figure out the route God wishes for us to take. Just as Indy had to spell out the name of God correctly to move ahead, we too must know God’s Word and His Character to make it.

Oh beloved, your route may be hard today. You may be wondering why yet another obstacle is looming before you. You’ve worked and planned and prayed, but troubles seem unavoidable.  His Word is your victory! His Name is your passage through! Run to Him this morning and talk with Him, for together you and He can formulate a plan, lead by the Lord Jehovah Himself, that will cause you to be more than victorious! It will give you a joyful plan for this day and bright hope for tomorrow, no matter what life brings. He loves you so much that He not only gave you the route to Heaven, He’s able to get you through this life as an overcomer! 

Ephesians 1:11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.

Psalm 119:133 Guide my steps by Your Word, so I will not be overcome by evil.

John 16:33   I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Deuteronomy 31:6 So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

I John 5:4-5 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.  And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Storms are Inevitable but We Can Survive!

It’s coming up a storm this morning. I haven’t seen rain yet, but off in the distance I’ve heard the approaching rumble of thunder.  Thunder is always a harbinger of weather.  I might have noticed it earlier but we had the air conditioner running and a fan as well. Lots of background noise makes for drowning out the alerts.  Now that the coffee pot has quit gurgling and Danny’s off to work I hear it approaching, each sound getting a little louder than the one before.  I’ve also looked at the radar to see if there are any storm reports or warnings yet. It helps to be prepared, especially in the early morning before daylight.  Somehow when Danny’s here I don’t mind a little storm, but by myself I’m not as brave. Because Danny remains calm I find great comfort in being with him while the storm rages.   

Oh beloved, maybe you have found yourself right in the middle of a storm. You wonder where it came from and why it’s here now. You might have seen the signs but the noise of life drowned out the warnings. Just as we cannot pick the storms that develop in nature, we don’t pick the storms that come into our lives. But just as in nature a storm is inevitable now and then, so too storms are inevitable in our lives. Unprepared we are like sitting ducks waiting to be picked off by the enemy. But prepared we can withstand storms and hold fast until they pass. Not only that, but we can come out of the storm stronger, fearless and more knowledgeable.  It’s hard to be brave alone, but when God is with us we can be valiant and overcome the storm.   Run to the safety of His Word this morning! Seek His Truth and abide in it. His Word is your storm shelter and His love will cover you completely so that when the storm has passed you and He together can rejoice that you overcame! He loves you and He’s for you so there’s nothing to fear!

Psalm 9:9  The LORD is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Isaiah 25:4  But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat...

Joel 3:16  The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel.

Proverbs 18:10  The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.

Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

God's Words are Full of Love for You!

I often laugh and say that if we had another child I would definitely lay that baby down and forget where I left it! I find myself remembering less well (that’s my take on it).  That can be good or bad. Remembering where the keys are might cause a problem, but as long as I remember what they’re for eventually they will be found and I will use them.  Sometimes your memory can be your enemy.  Suddenly out of nowhere you’ll be face to face with one of the unsavory kind – you know - where you were thoroughly embarrassed as a teen or made an incredibly stupid blunder? Or perhaps out of the blue a memory of past regrets comes flooding through your mind. It feels as though at times the memories we don’t want show up and the memories we need fail us. When faced with our own human memory, most of us would admit the past is not all that great. The future may not look rock solid either.  The onslaught of the enemy of our soul can push our mistakes into our minds so that we are momentarily blinded to God’s Truth. 
Oh beloved, are you having a hard time remembering the Truth? About you? About your past regrets or your future fears? I’m praying for you today. That you will be such a student of His Truth that when the enemy shows up to parade your past in front of you, you will not wither like the flowers in the blazing sun, but rather you will respond with God’s information! Get with your Beloved Savior this morning and talk with Him about His Words to you. They are full of love, full of promise, full of hope. His Word will increase your capacity to remember the Truth and decrease the power to listen to the lies that want to take root in your mind.  Never forget – God loved you then, He loves you now and He will love you forever!  Rehearse His Love Today and reject everything else!

Deuteronomy 8:18 Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant He confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.

1 Chronicles 16:15 Remember His covenant forever— the commitment He made to a thousand generations.

Psalm 105:5 Remember the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the rulings He has given.

Psalm 111:4 He causes us to remember His wonderful works. How gracious and merciful is our LORD!

Psalm 103:2 Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

He Will Lead You Out of Your Dark Place

On one of our road trips we traveled through Southern Alabama. We were hot, tired and hungry as we pulled into a steak house. After eating we headed for a state park we had found online. We didn’t really know anything about the area, just trusting what we’d read.  It was dusky dark as we found the road that would lead to that park. The road started out in a residential area. It got darker and darker as we traveled. As with all trips, the first ride there always seems to take forever. As the last light was just leaving the sky we noted grass growing in the middle of the pavement. Not a good sign. We eventually found the park entrance only to see the gate was locked!  In the dark all we could make out was a trailer house on the right and a small frame house on the left. There were lights on in the trailer and we saw someone peer through the curtains. On motorcycles, at night, in unfamiliar territory had us more than spooked. Finally a man came out and said he’d take us to a campsite. We followed his pickup and could just make out water and deep woody areas all around the narrow path.  As we drove into the camping area, he showed us our camp and pointed to the shower house.  We were just a little concerned at where we were and if we’d be safe, but we had to go to bed. By now it was after 10 pm. We talked a little about trusting God and worked quickly to get our campers set up.  We went to bed not knowing what we’d find the next day.

As I stepped out of the camper at daybreak, I was startled with delight! Yes, startled! We were perched on a little hill overlooking a beautiful small lake complete with geese and an occasional fish jumping. The fog was lifting on the water and the scene was absolutely gorgeous! What we thought was a precarious place turned out to be quite lovely. But it wasn’t until the morning light that we could know. In the dark it was impossible to see that our hard path would turn into a stunning destination.   

Oh beloved, you may well be on a path that’s stormy, rocky or rough. You may have chosen it yourself or had it picked for you. Either way, you’re there. I know it’s hard to imagine that anything good will come into your life again. Don’t let your circumstances confuse you. Your way may be hard now, but your destination is wonderful! We cannot trust our feelings, but we can trust God! Just as the man came out into the night to show us our campsite, so we must trust the One Who comes into our darkness to show us a place of rest. Follow the Lord! He will lead you out of your darkness into His marvelous light!

 2 Samuel 22:29  O LORD, you are my lamp. The LORD lights up my darkness.

Job 12:22 He uncovers mysteries hidden in darkness; He brings light to the deepest gloom.

Psalm 107:14  He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom…

Isaiah 45:3 And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness— secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

Psalm 30:5   Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Friday, August 10, 2012

We Are A Masterpiece in His Hands!

I fondly remember my Aunt Ruth making biscuits when I was young. She was a pro at it. The simple recipe of buttermilk, self-rising flour and a pinch of soda, was like pure heaven in her hands. She would mix it and then turn it out on a floured board where she folded and folded and folded, careful not to over-knead it for that would make the dough tough and the biscuits hard. Once the dough was ready she had a remarkable knack of holding up one end of the entire thing and pinching off a perfectly round segment. It all appeared completely effortless as she pinched a biscuit and turned it over once in the iron skillet heated on the stove just so, with enough oil as her fingertips would slide one side of the biscuit into the skillet and turn it over just so. Into the hot stove, heated to 450 degrees they’d go. After the fire they’d come out beautifully burnished and absolutely the most flavorful rounds of delight.

Each step was absolutely important, each ingredient was essential. Without the addition of buttermilk to the flour, the rise wouldn’t be right. Without the iron skillet the crust and color wouldn’t be right. Without the extreme heat, the biscuits wouldn’t be so delicate and steamy inside.

We are like pieces of dough held in the Master’s hand. He carefully and lovingly caresses our lives just so. Each episode of our life is essential to the making of His masterpiece. Without the kneading, the pinching, the placing and the heat, our lives would lie flat and useless. But in His Hands, with His perfect touch, we come out perfect, useful in His kingdom, fit for Heaven.

Oh beloved. This morning, as you think about your life, laying the ingredients of the past, the present and the future out to measure, remember that God loves you more than you will ever comprehend, He cares for you more than you can see right now and His plans for you are that you turn out beautiful! One part of the recipe of life, taken by itself, can be disaster, but sifted together and put into His Hands your life is truly a stunning success.

Run to Him this morning and thank Him for His perfect work in your life. Thank Him that while He’s still working on you, it means you’re still useable for the Kingdom. Thank Him for His perfection in working with you. The Master loves you, He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.

1 Chronicles 21:13 “I’m in a desperate situation!” David replied to Gad. “But let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for His mercy is very great. Do not let me fall into human hands.”

Isaiah 64:8 And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.

Psalm 66:9 Our lives are in His hands, and He keeps our feet from stumbling.

Deuteronomy 33:3 Indeed, He loves His people; all His holy ones are in His hands. They follow in His steps and accept His teaching.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

You're life is Amazing when Given to Him!

The first time I laid eyes on Danny was after I had car trouble.  I was walking to my aunt’s house to get help and he was sitting at his pasture gate in the old panel wagon he drove.  He was sitting there with huge headphones on listening to music.  As I walked by I didn’t have any particular revelation of the future. How could I have known I was walking past the man who would be my husband? How could I know that one day we’d be living for the Lord and be ministers of the Gospel together? If you asked people who knew us then, they wouldn’t have believed it either.

Oh beloved, you can’t know your future. You may be living for the moment. You may even be enjoying your life and have things all planned out. For some of you things may not be going so well. Your plans have all failed and you fail to see anything that might turn out right.  God has a wonderful plan for your life! Yes, in spite of the hard things, in spite of your best laid plans, in spite of everything, His plan is working out for your life! His plans will turn out, His blessings will come forth, His eternal purposes cannot be thwarted for He Alone is God, the Sovereign King of Heaven and Earth! Why not go to Him this morning and lay your life before Him? He won’t turn you away but instead He will take you into His arms and grant you great and wonderful things! Let Him show you from His Word all that He has for you waiting for the day you say Yes to Him! He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters.

Psalm 33:11  The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

 Proverbs 16:1  We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
Proverbs 16:9  The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

 Isaiah 25:1 O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

 2 Timothy 1:9  For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Cloud of Witnesses!

The nursery and produce stand in Caddo Valley has a line of scarecrows out front. They really aren’t scary at all, they are lovely. Each one is a different size, gender, style. They all just make me want to smile! No they make me want to laugh out loud! This row of greeters standing there reminded me of the words in the Bible, “So great a cloud of witnesses”.  Until I saw this lineup I always thought merely of those witnesses as people who remind us that even when times are hard we can make it.  And it’s true. But there’s more. They are not merely bystanders holding up their previous experience. They are cheerleaders! They are shouting, through the Word of God, “you are MORE THAN a conqueror!” You are “victorious”! They are waving wildly the banners of God’s Love Song to you and me. Not just that either…The cloud spoken of says to me they are actively involved, kicking up dust, making a scene!  In this world of compromise and quiet we are meant to kick up our heels and shout it to the rooftops “He’s for us! He loves us! No power in hell, no trouble on earth, Nothing, Nothing, Absolutely Nothing, can separate us from His loving care!”
Oh beloved, do you hear the cheers? Do you hear the accolades, the commendations, the congratulations? God and His heavenly host, along with the host of believers who have gone before us are shouting with joy to you this day: You can do it! You can make it! You are beautiful! You are loved! You are not alone! You win!

I know things can be hard, people can be mean, and finances can be lean. Cars need filling, children need clothing. People check out and life can get frazzled. But God is oh so much more than the things you are dealing with! He’s not only aware, He’s actively involved and He truly cares. This morning, while the night is still hanging on and the sun hasn’t slipped all the way to your window, give it all to Him. He’s got your life covered in His amazing grace and He loves you wonderfully! And, truly that’s all that really matters.

Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.”

Psalm 97:1 The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad!

Zephaniah 3:17   For the Lord your God is living among you! He is a mighty savior! He will take delight in you with gladness! With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs!

Romans 8:37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Is Life's Static Messing up Your Signal?

Sunday morning I got out my tambourine and turned on some praise music on the computer. Three grandchildren had spent the night and I was soon joined by one of them. Blake is 4 and he loves music! We got out a drum for him and we had a rousing good time singing, dancing and making music to the Lord! It was an awesome opportunity to just let go of things and get with the Lord. It also readied us for worship at Church. Once in the car we began listening to a Christian music radio station. As we drove along the interstate to church, I noticed the station was coming in and out. The static was soon unbearable so we had to find another station to listen to. The static interfered with the enjoyment of the music and kept us from hearing the words, so we couldn’t sing with the radio either.

Oh beloved, have you found that static of daily living is drowning out the music of God’s love, God’s joy and God’s peace? All three are free for the enjoyment of every believer in Christ. If you find that you are unable to hear clearly from Him and are losing the signal, it may be time to tune in closer! He promises that when we take time for Him He will bless us to hear clearly and live abundantly! Oh how He loves you, oh how He waits for you to draw near to Him so that He can draw near to you! Let Him tune your signal this morning and watch as the music flows!

Psalm 70:4 But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “God is great!”

1 John 5:14 And we are confident that He hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.

James 4:8a Come close to God, and God will come close to you….

Psalm 63:8 I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely.

Monday, August 06, 2012

When Danny was a termite technician he did a lot of crawling under houses.  Most houses were tightly underpinned with bricks or cinder blocks. The vents for air flow were small but big enough for a slim man to crawl through. Danny did a lot of that.  Sometimes he’d have to dig dirt away from the opening to get underneath. Once underneath there were all kinds of barriers to free movement. If a house had an addition, it could mean more digging and lots of wiggling through tight spots. A fireplace would have a huge footprint underneath that you had to maneuver around. Occasionally he’d get stuck in a tight spot and have to reverse the moves to get free.  Not only was the area tight and hard to get into, often there were snakes, scorpions, spiders and other varmints to deal with.   It was dank and dark as well, so that you had to have a flashlight to even move around.

There was no freedom underneath a house. Once under there, a termite technician had to deal with the elements while looking for evidence of more problems. It was restricting and hard to deal with. It was certainly no place for a claustrophobic person.  Restrictions abounded while in the confines of the depths of a house. 

Oh beloved, have you felt restricted lately? Do you find yourself busy dodging troubles or being in tight spots? If you’re looking for real freedom it is found in Christ! To give your life to Christ fully is to be brought into the banqueting room and given complete and unlimited access to the beautiful gifts of God, the wonderful gifts of His Spirit and to produce the fruit of His love! Aren’t we blessed? As believers we are allowed to go into the Holy of Holies! Because of the Blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus, the veil has been torn open and we have free admission to fellowship with God! No restrictions apply to the believer. We can freely enter, we can freely move in all that God has for us. Freedom is found like nowhere else on earth! Run to the Lord this morning and praise Him for all you are IN Him! Thank Him for His freedom and ask Him to show you from His Book of Love all the wondrous blessings that are yours in Him! Unlike the technician who has to find his way himself, we are given a grand tour and shown it all by the Lord Himself! His life gives us access and His Spirit goes with us! That’s how much He loves us! He saves us and He guides and directs our lives all the way to Heaven!  

Galatians 3:22  But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:18-22 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a [a]sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

1 Corinthians 1:30  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

Ephesians 5:8-9 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

We met in the entrance to the grocery store. It had been years since I’d seen her. We used to work together at a nearby public school. I was the study hall teacher, she was the art teacher. Guess you could say we were both bit of outsiders, not having grown up there nor gone to school there.  Our rooms were close by and we visited often during the day.  I left to go to work at another school and we never really crossed paths again. Until the grocery store. I thought it was her so I decided to say Hi.  We visited and traded facebook info (of course).  When I arrived home she had found me and asked to friend me. She also had an aha moment when she realized just who I was!

Have you been there? You think you know someone, you try from the recesses of your mind to draw the memories forward, but it’s vague.  You know you should know them, but just can’t put your finger on the why, the how, the where, the when.

Oh beloved, did you know that you are never forgotten by the Lord? You were known before the foundation of the world was laid, before the stars were hung in the sky, before the rivers ran through their courses? The One Who Created the universe and all that is in it loved you as well and planned a beautiful life just for you.  When you call upon Him, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, He isn’t puzzled nor does He have to wait a minute and try to recall. He knows your name. Not only does He know you but He has your days numbered! He also has a plan, a marvelous plan, all laid out for your life! What wondrous love is this? The One Who is Self-Existent wants you to be a part of His life? The One Who is Love, loves you with an Everlasting Love! Why don’t you run to Him this morning and read from His Design Book, written with you in mind and see.  Every good thing, every wonderful plan, every astounding promise is yours for the blessing. Because His nature is Love. Because He is the Author of your faith. He knows you, He loves you and He’s preparing a place for you. Live in the light of His Love today for that’s all that really matters!

Hebrews 12:2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…

Luke 12:7  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Ephesians 1:4  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

Jeremiah 31:3  Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

Psalm 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.