Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 2016

The last several days I have allowed myself to be in, and stay in, a very uncomfortable place.   It is a place where I have not even invited my God to join me.   I have been grumpy and emotional and have kind of  just rested there.   Yikes!   Did I just admit that?   It is not pretty for me to sit in this place and wallow in grouch.   I even struggled a bit to pray.   Yikes again!   What kind of a Christian gal admits to that?    Well, friend.   I bet that you have been where I was too at some point.  I found it difficult to pray because I was kind of ashamed of myself and felt that I needed to get my act together before I could approach God and ask for His help.   Wow....was that dumb!   After some study this week I have begun to see things more clearly and have come to realize that God is like our sweet daddy.    He desires for us to come to Him when we are needy.   I see myself climbing onto His lap as He wraps His arms around me and asks me to tell Him what troubles me.  Our Father in heaven loves us deeply and wants us to come to Him in trust and expectation when we are in that grumpy, emotional mess.  Psalm 103:13 reminds us that "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him."    I have crawled out of my frump, and given all to my Abba and I know that He has forgiven me for avoiding Him earlier this week.    Thank you God for loving us unconditionally.  Thank you for reminding me that you desire for us to turn to you and rely on your strength and love.    

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 2016

It seems I have had a lot on my mind lately.  Work, extended family relationships, business.   Not to mention the crazy place where we are as a nation and in the political arena right now.  At times I can allow myself to be overwhelmed and a bit discouraged.   My sweet sister reminded me today that I need to give it to God and just trust in the Lord.    In her quiet way, she turned my face to remember that much of what I worry about I can not change or control anyway.  I can only make a difference with the stuff I can alter.   The rest I need to trust that God will handle it in his way and in his time.    Proverbs 26:4 says, "Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock."    Thanks Sis for the reminder!    

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28, 2016

Fall is in the air!  The evenings are getting a bit chilly and by 8:30pm it is dark outside.   My flower garden is turning brown and the grass is growing much more slowly.  Fall is in the air!  Small towns are having festivals complete with mums and pumpkins.   Fall is in the air!   My farmer husband is gearing up for harvest and grain trailers are running up and down the roads.   Fall is in the air!   As I sit on my patio enjoying the late afternoon sunshine, I watch tiny squirrels scurrying to pack away food for the long winter.   The horses in the barn are already beginning to grow winter coats and the barn is full of sweet hay to be fed when the winter winds whip through the barn.  Fall is in the air!   I love how God has given His creatures some inner sense that they need to prepare for winter. It is amazing to me that every year we have season changes and every year the critters know just want to do to get ready.  God is so very good!   Friends, God leads us through changes as well.   When we have big life changing events, God is holding our hand all the way.   As we move through season changes, God instructs us about what we need to do.  Thank you, God.  Thank you for having a plan that is well developed and well orchestrated.  Thank you God for loving us so much that you are willing to lead us through this plan.   You are amazing and we love you!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27, 2016

As I sit at my desk this evening and look around my rather messy office, I am a bit overwhelmed by the stacks of books I have sitting around waiting to be read and studied. Really good stuff about how to pray more effectively and hear the voice of God daily.    I have a stack that is just scripture studies and another for topical study like heaven and financial security.  Close at hand, but still unread, are my inspirational books that should make me want to support missions and give to charity.   I probably would feel compelled to do that if I would read the book!  I sit here wishing for more time and feeling guilty that I have not made these a priority.  Then I realized that all these books, although they promise to be great reads, are written by mere people.   People just like me who love the Lord and have put words on paper to encourage others in their faith.   The one book that I need to focus on and find time to read regularly is the Bible.   I must admit I do a pretty good job of keeping my nose in the Word, but still I could and should read so much more.    Do you have a regular Bible reading time?   Do you set aside time every single day to connect with scripture?   Friends, this is the single most important way we can spend our time and it needs to be every day!  You can buy one at the book store.   You can borrow one form the library.   You can download it onto your phone!   Friends, get your hand on a Bible and start reading it today.  1 John 2:5 reminds us that "whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.  By this we may know that we are in him."  (ESV)            

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016

Acts 5:38-39 reads "If this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of god, you cannot overthrow it."  (NKJV)   I have been pondering this verse the last few days as we have been having committee meetings regarding adult spiritual enrichment for our church.   We have a wonderful plan in place for the next several months and have started going about getting volunteers to fill the many spots open on the calendar.    So far we are excited and volunteer facilitators have been easy to get.   This must be God's plan! We have tried very diligently to keep God in the center of all our planning but sometimes it is too easy to run ahead without consulting the man in charge.  Scripture says if we don't follow the will of God, all the best laid plans will never work out.   I need to keep that focus when I open my personal calendar as well as our church calendar.   Thank you God for reminding us that you go first.      

Sunday, September 25, 2016

September 25, 2016

Psalm 46:1-3 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, thought the mountains tremble at its swelling."  Oh friends, this scripture promises us that the people of God are secure - even in the midst of terrible upheaval.  What a blessing!   Our everyday lives feel like they are full of problems sometimes.    We have bills to pay, illness to content with, relationship stuff, depression, and addictions.    Our world can be full of moving mountains and roaring waters.   But we only have to turn to God to find refuge and strength!  These words remind us that he is only a distress call away and He longs to save us from ourselves and our world.   Thank you, God, for your promises and your goodness.   Lift us out of this earthly trouble and show us your strength!  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 24, 2016

John 5:35  He was the burning and shining lamp and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his lamp.  (NKJV)  In this gospel message, Jesus is talking about John the Baptist as a witness who bears testimony to Jesus himself.  Jesus calls John a lamp; a lamp that many were willing to listen to and believe.  But the bright, strobe light comes from Jesus himself.    We often are lead to Christ by the witness of others.   Or maybe we are that light for someone else and we do the leading. God uses us to do His will on earth and calls us to shine the light so that we all may follow that clear path.   How wonderful to be allowed to play such a role for our Father!   We must, however, keep our prideful selves in check so that the real light of Jesus Christ shines brightest.    We need to always remember that this is never about us and the glory and the focus must be on our Savior!  Just as John the Baptist took a back seat to Jesus, we too must shine for our Lord and not for our own agendas.   Jesus show us how to light the paths of others so that You can be fully illuminated!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Have you ever had that "bad day at the office"?  You know the one.   Everything is off kilter.   You start the day by misplacing the car keys, then because you are running late, the dog slips past you and out the door as you hurry out.   Urgh.    Now you have to drag him back inside and you're already behind on time.   As he comes busting past you, he rubs against your white pants which are now a dingy, dog smelly, mess.    Urgh #2.    Gotta run back and change. Dashing back to get in the car your phone rings.    Don't answer it!   Don't answer it!    But it's the have to answer it.   One off your little darlings left his trombone at home and he has to have it this morning. Back in the house to find the horn and call the office.   And the stress level rises!   The receptionist at work reminds you that you have an 8:30 appointment and they are a bit early and are in fact waiting for you at the office.     Yikes!   How can this day get any worse?    From my experience, it is never good to ask that question because you might just find out. It is not even 9:00 and you find yourself wishing that the day was over.     We have all had some version of this day.   Even mom's that have the privilege of staying home to raise babies have "this" day  at some point.   But we have a friend in Jesus who wants to take our stress and our anxiety and restore calmness into our lives.   Matthew 11:28 gives us these words:  "Come to me all who labor and are weary and I will give you rest."  What sweet words!    How much comfort I find in knowing that Jesus wants to grant me rest.   Thank you Jesus.    Wrap your arms around me and grant me peace and calm.    Friend, sleep well tonight in Jesus' arms.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 21, 2016

Faith is a funny thing.   Of course I have faith!  I believe in God.   I believe that Jesus is my personal Savior.   I believe that there is a heaven and a hell.   But is my faith strong enough to trust Jesus?   Am I willing to hand over every aspect of my life to the will of God?   Hmmm.....  I think I am.   I say I am.   But too often I find myself making plans and hoping that Jesus will bless them.   Sometimes I cheat our God by assuming that He does not know my business as well as I do.   Sometimes I get in His way.  Scripture tells us to have faith!  "The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "if you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you."  (Luke 17:5-6)   Oh to have that kind of faith!   But it seems I am in good company as even the apostles asked for more faith.    I too pray, Lord give me faith, and lots of it!      

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

I just got home from an interesting discussion at our church book club.   We meet once a month to discuss a particular title; sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction.   This month we read a particularly provocative book that made me really need to delve into scripture to find some answers.   I love it when I am challenged in that way.   I like to dig deep into God's word to find His treasures.  Sadly, I am not disciplined enough to just read the Bible for the sake of reading it.    However, I know this about myself so I am constantly finding reasons to do Bible study.   Attending small group is one way I encourage myself to stay in the Word.   Teaching Sunday school is another, as well as our book club meetings.   There are a million other ways to motivate yourself to read and study the Word of God.     The Bible is the most important book we will ever read so find a reason to do so!   In Psalm 119:18 we read "Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law."   Friend we can't behold those wondrous things if we never open the book!        

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016

Colossians 3:1-2  "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."  This is wonderful advice, albeit a bit difficult to sometimes to do.  Christ is calling us to turn our face to Him but we are knee deep in the reality in our fallen world.  Friends, we must look to, and move toward, the things of God and move away from the things of he who is on the earth.  Satan would love nothing more than to get our full attention.    He would love to see us turn from God and straight towards him and he gives us so many opportunities to do just that!   Be strong!  Focus!  Find God on His throne!

September 18, 2016

Once again I turn to the Psalms in my moments of distress.   I am wallowing in a season of stress and emotional unrest.    I feel as if I have way too much to do and so little time to get it all done.   I feel tired and grumpy.   I feel very far away from God.   Then this evening I opened my Bible and God said to me through scripture, "I am the only One you need right now.  Rest in me".   What a great comfort!  My Father in heaven clearly saw my anguish and He provided me with the perfect words to calm and restore me.   Psalms 121:  "I lift up my eyes to the hills.   From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will  neither slumber or sleep.  The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.  The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."      Thank you, Father, for loving me even when I am a bit unlovable.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17, 2016

Indulge me a moment, if you will, as I take a little stroll down memory lane.  You see, today is our eldest daughter's birthday.  Thirty six years ago today sweet baby Amanda Sue entered our world.   She was so tiny and so adorable and I was so ill prepared to be a mommy!   By the grace of God, Mandy Sue, as we affectionately call her, made it through those trial and error years and has grown into a godly women, a fabulous mother and wife, and a really great daughter and friend.   Thank you God!   He took her in his arms at a very young age and molded her into who she is today.    God graced me as well with enough wisdom and tons of patience as I muddled through my well meaning attempts at motherhood.   You see, no matter what season we are in on this earth, God has our back.   He knows what we will need and where we will stumble and He always comes through for us.    God loves Mandy even more that I do and He has, and will continue, to raise her up.   Come to think of it, God is still teaching me how to be a mommy and now a grammy as well.   He has never given up on me!   Friend He has never given up on you either!  Isn't it amazing that God continues to see us as His children?   Isn't it amazing that He graces us with His presence and His unending love even in our later years?   God is so very, very,  good!   Happy Birthday, Mandy Sue.   May God grace you with many, many more!    

Friday, September 16, 2016

September 16, 2-

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."  1Peter 2:9 (NKJV)
God chose me and God chose you!  Doesn't that make you want to stand a little straighter and put a smile on your face?  We all want to be chosen; to be singled out as special and important.  It is kind of  like back in elementary school when you were chosen to be on the dodge ball team.  Yes!  Somebody wants me to stand along side them because they think I will help the cause. Guess what!   God chose us just because we are His.   He did not pick us on our own merits.   He picked us just because He loves us!    Wow.    I love being on this team!!    

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September 15, 2016

Deuteronomy 13:4 "You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave to him."

Moses wrote this passage to the Israelites to remind them they should serve only the one true God.  They were directed to walk after Him, fear Him, be obedient to Him, hold fast to Him, and serve Him.  These Old Testament words still ring true for us today.  Christians need to hear and heed Moses' words above the noise of our culture that clangs in our ears.  If we have a heart for service and choose to use that service to improve the lot of others who are downtrodden in our world, we will be in line with the truth delivered by Moses. Dear Father show me where and how you want me to serve.    

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September 14, 2016

Matthew 11:28-30.   "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."   What a wonderful promise to those of us who feel weary from the burdens of this earthly existence.  Jesus tells us to just come and sit with Him for awhile.   He assures us that with Him we can find peace and rest.   He invites us to lay down our burdens and just be with Him.  Oh Lord, show me the way!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 13, 2016

Do you ever wonder what your purpose is for this life?  Do you ever wonder if you are really making a difference?  Maybe you work hard to do the right Christian thing.  Is it really worth it?  Life is hard and being a Christian in this world is even harder.   Have you ever been tempted to let someone else carry the torch for just a little while?   Have you ever thought about stepping into the dark - just a little step - just to rest a bit?  Friends, God wants us to be His "bright light" in this world.    He knows that our walk is tough.   He knows that our lights flicker a bit sometimes.    Our God knows that we falter in the dusk and are tempted to move toward the dark.   But He still calls us to take up our light and shine it on the darkness in our world.    He desires for us to share His light with those that need it most.   And you know what?    God will walk with us every step of the way.   He is holding up our arms as we carry His torch and shine His light!   Philippians 2:15 tells it this way.  "That you may show yourselves to be blameless, innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights in the world".  Remind me Father that my job is to be your torch bearer.    Thank you for trusting me with such an important task!  

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12,2016

Our family is such a wonderful gift from God.   My husband and I have two great daughters who have given us son-in-laws and wonderful grandchildren.  We are very blessed!   Today we had the opportunity to host a Sunday afternoon cookout with our girls and their families, as well as some extended family on my husband's side.  God gifted us with a perfect September day.   Sunny and blue skies with mid seventies temperatures.  Mike's 97 year old aunt was here and had the best time of anyone.   His nephew's little girl who has been very ill for over a year was able to come and even sit on the pony!   Food was good.   Company was better.   And when they all left and the dust settled a bit, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for the blessing of this day and these people whom I love so much!  It made me stop to think about how much pride I take in my earthly family and how much more so I should lift up my Christian heritage.    You see, we are children of God; spiritual descendants of Jacob!   Wow!   That is a family name that we all should cherish and feel blessed by!   Isaiah 2:5 reads "Now descendants of Jacob.  Let us walk in the light which the Lord gives us!"  We would all do well to uphold the name of Jacob.   Let's invite him to our next get together!        

Saturday, September 10, 2016

September 10, 2016

Sometimes all you can do is trust the Lord.  Romans 15:13.  "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."   I turn to you now, Jesus.  

Friday, September 9, 2016

September 9, 2016

I have a confession to make.   For the past two or three weeks I have been totally distracted by the busyness of life.   Shame on me!   I have been very busy at work.   I have been very busy helping my aging mom.   I have been very busy being "Grammy".   I have been very busy studying for Bible study and facilitating small groups.   I have been very busy being a farm wife and finding time to ride my horse.    I have been very busy!  It seems that I have been so busy I have missed some really big blessings that God sent my way.  Ouch!   How do I allow myself to get on that merry-go-round of life?   Have you ever taken that ride?    It is so easy to get sucked into the "fill every moment" mindset.   Sometimes that busy schedule can't be helped.    For example, when we have date deadlines at work we have to push through that busy time.    When illness or accident strike we may have to pick up the pieces for someone else as they recuperate, and busyness sets in.   But too often we make choices that create a full calendar.   I am terrible at saying no to anyone so find myself overextended from time to time. Other days I just do not plan my time very efficiently then find that they day is over but my list is not.  What about procrastination?  Do you ever put things off until the last minutes?    That often creates a hardship for me when a deadline suddenly becomes a crisis.  But the very worst thing about this whole nonsense is that my busyness takes my away from my relationship with our Lord and Savior.  When I can't find a moment to squeeze in a scripture lesson or my prayers are on the fly as I blow past vehicles on the interstate, I am TOO BUSY!   Just this evening I was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha as I read my Bible.   I am certain that God gave me this scripture because he knows I need to settle down and change my focus to look him straight in the face,   Luke 10:40-42 reads, "But Martha was distracted with much serving.  And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her to help me."  But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.   Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."    Beloved, I want to be like Mary.   I want to sit at the feet of Jesus and focus totally on His face.   Lord, help me to make that happen!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

September 8, 2016

"God is not unfair.  He will not forget the work you did or the love you showed for him in the help you gave and are still giving to your fellow Christians."    Hebrews 6:10 (TEV)  This scripture should give us reason to smile as we are promised that God knows and will remember what we are doing on this earth to serve Him.  Hebrews reminds us that as we are serving our fellow man on his earth, we are serving God.  He sees us doing His work and He is pleased with His servants.   If we ever needed a reason to work at serving others this would be it!  The scripture states that God is not unfair.  Therefore, I am certain that just as He is pleased and will reward us when we serve His people, He also must be sad and discipline us when we fall short of that role of servant.  Find a way to do God's work for someone this week.    

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

September 7, 2016

Micah 6:8 reads "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."  This verse is rich in truth about how we ought to behave as followers of Christ but right not I am focusing on the "walk humbly with your God" piece.   I feel like I have strayed a bit in my communion with our Father and I desire to make that right with Him right now.    I have certainly been giving God my attention and my prayers but I have not WALKED with Him; at least not the way one walks with someone that they care about and want to enjoy.  Have you ever just enjoyed the company of a friend or loved one during a quiet walk?   That can be a time when you draw closer to one another; a time for real meaningful discussion, or maybe a bit of soul searching.    Friends, that is what God desires from us as we are called to "walk humbly with our God".   It is a time to admit our failures and seek forgiveness.   It is a time to ask for direction and daydream about possibilities.   It is a time to worship our King and praise Him for all.  I desire that!   I so need that!   My goal for the next week is to carve out time to humbly and deliberately walk on the presence of Father God and renew my relationship with him.   Want to come along?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September 6, 2016

Today I spent much of my day cleaning out my flower beds getting things ready for fall.   Everything  was so beautiful all summer.   I had something blooming from early May through August but much of the flower bed is now looking tired and brown.   It is time to cut everything back and wait till spring when God will work His magic once again.   Do you ever feel like you are faded and wilted?   Do you ever need to be pruned back to wait for God's hand to bring you back to life?   I have felt that way - probably more often than I would like to admit!  But I know that our God is so much bigger than my season of "brown".     If God desires to revive the flowers every spring so that we can enjoy their beauty, how much more will He revive us so that we might praise and worship Him.   God gives us so many promises in His word.    He has an answer for everything we could possibly experience and He promises unconditional love to us.  Isaiah 40:8 reminds us that "the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."    Thank you, God!    

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016

Jeremiah 29:12-13 "Then you will call upon me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  (NIV)  This is one treasure that I have found this weekend while studying the scriptures.  I love that our Father knows that we will call upon His name.   I love that He knows that we will pray to Him and He promises to listen.   There is much comfort in knowing that we do not have to do this alone!   Might God build a safety net for us and set up a network that we can use anytime, anyplace.   We only have to turn our faces to Him and pray and He will hear and respond.   Thank you Father!   But there is more.    God knows that we will seek Him and He wants to be found.   He has filled us with the desire to seek Him and He is making himself available to us.   It is so clear to me that our Father loves us and wants to be in our company.    I feel like I have been placed on a very special guest list.    This is one invitation I do not want to miss!  

Friday, September 2, 2016

September 2, 2016

I just got home from a spiritual growth planning meeting at our church, and boy am I excited!   It is so much fun to brainstorm with others about how we can support spiritual growth in our church while we work hard to glorify God.    I love hearing "out of the box", creative ideas about ways that we can be more intentional about learning scripture and nurturing youth and new believers.  I love that even "seasoned Christians" have so much to learn and experience, and we can all learn from each other by the grace of our Lord and Savior.   What great things we have coming up!   But in the midst of all this hype and discussion we must be so careful to stay mindful of what God wants for our church and our people.   Proverb 19:21 reads, "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand."   Father God, show us how to move forward.   Slow us down and give us the knowledge to know what to do and how to do it in your name.  Thank you God for giving us purpose and direction.        

Thursday, September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016

Just recently I heard someone discussing that he could not go to church because it was so full of righteous, judgemental, Christians.  At first I was a bit rankled about that statement, until I  relaxed a little bit and began to wonder why this gentleman believed such a thing.   I came to realize, as I peered into some of the churches I have attended over the years, that it sure appeared that the folks sitting primly in the pews did have it all together.    Friends, I think sometimes we put on face fronts that give people the idea that we are, or we think we are, without strife and sin in our lives.  We go to church all dressed up and sing pretty songs and smile and tell everyone we are fine.  We tsk tsk when a sister in Christ reveals how her "counsin on her mother's side really made a mess of things".  Then we promise to pray for those who are making bad choices and drop a few dollars in the special collection plate to support some mission or another.   Seldom do we reveal our hurts, diappointments, and shortcomings.    No wonder when an outsider looks in they don't want any part of us.   We don't share with folks that we are sinners in a fallen world,just like them!   We don't want to put ourselves on the same plain as one who has a police record or an addiciton.   Boy aare we fakes!    Jesus said we are all sinners in need of His grace and He loves us anyway!   Our churches are full of those who are messed up ion any number of ways and we need to be transparent to those looking in from outside the doors of our church.   Luke 5:31-32 records "And Jesus anwsered them , "Those we are well have no need of a physician but those we are sick.   I have not come to call the righteous but the sinners to repentance." (ESV)    Let's accept and acknowledge our sin and lean into Jesus for his healing.  Then, let's invite others to join us!