Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Papa, they don't trust in You.  They don't see the need.
I want to shout!  I want to point out the foolishness of their idols!

Don't be silly!  There are no idols here!   We are free!
There is little to stir a fruitful conversation.

For the most part I watch and I listen.  My heart grows heavier.

Then You remind me that I asked to be able to see with Your eyes and respond with Your heart.  I am not alone here.  You are with me!  Together we see their hearts and hear the cry emanating with each beat.  And together we can love these dear ones.

All people desire comfort and love.
Alcohol masks as a reliable comforter for many.  What it is is a reliable deceiver.
Love?  Well, many times we do not believe we are lovable anyway.

Years ago I read the book "A Road Less Traveled."  The author's name alludes me, at the moment.  Foster?  I do remember what the premise of the book was and have referred to it often.
We must choose between two paths; one is the well-trodden path.  It is the familiar one.  There is pain there, but pain that we have come to live with to one degree or another; pain that we have learned how to mask.
The other path is also one that holds pain.  However, it is a healing, but unfamiliar pain.  It is scary.
What would it feel like?  Could I bear it?  Would it really bring healing?

That second path is the one where Papa would take us.  I cannot image taking that route without Him.   After all these years I cannot image anything without Him!  That would be scary to me!

A lie that has circulated for a long time it that we have to find our way to that second path on our own.  Once we clean up our act and figure ourselves out, well then God will accept us!

A big fat lie!  To quote one of my favorite verses:  Jesus said - "You can do nothing apart from Me."  Thank you Papa for moving John to write that down!
He reminded me yesterday that it is far better to admit our weakness and helplessness; for then the Power of God engages!  That Power stirs faith and then nothing is impossible!

All we need do is look to Him.  It is then that we begin the grandest adventure we could ever imagine!
It is in turning to Him that we experience the love that we so long to receive, the love that in the deepest part of our hearts we long for and know is waiting to embrace us.

I watched my granddaughter with her newborn.  She was playing with her dolly.  She seemed to be holding back a little, not as nurturing as I had hoped.
Papa reminded me that I, too, had been a momma at the age of nineteen.  Sure I had the past experience of helping to raise younger sisters, but I was still unsure of myself and definitely felt awkward in front of others.
With these remembrances I could then share with Jasmine and I could see her relax.

The biggest hurdle for me was her "girlfriend."  This was something that developed after she found herself pregnant.
There is nothing easy about either of their lives.  The choices they are making are simply compounding everything else.
Papa helped me see this other young woman through His eyes.
So unsure.  So angry.  Feels so unlovely, so unlovable.

They both have a baby to share and focus on.  Papa loves to work through children to demonstrate His love.
May they both, no all three, come to the realization of His great love!

Christmas was on my mind this morning and the thought came to me, through something I read by Manning. Christmas is celebrating God coming to earth, which serves to remind us that He will come again.  When He does we will no longer see "as in a mirror dimly," but face-to-face!

Oh that all would have eyes to see!  Papa give them sight!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

We Are Family

Here I sit safe and sound in our son's living room.  Thank You, Papa!
I got into my car at twenty after five this morning and began the eight hour drive, hoping to beat the snow.  I did apart from some snow flurries and a stretch of messy road on the last leg of the trip!  The one snag was that the driver-side wiper decided not to do a thorough job of clearing the windshield with forty five minutes of the trip to go!  It made the last bit of my drive a little more interesting.  I had been feeling sleepy, but it is amazing how awake one becomes when seeing where you are driving becomes limited!

I left home reluctantly, as most of our family was still filling our house.  What fun we had yesterday!
As Matt, Jon and Tim were waging a war with their Nerf guns I recalled something a friend told me years ago.  "Inside every man is a twelve-year old boy."  How true!!
The other stocking stuffer that made a big hit was the ninety-nine cent balloon launcher!
My honey sat watching and relishing their antics!

Once the battle was over we all gathered around the dining room table and played the game I received for Christmas; "Apples to Apples."  Once a player reached the winning number of cards someone else would plead for the game to continue to a higher level of earned cards.  Dinner had to be delayed for the game!

The other day my chiropractor's receptionist asked if we were going to have a full house for Christmas.  I replied that just three of our sons and two of their ladies would be with us.  Her response was, "Well, then you are definitely having a full house.  Just two of your sons fill this waiting room!
It wasn't that long ago that it was only Ray and I in the house for the most part.  Now our house is much more lively.  We love it!
It is so amazing how God works so much good from the hardest things!

As I settle in here for a few days, I will be watching for more of the good that He intends.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Christmas Eve!  For me, it comes with a sense of peace and joy and acceptance.
I pray that each one of my dear family and friends feel it too.

In this atmosphere I can enjoy more fully all that God has done and is doing in this family and especially for my husband. 
The doctors had warned that the most dramatic improvements would take place in first six months.  We have passed the eight month mark and it seems that every day, as of late, there is more marked improvement!  Ray can move all his fingers on his left hand now!  He has more clarity of thought regularly too!  My honey is also becoming more independent, with a lot of encouragement from his family!

After Ray and I celebrate with three of our sons and their lovely ladies I will head to West Virginia on Sunday.  There I will visit with our oldest and his family.
There are issues.  Surprise!
What family doesn't have them?
It is my prayer that Papa would be free to love them through me.

Hopefully, I will be afforded time and a computer to check in here once in a while.  I will return home on the thirtieth, LORD willing!

Let me take a few minutes to share what has been going through my mind and filling my heart.
The Christmas Carol, "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" has been the theme of my mind's thoughts and my heart's stirrings.

Hark means to listen attentively.  That means give all your attention to it!
Listen closely to what these angels are singing! 
"Glory to the newborn King;  Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!"

This is news worth listening to and taking to heart!  God has come down to bring us into relationship with Himself!  Only He could bring about the reconciliation.  We were and are unable on our own.

Peace on earth!  Doesn't look that way, does it?  Look more closely!  Listen more attentively!
No matter what man is up to, at the moment, when we are reconciled with God, then we indeed have peace!

The song calls us to joyfully rise and join the angelic host to proclaim this Good News,  "Christ is born in Bethlehem!" 
The Christ, which is Greek for Messiah, the promised One, the One we have been waiting for!  (Whether we knew it or not!)

The carol goes on to proclaim Him the everlasting LORD, the incarnate Deity, Emmanuel (God with us!), Prince of Peace, Sun of Righteousness!
This One brings light, life, healing!
This One laid His glories aside so "man no more may die!"  Eternal life!  So much more real than the life we live right now!

Together and one by one let us Listen Closely and then take to heart the Good News which is for each and everyone of us!!
For every individual that does it will be the Merriest Christmas of all!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


In Psalm forty David wrote:
"I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;
and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
many will see and fear, and will trust in the LORD."

I could have written it myself.  Maybe not as eloquently, but the words would be similar.
When I reflect on Who He is and what He has done in my life, I have a hard time containing myself!
You would think that during the Christmas season it would be easier to stay focused on these wonderful truths.  Not so easy at all.  Too much vies for my attention.

However, when the focus is Jesus, then the season will be joyful.  So I am determined to take time to remember and refocus.

Reading through Psalm ninety-eight this morning my heart was stirred.  I strongly encourage all who read this to crack open their Bible and see what this psalm has to say!
Such joy!  He has done great things!! 
Jesus birth changes everything!

I continue to work my way through Revelation, alongside readings that reflect this Christmas season.  Here are some of the thoughts that filled my mind and heart today.
Jesus may have come as a meek and mild baby, but truly He came to ignite a fire that cannot be quenched.
A fire in hearts desiring to know and follow Him.
A purifying fire that cleanses and makes new.
A consuming fire that gives purpose and direction; that removes all dross!

As was said of Aslan in the "Chronicles of Narnia,"  He is good, but He is not safe!  His ways are not our ways, but they are glorious and worth the risk!

We cannot stop at the Babe lying in the manger.  We need the rest of the Good News. 
God came down to redeem us. 
The Baby grew into a man.
That man died on a Cross to save us.
Our Savior then rose from the dead, which demonstrated His victory over death and His power to, indeed, redeem us!

What love!  God left the glories of Heaven, laying aside His robe, "whose train fills the temple", to be tired, hungry, rejected and ridiculed.  All for us! 
So, do not stop at the Christmas story, follow it through to the Easter story!

Focus on the One who loves you with a all consuming love!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sunday morning my honey joined me at church.  The whole congregation applauded!

I had returned to the morning service a while ago.  It is amazing how you don't realize how much you miss something until it is, once more, in your life!
Being with a loving church family gives a person the sense of being home.
The place palpitates with love.  Just like Papa's heart!

This is definitely the season not to miss attending church.  The music is joyful and there's more of it, as people cannot help but share their talents; it seems everything is over the top!
Jesus' birth put a song in many hearts!  As one reads the story of His birth in Luke, you find song after song, as people and angels cannot contain themselves!
A comment I read this morning by David Jeremiah caused me to write this in my journal: "With Jesus birth music was given fresh joyful life!"

The GOOD News of Great Joy, which is for all the people, generates more joy.  Joy oftens bursts into song!  We have a home waiting for us!

Each year I like to take a look at the birth of Jesus from a different perspective.  The Christmas Edition of 'Our Daily Bread" has helped me to do just that.
Yesterday's reading examined the innkeeper and his full inn.  The innkeeper is always depicted as a mean man who sneers as he tells Mary and Joseph that there was no room in his inn.  The writer, David McCasland, shared a story of Grace Ditmanson Adams.  An experience she had as a child gave her a fresh view of the innkeeper.
Grace's parents were missionaries to China and they made frequent trips through inland China.  One trip brought them to a crowded, noisy village inn.  There was no room for them, except in a small storage room.  The room afforded them some privacy and quiet.  They were very grateful.  A home away from home.
Grace wondered if the innkeeper wasn't demonstrating kindness in directing this expectant couple to the stable.

I have heard or read the Christmas story for most of my life.  I love it when I get to see some aspect of it through fresh eyes!

A fresh perspective or reminder helps put things into perspective, as we traverse through the challenges of this life. 
This week has had its challenges to be certain.  There has been the need for more phone calls, emails and that never-ending paperwork.
Something that Mindy is known to say kept coming to mind, "I am going to get cranky!"

This is Christmas week and I do not want to do anything but enjoy my Savior; with no interruptions!!  I wanted time to enjoy the last minute details of Christmas, not feel rushed.
Papa wants me to enjoy Him, as I go through all the different details. 
My focus was slipping...

I had just composed and sent out a Christmas greeting via email, when I received a response.  A very dear couple shared a song with me that they use to listen to on LPs.  I have copied it below.

    My heart can sing, when I pause to remember,
    A heartache here is but a stepping stone,
    Along a path that's winding ever upwards;
    This weary world is not my final home.

        But until then, my heart will keep on singing,
        Until then, with joy I'll carry on;
        Until the day my eyes behold the City,
        Until the day God calls me Home.

    The things of earth will dim and lose their value,
    When we recall they're borrowed for a while,
    The things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
    Remembered there, will only bring a smile.

    This weary world, with all its toil and struggle,
    May take its toll of misery and lies:
    The soul of man is like a waiting falcon;
    When it's released, it's destined for the skies.

                Stuart Hamblen  1958

Yes, until I arrive at my real Home, I will sing!  I believe that when I listen to and respond to the song in my heart it is simply a joining with Him in song.

And on occasion a graceful dance is thrown in!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors.  I am looking forward to sitting down with him one day.  That day will be in glory because that is where he is now.
When I became aware that there was an adaption of his book "Screwtape Letters" being offered as an off-Broadway play, I was eager to see it.  I did not think that was going to be possible and honestly thought it had finished in New York by now.  Not so and as I was going to the City to meet two of my sisters for lunch and see the decorations, I seized the opportunity and bought myself a ticket.
Yesterday was the day and it was so worthwhile!!

Lewis' writing is thought provoking.  The play stayed true to the book and coupled with excellent acting it was as challenging to the audience as the book itself.
Often we are so involved in everyday life that our focus can become a bit diffused.
The decisions we make each day are serious stuff.  They reflect the path we have chosen.  Those of us whose hearts have responded to the call of Papa's Heart must be aware that the distractions of this world can still steal our heart little by little. 
The good news is that, as Papa's child, we are not in this battle by ourselves.  He is our guide and guard!
"Screwtape" reminds us that there are those who do wage war against us and though we cannot lose the gift of eternal life, we can be cheated out of the abundant life.

I jotted down a quote from Reflections for Ragamuffins yesterday.  Manning to something that the late Rabbi Abraham Herschel said,  "Jesus Christ is of no importance unless He is of supreme importance."
I say He is of supreme importance, yet how often do I fail to live up to that which I believe?  Too often.  Over and over I throw myself upon His mercy and in His grace He picks me up and dusts me off.  How wonderful is He??!!!

According to God, King David "had a heart after God."  Yet David fell deeply into sin.  At that point denial sidled in and blinded him. 
This was someone who loved God? 
Yes.  The proof comes in his repentance upon confrontation.  Though he was deceived for a time, he was too tenderhearted toward God to resist conviction.
Papa saw his heart.   He sees my heart.

Life will bring all kinds of choices our way.  The choices come in all sizes and shapes.  They arrive wrapped in joy or pain.
This year my family has faced many choices.  Some of those choices involve who we will trust, who we will look to in the midst of it all. 
There has been loss and with it pain.  We each have had to choose how we would deal with it.  What a comfort for me and most of my immediate family to be confident that we could look to Papa for strength and comfort and help.

There are some near and dear to me that do not have the comfort nor confidence of such an intimate relationship with the Living God.  It is heartbreaking to see them struggling.  There is a hollowness that leaves them so fragile, so easily shattered. 
The only way to be full, to be comforted, to have hope and peace is by allowing your heart to respond to His.
It is my prayer that each heart, everywhere, would fly to Him!  To resist is to cheat ourselves and our God, Whose Heart longs for ours!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What is the Point?

Every year as the month of December approaches I formulate a plan.  The plan is comprised of a list of all that needs to be done and a schedule of when I intend to do each item. 
It always looks good on paper; manageable, doable.  My goal is to have time to reflect on and with my LORD.  I do not want to get so occupied with "stuff" that I miss the meaning behind it all.
Yes very doable, until reality kicks in.

Year after year one reality that I cannot ignore is my energy level.  I simply am not able to accomplish what I use to and honestly have little interest in doing so!
Another reality that is new for this year is that I have more responsibilities, which cannot be ignored.
Then there is the fact that our family keeps growing and that growth means more people to consider in all the planning and doing!
This year both our Jonathan and Timothy are in serious relationships, young women who we definitely want to include!  Then there is our great-granddaughter, Ariana Rose, not quite a month old!
Interesting...the list keeps growing as the energy dwindles...

Papa knows all about it and made provisions for me. 
Mindy is here and lends a willing hand every day.  Today we baked cookies together.  Daughters are wonderful to have around!!
For many years I have been volunteering at a drug/alcohol rehab.  Many of the residents are not in a position to give their loved ones gifts and often do not receive anything themselves.  Many of my friends help me to fill a stocking for each one of them and supply items for them to give as gifts.
Usually I receive mostly money and then purchase things for them to give.  This year many were moved to donate items; many items!  This meant less shopping for me.  Thank you Papa for dear ones who listened to your prompting!

The list is much shorter.  All that is left to do is to send greetings to those who I do not usually see.  I am waiting on Papa for the words.  If none come, greetings will not be going out.

No matter what I am doing I do not want to forget my God, not for a minute.  There is nothing in my life, not one detail, that He does not want to be a part.  Everything and every moment is an opportunity to look to Him, to enjoy Him, to reflect Him.

It seems to me the Christmas season should be a time for a heightened awareness; a time to rest in Him, reflect on the gift of God come down and Rejoice!!
Oh, I like that! 
Rest.  In Him I am safe and secure.
Reflect.  What does this Wonderful Gift mean?  Salvation!  Life!  Worth!  Hope!  Purpose!  Joy!!
Rejoice.    It is immense joy to know that I am His and He is mine!

What is the point of the lists and schedules if it is not with Him in mind?  What is the point of sharing one's life with others if it is not with Him in mind?

Nearly two weeks ago Tim brought a new friend home to join us for dinner.  This was not unusual for our son to do.  He is involved in helping a few people who struggle with addiction and frequently they are found sharing a meal with the family.
Our family meals are not subdued affairs.  We all enjoy each other and have a grand time together.  I asked our guest whether he realized that he was going to receive entertainment with his meal.  He gave me a big smile.
It is my prayer that he was more than entertained.  I do hope that he was touched by the love and the Source of that love.  That is my fervent hope.  You see, he died this past Monday.

I hate it!  Yet, that is life.  Unpredictable.  None of us knows what a day will hold.  None of us knows who will cross our path, but with each crossing there is some effect.
This loss serves to underscore for me the need to live life on purpose and to not let the "stuff" distract from what matters.  Lives matter.  Relationships matter.

How does anyone make a difference?  Jesus said that "apart from Him we can do nothing."  Sure we can go through the motions, we can put our all into something, but only He can make a lasting impact; one that lasts for eternity.
Eternity that is what it is all about.  This life is fleeting. 
Next month I will turn sixty years old.  Where did it go?  I have lived more than half my life, for sure. 
If this were all that there is how could anyone make sense out of it?  How could you have peace?  How about hope?

Mister Toad's Wild Ride continues, but that is okay, because I do know that the ride will end and when it does the Real Adventure will unfold.  And it will be glorious!!

That is the Point!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Essence of Prayer

The subject of prayer keeps showing itself and calling me to attend to it.
There are many aspects to prayer; many parts that make up the whole.
Years ago I was taught an anagram to use when I prayed. 

A for adoration
C for confession
T for thanksgiving
S for supplication

It is good to keep this in mind when we are learning to communicate with the Living God.  Yet, beware of using it as a list to check off.  If we do that we will limit what prayer can be.

Yes, God is worthy of and should be adored.  All praise to Him!
Confession is important and I find it best to do so as the LORD brings something to my attention.  If I do business with Him right on the spot I am not weighed down.
There is so much to thank Him for...For the very air we breath is a good place to start!
Of course, there is no end to needs and concerns that we can and often need to bring before Him.

So what is missing?  Each and every moment of every day.  I love to share all of it with Him.  Often we have a good laugh together and we have shed quite a few tears too.
That's how it works when it is a relationship and not a religion.

Jesus teaches that we should pray according to God's will.  Once a speaker that I heard said he pictures God listening to our prayers and helping us to continue to  re-work them until they are just right.
I came across a comment yesterday by Soren Kierkegaard regarding prayer. 
"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."

As we pray, as we spend time conscious of His Presence; enjoying Him and the relationship we have with Him we become more like Him.  Our thinking lines up more and more with His.

We find out how He thinks by reading the Bible.  I often us the Words I find there to pray for someone or a situation.  Many times what I read resonants in my heart.  Often His Words stir me deeply.

When we learn to think more like Him and as we get to know Papa better, the challenges that come our way will not shake us.

Today Ray had a extensive exam by a neurological opthamologist.  The news was not good.  There is nothing that can be done for his vision.  Disappointing.
I asked the doctor whether his impairment would affect his ability to drive.  He said that my honey could drive on clear days with caution, but to avoid rain, etc., along with dusk and dark.  Of course, driving is not an option until he regains the use of his left arm.

Had we and many others prayed for my husband's vision?  Yes.
Does this mean God did not answer?  No, just not in the way we had hoped.
However, more than hoping for healing, our hope is in Him.  Our God is good.  He is trustworthy and He is seeing the whole picture.  No matter how difficult life can be I choose to keep in mind that this is a very temporary place.  A life awaits us beyond our imagination. 
With that in mind everything else is seen in a different light.

I find it amazing that I can bring everything to Him.  In the third chapter of Ephesians we read that "we have boldness and confident access throught faith in Him" (Jesus).  I can come with assurance that He will not only receive me into His Presence, but give attention to my words.  Then He answers in wisdom and grace!

Oh what a glorious life it is!

"May my prayer be counted as incense before You!
The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering!"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Joys and Sorrows

On Saturday we had the joy of hosting our annual Christmas party.  How grateful we are to Papa that we were in a position do it!  It is our Christmas present to our friends.
For years we would put out an open invitation to all far and wide, however, last year's party made it obvious that we had to stop that practice!  Either that or get a bigger house!

As fifty people gathered at our home the fun began!  One of the games we played was most hilarious - two "Santas" gathered eight, not necessarily tiny, reindeer.   The santas handed each "reindeer" a pair of pantyhose.  Then the team, along with extra helpers, blew up many balloons.  The idea was to stuff the legs of the pantyhose with the balloons and have each reindeer don their "antlers".  The first team that got that done had to sing "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  Definitely hilarious!!

Days before the actual party, preparations had to be made.  How glad I was to have Mindy's help.  She is a daughter (in-law) extraordinaire!!
We saved the tree decorating for Saturday afternoon.  It was to be a family affair, however, the three men were not enthralled with the idea, so the decorating crew was reduced to Mindy, Becca (Tim's precious girlfriend) and yours truly. 
The party was to begin at six o'clock, we finished the tree at quarter after five!  How is it that lights that work before they are placed on the tree decide not to co-operate once in place??!

The evening was lively, loud and long.  I loved it.  Ray loved it.  He stayed through the whole event!  Then around ten o'clock I started to fade.  I had not stopped once since arising that morning.  Ray didn't look too worn, though the minute his head hit the pillow he was gone and proceeded to sleep for eleven hours!

Things felt strange after most of our guests had gone home.   I couldn't define it until I saw my honey sitting nearby, as I began to clean up.
We always made a great team when it came to throwing a party, especially when it came to getting everything straightened out afterward. 
No teamwork last night.   It wasn't out of lack of desire, but lack of ability to be of help.  I decided to leave everything that I could until the morning.  This went against my grain, but I did not want to prolong the discomfort for either one of us.
Today Mindy and Matt took care of most of the cleanup.  Those two make a great team!  (It must run in the family!)

I did fail to mention that we have house guests; a Russian pastor and his gracious wife.  Each year they come to the States and for the fourth year in a row were able to stay with us.  What a joy!
Though I wouldn't have skipped either their visit or our party, I am just a little tired.  More tired than I realized and definitely more upset than I knew....

This day was another full one and I decided that I would rest for a little bit after getting dinner going.  As I walked into our living room I was just in time to witness the crash of our pretty Christmas tree.  Besides the sound of the tree itself hitting the floor, there was the tinkling of the ornaments as they were sandwiched between the tree and the floor.
I overreacted.   No doubt about it.
I cried out OH No!! a few times and burst into tears.  Everyone came running.  They expected to see a body, not a tree on the floor.

On a good day I would not have been pleased by the crash, but would not have felt distraught.  I felt like an idiot.  It was embarassing.  After all it was only the tree.  Sure a few ornaments broke, included one favorite glass angel, but things are not important.  Yet, there I was sobbing.

After a bit of reflection (I do alot of this don't I?) I knew what my problem was. 
That was not the first Reynolds' tree to fall or the only ornament ever to break.  However, it was the first time that the Ray and Debbie team couldn't tackle it together and after the team's evident absence the night before, it was the proverbial "last straw."
This is getting very old.

This past week, when it was very cold, I needed to get gas and sooner rather than later or risk running out.  I became teary as I was figuring out where the nearest station was and deciding to only get enough to cover the immediate need, because of the weather.  Why?  Because until this winter I rarely had to fill my own tank on such a cold day.  My man took care of it for me.  I was a princess.

I have to remember that I am still a princess, Papa's princess.  As His princess I can be certain that every detail of my life is something He intends to work out for good.  He has designs on me and plans for me; He is making me into the best girl, who will reflect her Papa.
So as I have these emotional ups and downs I will, hopefully, always remember to climb into His lap and pour out my heart to Him.  He will answer every time and assure me that He will never leave me nor forsake me and that the best is yet to come.
It just hit me - Papa and I make not only a great team, but the best!

Friday, December 10, 2010


The ninth chapter of second Corinthians ends with these words:
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

I love reading Paul's writings.  There are times where he cannot contain himself and bursts out with praise for God.
He is right to say that the gift of God is indescribable.  Certainly we can find some words to describe, in part, Who this gift is, but only in part.

The book of Revelation is the focus of study and meditation for me at the moment and there are quite a few descriptions of our God and Savior.
The fourth chapter blew me away the other day.  Then I re-read it out of The Message and was floored!

I am tempted to copy the whole chapter right here, but feel constrained.  Pick the Bible up and read it for yourself!

John is in the midst of a vision from God.  He finds himself before the very Throne of God.  The beauty and glory are overwhelming.  Around the Throne are four living creatures who praise God non-stop.
The emphasis of their praise is God's Holiness and how worthy He is, as the Creator, to receive glory, honor and power.

Some might not understand how words in a book can thrill one's heart and soul so deeply and if they were simply that, they couldn't and wouldn't.  What makes the difference is that they are from God and that means they carry His power. 
What is so thrilling?  Well, I know Papa loves me.  Couple that with Who He is and I am amazed afresh!

The One Who loves me, just as I am, is the Holy One, the Creator God.  This One has made a way for me to live forever with Him.  One day I will see Him face-to-face!

I do not have the market cornered on His Love. 
The other day I was speaking with a dear friend, who was sharing how she thought God loved some more than others.  In particular she thought that He could love some others more than He loved her.
Not true!!  Every single one of us is His personal favorite!  The difference between any of us is whether we know it or not and how well!

I continued on into the fifth chapter of Revelation today and found myself before the Throne.  The focus was on the Lamb of God.  The spotless Lamb of God paid the price for our redemption and is worthy of praise!  He alone is worthy to sit on the Throne.

Many praise Him there in the heavenlies.  John heard them say, "To Him who sits on the Throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
With that they fell down and worshiped.
Shall we join them?

Psalm sixteen, verse eleven says,
"In Your Presence is fulness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Yes, let's join in praising Him for in His Presence our joy will overflow!

Tis the Season

The past two days have been full; too full!  This lady likes to ease into her day, stroll through it and then ease herself out of it...
Not much frustrates me, but shopping is definitely something that can. 
It is that time of year.  I try to keep it simple and do shop online as much as possible, but inevitably I must venture out into the chaotic world of malls and such.  Yesterday was the day.
As the day wore on a mantra began in my head.  "I hate shopping, I hate shopping, I hate shopping!"  It wouldn't be half bad if I could just find and purchase what I went into any given store to buy.  But, no-o-o!  Did I really expect it to be that easy?!
Just shopping for my family is no easy task:  Four sons, two daughter-in-laws, two potential daughter-in-laws (I hope!), two grandkids and one great-grand (!), not counting a few other family members!  I gave up on the friend gift-exchange a few years ago.
What complicates things is that three of our four sons are six foot four and do not fit in the "normal" assortment of clothes that are offered in the stores.  It seems that if a store offers such clothing they also presume the man is BIG, as in WIDE.  Just doesn't work for our guys. 
I finished off the day with a trip to COSTCO.  It wasn't the location that I usually shop at and everything was turned around.  This did not make me happy.
The way that I got myself through that store was with a promise of a treat afterward, a vanilla chai from Dunkin Donuts!  Could I find a DD anywhere close by afterward?  Of course not.
So suffice it to say, I was draggin by the time I got home.

I had fully intended to sit down yesterday evening to share a few thoughts in a post.  My day had started gloriously.  Papa had blessed my heart and I wanted to share it with you.  All I wanted to do was write, but cannot do so under the gun, so had to put it off.
By the time I arrived home there was nothing left in my head, except for the mantra of the day.
But today is a new day and I am refreshed, so I will be sharing these blessings with you.
However, it will have to be later because I have errands to run and appointments to keep.  If you read this before I return, please pray that the mantra does not recommence before I return!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today I have been thinking about love.  This morning I sent a text to my sons which shared two thoughts from scripture:  "Love never fails," and  "God is Love."
If we forget the second we will struggle with the first.
Loving on our own doesn't work really well.  At least not for long.
Even with both in focus we wonder, at times, how He would have us go about loving others.

I say forget trying!
Aren't we suppose to love others?  Aren't we suppose to be unselfish??
Yet, it seems that when I make that the focus, things get skewed.

How about we love Papa and seek to make Him smile?  I find it very freeing to have Him as my focus.  He did come to set us free and to make us "free indeed."

He is the Glorious One and when my eyes and heart are fixed on Him everything falls into its proper place, including me.  I relax.  I stop trying, because He whispers to my heart that He loves me and find pleasure in me.  God is for me!  He's my Savior, my Friend, my Papa!

If such thoughts and feelings are filling our hearts and minds they will spill over onto others.
I am often amazed at how, once I get "still and know that He is God," the walls start tumbling down around me.

Tomorrow morning there is a little Christmas brunch at a local ministry where Ray and I volunteered.  He has therapy, but I don't, so I will be joining my dear friends.  I was asked to share a few thoughts.  I think I will share this posting with them.
Ministering in love can be challenging.  There will be those who feel entitled of the help, those who are ungrateful, those who are dishonest.  Of course, there are those who are so grateful, so humble, but those are not the ones we struggle to love!

If I remember that I am "accepted in the Beloved" and "seated in Heavenly places", then the difficult ones will be easier to love.  It becomes less of an effort when I remember Who loves me.

There is a Christmas song about Love coming down.  Yes, Love came down on purpose.  Love came down to me, who was very unloveable.
At the time I wasn't even willing to be loved.  Yet, He came.
This God of very gods...This King of kings and LORD of lords...
He came for me...He came for you...He came for each one..

I love the sixth verse found in Isaiah nine.  It is a familiar one that is often used at this time of year.
"For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders'
And His Name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

This One with so many titles and so many names came down out of and in and as Love.
Love carries the day!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Being human isn't easy.  We are complicated creatures, at least I am!
It amazes me how such a range of emotions can be felt in a very brief time span.  I imagine that, at times, my brain is in one big tizzy!   Just as something, whether word, action, image or whatever, triggers an emotion then BANG another, then another; with each comes a related emotion.  Yikes!!
It can wear a person out!

I enjoy sitting here and sharing my thoughts.  Often there will be something on my heart that I know I'm to put into a posting.   I can become very singleminded and do not like it when I cannot find the time to write.
Life justs get too full sometimes.  Quite regularly it fills with things that I have little control over.
This is when I need to remember that Papa is still in control and that He will help me find the time for what He has for me to do.  That includes any writing that I am to do.

Just this morning I told Him that it is my prayer that my life would reflect the fact that I have received Good News of Great Joy.  May that be evident first to Papa and then to everyone else around me!
So that means I cannot be stewing over not being able to do what I want when I want!

What other emotions have been swirling in this head of mine?
Probably more than I even know!  However, one I know for certain is gratitude.  Gratitude for how so much more than our needs are met every day.  So many show such kindnesses to us. 
Yes, people are kind and supportive.  Many are cheering us on and get excited to hear of Ray's progress.  Today was no exception.  Someone I was speaking with was so happy to hear of my honey's latest gains.
During the conversation I realized that I was not feeling the joy like my friend.  Afterward I gave it some thought.
Of course, I am thrilled over how Papa is working in Ray's physical body.  He has come a long way.  The problem is that many have no idea of just how changed our lives and relationship are because of Ray's condition.  They can't really know, but their ignorance just seems to remind me of how different many things are now.

What to do with all that churns within me?  There is only one answer.
Go to Papa.
In Psalm twenty-seven I read:
"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek;
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.
And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me;
And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing, yes I will sing praises to the LORD."
Sometimes those "enemies" are within oneself. 
When I worship Him the focus is on Him and in looking up, my head and heart are lifted up by the One I look to!  For He is still and always on the Throne!  And this King, this Holy One loves me and intends to work all things out for good in my life!
That stirs my heart and make my heart spin.  It is a good tizzy this time!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


This morning an Advent breakfast was held for the women of our area.  A friend of mine and I have been attending for a number of years.  It has become the way we like to start the season.  Mindy joined us this year.
What a joy to have my precious daughter-in-law seated beside me!

Earlier in the morning I had a little time with Papa.  As I read His Word, along with a couple of devotionals, I did so with Advent in mind.  No matter where you read or what you read it isn't difficult to see the connection.
God come to earth!  What a gift!  Really there are many gifts contained within that gift.   In First John today it spoke of the gift of life that is ours in Jesus.  Not just any life, but eternal life!  Stopping to reflect on Him and all He offers stirs the mind and heart!
I wanted to list as many gifts as I could, but had to shift gears and get ready for the breakfast....

Sitting among hundreds of women, many that I know, I was aware of another gift.
A sense of belonging.  A oneness in Him.  No division.
       those who had given of their time and talents to bring the gathering together...
       all of us...
                rising as a body to sing
                bowing our heads and hearts together in prayer
                enjoying time to visit with one another

A connection that brings together hearts from many walks of life.  Yes, connected solely because of Him.  No club, career, talent, interest, family or anything else can compare to the connection that is ours because of Him.

Ray was enjoying some connecting of his own.  The men of our church enjoy getting together every month for breakfast and a Bible study.  That happened this morning.  My honey was in attendance!  A dear friend picked him up at six-thirty AM.  He was ready, which amazed me, because I usually have trouble getting him up by nine in the morning!

In His Word Papa urges us to spend time together.  He wants us to enjoy the connectedness.  We encourage one another.  It is part of the abundant life.  Being together our spirits overflow with love and joy

This morning it wasn't just our spirits that were filled to overflow.  Food was involved. 
Of course, the ladies know how to do a breakfast.  The buffet was large, varied and delicious!
The men?  Egg sandwich on a hamburger bun!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Papa put a particular message on my heart in the spring of last year.  I had the privilege of sharing it with a group of lovely ladies about a year ago.  It was entitled "Oh, the Joy!"
He brought it back to me this morning.

"And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the LORD."  This is found in the second chapter of Luke.  If I had been writing it myself, exclamation points would have been used very generously throughout!

No need to fear!!
Good News!!!
Great Joy!!!  For everyone!!!
A Savior!!!!!!!!
Christ the LORD!!!!!!!!!!

Jesus' birth ushers in Joy. 
The Gift of God is sent in Love and wrapped in Joy.
All we need do is receive it.  It is readily available at all times.
Yes, at all times!

Today marks day four of a miserable chest cold.  Last night I was up quite a while with a pain in my shoulder that wouldn't quit.  Excedrin did not help.  A muscle relaxer taken this morning hasn't helped.
I do not like to take any medication, so you know I am hurting.

This morning was a time of joy; joy in His Presence!
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, His Spirit.  It is not contingent upon circumstances.  It is not something we have to stir up on our own.  Not possible and definitely not sustainable.
As Papa and I enjoyed each other's company, He spoke to my heart.  He reminded me that trials are temporary and even as we are in the midst of them, they cannot separate us from His Love!
Reflecting upon that truth, receiving it and resting in it opens us up for more joy.

Yes, Oh, the Joy!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Revealer

Matthew tells us that Jesus asked His disciples a question, "But who do you say that I am?"
That question really is for each one of us, individually.

Who do I say You are my Jesus?
You are the God revealer.  You came, in part, to show us the Father.
To see You is to see the Father.
To know You is to know the Father.

Imagine that.  A Baby is born one night in Bethlehem.  Not unusual.  Many babes were born on a regular basis in Bethlehem, so no surprise there.  Yet, so unusual.
No other came from the glories of Heaven.
No other were from a virgin birth.
No other came to die for us.
No other reveals the Living God.

The Living God.  Not far off, but right here; right where we are; right now.
Emmanuel.  God with us.

So as we wend our way through this month, day two calls, once again, for us to worship. 
Worship Emmanuel!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


For many years the first of December marked the beginning of "Countdown to Christmas!"  We had a variety of advent calendars hanging here and there whose activities our sons enjoyed taking part in each day.  One year, when they were all teenagers and had turned their noses up at such juvenile activites, I decided not to bring them all out.  After all, it would have been solely for my benefit, or so I thought.  Jonathan noticed immediately and chastised me for such neglect.  In his opinion something would be missing in the whole advent season without them.
Since that time I have been careful to hang each one and dutifully keep them up to date!

I have my own type of countdown.  December usually finds me seeking to focus on what Advent is all about.  This year is no different.
Today I read the first chapter of Revelation and I noted in my journal what I learned about this One Whose birthday we celebrate.
This Jesus, who became flesh and blood is so much more than anyone could ever imagine! 
Max Lucado wrote a small book about the incarnation.  I do not recall its title, but it was about the journey the Glory of Heaven took to earth.  It is a worthwhile read.
Here's what I found in Revelation:

This Holy One, who is Glorious desires to communicate with us...
Through Him we have grace and peace...
He is God's Faithful Witness..
          The First born from the dead
          Ruler of kings
He loves us...
He released us from our sins...
He made us part of His kingdom...
           We are His priests
Glory and dominion are His..
He is coming...
He is the beginning and the end of all things...
He is Almighty...
He is the Living One...
He lives forever; there's no death in His future...
He holds the keys to death and hell...

When I reflect on the Christmas story, I will not stop at an innocent Babe in the manger.  That isn't what Papa intends. 
We need to join the shepherds, who when they gazed upon that Baby; worshipped!
Worship happens when we recognize who His is. 
He is worthy!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Remember when I wrote about my realization that I wasn't really exercising my faith in Papa?  I was receiving, as the final word, what the doctors' and tests' evaluations were regarding my honey's recovery.  Upon that revelation I determined to deliberately place my trust and confidence in my Loving, Mighty God.

So I have been seeing Ray a little differently.  I have been determined to put no limits on my expectations of my God.  The world that surrounds us sends a different message.
Though I look to Papa I still need to be preparing for the possibility that Ray will be going on long-term disability.  Only by the grace of my God can I do the work without accepting it as inevitable.  My eyes and heart need to be fixed on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of my faith!

A thought came to me this morning, which I noted in my journal.  "Love moves knowledge from the cerebral to the experiential."  You see, I know my God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing and thus is able to work in our lives, but it needs to move from just something I have read about. 
His Love makes all the difference.  As I reflect on the ultimate demonstration of His Love, which was on the Cross, and receive it, then I begin anew to experience Him in His Fullness.
At a seminar that I attended a couple of years ago the speaker, Graham Cooke, had two large arches constructed and placed in the front of the sanctuary.  He used them to illustrate this process.  He named the arches "Knowledge" and  "Experience."  Graham explained that when you go through one arch you must then continue on and enter the second one, or what God has for you isn't complete.
Think about it.  Knowledge alone isn't enough; neither is experience.  Knowledge confirms the experience and experience personalizes knowledge.

Well, I have had a few experiences this week that have made what I know about Papa very real and personal!
Early in the morning Ray usually gets out of bed and shuffles his way to our bathroom.  I had taken to not watching him do this, as he always appears so weak and broken to me.  His left arm just hangs like a piece of dead meat.  I do not want to see him that way.
A few days ago I did open my eyes as he walked by me and was struck by the thought that his arm looked different.  It looked more alive.
Two weeks ago I arranged a massage at our home for my honey.  The therapist had told me afterward that she thinks his arm and hand just need to be called back to life, so to speak, and that I should massage his hand as I sit with him.
I began to do just that.
Yesterday she returned to give him another massage and commented on how different his arm and hand appeared.
Cool, but wait!   We were getting ready to help Ray up onto the table when he said there was something he wanted to show us.  He had just discovered that he could rotate his hand while his arm was hanging loosely by his side!

There is a song that has been going through my head and its first line is, "We all fall down and lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus." 
I don't want to stop at a crown, but want to lay myself at His feet! 

As I get to know Him better, I am struck more deeply with how much He loves me.  His love defines me.  Who am I?  I am His beloved!
I read something by David Jeremiah this morning.  He said that "problems have a way of becoming pulpits."  God's glory is revealed in and through the ups and downs of our lives.  This revelation is not just for others to discover, but for we ourselves.
Oh, that I wouldn't miss one bit of Him and His glory, as He weaves Himself through all of my life!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The past few days have been full..
Full of blessings!
Family and more family!!

Of course, there were the full -
Bellies-so many goodies to be sampled!
Smiles-so many good talks and laughs!
Hugs-so much love!
Hearts-to overflowing!!

Along with all of this there were heavy hearts.
My dear sister is finding the holidays too much to bear.  They were always a time to share with her daughter, but no more.  So she opted to stay home.  She has her fiancee` so she wasn't alone. 
I told her no apologies were necessary.
Another sister, who was very close to Sara, came with her family, but became so weighed down with sadness that she left early.  Again no apologies were necessary.

As I held my sister before she left, tears filled my eyes.
Tears more for my sisters than niece.  They have no Comforter.  How desolate they must feel.  How unnecessary. 
Mindy commented on how my faith makes such a difference in handling life's difficult times.
So true.

There is a promise made by Jesus in the fourteenth chapter of John that I experience regularly.

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

There is no limit to who may claim this for themselves.  It is available from and through Jesus to everyone who comes to Him.  What an immeasureable gift!

One of the highlights of the weekend, thus far, has been learning that one of our nephews has begun a relationship with Papa!  We hadn't seen him in a number of years, but have prayed for him.  As we all have done, he had made some poor choices, yet in the midst of the consequences he met Jesus!
This news not only warmed my heart, but lifted the heaviness.  It was a reminder that Papa cares for each individual and is at work all the time. 
I picture a smile coming to His face when we ask Him for something that is close to His heart.  Others coming into relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, tops the list, I am sure!

Seeing the results of prayer and the work of the Grace of God fills my heart more than anything else does or could.  Add joy to the peace.   That is from Jesus too!  In the fifteenth chapter of John it is laid out for us.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.  By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."

And when He makes it full, it is to overflowing!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, Of Course!

Thanksgiving is upon us..
As I wrote those words the thought came to me that thanksgiving should be a way of life.  There is so much to be thankful for every day.
Yet, holidays are special..

I love the gathering of family.  Today I read an article in our local newspaper by Mitch Albion on the subject of Thanksgiving the holiday.  He loves this particular holiday because, more than any other, it is simply about families and close friends gathering together.  It is time for the extended visit, the long hug; a time when all the pressures of life take a break.  There is no concern over whether we have found the perfect gift or if we have overlooked anyone.  The day is a day to enjoy relationships with gratitude.

We will have twenty-two people gathered around our table tomorrow.  There should have been more.  Our oldest and his family will not be in attendance.  We haven't shared a Thanksgiving together in over ten years.  This year was suppose to be different.  Unfortunately, life happens and changes our plans.
Our son called me this morning to let me know that they would not be making the trip from West Virginia after all.  As we ended our conversation I felt sadness filling my heart and tears filled my eyes.
I started to feel grumpy and decided to indulge the feeling for a while. 
Papa doesn't let me get too far with those kind of choices!  With one gentle, yet convicting, thought everything was put into perspective.  There is too much to be thankful for to be grouchy.

I am thankful...
that I am His and He is mine
that I have a loving and large family
                                  and we enjoy each other (!)
that Ray and I have each other
                                  and he is recovering (!)
that we are all healthy
that my God gladly allows me to be me
that He expresses Himself through me in a way that is unique to who I am
that everything that comes into my life (good and bad) are an opportunity to know Papa better
that I do not have to rely upon following a list of rules to be able to be called a Christian
that we have a home in which we can welcome others

Last year on the day before Thanksgiving Ray spotted a local man walking down the street.  He doesn't drive and walks to town every day.  (I have passed him with his thumb out many a time.)
Well, Ray got into his truck and gave him a ride to town.  During the drive Ray discovered that he had no where to go for Thanksgiving. 
The man is a bit excentric.  He lives in a house that is more a shack than anything and doesn't take very good care of himself.
That day he got an invite to our house and the following day, after being picked up by my honey, he joined us in celebrating Thanksgiving at our table.

Two days ago our son, Tim, gave this man a ride and again he received an invitation to join us.  Tim will be picking him up tomorrow so he can, once again, join us in our Thanksgving meal.
When Tim had learned who was joining us last year, he actually announced in on Facebook.  He couldn't believe it!  You see, most everyone in our town knows of this man.
So sad that it took us so many years to think to reach out to him!
The man was comfortable conversing with Ray and we were impressed by how eloquent he was.  What is that saying?  "Don't judge a book by its cover?"

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for and such an amazing God to thank.  As my family gathers tomorrow many emotions will be present.  This is our first holiday without Sara.  It will be bittersweet, but may the sweet win out.  I am certain that would be her wish.  She was always concerned for others.
Even more importantly, Papa would have us lift out eyes and hearts to Him and express thanksgiving for all He is and does. 
If our eyes and hearts are fixed on Him thanksgiving will be the mark of the day and our lives.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

He Got My Attention!

In the past few days I have been made aware afresh of Papa's love for me. 
The awareness was triggered by the fourth through seventh verses of the second chapter of Ephesians.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."

He loves us so deeply!
As I reflected on this wonder I thought of how His blessings keep coming day after day.  What He has done in me He enables me to keep a hold on; all of it! 
He does it all.  He supplies it all.
Whatever He asks of me - He supplies.  He never asks something of me that He expects me to do on my own.  It is all from and through His great riches that He has given to me!

Such love!  Such grace!
I walked into the church service this morning with these thoughts alive in my heart and mind.  Today we had a guest preacher and, at first, I was having a hard time paying close attention to what he was saying.  He led up to his main point; forgiveness.  It was the direction that he took from there that captured my attention.
The man asked what it took to really experience forgiveness.  I think he really was asking what it takes for us to really sense that we need to receive forgiveness. 
Don't we need to realize that what we did hurt another person?  If we did something and it didn't affect anyone would it need forgiving?
At times, it might appear that no one else is affected, but God always is.  Yet He is God and doesn't have the same feelings as us, does He?   So He can just move on, right?
No, the Living God has feelings, deep emotions.  All you have to do is read scripture and you will discover that to be true.  Our God is a passionate God!

The speaker spoke of how God calls Himself our Husband or Father.  These are very personal, intimate terms and certainly bring our relationship with Him into a different light.  As Husband or Father He pursues us because He loves us and desires true intimacy with us.  When we sin, we hurt Him.  Imagine, asked the preacher, how God feels as Husband or Father, when we do something to hurt Him!
Now if we only view God as God, as the High and Lifted-up One; the Holy One and do not factor in Who, from His perspective, He is for us, then we aren't really going to get how deeply we cause Him pain.

The Cross reflects how deeply He loves us and how painful our sin is for Him.  He, the Father, wants His rebellious children to come home.  He, the Husband, desires a faithful wife.  He is calling us in love to love Him back.
When we love someone we do not want to hurt them.  When we do, which is inevitable, and we see them in pain, we repent of what we have done and plead forgiveness.  When the one we wronged loves us they desire to forgive us and have the relationship restored.
We have all been hurt by others.  Take a minute and think about the pain.  Papa experiences that same pain.
Imagine that!  We are able to cause our God pain.  Only because He loves us so much!

What I find so amazing is that He longs for us to repent so He can offer us forgiveness.

Don't these truths cause you to go to your knees, first in repentance, then love, gratitude and awe?!
One day every knee will bow and every tongue proclaim Jesus is LORD!
By not waiting for that day to bend your knee to such a magnificent God, you get to enjoy Him, not only as your God and Savior, but your Papa; your intimate Friend!!

Yes, He certainly got my attention!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pride and Unbelief

This month finds me hanging out in the Old Testament book of Second Kings.  Pride in the lives of the people of God is evidenced over and over.  Forgetting one's past and who God is and what he has done begins the downward trek to the illusion of self-sufficiency; the attitude that my way is better.
In the case of the people of the northern kingdom the end result was to be removed from the Presence of God.  I cannot image anything worse!!

Good thing I'm not prideful!  Yeah - Right!!

What is it when....
I try to shoulder my burdens myself?
I get angry at those companies, etc. that are not cooperating with me?
I try to be superwoman?

When I was a very young girl I had this one fantasy that most nights I used to put myself to sleep.  I had super powers and I would rescue people.  Then everyone would love me.  I was valued in those fantasies.

Now I know that I am valued for myself by the One Who created me.  In Zephaniah I read that "He rejoices over me with singing!"
It is when I forget how valued I am and what He has done and is able to do that I head down that downward path.

It can get pretty ugly and very fast!  You see, we become like what we follow, what we worship.
I want my eyes to be fixed on Him, "the author and perfector of my faith!" 
I want others to meet Him when they meet me. 
This takes humility.  (No wonder I wander so easily!)
One place that humility is seen is in the acceptance of others just as they are.  That is what Jesus does.  He accepts us just as we are.
However, He doesn't intend to leave us the way He found us and He is able to do something about it!  Instead of trying to "fix" each other what we can do is bring one another to Him.  Prayer does just that!
Why would I neglect to bring others to Him?  Do I think that I can help in any better way?  Could it be unbelief?

Yesterday David Jeremiah's devotional addressed unbelief.  When Jesus walked this earth He did many miraculous things.  Not many in His hometown.  Scripture says that "He did not do many works there because of their unbelief."
One day a father brought his son to Jesus for healing.  The boy was demon-possessed.  The father said, "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"  Jesus said to him, "'If You can!'  All things are possible to him who believes."
The father's response?  "I do believe; help my unbelief."

In response to this reading I echoed the father's response.  "Oh, Papa, I do believe; help my unbelief!"
In my last posting I listed a few blessings that I was grateful for.  My husband's healing was not on the list.  Oh I am sure that it is evident that I am grateful for how far Ray has come, however, it was revealed to me that I had been buying into the limits that the medical community had set on his future healing.
No more!

I have let go of the limits that I had set on what God will do.  Of course, He CAN do all things, but I think I just wasn't expecting Him to do that much more. 

In the thirteenth chapter of Second Kings we find the account of Joash the king of Israel coming to Elisha the prophet.  The prophet was dieing and the king was distaught.  Elisha told him to look to the future and believe what God will do.  As a demonstration of faith the king was told to strike the ground with his arrows.  He struck three times and no more.
Elisha told him that he should have struck more times.  It would have been a sign of confidence.
Joash limited his future by his unbelief.

If I had arrows in my hand right now I would strike the ground until my arm could no longer lift my hand!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blessings in Spite of all the (In)Conveniences

We live in a complicated world.  So many "conveniences" - too many!

I held out for a long time.  Sometimes I wish I never gave in.
Yet, how in the world does one function without the things?
I would be at a loss!

Cell phones.
This one I resisted too, but now I depend upon that thing too!

Then we have ipods.
I never even gave them a thought until my honey bought one for me, so I could have my music in Asia.  It was a blessing.

The problem with all these things is that I don't want to know how they work, I just want them to do what they suppose to do!
Until seven months ago I was all set.  My man would always come to the rescue.  Now he is even more confused than I am!

Even land lines (house phones) aren't simple anymore!
The day after Ray's accident our phones didn't work and continued to give us trouble for quite a few weeks. The repairman and I had become friends by the time it all got straightened out!
Ray's computer started displaying strange messages.  That didn't matter too much because I could not get beyond the desktop, as Ray had everything passcoded and I had no idea what the codes were!
Well, Papa sent help.  He, in deed, is my Redeemer on so many levels!

Let's fast forward to the present.  My go to friend for computer help is not in town these days...
My trusty laptop is showing signs of impending trouble.  Yikes!!
My cellphone decided to begin on the downward path to self-destruction.  Oh No!
Even my ipod is having trouble.  Well, the thing that it plugged into so I could use it in the car is kaput and that is where I used it.  Bummer!

I have no idea what I can do about the computer.
The cellphone has been replaced.  I am now trying to learn how to use the thing.  Why do they have to keep changing things??!!
And the ipod...I guess I'm back to my old cd's.

Complications seem to be the theme these days. 
The process that had to be worked through after the theft of Ray's wallet was not simple...
Phone calls.
Logging on to accounts that are on auto-pay..Now what was that password??

I keep thinking that I will be able to set up a schedule where I can just sit and start to write the book that is in my head.
Now Papa?  Not yet.

In the middle of all that this adventure brings my way Papa has a re-occuring message for me.
Be In The Moment.
Do Not Miss The Blessing I Have For You Right Now.
Wait And Watch.
You Will See What I Am Doing And Rejoice!!

Though our God is beyond comprehension; He is not complicated.  His way is not complicated.
And He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He never has and never will change.
As we seek Him, we can be sure of Who we will find.  Though His ways are far above our ways, they are good, as He is good.

Today I was speaking with a precious friend and I told her that I have come to the conclusion that to follow Him is hard.  The path is not lined with primroses.  Often there are many thorns, many challenges. 
Actually life is not easy.  We have times or moments that are not so challenging, but something else will arise to give us a run for our money.  This will be the case whether we follow Him or not.
The difference is that with Him we know that the final result will be worth it all!

The verse that Papa gave me the night of Ray's accident says it all.
"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD."
Psalm twenty-seven, verses thirtheen and fourteen.

Yes, I will wait for the LORD!  And as I wait and watch I do see blessings. 

Dear friends; such treasures!  
A growing friendship with my daughter-in-law!
Precious faithful sons who love their parents!
Our every need met so beautifully..
The opportunity to learn to rest in Him and possibly learn to be a little more patient..
I am so glad that He is patient with me!  Ah...  Another blessing!

What better time to count our blessings and name them one by one?

Monday, November 15, 2010


While drifting off to sleep last night thoughts came and went without much notice.  That is until one arrived and decided to settle in for a little while.  I do believe it was something from Papa and as it and I visited I became certain that it was the next entry for this blog.

Twenty-three years ago this past August Ray and I, along with three sons, plus the beginnings of our Tim, (He was born the following May) moved to Connecticut.  The neighbors next door were very friendly and welcoming, so it wasn't long before we were sharing tea in each other's home.
The family was made up of a couple with one son, who was elementary age.
Yes, there was three of them, however, we rarely saw the father.  You see he had Parkinson's and that really made his wife angry.  Of course, we didn't know any of this right away.
The man's nickname was "Shine."  The name came from how bright a smile he had and what a very friendly sort he was. 
Could have fooled us.
Until he happen to venture outside a few times while his wife was out doing errands! 
The poor man was berated by his wife all day long.  We could hear her screaming at him.  When anyone came to visit, she would send him to another room, because "he wouldn't understand anyway."
He had a disease, for heavens sake!  One way the disease manifested itself in Shine was by taking away his ability to make any facial expressions.  He kept his head down, but when you addressed him he would slowly look up and his eyes expressed what his face failed to.  Of course, he understood and loved to be with people and take in all that was said.  Unfortunately, he didn't get much opportunity to do so.
One of the joys for me was that I had opportunity to speak to him of Jesus and before he died Shine had begun a relationship with his Savior!

Why did I share this story?  Well, because of what I believe Papa helped me understand about Shine's wife.  You see, Shine had been a strong, lively man until the disease took over.  His wife missed that man; she was angry that he had been taken from her.  Now she had to handle everything on her own.  Their son barely remembered what his father had been like before becoming ill.  All of this weighed heavily upon her and she had no where to take these burdens.

I miss my strong, lively husband.  Much weighs heavily upon me, at times.  The difference is that I have somewhere to take all the burdens.  Not just somewhere, but to Someone!

Today was another opportunity to bring a burden or two to Him.

Last Wednesday Ray lost his wallet.  We didn't really worry because he only had gone to Gaylord and back, so we figured it would turn up.
It did...Sort of...
Turns out that someone must have stolen it while he was swimming in the pool at Gaylord.  Today a credit card company called to say that there had been some unusual activity on our card; all of it in Connecticut.
It makes me sad that people would do such a thing.

Okay, so now we know.  All I had to do was cancel whatever other cards were in that wallet.  Ah..that is where the fun began.
I had no idea what was in Ray's wallet.  I had no idea what credit cards he had.  He had a very creative way of handling things.  Yes, I called it creative financing.  The women at our credit union called it "Ray's flim-flam."  He didn't do anything wrong, but his way of accounting and keeping track of information did not follow a logical sequence at all.
Hopefully, after searching files and making numerous phone calls, I think it is all straightened out.

I had a brief time of being mad at my "previous" husband...the old Ray.  Why did he have to do things this way??  I use to tell him that if he went first I was going to donate his brain to science and see if they could figure it out!  

Last night I had watched him get out of bed on his own, which I encourage him to do, and walk across the room very slowly.. with his left arm just hanging as he moved.  He looked so weak and broken; so much less than he use to be.
Is that true?  Is he less?  No!  He is still as valuable as ever.
I am confident that our God has a good plan.
Today as I reflected on the latest challenge I shook my head.  Wasn't his accident enough?  When does it come to an end?
A conviction surfaced and grew stronger.  There is a purpose to all of this, down to every single detail.  I will trust Him.
I wouldn't mind receiving the nickname "Shine" because Jesus' smile shines through me.  So I will not only hang in there, but I will hang onto the One who is faithful and all-knowing!

I want to close with two thoughts from my time with Papa this morning. 
"Spending time in His Word and in His Presence is getting a transfusion of heavenly culture."  (A combo of David Jeremiah's words and mine.)
"God does not do the proclaiming in nature, nature does."  (thank you, Brennan Manning)
Psalm nineteen says, "The Heavens declare the glory of God." 
How does nature proclaim Him?  By its beauty, power and intricacies.  Every detail of life reflects Him, if we but watch and listen!
I want to watch and listen for such proclamations and join in.  Can I do less?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Accepted in the Beloved

Walking into a room and receiving a warm welcome is always a wonderful experience.  Often, for me, it comes as a surprise.  A pleasant one to be certain.  I guess I am never looking for it.  Or maybe it is a left over from my "old tapes" where the message for me was that I wasn't anything special or desirable.  I know I was told that quite often in my early years.
Belonging to Papa's family ensures that such welcoming experiences will happen and not infrequently! 
For many months my contacts have been more one-on-one or with just a small group of "regulars."  It has been very comforting and encouraging.  Yet, being reminded that I am part of something much bigger is very necessary too.  I find it so refreshing!  I think in today's experience my honey did too!

Today Ray and I ventured out for our church's centennial celebration.  One hundred years!  Such a testimony of God's faithfulness! 
As a couple, we had not been with everyone in seven months.  As we headed to the gathering there was a sense of trepidation.  There was no doubt of being overlooked, even on such a day.  But - would it be overwhelming?   Would we be really welcomed after so much time or would it be more perfunctory?

We were enveloped in love! Yes, we were loved; gently and warmly.  This particular segment of Papa's family is so accepting and caring.  They truly know how to love unconditionally.
I am certain that our God enjoyed all of it with us.  He loves when His Truth is lived out.  And the Truth tells us that we "are accepted in the Beloved!"  It is a true joy to be helped to remember this and to experience it afresh!

Belonging to God is a very personal experience.  After all it is a personal, intimate relationship with Him. As with all relationships it needs to be invested in.  That means time and attention.  It pays immensely in blessings.
Yet, the bond that we have with others in the family is almost as essential.  Actually, developing such relationships is essential!

I read a story a long time ago of how a man had removed himself from the fellowship of other believers.  A good friend came to visit him one night and they sat together before a fire in the fireplace.  After a bit the friend took the poker and moved one of the coals off to the side, away from the rest.  Slowly its light began to wane and in time its fire's smoldering stopped.
His friend got his point across.  Without one another we lose our fire.  We are part of a body - the body of Christ.  To separate oneself is to cheat yourself of the life of the body and maim the body itself.  Any part of the whole is dependent upon the rest.  It cannot function effectively alone.  It is also very lonely.

Ah, it is so amazing to be His.  Every experience is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Papa.
Yesterday a precious friend passed me an article from "Discipleship Journal."  It was entitled "Whatever Happened to the Abundant Life" and its author is Jeff Imbach.  In it he discussed how we think we have missed out on the abundant life that Jesus promised because we are not achieving a particular result or certain behaviors and then we give up.  He argues that God is in all of it and it is we who are not recognizing Him.  Not, as we might suppose, that He is absent.
Mr. Imbach declares that this illusive life is found in experiencing whatever God has brought our way.  Savour the longing for more, be in the moment and know He is there calling you deeper.
How often I fight the experience of the moment instead of embracing it in faith that He has something good for me!
Today was easy to embrace.  Tomorrow may not be so attractive.  That is why, even when the way is pleasant, I dare not forget for a moment that He is faithful and I can depend upon Him.  I am dependent upon Him.
So as I continue to enjoy the sense of being in a cocoon of love may I remember that the love is real because the Source is truly real, more real than anything I could ever experience!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yes, Papa I am thankful..
For You, Dearest LORD!
Your love is so evident, so tender, so consistent..

Ray and I celebrated thirty-two years of marriage today.  They have been thirty-two packed-full years!
Those of you that have been with us through all the years are nodding in agreement.
When we look back we find evidence in abundance of His Hand upon us, His intervention, His guidance, His grace.
In Psalm eighteen the psalmist exclaims that the LORD has brought him into a broad place.  We can say the same.

Yes, this place we find ourselves in, at the moment, may not appear broad, yet, if we look at it with a wide angle lens we cannot deny it.  The Living God has done much in our lives.  He has answered many prayers and brought abundant healing to us.
This fact brings a whole lot of encouragement to our hearts.  A phrase from a song I heard many years ago comes to mind.  "He hasn't brought me this far to leave me now!"

Papa knows that being able to look back and remember what He has done is good for our hearts and souls.  In the Old Testament He had His people erect little pillars in places where He met them.  Every crisis, every turning point, He met their need.
In a study that I was doing by Henry Blackaby, there was an exercise that called for us to look back and identify the places that we would have been erecting our pillars.  There were many.  In reflection I could see a pattern and how Papa has worked everything together to shape the path I was to take.
Imagine that we are so precious, so important to the Creator God that He is concerned about all the details of our lives!  He not only meets us in the big things, but is concerned for every detail so we become all He has intended.  After all, He is our Papa and what papa doesn't want the best for his children?
When Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray He told them to address God as Papa or Daddy.  According to David Jeremiah, in the Bible account of this we find the word "Father", but if we examine the original text we find that Papa or Daddy is more accurate.
It is hard to wrap our minds around.  However, if we seek Him as our Papa.  If we cry to Him with such a mindset, we find that is Who answers our cry-Papa!

My Papa gave my honey the energy to go out to dinner with me this evening!  He even provided a twenty percent coupon to our favorite restaurant!!
My Papa moved among the disability-insurance people, who then gave an extension of benefits until December sixteenth.  (They are hoping he can go back to work then!  Wouldn't that be lovely?!)
My Papa has shown me that I need to be more proactive now to ensure no last minute snafus in the future.

So just as He has answered my cries over the years and transformed Ray and I and our marriage; just as He has worked in and then through one son after another; just as He has equipped and empowered and given wonderful opportunities to touch lives, He will continue to do so and even more so!

Yes, Great is His Faithfulness!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breathing Deeply

Making the choice to attend that Bible study last night was a very good one.  I got my perspective tweaked.  You see I was reminded of Who my God is and that is always a blessing!

We spent our time digging into the first twelve verses of the first chapter of the gospel of John.  John loves Jesus and his writing's aim is to "draw us into the quiet cathedral, where we are called upon to meditate upon the deep things of the Eternal Son of God-the Word made flesh (!)", to quote the introduction to the book found in the "Open Bible".
And draw us in, it did!

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."

My God is the Creator God!  The Pre-existent One! 

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."

My God is Life and Light for me!

In the next verses we learn that many did not receive Him.  Even when John the Baptist testified of Him, many chose to reject Him.
Then came a wonderful word - the word "but".
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name."
God pays attention.  He is seeking those who seek Him.  He is eager to bless with the greatest blessing - adoption into His eternal family!

Papa drew my attention to the phrase "believe in His Name."  A friend at the study had made a comment about the importance of believing.  Another commented on God's numerous "Names."  Papa tied these thoughts together for me.
The Name of God is not singular just like God Himself is not singular, but a trinity.  The phrase "the Name of God" is heavy; it is full and rich; it encompasses all He is.  More than we can know.

In scripture we read encouragements to grow in our faith, to believe more deeply.  I received this thought-picture- When I met Jesus, I fell in love with Him, but I didn't know Him fully.  I just had a small slice of the full picture of Who He is.  Over the past thirty-odd years I have grown in my faith, I have believed more deeply.  Why?  Because I have learned more of His Name(s).
I have experienced Him as:

Holy One
To name a few....

Now He has called me to experience all of these and more in a deeper way.
I realize that I have been feeling undone.  He is teaching me to trust Him more fully, to know Him more intimately.  This will reveal His Name more clearly to me and thus enlarge my belief in Him.
The Pharisee in me wanted to believe I had arrived that I could sit in the role of teacher without having to learn any more lessons.  God in His grace will not allow this disception.  He loves me too much.
"I am glad," she said reluctantly.
Yes, I am glad!

This morning I continued in the sixth and on into the seventh chapter of the second book of Kings and was encouraged that "it is not over until it is over. God is at work no matter how it looks!"  (To quote from my journal.)  The Samaritans were seemingly trapped in their city with no food, simply waiting to die.  The enemy was encamped outside with no route of escape available.  The situation appeared hopeless, but only because they had left God out of the equation!  He intervened and replaced their emptiness with plenty from the enemies stores.

I do not know what the outcome of this disability saga will be or any other part of this path I find myself on.  What I do know is that my Heavenly Father, Who is with me (!) is at work. 
In Him I chose to believe and find rest and peace.