Saturday, May 28, 2011


"All God is, He is abundantly.  All God gives, He gives abundantly.  He loves to bless!"
Where did this quote come from?  My journal.  It is one of the comments I had written down this morning.

It is a joy to have such a big God.  A joy that offers peace in all circumstances.
Today's circumstances made it easy to enjoy that joy and peace.

Beautiful weather was a perfect backdrop for a lovely day enjoying family. 
A day where Ray and I could be present for our grandson, Levi's graduation. 
A day overflowing with abundant blessings!
A day where I could hold our great-grand baby, Ariana all I wanted!  What a treasure!!
A day where we could relax.
A day to simply enjoy.

Back in our hotel room I thought I would download all the wonderful pictures from today.  Armed with happy pictures I thought I'd share a few on Facebook.  After which I wanted to check my email and stop in here for a short posting.
I realized that I am spoiled.  That realization came as I found myself tapping my fingers impatiently while waiting for my laptop to connect with the Internet.  The connection is v-e-r-r-r-y s-l-o-o-o-w!
Trying to download a few pictures was just that - trying!  The process was painfully slow and I decided two pictures were plenty for the time being.
I gave up on the idea of checking my email and after numerous tries actually made it to this site.

All of this is really very small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.  In light of the wonderful day I just experienced it is even smaller.
I struggled with impatience and irritation.
Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled!!
Oh the things we take for granted!

As I was grumbling over having to deal with such slow Internet service another comment from this morning's journal entries came to mind.
"My God is not finished with me yet, not until we are face-to-face."
He uses everything for blessing in our lives.  This evening He used a slow Internet connection to do a little more work in my heart. 
Isn't it interesting that it is the little things in life that can trip us up so easily?
I am so glad that my God is not only not finished with me yet, but never gives up on me.  Neither the little things nor the big trip Him up!  Knowing that gives me joy and peace.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts to Carry Us Through

"Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life."  Oswald Chambers.
That is the first thing that Papa spoke to me this morning.
Ray and I are heading out on our trip to West Virginia, by way of Pennsylvania shortly.  I had no intention of posting to this blog this morning, but feel compelled to do so.

There are many concerns on my heart this morning.
A friend who is struggling with her relationship with our Papa.
One of my closest friends, a kindred-heart is dealing with one heal issue after another.
Our grandson has declared himself an atheist on Face Book; coupled with that he is romanticizing the drug scene.  Goes hand-in-hand, doesn't it....
My sister, Chris' grief is as fresh as ever.

Those are just the top four that are breaking my heart at the moment.

Papa spoke again.
"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted...."  Psalm Thirty-four, the beginning of verse eighteen.
I have peace.   The Heart of my God breaks with me.  Yet, He is not wringing His Hands, but reaching out to touch each heart. 

His Word encourages me, as it is meant to do.
"For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."  Romans Fifteen, verse four.
I have hope.

In David Jeremiah's "Sanctuary" he spoke of meekness.  As I read his words, a fresh definition came to me.  Meekness means there is no need to scrap over the things of life.  I do not need to wring my hands, because it is all in the hands of my loving Papa!

I will continue to "pray without ceasing."  Prayer is the life.  Prayer is a continual conversation with the One who is always listening and answering.  He answers every prayer, in His time and in His perfect way.
To His Be All the Glory!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Along the Dusty Path of Life

A few people have commented that I do not do many updates of my honey's condition these days.  That is because quite a bit less is happening now.   The latest is that recently he has been experiencing more pain.  It appears that his body has gotten accustomed to the meds that were prescribed for the pain. 

More pain causes him to do less.

Today I tried to encourage him to do a few things in hopes that it would distract him from the pain.  There is more pain when he thinks about it, but that isn't anything new.  A wince crosses his face whenever someone asks about his arm.  I doubt anything can be done about that particular cause and effect.

Last week, I believe, that I mentioned my latest reads.  I finished "Street Wise," by John Goodfellow.  It is always a joy to learn of how God has transformed yet another life, which He did for John.  The man went from an aimless life of petty crime, bar fights, illicit sex, et cetera that was filled with anger and discord to a life of joy and purpose.

A trip to the library today found two books on CD that will help Ray and I pass our time as we travel to West Virginia this Thursday.  "Oliver Twist" is one selection, as I cannot get enough of Dickens!  (this wouldn't be a Ray choice, but he sleeps through most traveling and the driver must be kept occupied!)The other is something written by James Patterson.  I have never read anything by him, but did recall that my niece, Sara loved his books, so I thought I'd see what he was all about.  I know her cousin, Sean, who is an avid reader, has done the same thing, which is where the thought originated.  We will have to compare notes!

As far as the purpose for the trip, our grandson, Levi is graduating from high school this coming Saturday and we do not want to miss it!  It is also a wonderful opportunity to spend time with all the family, especially our granddaughter, Jasmine and our great-granddaughter, Ariana!!

Now a little something about Papa.
I love when I sense His Presence; at times He overwhelms me and delights me beyond description.  At other times I sense nothing.   Kind of a mountain top experience verses the normal dusty path of everyday stuff.

This faith walk is definitely not about sight.
Yet, even when I do not sense His Presence there is plenty of evidence that He is still with me.
He answers my prayers (!) and in ways that there is no doubt that it was Him at work.  I am always amazed that He pays such close attention to my concerns, both small and huge!

My dear daughter-in-law started a new job a while back, which worked for her in most ways.  However there was one primary person who was miserable, very disrespectful and arrogant  Others told her that this particular person was always like this and many had left because of the situation.
I asked Papa to give him some attention.
Things got worse and Mindy gave her notice.
It seems that this did the trick.  A hard heart was softened and wonder of wonders a dramatic change has taken place!  Mindy is now staying right where she is.

That is just one example and I am sure that some could just write it off to coincidence.  Not me.  I know my Papa.  Anyway there are more examples than I have time to list here.

Walking with Papa is just that.  He is beside me, not up in the heavens looking down on me.  Though He is there too.
My favorite commentator, Jill Carattini recently wrote of a grief that she had experienced.  At the time she wondered where God was, as it seemed that His Throne was empty.  Then she realized,
"The Throne was empty because the One who fills it had stepped down to sit beside us as we cried."
What a gift! 

My Bible study group looked at the name that is often used for our God, "The Living God.'  He is alive in ways that we cannot even imagine.  He is always active, moving, flowing, vibrant; the Living God is everywhere.  This means that each one of us can connect with Him and invite Him to join us in every detail of our lives.  When He is in it we experience life that is truly living!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Conversations within the Community

"Pray your way through the day."  Dr. Robert Cook
Dr. Cook was one of the first teachers that I heard on the radio, as I sought to learn more about the Savior who had drawn me to Himself.  The man is one of my all-time favorites.  He sounds so kind and caring and his teaching is very practical and down-to-earth.  I refer to him as my "spiritual father," as I have learned so much from him.   I look forward to meeting him in glory, which is where he is.

Prayer was something he spoke of during every broadcast.  He admonished his listeners to pray over everything; before answering the phone, rising from bed, beginning a conversation, shopping, everything!  That means we have a continual conversation going on with our heavenly Father.
For a long time I would practice putting his advice into action.  After a time it became second-nature.

These days I have a hard time telling whether I am always praying or simply assuming Papa will guide in each detail.  I am His and am certain that He is leading, but I want to become more aware again of relying upon Him.  So I am going to begin once more with the basics and deliberately pray over all the details of my day.  
I want to be reminded more of the spiritual versus the material world.  I am part of a heavenly community and want to live accordingly.  This morning Jill Carattini made a comment in her contribution to "Slice of Infinity." 
"The very community we long for is governed by the One who longs for us to be in it."

A good reminder than Papa wants me (us) to be fully in His Kingdom, not just hovering around the perimeter, as community reflects interaction, not just observation.

Papa gave me this cool picture this morning, as I read a few verses in Hebrews Six, verses eighteen and nineteen.  They tell us that hope is set before us and it is both sure and steadfast.  This reminded me that Jesus had something set before Him which is why He endured the Cross.  It was joy.
Hope that is certain of what our future holds because of what Jesus did for us.  Joy that He would open the way for relationship with us through His death.
The picture formed of His joy calling to our hope and both being drawn to one another.  Drawn together until they were intertwined in a way that is inseparable!  The Master Weaver weaves us into the fabric of His of His community, which is His Kingdom, with joy!

To fully enjoy community we need to take part in it.  That includes good, deep conversations.  With our God that means prayer. 
When I see Him, I want to recognize His Face and His Voice.

According to some the end is coming this weekend, which means I would be seeing Him very soon.  I take no stock in what they say.  Jesus said that NO ONE knows the day or the hour, but the Father. 

I do know that He could return at any moment.  We are told to be ready.  Whether it is this weekend or in a thousand years, I want to and need to live as if it were today.
So I will continue my conversation with my Papa in confidence that He, indeed, has everything in hand!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gratitude List

The heavy heart has a way of taking center stage in a life.  If it is allowed to stay there, all else will grow very dim.  The remedy is to deliberately put it in its place.
For me there are two steps involved:  Talk to Papa and then make a gratitude list.

As I bring my burdens to Him I visualize handing them over, one-by-one.  I thank Him for His willingness, power and ability to handle all of it.
Once I have surrendered it to my God I need to fill the void.  In other words I need to focus my thoughts elsewhere.  Otherwise, I can easily take it all back again!

Here's my list from just one day.  Today.

I am grateful that I woke up this morning...

And that...

my God was there to greet me...give me all His attention...speak with me...listen to me...

I could open His is truly living...anointed by His Spirit...

I am well as my family...

the beauty of creation is mine to enjoy...the chorus of birds greeting the early morning...the beauty of our yard being drawn out by the gifted hand of Matthew, our resident arborist...

I am almost done with spring cleaning :)...

I have a home to clean...

texting allows me to connect with a few of my loved ones more often than we would ever talk on a phone or see one another face-to-face...

Roo, our very affectionate, playful kitten...

a loving family....

sharing my home (and kitchen) with another woman and enjoying it...

a friend, who happens to be a plumber, who blessed us in a big way...

finding a hair stylist who listened to me (!)...

laughter around the dinner table...

the opportunity to address my most recent deep hurt and seeing a door to healing open...(I believe my choosing to be grateful opened the door to this opportunity)

we subscribe to Netflix...
tonight I was able to watch a documentary on Fanny Crosby....

I love the words to so many of her hymns.  As I thought of some of them, it occurred to me that I could use the titles to add to my gratitude list!

Blessed Assurance (Jesus is mine!)...
Jesus Loves Even Me...
All the Way my Savior Leads Me...
He Hideth My Soul...
Redeemed (How I love to proclaim it!)...
Saved by Grace...

These truths alone are enough to fill that gratitude list!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Popped Balloons

It feels like it is time to break the silence.
What do You want me to share here, Papa?
The past few days I have felt deflated.  If I were a balloon, I would have not only lost all my air, but there would be a tear across my surface.  A jagged tear.

This is not the first time that I have been blindsided.  It is not the first time that I have been sent sprawling and ended up flat on my face with no energy to pick myself up again.
I have been stunned into silence.  You, Dearest Papa, have taught me how to be silent.
You have taught me to cry out for You to "set a guard upon my lips, O LORD."
I know to speak out of hurt and pain is unwise.  I will continue to wait until You give me the right words.  You are the Master Wordsmith.

As I have been sorting through my feelings, You have spoken into my pain and sense of betrayal.
Truly You have responded to my every cry.
Going through my every day I have tried to do what is right and kind and good.  You know that I have fallen short over and over, yet You have blessed my efforts and I am grateful.

Human nature, generally, does not care about my efforts, nor my feelings, but is out for itself.  As that thought crossed my mind and I visited with it for a little while I thought how I had been betrayed.  As I had reached out to do good, it seems it was received with a false smile more often than I care to know. 
At this point You, my tender Papa, whispered to me, "Who do you do all of this for?"
I was reminded that it is for You alone that I desire to do anything.  You and I both know that it is not with a pure motive, but we are working on that problem.  Knowing that all I commit to You and desire to honor You with is never wasted is a comfort.  This truth lifts my heart and spirit.  I find that the tear is not so ragged and that a nail-scarred Hand is tenderly covering my wound.

When pain comes, when sorrow comes, when we feel left high and dry...He is there...He is here!
My God is present.  He is never away or at a distance.   When I look up I always find Him.  And His Presence changes everything.  I read a comment by Max Lucado this morning.  He said,
"There is never a non-sacred moment." 
Where God is it is sacred.  He is here!  I can expect Him to redeem every moment.  After all, He is the Redeemer.
Max also reminded me that my LORD is in it with me.  No matter what "it" is.

Yesterday evening my Bible study group was studying another name of God.  It was "The Lion of Judah."
In scripture it also refers to the enemy as one who
"prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 
As I prayed, Papa gave me a picture.  In comparison to the Lion of Judah he is a housecat that has been declawed and defanged!!

Today I began to prepare the study for next Monday.  It is my turn to lead.   The study's focus is on the name "Living God."
As I worked my way through different passages I was impressed with all the evidence that He is living. Deuteronomy Five finds people trembling because they heard His voice.
In Psalm Forty-two He commands, sings and helps His people.  None of which can be done by one who is dead.
Jeremiah Ten draws a great picture.  The prophet compares idols to God.  The idols are made by man's hands and must be carried around.  They are blind and deaf.  Our God was not created by anyone, but does the creating.  He is the LORD of hosts.  That means He leads one huge army!

I still hurt.  I still need to address that hurt.  But I am comforted by the God of comfort.  He is living; He is mighty, He is my God, and He is with me!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Seeing the Blessings

The topic of light and gladness is still rattling around in my head.  I looked up Psalm ninety-seven in my Amplified Bible.  This version gives the full meaning of the words.  Verse eleven expanded the picture I had in my mind.
"Light is sown for the (uncomromisingly) righteous and strewn along their pathway, and for the upright in heart (the irrepressible joy which comes from consciousness of His favor and protection)."
I know that I have shared the vision God gave someone for me.  They saw me stopping along a path to pick up all the treasures Papa had placed there for me.  He has treasures for each one of us.  The key to discovering them is given us in the above verse.
Be aware of being in His favor and protection.  He has promised this for His children and He keeps His promises.  As we receive this truth for ourselves, our eyes will be more attuned to seeing the blessings of light, which will bring gladness to our hearts.

Those blessings come in all forms.

Light, happy moments....
The other day Mindy was driving home and her eye was caught by something lying on the road.  It had the same coloring as my cat, Chloe.  She couldn't bear to look too closely, but came home and got Matt to go back with her.  Mindy was so concerned about having to tell me that my cat had been killed.  I am sure that she was remembering the pain of losing their Sophie last fall.
When they returned I asked what was going on.  I sensed something was afoot.
Mindy told me the story and how they had discovered that it was just an old piece of rug!
Matt's comment was that it was sad, as it had been a faithful old rug...

The light and gladness in this story is obvious: Mindy's concern, Matt's humor and the fact that it wasn't my cat!

Today light and gladness came wrapped in heavier material.  I received a piece of mail from my sister Chrissy today.  She had sent me an article that a couple of Sara's friends and coworkers had written about her.  It made me cry.
Grief has a way of surprising me.  I will always miss my niece, but thought the grief had subsided.  Not so and maybe never so.
As I read the article grief's wound opened itself up again.  It all came back to me and felt so fresh.

Where was the light and gladness in this moment?  It came as Papa helped me to reflect on the blessing of having had Sara in my life and the joy of knowing that she had touched so many lives.  Knowing that my God is love and was present through all Sara faced, including death and eternity, I can count it all joy.

This morning I was reminded that each one of us is very precious to our God.   He cares for all His creation and even pays attention when a sparrow falls to the ground.  In Matthew account of Jesus' teaching we are reminded that we are of much greater value than that little bird.
That is true light and brings me a whole lot of gladness!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Light and Gladness

I discovered the most delightful Scripture verses while preparing for a Bible study that I attend.
"Light is sown like seed for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.  Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones; and give thanks to His holy name." 
Those words are found in the ninety-seventh Psalm.  I am sure that I have read them many times in the past, but this time they seemed to come to life with the reading.  A picture formed in my mind and stirred my heart.
I saw seeds of light flying from Papa's Hand, seeds that scattered across the land and fairly covered it.  He, the sower, did the sowing with joy and was fully engaged in the doing.  His whole body took part in the broadcast with gusto!
Light dispelling darkness and bringing gladness with it.  What a amazing scene!

James refers to our God as the "Father of lights."  That He is.  Pure light.  As James also tells us, there is no variation, nor shifting shadow in Him and from His hand comes every good thing and perfect gift.  That's my Papa.

The light and gladness are not reserved for special occasions.  Unfortunately, they can be overlooked because we are taken up with one concern or another.   Some days my attention is captured by His grace so fully that I revel in His light and drink deeply from the cup of gladness.  At other times it is as if I am wearing blinders and am oblivious to my thirst for the things that He brings to me.  Many a day I am absorbed in some detail of life and Papa, in His grace, causes me to look beyond it.  I find it amazing that I would not be totally entranced by Him every moment of my day and am so grateful that He knows my frame and is so gracious and patient with fragile, little me.

I am learning to recognize that every joy and pleasure in my life is from His Hand. 

Today I finished listening to Dickens' "Great Expectations."  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I am delighted that the author was given such a gift of writing and also for the fine narrator.  It was well done by both.  To me a well written book is one of those light-seeds that Papa sows into my life.  Sown for what?  Sown, I believe, to learn from and to enjoy.  Learning takes many forms.  There is much to gain from a good book! 

My husband disappeared today.  Actually he simply stepped outside, but that is an unusual occurrence, which caused me to search for him. 
A few days ago I had pointed out to him a scratch on the side of my car.  I thought it was deep and permanent and would be in need of a paint job, which is costly.  Well, when I found Ray he had just finished rubbing out the scratch with some kind of compound!
My honey had taken initiative and had become engaged in something!
Light and gladness were in abundant evidence!
Thank You, Papa!!

The light that was scattered in abundance on Mother's Day and the gladness that accompanied it made me giddy.  Three of our four sons were in attendance.  Our Jonathan arrived with lobsters in tow.  He and Timothy had planned the meal and Chef Jonathan prepared it.  He is an excellent cook!

Prior to Jonathan sequestering himself in my kitchen, there were outside games as we all enjoyed a small fire in the fire pit that Matt had recently built.  Being surrounded by these large men, who are my sons, watching them interact with one another is pure joy for me.  So much light and gladness!!

One moment of the day stands out for me.
Everyone of our sons has been affected deeply by Ray's accident and ensuing condition.   The evidence shows up in different ways for each one.

Getting ready to leave, Jon hugged his dad.  The two stood in the embrace for quite a few minutes.  Each rested their head on the other's shoulder.
Ray's expression was one of peace and contentment.  Nothing is more important to him than a good relationship with each of his sons.
Jon's face reflected a mix of  love, sorrow and helplessness.  How he must long to be able to make his father whole again.
A tender, poignant moment.  Definitely from the Sower of light.  Light, to be certain, but gladness was there also.  Gladness that Papa is in every moment of our lives.  Gladness that He is taking the broken things and making something new and good and lasting.

I am glad in Him and do give thanks to His holy name!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lessons of Humility

Shhhh...Don't tell anybody, but I am caught up on all paperwork!
Now if only that would finish all of it for all time, but I know better.  Yet, even though I know that I can be taken off guard.  It is a rare day when we don't receive some item in the mail that needs tending.  It is when I think I am done with some particular aspect and then discover yet more to do that I might not react very graciously.  At times something comes that just confuses me, which is not that difficult to do!

Recently we had settled all our benefits for retirement.  That didn't stop the company from continuing to send out packets urging us to enroll before it was too late.  We called the benefits department to confirm, once again, that we were set just in case something got lost along the way.  No phone call is simple, as we all well-know!  To speak with a real person takes jumping through a number of hoops.  Hitting "0" for operator doesn't do it anymore. 
They got smart.
Okay, so we get that settled with names and confirmation numbers then the company sends us something telling us that we can opt for coverage under "COBRA."  For a mere seventeen hundred dollars a month!!!  Yikes!!  What did that mean??  What about retiree coverage??
Did you know that, by law, companies have to send out the huge packet of material offering coverage under "COBRA" even though the cost of retiree coverage is a fraction of that?  Who would opt to pay more?
Our world just gets more and more complicated.  My heart goes out to those who do not have anyone to help them through the maze of choices, paperwork and phone calls. 
It can be very scary when you have no where to turn.  I remember the days when I didn't have Papa to turn to and am so grateful that I can look to Him every step of the way.

Choosing the Living God brings more benefits than can even be imagined.  The benefits include His Body, which is filled with talented, loving people.  He has brought a few of them alongside us.  Papa is so gracious.

He has called us, as His body, to minister to one another in love.  That is the mark of who we belong to: love.  In John chapter thirteen, the thirty-fifth verse, Jesus said:
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
For many of us it is easier to give that love than to receive it.  Somehow we have bought into the lie that we are to be self-sufficient, independent people that do not need to accept help from others.  I have learned how wrong that thinking is, as Papa has lead me through this past year.

Years ago people referred to me as a "survivor."  They were right.  I did what it took.  It lead to illness in body and soul. 
Encountering and falling in love with Jesus helped me to relax my grip on many things, but it has been a process.  It takes letting go of your pride and being willing to be humbled.  Not an easy process.

Just this morning Papa spoke to me about the issue of humility.  It was obvious as it came from numerous directions.

In his devotional "Sanctuary," David Jeremiah referenced Proverbs eleven, verse two:
"When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom." 
He spoke of the humility of Billy Graham.  Mr. Graham intends to take all the recognition he has received and lay it, one day, at the feet of Jesus.  I believe he has impacted many lives because he constantly points to Jesus, not himself.
As I read the scripture verse I thought that pride is what is behind foolish choices that simply complicate the issue.  To be humble means we accept guidance and gain wisdom.  So when I am trying to juggle everything all by my lonesome it is pride that is fueling the foolishness.  Conversely when I do handle things well, I need to recognize that it was by the grace of God, not some great skill of mine!

Max Lucado had a little to say about being humble this morning in his book "Grace for the Moment."  The verse he focused upon is found in the second chapter of Titus, the fourteenth verse:
"who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds."
Max said that God's grace is given to lead us in wisdom and service for our God, to bring glory to our God.  It is not for self-indulgence.  While it amazes me that God loves me so very deeply and desires to bless me and has made my life so rich, I much not to take that to mean that He would have me be His spoiled princess.  To keep things in focus I need to remember who He is and who I am without Him.  He has redeemed me, a wretch, who had made a big mess of her life.  I am eternally grateful.  Praise God!  I will have eternity to praise and thank Him!

Then we have the very serious Oswald Chambers.  In today's reading in "My Utmost for His Highest,"  the quoted verse was from Luke fourteen, verse twenty-eight:
"For which one of you, when he wanted to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?"
Now what does this have to do with humility? 
Mr. Chambers reminded me that there is a cost to following our LORD.  It is not about us and our comfort, but all about Jesus.  Pride does not allow such sacrifice.  Yet the cost is glorious because of what we receive in exchange.  This exchange only takes place when we humbly seek our God.

The final thoughts came from reading Exodus, chapter thirty two, the first fourteen verse, which I will not quote here.  What I got out of the reading was how humble Moses was.  He did not think of himself, nor did he take credit for successfully leading the Israelites thus far.  He gave God the credit and was concerned that God's Name be held high and not allowed to be dishonored.  He looked to the LORD for help and direction and did not allow pride to distort his perspective.

What do all of these ruminations mean for me?  I delight that my Papa is so intimately concerned about every detail of my life that He speaks into my life constantly.  He knows I need it.

A comment that Beth Moore made in her book made me laugh out loud, more than once.  She said that she wants the following inscription on her tombstone: "God got tired!"
Yes, He is constantly at work in each of our lives.  Some of us keep Him extra busy.  I am glad that He is never too tired to be active in my life!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Perceptions and Impressions

Yesterday I finished reading two books from the current pile.  Both were worth the time.
Papa spoke to me through the words of both authors, of course. 
He has something to say through whatever is taking my time and attention, whether a book, a movie, a conversation or even when I am just hanging out. 

A simple glance out the window speaks volumes.  The beauty that He has chosen to share with us blesses my heart!  Each season holds its own beauty, yet spring also speaks of new life, one of Papa's specialties!
I am grateful for the moments that He causes me to stop and really see the gifts that lay before me.  Too often I am so focused on what is going on in my own head that I cannot see beyond all of it.  Papa brings balance back to my life on a regular basis so I will not see without seeing or hear without hearing, as so many do.
When we take time to receive what He has for us through what we see or hear, then the message of His love becomes clearer.  All our perceptions and impressions will reinforce this truth if we let Him clear our hearts and minds.

In Beth Moore's book, "Get Out of that Pit," she spoke of how we end up in a pit because of wrong perceptions and impressions.  When we believe the lie that we are not loved by God, for whatever reason, then we become vulnerable to more lies.  Her remedy is to stick close to God and continue to go deeper in your relationship with Him.

The book, "Barabbas" drew the picture of a man whose perceptions and impressions were way off and thus he spent most of his time in a self dug pit. 
The book itself is fiction.  The author, Par Lagerkvist, took the fact of Jesus' crucifixion and Barabbas' release as the springboard and theme of the story, but most of the ensuing details of the faith of the new church are far from the truth.
At times I became so disgusted with how far off base from the truth the author went that I would decide not to read anymore.  However, once again, I would pick it up.
The story follows the protagonist through his life, which was filled with angst.  The main struggle is whether to believe in God and thus who Jesus was or not.  I believe that this struggle was the author's own.  I began to realize that his own perceptions were distorted and was only expressing what he thought he knew and believed.
I will not say how it ends, though some have probably read the book or viewed the 1961 film, but will say that the ending made the whole difference for me.  It revealed to the reader what was under the surface all the time; the struggle to believe that he could be loved.  He had believed the lie.

Each one of us has history that colors our perceptions and thus our impressions.  The only way to have clarity is to bring it all to Him.
As I read the account of the fall of man in Genesis three and Eve's part in it, I saw that how she viewed things was being manipulated by the enemy.  She came to see what she did not have without taking into consideration all that she did possess.  God had been depicted as Someone holding out on her instead of for Who He truly is, the Creator and Sustainer of life, hers and ours.

Well, I am moving on to two new books, "Street Wise," by John Goodfellow and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot.  The former is the story of a man who had become trapped in addiction and thus criminal activity and his journey to freedom.  The latter is my book club's latest selection.  It is a non-fiction that tells the story of a woman whose cells were taken without permission and used to launch a medical revolution and a multimillion-dollar industry.

I wonder what Papa will have to say to me through these newest reads.  I am certain that He will be working on clearing up a few perceptions and impressions along the way!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


For a number of years I was in the habit of writing verses and quotes that caught my attention on index cards.  One of those cards surfaced a few days ago.  It was not by chance.  The quote will have to be anonymous, as I did not note the source and a Google search did not bring any results.
"A crisis indicates that God desires to initiate changes and growth in our lives.  We have the choice of either being a participant or a spectator to God's will for our lives."
Judging by the amount of crises that have occurred in my life it is obvious that I did and still do need quite a bit of changing and a fair amount of growth! 
The crisis that causes me to wrestle the most happens within me.  In the larger part I have learned that I have little, if any, control over others.  It's me that gives me the most trouble!  Yes, Pogo, the enemy is looking back at us in the mirror!

The days that I focus on me without the lens of God's love are not happy days.  Papa will reveal something that needs our (His and my) attention; if I am not careful, I will take hold of it and use it to beat myself up.  Not my loving God's intention at all!
The lens that slips in place, at those times, then colors all of life.  It is not a rose colored lens, but gray and darkening.

A few nights ago, when Ray and I were praying together, he asked the LORD to help me get my sense of humor back. 
WHAT?  HEY!!  I am doing the best I can!!
Oh, oh!  A bit self-defensive are we?

The paperwork and phone calls had been at an all time high this past week.  We know how I LOVE doing these things!  I tried to involve my honey, but he just got confused and I had to straighten a few things out afterward.  More phone calls and paperwork.  Lovely!
Insurance companies are not our friends.  Just in case you didn't know.

I was worn out.
Poor me.
I over-reacted to one mix up and declared that I did not want to be grown up anymore!
No one offered to take over for me.  :(

I was overwhelmed and felt like I wasn't doing anything very well.
I got myself a sad movie and cried my way through it.  Sobbed actually.

At times like this Papa waits and once I come up for air He speaks.

There is a verse in Philippians that I pray for many people and use often to encourage others.  As I read it Papa spoke to my heart.  This one is for you too, you know.  It was the sixth verse of the first chapter.
"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
A reminder that my God had not given up on me, nor would He ever do so. 
It is all about HIM, not me.
I was trying to handle all the stuff on my own.
He gave me a picture of handing it all over to Him.  I still have to deal with all of it, but not all by myself.  I am yoked to Him and together, with Him leading, we will get it done.
There is joy and peace in the doing, when it is with Him.
In looking to Him that dark lens fell away, just like scales and I could see clearly again!

Papa reminded me that He wants me to keep pursuing Him and not just settle for what I have. there's always more to discover and as I learn more aobut Him I will gain the confidence to reach beyond my own grasp!

This morning I received a fresh view of my God.  He is the Lion of Judah who willingly became the Lamb of God.  The lion symbolizes strength and power. The lamb represents weakness and vulnerability, as well as innocence.
In Revelation, chapter five, we see the helpless and fatally wounded Lamb has become the symbol of ultimate power!  So the way of our God.  He uses the weak things of this world to demonstrate His Power.  That gives me hope and confidence.  This is one weak lady!
What a joy to belong to Him!

It is time to join together over a meal and rejoice in our loving Father.  Shall we say a potluck on May fifteenth at five PM?   We will supply the burgers & rolls.  Everyone can bring a cup of something to add to a tossed salad and then whatever other dish you'd like to share.
Jesus and the Reynolds will be looking forward to the fellowship!