Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Clean Heart!

Papa and I have been having a conversation regarding Psalm Fifty-one.
This Psalm is King David's humble prayer for forgiveness, cleansing and restoration.
I thought I'd share what my dear God has revealed to me.

Let me begin with verses six and seven.
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom."
Our God wants us to be honest with Him.  He knows all of it anyway, so why resist recognizing and admitting that we are sinners from a long line of sinners.  No perfection in our gene pool...

The fact that Jesus is the Truth fits beautifully here. 
Our God does not only desire for us to be honest about what is in our heart, but also to open our heart to His Son and allow Him to abide in place of all the junk!

The result?  Wisdom!
For a definition of wisdom and what she brings with her open the book of Proverbs.  The book holds a wonderful description of who wisdom is and all the benefits that come with choosing her.

Many of us struggle with what to do with all the junk we have stuffed for so long.
There is only one solution.
Bring it to Him.

David opens his prayer by acknowledging that God is gracious and that he is dependent upon His loving kindness.  David calls on God's compassion to blot out his sin and to cleanse him.
He recognizes that his sin is always in his God's sight and then David states a crucial fact:
"Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak, and blameless when You judge."
David's sin had affected many, but he knew that the bottom line was that he had sinned against his God.
Sin becomes a wedge between our LORD and us.  Not good.

Matthew is a sweet, tenderhearted guy and has been since infancy.  He was a happy little fellow with a sunny disposition. 
One day he became very disagreeable and very out-of-sorts.  I wondered what the problem was, but it remained a mystery until the following day.
As I was cleaning his room I discovered the source of the problem.
Under his dresser, partially hidden by the dresser's leg, was a small glass animal.  As soon as I saw it I knew what Matt's trouble was.
The glass animal belonged to his cousin, Sara.  The day before he had admired it while at her home and had expressed his desire to have it for himself.
It seems he had chosen to act on that desire.

I called my young son up to his room and sat with him on his bed.  Before I opened my hand that held the treasure I spoke to him about how sin makes our hearts unhappy because it hurts our connection with Jesus.  With that I opened my hand and my precious son burst into tears!  We prayed together and resolved to make it right with Sara.
Then Matthew skipped off to play with a song in his heart and on his lips.
As simple as that!

Yes, simple, but don't we often resist and allow ourselves to grow more miserable?

Recently I have been struggling with a heavy heart.  Through this Psalm the Holy Spirit helped me to uncover the source of my trouble.
I had been stuffing my struggles, because I felt so badly that I was experiencing them.

In one of my postings I spoke of a former neighbor whose husband had Parkinson's Disease and how she had constantly belittled him.
I had judged her in my heart.

Now I was wrestling with some of what she must have been feeling.
It is very difficult to see your strong, capable, fun husband become weak, needy and less engaged in life.
At times I have felt so frustrated and impatient with my honey and that has caused me to feel terribly guilty!

I was keeping it all in and it was growing heavier and heavier by the hour.
I, like David, cried out for deliverance from my self and Papa lifted it all from my heart.
As He took the place that had been occupied by all that junk, I received a bit of wisdom from Him.

We dare not judge anyone. 
You know that saying about walking in another's moccasins?
Yes, we have no idea unless we have been there.
And if we do end up in similar shoes then we realize how desperately they had needed compassion not judgement.

When our God restores us and renews us, He touches areas we weren't even aware existed!
That is because He is wisdom...

David continues in the Psalm seeking God's complete work in his heart.  He cried out for a totally clean heart, which he knew only God could create.  He desired to have a steadfast spirit and to be in close communion with his God.

David had walked many days joyfully because of the salvation that he received from the LORD.  He sought to return to such a walk.

The result that he knows will come from such restoration is stated in the thirteenth verse and it causes my heart to leap!
"Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You."

That explains why I am sitting here at my computer typing like mad!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


One of my friends from the rehab graduated Tuesday afternoon.
That is a big deal.
To graduate you must have met all your stated goals and adhered to all of the programs restrictions.
The majority do not make it all the way through like he did.

I am going to call this man Mark.

Mark is a big guy.
When he arrived he was also an angry guy.
Big and angry equals scary!

Anger is one of the common denominators for many substance abusers.

Though Mark did not act out very often, he always seemed to be simmering under the surface.

The Mark who graduated yesterday is still a big guy, but now instead of anger, you sense a gentle, caring spirit abiding in a man of peace.

Through a client's time in this particular program they can earn certain titles.  One of them is "Strength."  That means that they offer help and encouragement to others through their example.
Mark had earned this distinction.

During the time of graduation everyone is invited to give a word of encouragement to the graduate.
One-by-one clients and staff (and the one lone volunteer-me!) voiced their high regard for him and their vision of hope for his future.
There was a common thread throughout; Mark had made much progress and thus has been an inspiration to many.
I heard the words humble and teachable quite a bit.

How did Mark get to this place of strength?
By learning humility.  He turned his will over to God.

In one of the early group sessions this man had gotten a glimpse of how others saw him and it stopped him in his tracks.
Mark was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so instead of drawing on his abundant anger, he received what was said and began to do some serious self-examining.

As I sat there reflecting on what I heard, the thought came to me that strength, in deed, is found through weakness.
At one point, the man before us took his wife's hand and with tears streaming down his face expressed his sorrow over the past and his pledge and commitment to a better future.
That is true strength.
Strength of character.
There is only One Source for such strength.
The Living God.

In the Second book of Corinthians, the Twelfth chapter, Paul shares how he had cried out to the LORD to be delivered from his weaknesses.  In the ninth verse he shares God's answer:
"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.'"
Paul also shares his response.
"Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
We are all weak, whether we admit it or not.  The way of strength is by admitting our weakness and turning it all over to the Almighty, All-Powerful God.

In the Fourth chapter of his letter James quotes from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah,
"But He gives a greater grace.  Therefore it says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
As my friend, Mark, contemplated going back out into the world, he admitted that he was a little frightened, but added that it was a good fear.  It will keep him going to his God.
Yes, the world, which represents his old way of doing things, is waiting to drag him down again, BUT Papa is greater and is going with him!

It is my prayer that he does not forget that all the strength that he has to forge ahead comes directly from our Gracious God!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Subject of Worship

The subject of worship has been on my mind.
That word means different things to different people.

Some might picture a Sunday morning church service.  They would include the whole service as worship.

Others' thoughts may go to being subservient or paying homage.

I checked with Webster to see what he had to say on the subject....
"Reverence or devotion for a deity; religious homage or veneration; a church service or other rite showing this.
Extreme devotion or intense love or admiration of any kind.
To show religious devotion or reverence for; adore or venerate as a deity.
To have intense love or admiration for; adore or idolize."
My bible contains a cyclopedia index, which gives a brief definition of key words.
They simple state that...
"Worship is an act or reverence."
In the Bible itself we find Jesus' definition of worship recorded by John in the fourth chapter of his gospel account....
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
Jesus' words sum up the entire Bible's position on worship.
In the Twenty-ninth Psalm we are told to...
"Worship the LORD in holy array."
It is to be with our whole heart, yet there is more to it.

In spirit. 
There is only one Spirit that can worship properly.
His Holy Spirit, who is our Helper, Teacher, and Companion unites with our spirit to truly worship our LORD.

In Truth.
Now Who is the Truth?  Jesus!
So to truly worship our God we need to be connected to Jesus.

The where of worship?
In the church service, in our home, as we go about our every day.  all are opportunities to worship.

I bring candy to share when I visit with my friends at the local rehab.  All the individually wrapped candy is in a clothe bag from which each person can choose two pieces.
On occasion someone will try to take more than the allotted amount.
This week was one of those occasions.

When this happens I remind the individual that they are in an honest program.  That is a recovery phrase, which means that we need to get honest with ourselves and others.  For many honesty has not marked their lives for a long, long time.
It is the nature of the beast.

During this most recent exchange these words from Jesus came to me.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much..."
I shared them with my new friend and explained how they applied here.
If he couldn't be honest in such a little thing as how much candy he took, how would he ever be faithful in working out his recovery?
To truly learn how to be faithful, how to be honest, we need the Living God!
Our God knows our hearts and when He sees our desire to be honest and sincere, He will offer us His strength. 
Surrendering the small things to God is an act of worship!

Often I talk with Papa about my desire to truly worship Him.
No more do I want to simply go through the motions of worship in our church service than do I want any other part of any day to be anything less than worship to my Wonderful Savior!

To do so takes staying close to Him through prayer, His Word and fellowship with others who know and love Him.  This means that we are committing all of ourselves to this pursuit.

Quieting oneself before your LORD renews one's spirit.
His Word reminds me and teaches me His Truth.  This morning I was reminded that He has a special name, just for me, which I will learn when I see Him face-to-face!
Time with others who love Him ends up being a time to love one another too!

All are opportunities to worship!

You see, Paul says that when we determine to give all of ourselves for His glory, we are worshipping!  This is the first verse of the twelfth chapter of Romans from The Message:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Look Behind The Scenes

It is the strangest thing, when days go by between postings to this blog, I feel a bit disconnected or uneasy.
Maybe because I always have all kinds of thoughts coming and going in this head of mine; many of which I intend to share here.  As days slip by, so do some of those thoughts.
For those ideas that I feel strongly must make it to this blog I always have a notebook nearby.  The problem is that on occasion I get distracted before I can even pick up a pen!

There's a few thoughts that have survived, which I will lift from this week's journal entries. 

"My focus will affect my mood and walk with my God."

"Though God allows me to experience the consequences of my sin, it is always accompanied with grace beyond measure."
"God is always at work behind the scenes."

It surprises me, though I don't know why, how I allow the smallest thing to become my all consuming focus.
I had a bookkeeping snafu this week.  Quicken appears to have a mind of its own and has had me seeing red.  Literally. 
Red is bad.
I have been keeping careful records, but something went wrong and it has had me stumped.  It will work out, but for days I was just a little crazed!
I was crazed for the most part because I had let something beside my Papa take centerstage in my thoughts.  I began to feel estranged.  My walk wasn't as close as it should have been.
That did not mean that the LORD had moved away from me, nor loved me less.  No, it meant that I was too focused elsewhere to allow myself to experience His Presence and to receive His love.
When this happens my mood takes a tumble and I begin to feel out of sorts.  This is not my natural bent, so I go around feeling like I am garbed in ill-fitting clothes.

Being distracted from my beautiful Savior leaves me ill-prepared for anything life might bring my way.
It is a no win situation.

Thursday was an emotionally challenging day for me and since I was still in a tizzy over my books, I was not in a secure place from which to deal with all of it.
Before I discuss all of that I want to jump ahead to today.

Today was  the day that I had to go to court for that miserable speeding ticket.
Just walking into that building was unsettling.  Being sent to the wrong line and then rudely informed that I was in the wrong place did nothing to settle me down.  Why did the man have to be so rude?  If I took a whole minute of his time, it was a lot!

I had to go into one of the courtrooms.  Gulp!
We were seen one-by-one by a female prosecutor, in the order that we had arrived.
There I sat, scooting down one row after another, with all my fellow law-breakers.
After about one and a half hours I was the one sitting before the woman.
She gave me no opportunity to speak except to answer her one question. 
Did I exceed the thirty mile an hour speed limit?
With that she informed me what my fine was and dismissed me.  I swear she sneered!

While I had sat waiting I had time to reflect and talk with Papa.  The thought that came to me was that no matter what I am still His beloved child.
His child had to face the consequences of her actions, but not alone.  He would never leave me nor forsake me, no matter what!

Now back to yesterday.....
Ray's former co-workers and supervisors held a retirement luncheon for him.  We both attended.
Ray's face lit up when he saw the guys he had worked with for so many years.  They in turn were happy to see him, but all seemed sad to see the change in him.
I almost burst into tears and had to fight tears for much of the event.

Stories were told by many of Ray's feats and foibles.  He seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. 
As people said goodbye to him, you could feel the finality of it all.
Some promised to keep in touch and I am sure they were sincere, but since their connection was solely the job, I doubt that they will.

The rest of the day I felt as if a dark cloud was following me around. 
Not so for Ray.  He seemed just as happy and content as ever.  What a gift.

So my week has been challenging, yet I have realized that Papa has been at work behind the scenes the whole time.  He is using every detail to draw me back and closer to Him.  He is using every detail to speak to my heart about the things that He and I need to look at together.
I see Him with His baton in Hand drawing out the notes that are needed to produce the symphony for my life.
Yes, He is always there, always with the focus of making me whole and wholly His.

Oh Papa, help me to see Your Hand in all of it always!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trees in the Forest

Visually challenged is how I explain it.
It is extremely difficult for me to see the lone tree when looking at the whole forest.

I realized that this helps explain why I do not enjoy shopping.
Looking for a particular shampoo, salad dressing, etc?  Sigh...among all those many varieties on all those shelves??

It doesn't even have to be a forest. 
I overlook items that are right in front of me all the time.
Even if I am looking for them....

Over time this disability has and then I have been known to be looking for something that is already in my hand....

There is another aspect to this whole thing...
The emotional one...

Ray had a checkup today at Gaylord.
Everyone is always so excited by how well he is doing.
The people at Gaylord are true cheerleaders.

The doctor was very pleased and surprised to see that my Honey can move the fingers on his left hand a bit more than he could in June.  His hand has to be in a certain position and then he can move his fingers toward his hand.
Her suggestion is that he try to "use" the hand as much and often as possible. 
He can do that by placing his hand next to a plate or bowl, for example, and allow his fingers to hold it in place.

After the appointment I needed to examine what was going on with me. 
I often feel irritated after visiting a doctor with Ray.
Could it be that I am a little challenged when it comes to seeing the trees from the forest where my husband's recovery is concerned?

Every day I see Ray struggle.

The doctor was happy and surprised to hear that he vacuums the pool.
Yeah it's great.  He does get it done, but I cannot watch the process.
My once strong, sure-footed husband stumbles, gets dizzy and takes a long time to get the job done.
He does get it done, for the most part.  And that is what I should focus on.

There are reminders every single day of the things he can no longer do.
It makes me sad.

I am grateful that none of this weighs heavily on his mind.
The doctor says it is a combination of the TBI and the medications he is on.
It is a blessing for him.  

The blessing for me is that I am more aware of my reliance upon Jesus.
Yes, blessing!
Anything that drives us closer to Him and causes us to look to Him more fully is definitely a blessing!

I must confess that it isn't always my first response.

My first response is to clean...
Not just surfaces; give me closets, drawers, anything and everything!
My specialty is de-cluttering and making things really clean.

One of my favorite fun movies is "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding."
It occurred to me the other day that I have something in common with her father.
He relied on Windex to solve all ills..
Her father used it to clean, polish...Oh, a zit??  Windex to the rescue!!
By the end of the movie the father had won over her fiancee.  :)

For me it isn't is one part bleach to three parts water...
I haven't tried it on zits yet...though I bet it would work!

I picture Papa nudging one of the angels and saying.."Oh, oh she's got that spray bottle again! 
We'll let her tackle those counters before we reel her in and remind her that those aren't the trees she needs to focus on..."
"Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city."  Revelation Twenty-Two, verse fourteen.
My robe is as white as snow because of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.  No matter the disappointments and sorrow of this life there is a tree waiting for me in Heaven and it represents the eternal life that is mine in my Precious Savior!  Oh Papa, help me to see beyond the forest of this life to focus on that tree!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Way High Rock

"When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
                                                   Psalm Sixty-One, verse two.

That is the verse that was posted on my daily calendar waiting to be read this morning.

How I love the picture it draws for me...

When I was a small child I loved to visit my grandmother's home.  It was set in a wooded area with trails leading from both the front and backyards.
The front trail did not take me far from the house, so I was allowed to follow it.  It took me down a slight hill to a small clearing where a few good sized rocks sat.  I loved to climb up on each one by turn. 
The feelings of safety and security were so reassuring to me.
I was untouchable, unreachable and I was on something that was immovable and impenetrable.

In reality it wasn't that high and any adult could have reached me very easily.
But that didn't enter my mind, I was focused on that sense of security that was so often illusive to me.

The back trail carried one further away from the house.   That meant it was off limits unless you were accompanied by a bigger person.
It meandered through the woods for a little while until opening up to an area that had two items that greatly interested me....

A very tall, wide tree with many branches that were perfect for climbing and...
a rock that was just about as high as the tree.

The rock was way higher than me and not something a little person would even think to climb.
But I loved to be close to it...
It towered over me and on a sunny day its shadow would engulf me.
When that happened I would imagine that I was invisible.

That is the picture that comes to mind, along with the same feelings of security, when I read the above verse and am reminded that the rock that is higher than me is my very own Papa!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Marvelous MRI!

People have said that God seems to show up in the most unlikely places.
Why is it that we do not expect to encounter Him at every turn?
After all He is everywhere....

The Message puts David's words from Psalm One Hundred and Thirty-Nine this way:
"Is there anyplace I can go to avoid Your Spirit? 
To be out of Your sight? 
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, You're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute-
You're already there waiting!"
I love being surprised by the reminder of His Presence when I least expect it!
This happened just the other day...
and it has set my renewal into motion!

Arriving a little late for the scheduled MRI I rushed to get ready for the test.
The technician was not pleased that we were beginning late.  She did relax when she realized that I had encountered the same traffic holdup, as she had earlier, due to a truck's accident.

By the time I was lieing down ready to be slid into the machine, both of us were more relaxed.
How could we not?  Papa's Presence filled the place!

When you are having an MRI they place headphones on you for two reasons. 
First to muffle the noise of the machine with a little music and secondly so the tech can communicate with you.

It was supposedly easy-listening music. 
Not a genre I would have chosen.

I am easily distracted by sound.  It is difficult for me to ignore the words to music that might be playing.
But as I lay there, closing my eyes I sensed my Beautiful God so near and determined to let nothing distract me from Him....

Music often is a vehicle to worship for me.
How could I use this music?
Papa seemed to whisper to my soul, "Turn it to Me."

As each song played I did just that...

He is the One I would run to...He is the only One who could meet my needs...
Jesus is my heart's desire...
Time with Him is what I seek...
On and on the songs went and each one lent themselves to be addressed to my God.

At one point the tech's computer went down.
Too bad...:)
It just meant more time one-on-one with Papa!

From start to finish Papa and I had one whole hour together!
There was nothing to distract me, once we had the music handled....
Nothing pressing to be done...I wasn't even suppose to move!
What a gift!

To quote David again, this time from Psalm Sixteen:
"In Your Presence is fulness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Surrender, Part Two

A friend, Rob, who attended Ray's party on Saturday, is also a wonderful photographer that kindly brought his camera with him to the event. 

The photos are a good representation of the day.
There is one odd thing in a few of the shots.....
This lady appeared in them and she looks kind of like me, but older!

Yes, I did come out of the house in spite of the miserable night I had spent....
I figured out in the fresh air would be safe for everybody.  Besides I was just very tired by then.

Of course I stepped outside after an application of makeup and a change of clothes.
Rumbled and wrinkled would not do!

I know I was not looking my best, but the day was about my honey, so it didn't really matter at all.

My usual way of greeting friends and family is with a hug, but not on Saturday.
I love them all too much to get too close!
It was difficult and I have all these hugs stored up. 
So who knows who I might be hugging in the near future?!

Well, back to the pictures.
Who exactly is that lady?

I have had the same question come to mind when looking in the mirror!

The aging process is strange. 
The higher numbers do not sound so old to me anymore.
I am blessed with good health and a good amount of energy.
Thank you, Papa!
No, I cannot do all that I did ten years ago, but so what?
Let someone else do all that!

I love being an older woman.!
I can be me without apologies.
Age and the experience that comes with it  helps a person to see what matters.
It is much easier to let the little things stay little things.
What a joy!

Coming to this place is a process of surrender.
Yes, that is still the topic...

This morning Oswald Chambers devotional thoughts were on this topic.  He implied what some of surrenders benefits are.

One benefit is deliverance from all that would rattle us.  This deliverance results in rest.

Devotion to Him...
How so?
How not??  Considering the peace and rest that He gives to us when we turn to Him.

A third is death to self, which opens us up to unbroken communion with our God!

Reading the blog  "On The Road to Italy" today, by Pat Butler, which I highly recommend (!),  struck a nerve.
Pat was speaking about the value of lamentations.  The act of lamenting, not the Old Testament book.

She had just visited the Auschwitz death camp, which wrenched her very soul, when she was reminded of 9/11.  
It stirred many questions and emotions.
Not for Pat alone.

It is only such atrocities that we are burdened with...
Things much closer to home.

Pat wrote of how trusting God does not often answer the questions and so what do you do with all the stuff swirling around in you?  How do you get to a place of surrender, where the peace is found?
Pour it all out to God in total honesty.

When I read her words it was as if Papa took His finger and pointed to them with emphasis.
I do not think He intended it for me to simply share with my group tomorrow night.
Uh, uh...

You mean get in touch with all that junk??
We'll have to talk about this a little more.....

Sunday, September 11, 2011


In preparation for my Wednesday codependency group I must hear from God.  He is the One leading our group and it is He who gets to pick the topic.
One Word was all it took and it spoke volumes.

Yesterday we gathered with close friends and family to celebrate Ray's retirement.
Everyone would be arriving around four in afternoon, which gave me plenty of time for the numerous details that needed tending beforehand.

Just one fly in the ointment....
Friday night I became terrible ill.

A toilet and a bucket.
Need I say more?

Throw in violent shaking just to make things more interesting.

By morning I was so weak that lifting my head was an effort that resulted in the room spinning.

I told Papa that it was very poor timing...
I hadn't even made my to do list, which was on the previous day's list.
I took a nap instead.
The fatigue should have been a tip off.

My lovely daughter (in-law), Mindy came to the rescue.
She nursed me, took dictation so my list would be on paper, ran her previously assigned errands, plus a few extras and then came home to set up.

A few hours later my sister (in-law), Audrey arrived and we had the dynamic duo in full swing!

The help was greatly appreciated, yet it was hard for me not to be doing anything. 
My body kept me relatively subdued.

I honestly have learned to trust my LORD.  He does know what He is doing and His way is best.
It just is that there are times that I am not too thrilled with how He is directing things!

When my head lost some of its fuzziness and my eyes could focus I thought I would see what Papa might have to say to me in His Word and through a few of His servants.

I read the first seventeen verses in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament book Second Samuel.  King David wanted to build his God a temple in which He would be worshipped.
God was pleased that David had such a heart for Him, but building the temple was not his assignment.  David's son, Solomon would be doing that once he was king.
So God said no. 

But it was a good thing that David had in mind to do! 
Good is not always best.
David had to surrender to God's will.

I wanted to bless my husband and have everything just so for him and his guests.
God said no to my desire to do it myself.
I had to surrender to my God's will.

Oswald Chambers' thoughts for Saturday were about being faithful in the small things so that you will be able to be faithful in the bigger and tougher things.
In the grand scheme of things setting up a party is really, really small...
To be faithful one must surrender.

Max Lucado urged me to remember that eternity was mine and Heaven awaits.  When I turn my heart and mind to these things, it takes my breathe away .
Jesus is preparing a banquet for all who love Him and it will far surpass any party I could ever pull off!

Ah, then we have David Jeremiah....

He spoke of bumps in the road being opportunities for growth.  Otherwise, we will just get tossed about and banged up without gaining a thing.
He wrote that we should not ask  "Why, LORD?", but rather "What, LORD?"
What can I learn?  What do You want me to see?

Let me tell you what I learned...
My God wanted to give my dear Mindy and Audrey the opportunity to be blessings, to have a sense of being needed and meeting that need...
They did and all were very appreciative.

The party was a success.
Ray was surrounded by those who love him.
He was encouraged.
He was blessed.
So was I.

I was blessed because I had surrendered.

Oh, we are going to have a good session on Wednesday!
Surrender will be the topic, but it is more than a topic-it is a way of life...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Exercise and Lessons Too!

For years exercise and I have had a love/hate relationship.  Mostly hate, to be honest.
I only would do it because it was good for me, not because I found it enjoyable in the least.
A few people I know actually enjoy torturing themselves and hate to miss an opportunity to exercise.
I always thought that very strange....

I never enjoyed gym class.  I was too gangly and clumsy. 
My peers made sure I was aware of these facts.
The whole experience set the stage for my attitude of avoidance when it came to anything deemed "exercise."

Gym memberships have dotted the landscape of my life.  It was endurable because I would meet friends at the gym and we would encourage one another to press on.
One-by-one we dropped off the gym's radar.

Something has happened over this past year.  I exercise Monday through Friday for forty-five to sixty minutes each time.
The exercise of choice, for the most part, is brisk walking.
I try not to miss a day.

What happened?
Mindy moved in one year ago and a treadmill came with her. 
I started to use it now and then.  Eventually it became a habit!

When the weather is not too hot nor too cold, but just right :) I have taken to walking outside.

Whether inside or outside I cover about three and a half miles in an hour.
It works for me.
I have realized that I have more energy!
I have also realized that it helps me to ward off what age is trying to do to my body!  Well, to some degree!

Today turned into a beautiful day so I took to the street.

After about  two blocks my route takes me off the main road and through farm land.
Once on that country road I will either take a left or right at its end.  As I walked along (briskly, of course!), I was talking with Papa and wondering which way I should take once I reached the intersection.
To the left takes you through a farm.  It populates both sides of the country road.  The farm spills out from there to encompass quite a bit of acreage, ending half way down the road that I was on at the moment.  Half way down said road I came upon a scene that held a couple of lessons for me.

A black and white cow was curled up on the side of the road with its nose pressed up against the wire fence that was suppose to have kept it in the field.  On the other side, the whole herd of its fellow cows were bunched up with their noses on that same fence or on one another, but all facing toward the lone stray.

Different cows took turns lowing their concern.  It was as if they were saying that they were there for her and would not be moving until help arrived!

The thought came to me that we should be like those cows.  When one of us strays or runs into trouble, we should all gather around to encourage and support our fellow person.
That is how Papa designed His church to be.
In actuality it is kind of hit or miss.

Over the past nineteen months many kindnesses have been shown me and my family. 
There have been many blessings.
The thing is that on occasion there have been times where one or all of us have really needed somebody with skin on to stick close by.  Those times could be lonely.

I was thinking about all of this when Papa reminded me of a story found in scripture.  It is located in the Old Testament book of Second Kings, the sixth chapter.
The prophet Elisha's enemy, the king of Aram had his army surround Elisha's city of Dothan for the purpose of capturing Elisha.
His servant is beside himself and cries out to his master that they are outnumbered. 
I love Elisha's response.
"Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
With that Elisha asked the LORD to open his servant's eyes.
What did he see?  That the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around them!

When I am feeling abandoned by man Papa always opens my eyes to see the true reality.  I am never alone!

This world we live in is not all there is.  Surrounding us is a spiritual world.  I believe it is more real than what we see!

From now on when I am feeling alone I will remember the scene of the black and white cow and her friends....

Further down my path and a few turns later I was coming up on another fenced area.  This time it was inhabited by horses.
I wished I had a few apples or carrots to treat the horses.
No sooner did that thought cross my mind then I saw a sign nailed on the side of the fence in a most prominent place.  It read,
"Oh," I thought, "it is just as well that I didn't have any goodies to share!" 
The sign made sense.  After all the owner of the horses knew what was the best diet for them and random strangers, meaning well, could mess with that healthy, balanced diet.
His staff also knows what is best, but only because the owner has instructed them accordingly.

For some reason the sign brought to mind the story of Jesus on the beach having a conversation with Peter.  He told Peter to:
"Feed My sheep." 
Our Creator, of course, knows what is best for us.  He, too, has instructed others as to what we need to be fed.
I can see Papa putting up a sign over His children warding off those who would feed them junk.
He, after all, is more concerned for us than any owner of a horse ever could be!

My I am realizing just how profitable a little exercise can be!

By the way, I took the left turn and stopped by the farm to let them know they had an errant cow.  They appreciated the information and headed out to the rescue!

Ah, do I see another spiritual lesson there??

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Value for All Time

Have you noticed how little retains its original value anymore?
The value of the majority of items that you may purchase drops almost, if not, immediately upon purchase.  What is a hot ticket item one minute is surpassed the next.
So much that we buy does not have a very long shelf life.  It is all meant to be replaced and the sooner the better.
Keep that economy going!!

Then there is the dollar.  That which we use to attain all those perishable items doesn't have a very strong future, at the moment, either.

Not much is guaranteed or reliable these days. 
Maybe none of it ever was.
Sure things might have been made to last longer in the past, but in time they too wore out.

That's the material world for you....

Jesus spoke of how moth and rust does their job very thoroughly with time.

How gloriously the Kingdom of God stands in contrast!

In response to his disciples' request to teach them how to pray Jesus gave an example of what our prayers should look like.  It is commonly known as "The LORD'S Prayer" or "The Our Father."
Within the lines of this prayer is the request for the Father's Kingdom to come.  It follows the opening which, rightly so, gives honor to the Father and goes hand-in-hand with a request for God's will to be done.
These segments of the prayer precede personal requests for our needs to be met. 
I believe that if we were to really grasp what His Kingdom is all about, then we too would desire that more than anything else we could imagine or desire.

Nothing about this Kingdom will ever change, nothing will ever shake its foundation.

Every Word that Jesus has ever spoken has meaning and purpose.  Not one is idle.  Not only the Words, but the order has meaning.  He is a very purposely God.

Often we hear people questioning what the will of God is. 
It is found in His Word.
Once discovered the details will follow in His perfect time.

When praying for myself or others, I often turn to His Word, the Bible and many times pray His Words back to Him.  As I pray the Spirit will enlarge my understanding of what is behind the Words and help me to know what to ask for in prayer.

There are many prayers through the Bible that can used, but just about any verse can be turned into a prayer or praise.

One of the prayers that I love to pray is found in the third chapter of the New Testament Book of Ephesians, verses fourteen through twenty-one:
"For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpassed knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works with us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen:"
Paul the writer of this book had full confidence in Who his God was and what He had done and had promised to do.  In light of this he willingly knelt in submission and adoration before his God.
So do I.

In this confidence Paul prayed for his audience.
So do I.

Our God is the source of all life.
His glory surpasses all the riches that the world could contain from the beginning of time until all comes to an end. 
And it will not fade nor wear out!

That glory is available for each one of us.  It is my prayer that all who read these words and then beyond  would experience His glory.
In His glory we find that the Spirit will lend His power to give us inner strength.  The Message calls it a glorious inner strength
Don't we all need that deep down? 
Don't we all desire that inner strength?

Being open to such ministrations of the Holy Spirit opens us the incredible benefit of Jesus, Precious Jesus dwelling within our hearts.
As we receive this glorious gift we begin to comprehend more and more fully and deeply what true love is and just how much the Living God loves us!
Knowing this love is beyond all knowledge!

It doesn't stop there!

We get to be filled until we are filled to overflowing with the very God we put our faith in!

This God is the One with no limits.
He is able to do so much more than our brains could ever wrap around! 
As the Message says, not in our wildest dreams!

All of this I have prayed for you. 

Papa keeps every single one of the prayers of His saints (believers in the LORD Jesus Christ) under His altar, which happens to be in His glorious Kingdom!
Not one will be lost or discarded!  Our words are of immense value to Him, as we ourselves are too!

I am confident that He will answer my prayer for you.  Look for the answer and more importantly...
Watch for Him!
He and His Kingdom are coming!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Speaking with a dear friend yesterday I commented that we hadn't seen each other in quite a while.
Her response?  "It is because you are so busy, Debbie!"
This is not the first time that someone has spoken these exact words to me.
In the past I have just accepted the comment and moved on.  However, this time it caused me to pause....

Am I really that busy?
I am not as involved in out-of-the-home activities these days.
How is it that I have been giving this impression to people?

As I gave this some thought I realized that it is partial busyness and partial pacing myself more than in the past.  I get worn out sooner than later!
The busyness centers more around family these days.  My honey is home full-time and we have children in residence.  All of which takes a bit of my time, of which I am glad!

What is occupying my attention at the moment is helping Timothy to pack.  He is moving into his own apartment tomorrow!  
The last baby bird is leaving the nest.  The timing is right.  The bird needs to build his own nest...

Mindy and I have designs on the room he is vacating...
We are looking forward to transforming it into a room just for the girls.  No boys allowed in this room. 
They won't want to use our room anyway, it will be too girlie!
It will be a quiet place for me and also a place for Mindy to join me for just us girls time.
I will post a picture after the transformation.

I am imagining a place where I can sit with Papa without interruption.  It has been a while!
A sanctuary...How delightful!

A safe haven
A refuge
Place of retreat
That is what I want and need...

I have just completed reading a book that my West Virginia daughter-in-law, Amy lent me.  It is "The Good, Good Pig," by Sy Montgomery. 
It is the true story of the pig, named Christopher, who lived in her barn and the lessons Sy learned because of him. 
Being responsible for any animal causes a person to have to slow down because the creature needs your time and attention. When Roo climbs up in my lap or mews at my feet for attention, I, of course, stop what I am doing and give her some loving.  She isn't the only one who "feels the love!"

Sy often would enter the barn and lie down alongside Chris and to be re-energized and comforted. 
This reminded me of how I felt about a couple of dogs that have been in my life.  As a little girl I would find great comfort in lying down and resting my head on my dog, Rocky.  Even as an adult, dogs have given me a sense of comfort at times.  Their love is so unconditional.

Ah, unconditional love....That turns my thoughts to Papa.
His love refreshes and revializes and comforts in a deeper way than anyone or anything could ever do.
I believe it is because we are designed to find our greatest satisfaction in our God.
That takes time though and often we get too busy....

Though others may think I am too busy, at times, I hope Papa doesn't!

Whether I am in my sanctuary or on the move I want to be listening for His voice and watching for His direction.  I want to be busy with those things He has for me to do.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Living in the Northeastern United States hurricanes have mostly been experienced as a rainstorm with a bit of a stronger wind than usual.
As a child growing up in New York State on Long Island I do recall a few passing gales that came through.  I loved watching the  howel of the wind and how it caused the trees bend.  The demonstration of power drew me.
I would sit at the window watching, barely aware that my mother was screaming for me get away from the window.  Any storm got her into a panic, while it seemed to have the reverse affect on me.

We just experienced Hurricane Irene.  Nearly ten inches of rain in a twenty-four hour period!  The effects for our household were minor; a loss of electric for less than three hours, which meant no water either, and a lawn covered with wet leaves and small twigs with a few tree branches scattered among the debris.
Others were not so fortunate.  More than a few went without power for up to four days!
You do not realize how much you depend upon electricity and water until you go without.  It is sobering.

There were those who experienced a great deal more than the loss of electricity.  Houses were swept into the sound; I just learned of one single lady whose house was halved when a giant tree fell smack down onto and through the middle of her home, which caused all her windows to blow out!!

We nearly had a loss that would have surpassed any of the above.

Tim and two friends decided to tube on a local flooded golf course on Sunday.  Unfortunately, it quickly swept them into a river.  At first it was a grand adventure until parts of buildings and other debris began to surround them.  It took them a number of miles to find a way out of the river and none too soon!  Around the bend awaited an overflowing dam that would have careened them over the other side.  Not good.
I am grateful that Papa kept His Hand on them and also that I didn't learn about the situation until afterward!
As a mother of four sons there have been many a time when their actions have curled my hair.  My three sisters and I never took a fraction of the risks that they have!

Now to a different subject....
On September tenth I am throwing a surprise retirement party for my honey!  He knows there's a party, but has no clue that he is the reason for it.  It is a luau.  Instead of roasting a pig we will be roasting Ray!  A number of family members, his friends and former colleagues are looking forward to it!
If you haven't received an invite and would like to attend, just come on over at four in the afternoon.  It is a potluck, so I am not concerned over how many we might be hosting! 

That is the latest from my little world!