Monday, December 31, 2012


We have now reached the half way mark in our journey exploring more fully the gifts our True Love offers us.  Once we are done I am thinking that Papa would have me share with you what He spoke to my heart as I reflected on each gift.  We will see!

Now onto that sixth day!

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying,

So what is so exciting about geese? 
They never seemed very special to me.  
Who needs a flock of these birds on the stage of our life? 
What is the Lover of our souls intending here?  Well, under His prompting I was able to see them through His eyes.

Geese are known to be faithful and protective, mating for life. 

                “Your loving kindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches the skies.”  Psalm 36:5

                “But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”  2 Thessalonians 3:3

These geese are a laying, which means that they are bringing forth life. 
A lovely reminder of the life that our True Love gives us; eternal life!

                “These things I have written to you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”  1 John 5:13

And abundant at that!!
"The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly."  John 10:10

Now we come to the number six, which stands for the frailty of man.
It is important to remember we are weak and fragile.  I always tell my husband that I am a China teacup, so handle me with care!   That’s because China teacups are lovely and useful, but fragile!

                “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.’  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

Let's meditate on Psalm 121 and reflect upon all the gifts that are piling up!
"I will life up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.  The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.  The LORD will protect you form all evil; He will keep your soul.  The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.""

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His loving kindness is everlasting.  Psalm 136:1

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pure Gold!

Oh my, the day got away from me and I almost forgot to post this!
Remember what comes next?

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings.

No surprise, gold signifies wealth, something of great value.

In our world gold is the standard. 
Gold is always a safe investment.

In Heaven it is so abundant that our God uses it to pave the streets! 
Heaven happens to be awaiting us thanks to our True Love!

                “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl.  And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”  Revelation 21:21

Know how our True Love sees us?

                “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold.”  Psalm 45:13

I think we can safely substitute child for the word daughter!

Picture this child as she/he gracefully moves through their day. 
By His grace we can see ourselves through His eyes.  Then we will walk as one who is all glorious within!

What a picture is being drawn as we explore these gifts our generous True Love offers!

Add to this the fact that grace is signified by the number five. 
Grace, unmerited favor! 

Our true Love extends His grace toward us out of love, not out of merit.
Thank goodness!  I, for one, would be waiting for eternity to earn such a gift!

                “..being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…”

Read Ephesians 1:15-21 with paper and pen in hand so you are ready to list all that is ours for the receiving because of God’s grace.
"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the LORD Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.  These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come."

                                “For you know the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, that thought He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”  2 Corinthians 8:9

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Love Songs!

As I glance out the window while sitting here to prepare this for posting I see weather that the calling birds of day four would not enjoy.  It is snowing!  So let's draw near and be warmed by the love of our True Love...

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds,

Calling birds are song birds.

Our True Love is a God of Song!  He loves to express His love over us in song. 

                “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

That verse tells the story, doesn't it?!

The whole of the book of Song of Solomon is a wonderful example of love expressed in song.  The Groom and His bride sing to one another and they are even accompanied by a choir!

Every good story must have music to accompany it!

I find it interesting that this gift falls on the fourth day, as the number four traditionally represents the creative works.  We have four seasons, four cardinal directions, four cherubim, and four heavenly creatures surrounding the Throne.  The thought comes to me that our God of order has it all in hand.

What does this mean?
This One who holds all things in His hands, also holds us with tenderness and love.

And as He holds us, He sings over us, just as a momma sings over her little one.  After all, our True Love is tender!  I see His Spirit, who ministers to us as so gentle.

I think His song comes from all directions and surrounds us.  Just as we experience His very Presence enveloping us, filling all our senses, He longs for us to hear His song in the same way.

Time to read Psalm 59:16 and 17. 
"But as for me, I shall sing of Your loving kindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold, and a refuge in the day of my distress.  O my strength, I will sing praises to You; for God is my stronghold, the God who shows me loving kindness."
What song are we singing to our True Love?
Are we resting in His love?

“Be still, and know that I am God….”  Psalm 46:10

Friday, December 28, 2012

Treasured Gifts!

This is a break from our journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas.
When we finish that little adventure we will not have covered all that is ours in Jesus Christ.

I want to take a few minutes to share the joy of a few specials gifts that I have been enjoying this week.
All of which have come from Papa's loving hand.
He is my True Love!

Christmas of Two Thousand and Twelve is going down as one of the best in memory!
I have received gifts that I will treasure forever!

Were they wrapped and set under the tree?
They are my dear family.

Originally Ray and I were to head to West Virginia the day after Christmas.
Traditionally that is the day each year that I go to visit our eldest, Eric and his family to celebrate Christmas with them.  Ray was going to join me this year.
Often I must leave before our other three sons have scattered.  It puts a damper on my travels.
This year Papa made it clear, through circumstances, that I needed to put off the visit for a week.

Our third son, Jon lives in New York, which means he is less than three hours travel from us.
Yet, we do not see him much more than we do our West Virginia son.
Life gets busy.

By staying home I was able to enjoy time with him and our other two, who live nearby.
This mother loves having time with her children!

As Ray and I sat at breakfast this morning with our three guys and reveled in being with sons who enjoy one another and are happy to include their parents, I told them that this was my best Christmas.
They asked what made it so and I told them it was being able to spend time with them.
My declaration made them mushy.  :)
Picture three very large men suddenly looking like little boys again...

The past four days were filled with leisure time with them.
Breakfast on Christmas morning with Tim, at his place, while Matt and Mindy celebrated the morning alone and Jon traveled to Connecticut by ferry.
By late afternoon three sons and one daughter-in-law were all gathered in our home.  Gift exchanging was fun and light.  We kept it simple.
Then our shared meal was one of pleasant conversation, filled with laughter.

The following day everyone returned for leftovers, which they declared even better the second time around.  Afterwards we spent the evening playing Apples to Apples, which is always good fun!
You learn a lot about a person playing this game...

Thursday found me sharing a big tub of popcorn at the movies with Matt and Jon.
Tolkien's stories are filled with so many spiritual lessons!
The Hobbit stirred up memories for them of me reading the book to them when they were children....

I was chauffeured, which was a nice change!
Upon returning me home our guys did a little shoveling for us before heading off to play in the snow together.

This morning's breakfast capped the week off beautifully!

Now this might sound like a typical family time to many and I must say that it is the way of things in our family now, but I do not ever want to take any of it for granted.
To have a loving family is a gift.
And to enjoy time with them is equally a gift.

Mary treasured in her heart all she discovered about her Son.
I am sure that she did so because she realized that He was a Gift.
Of course, she was the mother of The Gift of God.
Though no one comes close to her Son, I believe we, too, have been given great gifts to treasure in our hearts.  Our children definitely are gifts to treasure.

It isn't over yet.
Next week we climb into Pearly and head to West Virginia to celebrate all over again with children, grandchildren and one very special great-granddaughter!

To quote Mary,
"My soul exalts the LORD, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior."

A Heavy Gift

As we wind our way through each of these days, we need to remember to approach each day's gifts with fresh eyes.  Each gift has a special message from our True Love to our heart.  He would have us realize that all He offers us are, indeed, gifts from His heart to ours.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens,

French hens are known for their gentleness. 
These hens were destined to die for the benefit of others.

Oh my!  Do we need say more?  
Who comes immediately to mind in response to such clear descriptions?

“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” Matthew 21:5

“And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His Name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”  Mark 8:31

Our True Love is so tenderhearted toward us.  He set His privileged position aside for us and even now gives His full attention to us.  The Lover of our souls is ever present no matter how the scenes of our life change.

The number three represents divine completeness.

            “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

            “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 28:19

Our God is complete within Himself.

Now let's read Isaiah 53:4-5, and 10 carefully and listen to what the Spirit speaks to our spirit!  I would highly encourage you to read the entire chapter.  There is so much hidden in each verse!
"Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.  But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering...As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities." 
Is this heavy stuff for a Christmas devotional?  Do we expect such gifts at Christmas?  This is truly what He came to give us!  Heavy, yes, but such an exquisite gift!

            “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you,, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bound By Love

Are you ready to discover what the heart of our True Love is offering us on the second day?
I am!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me Two turtle doves,

Enter a beautiful cage center stage with equally lovely birds perched inside it.

The two turtledoves in Scripture and in literature present a picture of devotion and covenant loving kindness. It is a sublime vision of earthly love and friendship. These particular birds form a strong pair bond for life!  Thus two turtle doves become emblems of devoted love.

                “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My loving kindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken, says the LORD who has compassion on you.”  Isaiah 54:10

They can also serve as a subtle reminder of Jesus’ birth.  They were offered when He was presented at the Temple at eight days old.

“And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the LORD (as it is written in the Law of the LORD, ‘Every first-born male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD’), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the LORD, ‘A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’”

Two is the number of witness. One person is bringing a witness on behalf of his friend, his companion. One individual is standing up on behalf of the other.

“The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…..”  Romans 8:16-17a

The picture that comes to my heart is of our True Love giving us His arm and declaring that He is sticking close to us, that we are bonded with Him in love.  And He attests to this fact!  As a matter of fact, He laid down His life to secure the bond!

Time to look into Ephesians 5:25-32 and see what the Spirit whispers to your heart, as you put your name in the place of every reference to the church.  Rewrite this passage and make it personal!

"Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her; that He might sanctify her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.  For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wire; and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church."
What glorious words did you hear Him speak to you?  I would love to hear about it!

“Instead of shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.  Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.”  Isaiah 61:7

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Partridge in a Pear Tree No less!

Now that we have established Who our True Love is let us begin to explore the gifts He offers us!

However, before we begin we need to recognize what a gift truly is.  It is something handed over, presented, or bestowed to bless!

It is time to look at the gift that is first introduced onto our stage.

“On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me a Partridge in a Pear Tree.”

What significance could there be in the bestowing of a partridge; in a pear tree no less?!

Here is what I discovered!

A partridge is from the heraldic line of birds. 
We know what a herald does, don’t we? 
He carries or proclaims the coming of something or Someone.

This particular bird is also a type of a pheasant; a pheasant suggests an individual of unlimited resources.

Let’s move on to the pear tree then we will tie it all together.

You can be sure that the pears on this tree are ripe and thus, if we were to bite into one it would be gritty and juicy; we’d have juice running down our chin very quickly!

Not only do we get the bird and the fruit, but we get the tree too!
I love the picture of a tree, as it is described in Psalm One, that represents one who follows the LORD,

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”

That is a picture of life: tapped into living water and producing continual fruit!

How appropriate it is for the first gift to be a partridge in a pear tree!

The very first gift was to announce the fact that the One who had all the resources to bless was the Giver and what He offers is brimming with life! 
It is appropriate that the number one is assigned to this, as there is but One who can give so completely.  This One is ever present on the stage of our lives.
Each subsequent gift is just another aspect of all that is ours!

Take time to reflect on the following Scripture. 

"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our LORD; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust."  2 Peter 1:2-4

Ask the LORD to reveal more fully to you all that is yours in Christ Jesus.  
“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.”  Ephesians 2:4-7

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

My True Love

We need to begin by setting the stage.
There are but two main characters, the giver and receiver.
The Giver is the focus of each line.
He is given the title of My True Love by the recipient of his love, who is the focus of our protagonist.

Yes, my True Love.

You must make it personal, after all love is personal.  It is meant to be experienced up close and personal.  Love must be intimate to be love; it calls for relationship.
To refer to someone as your true love is to say a lot.
To be true is to be genuine, authentic, rightful, and absolute.
In other words, the real thing!
This implies…The one and only one!
There is only One who is True.

“He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.”  John 3:33
The True One is our True Love!
If we were asked to define love we would list affection, devotion, care, tenderness and passion as attributes of such an emotion.
All of this is correct, but when have we experienced love that was given with no strings, no conditions, as well as given in full; at all times?

All earthly relationships fall short, because they involve two or more imperfect beings!
Not so with our True Love!

Before we were even stirred to love Him, He loved us.
He loves us with great tenderness, as He is especially fond of us.
So fond, in fact, that …
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us…” 1 John 3:16a
This One who loves us is Love itself...
"The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."   1 John 4:8

Let's read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and substitute the word love with God. 
"God is patient, God is kind, and is not jealous; God does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; He does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  God never fails...."
 Meditate on what this means for you personally.  Allow each attribute to stir you to explore it more fully!

“I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is for me.”  Song of Solomon 7:10

Monday, December 24, 2012

Introducing theTwelve Days of Christmas

This is the beginning of the adventure that I promised to share with you, my dear readers.
Papa gave it to me and I pray that it is as sweet a blessings to you as it has been for me!
(I will post at some point each day through January seventh.  However, I cannot promise at what time I will do so, as we will be traveling and I may not always have access to the internet.)

As you begin this brief twelve day adventure know that what you find on each page is just the starting place for you.  Use it as a springboard that propels you closer to your Savior’s heart.  Draw near; He has more to tell you.  Words meant just for you!

Every year it seems that Christmas springs itself upon me.
Oh, I have ample warning, but somehow find myself scrambling to have enough time to prepare, not only physically and mentally, but spiritually.
Much is involved in preparing to bless loved ones and celebrate with them.
In the preparation I plan to take time to reflect deeply upon the true purpose of the season.
Somehow that part of the preparation is easily squeezed out.
I was lamenting this fact before my God when He brought the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, to my attention.

Here’s what He revealed to me:
Those 12 days mark their beginning on December 26th.
That is the day after many of the festivities culminate.
Things begin to slow down.  All the preparation is done. 
Instead of preparing to reclaim your home from all the decorations and such, why not use those 12 days to stop and do your reflecting?

Lovely idea, Papa!

And why not use the words to the song to do your exploring?

In doing research I found the traditional interpretation for this Christmas song.
It is a dry one and not what, I believe, our Loving God would have us learn from it.
His language is one of love and it is on that premise that I proceed.
It is His tender voice that I have listened to as I have gathered these thoughts.  He has written a lovely story in which we have a main role!
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 surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:14-19

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Storing our Treasures

 Papa had a specific message for me this morning.

I am still spending much of my time in the beginning chapters of the Gospel of Luke.  Today's reading was found in two portions of the second chapter.
Verses Sixteen through Twenty focuses on the shepherds response to the Good News they had received from the angel.

They hurried and found their way to the stable where they found Mary, Joseph and the baby.  At which time they shared what they heard.
Having satisfied their need to see the Heralded One they headed back to their sheep, but not quietly!
"And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."
This got my attention.
So did Mary's response.
"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."
Mary had the same response later in the same chapter.
Jesus was now twelve years old and had gone to Jerusalem with His parents, but had stayed behind when everyone headed home.  Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple in the midst of the teachers.
He was surprised that they did not know to look for him there.

Just like a woman might keep her greatest treasures in a safe chest, so Mary stored away all the wonders of her Son.

Both hers and the shepherds responses draw a true picture of the essentials of faith.

Meditation and reflection is how we can treasure all God reveals to us.
Worship and praise are natural responses to our Savior God.
And we will not be able to resist sharing the Good News with all we encounter!

After the reading in Luke I was directed to the Eleventh Chapter of Deuteronomy.
Verses Thirteen through Twenty-one speak of the importance of paying close attention to His Word.
"You shall therefore impress these words of Mine on your heart and on your soul..."
The passage promises much blessing for those who treasure His Words.
To impress something on our hearts takes time and attention.

To treasure or meditate according to the thesaurus means that we turn it over in our mind, contemplate, deliberate over.  This is not something done quickly.
Just like we do not gulp down something that has an especially wonderful taste, we make it last, enjoying the flavor.  So our God is urging us to savor His Word.

It is too easy to not take the time to reflect on all He is saying to us.  There is always something else waiting to be tended to, but nothing has such eternal value as the Words that our God has to say to us.

I know that He has emphasized this for me purposely.
Might He be speaking to anyone else?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Truth in the Details

How easy it is to make a judgment before considering all the facts or lack thereof.

From the time I was a child I  heard the story of Joseph and his pregnant wife, Mary's journey to Bethlehem from Nazareth and how upon their arrival there, they were told that there was no room for them in the inn.
Songs have been written about this one little detail. 

The innkeeper was always depicted as a heartless, cold, selfish man.
The scene is always drawn the color of rejection and often a slammed door.

This aspect of the story was so familiar to me that whenever I read the story in Scripture it actually seem to read that way.

The truth is that it doesn't read that way at all.

Luke Chapter two, verse Seven tells us,
"And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
There was no room in the inn.  Period.
Where do we encounter the innkeeper in Scripture?

Could it be that the innkeeper felt such compassion for the young expectant couple that he offered the only thing he had available?
A stable certainly beat the town square!

It is my opinion that the poor innkeeper has gotten a bum rap!

He is not alone.

Every day judgments are made about individuals and situations based on very little information.
Quite often prejudice or simply our mood governs how we perceive someone.

The people that I generally work with struggle with addiction.
They are the target of much prejudice and misunderstanding.

Often they can come across rough and uncaring and many do not stop to look more closely to see the person of value hidden away.
How many have not made it in recovery because no one seems to see who they really are?
Who are they?
People of immeasurable value in the sight of the Living God.
As we all are.
They many times get a bum rap too!

It isn't just those who are on the fringe of society that are often slighted.

My back has not been happy today.  On top of that I am fighting a cold.
Not good timing!
It is a very busy week.
Tomorrow we hold a Christmas dinner for my rehab friends and I am in charge.

I had to go out before cleaning up after dinner for an appointment to help my back.
This meant I left my honey in charge.

Upon returning home I found that much had been left undone.
My husband was off with a friend so I spent a little time brooding as I finished the clean up.

My physical condition clouded my thinking and when Ray arrived home I was not my usual welcoming self.
He asked what was wrong and I told him.
As his face fell, so did my heart.
Oh grumpy girl!  The man's vision is very much impaired, but I did not take that into account.  I just wanted to feel sorry for myself and I needed a scapegoat.
He got a bum rap!

How grateful I am that there is One who knows all the details and loves each one of us anyway!

Monday, December 17, 2012


Tears have been in abundance for many recently.
Life has a way of drawing them out of us.

Both joy and sorrow can be responsible for them.

These days sorrow is taking the most credit for the tears that are running down so many faces.

Tears contain our DNA.
Wherever they fall they leave evidence that we were there even after the place has dried up.
And evidence that we were moved emotionally.

Yet, even if no one else heeds our tears or ever discovers those dried up tears there is One who does not miss one drop.
The Living God.

For many years my own tears would embarrass me.  I fought them tooth and nail.
I think I believed they were a sign of weakness and weakness made one vulnerable.
I did not like that "v" word for a long time!

As I studied Scripture and encountered David, in the Old Testament, I began to take a different view of tears; my tears

King David was a mighty warrior.
He lived life fully.
He was a man full of emotion and there are a number of references to his tears.
He was not ashamed of his tears.

In Psalm Sixty-Six he shares that his weeping was such that his bed was swimming in tears.
And in Psalm Forty-two he admits to crying all through the day and night.

He poured his heart out to his God, confident that He was listening and that He cared.
This man who loved God with all his heart was setting an example for me that was setting my heart free!

My heart leaped with joy when I first read Psalm Fifty-Six, verse Eight; for it was from Papa to me,
"You have taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Your bottle; are they not in Your book?" 
Oh my!  He saves my tears in a bottle and notes them in His book?
How tender and caring He is!

Nowhere in the Bible have I found that the LORD God admonished anyone for their tears.
He invented them and they have a purpose.
And all His purposes are good.

Mary Magdalene washed Jesus' feet with her tears.  They were tears of joy and repentance.

Jeremiah is known as the "Weeping Prophet."  In both the Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations we find a number of references to his tears.  He cried rivers!
His were tears of grief.

In each and every case the tears were expressing the heart of those who wept.

Our God is not unfamiliar with tears.

Jesus shed tears.

He wept over the city of Jerusalem.
The grief of those who mourned the death of His friend, Lazarus, moved Him to tears.
And the night of His betrayal found Him weeping in the garden before His Father in prayer.

Though tears have a place now, there will come a time when they will no longer have a purpose for God's children.

There will come a time, when we find ourselves face-to-face with our Heavenly Father.
Tears will be falling down our faces.

Tears of sorrow.
Tears of repentance.
And tears of joy.

Then He will raise His Hand to our face...
"And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain, the first things have passed away."
So many are swimming in their tears with aching hearts.
It is my prayer that they would encounter the God of all comfort, who is saving each tear in His bottle and noting it in His book.
Then the day will come when all their sighing will flee away and in its place will come joy-filled healing!

As we mourn with those who mourn, may they encounter the heart of our loving God.

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting." *

*Psalm One Hundred Twenty-Six, verse Five

Friday, December 14, 2012

Rise Up!

"A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more."
Ever since I heard the news of the unspeakable tragedy that befell twenty innocent children, this verse has been running through my mind and heart.
It is found in the Second chapter of Matthew, which quotes Jeremiah Thirty-One, verse Fifteen.

God heard the cries then and He hears them now.
He weeps with those who weep.

There are many of us mourning this day.
It is as if a new level of innocence has been destroyed.
And we cannot hold ourselves apart from this great loss.

It is a commentary on our day and time.

Many grew or grow in the midst of an amoral culture; lacking standards and values.
Not stopping there our society has become increasingly immoral.
Life holds little, if any, value for many.
Hope is not on their horizon.

Is it any surprise that we would find ourselves at such a place?

What drives someone to such desperate, diabolical levels?
One who is without hope.
One who feels they have no value, yet longs for it to be otherwise.
One who has come to believe the lie that no life has real value or purpose.

Rise up, oh, church of God!
Rise up, those who know the Living God and His love and have hope in His Name!

Be bold in Him!
Love in His Name and Power and Spirit!

Do not allow this world to silence you!
Too much is at stake, as we have seen afresh this day.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Valuable Prayers

The Gospel of Luke has been holding my attention for a number of days.
The Spirit has been giving me a fresh look at the so very familiar scenes of the Advent.
I have been examining the scenes and characters that have a part in the unfolding of this wondrous story.
Zacharias' role has been the focus these past few days.

Yesterday's reading, which is found in the First chapter of Luke, found the priest entering the temple to perform his priestly service before the LORD.

You know how you can be reading a section of Scripture and suddenly a verse or phrase seems to stand out?  It is as if it were in bold print or maybe a different font and though it is neither, it stills stands out and captures you.

That was verse ten for me.
"And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering."
As Zacharias went into the temple and went about his duties, the people were praying.

This made me think of the importance of prayer; the power of prayer.
I am a believer in prayer.
I have experienced its power many a time!

That is why I am not shy about asking for prayer.
And that is why I know it is essential to do everything prayerfully and commit everything to God through prayer.

My LORD has blessed me with many opportunities to minister in His Name.
I do not take any of it lightly and I want to be certain that it bears as much fruit as He intends.
For this to happen there has to be much prayer going on!

Each week I send an update out of my time with my rehab friends, which includes their prayer requests and needs that I observe.
For many years I did not do this.  For certain there were a few friends praying, but their prayers were more general.  Now people all around the world are praying specifically for these dear people.
The opportunity to touch lives has increased, I believe, in direct relation to the prayers of my faithful praying friends.
I wonder if those praying realize what an integral part they are playing in this ministry?

I wonder if the people outside the temple realized, as they called on the LORD, what was going on in the temple and what part they were playing?
Their prayers were filling the place with praise and petition to their God.  They were focused on Him and setting the scene for Zacharias' encounter with the angelic being.
How often we pray and yet have no idea the blessing and power that we are releasing!

While I spoke on Friday night there were those who were faithfully praying for me and those who were part of the gathering.
Because of those prayers I am confident that the message my LORD gave me did and will touch hearts!

For years I have prayed specifically for my children.
I have claimed verses and used them in prayer.
I have witnessed answers in accordance with what I prayed.
However, every answer has been so much more than I ever could even imagine!

We can find example after example of the value of prayer.
Our prayers cause angels to be sent out to bring the answers!

I think of Daniel encountering the angel Gabriel, who tells him that his prayers are what caused the angel to visit him.
Then there are the believers praying for the imprisoned Peter.  Having no idea that their prayers could really cause him to be freed, they didn't believe it when it happened!  They came to know that their prayers had caused the appearance of the angel to release their friend!

Our God calls us to be in communication with Him continually.
He sets such value on our prayers that He stores the prayers of the saints under His altar!

Such a gift we have been given!
The gift of the Living God's attending to our every prayer.
I, for one, do not want to neglect such a treasure!

Let's store up all the prayers possible for one another!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Unwrapping The Gift

A few of the readers of this blog have inquired as to how I am doing, as I have not posted here in quite a while.
As usual it hasn't been for a lack of anything to say!
It is a busy time for many of us.
All I have been able to do is focus on "the next thing" on my list.
Last night held a prominent place on it.

I had the privilege of being the speaker at my church's Ladies Christmas Tea.
Papa being so faithful and gracious put a message on my heart to share.
I am going to share it here, though it will not be word for word, as He has a tendency of improvising!

Recording it here serves two purposes for me.
It reconnects us, my dear readers and it also gives me time for a little R&R afterward, as it will be more of a copy and paste job for me.

Today was another biggie on the list, which is why I need that R&R.
I had the joy of taking my rehab friends Christmas shopping at the local ministry, ACTS4.
And joy it was!
To see their faces light up as they gathered their selections, which had even been wrapped for them, made my Christmas!

It was a full day and this body is not as young as it was, so indulge me as I copy and paste!

(To set the mood I am not adapting the intro.)

Good evening!  Isn’t this lovely??  A lot of hard work goes into such a beautiful evening and I know the goal for each one involved is to honor our LORD! 
That is the point for all who know our Gracious God.
It is my desire that the message I am going to share with you may do just that.  It is the message that he gave me a year ago.

I attend another Christmas event every year, but after last year’s offering I left frustrated; frustrated that the message of Christmas was not clearly proclaimed.  I went home and wrote what my Jesus put on my heart.  I share it with you tonight.

A few years ago I had the privilege of speaking at this lovely Christmas Tea and I am humbled that you would invite me back!
 The topic then was joy, specifically finding the true joy of the season.  Anybody remember?
Oh the joy!!

One of the little joys of the season for me is the giving of gifts.   I love to watch someone open a gift that I have chosen especially for them.
Maybe that is why I found a particular family member, who will remain nameless, a bit frustrating for quite a few years.  This person would lift the package, shake it, examine it, NEVER UNWRAP IT and then make a guess, which most often was right on the money!  I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing him, not only unwrap the gift, but to witness his delight as he discovered the gift.

Tonight I’d like to focus on the importance of unwrapping a gift, a particular Gift, and the discovery that comes with the unwrapping.

A few years ago I received an unexpected gift at Christmas.  It was from someone I barely knew, but that my husband had helped out.
When I opened it, I was a little perplexed as to why the person chose to give me a hammer!  What was it that made him think of me when he spotted the hammer??
Okay, it is pretty hammer, as far as hammers go…but nothing I would ever put on my wish list.  (It is small and the head is painted with flowers.)
So I put the cute little thing in a desk drawer and forgot about it.
Until the day that I needed a hammer and the one that is supposed to be in the kitchen drawer was missing.  You know how that goes, don’t you??
I was about to head down to our garage to find another one, when I recalled that I had put this one away in my desk, which was much closer at hand.
So out of the drawer it came to do the little job.

As I hammered, I became aware of how easy it was to swing this little guy, or should I say girl? 
I have arthritis in my thumbs and hammering usually causes a little pain.   Not so with this light weight!
Thus it became my official hammer.  An added plus was that the men of the house would be less inclined to steal away with a pretty, girlie hammer.  J
It took about another year or so for me to discover the other attributes of my pretty little hammer.
Occasionally I would briefly wonder why its handle had a slight rattle, but never stayed with the thought long enough to make any discovery.  I seem to always be on the run!  Until one time when, for whatever reason, I had a few spare minutes?  I decided to explore further.
I found that the handle unscrewed and that it held a flat-end screw driver.   However, the rattle still was happening, but that is because it was holding another screw driver; this one a Phillips head!
Since this discovery it has gotten a good bit of use!

Each time I use this little tool, I am reminded that a gift can be so much more than I imagined.
But it needs to be unwrapped and explored.

Did you ever receive a gift that was so beautifully wrapped that you even hesitated to open it? (I displayed a beautiful gift)  I am one to admire such a package, as I am far from proficient in the wrapping department.  It's gift bags all the way for me!

Even though it might give us some pleasure to just gaze upon it and maybe even display it, it was not the intention of the gift-giver for it to remain unwrapped.  We are meant to unwrap it and discover the true gift inside.  (I lifted the lid.)

Similarly, it is easy to admire God’s Christmas Gift to us without truly unwrapping it and discovering all He has for us.

Every year, as a child, I would see the Nativity come out of the box to be set up.  It was just one of the Christmas decorations, along with the artificial, white tree and the holly that was wound around the banister.  Hey, it was the sixties!

I knew the story of Jesus’ birth, as I went to church every Christmas… and Easter, but I never really made the connection between the two.  Jesus always stayed the baby in the manger.

It is interesting to me that my favorite Christmas carol was, and still is, What Child is this? 
"What Child is this who laid to restOn Mary's lap is sleeping?Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,While shepherds watch are keeping?"

Somewhere in my heart of hearts that question had lain unanswered.

As I was thinking about this, a line from an old spiritual came to mind.
“Sweet baby Jesus, we didn’t know who You were…”
That describes many people.  It described me.

How sad that must make the Giver of all good gifts.

Well, we are going to unwrap the Marvelous Christmas Gift we were presented and, as we do, I picture The Father looking down with anticipation, eager to watch our faces as we unwrap His gift and discover all that Gift is meant to be for us!

For the first twenty-eight years of my life I had attempted to hold my life together all by myself.  I felt all alone.  I so wanted to be loved, but time and again those who came into my life failed to do so.
I was a single mom and I hoped for a man to come along side me and my son to take care of us.

Finally I met someone who was actually willing to marry me.  I jumped at the chance.
In short order I realized that I had not found the happily ever after story I was so bent on having.

That is when the panic attacks began.

I woke my husband early one morning and told him not to get upset, but I thought that I was dying.  I could not breathe.
After an ambulance ride to the hospital where the doctor prescribed Valium, though I tried to get him to understand what I believed was happening and I was sent home.

Over the next weeks I became desperate and began to attend church. 

One Sunday while away from home, I had visited a small little church. I do not remember what was said that day, but I do remember thinking that I never wanted to leave the place, but wanted what the people there seemed to have.
On the way out the door they handed me the devotional booklet, Our Daily Bread.

My appetite was whetted and the next thing I knew I began to read the Bible, which has taken me on a grand adventure for Thirty-three years now!  
Through God’s Word, His Spirit introduced me to the One who loved me unconditionally.

The question of my heart was answered:
"This, this is Christ the King!"

When Christmas approached that year I saw everything with fresh eyes.
I discovered who that Babe in the manger was: with no doubt, the Son of God.  I learned that He fulfilled every promise God had made over many centuries, promises of the coming Savior. 

Before the foundation of the world God had recognized that we would need a Savior.  He knew that we would mess things up and end up being broken people in a broken world. 

Who could set things right?  Only someone without any brokenness of their own would be equal to the task, which eliminated every single human being.

This narrowed it down to God.

And this called for great sacrifice on His part.  
His plan was the only way to not only redeem us from the mess, but enable us to grasp, in some small way, what He did for us.

So the curtain of Heaven parted and the Holy One of Heaven came down to do what we could not do for ourselves.

The author, Max Lucado wrote a short story where he imagined the essence of God being transported to the womb of the young woman, Mary.
The angels were astounded that the Holy One would humble Himself to such an extent and become a man.

God knew it was the only way to rescue us.

When each of my four sons was born and I held them for the first time, I envisioned a future of unlimited possibilities, yet all uncertain and beyond my knowing.

When the Heavenly Father looked down on His Son taking up residence as a little newborn, human baby He envisioned His future and it was not uncertain at all.  It was preordained, set as if in stone.  He had sent Him to be the atonement for man’s sin.

That little baby in the manger grew into a man, who walked this earth to leave us an example to follow and then allowed Himself, ALLOWED HIMSELF! To be placed on a Cross to atone for our sins.   
Imagine the Father seeing His Son mistreated and ultimately placed on that Cross.  His love for us restrained Him from breaking through and interceding for His Son!

When I look on the Nativity now I see much more than a Babe in that manger.

I see:
The love of God.  John 3:16 reads,
"For God so love the world (that means each and every one of us!) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life!"

Such sacrifice!  I do not know that I could offer up one of my sons.

I also see:
The One promised, of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke in this often quoted verse,
“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!

Let’s unwrap this verse!
Our Savior longs for us to experience Him as the most wonderful of Counselors…  He has never failed to guide me through all these years.  He gives life-giving counsel.

He calls us to experience Him as Mighty in our lives…  I first experienced His power when I came to Him and He taught me to begin to breathe.  And over and over He has demonstrated how Mighty He is in my life and that of my family. 

Oh to grow in our understanding of the fact that He was, is and will always be…the Eternal GOD-our Father!
And to enjoy the peace that only He offers; a peace the world has no understanding of - peace with God.

I see even more, for you see I have read the whole Book!
And I have encountered Him on every page.
He has not stayed on the page though!  He has come to live in and with me!

I see the Living One, Holy and Glorious, who is worthy of all worship.

He is worthy to be praised for who He is before we even consider what He has done for us…. what we could never do for ourselves!

He has opened the way for us to have a relationship with the Living God!

 God is perfect and He cannot look upon sin or be in relationship with one who is stained with sin, but He so desires to be able to that He made the ultimate sacrifice!

So, Yes, relationship!  Not just entry into Heaven, but friendship with the One Who dwells there!

A relationship that begins here on earth with the One who will never leave us nor forsake us!  He promised and He keeps His promises.

The Bible is not just full of promises of a Savior, but promises of an abundant, joy-filled life through that Savior.

True love seeks to bless and that is exactly how God loves us with blessing upon blessing!

I do not have the time to enumerate all that is ours in Jesus; I don’t even know it all!  But The Father (Papa) and I have a gift for you, if you choose to accept it!  If you do, remember to unwrap it and begin exploring!

He gave me a Christmas devotional.  It is based on the 12 days of Christmas to be read one day at a time.   It focuses on some of the many gifts that our True Love offers us. I will be posting these thoughts here on a daily basis beginning on December 24th, Christmas Eve.  If you are interested in exploring more fully what the Lover of our souls offers us then please check back here.  

It is hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we are the object of God’s love, but it is true!

A friend of mine puts it this way, “Our God loves us so much that He wants us back!”  
And He went to great lengths in His pursuit of us.

Jesus told the parable of the Lost Sheep to illustrate how all of Heaven rejoices when one who was lost is found.

He followed it up with the story of the Prodigal Son, who, enticed by the world, had left his Father and squandered his inheritance.

Every day the Father watched for his son hopeful that one day he would return.
That day came and when the Father spotted His son in the distance, He did a much undignified thing for a man in those days.  He hiked up His robe and ran!!  To meet the child He loved.

The son hoped that he would be accepted as a servant by his Father. He came empty-handed with nothing to offer to atone for all he had squandered.
Instead he was embraced as the child he was and immediately clothed in a beautiful robe and rings on his fingers, after which his Father threw a big party!  He had to- after all He had His child back!

What do you think the son’s response was to his Father?  He had humbly come to Him in repentance and I am certain that all he could do in response to such amazing, unconditional love was love the Father back!

We could insert our name into the story and it would be just as true.  We are treasured by our Heavenly Father and He waits and watches for us to return to Him, for He longs to be in an intimate relationship with us!  And when we do come humbly in repentance and encounter that Amazing Love...well, all we can do is love Him back!

The gift is offered, it is up to us to receive it to ourselves, unwrap it and begin the life-long discovery of all that it means for us.

John 1:12 says,
“To as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.”

For those who have not received this gift, I urge you not to end this night without doing so. 

Be responsible for another party breaking out in Heaven! 

For those of us who have received this precious gift, let us not cheat ourselves or our Savior out of the continued discovery of all He has for us.

First Corinthians 2:9 tells us, 
“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I can attest that this is so true!

 The Father is watching and waiting for each one of us to unwrap His Great Gift either for the first time or for a fresh look.  He can’t wait to see the look on our faces!

Let me end with the words to a song by the group “Downhere.”
"Follow the star to a place unexpected Would you believe, after all we've projected,  A child in a manger? Lowly and small, the weakest of all Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl - Just a child - Is this who we've waited for? 'cause... [ Lyrics from: ] How many kings step down from their thrones? How many lords have abandoned their homes? How many greats have become the least for me? And how many gods have poured out their hearts To romance a world that is torn all apart How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior All that we have, whether costly or meek Because we believe. Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure And myrrh for the cross he will suffer Do you believe? Is this who we've (you've) waited for?"

Let's pray!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Attitude of Gratitude

It is my belief that each day should be a day of thanksgiving.
We have so much to be thankful for on a daily, moment-by-moment basis.

Having said that, I must confess that I do not always practice what I preach.

The world has a way of pressing in.
Especially when I am tired.

There is as acronym for what should throw up a red flag for us.


H is for hungry.
A stands for angry.
L represents lonely.
T, not surprisingly, means tired.

I would add S for sad.

It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when any of the above is in evidence to any great degree.
When two or more are involved, I think they amplify one another.

In any and all of it Papa waits with open arms with the offer of rest.

I find it amazing how the verse that spoke to my heart so many years ago continues to speak so sweetly and consistently to me.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
That is Jesus speaking in the Twenty-Eighth chapter of Matthew.

I did.

I have discovered that it was not a one time thing, but something He was calling me to do on a continual basis.
It also amazes me that I let anything hold me back from going to Him.

All the struggles of life are opportunities to come to Him.
That we can go to Him is something to stir thanksgiving.

The All-Mighty, Creator God wants to carry our burdens and give us rest!

When I remember to look to Him I find much to be thankful for.

His constant Presence in my life.
Salvation, which means eternity with Him.
How He uses everything to bring blessing to me and through me.
The privilege of representing Him to broken people in a broken world.
The beauty of His creation.
A family that loves one another.
Precious friends that fill my life.

I could go on, but suffice to say that my attitude of gratitude is back in place!

Psalm Ninety-Five, verses one through three says it very well,
"O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before His Presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods."