Saturday, December 21, 2013


Emmanuel......God with us...

That has been echoing in my heart for a number of days.

It all began as I was reflecting upon the Lord's Supper.
Communion, which is what I grew up calling it and which I feel is most appropriate.

Jesus instituted this Supper at the last Passover that He ate with His disciples.
We find the description of that meal in the Twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew.
"And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take eat; this is My body."  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.'"
Luke adds to this in the Twenty-second chapter of his gospel writings.
"Do this in remembrance of Me."
Communion is a time for us to stop and meditate on Jesus' great sacrifice for us.
A time to stop and thank Him afresh for this great gift.

For me there are added dimensions.
It is a reminder that what unites us is that blood which was shed for us.

Many years ago I had attended a women's retreat held by the New England district of the C&MA.  The final session brought us all back into one room where we shared communion together.
The district superintendent had come to administer it.  It so happened that this man had been my pastor for a few years in New York, so I knew that he always brought a sense of the holy to the table and that day was no different.

God revealed something fresh to my spirit that day.
As the cup was shared, a vision came to me of a river of blood flowing through and encompassing everyone of us.
It was the life giving blood of Jesus.
The blood that cleanses us, sets us free and unites us.

It was a very solemn experience for me and I was humbled by it.

Papa also uses the Lord's supper to remind me of His Presence.
You see, the One who willingly shed His blood for us, also promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us.  I believe that what Jesus was inferring about the bread being His body and the cup His blood was that He would, indeed, be very present as we partake of that bread and that cup; that He wanted us to stop and take in the fact of His Presence.

The fact of His Presence...
 His Presence which arrived in that manger over two thousand years ago.

Luke reminds us in his first chapter that this truth was foretold by Isaiah.
"Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel," which translated means, "God with us.'"
The final step in my thought process settled on the fact that not only is He with us, but within us!
Hear Jesus' words found in John fourteen, verse Twenty-three,
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him."
  A song was popular many years ago has joined the chorus in my heart.
"Emmanuel, Emmanuel,
His name is called Emmanuel
God with us, revealed in us
His name is called Emmanuel
We love Him so, we love Him so,
His name is called Emmanuel"
God is with us!
Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Every Day is Christmas!

Each year my honey and I host a party to celebrate Christmas with some of our family and friends who are nearby.  I always looked forward to it and enjoyed the preparation...until last year.

December seems to fill up to overflow and year after year I just go with it.  However, with age comes wisdom they say and way less energy.
Last year I found myself less excited about the prospect of preparing for our party.  Yet, this year I automatically put it back on the calendar.  While making my plans the thought came that it wouldn't be such a bad idea to move the event.  I love the gathering of so many dear to me, it is just the timing of it.

The plan was for the next go around was to be put on the calendar for mid-January, when there isn't much going on.  But you see the idea really was from Papa, who loves His girl and knows what is best for her.
Enter the snowstorm.
We wouldn't expect anyone to venture out in all that white stuff, would we?  So the party is moved!
Moved with a new title..."The Reynolds' Annual Every Day is Christmas Party"!

A few days ago I was reading Scripture and writing in my journal, as usual.
My reading had taken me to that wonderful passage in Isaiah, chapter nine, verses six and seven,
"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.   There shall be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.  The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this."
A child...THE CHILD...given to us.
That is Christmas.
Papa giving His Son to us.
Out of His Love.
Out of His mercy and grace.

This gift of His Child keeps giving.
Every day!

Each and every day we have Him, the gift of Heaven.
We have Him for all eternity!

This gift of Jesus is one that...

One of my sons just called me, as I was sitting here writing.
He had a question.
"Mom, who is Jesus to you?"
Funny he should ask, as I was about to answer that question right here!

He is the gift that we find needs more and more unwrapping.
If anyone thinks that their first encounter with Jesus tells the whole story, they are wrong.
And if they settle for that first glimpse, they will be cheating themselves of so much more!

Who Jesus was to me upon my first encounter was the Son of God, who loved me.
Who love me just as I was with all my junk.
That truly was enough for me, for then.

With time I have discovered that He is indeed the Wonderful Counselor.
He never fails to guide me to the right path.  He is Wisdom itself.

Life has offered many challenges, some very daunting, but He has shown up in all His Might and Power every time!

The Eternal aspect of my God is something I cannot wrap my brain around, but I do find comfort in the fact that He will never disappear, nor will He ever leave me or forsake me.  He made that promise in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews!

He is my peace.  Jesus said that He was giving us peace that the world knows nothing of and I can say that He has kept His Word to me.

The future is bright because of Him.  One day He will return and set all things right.  Then the world will know peace, true peace.  The world will learn what justice and righteousness really looks like.
Meanwhile, those of us who continue to unwrap the gift of Him get a taste now!

That gift, which was given to us on Christmas day continues to give every day.
So, yes, every day is Christmas!!

Sounds like a good reason to throw a party!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grace Steps In

Papa, it seems, is always calling us to grow up a little more.  At least that is my ongoing experience!

For most of my life I have avoiding driving in the snow, as much as possible, and when given no choice would whine my way through the ordeal.  Yes, ordeal because that is what I made of it!

These days I have little choice.

Yesterday morning Ray had to get to the gym for his exercise class and then to two separate doctors’ appointment in the afternoon.

For those who don’t know…it was snowing.  The biggest challenge was the other drivers.

As I was carefully wending my way through the ice, snow and slush I realized that I was not experiencing the angst that accompanied such experiences in the past!

What made the difference?  Papa, of course.  I am grateful to Him for His Presence, which is pure peace and also for providing my little Pearly the Subby!  Both give me added confidence.

It was a long day, nevertheless.  We fit in some errands between the various appointments.  (Shopping is much easier when many stay home!)

I do not wear well and by the time we arrived at the pharmacy for Ray’s shingles shot it was nearing dinner time and I was very grateful I had felt prompted to pick up that little cooked chicken!.  (Thank you Medicare for making life more complicated…  It seems that the doctor is authorized to give flu shots, but not the shingles shot!  Thus the extra stop where there were forms to fill out and then a wait for his turn.)

I wandered the store to pass the time, as sitting down to wait would have made it difficult for me not to nod out and standing in one spot causes my back to complain.

Did I mention that I do not wear well?  Well, I don’t and I was growing more tired as the minutes passed.  The recovery programs all have a little acronym that they use to remind us of when we are most vulnerable to stumbling.  It is HALT (I add an “S” to this).

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and Sick.
When we are any of those we are never at our best.  I have learned that I need to keep my mouth firmly closed because one cannot be sure of what will escape from those lips of mine!

So there I was in the aisle of the pharmacy feeling very grumpy and put upon as I was feeling hungry, lonely, tired, which could easily feed into angry, when the piped-in music, which I had not given much attention to began another tune.

It was a lovely instrumental of “Amazing Grace!”  Imagine that!  Right out there in our definitely secular world!

There were no words to be heard, but my heart heard them!

“Amazing Grace, how sweet a sound that saved a wretch like me!”

Grace....unmerited favor extended to me by the LORD of the Universe!

What a timely reminder.  A reminder that He is always with me!  One that stirred my heart to give thanks right there in my weariness.

His Grace steps in no matter whether I am hungry, angry, lonely, tired...
 or sick or all of the above!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Coming up for a little air I realized it has been a while since my last visit to this place.  As it is meant to be, I think. 
You see, Papa is in control and if He doesn't make time for something, I have learned to let it go.  (Most of the time!)  He makes the connections, as He sees fit.

A comment the other day got me to thinking about the subject of connections.  That is what our God is all about....  Connections; in other words - relationships.

A friend had called me for some encouragement, which came, in part, in the form of prayer.
Fast forward a couple of days and a follow up call came in from her.  Papa had resolved the issue for her.  He is good at that.
She thanked me for my part and then made the comment that got me thinking.  She said she knew she should call me, because I am connected.  Oh, she knows that she is connected too, but I am really connected!

Really connected?  In contrast to....??

Webster tells us to be connected is to be linked together; united.
So we are either connected or not.

Applying this to our relationship with the Living God can we be partially connected?  What makes the connection?

Jesus alone makes the connection between us and His Father.
"Now All these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation."  2 Corinthians 5:18
It is a done deal.  One that is complete.  We need but claim it.

A friend was visiting with us this past weekend.  Sergei, who is a Russian pastor.
He shared something that the LORD God had been teaching him.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus cursed a fig tree and it immediately withered. 
The disciples questioned how it happened so quickly.
Jesus replied...
."Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it shall happen."
What stood out for our friend was the phrase "if you have faith, and do not doubt".
God had spoken to him about this showing him that often he would pray and then walk away in doubt.

For me the key to not doubting is to know to whom I am bringing all my concerns, hopes and joys.

Whatever we focus on becomes larger. 
There is only One who can never grow too big. 
That One is our God.

Hebrews says we are to "walk by faith, not by sight."
So even though the situations of our lives may look very bleak, we can be encouraged if we turn from that sight and fix our eyes on the One whom our faith is in!

There lies the opportunity to experience the connection we have with Papa.
Once we are enjoying that then we get to carry this Good News to others.
More connections...
Papa is all about that!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Farewell to an Earth Angel

I lost a friend the other day. 
Actually, I lost her over a month ago, but no one told me.

In 1973 I was a single mother, age twenty-two. 
I was clueless.
There was a whole lot of baggage that kept me company as I tried to make sense of life.

Though I loved my son deeply I was ill-equipped to mother him.
His father had shown little interest in him while we were married and even less once we separated and divorced.
I so wanted him to have a father in his life and thus grasped for anyone who would fill that role.
It was not going well.

The little guy had a vivid imagination by the age of three and wove many a tale about his "father".
The daycare workers became concerned over his insistence of these stories being facts not fantasy.
We were referred to a family support organization.

One of the services offered to us was of a "friend" for my son.
Enter Anita.
I had hoped that it would be a male volunteer, but God knew what my son needed.

Anita was forty-three and a mother of three children.
She loved my son at first sight.

Each week she would take him for some sort of outing. 
At first, the pick up and drop off was at the center. 
In time it moved to our home. 
She took my boy to her home on occasion too.

As time continued on we became friends, friends who grew closer and dearer to one another.
She became not only my son's advocate, but mine as well.
I believe that she modeled for me what being a mother looked like.

Anita loved to refer to me as her earth angel, but I truly believe that it was she who was the angel.

Ours was a friendship that could pick up right where we left off no matter how much time had passed.
Neither of us were telephone people, so our calls were all about making plans to meet.

Over twenty-five years ago we moved to Connecticut from New York.  It was also the time that Anita and her retired husband moved to Pennsylvania.
Year after year, including the early part of this year, I would stop and spend a night with her on my way to West Virginia to visit the son we both loved.

My friend was a character.  She was definitely eccentric and much fun!
When I first met Anita I could tell that she wore a wig.
I had all kinds of ideas of why this was the case, but was way off base!
It took a few years before I finally asked her why the wigs.
Her explanation?
She hated to fuss with hair, so kept hers super short and loved that she could simply drop the wig off and go about her business and then pick it up looking tiptop!

For years Anita carried a very interesting "purse".  It was a wooden cigar box that she had attached a leather strap to for a handle.  She had decorated the box with all kinds of jewels.

Anita went to her own drum beat and I loved it!

This summer I had some difficulty reaching her, so I popped a note in the mail, which brought a prompt call from her. 
She was in a convalescent home recovering from thyroid surgery.  She told me that her family felt she was a bit unsteady and wanted her to recovery where she would not be alone.  You see Anita had lived alone the past eleven years since her husband's death.  Her children lived considerable distances away.  Thus the concern.

A few weeks ago I tried to call her, as I would be heading her way and wanted to visit her wherever she might have been.
Her home number was disconnected and she was no longer at the convalescent home.

I kept putting off checking online for any information.
Until the other day.

My sorrow was doubled because I had not been contacted.
I would have wanted to visit her if I had known she was failing and I would have surely attended whatever services there were for her.

Instead of dwelling on this I will remember all the sweet times we shared.
I am so grateful that Papa brought us together and kept us connected through all these years.
True friends are a gift from God and Anita was one of those precious gifts!

Definitely an earth angel!  :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Corral Those Thoughts!

 Having returned from my latest adventure I thought I would finish sharing my thoughts regarding the passage in Philippians Four.  Verse Eight was a good one to heed on my travels, as it is every day.... no matter where I may be!

I often marvel over what a generous, gracious God my Papa is.  He does not leave us defenseless.  Our God equips us with the weapons and tools needed for this life.  They are available to all who would care to take them up.

Every single person in this world is broken.  We are broken people in a broken world and our LORD understands that fact.  So He has fashioned what we need to find wholeness, healing.

It is His Truth, which reveals what we need and it is one of the weapons He makes available to us.
How privileged we are to be able to find ourselves in such a position.  One that leads to victory through the brokenness!  So many struggle and never progress from that place, yet anyone who comes to Him will find freedom from that very struggle.

Many in my family struggle with addiction of one kind or another.  At times it is difficult to watch them living such broken lives.  It would be easy to want to step in and "fix" them.
That never works.
All it does is draw you into the problem.

Another temptation is to project into the future all that could happen and our thoughts usually run toward the awful what ifs!

Of course, we could just get angry at the destruction that we are witnessing.  This also doesn't take us anywhere good.

Let's see what that verse has to say and what tools we find to help us in the midst of this broken world we live in.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

I heard a speaker many years ago who suggested we imagine each piece of this verse as a part of a fence that we use to corral our thoughts.  
There are eight pieces to this fence: truth, honor, rightness, purity, loveliness, good repute, excellence, praiseworthy.
We set the corral up and then we ask Papa to help us keep the pieces in place.  We also ask Him to get our attention quickly when one falls out of place.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard His small, still voice drawing my attention to errant thoughts.
The more you practice it, the more it becomes a natural reflex.

Sometimes He simply speaks to me about what emotions are churning inside me and I realize that a piece or two of that fence needs to be erected again!

When we have our thoughts corralled then we will find that we are renewing our minds and that brings great blessing to not only ourselves, but all those other broken people God brings our way!
Here is how the Twelfth chapter of Romans, the Second verse puts it:
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Sure Antidote

Continuing with the Fourth chapter of Philippians Paul addresses the issue that holds us back from owning a rejoicing spirit.


You know the word, but just to be clear…

Unease, apprehension, disquiet, fretfulness, angst.

The thesaurus uses yet another word…Fear.

Yes, fear is the culprit.

Under those churning emotions lies fear.  What else causes us to feel unsettled and anxious, but fear?

Fear that something will happen.
Fear that something won’t happen.
Fear of disappointment.
Fear of failure.

What is the antidote to this fear?


Bring it all to Him.  All, as in EVERYTHING!

That is what verse six says, but that is not all it says,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Did you notice what our attitude is to be as we pray?  One of thanksgiving.  An attitude of gratitude!

Now how do we do that when what we are praying about has caused us so much angst?
I can tell you how I do it.

I remember Who it is that I am praying to.

The King of Kings and the LORD of lords.

The One who loves me and delights in working all things out for good.  All I have to do is look back over my life thus far and I am reminded of this fact!

It is basically being still and knowing He is God.

With the antidote comes a peace that only God can give. It is the peace that will protect our hearts and minds.
Protect them from that thief Fear.

 It isn't something we can wrap our minds around, but that is okay.  We don't need to understand; we just need to receive it!

It is the antidote to whatever is plaguing you!

What an amazing Savior we have!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Joy of Forbearance

Spending time this morning in the book of Philippians, specifically the Fourth chapter, verses four through nine has stirred a few thoughts.  I am challenged and encouraged.

One of my sons is in a whole lot of emotional pain right now.  Thus he is constantly on my heart and in my thoughts.

My first inclination is to try to make things better for him, but then I realize that I do not know what that would look like.

Well, yes I do.  Papa’s Presence is what is best for him and me and each one of us.

My son has told me that he never remembers being in so much pain before, yet he also knows that it is a rich time of growth; a time of growing intimacy with our Savior.

So here I am at verse four.
“Rejoice in the LORD always, again I will say, rejoice!”
I am able to rejoice always because I know that He is faithful and that He is all I and my son and, again, each one of us need.

By keeping focused on the Beautiful One we can stick it out and that attitude will stand out.

That is what we read in verse five.

“Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.  The LORD is near.
See it isn’t all about us, but it is all about Him.  It is all about lifting Him up and all men being drawn to Him.  They need to learn that He is, indeed, near!

When we have a part in that, OH! what joy and blessing!!

I might just continue this thought tomorrow, if Papa allows!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sweet Memories

Books and music have always played a very prominent role in my life. 
To one degree or another I purposely passed this on to my sons.

Music was interwoven through my childhood.  It is, of itself, one of the highlights. 
Books share the spot light of those times.

My childhood home was usually filled with music.  Both parents had a great appreciation for it.  So much so that they co-hosted a radio program where they played a variety of music, which they always introduced with a little insight offered into its composer, performer or story.

How grateful I am that the reality of how their prerecorded programs preparation affected my sisters and myself did not cast a shadow on  music itself.

I, with many others, have found music to be a vehicle to tapping into and expressing emotions.  Books have been both a place to escape and one that offered me a glimpse into others’ lives and worlds.

As a child I was drawn to books and this was without the encouragement or modeling of such. I always had one in hand or close by.

Some things do not change.

Music is still a vehicle to tap into and express my emotions and often to do so before my God.

For each of my sons music is something they treasure and enjoy having fill their days.  When they were children we explored quite a variety of music genres together.  It was rare to find us without music playing.

Even before they were able to hold a book they were surrounded by them. 
As very little ones, they went from clumsily opening their cardboard book to drool over its pictures (literally) to dragging them to me to “read” to them and on and on until they were ready to sit and listen to a story.
To this day they love when I read to them.

We have covered quite a variety of books over the years.  Each one its own grand adventure, which were used to build some wonderful shared memories!

The other day I was sitting at the drive-up teller’s window of a local bank where I was afforded a view that brought back a sweet memory of the joy of sharing books with my boys.

Next to the bank a car dealership is being built.  One this particular day many machines dotted the landscape.  Each machine was part of the crew that was tackling the mountain of dirt and rock that had been piled up as excavating had been done.
There was a rock crusher and a front end loader, as well as the customary dump truck and digger.  How I love to watch them at work!

And as I watched I thought how children enjoyed such scenes.  I know my boys always did.
That is probably why they loved one particular book so much, especially when they were still pretty young.

The book was filled with pictures of all kinds of trucks and machines and as I read their names I was also expected to make their corresponding noise.  Oh, how the boys would laugh!  Their favorite was the rock crusher.

So as I sat there watching I was flooded with the joy of those times.  Driving away I thanked my Papa for such wonderful memories and the privilege of having such.

My heart was full and totally content.  I was overwhelmed with God’s grace and goodness.

Heading up the road I came, just then, to a place where the trees cleared and the clear, blue of the sky filled my view.  There, in the full of day, the moon was smiling down at me.
It seemed that the old man in the moon was as happy and content as I!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Dream House

Many of us have a picture in our head of our ideal home.
I had one such picture in mind for quite a long time.

In 1987 Ray and I were house hunting.  We visited quite a few in our quest.
On one particular day we were shown two homes.
One of which was the house that fit the description of my dream house.
The other was the one that we ended up buying.

The dream house was a big, old Victorian with a wraparound porch...
Plus a back porch and a mud room...
A walk-in pantry that had its own sink and counters...
Original wood floors and molding...
A stairway that had a window half way up where it turned ninety degrees...
An upstairs hallway that could be a room itself...
With a porch...
Large, beautiful windows...
A lovely garden that enveloped a path...
A grape arbor...
I could go on, but I am sure that you get the idea-I loved it!

Though Ray could not identify the heating system he would have agreed to buy it if I had asked.
I nearly did, but had a check it my spirit.

Then we saw the second house.
A small nondescript ranch.
With a great backyard!
As we walked through the house Papa gave me a vision of the boys playing in the yard and all of us living it that little house.  It was such a strong impression that it overrode the one that had been in residence for so long.
It was the house that He had for us; it fit into His plan for this family.

Fifteen years ago we moved from that little ranch into another house that was also far from a Victorian.  Yet, the right one for us, once again.

I have been content and have never regretted not having that dream house.

However, for a while now that old dream has been revived with a slight variation....
The house is not for me and my family.

I dream of having a place where so many of the broken people that Papa brings across my path can go to heal and feel safe.
A place where they can learn how to live.
A place where they can meet the One who is Life.

Yes, a place that they can call home...
Where they can learn what the word home is meant to be.

Today I spoke with one of the precious girls I have been working with.
She completed the rehab program a number of months ago  The latest in a long line of rehabs.
Thus far she has held onto her sobriety, which is a record.

I believe that she is holding on by a slim thread.
A thread that can easily be cut and most likely by her.

It is beginning to unravel.
She thinks she is pregnant, which is causing much stress.

My dear friend's parents both died from overdoses when she was very young.
She lives with her aunt and uncle.  There is a whole lot of dysfunction in that home and a pregnancy would certainly add to the imbalance.

Another young girl, is still in the rehab  At least I hope she is.
She and one of the guys, who had come back for some outpatient care were caught in a major lip lock.

These two young women, as well as the young man are typical examples of those new to recovery.
They have never learned how to have a relationship, as they were too busy using others to get what they needed - their drug of choice.

There is not a one who would not benefit from some mentoring and guidance in basic life skills.
Very few, if any have had healthy role models.
They need the time and place to heal and learn of their own value and the value of others.

I imagine a place where those who the LORD calls can offer what they have been given - a  chance for real wholeness!  A place where all these dear ones will have the opportunity to exchange the burden of brokenness for the yoke of Jesus.
A place where they are able to hear Him call...
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest!"

So Papa the dream is alive.  Do what you will with it.

Our Daily Bread

The assigned reading this morning was found in Matthew, the sixth chapter, verses nine through fifteen.

A very familiar passage; one I knew before I ever actually opened a Bible.

“The LORD’s Prayer: or as I knew it,  “The Our Father”.

Yes, so very familiar.  Yet, as in all of God’s Word, there was something fresh for me in this reading.

Give us this day our daily bread….

As I read this line the question came….is this solely speaking of food for the body?
 Is it simply physical nourishment that I need to receive each day?
 Absolutely not, but it is a matter of recognizing and admitting my need.

What do I hunger for?

In one chapter earlier Matthew records these words from Jesus:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Righteousness…virtue…justice…a sense of being right with God Himself.

In each and every heart there is a longing for Him; for many it stays buried.  It is a dull, hungry ache that we attempt to satisfy with any and all things but the One who will satisfy.

Bread has been referred to as “the staff of life”, which means a staple of life, something basic to sustaining life.

Jesus spoke of Himself as “the bread of life” in the Sixth chapter of John, the thirty-fifth verse.
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
He is the bread that thoroughly satisfies all our hunger.

I hunger for a number of things.

You will find one topping the list:  All I know and love to be whole and set free from addiction.

This will only happen if they “Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
Psalm Thirty-four, verse Eight ends with a promise…
“How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Satisfied by the Bread of Life.

In the Seventh Chapter of Revelation we find another promise.
“They shall hunger no more…”
 Oh, my Father, who is in heaven...satisfy my hunger!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Optional Laws?

The subject of the law has been coming to mind frequently as of late.

I am deeply grateful that we, as Christians, are under grace, not the law.  
We are set free from sin and death, which was a result of not being able to keep the law. 
Praise Jesus!

However, the consequences of not keep the law are still in operation and there is evidence of this all around us for the present. 
We are a broken people in a broken world. 
That is just how it is.

 Being imperfect creatures we make mistakes, get careless; like me on my back porch stairs.

I knew they were slippery.  Actually, I was preparing to scrub them thoroughly, as all the dampness we have been experiencing had caused mold to begin to grow on them.  We were having company the following day and I didn’t want anyone falling.

You would have thought that I would have been extra careful, but it was one of those moments when Debbie was in her head making a list of all the things she needed to do.

Before I could clean those stairs I needed to trim some of the wisteria back that had started to encroach on the stairs.  That is when I was reminded of a few laws of physics.
 Friction and gravity.

My feet had no traction and as I slipped I, of course, headed down the stairs.  Feet first, thank God!
I landed hard on the seat of my pants (capris in this case) and on my elbow.

The consequence is that I feel like I have been riding a horse hard for a long distance and had gripped the reigns very tightly the whole way.  My elbow is very sore, but I am so very grateful that I didn’t break anything.  Thank You, Papa!

Now these consequences will pass. 
Hopefully, I will have learned my lesson and respect the laws that Papa put into operation at the beginning of time. 
They are not optional laws!

Speaking of optional laws I have been wondering whether they have changed the rules of the road without informing me.
Twice this past week I came close to being involved in serious accidents.
In both cases I was approaching a light that had turned green and right before I entered the intersection cross traffic drove through and not at a slow speed!

The first included a box truck and two pick up trucks that came through as if they had the green light. 
Last I knew when one has a green light the cross traffic has red!
I followed those vehicles imagining that they were all together and on some sort of mission. 
Well, each one turned onto a different road so I ceased tailing them.

Two days later it was a tractor trailer that ignored his light.

If I had been a second sooner in my travels I would have experienced the consequences of one of those drivers actions.
I would like to remind those drivers that the rules of the road are not optional anymore than the law of physics!

Oh yes, we all break one law or another. 
This brings to mind what Paul wrote in the beginning of the Seventh chapter of Romans, the Twenty-fifth verse.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our LORD!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Man in the Moon

Last night I read a comment a friend had posted on Face Book, which caused me to grab my keys, jump into my car and drive down the road.

What did she share that caused such a reaction?
She and her hubby had taken a ride themselves and encountered an amazing moon on their travels.

It seems that last night, as well as the previous one, were distinguished by what is called a "super" moon.

Neither I nor my friend could see it from our homes, as we are surrounded with trees that only allowed the hint of the moon's glow because of the position it held in the sky.

I did not have to take my car very far before I came upon a clearing that allowed a full view of said moon.
There it hung in the sky and it seemed as if I was seeing beyond it into space.
Clouds here and there accompanied it and seemed to be beyond our atmosphere, wisps among the stars that glittered so faintly.

As I gazed up at the moon I remembered how excited I would become as a little girl to be able to see the "man in the moon."
I recall feeling safe and protected as the moon's friendly face looked down on me.

That same feeling came over me once more.
However, this time it was because I know the One who made that moon.

How I marvel over the beauty, order and magnitude of all He has created!
Which, of course, then leads me to marvel more so over the fact that this Magnificent Creator God, not only looks down upon me with love, but came down to this earth, reducing Himself to a mere human all because of that love!

Looking up into that vast sky that has no end brings to mind The First chapter of Colossians, the Seventeenth verse,
"And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
He not only holds it all together, but is actually amongst His creation.
Right alongside each one of us.

Yes, though His creation is vast and He keeps it all together, He is intimately involved with each bit of it and each one of us.

Though it seems that the "man in the moon" is looking down on us, we can be sure that Papa always has His eye on His children.
"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His loving kindness."  Psalm 33:18

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Such Grace!

Looking through the entries in my journal for this past week I see a pattern.
Much of what I have written has been related to one topic: Grace.

First let's make sure we are all on the same page as far as the definition of grace.   The dictionary uses many words to define it, but I believe two will suffice - unmerited favor.

It is a blessing when anyone extends grace to another, yet when it is God doing the extending, blessing is just not sufficient a word to describe what God's grace brings to us.

Papa brought me to the first ten verses of the Second chapter of Ephesians a number of times this week.

The first three verses state our former condition, which was not pretty.

"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."

That was our condition.
Living in the lusts of the flesh...
Children of wrath....

A sorry state.

Then I read two little words that seemed to jump off the page.


Grace activated!

Yes, we were lost, headed for destruction, unable to help ourselves, yet according to verses four and five....

"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),"
Mercy moved His to grace, which offers us life!
Made alive together with Christ!

Such grace!

Continuing on with verse six and seven we learn His grace didn't stop with making us alive, which would have been a great enough gift...
"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."
In our God's economy we are already seated in heavenly places!
Don't miss the fact that it is with Him!

He intends to continue to extend that grace in its fullness to us!

By His grace, our sin is covered and forgotten, we are clean, new and able to be seated with Him!

Such grace!

Yes, grace saves us!  Read it for yourself in verse eight....
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."
Grace stirs our hearts to have faith, we don't discover the faith to believe and receive on our own.  It is all grace.

This wonderful grace has even more....
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Verse ten
A plan, something we can do for Him and who wouldn't want to take part in it in view of His grace?

Yes, He not only gives us life by His grace, but position and purpose!

I would echo Paul's desire for us,
"To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our LORD Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the LORD Jesus Christ."
 He extends grace to us...
May we give the glory to Him!

Friday, June 14, 2013

More Than Shelter

Opening my bible to the sixth-first Psalm I discovered a date alongside its first three verses.

December 26, 2004.

Eight and a half years ago.

What was happening in my life?
Much turmoil I am sure.  Many heartaches.

On that day, in the midst of all the turmoil I found solace in the words penned by King David so many centuries before.
"Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy."

This night I once again am touched by these words.

They wash over me as they pour from the true Author’s heart to mine.

A message of love.

A loving reminder.

So many times He, my dearly beloved Papa has placed me in the cleft of the Rock. 
The Rock that is, indeed, Higher than I!

When my heart barely could muster the strength to continue to beat…

When the darkness cast by the enemy threatened to overtake, He proved Himself greater…
He cast a mighty shadow…that overtook everything.
The tower of strength, where I have been hidden away many a time…

The Psalm continues...
"Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings."
Where else would I want to be but in His Presence forever?!
Finding refuge under His mighty wings!

There is more in verse four!
" For You have heard my vows, O God; You have given me the inheritance of those who fear Your Name"

Our gracious, loving God does not stop at sheltering us and affording us protection, but He makes us His own, part of His family!
In response to our sincere desire to honor and revere Him, He welcomes us home, our eternal home!

There we receive and enjoy our inheritance as a child of the King!

I gladly join my voice with David's...
"So I will sing praise to Your Name forever, that I may pay my vows day by day."

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Prayer Warrior?

It seems that we Christians have cultivated our own language.

On occasion I wonder where some of the terms ever were originated.
Certainly not from Scripture.

Often our lingo causes non-Christians to feel truly like outsiders.
Certainly not the way to make them feel they would be welcome in Papa's Kingdom.

To be honest,  many of the phrases do not sit well with me....
Some are used to define an individual's spirituality.  Labels of sorts.

I am not fond of labels. 
They seem to attempt to define us.
And, at times, to elevate us, set us apart from everyone else.

Many of our labels are meant to be praise, but this just makes me more uncomfortable.

Here is one that has been coming to my attention quite a bit.

"You are such a prayer warrior!"

I hear that one a lot.

First, where did that term come from?
Secondly, what does one have to do to qualify?
Thirdly, how does anyone else know whether we really fit the bill or not?

Do I pray?
Of course.

How much do I pray?
I have no idea.

Prayer for me is an ongoing conversation with my Papa.
Scripture does say,
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
If I tell you I will pray, I make every attempt to do so. 
However, I most often will simply pray with you right on the spot. 
Then, if the Holy Spirit brings the concern to mind later, I will pray some more.

For years I had lists upon lists of prayer concerns.  Actually, I still do have a few,  but (and that is a big but) I mostly rely on the Spirit to guide my prayers.  There are just too many requests and concerns, but He knows what needs to be focused on.  In the spiritual realm prayer is used to do battle, so I want to aim my weapon accurately.

So does this make me a prayer warrior.
No, just a Christian who takes to heart the power and need for prayer.
One who also happens to enjoy talking with her Papa!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tightrope Walking

A comment made yesterday will not leave me alone.

What was it?
"Following Christ seems like such a tightrope walk and the rope is fishing wire."
It was spoken by the leader of a class that I am taking.
A response immediately came to mind, but Papa did not want it to be shared.

Well, His ways are not my ways and I have learned that His ways are much better than mine, so I heeded  His restraint.

I have permission to share here though.  :)

To me following my precious Savior, Jesus Christ has brought me into such a broad place.  A place where we can explore together and even do a little dancing. 
You would be hard pressed to do either on a tightrope.

In all thirty-four years of our love affair I have never felt as if I were on a tightrope.
Sure there have been plenty of times when I had to surrender one behavior or attitude or another and even when my flesh wasn't happy and resisted.   Yet I still had the sense of my God's love and this gave me the assurance that He meant it all for good.  I also knew that He wasn't waiting for me to fall or fail so He could punish me.
My God would not make me walk anything so narrow and precarious as that tightrope.
At least not alone.

Truly He doesn't have a child of His walk anywhere alone.
He goes with each one of us.
So if, at any time, He placed us on such a thing, He would be right there with us, as our safety net.

And we would not be afraid because...
" There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love."  1 John 4:18

We are on a glorious adventure with Jesus. 
One that unfolds one step at a time. 
One that is designed for our success.

When we encounter Jesus and begin our intimate relationship with Him, we are not handed a set of rules that must be adhered to every moment of the day at all costs.
That is not what a relationship is about and that is not what grace is all about!

Relationships develop with time and attention, as we get to know one another.
As a relationship grows we learn more about each other's likes and dislikes and we seek to please one another.  Not out of fear, but out of love.

If we need to be overly concerned about adhering to the rules, then our attention must be fixed on them.  That is not where our attention should be.
He is worthy of all our attention and love.

When we focus on our beautiful Savior, then He works through us and produces in us the life that rules never could.
Remember the Law only demands obedience without offering any power to do so, but grace gives free pardon for sin and the power to obey.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away, behold, new things have come."  2 Corinthians 5:17

So if you happen to find me on a tightrope, you can be sure that Jesus is teaching me some fancy footwork.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Season of Warmth

Each day when I journal, if I feel it is something that Papa would have me share here, I mark it with an arrow.  Over the past few weeks quite a few arrows have appeared throughout my writing.
And that is as far as I have gotten, as you are well aware.

Our lives move through one season after another.  Some are longer than others.
In New England, where I live winter seems to be the longest.  Really it is simply that autumn shows itself mid-September and grows cooler and cooler through the next few months until Winter itself appears.  At that point you can no longer remember being warm and will not for many a month.

When spring tip toes in it stirs many out of our self-made cocoons to sniff the air and welcome the warmth of the sun.  However, in this part of the country spring can go back into hiding without warning and we quickly fluff up our nests and snuggle back in.  We know that spring will reappear, which gives us hope and makes us willing to keep a loose grip on our blankets knowing we soon will be able to venture out into those warm sun rays again.

My life seems to have followed this same pattern quite closely. 

Slowly Papa has allowed me to return to some of the things that I so enjoyed doing previous to my honey’s accident. Doing so brings a warm ray of joy to my heart  and now I am  immersed in the full sunshine!
It has always been one of my greatest sources of joy to be involved in leading Bible studies.  What a gift to be back in such a position!

Each week I have the privilege of leading two studies; one of which is in the Gospel of Mark for the staff, volunteers and clients of ACTS4.   We are a small group as of yet, but we are an eager-to-learn one!
The second is in the book of Romans, which a number of my dear friends take part in.  Our gracious God has used it to draw us into a close knit group and really I consider us what one would call a “home group.”

I share this in way to explain why so many of the things I have intended to share here have not made it here as of yet.  You see both these studies require quite a bit of preparation on my part.  I do not want to leave one stone unturned so I can share all Papa has for us!

In addition to these endeavors I am taking part in a course which is from Francis Frangipane.  Papa is busy applying much of it to my heart.

All of this studying and preparation has taken on a rhythm which may allow me time to share a few thoughts regularly on this page.  I should say that I am sensing Papa giving me liberty to return to writing here!

Let me close with one of those little arrows from my journal.  It is in response to the following Scripture:

“But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;  I trust in the loving kindness of God forever and ever.  I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, and I will wait on Your Name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.”  Psalm 52:8-9

He is indeed the One who has done it!  It is Him who has given me new life, life that is fresh, like a young sapling!  A life that grows and bears fruit!  An abundant life lived in the warmth of His love!

Yes, a life which is lived in His very Presence!  A life planted in the midst of His house among His family!

Oh what a life!  What a lovely season He has ushered me into!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Praying Without Ceasing

Continuing to spend time in the Psalms my attention is regularly drawn to the subject of prayer.
Most psalms are either a prayer of petition or praise to God or a call for others to do so.

Psalm 50 was the reading for this morning.  Here we find God addressing His people and what He is saying is that their rituals and sacrifices are not what He is looking for.  He wants to hear form them personally.  It is a sacrifice of thanksgiving that He seeks.

We cannot express thanksgiving without our heart; it is always personal.
A life lived out of gratitude is a different story than one lived by ritual.

Our God is all about relationships.
Relationships involve communication and care.
That means prayer is essential to a relationship with our God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to..
"Prayer without ceasing."
In other words be in constant communication with our God.

How do we live that out?
Can we be talking with God constantly?
In a sense yes.

In the devotional Today in the Word, which is published by Moody, I read something about a woman named Simone Weil.  She was a French philosopher in the early part of the twentieth century.   Her book Waiting for God includes an essay entitled "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God."
Quite a mouthful!
The direction of that essay was to encourage learning, not for learning's sake nor to pick a favorite subject, but to use it to develop the faculty of attention which can be directed to God. to her, prayer meant to give one's full attention to God.

As I thought about this I realized that this is what we read in Scripture over and over.  Be focused.  Develop and grow with the purpose of being able to Allow God to be woven through our entire life, the very fabric of our lives.  Do everything for Him and know that He is in everything.  He is omnipresent and so we should seek to recognize His Presence in the midst of NOW.
We will not be disappointed.

So pray without ceasing.  Recognize that it is His very breathe that was breathed into us to give us life.  And have the ability and strength to recognize Him.  It is He whose Presence we are in the midst of; enveloped by Him.
Yes, whether we know it or not.  He is here.
As we practice the mindset of allowing everything to direct us to Him and to do everything for Him we will find ourselves praying with ceasing!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Come to Jesus

I have been experiencing life in its abundance; so much so that I have had to absorb it before attempting to share any of it here.

There has been quite a bit of sorrow in the mix and yet with it joy and peace.  Joy and peace in greater measure, of which I am deeply grateful.

However, I had to hit a  low first.

A deep, dark low where I lay stunned.

Stunned by the darkness and opposition that seemed to press in from all sides. 
Everywhere I looked I found evidence of it and it weighed heavily upon my heart.

And then I heard the loving voice of my Jesus say “Come.”

With that Word I realized that He was, indeed, present all the time!

I reached for Him and He lifted me up from that deep, dark place and set me on solid ground.

Today one of my favorite songs came on Pandora.  It is entitled “Come to Jesus” and sung by Chris Rice.

As I listened it occurred to me that it really says it all.  Here is what it means to me.

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!
I spend a good amount of time with those who struggle with addiction.  Actually, everybody struggles with one thing or another.  I would cry to each one to raise their head, realize He is there and come to Jesus!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!
In coming to Jesus our pain and struggle is replaced with a song which we can then sing to Him!
And like a newborn baby
Don't be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!
Having come to Jesus does not mean that we have reached perfection, but He is there to catch us and hold us and keep us, leading us to victory!
Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!
The darkness will press in at times and sorrows will overwhelm, but we need but cry to Him and will discover that He is there full of life, which is ours to share!
O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!
With the rediscovery of His Presence and His Love which stirs the song in our heart there is nothing else to do but dance!
 And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory's side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

With our last breath we will take flight and find ourselves face-to-face with our Savior!

I have made a note for my family that this song is to be sung at the service that will be held to celebrate my life flying to Jesus.  Whenever that day may come. 
All of my beloved will gather, some who have not come to Jesus as of yet, some who need to rediscover Him and yet some who are dancing for Him.  May each and every heart be stirred to realize more fully the Presence and come to Jesus!

"You will make known to me the path of life; in Your Presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."  Psalm 16:11

Saturday, April 20, 2013


“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.  You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever.  Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One, in Your splendor and Your majesty!  And in Your majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness…” Psalm 45:1-5a

Yes, Fair Savior ride!
Ride to remind us that the victory is won!

Death has been defeated!

Though that shadow still falls upon us, it is truly an illusion for you have vanquished it for all time!
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know is part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.”  1Corinthians 13:12

Our loss feels so real; and it is, yet not.
 So very temporary.

Another reminder of our frailty and Your sufficiency.
We have had too many reminders as of late.

Another reminder of the victory that has been won.

Help us see You on Your grand charger.

Help us to remember the Name written on Your robe and thigh.
“And on His robe and on His thigh He has a Name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Revelation 19:16

Oh, God of all comfort and all grace without You we would be without hope.
 However, we do have a sure hope!

Our Victorious God, infuse this hope into every heart that mourns today….

Those who have lost a loved one way too soon….
due to evil’s destructive ways…
due to human error

We long for the day when You wipe away every tear.

Meanwhile, ride on Oh Mighty Victorious Warrior KING!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Only Answer

There is a humorous little story that circulates among Sunday school teachers.  It is how on occasion a child might not be sure what answer you are looking for to your question, but answers anyway because they are sure they cannot be wrong...

With confidence they blurt out JESUS!
No matter the question....

What were the lepers asking for?

Where were they going?

What did the 5000 get to eat?

And are they really wrong?
Truly behind every plea and desire and need Jesus is the answer.
He is the only answer.

This past week has sent me into a tailspin.

My husband has been struggling with increased pain, which has been wearing him out and down.
The doctor's office dropped the ball in responding in a timely, orderly manner and I had to go into battle mode.
Not my favorite pose.
Little did I know the battle that was just over the horizon.....

Then came one prayer request after another.

Pray for my grandson, Zacchi.  He doesn't have much longer; the cancer is spreading fast.

Pray for my friend...pray for my nephew, Drew.  He has been taken from jail to the hospital in need of a shunt to his brain.  They will not tell us anything more and will not allow visitors.

Pray for my son, Tim.  He has been in a serious car accident!  There are injuries to his brain, chest and hip.  Injuries similar to my husband's.  He made it through, so surely Tim will also!

Pray for my son.  (name withheld)  He is suicidal and out of contact with us!

My heart has been so burdened for these precious young men and their families.  It has been one of those times when you indeed pray without ceasing!  I lifted them up to my gracious God confident that he would answer.

A few days ago my friend's son, Tim entered into the Presence of the LORD leaving behind his pregnant wife of three years.

This news hit me hard. 
The fresh realization that life is not safe nor easy, even for a Christian, came over me.
It seemed like all the grief and fears that have come my way were stirred up.

I have been in a miserable, cranky state.

Having brought my struggles to Papa I had felt a measure of peace.
Until the phone rang...

My precious ladies from the rehab were to attend a day of pampering, thanks to ACTS4, which has become a yearly event that previous rehab residents have attended.
We had been talking about it for weeks and they were excited...

Until today when the rehab decided to deny them the privilege.
I had not made a formal request.
My heart is grieving for these dear women who were so looking forward to the day.
I feel as if I have failed them somehow....

What is the answer to...
those concerned for their friend/relative who is struggling with mental or physical health needs and yet beyond their reach?
the family grieving the loss of a strong young man?
another family's ongoing grief as they see their loved one slip away?
the women who need some TLC?
this lady who heart is breaking and then breaking some more?

The answer is JESUS!
 "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried..."  Isaiah 53:4a
Yes, the only answer is the One who said,
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28
I wanted to climb into bed and pull the covers over my head and still might, but I will imagine that it is His lap that I am curled up on.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Papa spoke a special Word to my heart this morning and just to make sure I really took it deeply into my heart He had my Pastor draw attention to it again.
He is so good!

This Word is not for me alone, but for all that will listen.

The Twentieth chapter of the Gospel of John was the focus of my reading this morning both at home and in church.  This stands to reason considering that it opens with the empty tomb.  What is more appropriate to read on Resurrection Sunday?

The Scripture tells of encounters with the risen Christ.
Mary Magdalene was the first to see Him.

At first she did not  realize who was speaking to her.  Mary was grieving her loss and her eyes were filled with the tears of grief.
It was when He spoke her name that she recognized her LORD.

When Jesus speaks the name of one of His beloved it is spoken with more love and tenderness than anyone else could ever muster.

Imagine if Mary was so caught up in her pain that she did not listen.
You know we all do that at times.
We can be so engrossed in rehearsing our troubles, our losses and our disappointments that we are not really listening; we are not paying attention.
At other times we are busy planning our next steps and again not listening.

What Papa spoke to my heart is that He comes to each one individually, but we must listen for His Voice so we don't miss hearing it expressing love for especially us.
He came just for us.
Each one of us.
He continues to come to each one.
Let's be listening with our hearts!

"...Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!"                  Isaiah 43:1

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Back from a very lovely, restful vacation and sporting a tan I am attempting to ease back into my regular routine.  I still hear the waves lapping the beach and am savoring the time that I had to wander along the shore with one of my dearest friends.
We spent much time talking and praying together.
Ah bliss....

I thought I'd stop by here just to see if Papa had anything for me to say.  If there was anyone that might be listening....
Truly I thought by now no one was visiting this sight, but found that some still do.  Surprising to me!

It is Holy Week.
The time that commemorates Jesus' death and culminates by celebrating His resurrection, which happens tomorrow.
A very precious time for all who love Him.
I have the extra blessing of having begun my personal, love relationship with Him during this week.
Thirty-four years ago.
Talk about bliss!

What does that word mean?
According to my thesaurus it is:
Enjoyment, happiness, delight, pleasure, harmony, ecstasy, heaven, paradise.
Do I walk around with my head in the clouds surrounded by rainbows and butterflies or the such?
Not by a long shot.
Yet, just the thought of Him brings pleasure.
Not only the thought but  the fact that He scatters many reminders of His Presence through out my days.

His resources know no limits and He delights in sharing them with His children.

Often when I read Scripture  I find many promises for those who love God.

Psalm thirty-six contrasts those who do not fear God with those who do.
The wicked's heart is instructed by sin and is flattered by the same.  The picture drawn is a very dark, hopeless one.
Those who fear God enjoy the eternal blessings and resources of their God.
 A picture of hope and promise is seen.

Two verses spoke loudly to my heart and caused me to reflect on the grace of God. 

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!  And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house; and You do give them to drink of the river of Your delights."
His delights?  Could those delights be His bliss??

All ours because of Jesus!  True bliss!

"Oh,the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!"  Romans 11:33

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Little Sparkle

Each morning Papa and I spend some alone time in my little sanctuary.
This morning was no different.

I sat with my Bible open to Psalm thirty-two, where King David records his experience after he admitted his sin before God.  The sin was adultery and murder.
How important it is to approach all Scripture with an open, hungry heart that is willing to hear from God on a personal level.  It is our loss if we only look at it as a slice of history.
Additionally we lose out if we come with a superior attitude.   Too easy to do, after all in this case, we haven't orchestrated some one's murder.  Like wise, many have not deliberately entered into adultery.

Ah, but haven't we?

How important it is for us to take in the whole counsel of God!

If we move into the New Testament we find Jesus' teaching about such things as murder and adultery.
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'You shall not commit murder and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."  Matthew 5:21-22
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart."  Matthew 5:27-28
Oh, you could spend all your days in the Sermon on the Mount and never exhaust the lessons it holds!

Reflecting on this Scripture with the Holy Spirit's guidance certainly is humbling.
Yet, so refreshing!
If we come eager to hear out of a desire to draw nearer to Him and to become more conformed to His Image, well then, you can be certain He will honor that desire.

As I meditated on the things that were brought up out of my heart, I happen to glance out of my window.

The morning sun was bathing the blanket of snow that covered our yard.with its pure light.
This caused little bits of light to seem to come from the snow itself.

I decided to research the cause of this phenomenon.

The Weather Guys on The Why Files site explained...
" Each ‘sparkle’ is a reflection of the sun’s image from a single crystal."
They said more, but Papa had me at that one sentence.

Our God shines through our brokenness and is reflected in the lives that are surrendered to Him.
what a beautiful picture!
"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness."2 Corinthians 12:9
To which I respond with Paul,
"Most gladly, therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
This is not a boasting in our sin, but an admitting to our sinful nature and boasting in His grace!

What a privilege and joy to be able to sparkle for Jesus!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Humble Walk

Humility has been the main topic that Papa has been sticking with as of late.
Accordingly, it seems to me that every verse of scripture and every issue that arises seems to lend itself to this subject.
When our God wants to get a message across He uses everything and anything!

Of course, the Frances Frangipane course I am taking at the moment has much to say about the topic.
However, all he is doing is pointing out what Scripture has to say about it.
The perfect example of being humble is our Savior Himself.

As He humbled Himself, He kept His eyes and heart fixed on the Father.
As we learn humility, we must look to Him.
I think that is the key.
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."  Micah 6:8
Choosing to walk with our God, aware of His Holy Presence helps us to be humble.
True justice and a love of kindness flows from humility.

When we are not focused on self, but on Him, then we are in a position to be fair and kind to those around us.

Yes, we need to remember who is on the Throne.
It isn't any one of us.

The minute we lose sight of that, we tend to elevate ourselves and believe the lie that we have any power of our own.
Then thinking we are in control we make foolish choices.

We dare not forget that we are powerless apart from our God.

When we are doing anything in our own "strength" the flesh has a tendency to play God.
We might even try to put words in God's mouth.
Oh, just subtle little additions to what He has said.... 
We just embellish a bit...

I was reading about temptation of Eve in Genesis 3 the other day and was struck by something new.
We know that during her conversation with the enemy she told him that the LORD had instructed Adam and her not to eat, nor touch, the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God had not forbidden them from touching it.
She put words in God's mouth!

I have thought about this many times, but a new slant had come to me.
Once we deviate from God's Word by adding to it, we have caused a crack in our foundation.
We open ourselves up to be shaken.

Once we have added to His Word we have weakened it in our mind.  For we know it is not entirely His.
This makes it more difficult to stand upon.
Thus the shaky foundation.

The humble dare not add one word to His Word.
They know it is Sacred and their own words are not.

We dare not elevate anything but our God.
If He is on the Throne of our lives, where He rightly belongs, then His Word will be held as holy also.

If we are seeking to be humble we will be keeping our eyes on Him and will not be distracted to follow anyone else.
Not even a godly person.

In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul addressed a problem that had arisen.  People were becoming divided into followers of different teachers.
I am certain that the men they admired were lovers of God, but they were not God.

It is too easy to become enamored by someone who imparts truth to you in a way that stirs your heart.  
It is critical to remember that any blessing that comes to you is the Spirit's work through a willing vessel.

It is not about impressing anyone with our words or following someone who is impressive.
Isn't it our desire to be accepted and recognized that often motivates us?
There is only One whose Words truly impress for eternity and only One worthy to be followed.
He calls us to come in our frailty, admitting our weakness and our need. 
There we find acceptance and our rightful place.
"Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 18:4


Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Unique Walk

There is nothing like a spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar.
That is one of the pleasures that one can enjoy once the children are grown and gone.
Since I didn't allow them the privilege I refrained from indulging while they were sharing this house.
However, now there are no such restrictions!

It is not unusual to find me zoning by via a little movie watching.  (Possible with a jar in hand).
There are times when my brain must get a rest from all that generally occupies it.
It needs some a-musement.
A means no and muse means think.  So amuse is to not think.

I use to think that was a bad thing.

I am enjoying the series, Parenthood, while I get my exercise via my treadmill. 
(Part of the show's attraction is how similar the family's interaction is to that of my sisters and mine.)
It is one of the distractions that keep me going for the full hour.

This is not a confession of my humanity, it is a declaration!

Quite often Papa brings someone new into my life, whether an author or teacher or a new acquaintance or friend.
Everyone of them has something that I can glean from them.
And when it is someone that I connect with on a personal level, I hope they gain as well.

I know I have shared how Papa has revealed to me that He has treasures for me to gather along life's path.
Well, I have been thinking of that with a a fresh slant lately.
In particularly where it applies to the influence of other Christians I encounter.

Often, teachers, in particular, have a specific focus to their teaching.
Whether it be humility, joy, holiness or countless other topics; there often seems to be a underlying focus.

A good teacher makes a personal application, which helps to reinforce the lesson for the hearers.
As we take it in we need to be looking for what Papa would have us glean from it.  
For ourselves.
We need to allow the Holy Spirit, not the teacher, to make the application to our own lives.
What treasure are we to gather to ourselves?

Then there are those that are not positioned as teachers in our lives, but just fellow pilgrims.
There should be a mutual sharing of how we are working out our salvation, but also an understanding that it will translate differently into each unique life.

Everything must be measured by the Word and taught to our hearts directly by the Holy Spirit.

Last week I heard a preacher, who had many good things to say, which I received.  Yet, there was something amiss.  I still cannot put my finger on it, but know that the Spirit had put a caution on my heart.
That is enough for me.  I will not be receiving from this person in the future.

Sometimes I am so drawn in by what I encounter that I begin to put pressure on myself to emulate the messenger.  
What I sense Papa telling me is that I should rely upon Him to shape me into all He intends.  Gather the treasures He reveals to me and be the me He loves.  He made each of us unique.

Everyone has their opinions over the smallest things.  And many like to express them.
Eating out of a jar?  No, no, no!  Unsanitary is what I have been told.
Maybe, but I do not care.
My kitchen.  My jar.  :)

Then there are the subjects that are very personal to us.
 What activities are right for me?  What does a walk with Jesus look like?
Remember WWJD? (What would Jesus do?)

Some of that is black and white and thus it is clear as to what does and what doesn't meet the criteria.
However, much is very particular to an individual.

Some would say that any movie or television show that is not overtly Christian is wrong.
Others set no standard.

I believe the answer is a close walk with Jesus.
He promised to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit and He did.
His Spirit is the One who will lead us every step of the way on that Highway of Holiness that He calls us to walk.
"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you."  John 14:16-17

Papa loves His children and He knows we need rest and recreation, to relax our minds and bodies.
As children we need to play.
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

"But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."  Luke 18:16

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Shaping of Dough and a Day

Working with yeast dough is one of the things I thoroughly enjoy doing in the kitchen.
There is just something about the feel of it in my hands.
The entire process is a joy, as it allows me to express my creative side.

This afternoon I decided to make dinner rolls to go with the chili our friend was bringing over.

I stirred in one ingredient after another; blending carefully.
The beaten egg whites resisted becoming part of the whole for a short time, but the folding of the spoon became too much for them!
The fun began once the mixing was accomplished.
It was time to knead that lump until it came to life under the push and pull of the palms of my hands.

This was followed by a time to allow it to rise and then came the shaping.

If that lump of dough could think and speak, it might have imagined what it was going to be.
Would it have protested as I pulled it apart into eighteen small lumps?
Would it have understood that it was going to offer nourishment to many?

As I shaped each piece into a little roll an analogy came to me.
My day had been just like this dough....

Every morning I commit my day to the LORD; seeking Papa's guidance and blessing upon it.
Often I think I really am just telling Him what I plan to do with my time rather than getting any direction from Him.  It is important for me to picture placing it and me in His hands.

The day begins as one big piece with a variety of ingredients to be divided to some degree and then given shape.

Today I thought I was going to keep it in a few larger pieces.

After the usual morning routine I headed off to a prayer group, which focuses on the ACTS4 ministry.
I planned to chat afterward with my friend and then deliver a car seat to a young mother.
All of which, I did.

The delivery of that car seat didn't go as quickly as I expected.
Suffice it to say that it resulted in me carrying it a block in the pouring rain.
I had encountered one in the "Entitlement Generation."
The choice was to not make the delivery and be party to a small child unsafe in a car or go the extra 'block" to insure the child's future safety.
No choice there.

The rest of my morning was slated for more prayer.  Just Jesus and me sharing some alone time.
So I thought.

One little piece was torn off at a time.
A call from a son that needed some assistance handling an issue right then.
That particular issue raised others that needed exploring...
And so it went.

With each interruption I had the sense that they each were God ordained and not simply distractions.

Finally, with effort, I left what could wait and sought to have a little of that one-on-one, when the phone rang once again and I knew it was yet another call that I was to answer.
A distraught mother.

I am happy to report that Papa and I did get that one-on-one, albeit a much abbreviated version of what I had anticipated.
In quieting down before Him it seemed as if both of us were just settling down together after our mutual busyness.
It was a sweet feeling.

Life is so much easier when I don't insist on my own way and remember to stay flexible.  Then no matter how many pieces my day gets pulled apart into I will be free to offer nourishment to others.

"So teach us to number our days, that we may present o You a heart of wisdom."  Psalm 90:12

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Rumor has it that my grandfather could perform the amazing feat of pulling a tablecloth off a table without disturbing the dishes that were set on it. 
I never saw him do this trick.
He was already ill when I was born and the illness had sapped the strength to walk, let alone to whip tablecloths off tables.
Though I missed out on seeing such a feat I still can picture him doing it.

Grandpa was an amazing man.   He may have died when I was but five years of age, yet he made a lasting impression upon me.
My first childhood memory was of him.
Actually, he filled my earliest memories.

The man had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and had lost much muscle strength, especially in his legs, but that didn't relegate him to the sidelines.
I remember him positioning himself on his knees to chop a tree down.  It seemed huge to me, but I was probably three at the time, so I imagine that it was not massive.  However, it was the determination and the fact that he succeeded that stuck with me.
That and his love for me.

Okay, so what stirred this memory?
Making my bed.

Every morning I make our bed with two sweet kitties lying on it.  It has become a ritual. 
Cats have some very definite routines and they do not like change.

Sushi and Stir-Fry help me to wake Ray and once they have done their part settle themselves in their particular spots.
This morning a thought came to me as I tried to make said bed.  Wouldn't it be handy if I could straighten the coverlet with one quick jerk of my hands without disturbing my furry friends?

One thought often leads to another and thus my thoughts of Grandpa!

Warm feelings and memories always accompany any thought of him.

As much as I love to reminisce, it is much more important to me that every thought I have leads me to thoughts of my LORD.
When my thoughts turn to Him my heart is stirred by how His grace has filled my life.  Talk about warm feelings and memories!
The Eternal One, Almighty, Creator God loves me!
 "This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.  The LORD's loving kindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."  Lamentations 3:21-23
No matter where I turn in Scripture I find evidence of His grace.
And no matter where I look in my life I find that same grace.

Friday, February 22, 2013

In The Moment

For quite a long time now Papa has been speaking to me about being in the moment
I have a tendency, a strong tendency, to not be all there.
Okay, those of you who have spent any time up close and personal with me are nodding with a look of knowing.  You know I haven't been all there for years, but that is not what I am talking about.....

There are a multitude of things on my plate. 
Things and people.

Things to do...
People to see...

So no matter what I am doing, it hasn't been unusual for me to often give less than my full attention to it.
One thing triggers thoughts of something else and off I go!

However, I have taken my Loving Father's promptings to heart and thus tried to reign in my thoughts.
Not so successfully!

At least, not until I realized something.
I was focused on staying focused and not on the moment.

He wants us to savor the moments that fill our lives, not just get through them.

In C. S. Lewis' book "The Screwtape Letters" a subject of the demons' attention did not fall for the ploys of the assigned demon because he had learned to enjoy the simple things of life.  If the demon had thought to get him to see the everyday pleasures as duties or obligations then he would have succeeded in his mission.

It seems to me that we must guard our hearts and minds from much of the static of this world.
It gets in the way of the simple things of this life. 
The noise of the world wants to fill our every moment and cause us to be dissatisfied.
When we are dissatisfied we are focusing on what we do not have and not what we do have.
The things of value.

A walk in the crisp, fresh air.
The aroma of coffee brewing.
A sweet kitty curled up in an adorable pose.
The quiet of a new morning.
A good book.
The smile of a loved one.
The joy of belonging.
A Word or touch from our Heavenly Father.
A surprise visit from one's child.

Oh, I could go on...

Human nature causes many to bemoan the passing of a sweet moment.
Instead Papa would have us savor it and recognize that it is a glimpse of God with us.

The joys and pleasures of this life are interrupted with pain and sorrow, but it is not how our Father intended it to be.  They were to be the norm.
The great joy is that one day they will be!

There are treasures to be discovered and taken in, as we would breathe in the scent of a fragrant flower.
Treasures which are reminders from Papa of His love and all the promises of His Kingdom to come.

How gracious and generous our God is!