2015 - "Three Little Words" by Terry Ferguson
The Fruit of the Spirit
2016 - "Through the Year with Francis of Assisi"
by Murray Bodo
2017 - Thanks-Living

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rest In Him

We are told to be "diligent to enter" God's rest.  For me, I enter God's rest as soon as I capture my thoughts and put them on Him and all that He is.  Sometimes it helps to have something lovely like the ocean to look at or listen to in order to be pulled away from the negative thoughts that are causing me unrest.  But since I may not always have this option available to me, I must carry God's Word in my heart and mind at all times.  Then resting in Him shall just come naturally.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sing To God

 "Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before Him--His name is the Lord."  
Psalm 68:4

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Keep It Simple

These posts mark where Henry David Thoreau sited his cabin.  It overlooks the pond--a very serene place in which to contemplate life.  Thoreau wanted to simplify his life--get it down to the bare essentials--so that he could get a better understanding of what life was all about.  The disciples' desire was to present the Gospel in simple terms.  Jesus came from God, He died for our sins, He arose from the grave to return to God.  And all we need do is to believe our debt has been paid by Jesus so that we can receive His Life--the Holy Spirit.  The exchange for our old life for His Life is as simple as saying, Yes!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Flee From Adultery

Committing adultery is a sin against one's own body.  During a storm one night we heard a very loud "crack" out in our woods.  This is what we found the next morning.  One side of this 70-foot tree twisted and was snapped off, landing in the crook of the tree, causing further damage by splitting the trunk.  After removing the broken half, my husband put cabling around the trunk to hold the two sides of the trunk together.  Thankfully, this has worked and the remaining part of the tree has survived.  God does this for us when we sin if we accept His healing hand into our lives.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Have Some Patience

Our 27-year-old son has been in two different hospitals for 10 of the last 11 days.  The last three have been in Johns Hopkins Hospital and  he'll probably be there yet another four days while they try to figure out what has caused his heart to weaken to the point that it needs help to keep beating.  Patience has been something that not only he has needed, but us, his parents have also needed.  Today's scripture verse (James 5:8) says, "You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near."  Our hearts do more than pump blood throughout our bodies.  When scripture speaks of the heart it is referring to the "affective center of our being."  Whether I'm waiting for my son's good health to return or for the Lord's return, I must be patient.  And by trusting God my heart, too, shall be strengthened.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Just Be Yourself

What I'm getting from these verses is we should be who God created us to be, and to be content with our station in life.  That doesn't mean we can't rise above it, but it should be by God's doing, not our own.  When Thoreau went to the woods to live "deliberately" I think he was attempting to shut out 
the outside influences that pulled him in all directions.  Here, in the woods, he hoped to discover what was essential to life and in the process discover who he was so that when he died he would have felt he'd truly lived.  Being who God created me to be, and not trying to be someone I am not, is God's will for me. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Go To Church

One does not have to be with other people in order to worship the Lord, but it does help a great deal to be a part of a church in order to encourage one another and "to stimulate one another to love and good deeds."  The Internet has become a wonderful way to connect with others in the faith, but it cannot replace the snug arm around you when in a crisis or give you a place to offer the snug arm to another.  But that does not mean I can't "be the church" in every encounter I have with another, especially strangers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Search The Scriptures

You wouldn't start a new job without reading the "manual" on what your duties were or not read the instructions for a complicated piece of machinery before attempting to operate it, so why do we so often neglect reading the Bible for our instructions?  As a new mother I read lots of books on how to take care of a child because motherhood was all new to me.  God made me and knows what I need to "operate" properly.  Reading scripture and being "careful to do according to all that is written in it" will help lead me in righteousness so that I "shall have good success."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lay The Foundation

I think we all know the story of the Three Little Pigs.  It's been around in print since the 1840's and even earlier as a resemblance to a Grimm's fairytale.  Even as children we knew that the stronger the foundation, the better able a house was to stand against the forces of destruction.  Yet too often when we go out on our own we neglect building such a foundation on which to base our lives.  We think getting a good education is the right foundation, only to find the job we trained for has too many applicants or no longer exists.  I was guilty of this in a different way.  I thought becoming a mother would give me all I wanted in life.  I did not realize that once they grew up they would no longer need me and the foundation for my life crumbled.  Thankfully, I've been building my life in Christ as I went along so that I've not totally been adrift.  But transitioning has not been easy.  How much better it would have been if I'd built my foundation all along on Christ alone. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Show And Tell

As a child I remember looking forward to Show and Tell day.  I was a shy child, but I don't remember ever being hesitant to show and tell the class about the object I'd brought.  I think my enthusiasm over sharing something that was special to me overrode my fear of being the center of attention.  When sharing how God is working in my life I don't have to worry about that.  He is the center of attention, and I am eager to show and tell what He means to me.  Since I can only chose one picture to illustrate what God has done for me, I decided to share the plaque an aunt gave me when I was a child.  I did not have an idyllic childhood, but I came to know the Lord when I was just 8.  I felt His presence in very real ways and this plaque was a perfect picture of how God was looking after me and my little brother.....and still does. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Never Give Up

I think the reason the extremely slow-traveling snail never gives up on where he's going is because he doesn't expect to get there any faster.  I've come to realize that the high expectations I set for myself and others aren't in and of themselves bad.  Rather, it's my forgetting that it's because of God that I or they have any hope of meeting that expectation.  If what I am doing for the Lord, then my hope is in Him--not in myself and especially not in others.  If it is to be and I am open and willing to do whatever He calls me to do, then it will happen. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Serve The Lord

When I'm in the garden working it's very easy for me to "work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men."  When I am close to nature--close to God's creation--I can't help but remember that the work I am doing to care for the garden is for Him. But it's easy for me to forget that all my other work is also for Him, whether it's keeping house, offering hospitality to guests, or doing something for someone else, I can lose sight of who I'm doing it for.  I tend to notice it when I don't feel properly appreciated by the one I am serving.  This is when I realize I wasn't doing it for the Lord! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Listen to God

Elijah heard the "gentle blowing" after the raging storm on the mountain, and was drawn to come out of his cave where he'd been hiding.  It was then he heard God speak to him.  This is a picture of the inner turmoil we often feel during the storms of our lives.  God is not in the turmoil.  Instead, He is in the gentle breeze that is revealed once we let go of the turmoil surrounding us.  He was always there, we just couldn't hear Him.  If I make a practice of listening for God, the turmoil will move off, and I will hear His voice.  I can then have that all-important conversation where I can say what is on my mind and He will reveal to me what I need to hear in order to remain in His Will.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Take a Stand

When my dog saw this box turtle in our yard, he ran over to it to investigate.  The turtle immediately pulled in its exposed head, tail, and legs.  When we "put on" the whole armor of God we are shielding all of ourselves.  The turtle becomes immobilized with his method of protection.  We are able to continue the "good fight" for the Lord because He is our protection.  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pride Brings Destruction

Pride is a conundrum.  It's easy to confuse it with self-esteem.  In the Peacock's case, he's trying to attract a mate.  It's inherent to the species.  For humans the fact that God loves us no matter what should give us our self-esteem.....but this can lead us to be prideful.  The dictionary definition of pride is, "a feeling...derived from one's own achievements...." It's the claiming of personal responsibility for whatever it is we're feeling pride about that leads to destruction.  Because in that moment we're on a slippery slope.  As soon as we forget that we ARE and HAVE because of God, we are in danger of taking matters into our own fallible hands.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Comfort One Another

I love cradling my granddaughter in my arms while rocking her to sleep for her naps when we babysit.  She is very agreeable to this ritual, but sometimes she cries, "mamamama."  This is one of my favorite pictures of her in her momma's arms.  There is no substitute for momma when a baby needs comforting.  Scripture tells us that God will comfort us like a mother comforts her child.  That imagery alone is very comforting to me. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In Christ Alone

I created this entrance to our "Enchanted Woods" for our granddaughter--a place where the fairies live.  To enter, you must take an acorn from the bowl and place it in the apron of the "Door Fairy."  This is all fantasy, of course, but entering God's kingdom is not.  We are like the little acorn when we have Christ because He is like the hidden life the acorn contains.  When allowed to germinate the life within the acorn will send out a tap root which will support the growth of the mighty oak tree.  In Christ alone are we able to fulfill our purpose. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Duty, Honor, Country

Part of being a good Christian is to be a good citizen of whatever country you happen to live.  While I do not agree with many of the policies of my country, I do strive to obey the laws and to be more of an asset than a liability.  I believe that God does indeed "establish those in authority" (Romans 13:1).  I am privileged to live in a democracy and have a responsibility to use my freedoms for the betterment of all.  Yet I must never lose sight of my true citizenship awaiting me in Heaven. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Be Therefore Holy

When I think of being holy I think of having pure thoughts because no matter how many good works I might be doing, if my thoughts are out of alignment with God's thoughts I do not feel holy at all!  No one else sees my thoughts, but I know God does and I know what I am feeling is guilt.  Purifying one's thoughts is much easier than you might think--that is the good news.  All I have to do is to think on what is lovely and true and right, as Paul tells me in Philippians 4:8.  The hard part is being willing to let go of the negative, impure thoughts.  For me, it helps to occupy myself with an activity that I love and that I don't have to concentrate on, like gardening.  Being down on my knees tending God's creation always bring my thoughts in alignment with His. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

God's In Control

Jesus used a small bird to illustrate the care God has for His creation.  We don't mind that God is in control when it comes to our care, but what about when things seemingly go wrong?  What about all the strife and ugliness in our world?  Is God in control of that?  We bandy about the phrase "God's Will" without really thinking about what we are saying sometimes.  We know He made us to have "free will," yet hopes/expects us to follow His Will.  I think the answer lies in the Beginning.  God designed everything for a purpose and that purpose will eventually be fulfilled.  In the meantime, man's free will is going to muck things up.  That does not mean that God's Will is not being realized--it's all being accomplished at an unseen level.  It's our choice whether or not we want to be a part of it.  

Friday, April 10, 2015

Don't Sow Sparingly

What I love about daffodils is how they multiply and spread!  If I plant lots of bulbs in one area, I find there is still quite a show of flowers in the Spring despite the squirrels having dug up some of them.  The added bonus is that the squirrels will replant these bulbs elsewhere for eating later and forget about them.  Every Spring I find new clumps of daffodils growing in my garden that I did not put there.  This is how it is with good deeds.  If I sow generously, my good deeds will spread in ways I could never have anticipated. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Your Kingdom Come

Jesus said that the Kingdom was coming quickly.  He was referring to his death, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We are told that the Kingdom of God is within--it is the indwelling Spirit of God that we receive when we believe.  It saddens me when people only think of God as "out there".  When we pray we are to go into our "closet," i.e., within ourselves where God resides.  We have everything we need already.  It's just a matter of sorting through the clutter in our closets and finding it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I Can't Complain

I think complaining must be a national pastime, and now that we have social media it's seems like a campfire that's spread beyond it's borders.  They say misery loves company and now it's found its media outlet!  I need to remember to count my blessings before I complain.  Perhaps then I won't have anything to complain about.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Never Stop Learning

When my children were little I loved preparing a little "Sunday School" lesson for them using a puppet that came with the booklet.  As they got older we had family devotions from a book especially for that purpose.  I look forward to doing the same with my granddaughter.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Thank The Lord

Giving thanks in all circumstances is not easy when it involves the death of children.  This is a memorial to seven children who were killed at a train crossing in 1959.  The sculpture brings the children to "life" in that the child hanging from the bars swings back and forth.  I posted a video of it on YouTube and received a comment from a woman who said seeing the little girl come to life was shocking.  She said it made her sick to her stomach.  I guess she was protesting that I'd posted it on YouTube.  But I see it as an endearing memory of children at their best--playing--and that is what we should remember--not their deaths.  Yes, they died young and tragically and some will question why God would let something like this happen.  But life on earth has its pitfalls and we can't expect not to be affected by them.  If we haven't been struck by tragedy, I'm sure we know someone personally who has.  This does not make me question God's goodness.  Instead, it is a reminder that without God my circumstances could be far worse.  Why I've been blessed, I don't know.  Why others have to endure ongoing pain and suffering, I don't know.  I've had my share, but each time I've been drawn closer to God, and for that I am indeed grateful.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Don't Be Foolish

On a trip up into the mountains near Phoenix, AZ I saw this abandoned, rusted-out car at the bottom of a small ravine.  Some foolish person wasn't looking where they were going and probably lost their life in the process!  Scripture tells us the person who says there is no God is a fool.  If I deny their is a God I'm obviously not looking ahead to see where I'm going either.  After my bodily death I will live either reunited with God where there is joy and light or I will live without Him in the outer darkness where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I Am God

When Moses asked God what should he call Him when the people asked His name, He said "I AM."  
According to the dictionary "am" is the first person singular present of "be."  "Be" means "exist."  God doesn't need any other name than "Exist" because He IS everything in the sense that all came from Him.  I couldn't think of any photo that could do who God is justice.  The sunrise will have to suffice.  

Friday, April 3, 2015

Faith, Love, Hope

Faith is absolutely necessary to our relationship with God, but scripture says love is even greater.  I have to express my disappointment with the "visible" Church.  When the world looks at us, I don't think they get that impression about us.  It's like this stack of bricks.  We came home from a trip one day to find that small pile lying in front of the stacked bricks.  It appears some animal removed them while looking for bugs perhaps.  We've been visited by a bear before, but I would have thought the bricks would have just been pulled down into a pile next to the stack, not set off into their own little pile.  We eventually used the bricks in my garden to make two small terraces  in front of our picket fence and a walkway through the garden.

Our faith can be like that stack of bricks.  We can leave it in a neat little stack or we can use it to make something useful.  The bear came along and had no use for the stack.  He tore through it looking for what was hidden in it.  When we used the brick to make something beautiful, it finally found its purpose.  That is what love does to faith.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anything Is Possible

This hangs above my kitchen sink reminding me that WITH GOD all things ARE possible.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Discipline Your Body

Because of machinery people in much of the world do not work as hard physically as they use to.  Consequently, our bodies need other forms of exercise, like recreational activities or gym memberships, to get the workout it needs.  But there are far too many of us who are overweight and not fit because we do not bother to take the time to eat right or move about.  Then there are the unhealthy choices we make with our bodies--smoking, drinking, drugs, sex outside of marriage. My body is my "earth suit" and if I don't take care of it I won't be able to fulfill my mission.