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

Friday, July 31, 2015

Do Not Steal

This Black snake has found the bird's nest in the vines along our drain pipe and is stealing the eggs.  I think the "thought" behind stealing, whether man or beast, is, "I'm entitled to this."  For animals, this may be true, but for man, we are capable of earning wages so we can pay for what we need/want.  I think it is important to know the motive behind stealing because while you may not shoplift or break into someone's house and take something that does not belong to you, you may be tempted to not correct the clerk when she undercharges you or gives you too much change.  I know the times I've been tempted by or have even succumbed to this, it's because I felt I was entitled to a lower price or my time was too valuable to wait for a correction to be made.  Neither of these reasons are valid.  This is something we should think about when we condemn others for stealing. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dress For Success

There's nothing wrong with looking your best--that's why I use mascara whenever there's a possibility that my photograph will be taken!  Otherwise I don't bother now.  There was a time when I was younger, however, I wouldn't go out of the house without it.  That's because I read too many women's magazines.  If women would band together on this--the whole hair, make-up, nails, clothing thing--it'd be so much easier.  We'd save so much money and time to do more important things--like beautify our inner appearance.  But it's not just women, as the Psalms passage indicates, that need to be as concerned about their inward appearance as they are about their outer appearance.  All of us, men and women, should be our best in our hearts--then our outer appearance will reflect our beauty more than any artificial means could ever convey. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Always Give Thanks

Giving thanks in all circumstances does not come naturally to people.  When my granddaughter fell and cut her forehead while in my care, I could not feel thankful that she'd gotten hurt.   All sorts of disasters, much worse, befall people every day.  This is why faith is all important in our relationship with God.  I've often said that to love is to forgive--they are synonymous--because everyone you'll ever have in your life will need to be forgiven for something at some point.....and if you live with them, probably often!  But that also includes yourself.  To love myself is to forgive myself.....and I can give thanks to God for loving me with the kind of love that purifies my heart and helps me grow closer to Him.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hear God's Word

When this plant showed up in my flower bed and started to spread I let it because I thought it was very pretty.  But this year when I decided to find out what it was I discovered it is Water Hemlock--the most poisonous plant in North America.  Hearing God's word is the remedy for letting poisonous beliefs invade the garden of our hearts and minds.  I read an excellent thought this morning in Our Daily Bread:  First we make our habits; then our habits make us.  Something to remember when we allow something into our lives without first checking to see where it might lead us. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I have to say that when I saw these Three Little Words I was perplexed!  But after reading the scripture I realized it is stating what is, rather than what should be.  In Jesus' case people were put off by His message (they did not want to have to change their ways) and therefore held him in contempt.  In the Daniel passage I think it speaks more to the complacency that people fall into, and they never heed God's calling.  They die and will wake up to find themselves outside God's kingdom. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Do Your Homework

I've used this photo before, but it's worth revisiting because it is today's 2 Timothy passage.  God equips us for life by giving us the Holy Spirit when we submit to Him.  For a long time I wondered why the New Testament was so important when Jesus didn't keep a journal or write anything down!  He knew we'd be receiving His Spirit to teach us everything we needed to know.  But now I realize that man is too good at deceiving himself and twisting things to his own understanding.  The written word helps us interpret and confirm the Holy Spirit's leading.  Doing our homework means we are in His word daily, seeking His guidance, listening, learning, and hiding in our hearts all that He has to teach us. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Believe and Receive

When we ask God for anything while doubting He will give us what is best for us, we are like a wave of the sea being tossed about by the wind.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Love Never Fails

I believe we do everything we do either from a place of love or from a place of fear.  This is why love never fails.....because you can't be in God's love AND have a sense of fear.  God IS love, and God never fails.  He keeps His Promise. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

God's At Work

"O Lord, how manifold are Your works!"

From the rising of the sun
To the ebb and flow of the ocean
Never ceasing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Please Pay Attention

Even though I took this photo with my telephoto lens these two would not let their attention leave me until I drove away.  In the same way I am to give my attention to God's word and not let them depart from my eyes until I go to be with Christ. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lord Send Me

My cousin was on a short furlough to attend a conference in the States when she paid me this visit.  She wasn't in the military serving her country, but rather a missionary serving her Lord.  She had a heart for Israel and had hoped to be sent there, but instead was sent to China--a first-time missionary in her 60's!  After almost 7 years there she was unable to obtain the funding she needed and is back home now......but I'm sure she would not call this home.  Her home is with the Lord, wherever that might be.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Glory To God

Our oldest son brought his daughter to visit our youngest son when he was in the hospital after having a heart pacemaker/defibrillator implanted.  When you stop to think about the miracle of life--whether it's in the formation of a human being in the womb or the actual day-to-day functioning of the human body--I can't help but give glory to God.  Once you understand the intricacy of the heart (and I've learned a lot about it these past few months) I'm amazed that we don't have more problems with it. I give all the glory to God for my life! 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Children Are Gifts

Psalm 127:3
Psalm 128:1, 3, 6
James 1:17

Years ago I framed the Psalm 127 verse and my favorite photo of my boys along with this quote by  Margaret Woods in 1777:

I've hung this by my bed so I can see it every evening before I go to sleep and every morning when I get up to remind me that my children were only loaned to me for a time.  I think grandchildren must be God's way of compensating us for letting our children grow up to be independent beings so they can marry and start their own families!  Hopefully, they will serve the Lord and reap the same blessings I have. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Enjoy Your Life

The Ecclesiastes passage says man's soul should enjoy good in his labor.  I can identify with this.  My home, my gardens, my pets, as well as my family require a lot of upkeep!  But it is the kind of labor that brings joy to my soul. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

God is Great

I am in awe of the intricacy and delicacy of this flower.  How could I not be in awe of the One who created it!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Number Your Days

In 1976 we drove down to Mississippi to visit my Dad's mother while my parents were also visiting.  Mamaw, who was born in 1897, showed us a photo album of my Dad when he was a little boy.  I visited her for the last time in 2000, two months before she died--the week before her 103rd birthday.  She outlived her husband, her two sons and three step-children, and  her eight siblings, even though she was the oldest.  Only a daughter survived her.  I wonder, when she was young, if she ever thought she'd live that long, and if she'd known, whether she would have lived her life differently.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Saved By Grace

It's really hard to get the full understanding of God's grace if you don't feel you've done anything wrong.  Most of us are "good" people.  We do good things for others, we don't lie, steal, kill, or commit adultery, and we certainly don't worship false idols (so we think).  But even little children know when they're doing something wrong if they've been told before not to do something.  You can see it in my granddaughter's eyes.  A moment before I'd just told her not to put the lemon in her mouth again.  The fact that it was sour did not deter her because what she really wanted was to test my authority.  It's this testing of God's authority over us that is our original sin.  All our other sins are mere byproducts and have become the condition of our fallen state.  There is no way we can ever overcome everyone of them.  However, by God's grace we receive His unmerited love and forgiveness--anyway.  I need only acknowledge my need for His forgiveness, ask for His help in overcoming my rebelliousness, then make sure I do not quench His Holy Spirit in me. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Preserve God's Word

I took this photo of my mother (3rd from right) and her siblings with their mother at my cousin's wedding in the 1970's.  I'm so glad I did because it's the only photo I have of them all together.  They've since all passed on and preserving this memory keeps me connected to them.  As God was preparing the way for His son, He caused the Israelites to document all that they'd been told or lived through so that future generations would not only remember what God had done for them, but know what He had planned for them.  Preserving God's Word is important today because God is still speaking to us through scripture about His plan for Christ's return! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Expect the Unexpected

Winter before last we had a power outage that lasted 32 hours....but we were prepared.  We have two fireplaces which we used to heat the house and cook our dinner, a stock of candles and charged-up flashlights (one is a hand-cranked model with radio), buckets of water for flushing the toilet and gallons for drinking and cooking (we have a well), sterno for heating water so we could make drip coffee, and because it was winter, we set the food from the refrigerator out on the screened porch!  Then we settled back to enjoy this time of candlelit/fireside evenings.  Being ready for Christ's return is much the same.....and I am prepared for that, too, whenever that might be.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Put Others First

This is our granddaughter last year when she was not quite a month old.  Babies have a way of teaching us to put others first if we haven't already learned to do so. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

God Doesn't Change

Can you think of anything in this world that does not change?  Even rocks change over time as the elements wear them down.  How wonderful it is to know that there is One who does not change.  God has told and shown us Who He is.  We can depend upon it!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Father Knows Best

I've had my new car for a year now.  I loved my mini-van which I'd had for 15 years and would never have gotten a new car by choice.  The way it came about was the mini-van broke down while we were on vacation driving through Massachusetts.  Looking back now, I'm so glad it broke down then and not when it might have over this past year.  Yes, we were far from home, but it worked out that we were able to be towed to a dealer just before they closed on a Friday night whose Service Department would be open on Saturday.  To top it off, they loaned us, free of charge, a car we could use to finish the drive to my  brother's in Connecticut where we'd planned to spend the night.  It also enabled me to continue on the next day to the day-long event I'd come up to attend in Connecticut.  The mini-van was repaired on Saturday and Ken was able to drive back to Massachusetts to pick it up.  We were able to head home on Sunday as planned.  My Father does know best!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Cherish Your Memories

Do you have a memory you treasure in your heart?  I have too many to show here!  But right up at the top is seeing my first born hold his first born for the first time.  This must be how God feels whenever one of His children comes into His presence. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dare To Dream

The dream that I dare to dream is to be able to draw like this from real life.  I was able to draw this by looking at Tasha Tudor's sketch book, but I haven't mastered drawing from real life yet.  But because I believe that God often puts desires in my heart that He intends to help me fulfill, I dare to dream my dream.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

God Is Faithful

We made this signpost for our woods just for fun.  It shows the way to places we've been or places we hope to go to.  Long ago God gave mankind hope by giving signs of the coming Christ who would save them....For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Light Your World

Just like this lighthouse was set high up on the cliffs to be a beacon to approaching ships, we are to be a beacon to the world, helping others safely navigate the dangers to their soul. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Teach the Word

I thought this photo would be a good representation of how, no matter what else may be in the foreground, the Church will always be there, teaching God's Word to the lost. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Love Your Spouse

credit: Professional photographers

These are the hands of my two oldest sons and their brides.  Standing before God and taking a vow to love and honor the other person until death do they part is serious business.  The ring, as a circle, is the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end--just like God.  One source I consulted says that the hole in the center of the ring was considered the gateway that leads to events known and unknown.  God is love and the only way to keep our marriage vows is to let God be that gateway--the center of your marriage. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hope Spring Eternal

Emily Dickinson's bedroom

Only a few of Emily Dickinson's poems were published before she died.  It was only later that the bulk of her writings were discovered in the dresser drawer of her room.  

HOPE is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;        
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;        
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Obey Your Parents

Learning to obey one's parents is a necessary part of becoming a good citizen.  Teaching obedience, therefore, is one of the most important things a parent can do.  The parents have to decide how they will discipline a non-compliant child.  While looking through my photo library I came across the above photo.  I think I should have taken this tack with my sons when they refused to obey me, asking them, "Wouldn't you want someone to do what you asked them to do?  Then you need to do what you'd like others to do--obey me right now!"  I wonder if they would have complied?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Say Your Prayers

The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.

1 Peter 3:12