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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Ask For Help

Have you asked for help from God and not received it?  If so, it only means you have asked amiss!  (James 4:3)  I have found this out first hand.  When we were looking for a house I had my list of features I wanted--none of which were in this house that we bought.  We have lived here 34 years now.  It has taught me how to ask God for help, beginning with the mortgage payments since it cost more than we'd budgeted to spend and our income did not meet expectations to cover it.  I would not have learned that God DOES answer prayer, but not always in the way in which we expect.  Praying that God's Will be done, and then being open for unexpected ways in which He may answer, has taught me to trust God.  Asking for help is the beginning of faith because to ask for help is to lay pride aside. 


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Help The Widow

My mother became a widow when she was 57.  She was not left much money, so she moved to Florida and found a job as a park gate attendant.  She enjoyed the job very much because it put her in contact with people every day.  She managed her widowhood very well.  But in Biblical times and in parts of the world today, to be a widow or an orphan could mean death due to starvation.  True religion is to look after those in need.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Follow The Leader

It looked strange to see these wild turkeys pass through our yard in a straight line.  They were following the leader of the flock.  This comes naturally in the wild kingdom.  Their survival often depends on having a leader forge the way, making sure it is safe.  I wonder why we humans don't follow our Leader in the same way? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Be His Witness

I recently came across this quote on the Web:  "I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk."  When Jesus said we will be His witnesses this is exactly what He meant.  My life is meant to witness for Him.  Just like the colors that dance on my floor that come from the sunlight shining through prisms hanging in the window, my life reflects what's in my heart.  If Jesus is given full reign I know that my life will be His witness. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Choose Worthy Heroes

Gabriel, my dog, will come running when I call him because to him I am a hero.  I love him and am a good mistress to him.  But not all heroes are worthy of being followed.  I must be careful whom I choose to follow as an example.  God must be first.  Only then will I be able to discern whom I should look up to as an example. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Don't Squander Money

I've just spent 3 days weeding my various gardens.  The one above is beautiful when the hostas are in bloom, but this time of year the flowers are spent and the stems must be cut off.  The leaves have started to turn brown because of the heat and lack of rain and so they must be snipped off, too, if I want my garden to look tidy.  The deer have helped with this task as they come do their own snipping during the night--only they eat the green ones and leave the brown ones for me!  I say all this to illustrate today's message.  The only reason I believe I have an abundance of land on which to garden is because of my willingness to take care of it.  I do not squander what has been given to me, so I have been given more.  Of course, another lesson is be careful for what you wish for!  Hard work often comes along with it.  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Watch Your Step

I made this walkway with some used bricks I'd gotten for free.  There were only enough to make it two-bricks wide.  Because it is so narrow and curves you must watch your step lest you step off the path.  I must keep to the path that God has prepared for me, too, lest I fall into temptation or miss where He is leading me. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Submit To God

If one can submit to the authority of man, one can easily submit to the authority of God who is Perfect.  I think this is why Peter says we need to submit to institutions that are sent by God to govern us.  The fact that I live in a "free" society that allows the majority to rule is a blessing--and a responsibility--I should not take lightly.  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

God Is Merciful

God sends the rain for the just and the unjust.  Likewise, I am to have mercy even on my enemies.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Discipline Your Children

My first-born was a strong-willed handful.  Finding a discipline that worked with him was a real challenge.  When he was still a toddler I worried what kind of parenting challenges he'd present when he became a teenager.  I envisioned all sorts of rebellion.  Thankfully, the worst was he wore his hair a little longer than I thought he should, but a wise friend told me to choose my battles so I never made an issue of it.  I'm very happy to report that not only did this child not disgrace me, he went on to "make me proud."  Because he was such a handful I was in constant prayer for help.  I know that God led me to the resources I needed and gave me patience I did not possess on my own.  Proper discipline is a team effort! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Guard Your Heart

I always get up early whenever we vacation near the Atlantic Ocean or Chesapeake Bay so I can see the sunrise over the water.  To my delight one morning the moon was still high in the sky.  Its reflection on the pond behind our rental beach house gives me something to reflect on.  Only calm water can give an accurate reflection of an object.  Just like my heart. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pay Your Dues

This spider has paid its dues.....it spun the web and now is patiently waiting for its next meal.  I, too, must wait patiently for the work I've done to bear fruit.  To not lose heart means to take joy in the journey, trusting that God will bring it to fruition when the time is right. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Don't Be Lazy

I just did this drawing of a Thistle and did some research about this pretty flower.  It's revered in Scotland as their national symbol.  It played a part in their defeating the invading Danes when the barefooted invaders happened upon these thorny plants.  It was brought to America in the late 1800's as an ornamental.  But because it spreads so easily it quickly became a noxious weed causing all sorts of problems for farmers in their fields and grazing ranges.  If these farmers want to succeed, they can't be lazy for a moment dealing with this weed.  It is the same for the rest of us.  Not attending to problems in all areas of my life because I'm too lazy to bother, will lead to even more problems sooner or later.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Give Without Reluctance

I've been collecting Tasha Tudor books for many years now.  Last year this month I started a "Tasha Tudor" group so I could share my abundance of these books.  During the past year we met often in my home to do crafts, have tea and cake, and share our enthusiasm for Tasha Tudor's legacy.  In the process I've made friendships I would never have had and grown some I already had.  When we give freely in all things God always provides what we need. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Wisdom Brings Success

Having the equipment and resources to accomplish a thing is not enough.  We must know how to use them as they were meant to be used and how to keep them in proper working order.  You could say this about life in general.  That's why it's so important to use the manufacturer's instruction manual--God's Word.  His Word is not only written down for us, but is a Living Word in us that can be accessed through humility.  When I do this my warranty will be guaranteed.  

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Trust The Lord

I had many photos to choose from to illustrate how God directs our paths.  This one leads through the woods to a small beach on Martha's Vineyard.  It was a place I fell in love with before I even saw it because of a certain author/illustrator who lives there and writes so lovingly about the island.  The path that God has for us ends is an even lovelier place.  He writes lovingly of it, too, in His Book and in our hearts, if we would but listen and follow. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Answer The Call

This is the little booklet I received when I answered the call to receive Jesus into my heart.  I was just 8.  Two weeks later my best friend went forward in her church because I'd used this little booklet to tell her about Jesus.  It is still clear in my mind--we were sitting in her closet when I witnessed to her.  I was a shy child, so I have no doubt in my mind it was the Holy Spirit working through me, just as He'd used others to bring me to Him.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Best Friends Forever

I'm blessed to have a next-door neighbor who is a friend.  When our son ended up in the hospital for two weeks, more than an hour's drive away, I could call upon her to look in on my pets each day.  This was not only convenient but a relief for me that I didn't have to be concerned about their welfare while being with our son.  I've been able to be there for her in times of need, too.  To have a friend you can call on as though they are family is truly a blessing. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Do Not Overeat

This is a reasonable-size piece of cheesecake that was ordered in a restaurant by a member of our party last Christmas.  When I make cheesecake at home, however, I can be guilty of having a much larger piece and attesting to the warning in Proverbs 25...that of feeling nauseous.  There is such a thing as too much of a good thing!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Repent From Sin

It is necessary that we repent so that we can we washed as white as snow. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Words Can Hurt

My dog's tongue is great for lapping up food and water, or lavishing love on my face.  Mine, on the other hand, can be used to say hurtful things to people who have hurt me.  But this does not solve anything and often makes things worse.  Getting hold of one's tongue can stop the chain of unkindness.  Turning everything over to God is the solution.  If He does invite me to speak, I can be assured it will be said with kindness.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rise And Shine

Whenever we vacation on the eastern shore I make a point of rising early to see the sun rise.  Likewise, I should awake from my sleep and arise early so that I may not only see but receive God's light and be a reflection of it.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Learn Godly Contentment

Godly contentment it would seem covers all situations if Paul includes knowing "how to abound."  To me this means I shouldn't feel guilty for having more than others.  This abundance enables me to enjoy sharing with others while still have enough left over to enjoy the comforts of life.  I learned this, though, by first learning to be content with little.  Then God entrusted me with more, knowing I would use it to His glory.  Like the bountiful blossoms on my Dogwood tree, my life abounds with God's blessings with which I am further blessed by sharing. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Home Sweet Home

The home I've made for my family is all important to me, but as Matthew 6:20 says, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Our true home is with God even while we are still here on earth.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Change The World

When I read, "Do not love the world or the things in the world," I cannot believe it includes God's creation--whether it's all living creatures or the firmament.  When I see dewdrops outlining the points of the leaves of the strawberry plant, which has escaped its pot to join the wild ajuga blossoming in the cracks of the walkway, I am totally in love with the beauty God has created....but I am also very sad because we have ruined much of God's creation.  Changing the world can only happen one heart at a time.  I am trying to do my part.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Be A Blessing

If you are feeling prickly towards someone, I doubt you will be a blessing to anyone, and especially not to yourself!  The only way to achieve the 1 Peter message is to follow the Matthew message.  By praying for my enemies I will be enabled to be a blessing in their lives and in the process bless my own life.  It's a win-win situation!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Accentuate The Positive

When I see photos of the ice storm we had two winters ago that left us without electricity for 32 hours I do not think about the damage or the inconvenience.  Instead I remember how beautiful everything was covered in ice!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Behold The Lamb

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake. --Psalm 23:1-3

Jesus is not only the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, but our Shepherd who leads and protects me.  He is my all in all.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Count The Cost

There was a charge to get into this concert, but it was free to me because my date (Ken) paid for it.
Salvation is free to us.  But Salvation has a price, too....Jesus paid for it with his life.  Perhaps that is why we think following Jesus doesn't cost anything--because we didn't pay for it?  But it does cost something, and we are told to count those costs so we aren't caught off-guard.  We can't be a follower of Jesus without having our lives changed.  It will be for the better, but the flesh may beg to disagree!  God says we are to be in the world, but not of it.  Counting the cost helps us understand the difference.