Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July 31, 2007

Who is God?

Better yet, who is YOUR God? What is he like? How would you describe Him? Several years ago I began a personal study of the character of God as defined by His names. I was astounded at how many descriptive names God has just in the book of Psalms! I would like to share a few of those with you in the hope that it will cause you to reflect on just WHO God is in YOUR life.

GOD IS...........

the Lifter Up of My Head - Psalm 3: 3. When we are weighted down, God gently lifts our chin to look into His face and reminds us to keep our eyes on Him for He cares for us.

My God - Psalm 7:1 He is personal, He knows my name, He knows every tear that I cry and He hears me when I call.

My Shepherd - Psalms 23:1. He watches over me, He cares for me, He provides for me, He protects me from the enemy.

My Light and My Salvation - Psalm 27:1. He shows me the way, illuminating the darkness. He is life to me.

My Shield - Psalm 28:7 . He protects me and He goes before me.

My Hiding Place - Psalm 32:7. He is the one I run to when all is falling down around me.

My exceeding joy - Psalm 43:4. There is true joy in no other. No human relationship can fill the void in our heart that is created for God to fill. He gives joy that is rooted in knowing Him.

My refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble - Psalm 46: 1. There is no where else to run when we are in trouble but to God. He is ALWAYS there, ready and able to help. He is our shelter in the storm.

King over all the earth - Psalm 47: 2. He is ruler of all.

Great - Psalm 48:1. Tony the Tiger and his Frosted Flakes have nothing on Him! He defines the word GREAT!

My Helper - Psalm 54:4. I can no nothing by or of myself.

My Rock - Psalm 62:2. He is solid, He is my firm foundation.

My Deliverer - Pslam 70: 5. He always comes to my rescue.

My Hope - Psalm 71: 5. I think this poem describes this one better than anything I can think of and I will close with it.

All but Jesus
Falls short
and Fades away.
Hope is not hope at all
Unless it is anchored
To That
---Chris Browning

Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30, 2007

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph. 6: 12

We are at war. I'm not referring to the war in Iraq. I'm referring to the battle that Satan wages for each of us every day. Some days we are oblivious to it. Other days we feel every arrow that whizzes by our heads, every javelin that pierces our heart. We feel Satan's hot breath as he breathes down our neck and whispers his lies in our ears. And, if we are not careful, it is easy to be overtaken by him, to be thrown down, plundered and left in the dirt with the stench of him all over us!

Yet God recognized that and He did not leave us unprotected. He has given us a full suit of armor to protect us. But just as the soldier's gear in Iraq does him no good in his tent, ours does us no good, if we do not put it on. Our armor was constructed by the Master Warrior and He shows us piece by piece what to put on and what its purpose is. Let's take a look at it:

Belt of Truth: We need to know the Truth or we will succumb to Satan's lies or as my mother used to put it "If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything." God's truth is the counterattack to Satan's lies. The only way you will know the truth is to study it.

Breastplate of Righteousness: Christ's righteousness, not our own, will fill our hearts when we are fully yielded to Him.

Boots of the Gospel of Peace: We must be prepared to journey wherever God leads us to share His Gospel of Peace. He will lead the way, He will prepare the way, and He will provide along the way.

Shield of Faith: A shield is needed to deflect all that Satan will throw at us. Faith does not look at what is seen, but what is unseen. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6), but with faith the size of a mustard seed, God moves mountains!

Helmet of Salvation: Through salvation in Jesus Christ, we can have the mind of Christ. By His Holy Spirit, He can control our thoughts and fill our minds with His peace.

Sword of the Spirit: Our sword...our offensive and defensive weapon, is the Word of God. Without it, we go to war barehanded and we will be defeated every time. But there is power in the Word and when we are armed with it, God moves! Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan in the wilderness. We can do no less.

The first thing every day, we must clothe ourselves with this armor. We should pray and mentally put on each piece, asking God to bless it and to cover us and prepare us for battle. "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and WATCHING with all PERSEVERANCE........." Eph. 6: 18 We must be alert, watchful and persevere in battle.

We must have on our armor and we must use our spiritual weapons. Paul tell us that our weapons are mighty thru God for the pulling down of strongholds (I Cor. 10: 4). He tells us that we must consciously and deliberately cast down anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and we are to do that by bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We must, therefore, submit to Him every thought that is not true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report (Phil. 4: 8) and allow Him to take it captive. This is the only way we can win this battle for our mind and our heart!

Finally, we must speak the truth OUT LOUD. Rev. 12:20 says "And they overcame him [the accuser] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." It may seem a little awkward at first, but today I challenge you to say out loud "God, I am yours and you are mine. This day I proclaim you as MY God and the God of my family. There is no God but you. I lift your banner high. I proclaim you as the one true God, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Satan has no claim on me. This day I plead the blood of Jesus over my life, the lives of my family and over our home. There is no good thing in me, but by the power and blood of Jesus Christ, I stand."

"Be strengthened in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil....and having done all to [remain standing]" Eph. 6:10, 13

Sunday, July 29, 2007

July 29, 2007

Uzzah died. David danced.....

"Three months pass before David returns for the ark. He does so with a different protocol. Priests replace bulls. Sacrifice replaces convenience. Levites prepare 'themselves for service to the Lord'. They use 'special poles to carry the Ark of God on their shoulders, as Moses had commanded, just as the Lord had said they should' (I Chron. 15:14 NCV)

No one hurries. 'And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the Lord had gone 6 paces, that he [David] sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep' (II Sam. 6:13). When David realizes that God is not angry, he offers a sacrifice and dances with all his might before the Lord.....Somersaults, high kicks. Spinning, jumping. This is to tapping of the feet or swaying of the head. The Hebrew term portrays David rotating in circles, hopping and springing. Forget the token shuffle or obligatory waltz. David-the-giant-killer becomes David the two-stepper.

And, if that's not enough, he strips down to the ephod, the linen prayer vest. It cover the same amount of territory as a long T-shirt. Right there in front of God and the altar and everyone else. David removes all but his holy skivvies (Envision the president escaping the Oval Office and cartwheeling down Pennsylvania Avenue in his Fruit of the Looms.)

David dances and we duck. We hold our breath. We k now what's coming. We read about Uzzah. We know what God does to the irreverent and cocky. Apparently, David wasn't paying attention. For here he is, in the full presence of God and God's children, doing a jig in his underwear. Hold your breath and call the undertaker!

But nothing happens. The sky is silent and David keeps whirling and we are left wondering. Doesn't the dance bother God? What does David have that Uzzah didn't? Why isn't
the heavenly Father angered?

Scripture doesn't portray David dancing at any other time. He did no death dance over Goliath. He never scooted the boot amoung the Philistines. He didn't inaugurate his term as king with a waltz or dedicate Jerusalem with a ballroom swirl. But when God came to town, he couldn't sit still.

What did David know that we don't? What did he remember that we forget? In a sentence, it might be this

God is present in his presence.
His greatest gift is Himself. Sunsets steal our breath. Caribbean blue stills our hearts. Newborn babies stir our tears. Lifelong love bejewels our lives. But take all these away ---strip away the sunsets, oceans, cooing babies and tender hearts---and leave us in the Sahara and we still have reason to dance in the sand. Why? Because GOD IS WITH US.
God loves you too much to leave you alone, so He hasn't. He hasn't left you alone with your fears, your worries, your disease or your death. So kick up your heels for joy.....God is with us. That's reason to celebrate.
Uzzah, it seems , missed this. Uzzah had a view of a small god, a god who fit in a box and needed help with his balance. So Uzzah didn't prepare for him. He didn't purify himself to encounter the holy: no sacrifice offered, no commandments observed. Forget the repentance and obedience; load God in the back of the wagon and let's get going.
Or, in our case, live like hell for six days and cash in on Sunday grace. Or, who cares what you believe; just wear a cross around your neck for good luck. Or, light a few candles and say a few prayers and get God on your side.
Uzzah's lifeless body cautions against such irreverence. No awe of God leads to the death of man. God won't be cajoled, commanded, conjured up, or called down. He is a personal God who loves and heals and helps and intervenes. He doesn't respond to magic potions or clever slogans. He looks for more. He looks for reverence, obedience, and God-hungry hearts.

And when He sees them, he comes! And when comes, let the band begin. And, yes, a reverent heart and a dancing foot can belong to the same person." Max Lucado, FACING YOUR GIANTS.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

July 28, 2007

Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you read the Bible, there is always something that you never saw before? It's almost like God just keeps adding new verses, new characters, new principles! Take for instance Jabez. Up until a few years ago, most of us had never heard of Jabez. I had been in church all my life, heard hundreds of sermons, been in many Bible studies and read a good bit of it more than once. Yet I had never heard of the guy! Suddenly this one little story, only a few verses long, had moved to the top of the Best Seller List and every preacher in town was preaching a sermon on him!! Did God just decide to insert this story into the Bible to get our attention...to make a point? No, it was there all the time. It just took someone to slow down enough to mine the nuggets that were there.

Then there are those passages you HAVE read, yet never really understood. In fact, they really caused you to question God, why He would do such a thing, or allow such a thing. It just didn't seem quite fair or right, not quite in line with God's character. One that I have read more than once is found in II Samuel. It is the story of Uzzah. Who? You know, the guy that put out his hand to steady the ark of the covenant, to keep it from falling, and God struck him dead. It always seemed to me that he was just trying to protect the ark, something that was important to God. It just didn't make sense to me. It just goes to show you that it is so important that we not miss a word of God's Word....that we apply the whole counsel of God to a passage. To get the full impact of this story and to understand the significance of it, you must go back to the Law. Max Lucado, my favorite author, has done just that in his book FACING THE GIANTS. I will let Max explain.............

"The ark symbolized God's provision (the manna), God's power (the staff), God's precepts (the commandments) and most of all God's presence.....So we wonder why the Israelites didn't cherish the ark of the covenant. Stunningly, they let it gather dust for 33 years in the house of a priest who lived 7 miles west of Jerusalem. Neglected. Ignored. But, just-crowned David determines to change that. After he settles the city of Jerusalem, he makes the return of the chest his top priority. He plans a....parade and invites 30,000 Hebrews to attend.

They gather near the home of Abinadab, the priest. His 2 sons, Uzzah and Ahio, are put in charge of the transport. They load the ark on an ox-driven wagon and begin the march. Trumpets blast, songs erupt and all goes well for the first 2 miles, until they hit a patch of rough road. The oxen stumble, the wagon shakes and the ark shifts. Uzzah, thinking the holy chest is about to fall off the wagon, extends his hand to steady it. And heaven uzzied Uzzah and 'he died' (2 Sam. 6:7)

David returns to Jerusalem. The ark is kept at the home of Obed-Edom while David sorts things out.....at the end of 3 months David returns, reclaims the ark, and resumes the parade.

This time there is no death. There is dancing.

Uzzah's tragedy teaches this : God comes on his own terms. He gave specific instructions as to the care and transport of the ark. Only the priests could draw near it. And then only after they had offered sacrifices for themselves and their families. (See Lev. 16). The ark would be lifted not with hands, but with acacia poles. Priests ran long rods through the rings on the corners to carry the ark. 'The Kohathites will come and carry these things to the next destination. But they must not touch the sacred objects, or they will die...they were required to carry the sacred objects of the Tabernacle on their shoulders' (Num. 4:15; 7:9 NLT).

Uzzah should have known this. He was a priest, a Koathite priest, a descendant of Aaron himself. The ark had been kept in the house of his father, Abinadab. He had grown up with it. Which may be the best explanation for his actions.

He gets word that the king wants the chest and says, 'Sure, I can get it. We keep it out back in the barn. Let's load it up.' The holy has become humdrum. The sacred, second-rate. So he exhanges commands for conveniences, using a wagon instead of poles and bulls instead of priests. We see no obedience or sacrifice; we see expedience.

God is angered.

The image of a dead Uzzah sends a sobering and shuddering reminder to those of us who can attend church as often as we wish, take communion anytime we desire. The message: don't grow lax before the holy. God won't be loaded on convenient wagons or toted about by dumb animals. Don't confuse him with a genie who pops out at the rub of a lamp or a butler who appears at the ring of a bell.

God comes, mind you. But he comes on his own terms. He comes when commands are revered, hearts are clean, and confession is made."

Uzzah died. But this is not the end of the story. Uzzah died but David danced. Why?

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story!

Friday, July 27, 2007

July 27, 2007

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger." Prov. 15:1

Don't you just love to make a business call and get someone on the other end with a cheerful voice? You can just "hear" them smiling on the other end? You know immediately that the call is going to go better than you expected. On the other hand, when you get someone who just sounds like sour grapes when they answer, you don't hold out much hope for getting anything accomplished. Isn't it amazing how much power we hold to shape someone's day by our tongue!

My mother has been saying for a long time that she dreads getting the mail because every piece that comes brings a problem. I am beginning to agree with her. It seems our phone bill is NEVER right and each month the story changes. Our insurance went up with no e xplanation, yet our agent didn't have a clue! Even things as simple as ordering prescriptions by mail can turn into a real pain. And calling to correct the problems can turn into a real ordeal and really test your patience.

Our health insurance company requires us to order any recurring prescription by mail. My husband had a prescription that had been prescribed for him by his orthopedic doctor and we had placed one prior order from the mail order company. However, the nurse told us when she faxed in that prescription that he would need to go back to his primary care physician before the next order and get him to prescribe it. So, that is what we did and we did it well in advance...almost 3 weeks. When he was down to only one pill and we still had no prescription, I called to find out why. Long story short...the doctor's office had failed to order it til just this week!!! However, the mail order company told us that the doctor's office could call in an emergency supply to tide him over til the prescription came in about 10 days. I called the doctor's office and asked them to do that.

When I call, I NEVER get to speak with the doctor's assistant the first time. I always have to leave a message. When she does call, she is not really that pleasant. The first time she called, she told me the emergency supply had been called in and the new prescription had been faxed. When my husband went to pick up his prescription, however, they charged the full amount as opposed to the $5.00 co-pay we usually have to pay. He was not a happy camper and he left it there! So that meant another phone call the next day. After speaking with the insurance company and the prescription company by phone, I thought I had it resolved. But it was not to be. After several phone calls between the pharmacy and the prescription company, it was obvious that we were not going to get anywhere with them. So my next step was to call the doctor's office and ask for samples or SOMETHING since it was their fault in the first place! I was not very happy, to say the least. And I was not looking forward to dealing with the assistant.

When I called and got her voice mail, I so wanted to tell her in no uncertain terms that THEY needed to fix this problem as it was their fault and we should NOT have to pay the full amount because of their mistake. However, God replayed my earlier blog about being the fragrance of Christ, soooooooooooooooooooooo.... I spoke as politely as I could and explained the problem we were having, and asked if they could provide us with the samples. And you know what? An amazing thing happened. When the assistant called back, her whole tone had changed! She was very sweet, and called to tell me they had 15 samples for him (more than he needed) and fully sympathized with the problem and seemed truly happy she could help. I knew then that if I had taken the approach I FELT like taking, that would not have been the end result.

Our enemy makes it so easy to spout off and justify it...."we were right", "they deserve it", "they are stupid", "they were rude so I will give them more of the same", etc. But, I have found that even when one is rude to me, if I am kind and soft spoken to them, it usually will help to change their attitude. Not always, but sometimes. Although we think it feels good to answer rude with rude, are we displaying the character of Christ by doing so? I think not. But I know that I never witness someone being rude and hateful to a clerk, even if they brought it on themselves, that I don't think to myself how awful they look and sound. To put it bluntly, THEIR BEHAVIOR STINKS!!

Certainly there are times when we must not allow someone to run over us, or to take advantage of us. We must stand up for ourselves and for what is right. But we must remember to do it without adding offense to the situation. We must remember that we are Christ's ambassadors whether we are on the phone, in the line at the grocery, at the fast food restaurant or at the gas station.

Today let's remember the words of Solomon "He that keeps his mouth keeps his life, but he that opens WIDE his lips shall have destruction [of his testimony]." Proverbs 13: 3

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26, 2007

"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Ps 119: 11

I would probably be safe in saying that most of us have a Bible. In fact, most of us have more than one. But how many of us READ it, STUDY it and MEDITATE on it consistently? The Bible is more than a collection of stories. It is not a list of do's and don'ts, nor is it merely a history book, although it contains all of that. No, it is MUCH MORE!

John 1:1 says, " In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the WORD WAS GOD".
I don't think our finite minds can quite grasp that entirely, but to me it says that God's Word is more than just words on paper. It is unlike any other book ever written. It is God's words to us, breathed from His mouth and it is alive! It is powerful. It is holy. It is able to stir hearts, change minds and instruct us in the way in which God wants us to go. It speaks to us in ways that are just inexplainable.

Psalm 119 tells us quite a lot about God's word:

It tells us we are blessed when we heed its words...."Blessed are the [those] who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies and that seek him with their whole heart." Ps 119:1,2

It tells us how we can clean up our act...."Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy WORD." Ps 119: 10

If we ask, He will show us great wonders in His word..."Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Ps 119: 18

He will help us to understand it as we read..."Make me to understand the way of thy precepts so shall I talk of thy wondrous works." Ps 119 :27

He comforts us through His Word..."My soul melts for heaviness; strengthen me according to thy word." Ps 119:28

He will give us a right response to our enemies through His word..."So shall Ihave wherewith to answer him that reproaches me; for I trust in Thy word." Ps 119: 42

He will give us good judgment by studying His Word..."Teach me good judgment and knowledge for I have believed Thy commandments." Ps 119:66

Even in our trials, He will us His Word to teach us if we will press into Him...."It was good for me that I have been afflicted that I might learn they statues." Ps 119:71

Though other philosophies and doctrines may come and go, God's Word is eternal..."Forever O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven." Ps 119: 89.

Open His Word today. Let it speak to you, let it guide you, let it fortify your mind and your heart, let it comfort you where you are hurting, let it give you Hope and Encouragement. It contains EVERYTHING you need. It is God's love letter to you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

July 25, 2007

"...always laboring fervently for you in prayer, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Col. 4: 12

I have always prayed for my children, even before they were born. I prayed for them to be born healthy and whole, for them to come to know the Lord at early age, for their safety, for their comfort, and even for their future mates. Somewhere along the way, after they got older, I learned the concept of praying scripture for them. God's word is inspired, true, holy and divinely appointed to give us direction, help, hope, comfort and to sustain us day by day. We know that scripture that comes from the very heart of God is God's will. Therefore, when we pray scripture, we can be assured that we are praying in the will of God. Of course, we must use that scripture within its context not make it say something God never meant it to say. But, having said that, I want to share with you today some of the verses that I have used to pray for my children over the years. I would print these out and put their names in the verse to personalize it. As circumstances changed or prayers were answered, I added some and took away others. Nothing can be more important than praying for our children, our grandchildren and even our children's spouses!!! What a privilege to daily lift those we love and cherish up to the very throne of God!!!!!!

Ps. 1:1 Please help _____ NOT to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. [Quicken his/her heart to know truth and to flee ungodly counsel] Help him/her to delight in YOUR ways.

Ps 5:8 Lead _____, O Lord, in YOUR righteousness—make his/her way straight before them.

Ps. 9:1 Cause _____ to praise You with his/her whole heart and demonstrate all your marvelous works.

Ps. 17:3 May _____ purpose that his/her mouth will not transgress.

Ps. 17: 8 Keep _____ as the apple of your eye, hide him/her under the shadow of your wings; 13: Arise, oh Lord, disappoint [their enemies…those who seek to pull them away from you], cast them down, deliver their souls from the wicked.

Ps. 18:32 Gird _____ with strength and make his/her way perfect.

Ps 19: 3 Cleanse _____ from secret faults.

Ps. 25:4,5 Show _____ YOUR ways…teach him/her YOUR path, lead him/her in truth…remember not the sins of his/her youth; 21: Let integrity and uprightness preserve him/her.

Ps. 32:8 Instruct ____ and teach him/her in the way he/she should go.

Ps. 34 Keep _____'s tongue from evil and ____'s lips from speaking perversely, help him/her to depart from evil and do good.

Ps. 35: 4,5 Let them be confounded who seek after ____ [to pull him/her down] let them be turned back and brought to confusion…LET THE ANGEL OF THE LORD CHASE THEM AWAY!!!

Ps. 37:3 Help ____ to trust in you and do good. 4: May he/she delight in you so that you will give him/her the desires of their heart. 5: Help him/her to commit his/her way to you…to rest in you and wait patiently. 8: Cause ____ to cease from anger and forsake wrath and not to do evil in any way. 23: Order ____'s steps in your way…uphold him/her with your hand.
27: Cause ____ to depart from evil and do good. 40: Deliver ____ O Lord from the wicked and save them!

Ps 38:18 Help ____ to be sorry for his/her sin and to repent [make their conscience sensitive.]

Ps 56:3 When ____ is afraid, Lord, may he/she trust in you.

Ps. 59:2 Deliver ___ from the workers of iniquity. {Pull them toward godly relationships}

Ps. 90:14 Oh satisfy ____ NOW Lord while he/she is young that he/she may rejoice and be glad in you all the rest of his/her life.

PS. 91 May ____ dwell under the shadow of your wings. Be their refuge and fortress. Deliver him/her from the snares of the [enemy]. Cover him/her with your feathers and may truth be his/her shield. Let no evil befall____…put your angels around him/her and keep him/her safe in all of his/her ways…Satisfy ____ with long life and [give him/her joy in his/her salvation.]

Ps. 97:10 Cause ____ to HATE evil!

Ps. 101:2,3 Help ____ behave wisely and walk within his/her home with a perfect heart. Cause him/her to set no wicked thing before his/her eyes.

Ps. 119:2 May ____ keep your word and seek you with his/her WHOLE HEART.

Ps. 119:36 Incline ____'s heart to your word. 37: Turn his/her eyes away from worldliness and direct him/her in YOUR way. 63: GIVE ____ COMPANIONS WHO LOVE & FEAR THEE!!!

Ps. 119: 66 Teach ____ good judgment and knowledge.

Ps 119:101 Refrain ____'s feet from every evil way…help him/her keep your word.

Ps 119:105 Make your way a lamp unto ____'s feet and a light unto his/her path.

Ps 119: 133 Order ____'s steps in your word and let not iniquity have dominion over him/her..…deliver him/her from the oppressor of men.

Ps. 133: 1 Help us to dwell together [as a family] in unity.

Ps. 139:5 Enclose _____ behind and before and lay your hand upon him/her.

Ps. 140:1 Deliver____from evil men…preserve him/her from the [ungodly].

Ps. 144: 11 Rid ____ of strange [friends] whose mouths speak ungodliness and their right hand is falsehood that ____ may be like healthy plants grown up from their youth [that their foundations will be strong and they will have deep roots in the ways of the Lord.]

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 24, 2007

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed
And you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done.

So amid the conflict
Whether great or small
Do not be discouraged
God is over all

Count your many blessings
Angels will attend
Help and comfort
Give you til your journey's end.

Count your blessings
Name them one by one...
Count your blessings,
See what God has done.
Count your blessings.
Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings
See what God has done!

---Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr.

No matter how heavy your burden, no matter what weighs heavily upon your mind, if you will stop and begin to count your many blessings, you will soon find your heart lighter and the load you are bearing will not seem so great after all. Today I am so grateful for ALL of the many blessings in my life:

*My wonderful husband who has loved me and cared for me, protected me and stood faithfully by my side for 34 years;
*My firstborn and only son who I love with all my heart;
*My precious daughter who has always been a joy;
*My favorite son-in-love who has been not only a blessing to our daughter but to our family as well;
*My favorite daughter-in-love who has brought out the best in our son and is also a blessing to our family;
*My precious, beautiful, adorable angel baby...my granddaughter....who is my sunshine;
*My wonderful mother who has loved me as only a mother can, always giving, always caring, always there. who sacrficed so much for me;
*My sweet mother-in-law who accepted and loved me from Day #1 and who has been such a joy and delight to our entire family;
*My friends of 30+ years who are such a joy to my life and who are always there to share in the joys and the sorrows of each other's lives;
*Tom Murray, who is now with the Lord, but who taught me So much about Christ, about parenting, about LIFE!
*My health, though I am painfully aware every day of the aging process, I am not in constant pain, I am not in the hospital, I am not battling a disease, I still have most of my mind (though my kids would argue that point), and I am able to care for myself;
*My five senses: How thankful I am to be able to SEE the beauty that God has placed before me....

**the many shades of blue in the morning sky and the puffy white clouds that puntuate it;
**the many beautiful flowers that are blooming in so many different colors;
**the gorgeous butterflies that skirt from flower to flower;
**my granddaughter's beautiful smile and the look of wonder as she discovers her world;
**a rainbow in all its spendor after a summer rain;
**to be able to read God's word
I am thankful to HEAR...
**the birds singing all their different melodies throughout the day;
**my children's voices on the phone;
**my husband say "I LOVE YOU"
**my granddaughter say "Mimi" and her latest "A-men!"
**conversations with my friends and family and not be cut off or left out;
**the sound of rain;
I am thankful to SMELL...
**tube roses blooming by my back door;
**my husband's cologne;
**the woods;
**bread as it comes from the oven;
**my granddaughter after a bath....I could eat her up!
I am thankful to TASTE...
**anything after losing my sense of taste last year. It is still not completely right so this sense really has become so important! My favorites are :
**salty fries;
**homemade ice cream;
**key lime pie;
**rattlesnake pasta;
I am thankful to TOUCH...
**not to be paralyzed;
**to be able to feel my hands and feet;
**to hold hands with my husband;
**to sense hot or cold;
**a hot shower or a relaxing jacuzzi bath;

Other blessings include:

our home
food on the table
transportation to get where we need to go
money to pay our bills
jobs to provide for our needs
freedom to go and come, to worship, to read our Bible, to enjoy life
America, land that I love
a great neighborhood
seeing my children happy and blessed
my Bibles...yes, plural. I am blessed to have one and doubly blessed to have several and access by internet to many translations.
books that have challenged and inspired me
my children not living hundreds of miles away.......

No I cannot begin to name them ALL............I have not scratched the surface of the many ways God has blessed me. He daily loads me with blessings too numerous to count. It does me good to stop and try to count those from time to time. Counting our blessings helps to put things in perspective and to realize no matter what may be going on in our lives, we are still truly BLESSED beyond measure!!!!!!!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23, 2007

"When you come before God, how does He look at you? The accuser [Satan] wants you to see a Father who is harsh, demanding, never satisfied with your performance, mostly disappointed with you and frustrated with the rate of your spiritual growth.
Nothing is deadlier to the secret place than a false idea of how God views you; and nothing is more powerfully energizing than when your mind is renewed in the word of God and you come to understand how He looks on you. When you gain ownership of the fact that God is smiling on you, that He is desiring your company and that He longs to be intimate with you, then the truth of that reality starts to touch your emotional chemistry and you actually begin to feel attractive to God [and loved!]. This attainment has the power to change everything about how you relate to God.
It all starts with understanding how God feels about the cross of Christ. Revelation 5:6 describes Jesus as a Lamb standing before the eternal throne "as though it had been slain". In other words, the death of CHrist is as fresh to God's mind as the day it happened. Time will never erase from before God's eyes the immediacy of the horror of Calvary, and the powerful atoning work of the blood of CHrist. God is eternally and infinitely passionate about the His Son's Cross. Those who place their faith in this great demonstration of love come under the intense favor of God Almighty. Your faith in Christ's sacrifice unlocks the infinite passions and delights of an exuberant God who yearns to be joined to your heart in eternal affection. Because you have set your love upon the One whom the Father has set HIS love upon, you have an automatic "in" with God...you're His child, you're family!!
When you know you're attractive to God, you come into His presence with boldness. You come into his presence the way He wants you to, with a lifted face, with expectant eyes, with a delighted smile, with an eager voice and with a burning heart. [Reminds me of how our children come to us when they are small, fully trusting....and God says we must come to Him as a little child]
He doesn't enjoy you any less because you struggle. He knows your weaknesses, He sees your failures, but yet He owns you as His child and enjoys you even when you fall!! He loves it when you pick yourself up and keep stepping forward again and again into His arms. How comforting to know we can bring the entire package of our inadequacies and shortcomings into His presence and know He lovingly embraces us and delights in us! He enjoys us at every stage of the maturity process.
In John 17:23 Jesus prayed to the Father "That the world may know that You...have loved them as You have loved Me". Think of it! God loves us just as much as He loves His only begotten Son! He feels the same way about us that He feels about his holy, spotless, selfless, Son. Incredible!!!!!
God feels much more passionately about me than I do about Him. Even when my passions are burning hot and bright for Him, they do not approach the intensity of His love for me. Here is one way I've noticed this to be true. The intensity of my love is very limited because I can only think upon one thing at a time. So when I work or go about the duties of my day, cognitive thoughts of God actually disappear from my mind. My mind will return to the Lord a few hours later, but for certain periods of time I'm not even thinking about Him. BUT He never stops thinking about me! ['How precious are your thoughts of me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are MORE in number than the sand'! Ps 139: 17-18. Have you ever tried to count the grains of sand in just one handful of sand?! There are thousands! Then look around at the beach you are standing on and as far as your eye can see both ways and out into the ocean and multiply that times all the beaches in the world!! And even that does not account for the thoughts God has toward you!!!!!!! AWESOME!!] His eyes are constantly riveted on me and His mind is incessantly focused on who I am and who He is making me to be. When I return to thoughts of Him, the immediate witness of the Spirit is "I've been here all along, waiting for you. I love you so much!"
He waits for you to come to Him! He waits all night long watching over you, waiting for you to rise, hoping that He might be the first thought of your morning. You don't have to wonder if He wants you to come into the secret place . He has been waiting for you and He'll continue
to wait for as long as it takes because His heart is bound up in your life. 'Lord, may I never again withhold myself from your embrace'!


Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 22, 2007

Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of His name;
Make His name glorious.
Say to God ...YOU ARE AWESOME!!
All the earth will worship You and
Sing praise to You.
Praise our God, you people
let the sound of His praise be heard.
Sing to God! Sing praises to His name.
Exalt Him who rides on the clouds
Rejoice before Him.
Let Heaven and earth praise Him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
I will sing to You..
My lips will shout for joy
when I sing praise to You,
because You have redeemed me!
May the Lord God, the God of Israel,
be praised, who alone does wonders.
May His glorious name be praised forever;
the whole earth is filled with His glory!
I will sing about the Lord's faithful love forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness
to all generations.
Lord God of Hosts, who is strong like you, Lord?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging sea;
When its waves surge, You still them.
The Heavens are yours, the earth also is yours---
The world and everything in it.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne
Faithful love and truth go before you.
How magnificent are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
The Lord reigns!
he is robed in majesty;
The Lord is robed, enveloped in strength.

Come let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker
For HE is our God
and we are His people.

(Selected passages from Psalms)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

July 21, 2007

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

When was the last time you were still and quiet? I don't get many opportunities to be really still and really quiet. Thankfully, I had one of those moments this morning. Even then there was not TOTAL silence. I have a noisy clock that kept interrupting the silence with its ticking...something I normally don't even notice, but when trying to be quiet, it sounded SO loud! But I was still and quiet. I determined NOT to think about my prayer requests...not MY needs or the needs of SO many who are in need of prayer today. I just wanted to be still and LISTEN...listen for God to speak.

WORSHIP. How do you define that word? If you were to go into any given church tomorrow morning and survey 100 people of different ages, I am confident that you would get 100 different definitions. That one question has stirred up more controversy, divided more churches and caused more debates than probably anything else in the church this century! The dictionary defines it as "reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred. " In simple terms, it is putting our focus TOTALLY on God and giving him the honor and glory He so deserves.

As I tried to focus on Him this morning, I thought of His attributes. He is HOLY, truly, 100% HOLY. There is none like Him! On our best day, we can't come close! He is without sin...always has been, always will be. He has never known what it is to have a sinful thought, a mean thought, a lustful thought. He has NEVER acted any way but righteous. Every thing He has ever done or ever will do is PERFECT! Not once has He ever slipped up. Not once has He ever said "Oops! I shouldn't have done that!" He has never lied. He has never failed to keep a promise. He has never stopped loving us, no matter how rotten we've acted, how much we've let Him down, how many times we have sinned. He has never fallen asleep on the job; never been late; never mixed up an answer to a prayer request; never given up on us. He is PURE....without sin or fault or mistake. He is good, righteous, compassionate, kind, merciful, gracious, loving, powerful, awesome, mighty, faithful, generous, forgiving, tenderhearted, and about 10 million other adjectives that I have no room to write. And that description doesn't even scratch the surface of His character!

Worship then should be our getting still before Him, and focusing on those attributes and giving Him praise for them, showing our gratitude to Him for those attributes He demonstrates to us and just falling at the feet of One so perfect, HOLY and awesome! How you choose to do that should not matter. Whatever means best helps you to do that, go for it! When we stand before His throne one day in Heaven, we will be forever worshipping Him. As the song I CAN ONLY IMAGINE so beautifully says it "Surrounded by Your Glory, what will my heart feel?Will I dance for you, Jesus? Or in awe of You, be still?Will I stand in Your presence, or to my knees will I fall?Will I sing 'Hallelujah!'? Will I be able to speak at all?I can only imagine! I can only imagine! "

Psalm 97 tells us :

"The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice!...Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him...His lightening lights up the world; the earth...trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord." The created earth recognizes His greatness and majesty. Shouldn't we?

The point is, our focus will be on HIM!! It is not about WHO or WHERE or HOW...it is about GOD! Give Him GLORY and PRAISE and ADORATION for who HE is. Focus on WHO He is and what an awesome God we serve!!!!!!!!!!! Do it today wherever you are and then do it again tomorrow when you go to church. But BE STILL and ACKNOWLEDGE HIM AS YOUR GOD AND KING!!!!!!!!! He alone is worthy!

Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20, 2007


Do you believe that? Do you REALLY, REALLY believe that? I do.....with ALL my heart!

I tried to recall today when I first started praying. I can't. I do remember my mother praying with me as a child, the well-known children's prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
But the first time I really remember praying was when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I had learned a verse in Bible school "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee" Psalm 56:3. I awoke during the night shortly after that, thinking there was a bear just outside my reach next to my bed. He was roaring something fierce! I can still remember how terrified I was! All I could think of was that verse, and I began to repeat it over and over....praying scripture I guess, although I didn't realize it at the time. Slowly I began to inch my way over to the wall where my bed was built in (we lived in a house trailer). I just knew that at any second he was going to put his big old paw through the gate that kept me from falling out and get me. Soon it got quiet and after a while, I got up my courage to begin to inch back over, trying hard not to make the mattress squeak even a bit. Then I really got up my courage when I poked my hand through the gate and began to feel for fur. Of course, if I had felt any, I would not be writing any of this today! When I finally felt the coast was clear I ran and jumped into bed with my parents. Then I knew I was safe. The next morning my mother asked me why I had come and gotten in their bed. I told her about the bear. I couldn't believe she had not heard him. She had. She told me it was my father snoring!!!!!!!!!!!!
Funny? Yes. But I learned a valuable life lesson that night that has NEVER left me. I learned the validity of scripture. What time I am afraid....and there have been MANY times since then I have been afraid....I CAN trust in the Lord! I also learned that I could take anything to Him in prayer. He is always there.
Prayer has been a very real part of my life ALL my life. My prayer life has matured and deepened. I owe a LOT to many who have taught me so much about prayer. I am still learning and still praying. I will share more about that at another date. But today I want to ask you to rejoice with me because of some very important ANSWERED prayers!

There is nothing quite so exciting as to pray and pray for someone and then to see God work in their lives. And have you noticed that we always act so surprised when He does? When will we learn?????????
I shared with you earlier this week about a little boy named Kyle who will be celebrating the end of his chemotherapy for leukemia tomorrow at a NO MO CHEMO party!! That is such a HUGE praise. This little boy's life literally hung in the balance. No one really knew if he would make it or not. He has struggled and persevered, and God has blessed! Oh the prayers that so many prayed for this little boy and his family. Many prayed who do not know him and will never meet him. That to me is such a mind-boggling thing!! And each one of those who prayed...many of you who are reading this today included....have had a part in that! SO I want you to rejoice with me and give thanks to the Lord, for HE is good!!
Another huge answer to prayer is for two of my daughter's friends who have longed for a baby. They have tried and tried to no avail. Many tests, procedures and negative pregnancy tests have produced tears and anxieties and heartaches...but no babies. But just in the last several months BOTH of these women have experienced the joy of becoming pregnant...one with twins!!!!!!!! Now they can both proclaim to the Lord with Hannah "For this child I prayed and the Lord has given me my petition.....my heart rejoices in the Lord....there is none holy as the Lord, there is none beside thee...neither is there any rock like our GOD!" I Sam. 1: 27, 2: 1,2
Finally, we have a dear friend who was critically injured in an accident over a year and a half ago. He suffered some paralysis, a stroke and many other problems that left him in a wheelchair and unable to do the things he always enjoyed doing....leading worship at his church, hunting, playing ball, etc. He also was unable to return to work. This past year he suffered with some other serious problems that threatened his life more than once. I cannot tell you the prayers that have been uttered on this man's behalf. The fact he lived was a miracle in itself. But there have been many miracles. And God is not finished with him yet!

Today I talked with his daughter. She told me that he is laughing, smiling and talking like she has not seen him since the accident! He is making jokes. He wants to go to a ballgame. He and his wife took a trip to Atlanta to visit their other daughter and only granddaughter a few weeks ago. They came back through Gatlinburg and stayed where they had stayed before. He remembered it!! He said "That is where we stayed before" and then pointed out some things he remembered! The old Ray is emerging!!!!!!!! Oh won't you please praise and glorify the Lord with me today!!?
God DOES answer prayer! He does not always answer it in the way we want. He does not always answer it WHEN we want. Some times He answers speedily...sometimes He delays, but He always answers. And PRAYER does matter! "The effectual, fervant prayer of the righteous avails much!" James 5:16 MARK THAT VERSE...HIGHLIGHT IT...MEMORIZE IT! PRAYER CHANGES THINGS!!!!!!!!!
Just ask Kyle, Alecia, Lydia and Ray. Just ask their families.
"Oh God we bow before you today in awe and adoration. You are SO awesome!! Thank you for the way you have moved in the lives of these. We thank you so much for your faithfulness, especially when our faith wavered. You had a plan and a purpose in each of these lives. It is right on schedule! Thank you for all those who have prayed for these. Thank you for the miracles you have performed!! Thank you for the ways in which you have blessed!

Thank you for these precious babies...these new lives. Oh God, may they rise up and call you their Lord and Savior one day! May their parents always give you all the praise and glory for these miracles!! We rejoice with them and ask your protection over them and over every stage of their pregnancy. Shield them from harm. Keep their moms healthy and strong. Bless O Lord!!
We thank you for Kyle and for how you have preserved this little life. Oh how grateful we are to you for your mercy upon this family, not only to help Kyle but also his dad. Thank you Jesus!! Bless their day of rejoicing and celebration tomorrow with all the friends who are coming to give glory and praise to YOU. Thank you for this young mother who never lost faith in you....who always trusted you and leaned on you, even when the going got really tough. Bless her Lord for her faithfulness in you. Bless this family with MANY years to enjoy together. Bless their move. Bless their jobs. Continue to keep Kyle healthy and strong and may he grow to be a young many who gives his life totally to you!

Oh how we praise you for what you have done in Ray's life and what you are STILL doing!! Only YOU alone, God, could have raised him up. Only YOU alone could give him back to those he loves. We praise you. We worship you. We give you ALL the praise, honor and glory that is due to you and you alone. May Ray one day STAND and sing for you again....that is the desire of his heart!! There is NONE like you Lord...there is NONE like you!!!"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

July 19.2007

"Therefore will the Lord wait that [here's the object of the exercise] He may be gracious unto you and therefore, will HE be exalted that he may have mercy on you....blessed are they who wait upon Him." Is 30:18

None of us like waiting. I don't know anyone who likes to wait. Yet it would be interesting to know how many hours of our life are spent doing just that! We wait in line at the bank, the cleaners, the fast food restaurants, the gas station and the grocery store. We wait on the phone, pressing 1, then 3, then 4, then holding forever only to be frustrated because the person we finally get doesn't speak English and doesn't have a clue how to solve our problem! We wait on checks to arrive in the mail, credits to be applied to our accounts, the FREE gift to arrive that we have been waiting for and photos online of our friend's new grandbaby. But one of the worst places to wait is a doctor or dentist office. You can smell that medicinal smell that just puts your stomach in knots. You can hear the whirr of the drill and you can hear children cry in fear or in pain. Even if you are only there for a check up it can be nerve-wracking. But, if you are there for something more serious, it can be chilling as you wait for the doctor's diagnosis. Tests are run and the waiting continues, sometimes for hours, sometimes days. It is agonizing whether it is for ourselves or for someone we love.

All our lives we are waiting. Did you know that there are even websites that will calculate the day of your death so you can WATCH the seconds click away as you wait for D - Day? (See www.deathclock.com). It is gruesome...yet sobering to SEE the seconds of your life clicking away. It really gets your attention that we need to be making the most of those precious seconds rather than idly WATCHING them.

For some there are not many seconds left. A dear friend is watching her sweet mother slowly slip away. They are not sure how many seconds are left on her clock, but they are few. When the reality of that hits, it is hard. To see one that you love so dearly, one who has always been there for you, the one who gave you life, who has always been a part of your life now slipping slowly from your grasp is heart-rending. Yet with the pain and the fear and the mental torture that this one is in, it forces you to want to let go for her relief, even though from an earthly perspective you'd like to hold her here for just a while longer. Yet you know that she will be with the Lord she loves, you know that the angels are hovering ever near and so you wait and you kiss her tenderly one more time, because before you return she could be transported to Heaven. And so you wait................

God waits. He puts us in His waiting room for a purpose. We all find ourselves there from time to time. Sometimes we are in a waiting room for health reasons, sometimes for financial reasons, sometimes for spiritual reasons. Sometimes we are waiting on the answer to a prayer....a prayer for the safety and the health of a loved one, the return of a wayward child, the job opportunity that has been so long in coming, for reconciliation between loved ones, for the safe return of the child or spouse in the military. But God waits and the answers do not come as quickly as we would like. Days turn into months and months can turn into years sometimes. But this verse tells us that God waits so that He can be gracious to us. He wants GOOD things for us. He wants to be merciful to us. In the midst of the waiting, it does not seem very gracious. But when we look back, we will see His hand and realize WHY He waited...why His timing was perfect. There is another reason He waits too. He waits so that HE will be exalted...not you...! That's right! It's not about YOU...it's about HIM!!

So the next time you find yourself waiting and are getting frustrated, remember....He's being gracious and it's not about YOU, it's about HIM!!! Maybe that will help your perspective a little as you wait in God's waiting room.

Oh, by the way, according to the Life Clock (www.bellaonline.com/misc/quiz/lifeclock) I have 27 years or 321 months or 9,776 days, or 234,610 hours or 14,076,600 minutes left, so I better get busy!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 18, 2007

When you are tired and discouraged from
Doomed circumstances and situations…
God knows how hard you have tried.
When you’ve cried for so long and your
Heart is in such anguish…
God has counted your tears.
If you feel that your life is on hold
And time has just passed you by…
God is waiting with you.
When you’re lonely and your friends are
Too busy to call or can’t understand…
God is by your side.
When you think you’ve tried everything
And don’t know where else to turn…
God has a solution.
When nothing makes sense and you’re
Hurt, confused or frustrated…
God has the answer.
If suddenly your outlook is brighter and
You find traces of hope in life…
God has whispered to you.
When things are going well and you
Have much to be thankful for…
God has blessed you.
When something amazing happens and
You find that special someone…
God has smiled upon you.
When you have a dream to follow
And also a reality to live…
God has opened your eyes and called your name.
Remember that wherever you are
Or whatever you are facing now…

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17, 2007

Today's blog is taken from Priscilla Shirer's study, DISCERNING THE VOICE OF GOD (Lifeway Press 2006):

Lord, heighten my spiritual sense to
See that which is not visible
Hear that which is not audible
Sense that which is not tangible
Believe that which is unbelievable
Teach me to sort through
the noises of this word to
hear and discern your powerful,
wonderful, pure, precious voice.
---Priscilla Shirer, Discerning the Voice of God

* Many of us don't really believe God will speak to us and give us specific directions concerning the details of our lives. We claim to believe that God speaks, but we are secretly discouraged because we don't see evidence of His voice in our lives. We need to approach the Father with an expectancy that He WILL speak.

* "If you want to hear God' voice clearly and you are uncertain, then remain in His presence until He changes this uncertainty. Often much can happen during this waiting for the Lord. Sometimes He changes pride into humility, doubt into faith and peace; sometimes lust into purity. The Lord can and will do it" Corrie ten Boom

* God is looking for someone who believes He is who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do. Go to God expecting to hear His voice and don't hesitate to move forward in obedience. When you obey, you move from YOUR agenda to His and God's plans are always greater!

* "I know that God is speaking to me when He impresses something on my spirit internally and confirms it through a person or circumstances externally." Tony Evans

* (Phil. 2:13) No longer do I frantically search for God's will. I frantically search for God. I trust that it is His responsibility to show me what He wants me to do and how to do it by speaking through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. As I seek Him, stay in His Word and continue to keep an intimate relationship with Him by confessing my sin, he transforms my mind and emotions to align with His plan.

* As we seek Him and acknowledge Him, He promises to continue to direct our paths (Prov. 3: 5,6) and often does so by bombarding us with a thought that will not cease to permeate our thoughts and hearts. When you are walking with Him, seeking Him and desiring to receive His directions, He will direct you with consistent persistence.

* I am learning that the primary channel through which the Lord will reveal His word to me is the Bible. Scripture provides the boundaries into which all of God's fresh words will fall even those words concerning our everyday lives.

* As we seek to hear the Holy Spirit speak through Scripture, we are tuning our spiritual ears to catch the moment when a passage seems to capture our attention in an almost shocking way, a way through which our thoughts are drawn to how the passage applies to a specific situation in our lives. The Holy Spirit orchestrates these events. HE SPEAKS!

* "With all my heart I have sought You. Do not let me wander from your commandments. Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. " Ps 119: 10, 18 The better you know God the more clearly you can hear God. Develop the disciplines that cause you to press into Him. Don't go voice hunting, instead go God hunting!!!!!!

* "Whoever seeks God as means toward desired ends will not find God. The mighty God, the maker of Heaven and earth, will not be one of many treasures, not even the chief of all treasures. He will be all in all or He will be nothing. God will not be used. His mercy and grace are infinite and His patient understanding is beyond measure, but He will not aid men in their selfish striving after personal gain. He will not help men to attain ends which, when attained, usurp the place He by every right should hold in their interest and affection." A. W. Tozer * Often we seek to know God's direction more than we seek to know God. We bypass the relationship because we would rather have answers about us. God wants to speak to you because He wants you to know Him. Knowing His direction is just a by product. Hearing from God will always be designed to point you to Him and open up your understanding and your experience concerning who He is.

* Never think your circumstances are disconnected from God's leading and His will. Don't spend your time wishing you could get out of the season of life you are in, rather spend your time looking fervently for God' s hand in your situation. When seeking God's guidance, always take into account the activity He is allowing in your life at that time. The enemy's discouraging voice tells us what we could do "if". The voice of God tells us what we should do now. When you ask God for direction, keep your eyes open to see what He does next.

* How you choose to respond to God is more important than hearing from Him. He doesn't just speak to be heard. He speaks to be obeyed! Obedience is not only the key that keeps the door of communication open between you and God but the only appropriate response when He speaks.

Five M's of correctly hearing God:
1. Look for the MESSAGE of the Spirit. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Don't just casually ask God for guidance. Consciously turn your attention inward to see if what you are sensing carries the weight of God or if it is the unsure, unsteady voice of your own conscience.
2. Live in the MODE of prayer. Submit what you hear back to God in prayer. Throughout your day when the issue comes into your mind don't spend time worrying; spend time handing the issue to God.
3. Search out the MODEL of Scripture. Carefully consider the Scriptures. Does what you think you're hearing in any way contradict the character of God or the Word of God?
4. Submit to the MINISTRY OF ELI. Seek the counsel of a wise, more mature believer who can discern God's leading in his or her own life.
5. Expect the MERCY of confirmation. Ask the Lord for confirmation. God desires you to know His will. He's not hiding it from you. "When I ask the Lord to confirm what He is saying to me through the Holy Spirit so I can be sure He is indeed speaking, he allows the Holy Spirit to speak to me and verify His message through His written Word, circumstances, or even another person." Priscilla Shirer.
Over and over scripture makes clear that the determining factor for experiencing God is OBEDIENCE. We must learn to make obedience a habit regardless of our feelings. God knows what is best and only requires us to obey so that we may experience it. He desires to bless us with His most special gifts, and we experience them when we commit to the only appropriate response: complete and immediate obedience. "God cannot draw near to us while we are walking away from Him in disobedience at the same time" Jim Cymbala

Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16, 2007

"We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.....for our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory." I Cor. 4: 17

Stress....I HATE IT!!!! And the older I get, the less able I am to tolerate it. Yet it seems to be a way of life any more. Everyone you talk to is stressed. Either you are in the midst of a trial, coming out of a trial or about to enter one. Some days I find myself thinking "Lord, I am so tired of this. I just want to ENJOY life, ENJOY my family, smile and not WORRY about anything!" Then I realize, that will be HEAVEN....and I'm not there yet!

Just yesterday as we sat in our Sunday School class and listened to prayer requests, I was reminded of how many burdens others are carrying, too. Here is just a sampling:

A wayward child
Aging parents
Marriage of 25 years ending in divorce
Facing cancer surgery
Recovering from surgery
Troubled teenager
Decisions regarding business
Death of wife and daughter within 6 weeks
Job loss

Each of these has someone weighted down, heart broken, filled with worry and anxiety over those they love. Jesus told us that in this world we would have tribulation, BUT, he said "Behold, I have overcome the world!" We can take comfort in knowing that for THIS we have JESUS...no matter what our THIS is, HE is big enough!!

Notice what the above verse says...these are "momentary", which means they will only last a short time. And they are "light afflictions". Now for most of us, when we are in the midst of a stressful situation, we do not consider it LIGHT! But compared to what Jesus suffered for each of us, whatever it is, it is light by comparison.

Our pastor once preached a sermon about Jesus and the disciples who found themselves aboard a ship in the midst of a storm. He made the comment, "When Jesus is in your boat, you can rest assured the boat won't sink and the storm won't last forever!" We find that hard to believe when the storms are raging in our lives. But it IS true.

I can think back on several who have found themselves in storms in just the last few years and where they are today.

A dear friend lost her mother unexpectedly. Her father was devastated and thought his life was over. Now, four years later, he has healed, moved on and even remarried a wonderful woman. He is very happy.

A young woman my son graduated with was heartsick to learn several years ago that her little boy had leukemia and the prognosis seemed grim. This young mother cared courageously for him as well as his younger sister. In the midst of this battle, they learned that her husband also had cancer. Soon she found herself caring for TWO cancer patients and a young toddler. Her husband was unable to work and she was needed to care for all of them so she could not work. This Saturday, they will celebrate a NO MO CHEMO party for this little boy, now 6 years old and entering kindergarten this fall!! The Dad is back at work and they are in the midst of a move to Texas where the mother will begin teaching again in the fall.

Just one short year ago, the church we were a part of was in the midst of huge controversy and conflict. It was a hard time for all involved, especially the pastor who resigned. As difficult as that was for him and his family, the timing of that resignation allowed them to be available to their daughter and her family when their precious grandbaby was fighting for her life. Then, in God's perfect timing, He opened a door of ministry to them in another church. God is using him in amazing ways and He has only just begun!! Many who were affected by this same situation, have moved on and God has continued to bless in so many ways...new church families and friends, new opportunities for ministry and even a marriage is resulting from all of this!!

God truly does work ALL things for our good..the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. It is SO hard to see it when we are in the midst of it. And we would much rather NOT go through those dark valleys. But, God in his mercy, will see us THROUGH to the other side. He will not let the waters overflow us, He will not allow our boat to sink and most importantly of all, He will never leave us. He will go through the storm WITH us, comfort us, guide us, and hold us close til one day, the winds begin to subside, the waves die down and the sun breaks forth in all its brilliance to reveal a beautiful rainbow of hope and peace.

I shared in one of my first blogs about the summer I got braces and what an ordeal that was for me. During that summer of preparing for that, I ran across this little poem that I have never forgotten. I pray it will be a blessing to you.

God hath not promised skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways all our lives through
God has not promised peace without pain
Joy without sorrow, sun without rain.
BUT...God HAS promised strength for the day
Rest for the laborer, light for the way
Grace for the trials, Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy
Undying love.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July 15, 2007

"But thanks be to God, who always puts us on display in Christ and spreads through us in every place the scent of knowing Him. For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To some we are a scent of death leading to death, but to others, a scent of life leading to life." II Cor. 2: 14-16

The sense of smell is probably the most under appreciated of our five senses, yet it plays a HUGE role in our life! Did you know that no 2 people have the exact same odor identity or "smell fingerprint"? It is determined by many factors such as our genes, skin type, diet, medicines, mood and even the weather!

"Whether for finding food, avoiding predators or choosing a mate, the sense of smell is critical for the existence of almost all creatures. We humans, able to distinguish over 10,000 different odor molecules, utilize our sense of smell for a multitude of activities from enjoying the aroma of freshly brewed coffee to deciding whom not to sit next to on the bus. In the last 15 years scientists have made great advances to our understanding of how our nose detects odor molecules and our brain processes the resulting information that gives rise to the sensation of smell.

Our sense of smell is so powerful that when you smell SKUNK, you are smelling 0.000,000,000,000,071 of an ounce of scent. Dogs have about 200 million olfactory receptors. That is about 20 times the number humans have.

People recall smells with 65% accuracy after a year while visual recall of photos sinks to about 50% after only 3 months. Our odor memories frequently have strong emotional qualities and are associated with good or bad experiences in which they occurred. In fact, smell is handled by the same part of the brain that handles memories and emotions." (1)

We all have experienced the way certain smells evoke certain memories. I remember walking into our old high school a few years back and I immediately was in 1st grade again (all 12 grades were in that school when I was a child). The smells of certain foods bring back certain memories of home or a place dear to our heart. Certain colognes remind us of certain people. We love being near those who smell good and we avoid those who don't smell so good. There are entire industries built around our smelling good....two in particular....the deodorent industry and the fragrance industry.

I recently went to buy my husband a new cologne. I went to the men's fragrance counter and began to sniff different ones. After 3 or 4, I just had to back away and catch my breath. They all began to run together. Then the associate who was helping me said "It's time for the coffee beans!" I looked at her rather puzzled and she laughed. She went behind the counter and sure enough, she emerged with a bowl of coffee beans! She told me to sniff them a few seconds and then to try another fragrance. She then explained that smelling coffee beans sort of "cleanses the nasal passages" much like sherbet cleanses the palate between courses in a meal. And you know what? It worked!

I like to smell good, don't you? I have worn a number of fragrances over the years. My tastes in fragrance has changed and my body chemistry has also changed. I can smell a fragrance on someone else and love it. I can try it on me and it smells nothing like theirs. So we DO each have our own unique fragrance print. But I think it is important to smell good....or at least not to smell bad! HA!

Who knew it was Biblical? Yet here it is in this scripture that we are to be the fragrance of Christ to God and to others! Think about that. When we think about the word "fragrance", we think of something pleasant like cologne or the fragrance of a rose. When we think of "odor" we think of something foul, like a skunk or body odor. We are to be the "fragrance of Christ". Christ should so fill our lives that when we are around others, they get a "whiff" of Christ every time we come around. DO THEY?

When you walk into your office in the morning, do those you work with get a whiff of Christ? Has anyone ever said of you "his/her attitude stinks!" Do they long for you to linger just so they can drink it in or are they anxious for you to pass on by? When you are home with your family, what kind of fragrance do they get from you? What about your neighbors? Do they get a whiff of Christ?

Oh how this should cause us to watch what we say and what we do, our attitudes, our tones, our gossip. Whether we are with believers or with those who are lost, may we strive to give off the fragrance of Christ today, so that when we leave our scent will linger and those we were near will long for our return just so they can drink in that fragrance once more. May His fragrance in us be like the smell of baking bread....may it whet their appetite to "taste and see that the Lord is good"!!

(1) http://www.senseofsmell.org/index.php Sense of Smell Institute

Saturday, July 14, 2007

July 14, 2007

My good friend is in a valley right now of huge proportions. As I was praying for her this morning, God brought this poem to my mind to share with her. Maybe some of you reading this today are in a valley and it will be a blessing to you as well.


Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It's then I have to remember
That it's in the valleys I grow.
If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God's love
And would be living in vain.
I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it's in the valleys I grow.
I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.
My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan's loss.
Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I'm feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it's in the valleys I grow.
Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.
Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it's in the valleys I grow!

(This poem was written by Jane Eggleston who currently lives in Virginia. Her son
Jeff states, "She is a wonderful person, loves Jesus and has been the best mother
anyone could ever ask for." What a fitting tribute to any mother.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

July 13, 2007

"Death is swallowed up in victory!" I Cor. 15: 54

We cling so desperately to this life of ours. We do not want to let go of what we have...what we KNOW here on earth. Heaven sounds wonderful...too wonderful for words, but it is not a reality to us. It is the great unknown. This life, we KNOW. And even with its heartaches and sorrows, it's pains and disappointments, we still cling. Yet if this is all we had for eternity, and we had to spend eternity in THIS body, I think we would all admit, that thought does not hold a lot of great anticipation.

Heaven IS a reality. Eternity is a reality. So is hell. And each of us will spend eternity...forever and ever and ever, in one place or the other. "For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." James 4:14 We all have an appointment with death. To some it comes sooner than others. But make no mistake, if the Lord tarries, that is one appointment that you WILL keep.

It is, therefore, important for us to think about and realize that these bodies of ours are only temporary. They are daily wasting away (Boy! Don't I know it!!) As we grow older, we see it more and more and we realize that death is working in us. One day it will overtake us and we will shed this earthly tent for a permanent, glorified body! We will trade the corruptible for the incorruptible, the mortal for the immortal. And although we can't quite grasp it now...it will be a WONDERFUL day!! "For the corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written 'Death is swallowed up in victory!' O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory!" I Cor. 15: 53-54.

This should give us all hope...something better to look forward to. And having this hope helps us to cope with all the everyday stuff that gets us down. It also comforts us when we must let go of one we love, especially when we know that one has now put on the incorruptible! They have experienced Heaven in all its glory and ....best of all THEY HAVE SEEN JESUS!!!!!!!!!! Even as we stand by the casket and grieve as we look at their lifeless body, they are ALREADY there...already dancing with the angels, already bowing at the feet of their Lord and Savior! They would not return and if we could see for one second what they've seen and experienced, we would not bring them back, though our hearts are breaking for our own loss.

But for those of us still here on earth, we must make the most of the life we have. We must not get so Heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Rather we must give our lives wholly to the Lord, allowing Him to use us for HIS glory, to point others to Him, so that one day they, too, can experience all that Heaven has.

Paul concludes this passage in Corinthians with these words of exhortation:

"THEREFORE....[the object of the exercise]...my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmoveable, allways abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I Cor. 15: 58.

Today may we contemplate how glorious Heaven will be, how wonderful to have a new, glorfied body...but at the same time, may we also realize that God has a purpose for us here while He allows us to remain in this body and may we be about giving ourselves wholly to that purpose til He calls us home!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007

"[we] labour, working with our own hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat..." I Cor. 4: 12, 13

How many of us would say that is our testimony? Ouch! That is certainly not my natural tendency, I must confess. Yet that is really the point, isn't it? We are not to do what comes naturally. We, as Believers--- as Christ-followers--- are to respond to situations spiritually.
I Cor. 2:16 tells us that we have the mind of Christ. Phil. 2: 5-8 says "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient even unto death."

I think the key word here is "humbled himself". How often when we find ourselves in conflict do we HUMBLE ourselves? No, rather we are usually looking out for #1....ourselves! What will make ME look good? What will promote MY agenda? What will cause ME to win?

Jesus went even farther in Matthew when he told his disciples :
"You have heard it said 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate your enemy', but I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you." Matt 5: 43-44

Pray for those who are giving us a hard time????? Bless those who are making our life miserable? Say GOOD things about them? Do something NICE for them....for NO reason? That is what Jesus has said. Yes, it flies in the face of everything we WANT to do or FEEL like doing. But that is where the other key word in the Philipians verse comes in...OBEY. Jesus himself became "obedient" to the Father....all the way to the Cross. Easy? No. Logical? No. But aren't you glad He was?

Today in whatever situation you find yourself--- at work, in your neighborhood, at school, or even in your own home, when you feel like getting back, instead take a step back, think about these verses, humble yourself, and OBEY. Want to know the results? Check out Proverbs 16:7!:)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

July 10, 2007

"Our little becomes much when placed in the Master's hands." Unknown

Many people define "ministry" as something only paid church staff is responsible for along with the missionaries that are commissioned on behalf of the church. However, that is not Biblical at all. Every believer is equipped with at least one spiritual gift. "But to each one [believer] is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." I Cor. 12:7. We are also given talents and abilities....all to be used for the glory of God. None of us are exempt from ministry!

Some people have a ministry and do not even realize it. If you asked them what their ministry was, they would say "Oh, I don't have a ministry. I don't have any talent...I can't teach or sing or speak in front of others." But they DO have a ministry. They are doing what God has equipped them to do. Let me give you a few examples:

I had an aunt who thought she had no talents or abilities. She was a very hard worker, having worked in several different factories in her life as well as tending to a huge truck patch that provided income to her and her husband. This woman could cook like no one I've ever known! And her greatest joy was in cooking and sharing it with others. In her later years, she would often bake a cake and call the fire department or the police department and tell them she had them a cake if they would just come and get it. Whenever she heard of a need...someone sick, someone with a death in the family, she was baking for them and sending them a meal. When someone came to visit, she loaded them down with produce from her garden or canned goods from her pantry. If you gave her something, she sent you home with twice as much. You could never out-give her! Yet she was humble and felt she was nothing special. But she was VERY special. She touched many lives with her generosity. That was her ministry.

I have a friend who is gifted in many ways. She has a beautiful voice and has led children's choirs and sang in the choir as long as I've known her. Now that is a talent that often people will consider "ministry" and it certainly is. But that is not her only ministry. She is a teacher....a language teacher....but not an ordinary teacher. She loves her students and reaches out to them in so many ways. Her classroom is her mission field and she shares the love of Christ with them in so many different ways. God has given her a real gift for language and once again she is using that gift for Him, even outside the classroom as she is leading VBS with Spanish speaking children this summer.

My mother-in-law has the gift of mercy. She can go to a nursing home or to visit shut ins every day of the week. She never gives it a thought. She goes loaded with banana nut bread and her precious smile and she spends time with those she knows like her sister and also with those she doesn't know, but who just need a special touch. She has no idea that she is a "minister", but she is! And she is older than most of them....92!!

I recently heard a story told by Chuck Colson, the creator of Prison Ministries. An elderly lady was confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. But she contacted his ministry and told him she wanted to correspond with some prisoners, to be an encouragement to them. She was given a couple of names and she began writing to them. Soon she was asking for more. She now regularly corresponds with about 13 prison inmates, sharing the love of Christ with them. She is in her 80's and in a place that most of us would consider "the end of the line", yet she is still being used of the Lord.

Each of is equipped to minister if we are a believer. We may already be ministering and not even realize it. Ministry is taking the gifts and abilities that God has given you and offering them back to Him for HIS glory! What is YOUR ministry? In what ways has God gifted you that you can use for HIM?

"Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially those who are of the household of faith." Gal. 6: 10

"Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men." Col. 3: 23.

Monday, July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007

My heart is so sad, so heavy, over the death of this young woman. It aches for the Daddy and the grandmother whose hearts are so broken. It just seems to be more than any one person should have to bear. "Why Lord?" That is the question on everyone's mind.

Our hearts cry out to Him for He is our only source of comfort. He is the One who holds the reasons WHY. Maybe He will reveal those answers in His perfect time. Maybe He never will. But one thing is for sure. He cares. He loves us with an unfathonable love.

We can cry out to Him and know that He hears us. We can pour out our hearts to Him and know that He is listening to us. Oh how thankful I am to know that He is there. In Psalms, David calls out to God over and over again....from the pit, from the caves, from the palace.

"Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me; in the day when I call answer me speedily." Ps 102: 1-2
"But thou O Lord art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto [me]...show me a token for good...thou has laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deep....thou hast put away my acquaintances far from me....but unto thee have I cried, O Lord and in the morning shall my prayer preserve me." Ps 86: 15-17, 88: 6, 8, 13.

Yes, my God hears me when I pray and He responds with mercy, compassion and love. I can always count on that. When the circumstances are over my head, I can know and trust that it is all under His feet. I may never know WHY, but I will always know WHO to trust. I have learned that when the difficult days come...and they will....when I do not have answers, I can count on what I DO know:

I KNOW that God loves me.
I KNOW that God cares about me.
I KNOW that He will never leave me or forsake me.
I KNOW that He works ALL things for my good.
I KNOW that He can be trusted.
I KNOW that He does ALL things well.
I KNOW that one day He will take me to Heaven.
I KNOW that He is merciful and compassionate.
I KNOW that He will never give up on me.
I KNOW that He will always forgive me.
I KNOW that there is NOTHING that can separate me from Him!
I KNOW that He died for me and that Satan cannot have me no matter how hard he tries.

So you see, it really doesn't matter that I don't know all the reasons WHY. It's the WHO that I do know and as long as I know Him, that is enough.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

July 8, 2007

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15

She had a smile that would light up a room....and she was always smiling. She was kind, tenderhearted, loving and gentle to EVERYONE she knew. She made everyone feel important...special. She was a nurse...the kind of nurse everyone longs for. She was an only child....an only grandchild....and she was adored by her parents and her grandparents. She had more friends than you could count. Everyone loved her.

She could play the piano beautifully...taught by her mother. She had the voice of an angel and when she signed, it was almost as if her hands sang. I've never seen anyone who could do sign language as beautifully as she did! The last time I heard her sing was at our daughter's wedding. She sang the song I shared yesterday, HE'S BEEN FAITHFUL TO ME. I'm so thankful I have it on video.

The last time I saw her was a little over a month ago. She was standing beside her Daddy at her mother's casket. Her mother had fought a terrible battle with cancer and lost. Now all her Daddy had left was her....his baby girl.

Today she is gone. She, too, last lost a battle with cancer and has joined her Mother in Heaven, leaving behind a heart-broken Daddy and grandmother and a host of family and friends who loved her. I know where she is for she loved the Lord. II Corinthians 5:8 tells us that to be "absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. "

For her there will be no more pain, no more sadness, no more heartache, no more fear, no more loneliness, no more struggles with the sin nature, no more worry, no more tears. But...for her family....especially for her Daddy and her grandmother.....there is GREAT grief, pain and heartache today.

How do you bury your wife of almost 40 years...your high school sweetheart....your best friend one month and 2 months later bury your only child? How do you bury your husband, then a few years later watch your only child suffer like no one should have to suffer, then watch her die and in 2 months, bury your only grandchild? How can one heart hold that much sorrow and pain?

There is only ONE way....GOD. Only God can get you through that kind of pain and bring you out on the other side. Only God can help you go on....or even want to go on. And HE is who they are relying on....believing in...and trusting. The KNOW Him. No, they don't just know about Him....they KNOW Him. Just knowing about Him would not get your through this. They know Him personally. How? They have walked with Him throughout their lives and have a relationship with Him. They have seen Him work time and time again. They have experienced His faithfulness and KNOW that He can be trusted.

These circumstances would make a lot of hearts hard, some would turn against the Lord, saying "How could a loving God do such a thing?" A few years ago, I had the privilege of being on an email list of a young wife and mother who was dying with cancer. As she would send updates she would ask for prayer requests and explain what she was going through, but she would always turn it back to God before the end of the post. Her condition worsened and with each bad report, she would STILL be trusting in the Lord. After one particularly bad report, this is part of what she wrote:

"Finally, I'm praying that those who are in my life who do not know Jesus
Christ as their Saviour, would not be discouraged by this news, but rather,
would come to trust Him as I do.
I know many of you are amazed at that statement. But the fact is,
regardless of the outcome, I trust my God to do what is absolutely best all
around. Whether or not He is capable of healing me is not at all in
question! Of course He can.....so I'm asking that if it be in His will for
me to have many more years on this earth, that He would grant it to me.
If He chooses to take me off this earth, well, I'll be in paradise, so don't
you worry about me. Then my prayer will be that my family will be comforted
and that those of you who are so, so, special to me (as you all are), will
come to trust God as I do.
It occurs to me that some of you may think that God is this big meanie who
won't heal me. That's not it at all. God is a wonderful, loving God who
created us for fellowship with Him. Our time spent on this earth is merely
a speck in the larger scale of time that is eternity. Those who have
trusted Him as their Saviour will spend eternity in fellowship with Him and
with the other believers. When God chooses not to heal one of His children,
it is because He sees the entire Big Picture. We just cannot know
everything that is going on in God's Kingdom to know why some people are
healed and others are not. But rest assured that I know that whatever God
chooses, it will be the best possible outcome, on the grander scale of

Two months later, Wendy was with the Lord. How could she write that? Because she KNEW the Lord, she trusted Him. She trusted Him in life and was not disappointed. She trusted Him in death and I KNOW that when she saw Him as she walked through Heaven's gates, she was not disappointed!

God will get this grieving family through this painful, heartbreaking ordeal. They will see His hand of mercy, they will hear His voice of cheer, and just the time they need Him, He'll be there. Like Job, their testimony will be "though He slay me, yet will I trust Him". One day they will see their loved ones again. Until then God will sustain them. He is the only one who can.