Friday, July 31, 2009


My delightful friend and fellow "Mom to Mom" Bible study leader, Jean Stockdale (see her link at right) has challenged me to share FIVE THINGS ABOUT ME.

1. I love the ocean! I could sit for hours on end just watching the waves roll in and out. I love the sight, the sound and the smell. When I go for a visit, do NOT put me across the street or where I have an "ocean view". I won't to be within spitting distance, if at all possible! (I don't have to get IN it to enjoy it ---one close call with the undertow did it for me ) There I can shut out the world. There I can feel the presence of the Lord all around me. "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is upon the many waters." Psalm 29:3

2. My favorite Phillip Keller book is Sea Edge, now out of print. Every time I get the chance to go to the ocean, I take that book. The first chapter is entitled "My Bit of Beach".

From the first hour that I strolled, barefooted, along the shimmering sands of this remote bit of beach, I fell in love with it. It lay warm, secluded and peaceful at the base of rugged cliffs that had faced the surge of a thousand Pacific storms.
It had taken patience and endurance to discover the spot. I followed every road and scrambled down any cliff trail that led toward the ocean edge. Some trails came to empty dead ends. Even more were closed to public access. Then, at last, one sunny afternoon in eary May I clambered down a steep, broken bank overgrown with wild beach peas and found my bit of beach.
A profound sense of peace swept over me. It was every bit as real and palpable and strong as the incoming tide running across the golden sand. Here was intense inspiration of spirit, as tangible as the warm thermals rising against the sun-drenched ramparts of rock soaring above the beach. Everywhere was beauty, splendor---the eternal impace of my Father's wondrous design conveyed to me in grandeur and loveliness.
At such moments----interludes of intense delight and keen spiritual perception----our inner souls long with exquisite yearning to know that somehow they shall endure. And little did I dream on that sun-splashed spring day, seven years ago, that in God's own good time, my permanent home would be perched on a height of land just a few hundred yards from this special spot.
Such is the gracious touch of God's hand upon our little lives. It is His generous pleasure to give us dreams. It is His unique habit to help us see those fond hopes come to exciting reality and heart-pounding fulfillment. This is all part of the exquisite wonder of knowing Him as a dear companion.
He and He alone, was aware how I would be nourished by each breath of so much space and light---such sharp, cool, clean air from the vastness of the ocean. Here He would, through the sea and sand and sun and surf, disclose to my heart eternal principles that stirred me to the depths. Here I would understand some of the mystery of His ways with man. Here He would speak to me in terms a comman man, like myself, could clearly grasp with acute perception.
From this bit of sea edge He has shown me, dramatically, tremendous truths in the form of ocean parables. These cameos of His own greatness are not mine alone to be hugged only to my heart. They are a legacy for all of us who have come to know and love Him.
3. I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate.
4. I am blessed to have a circle of friends called the "Divine Divas". Most of us have been friends for over 30 years! We meet once a month for dinner and some of us who still have small grandchildren meet once a month for an outing with them.
5. I love to scrapbook!!!!!! I can lose myself for, days if given the scrapbooking. To me, it is more than just collecting photos. It is creating a legacy of faith for our children and grands so that in the ages to come they will see how God blessed us and how He was faithful to us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Ephesians 3: 16-19 contains a prayer that I have decided to pray daily for my husband, my children and their spouses.

I am a firm believer in praying scripture. We always want to pray God's will and when you pray scripture you KNOW that you are praying within the will of God.

Father, I pray today for my husband, my son, my daughter-in-love, my daughter and my son-in-love. I ask Lord that you strengthen them with might [Might denotes superior power and strength, force, the ability to conquer. Gideon was called a 'mighty man of valour' by the Lord and he used him to destroy the Midianites. We need might because from the time we set our feet on the floor in the morning til we lay our heads on our pillow at night, we are at war with the enemy. I I Corinthians 10:4 tells us "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds". Furthermore, Ephesians 6:12 tells us who we are fighting, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Is it any wonder we need to be strengthened with might?! However, as we go to battle, God has already equipped us with all we need to go up against the enemy. He has given us His armor to protect us and to shield us from the fierty darts of Satan. (Ephesians 6: 13-17)]

"with might by His Spirit in the inner man" [The inner man denotes our soul...the seat of our mind, will and emotions. It could also be indicative of our new nature which we received when we received Christ. The new nature does battle with our old nature daily so we pray for God to strengthen our new nature with His might so that we might yield to it more readily than to our old nature.]

I pray that Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith [Dwell...abide...take up residence within. Dwell denotes permanence, being at home there. I want Christ to be at home within my family's heart..not just a passerby. I want them to be so in tune with Him that they respond immediately to whatever He moves them to do. 'By faith' indicates this is a prayer for the believer. Christ does not dwell in an unbeliever's heart.]

I pray that they would be rooted and grounded in their love for You. [Oh that their love would have deep roots, roots that go deep into the soil of God's love. Roots that will keep them strong, immoveable, unshakeable, unwavering in their conviction even when the storms of life toss them to and fro. Grounded, knowing WHO they are and WHOSE they are.]

Lord, may they be able to comprehend [grab hold of, get their minds around, truly KNOW] what is the breadth and length, and depth and height [the sheer magnitude...the unending, immeasureable, unconditional, infinite aspects] of your love which surpasses knowledge [It's more than mental assent that God loves them, but a personal knowing, an intimate relationship with God Almighty.] so that [object of the exercise] they might be filled with all the fulness of God [which will make one complete..."For IN HIM dwells all the fulness of the godhead bodily and you [believers] are complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power." Col. 2: 9,10]

This is a powerful prayer. I cannot think of a greater prayer to pray for someone you love. Maybe you will want to pray this prayer for your loved ones, too. God's word shall not return void.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


"The Lord has his way in the whirlwind and in the storm." Nahum 1: 3

I read this passage this morning in Streams in the Desert. I do not recall ever having read it before. In fact, I don't recall ever having read anything in the book of Nahum before! It certainly is not one of the more quoted books in the Bible. Yet this verse captivated me.

We have recently had a lot of storms in our area. It is very strange for this time of year. Normally we would be having temperatures in the 100s and heat indexes of 101-107 accompanied by lots of humidity and no rain. This year, however, our 100 degree days came in June for about two weeks. Then the temperatures began to decline and the last few weeks we've been mostly in the 80s and we've had rain and thunderstorms almost weekly. I've been LOVIN' it!!

Yes, I even love the storms. I didn't use to. But I've come to love them as long as they are just accompanied by thunder and fierce winds, hail or tornados. Those I can do without.

Just this weekend we woke in the early morning hours to the sounds of repeated rolls of thunder and the continuous flashing of lightening. It went on for over an hour, then began to wane for a spell but then fired up again for a short time. A month or so ago, we had such a lightening show that I sat out on the front steps just to gaze into the night sky and watch the amazing display that God was performing. (Click below to watch)

We often see God in the beauty of nature. A frisky squirrel, beautiful flower, a colorful bird.

But often we do not like to associate God with the storms. We think of God as good and storms as bad. We do not like to associate anything bad with God. Yet the same God who made the flowers and the birds, makes the thunder and the lightening.

As the verse in Nahum says, not only does God make the storms, He is IN the storms. I don't know about you, but I take great comfort in that. In knowing that in the storms of my life, He is right in the midst of it. He has not abandoned me. Even when we are in the midst of a dark, stormy time in our life and it feels as if we are alone, we are not. He is right there in the midst of the storm WITH us.

Isaiah 54: 8 tells us " In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee." Then in verse 10 he reminds us, "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but my kindess shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed." Even when we cannot sense His presence, He is STILL there. Moreover He tells us, "When you pass THROUGH the waters, I will be with you and THROUGH the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk THROUGH the fire, you shall not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord THY God,the Holy One of Israel, your SAVIOR.....Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine!!" Isaiah 43: 2, 1

We all go through storms in our life. The thunder rolls and the lightening flashes and often we are terrified, shaken to our core as we wonder how long it will last and if we will survive. Yet we must remember that in the very midst of those storms, God is with us. He has not left us to fend for ourselves. He is there, holding out His hand to us, speaking words of love and kindness over us. The next time you find yourself in a storm, listen for His voice in the thunder of your circumstances. Seek His face as the ligthening of doubt and fear assail you. He is there even in the midst of the whirlwind and He will carry you THROUGH!

Monday, July 27, 2009


"The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." Psalm 23:1

This first few verses of this psalm are written from the sheep's perspective, then the perspective changes in the remaining verses to that of the shepherd.

Sheep are animals that must fully rely on their shepherd for everything. Without a shepherd, sheep would perish. Sheep must be lead to clean water. They cannot discern that some water is polluted and therefore, detrimental to their health. They will drink anything. Sheep must be lead to green pastures where the grass is plentiful. Sheep will stay in the same place and graze right down to the bare dirt if left to their own devices. (Yes, they are DUMB!!) A shepherd must herd the sheep to other locations where the grass is lush and green and free of poisonous weeds or vines. Thus the reason sheep and their shepherd are always on the move.

The matted coat of a sheep makes a breeding ground for parasites which can cause a sheep to become very ill and eventually can even kill them. A watchful shepherd will keep the coat sheared so that it does not become a hindrance to the health of the sheep. If a wound or parasite is found, the shepherd will be quick to provide care and apply soothing oil to help the healing begin.

The heavy coat of a sheep can also cause other problems. The sheer weight of it can cause a sheep to become "cast"....fall on its back. In that position, due to the heaviness of the wool, the sheep cannot right itself. It will require the help of its shepherd to put it back on its feet again. Left on its back, a sheep will die.

Sheep are also easy prey to wild animals. They have no defense mechanism. No claws. No sharp teeth. No venom. Nothing with which to scare away predators or to defend themselves against them. Once more they are completely dependent on the shepherd to watch out for their well being and to defend them should the need arrive.

Finally, sheep are followers. They must be lead. If one sheep begins to head for a cliff, all the others will follow. Even if the sheep foolishly jumps, so will all the others right behind him. A shepherd has a crooked staff just for that pull the wayward sheep back from danger and pull him INTO the fold.

Since the shepherd is so essential to the life of the sheep, he must stay with the sheep 24 hours a day. At night, the shepherd will call his sheep who know his particular voice into a "fold" or sheepcote where they will spend the night under the watchful, caring eye of the shepherd. As he leads them into the fold, the shepherd counts each one. He knows them by name and will not rest until the missing sheep is found and returned to the fold.

Yes, with a loving, caring shepherd, the sheep want for nothing.

Hmmmm, I think I hear a song in my head. It was from my granddaughter's CHRISTmas program at her preschool. It went something like this:

I just want to be a sheep..Baaa, Baaa
I just want to be a sheep...Baaa, Baaa
I pray the Lord my soul to keep, Baaa, Baaa
I just want to be a sheep.
--Copyright © Mission Hills MusicAll rights reserved. (BMI)
Yes, Lord I want to be like that sheep...wanting NOTHING. But, alas I am not. I DO want. I want lots of things. Not so much material things, though they are really nice to have. The things I want are much more important than that.
There are people I love that I want to know YOU like I know you, in an intimate way. I want them to know and experience how personal YOU are, how real and how much You love them!
There are people who are lost who need to know YOU. I want that for them.
There are lives and marriages being torn apart by the enemy that I want to see restored.
There are two precious little grand angels who I want one day to give their hearts to you...totally, completely surrendered and sold out to you.
I want every member of my family to be sold out to You so that we can, as a family, raise YOUR banner high.
I want my life to count for something.
So Lord, My Shepherd, like the needy sheep who can do nothing apart from you, I bring all my wants and needs to you. Lead me. May I, like the sheep, hear your voice and follow obediently.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


"The Lord is my Shepherd." Psalm 23:1

What a familiar passage this is. I've known this psalm since I was in elementary school...back in the days when we read scripture DAILY in class!!! And, yes, this was public school.

It's the only one I can quote from memory completely so when I can't sleep or my mind is racing from one problem to another, I find myself focusing on it. As I lay in bed the other morning, wishing I could sleep, I began to meditate on this psalm. I began with the first sentence and got no further.

The LORD is my Shepherd....

A shepherd leads his sheep. So who is this person who is leading me...this person I call MY Shepherd?

"Thou O Lord art a shield for me, my glory and the lifter up of my head..." Psalm 2: 3

"I will love thee, O Lord, my strength." Psalm 18:1

"The Lord is my Rock and my buckler and the horn of my high tower" Psalm 18: 2

"Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." Psalm 24: 8

"The Lord is my light and my salvation...whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1

"Thou [Lord] art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance." Psalm 32: 7

"God is our refuge and strength...a very present help in trouble." Psalm 48: 1

"For this God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death." Psalm 48: 14

"Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits". Psalm 68: 19

"For thou art my HOPE O Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth" Psalm 71: 5

Yes, this shepherd is worth following. He is THE Lord, MY Lord, MY Shepherd. He can be trusted. He will not lead me astray. He will not abandon me. He will lead me in the way I should go. He will provide for me, care for me and protect me. He is, after all, the LIGHT of the world!

Today take comfort in this old familiar psalm. The Lord delights to be YOUR shepherd, too. Won't you follow Him today?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for THOU art with me." Psalm 23: 4

The valley of the shadow is a dark and lonely place.

In the valley you cannot see ahead, it is too dark.

In the valley you cannot retreat....the entrance is shut up to you.

The shadows make an otherwise lovely valley seem ominous.

In the valley of the shadow you yearn for escape.

In the valley of the shadow you feel alone, even though there may be a million other people in the valley, too, because each one is focused inward.

In the valley of the shadow you feel the enemy's vile, hot breath as he hisses out accusations against you, taunting you.

In the valley of the shadow the nights are long and filled with heartache.

In the valley of the shadow fear is a very real companion, holding tight even as you wrestle to free yourself of its evil clutches.

Is there any way out of the valley of the shadow?

If the darkness obscures our vision, how will we find our way?

Just as the sheep could not find its way alone...neither can we. We need a shepherd.

In the valley of the shadow we are NOT alone.

Our Savior is right there with us, for He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

Though the darkness clouds our eyes, we may look to the LIGHT.

He will take our hand if we reach out to Him, and He will lead us out into the sunshine of day.

He will cause the shadows to flee, He will shine as the noonday sun!

Although we cannot see His hand of mercy in the valley of the shadows, we must never lose sight of the fact that it is there.

Every valley has an end.

When we reach out to Him, He will lead us out. He is the only one who knows the way.

He will lead us into the sunshine of the mountain tops where the air is clean and we can once again feel the wind in our face.

We will hear the birds sing again and peace will reign in our hearts.

If we walk hand in hand with the Shepherd, He will lead us down His path to greener pastures, to still waters where He will restore our soul.

"The Lord is MY Shepherd...I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
Yea though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
For THOU art with me"
---Psalm 23: 1-4

Monday, July 13, 2009


"My soul...wait only upon God, for my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62: 5


We all have them.

More than likely you have already laid out some in your mind for today. When you walk into your office this morning, you expect that your co-workers will greet you with a cheery "Hello" or "Hey! How was your weekend". Maybe you will be expecting your boss to hit you up with a load of work or possibly commend you for a job well done last week. Maybe you expected certain things from your spouse before you left this morning...a passionate kiss, something you hoped he or she would remember about your day, a prayer for a good day or for dealing with a problem you will face today. Maybe you are expecting a phone call today or email from someone you love.

Yes, we all have expectations. But not all are met.

Disappointment comes when our expectations are not met. We mentally expect things from people. We may not voice those expectations. We may not even hint at them, but we have them nonetheless. And, when those expectations are not realized, we are wounded. None of us want to be disappointed and bear the hurt and pain that comes from that disappointment. Nor do we want to bring disappointment to those we love by failing to meet their expectations. But it happens.

Our expectations need to be from the Lord. He is the only one who will never let us down and never let us go. If we place our expectations on our spouse, our children, our friends, our co-workers or ANYONE else, we are going to be disappointed.

We need to fix our gaze on the Lord Jesus and realize that He is the ONLY ONE who can consistently meet our expectations. It is my desire to come to the place where I can give my expectations to Him and Him alone. If I look to Him to fill my emotional "tank" rather than to others, if I allow Him to meet my needs instead of looking to others....I will not be disappointed. When He fills me up with His love, His joy, His peace and His Holy Spirit, that will overflow onto those around me. And when my "tank" is filled with Him, I will then be free to concentrate on others rather than on MY needs and MY expectations.

"Lord, let my expectation be from you today. Help me to realize that no one can meet my needs but you. No one knows my heart like you do. No one can fill my emotional "tank" like you do. Help me not to burden others with my expectations, but help me to fix my gaze upon You, the author and finisher of my faith. Fill me up Lord and spill over onto all those I come in contact with today. In Jesus name...Amen"

Saturday, July 11, 2009


When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse. Then some psycho serial killer began killing nurses and I decided that was not for me. I began instead to dream of flying the friendly skies and travelling the world as a stewardess (the term used before "flight attendant" became vogue). But, alas, I fell in love and got married and took on the occupation I had wanted most in my be a wife and mother.

The only problem was that you did not get a manual with that first baby. I was SO green!! I am an only child and the daughter of the youngest of ten, so I did not grow up around siblings or younger cousins. Family dinners at our house consisted of my mother's siblings and their children, some of whom were the same age as my mother. I did a little babysitting in high school, but that was the extent of my knowledge of children.

I was a pretty compliant child and my mother believed that a little "peach tree tea" would solve any discipline problem....and it pretty much did for me. But, she never knew the joys of sibling rivalry nor did she have a strong willed child.

I spent a lot of time in the book of Proverbs and a lot of time on my knees as a young mother. And, although I know I made a lot of mistakes, the Lord knew my heart and knew that more than anything in the world I wanted to be a good mother. Still, I look back and wish so badly I had done some things differently.

I have had the privilege of teaching a Mom to Mom Bible study in which we used the material of Jean Stockdale. Jean is my age, but oh how I would have loved to have had her as a mentor as I was parenting!!!!!! She had such godly wisdom! I have sat week after week listening to her and often wept as I thought "I wish I had known that 30 years ago!"

For instance, she solved the sibling rivalry problem by assigning each of her two boys days of the week. One got Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The other got Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. So if it was your day, you got to pick first or you got to choose the TV program to watch or you got to choose which side of the car to sit on. On Sunday, they all learned to defer to each other. Brilliant!!!!!!!!! I can't help but think how many arguments that would have settled over who got the orange cup!

Another goal of Jean's was to give her boys the opportunity to succeed, to put them in situations where they could do well, rather than subjecting them to situations where they were bound to fail. Case in point, the grocery store. How many of us have done battle in the grocery store with our children wanting everything they see, or just having a total melt down over something. I shudder just recalling many of those scenes. Jean says she rarely ever took her boys to the grocery with her. She said that was a "recipe for disaster", so she chose not to put them in a situation where they were bound to fail. I thought, what a wise principle! Other places where they might fail would be a hair or nail salon, an all adult function, a business office or a very nice restaurant. She in turn gave them lots of places to succeed with play dates, preschool, the playground, family oriented restaurants, etc. And with each success, they received praise which helped to reinforce their good behavior.

In teaching this study, I also came across a great book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman. The entire premise of her book deals with training in righteousness. We all know the verse in Proverbs about "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." But the key word in that verse is the word TRAIN. Training takes repetition and patience and consistency. Training in righteousness means more than just disciplining a child for doing wrong. "Discipline that is not balanced by using both [the rod and reproof] will surely fail. The whole purpose of discipline is to teach children the Word of God, how they have violated that Word, and how to change. Chastising for the wrong without teaching them the right can exasperate them, provoke them to fear and anger and fail in inward change." In other words, if you only discpline a child for what they did wrong without explaining to them what the right way was AND take them back and make them DO the right thing, you have only done half of your job. That is the job of TRAINING. Oh what a tool in the hands of parents this book is.

Finally, I was blessed to have a wonderful Bible teacher and dear friend who not only had the gift of teaching, but he also had the gift of wisdom. From time to time as he was leading a Bible study he'd share a parenting "nugget". He had three children and I had the privilege of watching them grow up. Now the oldest has brought his teaching full circle. She recently gave a presentation to the women of First Evan Church in Memphis on the topic "The Master Gardener". She shared many of the spiritual principles her dad had taught her growing up as they gardened together. He was not a dad who shouted rules and then whacked you if you didn't obey. He taught God's Word and God's truth "as he went". Now years later, Kristen is passing those same truths on to her four children. His legacy lives on though he is now with the Lord. He used everyday experiences to train them in righteousness.

Yes, there are many tools and resources today for young parents to avail themselves of. I hope I've given you just a few that will help you along in this parenting journey. There are NO perfect parents. In fact, there has only been ONE perfect parent in all of history and He has no perfect children!! You will make mistakes. You will look back years from now and wish you'd done some things differently. However, with a heart that is yielded to the Lord, the Holy Spirit to guide you along the way, the Word as your guidebook and the resources you have at your disposal, the odds are in your favor that you will raise godly children who will grow up to be godly adults. I pray the resources provided here with encourage you. Press on!!!!!!!!!

"Don't Make Me Count to Three" by Ginger Plowman, Shepherd Press, 2003 Click on "blog". Here you can listen to Kristen Thornton's presentation of The Master Gardener or you may also download it. I highly recommend you download it to a cd and keep it in your car to listen to again and again! Another great site for training and discipline ideas for young children.