Friday, December 30, 2011

A Prayer...

Lord, I thank you for who you are. You are the Mighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father. You are the One I put my hope in; my complete faith and trust. (Isaiah 9:6)

As I look back on this year, I can see more clearly the areas where you urged me to grow; to mature. I failed in many of them, but now I see clearly.

As I enter yet another year, it is my hope to put into practice what you have taught me this past year. I hope to more readily discern the lessons you teach me this year; to see them clearly at their onset and not hours, days, or months away.

It is my prayer that I advance in my obedience towards you; to put your ways ahead of my own. It is important to me to follow you more closely this year, to be molded more into your likeness.

Yet, I cannot do this alone. I cannot do this without you.

I see so many areas of my heart that remain flawed; angry and hateful. I despise this about me. I desperately need your love in my heart.

I ask that each day you will call me to spend time with you. Each day you will draw me close and enable me to know you better. For it is as I come to know you better, that I will be able to love more.

Lord, you have been wonderful to me; your blessings have been countless. Help me to see the blessings in the tough lessons; help me to focus more on you and your kingdom, and not my finite life here on this earth.

You have brought me far from where I was when I first met you, and I have every confidence that you will continue to work in me until the day you take me home to be with you. (Phil.1:6)

I know your Word is truth, Lord. Your promises are good.

You are my God, my Savior, and my friend. Strengthen my faith in times of weakness, Lord and never allow me to forget your sovereignty and your power. I have no need to fear because you are ultimate; there is no power greater than you; nothing on this earth has happened or will happen without your knowledge or your permission.

Help me to be your faithful and obedient servant, Lord.
It is in your holy name I pray. Amen.

Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (NIV)

Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

I wish you all a prosperous New Year in the Lord.

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Do you make resolutions each New Year? How has that worked for you?

I know for me and others I have spoken with, they don’t usually turn out so well. Although some effort is maintained for awhile, they seem to slowly….or quickly…..fade into nothingness.

The diets, the exercise programs, the promise to be a “better” Christian; the commitment to read Scripture daily, spend time with God; whatever your resolutions have been, I think we all know the truth of Scripture, that while our spirit is willing, our body is weak (Matthew 26:41).

But do you know that that is only a portion of that Scripture verse? This is the entire verse: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NIV)

“Watch and pray.” The truth to our failures is not surprising, then, is it? “Watch and pray.”

I am not expected, nor am I equipped, to do anything on my own strength. I find my strength through the Lord.

Fifteen years ago, I was finally successful in efforts to quit smoking cigarettes. This followed numerous attempts to quit smoking; I had tried every smoking cessation aid on the market.

As a last desperate cry, I reached out to the Lord one night in prayer. I was a failure; I knew it; I knew I could not quit smoking….I was in need of help.

I had never thought of asking the Lord to help me quit smoking. I was certain he had better things to do than to help me with my petty weakness.

How wrong I was. When I am weak, he is strong. He is always my strength.
All he was waiting for ….. was for me to ask.

I believe it was within the month, I suddenly gained a new strength. I quit smoking that year on December 30th. It will soon be fifteen years; my anniversary is just around the corner. It was not without some withdrawal, but each time I craved, I turned to the Lord instead of a cigarette.

My strength, gained from the Lord; gained from asking, is what I have learned to do on a regular basis now. I do not place expectations on the Lord because that is not for me to do, but I do know he hears and he is at work.

If you have a New Years Resolution this year, might I suggest you share it with the Lord? Do it through His strength; a strength that never fails.

God bless you in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Sunday is Christmas day!
I bet many of you will be up early preparing for the day. Whether you are up early to prepare for the day, or simply for the excitement of opening presents, I hope your day is a happy and joyous one.

If you’re like me, you won’t have to rely on any little early risers around you to get you out of bed on Christmas morning…you will be awake all on your own, excited to begin the day. Try as I have, I cannot sleep in on Christmas day.

I remember, even when my daughter was younger, I would still be the first one up; sometimes it wasn’t even light out yet, and I wouldn’t be very popular. But, once everyone was up and downstairs eating breakfast, the excitement would build as the presents under the tree began to beckon each of us.

We had a rule in our house; still do. The presents are not opened until breakfast has been completed. Then we file into the family room, coffee in hand, and begin to dole out the gifts, one by one. Each person opens a gift as the others watch on. This makes both gift giving and opening a truly festive experience. Gifts are admired, oohed and aahed, and often, if it is clothing, it is tried on, over pajamas, and paraded about the room as if a model on a runway.

Hubby normally has camera on hand and begins to still shot the memories of the day. The process takes long enough to pour a second cup of coffee.

I have a ruling of my own that I personally practice each Christmas morning. The first year I was a Christian, I remember getting out of bed on Christmas morning and walking over to the bedroom window. It was still dark outside, and when I looked out, I saw one bright star in the sky.

I smiled. My thoughts immediately went to Jesus; to the Christmas story; to the star that shone over him. The star that gave direction for those seeking him.

I still look out the window each Christmas morning when I arise. And yes, it is still dark outside. Whether I see a star or not, and I usually do, I still smile. I remember that first Christmas morning and that star that shone over him to give direction for those who sought him.

I smile. I say good morning to Jesus, and I wish him a Happy Birthday.

I pause, knowing that today; a star is not necessary for one to seek Jesus.

I smile. I know he is here; right now, with me; with you.

Today, if you seek Jesus, you need only to speak to him.

Have a blessed Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye...

Today is a sad day.

Today we will have our cat, Buddy put to rest.

Buddy has been ill for awhile now. We don’t know much about Buddy’s past; we don’t even know for certain how old he is. We took him in as a stray about four and a half years ago. What we do know is that he has brought much happiness to us, and we love him.

Yes, it’s a sad day.

We can’t have one without the other though, can we? We can’t enjoy the pleasure our pets can bring, without experiencing the pain of loss.

As I sit here typing this, I pause often to wipe the tears from my eyes. My husband and I have been heartbroken all weekend, knowing that today would be the day to make the appointment. Yes, it is difficult to say goodbye.

But it is his time. We don’t want him to suffer any longer. It’s been a difficult decision to make, but…it has been made.

As I lay awake in bed this morning, fighting back the tears, I asked the Lord to continue to give me the strength of conviction to do what I know is right. I also had a moment of annoyance towards God for all the pain and death in the world; all the suffering and tears. But I quickly regressed, and remembered that what I am feeling is actually a good feeling. It doesn’t feel good right now…but it is good.

I have loved. Love is of God. God is love.

It is God’s will that I love; it is God’s will that we care for the animals on this earth. We were given dominion over them way back in Genesis.

We can feel good that we gave our little Buddy a home when he was in need of one. We gave him love and we have many wonderful memories and funny stories to share through the years to come.

So, while saying goodbye is going to be so tough today; it is a necessary part of life. It hurts, but it is only made possible through having loved.

What a blessing that is!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Want it Now!

This past weekend hubby and I went out window shopping for cars. This is something we had no business doing, since we had recently purchased our new truck, but we were curious. No harm in looking, right?


Before long, we found ourselves entangled in this one car. It was perfect! It rode nice; the gas mileage was excellent; both interior and exterior colors were awesome. The car had been gently used and had low kilometers….(that would be miles for those of you across the border.) :0) The seat was so comfortable for me; it was like it had been designed for my body. The price was fair.

We were ready to sign on the dotted line.

However, one thing was missing. We had not prayed and asked the Lord for his blessing on this purchase. (I think we knew he might not approve.)

But, I prayed anyway. We prayed.

Then, as we walked through the purchase process with the dealership, we could sense all was not going well. Soon, the deal would all but flop, flat on its belly.

The Lord had spoken. Or had he? Have you ever done that? Asked the Lord to intervene on your behalf, and when he does, you question his response? We did that day.

Again, we continued to pursue this car. But one thing we felt compelled to do, regardless of our disobedience, was to pray together, one more time, again asking the Lord for another sign. We were beginning to feel like Gideon.

In due process, and it wasn’t long coming, we could clearly see the Lord’s hand; and this time we listened. But even though we listened, we still remained very un-Christlike in our demeanor.

We complained about the dealership and how unfairly they had treated us.

However, later that evening, thankfully, we had returned to the Lord and found ourselves being very thankful that he had saved us from almost making a mistake that would have cost us our financial peace. Had this sale gone through, it would have created financial problems in our relationship that were quite unnecessary.

We were not in need of a car. We had convinced ourselves we were because we had found a lovely car at a reasonable price.

We had allowed temptation to enter in and we walked alongside it for too long. It would have been better if we had never driven into that dealership.

I have shared my story with you, to encourage you to turn to the Lord in all your wants and needs. He does not deny us pleasures; material or otherwise. We know this. He does intervene when we invite him.

And even when we determine to deny his wisdom, continued prayer will always have him by our side beckoning us to do the right thing; because he is faithful.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Standing on the Rock

Luke 6:46-49 (NIV)
Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”

How steady am I when the storms of life come my way? I desperately want to be that house whose foundation was laid on the rock. But, sadly, sometimes I am like that house that collapsed under the violent flow.

Sometimes, I live my life in my own power; I do it my way…and it shows.

There is only one way I can demonstrate my life on the rock. And that is to live my life on the rock.

Jesus Christ must be my Lord; which means, as it is written in Luke 6:46, I must do what Jesus says. The only way I can possibly hope to be obedient to Christ, is to first know him and what he says; and that I can find in his Word; the Holy Bible.

My next step is to obey, to put those words into practice…and that can be tough. When many of those storms come my way, I can’t do that no matter how hard I try. I give it my best shot, and then I turn to Jesus and ask forgiveness for my failure.

Do you know what I mean? Can you relate?

That’s why I was so happy years ago when I learned more good news, and it is this; I am not required to do this life on my own strength.

I am not strong enough; I will fail.

But the Lord promises me that when I rely on him, he will give me all the strength I need. He will be my solid rock; my foundation. Then, in the storms, I will not falter, I will not fail; I will come out standing strong. I will show evidence of being his child because I put into practice what he said.

I will not be shaken!

Bless you today as you continue to turn to Jesus in all you do, think, and speak.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The life each of us has come to know is the one we are most comfortable with. Makes sense, right? Even when that life is separate from God. It makes sense because it may be all that person has ever known. We are comfortable with what we know…until we learn otherwise.

I am only too familiar with this truth because my life now greatly differs from the one I began with when I was much younger. Over the years, I had learned not to trust anyone. That included anyone peddling religion; folks who would push themselves or a tract in my face and ask me if I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I would be offended.

I yearned so much to be cared for because I am valuable. I didn’t want to be someone’s brownie points for getting me to go to church; I desperately wanted and needed someone to care about me.

But, no one seemed to. So, I ended up in many a bad situation…….
Thankfully, the Lord, after many years of abuse and neglect, saved me.
However, I unfortunately remained angry at the church because I saw too much judgment, and not enough love and acceptance. I heard them talk. These people who were supposed to be my church family… essence, they were talking about me. They didn’t realize it, but they were talking about (the old) me. I would hear them speak about ‘those’ people outside the church; those who behaved badly. It hurt to know how they really felt about someone with my background.
It’s both perplexing and embarrassing to recognize that they call themselves Christians; followers of Christ. I used to wonder if they ever read their Bibles. And if they do, do they not understand what they are reading? Because if they do understand what they are reading, how can they judge so harshly? How can they hate so easily? How can they not be compassionate and loving?
Jesus is.

It is for these reasons Christians can not expect to be welcomed with open arms by those on the street; those outside the church.
All people need to know someone cares.
LOVE is what the Lord calls us to offer.
Why do we find it so hard to see Jesus in the eyes of each person we lock eyes with?
Please, don’t just give at Christmas. Make giving to others…in particular those who don’t know Jesus, a daily event all year round. Pray for others….
Even a smile; a friendly ‘hello’ can make a lot of difference in the life of one who feels forsaken. Please give that smile and that hello, if nothing else. You will be planting seed for the kingdom.
Bless You.
John 15:17, “This is my command: Love each other.” (NIV)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last week, our household was under the constant worry that we might lose our cat, Buddy. He had seemed so healthy, and then, suddenly, he changed, and was very ill. We hovered over him; we nursed him and cared for him, watching as he slowly regained his health and his energy.

We were so thankful once we could see that he seemed ‘out of the woods.’

We have had Buddy for about four and a half years now. Buddy came to us as a stray; it was the day following the death of my mother. I remember it well.

Buddy looked pretty scrawny and battered when we found him. We had rescued him from a huge whitish playful and curious dog that seemed to wonder if Buddy’s head would fit inside his mouth. That was the last straw for Buddy; he ran and hid in the neighbors bushes, which is where I found him.

He didn’t move; he allowed me to pick him up and bring him home. I wonder if he was looking for a home and I seemed a likely candidate. Anyway, he played his cards right. He snuggled up to us; he sat for about an hour and a half with my husband. He just lay on his lap, happy to be loved and feeling safe. It didn’t take us long to fall in love with him.

Since that time, Buddy has been a welcomed addition to our home. He is a friendly little guy and he likes everyone who visits. He normally gets to the door before I do; he wants to welcome all… and I think he might hope there will be food for him. I forgot to mention….Buddy has quite the appetite!

Since his recovery, we have learned that Buddy is now blind in one eye. Although we were saddened by that, we are very relieved to still have him here with us. We don’t know whether he has a tumor or perhaps he had a stroke. What we do know is that he is back to normal now and we will love him until the Lord decides it is his time to leave us.

Matthew 10: 29 tells us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.” (NIV)

Yes, our little Buddy’s life is in the hands of the Lord; no different than our lives. Nothing happens on this earth that is not under the control of the Lord.

Although death is sad, it is comforting to know that no death happens without it being willed by the Lord.

When it is Buddy’s time to go, the Lord will take him.

More so, I am comforted to remember that my family and all my loved ones will not be taken home before the Lord’s set time.

In Him I trust, and I am so thankful that it is He who is in complete control of everything.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mary's Christmas

Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (NIV)

In our present time, a woman pregnant, out of wedlock, is not uncommon; in fact, it has become quite acceptable. But in Mary’s day, to be found pregnant, out of wedlock, was an offense punishable by death: stoned to death. A horrible, vicious, and agonizing death.
Mary’s immediate response of obedience to the angel to be used by God should never be taken without due consideration. There are many things to be considered here. There is Joseph, her soon to be husband; her parents. What would their reaction be? Relatives, friends, and neighbors. The whispers would be heard throughout the country. Her reputation would be marred. Who would believe her story of the angel sent by God?
But Mary believed. Mary had faith; great faith.
It is at this season when I am in awe of Mary’s faith. I think of my own faith and continue to pray that someday, my faith will be as strong as Mary’s. That my response to God will be so immediate, so compliant; without hesitation, doubt, selfishness, or greed.
Thank you God, for all you have done for us. Help us to follow you down the path you have predestined for each of us. Amen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Right Road

It seems these past weeks have included much ‘testing’ in the lives of my husband and myself. We have experienced many frustrations, disappointments, and anxious situations. Through each one, we have had choices to make; and they have not been easy.

But, the easy road seldom marks the best road, does it?

The easy road gives in to temptation. It is quick and smooth and never gives another thought to what is around the corner. It is happening now.

The right road, the one with all the obstructions and pot holes, instructs me to travel slowly; watch where I am going, and consider the consequences of my actions. It may take awhile before the journey down this road is completed.

But once the journey has been completed, the right road travelled leaves me feeling relieved, focused, and rational.
The easy road more often leaves me sensing failure, anxiety, and shame. Failure for the poor way a situation was handled, anxiety for the unfortunate words chosen in the heat of it all, and shame knowing what is done can never be undone.

I have choices to make, each day, and in each situation.

The choices I make will be based on my relationship with the Lord. This I am promised.
The one who travels the right road has done his homework, and has prepared for all the speed bumps and pot holes; all the obstacles that can get in the way of a successful journey.
The one who travels the right road is committed to a daily and ongoing relationship with his Lord and Savior; for it is He who enables me to be on the right road. Without Him, I am hopeless to make the right choice and for the right reason.

Without Him, I can do nothing.
Without love, I am nothing.

John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (NIV)

1Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)