Tuesday, May 31, 2011

He Is There

Psalms 139:8(NIV)
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;  if  make my bed in the depths, You are there.

This is an image I caught while snapping shots of a firework display a few years back.  I love it, although, I know that from a photographer perspective, it's sort of an "oops" shot, cuz I set the shutter speed too slow.....or something like that...maybe it was too fast....but anyway...  It's ok with me that it's "messed up".  If it had been just a "regular" shot, I don't think it would have been nearly as interesting.  

That's what I love about tonight's verse.  Wherever I go...up or down, high or low,  together or falling apart, mistakes or perfection, God is there with me.  And since He is there with me....He can see the beauty in what He has created.   As long as I have breath within me, I have a purpose for being here on this earth...and it is to exalt the Lord in all that I do and serve Him with great devotion.

Thank you for reminding me that there is nowhere that I can go from Your presence.  Continue to guide and direct my steps and those of my family.  Amen

Friday, May 27, 2011

Problems Solved In His Presence.....

Psalm 139:7 (NIV)
Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? 

My summer trip to the mountains is in full swing.  As I enjoy the beautiful  Appalachian mountain air and the crisp cool waters of the surrounding lakes, my mind and heart keep returning to those being affected by the Joplin tornadoes.  I want so badly to have answers for "why" something so devastating would happen....as though that would some how help to make sense of it all.

My mind wanders back to my Algebra class in High School.  I loved Math, but I usually had  sections that I struggled with.  My mother (the accountant) was always standing by and ready to assist me with those long tedious assignments.  She would tell me, "Go through the problems one at a time.  Work through each question, answering those that you know and skip those that you are unsure of.  When you come to the end of your assignment, bring those questions to me that you were not able to complete and I will help you work through them to obtain the answer." 

That's what I will have to do with this tragedy....solve the problems that I know how to solve.  That's what I see the body of Christ doing in the aftermath of this tremendous loss.  They're getting busy on the assignment~working and answering those problems that they know how to solve.  The same can be said for many of my friends back home. Immediately after the tornado touched down people began to do what they could do to help.  Friends on Face Book started using their profile page as a contact point in an effort to connect those that were not able to reach loved ones.  The basic needs of shelter, food, and clothing began streaming in.  Prayer chains were started  (and still are for that matter) for the storm victims and their families.

Groups of people near and far are reaching out and answering the problems that they know how to answer.  What an amazing outpouring of love and a wonderful display of the Holy Spirit!  His presence is in all that is being done for those that have suffered such great loss.

As for the "why" it happened, well....I will have to save that question and bring that to (in this case) my Father when I get to the end of my earthly assignment....cuz, I just don't think I can solve this one on my own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Psalm 139:6 (ESV) 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

SOS!!  Do you know what that stands for?  I thought it meant....HELP!  But, I was wrong...that's not it's official meaning...although that is the general idea.  The acronym stands for "Save Our Ship".  Pretty cool, huh?  I just wonder what else I'm missing. I am constantly amazed at the new knowledge that I am discovering at my age.

The verse tonight refers to the fact that God knows everything we think, everything we are going to say, and He protects us on every side.  This information is too much for our minds to comprehend!  Try as I might, I can't possibly grasp the full picture of what amazing grace this is.  It escapes my understanding.
Thank you for Your careful and watchful eye upon Your children.  From the smallest act of kindness, to the largest act of rebellion, You see us.  There is nothing hidden from You.  Work in my life in such a way that I will be Your hand extended.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rescue Work On Our Knees

Psalm 139:5 (NIV)
You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.

Today was the day!  I have the wonderful tradition of traveling each year to the mountains to visit my Northern Sister.  She graciously invites me back each year for hiking, kayaking, leisurely walks,  long talks over hot coffee, and just good old fashioned sister time.  I cherish these moments with her. 

As we traveled through the airport today, however, my heart remained heavy for the devastation in Missouri.  Rounding a corner in the airport, we ran into two government personnel leading FEMA rescue dogs heading, not doubt, to the ravaged area.  There have been seventeen people (so far) rescued from the rubble.  Stories are emerging of heroism and selfless acts to assist others in their hour of need.  God is moving amongst the heart break.

Continuing to pray for those who have been affected by this incredible disaster.  Asking the Lord to help them find rest, comfort, and the strong assurance that God will carry them through. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Miracles In The Storm

Psalm 139:4(NIV)
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, oh Lord.

Words are coming out of a small town not too far from here about a tornado that has touched down and caused massive damage with loss of life.  Devastating news.  It's hard to imagine what grief is being lived out right now, even as I type these words. 
But God knows....God sees....God is on the throne.....and He is not shaken.  He remains our answer in all things.

I look to Him tonight and lift up those who have been impacted by these storms.  Praying for safety to those that are still needing to be rescued and healing to those that have been injured.   I'm asking for comfort for families who have lost loved ones.  Praying for good news of miraculous wonders in the midst of the storm.

Psalm 77:14 (NIV)
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Wedding Walk

Psalm 139:3(NIV)
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

I had the privilege to attend a wedding this afternoon.  What a perfect day for such a great event!  The sun is shining and there is a gentle breeze blowing.  Awe....
As the father of the groom spoke, his words resonated with my heart.  He said that marriage is like a garden.  The seeds of love, gentleness, patience, respect, and joy need to be planted and nurtured.  However, the weeds that try to grow up throughout the garden need to be removed to prevent the desired plants from being choked out and killed.  The weeds, he went on to say, are pride, selfish ambition, and anger. 

How true these words are, not only in a marriage relationship, but in any relationship we enter into.  The Lord is familiar with all of our ways.  He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, and that if left on our own, we could not sow these seeds of good works.  He sent His Son as a gift to pay that complete price for our sinfulness and to leave His Spirit here as a counselor to guide us into all truth.   We need only to accept His gift!

Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV) says,  "For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing;  it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." 

Help me to walk in the manner that reflects your love and wisdom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

He Knows My Thoughts

Psalm 139:2(NIV)
You know when I sit and when I rise;  you perceive my thoughts from afar. 

This is phenomenal to me!!  To think that God...the GOD....would even care to know when I sit or rise is simply astonishing!  That He can understand and know my thoughts is very comforting.  Praising God tonight for His omniscient presence.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

He Knows Me

Psalm 139:1(NIV)
Oh Lord, You have searched me and You know me.

Tomorrow is my daughter's last day of school before the summer break.  I can't believe how time has flown by!  Incredible that she is already finishing this year of school.  In celebration of the "break", I thought it would be fun to break away from my "blogging  routine" of following the Proverbs, and just do some spontaneous verses.  Yes, I know, for those of you that know me.....spontaneous is not a word frequently used to describe me, but I wish it was, so I am going to try to just relax a little and go where the Spirit leads. 

Tonight, I decided to do my all time favorite chapter in the Bible, which is Psalm 139.  Verse one, is such a comfort to me.  When I get all stressed out about things and trying to be "perfect" for the Lord, I repeat this verse and tension drops from me.  Oh Lord, You have searched me and You know me!!!  He knows me!!  What a relief....no facades, no perfection needed...He's already searched me.  He knows the good parts and the bad parts.  (Insert deep easy breath in followed by a long sigh out.)

Thank you for creating me just the way I am and for knowing every detail of my life.  Help me to rest in You tonight and to find joy in Your presence.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Temptress

Proverbs 6:24(MSG)
They'll protect you from wanton women, from the seductive talk of some temptress.

One thing that is definitely true about the book of Proverbs.....it continues to repeat the same ideas.  I guess the Lord just wants to be sure that we understand the death that the act of adultery brings to people's lives when we engage in this practice.  Stay out of adultery~check.

Praying tonight for the families that have been touched by this action.  Asking for healing, comfort and restoration.  Praying also that the Lord would give us a strong spirit of firmness to walk away from any practice that even resembles this.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Beacon

Proverbs 6:23(MSG)
For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path.

Webster's Dictionary defines the word beacon as:  A light for warning or guiding.  If good teaching is the light, then how extremely important is it that we have sound leadership to follow in this ridiculously dark world?  If that leadership is going to guide and warn us about trouble.....it must surely need to be strongly connected to the power of the Holy Spirit.  Yep....I better be on my toes to make sure that I'm following the right leader!

The second part of this verse is a great reminder....the path I walk on needs to reflect that Christ is my focus.  My behaviors, attitudes, service, and words all need to be morally disciplined.  Phew...sometimes that's hard...but..Philippians 4:13(NIV) says, ~"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

I'm pretty tired tonight...I'm so glad to be worshipping a God who never slumbers, who never gets worn out, who never changes!  You are my peace....good night.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Mother's Example

Proverbs 6:22(MSG)
Wherever you walk, they'll guide you; whenever you rest, they'll guard you; when you wake up, they'll tell you what's next.

I remember when I was a little girl, after getting ready for bed, I would be all warm and snuggly in my footed PJs.  They were so soft and cuddly that just the thought of them, even now, makes me want to curl up under the blankets and close my eyes for a long winter's sleep.  Awe.....

Connected to that memory though, is one that is even more important.  It is the beautiful picture that remains vividly in my mind of my mother.  Nearly every night she would come into our rooms and kneel with us beside the bed to pray to the Lord.  I still remember this precious time with her next to me.  It was a comfort and an incredible gift that she gave to her children.  I believe that the actual prayers were powerful, of course, but the consistency of her actions provided a stability that all young children starve for, whether they recognize it at the time or not. 

Tonight's verse is still referring back to Proverbs 6:20 that tells us to follow our father's good advice and keep close to our mother's teachings.  My mother taught me so much by closing out our day in this humble posture of reverence and submission to the Lord.  She also showed me her dependence on Him, through her constant reliance on His Word as evidenced by the tattered and dog eared Bible  that could always be found lying on the kitchen table in the early mornings......left behind from her bright and early morning conversations with her God. 

These are the kinds of teachings that I yearn to impress upon my children.  The advice that will guide them, guard them, and prepare them for what comes next.  Praying tonight for this kind of life....a life that is lived out steadily and consistently by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wrap Up

Proverbs 6:21(MSG)

Wrap yourself in them from head to foot; wear them like a scarf around your neck.

My daughter and her sweet puppy~wrapped up.
I ran down the stairs as fast as my little legs would carry me.  Skipping every other step in my hurried frenzy to get to the bottom, I nearly tripped and fell down the last three steps.  Once I finally reached the basement floor, I ran across the cold concrete and slid the last two feet on my socks to the beautiful line up.  Just like every other day, there they sat, patiently awaiting my arrival.  My very own pair of ice skates!! 

They were the smallest pair of skates taking their rightful place at the end of the line, beginning with the oldest pair and proceeding down to mine, the youngest.  The magical white boots with long laces tucked neatly under the tongue of the shoe with the shining sharp blade on the bottom were a welcome sight after a long day at school.  I grabbed them and began the ritual of lacing them up....quite a process I might add.  

After I got my skates on, I would get my coat and zip it high, followed by the mittens, hat, and finally the scarf.  After wrapping myself from head to toe, I would be ready to shuffle over to the door and enter into the tundra.  As I shoved open the back door, the wind would hit me and the freezing bits of snow would try to sting my face, but nothing could get through....I was all wrapped up.

We lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan when I was growing up.  My Dad (to read more about him see "My Daddy's Lessons" by clicking here) who was as brilliant back then as he is now, figured out a way to get us kids out of the house, burn off some energy, and have a great time doing it.  That's quite a feat, I might add!  Every winter after the first hard freeze and snow fall, he would turn our back yard into an ice skating rink!  Can you believe that???  I know...what a cool Dad, huh?  He was and still is pretty cool. 

Nearly every night after school, we would come home and go out in the back yard for ice skating.  As the winter progressed, my Dad would just keep adding more water, making the rink thicker and smoother.  As it snowed, the older kids would shovel it and make big mountains in the middle for us to race around and play ice tag.  Such incredible memories.

The verse tonight brought all those wonderful times to my mind.  When I think about them now in the context of this verse, I never remember getting cold....except for my toes.  I was completely shielded from the spitting snow and biting wind.  I never felt the frigid temperatures, because I wore the protective gear.  That must be what this verse means....wrap yourself in your father's good advice and your mother's teachings and you will be shielded from injury.....you will be spared from a great deal of heartache and trouble.

Thank you for the book of Proverbs.  I am trully gaining so much insight and confidence in my understanding of how much You love your children and desire for us to live an abundant life through Your son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to apply the good advice and wise teachings that You are giving me through Your Word.  Empower me to pass that on to my children in a way that they can understand it.  I praise you tonight....for You are so worthy of all of my praise.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Father's Advice And A Mother's Teachings

Proverbs 6:20(MSG)
Good friend, follow your father's good advice;  don't wander off from your mother's teachings.

Well, if I wasn't already convinced what an incredible role parents play in the life of their child, I would be sure about it now after reading tonight's verse.  Where my mind is traveling tonight, is to the "good advice" and "teachings" part of this directive.  It seems like there is a clear assumption in these words, that we as parents are responsible to actually give our kids good advice and to teach them the Word of God, otherwise the writer would not be reminding us to go back to seek our parents for such things!  

The burden of teaching our children lands squarely on the back of the parents according to my understanding of this verse.  It is a heavy calling, but one that must be met with the knowledge and faith of God in unwavering fashion.  A challenge that can be met with the power of God.

Thanking God tonight for the privilege of having children.  They are such a gift and blessing from the Lord....even with all the challenges that come with them.  Asking a special annointing on all the mothers reading this right now....young and old alike.  Help us to always look to God for all knowledge and wisdom.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Trouble Maker In The Family

Proverbs 6:19(MSG)
A mouth that lies under oath, a troublemaker in the family.

This is the sixth and seventh thing on God’s list of things He hates. The last one…a troublemaker in the family, He “loathes with a passion”, it says in verse 6:16.

A couple of things stand out to me here. First of all, it has already been stated in verse 17 that God hates a “tongue that lies,” so it is very interesting to me that another entry would be made about lying “under oath”. I wonder why this distinction. Is it because of the importance that we need to be men and women of our word, and when we give an oath that we are telling the truth, we better be!!? Food for thought….

The second part of this verse is the “one more thing he loathes with a passion” that is referred to in verse 16. So, placing those two verses together, I come up with: God loathes a troublemaker in the family! I’ve seen what a troublemaker can create within the family and it can be a very destructive force. A family member causing strife amongst the other members tears down the walls of unity that are crucial for them to stand firm against the schemes of Satan. When the shelter is disintegrating it becomes weak and begins to crumble with the slightest hint of adversity.

I don’t have to look very far in the Bible before I come across the first “troublemaker” in the family unit. The story of Cain and Abel reveals the destructive power of anger within the confines of what should have been the perfect loving family. Unfortunately for Abel, his brother Cain did not devote himself completely to the Lord and wound up in a jealous rage over Abel’s devotion to God and the favor that he had with Him. The end result, of course, was the death of Abel at the hands of Cain. (Genesis 4:1-12) Yep, troublemakers in a family will bring destruction indeed.

You are our hope in this verse. You are the rock that we stand firmly on with our feet planted solidly in Your Word. I am asking tonight for Your grace to pour over those who are reading this who might have someone in their home who is creating destruction. Guard each of their hearts tonight and give them your love and mercy to cling to. Guide their decisions as it relates to this situation and give them a peaceful place to dwell in You.
Psalm 90:1 (NIV)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Track

Proverbs 6:18(MSG)
A heart that hatches evil plots, feet that race down a wicked track. 

I ran track and competed on a relay team once....when I was younger.  We practiced A LOT!  Here is what I remember about it.  I discovered that you never want to look back when you are receiving  the baton.  I also remember being instructed that when you are passing the baton, you always want to carefully and firmly place it in the runner's hand until you are sure they have a solid grip and then you can let go.  I found out that you have to match your pace with the other runner....sometimes that meant slowing down...other times it meant speeding up a bit.  Another important revelation was that you had to stay in your own lane...no lane crossing allowed!  That required a very focused attention to the lines on the track, a tunnel vision of sorts.  I  learned, from experience I might add, that you NEVER want to drop the baton.  I also observed that if you do drop the baton.....the race is OVER...you lose! 

So, as I think about how the Lord hates a heart that devises evil plans and as I ponder how He hates feet that "race down a wicked track", I reflect upon those racing days.  This is what I decided.  It's your heart that gets you into trouble.  It's your heart that steers you into the evil lane.  Once you're on that dark road.....it's difficult to get off, because you're extremely focused....totally concentrating on the immediate task....ignoring everything that is going on around you.  Suddenly and often without warning....you drop the baton....and then it's to late...you lose....and so do all of those people on your team that were counting on you.  Yikes...
Light reflecting off of the water creating a path.
Praying tonight for God's continued guidance of my heart and my children's hearts, so that we will remain on the righteous path.  Asking Him to shine brightly in the darkness, so that there will be no mistaking His direction for our lives.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Hot Seat Of Haughtiness

Proverbs 6:17(MSG)
Eyes that are arrogant, a tongue that lies, hands that murder the innocent,

We've had some beautiful weather the past few days.  Last weekend was one of the first sunny warm days we've had since spring started, so we decided to pack up and head south.  We quickly threw some stuff together and tossed it in the back of the truck.....well...wait a minute...not quickly (that would be a lie).....but as fast as we could muster.  Let's see...there were the books, the shoes, the clothes, a basketball, some food, a few movies, bug spray, a football, the dog, the kitchen sink...errrr...no~not the sink really...just about though!

Finally, we loaded ourselves and buckled up for the quick trip to the old lake cabin.  This little cove where the family cabin sits is an amazing hide out from the business of the day.  It is a deep cove surrounded by groves of trees and lazy grass with "treasure trails."  A "treasure trail" is the term we have assigned to the rocky paths that surround the lake and provide hours of scavenger hunting for shiny rocks and buried archaeological finds; paths to lazily meander down and let the cares of the world melt away.  Sigh.....melting even thinking about it.

So, we are on our way.  It is (as I said) a nice day...perfect temperature with a bright sun shining through the window.  As our trip progressed, I started getting a little hot.  I looked around.  No one else seemed to be hot....except the panting dog...who only pants because she is a little nervous about the car ride.  I remembered that I could adjust the temperature to affect my side only...so, I turned the air down a little bit.  Awe....that's better.  

A few miles later, I started getting hot again.  Hmm....let's see here...yes...I can turn the fan up on my side and blow it into my face.  Nice.  Temp. turned down-fan turned up.  Perfect.  Wow...I can't believe anyone else isn't getting hot?  I look around and find that both kids are busily reading away.  Nope...even the dog is no longer panting and has decided to take a nap.  Must just be me...weird.

We continue winding up hills and down hills...twisting and turning.  Whoa....agggghhhh!!  "It is burning up in here," I shout!  "Aren't you guys hot?!"  I begin rolling down my window and turning the air further down.  Good grief...what is wrong with this picture!!  Why is everyone else just enjoying this trip and relaxing?!  My husband looks at me with a mixture of sadness and fear that I may be on the edge of mental instability. 

It helped to roll down the window.....so I could hang my head out and let the air circulate through my hair like a wild dog.  I did notice something, though, as I had my head dangling from the edge of the glass out the window.  What I noticed were three little red lights within the door panel.  Hmmmm.....I pulled my head back into the truck to see what those little glowing lights were.  Any guesses?  Yep....that's right....the three red lights were the seat heater indicator lights...indicating that the seat heater was on full blast!!  Mystery solved.

Here's the thing when I think about tonight's verse.  (Yesterday's verse said that God hates these seven things~tonight's verse lists three of them.)  I know when I lie.  It's a choice I make...and a bad one at that.  I would know if I murdered someone.  That's another really bad choice.  The catch in this verse for me is....do I know when I'm being arrogant? 

Webster's Dictionary defines arrogance as being haughty, which in turn is to show great pride in oneself.  Do I recognize when I am being full of pride?  Or do I just feel the effects of it?  Like the seat warmer.....I knew I was hot, but didn't know why.  Pride and arrogance are the same way.  I experience the negative effects from them....but don't always identify that the source is from an unduly high opinion of myself.  God hates this.

Praying tonight to always set my eyes upon the Lord for my confidence.  Choosing to exalt Him in all things.  Thanking the Lord tonight for His abundant grace in those times when I falter in this area and chose unwisely.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Seven Things God Hates

Proverbs 6:16(MSG)
Here are six things God hates, and one more that He loathes with a passion:

Have you ever had the feeling you are being watched?  You're just minding your own business, when you begin to sense that someone is staring at you.  This has been happening to me lately.....I finally figured out why when I looked out the window the other day.  I AM being watched.......

by this beautiful dove!  He has made a few appearances lately.  He quietly lands on the window ledge outside of my office window and peers inside.  He stares past the blinds as though he's asking, "Why do you sit there day after day.  Why don't you come fly with me!"    I wish I could take a trip around the field with him....what a vantage point that would be!!

Ok...this verse always gets my attention when I read it and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up!  Do I have hair on the back of my neck?  Well....you know what I mean....kind of gives me the shivers.  I sure don't want to be doing anything to bring the wrath of God upon my life!  That's a scary thought! 

Webster's dictionary defines "hate" as having a strong dislike for something.  Whatever God doesn't like...I don't want to like.  I'm praying tonight that God will open my eyes to the way He sees things and that He will make me sensitive to those areas of my life that are insulting to Him.   

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Avoiding Catastrophe

Proverbs 6:15(MSG)
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them, a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.

When I started this blog, I decided to take the Proverb verses one by one in the order they fall in the Bible, and just simply ponder them day by day.  I have to say, that this is certainly not the Proverb verse that I would have chosen to highlight such a special day like Mother's Day, but then God's word is His word, so I am to sticking with the plan.

Now then.....here is the deal.  The verse is actually talking about "Riffraff and Rascals", as they are referred to in the previous verse.  Apparently, these guys/gals talk out of both sides of their faces and "wheel and deal" in a vain attempt to get what their selfish desires drive them towards.  Today's verse is letting me know what they have waiting for them due to their poor choices. 

However, as I began to reflect on these words and how they could possibly relate to mothers, I had a "light bulb" moment.  Here is what "lit up" in my head.  These sad words can easily be applied to the child who will not listen to their mother!!  Eureka!  That's what this verse has to do with Mother's Day!!

One of the first directives (well maybe not the first...but surely it's pretty close to the first) in the Bible about this very thing, comes from God himself as He gives Moses clearly defined commandments for the Israelites to obey.  Exodus 20:12(MSG)~Honor your father and mother so that you'll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. (Italics/bold mine.)  When children choose to honor and obey the commands of their father and mother, it is clear that they will have a long life in whatever setting God has placed them in.  With this in mind, I am then going to draw the conclusion that if they don't honor their parents...."catastrophe is just around the

This picture is such a sweet example of the watchful eye of a mother.  I had the opportunity to observe this new baby calf as it learned to walk right outside my window.  You can see his Mama standing by....letting him take the fall, but eagerly instructing him every step of the way.  Pretty sweet, huh? 

God has gifted me with one of the best, Godliest mother's out there.  I esteem her today and give her my thanks for all of her prayers and sacrifices throughout the years, so that I could learn from her and grow in the love and grace that God had in mind for me.  Thank you Mom and I love you so much!!  You have given me the confidence to walk toward any goal that I feel God is calling me to....even to this day you encourage and bless me!  It is my hope that I can give back to you just a little of what you have given to me in the years to come.

Thank you for the gift of motherhood.  Thank you for those mothers that have had their season of work and are now in their "golden years".  Reward them for their labor of love and for all of the sacrifices they have given along the way.....those that we recognize and those that we aren't even aware of.  Thank you for those mothers who are in the middle of their parenting season as well.  May you grant us the knowledge and patience to consistently provide Your wisdom and love to the children that you have given us the privilege to call "ours" for the time that You will allow us to have them in our care.  Give us courage to follow Your voice in all matters relating to mothering these precious charges.

And Father.....one more thing.....for those women tonight who are wanting to become mothers, please bless them with children.  Speak into their hearts tonight and supply them with confidence to know that You have heard their request and will give them the desires of their hearts.  Restore their heavy hearts with a spirit of joy....and bless them with a child as you did Hannah in 1 Samuel 1-2.  Help them to persevere in their request to You, as she did....1 Samuel 1:12~As she kept on praying to the Lord......16~I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.

And after Hannah received from the Lord....here is part of her prayer....
1 Samuel 2:1-2
Then Hannah prayed and said:  "My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high.  My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in Your deliverance.  There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you;  there is no rock like our God.

I praise You tonight Father, because there is truly no one Holy like You!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Serving Others

Proverbs 6:14(MSG)
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty, always stirring up trouble.


I went to see the theatre production of "The Hiding Place" today.  It was an amazing play put on by a dedicated group of local Christians who volunteer their time to honor the Lord through drama.  The theatre always has stories that are Christ honoring.  Today's production was an incredible depiction of Corrie ten Boom's life in Harlem Holand during the Nazi invasion of their country during World War II. 

Hitler would have to be classified in my book under a "perverse mind" as tonight's verse describes.  The ten Boom family's convictions to serve the Lord and rescue as many of God's "chosen people" (Jewish) by hiding them in their home to protect them from the slaughter at the hands of the Germans, was a testimony to the great courage and constant confidence they had in the Lord!

Corrie's story of love, strength, and faith in God during such incredible oppression is a huge challenge to me.  It makes me open my eyes and ask....."What can I be doing to really serve my Father?"

Praying tonight for open eyes to what the Lord has for me in the way of serving and loving His children. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Working Together

Proverbs 6:13(MSG)
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet, they cross their fingers behind their backs.

I remember having secret hand shakes and speaking in special coded words with my best friend when I was little.  This verse reminds me of that, as it tells of a communication between two people, albeit seemingly negative in this instance.  There are facial gestures, a certain swagger, and even secret hand gestures shared between these two individuals.  The problem is that what they are sharing between them, is not so good....deception, lies, and tearing down of others.  But, this isn't how God designed for friendship to be....nope...not at all.

There is really nothing like a good friend is there?  I mean truly, when you have special friends to laugh, cry, work, play, study, and pray with you should consider yourself very blessed indeed!!  This past week in my time with the Lord, I came across this scripture from

2 Corinthians 1:3~All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!  Father of all mercy!  God of all healing counsel!  He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there or us.  (Italics mine.)

This has been lived out countless times in my life.  When I face certain struggles, I find that the next thing I know, someone around me is candid about a difficulty they are having and it turns out to be a similar situation to the trial I am walking through, or have just walked through.  The Lord allows me to come alongside them and encourage them in His name.  I have had so many wonderful friends do the exact same for me during my trials.  What a gift friends are!

I am thanking God tonight for the people that He has put in my life to minister His love to me!  I pray that I can also return this love to others in their times of trial.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Tattered Flag

Proverbs 6:12(MSG)
Riffraff and rascals talk out of both sides of their mouth.

I was walking out of my daughter's school today and I caught this image with my camera.  Isn't it beautiful!?  A crystal clear blue sky.  The flag blowing gently in a crisp cool breeze.  All fifty stars sharply defined.  If you look a little closer though, you see the tattered edges at the top and bottom corners.  I don't know what the flag etiquette is as far as when it has to be retired....hopefully it is ok, but those frayed edges and today's verse got the wheels in my head to turning.  Yeap...turning and turning....  Here's some of what got turned out.

So, a "rascal" is defined in the Webster's Dictionary as~"A mischievous child".  So, if you're a child, I would expect (according to God's word here) for you to talk out of both sides of your mouth.  I'm taking that to mean that a child would say one thing today and maybe the opposite tomorrow.  Makes sense, seeing as they are children and don't have any firm convictions formed yet, to stand on. 

I noticed so many new things today on my drive home.  For instance, while I was backing up my vehicle and pulling away from the education building where my daughter is provided with an outstanding unhindered education, I noticed some boys and girls running freely at play.  They were all dressed differently, because of the freedom to chose their own clothing.  I continued down the parking lot and came to a stop sign, where I had the liberty to choose which way to turn.  I proceeded to head in a direction of my preference, to a destination I decided upon, without encumbrance

As I moved down the road, the car behind me made a decision to take the opportunity to pass me.  (Guess he had a different idea of what 35mph is...chuckle.)  It was such a gorgeous day, that I  spontaneously chose to take a new way home.  Glad I did too, cuz I saw another school with it's flag flowing freely in the breeze and more children running at play in all different directions.....they too were all wearing unique clothing.  Next thing you know, I saw more cars and more people all deciding what direction they wanted to go, independently according to the laws of the road.  I witnessed people out walking, working in their yard, playing with their children, sitting on their decks, and delivering furniture.  All of them were doing their own thing....ceasing the day. 

I pulled up in front of my house, that my husband and I had the privilege of buying, and proceeded into the garage.  I, of course, parked my car and chose to go inside.  Once inside, I looked around at all of the books that I have chosen through the years; all of the food preferences that line my cupboards and refrigerator; all of the varied clothes on the floor (yes...on the floor...laundry time); the newspaper that I request every morning; and finally, the TV that stands in the corner, so that I can chose my own entertainment.  I went over to the remote (passing by the actual TV, cuz who uses the switch on the TV itself anymore?...not me) and turned on the news. 

There they were....standing right in my own living room.  Men, women, boys, girls, military men, military women, rescue workers, and the President of the United States of America, all standing around the flag.  They were each silent.  There was no talking.....just stillness.  There were no "rascals talking out of both sides of their mouths".......only a somber silence while they stood at Ground Zero honoring those who had fallen at the hands of a mad man's direction, nearly a decade ago.  My mind darted back to the flag at our school....a little tattered and worn...but still flying freely.....

Father God,
For those who lost loved ones in this tragedy and feel alone, help them to know they are "safe in Your arms" (click here for video) today.  As for myself, help me to be mindful of my freedoms and never to take them for granted.
In Your precious name~Jesus~

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

His Promise~by Jaime

Proverbs 6:11(MSG)
Just this:  You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!

See!!?  I told you I was wrong!!  I really shouldn't be taking naps! 

No....I'm just kidding.  Yesterday's verse talks about a "nap here and a nap there" and the words left us hanging as to what "napping" was going to get us.  Well, apparently too much napping is really not a good idea, however, the Bible has many references to resting as a desired act.  Even as early as the book of Exodus 31:15 (NIV), where it says, "Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord."  So see, we can still enjoy our naps and a few periods of rest.
Phew....that is a relief to me!!

I have been pondering these verses today, however, from a spiritual standpointI've spent some time turning them over in my mind, examining the words one by one. I came to a conclusion.  I have been honest with myself and acknowledged that there have been days where I have "taken naps" and "days off" from the Lord.....ashamedly. There have been some mornings where I have not sought His counsel through the reading of His Word.  Further still, there have been evenings where I selfishly haven't even uttered so much as a "Thank you, Lord for helping my family and I through this day!"  Not so good, huh?  True confessions from a weary soldier.

When I am in His word in the morning and I systematically march through the Bible chapters, He speaks to me.  Sometimes it is through the characters in the Bible story itself, and other times through actual words that are written down as though they are a directives straight from His mouth to me.  At other seasons in my life, He uses that time to correct, encourage, and yes....sometimes even gently prune those areas in my life that He knows I will get snagged upon, if He doesn't cut them.  (Ouch.)  He continually uses that precious time to  mold me into the shape He needs me to be to fulfill the purposes He has designed for my day.  So thankful.

So, in a spiritual sense, my "nap here" and a "nap there", a "day off here" and a "day off there" really does impoverish me and turn my existence into a joyless, aimless, burdensome, shackled, wasted life!  The good news for each of us though, is that a consistent, transparent, continual communion with God and His word, will bring about His promises and purpose in each of our lives!  Ahhhhh.....He is such a loving and gracious God, who plans to keep every one of the promises that He has given to us! 

Today, I am very excited and honored to leave you with a "Painting by Jaime".  Jaime is a beautiful young lady who is utilizing the gift of art that the Lord has blessed her with to quietly preach the beautiful presence of God.  I hope you can get a feel for the majesty in this piece........it is truly a sight to see!  She has placed a hint of the face of God in the upper right hand corner amongst the storm clouds, although it is a bit hard to see on the computer.  (To enjoy all of Jaime's paintings, scroll to the bottom of my blog and see the "Paintings by Jaime" section.) 
                                                                HIS PROMISE~by Jaime


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Go Ahead~Take The Nap

Proverbs 6:10(MSG)
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy--do you know what comes next?

Why do I get the feeling what comes next is not a trip to a tropical island for more relaxing?  It's sort of hard to relate to this verse at this point in my life.  Probably in your life too.  If you're like me, even when you do have an "official" day off....which for us Mom's is oh let's say "never", you don't get to spend it "napping" and lazing around ALL day.  I think this weekend and yesterday were the first times I've slept~in, in forever.  Our culture just doesn't really "allow" that anymore. 

I really do loooooooonng to slip back in time to the "Andy Griffith" days.  Wouldn't it be fun to pull up a stool and share a soda every afternoon and just chat about life.  The evenings in front of the fire with Pa playing his fiddle in the "Little House On The Prairie" episodes seem very inticing as well.  Seriously.... they only thought about one thing at a time....really focused on being present in that moment.

 Have you ever just watched how many people whip out their phones and start their thumb excercises when they have three spare seconds, surfing through e-mails and launching texts like they're in a race to the finish!!  (Myself included in that, by the way....saying that with a little bit of pride and a little bit of shame.  Pride, because I can now operate one of these gadgets and shame because I sometimes let it distract me from real people time.)  Hmmm....interesting thoughts. 

We have the ability to communicate with someone halfway across the world instantly.  We are pretty much thinking  in forward motion all of the time.  I'm going to answer this verse tonight...even though I know it is the wrong answer....cuz...I cheated and read ahead....

Do you know what I think comes after a nap here and a nap there~a day off here a day off there.....for those who rarely ever do that sort of thing?!!  A new perspective on life...a more joyful and hopeful outlook on your circumstances.  It is so important to rest!  I don't think a lot of us are doing enough of it.

And so...I am off to rest and sleep. 

I know that many of us are not finding adequate time to rest and restore our bodies.  I don't know why You designed these bodies to need sleep and rest, but You most certainly did.  Help us to allow ourselves the permission to take the time we need to rejuvenate and care for the temples that You have blessed us with.  And, Father, as I write this, I can't help but think of other reasons for no sleep...like fear, pain, no shelter, lonliness, hunger, illness, worry, and anxiety.  I'm asking You to lift those burdens from anyone that might be reading this and experiencing that right now.  Help us to rest in the shelter of Your wings.  Thank you, Lord!  Amen

Monday, May 2, 2011

Military Salute

Proverbs 6:8 (MSG)
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?  How long before you get out of bed?

I am continually amazed at how these verses keep tracking my every move!  It is another rainy Monday morning, and my daughter is sick, so I stayed in bed with her until...well, let's just say...much later than usual.  As I opened the Bible to ponder my verse for the day, this is what I read...."How long before you get out of bed?"  Funny...huh? 

Before retiring last night, President Obama interrupted broadcasting to announce that United States Special Forces had killed one of the most wanted terrorists in all of the nations, Osama Bin Ladin.  The headlines are full of this event...even the front page of our local paper has his picture sprawled from one corner to the other.  It is somewhat difficult to process all of the information that has been so freely available today, as graphic details of the event, including pictures of the last room this man and his son occupied, are presented to the nation.

It has stirred deep emotions within each one of us.  From what I am reading so far, there are reactions ranging from joy and relief to anger, fear and dread.  I can't imagine what those who lost loved ones during the day of September 11, 2001 are feeling.  As the images from that day resurface and raw emotions are rekindled, I suspect a highly charged week of intense evaluation.  

I am thankful tonight for the men and women who serve their country so faithfully and sacrificially, and thereby allow us the freedom to live in a democratic society. Praying for their safety tonight as they continue their missions all around the world. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Seder Supper

Proverbs 6:7 (MSG)
Nobody has to tell it what to do.  All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions.

The "it" in this verse is talking about the "ant" from yesterday's verse (Proverbs 6:6).  We are supposed to learn something from this little creature.  I'm excited that I was able to see the ants gathering food yesterday.  Pretty interesting stuff!  Speaking of food.....

Tonight I spent a very special evening with our Life Group from church.  We celebrated a Seder Supper.  This is my first time to take part in this Jewish Passover tradition.  I am continually surprised at my ignorance of Jewish history, but tonight I learned the significance of this tradition in the life of Jewish culture and how it relates to me as a Christian.  I am extremely grateful and appreciative to the couple who hosted this event, as it was very meaningful to my family and allowed us to experience this memorial custom first hand.

 Here is what I learned.  The following information is from ( http://www.chosenpeople.com/), a website providing information about Jewish culture.

The removal of leaven
Before the beginning of the Passover, all leaven, which is a symbol of sin (1 Cor. 5:6-8), must be removed from the Jewish home. The house is cleaned from top to bottom and anything containing leaven is removed. Then, the evening before the Passover, the father of the house takes the traditional cleaning implements: a feather, a wooden spoon, and a bag, and searches the house for any specks of leaven which might have been missed.

Washing the hands
Once the leaven is removed, the family sits around the table and ceremonially washes their hands with a special laver and towel. Jesus also took part in this tradition, but rather than wash his hands, he got up from the table and washed the feet of his disciples, giving us an unparalleled lesson in humility (John 13:2-17).

Lighting the candles
Once the house and the participants are ceremonially clean, the Passover Seder can begin. The woman of the house says a blessing and lights the Passover candles. It is appropriate that the woman brings light into the home, because it was through the woman that the light of the world, Messiah Jesus, came into the world (Gen. 3:15)

Haggadah means "the telling" - the telling of the story of Passover. The story is told in response to four questions asked by the children: why is this night different from all other nights? The father proceeds to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, reading from a book called "The Haggadah" and using symbols and object lessons in order to keep the attention of the little ones.

The first cup of wine (We substituted grape juice.)The Seder begins with a blessing recited over the first of four cups of wine: "Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine." Jesus himself blessed the first cup in Luke 22:17-18.

The second cup of wine (We substituted grape juice.)The second cup is to remind us of the Ten Plagues and the suffering of the Egyptians when they hardened their heart to the Lord. In order not to rejoice over the suffering of our enemies (Prov. 24:17), we spill a drop of wine (which is a symbol of joy) as we recite each of the Ten Plagues, thus remembering that our joy is diminished at the suffering of others.

A very curious tradition now takes place. At the table is a bag with three compartments and three pieces of matzo. The middle piece of matzo is taken out, broken, and half is put back into the bag. The other half is wrapped in a linen napkin and hidden, to be taken out later, after the meal.
The Seder plate
The rabbis have devised a series of object lessons to keep the attention of the little ones during the Passover Seder. These items are tasted by each person, as each is instructed to feel as if they themselves had taken part in the flight from Egypt.

Karpas - greens
The first item taken is the karpas, or greens (usually parsley), which is a symbol of life. The parsley is dipped in salt water, a symbol of tears, and eaten, to remind us that life for our ancestors was immersed in tears.

Beitzah - egg
A roasted egg is on the Seder plate to bring to mind the roasted daily temple sacrifice that no longer can be offered because the temple no longer stands. In the very midst of the Passover Seder, the Jewish people are reminded that they have no sacrifice to make them righteous before God.

Maror - bitter herb
This is usually ground horseradish, and enough is eaten (with Matzo) to bring a tear to the eyes. We cannot appreciate the sweetness of redemption unless we first experience for ourselves the bitterness of slavery.

Charoset is a sweet mixture of chopped apples, chopped nuts, honey, cinnamon, and a little Manischewitz grape wine (kosher for Passover) just for color! This sweet, pasty, brown mixture is symbolic of the mortar that our ancestors used to build bricks in the land of Egypt. Why do we remember an experience so bitter with something so sweet? The rabbis have a good insight: even the bitterest of labor can we sweet when our redemption draws nigh. This is especially true for believers in the Messiah. We can find sweetness even in the bitterest of experiences because we know our Lord's coming is near.

Shankbone of the Lamb
In every Jewish home, on every Seder plate, is a bare shankbone of a lamb. In the book of Exodus, Jewish firstborns were spared from the Angel of Death by applying the blood of a spotless, innocent lamb applied to the doorpost of their homes as God brought the people from slavery into freedom. Today, we believe Jesus is that perfect Passover Lamb, and when we apply His blood to the doorposts of our heart, we too go from death into life, from slavery to sin into the freedom of being a redeemed child of God. As John the Baptist said when he saw Jesus coming towards him, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
The Meal
Ah, even through the wonders of modern technology, we still cannot bring you the most memorable part of the Passover... the meal, just like grandma used to make! Just picture it: steaming hot chicken soup with huge, fluffy motza balls; some motza; slices of pungent, home-made gefilte fish with just-ground make-you-cry horseradish; more motza; chopped liver (with lots of schmaltz and crunchy fried onions) on a bed of lettuce; more motza; enough delectable green salad to feed a colony of hungry rabbits; more motza; more crispy fried onions on the side; more motza... and that's just the appetizer!
Next comes the meal... can you smell it? Tender, sweet brisket with cabbage; more motza; home made flanken; stewed chicken, roasted chicken, broiled chicken, boiled chicken, sautéed chicken, baked chicken; more motza; a whole roasted turkey; more motza; fresh-cut green beans with onions; more motza; carrot and prune tzimmes; more motza; sweet potato and raisin tzimmes; more motza; home-made mashed potatoes swimming in butter; more motza... and we haven't even gotten through the appetizer!
Did you save room for dessert? Well, you will have to wait, because now it's time go on with the seder!

The Search for the Afikomen
After the meal is finished, the leader of the Seder lets the children loose to hunt for the Afikomen, which was wrapped in a napkin and hidden before the meal. The house is in a ruckus as everyone rushes around to be the first to find the Afikomen and claim the prize as grandpa redeems it from the lucky locator. The going rate is $5.00! Once the leader has retrieved the Afikomen, he breaks it up into pieces and distributes a small piece to everyone seated around the table. Jewish people don't really understand this tradition, but traditions don't need to be understood - just followed! However, it is widely believed that these pieces of Afikomen bring a good, long life to those who eat them.
The tradition perhaps dates back to the time of Jesus. If this is the case, then Luke 22:19 takes on a greater meaning: "And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'" For Jesus the Messiah would have taken the middle one of the three pieces of motza, the piece that stood for the priest or mediator between God and the people, broken it as His body would be broken, wrapped half in a linen napkin as he would be wrapped in linen for burial, hidden it as he would be buried, brought it back as he would be resurrected, and distributed it to everyone seated with him, as He would distribute His life to all who believe. As He did this, he was conscious that this middle piece of motza represented His own, spotless body given for the redemption of His people. As the motza is striped and pierced, His own body would be striped and pierced, and it is by those wounds that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). This middle piece of motza, or the Afikomen, is our communion bread.

Third Cup (We substituted grape juice.)The third cup of wine is taken after the meal. It is the cup of redemption, which reminds us of the shed blood of the innocent Lamb which brought our redemption from Egypt. We see that Jesus took the third cup in Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25, "In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.'" This was not just any cup, it was the cup of redemption from slavery into freedom. This is our communion cup.

Fourth Cup (We substituted grape juice.)The fourth cup is the Cup of Hallel. Hallel in Hebrew means "praise," and we see in the beautiful High Priestly Prayer of John 17, that Jesus took time to praise and thank the Lord at the end of the Passover Seder, his last supper. The spotless Passover Lamb had praise on his lips as he went to his death.
Elijah's Cup
A place setting remains empty for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every Passover table. The Jewish people expect Elijah to come at Passover and announce the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). So a place is set, a cup is filled with wine, and hearts are expectant for Elijah to come and announce the Good News. At the end of the Seder meal, a child is sent to the door to open it and see if Elijah is there. Every year, the child returns, disappointed, and the wine is poured out without being touched. My people wait and hope for Messiah - they do not realize that Messiah has already come. But those of us who believe in Yeshua (Jesus) know that He is the one the prophets spoke of. He is the spotless, unblemished Passover Lamb, whose body was broken for us, whose blood was shed, and who now lives to distribute His life to all of us who apply His blood to the doorpost of our hearts and have passed from death into His eternal life.
There you have it....the Seder Supper!  It gives such richness to have experienced this first hand!  Thanking God tonight for the gift of His son which has freed me from sin and death, just as the Israelites were freed from Egypt and slavery so long ago.