Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From God With Love

Is God concerned about the little things in life that please us? I believe He is! After all, He bothers to count the very hairs on our head and that shows me proof enough!!

As a young family, we had plenty of times with financial struggles. One time in particular, I badly needed a nice outfit to wear to church, but did not see how I could possibly squeeze money out of the budget for a dress.

While driving my old jalopy to do errands, deep inside me, I heard a voice saying “Go to Gabardine’s.” Gabardine’s was a type of discount shop that carried close-outs and other items for excellent prices. Obeying that leading, I made a bee-line for the store in question.

I hurried to the dress section and lo-and-behold, spotted not one, but two lovely dresses in my size; each with a matching jacket. What a bonus - - they were washable too! And perfect colors! One was a breathtaking shade of my favorite turquoise blue, and the other a rich-looking navy. To tell the truth, I could hardly contain myself. I actually would be able to afford both! I was elated, ecstatic and overjoyed at this wonderful find!

I will let you in on a secret: God loves it when you get thrilled about His gifts to you. He can hardly wait to give you something else that will excite you. When I find a bargain that I know He has shown to me, I get so happy as I rejoice and I know God is happy too.

I still love bargains even today! My husband and I were discussing it, and I mentioned that I couldn’t remember the last time I had a new dress for Easter. What a Sweetheart! He jumped right on it. It was Tuesday, “senior” discount day, at Ross, and so off we went!

Soon my arms were full of beautiful outfits. My fitting room experience was another thing. No, not this one…or that one either! Nothing fit or looked good, that is, except the last one I tried on! A beautiful, petal-soft pink dress, for under $15, was soon sliding through the check-out and on its way home with me!! Thank you Jesus!

Did you know that you are just as special in God’s sight as me or anyone else? Did you know that you also can begin to believe for blessings and “bargains” from God? Ask Him simply, and then expect the answer to arrive soon. Here is one word of caution. Do not allow yourself to become so accustomed to the Lord’s gifts that you forget to praise Him for his goodness. Keep thanksgiving on your lips. In your heart, hold an attitude of gratitude, appreciation and the knowledge that God loves you very, very much.

God knows just what you need and what you want or desire. However notice there is a condition; it is as you delight yourself in Him.

Psalms 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Warning - It May be Poison

When my husband was growing up, his unstable family situation made it difficult for him to live at home. So, at age 14 he moved in with an uncle and his wife. Living out in the country, life was very different.

At the tender age of 14, it was impossible for my husband to find a real job, so laboring with the farmers and raising tobacco was the work of the day. Soft sacks filled with arsenic were used by the farmers as a pesticide to powder the tobacco. My husband was given the task of dusting the plants. There were no protective masks available, and exposure to the dust and fumes from the arsenic was inevitable! Of course, his skin was peppered with arsenic residue day after day! I can only imagine the effects he must have suffered. His eyes and lungs were affected! The headaches and the nausea continued until one day, his uncle found him in a heap! He had to be carried to the house. That job was poison to a young boy!

Some things in life act like poison to our bodies, and our minds, if we are not alert. Beside the usual culprits of drinking, smoking, and using drugs, there are other poisonous behaviors that can bring about an early death. Almost beyond belief, suffocation and choking games are on the rise. Such dangerous games kill or maim many innocents.

Without even a thought of the consequences, persons are drawn to participation in a thrill. There is little awareness of the harm that can be done by a dare or a silly action just to please the crowd. My mother used to ask me, “Would you jump off a high building just because everyone else was doing it?” My answer was always, “No.”

We all need protection! Certainly the Bible has a lot to say about our bodies being the temple of the Lord and how we are to treat our bodies with care and respect. However, our minds also must be shielded from wrong thinking or indulging in activities that will ultimately affect the brain.

Everyone loves a little excitement and entertainment, but there are times to say NO, and times to stand alone!

Are you either participating directly in something, or being tempted to go along with things tolerated by your “group”? Are you feeling uncomfortable in a situation? Do not fear to speak up. You may be the one to save a life - - - possibly your own!

My husband unconsciously poisoned himself by doing his job in his teen years. He still experiences issues related to the ill-effects handling arsenic. He was totally unaware of what was happening to him.

So what is the bottom line here? Evil comes in many forms. Some you may recognize while others are more subtle.

Wake up! Look carefully - - it may be poison!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Place of Safety

For a time in his young life, my husband resided with an Uncle and his wife. Living out in the country they had chickens but no chicken house or pen for their flock. His uncle built the chickens a kind of ladder on a tree that the hens could use to climb up at night. As it began to get dark and night was close, the chickens would climb the ladder and roost in the tree to protect themselves from the wild animals. There they felt safe and secure from harm.

I am reminded of a flood we had here in our area a few years back. The highway in many places was covered with water as were many homes. The newspaper showed a photo of some cows that had reached an overpass which was the highest ground they could find. They had found a safe place where they could be secure until they were later rescued.

In the Bible, Jesus told a story that directed a person to understand the best place to build a safe dwelling. A foolish person would build their house upon the sand perhaps in order to get a nice ocean view. However in a storm the winds and the waves would wash away his home and the builder would loose it all. Jesus continued by saying that a wise person would build his house upon a rock, because there he would be secure and safe from all the storms of life.

In Sunday school we often would sing a little song about this story and the last verse said in effect to: “Build Your Life on the Lord Jesus Christ and when the storms of life come your way you will stand firm because Jesus is our rock.”

So in this life we seek a safe place to find rest and peace. That protected place is in Jesus Christ for He is the answer for our safety now and eternally. If you have not already done so, do it today. Make Jesus the Lord of your life and build your life upon HIM. He is that Place of Safety.

I am reminded of some scriptures that give us comfort and assurance of our safety in Jesus.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous run into it, and are safe.

Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

Psalms 9:9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ouch - - I Hurt

“Cut me open - - - right here!!” I was pointing to my stomach where the pain seemed to be coming from all directions at once.

Earlier that morning, I had crawled from the bathroom to the hallway.

“Take me to the Hospital quick” I yelled for all to hear.

Fortunately, my husband had not left for work yet, and he quickly rushed to see what was going on. He and my daughter had to practically carry me to the car, and off we went.

Hospitals were something I wanted nothing to do with. As a child, I remember one lady in our church that had experienced surgery after surgery. Putting two and two together, my young mind concluded that once they cut you open, it would be a never-ending battle back to health.

Coincidentally, one of the best surgeons happened to be on duty that morning. He diagnosed a burst appendix, and surgery was eminent.

Between intensive care and an isolation room, I spent 10 days in the hospital.

During this entire experience, from beginning to end, I cannot remember any feelings of fear, but that of a quiet, calming peace. Since I have learned to trust Jesus, I found that it was easy to place my trust in the doctors, the nurses, and the hospital as well.

Trust is the opposite of fear. The unknown may cause us apprehension, but with the Lord, we do not need to panic. Instead, we can be confident that He is with us in an adverse situation or one where or other factors are beyond our control.

I am reminded of the Scripture verse found in His Word that tells us,

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The chorus of the song “Through it all,” by Andre Crouch, sums it up like this:

Through it all, through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God,

Through it all, through it all
I’ve learned to depend on His Word.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Bear In The Woods

A big piece of twine stretched from my bed all the way to the pull chain in the light on my wall. First, I would look under my bed to make sure there wasn’t a big hand going to grab my leg. Next, with a quick hop into bed, I would pull the covers over my head, and yank the twine to switch off the light! I’d lay there with my heart pounding wildly for a few moments!

It was silly, but as a teenager, I had a vivid imagination and this was my reassuring process to help secure a good night’s sleep.

Where did all that fear come from? Was there something that happened in my past that caused these fears? Could I blame one of my parents for this dread?

There was a time when I was very young; it was a dark night and we were traveling in Dad’s old car, headed for home. The country road was lined with orchards on either side and there were no lights other than the headlights of our car. Also, there were no gas stations for a pit stop.

“Mommy I have to pee,” I whispered to her. Mother asked my dad to stop the car and let me out. Now I was used to a potty chair or our outhouse, but my Dad told me to go over to the ditch and do my business. I was extremely frightened just to be in that forsaken place and was not at all certain that I really wanted to do this.

Naturally, I was taking too long and Dad was impatient to get home. He called out, “You better hurry because there might be bears out there behind those trees!”

Bears in the woods! “Oh dear God, please don’t let them get me,” I yelled as I sprinted for the car, “I can hold it until I get home,” and that was that!

Many of us experience fear in various forms. Usually it is fear of the unknown. Putting my trust in Jesus was my solution. It could be your answer too. He is as close as a whisper.” I call upon Him anytime I am in trouble and so can you!

Yes - - I suppose I might be able to attribute some of the blame to my Dad for, in a way, he unknowingly planted the seed. However we truly can’t blame parents or people for our terror. The source of all fear is from Satan who is the deceiver and destroyer. He is the one who desires to rob you of your peace.

Since those childhood days, I have filled my heart with scripture verses that I repeat when I feel afraid. The Bible instructs us many times: Do not be afraid and do not worry! Here are a few of my favorites:

2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care (fears and worry) upon him; for he cares for you.

1John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment.

Matthew 10:31 Fear not therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows.

You might enjoy these books:
Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming A Woman of Faith and Confidence by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tornado Warning

Our dogs were whining and pacing nervously. Like the noise of a freight train, we could hear trouble coming our way. “Go immediately to the nearest shelter,” boomed the Emergency Broadcast System over my T.V. Hoping to calm our animals, we gave them a chew bone, put them in the laundry room and prepared to leave.

Our truck was about ready and my husband lost no time gathering what we needed. Quickly, I grabbed a few things, but first, I was on a mission!

Stepping outside the back door, I looked up to the sky and yelled, “Do NOT come near my dwelling!”

What was I doing? Talking to a tornado? Yes! I was speaking to the wind in the same manner that Jesus did when he and the disciples were in that small boat. The voice of Jesus did not pray, but he spoke to the storm and said, “Peace be still”!

Now about that tornado warning, did we use wisdom? Yes, we were not foolish, because we hurried on to the shelter and enjoyed some coffee while reading magazines.

What happened next? The tornado that had been heading straight for our city somehow suddenly changed its course, lifting up and twisting over us without touching down. Incredibly, it landed in an uninhabited area, causing no damage, except to a few trees.

Has this ever happened to you? You had a dream, or flashing before your eyes, you visualized something bad about to occur to you, your family member or a friend. Is this worry or is this a forewarning? Or perhaps a catastrophe occurred and you said aloud, “I knew this was going to happen.”

Let me suggest something you may choose to do the very next time you think you are getting a premonition similar to the above illustrations.

You may be receiving an admonition straight from God regarding an event about to take place, and it is up to you to put a STOP to it. What I am suggesting is that God is calling you to pray perhaps: against the circumstance, forbidding it, to occur. You can have an active part in averting those terrible situations from happening.

Before Jesus went back to heaven He gave us authority to use when we pray. Jesus instructed his disciples to SPEAK to their mountain and tell it to move. It is not silly hocus-pocus, but rather a positive voice that speaks out in opposition to the danger itself; that is, the danger that is attempting to harm us or our loved ones.

Yes, it is true. You can have powerful answers to your praying, and your saying! Next time you have a dream of danger, or a flash of peril before your eyes, understand that God may be directing you to move into a new dimension of participation with Him and His angels. So get ready!!

A book you might enjoy: Authority in Prayer: Praying with Power and Purpose by Dutch Sheets

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It’s Not Just a Hunch

Huffing and puffing, my daughter ran two long blocks from the freeway exit ramp to our business office, yelling frantically for help! My brother-in-law was in the yard and called to her, “What is wrong?”

Almost out of breath, she hysterically sobbed, “I was just hit by a bus - - down at the freeway.”

He helped our shaken daughter into the office and to a sofa so she could lie down, while my husband called the police. Grabbing the camera, my brother-in-law rushed down to the freeway and began photographing our demolished station wagon.

A frightened dog, running loose on the freeway had distracted the city bus driver. Consequently, the fact that traffic had slowed and the exit lane was full, escaped his notice. Throwing herself into it, my daughter yanked the steering wheel hard to the right! All the while, her eyes glued to her rear-view mirror, she could see the bus still heading straight for her, without slowing. She was trapped!

It had been raining all morning and because of the slick highways, we had suggested that our daughter use our station wagon for her errands, rather than her small sports car. Had she been driving her Corvette, the possibility exists that she would not be with us today. That thought makes me shudder.

In life, we often wonder why we decide to do something differently than usual. Why did we take a different route to our work place? How was it we made an unplanned stop at the store, or yielded to other unexplained actions? Was it just a bright idea?

Some might call it a hunch or a premonition - - but it is more than that. I firmly believe that God has arranged for Angels to watch over us for our protection. There is something else. A still small voice within our spirits often prompts us to make decisions that may not be customary. This is the Holy Spirit guiding us in the correct and proper direction.

So, next time you get a “Hunch,” stop and seriously consider following it. It just could save your life, your job, or your marriage!!

Psalms 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

Hebrews 1:14 Angels - - Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

A Book you might enjoy: In the Arms of Angels: True Stories of Heavenly Guardians by Joan Wester Anderson

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Receptionist

“Good Morning, how may I help you?” the receptionist asked as she picked up her phone. I could hear the smile in her voice and her sincerity convinced me that she wanted to help. I felt comfortable immediately! I told her I was looking for a doctor because I was pregnant and was experiencing nausea every morning.

Her smiling voice prompted,” I have an opening next Tuesday at 10:00 AM, is that time and date good for you?” “Yes,” I told her.

Then the doctor’s receptionist offered some advice. “Honey, until you can get in to see the Doctor, put a soda cracker on your night stand. Without lifting your head, as you wake up, reach over and take a small bite of the cracker. It should help with the morning sickness.”

I enthusiastically thanked her! I knew that this Doctor had a jewel for a receptionist. Was I happy that I called her number? You bet I was! This Doctor eventually became our family physician for many years, all because his receptionist was cheerful and caused me to feel important.

What a contrast to a recent experience I have had with a local Doctor’s office. His receptionist is abrupt, snippy, and unpleasant with the patients. She acts bothered when patients call for a refill or other requests. Imagine that, in this day when good customer service is so valuable.

As a seasoned Mystery Shopper, my thoughts immediately turn to my shops designed to measure service and the hospitality of their employees. I wondered whether or not her doctor even realizes that his receptionist is a detriment rather than an asset. Certainly staff training or re-training would be in order. This receptionist should be required to watch some videos on public relations. If she were instructed how to better treat her clients, both she and her doctor would benefit. Not to mention the patients!!

As I mulled all this over, I was reminded of many excellent scriptures that reflect what the Bible teaches about our attitudes and our speech. (* List below)

Some of us may have a work situation, but each of us has family and friends. The home is one place where it seems to be most difficult to implement attitudes of love and appreciation. Let us purpose to make it a habit to treat each household member as if they were an honored guest. As we remind ourselves to watch our words and our mannerisms toward one another, something else will also occur. A conscious awareness that we are smiling more and that we’re at peace, will sweep over us.

In general, we’ll just enjoy life better!
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

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

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherishes her children:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

If You Are Not Sure - - - Wait

The voice on the other end of the line sounded frantic.

“They are sending me away for at least a year and I need to know if you will be there when I get out.” There was a note of urgency in my boyfriend’s voice because he had been arrested for purse snatching and now he was to be taught the lesson that crime does not pay.

I hesitated, because I knew he needed to calm down and I did not want him to try to escape from the Juvenile prison, or worse. So I told him,” Yes, I will be here when you get out.”

I knew in my heart that this was the closest thing to a white lie that could ever be told.

Certainly I would be “here,” but I was convinced that I could never marry this young man. I had told him “NO” many times and stated the reason was because the Bible says not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. He would always tell me, “I would never interfere with your religion and I would even attend church with you sometimes.”

This young man was part of our group of neighborhood friends. Yes he had gone to church with me a time or two, but afterwards, he would make fun of the service. Recently our Pastor had been exposing the lies and “lines” that fellows give their girl friends while using examples from real life tragedies. Our Pastor urged us to not date anyone unless they were a Christian and was marriage material, but I was seventeen and having fun!!

The Lord was good to me, and Mr. Knight-in- Shining- Armor soon entered the picture! Following Daily Vacation Bible School, our church held a week of special meetings. New families attended and several people gave their hearts to the Lord. A member of one of those families was a hard working young man. Eager to learn more about the things of the Lord, he signed up for some classes that had been offered. My mother and I were there also. Mother told me to show myself friendly and to go sit with this new young man, so I did!

A short time later, my brother invited this fellow over for Sunday dinner. After all, who could resist my mother’s home-cooked meal? Before long, the young man invited me to attend Saturday night “Youth for Christ” meetings held at the Municipal auditorium. Our friendship grew.

To make a long story short, Mr. Wonderful and I were married a few months later and lived happily ever after - - - well almost.

As an aside thought let me say that there is no one on this earth who has not suffered disagreements and hard times. It is important to note that we live in a fallen world and it is up to us to make the best of it with the Lord’s help. Without God it is often hit-and-miss.

We have endeavored to allow Jesus to guide us in our major decisions. He has been a very present help in times of trouble, in times of sadness, and in our times of happiness. One of our wedding gifts was a wall hanging that said, “Christ is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.” That was the rule we endeavored to live by.

I am so glad that God brought circumstances together to put distance between Mr. Wrong and me. Perhaps you are wondering the next step and direction for your life, your school, your work or your marriage and you are not certain which pathway to take. Do not jump too quickly! It may be time to wait on the Lord and to just - - - wait.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon Him while He is near:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

God’s Measure is Larger

“Half of your income is mine, and if you refuse to tithe on the whole, then I will at least tithe on my half,” was the soft response from my Mother to Dad. You see they were having a bit of a disagreement.

Dad worked long hours for the Railroad as a switchman, but Mother worked just as long and hard taking care of her family. The old saying “Men work from Sun to Sun, but a women’s work is never done,” certainly applied to my mother. She cleaned, cooked, baked, sewed, mended, did the laundry, ironed, tended the chickens and rabbits, and labored long in our vegetable garden. Although it seems impossible, personal prayer and time for family worship with her children marked special time set aside by my mother.

Complaining was not a part of her nature and I can only remember one time when I saw her in bed during the day. A case of the flu had overtaken her but when she noticed me checking on her, she immediately got up and fixed dinner.

Our house was a haven for others when needed. My uncle and his family moved to our city. Though I never thought much about it but because they stayed with us for several weeks, I am astonished at how well my mother handled all the extra activity. I know some people would be a mess in less time.

Time ran by quickly and soon they were able to purchase a nice house in a very good neighborhood. When they finally moved, my mother called my dad’s attention to the fact that my uncle was extremely blessed, attributing it to their conviction to tithe faithfully. It must have hit my dad like a light! Finally! I guess he wanted that blessing too. From that day on my Dad agreed to allow mother to tithe from their total income.

Soon, our hens began to lay more eggs, so Mother sold some to the neighbors. Our garden produced abundantly, and our old car kept on running without a hitch. Mother had always been careful with the finances, but now she discovered they could open a savings account.

Was it all because she had begun to tithe on the whole? Only God knows for sure, but if you ask me, I believe she was being blessed because she gave with a willing heart and a generous spirit.

Mother taught her three children to tithe. I can truly say that it pays to give. My feeling is that we cannot afford not to give. The blessings returned to us flow in many directions. God always gives back and His measure is larger than the one we first use.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Value Versus Cost

Holding her sweater by the cuff, the young girl slowly plodded along, dragging a good piece of clothing on the sidewalk. Today was Release-Time Bible class and my mother was leading her group of elementary school students to their study site.

“Please, darling, pick up your nice sweater because it will be ruined the way you are carrying it,” my mother instructed the girl. The child replied, “Oh, it doesn’t matter because it only cost us a quarter at the thrift shop.” It appeared that this girl had no concept of value as compared with cost.

Flabbergasted at those careless remarks, my mother was taken aback. Our family knew nothing of thrift shops. We practiced: “use it up; wear it out; make it do; or do without.” Yes, we had received “hand-me-down clothing” from our cousins, but we understood the necessity to care for them as if they were new. They were new to us!

Consider King David in the Bible, when he desired to make a sacrifice to the Lord. He asked to purchase a threshing floor so he could burn his offering. The owner protested and offered to simply contribute it to the King. David would have none of that and replied, “I will not sacrifice to the Lord that which costs me nothing.” Finally, the owner accepted his payment and David made his sacrifice.

We understand that Salvation is freely given, but there was a high price paid. It was very costly to Jesus!

Actually, in retrospect, we do have a price to pay. Lifestyle changes suddenly confront us as we commit to follow the Lord. Giving up our own desires and conforming to His will is also costly at times. Stewardship of our time and our finances will cost us, but will definitely return large dividends in our spiritual growth.

How then should we value the gifts and blessings of the Lord? Deep reverence and tremendous respect for the things of God are a must. The gifts and callings of God are never insignificant and should not be treated as if they were unimportant.

So, getting back to our allegory, when you see someone “dragging their nice spiritual sweater” on the ground, speak up. They may be unaware of just what it is they actually have!

Think about it, and then be alert to pick up and humbly carry and protect your own valuable spiritual sweater!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Learn to Feed Yourself

Black Lab

Have you ever done something that was so embarrassing that you certainly did not want to share it with your neighbors? I am not speaking about doing something sinful but just something too silly to advertise! I’ll get back to that thought in just a minute!

In the early days mothers did not have Gerber’s and other baby foods so they utilized unique methods to nourish their growing babies. Often it was the grandmother who would first chew the baby’s food and then feed it to him. As the child grew he would hopefully learn to feed himself.

I can remember many times as a child I did not want to eat what was put before me. Mother would often play a little game called “Airplane” and the spoon would find its way to the “Airport.” The bottom line was that moms did whatever it took to keep their families healthy! For the most part these days they still do.

Now - - - my embarrassing confession. We have three spoiled dogs. One is a pig by nature and eats every thing in sight including the dog food meant for the other two dogs. When I discovered what was happening, I decided to ensure that my 5-year-old Labrador received his own can of special food. I took the spoon that I had used to scoop out the food and began to feed him by playing the game “Airplane.” You might say that this special attention became a favorite game with him and he doted on the spoiling. Sadly it has come to the point that he will barely eat his dinner unless I feed him!!

It occurred to me that many Christians enjoy the Word of God, but only after it has been chewed and spoon fed to them. Others will not “eat” the Word of God, unless a game is played to stimulate their appetite.

Justifiably for the children in Sunday school who are just beginning to learn to “feed” themselves certain methods of motivation and training are necessary. They need the Bible Stories and the lessons in down-to-earth everyday examples so they can understand what God is saying to them. Hopefully as they begin to read and study they will learn to nourish themselves.

I am not against devotional books and Christian magazines, as I enjoy several. However they are not a substitute for the actual Bible which is God’s word to us.

May I encourage you to dust off your Bible and begin today to read through the New Testament? A chapter at a time is a good way to start. Some study Bibles have “helps” to explain the scriptures. The “helps” will suggest verses to follow along the same theme and the Holy Spirit is also right there to guide. When Christians become skilled at handling not just the milk of the Word, they will profit spiritually. It will be like adding meat to the diet. The good news is when you learn to feed yourself you will become spiritually healthy and fit just the way God planned.

I Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

This post is linked with Ann Kroeker’s  Food on Fridays   
Do visit her site and gather up some delicious and nutritious recipes


Thursday, March 11, 2010

When Mother Prayed

Everything was so still. It was early and very quiet for a Saturday morning. I slipped down the stairs and into the kitchen. Where was my mother and why was the door into the living room closed?

Curiosity got the best of me. Silently, gently I cracked opened the door so I could peer through. My eyes swept the room. Squinting a bit I unexpectedly spotted my mother kneeling at our sofa. What was this? Tears streamed down her cheeks and she was praying words that I did not understand.

My 8 year old mind was confused. I could not imagine what might cause my mother to be so sad and to cry when she was praying. It wasn’t until years later that understanding arrived. There are times when a child of God experiences an enormous “burden” for someone in need. It is then that the tears will automatically flow when they pray.

Softly I slipped into the room and settled myself on the floor next to my mother. “Why are you crying? Are you hurt? Are you sick?” I fervently inquired. “No darling,” she replied, “I am just talking to Jesus and He makes me so happy I could cry.”

Reflecting, I can still see her there. Had her Women’s ministries asked her to pray for the missionaries from our church? Was there a secret that the Lord shared with her and she was praying for someone I did not know? Perhaps she had been praying for her children who as yet had not made a decision to follow Christ. Maybe it was a little of all of those.

Prayer is a strange and wonderful method for communication with our God. I am reminded of the old song “The Royal Telephone.” It goes something like this - - -

Telephone to glory oh what joy Devine
I can feel the current moving down the line
Made by God the Father for his very own
You can talk to Jesus on this Royal Telephone

Central's never busy always on the line
You can hear from heaven almost anytime
It's a royal service built for one and all
When you get in trouble give this Royal line a call

God is always listening. I am so glad we can speak to him with normal conversation - - just as you would to a friend on the other end of the telephone line. Although the Lord’s Prayer is a model for training in prayer, I am convinced that God is often weary of hearing us repeat the same unengaged, mindless prayers over and over again.

Yes, there are occasions when even God gets tired of US doing all the talking! He delights in us but prayer is a two way street. Friendship requires listening as well. When we come to worship Him there are times we just need to sit quietly in His presence so He can speak to us. After all God is ultimate Wisdom. Wouldn’t it be wise to hear what he has to say? Then our prayers will be fruitful and on target.

Praying God's Word Day by Day by Beth Moore
Praying God's Word: Devotional Journal by Beth Moore

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fasting and Prayer Repost

This story is a repost of a chapter from my book, "Rescue the Stories, Book One."

Mother’s place at the breakfast table was missing! “Aren’t you eating breakfast today?” I asked anxiously. She hesitated and replied softly, “Not today.”

I put my clean dishes back in the cupboard, and said, “Then I am not eating breakfast either!”

On Sunday our Pastor has called a week of solemn assembly and had asked the members to volunteer to fast a day, several days, several meals or one meal.

He told all who would participate to be sure they had their Doctors approval and to decide the type of fast each person would employ.

He stated that there is a total fast, with water only, and there was also a fast with juice for those who wanted to fast but could not do a total fast.

Our reason to fast should be a time to reflect on the Lord and to pray and seek Him. The Pastor asked us to also pray for revival for our Nation and for ourselves during our fast.

As a fourteen year old girl, I did not think the fast would apply to me, but now I began to view it in a different light. Mother was my example and I knew I could do anything that she could do.

“Are you going to eat lunch?” I quizzed her. She gently replied, “Not today.” “Well then don’t make me a lunch today either!” I emphatically told her.

Mother knew I was stubborn, but she also knew I had a very good appetite.

As I prepared to leave for school, she reminded me of some guidelines that the Pastor had taught the day before. “She urged me to drink lots of water between classes by stopping regularly at the drinking fountains.”

As the lunch hour approached I told myself, “So far so good.” My girl friend always met me in the cafeteria for lunch, and naturally she noticed I was not eating today.

 “Where is your lunch Kiddy,” she asked. Nothing could be hid from her so I quietly shared with her that I was fasting lunch today. “NO WAY,” was her answer. She excitedly told me that I would make myself sick, that I might faint and this was not a good thing to do.

 I smiled at her, and said, “Our Pastor told us that missing a couple meals would not harm us physically and that a short fast was actually an excellent thing to do for one’s health. My friend was not convinced but she held her peace.

That afternoon when I arrived home from school, I asked my mother if she was eating dinner and she quickly replied, “Yes, today.” “Ok then, me too,” I told her in response.

The following morning as I met my friend and we walked to school together, she gave me her report. “I told my mother what you did and what you said, and do you want to hear what she told me.” “Yes,” I replied, “I am all ears.”

My friend was ready to relay her message. “My mother told me that you were correct - - and that the next time you do a fast - - - I must also do one!! What a shock to hear, but I was also very pleased.

Since that day, I have fasted several times, and it is always a good plan to have guide lines. 

Be sure to drink water and fast to pray and to think on the Lord.
This post was shared at Ann’s Food on Friday site


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Maria Woodworth-Etter

“Who is this woman?” my friend asked me. I had just sent her an e-mail from a devotional by Maria Woodworth-Etter.

One of our favorite Bible teachers had given us a special assignment. We were to read after some of the Saints of Old who had been mightily used of God. Maria Woodworth-Etter was one of those selected for our research.

Marvelous testimonies of healing followed her ministry. The power of the Holy Spirit was evident in her life. There were also some uncommon manifestations exhibited, such as dancing in the Spirit, along with speaking and singing in other tongues! Yes, there would be both praise and criticism of this dear saint when our class met again.

In many circles, women preachers are still often looked down upon. Our teacher suggested that God had first called a man to do the job, but the man failed to answer. So . . . God called a woman instead and equipped her with a powerful anointing.

Maria Woodworth-Etter, born in 1844 in Lisbon, Ohio, is called the grandmother of the Pentecostal Movement. She testified, "I heard the voice of Jesus calling me to go out in the highways and hedges and gather in the lost sheep." We have to remember that when sister Etter was called by God, we, as a nation, did not allow women to vote, let alone preach from a pulpit. She realized this and for several years she would not heed the call. As she searched the scriptures she discovered that God used many women in the Bible to fulfill his destiny. After receiving a vision of God’s power, she finally said yes to His call. In her latter years, she was weak and frail, but men from her church carried her to services in a special chair. As soon as the chair touched the floor, she would receive strength and rise to minister mightily.

As you study about Maria Woodward-Etter and her ministry, your heart will be touched and your spirit will be stir but I say, “Let it be so.”

I have listed some books by Maria Woodward-Etter that you might be interested in securing. Click on the books and order direct.

Signs and Wonders; by Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter

Holy Ghost Sermons, A Living Classic Book by Maria Beulah Woodward-Etter Hardcover

For Such a Time as This: Maria Woodworth-Etter Her Healing and Evangelizing Ministry by Wayne E. Warner (paperback)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don’t Get in Over Your Head!

“Hey, are you trying to drink all the water out of this lake?”, I cried out, as I jerked my youngest daughter up and out of the water, setting her feet on dry land.

The adults were up to their waists in the lake, while the children had been instructed to stay on the shore and just play in the sand. My daughter did not realize that there was a sudden drop-off only a few steps from the place she had been playing. Deciding to come to me all by herself, she began a hazardous journey into water that swiftly engulfed her!

Sometimes in our zeal to work for the Lord, we often rush in too quickly. I have been chastened for waiting too long. Either decision, too fast or too slow can be the choice of error. So how do we know what God wants us to do in his vineyard?

Preparation is one method of perceiving direction. Perhaps your church is organizing a drive, or advertising a special Bible Study, or providing classes on how to minister. Discover what is available and sign up.

Opportunity is another method of finding God’s will for your efforts. Is your choir seeking new members? Is there a call for teachers to help with the children? Is there a New Hope Center close by where you can volunteer to lend a hand? Are there seniors in your neighborhood that can use assistance with shopping or Doctor visits? Uncover a place that interests you and fill it.

There are times when it is wise to say, “No”, especially if you are already doing a good deal of the work in your place of worship!

Overload creates burn out!

A friend shared with me how her former Pastor told her to never say “No” when asked by the Pastor, board members or a teacher to do some work in the church. As a young, pregnant mother, she lugged a small child here and there in a laundry basket as she cleaned church bathrooms, wrote letters, set up classrooms and other tasks assigned to her. My friend was worn out from her own responsibilities and from these additional duties put upon her unwisely by her Pastor. Finally in desperation she understood in her spirit what her real obligations were and notified the Pastor.

“She was over her head.”

Rewarded by harsh criticism from authority figures in the church, she decided to trust God. For many years the enemy held bits and pieces “over her head” until she at last became confident in the Word and in her God.

The main thing to remember in “working for God,” is, “Do not get in over your head; learn to swim first!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Father’s Arms

I held the heavy chicken box as long as my three- year- old arms would allow me - - - then ker-plunk! Down it went!

The baby chickens had been pecking around the corners of the hen box and I had decided to assist them. Under that weighty box were some nice juicy worms. As I lifted the box, the baby chicks scurried underneath. I became frantic and waved one hand and told them to scoot out of the way! I hoped they had heeded my anxious warning because I couldn’t hold the box much longer. Down the box went.

That evening my father discovered that many of the baby chicks were missing. Working in the mountains, my dad was often gone for long periods of time, so I hardly knew this tall, fierce-looking person. Although he had never done anything to make me afraid, I feared him just like some people have the fear of God in them. When he quizzed me and asked if I had lifted the chicken box, I knew if I said yes, that he would not be happy. So, as the blood drained from my little face, I said, “NO, not me!”

Dad questioned me a second time, and told me that he knew that I had done it. With tears running down my cheeks, I admitted my guilt and between sobs told him I was so sorry. I explained how I had tried to make them get out of that dangerous place, but they just would not listen. As it turned out, my dad hugged me and told me he forgave me but first he explained how my thoughtless action had been a tragedy for those little chicks.

Back then as a three-year- old I had no understanding of the consequences of helping those chicks. Yet it only took a moment for me to see their potential danger. Regrettably they could not understand me and in their innocence they became the unwilling victims.

Perhaps this is a reminder of a time in your life when you were trapped doing something at first you thought was innocent, but it turned out to be a disaster. Were your “arms” tired from holding up your end of what you thought was an agreement or a promise between you and someone else?

Today there are many warnings of danger ahead; Road signs, articles in the news, the Bible and the inward voice of the Lord. Has the warning voice of God ever spoke to you and told you to get out of that dangerous place, but you were too embarrassed or tired to listen? Or perhaps you thought it was too late to make a change in plans.

Consider this now if you are in a situation that is not wholesome or safe. It is never too late to run to the Lord for help. Yes, run to those outstretched arms and tell Him all about it. He always understands and He is a God that is not to be feared. As a loving heavenly Father He is always ready to forgive and assist you to find a better way.

Understand that God has provided counselors in the Body of Christ. Pastors, teachers and other seasoned Christians who won’t judge but who will help with encouragement, prayer and general support.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Say What He Puts on Your Heart

A co-worker stood near my desk, and I could not help overhearing her complaints to my friend. It seems that her young son’s schoolteacher had requested a meeting. A little annoyed, she grumbled that she had explained that her son was accustomed to hearing the word “Jesus” used as slang at home, so he saw no problem with using it at school.

I said nothing but prayed about what I should do in order to open up some important information to this dear mother. Did you know that God has a sense of humor? He impressed me to wait a day and to call her to the private area where my desk sat, before speaking to her.

The next day, I did ask her to my desk and related to her that I could not help but overhearing what had happened at school.

Now, our culture is basically devoid of good moral basics so I wanted to be sure I laid some groundwork. I suggested to her that if I wished to be insulting, that I would probably not insult her directly. I would insult her mother! I would call her mother a B - - - - or use any other name I could think of to indirectly hurt my co-worker. I expressed the idea that the Devil wants to hurt God and insult Him. The method he employs is to get people to use the name of God’s Son, Jesus in vain. Anytime a person uses the name of Jesus in this manner, in effect, they are insulting God.

She left my desk with new light on the subject. I do not know if it changed the habits of the household language, but I do know that she reported all that I had told her to several friends at work, and I am sure she also did the same at home.

The easy part in witnessing is that all we have to do is say what God puts on our heart and He will do the multiplying.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just Do your Part

The screeching noise of finger nails scraping on a blackboard arouses an unpleasant sensation that is extremely irritating to most people. In the same way, this is the sensation I perceive with my inner ear each time I hear the Name of Jesus Christ used in vain!

Two young college boys had been hired as extra help at my previous work place. They were laughing, jesting and having fun as they worked. Without the slightest thought on their part, the insensitive use of the Name of Jesus Christ poured forth in their conversation.

At my place of work, I made it a practice to allow Jesus to shine through me and not to display a self-righteous and pious attitude. Witnessing at work was sometimes tricky! Often, when someone would approach me with a question, the opportunity would present itself. Other times I had to ask the Lord for the proper moment to make a move. Regarding these young men, I felt that the situation needed attention soon. I asked the Lord “What should I do?” His prompting was clear. The next afternoon, I took a newspaper clipping about my mother to work with me.

We live near one of the large California dams, and a local festival was seeking a possible name change to incorporate the word “Dam”. The newspaper had been interviewing people on the street. My mother was asked the question, “Do you think the old name ‘Fiesta Days’ should be changed to ‘Dam Days’?” Mother answered, “My parents always taught me to never use the Lord’s name in vain, or to use language that was swearing. I think it would be wise to keep the name Fiesta Days.”

Wouldn’t you know it? They printed her response. The newspaper and the city took that simple testimony and kept the name ‘Fiesta Days’ for the annual celebration.

Prepared with that clipping, all I needed was the right time. Timing is important! When approaching someone, it is not a good idea to draw attention or to embarrass them. I waited - - -

The next day at break time the two young men headed for the outside porch. Picking up my news article, I followed after them. After a cheerful greeting, I asked them if I could show them something. Of course they agreed. With the article unfolded, I let them know that it was about my Mother, and proceeded to read. I smiled and gently mentioned that I was also raised not to swear and especially not to take the name of Jesus Christ in vain. I asked them if they could respect that and they heartily replied, “We certainly can!”

Things went well, so I walked down to another area to continue my break. Upon returning, I discovered that the two boys went back to the office and enlightened everyone to what had just happened! I did not need to say a word. A little birdie did it for me.

The story does not end there, but it does change players! Another lady in the office invited the boys to her church. One of the boys decided to attend with his girlfriend! What was the outcome? Both young people gave their hearts to the Lord!

So my friend each of us has a unique circle of influence and none of our ministries is exactly the same. We all have a part to play in the scope of His program. Some of us have a pulpit while others of us reflect God’s love when and where we can. Certain people have the task of planting the seed. Watering and nurturing the seed is also a vital job. For others, harvesting is their part of the total process.

God doesn’t expect any of us to do it all. What does the Lord require of you? Just to do your part.