Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday!

He says to open our Bibles to 1 Peter 2:1-3. We bow our heads and ask the Lord to open our eyes and hearts to what He has to say to us. My pen is in my hand. My notebook is on my lap. My Bible is open to the appropriate place.

He points out the word, “therefore,” the first word in this chapter, and reminds us to always ask, What is it there for? The preceding chapter ends talking about the Word of the Lord enduring forever, never changing in an ever-changing world. I think of how my world has changed, things I could not control, things I never thought would happen, things I can’t go back and fix, things that might change tomorrow. I liked the statement that the Book I was holding open in my hands would never change and would endure through anything forever!

He continues with the passage: As a result of this Word enduring forever, what was our reaction to be in light of this?

1. Lay aside all malice (wicked ill will towards others), a desire to see someone trip and fall.

2. Deceit -- deliberately dishonest.

3. Hypocrisy - a front, a mask, trying to portray yourself as something you are not.

4. Envy -- When you compare yourself to others and you feel you are coming up short. But we should know that He deals with each of us personally, and supplies each of us with exactly what we need.

5. Slander -- Did you know that even TRUTH can hurt other people if spoken with the intent to belittle?

There are times when we should just keep our mouths shut!

It is these five things that we need to put aside.

And then something happens. Deep within my heart. Almost a voice, a whisper. VERY distracting to me as I like to take good notes. But HE wouldn’t quit. And so I listen.

“Why is it you never talk to me about YOU?”

“What???” I think silently.

“You heard me.”

“Yeah, I did, but what’s that got to do with this sermon?” (As I’m trying to listen to Pastor and take notes.)


I try to squish it down, part of me taking notes:

Verse 2 says we should be as newborn babies, as innocent as these sweet ones, cleansed, with none of the above blemishes, with no unrighteousness, and desiring (longing for) His word. The word, desire, shows a continuous action, to keep on desiring.

Pastor says, God loves us as we are, but doesn’t want to leave us there. He wants to see us grow and change. How does this happen? Through His Word. We should desire it in such a way that nothing keeps us from it. And once we have tasted it, nothing will keep us away.

Verse 3 uses the word “gracious.” Peter wrote in Greek, but he spoke in Aramaic. So what was he really saying here? In Aramaic, this was an often used word, like when you put out a delicious meal, fantastic, more than good!

“So when are we going to talk about YOU?”

There it was again.

I go home frustrated. After all, I pray! A lot! I sit all afternoon stewing. I start tearing apart my prayers.

I pray for others -- whenever anyone comes to mind, I usually pray for them and if I know of any need in their life, I will pray about that, too.

I’m thankful. I try to thank Him for all things, even the hard things. Since reading Ann’s book, 1000 gifts, I’ve even been more thankful than ever.

I come to Him with my needs, my failures, my sins. . . What in the world is He asking of me when He says, “When are we going to talk about YOU?”

I finally have to admit, I don’t talk about ME -- the real, personal, the intimate, the what’s-troubling-me ME! I don’t talk about dreams and disappointments, likes and dislikes, gains and losses, etc.

“Can’t you just read my writings, Lord? It’s all in there!”

“No, we are not pen pals. What’s so hard about face to face, ear to ear, get to know each other kind of talk?”

And so --- my life takes a new direction. Prayer will change. Tomorrow will be different.

Did you get that from this sermon???? I searched my notes and I didn’t see it. But that’s what I heard on Sunday, and I’ll live it Monday, and Tuesday. . . And Wednesday.. . .

Linking up with other bloggers who heard it on Sunday and are striving to put it into practice on Monday. You can find their posts here:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Remembering on Memorial Day!

Please scroll down to the bottom of my blog and turn off the music player so you can give your attention fully to this video!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Still Counting my Blessings!

661. A short visit with a Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I’m sure my feeder was just a short stop for refueling on his trip back to his northern summer home. If you are waiting for one to come back, he’s on his way!

662. Searching for a “roadmap” of sorts or a plan to begin a home group study and it all coming together in the dark hours of a sleepless night.

663. A much needed shower in the morning hours.

664. Watching the heavy, wet branches of my sycamore tree bend low as they are washed clean.

665. Hugh leaves --- big enough to be the perfect umbrella for a titmouse caught in the rain.

666. How all the leaves glisten in the sunlight after the rain.

667. Watching a group of turkey vultures all land together on the limb of a dead tree, and that limb cracking and falling under their weight. I don’t often laugh out loud, but this just cracked me up to see them all squawking and flapping and looking under their feet as their perch crashed to the ground.

668. Stressing over a mother cat as she tried to get her kittens to cross a busy road. I can’t stand to watch, but I always do. I don’t understand the process --- as these kittens get old enough, Momma takes them on this long journey to --- who knows where --- and just when I think they are gone and lost for good, they all come back, starving, wild, scared and skinny. This group made it between the cars across the road and decided to rest under my car.

669. My Ninja blender/ice crusher. I am on a mission to make my own iced coffees and smoothies.

670. Two angels who took time out of their own schedules to mow and weed wack my lawn. Thank you Jarred and Daniel!

671. A car that will not die. It just keeps going, and going, and going. . . .!!!

672. A beautiful, delicious dinner prepared by special friends.

673. Comforting a friend who begins her jouney with breast cancer, hearing the courage and faith in her voice, glad I could be a living witness to what God can do in the worst-case scenerios!

674. Finding strength and support from friends when eating right and dieting are NOT what I want to do.

675. Sticking to it and shopping right, inspired by new recipes.

676. My washing machine. How did I get so much laundry for just 2 people? I can’t imagine taking it all down to a river and washing it all on a stone. . . .!!!!

677. Digging my way through a Bible Study on the Women of the Old Testament and wondering if I could really teach a group of young women. . .???!!!!

678. My “gal” all excited about me thinking about teaching and opening her home for this to happen!

679. Adding a new food to my diet, Quinoa, and loving it! A grain full of protein and tastes delicious!

680. Eating lunch out with a friend, enjoying fellowship together, as well as good food.

681. Realizing Buster is well aware of wardrobe and puts together what will happen when I wear certain things. Like. . . Old yellow Crocs are ok as I stay home when I wear those. Black crocks are nerve wracking. . . I’m going out, probably shopping which means treats, but I’m gone -- not good. . . Good black shoes, nice blouse and makeup mean I’m going to be gone for a while -- reason to pout! Nothing in it for Buster.

682. Flycatchers teaching their young ones in the birdhouse their song. I don’t think they are allowed to come out until they have it right.

683. Fresh eggs from my sister’s chickens.

Linking up with Ann VosKamp and a multitude of others who are still counting. . .!

Friday, May 18, 2012


On Fridays, a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Your words. This shared feast.

Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

Today's topic?


Sometimes, it takes a radical change in life to see things from another perspective. I was always one who shyed away from people who were sick, especially those who were suffering with cancer and going through treatments, surgery, and radiation. I just didn’t know what to say, what they wanted to hear. I felt inadequate and had no idea what they were going through. I think back now to how cold and callous I must have seemed. My heart aches for a “second chance,” to be able to go back and do it over. . .

As I walked through my own time of cancer, I became so aware of my feelings, my fears, my doubts, my strengths and my faith (or lack of it!). Nothing meant more to me than the encouragement and help of my friends, my sister, my mailman, etc. Sometimes it was just a hug with no words at all. Sometimes, it was something left at my door, a meal delivered, a card sent, a phone call, a yard mowed, etc. All these dear ones taught me how to care, how to give, how to love and strengthen someone going through these hard times.

During this past week, two of my friends were diagnosed with cancer. And I found myself reacting so differently than years before. My experience gave me a new perspective -- I knew how they felt, the shock of the diagnosis, the fears, the what if’s. I saw the pain in their eyes. And I didn’t even have to think of how to react or what to say --- it came spilling out of me. My new perspective has given me a new ministry, one where I can come alongside and walk with someone through this, giving encouragement, direction and support. . . . . STOP!

5 minutes are up!

Linking up with:

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Desert Place

Have you ever been in that place where you feel so alone, you wonder if God is even hearing your prayers, And your reading of His Word seems dry and distant? I've been there. And I've wondered why. My first thought is always guilt -- that it must be me, that I've done something wrong, missed something that I was supposed to do, learn, be, or whatever, and got off track with my Christian life. But I have learned that the greatest lessons taught to me was in that Desert Place where I thirsted more than ever and walked with sand in my shoes to a place called nowhere. Lately, I've been reviewing the life of Hagar and how she trudged her way through the desert with her baby boy --- only to have a meeting with the Lord Himself and to learn His Name -- El Roi --- The God who Sees. And He provided a well to quench their thirst and gave hope, direction, and a vision of her future. He doesn't leave us there and He always has a purpose!

The Desert Place

To think that He would bring me here was never in my plan.

My dreams were quiet valleys where the deeper waters ran

To feed within Your pastures green and not a fear to trace --

Oh, Father, why the choice of this, the lonely desert place?

Paths that lead me nowhere, and I walk them all alone.

Futile days of desert heat, and nights that chill the bone.

I’m tired, Lord, so tired of the heavy, aching heart!

Tired of defeated days before they even start.

Where can I find my song again? Oh, Father, can it be

That even in this desert place you have forgotten me?

“I never will forsake thee!” Oh, how sweet the promise is!

To know that I am not alone, for I’m a child of His.

Oh, Father, may I learn that you will feed me with thy bread,

That somewhere in this desert place you have a table spread.

Teach me all the lessons which you think that I should know,

And may I pay attention to where e’er thy footsteps go,

So when another pilgrim finds his way into this land,

And cries, “I am so lonely!” I can say, “I understand.”

I will not doubt that through it all, You know what’s best for me.

And may I find within this place my chosen ministry.

And when the evening hours come and sunlight starts to dim,

I’ll know that I was not alone, but walked today with Him.

--Cora Eelman

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Mother's Greatest Gift

It was Christmas. And I was six. First grade half done, and I could now read. I was proud, and I loved all my books. I loved my little Sunday School papers. Letters, the alphabet, words. . . . They all came together for me, opening up a whole new world.

Early in the morning light of that Christmas day which we all impatiently waited for, we found a pile of gifts wrapped in brightly colored paper. Simple gifts --- like a roll of white shelf paper and a box of crayons. I thought I could color my way around the world with that much paper! A doll from my namesake aunt who lived so far away. It was dressed in a crocheted dress that my grandmother had made.

But the gift I cherished most of all was given to me by my Mother. It was a Bible. I loved the smell of that new book with the thin, crisp pages. But what made it so special was my name in gold embossed on the front cover. Inside, in her beautiful handwriting, she wrote my name after the words, ‘This Bible belongs to. . . .” and after the words “From” it said, “Her Mother.”

I carried that Bible every.single.Sunday of my childhood. It wasn’t until my Junior year of High School that I got a new Scofield Reference Bible ---- THE Bible to have at that time. But I kept my old Bible. It was special. My first. And it was from my Mom. And she was gone. Forever. It was all I had of her heart. I had no picture or momento that would link me to her. Only my Bible.

I kept that Bible no matter where I went. And sometimes I went far. As far as a wandering heart can take a Rebellious, proud, prodigal daughter. I always knew where it was. I wanted it close -- just in case. I knew my way around it, where to find certain verses that would win an argument, where to find my way back, where to find the cross, where to find grace and forgiveness. Within its covers were memories -- some so sweet, others so haunting. I won “sword drills” with that Bible, memorized verses and chapters, did my Sunday School lessons, and looked up verses in Junior Church. It convicted me, comforted me, and sometimes, confused me. But it laid out a roadmap, always showing me the right way, the old way, the one way that was well traveled, deep with ruts made by those who had gone before. That way always led by the way of the cross.

Now? Maybe 50 Bibles later -- all sizes, colors, versions, paraphrases, --- I still have my Mother’s Bible. It’s stiff now, the binding cracking and brittle (kind of like me) as it gets older. But it never changes. Its words, its message, its power are still all they ever were, and will remain so through eternity’s ages.

Sometimes a Mom doesn’t know the importance of a gift slipped under a tree on a frosty Christmas morning. She didn’t know that a few years later she would be taken suddenly from me. No good-bys, no last words, No hugs --- but she left the greatest gift of all. All I would ever need to get me through the good times, the bad times, up the steepest mountains and down into the deepest of valleys. It brought me safe thus far, and it will bring me safely Home.

Thank you, Mom, for the greatest gift a Mom could give. I am forever grateful!

And if you thank YOUR mama on your blog and link up with Ann VosKamp — you will help support a mothering educational project in Haiti just through your gratitude. The 1000 Moms Project is about 1000 people standing up and thanking their mom publicly (what mom doesn’t want a gift like this for Mother’s Day?) – and we’ll match your honoring of mothers by funding a Maternity/Child Survival Program in Haiti for a whole year. (You can read all about it here)

1000 Moms Project

Monday, May 7, 2012

He Sings!

Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth! -- Psalm 96:1

He sings!

He always sings.

Early in the morning hours,

before the sun rises over the trees,

he is there on the top of the pole,

singing his songs with his head directed towards Heaven.

He sings in the rain,

in the midst of the storm,

shakes off the droplets as the thunder passes into the distance,

and sings again

as the sun breaks through the clouds.

He sings!

As the red and orange ball of fire

sinks slowly behind the pine trees

He finds the highest tip of a tree

where he can see the last rays of what we call day,

and sings his songs again . . .

And again. . .

And again!

He knows them all,

and he learned them well.

And each bird in the woods

has their own special lullaby

sung to them as they settle into darkness.

He used to irritate me.

But there came a time

when I needed a song sung into my soul.

A time when I had none of my own,

no notes on a score,

no words on a page,

no rhyme,

no rhythm,

no melody.

I picked up my hymnbook,

and it was almost as if

Mr. Mockingbird had spoken to me ---

“Just pick one,

and sing it with all your heart,

like you mean it,

and don’t stop til you get it right,

til it turns your soul inside out.”

The old hymnbook fell open to

“My Jesus, I Love Thee, I know thou art Mine.”

And best I could, I sang.

Things change when the heart sings.

Songs heal wounds.

Hymns take us to the Cross.

They dry tears so we can see His face,

they lift us from the muck of self,

to the presence of the Father.

They remind us of who we are

and refresh a parched soul.

They find words we can’t seem to find

and whisper them into the ears of our beloved Lord. . .

And He sings them back to us in love,

and grace,

and compassion . . .

only as He can sing.

And so today, I sing my gratitudes. . .

653. That you are my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou.

654. That I love you because you first loved me.

655. That you purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.

656. That you wore a crown of thorns on your brow for me.

657. That I will have eternity to adore you.

658. That a mansion awaits for me.

659. That I will sing for You with a crown on my brow.

660. That my song will be a love song, and like my bird, I’ll just keep singing it over and over and over. . . !

Linking up with Ann VosKamp and so many others who continue to look for all the blessings in the moments of their days and are offering up their gratitudes: