Silent Saturday

westerly 469Our Lord is in the tomb. What were all His followers thinking? All those he’d healed and taught—those closest to Him and all the women who’d aided His earthy ministry.

What were they thinking?

What are you thinking?

This Saturday.

Pray the hard prayers today. Pray the incorrect prayers today. Pray the utterances from your soul today. Know every prayer is going straight to the Father. He will make all things right in His time.

Never lose hope. Followers of Jesus have eternal and living Hope.

Keep praying, keep building your faith muscles. Quit trying to impress God with your words. Pray the gut prayers. He longs for that honest relationship with you and me. We are His children. He wants us to climb in His lap and tell Him everything. If we only climb up, look at Him quizzically, squirm back down and run away, we will have missed Him. Climb up and lay your head on His shoulder, cry, and let Him hear your heart. This is silent Saturday. The answers are coming.

Tomorrow.

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11

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I look up to the mountains—  does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth! Psalm 121:1&2

The Spiritual Inventory You Need Now

When my husband and I went through missionary training last year, this was some material we received. We had to be alone to evaluate ourselves. I did not come up with this. This is from the agency where we trained. It is clear and not too complicated. If you can use it, may the Lord be praised, and may you be encouraged.

TRANSFORMED:

Heart– You to be born again

Mind – God’s thoughts, we need constant reinforcement of the truth. 

Affection – We need to love the truth. We need to love what God loves, hate what God hates. Sin needs to repulse us.

Will – This is where Obedience comes to play. This is Obedience out of love for Jesus, Not rule-based. In Faith – I obey. In Love – I obey…no matter the cost.

Relationships – We are to reflect His love. We love our christian family, our neighbors, our enemies.

Purpose – The purpose of life is not me. I don’t live for my pleasure. I live for Jesus’ agenda. New purpose.

How to evaluate your spiritual growth:

Is my life increasing in line with the biblical picture of a disciple? Die to self? Tell others the gospel? Keep growing myself? 

What do I know about Jesus now that I didn’t know six months ago?

Am I learning more about Jesus and living more like Him?

Am I increasingly obedient to Godly living and the mandate of the Great Commission?

Do others increasingly recognize spiritual growth in my life? (ask someone since we evaluate ourselves poorly).

In areas no one else sees, am I giving those over to Jesus?

Am I increasingly walking away from sin?

Am I increasingly reproducing myself in others?

After pondering all these questions, what actions do you need to take? Are there areas you are doing well? 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Walgreens, McRaes, Dillards Oh My!

My mother loved a store. It brought joy to her heart just to be in one. I’m not talking about the hardware store, but the standard department stores and drug stores. I’m not sure where this love for the store came into play since my mother grew up in the Georgia Baptist Children’s Home. It possibly originated back to her single days living in Atlanta, GA, when she worked and had some disposable income for the first time in her life. Perhaps she was introduced to the place of variety and convenience after she left the home at the age of 20. Whatever the reason, just entering a store, it seemed her brain would be like popcorn, full of ideas popping up. She would think of someone who needed something, whether they did or not. And then there was always a reason to buy another tube of lipstick, and she walked out with a fresh pack of juicy fruit gum or candy of some sort every time.

Back in her single days, some of the best stores in and around the Atlanta area were Woolworth’s and Rich’s. All through our growing up years, her excitement over a store was in the background of my memories. I think mother felt like going to the store could make everything better. Once we moved to Mississippi, she enjoyed McRaes, and it was a big disappointment when McRaes eventually closed.

One year near Christmas, I took my mother to a Walgreen‘s near her assisted living. I knew it would be challenging, but I thought giving her this joy was worth any challenge. By this time, my mother’s short-term memory was failing. Repetitive questions and conversation were how this manifested. In addition, her hearing and sight were quite limited, making her perception of her environment closed off and inaccurate.

 I arrived at my mother’s apartment and informed her we would soon leave, and while we were out, we’d go to Walgreen’s so she could Christmas shop. Her excitement showed as she said, “Oh boy,” and I assisted her in getting ready. She cheerfully shattered like a child. We soon walked the long halls slowly until we signed out and exited to the parking lot. She was happy as a bird in a newly blossomed tree. Hearing her chatter so joyfully pierced my heart every time. It made me sad for her to be this happy over a trip to a store. But her world was small now, her independence virtually gone. I had to focus on her joy.

Typically, on an outing, I’d take her to the Taco Bell drive-through and over to a duck pond where we’d sit in the car to eat and watch the ducks. On this day, after this, we went to Walgreens. I hurried around to open her car door and took the few minutes it would take to help her from the car, get her stabilized, to begin the first steps. Inside, a shopping cart gave her stability. The beautiful decorations of the season and the vastness of the store overwhelmed her. We took it slow as we strolled looking, and she was mesmerized by the inventory before her. I planned to purchase whatever she wanted, whether it made sense to me or not. As I assisted her, she would be captured with each item, almost as if she’d never seen it before. She selected each item and soon forget what she placed in the cart. We moved slowly, only making it through a couple of aisles before she was getting tired. I knew her energy would fail before her desire to leave, so I decided to leave her holding on to the cart near a place she could stand looking. Then I scurried around looking for a thing or two she’d mentioned. Quickly I found the items and turned the corner to be with her again. It was then I saw a frozen look of despair on her face. I gently approached her and hugged her. She leaned into my hug as she mentioned the beauty she was seeing. Did she have a few memories from days gone by? Maybe she realized how little this activity ever happens anymore. Perhaps she was happy to be in a store at Christmas. Whatever she was thinking, I distracted her, and her emotions transitioned back to the delight she’d had moments before.

Back in the car, and as I was backing out of the lot, my mother broke my heart in two when she said, “Valerie, you’re not taking me back, are you?” She asked me this every time I’d take her out, and she would become aware of the routine, the sense of conclusion to an outing, and heading back to a place that would separate us. This time, I prayed as tears filled my eyes, and I said, “No, mama, we’re going to look at the decorations in this neighborhood.” I acted like this was planned, but I could tell she perceived the area and knew it was near where she lived. Even as she understood she was on her way back to where she lived, she tried to be a trooper as we drove around the streets looking at the decorations.

This is the plight of watching parents age. Some parents are more alert than others and have different personalities. My mother just wanted to be with her family. It wasn’t possible, and she never understood why. Up to her death, she could come up with scenarios of how she could come live with any one of her children. Her short-term memory kept her from keeping facts in her head, and it was pitiful and heartbreaking.

When there was no struggle like this, the visit could be pure joy. Singing hymns together, reading her a children’s storybook, producing a video on the iPhone, a ride out of the assisted living, coloring pictures, eating a peanut butter sandwich with a real coke. These visits deposited some excellent memories for me.

I’m thankful mama is living her most perfect life now. No more struggle with how she wished things could be. I can only imagine that although she was grateful for her childhood in a Christian institution, she had an ideal life she lived inside her head, and only sometimes did life here match up with that scenario. But that is no longer the case. She is well and whole, and I know she is content and entirely at peace with life with Jesus, every longing fulfilled, and every unspoken hurt defeated. I’m thankful my mother is in heaven worshiping Jesus. I pray she is playing her violin and visiting with some wonderful friends she met in Atlanta who helped her see she needed a Savior to forgive her. Hopefully, there is a store, and if there is, she is buying things for everyone and a little something for herself, because as I said, my mother loved a store.

But if my mother could speak now, she would want every person reading about her to know Jesus. He’s the One who purchased her life on the cross, paid her sin debt, and made her able to be with Him when she died. She would want you to know Him. If you want to know Him, Click or tap on this safe link and learn how you can.

The Paperclip Matters

Do you work in an office setting? Whether you have a corner office, share a cubicle, sit in an area with a few others, or just report occasionally to your supervisor’s office, integrity is necessary to live with a clean conscience and to enjoy favor with God and man. This is why the paper clip matters.

For the sake of this blog, the paperclip will represent anything at work supplied to you when you got the job to help you with your job. It can include everything from ink for the printer, copy paper, publications, sticky notes, calendars, pens, pencils, writing or drawing tools, receipt books, tape, and containers holding any of these items., cell phone, vehicle, expense report, office furniture, secretary or assistant, anything. Some of these items are small and easy to rationalize if you just borrow them. Have you ever “borrowed” any of these to help your child do their homework or to avoid a stop by the store on the way home? Most of these things fit easily into your work bag brought from home. It would be easy to take one or two items from work now and then and rationalize it. Rationalization is the struggle keeping you from integrity. Let’s consider some of the mindsets of rationalization:

  • The company won’t miss it. Hey, I’ll even replace it when I get a chance.
  • I need this so that I can help my child get a project done. My boss would want me to help my child.
  • I’m so busy, and I already work overtime. I don’t have time to go by the store to pick up my own supplies to use at home.

Every time you “borrow” these items from your workplace, you are setting a new precedent for your conscience to tolerate. It’s the small decisions we make every day, which define our destination.

So what does it matter if you take a paperclip every now and then? Who does it impact? Why can’t I take a paperclip?

Stealing is when you take something that isn’t yours without permission. It is #8 of the ten commandments.

Integrity is living a moral and ethical life in the sight of God and man.

Maybe you think taking a paperclip is not a test of your character. But if you are a follower of Jesus, then He sees you taking it. If you go back to the definition of stealing, then taking the paperclip matters. Being a person of integrity may be a quieter life, one marked by humility, but it is a rewarding life because it affords you sleep at night and a sense of well being during the day. Why negotiate with your conscience, or even with the Holy Spirit, when you can simply live your life in peace?

We’ve started a new year, another beginning. Do you want to be a person of integrity? Integrity doesn’t care who sees. Integrity doesn’t need an audience. Integrity is a decision to be who God created you to be, whether anyone is looking. Integrity is a core value for a Jesus follower. It’s a way to shine your light in the darkness. People will notice and appreciate a person of integrity. Even if you work in a Christian environment, the standard may not be as high as what is presented in this blog. You can be the one to change this environment in your workplace by being a person of integrity.

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Tony Dungy

Passport Quotes

If you’ve done any international travel, you have a passport. 2020 was our year to get new ones, and after we received them in the mail, I perused through and discovered the interesting quotes in front of this document. You can’t get across any border without a passport, and these quotes tell of the freedom-loving country America is. How much longer will this freedom experiment last? We will see. But ultimately, freedom comes from Christ alone, and those who know this can petition the Father for a freedom-loving country and their walk of freedom in Christ. Take some time to ponder these quotes and leave a comment of your favorite. And take a moment to pray for your own journey with Christ and pray for America.

O say does that star spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth, A Lincoln

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The principle of free governments adheres to the American soil. It is bedded in it, immovable as its mountains. Daniel Webster

Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. George Washington

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. excerpt from the Declaration of Independence

We have a great dream. It started way back in 1776, and God grant that America will be true to her dream. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well of ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy

This is a new nation, based on a mighty continent, of boundless possibilities. Theodore Roosevelt

Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America. Dwight D. Eisenhower

For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest sleeping in the unplowed ground. Is our world gone? We say, “ Farewell.” Is a new world coming? We welcome it- and we will bend it to the hopes of man. Lyndon B. Johnson

May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great oceans of the world.

inscribed on the Golden Spike, Promontory Point, 1869

The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a part of a class – it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity. Anna Julia Cooper

Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds … to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation. Ellison S. Onizuka

We send thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are glad they are still here, and we hope it will always be so. 

excerpt from the Thanksgiving Address, Mohawk version

Did You Wash Your Hands Real Good?

This was a phrase I often heard from my mother in childhood. I think for her, it was important to add those last two words, “real good,” at the end. I believe she knew you could wash your hands real bad. And I think real bad would’ve been everything from just running the water a second or two over the hands, or not using soap, or not washing at all. So to her, “real good” meant hot soapy water and plenty of friction in between the fingers and over the hands, all the while hot water flowed in and around. Finally, the water was turned off, and drying your hands on an appropriate towel would follow. Also, and if need be, straighten the towel back on the towel holder, and turn out the light before exiting the bathroom.

Covid 19 has ushered in all kinds of reminders about hand washing, the spread of germs, and good basic hygiene. I find it amazing that our culture and government support things mamas and daddies are supposed to teach. But if you missed this in your childhood, there is no way to miss it now. 2020 is your year to get the memo!

I’m not too fond of hand sanitizers. When I was a substitute teacher, I saw children’s hands soiled with dirt and grime. As an effort toward sanitizing, children would independently approach the classroom sink toward the plastic bottle of the gel-like substance to “wash” their hands. Sometimes I’d approach and urge the child to turn on the water and use soap to wash their hands. Usually, the child rebuked me to my dismay, telling me that the soap dispenser was empty. Since my paradigm only supports soap and water as a successful handwashing practice, then the choice between hand sanitizer or just water was not worthy of consideration!

People have to choose to be clean. For believers, staying clean before God is a matter of worship and praise, reading His Word, and fellowship with Him in prayer. All this is best done regularly, often, even when you don’t feel like it. When any of these can’t be done, it’s a red light indicator to check on your heart. The Bible says that God looks on the heart. Your mother may have determined your cleanliness by looking on your hands. But God is concerned about both.

Psalm 24:3-4 says: Who may ascend the mountain? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

James 4:8 says: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Isaiah 1:16-17a says: So wash your hands. Make yourselves clean. Get your evil actions out of my sight! Stop doing what is wrong! Learn to do what is right! Treat people fairly. Give hope to those who are beaten down. Cheer them up.

Psalm 63:4 So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.

The next time you wash your hands because it seems the right thing to do, think about what is going on in your heart. Usually, you need just to tell Jesus you are sorry, and to help you to think right and to do right. Wash your hands, but be sure while you wash, you’re letting the Spirit in to wash your heart too.

Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind…Psalm 26:2

5 Promises for Peace and Transformation

Covid19 is still here. It’s impacted our lives, and I don’t need to tell you how. It’s quite hard to believe all the changes. We are wondering will things go back to normal. Here are some questions to ponder. Am I still the same? Am I changed? Am I closer to Jesus now? Do I love His Word more? Do I hear God speaking to me? Is there sin in my life that I need to confess and take action to flee?

Of course, we can always choose to be alone with God. A pandemic doesn’t have to be the reason. Do you have gaps in your days because of Covid? These are opportunities. And Jesus is better than any lottery ticket. He is dependable.

When all around you changes, He is not and will not. Hebrews has a verse full of stability and promise, which says, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” A world to our expectations is not part of the deal. Actually, in John 16: Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The other morning as I was in my quiet time, I came across all of these gems. Maybe reading these will inspire you to fellowship with God through His Word. There are many more scriptures like these that give testimony to the benefits of reading God’s Word. Ponder these few.

  1. Who knew memorizing it could help you not to sin.

2. This verse clearly explains the usefulness of reading and applying Scripture.3. Wow, let’s pray we love reading God’s Word more than food. 4. Jeremiah expresses a desire to read the Scripture and expresses the benefit. If you don’t have this desire, then pray for it. That is a prayer God will answer.5. Scripture comes straight from the Lord. Living by it is wise—every word.

Today is the day to invest your time reading God’s wonderful word. I have several blogs on this website on writing scripture which guarantees to slow down the brain and bring peace. Here’s one. FREE PRINTABLES are at the top of this site for you to work and enjoy. Suppose you don’t have the desire to get more of God’s Word in your life, pray for it. If you live in sin, you can’t hear from God even if you are a believer. Confess that sin, get out of the sin, and start again living a life that brings glory to Him.

The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation. D. L. Moody

How You Can Be Prepared for God’s Plans


When was the last time you thought about a beaver? Me either, but these interesting rodents recently came to mind when I pondered being ready for whatever is coming. Curiosity led me to research these non-hibernators. Beavers have a method of gnawing on trees and branches near a stream. This begins the process of building a dam and a home for themselves called a lodge. These creatures choose a shallow body of water. Choosing this protects them later from a build-up of ice in the winter. The build-up would slow down their ability to go to and fro in their engineered paths for food. They strip away from the trees and bring along other limbs, twigs, stones, and other plants for this intentional endeavor. The result; survival. In addition to this fundamental need, the dams serve as protection from those who seek to devour them; predators.

Beavers offer some analogy for us as humans. At times in our lives, we may choose to let go of unnecessary things, just like animals shed their fur to stay cool. This is good. But more often than not, it is God who orchestrates processes to cause this. The letting go can be in many forms and can come quickly or over time. This process is to get us prepared. Some choose to cooperate with God in this process, others dig their heels in.

Who could have predicted an unseen, worldwide, pandemic, and all it’s ramifications? Covid 19 shut down gyms for a while. Was this a routine in your life? How did you adjust and prepare for the new season? Did you get creative and find other ways to stay fit? This is an every day example, but twists and turns that require our adjustment come and we must be prepared. We won’t always have time to get prepared. Consider the following scenarios: a tragedy of some kind, a natural disaster, the death of a close loved one, a financial collapse, incarceration, a move to an unlikely place, a call to ministry or missions, a terminal diagnosis, or being caregiver for a vulnerable person. It could be God is calling you out of your comfort zone, and you need to prepare for your next assignment, or the surprise of a godly man or woman entering your life as your future mate.

Back to the beaver: eventually, the dam or the lodge is built. Its functions and purposes are in place, and the beaver begins life in its new ecological home. Survival in a new season instinctually led the beaver to build a shelter. In contrast, we can often ignore or procrastinate when action is needed. We spend more time than required asking why. We complain. We need time to process, and we wish things would go back to the way they were. We have no interest in being challenged or surrendering to God. Beavers? They do what’s necessary for life and living and survival. They do these acts of survival year around. I know I can learn some things from these nocturnal, busy, and intentional creatures.

Our God is sovereign, and He is powerful, and nothing comes into a Christ-followers’ life can be wasted or unplanned. There are no surprises to God. Since this is true, then why does it take us so long sometimes to get on board with His plan? The beaver knows what is required and gets about doing it. The result is efficient, prepared, and ready for whatever may come. We can do the same. God is not interested in us being ill-equipped or unprepared for life. We can adjust ourselves to God.

Our ability to adjust seems related to our ability to trust our Heavenly Father.

So just like the beaver, we can build our earthly life efficiently, with preparation, and live in the reality of what is instead of what we wish it would be. We can grow no matter how old we are, no matter the situation. We can be ready for what God has. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fear or anxiety, but I humbly submit when I incorporate specific disciplines and habits, my response improves when the challenge comes and when life is changing. I also know the enemy is prowling, and he preys on those who are idle and unprepared. Christ’s followers are in the Lord’s army, and we must have a soldier’s readiness. We don’t want to cooperate in any delay of God’s plan, do we?

Here are some practices and disciplines I’ve learned which help me. I’m still growing, and need God’s mercy and help every day of my life.

Tips to be Prepared for Life:

Memorize and meditate on scripture – The Bible is God’s Word and the roadmap for life. As followers of Jesus, He expects us to obey it. The more scripture you have inside of you, the better your foundation for action when the plan comes.

Pray – Prayer is meeting with our Father. We are talking and listening, but mainly we are in His presence. If you want to feel close to God, intentionally set times aside to pray. When the plans begin to change, you will be at peace.

Keep your mind clean – Just because adults can view it doesn’t mean you have to view it. Be discerning and be vigilant to guard your mind. Your mind is a camera, and every word and image is inside your brain. Jesus tells us to love Him with our minds. You will be better able to love Him with a clean mind.

Exercise and care for your body– We tend to feel better about ourselves when we do this. Giving in to every indulgence is not useful for building yourself for service to Him. Discipline and self-control are all close to God’s heart. He writes about the body in His word. It’s essential, and you will be ready for any new plans coming when you care for your body.

Love the Church – Beavers stay in groups and care for one another. God has given us the church body to love and serve. Attend your local church, serve your local church, love other believers. Live in unity with every believer.

Be weak – God cares, and He can perfect those weak and faithless places in you. Weak people depend on God. Our faith hangs by a thread sometimes. He is your dearest friend and loving Shepherd. Humbly seek His help and ask Him to make your faith strong.

The next time you sense your life is about to change. Consider how you will respond. Ponder one of God’s most unique creatures, and have a winning response. Success in life is when you walk hand in hand with Jesus. Faithfulness to Him. The beaver is prepared. It ends up with shelter, an efficient way to get provisions, and a fun and safe place to play in the water away from predators. Jesus is our shelter, our safe place, and He desires we live in the joy of His presence.

God is the God of ‘right now.’ He doesn’t want you sitting around regretting yesterday. Nor does He want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what He is saying to you and putting in front of you … right now. Priscilla Shirer

Hope Realized

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This is a 2nd blog on Hope. In the previous blog, I explored the two kinds of hope, Living and Eternal. I wrote about the longing for heaven and the truth that for every believer, Jesus is our HOPE.

So with this longing, we as humans seem wired for more. We can chase a person, an experience, a goal, but we will never find eternal or living hope.

 Our souls long for a more beautiful, fulfilling, timeless place. We keep looking for heaven on earth. It is not here.

Every disaster, tragic event, scary medical report, broken vow, abandoned child, aging parent, even our physical limitations scream to us to put our hope in God, our eternal, and living God.

We are His children, not belonging to this world. Our hope is realized in Him every day. If you’re struggling to live in hope available to you in Jesus, these steps may help you.

1. Acknowledge Your Need for God’s Help

Our most significant problems generally involve other people. We need to surrender our sinful desires and acknowledge God is in control. We repent of our desire to control and we give that person or situation to God. He can then provide solutions, and walk with us through the troubled waters.

2. Read your Bible

Romans 15:4 states: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.”

Believers have the holy Word of God to study, ponder, and digest. You likely have several copies near to you right now. The Bible is the manual for the Christian. I have found the spiritual disciplines that relate to God’s holy word do provide that encouragement that Romans 15:4 states. A treasure chest of divine options awaits those who go deep.

3. Believe you are not alone

I Peter 5:9 states: “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters worldwide are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

It seems expected that believers will have hardship. We have an enemy. The fact that our fellow Christians are experiencing much of the same wherever they are is comforting. This is an opportunity to pray for those who may be going through what you are.

Serve others – The enemy of our souls loves us to feel alone, isolated. He is very patient and looks for these kinds of opportunities to discourage. Don’t let him have them. When alone, spend time with the Lord. Go to church, serve in some way at your church, or through your church. Please get to know your neighbor and help them.

4. Believe you have a future glory

2 Corinthians 4:17 states: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Our suffering is not in vain. Here’s why. There’s nothing like pain to get our attention. In my blog, more phrases that have changed my life is this quote, “Well, God’s got their attention now.” We grow in times of pain, and our character is being made more like Jesus.

We also learn how to help others. When something similar happens to another person, we understand better how to assist them. The last reason our suffering is not in vain is that

5. God will be sure we gain on the other side of eternity.

This world is not our home. We are strangers. We must live here and show the world our love for Jesus by how we choose to live our lives. This is a temporary assignment. Our problems are temporary, and yet, sometimes, we act like they are here to stay. We let them define us, and live like we have no hope. This is a lie.

For those in Christ, eternal and living hope is ours now and in the not yet. 

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I Peter 1:3-5 (MSG)

Dear Eternal and Loving God, thank you for the hope you give to all who know you through your Son, Jesus. Help us not to chase temperal things. We have so much in Christ! Help us to follow you so we can experience this hope every day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Hope is Real

Do you have a favorite word? One of mine is hope.

Hope is real, and it lives in truth and can’t be mistaken as false hope. When a person makes things way too optimistic regarding something that has a strong chance of not happening, that is false hope. In error, humans often choose this.

False hope, when finished leading you on, leads to despair.

Losing hope teaches us to live in the light of real hope. I’ve had just enough pain in my life to know how valuable hope is to my emotional survival. I’ve experienced its power!

The Bible speaks of 2 kinds of hope.

Eternal Hope. Eternal means it is going to last! It’s without end. God is infinite and without end.

Living Hope. It’s living because it resides inside our spirit. Because of the resurrection, Jesus is our living Savior, our living Hope.

Hope makes life

worth living,

worth striving for,

worth fighting against the darkness,

worth every ounce of directed energy to hang on to,

diminishes skepticism with quiet confidence,

and…

overrides doubt.

There’s no easy path to get to this point.

We may go through storms, dark tunnels, raging rivers, sleepless nights, and the question of why. As we cling to Jesus, we find His promises are true, and He is faithful. In the end, we learn, He is our hope.

Hope has, within its nature, longing for more. That’s when a believer looks to a life promised beyond this. Heaven. Those in Christ have a home in heaven.

Looking forward to heaven is closely aligned with hope.

Hope, for the believer, causes a radically different approach in terms of residing on planet earth. It’s about WHO is our Hope. Because of Jesus, our spirit is sustained, no matter our circumstances. We, as believers, have the God of Hope living in us. Even in the dark nights of the soul, we have a God big enough to absorb our despair and aching souls. He is our Hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

This concept of hope is too big to cover in one blog. I will post more about this supernatural quality given to every believer in Christ Jesus. Until then…

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” C.S. Lewis

Faithful God

b643d909-06d5-44c9-95e7-01bc16b096d5No matter what, if you are a follower of Jesus, you can count on Him to come through. It may not be the way you would choose, but you can trust whatever the way, He is busy working it out for your good and His glory.

One of my go-to passages from the Bible is out of Lamentations 3:22-24 which says,

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

It does require waiting, but His word promises HE is enough.

Recently, I discovered the connection between this Lamentations passage and the glorious hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Thomas Chisolm wrote the words to this hymn in 1923. He was inspired by this Bible passage in Lamentations, and later it was put to music. I’ve known this song longer than I can remember. Congregational singing in church brought it into my life, and years of hymn singing put it to memory in my mind.

Enjoy it here.

Wherever you are in your life, as a believer in Jesus, you can know HE will be faithful to you and your circumstances. He is our faithful God.

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if we are faithless,
    He remains faithful,
    for He cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

 

Morning by Morning

Getting to see two sunrises recently has only solidified in my mind the benefit and blessing of being an early riser—each one called to mind an eloquent passage from God’s Word, Psalm 8.
Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of Your hands; You put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, pain and hunger.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Freedom Really Looks Like

Recently, my scripture writing was out of Colossians 1:9-14. As I was writing it and later reflecting on this passage, thoughts came like the glow of lightning bugs, as the Holy Spirit began teaching me. When I gleaned all I could, I decided to make a simple study. This study is based on the New International Version translation. You would glean even more if you use a study Bible.

Pondering the recent events in the United States made me think about clinging to my identity in Christ. As a follower of Jesus, even when I learn of the problems in our nation, I still have peace. That’s because my identity is in Christ and not dependent on outward circumstances. I see a world locked down in sin, but I am free in Christ. Followers of Jesus look at events in the nation and the world with the clarity of Scripture. Let the events you observe motivate you to run your race believing you’ll be first over the finish line!

As you ponder this passage, please put your name into this passage to personalize it. As you bask in this passage, pray for our nation, pray for yourself to walk worthy of this Gospel, and live free in Christ. Pray for the lost and pray for our leaders. And remember, God is in control of all of history.

There are Christians in other nations who have very few of the freedoms we know here in America, yet they are free. That’s because Christ is the one who gives freedom. No geographic barriers can stop His love from entering the human heart, and once He lives in you, you are free no matter where you live.

Click below for Simple Study – What Freedom Really Looks Like – A Free Bible Study

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How you can write your Heavenly Father

It’s Father’s Day 2020. My earthly dad went on to glory Christmas Eve of 2014. It is one of the best memories of my life. Because he was a follower of Jesus, death had no sting. Those of us present at his passing were able to sing sacred Christmas carols to him. We had the strength that assurance brings when one knows a loved one has eternal life with Jesus.

Remembering my dad is pleasant, but my relationship with my heavenly Father is a daily and eternal joy. And that’s the way my dad would like it. So sometimes on Father’s Day, I write a letter to my heavenly Father, the One who saved my soul. Have you ever done this? If you know God through Jesus His Son, then you know what a close relationship you can have with Him. If you have time today for some solitude, consider writing a letter to Him. Here are some ways to get started.

  • Read some chapters in Psalms with worship as their theme and spend time thanking and praising the Lord for who He is and what a good heavenly Father He is to you.
  • Find some songs from your playlists or search for some on Youtube about our Father. Selah has a song entitled, “How deep the Father’s love for us.” Amy Grant, “My Father’s Eyes,” and Chris Tomlin’s “Good Good Father” are just a few.
  • Find a notebook and start writing. Thank Him for all you’ve been reminded of about Him in the Psalms and your songs.
  • Make it personal. Thank Him for everyday rescues, interventions, and solutions He brought to your mind. Thank Him for His faithfulness and His daily provision.
  • Lastly, thank Him for saving your soul. Thank Him for the cross. Thank Him for the promise of His presence through life. Thank Him for His goodness. Thank Him for His care. Thank Him for your heavenly home being made for you. 

My dad knew the One who’d saved his soul. The song, “Because He lives” was a favorite of his. My dad was sure of his destination, and this assurance gave him hope on this earth.

No matter who your earthly Father was or is, if you are a follower of Jesus, you have a relationship with an all-knowing, loving, and gracious heavenly Father. He will love to receive your letter.

Happy Father’s Day.

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. C.S. Lewis

Why not follow Jesus?

F7B13CBE-8667-400E-9247-88495BFCA2B1 In our church, songs with the themes of heaven and of grace are often sung. As we all join together heralding this good news, the idea of this blessed condition makes me weep at times. While singing, I ponder how freeing it is to live a life indelibly marked by the grace of Jesus. None of us deserve this grace. Gratitude often springs from my heart because I know without the Lord, my life would be so dark and different than it is. I am thankful for His grace in my life.

If you are a follower of Jesus, surely you know and experience the grace of God daily!

He cares so deeply for His children, and His love is boundless and inexhaustible, and unfathomable.

If you don’t yet follow Jesus, you may wonder how to make sense of this world. Surely, observing the events of our day would shake one’s soul and cause questions to swirl. I’m wondering if you are in that state now; would you be looking for peace?

The One who lives inside me is the only One who’s been able to give my life
peace, purpose, and a plan. He is my stability, my Rock, and my joy. He can be all this to you too.

This all-encompassing God also has a place reserved for me in heaven. I know this for certain, and it’s not because of anything I’ve done. It’s actually because of everything He did for me when He died on the cross. Then, when I chose to receive His gift of salvation, certainty and assurance became my eternal hope.

I don’t deserve this one bit.photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5

It certainly isn’t because I’m a good person or because of any good works I’ve done. I am not a good person, nor do I have to do good works to earn this salvation. Any good coming from me is only because of Jesus and His precious Spirit living in me. But, I must cooperate with the work He desires to do. The good works are done out of love for Him.

My faith is in the person of Jesus, not a religion. This keeps me from becoming callous to the world and its troubles. My heart is more tender to this world, and prayer is my response. I don’t lose hope. I know there are spiritual forces at work in this world.

Indeed, I’ve decided to follow Jesus, which means my life is directed to being part of the solution to the sin problem in this world. My hope and peace are not found in this world. My victory is in the person of Jesus. I know the sovereign God of this universe lives in me, and I have peace living in this chaotic world. Do you have peace? Are you a follower of Jesus?

Consider these verses:
John 3:16&17 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

John 14:6– Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 3:23 -for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Romans 6:23– For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9 It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.

Acts 2:21 – And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Matthew 6:24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

If you believe what you’ve just read, then you can begin this relationship with Jesus.  Place your life in His hands and you will have one Master. The world’s darkness will be quieter. You can begin to be obedient to His commands and walk in His ways daily. Peace comes. Joy is overflowing. Because we aren’t meant to live our lives in isolation, finding a Bible-teaching church is one of the most important aspects of following Jesus. Start reading your Bible. Start in the book of John. You can find several resources on this blog about reading the Bible and learning to walk in His ways. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even Jesus said in Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

If I am to wholly follow the Lord Jesus Christ, I must forsake everything that is contrary to Him. A.W.Tozer

Delight or Distraction

33038881_844971702380635_1723938488941805568_nHave you ever had a moment when God surprised you by answering a desire in your heart that was there a while? Usually, that’s the way desires work; they come, they linger, and sometimes many years pass before any action happens regarding them. Desires by their nature are things we often wait for.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

This verse seems trite because sometimes we believe we’ve delighted in the Lord a long time, and a desire is still unmet? Why is that? One thing I’ve come to understand is the delight part of Psalm 37:4 really is a command. That means in obedience, we choose to delight in Jesus whether we ever see the desire or not. The Lord knows His children, and He knows when we delight in Him, we don’t obsess on the desire.

If we only look for things that haven’t happened yet or something we don’t have yet, this becomes idolatry. The first commandment reminds us that God has nothing before Him. So, when we look to God and Him alone, somehow, He becomes our desire, and our desires become what He would desire for us.

We fall in love with Jesus.

We trust Him.

We trust His timing… instead of having a “what have you done for me lately” attitude.

The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 16:9 that God is looking to strengthen the hearts of those who are devoted to Him.

Amy Grant wrote a song, and the lyrics went like this:

The Lord has a will, and I have a need to follow that will, to humbly be still, to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it, following my Father’s will.

This delighting comes down to submission to His care, giving Him control in our lives, following His plan…learning to love the GIVER instead of the gifts.

Indeed, throughout our lives, God does answer many of our desires. He loves us, and giving is in His nature to do.

One fantastic thing I’ve seen God do in my life is answer desires I didn’t even know I had!

When this happens, it reminds me that my distractions don’t come close to what God really wants for me. My heart rejoices in this truth, and I’m reminded how good God is, how He really does hear His children; He really cares. Being a child of God through His Son, Jesus is truly delightful.

Sometimes, God will step in and give us aid from our distractions. Other times, He just can’t. Distractions cause us to miss the very thing God wants to provide us. Surely the Lord knows how we are made, and He protects us from ourselves many times. But I believe, His desire would be that we would look to Him for our desires, and in doing so, we remain in His protection. There are consequences to choosing to wander from His protection. God has given His children the plan. Like any child is expected to obey their parents, His children are required the same.

My own wandering requires me to refocus, do a soul check, and decide once again, God is my delight, and He is my heart’s desire. Spiritual tenacity is required. The enemy of our soul has his agenda. This quote from Amy Carmichael sums up his intent…

“Satan is so much more in earnest than we are–he buys up the opportunity while we are wondering how much it will cost.”

The enemy is laser-focused. He wants us distracted, humming along, thinking we are following Jesus. The reality often is, we have missed opportunities that had our desires in them. We want to run to lesser things. I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit, who makes me aware of the distractions. If I want all of Jesus I can have, I will have to delight in Him once again.

When are you going to get sick of your desires? When will you see all the distractions keeping you from God’s desires for you? The enemy is busy stealing, killing, and destroying. How much of your life have you let him steal already? When your plans become about God’s plans and desires, you live in His delight, and then you are living.

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The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

June Jewels Bible Study

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June Jewels 2020

Do you need an uncomplicated Bible study to inspire you to serve others and learn to love yourself? This study is for you. I wrote it to find a way to bond two people who will serve the Lord in the same place every day. It was made clear to me that a simple but challenging Bible study would be the way to get them to meet together often in June. These two work at a place where I serve called Buried Treasures Home. June will be the month for them both to work this study together. Hopefully, one heart and one mind will be the result of finishing this study. The Lord informed me of the topics I needed to include. I made it interactive for them to execute together.

This study was made for one purpose only, these ladies, so I thought.

One evening, as I showed this finished work to my husband, he encouraged me to put it out on this blog to benefit others. To do this, I had to revisit the study and change some of the content. The activities on their version are specific to our setting. I prayed further and asked the Lord to help me make one for this blog.

You will notice in some of the instructions I specify how to do an activity individually or with another lady. But I believe it can also include a small group or Sunday School class. This season, when few churches are gathering, it would be an easy study to do with your Sunday School class over zoom. The study is not a daily study, but there’s enough work to spread throughout June.

Does this sound like something you could use? It’s easy to choose which way you want to do the study. You will be challenged but not overwhelmed. There will be things to ponder, but growth is sure to happen. Make copies. I use only black ink. Please note that   each lesson is just a 1/2 sheet, except one. Don’t miss a chance to do a short, concise, biblically driven study. It’s the only Bible study I’ve written, and I tried to make it easy, but with some depth. If you have questions, please ask. This was a surprise from God’s heart to mine. I pray this study brings Him much glory and some growth to you.

Let me know how you like it. Please share how you plan to use it.

Click here –  June Jewels 2020b643d909-06d5-44c9-95e7-01bc16b096d5

Click here for the studyJune Jewels 2020

3 Reasons For You to Love WMU

What is missions? Have you ever wondered this? The WMU(Woman’s Missionary Union)website proclaims, “For more than 125 years, WMU has devoted itself to making disciples of Jesus who live on mission. We are dedicated to working with churches and believers to accomplish the mission of God.” And I believe it! There is nothing on the planet like WMU. untitled design

That’s why in 2017, I decided Buried Treasures Home, where I and my husband serve, needed a WMU circle. Buried Treasures Home is a residential home for women that is focused on transition from prison and addiction; transformation of mind, body and spirit; and trusting God, self and others. Discipleship is the main tool for transformation and a WMU circle was needed to cultivate hearts for missions done in Jesus’ name. To expose the women to God’s heart for the world, for them to learn about people groups all over the world, and to give them opportunities to do mission projects in the world was my motivation. You see, selflessness is the cure for addiction. And missions is the method to the cure.

So why WMU?

  • It’s eternal – You can serve the world in the name of Jesus, and your work will have eternal impact and investment.
  • It’s easy – You can start your own circle or start WMU at your church. The national WMU website, http://wmu.com/ has all the information you need.
  • It’s effective – You can be involved in God’s mission for this earth and influence your community and world.

It’s been my joy since 2017 to introduce each lady to Gospel minded women of the past and women of the present who passionately carry the Gospel. They may carry it to their local hospital or police station or to foreign lands. And how they choose to take it can be as creative as the color wheel and as vivid as the smell of a gardenia. These women are leaving the fragrance of Christ everywhere. The local news doesn’t necessarily cover their work, but thank God for Mission Mosaic magazine, which does.

When the Buried Treasures Home circle meets each month, the ladies read their written reports of favorite stories from the magazine. Then we pray for the missionaries and sometimes send cards to them. We have a map we roll out in hopes of finding the corner of the world where some are serving in the name of Jesus. There is no other motivation for a missionary to leave everything they know to go to a foreign land except their love for Jesus and for the sake of the Gospel.

It was thrilling this year when a lady turned in her usual discipleship work, but this time, she opened the binder as she handed it to me, and pointed at the pocket to an extra paper for me to read. Back in my office, before checking her discipleship, my curiosity led me to pull the other writing from the pocket. The content of this letter is precious, but the heart of the message is priceless. Her words explained why I started the WMU circle at Buried Treasures Home. My heart is grateful for this lady who got it. I believe others have also, this one just wrote about it. Do you have a heart for missions? Start your own circle and take others on your mission journey every month. Do you have a WMU at your church, or are you in a WMU circle? How does missions impact your life? Leave a comment below or on Facebook and enjoy reading this essay from a Buried Treasures Home heart stirred for missions. Her words are here. Heart for Missions

 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

A Memory on Memorial Day

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My dad. Mild mannered, unassuming, a cheerful soul, burdened at times by things he couldn’t control, although with faults, a loving father. This is not a Father’s Day tribute, but a tribute of a significant event in his life.

The above picture was taken on May 26, 2014. That pole provided a brief rest holding my daddy who could barely walk by this time. Intense pain coursed through his feet and a shuffle had become his normal pace; labored breathing his daily struggle. His spirit so gentle and his smile precious, he wanted to be all he could be for my mother and his daughters. Less than 6 months from this picture this is what the obituary stated…

Floyd Wise, 83, went to his new home with the Lord on December 24, 2014.

Floyd was born on May 21, 1931 in Atlanta, GA, the third of eight children. He graduated high school in 1950 and served as an Army supply clerk in the 595th Engineering Company, stationed in Okinawa during the Korean War.

It was later in life that I learned this story…
His unit was on the ship and was called off the ship. Everyone, except dad. Those men were sent to Korea. Dad went on to Okinawa. Dad later learned all the men sent to Korea were killed in Korea.img_9852

My dad, the only one kept on the ship. At this point in his life, dad did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Returning to Atlanta after his discharge, dad worked for the Southern Freight Association where he met my mother, Audrey. He began attending Youth for Christ revival meetings with her. It was at a church revival meeting that dad waited until everyone left the church and went to talk to the pastor and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

I believe God saved my dad from physically being killed on that fateful day. HE saved him so he could be saved.

This weekend on Facebook memories the picture came up of my dad. This was the caption:May 26,2014 – My sweet dad went to the VA hospital last week for a yearly checkup. For his Cognitive test, he was asked to write a sentence. My sister said he had to think a minute, but then wrote, “Everybody needs Jesus.” Even though dementia is trying to steal, I am so happy my dad’s faithfulness to the LORD shines bright.

This Memorial Day, I’m thankful for a God who sees every soldier. I’m thankful for the Freedom of Religion we have in this country. I’m thankful my dad chose to serve His country and later chose to serve the Lord. I’m thankful the Lord preserved my dad until he came to faith in Christ Jesus. My dad was faithful to the Lord all his life. This is  worthy of remembrance on Memorial Day.
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

Worry Worksheet

Has worry ever grabbed you and suddenly you feel suffocated by a situation beyond your control? Worry is a condition many live in regularly. We all know there are some rather large situations in life that can escalate our concern to worry.

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If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, I can tell you Jesus doesn’t want His children to make a practice of worrying. All through His Word, He gives solutions to help us give our worry to Him, to turn our worries into prayers. Maybe this is where you find yourself now. Could you use a simple worksheet to help you focus a few minutes on His promises and find remedies for worry? I’ve made one for you. It’s a free printable here:

worry worksheet

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Worry is a waste of time. We all succumb to it occasionally, but our Lord knows it defeats us if we allow it to consume us. So if you need a break, take some time to work this simple exercise. You will feel the peace of God, and your perspective will change. Take some time, cozy up in the Word, alone with God, and get the peace you need for the situation you are in now. Please share it with others and let me know if you were blessed by the worksheet. worry worksheet

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You can’t simultaneously worry and worship God. Every time you worry, you’ve forgotten how much God loves you. Worry is really acting like an atheist. It’s pretending you’re an orphan rather than a child of God. Rick Warren

 

10 Quotes for this Covid19 Season

westerly 469We all love a pithy quote. Quotes help us relate to a variety of subjects. Quotes are original so they carry a genuine effect with them. Quotes put things in perspective in a unique way. In this post, I will add my thoughts after each quote. Covid19 may have given you some contemplative time and most of these can be useful right now.  Let me know what you think about these. 

Though a home is but a nest of inanimate objects, if lovingly chosen, they can love you back. Jan Karon

The meaning here is not of being a packrat, but appreciating simple things that have aesthetic beauty for you. Jan Karon’s readers know the detail she scribbles about meaningful things with intrinsic value. 

You can’t go with God and stay where you are. Henry Blackaby

This is one of mine and my husband’s go-to quotes. It challenges the comfortable cozy we all cling to and highlights our desire to cling to it rather than run to the challenge God presents to join Him. The Covid19 quarantine may have you wondering if God is calling you beyond yourself for His kingdom. Listen and then obey.

Do the next thing. Elisabeth Elliot

These four words are packed with wisdom. I’m rarely bored, and usually, embrace it if I am. If we squander time, we will not be productive. God does have our good works ready for us each day, even if it is just household tasks. Doing the next thing keeps you sane, puts you on the front lines of serving your family, or just sitting alone with God. It’s just the next thing. Obedience in the daily.rocky shore

God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing. C.S. Lewis

When Christians understand this, they appreciate the daily life of being a Christian. Talking to Jesus is second nature, listening for Him as we wait gives us opportunity to learn more of who He is. 

Disappointment has been referred to as the gap between expectation and reality. Lysa Teurkurst

There’s nothing like a reality check. Mercy, we can live in denial for only so long. Our expectations can be so high that disappointment is the inevitable result. I don’t know about you all, but I hate to be disappointed. Let’s put our hope in God. He never fails.

Filter some of the values in those Hallmark movies, but enjoy the fact they are mostly decent. Janet Denison

Perhaps Hallmark was a favorite channel of yours before this quarantine. If it wasn’t, it may be now. And yes, they aren’t the deepest content, but for the most part, they pass the watch test of a scrupulous viewer seeking clean entertainment. If you discover otherwise, by all means, quit watching.

If you attract someone with your body you’re going to have to keep them with your body. Kandy

This is bondage. God has big plans and they have nothing to do with exploitation of our bodies or violating His word on how to stay free. Our bodies are meant to bring Him glory. 

We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Oswald Chambers

Daily life. Oh so ordinary and yet how powerful a witness it is to those who watch. We must love the Lord daily no matter how mundane it seems to us. We are given stamina and strength from the Lord. A consistent, faithful life lived to please Him is far from mundane.

I’ll ponder it. valerie

This works when you are asked a question, but you can tell it doesn’t need an immediate answer. Either because you don’t have one, or they don’t need one. It gives the ask-er a sense that you will consider the request and get back to them. But it also gives the ask-er time to forget about it. Sometimes all people need is to ask. 

It’s yes to God. Now, what’s the question? Vance Havner

This is profound on so many levels. How long do we hold our agenda before God asking Him to meet our demands, even telling Him how good our plan is? This requires no faith. Saying yes to God first, now that’s faith.

If you want more quotes, last year I did a quote blog here .

 

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The Wave is Back

Southerners know all about waving. We’ve been doing it since babes in strollers. A long-held, winsome and pleasant greeting, but one I find waning. My husband and I went off to Canada and Rhode Island, a 12-year absence. My entry back to southern life gave me fresh eyes to notice the waves were not so frequent when we returned.

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I wasn’t sure what to think. It made me wonder if people were less friendly now. Was the darkness we dealt with almost daily in other places seeping into our quaint state, quieting this joyful greeting? Maybe people were just tired and scenical. We’re we becoming divided as the media seems intent on telling us? Whatever the reason, the wave seemed just about gone!

This week, I’m happy to report, the wave is back. Because of our Covid-19 isolation, the Body of Christ gathered in clusters all over the world to talk to one another through the use of Zoom and likely some other apps. Joy and anticipation were palpable as our Hope Sunday School class met at 5 p.m. on Sunday. You better believe we all were waving to one another. It was so sweet and the meeting was one we are still pondering.

But this is not the only place people are waving:

I saw a video of teachers in their vehicles, parading through neighborhood streets waving to their students who were waiting for them to come by. Talk about sweet!

The IMB(International Mission Board) reported small groups waving to one another through screens as they met together through the magic of technology. They spoke of how each felt like family and this helped them overcome the negatives of quarantine.

2 teachers in Texas called the parents of their students ahead of time. They made a poster that said, “Hi!! I miss you so so much! Can’t wait to see you! (online),” The parents made sure their children were in the yard when the teachers drove by waving with the poster displayed.

On a newscast, I saw a sign that said, “Wave. Don’t Shake.”

Many family members can’t visit their loved ones in long term care facilities right now. Ever determined, some station themselves outside and talk to their loved one on phones through the window, waving to one another.

There’s something about waving that sends a friendly and hopeful message. It’s a child-like and disarming form of communication. My hope is the wave resurgence is part of our new normal.

goodbye

Until then, remain in isolation. If you’re a believer in Christ Jesus, isolate joyfully. Love the ones you’re with. And let God’s Word come alive in your life. Remember those simple commands scattered in the New Testament? They offer practical help every day, but certainly are useful now. Here’s just a few:

Do everything without grumbling or complaining.

Put one another before yourself.

Get rid of malice and filthy language on your lips.

Be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Keep your eyes from seeing anything worthless.

The Fruit of the Spirit

In addition, do simple tasks:

Write scripture

Exercise

Cook a healthy recipe or make a healthy snack

Write a letter

Send a card

Deep clean

Throw away things

There’s so much to do. As my husband says often during this time, “Embrace the peace.”

Until life gets back to the workday schedule again, and as we adjust to a new normal, I say, “Embrace the wave.”

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Free Prayer Guide

photo-1545314329-10ce691845baThese are interesting days. God certainly has all our attention. Let’s not waste this unique season in our country worrying. God is calling on the CHURCH to pray and minister in His Name.

This morning all of us at Buried Treasures Home will watch our pastor livestream as will many of you. We plan to gather and sing before the we tune in to the message. Last night, I tapped out this prayer guide which we will use to pray for this season in our country.March 152020 Ntl Day of Prayer – Corona Virus

It may not include everything, but the Spirit will inform you as you pray to the Father about these matters. I wish I could have included scriptures, but this is just a guide. If you can use it then God will get the glory.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27

 

March 152020 Ntl Day of Prayer – Corona Virus

Annie Armstrong – Relevant Role Model

Who is Annie Armstrong?Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I don’t know what that meant in this world. What I do know is this. Jesus loved women. All through the Bible text are examples of Him trusting them, using them, and not making a big deal about it. Jesus didn’t need a memo that women were unique and useful. He created them and gave them intrinsic value just like every other human. Equality was never an issue with Jesus. All humans are valuable and worthy at the moment of conception. This fact should be self-evident since every person is created by God!

There once was a woman named Annie Walker Armstrong. This woman loved the Lord, loved serving the Lord and gave every breath she had in faithful service to the Lord. Right now, Southern Baptists are collecting money for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. 100% of these funds go toward spreading the Gospel throughout North America. Let’s hear about the woman this offering was named after so many years ago.

Born in Maryland in 1850, God saw Annie and picked her out for a particular assignment! Annie’s father died soon after her birth, but thankfully, her mother was a devoted Christian. She encouraged her five children to see the needs around them and to act.

Annie became a Christian at the age of 20 and this began her many mission endeavors. Within a decade she was serving as President of the Woman’s Home Mission Society of Maryland. Right after that, she helped plant the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland where she taught infant Sunday School for over 3 decades.

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She helped start the national WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) in 1888 and was its first Executive Leader.

You may have heard about Lottie Moon being a letter writer, but Annie was also a letter writer. Her letters brought constant attention to the development of WMU programs and  missions. She once wrote 18,000 letters in one year.

She assisted Lottie Moon with her mission work in China by raising money for foreign missions. Annie also championed home missions and advocated for a Southern Baptist Sunday School ministry. She was a determined denomination builder.

At one point, she founded the Maryland Baptist Mission Room. A room stocked with prayer cards and missionary leaflets at first later expanded to become a publisher and distributor of mission literature.

Immigrants and Native Americans had a friend in Annie as she advocated for them. She was instrumental in the appointment of the first black, female missionaries. This was realized when she was the speaker at the national meeting of the Women’s Auxilary of the National Black Baptist Convention. She went on to teach Bible classes, held mother’s meetings, and prayed with this group.

Nannie Burroughs was Corresponding Secretary of this National Black Baptist Convention and this is what she said of Annie Armstrong,

“To me, Miss Armstrong was a symbol – a marvel at what a woman could do. She fired my soul.”

Annie encouraged other women’s groups to interact as she did with black people in their respective communities.

According to Baptist Press, she started the Ladies’ Bay View Mission for the poor and addicted at the site of today’s Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland. Her legacy lived on in Maryland and we see this fact when The Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame recognized her in 1992. This is what they said about Annie…

“She emerged as a powerful leader when she turned her energies to unite women to the cause of Christian missions – to share Jesus Christ with those who did not know Him and to provide humanitarian services to those in need.”

Tom Nettles, professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville called Annie,

“a person who looked at her gifts and her opportunities and pushed through any personal inhibitions and contextual prejudices to do what she believed God wanted her to do for His glory and the extension of the Kingdom.”

A few years before her death, WMU recognized her lifetime of work by naming the annual Easter offering for home missions in her honor. Annie Armstrong died on December 20, 1938.

To say God used Annie Armstrong in several impactful roles in life would be an understatement. Let’s reflect on a few of them.

  • PRAY-ER – Annie was known for her prayer life. Observers said she had a really intense prayer life that gave her real spiritual energy.
  • CHURCH PLANTER–  She helped start the Eutaw Place Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland which was her local church all her life.
  • NURSERY WORKER- To every anonymous, tired, but faithful preschool church worker/teacher, know Annie walked in your shoes.
  • ADVOCATE– It’s recorded not only did she advance the cause of African-American women, but worked with Native Americans and other people groups, as well.
  • WRITER– Annie  used her handwritten letters to gain support for Southern Baptist missions all over the world. She authored a book entitled, Rescue the Perishing: Selected Correspondence of Annie Armstrong.
  • SPEAKERThat talk at The National Black Baptist Convention brought important change.
  • LEADER – She led the way for missions and denominational work.
  • DREAMERWhen she saw a need, she dreamed about how to meet that need and was gifted in involving others to carry out that dream. This made her a good…
  • DELEGATOR –  She needed people and appreciated others.

Annie Armstrong is an inspiring role model for females. Her convictions led her to act with courage when it wasn’t popular. She loved the Lord and tenaciously went about doing His work from an early age until her death.
Never marrying, she served the Lord with gladness, stayed in one location most of her life, blooming where God planted her. Southern Baptist missions today can be directly attributed to her spiritual tenacity and faithfulness to God’s call on her life.
Annie Armstrong inspires women of every generation to use all of their gifts to advance the Kingdom and to stay faithful to God’s call.
Surely He was pleased and agreed with her grave marker which read, “She hath done what she could. The Lord knoweth them that are His.”

“Would that we could realize that the success of missions and our prayers are linked together.”  Annie Armstong

 


This site has a video about Annie’s life.

more information here

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Scripture Writing Follow Up

downloadSome of you may be following the Scripture Writing from The Planning Women as we do here at Buried Treasures Home. Sometimes, while I’m doing the scripture writing, the Spirit fills my mind with questions about the passage. After I understand the answers, I then have another discipleship tool to pass on to the ladies. This week was one of those times, and I was able to get it typed up and passed on to them. Even if you don’t do this particular scripture writing or scripture writing at all, you can still print off this printable to use for some extra Bible study time. Enjoy. Scripture Writing follow up for March 3

Also, I just published a page on the blog for Free Printables. I hope to add to this as time allows, but the ones I’ve offered, including this one, are on the page.