Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


If you have watched any television or received any department store flyers, you have no doubt seen GPS for sale. For those of you who may not know, GPS stands for global positioning system and it is basically the utilization of satellites to tell one where one is and how to get where they are going. GPS has become so popular that it is no longer just in vehicles, now it is in cell phones, blackberries, and even tennis shoes!!! Amazing technology!!! Science doing its best to make sure we are not lost.
(I am sure you know where I am going from here.) As Christians, we have our own GPS---we have the Word of God. It is the standard by which we measure our daily walk, thus telling us where we are. It tells us where we have been, (While we were yet sinners, Rom.5---And you were once dead in your sins, Eph. 2) and it tells us how to get where we want to go. It is just a matter of accessing this information.
Many cars come with a GPS now, however you must call the navigation company and subscribe to the program in order to utilize the GPS. Otherwise it is just another useless gadget on the dashboard. It is the same with the Word of God. If we do not "subscribe", the Bible is just another book. But, we don't have to pay for this service because our Father and His Son already settled the bill. All we have to do is utilize it.
Wanna know where you are? Wanna know where you are going? Ask the GPS---The Word of God. This is God's technology making sure we are not LOST.
Psalm 25: 4-5 "Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God my Saviour and my hope is in you all day long."


Wednesday, November 29, 2006


There are numerous advertisements on tv for stain removers. There are convenient detergent sticks that are supposed to clean clothing. There are strips for teeth that claim to remove the residue from coffee, tea and even just aging. There are sprays that advertise they are just what you need to keep your shower tiles sparkling and stain free. So, I have been thinking, how do stains happen? Are they the result of constant and repeated exposure? Or is one cup of coffee enough to make teeth less pearly? Is one encounter with spaghetti sauce enough to ruin a white blouse or must the cotton be exposed to the stainmaking tomato over and over? How do stains happen?
We know both repeated exposure as well as a one time encounter can stain. So for us, James 1:27 says "Pure religion is this to visit the widows and orphans in the affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world." NIV says "keep from being polluted by the world". So, when we are washed in the blood of the Lamb---in the waters of baptism, we are, according to Psalm 51:7, "whiter than snow". How do we stay that way? The earlier verse in James says it is our responsibility --while we know we cannot make ourselves pure, only the blood of Christ can do that, James says we are to keep ourselves unstained, to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world.
We already know that stains happen as a result of continued exposure. When we constantly put ourselves in sinful situations, when we neglect services and instead surround ourselves with ungodly people, people who practice sin, we cannot hope to escape without a mark. Likewise, we must be on guard, protecting ourselves from the one time encounters. When our conscience says "this might not be okay"---we should run!!!! When we know we are treading where Jesus would not, we should turn around and go the other way. We should flee the very appearance of evil. That is our responsibility.
But sometimes, we fail. We think we are being careful and still we get a stain. Sometimes we discover sin as part of a life lesson and we are unable to remove ourselves quickly enough. Should we be spotted by sin, we are blessed because according to I John 1:7, the cleansing we have is perpetual, as long as we are walking in the light. And unlike commercial stain removers, the blood of Christ leaves us completely cleansed. There is no shadow of the stain, no telltale mark, no evidence that sin had marred our purity. He can keep us stainfree, but we must try to keep ourselves unspotted, pure and unpolluted.
When Jesus comes again, those without sinstains will be taken to live with Him eternally. We will live forever unspotted and pure--- totally devoid of sin and its ugly stains.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Have you ever felt like Satan was after you? It seemed things were going along so well and you were in a good place, when all of the sudden, things start falling apart. He seemed to attack you where you were least expecting him. Whether it is emotionally, spiritually, financially or physically. I have often thought about why he waits until things are going well to come after us? He did the same with Job and of course, like Job, he knocks us down and continues to kick us until either we yell "uncle" or we are able to convince him we will never do so.
When these attacks come, we are often surprised, shocked and unprepared. I believe that is why the battles are so intense and so disturbing. We are caught unarmed and resting on our laurels, so to speak. We must scurry to put on our armor, pick up our sword, and ready for battle--- after the battle has already started. This gives Satan a slight advantage---not one that, with God, is insurmountable, but an advantage nevertheless.
Satan is a crafty warrior---he likes to catch us unprepared. He likes to catch us when things are going well. He likes to catch us when spiritually we appear to be on track. There is no prestige, no bragging about winning someone who is already lost. The lost already belong to him---why should he exert effort on them? He is after new territory---territory that is valuable.
It seems we are unprepared because we forget we are at war. We have become short-sighted and have forgotten that there is more than this world we live in and there is time beyond our years here on earth. This short-sightedness handicaps us. It causes a false sense of victory, a false security. It makes us vulnerable.
We are at war!!!! We do not fight alone--God and His entire army are fighting with us. We must be good soldiers, ever ready, ever watching, always armed. The war has already been won, but the battles still must be fought. Since the war is won and God declared the victor, the only fact still up in the air is whose camp will we be in when all is said and done? We will either be victors or spoils of war. We get to decide. It is time to fight, review the war plan, arm ourselves and ultimately wear the victory crown.

I Timothy 6:12 "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."


Monday, November 27, 2006


You know how you read the Bible every day and sometimes certain scriptures just jump out at you? You think about them and meditate on them and are just plain moved by them? Thats exactly what happened when I read Psalm 130: 3 &4 last week. I have not been able to get it out of my mind. I have really been pondering over these words. "If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness. . . "
Can you even imagine what would happen if God kept a record of our sins? It is almost overwhelming to even think about. I know my flaws and sadly how often I transgress. I know that not a day goes by without my failing to meet God's mark. I know that God is all knowing. He too, knows these faults, stumbles, and rebellions. He knows that I am a sinner.
And yet, He knows my heart. He knows that "what I do not want to do, I do" and "what I want to do, I do not do" (much like Paul in Romans 7. ) God knows that in my heart, I WANT to do what is right. He loves me and so He forgives my sins, washes them away with the most precious blood sacrifice. This love, though incomprehendable to me, sustains me and gives me hope. Thank God for His mercy, His grace and for forgiveness.

Because of His love,
I Corinthians 13:5--". . . Love keeps no record of wrong. . . "

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Are Your Ears Popping?

Have you ever taken a road trip through the mountains? Or flown on an airplane? When you reach a certain height, your ears pop. It is an uncomfortable reminder that the altitude has changed.
Today in church, we sang a song called "Higher Ground". The song says, "I'm pressing on the upward way, new heights I'm gaining everyday, still praying as I onward bound, Lord plant my feet on higher ground." I've been thinking a lot lately about Christians being called to live by higher standards, being called to take the high road, being called to press onward and upward toward our heavenly home. In the book of Philippians, the apostle Paul talks about pressing on. He does a quick reality check and says he knows he has not yet arrived and so he continues on.
Isn't this the mindset we as Christians should have? Everyday, shouldn't we be aware that we are on a journey and that we must continue to press onward and upward? Shouldn't we be making conscious efforts to walk on the moral high road, to live by the higher standard? Shouldn't our eyes and our hearts be always looking heavenward? Shouldn't the change in altitude (or attitude, perhaps) cause our ears to pop?
We can either turn around and go backward or we can continue climbing onward and upward. The road to heaven is a climb while coasting backwards is easy. We can choose knowing that our choice affects our destination. If heaven is our choice, then we will be pressing on and climbing higher. The last part of the song says, "I want to scale the utmost height and catch a gleam of glory bright". That is our goal---our glorious destination---higher and higher----upward and onward. Never giving up but always heavenward bound. Climbing with hearts singing and ears popping---headed for home.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Peace, Perfect Peace

I woke up this morning feeling so content. I think the mama in me really needed to have both my kids together and the grandmother in me needed to have all five grandchildren together. My heart was missing them on a daily basis. For awhile, I could burst into tears at the mention or thought of them. Now they have been here. I have seen what godly men my boys have grown into. I have seen that they love their wives and their children. I have watched my daughters in law as they love and nurture my sons and grandchildren. I have listened as my grandchildren sang Jesus Loves Me and other songs and could tell those songs were not new to them but rather old favorites. We all enjoyed being together. There was no talk of injustice, no past feuds, no disagreements, not even a heated discussion. We laughed and enjoyed being together. My family is healthy and they love each other. All are well----all are happy----and all belong to God. And so today, my spirit is at peace.
I have been sitting with my cup of coffee, watching the sun come up and feeling an uncontrollable need to smile. An occasional sigh also slips out. I am at peace. All is well in my world and I am so happy. I have no heavy thoughts, no wants, no concerns, just a sense of peace. I do not know how long this feeling will last, but for now, I will savor every minute with gratitude.
As I enjoy this day, I wish for you all a spirit of peace and the contentment that comes from the Father.
Love, Neva

Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you"

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Tracks Tell The Story

When I was growing up, we lived in Northern Colorado. I have an aunt who is one year older than I and Kathy and I grew up like we were sisters. We often played in the forest near her house in Fox Park. We built a fort just at the edge where we could see the house. But, Kathy, being much more adventurous than I, always wanted to go "exploring" deeper and deeper into the woods. Sometimes we would see tracks where squirrels, deer, elk and sometimes even bear had been. I was almost always afraid, but Kathy, (also more imaginative than I), would make up wild tales and before long we were adventurous, pioneer women, setting off into a brave new world, looking to either conquer or befriend anything or anyone we met. She pretended to "read" the tracks and off we went, no longer afraid, but very brave and courageous. The tracks told the story and we got the experience.
Today, all five of my grandchildren have gone home or are on their way. There are tracks all over my house, sticky fingerprints on the refrigerator, kiss marks on the mirrors, and little footprints on the tile. There is not a place in my house that has not been explored or hidden in. There is not a sticky food that has not been consumed and/or worn. Aunt Kathy could probably look at these tracks and tell you which sweet little mouth kissed which mirror and which precious little hand touched each window and which adorable feet walked through each room. And if she looked at them closely, she would also see these tracks tell a story. They tell you of big boy, Morgan (age 5) and how he lined his cars all up in a row, based on make and model. They tell how Madi (age 4) and all girl, tried on the princess dresses over and over and how she pretended to paint grandpa's fingernails. They tell how Matthew (age 3) carried around the Cars dvd and his cup and how Kyle (age 2) rode the little bike from room to room, carrying the toys in the basket and asking for chocolate milk. They would also tell how baby Austin (age 1) would give grandpa kisses in exchange for bites of homemade fudge and how he'd come running whenever the word food was mentioned. These tracks would tell the story of four generations meeting in one home to celebrate together. They would tell of gifts given and love received. They would tell of a killer game of hand and foot, x-box competitions and naps. They would tell of food, food and more food. Mostly these tracks would tell you that love was here. They would say that gathered under this roof, the two great grandparents, two grandparents, four parents and five grandchildren, had much to be thankful for.
I have not decided whether to clean every surface or leave some of the "tracks" as reminders that love lives here and the story these tracks tell says love and blessings are abundant, shaken down and running over. The tracks told the story and I got the experience. God is good and I above all women and extraordinarily blessed!!! I hope each of you had a wonderful holiday and have the tracks to prove it.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Counting Blessings

Ned, Chad, Nathan, Traci, Larissa, Morgan, Madi, Matthew, Kyle, Austin, Mom, Dad, Roger and Cheryl Beem, Tom and Julie Washburn, Kelly Fellers, Kelli Markus, Bob and Sharon Brown, Joe and Tammy Maya, Karsyn and Rylee, Angel and Chris McWain, Tom and Carol Brown, Bryce Hinton, Connie Westfahl, Don Bailey, Amy Beene, Dotha Patterson, Mary Miller, Perry Edwards, Kaylin Hinton, Rita Archuletta, April and Jason Headley, Peg Paben, Steve, Bob and Charlene Manweiler, Abby Pipkin, Madelyn Fuqua, Roger Odegard, Patti Turner, Linda Jarvis, Gerald and Bobbie Paden, Nirene Kitt, Nancy Michaels, Foy and Julia Martin, Shelby and Colton Lewis, Merle and Sherri Manweiler, Katie Venn, Wilma Thomas, Winston and Martha Cooper, Ruby Hershey, Stephen Cooper, Janelle Moore, Jessica Bennett, Mary and Casey Moore, June Skinner, Dave and Valerie Cox, Stuart and Lisa Simpson, Ted Florea, Linda and Bobby Brueggeman, Mark and Kandi Bailey, Landon and Jordan Bailey, Kathy Williams, Connie Bunning, JoAnn Wilson, Danielle Lytle, Shelby and Brady Thomas, Deanna Johnson, Karen Weston, Vivian Sorenson, Deann Kopriva, Gwen and Riley Turner, Ron and Alpha Ledgerwood, Paul and Dana Phelps, Jennifer and Guiseppe DeMarco, George and Yvonne Hueftle, and the list goes on and on.
I decided on this day when the world makes a concerted effort to give thanks for food, shelter, clothing, etc. I would give thanks for what matters most. These are a list of just a few of the people who are blessings in my life, people who make me better for having known them, people who have impacted my life and made it richer, people who are a gift in my life.
Thank you Lord,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Unrestrained Joy

Having family around me makes me so joyful that the idea of blogging anything not joy related seems almost impossible. When I was reading in Psalms the other day, I was stunned at two very prevalent themes. Those themes are repentance and joy--joyful praise. Psalm 96:11 begins in context with "The Lord Reigns" then it says "Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all of the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for He comes." I love that. The whole earth is so joyful that even the heavens and earth rejoice, the fields are so full of joy and the trees clap their hands.
Oh, that we humans, could express our joy so readily. After all He created us, too. We have so much to be joyous about. This time of year, we have family and friends and food and fellowship. What else do we need? How can we not be jubilant? How can we not clap our hands in delight? How can we not sing for joy?
There are some areas of our life wherein we need to show restraint. Joy is not one of them. I believe since it pleases God for the heavens and earth to praise Him in such a way, He cannot help but be pleased when we, His most treasured and loved, show joy--overflowing and unrestrained.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Robbers of Joy

Yesterday I spent the day with two of my grandsons, while their parents and big brother went to Lubbock. My grandsons ages 1 and 3 were delightful. They were happy and played well with each other. I had a list of things I wanted to get done----once again because I am "me". I wanted to wash some windows, and sweep and mop the floor, clean bathrooms and other things in preparation for more family arriving tomorrow. I began several tasks only to be stopped by a grandson needing to be held or just cuddled or wanting to show me a toy or requesting a story. My first response was to wonder how I was going to get the work done.
I opted to forget about the work or at least postpone it and give my grandsons all my attention. It was a wonderful day and words cannot begin to express the joy I felt with these two beautiful and brilliant children. I know that had I decided to work instead, I would have robbed myself of this joy. That would have been a tragedy.
I am not sure if our joy suffers from the Martha-Martha Syndrome or as in the parable of the soils, the worries of the world choke it out. I do know that people are more important than tasks. I also know that the majority of our joy comes from experiences with people. There will always be things to do, jobs to finish, tasks to accomplish. The deaths of my husband, my sisters, my grandparents and friends teach me that people, though spiritual and eternal beings, are temporarily here on earth. Tho, the impact made on our hearts and lives is eternal. Relationships are gifts from God and it seems that we are not properly appreciative of our gift when vacuuming the floor takes precendence over rocking a baby, when mowing the lawn is more important that visiting a friend in the hospital, and when focusing on work pushes family and friends out of focus. We rob ourselves of joy when we allow tasks to become more important that people.
My life is much sweeter because I rocked that beautiful baby to sleep instead of sweeping the floor. My heart is much fuller because I held that three year old and read him Dora the Explorer instead of washing windows. The floor is not so clean, the windows and mirrors have fingerprints everywhere and the bathrooms need to be cleaned but my spirit has never been more joyful!!!
What a blessing!!!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Playing Dead

Romans 6:11 "In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus"

As you know I have 3 of my 5 grandchildren here. And by the way in June, there will be six. Anyway, yesterday after church, the boys and I watched Over The Hedge. For those of you who do not know, it is about a group of animals, all hibernators, who sort of invade a human neighborhood to gather food. In this movie, there is a turtle, a skunk, a squirrel and a couple of possums. The daddy possum is continually telling his baby possum to "Play dead so that you can live". And throughout the movie, whenever it suits them, they play dead.
Yesterday, Ned' s sermon was about sin and how it entraps us, and yet we still play with it. We get as close as we can to it. We convince ourselves that sin is truth and that God really doesn't care since of course, He loves us and wants us to be happy. And then before we know it we are ensnared. We play with sin because we look at it and according to the book of James, we want it.
What do these two paragraphs have to do with each other? Is there a point to this? Absolutely!!! It seems to me that one who was dead to sin would not, could not look at it and want it. They couldn't---wouldn't play with it. One who was dead to sin would have nothing at all to do with it. So, I wonder whether we are indeed dead to sin or just playing "possum"----playing dead.
In the movie and in real life, possums play dead for self-preservation. They are not a threat when they seem dead and so other animals leave them alone. They play dead so they have life. Spiritually playing dead does the opposite. It causes us to be unprotected and will lead to death.
When we just pretend to be dead to sin, we leave ourselves open and vulnerable to Satan who according to I Peter 5 is seeking to devour us. Playing dead doesn't fool him.
Our spiritual walk is not trivial, it is a daily life and death decision. We cannot afford to "play" at any part of it. We must truly die to sin in order to live to God. The next part of the passage goes---"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master." How cool is that?


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Act of Living

A few weeks ago I went to Nebraska to speak. The road I took had been a part of many journeys from Texas to Nebraska and back. I knew exactly where gas would be the cheapest, where the best bathrooms were and which McDonalds had the best french fries--knowledge gained over the past 8 years and hundreds of trips. This time, I was amazed how quickly the six hour trip passed. I didn't remember passing any of the familiar landmarks. I was at my destination before I knew it. I think I was on autopilot. While that made the trip go quickly, it occurred to me that perhaps I'd missed out on some beautiful scenery, perhaps I'd been an unsafe driver, perhaps I'd passed up someone in need. Although I made the trip, apparently I was not present.
I began to wonder how often we go through our daily lives on autopilot. I think there are many things we do because of habit. And as our lives become more and more hectic, we become more and more habitual, even ritualistic. We go to work, not noticing the scenery around us. We take our kids to school functions and sit and stare off into space, not noticing the way our child looks into the stands searching for approval on our faces. We go to worship and sing our three songs, bow our heads to pray and stare at the minister as he preaches God's Word. And we leave, smiling politely and shaking hands of our brothers and sisters, without noticing who is not there that morning, or the sadness in a sister's face. And worst of all, we don't notice the workings of the Spirit, and the blessings flowing over us as our Father is glorified. We don't appreciate the sacrifice made for us as we take communion. We are on perpetual autopilot and robbing ourselves of so many blessings.
Because I know this life is but a breath and there will come a time when I will have no more chances, I am trying to make a concerted effort to be in the present---to really live---to be an active participant in life. My prayer is that you will do the same. I know we will be blessed.

Ephesians 5:15 & 16
"Be very careful then how you live---not as unwise but wise making the most of every opportunity. . . "


Saturday, November 18, 2006


On my first day of college, the professor began reading off a list of names. He asked that when he called our name we stated what we would like to be called. When he got to "Neva Manweiler", in my typical smart aleck way, I said, "Your Highness". The professor was silent at first and then the entire class laughed.
Since most of us were small children we dreamed of being princesses, queens, kings, etc. While we as Americans do not have a monarchy, our country as a whole, is enamored with the British Royalty. That monarchy makes news almost as often as our television and movie stars. What is the appeal of royalty?
I think we like the idea of the grandeur and the prosperity. We like to think about living in a castle among wealth. We like the picture of oppulence and the idea that our very wishes would be carried out. I also think we like the relationship we would have with the ruler, the highest power of the land. And we like the concept of being different, instead of being one of the masses, we would be uncommon, unique, special.
I Peter 2:9 "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God . . ."
Revelation 1:6 ". . .and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father "
Revelation 21:10 ff ". . . and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great high wall with twelve gates and with twelve angels on the gates. . . . the city was of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. . . .the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was made of pure gold and was transparent like glass."

Isn't it great to be the child of the king?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Eating Disorders

If you have not lived in a bubble, you have heard many stories about anorexia and bulimia and the way they ravage a person's body. You have probably been repulsed by images of dying, starving, gaunt, frail individuals. Just recently, a young Brazilian model lost her life to anorexia. At her death, she weighed 88 lbs. and at 5 ft 8 was really really, really thin. Her self-inflicted torture has once again put eating disorders in the forefront.
Working in the psych unit, we saw several young women and men with eating disorders. The research says the illness, whether it is withholding food (anorexia) or binging and purging (bulimia), the illness truly has little to do with food. It mostly has to do with poor body image and control.
I believe there are many Christians with spiritual eating disorders. We either deprive ourselves of the food, ie. the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and the Living Water (Zechariah 14:8, John 4:10) or we fill up on the Word and instead of processing it and using it to revitalize and sustain us, we simply regurgitate what we have heard. Neither of these are healthy. Both promise death rather than life. The root of spiritual anorexia and spiritual bulimia are similarly poor body (that is the Church) image and need for control.
Persons with eating disorders, often look in the mirror and see obesity where their is truly only bone thinness. Their view is distorted by their own perceptions. When we become Christians, we become the Body of Christ. (Rom. 12:4, I Cor. 11:24, Eph. 5:30) If we read these passages in context, we see how necessary it is for body health, that each part, each member of the body be healthy and functioning. Belonging to Christ is not about me. I am part of something bigger. I depend on my brothers and sisters and they depend on me. Regardless of conflicts, hurt feelings or unmet needs, I am duty bound to care for the body to which I belong. The easiest analogy is of course, the one the Apostle Paul uses, that of the human body. Just because one part of the body is not functioning correctly, or causes pain, or needs extra care and attention, does not mean the rest of the body withdraws and looks out only for their own needs. The body is not all about the hand, it is about the body. The body is not all about the eye, it is about the body. Likewise, belonging to the body of Christ is not all about the individual Christian, it is about the Body. If we believe it is all about us, we have an incorrect perception of the Body and therefore distorted Body image. The things we do, the sacrifices we make, the encouragement we offer, the areas in which we serve are to be for the good of the Body. The health of the Body depends on the health of its members. This is the correct Body Image.
The other factor in eating disorders is control. Many with anorexia or bulimia have suffered multiple traumas in their lives. Their lives and their emotions have been out of control. So, they take control of food and its effect on their bodies. As Christians, we have been bought with a price (I Cor. 6:20). We are no longer ours. We are no longer in control. The One who purchased us controls us. We sing a song called "Lord Take Control." It is a prayer asking God to take control of our hearts, minds, body and soul. Control should not be a factor in healthy Christians. We do not have control, we are Spirit-led---that means we allow the Spirit to have control of our lives.
In order to be healthy, whole and well functioning Christians, we must see ourselves as the Body of Christ. We must realize we need food, and come to Word to be filled and fed. We need the sustenance only He can provide. As we feed we must absorb the Word, live in it, make it ours and then share it with others. To only regurgitate what we have heard, keeps us from growing into healthy Christians. We must have a true Body image and give over control to God. To do otherwise makes us spiritually gaunt, frail, and ill and will eventually lead to spiritual death.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shame or Blame

Over the years, I have been intrigued with the biblical character David. Everything about him is paradoxical. He is the shepherd/king, the boy/giant slayer, the hunted/comforter, the enemy/ son-in-law, and the man after God's own heart/adulterer-murderer. These just don't make sense to me. None of them seem to go together and yet they are each testimonials of his character.
The last one is the one I struggle with most. You know the story. David, the king, sees another man's wife---not just any man, but one of his own trusted and loyal soldiers, and when he lays eyes on her, he wants her. So, he sends for her and commits adultery with her. She becomes pregnant which sets into motion an attempt to cover up this sin. The final result is the murder of her husband. There are so many sins committed by this king, he is not fighting with his men when he should be, he spies Bathsheba and instead of looking away, he lusts after her. He uses his position, (given him by God), and sends for her, although the text says God had already given him many wives. He has sexual relations with her and then sends her home. When he finds out she is pregnant, he tries to get her husband to sleep with her so the child will appear to be conceived within the bounds of marriage. When her husband refuses, he sends him to the forefront of the battle and again uses his power to order the other soldiers to abandon him, making sure he loses his life. There were also so many chances for him to escape, chances for him to repent, chances for him to confess and stop. Yet, he did not take any of them. This sin, like most sins, snowballed on God's king.
And like most sins, the repercussions or consequences were great. David and his household would pay dearly for his sins. So, how could this sinful, lusting, murdering, adulterer be a man after God's own heart? As you read through the story and then read the Psalms, it is easy to see that once his sin was pointed out, the shepherd king's heart was broken. He did not try to blame anyone else. Remember Adam in the garden, when confronted with his sin, he says "that woman you gave me" made me do it. That is typical of most humans--to try and lay the blame on another. This king of God's does just the opposite. He takes responsibility and is ashamed of his behavior. He pays the consequences with dignity and without arguing or negotiating. He does not make excuses, deny the accusation, nor does he feel sorry for himself. He takes his punishment and then gets on with the business God had for him.
His response is amazing and almost unnatural. Not too long ago, a president of ours was caught in an adulterous affair. His response was so different from David's. When you look at them side by side, it is very easy to see who God's man is.
I want to be more like David than like our former president. I, like this king, am exposed to opportunities to sin every single day. Unlike him, I want to look for ways to escape the sin, to flee from it. But when I sin, and I will, I want to be able to admit it, take responsibility for it, to feel ashamed of it, to take my consequences, repent and get on with the business God has for me, without blaming anyone else.
I am convinced this is what made David the man after God's own heart. He was not perfect, but he was contrite and broken by his sinfulness. I want to be a woman after God's own heart. I know this requires a change in the way I handle sin. If David can do it, I know I can too.

Psalm 51:17 "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. A broken and contrite heart O God , you will not despise."


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Unfailing Love

Psalm 51: 1- 4
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight."
My friend, Joi Carr, sings a song called "Unfailing Love" and it is taken from this passage. What a beautiful thought is expressed in both song and scripture. I love that in spite of our sins, sins against Him, we are saved by His mercy and compassion and unfailing love. We know that we are sinful, we know that not a day goes by that we do not sin. We are very aware of our sinfulness. These verses call us to a deeper, more precious awareness, the awareness that those sins can be and are being, blotted out, washed away, and we are being cleansed from any residue. Wow!!! Isn't that incredible? I am ever grateful for His mercy, compassion and unfailing love. These verses and Joi's song instill in me a sense of hopefulness and gratitude. Because God cannot be where sin is, my only hope to live with Him forever is to have those sins taken away. He, out of His desire to be with me, offers to do that for me. How amazing is that?
Grateful for His Unfailing Love,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rebecca Darlene Thomas Kramer

Yesterday morning, I recieved some tragic news. My cousin, Becky died of a heart attack. Becky was only about 38 years old and was the mother of two girls. Her husband, Clint, is in the military and they planned on retiring and moving back from California to Colorado or Wyoming. When we were young, Becky's family and mine were very close. We spent lots of time and celebrated holidays together. Becky's dad and my dad are brothers and as children, we heard many stories about their antics. As we grew up, we grew apart. I kept up with her and vice versa through the Thomas Family Letter, which goes around once a year. And when we lived in North Platte, we corresponded through email several times. She recently found this blog and published a comment on it.
I did not know her well as an adult, but in her writings I was always impressed with her love for her family, her sense of humor and her deep faith. Each of her letters and emails were uplifting and encouraging. Recently in a letter, she apologized for any part in past misunderstandings and asked the family to forgive and pray for her as she struggled to be God's woman. She pranked on her brother and cousins, she was responsible for documenting our family tree and she always always thanked God for each of us and asked Him to keep watch over us. Her spiritual and emotional intelligence were evident to the readers and I am sure to all who met her personally.
I do not know the words to say to her family, to her husband, her daughters, her mother and father and her brother. I know their hearts are breaking. At this moment I know they understand why the Bible calls death the enemy. I know Becky's absence will leave a big hole in their hearts and a pain that seems interminable. The depth of their grief is in direct correlation to the extent of their love for her.
Today, in this post, I ask you all to pray for them. Pray that the God of Peace will draw them into His arms and comfort their hearts and soothe their spirits. Pray that He will grant them safe passage through this lifestorm. Pray that the memories of faith, humor and love for her family will become comforting mementos of their life with Becky.


"The righteous perish and no one ponders it in his heart; the devout are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death."
Isaiah 57:1-2

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Real Feast

Isaiah 55:1-3
"Come all you are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!!Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live."
Thanksgiving is coming and this holiday, while it is about lots of things, it is also about food. Because I am me, I have already planned and replanned the menu for the day, (actually for the whole week). I want to have everyone's favorites, I want the tables to look nice, and everyone to be at the table, I want the food to look appetizing, and I want to plan the cooking so everything gets done at the same time and so I can focus on the family members who will be here. I am excited about the meal but I think the true feast will be the time we get to spend together.
I am always thankful for my children and grandchildren. I am always thankful for the time we have together and I am always thankful that we all belong to God and so, we will be together for all eternity. We have each "come to the water" and because of that, we have much more than November 23rd to be thankful for. We have accepted an invitation to the banquet table (Song of Solomon 2:4) where we will feast for all eternity. Gathered round the throne, worshipping God with those you love ----That is truly the richest of fare!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Last night I watched The Wizard of Oz with my granddaughter. It is her favorite movie of all time and she quotes the words along with the characters. The movie ends with the phrase, "There is no place like home." And those were the last words Madi said last night before she fell off to sleep.
The word "home" invokes so many emotions. When I think of home, I think of safety, comfort, family and of course food. I think of laughter and memories and sharing all that with those I love. There are many quotes that talk about home. Home Sweet Home, Home Alone, Home for the Holidays, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Welcome Home, This World Is Not My Home, you get the message. My favorite phrase about home is "Home Is Where The Heart Is." Over the years, I have really come to appreciate that thought. The physical location is not what is most important. What is important is what happens to the heart when we talk about HOME. The home we long for, the home we get homesick for, the home we think about, the home we miss.
As Christians, we are not home. Because home is where the heart is and our heart is not to belong to this world. When we think about our heavenly home, we should think about the safety, comfort and family. We should get the same warm, happy feelings. We should be anxious to go home. Unless our heart is divided and then our heart is not in heaven and. . . neither is our home. God says we cannot love the world and Him. We cannot have divided allegiance and we cannot call heaven home while having an emotional attachment to the world. God says it doesn't work that way. Where do you call home? It has to be where your heart is.

Matthew 6:21 ff "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...
for where your treasure is there will your heart be also."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Best Present

Last night, I met Nathan and Larissa and kids in Amarillo for supper. They followed me home and spent the night. Madi wanted to ride with Grandma. If you have ever ridden very far with a four year old, you know that approximately 1000 different conversations can take place in a little over an hour. (I hate to confess this but some of them were way above my head, so I just nodded and said hmmm.....)
One of our conversations revolved around her "upcoming" (April) birthday. She told me she planned on having a party and a chocolate cake. She told me exactly what she wanted me to buy her for her birthday. I said "We will have to wait and see because Grandma does not have a job so she doesn't have a lot of money right now." Little Miss Madi was real quiet for awhile and then she said, "Grandma, you just bring loves and kisses to my party. That will be the best present." Her comment just supported my theory that I indeed have the most wonderful grandchildren in the whole world. My love was enough for her because of our relationship.
That is true with us as Christians too. God loves us so much and yet we continue to ask for larger homes, more money, faster cars, nicer clothes, better jobs, etc. However, because of our relationship with Him, because He is who He is and He loves us, His love is enough-----and is the BEST PRESENT. We are so blessed!!!

John 3:16--For God so LOVED the world (me) that He GAVE His only begotten Son . . . "


Friday, November 10, 2006

The Kids Are Coming Home!!!

I am so excited I can hardly sleep. I smile all the time and my mind is filled with little tasks to do, menu plans and all sorts of preparations. Next weekend, both of my boys, their wives and all five of my grandchildren will be here. I am already planning ways to incorporate their favorite foods into meals. I am deciding who sleeps in which bed and what bedding needs to be there. I am washing and ironing, and dusting and vacuuming and cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. I am making preparations. The joy of having them all together is difficult to explain. Although Spearman is not their home, it is where I am and they are coming to be with me and each other. They know that there will be food and laughter and presents here. They children will play and the adults will visit, play games and reminisce about other times. They will go to church with us and as we all worship together, we will experience yet more joy. If you are a mother or father who is separated from your children and grandchildren, you can relate.
This joy and anticipation is caused by the love for and longing to be with those we love. I have often thought about God and His anticipation for our "coming home". In John 14, Jesus tells His apostles that He is going to make preparations for them. In the story of the prodigal son, we see the father figure, the character representing God, watching and waiting, anticipating the return of the son. We know that our God has made all sorts of preparations for our arrival in our heavenly home. In fact, He worked out all of history to get us to come to Him and to live with Him in Heaven. Our Father loves us and I am sure He is excited, waiting for the day when His kids come home.
My kids have never seen Spearman. They do not know what our house is like, or what the community is like, but they know I am here. Likewise, we are not sure what Heaven is like. We read about streets of gold and pearly gates but we cannot really fathom what exactly it will look like. We do know our Father is there. And that is enough to make it home!!!!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fighting Against God

Last night at church we were studying in Acts chapter 5. We were discussing the mandate given by the Sanhedrin that Peter and the apostles stop preaching Jesus. The text says that Gamailiel in all his wisdom advises the opponents of the Faith to stop persecuting the apostles. He tells the leaders of the Sanhedrin to leave them alone and if their cause had earthly origins it would fail but if it orginated with God, it would be successful and they would only "find themselves fighting against God."
That last phrase really really hit me. I wondered how often I fight against God and His plan. I believe God indeed has a plan and in this plan, He has a place for me---a place wrought with purpose and mission. Scripture says He desires my total devotion to Him, an overwhelming need to be like Him and a compulsion to share Him with others, because He is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to know Him. And He promises to care for me, to make sure my needs are met, to give me both strength and sustenance as I willingly take my place in His plan--the scheme of redemption.
Too often, I find myself stubbornly refusing the path He has offered and the task He has assigned. I look for theological loopholes and try to manipulate the situation. I make excuses and lazily ignore my mission. Last night, it occurred to me, when I do this, I am fighting against God and the success of His plan. What a sobering thought! I believe God is all powerful and that the final victory is already His. How futile it is to fight against Him. His plan will be successful--it already is. My stubborn, unwilling, and rebellious heart does not deter His plan, it only separates me from Him. It places me on the losing team and guarantees future failure. This self-induced rift between my heart and His is unacceptable.
Today, I repent of my stubborness and ask God to show me my place in His plan, to give me a willing heart to accept my mission and strength and tenacity needed to complete my tasks, and the spirit to submit and no longer fight against Him. I want to be a part of His plan, to be on the winning side, to experience the victory!!!!

"Show me the way I should go for to you I life up my soul." Ps. 143:8b

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


When I used to work in the psych unit, we often had patients who were intoxicated with either drugs or alcohol and as a result were dangerous to themselves or others. They came into the unit and before we could work on other issues, we had to detox them. The detox protocol included checking their vitals every few hours and administering medications. It also included keeping them secluded from the world. They had no means to get another fix. We monitored their diets, their sleep and their medications. Before long, they were able to attend groups where they learned why they use alcohol and drugs and some healthy hints to help avoid them in the future. During their stay they are focused only on their problems and the world is shut out.
In Biblical times, prophets and people of God spent time in prayer and fasting. I have often wondered if that time was similar to a detox. Were they detoxing from the world. During that time they were away from the world and all its cares. They were feeding on the Word of God and they were checking their spiritual vital signs. They were examining their progress and deciding on ways to avoid sin in the future. It sounds similar doesn't it?
Given the intoxicating quality of sin, the damage it does to us and those around us and its ready availability, perhaps we need an occasional detox. Maybe we need to make it our habit to frequently detox from sin---to spend some time in prayer and fasting, renewing our minds, our spirits and our commitment to God.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51:10-12


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

All Tucked In

I got home late last night after an absolutely wonderful trip. The ladies day went well, church was wonderful and getting to spend time with friends was an extra special blessing. On the way home last night, as I drove across the plains in the darkness, I thought about traveling with my parents when I was a small child. I remember sitting in the back seat with my brother and sister and as we neared our home, I always pretended I was asleep. I would close my eyes and snuggle down in the car seat. I knew that if I was asleep, my dad would carefully pick me up, carry me into my bed, quietly tuck me in, kiss me good night and then go get my sister (also pretending to be asleep).
Our motivation was not laziness or just an intent to decieve. I can't describe the security and comfort, the all over peace and feeling of being well-loved I had each night. I went to sleep smiling. For just a few moments, I felt I was my dad's most prized possession. I knew he would let nothing happen to me and although he would shut the door and turn out the light, he would be standing watch outside, guarding me from all the "things that go bump in the night". I knew he would be there in the morning and would go to work to provide for my every need. I think a part of me even knew he wasn't fooled by my pretend sleep. Yet, he loved me and wanted to protect me, and that time was special to him, too.
I am a grown up now and I have a heavenly Father who also wants to tuck me in at night. He wants me to feel loved, safe and secure. He promises to protect me and provide for me. When I spend special time with Him before bed, the dreams are still sweet and once again, I drift off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Proverbs 3:24
"When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Getting Ready

I am so excited!!!! Today I am leaving for North Platte. I am speaking for their Ladies Fall Fellowship tomorrow. I will be seeing friends from work and family from church. I have missed them all so much. I know I will have a wonderful time.
Whenever I travel anywhere, I have a series of rituals I go through to prepare for the trip. These rituals, while they drive Ned crazy, are important to me. I always, always, do all the laundry, clean the house, change the bedding and clean the bathroom. I clean everything. In fact, I leave my house looking better than it does on a day to day basis. I pack at least four more outfits than I need and I start making lists of what I am wearing, taking, etc several days before. I transfer my toiletries into smaller travel size containers so they are less cumbersome. I make sure I have the necessities for the trip: My Bible, my lesson, a thank you card for my host, Dasani water, sunflower seeds, gum, diet Dr Pepper, Advil, tissue and an Atlas. And I try to take someone else with me because the journey is better with company and the destination worth sharing. All of the preparation, besides obviously getting me ready, also increases the anticipation of the destination.
As these rituals were unfolding throughout the day, yesterday, I began thinking I should be like that about my final destination, Heaven. I should be anxiously preparing for that day. I should be geting everything in my house (my life) cleaned up and ready. I should be leaving this world in better shape than I found it in. I should be making lists of what I need to do before I go and marking them off as they are accomplished. I should be assembling the things I need to make this trip easier, love joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. I should have my atlas---my map---His word, ever ready. I should make sure my clothing is correct. (Revelation 19:8 says the bride of Christ is clothed with fine linen representing the righteous acts of the saints). And I most certainly should be inviting others to take this trip with me. But most of all, I should be getting excited!!! These preparations should be building the anticipation almost to a frenzied level. I should be longing for the destination.
I think too often we live, or at least I do, like this earth is our final destination. But it is not!!!! This is just part of the trip. The destination is, oh so much sweeter----without the road hazards, the driving stress, or the monotony of the trip. There is no bad food, no bad roads, no bad directions and no getting lost. The destination is more than the vacation of a lifetime. It is the LIFE!!!!! I am convicted that I need to do better at remembering I am just passing through.


"This world is not my home, I am just passing through"

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Only Thing That Counts

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love".Galatians 5:6 WOW!!! When you read this verse are you not amazed at how different what counts to us is from what counts to God? In the context Paul is talking about how the law, the old law that is, was enslavement and how we have been freed by Christ. We are freed from that law that would bind us and keep us from wholly experiencing God's love and forgiveness. When we are in Christ, the emphasis is on faith, expressing itself through love rather than lawkeeping.
Lawkeeping and faith expressed through love, which is best? Under old law, a sacrifice was required for every sin. Because I am not a sinless person, I would be offering sacrifices on the altar all day everyday, so I say, that faith expressed through love takes less effort. Under the old law, there were many rules about what one could and could not eat and how it should be prepared. I can't even seem to make spaghetti sauce turn out the same every time. So I say, love based faith, again. Under the old law, one must stone their children for disobedience. While my children were not perfect and frequently needed correction and discipline, it would have been a struggle to throw rocks at them until they died. So, again, I vote for love based faith.
This could go on and on. But we know where it is going, don't we? Under the new law, those in Christ, are indeed free. The one time for all time sacrifice has already been made. It is because we are in Him we have freedom from the law. The old laws were all important, each law counted and breaking one meant breaking them all. Under the new law, "faith expressed through love is the only thing that counts."How cool is that?


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Standing In The Gap

I have watched with interest the hullabaloo over Senator John Kerry's comments regarding our troops in Iraq. For those who don't know he basically said if one was smart and educated they would get far in this country if not they would be stuck in Iraq. I am not going to turn this into a political blog although I am sure they also have their place. I just want to say a couple of things. Regardless of how we feel about the war, we are there, we have men and women there doing their job. That's right, it is their job!! They are doing what their superiors tell them to do. They don't have to agree with their assignments, they just have to do them. The administration of this country has decided we should fight this war and the soldiers there are carrying out that decision.
That said, I also believe it is time we as Christians fight for what we believe in. So often we dont want to be perceived at fanatics and so we let the opinions of others make decisions that affect us. There are things that are non-issues and therefore not worth fighting for, but there are also things that are inherent to our faith, core beliefs and those things we should fight for. We believe in the holiness of God, the deity of the Spirit and the saving power of Messiah. We believe that children are a gift from God and should be protected, sheltered and cared for. We believe in the sanctity of marriage. We believe there are certain ways to treat others and there are ways that are not acceptable to us or to God. We believe He gives life and He takes life. We believe that we only have hope in Him. These things we believe and these things we fight for. Just as the soldiers in Iraq are doing the bidding of their bosses, so we are to do what our "boss" (master)says. We are to fight for what is right and what is true.
One of my very favorite people in the whole world, Tom Washburn, once did a lesson out of Ezekiel 22. I was moved by his lesson especially his emphasis on vs. 30 "I looked for one among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it but I found none." What a powerful verse. Tom ended his lesson with the statement that perhaps it is time someone stands in the gap on behalf of the land. This is truly what its all about---fighting for what we believe in---standing in the gap so that God will not have to destroy this land.