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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Heart on the Fritz

I was recently visiting with an elderly lady at our local nursing home. This dear sweet woman held my hand and talked about the passing of her husband. They had been married 69 years, had raised children and welcomed grandchildren, built a home and a successful business. She spoke of his sudden, unexpected death. She said since then, her heart had been "on the fritz". She explained that sometimes she was so angry with him for leaving her that she almost hated him and everyone else, while other times, she was so grateful for the time they had together and still felt so full of love for him . . . and everyone else. She sighed and said it was just too bad her heart was on the fritz.
I had never heard someone speak about love and heartache that way, but it struck me that we, or at least I, sometimes have a heart on the fritz. There are times when I am just filled with love for my Christian brothers and sisters, times when I long to be with them, to fellowship and share with them, times when my prayers are filled with praying good things for those I love. And then there are times when I am so frustrated, so tired, so weary of my church family and my prayers are centered on "Lord, help me deal with . . ." And I avoid fellowship with them. My heart is on the fritz!!!
It seems my heart begins to "short-circuit" or "misfire" when I am thinking about me. When my thoughts are about my problems, my struggles, my weariness, then I seem to think about my brothers in less than loving terms. I am not naive enough to believe they should all behave my way, and yet I get frustrated when they don't. Sometimes it is just plain old difficult to be loving.
I wonder if Jesus ever felt frustrated? Do you think He ever was tired and weary, that He ever looked at others and wondered why they had to do things the hard way? Do you think we are ever difficult to love?
John 13:34-35 tells us that the way we love each other tells the world who we belong to. Our love, our heart responses, identify us as the Church, the disciples of Messiah. I John says we cannot love God unless we love our brother. If we want to be more like Jesus, we have to be more loving. We have to love others with a sacrificial kind of love, giving up our time, giving up our energy, even sometimes giving up our money for them. A healthy heart is a heart that loves even the unloveable.
I John 4:7-8 "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God for God is love."


Monday, January 29, 2007

A Good Day To Be Me

Yesterday was a great day to be Neva! I got to go worship God! The singing was wonderful, the sermon inspiring and the fellowship amazing. We had a going away pancake supper for one of our young couples after evening services. While the food was being prepared and consumed, I was able to minister to several young women who are undergoing some testings in their families. There are two things that make us feel like the work we are doing for God actually benefits someone else. First, of course, having a study with someone that results in their baptism and lifelong commitment to the Lord. There have been times when I have studied with someone for an extended length of time, and finally I see the light go on and I realize that they have come to know just how much they need the Savior. It is the most amazing feeling to know that God was able to use me to bring another soul to salvation. I find myself anxious to be used by Him again. It is a very powerful experience. If you have been there, you know what I mean.
The second thing that encourages us in our ministry is when we are able to offer comfort and encouragement from God's Word to a soul that is hurting. To know what the scripture offers is both powerful and effective and to see it give a weary soul a newfound sense of peace and determination is one of the reasons we study. Knowing a dear sister or brother will be able to sleep tonight because of a simple reminder of God's promises is a great encourager to be more of a minister for God.
God is good and the text says He is not willing for any to perish. He desires the souls that are lost so much that He sent Heaven's Best to redeem them. He cares about His own. He does not want them hurting. So, He made us to do His work here on earth. While we may not all be preachers, He called us all to be ministers. He made us to make disciples, to baptize and to teach. He comforted us in our trials so that we could comfort others in theirs. He gave us a mission and then uniquely prepared us and equipped us for that mission. Isn't that amazing? As a minister of God's, isn't it a great day to be you?


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Perpetual Feast

I just returned from the most amazing weekend. I attended the workshop at Sunset in Lubbock. As we arrived early on Friday morning, and I saw all the cars in the parking lot, my heart rate immediately increased. The anticipation began to build because I knew what a feast was in store for me and I was excited!!
Workshops are wonderful! After living in Lubbock for many years, attending the School of Preaching, and later teaching in the women's program there, Sunset, is especially dear to my heart. I have participated in many workshops in that place and came with high expectations. I was not disappointed. The workshop offered many classes, many opportunities to have your soul fed. There was a vast smorgasboard and one could choose the class and topic and speaker they felt would best satisfy their hunger. In between sessions, there was a bounty of wisdom and encouragement available for any who sought it. Present were Sunset Instructors, having trained preachers and preachers wives for decades. There were missionaries, back from the field, ready to share both successes and struggles, hungry for the morsel that would recharge their spirits and ready their souls to return to the work. They brought with them a love for their mission and a desire to share that love with any who would listen. Also in attendance, were ministers and their wives from this country and others, some in big city works and others from rural congregations, all of them taking a weekend sabbatical to come and refuel. Their love for their work, was evident in their faces as they spoke of the members, the growth, the new ideas from back home. The joy in their faces as they greeted former classmates and instructors was a beautiful portrait of the love God's people have for one another. Then there were Sunset students attending, setting up booths, in hopeful anticipation of graduation and heading off to their fields, here and abroad. And, there were the Sunset Church of Christ members, ever faithful in their support of the school, ever encouraging in their words and their actions, humble and proud at the same time, humbled by the far reaching effects of "their" ministry (SIBI) and proud of those who had walked their halls, gained the education, gone into the field and had returned for this weekend, filled with gratitude and love for ministry. The singing was beautiful, the lessons inspiring, and the fellowship amazing, and there was love everywhere. I tell you it was a veritable spiritual feast.

I came away, full and satisfied, spiritually recharged and ready to do whatever God would have me do. I love feeling that way and wished it would last forever. As I thought about this, it occurred to me as I attempted to take all this in, that for sometime, I had been almost fasting spiritually. Sure, I spent time in the Word, as I prepared for the classes I teach at church or the workshops I am speaking at. And, I attended church events and services. I talked to christians on the phone. And I even did a devotional blog. But having spent two days in the Word, surrounded by God's people, fellowshipping with His children, too busy to even watch the news, I realized how hungry my soul has been. I realized I had allowed the Spirit, the Word, to feed me only enough to keep me alive. The sad thing was, I could have taken in so much more. I could have taken in enough to thrive rather than merely survive. It was always there, I just hadn't taken advantage of it. And so, with penitent heart, I have made a commitment to feast on God's Word and the rich blessing of Christian fellowship more . I will make more opportunities to talk with God and His people. I will put forth the effort to be more encouraging and more spiritual so that others can be fed, too. I will do my part to perpetuate the spiritual feast so that all can be filled and refueled. And to quote Scarlet O'Hara, "I will never go hungry again!"

May you all be filled,

Thursday, January 25, 2007


"The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets." Psalm 50:1
Are you not amazed at the power of our God? How incredible that He speaks the world as we know it, into existence. How incredible the little intricacies. He makes the sun rise, which makes the ice/snow thaw, which waters the soil, which makes the plants grow, which feeds and sustains us. How incredible is that? The entire creation obeys when God summons. All but one---humans. The one creation made with free will is the one who rebels against such a powerful and awesome God. Are we just not very smart? Does the whole earth not testify to the power of God, each and every day? Is not the way the human body works a witness to His power?
Later on in that same Psalm, God says, "I have no need of a bull from your stall, or of goats from your pen, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains and the creatures of the field are mine. " He can summon even the hills and they will obey. All creation is at His beck and call. And yet we alone resist. And He, because of His desire for relationship with us, continues to summon. At the end of the Psalm God says, "sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you will honor me." He summons us----He calls us to come to Him. He begs us to love Him----to desire relationship with Him. He longs for obedient children, for His greatest creation to simply come when He calls.

Rev. 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in. . ."

(I will be at a workshop in Lubbock and will be unable to post until Sunday. See you then)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Good Medicine

(Sorry for the late post---our server has been having trouble getting out of bed==:)
I have been spending some time at our local nursing home and have met some truly wonderful residents. They are smiling and happy and eager to interact with others. Some, however are a bit crotchety (is that how you spell that word?) They say they don't want to be bothered by anyone. They spend most days in their rooms, alone, refusing to come out for activities or meals or any other interactions. Since I have been going there, the past week or so, I have also noticed that their mood changes when I walk in acting like I am really happy to be there, remembering their name and something they told me about their life. It reminded me of a Proverb. Chapter 17:22 says "A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Isn't that so true? It is true with everyone not just nursing home residents. There is a commercial on television, (who knew there was something good on there, other than 24) where a man is cooking in a diner. He is grouchy with everyone until one customer makes the effort to smile and say, "good sandwich" or something like that. The cook's countenance changes immediately, he smiles and resumes work and the viewers just know the entire atmosphere of the diner changes. too.
Of all the ways we can shine for Jesus, being cheerful is the easiest. We have so much to be cheerful about. We have a Savior---what else do we need? When people see our cheerful heart, they cannot help but feel better. Let's contribute to the well-being of the earth. We have good medicine. We have a cheerful heart.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Riding the Rapids

I have several warm, kind memories of our time in Montana. Sometimes on Saturdays (the only two Saturdays of Summer), we would load up the boys and drive up past Hungry Horse (yes, that is a real place) and head for Graves Lake. Eddy would take the fishing poles to the "quiet" part of the lake while the boys and I played and swam on the other side. Occasionally we were the only people there. The boys fished with their dad until their line got tangled or they got bored and then they'd off to swim or row in the canoe, leaving their dad to sort it out. I would sit in an inner tube, legs and arms dangling, and float on the water, drinking in the sunshine. The lake was always calm and so was I.
I didn't tell you how afraid of water I am. I almost drowned when I was a child and in spite of several years of swimming lessons, I am still terrified. I frequently joke that I am the only person in America who takes a shower with a lifejacket on. An inner tube in a quiet lake is as brave and daring as I get. I would never willingly go whitewater rafting, or scuba diving and possibly never even take a cruise. If I am to be in the water, it must be calm. I can be calm as long as the water is calm.
I like my life to be calm, too. During the quiet, peaceful times of my life I feel so serene, as if everything is just as it should be and as if I could ask for nothing more. However, my life, especially of late, has been anything but Graves Lake calm. During these past few months, I have felt my life on a perpetual white water rafting trip. As the water gets choppier and choppier, my heart beats faster and faster and my stomach begins to knot. I can hear the rapids in the distance but I know, no matter how hard I paddle, I cannot steer the boat in another direction. I must ride along with the river.
When I first heard the waterfall ahead, I worked to convince myself it was something else. I didn't want to believe the river would lead me there. Once I admitted I was headed for the rapids, I began to look around for low lying branches so I could jump out of the boat and stagger to shore. I didn't know where to go or what to do or how to survive once I got to shore, but I still looked, desperately. When no rescuing bough was in sight, I resigned myself to ride the river. And so I tightened up my life jacket, secured my seat in the raft, and held my paddle in a death grip. I have never gone over this waterfall before, but I have been over others. Knowing what to expect, I have prepared myself for the increasing speed of the water. I have braced myself for that very moment when I hang suspended in mid air, the moment just before the fall. I have readied myself for the seemingly endless fall and the flailing that always accompanies it, grasping for handholds in mid air. I have reminded myself of the pain and hurt that comes with impact with the water below, instructing myself to relax and swim out from under the stream into the peaceful calm.
And, now I am longing for the water at the bottom, the water that is calm and peaceful, where I am safe and secure, in my inner tube with feet and hands dangling in the water, soaking up the sunshine, serene, when everything is once again just as it should be.

Psalm 69:1-3 "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters: the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail. looking for my God."
Psalm 34:4 "I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from my fears."
Isaiah 46:4 "Even in your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." (YEAH!!!!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

You're It!!

I got tagged by my new friend, Bill Williams. And so, as I understand the game, I am to divulge five things you probably don't know about me. (Am I playing this right, Bill?) Anyway, for those of you expecting something incrediblyor even slightly profound or inspirational, you might want to skip this one and pray for better tomorrow. For those of you driven by a strange sense of curiousity, read on.
1. I had 17 living grandparents when I was born. That's what happens when your ancestors decide marrying should happen just after puberty.
2. I have issues with mini-snickers (the bite size) bars. I can easily convince myself that it takes an entire bag of them to make one regular size candy bar and therefore each bag contains just one serving.
3. I own a large collection of nerf guns. I love to sneak up on my husband and shoot him with nerf bullets. At times he least expects it, I get the most enjoyment.
4. I laugh almost every day. I can almost always find humor in daily events. I love puns and even when I was struggling as a young widow and a single mother, I still was able to laugh almost everyday.
5. I think ketchup is a side dish. This was the main gripe from both my daughter-in-laws. Both my sons consider ketchup their daily vegetable allotment. (By the way, there is really only one kind of ketchup--Heinz--the rest are wannabees.)

There are the weird and wonderful facts and now I choose to tag:
1. Traci
2. James
3. Trey Morgan
4. Angie (Angies Aim)
5. Candle (c&l)

Y'all have fun.


What if the Devil Said He Was Sorry?

I have been wondering what it would be like if this morning, right now, Satan said he was sorry. If he went to God and said, "You are the creator and sustainer of all. I repent for my rebellion against your authority and I want to live for you, to be under your rule and to be about doing good things." What would happen? What would we be like without Satan conniving and plotting to devour us? Would we all be able to live godly lives? Would we no longer have to fight against temptations? Would the world be a place where all of us were focused on the same God and not on ourselves? Would there be no more war, no more killing, no more evil? Would there?
Or have we developed a taste for sin and would perpetrate it upon ourselves? Would we want to continue to gorge ourselves on evil pleasures? Would we continue to worship ourselves rather than our creator? Would we still show disrespect to His Word and His people, without Satan encouraging it? Would we become our own worst enemies, rather than Satan?
Just wondering?


Saturday, January 20, 2007


I know this is my second post in one day, but I just couldn't help myself. Today has been an absolutely amazing day!! The Lord blanketed us with 5+ inches of snow and it is still coming down. It has covered my yard, the sidewalk, the street and all the trees. It is so beautiful. We had many things to do today but they were cancelled because of the weather. So, we sat and watched the snow fall. It was so pristine and white, so bright as it reflected the sun with a blinding purity. My entire world is white, cleansed and pure. Gone are the bitter feelings over selfish, hurtful family members. Gone is the anxiety about upcoming speaking engagements. Gone is the worry over friends who are ill. Gone is guilt and shame over my own failings. Just as God has cleansed my world, He has reminded me that He has also cleansed my heart. Tonight, as I stood at the kitchen sink, doing dishes and watching yet more snow come decorate my yard, I say a prayer. I thank God for His majesty, for His beautiful creation and for His subtle reminder that He has washed me whiter than snow.



I recently applied for a job and after looking at my resume, I was advised that I was "overqualified" and so I didn't get the job. I wasn't sure whether I should be offended or complimented. I was at the point where financially, I needed a job---that was my motivation. Because of my motivation, I was willing to do a job I was overqualified for. However, it was not to be.
I didn't get the job, but it made me think about one of Ned's favorite passages--Philippians 2:5-8 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of the servant, being made in human likeness, And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross!" Talk about being overqualified!! He is God---creator, sustainer, giver of life and He chose to become one of us and as such, complete the task of redeeming us from ourselves and our sinful yearnings. There is never a time I think about this that I am not overwhelmed with gratitude!!! How amazing that the Divine One would set Himself aside to become a common man!
I read about the sufferings He endured, my mind replaying scenes from "The Passion of the Christ" and I am consumed with a sense of awe!!! His motivation----John 3:16, you know the verse, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. . ." I was, you were, we were---the motivation for Messiah to take a job for which He was way overqualified. He humbled Himself, lowered Himself, and redeemed us!! All because of love!! Isn't that awesome?


Friday, January 19, 2007

Come Into His House

Have you ever had a song stuck in your mind? You find yourself humming the tune, singing the words and thinking about the song over and over? For the past few days, I have been unable to get the song, "We Have Come Into His House" out of my mind. It is a newer song, written by Bruce Ballinger. It is a song of few words with much meaning. The first verse is made up of several repetitions of "we have come into His house and gathered in His name to worship Him". The second verse is "let's forget about ourselves and magnify His name and worship Him." This is what "church" is all about.
We live in an entertainment driven society and the craving for excitement and thrill has made its way into our worship. I am disturbed by this trend. In trying to make our worship more entertaining, we have compromised its purpose. Do we read anywhere that the worship practice of animal sacrifice was fun? Can you imagine few things less entertaining? Yet, God commanded His people to worship Him by bringing the beast to the altar of sacrifice. The Israelites seemed to understand that worship was not entertainment.
Worship is not for us, although we are commanded to edify one another while we worship. It is not about how eloquent the minister is. It is not about how beautiful the harmony in the song services. It is not about stimulating discussion in Bible class. Worship is about God. The very word "worship" means "to kiss forth". We are blowing a kiss toward God in our worship. Worship is about God, its all about God and our love and adoration for Him. It is in His name, we gather. It is His supplication we pray for. It is for His blessings we are gratful. If we search the scriptures, it seems God is concerned about the state of our hearts rather than being entertained. We come to worship to glorify and magnify God. As we blow our kisses toward Him, and those around us do the same, we are edified and encouraged. That is so much better than being entertained!
The One who created us, the One who provides for us, the One who loved us enough to die for us, the One who is preparing to come and take us to life eternal,-----that One, He asks us to worship HIM. When He is pleased, we are blessed!!!!


Jn. 4:24 " . . .His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Living My Facade

I sometimes wonder if we live Jesus, like we live on a movie set. I visited a set once and I couldn't believe how real it looked from the outside. The windows and doors really opened. Inside the furniture was real. You could even sit down on the couch, turn on the lamp and the television. It was pretty neat. It was like being inside a real house. But, the only reality was the front room and if you tried to go beyond the front room, you found you went nowhere. Each door simply went behind the set. They didn't lead to the bedroom or the kitchen. They didn't take you to the backyard. They didn't go anywhere. It was all a facade!!
It is so easy to be a Chrisitian at church!!!!Everyone in the room is singing, praying, listening to the Word and seemingly all on the same page. Most everyone is kind and friendly and we all act like we love each other. It is so easy to live Jesus in a stained glass set. Christianity seems so real. But, walk through the doors and the reality of Christianity is gone and we find we go nowhere.
I know y'all have heard all this before. You've heard sermons about putting on Chritianity like it is your Sunday clothes and then taking it off and putting it back in the closet. You've heard sermons about becoming Christlike daily. I know you have. So have I!!
But, sometimes I forget. Sometimes, when my feelings have been hurt or am upset, I become manipulative. I decide to use my facade to get even. I withdraw from those who I feel hurt me. I use my absence conspicuously so they will miss me and come, begging my forgiveness. Then magnanimously, I forgive them, assuring them I was really not upset with them, I was merely spending time alone with God. Sometimes, when I am angry, when my trust has been hurt, I find myself living my facade. I tell my friends how horrible the other person is, and then, using as many "church words" as I can, I remind them how spiritual I am, how strong my faith is and how I deserve so much better. Sometimes when I am tired, when I feel like I do all the work, I live my facade. With huge sighs and much murmuring I thrust the facade in everyone's face, letting them see how indispensable I am. Sometimes, when I want to make a really good impression, I wear my "church-Neva" everywhere. I speak (in a much softer voice) about Jesus and the Word. I smile and nod and pretend to listen to others. I invite them to church so they can be with me. The problem is when I live in facade, it is still a facade and I am still a fake. (notice how similar those two words are).
We would think a person so pathetic if they lived on a movie set. We would shake our heads and wonder how they be so simple they could not tell it was not a real home. We would wonder that they set their goals so low and chose to live in such a way. We would think this person less than intelligent, less than ambitious and very pathetic.
Christianity has to be more than a movie set. It has to be more than what we do. It has to be who we are. Otherwise it is simply a facade and living in our facade, well, that makes us nothing more than Pharisees ---going nowhere, fooling noone, and miserable in our fake reality.

Mt. 23 (from the Message by Eugene Peterson)
"You're hopeless . . .Frauds! You're like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it's all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you are saints, but beneath the skin you're total frauds."


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Outside My Bubble

For the past few months, I have been living inside my bubble. Our life and ministry has undergone several adjustments during this time. Our family has had and continues to struggle. And so, I have stayed inside this bubble that is my life. It has been a time of reflection and prayer. It has been a time of grieving and healing. I have felt safe inside my bubble. And yet, the wanderlust, the urge to reach outside this place has continued to grow. My faith structure reminds me that my God cannot be contained inside a bubble. He is a God to be shared.
So today, as I start my new job, I am convicted that God would have me touch the lives of others. He would have me be a doer of good deeds in order that He would be glorified. He knows I am a bit afraid. He knows how much I miss North Platte, the job, the house and the amazing church family. He knows I have never done this before. He knows my heart is still aching for my son, so is His. And yet, He pushes, nudges and encourages me to live Him.
While in my bubble, I was able to spend much time in the Word and in prayer. Over and over, I felt myself being drawn to the gospels. I noticed that Jesus frequently needed some bubble time. The text says He spent much time alone in prayer and meditation. Yet, He always remembered His ministry. He sought out those who needed Him. He says He came to seek and save the lost. I had been feeling guilty about my bubble time, until I realized how God's people, His ministers, have always used time alone to recharge their spirits, renew their minds, and restore their strength. I really needed time in the bubble. But, no other souls/lives were touched while I was there. I introduced no one to Messiah from inside my bubble. I ministered to, shared with, or reached out to anyone in here.
Today, as I venture out of my bubble, I know my heart is still aching for my son. I know I still haven't quite found my niche here. I know I still miss my grandchildren and my friends in NP. My Father knows this also and as He nudges me outside the bubble, He whispers in my ear, "I will never leave you or forsake you." He tells me He is ready for me to "Go", ready for me to "Do". ready for me to "Teach". He is ready for me to resume the work of working for Him. I am ready too!!! Praise God for His understanding and encouragement. For His promise to bless me and my endeavors as long as they are centered and rooted in Him. Praise God for His amazing and powerful love!

Mark 15:34 "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Luke 23:34 "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Where would we be without grace? How could we survive without God's favor resting on us? It is because He loves us that He bestows on us that which we do not deserve, cannot earn, and can never repay. Grace is a gift!!! But it is not a gift that stops with the recipient. Grace is closely tied with mercy, kindness and even common courtesy. Grace is to be a part of our lives and a part of our speech. W.H. Auden says "I know nothing except what everyone knows, that when Grace dances, I should dance." Grace, it is more than a popular name for children, more than a big stained glass word, worn like a badge of honor by those who believe. Grace is an attribute, a characteristic consistent with living a godly life, with being like God.
In my life, I have known many gracious people. These folks were always ready with a kind word, encouraging those around them. They were kind and careful with their speech. That alone was impressive. But what was most noticeable was the way they responded to others. When they received gifts that were less than appropriate or even wanted, they responded graciously. When others tried to pay them a compliment and their efforts made the compliment difficult to find, the gracious ones responded with kind and sincere thank yous. When they themselves, were going through a dark time, the grace they received from God, became even more evident in their interactions with others. They were gracious!!!!
Oh, how I want to be like these christians!!! How I want to be the kind of person who is gracious and kind, whether I am anxious, sad, hurt or angry or even just too busy. I know they learned grace from the Father, from the Son and that the Holy Spirit works within them, helping them to be more graceful. I believe they have something special. They have what God has, the ability to look past the words and actions of others and focus on their hearts, on their intents. They can look at two small coins and see a sacrificial heart. They can look at sticky fingers and runny noses and see children with the innocence and trust of Kingdom occupants. They can look at a woman crying and making a scene and see a sincere and penitent heart. When they see hearts instead of flaws, they respond graciously. I am so grateful God sees my heart when my words and actions are flawed and inadequate. I am so grateful He sees me through the eyes of love and hears the words of my heart rather than the inept ramblings of my mouth. I am ever grateful for His grace~~~~without which I would still be lost. And so, my goal for today: begin being one of the gracious. Start seeing through the actions and words of others to the beauty of their hearts. Make my responses to them responses that say, I am a grace giver because I am a grace receiver. Praise God for His amazing grace!!

Colossians 4:6 "Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt. . . "

Monday, January 15, 2007

Waiting on the Prodigal

My youngest son has decided he no longer believes in God. He has left his family and is living the life of a single man. His behaviors have broken the hearts of many who love him. These actions have damaged his relationships with his family and my relationships with my daughter in law and my grandchildren, all of whom I adore. There is no soul not hurting. Ned and I have spent many tearful hours in prayer, asking God to prick his heart and work in his life, to bring him home. I have been searching the scriptures for encouragement and comfort and hope.
Over and over again, I find myself drawn to the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. I read the parable and notice it chronicles the life of the son. We know he disrespects his father by demanding his inheritance. We know he squandered his inheritance with wild living. He was undisciplined and dissipated and before long, had nothing left. He went to work feeding the pigs, deciding whether or not to fight them for the daily slop that was unfit for human consumption. We know what this young son was doing.
But, the story does not tell us what the father was doing all this time. I can imagine he had to go on with his daily life, doing the work, providing for his family, running his business. I can imagine he had to force himself to not worry, to not think about the possibilities of the pigpen or worse. I can imagine he'd packed and unpacked his bags several times, talking himself out of going to look for his lost boy. I can imagine he remembered how sweet and innocent the child had once been, how smart and clever, and how the child who used to make him laugh, now only makes him cry. I can imagine everytime someone came down the path, he squinted his eyes, hoping to see that familiar gait, getting ready to run towards the figure and welcome him home. I can imagine he avoided people who would ask about his son, feeling his shame and finding it increasingly difficult to report good news. I can imagine this father hurt everyday, every hour and every minute.
And yet, he waited and watched. The text says, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and came running. He did not know why his son was coming home. The son may have been coming to ask for more money. He may have only been coming for a visit. To the father, it did not matter why he came home, only that he did. The father had only to look into the eyes of his beloved son, had only to hear the first few words, "father, I have sinned against . . . " before he knew it was time to celebrate. It was time to celebrate hope!!! The son was lost but now is found. That is cause to celebrate.
I find myself wondering what brought the boy home. The text says he came to his senses. What helped him get his mind right? Was it the prayers of the father? Was it the hope of those who loved him? Was it the smell of his new life? Whatever the catalyst, the result was the warm embrace of his father, the return of a dear and treasured relationship, and a celebration of repentance.
So now, I find myself praying for Nathan. I pray that if it takes a pigpen to bring him home, that the pigpen is just around the corner. I pray that our Father will keep him safe until he comes to his senses. I pray that he will realize what he has lost and come home . . . and so with broken heart and tear filled eyes, I watch and wait.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Standing Water

On a recent shopping trip to Pampa, I noticed large pools of standing water in fields along the road. They were everywhere, mementos of a recent storm. They reminded me of the time I decided to make a pond in our backyard. It was a time in my life that was fraught with chaos and uncertainty. Everyday was a day filled with conflict and I found my soul craving a moment of peace. I convinced myself I would be able to find brief snippets of peace sitting beside a calm, still pool in my backyard. So I walked the property looking for the most level spot I could find. When I discovered the perfect spot, I began to dig. The boys and I worked for several days, preparing the spot for our pool. We dreamed about putting fish in it, we wanted those great big googly-eyed goldfish seen an Japanese restaurants. We talked about the kinds of plants we'd put around it and Nathan even wanted a palm tree to provide shade in the summer. (Did I mention we lived in Montana?) When the hole was deep enough, we carefully placed a newly purchased children's wading pool in it, leveling it ever so carefully. We placed large rocks around it in just the right places to be ascetically pleasing. Then with much anticipation, we filled the pool with water, and immediately sat down beside it to enjoy the stillness and peacefulness of the water. The boys quickly tired of this and ran off to play with their toys or swing on their swingset. I, however, sat by the pool for quite some time. I cleared my mind as I stared into the liquid calm. The stillness of the water stilled my soul and almost entranced me. For the next few days, I found myself making time to go and sit by the pool, absorbing all the peace it offered, craving the serenity of the stillness. It was not long before I noticed the water was not as clear as it had been and shortly after that, it began to exude a strange and not so pleasant smell. As the water began to stagnate, the peace once found there, became harder to find.
I have thought about that pool so many times----usually during chaotic times in my life when my soul is hungering for peace. During those times, I catch myself praying for stillness, asking God to make the water that is my life, still and calm. I find myself wanting to do nothing, nothing but sit still and be calm. I convince myself I should avoid those people in my life who wear conflict so proudly and those who cause my mind to spin and keep me on guard. I easily talk myself into withdrawing from anything and everything that would disrupt the calm. If I allow myself to sit by the pool for long, I find my prayer life stagnating and my relationships and spiritual walk begin to deteriorate-----and die.
In the movie, Air Force One, Harrison Ford, playing the president, makes this comment, "Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice." It is a powerful thought and a biblical one. Jesus said He came to bring a sword, to set family against family----all for the cause of the Gospel. God wants us to be a peaceful people, but He does not want us to be stagnate. Because Christianity is counterculture to materialism and carnality, there will be conflict. There can be no peace between darkness and light, between sin and right. We cannot just stand still, avoiding conflict for the sake of peace and at the expense of justice. There will always be ripples on the water. When I find my pool is still and calm for any length of time, I need to do a quick assessment and make some changes. With changes come the inevitable ripples in the water.
Our faith is active. Our faith is meant to convict and bring about change. It is fed by the Living Water that is Jesus Christ and His Word. In Him we have life ---but there is no life in standing water.


Friday, January 12, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness?

Have you seen this new movie? Everyone is talking about Will Smith and Thandie Newton and Wil's son in this blockbuster, feel good movie. Ned and I saw it on Christmas Eve, right after we heard our son and his wife separated. I think we would have enjoyed it more had our life situation been different. However, for those of you who haven't seen the movie, it is based on a true story of a man who is down on his luck, he is struggling financially, his wife leaves him and he loses his home. He lives with his young son in motels and even a bus station bathroom as he pursues a career in stock brokerage. It is a very moving story as you watch Chris Gardner (Will Smith) struggle to get back on his feet. Ned and I enjoyed the movie. Now everyone is talking about this story, they are making New Year's resolutions and changing career paths based on this movie. Everyone is lauding this movie. Everyone but me.
Don't get me wrong. I thought it was a good movie. I thought it had fine acting and a great story line. However, I thought the title was incongruent with the story. I didn't think Mr. Gardner was pursuing happiness, (spelled with an i or a y). He was trying to survive, trying to do the right thing, trying to provide for his child, trying to obtain a stable job and home for himself and his boy. Those were his goals and in obtaining these goals, he found happiness.
Likewise, we as Christians, are never told to pursue happiness. Happiness is never mentioned as a worthy goal. It is not our destination, but rather a perk from the journey. In the beatitudes, Jesus lists several attributes we are to have and if we possess them, we will be blessed or happy. He says "Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Being poor in spirit is the goal, not being happy. "Happy are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy." Notice it does not say merciful are the happy. Being happy is not the goal, Jesus says so. In Philippians, the Apostle Paul says he learned to be content (happy) in all situations. He did not pursue contentment, he learned it. He became God-focused and God-centered and mission minded and in doing so, he learned to be happy. Matthew 6:33 says "Seek(pursue) first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."
How many people do you know who are constantly pursuing happiness. They change jobs because they are just not happy. They divorce their spouses because they deserve to be happy. They change churches because they are so unhappy where they worship. So I am not happy, waaaa. Happiness is not circumstantial. It is a state of mind and changing my circumstances does not guarantee a mind change, nor happiness. We are not entitled to happiness. We are not owed it. It is not to be our focus.
Happiness is a by-product. Happiness is what happens when we are doing the right things. Happiness is the result of having a mind and heart for God. Happiness is not contingent on circumstances. Happiness is not to be pursued. It is not the destination, not the goal of the journey, not the reason for the trip. If we keep our eyes on heaven--If we work on being Christlike, God-centered and mission minded. If we handle life crises with spiritual strength and dignity---If we treat others like we want to be treated----If we focus on becoming more spiritual and less worldly---If we do not think more highly of ourselves than we ought---If we live for God rather than for happiness, we will be happy---no matter what. The pursuit of godliness equals the attainment of happyness----happyness with no bounds, limitless and eternal.


Thursday, January 11, 2007


I have often thought about the legacy I would leave when my soul finally gives up on my body. I've wondered what would make me worth remembering? What words would be used by others to describe my life? What characteristics do I possess that would make my absence feel like a loss? I Samuel 13:14 tells us God sought out David because he was a "man after God's own heart". Of all the accomplishments, the titles, the infamy of the shepherd king, what made him special, memorable was that he was a man after God's heart. I have thought so much about that phrase and what it really means, and wondered how I become a woman after God's own heart.
When David was watching over his father's sheep, he cared for them and protected them, even at great risk. He sang songs of praise to the Lord and learned to be still and commune with God. Surely, God's heart was touched. The brave adolescent David, was ready and willing to take on the giant because he knew God was with him and with God he could not lose. Surely, God's heart was moved. The adulterous, murderous, lying King David, when confronted by the prophet with his sins, immediately repented without arguing or blaming. That had to touch God's heart. When King Saul was trying to kill him and David took the higher ground, refusing to lift a hand against God's anointed, surely God noticed. When the poet king David wrote the Psalms, telling of God's workings and His majesty and power, when David begged God for comfort and protection and then immediately thanked Him for providing, God had to be glorified. When this mighty warrior king David wanted to rescue God's Ark of the Covenant and avenge those who would dare steal what was for Israel alone, God must have been pleased. When the rich and powerful King David wanted to build a glorious house for God and a place for His people to worship, surely God smiled at David's offer.
It seems what made David the man God wanted, the man God trusted to rule His people, the man after His heart, is that David thought about God things, David did God's work, David acted on God's instructions. David was a man after God's heart because David cared about God's heart, he cared about what God cared about. He recognized the majesty of God. He wanted to please God. He loved God more than he loved David. That's what made David God's man.
So, the lesson for me, if I really want to be remembered as God's woman is: think about God things, do God's work, follow God's instructions, care about pleasing God and love God more than I love me. If I do this, I will please God, He will be glorified, and I will be a "woman after God's own heart." And that will be my legacy.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Life-Giving Blood

Ned and I donated blood this week. We do this whenever we can and have done so for many years. We are convinced this is a good way to practice giving and show we care for others, and possibly save lives. If you have ever given blood, you know you walk in and receive a question sheet regarding behaviors and activities that could potentially taint your blood and make it useless. You know they have a handout describing exactly how your blood will be used. They tell you how many lives can be saved with your blood. They tell you how great the need is for this life saving fluid. They even have testimonials from some who's lives have been saved by blood donations. It is a very positive and empowering experience.
We sing the song, Power In The Blood" and it talks about the saving and cleansing power of the blood of Christ. Christ "donated" His blood to save everyone. He willing gave His blood to give us life-----to keep us from death. This blood washes away our sins and makes us pure enough to stand in the presence of the eternal God forever. This blood gives us access to the throne of Heaven and all the privileges that go with it. We have power because of His pure, untainted, life-giving blood. Holy Scripture tells us without a blood sacrifice we are lost, dead and dying. We are powerless and hopeless. But, when we come into contact with His blood, we are alive, empowered and saved.
Just as there is great need for our blood to save earthly lives, there is an even greater need for the Blood that saves spiritual lives. How sad it is when a blood shortage causes loss of life. Spiritually there is never a blood shortage, just an information shortage. Everyone and anyone can have access to the Blood of Christ. There is plenty to go around if they only know where to find it. Ned and I encourage others to donate blood. But we believe it is even more important that everyone know about the saving power of the blood of Christ.
Just as the human body cannot live without blood, so the spiritual being requires The Blood of Christ to live. There is no alternative but death. Today is the day we should decide that everyone we come into contact with will learn about the power in the Blood. It is our duty, it shows we care, and most importantly, it saves lives.

Romans 5:9 " Since we have now been justified with His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!"

PS The workshop is at Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock TX the last weekend of January. You can call them for info. 800-658-9553--Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Assassination Game

Did you know there is a game called "Assassination"? Evidently players attempt to make their way through a maze to kill celebrities. Doesn't it seem odd that we have made murder entertaining? While none of us would dare really kill someone, we seem to get an adrenalin rush in pretending to do so. Psychologists and others in the mental health profession believe we live in a culture with a rapidly deteriorating respect for life. I believe this is true. I believe it starts with a disrespect for others in general.
It seems we have become a sitcom society wherein sarcasm and insults are weapons of choice. We have no qualms about assassinating someone's character. We feel no guilt when we destroy another's self esteem. In fact, we often find it humorous. I am guilty of this also. Our skewed sense of humor has led to a damaged and wounded respect for others.
In Matthew, on the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that words do matter. He says we cannot murder our brother, neither can we destroy him with our tongues. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians tells us we should put a censor on our words and only speak what is edifying and needed. The wisest man who ever lived, in the book of Proverbs tells us that words can destroy a city. Words matter!!
We call it venting, we call it sharing our concerns, we call it therapy, we call it humor. No matter what we call it, it is really assassination. We are murdering and killing others with our words. We talk about our husband's faults and the mistakes our children make. We tell friends how horrible our inlaws are and how badly they treat us. We tell our co-workers how tyrannical our boss is. And if that isn't enough, we make jokes at the expense of others. We do it all the time. And it may be that others are truly doing bad things, making stupid mistakes, behaving ugly towards us. That may in fact be true. However, God does not hold us accountable for what others do to us, but rather how we respond to them. Did you get that? On the day of judgement, we are not judged by what others do to us, we are however, judged by what we do to them. It does not matter what atrocities we suffer at their hands. It does matter what evil deeds we perpetrate with our tongues.
I don't know why this is such a difficult concept for us. The Amish seemed to have grasped it In the recent school shooting, I was so impressed that not one Amish person said ugly things about the man who had murdered their innocents. In fact, several of them even went to the killer's family to offer comfort to them. They seemed to understand and respect human life. Even in their grief, they did not verbally or physically attack. They used no sarcasm, no gossip, no threats. They refused to harm the assassin, his family or his character. That is an amazing example to the rest of us.
We cannot be children of God and deliberatelty misuse our words. We cannot be representatives of the Kingdom and use our tongues to destroy others, to damage their character, to harm their self esteem. We cannot be examples to the lost and let our words be evil and out of control. Jesus would never do that . . . and neither should we.
The assassination game, it is not really a game is it? Games are supposed to be fun. Fun is when noone gets hurt. It is time for us to be more Christlike. There should be no assassins in the church. This is not a game.

Eph. 4:29
"Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth but only what is profitable for building one another up according to their needs."

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Radiant Bride

Like most young girls, I used to love weddings. I liked reading the bridal books and watching movies about getting married and planning for the ceremony. I have seen some really beautiful weddings. I have also seen some weddings with multiple mishaps making them less than beautiful. But, I have never seen an ugly bride. No matter what physical characteristics, handicaps, birthmarks, dress choices, weight, etc. brides are always beautiful. They are always beaming, always radiant.
I began thinking about the radiance of brides and of course my mind jumped to the biblical idea that we are the bride of Christ. I love that illustration and all that goes along with it. I love that while our Bridegroom Jesus is preparing our eternal home for us, we patiently wait here in anticipation, preparing for the "ceremony". Revelation 19:6-9 talks about our wedding to the Lamb. It says that our bridal gown is made up of righteous deeds. I love that. We all know that the love our groom feels for us is not dependent on the beauty of our gown and yet we tried on gown after gown after gown to find the one, the only one, the right one that would take his breath away. I love that when we do good deeds, we are not earning our Groom's love but rather making for ourselves a glorious wedding gown.
Wedding gowns are lovely, but they are not what makes the bride so radiant. As a bride walks down the aisle, dressed in lace and pearls and tulle, she beams with hope and joy. The hope and joy of the bride is what makes her radiant. She is filled with love for her groom and is filled with hopeful anticipation, with magical dreams of their future together. That is why she is radiant.
The dictionary says radiance is "being filled with light" and "emitting light". How wonderful is that? We know that Jesus is the light of the world. He is the light. When we become His bride, we are filled with the Light and begin emitting light---we start shining. And in doing so, we become radiant, filled with hope and joy, ever the radiant bride.

Psalm 34:5 "Those who look to Him are radiant. . . "

PS. For those who are asking, I have been preparing some lessons for a speaking engagement and have been really focused on them. Once the workshop is over, I will be posting everyday again. Thank you for your encouragement.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Strength Training

I've been reading the book of Matthew in preparation for a workshop later this month. I love the story of Jesus. From His birth and ministry to His death and resurrection, the story is timeless and unique. Everytime I read this story, I discover some new little jewel. Right now I am intrigued by the story of the temptations in chapter four.
I find it interesting that Messiah was "led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted." The Spirit led Him to be tempted... but why? Was the Spirit helping to prepare Jesus for His ministry? Did Jesus "need" to be tempted so that He could understand temptation? So He could be an example of unyeilding spirit? Were the temptations meant to illustrate the strength of the Saviour, the resolute, conscious decision making of the Lord? And then the idea that Jesus fasted for forty days and nights as if to weaken His humanity---wouldn't this make Him even more susceptible to Satan's wiles? Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every manner just as we are. We know there are times when our resistance is lowered and we are more susceptible to temptation. Satan knows that and Jesus knows that too. Satan will attack us when we are already in a weakened state but, we know that it is in our weakness, God shows His power and grace. (II Corinthians 12:9)
The Bible teaches that the Spirit was left here to guide and comfort, teach and minister to us. It also tells us that we are refined and strengthened when we overcome temptations. Spiritual muscles are like physical muscles, they do not get stronger unless they face occasional resistance. We become spiritually stronger when we are tested, when we are tried, when we are tempted. The temptation is not wrong, it is the yielding to temptation that is sinful. Temptation, though not always pleasant is always needed. The Spirit knows that.
The Matthew text says that when Jesus resisted the best Satan had to throw at Him, that Satan went away for a season. Notice Jesus did not try to run away. Satan left Him. We cannot hide from temptation. Although Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, remember that Adam and Eve were tempted in paradise. Satan will find us and try to tempt us wherever we are.
Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness when Jesus was physically vulnerable. Satan would come to Jesus again in the garden when He was emotionally vulnerable. And once again, Satan's attempts would be thwarted. In both instances, after Jesus was victorious, angels were sent to care for Him. Hebrews 1:14 says that ministering angels are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. Our Father knows we need ministering to when we have returned from battling the Father of Lies.
I am beginning to think we have an incorrect view of temptation. We see it as something horrible and impossible to deal with. We want to avoid it. It appears in looking at these texts that temptation is necessary and inevitable. Temptation is part of our growth process. Temptation is what refines and matures us. It is in temptation the power and grace of God are most obvious. Temptation sounds ominous but in fact, when we are tempted, the Spirit is involved. He provides a way of escape. He provides care, comfort and guidance. The Spirit reminds us of the Word that dwells in us. And when we are victorious, when we refuse to yield, I believe we are ministered to by the Spirit and angels. Temptation is inevitable. We become strong enough to overcome by overcoming. Every time we win, we get stronger. Remaining faithful in all circumstances including temptation, that is our own spiritual strength training.


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Locus of Control

When I worked in psych, we had many patients with problems regarding locus of control. Some were struggling with internal locus, believing they personally could control events. Others struggled with external locus, convinced that others controlled events in their lives. Whether internal or external, the struggle was the same. The patient's battle for control was seemingly unending and seemingly hopeless. Psych patients aren't the only ones who struggle with control issues.
I would venture to say that each and every one of us have struggled with control. Some of us have no self-control and therefore fall prey to addictions, to weight problems, overwhelming financial debt, problems with lying or gossip and other manifestations of being "out of control". Others of us, in an attempt to control everything and everyone around us, create relationship problems, experience daily frustrations, and go on frequent "power trips." And some of us, struggle with both.
Self-control should be an important part of a Christian's life. Listed as one of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, it keeps company with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness , goodness, faithfulness and gentleness---all characteristics describing the Spirit driven, Spirit indwelled Christian. Self-control is listed as one of the qualifications of both deacons and elders and I Thessalonians reminds us all to be self-controlled. I Peter says we should "prepare our minds for action, be self-controlled." And later it says we should be self controlled so we can pray and that we should be self-controlled and alert. So obviously, self-control is an attribute we should possess. We should be in control of ourselves! And when we are not, we have problems.
Control issues also occur when we attempt to control those around us. We know our relationships would be much more fulfilling if others would just do what we say. We would never struggle with our marriages if our husbands would just try to do things our way. We would never stress over our children if they would just obey and do what we tell them. Our work would be great if everyone there would just do what we ask, the way we ask, and in the time frame we expect. Sounds sort of silly doesn't it? Yet, millions of us struggle with relationships because we attempt to control others.
As we mature as Christians, as we grow in our Christian walk, we have to reach the point when we realize, accept and embrace the fact that we are not God. There is a God and we are not Him. As God, our creator, is truly the One---the only One with the ability to control. If we insist, He will allow us to believe we are in control of things around us. Because we do not have the ability to control anything but ourselves, we usually make a mess of things. We are like the toddler learning to walk, our Father reaches down His hand to help us and we say, "I can do it" and jerk away only to fall and skin our knees.
We can neither control events nor can we control people. God does not ask us to, He does not expect us to, and He does not want us to. He has both the power and ability to control all and even with that power and ability, He chooses to give us choice--He expects us to control ourselves and only ourselves. It is all about Lordship---He is our Lord. He will help us become less controlling of others and more controlling of ourselves. He will govern our lives if we just let Him. The locus of control, neither external or internal-----it has to be eternal.
If we would work on controlling ourselves, I am convinced we would be a people with fewer weight problems, less financial debt, more fulfilling relationships and fewer life frustrations. We have to let God control what is His to control and begin exercising the self-control that makes us better Christians----Christians with happier lives.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sweet Treats

Last night, I know I fell asleep with a smile on my face. You see yesterday was such a wonderful day!!! I woke up to fresh, hot coffee. As I sat with my cup, my dog on my lap and visited with my husband, the sun started to come up. Its rays glistened on the ice, still covering the branches of the trees, and each branch sparkled as if carefully dressed in a shiny foil coating. It was so beautiful and although the brilliance hurt my eyes, I could not will myself to turn away. I stood at the kitchen window, marveling at the detailed beauty, when Madi woke up. She sleepily reached out to me and I sat in the rocker, snuggling this sweet child as she continued with the work of waking up. After several kisses and hugs, she decided she needed to converse with me. We had wonderful conversations, (about 15 of them in 7 minutes). She told me how much her daddy loves pickles and how she thought her mama and baby brother were missing her. She told me about her preschool and how much she learned there. She sang her ABC's and counted as far as she could count. She asked me if I was proud of her and I was. I watched her, smiling and marvelling at the amazing capacity God gave us for learning.
Today was the day I would take her back home. Her uncle, Colt, would meet us in Amarillo. Madi was very excited. We decided to eat at McDonald's and wait for him there. I watched as this beautiful four year old removed all the hard chocolate coating from her ice cream, and then used pieces of it as scoops for the ice cream, just as her uncle Chad had done many years ago. Her smiling face and dancing eyes were only made sweeter by the chocolate mustache encircling her sweet mouth.
After handing her off to her uncle, who by the way, looks like he is 16 but is married with a child, I headed for home, reminded of what it was like to be so young and excited to watch my babies grow and experience life. As I crossed the Sanford Dam, the sun was just setting over Lake Meredith. It was vibrant and beautiful and looked as if God had painted the sky and then folded the earth in half, smearing the colors on the water. There was a slight breeze and as it blew across the tinted water, the water seemed to come alive and dance toward the shore. It was beautiful.
It was dark by the time I neared home. As I drove across the plains in the dark, I noticed how beautiful my Father made the night. The moon was full and bright and the sky was clear. Lights from the neighboring towns encircled me in the darkness and the stars sparkled in the sky. It looked as if God had dressed the world for a party with sequined cuffs and glitter in her hair. It was very peaceful and very beautiful.
I arrived home to be greeted by Ned and my dog, as only they can greet, with hugs and kisses and tail wagging. It was good to be home. As I lay down to sleep, nestled in Ned's arms with the little dog snuggled up next to me, I felt the most incredible sense of contentment and awe and I went to sleep--smiling. I am so grateful to have a Father who not only provides for my needs but also makes my world so beautiful. While He made my world to be functional, I am thankful it was also made lovely to look at. From the ice on the trees to the granddaughter to the sunset to the stars, I live in a magnificently gorgeous world. What a treat!!!!
Psalm 145:3-6 "Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of you mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of you majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness."
What a treat!!!

May everyday be filled with sweet treats for each of you,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Its All Good

I was scanning through those end of the year specials on tv. I was surprised at some of the titles. There are specials on the most popular celebrity murders, celebrity oops, dumbest criminals, etc. I am amazed at several things, one, that someone thought these were worth researching and compiling videos of, two, that we would want to want them, and three that our sense of right and wrong are so skewed we are not offended by them.
Isaiah 5:20-21 says "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight."
There is very little "good" entertainment anymore. What we call good movies or good music very often are anything but. Even the commercials are suggestive and filled with sexual innuendos. My foster son used to say "Its all good" about everything, work, church, money, everything. But the fact is, it is not all good. We have become a society of acceptance. We accept everything and everyone. As a social worker, I believe we can accept the person without accepting or condoning their actions. However, I have felt the push to accept even the sinful actions. These sins have been renamed: illnesses, predispositions, addictions, self-preservation, justifiable and even orientations. Whatever our society chooses to call drunkeness, drug abuse, sexual perversion, homosexuality, lying, etc. God still calls them sin.
We live in a country that allows its citizens to make choices. And for generations we have allowed our countrymen to choose. Many have chosen deviant behaviors and those behaviors have affected our society. The line between right and wrong has become blurry, the difference between good and evil a little hazy and sin has gone from a choice to an involuntary affliction.
I believe God teaches us to be empathetic and merciful to sinful people. But I also believe He has given us His Word to enlighten us, giving us a standard between right and wrong. He would not ask us to do right if knowing right from wrong was undiscoverable. We must be reading His Word. In the scriptures, we will find it really is black and white. It really is right and wrong. It really is evil and good. We also find that we are in a sad state when we get confused. Woe unto us when we call evil good and good evil. It really isn't all good.