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Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Woman of Grace

We are between Christmas and New Year's. Always interesting. People are tired of celebrations, parties, upheaval in schedule. Yet, we feel obligated to move on to yet one more celebration New Years Eve/Day.

I'm just thinking, the week between Christmas and New year would be well spent if we would lay aside time for fasting, prayer and God's Word. This would be a most meaningful time to prepare for the incoming year. Have I done it? No. I wish I could say "yes." I have had a great time with family. No doubt. Lots of fun, laughter, food, games, discussions around God's Word, and all around fellowship. But slack on Bible reading and prayer. Shame.

I'm just thinking of New Year's resolutions. I don't do that either. I fail miserably at them. But I wonder if it would be easier to keep them, if they were made in light of God's Word. What is it that God wants me do in the New Year? What is it that needs changing in my life?

I just completed a book study on Being A Woman of Grace. At the end of the book, I realized my idea of being graceful was quite different than what a woman of grace really is. I have been given love, forgiveness, kindness, mercy, and much more from a God that is full of grace and mercy to me. So if I have been forgiven and loved, I need to pass that on to others. The fullness of God's grace to me needs to be passed on to others.

My desire is to bless others with words and deeds. To be ready to forgive and not judge. To love instead of criticize. To be a woman of grace....

God bless you


Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Gift

I spoke with Patrick last night (he's in Haiti), and he just returned from a mission trip to a village far away from Mayette. This place is tucked away in the mountains, very remote, and he described it as "in a different world." There were 16 men from the Mayette Church who went on this trip. Patrick didn't have exact numbers, but many people accepted Jesus. This is what Christmas is all about. People coming to Jesus.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the social holiday spirit, and forget to offer the best gift in all the world to someone who needs a special Someone, Jesus! That Gift is all wrapped up in love. Not only does this Gift come wrapped in Love, but has a beautiful ribbon of Peace and a bow of Grace. Now that is a gift like no other.

Today we leave for Sarasota to enjoy the holidays with my family. My mother just arrived in Sarasota a few days ago, and will now be living in Florida at my brother's place. She was so excited for this move. And I'm excited to have her closer to me. :)

I will try to blog occasionally even though I am not home. I do hope each of you will have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

It's all about Jesus, Immanuel God with us. What a name! Glorious.

God bless you

Friday, December 21, 2012

Room in My Heart?

Reading Luke 2 where the angel visited Elizabeth and Mary, I was thinking of the comparison of today. Preparing for Christmas, activities are increased. Our busyness is exhausting. But the beginning was not so. When Zecharias was in the temple serving, the angel announced that his aged wife would bear a child. He didn't believe and became mute until the child was born and named.

Mary, a young virgin, also was visited by Gabriel (same angel that visited Zecharias) was in awe of the angel's presence. She listened, believed and was in awe that she was chosen. When she visited her cousin Elizabeth, the worship service began. Mary sang the ultimate worship song, which is now known as the Magnificant. The baby in Elizabeth's womb also leaped in the womb.

What do you and I do with the call of God on our lives? Do we doubt as Zecharias? Do we humbly accept and believe as Mary? The birth of Jesus was so out of culture. Such an "unbelievable" story! Really, who would ever believe a young girl, virgin, and who says she is pregnant by the Holy Spirit! Absurd! But that is how the Christmas season began. It lasted for nine months.

Through this we have a beautiful worship song, read it in Luke 1:46-55. Mary, a poor virgin, the mother of Jesus, sings the song of worship. The lowest of the low employees, the shepherds—dirty, smelly, taking care of sheep out in the field—get the first birth announcement. Not the queen, or a prince, or even the king received the great news. No one had room for Mary, not the Ritz or any other 5 star hotel. Oh no, just a barn...dirty, smelly, and not even a beautiful nursery with matching furniture, curtains, stuffed animals, a nice rocker to sit and nurse the King of Kings. No just a barn for Baby Jesus.

Sad thing is, nothing has changed until now. We give Jesus the leftovers in our heart. After we have all we want, then Jesus can have what's left. Still today, Jesus chooses the most unlikely characters to do His work. Usually not the most educated, the wealthiest, the most popular. No, He calls those who have a "heart" for Him.

Where are you in this Christmas story? You know the answer.

God bless you

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's All About Attitude

Attitude...yes, it is all about attitude. My perspective of the day will develop according to my attitude. If I dread the day, and am already deciding that things are going to be difficult and aggravating. It will be just that.

This morning as Rachel went out the door for work, she asked, "Mom, you will have the 2 boys all day without either Agape or I. Your day will be hard." I can make it hard if I already decide that my day is going to be an interruption to "my" plans. And mostly that is why our days go awry. We don't like our plans interrupted.

But if I have an attitude that God is in the midst of my day, He has promised me strength and grace, and most of all nothing happens to my life without God's consent. So the day will be good. Now I haven't prayed for patience for today, I admit. A sure way of little boy fights all day. Smile. You do know when we pray for patience, God gives us trials? Patience doesn't come with good things happening.

I expect the boys to be good today. I expect us to have a good time. I expect to learn from God today. All of that is wrapped up in the arms of God's Grace. I love His Grace. His overflowing grace is indescribable, and can't even be compared to hot fudge covering a bowl of ice cream! His grace is so much more!!

So today Zion, Nate and grandma will have a good day. Gotta watch those pirate and knight fights, though. The wooden swords can hurt. Smile.

God is so good. He is truly Good.

God bless you

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dark Christmas

Christmas....now the CT shooting...a dark Christmas for those families. I cannot imagine the emotional trauma among the parents, spouse, siblings, and extended families.

Then this morning I read the following "post" by Max Lucado. I will copy it here, and hoping you too will be blessed and encouraged.


 
Dear Jesus,
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord.  These children, Lord.  Innocence violated.  Raw evil demonstrated.
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty.  Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Hopefully,
Your Children

© 2012 Max Lucado

I pray this will encourage you as it did me. It really put into words what I feel but had no way express it. We do live in a very dark world, but we serve the Light of the World who shines the path for us. 

God bless you 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gift of Grace

Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how to answer each one."

Does this mean always? Like even in Christmas shopping? Someone steps ahead of me in the check-out? Someone takes "my" parking space? Schedules are already packed to the max, then the church calls for an extra hand for the special program. Does grace cover your speech?

When food is seasoned with salt, it gives a good flavor. So when our speech is flavored with grace, it leaves a good taste. Way too often, Jesus' birthday, as we call Christmas, is covered with bad attitudes, selfishness, anger. Oh we sing joy to the world, but are angry at our husband. We sing Silent Night but are yelling at the kids.

Back to the challenge of grace..."Grace should so much be a part of me that it spills over into every area of my life." (Cynthia Heald),  But what does grace really mean to me, and how can I live it out to others?

Think about it...a person of grace gives freely, God has freely given His son so that we might live
David K. Lowery puts it this way: "God prizes not the size of the gift, but the giver's sincerity, spontaneity, and joyful willingness." I love this. Our giving should not be limited to Christmas and certainly not giving to be given in return.

A person of Grace speaks with wisdom. Putting it plainly, think before talk. What I say and how I say it, says volumes of who I am.

This Christmas let's give the gift of love, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of a meek and quiet spirit all wrapped up beautifully with God's endless supply of Grace. He has given it to you and me. Let's bless someone else with His grace.

God bless you


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Have You Lost the Star

This morning Zion stuck the end of an art paint brush in his ear. It was up on the counter, but he climbed up and got it. He is fine, but he was hurting for a bit.

Rachel remarked, "I don't know why he did it, we just told him yesterday not to do it."

Do adults always do what they know they shouldn't do? Really? Do we expect more from our children than we are willing we do? We need to be told over and over again, and God even gives us harsh experiences to help us learn. And still we keep wandering off the road.

Do we lose the star? Does the star hide itself behind the clouds because we are so determined to go our own way? I think of the wise men. I wonder how they lost the star? Did they assume the king was in Jerusalem and so just weren't following the star? Or did God cover the star with a cloud, so that Herod would know a king is born? So many "whys" in this story.

So it is with our life. So many "whys." But even with all our disobedience and failing, God is faithful in showing us the Star again and again to help us find the way. Let's be patient with our children. Don't expect more from them than what you are willing live before them. In many ways, we are the "star" that our kids follow. There will be a day when they need to follow The Star, but until they are old enough, it is parents and grandparents that must shine for them.

Shine today wherever you are! Jesus is counting on you.

God bless you

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Too Busy?

Christmas. Right around the corner, as we say. Shopping, baking, festivities. All of these make for a wonder holiday experience.

But wait...so many times there is sadness, loneliness, bickering among families..Christmas arrives and we are disgruntled. What happened? Could it be that we are trying to do what everyone else is doing? Could it be that this is really not the way to celebrate? I believe what happened in Bethlehem when Jesus was born is not so far removed from us today. That day and night, everyone was scurrying about, preparing for the big census taking. I am sure there were meetings, sacrifices, temple activities and friends getting together. Oh what fun! Except for one family...they slept in the cattle stable. No room anywhere. A baby was born...the chosen One for our redemption. Yet, no one knew. Everyone was too busy. He was born...no doctor, no midwife, no bed or cradle. There was none of the normal statements... "oh isn't he cute? Isn't he precious? What did you name him?" No just mom and dad and their baby in the barn.

Is that how we still are? Too busy to worship Him? Too busy to really worship Him? Too busy...to realize Jesus is here. He wants to be in our hearts and lives. Actually He wants to lead us in such a way that we can just follow Him instead of society around us. But if I do things differently, won't people frown at me? Won't they think I'm a Christmas grinch? Yes, they probably will. But who would you rather have your praise from? People or God?

What is it that keeps you from worshipping Jesus this Christmas? What is so important that we miss the importance of worship? 

He is Immanuel, God with us. Give Him room in your heart. Then you will know Peace and Good will to all. 

God bless you

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Leaping The Wall


Psalm 18:29-30 "For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect. The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him."

When I read this verse today,  I had to ask myself the question, Do I have faith to jump the wall? Do I have faith to go beyond those barriers that would hide my vision from the Lord? Knowing David had many literal walls to go over to run from his enemies, yet he went knowing that God was His shield. I can only leap the wall in the power of the Lord.

This month we will often be reminded of Jesus' birth. Mary had an unbelievable "wall" to hurdle. Not only personally, to believe that it is even possible to be pregnant by virginity, but also with Joseph, family and society. She knew the consequences of being pregnant when she was engaged. In spite of that she responded that she is honored to be chosen.

I praise the Lord that she believed and knew that God was her shield and that His way is perfect. She became the "odd one" in her family and those around her. I am sure the news travelled quickly, yes, even without phones or TV. Can you imagine what the media today would do with such news?!

I don't know any other season of the year when it is so difficult to go against the tide. We soon get caught up with over-spending, over-eating, and almost nightly celebrations and parties. And the sad thing is, it is done in the name of Jesus, even though we hardly ask Him for His plan in our shopping sprees. Am I saying taking Christ from Christmas? Not especially, although I believe He has been taken out of our ways to celebrate Christmas for a long time. We just don't realize it because we are in the middle of it.

If you don't understand what I am talking about, you may contact me. Or better yet, start seeking the Lord on this matter. I believe He will show you step by step as you obey His leading. 

What is your "wall" this Christmas? By God you can leap the wall.

God bless you

Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Christmas to You?

The last day of November...of course, Black Friday has already thrown many people in the christmas mode. Trees are up and decorated, lawns have their decorations and lights out. My sister has started her holiday baking. Shopping has begun and goes until December 24th, the last day for those who are last minute shoppers. The excitement runs in our blood.

Then there are the churches—banquets, concerts, programs, cookies to prisoners, parties, etc.
All of this is fun, really fun.

But....where does Jesus fit in all of this? Does He fit in? How much prayer goes into these things before we do them? I'm not saying it is bad what we do, but I am questioning if we really do it for God's glory, or is it mostly for our enjoyment?

Many Christians are very concerned when our government wants to take Christ our of Christmas, but I'm afraid many churches have done that for a long time. When Jesus was born, shepherds came to worship Him. Later on the wise men came and worshipped Him. Wise men didn't give their gifts to someone else to make an impression, but they gave what they had to Jesus. How can we do that? Give to someone who can't give a gift in return.

One of my most memorable Christmases is when my sister and I decided to make a food box for a pastor and his family, who we had found it hardly has food for their table. It was so fun to fill the box. But it was really fun to see their excitement when they received the box of food. But they were also totally surprised that someone had remembered them at Christmastime.

My challenge to each of us is to worship Him this Christmas season. Pray before you buy that gift. And maybe we should pray before we max out a credit card buying a gift that someone doesn't need or even want.

Yes, go ahead and say it, Barb is a Christmas grinch...I know it. But it is fine, I'm a happy grinch. What makes me happy is family...not gifts...that way you don't worry if you bought the right gift...no gift, no worry...just family having a good time together. Love. Peace. Joy. That's Christmas.

What is Christmas for you?

God bless you


Monday, November 26, 2012

God is So Big

Psalm 3:4-5 "I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me."

This brings great peace to me. David was on the run. He had enemies coming after him. Yet, he knew His God. He knew that God would hear his cry. The verse right after that says even though there are ten thousand enemies coming after him, he will not fear.

This is a picture of total peace that passes understanding. How many times have I worried and fretted over some minor circumstance? I need not be afraid. God hears our cries. He knows our every need. He knows who we are and where we are. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

In Matthew 1 we read that Jesus was called Immanuel, God with us. The same God that delivered David will deliver us. He will lead us in a way that is good for us. Not always the way we choose, but the way He chooses for us.

And in all this, we can lay down and sleep. We can rest. He knows our every cry and need.
This evening before the children went to bed, they were singing "Our God is SO BIG" and we need to believe that with our whole heart. He holds the world in His hand. He is a big God. He is the best there is.

Let's pray for those who are away from the Lord, not knowing which way they go. Satan has their eyes blinded, and yet God is only a hand away waiting for them to call His name.

Our God is so Big... He is Immanuel!
God bless you.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Clouds Obey

Still reveling in the Greatness of God, and so thankful for the God He is!!

Job 36:24-37:24 As I read this I was in awe of a God that is so powerful and awesome, yet cares for me. Verse 11b -12 "...He scatters His bright clouds and they swirl about, being turned by HIs guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth."

That is a powerful verse, showing the power of God. I don't normally look at clouds and think, "God you are telling those clouds where to go and what to do."  Almost sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? He forms the clouds and their floating around in the air, are all obedience to His bidding. The clouds, wind, rain, ice are all under His commands.

Am I as quick to obey His bidding as the clouds are? Do I think for a moment that they ask, "Let me see, God...what you are telling me to do makes little sense. So let me just think about it. Actually, God, I see I'm just a little puff of a cloud, not much value actually when I compare myself to the other big and beautiful clouds. So perhaps, my job isn't as important as theirs."

If the clouds obey His commands, how much more should I. He did create me with an eternal soul. There is a purpose for each of His commands. He is Omnipotent! He is worthy of my praise. He is worthy of my obedience. He has a purpose for me...and you.

Of all the Thanksgiving blessings, Jesus is the Ultimate Blessing sent by an Ever Loving Father. We are loved, forgiven and blessed beyond any thing we can imagine.

God bless you

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Feast

Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful blessed day.

Many families will have a "table spread" tomorrow. Loaded with an array of food, and the aroma brings an appetite like no other. Families who are connected and love to be together. There are families who gather just because it is tradition, with little love connected to the meal.

My family does celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way. This is the holiday of the year! It is eating, games, football for the guys outside (snow or shine), music, worship, laughter. It is always in Indiana...so those of us in FL don't usually go.

But this rejoicing will not be compared to the wedding feast prepared for us in Heaven. Can you imagine? What will the food be like? Pumpkin Pie with a crust of gold? If Heaven is beyond our imagination, then the feast will be too. Food like we never knew existed! There will be no flaws...turkey too done or not done enough, gravy lumpy, pie burned, coffee too weak. I'm just imagining and comparing. I know, there is no comparison.

A partial Thankful List for me:
Family
God's Grace
Forgiveness
Peace that passes all understanding
Friends
Trials

Leaving on a humorous note—last night as little Nate was praying, he ended with "Thank you God that Promise and Zion are not here. That way I can everything myself." (that little "self" is already so strong).

God bless you

Monday, November 19, 2012

Does God Need Me?

The Quiet. The Silence. It echoes, well almost. Agape's little ones have left for Indiana for a week to spend Thanksgiving with Grandparents and mommy. This is their first excursion in 2 years without Agape.  They were excited that they were going on a long trip. Smile.

Is this what God feels when we step away or get busy with things not involving Him? Does He feel the emptiness that is there when we leave? He remembers us. He knows where we are every moment. We cannot hide from Him, no matter how hard we try. That is how much He loves us...so much that He doesn't want to be without us!

God is all-sufficient. He doesn't "need" us, but He desires us. Don't you just love it when someone just wants to be with you just because? Not for a need, but just because they love being with you. That is how God is.  I mean, really, He holds the world in His hand. Does He need me? No, but He wants me.

This will be a busy week for many of us with Thanksgiving activities. Let's remember that God desires to be a part of our celebration. If you will be with unsaved family members, remember you are God's Ambassador to them. You may not even be able to say much, but they will read you as you live out your Christian Life before them.

Let's approach this Thanksgiving season with a true heart of thankfulness.

God bless you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Indescribable!

"Creation will always fail at attempting to describe the Creator. In many ways God is indescribable, incomprehensible, and unimaginable. He is so far above us and He yet chooses to operate through us. That my friends, is grace."  Jon Payne

Even creation cannot even begin to show us the majesty of God. He is indescribable. When I think of the grandeur of the mountains, the vastness of the ocean, the beauty in the depths of the ocean, the beauty of the night sky...all this does not describe the God we serve. It only reminds us how Great He is, and we cannot comprehend it.

Yet in all this, He considers you and me worthy of His Son's death on the cross!! That Jesus considered us worthy of His suffering....and too many times we walk away in our own ways, not considering Him worthy of our praise.

God takes pleasure in His children. He celebrates us...He rejoices in us! Does He want obedience? Absolutely! He knows our obedience will bring joy to our hearts.

So if today, you struggle, think of creation and know that your God is greater than creation. He is worthy of your praise. He can be trusted. He is faithful. He does not sway as the leaves of the trees. He is solid as a Rock! He is our Rock!!

God bless you



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Procrastinations

I had great expectations to watch the solar eclipse today. Guess what? You guessed it...I forgot.  Isn't that the way it is, good intentions. Then at the end of the day, we realize we didn't accomplish what we planned to do. Many reasons for that..."I just don't feel like doing _________ right now." "I'll just wait until tomorrow." And other excuses are on the list.

There are many things we can procrastinate doing. But there is one thing we can never procrastinate...the day God calls our name. The day when my life is complete on earth. I'm not saying this to be morbid. This should challenge us to do all we can for God while we have time. Today is all we are promised. Not tomorrow.

God doesn't procrastinate...He's always on time. He is faithful today and every day. He never withholds  His love....His angels don't procrastinate. They are messengers on time and at command. We are so blessed to serve a God that never forgets (except our sins when He forgives them). He never has senior moments. He is I am, not I was or I will be. He is always in the present.

We are honored to host a missionary lady and her daughter from Costa Rica for a few days. We enjoy sharing experiences and stories. Amazing how similar stories are from one country to another. God is so good in helping His children to network with each other.

God bless you


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now elections are completed and the work begins. How can we help?

I was reading Ezra 9:6 & 8 this morning, and was "stopped" in my tracks.

"O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the Heavens. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage."

The nation of Israel had been taken into captivity and now returning to Jerusalem. There was intermarriage between the pagan nations and Israel. This was the sin that brought Ezra to his knees. He was humiliated before God. I think we tend to classify sin. Some sin is passable, it just doesn't seem so bad. Other sins are worthy of rising up in a demonstration against it. Of course, the sin that isn't so bad is the one I am involved in. So easy to make excuses.

Many churches conveniently overlook sin so that no one is offended. How can we expect national leaders do any better! We can't. Abortion, same sex marriage, and rejection to Israel are sin, but so is hatred (God calls hating our brother murder). Is this different than abortion? How many people have left a church because they can't forgive another brother? I guess what I'm saying is that I expect the ungodly to have non-biblical standards, but we should be appalled when we as Christians make excuses for our sins.

I love the phrase "to give us a peg in His holy place" so that we may be enlightened. Give us revival in our bondage. For you see, seldom is there revival where Godly principles reign. We need revival in this country, and it won't come through the president. It will come through prayer and fasting. Falling on our knees before the Lord, in humility, crying out to Him who can bring revival.

Lift your eyes for our redemption is near!

God bless you




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sisters Are a Blessing

Sisters are a special blessing from God. I think Mary and Martha had many sister moments. Different personalities, yet very close to Jesus. Jesus loved this family. Jesus stopped in their home often for a rest.

I had a wonderful restful weekend with my sister and husband. Mary and I had a great time with coffee, talking and talking some more. We didn't need entertainment or going out and about to do things (we did a little of that), but mostly just being together. It was what we needed. We had times of laughter, times of serious talk, moments of reflection, and those times of remembering Arlene. Put this all together with cups of coffee, it really can't get much better than this. Smile.

Tomorrow is a special day. Patrick returns home after being gone 7 weeks. He was "stranded" in Mayette and extra week because of the hurricane. The road from Mayette to the river is not passable by vehicle. He went to the river by motorcycle. Took a raft across the river (before the storm, vehicles could cross the river). Then someone with a vehicle was waiting for him on the other side, and brought him to the city.

God bless you

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Storm Around Us

2 Chronicles 32:31b "God withdrew from him, in order to test him that He might know all that was in his heart."

Would God still do this today? Think about all that is happening just in the US and rest of the western hemisphere. Think of all the destruction that Sandy has caused. Who is behind the power of Sandy? Who controls the wind and the rain? Who controls you and me? God is more powerful than satan. So if for one moment we think we can outsmart God, think again.

For all the good Hezekiah did, God still withdrew Himself for a moment so that Hezekiah could see what was in his heart. God already knew what was in there. He knows what is in my heart and yours. We have no hidden agenda with God, we just think we do.

When we humble ourselves before God, He will draw near and hear our prayers. God is a God of mercy. He loves us, He wants us. He takes great joy in His children. This is almost more than I can comprehend...why would He be so patient and loving when too many times I try to get on my own throne and control things...

That is unconditional love, forgiven as far as the east is from the west, peace that passes all understanding, a Father that never stops loving or gives up on me! Life really can't get any better than this, no matter what the conditions around us look like.

In the midst of all the devastation and destruction, take heart and look up. God holds out His Hand to give you peace in the midst of the storm.

You are loved.

God bless you.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Report From Haiti

So I haven't blogged for a few days. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride at our house. You know, with Sandy on its way, turned hurricane versus Tropical storm. When I called Patrick a few days ago, he was saying how the storm the night before was terrible. What he didn't know that it was a hurricane 2 that hit. It rained in Haiti for 4 days.

What happens in Haiti when it rains for that many days...floods, mudslides, bridges are washed out, and people are hungry because you can't get out to buy anything. The river in Mayette suddenly had no water in it. The reason? A mountain slide blocked the water. Now there is a lake up where the mountain slide blocked the water coming down in the river.

Once again, Haiti is in a very precarious and difficult situation. What can be done to help? We do not know. So many needs again. So many people without homes again.

Because of all this, Patrick is blocked in Mayette and can not come home on Monday, as planned. He plans to stay a week longer to help all he can, and also hoping roads will be dried out and somewhat repaired by then. So please pray for him. Also pray for those who have damaged or demolished homes from the storm.

In all this, God is faithful and He hasn't made a mistake. We just don't understand, but we only need to continue to praise Him for His Goodness.

Have a wonderful weekend.
God bless you


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cleaning Bathrooms

Psalm 119:71-73 "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than a thousands of coins of gold and silver....." 73b "Give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments."

Precious verses, reminders of God's goodness to me. He sees afflictions that are good for me. But the end of those verses touch my heart...I need understanding to see afflictions God's way. But they hurt, they are uncomfortable. That they are, but God calls afflictions good.

Is cleaning bathrooms considered an affliction? Probably not, but may come close. But if I suffer for a moment while cleaning them, the reward is great...CLEAN and smells good. The only problem is, it doesn't last so long. But the effort is worth it.

I wonder if God sees me a bit like cleaning a bathroom...lots of work, lots of scrubbing, looks and smells better for the moment. Where does the bathroom get the dirtiest? Behind the stool where no one can see it. So much dirt collects there. That's a bit like our life. We try to hide things, hoping no one will notice, but God sees it anyway. We may as well allow Him to work on the hidden things, we will feel cleaner.

I am an unfinished project that God keeps working on daily. He is amazingly patient and kind. He is good, even in His corrections.

One day, I will be complete in Him. Then no more cleaning...as the kids say, "I'll be sparkly clean."

God bless you



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Today He Is...

I am back home. Great weekend in NC. It was a privilege to meet missionaries serving in Fiji. I love meeting missionaries serving around the world and hearing of their experiences. Also met a couple who will soon be going to Chile. But who will be missionaries to America? There are many who are reaching out into their neighborhood, but I believe more of us should be doing the work.

While in NC, I was privileged to visit a beautiful lady who is now in an assisted living facility. She will be 92 years old in December. After the quake, she sent Patrick and I a "thinking of you" card every week for many months. What a ministry and blessing!

This morning I need all of Jesus—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God (strength), Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. For you see, I have so many things that need to be done and in these moments it is easy to get distracted on the urgent. It is easy to get frustrated and tired. But God is able to take me through the mounds of paperwork, laundry, etc.

Then I open my Bible and read Psalm 33..."Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous. For praise from the upright is beautiful." This is a Psalm of praise, and it ends with "Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us. Just as we hope in You."

Today go in the name of the Lord. He is our Hope...

God bless you

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Be Back Soon

I may not have the internet connection to post a blog for the next few days.

Pray as I travel to NC tomorrow for a mission conference. I will be sharing in the conference on Sunday evening. Pray that God will use me mightily for His glory.

Pray for Patrick as he finalizes things so he can return home on Oct 28.

Reach out to those who are lonely, hurting, abandoned. Bless them in a special way.
Have a wonderful weekend.

God bless you

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

He Is..

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto a child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. and His name will be called Wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.."

I heard this verse the other day, and the speaker reminded us how the name of Jesus is all inclusive. He is government. I am sure this would come as a big surprise to many leaders to realize they really are not in control. They can't even make their heart beat one extra beat without the Lord.

Jesus is our All. Are you troubled, worried, burdened? He is the Wonderful Counselor (or He is Wonderful, and a counselor). He knows the answers to all my concerns and fears. He is my counselor. Do you feel weak and lack of energy? Sick? He is my Strength—Mighty God. No weakness there. Have you been abandoned? He is the Everlasting Father. Do you have problems relaxing, going to sleep? He is the Prince of Peace.

He takes care of us, His children. He loves us. This verse comes as a great encouragement to me right now. I haven't been sleeping well. I can rest in peace, knowing He is my everlasting Father.

I am encouraged with this verse. He is faithful, yes, He really is...

God bless you

Monday, October 15, 2012

One Way Jesus

Promise learned a song at church, and she loves it. "One Way, Jesus"  One way, Jesus you are the only one....

How I trust that she would always remember that and hide that truth in her heart. He is the Only way. Every where we look there are hurting people, lonely ones, rebellion is running out of hand...

The truth is Jesus is the only Way...the only One. Christ in me, the hope of glory. We have the answer. We need to share the Answer, Jesus!

Saturday night at church we learned that there were over 300 people baptized at the beach that same afternoon. But there was one extra special baptism which blessed me beyond imagination...a 90 year old lady was pushed on a wheelchair to the baptism sight and was baptized. Wow! There is no age limit and praise the Lord she put her faith in Jesus. This is determination!

Patrick is in Haiti, returning the end of the month.

God bless you

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Run With Joy

Have you ever felt trapped in your own life? Like going nowhere fast? What do you do about it? How do you handle it? Eat more? Go shopping more? Become a workaholic?

We all have ways to hide behind our discouragement or depression. Maybe you are thinking if we are a child of God, we shouldn't even have these moments. But the truth of the matter is, we do. The answer is not to stay there or try to "bury" ourselves in the trap. Of course, we wouldn't want our friends to know. But if we continue down the road of discouragement, friends will know. Our expressions and attitudes will soon speak louder than our words.

Did I find a solution this morning? Yes.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of
witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so
easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set
before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2


When I read this, I thought "we really do have a great cloud of witnesses." I find it in Hebrews 11. These people lived their life out in faith. Believing God in the midst of suffering, discouragement, sin. We often look at Abraham, Gideon, Noah, David, Samuel, the prophets as being men of unusual power. Oh, but they didn't know the end of the story of their life. They trusted God and obeyed Him one step at a time. We know how their story ended. Remember, they didn't. Just like you and I don't know what our next step will be.

So today, we take these witnesses, learn from them. We lay aside those burdens that weigh us down. We ask God to forgive our sins, and we leave that sin at the foot of the cross. Run with patience (yes, even if you have to run with one leg). Just Run...into the arms of Jesus. Most of all, in all of this..look to Jesus..He endured the cross with joy. He is the author of our faith.

Learn from the witnesses given in Hebrews 11. Run with Joy.

Have a great day and
God bless you

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Go in the Name of the Lord

I think a lot of the condition of America. I also hear a lot of rumble from Americans, and even Christians, lashing out at our leaders, esp. President Obama, and how he has caused the downward spiral of the economic recession, etc.

Then as I read through the Old Testament, a thread of truth keeps running through the scriptures. The nation of Israel was formed on the laws of God, of a people chosen by God, and commanded to give their whole heart into obedience to God. When that didn't happen,and they chose to serve other gods and build altars to other Gods, there were repercussions for the choices. God chose a king to fight against them or to take them into captivity. There were times when God sent famine or other natural catastrophes to judge the people.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So why do we think it is Obama's fault. I believe that God is judging America for our silence in speaking out for God. Where was the church when prayer was taken from school? Where was the church when abortion was legalized? Where is the church today when some churches are having pastors in a homosexual relationship/marriage? There are many pastors who are turning their hearts toward a more modern way of presenting God, to please the people.

Is this what God wants? Is revival going to come if we as Christians sit back and only complain about our government leaders? Really? Judgement has come.

Again, I quote Christine Caine, "We were not saved to be safe. We were saved to be radical." There just is no other way. But won't we be an offense to people? Yes, we will. So was Jesus. The church leaders in His day were offended. His greatest critics came from the church/temple.

Let's learn to stand for Jesus....He gave His all for us. Read the Word, Pray, then go in the name of the Lord.

God bless you


Monday, October 8, 2012

Talking with Jesus

It was a lonely weekend. Missed Arlene so much. My other sisters were busy all weekend and also my mom. So they couldn't talk on the phone. And of course, Arlene was busy in dance and worship. Not sure if she was in class learning, or if there is perfection as soon as one crosses the threshold into Glory.

I think if I really knew and could comprehend how beautiful and wonderful Heaven is, I'd have a most difficult time staying earthbound. We do have somewhat description of heaven in the Bible, but the sound of worship isn't quite clear. Focus on life on earth needs to be such that our goal is to be diligent in Kingdom work, but not bound to earthly work and dreaming of comforts here. Seems a bit ridiculous when I think of it...we save money for more comforts here, to have more clothes, things, etc. When all the time that money could be used to help someone and even maybe they would come to Jesus.

I really wanted a sister to talk to this weekend, but then I believe God wanted me to talk to Him. I like the story of the lady who always had an empty chair close to her bed. She never wanted it moved. When asked about this, she said, "Oh that is the chair Jesus sits in when He and I talk."

How many chairs have I passed by? Jesus was there, but I just thought it was a homeless person. Or a lonely person. Or a hurting heart. But I was busy and preoccupied with my own problems. Yet Jesus on the cross, looked down with compassion on his mother and told John to take care of her. Wow, even on the cross, Jesus had compassion for others.

Am I still lonely? Yes, but I have so many people I can pray for....Zion is sick, a young lady whom the doctors cannot find a remedy for her problem, a little girl with cancer, a lonely missionary, and the list goes on.  I'm off....

Need to talk to God for a while

God bless you


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Change Others

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420

My niece just posted this on FaceBook. I thought it worthy of sharing. For isn't it just like this...we spend a lot of time wishing others would do things differently, act differently, at least be more like I am. But the quote is so true, we can't even make ourselves who we want to be.

Quite frankly,  we don't even know who we want to be, so of course we can't become who we want to be. The problem lies when we compare ourselves to others. When we do this, we do not have a good measuring line. Everyone is different, so when we compare ourselves to others we think we aren't so bad after all. Or we want to be more like "so and so." That also creates a problem. Others change often  and are comparing themselves to others.

This is a sad domino effect. Is there a solution to this miserable condition? Oh but there is!! For you see, God never intended us to compare ourselves to others. We are unique to God. He has formed us. He leads us in the path He has chosen for us. He is the potter and we are the clay.

The Word of God is our mirror. That is our measuring stick to compare ourselves to the Word. And we are found wanting. But for the Grace of God, we could never come close to approval. God sees beyond our faults and humanness, He sees us through the Robe of Righteousness because of the blood of Jesus. The veil was torn at the death of Jesus. Now we can come boldly to the throne of Grace. To the Throne of God. 

Don't try to change others to what you want them to be. Neither try to change yourself to be more like others. Be unique in Jesus. Let Jesus change you to who He wants you to be. That is the only way to contentment and peace. God takes great joy in His children. We are precious in His sight.

God bless you

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Qualify


Isaiah 46:4 "Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and deliver you."

The is a wonderful promise. Just to know that we serve a God who cares about us from before birth into eternity! It really can't get better than this. Those of you who can still walk on both legs, the idea of being carried and delivered may not make much sense.

Then there are those of us, who "hobble along" with 1 1/2 leg, and I'm thankful for that. But that half leg that is man-made just is not as well done as God the Creator did. My son often offers to carry me from one place to another, but of course I decline as it really isn't necessary as long as I can still go.

My question is, how many can God carry at one time? I know I'm not the only one who needs to be carried. Many in Haiti are still suffering greatly from their amputation. They still suffer with infection and great pain. In comparison, I have no problems.

There are times I use a wheelchair, such as, airports. I'd rather walk/run from gate to gate. But I can't now. So it just feels good that God has promised to carry me...

I guess this verse is really for me, I qualify with old age (I'm getting there), gray hair (definitely). Thank you Lord for the promise to carry me and delivering me to the finish line.

God bless you

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Need a Miracle?

We went to church last night. The title of the  message was "When we need a miracle." It was such a good message from John 2. He taught that there would have been no miracle if the people would not have filled the water pots.

A miracle comes from what we have...the parting of the Red Sea probably would not have happened if Moses had not been obedient and held his rod over the waters. Did that rod really part the waters? Of course not. But Moses' obedience allowed the miracle to happen.

God wants His children involved in His work. Look through the scriptures at miracles. I believe you will find that in every miracle, God had commanded an act of faith before the miracle. We need a miracle, we pray and then sit with folded hands expecting God to act. Can He act if our hands are folded? Of course! But He wants you and me involved in His work. That's how much He loves us!

Would there have been a feeding of the five thousand if the little boy hadn't shared his lunch? I doubt it. Do you think it was easy for him to give the lunch? He was a boy. Boys love to eat. It was "his" lunch. But he shared it, and saw a miracle.

Oh and one more thing...the miracle is always for God's glory. We can not take the glory. Maybe, just maybe that is why we don't see more miracles. We take the glory for ourselves....

Need a miracle? Ask God what He wants you to do?

Have a wonderful day
God bless you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Living in the Time Capsule

Arlene has now been in the presence of Jesus for 11 days. But of course, she is not living in a time capsule. No more appointments, errands, etc. Just worship. Eternally.

I can't even imagine life without "time." Limiting it is. According to Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything. There is a time to die. A time when God calls our name. A time chosen since before our birth. Yes, God has our days numbered.

We view death as a negative thing. It seems so final, unless you are a child of God, saved by Grace. Then it is a step from earth to eternity.

But while we are living on earth, we have appointments. We have a work to do. I just completed the book "A Perfect Day" by Paul Richard Evans. A good story reminding me that life is not about fame, wealth, and success. It is about love, family, caring for others. We can get so busy in this life doing those things we count as success. But in doing that we often sacrifice family and friends.

We get to the place where we are so busy we just don't have time anymore. And many times this busyness is a cover-up so we don't need to face ourselves. We don't have time to care for parents, so they go into a nursing home facility. We don't have time to visit neighbors. We don't have time to spend with our children. The list goes on....we do have time to eat, to work, for sports, for tv, etc.

And one day...we will realize too late that what we counted as important was put on the wrong thing. Let's weigh our values today before it is too late.

God loves you and me.
God bless you

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sacrificial Giving

2 Samuel 24:24 "Then the king said to Araunah, No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing...."

You will need to read the chapter to get the back drop to this scene. But this spoke so loud and clear to me this morning.  David wasn't about to give an offering without a price. Do I see God worthy of a sacrifice? Any sacrifice comes with a price. Today we don't quite "get the picture" as my sister often said. In Old Testament times when an offering was made, it was the life of a lamb, ram, dove, etc. There was no sacrificial offering without giving of a life.

Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was costly. We did not pay for our salvation, but it did come with a price. Jesus paid it all!

What am I willing to give/risk so that others can receive the free gift of salvation? My time in Haiti cost me a leg. It cost Patrick an arm. But we aren't stopping now. To carry a cross is painful. It isn't just a chain around your neck with a cross on it. It is to serve, to love, to give, to encourage. In doing this, many times it is costly, if not painful.

May I add it is all done joyfully. Go forth, give an offering,  a sacrifice. Don't seek an easy road.

You will find great blessings in the Lord.

God bless you


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The God of All Comfort

I have been out of the "loop" for a week. I returned home from Indiana last night. The week was filled with sadness, joy, memories and many tears. These are all emotions that come with losing a loved one. But we all agreed that we are not in sorrow for Arlene, it is for us. Arlene is where she wants to be. She is in the presence of Jesus.

A very special moment was singing "I'm So Glad I'm a Part of the Family of God" at the grave site after burial was complete. This is a tradition with the Otto family—before parting from a family function we all join hands and sing this song. Beautiful. It was so beautiful to hear my mom's voice sing out that song. She may not have hit the notes correctly but it came from the bottom of heart. Smile.

God truly is the God of all comfort. Yes, He called Arlene to be with Him, but He did not leave us comfortless. He is faithful in all ways.

Continue to pray for Bill as he will have many lonely times. Pray for my mom as she adjusts to another home (my sister and husband will care for her for now).

Thank you for your prayers, words of comfort and love.

God bless you

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From Earth to Glory

Today my sister Arlene went to be with Jesus. She had been sick 3 1/2 weeks, all but 4 days (?) were spent in Intensive Care. It has been a tense 3 weeks. And now her address has been changed from earth to glory.

We will miss her immensely. I can't even imagine "home" in Indiana without her. The last time I saw her was 5 months ago. My heart aches, but not only for me, but for Bill and the rest of the family. I will be flying to Indiana tomorrow.

I will probably not be able to blog for the next several days. Thank you to all who have prayed earnestly for Arlene's well being. Now she is totally whole. In the presence of Jesus. She is a beautiful angel. All her life she has served others, but now she will be served. She is worshipping and dancing before the throne of God. How glorious.

I can't even imagine what heaven is like. Today when we told Promise and Nate that Aunt Arlene died, and is now in Heaven. After this Promise and Nate were arguing if Arlene is in Heaven. Rachel told them she is. Then the question was:

Nate: So does Arlene live in our heart?
Promise: No she is in Heaven?
Nate: But if Jesus lives in our heart, then Arlene must be in our heart too?
Then Nate kissed his hand and put it on his heart...from the eyes of a child. So precious

God bless you

Monday, September 17, 2012

Leave a Witness

The weekend was a rough one, with Arlene having taken a turn to a critical condition. We praise God that this morning, she is stabilized. Her temp is down and her blood pressure is more normal. She is still critical, but the doctor says he is going in the right direction.

Your continued prayers are appreciated. We are blessed to have so many people praying. For those of you, who do not know her, here she is in a nutshell: Full of life, fun, and laughter. Always ready to give a helping hand. Busy at church in whatever way she could serve. And loved to drink coffee and have "conversation" as she called it.

But isn't this what we are all called to do—serve. That means giving of ourselves. Others first. Not me first. I was reading how Paul said he became all for everyone so that he may win all to the Gospel. Now that really doesn't sound much like today's society, or a shame to say, church people. We are a busy people doing what? You answer that for yourself.

Let's take every opportunity available to leave a witness for Jesus. I believe even in her "sleep" Arlene is leaving an atmosphere of being a child of God.

Have a good day
God bless you




Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pray

For anyone who many read this post, please pray. My sister who had the stroke 3 weeks ago, was airlifted once again to the hospital. She is in critical condition.

We know God is our anchor. We can hold on to Him. I don't know what you are going through right now. Look to God, and not the situation. Am I saying bury your head in the sand and pretend nothing is wrong. No! I am saying that God is in control. He alone knows the beginning from the end. He alone appoints our steps. He carries us in His Hand.

We are praying for a miracle. But God may choose to let her wake up in Heaven. We don't know yet. But we know whatever happens, it is best.

Also pray for Bill, her husband. He has had a difficult time, but also believes God will perform what is best. Pray for strength and comfort for him.

Thank you so much. Also Patrick leaves for Haiti on Tuesday. Pray for him.

God bless you

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Groaning in Spirit


Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. "

And there is where I am...I don't know what to pray...I find myself groaning in my spirit. So many unanswered questions. Why Arlene? Why is she still unable to talk? But when I ask myself these questions, I know the answer is not to be yet, or else God would have revealed it to us.

The spirit helps me. The spirit lifts me to the arms of God, where there is peace. There is peace in knowing that the Spirit is making intercession for our cries, for Arlene's silence. The silence that echoes into our emotions. Her eyes that see, but maybe not able to understand what she is seeing.

My hope is that God is speaking into her spirit and the communion is sweet. God's Word is being read to Arlene every day, and many times a day. Prayers are offered.

Whatever would we do without the Lord? I don't want to know. I am so thankful for His presence, His peace, and His overflowing abundance of Grace in these times.

Update: Arlene has been transferred to a nursing home closer to home. They have full speech therapy/physical therapy there. This is much easier on Bill, as he only has a 15 minute drive to see her, but the hospital was 1 1/2 hours away. She is now closer in proximity to their church family and many of their friends. 

Continue prayers!
God bless you

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

His Rest

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is
entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God
[did] from his." (Hebrews 4:9-10)


When I opened my email this morning, I found this verse. I stopped in my tracks. The idea of a rest which is for the people of God. This comes after a number of stressful days, concern of my sister and her condition. She still has not moved her lips, as an effort to talk. She responds with her eyes. She understands, but not sure how much she remembers. 

True resting is the absence of worry. Now I know worry is not for the child of God. My thinking is, that perhaps God is working through Arlene to bring the presence of Jesus in her room, and to the hospital staff. They want to move her to a nursing home this week. I heard this morning, the one we were praying for, isn't available to Arlene. My first thought was, "so Lord is there someone in Merry Manor who needs to have Arlene there, so that they can see God at work." Isn't that why God puts His children in places? To be His witness? 

You may ask how that can happen when Arlene can't even talk yet? But God's spirit can speak volumes through attitude, visitors, facial expression.

I rest in the promises of God. He promised to take care of us. He promised that we are worth more than the lilies of the field. I do not need to depend on my works to "make it happen." I work to honor God, not to "earn" God.

Thanking God for His rest....

God bless you

Monday, September 10, 2012

He is the I AM

A short writing by Chuck Swindoll, resonated within my heart this morning.
Hebrews 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,  the author and finisher of our faith."

In every situation we need to fix our eyes on Jesus. Don't focus on your situation neither the "mountain" before you. Why fix our  eyes on the Lord? Who is He?

He is Yahweh, the eternal I AM, the sovereign Lord of the universe. He is not unjust, He has never lost control. He is always faithful. Changeless. All powerful. All knowing. Good. Compassionate. Gracious. Wise. Loving. Reliable.

How can we lose? We have the best of the BEST. We can only lose if we decide not to fix our eyes on Him.

This situation with my sister is so difficult. But no matter what the situation, He is the I AM.

Whatever your situation is today, you can trust Him. Fix your eyes on Him. He is the Answer.

God bless you




Saturday, September 8, 2012

Salt Shaker

Matthew 5:13-14 "You are the salt of the earth....you are the light of the world..."

We as God's people have a job to do....to be salt and light...we will affect people we meet, one way or other.  Most of our effect will come from the words we speak. Our words can bring seasoning to one's life. Our actions can illuminate Jesus. I'm thinking of my sister...

Yesterday my mom needed to go to her doctor's for her check-up. Arlene always took her, since she is her caretaker. But now, Arlene is still in intensive care. So my oldest sister took mom to the doctor. Different nurses/workers in the office asked them about Arlene, and said "Oh we are all praying for her." Another one came to them, asked about her, and tears were flowing. Again, assuring mom that she also was praying for Arlene. Arlene left a testimony in that office.

Many times God has His children in places so that we can help each other as well. Some of Arlene's nurses are christians, as well. It is a good reminder that we should always let our light shine. If we have Jesus in our hearts then we need to be that salt and light. Actually it should a "natural" for us. It should be a natural to return a kind word for an evil one.

If we aren't the salt and light, who will be? This is why the world is in the condition it is...it is not really a political condition. We as God's people have not spoken out for Jesus. It will still be a political mess, but in spite of that the church should be growing. When I real stories of the persecuted church around the world, I see us here in the states a bit wimpy...

I will leave you now, I need to get the "Salt Shaker" out and be ready to share God's Word.

God bless you

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Right Choice in a Difficult Time

Good news! Thank you for all who have been prayed for my sister Arlene. She is making progress. She has been breathing on her own for the past 1 1/2 hours. We hope she continues, and if so for 24 hours she will be transferred out of intensive care. Keep praying.

As I was reading the book of Ruth this morning, I was reminded again of her right choice in the midst of a very difficult situation. She was raised in Moab, a country of serving idols. Her husband was from the nation of Israel. His parents moved to Moab since there was a famine in Israel. Her husband died, as well as her brother-in-law and father-in-law. This leaving 3 grieving widows. Naomi, now realizing she is away from family and her home nation.

The famine is past and Naomi wants to go home. Ruth goes with her even though Naomi had encouraged her to stay with her Moabite family. Ruth saw beyond her family. She wanted Naomi's God. Her people. Her land.

Now Ruth is estranged from her family. She gives everything she has to take care of Naomi. It isn't about her, it's about her mother-in-law. That must sound very strange to know that she didn't "bash" her mother-in-law, but truly loved her. I doubt if she would have appreciated the mother-in-law jokes.

We know the end of the story, but she didn't. In her obedience, God blessed her immensely, with a husband a son, the faithfulness of God. She was in the blood line of Jesus!! Her obedience blessed the world many generations to come.

I truly believe we can leave a legacy for our children, grandchildren, and many generations that follow.
Believe God, Obey God, Walk with Him, Talk with Him...the promises are ours. He is faithful.

God bless you


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Treasure Hunt

Sometimes when reading the scriptures, it's as if I am on a treasure hunt. So many little nuggets of truth that bless me, and just bring peace to my heart. There are also those little nuggets that challenge and convict me. And that is good as well. It is truly a blessing that we have the Word of God in our hands, and can know who God is and what He expects of us.

So tucked away in Isaiah 32:17 "The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."

I needed this verse today. In Jesus, my Righteousness, is peace, quietness and assurance forever. I need not worry about anything. I can rest assured that God has all things in His Hand. He is in control. He knows the beginning from the end.

Now I know I have said all this before. So why repeat it? Because I need to hear it again and again. After all, satan continually says the same thing...anything to discourage us. So why not repeat God's promises over and over again. He is the Ultimate! He is the Ultimate! Nothing but Nothing can surpass the love of God and His promises.

May I encourage you to go on a treasure hunt in the Bible. Find a nugget of gold, nugget of wisdom for your today. We all have our challenges every day. The Bible is for us, our road map for life. Use it, believe it, hang on to it as if it is your lifeline! And guess what, It is just that a LIFELINE.

God bless you

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Obstacle

Just 2 short weeks ago, we shared at a church how to overcome obstacles. Little did we know that so soon we would be dealing with yet another obstacle. Arlene is still in intensive care, still not responding and we don't have many answers yet.

Oh we do need our focus to be on the Lord, and not on the situation. For you see, if we focus on this situation it will be very confusing and cause us to question the Lord. But knowing that God is truly in control, He calls the "shots," He knows the beginning from the end, and He Knew from the beginning that this would happen.

In the last 2 1/2 years, my family has had many obstacles: Patrick and I in the earthquake, recovering from amputations; my youngest sister had breast cancer with a long year of chemo, radiation and surgeries; immediately after that her husband died very suddenly, and now Arlene.

God knew every one of these things. He allowed them to happen. But He promised to go with us, never to leave us and will not give us more than we can handle. His Grace will be sufficient.

What will we suffer tomorrow? I have no idea. It doesn't matter, as long as God goes with me. I remember the words of Moses, when God asked him to go into enemy ground. His response was, "Unless You go with me, I cannot go." And that is where we are, we cannot go anywhere unless the Lord goes with us.

We see little positive in Arlene's situation, but I don't doubt for a minute that there are many positive things happening. I do know that last Sunday in the church  Bill and Arlene attend  the altar was filled with praying people. A first! This is positive. And it is true, obstacles bring prayer warriors together. People that don't pray, will start praying in times of distress.

I do not know your obstacle today, but I do know that God will bring good from it if you allow it. If you are His child. Look up into His eyes. Let Him hug you with His Arms. He is the Only One that will be rock solid in your obstacle.

We do not doubt for a minute that God has left us in this present situation. We believe God is using this obstacle in a mighty way. We wait on God to wake Arlene up!

God bless you

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Those Things I Know

Our website, www.livingwordhaiti.org is finally up and running! We regret all the inconvenience of the  problems with this. But Patrick worked hard and didn't give up, until he had the problem solved. This is what God wants us to do in our life with Him, Never Give Up. Keep pushing Ahead. I am so thankful for my husband to be so determined!

An update on my sister...she is still in an induced coma-like condition. Yesterday they started to wean her from sedation. The doctor says we may not see any change until Friday or Saturday. So we wait and pray. I need to keep my thoughts on those things I do know and not the things I don't. There is so much about her condition we do not yet know, but God is not confined into those limitations.

I do know that "all things work together for the good," "He will never leave me or forsake me," "In Him I have peace, and in this world we will suffer, " last but not least, "He is my Rock and sure Foundation."

It is of utmost importance that I keep my focus on Jesus. For you see, when I look at all those things around me, I become frustrated, impatient, discouraged...but our focus is on Him and in all these things Nothing will move me (Acts 20:24).

So whatever is on your agenda today, remember God is walking through  the "fire" with you.

God bless you

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life is a Risk

"God did not create us, or sent Jesus to die for us, to make us safe and comfortable!" Christine Caine.

If you want to listen to someone who is speaking out in this lukewarm-to cold religious society, listen to her on Youtube. We were listening to her talk/message she gave at Conference One last night. Challenged again and again to get out of our comfort zone, and help others find the way of Jesus.

Our job isn't to stay safe. Everything has a risk. Life itself is a risk. Marriage, family, job, vacation all have risks. Nothing is danger-free. Death is certain for each of us. So why try to spare our lives of any hurts, risks, or even challenges? We have a job to do. There are so many hurting people, abused, orphaned, and wayward people. Let's reach out and help someone.

The Bible already told us we will have trials, persecutions, enemies, and trouble. But in all these, we will have joy unspeakable and a peace that passes all understanding! Seems so contrary. But in Jesus it all makes sense.

Let's remember that we do not see the whole picture but we are in the picture. We are His child.

God bless you.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Storm Isaac

Today we are watching Tropical storm Isaac. It is hitting this evening. We are not hearing much, some rain and wind in Port au Prince. A lot of rain is expected. This causes many problems, mudslides being very dangerous. Also flooding.

Patrick spoke with a couple of the pastors this morning. They were a bit concerned. One thing that Patrick advised them was to have people gather dry wood before the rains started. This is one big hardship in the midst of torrent rains—there is no dry wood for fires to cook food.
So we are praying that God protects His children there. An approximate 400,000 people still live in tents and temporary housing since the quake. There are some shelters available, but wonder if there is enough for that many people.

We covet your prayers for the nation of Haiti.

God bless you

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Counsel of the Lord

Joshua 9:14b "but they did not ask counsel of the Lord."

The children of Israel were so deceived, and this 9 word phrase gives the reason why they were duped by a neighboring country which posed to be poor travelers from a far away country. They made a pact with them, took some of their gifts...it "sounded" good and "looked" right. But it was so wrong. A lie.

How often we are in this same situation. When things look so right, yet we do not take counsel of the Lord. Assuming what appears right, must be right. Wrong!! We are living in the midst of a "me" generation. We are so deceived in believing we "deserve" to have all our wishes and whims. This couldn't be further from the truth.

The truth of the matter is that we "deserve" nothing. We are as "filthy rags," as God called the children of Israel. We don't even deserve His grace, but God so generously gives it. While we were sinners, God sent Jesus, his only son, His very best, so that we could have life eternal in the presence of God!

Before our next purchase, sporting event, vacation don't assume it is right because it looks good. I'm not saying it isn't good or that God wouldn't want it. But take counsel of the Lord before hand. Ask God what His will is. Often what He has for us, is so much more than what we can even begin to plan for ourselves.

The year of the earthquake, 2010, was also our 25th wedding anniversary. I had been checking some options and possibilities for us to celebrate and a small vacation. I had not made any reservations yet. It was still wishful thinking stage. We had never celebrated our anniversary, so I thought it should be ok to at least have one year to be special. I still think it would have been fun, but it wasn't to be. We celebrated by having the recovering time—doctor appointments, etc.

We learned so much through this experience. I doubt if we would have learned the same things on a "real" vacation. I confess, I never got to the counsel of the Lord on this issue. He just took us in another direction before I got to that.

God's counsel is a precursor to God's blessing

God bless you

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles

Finally I'm back. I was out of the office a few days, and busy those days. So now while I'm enjoying a cup of German coffee (Thank you, Linda), I will share a few thoughts.

We visited a church during the weekend, being invited to share on how to overcome obstacles. Three of the points discussed were:

1—Trust God and believe the Bible wholly. It is easy to trust God when things go well, but then when things go "south" we tend to blame God, and even be angry. One of the reasons is that we have a very wrong and negative attitude toward suffering. God seeing it as a season of growth. It is a time of pruning our hearts.

2—Focus and Attitude. When we suffer it is easy to see the obstacle and the situation. Yes, pain is no fun, neither is a debt, or prodigal child, abuse, etc. But in the midst of all this, God shows Himself faithful, if we determine to believe God and trust Him. There is no obstacle greater than God. The Red Sea wasn't bigger than God. How often have we stood on the banks of our own "red sea" wondering how we would cross over. Yet, God in His love parted the waters. God is faithful!

3—The third point was relationships. We need to build relationships with God's people. This should be done today. Many times we tend to withdraw in the midst of problems, thinking we can "do it alone." That is a lie. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. I do not know what we would have done during our recovery from the Quake if we did not have friends and people standing by us, loving on us. We need each other!

I, Barb, would be happy to share on this subject with you and the women in your church or Bible study. Please contact me...http://www.livingwordhaiti.org/contact-us.html

God bless you

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Give me Widsom

Proverbs 14:33 "Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known."

I love the book of Proverbs. If I would apply all that I read, I would be much the wiser. This verse says to me, a wise person doesn't say everything that comes to his mind. But it is easy to know a fool when he speaks.

For today, I want to choose my words wisely. I want to speak wisdom, not foolishness. Today I want to praise God, and not grumble. Today I want praises to flow from my heart. For I know what is in my heart, will be expressed by my tongue.

This is difficult when there isn't a quiet moment in the house. We now have 3 little ones running around, and yes, they are wonderful little ones. But it shows my age, with all the activity. Smile. God knows this, and has been faithful giving me strength and energy needed for the day. I remember when our children were very young and I was always on the "run.," my favorite verse was "Seek the Lord while He may be found." Sometimes I was overwhelmed with the duties that I though God was far away. But He isn't, He is always with me and you. He never leaves us.

Lord, today give me understanding and a heart of wisdom.

God bless you


Monday, August 13, 2012

Love is a Choice

Where oh where did this day go? At the end of the day, I look back and wonder what was accomplished. Am I the only one? Hopefully something was accomplished even if I don't remember.

That is life. We can go, go, go and then wonder what was done. That is why the quietness in the presence of Jesus is so important. I think I was more a "Martha" today than a "Mary." But in my busyness, I kept reflecting on the message from yesterday on I John 4:7-21.

The text was love. Love is not a feeling but an action word. Love is a choice. The verse given for this was Colossians 3:14 "And over all these put on love which binds them together." Even those who are difficult to love, I need to choose to love and bless them.

I choose to love, I choose to forgive and without this my heart is resentful. I cannot be resentful and love at the same time. There is no room for love in a bitter heart. Oh Lord, fill my heart with love, so that bitterness has no room.

Just like my house, there is always cleaning that can be done, so my heart, there is always cleaning and pruning taking place. Although, painful at times, it is so necessary.

I leave the challenge, don't be so busy in a day that you don't take time to learn at Jesus' feet.

God bless you

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Daily Cross

I am really enjoying my readings in the Old Testament. Today there were several verses that bolded out for me. I am reading Deuteronomy...
9:4-6 says to me (My own wording) When I come into success or victory in a battle, don't say it is because of my righteousness or brain power. It is all about God's power and way. He wants me to understand that God is not giving me success because I'm right and good, because I am not...I'm stubborn and sinful.

This kind of laid it out plain and clear. Now I know it was talking about the children of Israel, but the New Testament also says that the Old was given to me for example and learning. So I have nothing to brag about. I can only brag about God, and be obedient to His call and He will do the rest.

In chapter 10:12-13 (again my translation) All that is required of me is to fear God, walk in His ways, love Him and serve Him with all my heart. Oh, keep his commandments. It is all for my good.

This should be quite easy, after all, I do Love God and want to serve Him. But with ALL my heart? That would mean giving up my selfish desires. That is where the battle comes. And it is a battle. Our 5 year old grand-daughter frequently reminds us of our nature, "but, Daddy, I want_____." Fill in the blank.

Yes, I want, but what I want may not be the best for me. I believe this is my cross to bear daily, to give up my wants and serve Him with my whole heart. But without Him, I would not have the strength to carry it. He is my Strength, my Joy, my Comfort.

God bless you


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Esau Syndrome

Hebrews 12:16-17 "Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God's lifelong gift in order tos satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God's blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears." Msg translation

The Esau syndrome...well said. How many of us have experienced it? We know what is right, but impulsively we satisfy our flesh for a moment. Sometimes it takes years to undo what we have done. As Esau, he never regained his birthright. He gave it up for a bowl of soup! Foolish! you say.

How often have we done it? Taken that first drink? That first experience of a drug? Sex out of marriage? It only took one, but the "way back" was a forever. Yet, God was there. He was drawing you back to Him. Waiting with open arms for your return Home.

I remember when our daughter was leaving home after graduation, she asked, "Mom, what is it that I would do that you would say you are not allowed to come home?" My answer, "Nothing! You may always return. Am I more than God? He has always allowed me back in His arms."

She did walk away from the Lord. She did hit rock bottom. It took a number of years to return and restore. But God in His mercy did not reject her. He will not reject you. But oh, how much better if we'd never gotten into the Esau syndrome with that one impulsive act!!

We must not let our flesh desires over rule what God has for us. His way is not easy, but neither was Jesus' way easy when He was on earth. He showed us the Way. He gave us all we need to succeed in life. It is just that succeeding means something different to the world. Succeeding Jesus' way is to love your neighbor as yourself. It is forgiveness. It is taking up your cross daily.

It is...All about Him and not about me. Be gone, Esau Syndrome!

God bless you

Monday, August 6, 2012

Faith or Fleece

It was a very busy weekend, but a good one. The clothes drive for Haiti is going very well. Patrick and I went to the Sarasota/Bradenton area, and returned with our van packed out with clothes! And there are more. So we get to do it again. So exciting!! A special story came out of this pick-up. Three little girls went through their neighborhood, put fliers in the mailboxes for the clothes drive. Many unsaved neighbors contributed to this drive! God uses children! The oldest of the girls was 10 years old.

Yesterday Patrick taught on faith. The challenge was if we know the voice of God, and if so, do we ask God for proof that he is really Him speaking. Abraham knew God's voice. He didn't come from a Christian family. His family served idols. Yet, when God spoke He knew it was God. He didn't have a Bible in His hand. Gideon, also, was not from a believing family. He laid a fleece to know if it was God speaking.

Laying a fleece should not be our way of knowing God's will. Reading His word teaches us who God is. Too many times we are trying to find a way out of doing God's will or calling, so we decide to "put out a fleece." That is a sign of a faithless one.

On what do you base your faith? Faith is not a feeling, it is God. God is not movable. To have faith in God, we are safe. He doesn't move with the whims of His people. He is Rock Solid! Trust Him, believe Him and place your faith in Him.

Have a good day
God bless you


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Search for Wisdom

Proverbs 2 zeros in on the importance of wisdom, and to go after it as in search for gold. This was Solomon talking to his son. The reason for wisdom when he was young is to forsake the way of of the immoral woman. It seems many have lost wisdom these days.

God desires wisdom for us. It protects us in the way. Wisdom will help us make right choices. Where can wisdom be found? By reading and studying the Word of God. Keeping our focus on God. God really has laid out the path for us, given us what we need to walk therein. But too many of us tend to give in to self and the way the world thinks.

Wisdom is all the more important in these days we live in. We need to be wholly committed to God. Search desperately for wisdom. I guess we could pretend we are on a shopping spree, and search for wisdom instead of those things which do not satisfy.

Verse 7-8 "He stores up wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk uprightly. He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints."

Walk wisely!
God bless you

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Day

Where to start? Where to finish? Crawl back to bed? That does sound good, but again, it would mean I'd need to get up again. So better to stay up and face the day. Even coffee doesn't taste good. ha. That is a problem!

Only one thing that can make "it" better...God. And to praise Him. Then I was reminded again that grace is the only password to Heaven. It is not by my own merit, but grace only. So no matter how I "feel." it hasn't changed who God is and what God does. Grace! Always!

Ok Barb, breathe deep, smile, and go tackle the laundry. Try the coffee again...:))

God bless you





Monday, July 30, 2012

God is Not Man

Numbers 23:19-20 "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it."

These are verses in the story of Balaam and Balak. Balak being the king and wanted Balaam to come curse the children of Israel. God told Balaam not to go. That wasn't good enough for Balaam. He prayed asking God if He really meant what He said. The Bible doesn't say that verbatim, but finally God said he may go, but only speak the words given him.

He went and instead of a curse, He blessed them which angered King Balak immensely. The verses given were the response Balaam gave Balak in his anger.

This story resonates a twinge within me. How often has God told me "no," but it wasn't good enough. I either prayed again, laid out a fleece (to make sure I understood). As an addition to this, laying fleece is basically a lack of faith.

Just as "no" for our children are a safety net. We say no because we know what is best for them. So it is with God. He is not a man, He knows what is best for me. He promises and He fulfills His promise. His faithfulness spans throughout the generations. His love reaches from Creation to Eternity. It never ends. His Goodness is more than we can ever imagine.

We do not see the full picture yet, but we will. God tells us, that now we see through a glass darkly, but then we will see Him face to face. This is a very humbling thought, to meet Jesus face to face, knowing what all He has done for me and how often I have failed Him. But He is not a finger pointing Lord, His forgiveness is complete.

In closing, what God has spoken, He will accomplish!

God bless you