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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


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 are the light of the world..."

We as God's people have a job 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 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