Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Be Still and Know That I Am God

Beautiful rose photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques--Collage of Life

"Be still, and know that I am God!  I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth!" Psalm 46:10
          Somewhere along the way, I forgot how to be still.  Having six children, and then entering the work force, I stayed active from morning until night, sometimes not sitting down all day.  I even multitasked in the shower! 
          I know I'm not alone; in our society, we are expected to be productive.  Some of us pride ourselves on how much we can accomplish in a day.  Yet, it's easy to carry that too far.  Overloaded and overwhelmed, consumed with my responsibilities, I ignored God's directives to be still and consider His wondrous works.
          A dear friend asked me to slow down many times, before at last, I heeded her advice.  At first, I actually needed to set the kitchen timer for thirty minutes in order to make myself sit still.  I sat on my deck in the early evenings, watching the clouds drift by, listening to the birds.  During those times, my soul became quiet and still; I communed with God in my heart and mind.  Like the sun bursting from behind the clouds, joy burst into my heart.  I experienced renewed peace as I took time to talk with God and rest in His presence.   I believe God is truly pleased when I practice this Scripture. 

          I'm so thankful for my friend who reminded me that I needed to do this.  I encourage you to take some time in your day to "be still and know Him".
"Hearken unto this, O Job; stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." Job 37:14


My backyard and deck.   A peaceful place.
Peace and blessings to you today, dear readers.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hero Worship--Inspite of Feet of Clay

Beautiful photos courtesy of Jeanne Henriques--Collage of Life.
          Today a story about Lance Armstrong giving up his anti-doping fight was in the news.  Oh, how I used to love watching this cycling champion compete in Le Tour de France.  But, his story is not the focus of this meditation.  I want us to think about "hero worship".
          Once upon a time, there was a teacher, preacher, politician, parent, celebrity--you choose whichever one applies to your life--whom I highly esteemed.  His virtues far surpassed those of others.  I thought he could do no wrong.  Then, events occurred in which this highly esteemed person behaved in ways inconceivable to me, contrary to the godly image I held of him.  Indeed, I've set myself up for this several times in my life. I venture a guess that it  has happened to you as well.
          As the dust of dismay and disillusionment cleared from my eyes, I saw this person for who he really was--just a mortal man with feet of clay.
          I would have done well to keep in mind that God alone is worthy of adoration.  He is the Creator who molded us from clay.
          "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8). 
           The Psalmist advises us not to put our trust in princes, nor man, in whom there is no help. Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 118:9)
           The Scripture in Jeremiah gives us a beautiful story of the potter, who by his will and design, molds and forms the clay any way he chooses. (Jeremiah 18:1-6)  
          Daniel, by the  power of God, was enabled to interpret the prophetic dream of King Nebuchadnezzar.  Daniel described the great image, representative of earthly kingdoms, as made of gold, silver, brass, iron, and "feet part of iron and part of clay".  When the image was smote upon the feet, they broke to pieces and the whole thing collapsed and crumbled "like the chaff of the summer thrashing floors". (Daniel 2:31-35)
          Christ is victorious, and our Sovereign God is above all.  Yes, we can admire people, and have our heroes, but we do well to remember that God is our Sovereign Creator. 

          Have mercy on us O Lord.  Help us to remember we all have feet of clay.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Prayers of All Saints

A scented candle--one of my favorite things--burning on the mantel.
          Prayer is a privilege for those of us who believe.  We can call upon the Name of the Lord and while we are speaking He hears us.  Prayer is our way of letting God know that we need Him every minute and that we look to Him. 

          Paul speaks boldly on prayer.  He writes to the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing."  He writes to the Philippians that "in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God".  He instructs the Colossians to "continue in prayer", and tell Timothy, "I will therefore that men pray every where". 

          Prayer can take place anywhere, about anything, at any time.  In other words, prayer is more than a ritual to be performed in church, or in a special place dedicated to prayer in our  homes.  God works in us and through us by means of prayer.  I want to take full advantage of this privilege as a child of God.

          Normally, I think of prayer as something I need to do for myself and for the needs of others.  But, I read some Scriptures a while back that I had not taken to heart before. To some extent, they struck me because of my own delight in sweet fragrances.  I love scented candles and the lovely smell of incense in my church.  But these verses are so intriguing that they have caused a shift in my perspective on prayer. 

Our prayers are a sweet smelling fragrance to God and an offering to Him. 

"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense," Psalm 141a.

"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints," Revelation 5:8 (KJV).

"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne," Revelation 8:3 (KJV).

This is a mystery worthy of contemplation.  God's blessings and prayers be with you.

My front porch--I wish you could come sit awhile with me.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

He Ever Lives to Make Intercession for Us

Pictures taken at Ormond-By-The-Sea, Florida--courtesy of Eva Marie Everson.
          I was praying for my children, pouring out my heart in prayer.  I was asking God to help them be all they are meant to be in Christ Jesus.  Asking Him to keep them safe.  Praying for them to be all He created them to be before the foundation of the world.  Praying that He would give them that day His love, power, sound mind, peace, and that their faith in Him would grow.  After praying for them in general, I prayed for each one by name.  And suddenly, I thought "What does He pray for me?" 

         Jesus prayed for us on earth.  He prayed for Peter.


"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not, " Luke 22: 31,32a.

          He prayed for all who believe on Him.  I love to read Jesus' words in John 17. This is a wonderful chapter that reveals the heart of Jesus for His Church.

"I pray for them:  I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me,  for they are thine," John 17:9.

          And we know that Jesus lives and that he is seated "at the right hand of God" (Romans 8:34), where He ever lives to make "intercession" for us.

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them," Hebrews 7:25.

Of course, Jesus prays for me.  He prays for you.  What an amazing thought.  

All praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.  I pray His blessings will be with you today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blessings in Disguise

a broken egg
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope," Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV).

           Sometimes, we find ourselves caught up in a frustrating situation, and we forget that everything that comes into our lives is filtered through His hands.  I want to tell you about such a situation that happened to me this summer.

           My kitchen stove had so many broken parts, I didn't think it was a good idea to invest in the expensive repairs.  (Even the oven was broken--and I have to have an oven.)  I decided to buy a new stove and have it installed in plenty of time to bake a cake for my house guests who were arriving in a month.

           I found a stove and ordered it, with a suitable promised delivery and installation date.  The stove came into the warehouse on schedule, but due to miscommunication within the store, the installation did not take place as promised.  Many phone calls and much frustration later, the stove was delivered almost two weeks late.  I had to rearrange my schedule to accommodate the new delivery time and date.  My broken stove was uninstalled and taken out of the house.  But as the installation team brought the new one into the house, they discovered the new one was broken.  Imagine my dismay.

          We made a call to the store.  What could they do for me?  Order me a new one, they said, but I probably wouldn't have it for three more weeks.  I told the manager I'd come into the store in a few minutes and take care of it.  This paragraph cannot convey the amount of frustration I felt.  After the old one was reinstalled and I stood alone in the kitchen,  I said to the Lord, "What is happening here?"  I hadn't expected getting a new stove to become a "customer service" nightmare.  Then I went into the store, and politely cancelled the sale

          When I returned home, a message awaited me from the store.  Besides an apology, they offered me an upgrade to a much nicer stove that was on display on site, and promised to install it within two days, for the same price as the original sale.  Would that make me happy? certainly did. 

As soon as I hung up the phone, I realized I should have trusted God all along.  I remembered other occasions as well when I should have trusted God instead of getting upset about a situation that was out of my control.  The situation had frustrated and disappointed me, but God turned it around for my good.  I should have trusted He would.  This time the store followed through and provided excellent service.  I got a beautiful new stove in time to bake a cake for my guests. 

"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose," Romans 8:28 (NKJV).

Cream cheese pound cake -- includes six broken eggs.
First cake in my new oven.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Constant need of mercy and grace

I was really trying to take a picture to share with you of this charming little hummingbird outside my window.  As you can see, I am not a photographer.  Look closely--this little beauty hums back and forth and shares its space with the squirrels.

          My sincere apologies to those of you who were looking for a new devotion this morning.  I have to confess that I am not prepared.  Last night when I got home from work, I was so tired, I watched the evening news and then went straight to bed.  At first I felt very let down that I couldn't do what I had promised--give you two devotions each week--but then, I realized, I had to get some sleep.  I confess I am in constant need of His mercy and grace.

           Maybe there are meditations on the blog you haven't read yet.  Just go to "older posts" at the bottom of the page, click on those words, and you will be taken back to previous meditations.  I hope you will do that for a word of encouragement.

         Congratulations to Amy Jenkins, from Savannah, Georgia.  She will be receiving a copy of Jeanette Levellie's book, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top.  On September 1, I will be reviewing a newly released book, Two Destinies by Elizabeth Musser, and I will be giving away her book, so please come back for an opportunity to win.

          I pray God's blessings on everyone who is reading these words.  I will have a new meditation for you on the blog on Wednesday, August 15th.  I leave you today with these words from Saint Jude.

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.  To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.  Amen."  Jude 24,25


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Consider the Lilies of the Field

Beautiful photography today courtesy of Eileen deCamp -- Blue Ridge Lavender.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, " Matthew 6:28b (KJV).

          With six children, there is always something I can worry about.  And with a hundred and fifty plus high school students on my class rolls, my head could spin about that.  But wouldn't that be a waste of my time?  Isn't that a lack of faith in God?

          So much has been written about worry, I'm sure I can't say anything new.  It's a part of the universal human condition.  Jesus knew our condition when he gave us his principle for living worry-free. 

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow:  for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto this day is the evil thereof," Matthew 6:34 (KJV).

           Jesus spoke about worry in his Sermon on the Mount.  "Take therefore no thought for the morrow . . . ."  Don't worry about tomorrow.  Don't even give it a thought.  It's not here yet, and it may never come.  "For the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself . . . ."  Tomorrow we can think about tomorrow's business.  "Sufficient unto this day is the evil thereof."  There is enough to deal with today.

          We know His words.  We know our God is bigger than all our problems and the ones that we might face.  Yet, it is a step-by-step walk of faith every day.  And when each day is done, it becomes that wonderful part of our story called the past.  Once lived, it's done, saved for all eternity.  If we trust Jesus to help us live each day as best we can, without worry, we can enjoy the treasure of a life well-lived.  Trusting Him to take care of us just like he does the lilies of the field.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you," 1 Peter 5:7.    

 God bless you with a worry-free day, precious ones.                                                                          

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do What You Can--Guest Blog by Jeanette Levellie

          Today, I'm featuring a story by Jeanette Levellie, from her book Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top.  I think you will really enjoy her writing.  Because of God's grace, Jeanette can see the humor in her own foibles, and she uses her personal stories to offer encouragement to others.

Jeanette Levellie with her grandchildren. 
          Jeanette writes with lots of humor, from a heart filled with love, and a desire for people to see Jesus.  She and her husband, Kevin, relocated from Los Angeles to Paris, Illinois in the rural Midwest in 1999.  Kevin is a minister.  Jeanette has many stories of her experiences as a pastor's wife.  They have two adult children, and three grandchildren.   Jeanette's stories have appeared in many devotionals and anthologies, such as Love is a Verb Devotional with Gary Chapman.  Visit her on her website:

          Following is an excerpt from Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top:

                                                         Do What You Can

When asked to speak for the Homemakers' Club at a Christian nursing home, I was stumped.  I emerged from the womb yakking, singing, and trying to motivate others . . . .   Still, what could I say to inspire women twice my age, and probably ten times my spiritual stature?
          I went to the One with all the answers.
          "Lord, I could use your help.  Many of these ladies are in wheelchairs.  Some of them are sick.  Most will never leave the nursing home.  What can I share with them to add some meaning to their lives?"
          The idea came swiftly, with surprising results.
          "There are people all around you who need your unique talents and abilities,"  I chirped to the dozen ladies gracing the room with their brightly flowered dresses.  Although they listened kindly, I detected a shadow of doubt in their eyes.  Perhaps I'd missed God's voice and brought the wrong message.  They must have thought me blind or naive, not to notice their hands twisted with arthritis and their useless legs in the wheelchair footrests.
          Nevertheless, I forged ahead.  This was the message I believed God had put on my heart.  I had to trust His voice rather than my eyes.
          "While you may not be able to do everything you once did, the Lord can use you to touch many lives.  God doesn't require a brillant mind or a perfect body for you to make a positive difference in the world.  What He's searching for is a willing heart.  He just wants you to do what you can."
          To jumpstart the ladies' discovery of unique ways to touch others' lives, I passed around a jar filled with colorful slips of paper.  On each one, I had written a simple idea.  Every club member chose two papers . . . .
          The lady who picked "compose a silly poem" rushed back to her room and returned with a bright blue notebook.  She was a poet, and had recently written a ridiculous one that she read on the spot. Our laughter danced to the ceiling . . . .
          Several days later, I recalled the evening . . . . "Thank you, Father, for your splendid idea!  You always go above and beyond what I ask or dream.  You are so amazing."
          A familiar Voice stole into my heart, soft and steady:  "What made you think I meant that idea for those ladies alone?"
"Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds"  (Hebrews 10:24 NASB).

FREE BOOK GIVE-AWAY--How to qualify for the random drawing to win a copy of Two Scoop of Grace with Chuckles on Top, by Jeanette Levellie.  Here are the 3 easy steps.
1.  Leave a comment on this blog which includes your name and email address.  (I'll use that address to contact you for your mailing address IF you win.)

2.  Share this blog post on your Facebook wall no later than 11:00 a.m, Friday, August 10th.  You can see how to do that at the bottom of this page.

3.  Sign up to become a "follower" of this blog.

Deadline to qualify is 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 10th.

Thank you for reading Write Moments with God.  I hope you are enjoying my twice weekly devotions.   I'll return with another one of my own meditations on Wednesday, August 8th. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Cardinal Rule for All Relationships

Children at play in Quebec City -- June 2011.  I took this picture.
           Today I begin my 20th school year as a teacher.  I'll be teaching French in a local high school.   I remember when I used to teach writing to eighth graders.
          My students were a disparate group of preteens and teenagers undergoing the dramatic physical, mental, and social changes that mark the transition from childhood to young adulthood.  How did I begin to engage twenty-five to thirty eighth graders in a pertinent discussion to lay the groundwork for the dynamics in the classroom?

           For our initial meeting, all eyes were on me. As you can imagine, I needed them to buy into my "rules and procedures".  So, what did I say to make my words personal and relevant to these children with their varied life experiences?  What did I say that would resonate with each and every one of them?

           First, I presented little scenarios to help them recall their thoughts and feelings in certain situations.  As they thought about which kinds of situations, behaviors, and environments made them comfortable or uncomfortable, we discussed how we could each make others more comfortable.  At this point, I had their attention.  That's when I presented the cardinal rule for all relationships.  I proposed that they treat their classmates the way that they themselves wanted to be treated.  This revelation got nods of approval from some, as if it were their idea.  From the knowing smiles on other faces, I saw that they recognized this as the "Golden Rule" Christ gave to all mankind.

          Jesus spoke these words to the multitudes in his Sermon on the Mount.  Christ wants us to live this way.  Practicing the Golden Rule is practicing brotherly love, which works no ill against another.  All relationships would be enhanced if people lived Christ's command. 

          Our challenge is to practice the Golden Rule in all relationships, even in difficult relationships and encounters.  After all, Christ's commands are the "gold standard".

"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets"  Matthew 7:12 (KJV).

                                                     Sweet granddaughters Madison and Mckenzie.