Monday, October 29, 2012

To Write the Right Words

Foggy Morning, Thompson, Georgia courtesy of Marissa Nicole Photography
For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  1 Corinthians 2:2

This morning during my prayer time, I had a little talk with the Lord.  It's the same little talk we have each time I must prepare a devotion for this blog.  I feel in a bit of a fog, knowing that in myself I have no ability to reach others with the good news of Jesus Christ.  I feel inadequate, knowing that anything I could say has already been said and much more eloquently than I can say it.  How do I choose the right words to express what I have on my heart?  And there is always the biggest question.

What do you want me to write Lord?

I knew before starting this blog that I wanted it to be about God showing Himself in the everyday things.  I wanted to focus on the reality of Christ and how that makes all the difference in each moment.  I wanted my words to encourage others on their everyday journeys.  I don't want to get in the way of anyone's view of God.  So, He reminded me again to be His witness.

I can not save a soul.  Only God can.  But I can tell of the great things he has done for me.  I know what I know.  I know how He gives me strength for each day, and His mercies are new every morning.

Come and hear, all you that fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul.  Psalm 66:16

So many are weary and lonely and hurting.  So many don't know the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  And we all need encouragement each day.  The Lord wants me to tell of His mercy and grace and tell what He means to me.  I don't have to worry about writing the right words as long as they focus on Him.  That is the point of these devotions.  I want you to know my Lord. 

That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:3-4 NKJV

I hope we can encourage each other and rejoice together as we testify about what He has done for us and what He will do for those who will only believe.

 Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques Collage of Life

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Keep Praying because God is Faithful and Just

Monastere des Augustines, Quebec City, Quebec, June 2011.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said, "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with her plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary'."

This parable captured my heart and attention this week.  I intended to bring you a different devotion, but I kept returning to these verses instead.  Maybe it's because I identify with the vulnerable and defenseless widow.  She keeps going to the unjust judge with her plea, probably knowing full well he was unjust. 

For some time he refused.  But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'

This unjust judge could represent many entities that hold our interests in the power of their hands.  He doesn't respect God, nor does he care about men, but at last he gives in to her pleas.  Not because of any virtue or compassion in himself; He has his own self-interest in mind.  He's tired of her bothering him.

And the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off? 

Jesus is asking this question.  And what must the answer be?

 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. 

God is Faithful and Just.  Keep taking your petition to Him in prayer.  Keep going to Him night and day.  He will grant you justice against our adversary. 

This parable encourages me to persist in prayer, and gives me hope.  But this parable ends with another question from Jesus that I had never noticed before,which causes me to search my heart.

However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?'  Luke 18:1-5

Be encouraged today to pray and not give up.  I pray that your faith endures until Jesus comes again. 

Thank you for visiting the blog today.  Please feel free to leave a comment below or write me a personal note at  I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

In God's Economy

Sugar Hollow Shenandoah National Park--Photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp
The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell thereinPsalm 24:1

I've done my share of complaining along with everyone else about this economy.  Gas prices, food prices, unemployment--there's a lot to be concerned about.  But let's get this economic situation in perspective.  Whether the stock market is up, or the stock market is down; whether the economy is booming, or unemployment abounds, God, the Creator of the universe, owns everything--all the silver, all the gold, the cattle upon every hill, and even "they that dwell therein". However little or much we might have, it's all God's; we have what we have only by His grace.  Even our lives are in His hands.

I try to be a good manager of what God provides for me, taking care of my household, and when I am able sharing with others who have needs. Other than that, why should I stress?  In the media and all around us, people are agonizing about the economic downturn.  Some despondent, who have lost their jobs or their fortunes, have taken their own lives.  I'm sorry to say I've wasted countless hours over the years worrying about finances.

The Lord has reminded me through His Word to take heed, lest my soul become bankrupt as I worry about the things of this world.

Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise.  Luke 21:34 ISV

God is good.  No matter what situation we find ourselves in, no matter how rich or poor, God loves us, his children.  If we can keep that in mind, and concentrate on our soul's worth, our hearts can enjoy peace.  After all, God has promised to provide all we need no matter what the economy. 
                                      My daughter Melanie took this picture in India in 2010.

My prayers to you no matter where you are.  May God bless you with all you need and give you peace. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stories of Hope--Let's See What God Will Do

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques Collage of Life
 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened to me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the gospel. Philippians 1:12

          I thought of this Scripture this weekend as I listened to a family friend as she quietly talked about surviving breast cancer.  Her eyes twinkled with emotion as she told me how her experience had turned out to be a "beautiful thing".  She talked about how amazed she was to have grown so close to the Lord through all that she had experienced.  She had expected the hurtful things that came with a double mastectomy.  She had not expected such an outpouring of love and support that came from all her friends and co-workers.  Nor did she expect all the spiritual blessings that came her way as she drew close to God.

"I love to tell my story," she said.

We all face crises in our lives.  The initial reaction is often fear and dread.  If only we could hang onto stories of hope, and have a "let's-see-what-the-Lord-will-do" attitude. 

And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

Thank you Debra for sharing what God has done for you.  It seems to me that your story is an actualization of Paul's words--"the things which happened to me furthered the gospel."

For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Augusta Chronicle is featuring breast cancer survivor stories in its Faces of Survival portraits.  You might like to read more there.  (

                                           Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques Collage of Life


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Words of Authority--Just Do It

Saint Anne de Beaupre Cathedral Quebec City -- I took this with my daughter Katie in June, 2011.
His mother said to the servants, Whatever he says to you, do it.  John 2:5 NASV

          My youngest son and I used to enjoy our popcorn and movie nights.  He liked the old war movies as much as I did.  One night we watched Back to Bataan, a WWII film, starring John Wayne as Colonel Madden, the courageous U.S. Marine.  The story takes place in the Philippines after the Japanese invasion.  Col. Madden instructs a Filipino resistance fighter regarding the new man in charge, saying "Do whatever he tells you to do."  His words brought to my remembrance the words of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee.

          Jesus and his disciples attended the wedding.  When the host ran out of wine for the guests, Mary said to Jesus, "They have no wine."  "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee:  mine hour is not yet come."  John 2:4 (KJV)

          Then his mother spoke to the servants.  "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."  Mary, who knew better than anyone the divinity of Jesus, demonstrated complete confidence--faith--in His power and authority.  Jesus turned the water into wine, the first of the miracles Christ performed on earth to manifest His glory.

          I don't know about you, but there are very few people whose words I would follow without question.  But we are all under a  higher authority.  Jesus spoke as one having authority, indeed having been given "all authority in heaven and on earth"  by God the Father.

          Mary's words call to action:  "Do it."  I wish I would remember her words to those servants every day of my life, and do without question whatever Jesus tells me to do.

May God bless all of you who are reading these words.  I hope my writing offers some encouragement to you.  Thank you for visiting my blog, and do come again.  Many thanks to my talented friends who allow me to use their pictures.  Thanks, Eileen.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail by Eileen DeCamp

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

That the Power of God May Rest upon Me

Jeanne Henriques beautiful photo -- see more at Collage of Life
And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

           I am working full-time in a beautiful high school teaching a subject I love.  Although I have enjoyed my teaching career, and I am grateful to have my position, I would prefer to retire at this time, slow down a bit, write full-time, and concentrate on my children and their children.  I'm not complaining.  I'm just speaking openly.

           However, the reality is that I need to continue working as I do now in order to have adequate income.  The reality doesn't quite add up to the ideal. With that being said, I believe God has blessed me with my job.  He knows exactly where I work, and He is more than able to change my circumstances if He so desires.  In the meantime, I know He gives me the grace I need not only to do what I need to do, but to glorify Him each day.

        The apostle Paul reminds us that God's grace is sufficient for us.  Taking his words to heart, I need to rely on God's strength rather than my own, and focus on God's will rather than mine.  "That the power of Christ may rest upon me."  What a wonderful promise.  It's no wonder Paul said he would "most gladly rather glory in his infirmities". 

          We can apply this Scripture to all of life's circumstances -- finances, health, family.  All our endeavors, every relationship and need, require God's grace.  In our weakness, His strength is made perfect. 

          "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."  2 Timothy 2:1

          May the power of God rest upon you.  His grace is more than sufficient for all your needs, and His strength is made perfect in your weakness.  Thank you for reading today.  You can leave a comment below if you'd like to share your thoughts, or you can email me privately at

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep -- plus Winner of Book Give-Away

Beautiful sunset courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

"When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet," Proverbs 3:24 (NIV).

          Friends and colleagues often comment about their inability to sleep well.  I am grateful to God that I sleep well now.  But I remember times when I didn't.  One time in particular comes to mind.

          When I was nineteen years old, I got married and within the week moved 3000 miles away from home.  I knew no one in this new place.  In addition, my husband's job took him away from home regularly for one to six weeks at a time.  Loneliness made the fears loom large at night.  Every little bump and creak brought imaged horrors that stole my sleep.
           One day as I read the Bible, I came across Psalm 4:8.  It became a companion and a promise of God's abiding care.  I reasoned with myself before my nightly prayers.  While I sleep, God is awake; so why not allow myself to rest in His arms and let Him take care of my world while I sleep.  My fears would subside.  Sleep was sweet.
           Today, Psalm 4:8 is literally written on my bedroom wall.
           My heart goes out to the many people who experience insomnia for whatever reasons. I hope these Scriptures minister peace to you as they did for me and offer you sweet sleep. 
Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques Collage of Life

        Congratulations to Joy Hannabass who will be receiving a copy of Unconditional by Eva Marie Everson.  I'm very pleased so many of you visited the blog and left comments.  Thank you so much for supporting my writing by visiting and leaving comments. Please visit often. Prayers and blessings to all of you who read these words.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

My son Justin's 5th grade class--He's that well-behaved child in the blue stripped shirt on the front right.

"And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat the rams" 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV).

          I am the mother of six children.  When one of my children listens to me and obeys my directions, I am delighted.  Simple obedience brings peace and contentment; whereas disobedience can bring much disappointment, confusion, and grief.  How many times as a parent have I lamented, "If only she had listened to me . . . if only he had listened."  So much heartache, so many troubles could have been avoided, if only they had listened and obeyed my voice.

          Our mature perspective shaped by life experiences allows us as parents to foresee the outcomes of some actions and decisions, giving us the wisdom to direct our children to make right choices.  When they don't obey, and the inevitable consequences follow, we endeavor to intervene to keep heartache from turning into heartbreak, setback into disaster, disaster into ruin.  We waste countless hours; we lose peace.  Simple obedience would have been better than all our efforts to make up for the disobedience.

          How much more so does God see all things?  He knows the beginning from the end.  How much more does God desire for His children to obey His voice?  God asks for our obedience.  He expects us to pay attention to His words.  In fact, He says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John 14:21). 

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

          Have you had the experience of wishing you had listened to the wise counsel of God found in the Scriptures?  Can you use that experience as a reminder to obey God in all things. 

Anne Marie, Justin, and Robbie--Three of my children.
          Thank God for His mercy to forgive us when we have caused Him pain by our disobedience.  I pray for the strength and the will to be obedient to Him at all times.   
Note to my readers:  The book give-away continues through Friday, so read the previous post and follow the instructions to enter.  Blessings to you today.