Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blessed is He Who Watches

Watching for Daddy -- photo courtesy of Marissa Nicole Photography
I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy.  Psalm 123:1-2
Psalm 123 offers a beautiful affirmation of God's sustaining power.
. . . Our eyes wait upon the Lord our God until that he have mercy upon us. . .
We find dual meanings in the Scriptures about "watching". We are watching in
faith knowing that God is about to bring salvation to our situations. 
As we know all too well, dreadful circumstances can come upon us as suddenly as a thief, knocking us off our earthly foundations and destroying our world as we know it. 
Behold, I come as a thief, Blessed is He that watches.  Revelation 16:15a
Circumstances can be disappointing, at worst devastating.  The longer we look at the problems and hardship, the more discouraged we become.  Fear will flood our hearts and minds; sadness and sorrow will come in a torrent. If we can but lift up our eyes to Him. . .
Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord: for He shall pluck my feet out of the net.   Psalm 25:15
And we are watching for the promise of His return.  
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, will return one day.  Scripture refers to His coming again.  He himself told us that He would come again (John 14).  As Christians we look forward to that day. 
And we want to be ready. 
In faith we lift up our eyes to Him, our hope and our deliverer. 
Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when He comes shall find watching. Luke 12:37a 
Glorious sunrise
I'm happy you have visited the blog today.  I hope that together we can encourage each other to look to the Lord.  May His mercy and grace be with you. 
Please feel free to leave a comment here, or if you'd prefer, you can send me a message at


Monday, November 5, 2012

Ann Tatlock, featured author, plus Monthly Book Give-Away

Ann Tatlock
It's my pleasure to introduce award-winning author, Ann Tatlock, as our guest writer today.  Recently I read the devotions which she had written on Christian Devotions website. I was so intriqued by her inspiring messages, I read every one of hers on the site. Then, I ordered her book I'll Watch the Moon.  Set in St. Paul, Minnesota, during the 1948 polio epidemic, this is a beautifully written story with an inspiring message of trust in God.  I've asked Ann to tell us about herself and her writing.

          Every morning I write a Bible verse in a notebook and leave it on my daughter’s bed for her to read when she comes home from school. Today the verse is 1 John 4:19: “We love him, because he first loved us” (AKJV).

          I never cease to be amazed by the “I’ll-make-the-first-move” love of God. That love has wrapped itself around me from the day I was born and, no matter what I’ve done through the years, it has always been true to the words of one of my favorite hymns: “O Love that will not let me go.”

     At the age of six I wrote my first poem in very large letters on a very large piece of ruled writing paper. In it I named all the things I loved—Mom and Dad, the singing birds, my teachers—and I concluded with this line: “But most of all I love God.”

          That says more about God than about me. To think He revealed himself to a little child—how great a gift! In return, I’ve always wanted to serve Him and to tell about what He has done for us through Jesus Christ.

          When I went to college, I thought the best way for me to serve God would be to take care of the sick, but I dropped out of the nursing program when the Lord made it clear to me that my calling was to write.
     Deciding to write true testimonies as to what God was doing in the world, I eventually got a master’s degree in journalism. That led to a job with Billy Graham’s "Decision" magazine, where I spent five years as staff writer and assistant editor.
      But the Lord impressed upon me the power of story as a vehicle for truth. After all, Jesus used fictional stories to teach while he was here on earth. We know those stories today as the parables.
      So I switched gears and started writing novels in the hopes of revealing through them something of the character of God. My novels are both contemporary and historical; I have a particular interest in 20th-century America as it was a time of incredible advancement, unthinkable tragedies, glorious victories and boundless faith on the part of believers.
      My new friend Rose Chandler Johnson recently read I’ll Watch the Moon and asked what inspired me to write it. Since I like to choose a particular era or event to serve as backdrop for my stories, I’ll Watch the Moon arose from my curiosity about the 1948 polio epidemic. As I researched the epidemic, I realized I’d be writing a story about hope. When people face trials like war and disease (the Second World War also figures into the story), they so often discover what the narrator of the story discovers, that even a grain of hope can manage to eclipse a whole world of despair.”

     Let me share too the historical time frame and the theme of some of my other novels:

A Room of My Own  The Great Depression, 1932   Servanthood

A Place Called Morning   1980s                 Forgiveness

All the Way Home   WWII and 1960s Civil Rights Era   Redemption

The Returning     Contemporary                      Grace

Promises to Keep   1967-68                           Discernment

Travelers Rest     Contemporary                     Restoration

Sweet Mercy        Prohibition Era, 1931             Mercy
     I share this with you only because the desire of my heart is to reveal God’s character and announce his truths. Because He loves us, our lives are filled with his grace and mercy, hope and forgiveness, redemption and restoration. I hope my readers will enjoy my stories and--even more important--come away feeling comforted, encouraged and a little bit more certain of God’s unfailing love.

Ann Tatlock
* * *
Now, for an opportunity to receive a copy of Ann's book of your choice.

At least ten readers must comment and share in order for there to be a book give-away. So come on everyone.  Join in.  Follow these easy steps to qualify for the random drawing.

1. Leave a comment on this blog which includes your name and email address. (I will use your address to contact you if you win.) I love to read your comments.

2. Share this blog post on Facebook or mention it on your own blog. If you do not have a facebook, or a blog, become a follower of this site.

Complete these steps by 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 10th. A winner will be announced on November 12th.

Thank you for supporting my writing by reading and commenting on this blog. I will write for you again on Thursday, November 8th, so please come back.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6.

May God be with you.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Comfort of United Prayers

Some comfort food--Fully Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup
A friend confided in me and asked for my prayers for some troubling concerns.  I marveled at the similarities in the challenges we faced.  I actually felt comforted myself as I expressed empathy for her, and it seemed she too felt comfort as a result of our commitment to join together in prayer. 

Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  Matthew 18: 19-20

Does this mean that God gives special attention when believers unite in prayer?  This Scripture says that indeed He is there in our midst. 

When I join my prayers with fellow believers I feel that I am standing with them and helping support their burdens.  Likewise, I feel that they are supporting me and mine.  I believe that in the Spirit that we are indeed doing just that.  And we are comforted.

Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:3 NKJV

We know we are not alone.  We can unite our prayers with fellow believers to find comfort and hope.  God intended for us to join together and find strength in the body of Christ.  Even the Spirit of God within us helps us pray.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Times of need can overwhelm us.  We need to partner together with fellow believers and trust that God is with us.  We will obtain the mercy and grace sufficient for our needs.

My thanks to all of you who pray with me and for me.  Your prayers are a precious gift.  I would stumble and fall under the weight of my burdens without your prayers. 

I unite my prayers now with all of you praying for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.  I am so sorry for their sorrow and loss.  I pray for the God of all comfort to be with them and with you as well.
Photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp 

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