Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm A Nut

Cashew Tree - Trinidad, West Indies, July 2006

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

My son, Griff loves cashews. After work last night, he stopped by the grocery store to purchase something I needed in order to cook dinner. He came home with my item, minced garlic, and spent his own money on a can of cashews. He must really be fond of them to spend HIS money, huh? He remarked that he didn't know why they were so expensive as he popped the can and munched on a few before hiding the can from other nut lovers.
After nibbling on a few of the pricey nuts myself, I reminded him that we had seen cashew trees when we visited the tropical garden of Bunty & Rory O’Connor in Trinidad in July 2006. We learned that cashews are native to the Americas, but widely cultivated in India and Africa since the 16th century. You never see cashews for sale in the shell because between the outer and inner shells covering the nut is an extremely caustic oil. The outer shell must be roasted or burned off with the oil (the smoke is also an irritant). The kernels are then boiled or roasted again, and a second shell is removed. Hence, the reason for the pricey little nuts.
Now you may be thinking, that's interesting, but why are you writing about cashews today? I tell you the Lord dealt with me last night through a little can of cashews. No kidding! Before Griff brought home the can of cashews I had been having a little pity party and I discovered that I have some hurt within me that I thought I had dealt with years ago. There was a person in my life that I completely respected and loved. This person didn't like me. I was ridiculed by this person. I was ignored by this person. I was deeply hurt by this person no matter how I tried to offer my love and affection. I built up a protective layer when I was around this person. I tried to hide my pain, but I became bitter and angry at this person and the people she showed love to. I desperately wanted her to like me.

When I thought about those cashews and the process they go through before they are of any value, I realized that I am a lot like the cashew nut. Just like the caustic shell surrounding the cashew, I must allow God to reach in and remove the layers of hurt, bitterness, burning away the impurities of my soul. It is not an easy process. Very painful and costly to allow this shell, these layers to be burned away. But if I want God to use me for His glory, I must trust Him. Lord, help me to view my past suffering as preparation for ministry as the apostle Paul did.
Read Philippians 1:12-26

Beauty For Ashes...

A flock of Scarlet Ibises landing in the trees in Caroni Marsh, Trinidad.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes,the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Isaiah 61:3

As long as we are on earth we are subject to is unavoidable. As agonizing as life can be at times, if we allow God to work, the pain can be a time of growth. The Lord knows all about your broken heart, your hurt, your wounds, your despair and even your mourning. He offers His healing, freedom, deliverance, and joy to everyone.

I read that the Chinese have an interesting symbol for the word crisis; it indicates both danger and opportunity. When the stakes are high and the outcome in doubt, purpose can emerge from pain, like 'beauty from ashes'. New dreams, new relationships, new attitudes about life can open up to you as a result of your experience.
Express your feelings to God. Allow Him to give you 'Beauty instead of ashes… and… praise instead of… despair.'

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Crown Of Righteousness

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me
a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:
and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
II Timothy 4: 7, 8

Today is March 29, 2008. It is so fitting that I found a newspaper article today from March 29, 1968, exactly 40 years ago, where my mother-in-law Dottie Morgan was crowned Mrs. Augusta. In order to win the crown, she had to compete and prove her worthiness to receive the crown. She did this by excelling in floral design, handicrafts, fashion design, character, poise, and beauty, etc. What an exquisite lady she was!

One of the crowns she will receive now will be a crown of righteousness that has been set aside for her. She has finished the race --- she kept believing. What hope we have because of this promise. One day we, too will receive our crown if we fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.
I love you, Dawie.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Shadow Of Death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...
Psalm 23

My mother-in-law went home today. She is now resting in the arms of Jesus. What a beautiful, loving, and talented lady she was. She will be terrribly missed, but we know she is finally at peace and free from pain.

In her last days, my daughter touched her face several times and was amazed at the smooth, soft texture of her grandmother's beautiful skin at seventy-four years of age. I told her how her grandmother had avoided the sun, covering her face, or waiting til late in the day to be outside. She definitely prefered the shade. She even planted as many trees as she could to produce lots of shade in her yard.

Shortly after she passed away today, I gazed out the window to see a beautiful image...the shade and shadows of the trees she had planted reflecting in the pond at dusk. It was as if the trees were actually in the water. If I had put my hand in the water could I have touched the trees? Of course not.

As believers in Christ, we won't be touched by death. Our earthly bodies will die, but we will not experience eternal death. Jesus conquered death through the resurrection. The grave has no victory over us and death has no sting (1 Corinthians 15:5). Our last breath on this earth will be followed by our first breath in the presence of the Lord. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)

Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:26

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Comfort Others

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction
so that we will be able
to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves
are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Jesus is our High Priest. He understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses. We can approach His throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. When we go through times of trouble, God comforts and encourages us. If we are truly followers of Christ Jesus, we are His hands and His feet. When there are others around us going through difficult times we are called to comfort and encourage them. Our Heavenly Father does not ask us His children to do something for others that He has not done for them.

Just today God presented me with an unexpected opportunity to "comfort" someone who is dealing with a painful situation very similar to something I have walked through. This ministry experience was a perfect example of the verse from 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 because I was able to identify with this individual's pain, point them to Jesus who truly does comfort us in all our afflictions, and testify that He is able and He will!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Something miraculous happened today. For the first time in a long time, all three of my children were home at the same time during daylight for more than two hours. If you have high school and/or college age children, you understand my amazement.

My middle child, the early riser, cooked a delicious pancake breakfast for all us. I forgot the diet and ate 4 pancakes smothered in fattening Aunt Jemima syrup! What a memorable time together. There was even plenty of time for horsing around and lots of laughter before the dirty work began...some serious 'spring cleaning' of their closets.
After breakfast was halfway digested and laughter somewhat silenced, I sentenced my three darlings to their bedrooms to clean out closets. They were told to sort the clothes into three stacks...

1. Keep - things they would actually wear
2. Give Away - things that they no longer wanted or needed
3. Store Away - things that they wanted to save, but they wouldn't necessarily wear again

I watched my daughter put her dance costumes/shoes into the 'Store Away' pile. Ballet, Tap, and Jazz days are over, but so many memories still dance in my heart. The boys put jeans and shirts that no longer fit in the 'Give Away' stack and even traded some shirts. Two men now, but little boys in my heart forever. There were lots of leftover hangers when they were finished putting away the clothes they wanted to

After about two hours of cleaning out and sorting through, we decided to take a break. As I sipped on my glass of water, I thought about this process of 'cleaning out.' Not just the kids' closets, but the closets of my heart, my soul, my mind. This act of cleaning is necessary in my daily life. I need to ask God to remove the things that clutter my life and take up space that He can use.
I should be careful to only keep things in my life that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute. (Philippians 4:8)
I must give away the love He has shown towards me, loving my neighbor as myself. (Matthew 22:34-40)
I need to store away His truth, the WORD in my heart so I won't sin against Him. (Psalm 119:11)
Lord, I thank you for revealing this to me today. You desire to clean up my life daily...not just in the spring time, but all the time.

Monday, March 24, 2008


My mother-in-law, Dorothy Drake Phares Morgan - 1954
…you are complete in Him,
who is the head of all
principality and power.
Colossians 2:10

I have always been pretty much self-motivated and even defined by some as a hopeless perfectionist. At the same time however, I always struggled with insecurity, fear, and feelings of inadequacy, even comparing my self to other successful women. I definitely had a lame definition of success before I discovered the promises in the Word of God, claiming them as God's spoken word to me. My house may be a lot messier, and our clothes may not be perfectly pressed but I am enjoying life a lot more lately.

I have been married for 22 years, raised three wonderful children, taught school for 13 years, but by the world's standards I really haven't achieved much success. I realize that success is defined differently according to whom you ask, but the truth about success lies in what the Word of God says. If you know Him, if you've been born again, if you're a new creation in Jesus Christ, trusting Him, you have been made complete. You're complete. I don't care how you feel; this is the facts, this is the truth, you are complete. You have been made complete. Christ is sufficient. And your sufficiency isn't in yourself, it's in Him.

I asked my mother-in-law this past weekend what accomplishment she was most proud of in her life. Without hesitation she said, 'being a wife and mother...that's all I ever wanted to do.'

I believe she was extremely successful and she certainly is a hard act to follow! She reared three godly children and has loved her husband for over fifty-four years. In our culture today it is rare to find a woman content and fulfilled in being a wife and mother. Nothing wrong with having a career, but I often wonder if the struggles of attempting to balance career/home are worth all the hassle and frustration?

I looked up 'success' in the dictionary. The definition read:

….the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.

What is your definition of success? Will your success be enough to carry you through difficult times that you may face? I heard someone once say, What a tragedy it would be to spend an entire lifetime climbing the ladder of success only to reach the top and find the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall. Success is a personal relationship with Jesus which leads you to understanding the purpose of your life...

to worship, serve, and glorify God.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Fanny Crosby

... for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God,
and are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption
that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:23-24

Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, His child, and forever, I am.Nothing I could ever do would match His holiness or His righteousness. I can not earn my salvation. It is a free gift offered to all because of the precious blood that was spilled on Calvary. Thank God for the mercy, grace, and assured salvation we have because of the redemption provided on the cross.

His child, and forever, I am.

Philip Schaff says, Jesus Christ is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all. In the Gospels he walks in human form upon the earth, and accomplishes the work of redemption.

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed thro' His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.
Redeemed, redeemed,Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,His child, and forever, I am.

Redeemed and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long;
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.

Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915
read about Fanny Crosby at

Friday, March 21, 2008

Were You There?

I am crucified with Christ:
nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me,
and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

I was there when they crucified my Lord! Even though I wasn't physically on the cross, my sin was hanging on that cross with my Lord Jesus. When we come to Jesus we are united by his death and resurrection and now freely live for God and Christ lives in us.

Scott McKnight put it this way in his commentary on Galatians. 'Those who have been justified, live justly; those who have been made holy in Christ, live holy lives; those who have experienced God’s love, love others; those who have experienced God’s forgiveness, forgive others; those who have been called from the world, no longer live in the world; those who have died to the flesh, live in the Spirit.'

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Af­ri­can-Amer­i­can spir­it­u­al

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take Up Your Cross

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24

When someone was found guilty and condemned to be crucified, a part of the sentence was that they would carry their cross. Joyce Meyer says, Jesus said our cross is to live unselfish lives. He said that we are to forget about ourselves, losing sight of ourselves and our own interests. That literally means we must live for God and other people. We must lay our lives down and do what is for the good of other people and the Kingdom of God. When we think of the choice to live an unselfish life, something deep within us cries out, "What about me?" The good news is that God takes care of us if we do what He asks us to do. Each act of obedience to God's will is a seed we sow that reaps an abundant harvest of peace, joy, and blessing in our own lives."

He Took My Place

For our sake
He made Him to be sin
who knew no sin,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21

The Gospel is incomprehensible unless you understand that Jesus took the place of me, you, and every other person born when he died on the cross. Although he was sinless, he took the blame for our sins so we could have eternal life. Read the words of this beautiful hymn...

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

by Samuel Medley, 1738-1799

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jars Of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

If we focus on our circumstances it is easy to become downcast. We are just a ordinary clay pots! Our shell, the vessel is vulnerable to the harsh elements of this world. But praise God for the hidden treasure within! If we trust in Jesus, there is power and authority available to us! Picture this … Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding on your behalf - right now! He knows all about your worries, your uncertainties, your fears, your every care and He is petitioning the God of this universe to come to your aid. Only trust Him! That's all you need to do. This awesome power is not from us, it is from God.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick

St. Patrick

"..For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28 NLT

Jesus came to people in the form of a servant. If we are true followers of Christ, we will follow his example by serving and sacrificing for others. Christ paid a high ransom for our souls. His death and resurrection freed us from the chains of the enemy. Jesus' blood ransomed our souls! Praise God we are set free from the punishment of sin and death!

Around the year 385, a 16-year old Scottish boy named Patrick was captured by Irish invaders and taken into slavery. After six years of imprisonment, he escaped and returned to his family. However, he felt led by God to return to Ireland to spread Christianity. He preached the Gospel and built churches throughout the entire country of Ireland until his death on March 17, 461. St. Patrick's life is a good example of humble Christian servanthood...a life of service and sacrifice.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Stormy Weather

Downtown Atlanta after tornado struck Friday, 3/14/08 at 9:40 pm

I love the Lord because he hears my voice
and my prayer for mercy.
Because he bends down to listen,
I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2
Storms make the oak grow deeper roots. -George Herbert

Tornadoes are one of the most intimidating and frightening weather systems, in my opinion. My nieces Krista and Katie, who live in Atlanta, witnessed a terrifying tornado Friday night. The National Weather Service rated the storm EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, meaning it packed top winds of 130 miles per hour. There was significant damage throughout Atlanta caused by the tornado. Thankfully, my nieces are fine.

On Saturday, a heavy thunderstorm prompted another tornado warning as it plowed across Atlanta then on to Athens at the same time we were preparing to attend our son, Griff's state FBLA convention. With the wail of eery sireens in the background, everyone scrambled for shelter in a safe place. Gratefully, we escaped injury and the convention went on and was a huge success.

One of the most impressive things about the storm we witnessed yesterday is that the sky was perfectly clear instantly after the storm passed through. According to the National Weather Sevice it is not uncommon to see clear, sunlit skies behind a tornado.

You can probably remember a time when the storms of life were so great that it seemed like a huge weight was crushing you. You even had doubts that you would make it through the day. Maybe you suffered a loss so great that it was even difficult to breathe. Life was suddenly interrupted and you were certain that happiness would always escape you. Perhaps you have experienced a disappointment that caused you to be fearful and hesitant to reach out. God hears your desperate prayers in the dark of the night and your anxious cries at dawn. He bends down to listen. He sees each tear that falls. Continue to pray! God is faithful. The storm will pass. Dwell in Him...the shelter of the Most High! Thomas Becket said, "Remember the sufferings of Christ, the storms that were weathered... the crown that came from those sufferings which gave new radiance to the faith... All saints give testimony to the truth that without real effort, no one ever wins the crown."

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The annointed

Happy Birthday Barbara!

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion -- to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
Isaiah 61:1-3

I was invited to Barbara' birthday celebration this morning. She is a godly, annointed woman whom God has used to spur me on in my walk. This verse from Isaiah reminds me of her. The Spirit of the Lord is definitely upon her!
What a tremendous cheerleader she is! In order for a cheerleader to be successful, she must believe in her team. She must see the victory even when the scoreboard may not reveal it YET! That's Barbara. She believes in the visions and dreams God implanted in my heart and has a faith that certainly pleases God.
I am so thankful for the shaking and the awakening that has been going on in my life lately. Lord, you have taken away things that have hindered my walk and given me a deep longing for you. You are so faithful and you never leave me. Thank you for showing me what you see and what you feel.
Our community is hurt, lost and dying. No government program, and no church program, for that matter will save it. Only the blood of Jesus can save, heal, and restore the hearts of people.

Thank you for showing me this truth.

Here I am Lord. I want to be your vessel.

Use me to tell the good news, help those who are heartbroken, share the freedom found in Christ, and show light to those who are imprisoned in their sin.

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I Am Not Alone

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:16-18 and 14:26

Jesus promises that I am not alone. He has given me the Spirit of Truth. In John 14:16-18, the amplified Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby.
If you have accepted Christ as your personal savior, the Holy Spirit took up residence in you, too. He will stay with you and be a Helper in all situations. I am so thankful that I do not have to rely on my own resources. I can draw from the well that never runs dry!
"...If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:38-38

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not Crushed and Not In Despair!

St. Paul in Prison - Rembrandt, 1627

We are hard pressed on every side,
yet not crushed;
we are perplexed,
but not in despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8

Regardless of who you are and what is going on in your life, you can probably identify with this verse. You may feel "hard pressed" because of temptations, work, relationships, health issues, aging parents, finances, etc. No doubt, we will all experience pressure in this life. However, because of the power of the resurrection of Christ, we will not be crushed when we are put under pressure. Yes, we will be perplexed at times, but not in despair.
It is safe to say the apostle Paul was definitely hard pressed and perplexed since he suffered greatly in his life. In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, Paul describes some of his sufferings....labors, imprisonments, stripes, various dangers, stoning, shipwrecks, hardships and fastings, cold and nakedness. Because Paul continually reflected on the promises of God and the power of the resurrection, he maintained hope and was sustained by hope. Read Romans 8:28 and be assured of God's ability.

To watch a video about the life of Paul go to

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Good Shepherd

Resting sheep and shepherd boy - a gift from my mother
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:He leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul:He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23

Today's verse of the day from Psalm 23 and yesterday's verse of the day from Matthew 6:19-13 are two that you most likely memorized as a young child. Yesterday, the Lord directed me to both of these and I have begun studying them line for let them really sink down in my heart.

My friend Barbara called me this morning.
She is a beautiful, godly, African-American woman full of the Spirit, and has been such an encouragement to me lately. I have only known her a few months, but we have become fast friends and best of all...prayer partners. I can truly call her my sister in Christ. When we look at one another we don't see our differences.
The Word calls the people of God toward unity of faith.
1 Corinthians 10:17 says,

For we, though many, are one bread and one body;
for we all partake of that one bread.

As we talked on the telephone this morning, Barbara began to tell me how she had ministered through the Word and song at the nursing home yesterday. She talked about how she had spoken to the residents about Psalm 23. I had to tell her how the Lord had also led me to Psalm 23. What a wonderful time we had discussing, sharing, consuming the promises of God! Manna from heaven!

Speaking of Psalm 23, you know, when David spoke of the Lord as his shepherd, he thought of Him not only as his provider and protector but also as his king. Because God was David’s shepherd, he lacked (wanted) nothing. A good shepherd is all a sheep needs since a good shepherd, by his very nature will always supply all of the sheep’s needs.

The Good Shepherd is all you need.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Our Father...

Caroni Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad, West Indies - July 2006

This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
Matthew 6:9-13

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. He told them to pray to the Father...not to others. Now this is difficult to admit, but I still fear being called on to pray in public...doesn't matter if there's just one other person or a crowd of fifty. The Holy Spirit has really has been convicting me about this lately. He told me I would be less fearful if I wasn't concerned about what others thought of my prayer. Makes me ask myself, Are my prayers to my Father, or to others? Since my Father is the only one who can answer my prayers, why don't I just relax and pray from my heart?

Francois Fenelon, a French-Roman theologian, poet, and writer said, "Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one's heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell God your troubles, that God may comfort you; tell God your joys, that God may sober them; tell God your longings, that God may purify them; tell God your dislikes, that God may help you conquer them; talk to God of your temptations, that God may shield you from them: show God the wounds of your heart, that God may heal them. If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. Talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration say just what you think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God."

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Battle Is Not Yours!

Michelangelo's 'David' - 1504
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10

I am currently doing a Bible Study about King David in a book called A Heart Like His by Beth Moore. Studying David, I realize that he was so human. He had to deal with many similar issues that I deal with...doubt, despair, exhaustion, lack of faith, etc. Like David, I must trust God to do battle for me.

Beth Moore says, "David continually called on God to fight his battles for him, Consequently, he always knew whose hand had brought the victory...when God ordains or permits battles to be used to accomplish a divine end and we depend on God through every sweep of our sword, we will grow stronger instead of weaker."

... For the battle is not yours, but God's
. II Chronicles 20:15

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Unfailing Love

Photo: Covered and wrapped up in the Word,
courtesy of photographer Taylor
Let your unfailing love surround us,


for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33:22

How amazing is your unfailing love, Lord!
I confess that I can relate more and more to the Israelites who had short-term memory when it came to trusting God. Many times He delivered them, just as He promised He spite of their mistrust, their doubt, and their fears.

I have been a recipient of and/or witnessed God's miraculous deliverance, His miraculous provision, and His miraculous healing many times. But, it seems with the latest struggles in my life, I have developed amnesia. I easily forget how great and might my God is! I know the Word, but my faith seems so weak right now.

My Sunday School lesson this week was so fitting and timely for my circumstances. We are studying David in a book by Beth Moore called A Heart Like His.

My Sunday School teacher, Liz said, "Just like David sometimes our walk with God is filled with faith and peace. And then at other times we find ourselves making those "figure eight" patterned steps. Instead of walking in faith straight ahead we start making those figure eight patterned steps. We waver from side to side. We turn around and run, we come full circle and then back again. We need help, we need encouragement, we need to look up!" Beth Moore says "The enemy will always appear larger if we fail to look up." Our "enemy" (circumstances/problems) seems so big and overwhelming, we feel weak and our God seems small."

I was so touched today as the ladies in my Sunday School class gathered around me to pray, then presented me with a beautiful prayer blanket. Before me, there have been many other, much more deserving, precious ladies that have been the recipient of prayer blankets through our Sunday School class' Prayer Blanket Ministry. Today I wept and was completely humbled, yet strengthened as I clutched the blanket in my arms. What a beautiful picture of how God surrounds me and covers me with His unfailing love...through my dear sisters in Christ. You see, we need one another. Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, "A cord of three strands is not easily broken."

Experiencing this kind of encouragment from my "sisters" today makes me realize how tragic it is for one to be without Christ...our hope alone. Oh, Father, thank you for your unfailing love. I praise you for the sacrifice you made to ransom my soul. Lord, open my eyes this week to a person who needs to know about your unfailing love.

Check out this video with a beautiful worship song by Chris Tomlin
(Remember to first scroll down on sidebar to pause my blog background music )

Saturday, March 8, 2008

What Time Is It?

For everything there is a season, And a time for every matter under heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up;A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to throw away; A time to tear, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Set your clocks forward tonight! It's time to spring ahead!

I heard on the radio that the U.S. begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in November. I really don't understand why we set our clocks forward in the Spring then backwards in the Fall, but tonight I will reluctantly conform to this madness. Sadly, I will lose a precious hour of sleep, too.

No matter what time my clock reads, I am reminded today that God's timing is always perfect. Often I pray expecting immediate results, but I am learning that He often waits to answer. I heard someone once say 'Better to be patient and wait for the time God said - you will not change God.'

Friday, March 7, 2008


Photo: Bird in winter - courtesy of photographer Taylor
All who take refuge in you will be glad;
They will sing out their joy forever.
You will shelter them…
Psalm 5:13

'Mother-in-love' sleeps restlessly in the sterile room
Soft, pale hands
Once caressing
Comforting others
Creating beauty in her surroundings
Now lie immobile
A life of giving
Now a life of receiving
Relying on other hands to sooth, calm, and still
Other hands smooth out creases of the cotton covering,
Dabbing fevered brow
His hands now enveloping, reassuring, removing fear
Reminding us that our days are passing like a shadow.

We are like a puff of wind;our days are passing like a shadow.
Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Psalm 144:4 and Matthew 10:31

Thursday, March 6, 2008


It's in Christ that we find out who we are
and what we are living for.
Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up,
he had his eye on us,
had designs on us for glorious living,
part of the overall purpose
he is working out in everything and everyone.
Ephesians 1:11 (The Message)
Without the hope I have in Christ, my life would truly be desperate and bleak. In Christ I discover the purpose for my life. Because I trust in Jesus alone I have the assurance that won't end at the grave. I have eternal hope!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622)

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian,
let him not be ashamed,
but let him glorify God in this matter.
1 Peter 4:16

My dear Aunt Judy wrote these words to me today...

"...we never know what may be instore for us, but faith has to lead us to believe that even in the most difficult circumstances that we go through someday we may stand and look back and reflect on blessings that we have received through the most trying of times and did not even know that it would turn out that way... we only have faith in the fact that GOD is in charge and and we are judged by what we do with the circumstances that have been thrown our way and how we glorify GOD." (Aunt Judy)

At some point in our life here on earth, we will all experience pain, stress, disappointment, frustration, grief, and fear. In these times, we learn to trust God and realize the truths found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10,

My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches,
in needs,
in persecutions,
in distresses,
for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The many troubles in your household will tend to your edification, if you strive to bear them all in gentleness, patience, and kindness. Keep this ever before you, and remember constantly that God's loving eyes are upon you amid all these little worries and vexations, watching whether you take them as He would desire. Offer up all such occasions to Him; and if sometimes you are put out and give way to impatience, do not be discouraged, but make haste to regain your lost composure. (Saint Francis de Sales)

You had better make up your mind to accept what you cannot alter. You can live a beautiful life in the midst of your present circumstances. (J. R. Miller)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

He Hears Me

A page from a 1960's telephone book

Even before they call,
I will answer;
while they are still speaking,
I will hear.
Isaiah 65:24

God knows my heart and He knows all about my cares and concerns. This verse is a great encouragement to me. It is amazing that before I approach His throne, He promises to answer my cry. Before I utter a sound, He hears me. Before the words roll off my tongue, He answers.

Remember To Study!

Gina --- Class of 1979 --- Clarkston High School

Get all the advice and instruction you can,
so you will be wise the rest of your life.
Proverbs 19:20 NLT

I was thinking about my high school years today. My friends, the clothes I wore, and oh! My hair! Those lovely hair-sprayed wings! I definitely had the Farrah Fawcett hair going on! If I had been graded on my hair, I probably would have passed with flying colors, but actually I barely graduated with the class of 1979 from Clarkston High School. I could have studied more, made better grades, scored higher on my SAT, but I really wasn't very dedicated and studious back then. Because of that, my performance on tests and grades revealed my lack of study and preparation. However, with some encouragement from my cousin, Laura Mell and a high school friend, Beth I did learn to study and actually graduate from college four years later with a 4.0. Now, almost three decades later, I know for a fact that the school of life is even harder. To be wise I must make a habit of studying God's word, praying, and seeking the Lord.
The tests of life definitely require it!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Thanks Be To God Who Gives Us Victory

Welcome Home Garrett!
Lunch at Po Boy's --- March 2, 2008
(Garrett, Graceanna, Gatlin, Greg, Jill, Cristal, and Tommy)

"Lord, help!”they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts. Psalm 107:19-22

Garret is home! What a time of celebration and praise it was yesterday when we saw Garrett get out of the truck by himself, walk unassisted, hug our necks, laugh, talk, and enjoy a family meal with us. We have seen an awesome miracle performed! God "snatched Garrett from the door of death" and we praise Him for the wonderful miraculous healing that has taken place. We offer our sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise to our mighty and awesome God! Hallelujah!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Run For Your Life!

Do everything
without complaining or arguing,
so that you may become
blameless and pure,

children of God
without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you
shine like stars
in the universe
as you hold out the word of life—
in order that I may boast on the day of Christ
that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Philippians 2:14-16

Paul is addressing the Philippians, saying they need to do all things without murmurings and disputings so that they would be lights in a dark world, and that if they continued to offer the gospel to others, Paul would be blessed when Jesus comes back knowing that he hadn’t wasted his time and efforts with the Philippians.

This morning I ran in a 5K (3.1 miles) for the first time in well, a looooooong time. I have to confess, it was a battle not to complain and I assure you that I was not shining like a star at the finish line! I finished with a not- so-great time, but I finished! You know, I realize the time that I have spent working up to this event was not in vain. It surely prepared me for the 3.1 miles. It was important that I stayed focused and diligent in my training, as well as in the actual race today.

More importantly, I need to stay focused on Christ. I tend to get all caught up in my own little life and the problems that surround me. But my goal needs to be sharing Jesus with a sick and dying world. Lord, I want to shine like a star holding out your truth in the darkest place, declaring your light to this broken world...all for your glory!

Shine (by Matt Redman)
Lord we have seen the rising sun,
awakening the early dawn,
And we´re rising up to give you praise.
Lord we have seen the stars and moon,
see how they shine,
They shine for you,
And You´re calling us to do the same.
So we rise up with a song,
and we rise up with a cry
And we´re giving you our lives.
We will shine like stars in the universe,
Holding out Your truth in the darkest place.
We´ll be living for Your glory,
Jesus we´ll be living for Your glory.
We will burn so bright with Your praise O God,
And declare Your light to this broken world.
We´ll be living for Your glory,
Jesus we´ll be living for Your glory.
Like the sun so radiantly
Sending light for all to see,
Let your holy church arise
Exploding into life,
Like a supernova´s light,
Set your holy church on fire;
We will shine.