Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010



Wow. Hard to believe that this year is over. It just started day before yesterday, didn't it? The older I get, the faster time flies. I know, I know, everybody says that. But it's so true. And the question I have is - what did I do this year that really helped to advance the kingdom of God? Maybe just as importantly, if not more so, is what did I do to get closer to God?




I'm grateful for the love He's shown me. No kidding. I'm deeply grateful that God is so generous with His love. The word 'love' means many different things and I am learning to embrace all of those meanings in deeper ways. Couldn't do it without His grace, though. I'm not even sure that I would be willing to try. The task is daunting and people can be difficult to deal with - including me... No, no...especially me!




There are times that I feel especially close to God and, like many others, times that I feel He could not possibly want anything to do with me. The good news is, though, that He never feels that way. And the other good news is that I cannot afford to live by my feelings. Deceptive things, aren't they? So, I've made up my mind to forge ahead, regardless of what I may feel about all of that. Besides, it didn't take me too many years to figure out that listening to my feelings could stop me in my tracks and prevent me from moving forward in my relationship with the Lord, as well as in the work that He has for me to do. Listening to my feelings can create alot of problems that I'm really not interested in having in my life. Nope, listening to feelings just won't do it for me!


How about you? Struggle with that 'feelings' problem? Well, if your answer is 'yes', I encourage you to get past it. Get over it. Go around it. Be done with it. Let go of it. Press forward. Lean in. Move out! Get going! Don't let feelings stand between you and what God is calling you to. Don't let ANYTHING stand between you and the plans God has made for your future!


Having said that, let me now say this:


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Rejoice and be encouraged! Do a little happy dance! Jesus loves you! God is seated on the throne and Holy Spirit is right there with you - ready to join you in your little happy dance!


I love you, my dear blog friends. Of course, I don't know what many of your faces look like, but that doesn't matter. I don't go by what I see or feel.... I go by faith in the One who called me to love all people and who has put you into my heart. Have a blessed, and prosperous (in all ways according to His riches and His glory) New Year!!!


Vicky

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting started...


Good afternoon everyone! I dropped by the blog to let you all know that I'm going to start the new book early. Had planned on waiting until the first of the year, but I'm very excited to get it going! I hope you'll send your testimonies in, if you have some you want to share with folks. Don't know how long this one is going to take, but I'm really looking forward to whatever God is planning to do.
It's been very - well - somewhat restful around here for the past few days. If you noticed the picture on this post, you can see why. We've been snowed in for a few days - and of course, the cats aren't really crazy about it. This is a picture of Fisher and Bijou standing at the doors that lead onto the deck. Took it this morning. They are sooooo ready to be outside again, but we don't allow it in these conditions. They are house cats and the only time they're allowed in the yard is when one of us is out there with them. They've been declawed and there are far too many feral cats in our neighborhood to trust that ours would be safe without supervision.
As for being snowbound, we are all grateful for the time we've had to get some projects done around the house, too. Although, I've gotta tell ya, standing on a ladder on Christmas Eve day with 25-35 mph winds whipping ice cold air across my face while my sister held the ladder and I cleaned the gutters (in 20 degree weather, no less), was not exactly my idea of fun. It was definitely needed, though, or we wouldn't have been out there doing it. I know there must have been at least 2-3 inches of water in them - something my frozen fingers were very loudly protesting, as I pulled what seemed like tons of leaves out of the gutters and tried not to drop them on the house or my sister's head. It was quite an experience! Probably would have been better to have gotten it done before now, but that's another story. :)
Alan and I spent the day before the gutter-cleaning episode working on another task. The garage, a seemingly never ending project, had become intolerably messy. And, so that we wouldn't have to go through the winter frustrated by the mess it had somehow turned into over the course of several months, we decided that it was probably our last chance to get it taken care of before Spring. It never ceases to amaze me how we can clean the garage to near perfection, only to find a week later that more stuff has not only found its way inside, but has also destroyed everything else in there in the process. Somebody needs to explain that to me someday... Actually, the garage has become quite a joke amongst my family members. Every time we announce that we've cleaned the garage, no less than three people tell us not to worry, because it won't last. Talk about encouragement!
Anyway, I'm going to finish this blog and dive into the new book. Take care, everyone. You remain always in my prayers. (I always ask for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done in your lives every day in all things, just as it's done in heaven. Can't beat that prayer! I took my cue from Jesus, ya know...)
May the love of our beautiful GOD, YHVH, fill you with joy, peace, hope, anticipation and encouragement for the exciting things He has prepared for you this coming year!
Much love to all of you!
Vicky V.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Simple Blessings



Hi everyone! No doubt you're all either spending time with your families or already snuggled down in your warm comfy beds, ready for a good night's sleep before the joyous expectations of tomorrow (and for some of you, the TON of work...cooking, etc...), when you will be blessed with the companionship of family and friends for yet another Christmas Day.


But for some of you, this will be a difficult Christmas. I have a friend whose wife died on October 4th of this year. She left her earthly home after many years of suffering, and those who remain behind - her husband, son, daughter and six grandchildren - will miss her terribly. Pray for them.


Some of you have also lost loved ones recently, either to death or divorce. Whatever the cause, there has been a separation between you and one you hold dear to your heart. We will pray for you. I know there are no words that can comfort in times of loss. One of my sister's died 5 years ago. Cancer stole her life and like many others, praying didn't stop the beast from killing her.


And yet, I believe with all of my heart that God had a plan from the very beginning. He knows when all of us will go home to heaven. And while we may view the loss with grief, He wants us to also see it as a time of rejoicing for those who have gone to be with Him. So as you go about your day tomorrow, please trust the One Who knew exactly what He was doing when He called your loved one home. Live fully while you are here. Look forward to the time when you will be reunited.


Don't let the enemy steal your joy and hope for the future. Live and love to the fullest you possibly can. I am asking God to fill me with so much love that there's not a bit of room in me for even a whisper of criticism, frustration, anger or resentment of any kind. What a way to live! I want to embrace all He has for me in this life and spread JOY everywhere He takes me - to everyone I meet. I want to be a light that shines so brightly in this world that people are drawn to HIM just because of what they see in me.


That's part of the plan, isn't it? We must go forward with this life each one of us has been given. We should do all we can to bring the Father joy....the same Father Who sent His Son to this earth some 2000 years ago. He's the same Father that set in motion the life, death and resurrection of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMaschiach). He is the same Father Whose plans from the very beginning included making a way for you and I to be with Him throughout eternity. He is that HOLY. He is that GENEROUS. He is that LOVING. He is the same - yesterday, today and forever - and He wants us to remember His love, remember His loss, remember His holiness.


So when you celebrate the birth of Yeshua/Jesus tomorrow, remember those who have lost loved ones. Visit them if you can. Call them if you can't visit them in person. And praise God for His abundant mercy in our lives. Don't keep Jesus in the manger. He's not there anymore. Thank Him for what He's done. Thank Holy Spirit for putting up with you and ask God to forgive you for ever grieving Him. Thank Him for the wonderful people He's put in your life - including those who have 'graduated' to heaven. Thank Him for the wonderful ways He has taken care of you. Yes, you will miss your loved ones and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that. I miss mine, too. But let's embrace the life we still have while we are here. Let's not miss a moment of it! What I say to you, I say to me, too. I don't want to regret one minute of time God has given me going forward. Let's resolve to honor God in that way, shall we?


Blessings, blessings and more blessings to you, dear friends. Thank you so much for reading my blogs. I know that they tend to be a little long and I appreciate the time you spend following. God bless every one of you. Write whenever you feel like it. I would love to hear from you! (And I'm still looking for testimonies from any of you who may be interested in sharing them in my next book.)


Much love!

Vicky

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hi everyone! So sorry it's taken me this long to get this picture for you. This is the angel that I made for the winner of the Golden Christmas Giveaway Contest. I wish my picture taking was better...sorry for the blurry shot, but I tried several times and...oh, well...I'm just not a photographer!

Congratulations again to our winner - Sweeter The Berry! The Golden Christmas cd and angel are officially on their way to your house. My prayer for you is that they will bless your heart and your home!

Vicky

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Calling All Testimonies!


Hi all! Well, this is a brand new venture and I am looking for any of you who have testimonies that you would like to share with the world. My plan is to start a new book filled with stories of God's work in the lives of His children. Please submit works that are true...not fiction.
Here's what I'm looking for:
  1. Stories that have not been previously published and/or copyrighted.
  2. Stories that do not disclose and/or identify personal information about others. In other words, don't name names! If your testimony is of a sensitive nature, I will be prayerful about including it in the book. (Only your name will be included with your testimony to give credit to you as the writer.)
  3. Stories that encourage the readers.
  4. Stories that reveal the power of God.
  5. Stories that edify the readers.
  6. Stories that are funny, serious, touching...whatever!
  7. Stories about a variety of topics. For example, stories about love, friendship, loss, miracles, healing, giving, sharing, etc.
  8. Stories that draw the readers closer to God through the positive impact of the written word.
  9. Stories that are a maximum of 1200 words in length.

Now, since I am just getting this started, please be flexible with me as we go through this process. There may be more than one book in this whole thing, by the time I get all of your submissions. You are more than welcome to submit as many testimonies as you want to, but please know that they may or may not all be included in the book. I must listen to the direction I feel impressed to take this work.

Also, please let me know how you want to be credited...first name only? Last name also? Initials only? Whatever you feel comfortable with is fine with me - at this point in the process. Please be praying for me through this and I will also be praying for those of you who have submissions you want considered.

When you are ready to submit something for consideration, you can do it by emailing your story/testimony to me. Just send it to vickyvbooks@yahoo.com. I will be in touch with you soon after receiving it. If you have any questions, let me know! I can hardly wait to see what I get from everyone. (Isn't this exciting!)

There is a title that the Lord has already given me for the first book of testimonies, however I'm going to wait a bit before sharing it. For now, just put 'testimonies' in the subject line of your email.

One last thing. I will be editing as Holy Spirit directs. However, I will not be changing your testimony in the process. I know that God moves in powerful and sometimes very unusual ways, so you don't need to wonder if the impact of your story will be lost. Before the book is finished, you will be getting a copy of your submission with any revisions. If you are not comfortable with any changes that are made, we can discuss it via email. If we are not able to come to agreement about changes, the submission won't be included in the book. You need to feel comfortable with the way in which your testimony is shared and I need to feel comfortable that the Holy Spirit is having His way, whatever the revisions. This is why I'm asking you to be praying for me as I write, compile and edit and why I will be praying for those of you who want to submit stories!

There will probably be more info as we go along, but for now, just be prayerful about being involved. There is no testimony too large or small when it is from God! And do not worry about being a good writer, either. I haven't had any classes and don't have a college education, but that is not stopping me! I found that God uses me in this way, even with all of my limitations. He could choose to only use college graduates to write books, but I've learned He uses anyone He wants to use - as long as He has a willing vessel. So, having said that, don't hesitate to submit something! The world needs to read, hear, see and experience the power of God! After all, He said it was by 'the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony' that we would see lives changed for His glory!

Okay, now it's your turn! Pray. Consider. Ask God if He has something for you to submit. Do not be shy! Let the light of God shine through you!

I'm waiting!

Vicky

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Reconnect



Good afternoon all! I hope you've enjoyed your day today. It's a great Sabbath rest day... and for those of us who consider ourselves to be Christians, we remember that the Sabbath was established by God and came to us through our spiritual heritage - the house of David, the lineage of Jesus. Soooo, if we're really going to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, we should obey Him and recognize it on the right day, huh? ;)


I'm enjoying this amazing day given to us by our even more amazing Father. I know it's freezing outside...actually, it's below freezing right now. Inside, though, it's warm and my ongoing thanks to God include appreciation and thanks for His provision to help us - whatever our needs may be. We are blessed to have food and shelter, warmth and companionship. And while we are in no way living in the lap of luxury by many folks standards, we do have all we need, including the luxury of beds to sleep in at night.


So many people are not living in the same conditions that we enjoy and we should all be doing whatever we can to help them. If we aren't sure how to help, all we need to do is ask God. He is more than capable of letting us know - either directly or through others - where the needs are and how we can help to meet them. I pray for all of us to be looking and listening for ways to share the graciousness of God that He has extended to us. There is nothing that can compare with the joy that comes from giving!


We had so much fun at the cd release party last night! God brought people together from different backgrounds and blended all of us nicely throughout the evening. It was a wonderful gift to see some people from my high school years (now THAT'S a long time ago!) as well as friends from different Christian denominations and organizations meeting, mingling, laughing and enjoying themselves. Several people blessed all of us with their musical talents, too. Thanks go out to Jerry, Dave, Randy, Alicia, Judith and Ron. You all made the evening extra special with your music and I was so glad to share the stage with each one of you. And thanks go out to Suzanne. Have I told you lately how much I value you? If not, then shame on me. You are my dear friend, sister and gift from God in so many ways. Thanks for taking care of the guests last night...serving refreshments, taking pictures for the website (can't wait to see the ones of Jerry and Tawnee dancing!) and setting up the product table. And also, thanks to Tabitha for your help serving refreshments, too! I'm so glad you all came. And you already know that I love you all dearly. :)


I titled this blog 'Reconnect', didn't I? Well, so let me address that for a moment. When I looked around the room at all the folks who had come to the party, it struck me how very different things would have been if everyone would have started comparing notes about their faith, denomination and opinions about Jesus Christ. I saw people sitting together at tables who were totally unaware of each other's denominations. With some folks (not necessarily those who came last night!), there could have been fireworks going off or cold shoulders being turned, but instead there was peace, joy and laughter in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.


Oh, I sang Christmasy stuff as well as stuff from the '40's. It wasn't about the music, though. I told a couple of jokes and even shared a bit about my past, but it wasn't even about that. No, it was because we all came together expecting to have an enjoyable evening. We wanted to like those two hours we had set aside to spend time with one another. For some of us, it was making new connections - for others, it was reconnecting with those we haven't seen in days, weeks, months or years.


What happened at that Coffee House last night was a gift for all of us. Why? Because God was present with us - pouring out His love...onto, in and through each one there. And we allowed ourselves to be an expression of His love without judgment, expectation, requirement or any other criteria. We just loved each other - and it was wonderful! Oh, I saw walls here and there. But I also saw folks trying to climb over those walls to reach people on the other side. I saw and experienced support from friends I didn't even know I had. I wish you all could have been there. (Actually, some of you were! Thanks again for coming! I love you dearly.)


Maybe we just need a reminder from time to time...reconnect, reconnect, reconnect. Some of us may have inadvertantly disconnected from others because of trials or life issues that caused us to shut down our feelings, emotions or even our love expressions. Well, this seems to be a really good time for anyone who's disconnected to pick up the cords of love and reconnect!


If you or someone you know has lost the passion for living because of circumstances that brought pain or suffering, then I encourage you to make the effort to reach out to that person (or come outside of yourself, if it's you.) Don't shut down. Open up - and if you don't know how to do that, then ask God to help you. Allow others who love Him and are filled with His life to embrace you. Let them plug into your run-down battery and charge you up with a fresh infusion of the love of God expressed in a tangible way. Hey, walk around the house talking to yourself, for heaven's sake! Tell yourself to 'hope', to 'love', to 'freely allow the poured-out expression of God's love' to saturate you without reservation. Find friends. Make friends. Be a friend. Reconnect, reconnect, reconnect!


I can't wait to see what God is doing with the connections and reconnections He made just last evening at my little cd release party. I'll tell you this though...I fully intend to enjoy every moment of it along the way!


Be blessed today, dear friends. You are all very deeply and dearly loved and held in God's great big gentle - and powerful - hands. Be excited about it!


Love!

Vicky

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Life Seasons and a CD Release Party is tonight!


Hi everyone!


This has been an incredibly wonderful week - lots of singing, yes, but also just getting the opportunity to visit with people all over the city. Last night after my concert, I had the chance to talk with a 99-year-old gal who served in WWII. She was a WAC (Women's Army Corp) soldier and had the blessing of serving our nation in various countries around the world. As a matter of fact, she told me that she wishes she could rejoin, but they won't take her because of her age! Said she still considers herself a WAC. Now, that is dedication!


Life seasons change, though and when they do, the enemy comes along and tells us that we should be discouraged, or depressed, or even hopeless about the changes. Isn't that so annoying? Just like my WAC friend who wants to go back into the Army. She struggles with frustration because she is too old! Maybe you or people you know are frustrated with something that makes it impossible to move forward in a given area of life.


It's in those moments that we need to lean way back in our Father's arms and rest. Trust Him to take care of the situations that we have no control over, for whatever the reasons may be. Honor Him by telling Him that we know that nothing is so great that He cannot handle it - including our health, finances, relationships, jobs, children, parents, physical limitations, the neighbor's noisy dog or the broken down car in the driveway - you know, the one that needs a new heater coil and transmission. God can even handle our greatest disappointments and deepest losses if we will let Him. God can handle everything we wrestle with, if only we will step out of His way and allow Him to be in charge of our day-to-day living.


It makes things so much easier to deal with when I give Him all my stuff - and I'm learning to do that more as time goes by. It's almost as if each day or circumstance is a new life season... I don't always get the letting go part right, but I'm definitely working on it. Relinquishing control can be easier in some situations and more difficult in others. Telling my flesh to shut up and allow God to have His way isn't something my flesh wants to hear, but it's learning!


And so, the frustrations of not being able to do what we may once have been able to do will always be with us - in this life, anyway. There may be things we want that are not in our best interest. There may be things that are not part of God's plans for us - things that would only hinder or hurt others if we try to force them into being. You know, like with my WAC friend. Although she says she would love to be back in the Army, her body wouldn't love it. Things have changed and she is in a new life season. Just like you are. And just like I am. New life seasons. New things to experience. New opportunities. New life! Let's embrace it today, shall we? Let's just lean back into the Father's arms, embrace everything He puts in our path and trust Him for the reasons and the outcome.


And if you're in Independence, MO tonight, come over to Main Street Coffee House. It's time for Golden Christmas (my new cd) to have an official release party! It starts at 7:00 and ends somewhere around 9:00. I would love to have you come and spend some time with us.


Whatever you do this weekend, I pray that you will be blessed - resting on Sabbath and doing whatever you've been given for this portion of this season in your life!


Blessings!

Vicky

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Golden Christmas Giveaway Winner Announced!


Hi Everyone! Well, the contest is over and the winner has been chosen. Before I announce the winner, though, I really want to thank all of you who entered. It's such a blessing to have you in my life - even if it's just through a blog! You continue to be in my prayers and I appreciate all of your emails. Thanks for sharing a piece of your lives with me!

Now, before I get all wordy (which some of you know I can easily do :), here is the blog name of our winner for the Golden Christmas Giveaway contest....(Drum roll please....)
SWEETER THE BERRY
An email just went out to notify our winner and as soon as I hear from her, I will be mailing the giveaway gifts. Before I send them, though, I'll post a picture of the sachet and cd she will be receiving. Thank you all for entering. I've had alot of fun with the contest and hope that you have enjoyed following the blogs. Hope you'll continue following! :D
Blessings to all.
Vicky






















Friday, December 11, 2009

Circumstances



(This is Friday's blog that missed getting posted.)





Good morning all! How is your day going? I'm just trying to get about a zillion things done around here before this evening. We're having a Hannukah party - our first ever - and approximately 20 people will be descending on our little house - and I do mean little! - about 7:00 tonight. Before that happens, though, there's housework to attend to, grocery shopping to be done, lots of cooking and baking...chili to make and a cake to bake...(sounds like a song...) and a cat to be taken to the vet. I think that's all. Anyway, I sure hope it is!

And although my day is just getting started, I've already heard all kinds of bad news and it wasn't through television, the internet or radio. It was from family and friends who have real needs because of the situations in their lives. Probably none of us even needs to turn to outside sources to find difficult circumstances. There are plenty of them all around us, which is not surprise considering today's economy and the general conditions of the world.



I'm reminded of the time that Jesus rebuked one guy for being upset about Mary pouring the costly perfume all over his feet when it could have been sold for a great deal of money to help the poor. Jesus told them that they would always have the poor with them, but what she had done would be remembered and spoken of always. And to this day, that is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible.



Even in the midst of difficult circumstances with sorrows all around, Jesus was to be honored and adored. I used to be upset about the fact that he seemed heartless in his response...you know, that he would just tell them that the poor would always be here. It seemed to me that he considered what she was doing to be of greater importance than feeding the poor. But I really didn't get it. He was setting a precedent in that moment about how we are to live our lives.



The Lord wanted his disciples to understand that our first priority should be our worship of God. And not just throwing a prayer up to God from time to time. He wanted them (and us) to be extravagant in our worship. He wanted them to see that there will always be needs, trials, struggles, hunger, poverty and every other difficult circumstance we can possibly imagine that will fight for first place in each one of us. There will be things that will labor to push us away from giving him our very best because we're worried, depressed, hurt or confused by circumstances around us.

Beloved friends, whether it's divorce, a death, an illness, job loss or trouble at school... whatever the circumstances, we can't afford to withhold our worship of the very One who created us. It could even be that there are wonderful things taking place in our lives that distract us from our relationship with him, but we must remember that he is The Way - and truly, he is the only Way. You and I need him every day of our lives. We cannot afford to forget that.

So, with all of the circumstances and things that need to be done before our guests arrive, I'm making sure that I give Him my full attention and devotion before I head into the rest of the day. Of course I realize that He is always with me, but I want personal time with Him without all of the busyness of the day. Undivided attention time. I need His strength and the fellowship of His presence. Not only do I need it, I want it all of the time. I want HIM all of the time. I pray for all of us - me included - that the passion of our love for Him will only increase and that each of us will be so hungry for His presence that nothing will ever be able to deter us from pursuing Him with every fiber of our beings.



Love to all!
Vicky

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Checkin' in!


Hi everybody. So sorry to be late getting this post up today. It's been a very busy and wonderful day, though. I hope you all had a great day, too.


Spent part of the morning in the recording studio, getting my vocals laid for the last song on the cd. This has been a long time coming and I'm so glad to get the last track finished. Can't wait to hear what it sounds like!


Then we headed home to grab our sound system and dashed out to Harrisonville for a show with our seniors there. What a great time we have with them - wherever we go. I sang a bunch of Christmas songs and did some of the oldies from the 1940's, which is always so much fun. Love to sing the old songs. They're beautiful!


Then on to Mardel's to look for some more music, home for a bite and now we're heading back out the door to go sing at a Christmas thing in Lee's Summit. I'll be tired but content to get home tonight to get into some warm comfy clothes and love on two cats who feel like we've abandoned them for the day!


Please remember that you are loved. I get emails from some of you who are struggling and want to encourage you to think about all of the good things that God has done - and is doing right now. For one thing, He's growing us all and sometimes that means we experience growing pains. But it's so very worth it, beloved friends. Heaven is worth it. Remember that this is just a moment in time and before long, we'll all be home with our loving God and Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and all the angels and the host of heaven. It's going to be glorious! And, although we're still here for reasons we may not understand right now one day we will see the beauty in God's plan.


There's still so much to see and do while we're here. Let's not miss a moment of it!


Until tomorrow, enjoy this wonderful night and I'll touch base with you again tomorrow...hopefully in the morning! :)


Much love to all,

Vicky

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow!


Yep. Snow. It's out there - all over the place....on the trees, the grass, bushes, sidewalks and roadways. Winter has definitely arrived! And although it's as bitter cold, (-4 degrees wind chill....brrrrrr!), it's still very beautiful to see. We're praying for all the people and animals that are stuck out there in this weather. We're asking GOD to provide the shelter, warmth and food that each one needs. Whenever possible, the Lord wants us to help. All we need to do is ask Him how and where - to direct our paths in such a way that we don't miss one single opportunity to bless others. In these economic times, it can be very difficult, but we've always found that GOD is faithful to take care of us. And He comes up with some really creative ways to do it, too! Well, of course He does....He's GOD!


I just want to take a quick moment to tell you all hello and let you know that you are all in our prayers. I'm so grateful for the rest of the body of Christ! We need each other for so many reasons. Apparently the Lord thought so, or He would have put each person on his or her own planet! :)


So enjoy your day and spend time with Him whenever possible. Turn off the tv, the computer, the cell phones and the ipods. Just go be with Him. It's worth it!


Love to all!

Vicky


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Morning!



The sun is not shining, but this is a great day. The weather is cold, but it's still a great day. My body isn't as young as it used to be...parts have decided to relocate themselves with a little help from gravity, but this is still a great day!


I may not have all the money I would like to have, or a beautiful figure or the highest I.Q in the world, but this is absolutely a great day. There are people with more influence, bigger houses, newer cars, fewer debts and healthier bodies than mine, but this is positively a wonderfully and gloriously great day.


There is nothing more powerful I can do today that will honor my Father in heaven than to praise Him for every gift, every sacrifice, every blessing, every loss, every struggle, every trial and every hope and wish and dream in my heart. There is no temporal gift that can compare to the Holy and True and Matchless Creator of all things - known and unknown, seen and unseen, existing or future-coming - no, there is nothing that can compare with Yahweh, Jehovah, GOD! There has never been and can never be anyone nor anything capable of taking His place, removing Him from His position, or diminishing His power. He is always going to be the most breath-taking, awe-inspiring, life-restoring, way-making Lord and King!


Every night and day - in every single way - His light shines, His passion burns, His love consumes, His heart protects, His hands enfold, His Word delivers and establishes His children. His law is not destroyed - it is fulfilled. His plans are eternal. He looks and sees and knows yesterday, today and forever - start to finish, inside and out, top to bottom, front to back, through and through.


He sets his hand to deliver and nothing can stop Him! Nothing can withstand His mighty glory! Nothing can take away from His holiness. He is holy beyond comprehension. He is vast! He is never going to stop being! He is more than these little words I use today. He is EVERYTHING! He has no need of counselors - He is the Counselor. He has no need of comforters. His Spirit is THE Comforter.


He has no need of anything, and yet He wants us! He wants you and me and all the rest of His creation....with all of our frailties, our weaknesses and our little tiny dreams. He wants to grow us up into little children. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. He wants to put crowns on our heads and robes on our backs. He wants to bring us home to heaven to live with Him in beautiful mansions that will never crumble. He wants to sing over us - and He does - songs of love and life and hope, of encouragement and strength. He wants to share the secrets of His heart. He wants to show us things that we could never imagine - even in our wildest dreams.


So look up! Look up! Look up! Your Father is watching. He hears your heart cries. He laughs at the devil. Yes, God laughs, because He knows He will win. He laughs, because He has made sure that the punishment for Satan and those who rebelled against The Holy and Almighty God in the beginning will be absolute and eternal. His laughter is warfare. His laughter is powerful warfare - and He fights for you, beloved. He wars for you!


Today is a great day! Don't miss it! Don't get stuck in the mud of discouragement and depression. Don't get lost in the minutiae of the moment. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! You are going to see Him! You are going to laugh and dance and play around the throne! You are going to worship with all your might! So rejoice!


Yep, today is a great day! :)


Vicky

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jots and Tittles


I'm cheating. I admit it! Boldly, frankly and unabashedly, I admit it! I'm posting Tuesday's blog three little hours early. Ah, well. Just trying to keep up with all you early bird readers. *winky wink* (winky wink? Did I actually type 'winky wink*... I'm 56 years old... I guess it's okay if I type *winky wink*. Hey, I think I like that. Wonder if anybody else says that. You know, I may be starting a trend, here...) Anyway, back to the blog... I hope this blesses you! Love to all...



Jots and Tittles

Even the words sound skimpy and cute – almost like they aren’t really words. Jots and tittles sound like little pieces of almost nothing. The definition for jot is “the least bit”. A tittle is “the minutest quantity, like the dot over an ‘I’”. Something that could easily be overlooked, perhaps? Hmmmm…I wonder.

And yet, Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17,18 KJV) Sounds like we could say that obedience is a very important thing to Jesus Christ. And we would be right.

I’m reminded of the scriptures that talk about those who are faithful in the least little things, who are later given responsibility over much – like the parable Jesus gave us about the talents. Remember the story? It’s about a man traveling in a far country. He called his servants together before he left on his journey and divided his goods among them. Each servant handled his gift in a different way. One servant, however, didn’t do anything but hide his gift in the ground because he was afraid of his master.

When the master returned and found that two servants had been wise investors, he was pleased and increased their gifts 100%. The servant who had hidden his talent (gift) in the ground was called “wicked and slothful”, and his master took back the gift he had given the servant. The gift was then given to one of the other servants who had instead chosen to be faithful and put their gifts to good use.

We are also called to be faithful in the little things. Things like paying tithing or giving offerings of time, talents or finances into the work of the Lord. Sharing the small things – like a smile, a kind word, a ride to the store, mowing a neighbor’s yard, encouraging a child, hugging an alcoholic or holding your tongue. Things like that. Something that seems so minor, but could impact the whole world. Really.

I remember the story that my sister Linda shared with me one day a few years ago when she was working as a floral designer. On her way into the shop that morning, she had run out of time to stop by the bank to pick up some cash to buy lunch. It was too far to go without making herself late for work, and the schedule for the day was far too hectic to allow her to do so.

After a quick glance in her wallet, she found that she only had a few dollars, and decided that she would just use it to buy herself a fresh chocolate chip cookie from the cookie shop a few stores away from where she worked. They always made a fresh batch in the afternoons, so she made the decision to forget taking a full lunch break, and instead wait until later to get one of those delicious cookies. Since she had to work late that evening, it seemed like the perfect plan. All morning long, she would think about the treat she was going to give herself later that day. Such a small thing, really. But with all of the difficulties she was enduring at that time in her life, it was special to her, and she was really looking forward to it.

As the noon hour approached, one of the new employees at the shop asked my sister if she had any money she could borrow for lunch. The young woman had only recently begun working at the shop and hadn’t received her first paycheck. With a smile on her face and gentle reassurance, Linda told the young woman that it was no trouble at all, and handed over her cookie money. Turning back to finish the floral arrangement she had been working on, Linda cheerfully sent the girl on her way.

The day wore on. Later that afternoon, Linda was busily going about her tasks when a woman from the cookie shop came breezing through the front door. Bubbling with joy, the woman from the cookie shop handed a sack to my sister, explaining that they had just finished baking a fresh batch of their delicious chocolate chip cookies. She said she had decided to bring one to my sister as a treat, because she remembered how much Linda loved them.

As she stood there listening to the woman, my sister stood in awe and wonder at the love of her Creator. She knew that Jesus had sent her that cookie. She knew it as surely as she knew anything. No one else had known what she planned to do with her few dollars that day, but God surely did. She also knew that Holy Spirit had touched that woman’s heart, and the woman had responded in obedience, not even knowing how precious the gift really was to my sister. At a time when the pain in her life was unbearable, the gift of a warm chocolate chip cookie from Jesus meant more to her than words could express. She graciously thanked the woman for her thoughtfulness. And as she opened the bag to enjoy the treat she wasn’t able to buy for herself, she stopped to take time to thank the One Whose love for her encouraged the gift bearer to bless my sister that day.

Now, before any of you theologians get in an uproar about this story, kindly let me explain myself. I realize that there are no references in the Bible about giving warm chocolate chip cookies to women who work in flower shops. I also realize that it’s neither a jot nor a tittle that must be fulfilled. Now that I’ve said that, I’d like to say one more thing…

“Oh God, please help us all be obedient to the impressions You give us daily through the gift of Your precious Holy Spirit. For You have taught me that walking in obedience is the way to live the love we say we have for You. Help us, dear Lord; help us all be obedient with the jots and tittles, and the warm chocolate chip cookies in our lives. In Jesus’ Name...”

Jots and tittles. Such funny little words. Such a powerful message to us all.

What's the Verdict?


Good afternoon everyone! Sorry to be so late getting this up today. We just finished doing a show out in Lee's Summit, MO this morning and had to run by the hospital afterwards to visit Alan's son, Mark. He was in a motorcycle accident a couple of weeks ago and his foot was split open. Seems he's had an infection in there since the accident, so the doctors decided he needed to be on heavy antibiotics. They did some surgery yesterday and will probably be sending him home today. Please just keep him in your prayers. Thanks!


I was just thinking about what to write on this blog for today. The thought came to me about how easy it is to judge someone by their appearance, their income, where they live or work, who they are related to, where they go to church (if they go to church), what they believe....the list goes on and on, doesn't it? Sometimes people judge others by the kind of clothes they wear and whether or not they are intelligent. There doesn't seem to be an end to this casting judgment thing! But that's not what we as God's children and heirs are supposed to be doing.


I'm reminded of the verse in the Bible that tells us to judge with 'righteous judgment'. Can I tell you how many times I've heard that used to justify a critical word about or attitude toward another person? Probably not! Too many to count. It's amazing how easy it is for us human beings to do that! And yet, I don't have a sense that God intended for the scripture to be understood in that way.


So what is 'righteous judgment'? Could it be that God wants us to learn that we do not and will not have all the information there is in any given circumstance, so the best thing for us to do is LOVE the other guy, pray for everyone in each situation and honor the Lord by doing what Jesus said to do? I recall that He told His disciples that He had not come to judge the world. Taking it to the next step, perhaps what He intends for us to do is seek Him in all matters so that we don't unrighteously judge or criticize another person. Plain and simple. Why not just ask Him if there is something we should be doing and then only do that when He tells us to do it?


And how can we know that it's Him telling us what to do and not just our own selfish ideas? Well, I think there are a couple of things we can do to help us determine whose voice we're hearing. First, being in the relationship with Him - following, praying, studying His word, listening to Him, obeying...these are all necessary if we want to have confidence that we are in His will. Second, if what we decide to do or say in response to the actions of others makes us feel smug - you know...having that 'I'm right and you're wrong' attitude - then we probably need to reevaluate our own intentions. Chances are, that smug feeling means we're really listening to our own selfish motives (judging unrighteously) instead of hearing from God (judging righteously). Our feelings of justification in how we judge someone are not valid if those feelings give us the deceptive notion that we are somehow 'better' than someone because we would never do what they are doing. Oh, they may be our feelings, but do those feelings leave us with a right heart attitude? Do our feelings allow us to see all the way into the heart of a person? Do our feelings make it possible to be mistaken about the motives of another person?


No one but Holy Spirit is Holy Spirit, after all and no one knows every single thing that drives any human to do what they do in everyday life, much less in a difficult situation. Oh, we may see everything with our eyes and hear everything with our ears. We may even have a sense of how things came together to create situations, but we only see the outside. It's like the scripture that says we only 'see in part and know in part'. According to scripture, we 'see through a glass darkly'. How then, can we possibly make judgments about the motives of another person or the real heart issues and life experiences that drive anyone to do the things he/she does?


We may see anger on the outside, but perhaps Holy Spirit sees deep hurt on the inside. We may see manipulation and control on the outside, but perhaps Holy Spirit sees someone who is so full of pain and so broken on the inside that the very thought of more pain drives them to say and do things that are hurtful to others. Who knows?


And that's my point exactly! Who does know? Only our loving God who created each one of us - fashioned us before we were even born - knew the things that would drive us and all the in-between stuff that would try to keep us from succeeding, whether it be the devil or our pasts or whatever. Only God knows the deepest thoughts and desires of our hearts. Only He knows what it will take for us to be able to allow the changes that will spur us onward in our journey through life and into the kingdom with Him. Only He knows how to reach each heart in ways that will unlock the floodgates and let the healing waters of His Spirit flow in to wash away all of the damage done by the enemy. He alone knows what it takes to change a heart for all eternity.


So, dear friends and dear readers, the only safe place I've found in all of this 'judge righteous' stuff is to purpose in my own heart to love more. More. More than that. More. Every day and in every circumstance. I wish I could tell you that I'm successful every single time I'm faced with a situation to judge righteously, but that would be a lie. I fail so miserably sometimes. But there is a beautiful Example of what my goal is in this and every other area of life. His name is Jesus Christ. Yeshua Ha Maschiach. He is beautiful and loving. He is strong, brave, powerful and generous. And I am His.


So, it is worth the ongoing battle against my flesh and my own selfish desires. After all, He didn't judge me when I was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He didn't judge me when I was a prostitute, or when I walked away from my children. He didn't judge me when I went through multiple abortions and multiple divorces. No, He judged me with righteous judgment. He remained in right standing with God and chose to love me and draw me to Himself, regardless of what I'd been and all I'd done. Now THAT is who I want to be like. That is who I want to follow. That is how I want to love. That is how I want to judge. He saw all the things that drove me to the life I lived - but He didn't take a smug attitude toward me and say anything foolish or hateful to me. He never said, 'you made your bed, now you can sleep in it.' No, He said, 'I love you, I forgive you. I died for you. And I will walk with you every day of your life if you will come and follow me.' How could I resist?


If you're struggling with a critical spirit and a judgmental attitude, please give it up. It's not worth it to hang onto it. We truly will be judged as we have judged others - and forgiven as we have forgiven others. There is so much freedom and peace in simply loving others and following (obediently) the Lord Jesus Christ. If you need prayer, let me know. And you pray for me, too, okay? I want to walk in right standing in my heart attitude every single time in every single situation. I'll be glad to pray for you, too.


For now, take care, let go and truly LET GOD. :)


Love you all! Until tomorrow....

Vicky

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Golden Christmas & Sachet Give-Away Update

Wow! Suzanne, you did an awesome job on this and I am excited for everyone who entered. I would love to be able to give both gifts to every entrant, but of course, I know that's not possible! (Sorry!) Just want to tell you all, though, that the songs on the disc are beautiful and it was such a joy to be able to record it. And I always enjoy making the sachets. It's so much fun designing each one and this little angel will be even more fun to make than the rest!

For all of you who have entered the contest, thank you so much! I hope you find something on this blog that blesses you and your loved ones in some way. My prayer is that you will catch glimpses of Him every time you visit this blog - or see my website - or listen to my music - or read one of my books - or watch one of my videos - or see one of my sachets.

I've read every one of the comments that came in today and I am truly excited to see your names and pray over you. I wonder what your lives must be like, where you live and how your families are doing. I will be praying over you long after this little contest is over, dear friends.

Thank you so much for following me. There is such a sweet awareness of His Presence as I see each of your names and read your comments. I visited the websites of those of you who posted one and was blessed by what I saw on them, too. And I'm going to be watching each day to see who else has signed up so that I can be praying for them, too!

You know, the most important thing in my life is my relationship with God. Jesus Christ means more to me than I can express and without His Spirit there is no way I could ever do anything! I know I need Him all of the time - but even more than that, I WANT Him all of the time.

We may have to do this again sometime soon! Suzanne's creativity in this area is so wonderful - I can hardly wait to see what new idea pops into her pretty brain next! :)

Well, I suppose it's time to sign off for now. But let me leave you with this scripture today. These are some of my favorite verses:

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, " Now the dwelling of God is with men and he will live with them. They will be his people and he will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son..."

Isn't that a meeting to look forward to?!

God bless you all today. See you soon!

VickyV
http://www.vickyv.com/

Golden Christmas Give-Away Details - click here


Friday, December 4, 2009

Golden Christmas Give-Away

Notes From The Heart is formally having our first give-away!!! As you probably know, Vicky Vaughan usually writes every post. Notes From The Heart truly is a reflection of who she is. I love reading her writing. I love listening to her share her heart. And I love listening to her sing.

But for this one post, I've "hijacked" Notes From The Heart. I wanted to take a moment and share my heart. And then - I'll get to the Golden Christmas Give-Away details!

We are all given gifts from the Lord. Each of our giftings are unique, beloved and beautiful. Whoever you are - God blessed you for His Kingdom. He says in His Word that you were beautifully and wonderfully created! What a blessing this very fact is. A startling wonder to think He created, appointed and has molded each of us - in His image for His glory!

It is with delight I have been discovering this Truth in my own walk. And it is with awe that I see His master craftsmanship in my beloved sister in Christ, Vicky. I have been blessed to know her and work with her in her ministry, her music and all the ways God has allowed over the last several years. Her testimony is powerful and it faithfully reflects God's ability to heal and change. Her music is timeless, poignant and beautiful. Her life is in Worship to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am honored to call her friend. I am blessed to call her sister - Hand chosen by God! Thus - thank you for stopping by Notes From The Heart. I pray you will stay and read more from Vicky's heart.

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Now to the give-away: Notes From The Heart and VickyVMusic are giving away a Golden Christmas Gift Set. Vicky's newest CD "Golden Christmas" is in the set. This CD includes Vicky's newest songs along with favorites like Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Angels We Have Heard on High, and The Christmas Song. Also included is a beautiful custom designed VV Sachet Angel. Vicky's talents are vast - and to raise money for her ministry, FIJC, she also designs Sachets. These fragrant beauties make wonderful presents and are designed to delight the eyes and warm the heart. Tulle, faux jewels, flowers, ribbons, wings and halos - all come together to make your little angel so very special. (*The angel in our photograph is an example of what VV Sachet Angels look like. Each one is unique and the one Vicky creates will be designed specifically for our winner!*).







*





The Golden Christmas Drawing will be December 12, 2009!

Give-Away Guidelines - All you have to do is be a follower of Vicky's blog and leave her a comment on this post, letting her know that you'd like to enter. That gives you 2 entries. If you link to her blog or post a blog about the give-away, you will get another entry. And if you are on Twitter and tweet about Notes From The Heart's Golden Christmas Give-Away, you will have another entry. Make sure to post in the comments section a link to wherever you post (your blog, twitter) so that we can follow you and read your post! It is really as simple as 1,2,3.

To Recap: There is an opportunity for 4 entries per person**.

  1. Follow Vicky's Blog, Notes From The Heart = 1st Entry and then leave a comment on this blog post = 2nd Entry. (Editor note - you do NOT have to be a blogger to enter - you just need to sign up to follow Vicky and post a comment).
  2. Blog about this give=away on your own blog = 3rd Entry (make sure to let us know by leaving us a comment w/a link).
  3. Tweet on Twitter about Notes From The Heart and our give-away = 4th Entry (make sure to let us know by leaving a link to your tweet)

The last day to enter is Friday, December 11, 2009 by Midnight CST. The drawing will be done on Saturday, December 12, 2009. Vicky will announce the winner here, so make sure to check back at Notes From The Heart and see if you won!! I am so excited for the winner already!! You are in for such a wonderful gift!

** This give-away is for United States residents only.

God bless and Merry Christmas!!
-- Suzanne


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just touching base...


Hi everyone. This was a great afternoon - had so much fun singing, even with the remnants of allergy season hanging on.... Ick! I'll be so glad for this to pass, but I'm so grateful that the LORD is always faithful to help me through it. Seriously, two days ago I sounded like a baritone. Glad to be able to get through the show this afternoon and still have a voice left when I was done.

I've probably said this before, but I really want to encourage people to take the time to visit the elderly. Especially now. We're heading into the Christmas and Hannukah season and so many folks have no living relatives to share them with. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, love can always be celebrated! Share the love you have with everyone you can.

I finished the design for the second website. I've chosen to set up a second website so that existing an potential clients will be directed to either the secular or the Christian site. Of course, the links pages on each site will make them easily accessible.

The secular site is going to take over the VickyV.com address. The ministry site will be called VickyVMinistry.com. Hope you'll be able to visit both of them soon! I'm looking forward to getting the second one up and running in the near future.

I have the most amazing friend who helps me with all of this. Her name is Suzanne and she is priceless to me - not just because of all her gifts and talents, but more importantly because she is one of the most loving and giving human beings I know. She loves the LORD Jesus Christ with all of her heart and it shows. I value everything she does for me, absolutely. I value everything she is even more.

So, there you have it. GOD is always abundantly good to us. He's generous, loving and kind. He surrounds us with people who love Him - as well as with people who just need the opportunity to get to know Him and who are waiting to hear and see how good He really is.

Have a great day, friends. Talk soon!

Vicky

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Saying Hello


Hello everyone. I hope that this has been a good day for each one of you. Mine has been spent resting and recovering from an allergy thing... It just seems interesting to me that there are so many singers with allergies! But, the Lord has been very gracious and made it possible for me to keep singing at times when it seemed impossible to do. I love that about Him!

If you've been reading my blog, you may have noticed that I haven't been on here every day as planned. I've been taking a tiny break from some of my regular computer time to relax. Nothing like a break to refresh your spirit and body! Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Seriously, I may not be posting as much for the next week or two - lots of stuff on the agenda. Still have one more song to record and there are quite a few singing engagements coming up this season. Hopefully, I'll be back in full force before long.

In the meantime, remember that you are loved - deeply and profoundly loved. Your are all in my prayers and I hope that I am also in yours. We need each other in ways that we cannot imagine. So stay encouraged, stay positive, stay in peace and love everyone you know in the very best way that you can. Give your heart fully to GOD and let Him lead you in everything you do.

Blessings until next time!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just Stayin In Touch


Hi, everyone! It's Sunday afternoon and I've been enjoying the peace and quiet of the day. Getting to the computer wasn't on my priority list for things to do, but I decided to at least say 'hello' to you all! HELLO!!!

I hope you're enjoying a peaceful day, too. But, just in case you're not, it would be good for you to know that there are many people around the world who are praying for your safety, your families and friends and your relationship with GOD. I'm just one of them. Even though you may be in a country that is at war or in the middle of circumstances that are extremely difficult, you are not forgotten. GOD loves you with a love that won't quit and He has plans for your life, too. So please be encouraged today. No matter what difficult circumstances this life may hold for you in this moment, realize that it is not going to last forever. And know that you can find peace in the middle of anything. Remember, Jesus said He came to give us peace that is unlike the peace the world has to offer.

So, reach out to Him today. Lay all that stuff down at His feet and ask Him to help you with it, okay? And if you don't know Him yet, it's a great day to get that relationship going. Just ask GOD to forgive you for your sins (we've all sinned...it's a fact of life, friend) and surrender yourself to Jesus. Invite Him to be your Lord. He's already paid the price to become your Savior - and oh yes, you and I need Him! Then turn it all over to Him. Ask Him to teach you who He is. Ask Him to show you whatever He wants you to see and to draw you close to Him. Spend time with Him every day. Soon, you will walk through this life with wonderful peace in your heart and mind.

GOD bless you, dear friends. And may Jesus' peace, the 'peace that passes all understanding' fill you to overflowing wherever you are.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!


Hello, dear friends. This is such a great day! I am so thankful for all the wonderful things GOD is doing in our lives and around the world. You know, it's so easy to get focused on the negative things the devil is up to, but what a horrible waste of time that is! Besides, I'm really not interested in giving him any glory by worrying over the conditions we're experiencing today. Of course, the conditions are what they are, but I'd much rather focus on the beautiful ways our LORD is moving - touching and changing lives in the midst of difficult circumstances, encouraging, healing and delivering people of everything from depression and rejection to cancer and deafness - and everything in between. Now THAT is something to focus on! And I believe that as we praise Him for being the Omnipotent GOD that He is, He ENJOYS it.

Our circumstances are not supposed to dictate our attitudes. Rather, we should be viewing each situation as an opportunity to show God how much we trust Him. Besides, don't you feel so much better when you maintain a positive attitude? Again, I'm not suggesting that we should ignore the fact that there are terrible things happening in our world today. I am suggesting that we should glorify the GOD Who is the Creator of every person on the planet. He has plans and He's never taken off guard by the things that happen. Maybe we are - but HE is not!

So once again comes the encouragement to live the Isaiah 58 fast. Jesus did. Do it and remain positive in the doing. Give, share, love, laugh, hope, encourage and thank! Thank, thank, thank!!! Thank GOD for being GOD. That may sound laughable...He couldn't be anything else. But still, thank Him for it! Aren't you GLAD that He's GOD? Don't you just love the fact that He is Who He is? Don't you adore the thought that He cares for you in ways that are way bigger than you can imagine - even on your very worst days? He is magnificient! My GOD is MAGNIFICIENT!

Thank You, dear LORD for being GOD - ALMIGHTY, ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, ALL LOVING, ALL MERCIFUL AND ABOVE ALL THAT I COULD EVER ASK OR THINK (OR IMAGINE!). Thank You for this nation, our freedom, our families, our lives, the food in our bellies and the clothes on our backs. Teach us how to SHARE those things more freely than ever before. Teach us EVERYTHING You want us to know and do and say and be. Thank You especially and above all else for Your beautiful Son, Jesus Christ and for Your glorious Holy Spirit. We love, want and need You every day. And we always will.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!


Good morning Tuesday! This is going to be a wonderful day. I'm absolutely sure of it! A young woman from Arizona is coming over for her second voice lesson in a couple of hours. Her family is in town for the Thanksgiving holiday and we're squeezing 3 lessons in while she's here. I'll just have time after that to work on some new music, throw in another load of laundry (how can two people get so dirty, anyway?) and fix a quick lunch before we go do another show this afternoon. Then it's off to see Misty, Jay and little Hayden (the newest addition to the family.) Afterwards, we'll be heading downtown to take spend time with my niece Jane's cats. We're some of the temporary kitty-sitters until she gets home tomorrow. And somewhere in the middle of all this stuff today, I need to give Alan a haircut - oh yeah, and Dad needs one, too!

What a blessing to have such a huge blended family! Near as I can tell, we have 15 grandchildren between us. Alan has 9 and I have 6. How on earth did we get this old? And every single one of those lives are incredibly busy, too.

I don't know what your life is like, but it's probably very similar to ours....busy, busy, busy! I'm reminded of an old saying (well, it's not that old, but it's not new, either)that goes something like this, "If the devil can't pull you off the track, he'll get behind you and push!" And yet, when I look at the things that we're doing everyday, I don't see anything evil in them, nor do I believe that it's 'evil' to be busy. We live in a very fast-paced world and there always seems to be a million things to do - needs to be met, lives to be touched, dishes to be done - and sometimes attending to the most important thing of all can slip by undone if we don't do it first thing each day.

I'm talking about spending some time with the Lord. For me, I've got to go to Him before I even let my feet touch the floor in the morning, because there are some days when that's the only quiet time I can have with Him. And I need that time. Not only do I need it, I want that time with Him. He's my Source of life, my Hope and my Strength. But He's also my Joy. He keeps me focused on what's important and helps me set my priorities in order. And, I know that it's too easy to wander off the path when I don't spend time with Him.

Well, the clock is ticking away and I haven't fixed breakfast yet. The bed's still not made, even though I've been out of it for the last 45 minutes, so I'd better get 'busy'. Until tomorrow, friends, I pray for God's blessings of peace, protection and right relationships between Him, you and everyone else! Have a great day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Here I AM

Hey everybody! This is the last devo from my little 30 & 3 Vol. 2. Hope you enjoy it! Tomorrow, who knows what will be on here! :) Blessings!


Day Thirty

Isaiah 58:9-11

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

Well, it’s our last day together in this devotional, beloved. I hope that you have dipped deeply into the well of God’s love these past thirty days. These last two days of verses are my prayer – and God’s desire – for you. Look at the promises He’s making here, if we will only believe and obey Him. He’s so faithful. No telling how many times I’ve said that on these pages, but I am amazed by His goodness and faithfulness. There’s so much peace that comes in knowing that our God is faithful to His word. I never forget that He’s the “If/Then God”. His word is filled with promises, but to receive those promises we have a part to play. We can only hold Him to His word if we are obedient to His commands and when we fail, we must trust His mercy through the grace of His Son, Jesus Christ. We can never earn our way into heaven, beloved. But we cannot hold God to His word if we are not even trying to be obedient. Although we may never meet in this life, I want you to know that I love you, too. You are a precious child – someone that God considered important enough for Him to create in the first place. Never forget that. Do all you can to glorify Him with your words, your thoughts and your actions. Until we meet in heaven or here on earth, I pray you will live up to the great calling of Jesus Christ in your life to the best of your ability as you surrender yourself to the Great and Immortal God of all creation. Blessings to you and your loved ones from me and mine.

Dearest Lord God, my Father and my King. I thank You for the opportunity to write these words. Thank You for Your provision in every area of my life. Lord, all the little prayers written in this 30 day devotional for these beloved people to read are lifted up to You by me also. Let Your light shine on us, Lord. Let our healing spring forth. Help us take away the yoke from our midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness. Show us how to extend our souls to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul. My prayer for each of us is found in these verses: “Then your light shall dawn in the darkness and your darkness shall be as the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Thank You, Father. Thank You once again for your abundant love. We lift all of this up to You now in the Name of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fast!


Day Twenty-Nine

Isaiah 58:6-8

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

Well, He’s done it again, beloved. God has given us another beautiful day to thank Him and praise His goodness in our lives and the lives of those we love. I love these verses from Isaiah. A number of years ago, the Lord revealed something to me about these scriptures. He showed me that Jesus lived this fast. He came to walk it out in the flesh, leaving us the example, and then sacrificed Himself for our salvation so we would understand what real love is. Love isn’t just some gooey feeling we have for the Lord. It’s a far greater effort than that. Love is the action of sacrifice for others – starting with God. Love is giving without unrighteous judgment. Love is Jesus coming here to die for us, so that we might live for Him and do the will of His Father. Love is Jesus saying ‘yes’ to God, even when it cost Him His life. That is the purest fast of all. He didn’t consider His own needs, but chose instead to pour Himself out for those around Him, so that His Father in heaven could be glorified and receive back to Himself His own creation for eternity. That would include you and me, beloved. Well, we have the Example right before our eyes in these verses. Let’s get started…

You are so amazing to me, God! Thank You for sending Jesus to teach us the gift of sacrificial love through His pure and true fast. What a joy it is to belong to You. I understand that fasting isn’t about starving yourself. Rather, it’s about drawing nearer to You by serving You and others in humility and without consideration for my own flesh. The rest is up to You, and I know that Your promises are sure. I do love You, Lord. Help me find ways to show You today. In Jesus’ Name…

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Higher Ways


Day Twenty-Eight

Isaiah 55:9-11

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Welcome to a fresh new day, dear friend. How about today’s verses? Don’t you just love the fact that God’s word is sure and dependable? Everything – and He does mean everything that His word was sent forth to accomplish will happen. He’s going to do what He said He would do. He’s the One Who takes care of the rain that waters the earth so we can have food to eat. My mind cannot comprehend the enormity of our God. When I sit here and type words to try to describe His indescribable majesty, I know those words are inadequate, but then trying to describe God’s magnificence is like trying to describe the inexpressible joy a new mother or father experiences as they hold their newborn baby for the first time. It’s an overwhelming feeling, and even that comparison is inadequate! Get up and dance around His throne – even if you can’t get out of the chair. Do it in your spirit. Dance, child, dance! Dance with all your might because He is God – all powerful, all knowing, ever present God… He will dance with you. His arms long to hold you close to Him. His eyes long to see you gaze into Him with total abandon, hungry and thirsty for more, more, more of Him. Doesn’t He take your breath away?!

Holy God. Magnificent, awesome, amazing, strong and gentle Father. Dance with me. Dance with me, Lord. You feed me, You dress me, You comfort me, You surround me with Your goodness every day. Thank You a million times over. I gladly place my hand in Yours today, Lord. Lead me wherever You want me to go. I love You. In Jesus’ Name…

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What God Thinks


Day Twenty-Seven

Isaiah 55:6-8

“Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.

Good morning again, dear one. How was your day yesterday? Did you rest in the Lord – trusting Him for each moment and the outcome of those difficult situations? Are you at peace today? I love knowing that God is not able to be figured out by me. I mean, how horrible it would be if I could second-guess God! This universe would be in a lot of trouble if God wasn’t hard for me to know everything about. Come to think of it, this universe wouldn’t even exist if God’s mind wasn’t any bigger than mine. I find so much peace when I think about how merciful He is. I am very happy to say that God knows all there is to know and I can trust Him to work everything out. All I need to do is obey Him. That’s my whole job, you know. Yours, too. So go enjoy this day and rest in the knowledge that He is near, ready to teach you what you do not know and to forgive you for your sins as you forgive others. Love Him and everyone around you. You can do that, I know, because the One Who lives on the inside of you has freely poured His love into your very being.

Oh, Lord, thank You for being God. Thank You for all You are doing that I cannot see. Thank You for being a constant surprise to me, Lord. I appreciate that You show me daily that I am the clay and You are the Potter. There’s so much peace that comes from knowing I don’t have to figure out what kind of vessel I’m going to be when You’re all done. All I need to do is stay on the wheel and You will do the rest. Thank You, God. I appreciate and love You so much. In Jesus’ Name…