Saturday, October 31, 2009

Birthdays and giving 30 & 3 Vol. 2 Devo Day 9

Welcome to Saturday morning! This has been a wonderful week. We celebrated my mother's 75th birthday last night with a surprise party. And today looks fabulous. Even though it's chilly outside, the sun is shining and - above all else - God is seated on His throne, blessing, loving and teaching His children. I love how He faithfully continues to pour out His love in my life and the lives of my loved ones. He pours out faithfully into the lives of all of His children. Isn't it good to know that He doesn't base His love on our performance? Rather, it is freely given to us, regardless of anything we do. I know that He wants everyone to be obedient to His commands, so my prayer today for all of us is that we will choose to surrender ourselves to the leadership of the One who created us, cares for us and draws us to Himself. Have a glorious day, dear friends. Now, here's the devo for today...
Day Ten

Proverbs 3:27-29

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,’ when you have it with you. Do not devise evil against your neighbor, for he dwells by you for safety’s sake.”

What a beautiful day this is! Good morning again, dear friend. I hope you are enjoying this time with the Lord each morning as we share together the words in this little devotional. You know, we have been so blessed in so many ways and we should reflect on that more often. When our hearts are filled with gratitude for what God has done and continues to do in our lives, we have a greater tendency to open our hearts and hands to those who have less than we do. For example, if you have an abundance of food in your kitchen and someone else is hungry, doesn’t it make sense that you should be willing to feed them? We never know all of the details of someone else’s situation, even if we know a little about what has caused them to be in need. What we do know, though, is that God has seen fit to make it possible for us to have that abundance and He is watching to see how we will respond to those in need. Since you and I are not called to judge others – but only to love God first and others as we love ourselves – doesn’t it take a great deal of pressure off of you to know that you can freely give, because you have been given to freely by God? Ask God to search your heart and to reveal to you the ways you need to adjust your thinking. We all have areas that need to grow up in the Lord and He loves it when we search His heart for understanding and growth. Two dear friends of mine said something to me years ago when I was worrying about some insignificant thing and it helped me change my whole perspective. I occasionally have to say it to myself when I am feeling “stuck” about something. What they said was “Be free, sister…be free!” That really blessed me. Jesus came to set us free. We are here, in part, to bless the lives of others, but we can’t do it if we are busy trying to decide whether or not they are worth blessing! So go ahead, sister (or brother) in Jesus. Open up your heart to God, release your judgment or criticism of others, see their need and just “be free”!

Dearest Lord, how freely You have given to me. Your hand has been open for me all the days of my life. I have air to breathe and I am breathing. I have a place to lay my head at night. I have people around me on this planet that love me. I have food in my belly and water to quench my thirst. Most importantly, I have You, Lord. Help me open my hands and freely give today. Use me however You will, God. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name…

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who Foots The Bill? 30 & 3 Vol. 2 Devo

Me again! :) I hope these little devos are bringing you added encouragement each day. Hey, if you know someone who you think may be blessed by these little blogs, why not share them? Just copy the address in the url and paste it into an email and send it to them. Or, how about going to my website? The address is There are other links there on the Links page that may be of interest to you and to them. And while you're at it, check out my Engagements page to see if there may be a time you could come to one of my shows or to one of the places I preach. Everyone is always welcome and that includes you, dear friend. The services are held in senior facilities, but we don't care how old or young our visitors are - we just love having them!

Now, on to the devo for today. Here it is...

Day Nine

Luke 23: 41-43

“’And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”

Good morning, my friend. Have you ever stolen anything? Oh, it may not have seemed like a big thing at the time. Maybe you took credit for something that another person did, or stole someone’s joy with a negative word. Or maybe you stole a grape from the grocery store - you know, ate it right there in the produce aisle without paying for it. The fact of the matter is that we have all sinned. Everyone. It says so in the Bible. Jesus, Who was carrying the weight of the sins of the world, comforted a thief hanging on a cross and assured the man that he would be with the Lord in Paradise. Isn’t that something! Our Savior suffered beyond our ability to comprehend and still continued to minister to a dying thief hanging on a cross. Jesus loved that thief who recognized His Lordship as the King of Kings. Do you ever feel like you’re that dying thief hanging on a cross and like the world is crucifying you, too? Then praise God for His grace to carry you through your crucifixion! Remember, Jesus is no longer hanging on a cross – He’s seated in heaven at the right hand of His Father, interceding in your behalf daily. He will give you the strength you need to endure every trial you will ever face in this life. Because He suffered while He lived on this earth, He knows what you are going through and has the compassion to carry you gently through every circumstance, heartbreak and loss you will experience. Just praise Him today for Who He is, for all He’s done and for what He’s going to do in and through you in the days, weeks, months and years of life you have ahead of you!

Oh Lord, sweet God, how beautiful You are! How wonderful it is to know that You are there and that You care so much for Your creation. Father, please forgive me for every time I’ve stolen anything from anyone. I want to be a giver, Lord – not a thief. Help me recognize the opportunities to bless others every moment of every day. Put words in my mouth that will honor you and bless the lives of others, Lord. You have richly blessed me with life, so I ask You to help me find ways to richly bless the lives of others. Thank You, God, for being Who You are. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name…

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Perfected Love 30 & 3 Vol. One Day Eight

So much to do today! I'm looking forward to time spent with our ladies at Freedom Pointe. It's time for another 'Red Hat Party', and I love entertaining the gals there. Hope you have a great day, too! Now, here's today's devo...

Day Eight

1 John 2:3-6

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

Welcome to this beautiful day, precious one! I hope that you rested well last night. What does your “walk” look like today? It isn’t always easy to walk the path that He has for us, but His word to us is very clear. If we say that we know Him, then we will obey Him. Sounds like it doesn’t matter if we’ve memorized the whole Bible if we aren’t obeying His word, doesn’t it? It matters very much to Him whether or not we keep His commandments and I believe that you must feel the same way or you wouldn’t even be reading this devotional. Another verse in 1 John says that we show Him we love Him by keeping His commandments and that they are not difficult to keep. You know, if we just keep our attention on Who He is and serve Him to the best of our understanding – walking in obedience to His word – then our lives will tell Him that we love Him, and that we really do know Him. Spend time in His presence all day long no matter where you are or what you are doing. Do your best every day to love Him through your obedience to His word and you will find yourself blessed to be “perfected in love”.

Dear Father, sometimes I have a difficult time being obedient to Your word. I am sorry for that, and ask You to forgive me for those sins. Thank You for staying patient with me, Lord. Thank You for helping me stand up every time I fall into disobedience. I want You to know that I love You, so please strengthen me to follow You in humility. You are so wonderful, dearest God. Bring Your words to life in my spirit in every circumstance. Light within me a burning desire to read and learn what You have said. Talk to me, Father – all of the time – talk to me. I am hungry for what You have to say to me, so satisfy me with the words of Your mouth. Thank You, God, for being Who You are. Thank You from the depths of my spirit. In Jesus’ Name…

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Joy Bubbles

I think this is the perfect time for these words. They are perfect for me and hopefully they are just what you need to give you joy bubbles all through your day! Blessings! :) v

Day Seven

Philippians 4:4-7

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Well, good morning, you wonderful child of God. What a beautiful creation you are – made in the glorious image of your awesome Heavenly Father, Who is the most Beautiful of all! He is Eternal! He knows everything! He doesn’t want you to be worried about anything. Thank Him for all that He’s given you. Thank Him for the things you are learning that you aren’t even aware He’s teaching you! Thank Him for being right there with you, right now. He will be with you always! Doesn’t that comfort you? You are more precious to Him than words could ever convey. If you are going to ask Him for something today, take your cue from the scripture above – ask Him with faith, thanksgiving and praise. Don’t ask with doubt and worry. Thank Him for being all-powerful and able to meet the needs you are bringing to His throne. Thank Him for His answer, whatever it may be. Let all of heaven hear you tell the Lord that you trust Him to do the right thing, and then watch Him do it. It may not happen in your time or your way, but you go ahead and honor God by leaving the answer up to Him. Then receive His peace. Let it envelop you like a warm blanket. Trust Him to keep you in His will as you follow Him in obedience and humility every day. He will, you know. He will keep you in tenderness and care. Now, relax and release today with all its worries and cares. Thank Him for being God – and rejoice!

Oh, Lord. Thank You for everything that You have planned for me. Thank You for being trustworthy, so that I don’t have to try to figure everything out. Thank you for taking care of the problems that are in my mind and the needs that are in my life. I want Your peace always. Help me learn how to lean more fully on You and Your promises. You are ever faithful. Help me learn how to be more faithful to You by trusting that You hold all things in Your hands, including me and my problems. I love You, Lord. Thank You so much for loving me. In Jesus’ Name…

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day Six

Matthew 15: 17-19

“Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Good morning, precious one. Quite a scripture for today, isn’t it? No wonder we need to spend time with the Lord! Do you ever find yourself saying things you really don’t want to say or doing things you really don’t want to do? You know, words that aren’t exactly intended to bless the listener or actions that don’t glorify God? Unless we are always on guard against the temptations of the enemy, we stand in danger of getting drawn into things that will eventually hurt someone – whether others or ourselves – and that won’t bless the Lord or us at all! Our hearts and minds need to be emptied of this world’s clutter, and it is our responsibility to pour into them the good things of Jesus Christ. Take His words, for example. If I want to deflect the negative things of the enemy, then I must be filled with the Lord’s word, spending time in His presence, praising and worshiping Him. I must adopt the attitude of listening for His voice, aware that He may speak at any moment. I can’t afford to waste time watching all of the trashy stuff on television. We are supposed to take the gospel to the lost, but we are also supposed to be careful to guard our hearts and our thoughts. If we don’t, then we stand in danger of “defiling” ourselves with the evil thoughts and all of the other stuff Jesus was talking about in these verses. Take this time to fill up on the wholesome food of the Lord’s word, so that what comes out of your mouth today will bring sweet blessings for others and for you as well!

Dear Lord, please forgive me for all of the times I’ve dined at the table of the enemy instead of feasting on Your life-giving words. Fill my heart with the delicacies that satisfy the spirit and refresh the soul as I sit in Your presence daily. Then I know that Your words will pour from my lips, and Your thoughts will fill my mind with things eternal. You are holy, Lord. You deserve respect from every creature You have ever created. May my words and thoughts honor You, sweet Father God. In Jesus’ Name…

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Thorns - 30 & 3 Devo Vol.2 Day 5

This has been a very good day. I decided to post the devotional for Monday (tomorrow) a few hours early. Just trying to get a bit of a head start on the week, I suppose. :)

We had a great time at church this morning. Our friends at Silvercrest are a pleasure to be with every time we go and the Lord always blesses us with His beautiful Spirit in the services. We also enjoyed our time with the folks at Village Shalom. It's so much fun to get to sing the old big band songs. I may be living in this era, but I think I love to sing the songs from that era the most - outside of what I sing for the Lord, of course!

Thanks for taking the time to read these blogs. It's always my prayer that what you read here will somehow brighten your day, put a smile on your face and draw you ever closer to Jesus in some way.

Blessings, Shalom, Love and Joy!

Now for the devo...

Day Five

Matthew 5:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Good morning dear friend! So who is the person in your life that you consider your enemy? You know what I mean – the person that just gets under your skin, in a sort of itchy and irritating way? The one person that is like a thorn in your side – always belittling you or your efforts, talking about you behind your back and making fun of your very existence? Probably the last thing you really want to do is bless that little thorn. After all, you’re really trying to serve the Lord, aren’t you? Why, that person may not even be a Christian, and you’ve already gone the extra mile to be “good”, haven’t you? Well, take heart, dear one. People did it to Jesus, and they’re going to do it to you. But there is something we can all do to help us love those “thorns” a little better. We can remember that we are just as responsible as anyone else for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We can remember that the sin in our own lives made it necessary for Jesus to hang on that cross and take the whippings for us, too. We can remember that Jesus asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing – any more than we knew what we were doing in our own sins before we really understood Who He is. Even with all of that, He loved us still. Kind of makes it easier to swallow the part about loving, blessing and praying for those little thorns, doesn’t it? Well, hallelujah! Rejoice! You get to be an instrument in God’s hands today, shining in their lives, even if they try to pour rain in yours!

Sweet Father, I’m so sorry for my part in Your Son’s death. I’m grateful that You saw me as a rose instead of the sharp little thorn I was before I really understood how precious You are. Thank You for the Sonshine of Jesus, and the rain of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You for watering me with Your blessings, even when I was still a sinner. Thank You for teaching me the importance of loving others by reminding me of Your faithful and constant love for me. Glorify Yourself as You use me everyday. Draw me closer to You, Father. In Jesus’ Name…

30 & 3 Vol. 2 Devo

It's going to be a fabulous day! Getting ready to go to one of our Senior facilities where we hold church services, then downtown to feed kitties, home for a quick lunch then on to do an afternoon concert. I love it. We'll see so many wonderful folks today - and we are so very blessed to get to spend time with them. I hope your day is filled with moments of wonder and awe - (mine, too) - as you spend time with Jesus and the people He has given you to love. (That would be everyone, my friend.) :) Now, for today's devotional...
Day Four

Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Good morning, beautiful! Are you ready to spend a little quality time with the Lord this morning? He’s been waiting for this moment with you since you woke up today, and loves it when you go to Him. Those who are truly wise know that time spent with the Lord is to be highly treasured. You know, so many people have yet to understand that our treasures are not here on this earth. Sometimes even Christians get their priorities confused, and the treasures of this world capture their hearts and take first place in their lives. I love the little joke about the person who begged for permission to take one thing to heaven when he died. According to the story, he was granted permission and showed up at heaven’s gates that day with a heavy suitcase. As the angel guarding the gates opened the suitcase to see what the great treasure could possibly be, he was surprised to see it filled with solid gold. Bewildered that the man would think his treasure so valuable, the angel looked at the man and said, “You brought a piece of pavement?” Dear one, I encourage you to treasure the time you have with the Lord. Treasure His Son, Jesus and Holy Spirit. Treasure the moments throughout this day as He leads you and speaks into your heart and life. Treasure the opportunities He provides daily to witness to others about His mercy and grace. Treasure the opportunities you are given as He leads you to sacrifice yourself, your life, your possessions, your time and your money for the sake of others. No doubt the treasures that He has waiting for His beloved children and obedient servants will be more than worth it – and definitely worth more than a piece of pavement!

Dear Lord, I love You and appreciate every moment You have given me on this earth. I do treasure Your Son, Jesus, and Your graceful Holy Spirit. Thank You for the treasure of spending time with You. It is more precious than all the gold, rubies, diamonds and silver this world has to offer. You are more precious to me than anything, Father. In You I have found my greatest treasure. Bless me to treasure the moments I have on this earth, and the time I have to share Your wonderful love with others. I love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name…

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Saturday!
You know, it has been my experience that the more we spend time with God, the more in love with Him we grow and our understanding of His will for our lives becomes clearer. In His presence, we find greater peace. We can rest in the knowledge that His passion for each of His children makes it impossible for anything to separate us from His indescribable love.

The devotions in this blog begin with three verses from the Bible, followed by a few words of encouragement, and end with a prayer. If you are a new Christian, you may want to use the prayer as a starting point of conversation with the Lord. I encourage you to use a journal each day to write the impressions or things on your heart as you listen for the voice of His Spirit. The Lord has much to say – so take notes!

Remember, God is not interested in fancy words – He is very interested in a humble heart. Talk to Him as you would to your very best friend. You will never find a more faithful one than the Lord.

Jesus is coming again very soon, dear reader. Each day brings us closer to the moment we will see Him face to face. Let’s labor in His vineyard with courageous, loving and humble hearts, so that others may see through us to the One Who created us to be joint heirs with Him!

My prayer is that you will find blessing, encouragement, hope for your life and a deeper understanding of the Lord as you read and consider the words on these pages each day.

Now, for today's devotional...

Day Three

Luke 15: 8-10

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Good morning, friend! How are you doing this beautiful day? Are you ready to go look for the “lost coin” Jesus has put in your life? It may be someone you already know or it may be a total stranger. Whoever that person is, remember that the Lord wants you to be the broom in His hands, sweeping into the lives of others, searching for those precious people who are lost and/or unaware of the love of God for them. You know what the great thing is about being a broom. Brooms don’t have to figure anything out – all they have to do is be brooms! So listen up, you beautiful broom! All you have to do is be an instrument in the Master’s hands. He knows exactly how and where He wants to use you, so spend time in your “prayer closet” waiting on Him. And don’t worry, He knows where to find you!

Dear Lord, thank You for such a glorious new day. Thank you for making me an instrument in Your hands and guiding the movement of my life as I surrender to Your will. Thank You for the “lost coins” scattered all around me, waiting to be found by You. Thank you for reminding me that a broom is not effective unless it is touching the floor, much the same way that I must humble myself to the floor to be effective in the lives of others. Thank You for being GOD! Use me, Lord. In Jesus’ Name…

Friday, October 23, 2009

30 & Three Vol. 2 Day 2 Devo

It's 12:23 p.m. and I am just now getting to this part of the day! That is amazing, since I've already been up for over 6 hours and have done a ton of work around here. For some reason, I seem to be doing my spring cleaning about 6 months early - or late - whatever! Computer files last week and now I'm on to drawers, closets...goodness! Where will it all end?! I just hope I can find everything in a week. Do you ever have that problem? Cleaning, rearranging furniture (did that three days ago) and practically everything else in the house...only to find that in a few days you don't remember where you decided the very best and most obvious place would be for something to be stored...I mean, so obvious that you couldn't POSSIBLY forget where you decided to put it? That is one of my little challenges. Seems I'm always moving things - probably because in many ways I love change. Helps keep things 'fresh', you know?
Ah, well. The journey is always interesting and I'm so glad to be on it! Have a great day and I hope you are blessed by today's devotional. Here we go...
Day Two

Luke 14:12-14

Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Greetings, beloved! Have you noticed what a self-centered world we live in today? So many people focus on what makes them feel good, look good and smell good. Chances are – if you could get those folks to be honest with you – they would tell you that inside they feel empty. Of course they do! Why wouldn’t they? We were not created to satisfy the lusts or desires of our flesh, but that isn’t what the world tells us. Flip on the television and you will see commercials designed to attract us to products made to cater to our flesh, telling us we deserve to have good things, while blithely ignoring the hundreds of millions of people on the planet that are starving, sick, lonely and homeless. You know what really makes people feel good about themselves? Helping others. Finding a need and filling it. Putting clothes on the backs of people who have nothing or a roof over the heads of those who don’t have a place to sleep at night. Helping others is an incredibly fulfilling experience because we have been created to give. It’s even greater when we give to those who cannot repay us. That’s what Jesus was talking about. So fit into your schedule – today – a way to feed someone who’s hungry. If you have dinner plans tonight, make sure that you take the same amount of money you spend for that meal and buy a meal for someone on the street. Better yet, invite them to dinner with you. Sound a little intimidating? Just look at it as an opportunity to show them the love of Jesus. After all, He’s the One Who made sure you had the blessing of money for food to begin with! You have been blessed – to be a blessing!

Dear Lord, it’s so easy to be comfortable just staying in my little circle of influence, sharing with the people I know and love. I hear You calling me to step out and include others in that circle, and You know how difficult that can be for me. Please help me see You when I see them. Remind me that You had no place to lay Your head, Jesus, when I pull away from those who need help. Strengthen me with boldness so that others are blessed by my actions. Show me the need and give me wisdom to meet it with a blessing. Thank You for Your abundant blessings in my life. Use me today, sweet Lord. In Jesus’ Name…

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Please watch this video

30 & 3 Vol. 2 Devo The Greatest Two

Good morning! I've decided to jump over to Volume Two, so if you've been following these little devotionals, you may have noticed the change. I'll finish up Volume One at a later time. For now, I hope that these words will find a resting place in you today. Blessings! V.

Day One

Mark 12:29-31

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’”

Good morning, beloved! It’s going to be a great day today! Here’s a question for you: Did you ever meet a person who claimed to be a Christian but still talked negatively about others? Or maybe he or she carried a huge grudge against someone for something that person said or did that was offensive. Jesus made it very plain to us that loving God with all that we are and loving people as ourselves are the two greatest things we can do. That sounds good, but when the road of life is filled with a lot of potholes and it seems as though you’re getting bounced around by the attitudes and actions of others more than usual, it may take a little greater effort to love God and to love others, too. After all, some people can be quite unlovable at times. Well, to tell the truth, so can you and I! Love them anyway, dear friend. Forgive them when they offend you in some way. Remember, God loved you before you even knew anything about Him or Who He is. He has seen everything you’ve ever done, and He still loves you. Why? Because His love for you isn’t based on your performance, accomplishments, intelligence, beauty, power, money or anything else. It is because He CHOSE to love you before He even created you. How amazing is that?! So let go of the past and embrace this new day with joy. Now get out there and choose to LOVE every lovable and unlovable person you meet today!

Dear Lord, I am amazed that you could choose to love me! Thank You for another glorious day to be Your vehicle of love in this world. Help me remember that humility is beautiful in Your eyes, Lord. You know that I am often tempted to judge or criticize instead of forgive. I can’t always see the sin in my own life, so please show me where I am being unlovable. Clean me up, Father. Take over the wheel of my life and help me see what a lousy back seat driver I really am. I love You, Lord. Be glorified in me today is my prayer in Jesus’ name…

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

30 & 3 Devo Day 6

Today promises to be a rainy day here in my city. I'm grateful for the rain as well as the sunshine. Wherever you are, I hope you drink in the beauty of the day that God has brought your way. Here's today's devo...

Day Six

“I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.”
Psalm 16:7-9

Good morning, beloved! Enter into praise today! Praise Him for the air you are breathing right now. Praise Him because He has given you a glorious life and a bright future. Praise Him because the sky is blue, the grass is green, the sun is bright, the birds sing, the moon is soft and the stars fill the night sky! Praise Him because it is good and it feels good to praise Him! Praise Him all day long!

O God, my God! How glorious You are! How strong and bold, tender and pure You are! You are bigger than I can imagine, holding the universe in Your awesome hand! You are holy, holy, holy! No matter how long eternity is, You will be there! No matter how wide or deep or high anything is, You are there! You created space between the seconds of time, and space between the spaces! Praise does not and cannot do You justice, because You are bigger and more than praise can satisfy. Thank You for being God! I lift my praise to You in the glorious name of Jesus…

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

30 & 3 Day 5 Devo

Hi! This is such a great day and I am so glad to be alive to enjoy it! I hope you're day is filled with wonder as you reflect on God's amazing grace in your life and the fabulously beautiful planet He's given us. There's no time for discouragement today...just time to rejoice in His goodness! I believe He is going to surprise you with good things today. Get ready and be watching and expectantly waiting....!

Day Five

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
Psalm 1:1-3

Precious one, God loves you so much that He has provided everything you need to be able to spend eternity with Him. By developing an intimate relationship with the Lord, you will be able to see, hear and know what He wants you to do and how He wants you to live. So rejoice! Embrace the relationship you have with your heavenly King, and you will bring forth fruit in its season, prospering in whatever you do. Delight yourself in the Lord!

Dear Father, I want to be like the tree planted by the rivers of water. Feed me with Your Spirit, so that my roots will grow deep into the fertile ground of Your Word. Let the fire of Your Spirit burn away the unproductive, dead branches that stunt my growth in You and the water of Your Spirit quench the parched places in me. Help me thirst for more of You, dear God. May the fruit of my life honor You is my prayer in Jesus’ name…

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ruthie’s Lime-Green Polka Dot Socks

(Hi all... I originally posted this blog last October, but decided to revisit it today. Hope it blesses you! Enjoy!!!)
It was only about 36 degrees when I pulled out of the driveway to head to Overland Park, Kansas for church Sunday morning. I serve as pastor for an assisted living/Alzheimer care facility where those who, for whatever reason, are no longer able to attend their own churches. The beautiful sunlit thirty minute drive was just a foretaste of the joyous time I was to experience with the folks yesterday during our little one-hour service that day.

After I arrived, fifteen of my beloved senior friends made their way into the multi-purpose room of the facility, each one finding a place to sit in the circle and I was thrilled to see them all. Everywhere I looked, there were wheelchairs, walkers or canes. More importantly, though, there were human beings. God's children.

I have many stories to tell about them all, for they are all very dear to my heart. But today I want to tell you about one in particular. Her name is Ruthie. (Her name has been changed in this article to protect her identity.)

I was especially pleased to see our dear Ruthie show up for church, as she is not always able to be there. Ruthie suffers with Parkinson's disease, so a staff member has to bring her because she lives on the 'locked' side of the facility, where the residents with memory care and other debilitating issues reside. Ruthie loves church and really hates to miss it. She doesn't talk much, but when she does, she is very clear.

The very first conversation we had pretty much consisted of a single sentence from her. She walked right up to me and said, in a very matter-of-fact tone, "You have pretty hair." End of conversation. She turned and went to find a place to sit. Wow. I didn't know enough about her to know if she COULD talk back then. In that moment, I learned not to underestimate or prejudge the abilities or awareness of an elderly person for any reason.

One of the things I love about Ruthie is the way she dresses. She is very particular about her appearance, always making sure that everything she is wearing is color coordinated. Two weeks ago, her color of choice was green. From head to toe, Ruthie was covered in green. Clothes, shoes, jewelry - everything was green - clear down to her lime green polka-dot socks. Brilliantly green. Ruthie was beautiful and she was wearing the sermon on her feet. Yes, the lime green polka-dot socks spoke to everyone in the room and became the lesson of love from Jesus' heart that day.

Just looking at the socks made us all smile. We selected a hymn and I danced with Ruthie while we all sang. Ruthie loves to dance. I wondered what else she loves to do. I challenged everyone to remember those socks whenever they felt discouraged. We all wondered if Ruthie would be able to attend the next service, too. I was very curious to see what she would have on her feet if she did!

Once again, Ruthie blessed us with her fashion sense yesterday. Her color of choice was pink. Head to toe. Glancing down at her feet, I was so pleased to see the pretty pink socks with the rainbows and clouds on them. Two of the women decided they are definitely going shopping to find some outrageously colorful socks to wear. Ruthie's bold taste was an inspiration to them. Everyone loved the socks. And I loved the opportunity to be able to encourage them once again in a way that they may be able to remember. By the end of the service, everyone was more cheerful and encouraged. It's amazing what God can do with a pair of socks!

We talked about Jesus and how much He loves us. We talked about how our bodies begin to betray us as we grow older and oftentimes our minds do, too. We talked about how we learn something new every day, even if it's just how to take a new medicine or an interesting fact about the life of a friend. We talked about how we might forget the things we've learned because of things like dementia or Alzheimer's, but Jesus never forgets that we learned them and He takes care of us when we are not able to take care of ourselves.

Many times, we have talked about how we're all just a bunch of kids inside of wrinkly old bodies that don't work like they used to work and how we're always shocked when we look in the mirror and see an old person staring back at us! We laughed, knowing that sometimes younger people just don't get it, just like we didn't get it when we were their ages, either, and we were sobered by the awareness that one day they will be the 'crazy old people' that the next generation will not understand.

We talked about remembering that the Lord still has purpose for their lives on this earth, or He would have taken them home by now. We talked about the importance of becoming like little children again and we read the verses about Jesus and the children that the disciples wanted Him to send away. Our services are simple. And the Lord is always present with us.

I have been going to this particular facility for the last five years, holding Sunday services with them and occasionally officiating or performing at a funeral for one who has 'graduated' to heaven. Only three of the seniors from our original little 'congregation' remain. Ruthie is one of them. Many have come and gone, for one reason or another. Some have moved to other facilities or into the homes of family members. I wonder about them all.

I've sat with some of them as they cried, feeling totally abandoned and unloved by their own families. My heart breaks for those who don't understand why they are there and why they can't go home. Who are these people and what were their lives like before they became 'old'? How does it feel to find yourself in a place where you're not related to anyone, including the people who are taking care of you?

I wonder about the wisdom that our generations are missing because we have chosen to forget about the elderly because of their ages. That seems insane to me now, although it probably didn't seem insane when I was young and full of my own ‘wisdom’ and myself. I was like so many others - I didn't have time for them!

I've seen and learned many things. I know that my knowledge is still so limited where these folks and their lives are concerned. And as I watch the decline in the physical and/or mental health of some of them - changes that sometimes seem to occur almost over the course of a few days - I am encouraged and humbled by their quiet strength, their seemingly limitless determination to face head-on the trials of old age that are a constant assault against their minds and bodies - many times without the comfort of even one family member to turn to nearby. And I stand in wonder at the God who, in His infinite wisdom, chooses to let them live. They have purpose. They have great worth in His eyes. Those are the eyes that matter.

We have tremendous opportunities before us; opportunities to allow change within us to propel us forward into greater blessings...blessings of the joys that come as we honor those who have lived much longer than we have lived. Blessings that come as we embrace those who may just know a lot more about life than we do - as we watch and learn from their lives, their hopes and dreams and the lessons they learned along the way. Blessings that come as we step outside of ourselves and our very busy and hurrying world and fall into step with our parents, grandparents, elderly neighbors and friends for this season in their lives. Blessings that come to them and to us as we listen to their stories, loving each soul with our undivided attention.

Many of our senior citizens are very lonely. Extremely lonely. Many of them want someone to talk to, someone to listen to, someone to give them a hug and a kind word. I wrote this article to give the readers a tiny glimpse into the world of the elderly. It is truly a very tiny glimpse, I know. But if it inspires you to consider this season of the year as a reflection of what your own life may be like in the not-too-distant future, then perhaps it will also inspire you to do something about those who already find themselves there.

I truly believe that one of the greatest blessings we will ever find in life comes from being a servant to others. It's an honor to be able to serve our elderly human family members, whether we are related to them physically or not. So whether you choose to get involved through a nursing home, an assisted living facility or with the senior citizens in your family or neighborhood, please just get involved. Be a friend and be a student.

Do it for them and for you. You'll be amazed by the changes that you experience as you give more of yourself away for the life of someone else. Will you please join those of us who have connected our lives with theirs? Right now, there's a 'Ruthie' for you out there, somewhere. She’s probably sitting in her little room wearing her lime-green polka dot socks, just waiting.

Hi! I hope you're having an awesome day - enjoying the great beauty of God in this amazing time in your life. Enjoy today's 'quick' devotional! :)

Day Four

“I will extol You my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.”
Psalm 145:1-3

In Revelation 20, John saw four living creatures who constantly circle the throne of God, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Think about it: as those creatures circle the throne of God and look into His majestic, indescribable beauty, they cannot contain the worship that pours from their beings. Let’s stand – or rather kneel – before the One Who loved us enough to create us and breathe life into our beings; Who gave us the Ultimate Sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ so that we could return to Him one day – for all eternity! Have a great day!

Eternal God, There are no words sufficient to honor Your Gift of love to me. You have been faithful beyond anything I have deserved. The fountain of Your love has covered me with blessings as the river of Your righteousness winds through each passing day. Lovely is Your love, O Lord. Pure is Your love, my King. Your holiness amazes me and Your wisdom astounds me. Have Your way in me today, dear Lord. In Jesus’ name...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

30 & 3 Vol. 1 Day 3

Day Three

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.”
Psalm 139:1-3

Good morning to you, dear one. How reassuring it is to know that no matter what we go through in life, our Lord knows all there is to know about us, and loves us still. When some unexpected event takes place in your day today, rest your heart in the knowledge that God invites you to trust in His wisdom to carry you through every circumstance. How gracious is the love of God for you! Spend time today just telling Him how lovely and wonderful He is – because HE IS!

Lord, it is hard to comprehend that You could love me so much! Open the eyes of my heart and the ears of my spirit so that I may embrace You more fully with each passing moment. Strengthen me to accept the things that are set before me each day. Help me see them as opportunities to share the love You have given to me. Show me the way to bless Your heart and love more deeply the people You put in my path. You are wonderful, Lord. I love You! In Jesus’ name...

The more time we spend with God, the more in love with Him we grow and our understanding of His will for our lives becomes clearer. In His presence, we find greater peace. His passion for each of His children makes it impossible to be separated from His indescribable love. I hope these little devotions bless you each day! Until tomorrow.... :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hi! :) Continuing with the devotional... Sorry it's so late in the day! It's been an incredibly busy day and I have a concert in 2 1/2 hours... Just doing some singing at Main Street Coffee House tonight. It's in Independence, know, Harry Truman's town. Just off the Square. Drop by if you get thirsty! :)

Day Two

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
Psalm 105:1-3

Good morning! With all of the trouble that goes on in the world today, it does our hearts good to take the time to sing to the Lord and talk about all of the great things He has done. Take time to tell God how much you appreciate Him for the blessings He has given you all through your life. Thank Him for taking care of you, for giving you friends and surrounding you with people who love you! If you are having a hard day, nothing will help you more than spending time praising the Lord. You are always on God’s mind!

Precious Father, thank You so much for the beautiful world You gave me. Everywhere I look the reflection of Your love for me fills me with joy. You are holy. You are indescribably beautiful. You are magnificent in everything You do. Creation trembles in awe of Your mighty power, even as the glory of Your love stretches across the heavens, filling them with wonder and light. Perfect in holiness and breathtaking in majesty, O Lord, be glorified in me. In Jesus’ name…

Friday, October 16, 2009

30 & 3 vol. 1 devo

Hi everyone! I'm going to be posting from a little devotional each day. It's entitled "Thirty & Three - Volume 1". It was the first one I wrote several years ago. The idea was to keep it very brief...and it is! The first part of each day's devotional is a scripture verse, the second part some words for you and the third part is the beginning of a prayer - that you can finish, if you are so inclined. That's what inspired the title. Thirty days of devotions, with three little sections for each day. Like I said, it's a snap to read - very short. Check back tomorrow and each day thereafter for the next day's devotion. Hopefully, I'll stay caught up and always have something on here. That's my goal, too. I hope this blesses you! Enjoy! :)

Day One

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13

God has given you a wonderful day! He wants you to know that He loves you deeply, and that His plans for you are good plans. If you will call out to Him and pray, He says He will listen to you. If you will seek Him with your whole heart, He says you will find Him. Take time to be with Him first thing every morning. Tell Him you love Him, and ask Him to direct your day, then share His love with everyone you see. Share a smile and a kind word. God loves you, so you can love other people, too!

Dear Lord, You are high and lifted up, worthy of all praise and honor. As I go through the minutes and hours of the day You have graciously set before me, teach me more about Your loving ways. Fill my heart with the peace that You alone can give. Be glorified in me, Lord. In Jesus’ name…