Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Letter Part 2

Yesterday it began. The filling of my heart with Christmas started during the church service Sunday morning. The music, sermon, communion, prayer, every moment contributed to the release of Grace into my soul. I was touched to tears.

The grandest moment came when wishing a friend a Merry Christmas and asking how her new job was coming along. God spoke words to me through her. Just like Simeon spoke to Mary in the temple, my friend spoke truth, wisdom and confirmation to me. It was a God moment, even if she did not know.

I learned that through all my struggles during this Advent Season, God was working in me and around me. He has revealed things that have been keeping me in bondage, that coincide with my disappointments of this past month. In the exposing of the root issues, I have seen clearly that He was giving me the best of Christmas.

Christmas is a promise of new life. It is the hope of freedom and change. Jesus is Christmas! He was busy working in me through His Holy Spirit to bring those Christmas gifts to me. I am a blessed woman to serve a God that is so intimately involved in my every day trials.

Father God, Lord Jesus, Precious Holy Spirit, You are one. You are an amazing gift to the world and to me! I am sorry for being so blinded by the things of this world that i did not see You working on my behalf. Thank You for letting me open my gift early. Thank You for using my friend, and all the workers at church to help me regain my sight! Walk with me every day reminding me of this new life! Thank You!

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas!

My hopes for this Season of Holy Wonder has not been fulfilled. I wanted so very much to draw closer to God, and yet, I find I am struggling to enjoy the sweet comforting traditions that usually draw me closer to the true Spirit that dwells within the truth of God with us. Maybe you, too, have found these days difficult. Maybe we can salvage the Christmas joy in the next few days.

This time of year is usually a time for much activity. I have been busier than usual, but the activity has lost its excitement because I have not put a purpose into the work, except to just get it done. In years past I made every effort to make Jesus the center of my to-do list. This year has been different.

In times past gifts were bought, baking done, carols sung, decorations hung, and cards were written with the purpose of blessing others. This year, with our tight budget, and needing to cut corners everywhere, I began to think more of my pocket book than the joy of making others smile. Oh, I've had moments, but it has not been the overwhelming feeling of good will towards men that I most often feel. All of this has made me very sad.

I've allowed frustrations and worries cloud my celebration. I am not proud of
that. I know better. I just did not act on what I knew. Today the decision has been made. The next few days will be spent looking for ways to live thankfully and with joy. I will celebrate the truth that God is with us. HE is the joy for which I long.

Father, You are my Christmas. You are my gift, my joy, my song. I have been selfish and ungrateful. Forgive me! Thank You for turning my heart towards You. Thank You for making this the best Christmas ever! Send me out to make Your Good News known to the world!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Swaddling Hugs

Every baby needs to be swaddled. When they are bound tight in a blanket, they feel safe. They relax and rest. It is not only babies who surrender themselves into peace with the swaddling of a blanket. Adults may not get that sort of comfort often, but we need it.

When I am fearful, worried, or not feeling well, I need a warm blanket wrapped tight around me. We all know what it is like to want to curl up in bed after a tough day. Tears may be shed but the warmth of being swathed brings comfort and eventually we relax and rest.

Soft, warm blankets, are often given as gifts this time of year. They are appreciated, not only for their practicality, but also for the comfort and love that comes with the present. Clothing that is soft and warm is also a gift that is more than the covering for our bodies. We wear what fits our mood and some clothes swathe us.

In the Garden of Eden, before clothes were necessary, I want to believe that God wanted people to offer everyday gifts that would express God's image and likeness. Hugs were a reminder of the presence, comfort, safety, protection and grace of God. Maybe in the time of temptation a hug could have helped Adam and Eve to make a wiser choice.

That brings me back to Christmas. Jesus was swaddled in cloths by Mary because He was now fully human and needed what all humans need. I think He was the first one to offer hugs to those He met while He was here on earth. Why? Because I know He is always with me to give comfort and peace. He hugs me with His word, His presence, and His church.

You, O Lord, my God, are Comforter, Peace, Protector and Savior! You are the Promise of Emmanuel, God with us! Your presence swaddles me in love and grace. You are my hiding place, my hug in the midst of my need. Thank You for the hugs of my loved ones. Thank You for the strength and well being those hugs bring. Thank You for my arms that can reach out to others to share the gift of You. Teach me to be generous in my giving.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Take Me Back to Bethlehem

I've been putting up Christmas decorations this week. The tree has become a chore because I like the end result to be a certain way. Other greenery and lights are not as time consuming, but they drain energy for regular chores. There is always something needing to be done. I suppose that is why my prayer over and over during this process has been "Take me back to Bethlehem."

It hasn't been a prayer thought out but a simple reactionary prayer of my heart. I want a humble place to sit and focus on the presence of God in my life. I want things to be simpler. I see my Christmas efforts as me throwing this and that into the manger along with Jesus. Hey, Jesus, do You need lights? What about a big fat guy to be a giver of gifts? Could You move over so the tree will fit? Oh, and I'll sing lots of songs about You while I fill up Your humble crib. Hmmm.

Jesus. He is everything Christmas. He is the Light of the world. The Giver of all good gifts and even the one most important gift of Himself was place in a feeding trough. The tree He rejoiced in was the tree He was crucified upon. His rejoicing was only for us who would be freed from sins bondage. We sing peace on earth goodwill to men along with the angels, but the God of the universe promises to rejoice over us with loud singing!

Yes, I want to go back to Bethlehem. I want to sit at the feet of my Lord and let Him fill my Christmas with His presence! I want to. I can choose this way. I will.

Heavenly Father, I whisper my prayer today, because I know You hear me loud and clear. You hear my heart before my words are formed. You set desires in me and delight to see me unwrap the gifts You know will please me the most. Forgive my efforts to fill up Your space with things of this world. Thank You for sending the real Christmas. Thank You for the perfect Christmas! Let me just sit here in Your presence awhile. I promise to sing only if You put the song in my heart!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Wrapped Gift

Have you ever opened a big box just to find many smaller boxes inside? Each present inside is wrapped and filled with wonders and delights. I don't ever remember getting a gift like that, but I have given a few.

Today As I came into our church sanctuary, I saw the beautiful Christmas decorations. My eyes were drawn to the center of the back wall. Around the cross a white cloth was draped. It was beautiful!

I thought about the baby Jesus being swaddled in a cloth, and then I also remembered that He was wrapped in a shroud as well. The beginning and the end of His time on earth was marked by the wrapping of the gift: His life.

The presence of God was given to all of us in a man-child named Jesus. He brought us many gifts. We discover them by opening our hearts and opening the Word. I want to take pleasure in discovering anew the gifts I have unwrapped in the past. I also want to find a deeper joy in the revelation of new gifts.

Today Pastor John spoke about the gift of peace that Jesus offers. Peace that passes understanding must come from a good God. The One who can make all things work together for our good is the One who walked in the frailty of flesh and knows intimately how to find the peace for which we all long. This Christmas season I would like to look intently for treasure found in Jesus, the gift that God wrapped especially for us.

Father God, You are the Giver of all good gifts. You are the author of time and Your timing is perfect. Sometimes I forget that and struggle against the wait. Forgive me. Thank You for the Gift of Jesus. Thank You that You cared enough to wrap him up and let us open so many gifts in Him. Open my eyes to see the gifts You offer me each day. Open my heart to receive those gifts with excitement and joy. I begin today by unwrapping Your peace. Thank You!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Giver is More than the Gift

For everything God created is good,
and nothing is to be rejected
if it is received with thanksgiving.
(I Timothy 4:4)

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things,
which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
--- Epictetus

Patrick came into the house grinning with one hand curiously behind his back. It was not a special day for us so I gave him a quick kiss and tried to look over his shoulder to see what he was hiding. I cringed!

My dear husband backed away still smiling, and I could see a sparkle in his eyes that told me he was ready to make my day. When he handed me the pot of mums, I tried very hard to smile. I think I said a weak "Thanks," along with the question "What is this for?" I knew my disappointment was not hidden from him, because I watched the light fade from his eyes and the grin turn into pursed lips. He shrugged and said he was just thinking of me and wanted to say, "I love you."

I like mums, sort of, but they are not my favorite flowers. They don't speak to me about love. To me they did not convey the message that he was thinking of me. I would have wanted roses, but he brought mums. He wanted me to know the love he had for me, and I gave him cordial "Thanks." I had expectations he failed to meet, and though I may have uttered the word thanks, I was, in truth, ungrateful.

Over the years I have come to learn that my ingratitude often stems from my self-centered desires, but, when I see the gift and recognize the heart of the giver, I am filled with thanksgiving. It does not matter what is placed in my hands. It only matters who placed it there. When I see that God sends the rain as a gift, even when I long for sunshine, I will be blessed. Thanks for the giver is so much greater than a thank you for the gift!

Heavenly Father, You are the Giver of all good gifts. You gave me a special gift of love through a man to teach me. Thank You for lessons learned. You are the Giver and the Gift! Amen!

Friday, November 30, 2012


Today is rehearsal day for my son and his bride. Tomorrow is their wedding day. They have planned and made preparations for their special occasion. They have prayed and worked hard to prepare for the days that will grow into years after they promise each other their love in a sacred covenant. Today they rehearse for the vow making ceremony.

Rehearsals take place for many occasions. Most often for entertainment productions. I suppose even a wedding is some sort of show put on by the Bride and Groom. Rehearsals are meant to make sure no major glitches are made. The couple and their families want it to be a picture perfect day. But what about for every day life?

Life is lived in moments that can knock us off our feet and our foundation if we are not prepared. But how do we prepare for unplanned events? Sickness, health, riches, poverty, births, deaths, and a multitude of other circumstances change life in an instant. They cannot be rehearsed, or can they?

The best rehearsal for life interruptions is to live every day focused on the end. That is what Jesus did. He looked beyond the cross to the glory that awaited Him. (Heb. 12:1-2). Today you may be rehearsing for the grandest day of your life, the day you meet Jesus face to face. You must know who Jesus is before you can practice meeting Him. For me, it means staying near His people, praying, and reading His word.

Father God, You are the giver of the best gift. You gave Jesus to lead and guide us. You await our coming to join You. Thank You for the wedding feast that awaits us in heaven. Thank You for giving Jesus as an example of how to rehearse even in the midst of life's turmoils. Today I ask You to bless Joseph and Katie as they join together to give You glory in their marriage. Be our vision for the journey ahead.

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Tribute

The other day, I listened to some old music I've had around for a while. One song gave me pause. The song, My Tribute, by Andrae Crouch, made me ask the question,just like the song says, "How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me?"

No words or deeds could equal His gift of Jesus to the world. The fact that nothing can measure up to God's great presence in our lives cannot be an excuse to keep our praise and thanksgiving silent. Our lives must be a continual effort to give our Lord thanks.He deserves it.

My thanks is my life lived for Jesus the best I am able. It will never be enough but I must try.

Holy Father, You are the Giver of all good things. You are the generous One who far exceeds what we deserve or can ever expect. You are worthy to be glorified! Thank You for the life You give me each day. Help me to live a life of gratitude. I want to give You glory even though it may fall short of what You deserve. I am Yours. I live thanks because of You.

My Tribute

Verse 1
How can I say thanks
For the things You have done for me,
Things so undeserved,
Yet You gave to prove Your love for me.
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude.
All that I am and ever hope to be,
I owe it all to Thee.

To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.

Verse 2
Just let me live my life,
Let it be pleasing, Lord, to Thee,
And if I gain any praise,
Let it go to Calvary.
With His blood He has saved me,
With His power He has raised me,
To God be the glory,
For the things He has done.

© 1971 Bud John Songs, Inc.
Words and Music by Andrae Crouch

Monday, November 19, 2012

100% Gratitude

Thankfulness was a virtue my parents stressed in their parenting. They expected my siblings and I to express our gratitude to others. We were taught to say “Thank
you,” at appropriate times, write thank you cards for gifts, and remember to pray our
thanks to God. I remember hearing over and over the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed. The lesson was, that we should be like the one who expressed his thanks, not like the other nine.

The scriptures tell us about a time when ten lepers called out for mercy from
Jesus. They needed healing from the disease, that not only debilitated their bodies, but also took away their families, jobs, reputations, and everything that made them
worthwhile as people. Lepers were sent away from society to die. Their only hope was to be healed by God. When Jesus sent the ten to see the priests, they seemed hurried away before they even looked for the signs of healing. When they did see the evidence of being disease free, I am sure they all were very happy and thankful. We do not know for certain, but it is possible that all ten shouted praise to God. Only one, however, returned to thank Jesus personally.

I wonder if God still gets only one out of ten of His children coming back to
express their gratitude. Do I fall into those statistics in regards to giving a personal thank you for only ten percent of my blessings? Certainly, some blessings go unnoticed by me. Every day He moves on my behalf without my asking. Sometimes I may not see His hand directing the course of events. Even so, it seems to me that it might be wise to thank God for all I don’t see as well as for all the things I do see.

Dear Heavenly Father, You have been so very kind to me. You give me much
more than I ever ask. Your heart is big with generosity. Please forgive me for not
recognizing all Your gifts. Heal my blindness. Open my eyes to see You in my every day.
Thank You for it all.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Follow Me

"Follow me, Grommers!" Abi came searching for me. She wanted me to play with her. Her command was wreathed in a big grin, and as I stood to go with her, she bounced away saying over and over, "Follow me! Follow me, Grommers!"

Abi asks me to trail her everywhere; outside to play, dancing in the living room, or to the car for a ride to the store. She leads, and I tag along after that bouncing delightful imp. It is fun to follow her!

I think Jesus must have called His disciples with a smile. I can imagine Him say, "Follow Me," and then walk away with a spring in his step and an air of excitement for the adventure that lay ahead. No wonder they dropped everything to become His disciples. I don't think anyone would have kept in step with even Jesus, if He asked in solemn and serious tones. We Christians have proved that doesn't work!

Jesus knows the final destination is glorious happiness and joy for His followers. He leads us to a better place. Yes, He knows that the way will be difficult, but the final reward is worth it. That is why He asks us to follow him with joy! Can you see His smile at calling you to join him on the journey? I can!

Will you follow me? I am following Jesus. I am filled with excitement about the journey, because Jesus is with us in Spirit every step of the way. Let's go together! We can smile, laugh and maybe even cry, but always knowing that there are amazing things ahead!

Father, God, You sent Jesus to call us to follow Him back to You! I am excited to see You! You are so Good! Forgive me when I have not been the Christ-Follower that makes the trip back to You a delight for others. Thank You for spreading a path of joy before me when I see You in all things. Let my smile be a light for others to follow. Let them find You through me.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Thoughts

I am convinced that our beloved country is running far away from its Christian roots. Yesterday's election was difficult. The polls prove that we are sharply divided in what direction we should take. The presidential winner proves that our country is aiming for a freedom without boundaries.

It is apparent to me that the men who are representing my country and my state have a different world view than I do. They believe the world should be a place where God might be tolerated (only if He is not the God of Christians), but He is not to direct us in any way. My world view is that God, our Creator, is much wiser and more capable than man to set up guidelines for our lives. It is through Him that good prevails. His Word is the foundation on which we should stand.

So what is a Christian to do? I believe that since our home is in heaven, and we are here for just a short time, we must do the work God has asked us to do. We must occupy, stand our ground, be good stewards and do our part to further the Kingdom of God through the Good News of Jesus Christ. Above all of that, we must love one another.

Today is another day in living my life in line with God's word, even when the rest of our country or world goes the other way.

Father God, You have annointed and appointed our President as either our leader to bring us closer to You, or to lead us further into judgement for our turning away from You. It is Your will that presides. We have been complacent in our standing firm for our country's foundation in Your word. Forgive us. Thank You for allowing us to live here in America! Thank You for our rights, privileges, and opportunities to influence through our vote. I pray that our voices will be heard even in our loss. I ask You to make a way for us to work together towards You.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Sign of Thanks

O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.
1 Chronicles 16:34

“We cannot bless God without Him first blessing us.” Unknown (maybe Spurgeon)

My Grandlady, Abi, sends her Mom off to work each day with three kisses blown from her tiny fingertips. In the evening, she leaves with three kisses blown towards me. It is a precious moment of showing love and a special connection we have with her.

When I worship my Savior, one of my favorite signs is the one for “Thank You.” It is a simple movement, like blowing someone a kiss. My voice speaks the words or my mind thinks the thought of the goodness and wonder of our Lord. My fingertips touch my lips and then reach out to the heavens. In this simple movement my gratitude is deepened.My prayer of thanksgiving is sent to the Father on the wings of a kiss.

Interpreting praise and worship songs through sign language and movement gives me a greater sense of being in the presence of God and communicating with Him in a personal way. Someone once told me that it was like dancing before the Lord. It is a
joyful expression of what is in my heart as I sing words extolling His praise.

Goodness reaches down to me through the touch of my Heavenly Father. My sign of thanks reaches toward heaven and the nail scarred hand of my Savior. Thanksgiving has connected my heart to God.

Father God, You are high and lifted up! You are the King and deserving of my heart-filled gratitude spoken in praise. I send my thanks for Your goodness born on the wings of a kiss and fingertips reaching out to You alone.

By Carolynn J. Scully @2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Looking Past the Politics

I have been watching political ads, debates, and news reports for months. I think my blood pressure rises with each barb thrown. If possible I avoid the bias of the ads and news reports. In the debates I want to believe that under the words being said there is subtace and a guide for the direction our beloved country is heading. I am not certain that I have found it.

I know the name of the person I will mark on my ballot, but I cannot say I really know the man and how he will govern. I can only decide from his past actions and consistent words. I would hope all voters will do the same

My greatest stress with election politics, however, comes not from the candidates but from Facebook and email friends who villify every detail of the opponent of their chosen hero. The anger, name calling, and finger pointing is creating a divide that will be difficult to cross when we need to come together.

It is my opinion that we the people cannot save our country from destruction by casting a vote. We must look to a higher power, the One to whom the Founding Fathers turned when building the foundation of our government. The person who wins the election is not to be our king. He is a servant appointed by God through the will of the people to lead us into judgement or freedom from bondage.

In light of my convictions about our country and this election, I have decided to look first at my self. Am I turned towards God and His will for my life? Am I an obedient servant of the Most High God and His truth revealed in scripture? Will I stand firm for God's way of living over my selfish desires? Will I vote for God's annointed and appointed one whoever that might be? Will I accept the results with gratitude? I cannot predict the future, but I know the One who holds it in His hands. My vote will be made with a prayer on my lips and my Father God as my focus.

Father Eternal, You are Wise, All-knowing, and All-powerful. You alone hold the keys to our future as a people founded on Your truth. Forgive us for turning our backs on You and believing that we are in control of our destiny. Thank You for the foundations on which our much loved country was founded. Thank you for men and women who are willing to serve as leaders, defenders and visionaries for "We the people." I bow my knee to You and ask that Your will be done.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kneeling on the Inside

Sunday I had the privilege of praying with a Mom whose thyroid cancer has returned. She asked me and my daughter, who is her friend, to join in prayer as the elders of the church prayed and anointed her. After her explanation of what she faced, I got on my knees to pray.

My age may make people think it would be hard to kneel in prayer, but it really is not a difficulty for me. It is harder for me to get up from that position. In fact sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor only becomes a problem when it is time to lift myself up to a stand. Pulling myself up after the prayer for my daughter's friend, I noticed the difference and began to ponder. I sought to dig deeper.

One of the thoughts that came to me was how different I feel when I lower myself to the floor now that I am older, than what I have felt in the past. I have not enjoyed lowering myself. It is true that I have had a prideful spirit many times and humbling myself in any way was a struggle for me. But things have changed. Age has brought experience and maybe just a little understanding of who I am and who I am not! It is okay now for the joke to me on me or about me at times. I even tell on myself sometimes!

I came to ponder the idea that my inner kneeling and humbling myself is making it much easier for me to physically get down, and harder for me to lift myself up. Maybe it has little to do with creaking joints or slower awkward movements. Just maybe it has everything to do with knowing that I am dust and I will return to dust. I am but a breath and will be gone as quickly as I come. I only have worth when I huimble myself before my Heavenly Father, bowing to Him and letting HIM lift me up.

Someday, every knee will bow and every tongue will confees that Jesus Christ is Lord (from Phil. 2:10-11)

God, my Father, You are my King and to You I bow. I, too often, rise up with pride and arrogance toward You and the people You have created. Forgive me for not being truthful in who I am. Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to lift me up out of the darkness of my sin. It is when I accept His help then I am able to sit humbly at Your feet, bow before You, and relinquish all my pride. I continue to ask You to reveal Yourself to me and teach me truth. In all things You are Good, You are worthy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


A few weeks ago I was invited to join an online forum for spiritual writers. Because of who invited me I accepted the offer.

My first encounter with the group was a discussion, or I could say argument, about the homosexual issue. One side was defending all people to have the right to do as they pleased, and the other side spoke against the practice of same sex unions as sin. The statement that made me take note was that sin is what we ourselves decide to call sin.

I have tried my best to stay out of conversations such as these unless God nudges me or pushes hard for me to speak up for Him. At these times I want desperately to remember that God loves all sinners enough to go the full distance to bring them back into right relationship with Him.I want to lovingly speak the truth from God's word. I do not want to twist it, nor do I want to use it as a weapon for my own purposes. It is not an easy prospect.

My first thought was that sin is not determined by men (or women). It is against God first and affects people. Joseph, in Genesis 39:9, when Potiphar's wife approached him inappropriately, countered her by saying about his master, "He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except yourself, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" (ESV) It would seem the betrayal would be against Potiphar, but Joseph recognized that sin is against God.

We all know, deep down, what is right and what is wrong according to God. We often try to choose our own way, our own law to go by, but to do so is defiance against the Creator and Judge over us.

Sin. It is not ours to decide. Our legalization of any choices in which we want to engage, can never be okay as long as God says differently. From my understanding His word remains firm on sin. That is why He sent a Savior. We need Him!

Savior and Judge of all sin, You are Holy. You are Pure. You are Immutable. Forgive us our many sins, including those which we try to hide behind our legalizations. Thank You for making a way for us to be set free from the oppression of sin. Open our hearts to Your ways. Reveal the truth to us. Protect us from the deceiver and our own deceptive hearts. Free us!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Colorado Fires

Colorado is my home state. I have watched the progression of the fires that have devastated many homes, businesses and lives. It has been sad to watch and unnerving to hear from frantic friends and family about their fears for those they know in the affected areas. It has been a matter of prayer and will continue to be until the fires are out.

My friend Barbara has a son who was evacuated and without work for a time and now returned home. She has kept a close eye on all the news and information provided. Today she sent me some interactive sites that show the spread of the fires over a map. It was a fearful scene to watch the fires spread so very quickly. You can see it here:

The second link she sent was also an interactive link that showed the burned homes and neighborhoods affected by the devouring fires. You can see this here:

As I wandered through these pictures,seeing one house standing and others destroyed, I was reminded of Jesus' words. He told his followers: Luke 17:31-36
New King James Version (NKJV)
31 “In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

This passage is about the end of days, not about this fire. The fire simply provides a visual lesson about what it might be like for people to be snatched away even as they are near others. The fires are reversed from this lesson from Jesus. Those who are gone may seem to be destroyed but they will be taken into heaven to be with the Lord. Those left will remain in a time of confusion and disaster. I would want all those I know and love to be with the ones taken away, not with those left behind.

Where will you be?

Father, You are in control of all things. You are good even when things seem so wrong in our world. You are the love and comfort that the people in Colorado need right now. Forgive us when we tend to make You the author of bad things happening to good people. Thank You for Your loving care of all Your children in good and bad times. Show us the way to be Your heart, hands and feet to those in need. Bring us together in unity to work as a body to bring the light of Your Son, Jesus, into the world befor the last days!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thanksgiving Freedoms

Many years ago my husband kindly sat me down and gently reprimanded me. I had been complaining about all sorts of things and he lovingly pointed out that I was ungrateful. My complaints were not about him, mind you, but about the things I had or didn't have. I was taken by surprise, but knew that it was true and a change was made in my heart.

This year I have taken the dare to write down 1000 gifts and be thankful for them. Ann Voskamp, in her writings, has revealed the truth about thanksgiving and living minute to minute with a grateful heart. A new change is beginning in me and every day I see things and people more and more as gifts. My heart is full of gratitude for the gift of Ann and her words that seem so timely right now.

Yesterday, I read one of her blogs that listed 6 Reasons Why to Teach Kids to be Grateful the research can only support Scriptural Truth. (Froh, Sefick, Emmons, 2008) I was immediately aware that this is not only truth for children but for everyone. Here is what I read and how I see it work in my life.

1. Better Attitudes - Thanksgiving grows a positive attitude even in the hard soil of challenges, disappointments, or failure.

2. Better Achieve Personal Goals - The discipline of writing down our gifts spills over into life goals and the stream of grateful words becomes a river of life change.

3. Closer Relationships, Greater Happiness - We all need closer relationships and long for greater happiness. Seeing people through the lens of gratitude makes them a happy gift to us that gives joy to our days. People are lovelier and friendlier when we are thankful for their presence in our lives. Being surrounded by a beautiful crowd of people makes us smile, doesn't it?

4. Better Grades - Now it may seem that we as adults are not graded, but we are evaluated by many in our lives. The authority in our lives grade us on many things. Employers evaluate our work, banks and credit card companies watch our performance with money and treat us accordingly. Children watch us closely too.

5. Greater Energy, Attentiveness, Enthusiasm - The start of writing down gifts is like wading in mud, but soon the mud becomes a trickle and then a stream and a river flowing out into the ocean of gifts awaiting for our pleasure and filling our grateful hearts.

6 Greater Sensitivity - Gratitude opens our eyes to the world around us. We see clearly the needs of others and our hands are ready to reach out and help because we know it, too, will be a gift.

Finally the article ends with the consequence of not practicing gratitude. The young people studied showed less satisfaction with their lives. They were more aggressive and took more risks and the list went on. Similarly we adults live in a world of our making, good or bad, depending on our attitude of gratitude.

Today is July 4th and the U.S.A. is celebrating our independence and the blessings of our country. We are a nation that complains way too much, maybe because we have the freedom to do so. I wonder what changes we would see if we became a nation of gratitude? I think it would truly set us free!

Our Father in heaven, You are the author of freedom. You are the Giver of Good gifts! Forgive us for our murmuring and complaining. We fail to see Your good hand in so many things, but You are there working out the good for us. Thank You for my country, Lord. I am blessed to live here by Your choice. Thank You for all of the good people that live with us here. Help us to see the good and work hard to change the bad. Bless America, Father! Bless her with a revolution of thanksgiving!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eyes Wide Open

Blessings rain on us every day.

Today we had rain at our house. Yes, the wet kind, but also the blessing kind! It seems there is no end to the beauty, grace, surprise goodness, and joy that enter my world over and over. Each God-kissed drop of blessing is meant to be received with thanks.

I kiss God with my thanksgiving prayers and I remember the blessings of today and yesterday. Remembering blessings in gratefulness gives life to the trust seeds that I need to get me through the difficult days.

It is so easy for trust to grow like a garden and then slowly fade in the heat of the day. And so, my eyes and ears must be open wide to see and hear the blessings from above.

I need to trust.

I need to watch and listen for blessings.

I need to be filled with gratitude for them all.

Trustworthy, Faithful God, You are worthy of my praise and thanksgiving! You are good and shower me with blessings every day! I am blind and deaf to You unless You heal me and reveal Yourself to me! Thank You for the revealing of Yourself through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit in others. I want more of Your blessing kisses. I promise to learn to send gratitude kisses back!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Life of Thanksgiving

Every day I write down the things for which I am grateful. I think that is a very good start to hliving life with gratitude, but it seems just like putting a stamp or a P.S. on a letter or maybe even just a payment on a bill.

I am beginning to think that a few words of appreciation at the end of the day does not fill my life with thanksgiving. I want to get to the place where those few minutes at the end of my day, or the few whispers of "Thank You" during my busy moments begin to flood over and drown me in an attitude of gratefulness!

How do I get there? Well, the journal is making me aware of the blessings that surround me. It also keeps me looking for those precious moments. It is possible to go further. What if I decided to set aside definite times during the day when I stop and pray a prayer of thanks? Setting the timer and chosing to tell God how good He is right then could be a way to spread the attitude throughout the day.

Would it be worth the effort? I think so. He is worth it! Surely there can only be good in the giving of thanks!

Good and Holy God, You ARE worthy to be praised! In everything I should give You thanks! But I am only taking baby steps toward that full life flooding over with gratitude. Forgive me, Father, for the times I have walked away like the 9 lepers who forgot to say thanks. Thank You for turning me around and leading me to the place where my heart can be full of thanksgiving, living in the blessing, and overcome with joy! You are good. I want to see You in my whole life!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Giving Thanks

I want to live a life of gratefulness. By this I mean that will give thanks in everything, not just the wonderful things that come into my life. I am intentionally working at this every day, and finding it not as easy as I thought it would be!

My Grandman Jacob, age 21 months, is in my care everyday. He is very curious and adventurous. He can get into trouble quickly. He is very good at distracting me with one of his antics and then run quickly to start another. I don't sit much during the day.

Today Jacob brought a container of Cheerios from home for his breakfast. For a while he sat quietly and ate the dry crunchy tidbits and sipping his milk. Then he decided to enjoy his breakfast as a plaything. He spilled them across the floor. It wasn't long before he stepped on a few and the crunch beneath his foot was a new game.

I admit I watched him with interest for a short time as he discovered a new way of looking at his world. The little scientist in him was learning cause and effect, though he won't understand those terms for many years. Soon, his bowl was nearly empty and the floor had become a beach with crushed cereal for sand. I pulled out the broom and dust pan and set to work. I swept and picked up while he continued to crunch whatever was left on the floor. It wasn't long before I became agitated and yet even as I did I heard a still small voice asking me to give thanks.

Give thanks? For this? For the extra work or the seemingly non stop need for me to clean up after everyone? This was one of those hard times of thanksgiving, yet I was determined to find something for which to give thanks. I did.

I gave God thanks for the gift of Cheerios, Grandmen who are learning about life through discovery, the ability to sweep a wooden floor, not one made of dirt, and oh so many other wonderful gifts in the mess before me.

I don't know where he found them, but later in the day two more Cheerios were found whole. He placed one down in front of his left shoe and the other in front of his right. He looked at me and smiled. Then stepped on one, then the other savoring the sound and the crunch beneath his feet. Then he ran to the broom closet waiting for me to sweep up his fun.

Father God, You are such a surprise! You make discovery so much fun that little children call it play! You allow discovery to be messy, but always something for which to be grateful. Forgive me when I fail to see the fun in the mess. Thank You for reminding me to give thanks outside of my perfect little box of things to be grateful. Lord, I get tired of the messes, but so many of them have begun with me! Open my eyes to see all the messes You have cleaned up for me. I want You to be the example I follow. Teach me to serve with thanksgiving as I clean those dirty messes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Expectation, Anticipation, Surprise

1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp is an amazing book. I have been allowing this book to drown me in its thought provoking and life changing challenges since Christmas. It is because of Ms. Voscamp's insightful words that my thoughts dig deeper.

Expectations. I have them. They sit on the shelf of my mind waiting to be experienced. Like the parents long awaiting a healthy baby and believing in innocence that no harm could come to their precious child early in life, or a bride and groom traversing the aisle believing that they will live happily ever after,I expect. But not all hopes are realized. I expect all problems to be fixable. Some times they are, and my expectations are fulfilled. Of course, there are times when my expectations go unfulfilled. Though I set my mind on the future fulfillment of my hopes, I am not assured that I will find joy. I am happy when it works my way, but how deep is this gladness?

Anticipation fills me with a generous thrill before the waited for event. Many times the traveling toward a planned event is much more exciting than the event itself. Parties sometimes leave me wanting after much anticipation of the gaiety I carefully mapped out for my guests. The thrill of the plan is carried away like a bubble bursting or a balloon lost to the wind and I am left empty handed, my hopes for the greater thrill unreachable.

Surprise! Is there joy in surprises? The unexpected is not always wanted. I've always told my husband that I don't like surprises, but maybe that is not true, at least not always. I would like the surprise of flowers on an uneventful day. I do enjoy the unexpected, unanticipated visits from my kids and the Grandladies and Grandmen! I might even be pleasantly amazed to find a little note on the windshield of my car. Little surprises can sometimes be huge. Ann Voscamp says it is a matter of perspective. What will surprise me?

God You are a surprise! I am reminded of a children's song that says just that! All that You do and all that You give is a surprise. I am sometimes too proud to let You fill me with wonder, Lord, but I do not want that to be me. Thank You for setting little delights in my day. Open my eyes to see them clearly. Teach me the wide eyed awe that will take my breath away as I practice giving thanks for the little and the big things in my life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Proverbs 31

Proverbs 31:12
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.

A simple formula for the excellent wife lies in these words.

Do I fit this description? Not always. In fact, if I count up the days I have not done something to hurt the man I love, I would not have many to boast upon. It is not that I haven't tried to do good and not harm him, I just don't do it perfectly.

I also must consider my Bridegroom Lord. Do I work hard to do him good and not harm every day?

It is not easy for me to follow all the commands of scripture, or to please an earthly man all the time. The secret lies in the focus of the choice. He is the focus, not me. It is his good not mine. Selfishness, put aside, is the key to success in relationships, especially marriage. It is never too late for me to find that key and use it for the good of all.

God of humility and Kingship. You deserve my praise and adoration. You did not hold on to Your position but gave it up to save me. I am brought low by my selfish heart. I hurt those I love, and I am so very sorry. Forgive me! Thank You for giving me a man filled with Your Spirit. Thank you for those who forgive me so readily. Thank You for washing away my sins. Let each decision I make lead to a good end for those I love. I trust in You Lord!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Proverbs 30

Proverbs 30:8-9
Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, "Who is the Lord?" or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

Balance is having enough, not too much or too little. My dreams, however, almost always shower me with the wanting of too much. Real life sometimes finds me thinking I have too little: too little money, time, or energy. Wisdom lies in a balance. As a child of God, trusting Him for all I need is my key to being blessed with enough. It is the presence of God in my life that supplies me with MORE than enough!

Father, You are more than enough. You are Good and give generously for my needs. Oh, but Lord, I often think I need so much more. I think I am deprived of so much. I am so blind and selfish! Thank You for reminding me over and over that my needs are so much less than my dreams. Thank You for letting my dreams reach for You. Heal my blindness, Lord and walk with me as I surrender my selfish will. Give me only that which is needful for me so that You will be glorified through me.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Proverbs 29

Proverbs 29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

I get embarrassed when my words slip out before I think. It most often gets me into trouble. Sometimes I say things to people I trust and they allow me time to admit my hasty judgments or mean words. But there are times when my hasty words are spoken in a crowd or to a stranger. It is those times when God steps in and speaks to me about the power of my speech.

My honest words can be foolish when said without thinking of time, place or consideration for another's position or condition. Taking time to choose my words and the time to speak them is a wise practice.

God of Truth and Giver of The Word, You speak truth in Love at all times. I don't always take care with my words. Sometimes they hurt others or even myself, maybe even You. Please forgive me! Thank you for sending Your precious Word into my life and speaking truth to me when i speak rashly. Set a guard over my mouth.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Proverbs 28

Proverbs 28:14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Hard heart. How many times do I read the Word, pray or sing the words that could change my heart toward God, but close my heart even in the doing? My heart is hardened so quickly. Like water crystalizing into ice, I allow the atmosphere to freeze my heart into silence or immobility. A hard heart does not beat. It has no life. Fear. The fear of the Lord can make a heart beat faster, pulsating with passion and sending a life beat into the body ready for action. I fear Him and my heart takes action and my heart moves my hands and feet! Fearsome and Holy God, You are worthy. Melt my heart of stone and wash it pure with Your blood. Thank You for sending Your Life to redeem mine! Awaken my hard heart to Your fearful presence!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Proverbs 27

Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, so the heart of a man reflects the man.

Mirrors can be a friend or foe. They show us truth. Standing before a mirror without the benefit of cosmetics or garments that accentuate the beauty we all carry to some degree, can be unnerving. We are faced with our true selves, flaws and beauty mixed into a unique blend of human form. However, mirrors cannot reveal our hearts.

Our hearts are revealed through our interactions with others. Our emotional responses to those around us expose more than emotion or thoughts. They reveal the truth that lies in our souls.

I am including a poem i wrote that seem to speak of the heart of man revealing the truth that lies within a person.

Lifetime of Faces

Standing face to face
Our lifetimes are reflected
Into hearts full of
Dreams hoped for,
Realized, or

Standing face to face
Our lifetimes, without words,
Touch hearts in need of
Renewed vision,
Celebration, or

Standing face to face
Our lifelines entwine and
Forever our lifetimes are
Changed in
Blessing or

Carolynn J. Scully
edited 3/22/2011

God and Father, You are the glory that shines in the universe. You are the reflection seen in those who call You LORD. I never want to be ashamed of You, I never want to hide my true self from others because of the shame of sin. Thank You for becoming the mirror for my soul, the cleansing power that washes over me, and the shining light that lives within me. May I always reflect Your goodness and glory to the world!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Proverbs 26

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

I cannot name names or even tell direct stories about myself or others who have built themselves up, thinking that they knew the answers to life's problems. I imagine we all have been there at one time or another. Sometimes it is even when we are acting in behalf of humility.

Proverb 26:12 states clearly that fools are better off than the man or woman who lifts himself up as the ultimate expert. God has even made people blush when His possibilities over shadow their impossibilities. He made a donkey talk. He let the children of Israel cross a sea walking on dry land! He became a man and walked among us!

It is not so important to have all the answers or even some of them. It is important to know the One who does and to allow ourselves to be taught from Him

Almighty Wise and Omniscient God, You own all the answers that I might ever have need of knowing! You have made it known through Your Word that You are willing to share Your wisdom with men. I have no wisdom of my own. I must remember that my thoughts can never reach the heights of Your thoughts. Thank You for generously offering, anyone who might ask, Your wisdom. Thank You for revealing Yourself to me daily! Help me to lean on You and not on my own understanding!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Proverbs 25

Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Words are important to me. I try very hard to say the right things at the right times even if the saying of them is a difficult task. Truth often can be bittersweet. I also love to hear words from a loving and truthful foundation. The first hearing can be painful, but the meditation on that word can become a source of strength.

This past weekend Patrick came to me with a word that was beautiful to me. He said he wanted to get me an Easter basket but knew i didn't need the candy and he could not think of what else I would want. Sweet! Gold and silver could not have given me more joy! His truth wrapped in love and graciousness was a delicious treat that filled my heart. I heard more than his words. I heard love, blessing and kindness. It was a word fitly spoken.

Amazing God of resurrection power and love, You are the Word fitly spoken. You are the source of rich delight. Though I fail to always treasure Your word as I should, I want to grow deeper in my appreciation and love of Your Word. Thank You for giving us life giving words. Thank You for the newness of Your word every time I open it. I yearn to go deeper, Lord. Draw me into Your truth until it is my very own life!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Proverbs 24

Proverbs 24:12 If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work?

My 18 month old Grandlady, Abigail, answers most every question with a shrug and, "I don't know." We ask where her cup is or if she made a mess and her answer is always the same: "I don't know." It is very cute and funny, but there will come a time when she will need to learn that it is best to tell the truth and own up to the choices she makes.

Sometimes I know the answer to the question I pose to Abi. It is a test to see how she will answer. I cannot always decipher what is in her heart, but I can watch for signs in her facial expressions and body language. There is only One who can read her heart and mine.

There are times that I am tempted to cover up my heart condition before God by denial or by making excuses of other kinds. But God knows. He has weighed my heart in His scarred hands. He has kept a careful eye on my heart and sees its inner workings.

This past week I sat before the Lord frustrated and confused by the assignment for the Significant Women Class I am attending. I have sought out my inner workings and tried to make sense of them through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But, I could not settle in peace the truths I thought I was writing down. Then, I heard Him: the Watcher of my soul, the One who has weighed my heart, spoke truth into my confusion. He said that I was trying to put the wrong puzzle piece into the puzzle set before me. It was then I knew the truth. It was then I found peace.

All-Knowing God, You are the scales upon which my heart is laid. You are just in Your determination of me. You see fully and completely. You KNOW me. You know my name. You know my heart. You know my purpose, because You created me. I am saddened to see myself searching the ways of men to discover what You have given. Forgive me! Thank You for knowing, for forgiving, for rebuilding what I have messed up. Make my heart weigh heavy with You. Watch over me and make me accountable to You in all I do.

Proverbs 23

Proverbs 23:13a "Do not withhold discipline from a child;"
Proverbs 23:26 "My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways."

Two toddlers. Curious minds. Dangerous world. Though my house is childproof there are still dangers that lurk about and entice curious minds. It is difficult for me to hear my grandchildren cry, but I must if I am to keep them safe and teach them to do the right thing.

Jacob and Abi do not like to clean up messes or wait for their turn to play with a toy. They do not like when they must come in from outside and rest a little from the hot sun. They cry when I won't let them eat candy or sweet crackers for breakfast and lunch. They cry and I don't like it. But it is good to discipline them to help with chores, share, and take good care of themselves.

Discipline. OUCH! That is a tough word and sadly lacking in our lives today. It seems so much easier to let our little ones do as they wish, until they become teens or adults who cannot say "No" to themselves.

I don't like discipline and procrastinate or ignore the things I should do. My heart needs to get in the game! I must put priorities on that which will discipline me to do the right things.

My heart in God's hands is safe. My eyes set on Him will lead me in the right way. Maybe the hardest but most useful discipline is putting my heart with God's heart and watch Him to see what I need to be doing!

Father God, You are Good! You are the discipline I need. No, I don't like it because I want my own way most of the time. I want to do things my way, but Your way is best! Thank You for always being there asking me to "Come!" Thank You for being a good Father that disciplines and knows that my rebellion and resistance will only bring me pain. You are so good to me, TNANK YOU! Take my heart, Lord, and mold it to fit Your ways, even when it hurts.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22:9 "Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor."

I grew up in a family of seven children. Dad worked hard in the steel mill, and he provided for us although we were not wealthy. There were times, however, that the mill would go on strike and we were barely scraping by. It never stopped my Mom and Dad from inviting a surprise guest to join us for meals. I am not proud of the fact that silently I hoped the guests would decline the invitation so we could have our share. I was angry when they accepted.

My selfishness centered in my myopic vision. I saw the less than abundant table for so many of us, and saw not enough for me. I was not concerned for my brothers and sisters, though I should have been. I was totally selfish and felt horrible that I was so.

It took many years for me to get my vision corrected. It happened slowly over time. I began to be thankful for what I did have instead of seeing how little I had. Thanksgiving was my corrective lens that gave me a clearer picture of my blessings. I received blessings so that I could bless others! Sharing is a greater blessing besides!

I can be honest in saying that I still sometimes hold back out of selfish fear that I won't have what I need, or is it want? I have learned that I am changing and my failures can be forgiven. I only need to keep my thanksgiving lenses on everyday and all day to make a difference in my blessings.

Father, You are generous and giving even when it hurts. You are wise to command that we give. My life has not always seen or followed Your wisdom. Forgive me! Thank You for blessing me with the tools to learn this lesson. Thank You for teaching me to give thanks for the big and small, for the easy and for the very difficult things that come into my life. It is thanksgiving to You that helps me trust You. Keep working on my heart, o Lord. Remind me to be thankful especially when I don't feel grateful.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Proverbs 21

Proverbs 21:30 "No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord."

Argue with God? I know it is pointless to do so, but I do try every now and then. Most often it is when He whispers in my ear to do some kind deed for a stranger, or a loving gesture towards my husband after a disagreement, or interrupting my day with a phone call to a friend. Yes, I argue. I put on my smarty pants and tell Him that my day is full or my side of the disagreement is righteous, or what if I embarrass the stranger (or myself?). My arguments do not stand.

Nothing that I say or do can stand up against Gods' wisdom. I can never fully understand His reasonings, but He always understands the underlying truth of my reasoning. It is not my place to give counsel to God. Who do I think I am?

Jacob wrestled with God. He bore the marks of that struggle for his entire life. Job was put in his right place by God who holds all the answers to all of the questions. I may not stop wrestling and arguing with God, but He will always come out on top! I can only hope for God to bless me because of or in spite of my arrogance to argue with God.

Holy Amazing God of wisdom understanding and counsel, you are unbeatable! Forgive my arrogance to think i could change Your mind. Thank You for allowing me to wrestle my thoughts with You, and thank You for always winning! Work Your way in me even when I seem to want to go my own way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Proverbs Twenty

Proverbs 20:5 The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

I am participating in the Significant Woman course offered by our church. It is the second time I am working through the book with many other women who are walking the journey with me.

Last Monday, we began looking at our core values that help to define our unique purpose. Our leader, Marilyn, reminded us again that it is not an easy task. She said it is like peeling an onion. We are to pull back layer by layer and discover what lies deeper and deeper. I am certain that this is why my second time in this course has been more revealing.

I am learning that though I find my purpose, and begin walking faithfully in it, I will still find layers to pull back and discover. It occurs to me that it is a wise and exciting God who would make the way to fulfilling our purpose so interesting , never boring and so enriching!

God, You are a surprising God! You surprise me with new revelations every day! You are deep and I must dive deep into You to find myself! I need You to coax me, Lord, because I am sometimes fearful and fail to seek after You. Thank You for being the mystery I need. Thank You for the clues You leave behind. Thank You for drawing me into You! Keep the mystery going, Lord. I want to yearn for the discovery of You and the creation You made in me.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Proverbs Nineteen

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

When I read this it reminded me of a poem I wrote some time ago. I thought it might be appropriate to put here.

Am I Teachable?

Am I teachable?
Do I listen for Your voice,
Even when it comes to me
Through criticism, rebuke, or
Those under my authority?

Do I set my eyes on You,
Following Your every move
So that I might not step
Ahead of You or fall too far behind?
Am I willing to let go of my desires
allowing You to determine the outcome of my work and
letting You have Your way in and through me?

Am I willing and eager to hear the truth,
Obey it and let it be the
Hallmark of my life?
Do I do my work with honesty and integrity,
Perseverance and determination?
Do I reject the worlds’ definitions of truth,
Knowing without doubt that
You are The Way, The Truth, and The Life?
Do I place myself under the authority of the entire Truth?

Are the places I put my heart at one with You, my Lord?
Do I embrace You with my whole heart
leaving nothing for self gratification or for worldly lusts?
Does my inner being yearn to dive deeper into You,
Experiencing Your fullness:
Learning about You
Learning from You?

Am I teachable?

Carolynn J. Scully © 2009

Teacher and Lord, You are all knowing and all wise. You are the teacher with all the answers. I am not always teachable, Lord. I am sorry for being stubborn and hard headed not willing to listen to Your wise counsel. Thank You for reminding me again that I must have a teachable spirit and let You lead me! Open my heart to teachable moments.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Proverbs Eighteen

Proverbs 18:8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.

I love the whispered words of my Heavenly Father when He shares His love for me. I am strengthened by the whispered words of encouragement that my Savior and Friend, Jesus, gives when reminding me that He really does understand how hard the world is towards those who trust in God alone. I am filled with hope when the Holy Spirit whispers words of guidance or even correction. I truly love the voice of God speaking into my life!

There is power in a whisper. When I want my husband or even my little grandchildren to listen to me, a whisper becomes my loud speaker. For some odd reason a whisper commands the other person to be quiet and really take notice. I don't use my soft voice often enough!

Elijah was a man of God.God told him to go to the mount and stand before the Lord. "And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave." (I Kings 19:11-13 ESV)

The Lord spoke in a "Thin silence" as the Hebrew words translated as "...a still small voice." This is the voice God uses to work deep into our souls. He uses this "thin silence" to make known His power in a gentle way. It is this voice that I long to hear every day. It is this voice that makes me know I am loved and safe. Only His voice can whisper those delicious morsels that go deep into the inner parts of me.

Holy and Most Powerful God, You are my joy and my delight! You veil Your power in quiet whispers so that I can know Your powerful love and protection. Forgive me when I turn my ear away from You, the only One in whom I can trust. Thank You for never turning away from me. Thank you for Your whispers of love, strength, encouragement, hope and correction! You are so wonderful! Open my ears that I might hear. Open my eyes that I might see. Open my mouth that I might repeat Your goodness to others!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Proverbs Seventeen

Proverbs 17:6 "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers."

Grandchildren become the crown in which grandparents regale. They are the entertainment and delight of those of us who have lived many years. We feast on each new accomplishment and proudly assert the special abilities to anyone who will listen.

I confess that I belong to an online group we call "Grannies in a Box." We brag over achievements, cry over hurts, and allow each other tirades for any and all opposition to our favorite people in the wole world: our Grands. I have been with the group for 12 years now. We understand one another. We wear the crown of our grandchildren proudly.

For example, I have five crowns that I display to the listening world whenever I can. Each one bears his or her own gems. No two are exactly alike. My Grandladies and Grandmen make me laugh, cry and cheer.

Though God is not a Grandparent, He must know what it is like, because He is one who listens, and tells stories and cheers us on every day. He is our Father, though, and He is our Glory. We look to Him for the best of everything.

Father, you are the glory and the lifter of my head. You shine in the darkness. You are there when I need you. You never fail to hear me. I fall short, Lord, in so many ways. I fail to honor those who have gone before me sometimes. It just seems so hard to take time for aging parents. Thank You for reminding me to reach out to them, listening to their stories even when they repeat again and again. Thank You for letting them be a part of my life. Teach me how to honor their lives and to love them.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Proverbs Sixteen

Proverbs 16:7 When a man's ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

I do not like to think that I may have enemies, but I do know that over the years I have had people who have been very angry at me for one reason or another. Funny thing is that sometimes I am my own worst enemy!

Most of my enemies are made with words misunderstood, words spewed out in anger, or haughty words that bring the other person low. It is only when the other person reacts that I realize that I have made an enemy. But, I don't like to have enemies, and so I become desperate to resolve the problem.

When I try to fix the wrong doing myself it usually turns out worse. My pride or anger is heightened by someone not admitting that I am right and they are wrong. Oh, yes, I try to repair the damage with more of my word weapons. It is like a using a flame thrower to heal a sunburn. OUCH!

It is only when I go to the Lord and ask Him what to do that I find myself on the road to peace holding out the white flag. Through changing my thinking and my way of looking at a situation, I can diffuse the pride and anger in me first. It is His ways that can lead me to peace with my neighbor that has been hurt and wounded by me. It is His ways that allow outstretched arms to embrace the hostile enemy and offer peace and healing. His ways are not my ways, but His ways please Him and eventually please me and my enemy.

Lord of Peace, You are mighty to bring down the strongholds within me. You wash away my guilt and lay out a pathway of healing and peace, if I only will make my way pleasing to You. Thank You for turning my heart toward peace when I am so inflated by self. Thank You for healing me and helping me be a part of the healing in others. Make me a vessel of Your peace.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Proverbs Fifteen

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Years ago I took ballet lessons. I was a Mommy to an aspiring dancer and decided to take lessons as exercise. The adult class was fun, and we were asked to participate in the end of the year recital. Outfits were selected and we practiced hard for our dance just like the other classes.

The night of the recital I was so very nervous. I was so unsure of myself and even a bit embarrassed to be on stage where everyone would see me. I prayed and told God that I wanted Him to be pleased. When the music began, and I became lost in the dance. Throughout the dance I felt God's eyes fixed on me. Like a beloved daughter, I danced for my Heavenly Daddy! I believed He smiled like the proud Father He is.

That was one of my proudest moments, but I have had moments far less. I know that God has also seen me at my worst. He has seen inside my heart when my words stung and my heart was full of anger toward one of His other beloved children. He has seen my every action and knows every motivation and thought. Every failure is seen in His light. His eyes are perfect.

My Father's eyes keep watch over me in good times and bad. He also watches over the evil ones who would defile His name and harm His children. Great love! He watches with love. He watches, waiting for us to watch Him and follow his ways. His way is love.

Watcher of Men, You love perfectly! You do not exclude those who fail to return Your love. I am ashamed that I have not always watched You love me and returned love back to You! Forgive me. I know it must break Your heart when You watch me turn away from Your love. Thank You for loving, forgiving, and blessing me. I want to be like You. Help me watch others as You watch me!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Proverbs Fourteen

Proverbs 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

Where there are no children the house may stay clean. I thought that my house would remain clutter free when my kids were grown. It has not happened for me yet because I care for my Grandmen and Grandladies. Every day I need to pick up books, blocks, balls, puzzles and other miscellaneous toys. There are crumbs on the floor, and spills to wipe up. Sippy cups are in the sink and toddler snacks line my cupbords. Some days I don't mind the mess, but other days, well.....

The mess I deal with day after day is a reminder of the wonderful imaginations and relationships I have with the children I have cared for over the years. Right now I can count at least fifteen children that I have hugged and entertained me daily. My own children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and others all have been under my feet and in my hair as well as my heart. There have been many more that have come for an hour or two, but still left precious seeds in my life.

What abundant crops are left by the children? They show me God in new and amazing ways. They smile, and I am filled with joy. They cry, and I learn mercy. They explore, and I see the world a new. I reap a rich harvest by allowing those little ones to mess up my life. I am changed by their existence. That is their strength. God has given them the power to change my heart, my world view, and my prideful spirit.

I realize that Solomon may not have had children in mind when writing this proverb, but God has let me see my life in his words. God has made these words come alive to me and I am humbled.

O Lover of Children, You have let me share in the abundance of Your little ones. You welcome them to come close to You. Thank You for letting me share in the abundance of childlike wisdom. Forgive me when I want to push them away because of my weariness or selfishness. Teach me to use their messes as opportunities to humble myself before You. You have wanted me to become as a little child, and these little ones You have sent my way help me to learn that truth. I love You! May I crawl into Your lap and wrap my arms around Your neck and call You Daddy? I want to be Your little girl. I know You will take care of all my messes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Proverbs Thirteen

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

Friendship is a strong wind that guides our lives. No matter how strong we think we might be, we are influenced by the company we keep. The more friends going in a certain direction, the stronger the wind in our sails to follow them. It is wise to choose our company of friends by the destination for which they aim.

I cannot say that I have carefully chosen all of the friends I have had over the years. Most of the time I have simply let them happen. Friends have come to me through activities, shared interests and some through other companions. It may not have been the best way to find the wise and avoid the foolish, but once I learned about each person I was able to choose the extent of my relationship with them. I have been blessed with many wise friends. Though I have had a few foolish companions, they have not remained in my company as intimate friends, only acquaintances.

One friend I have known for over 50 years has proven to be wise. He has introduced me to many other wise friends too. Jesus has been a strong wind in my sails. He leads me to the right people and ultimately will lead me to an eternal destination that is heavenly! I can trust I will not suffer harm when I walk close to Him.

Friend Jesus, You are the perfect companion. Thank You for leading me to so many good friends. Forgive me when I let others lead me astray. Lead me in the right way. Teach me how to be Your friend and a friend to others too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Proverbs Twelve

Proverbs 12:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.

My grandlady, Paige, called me the morning of my surgery. She was worried about me. She said she was afraid that I would die and she would never see me again. I was able to diffuse her fears by asking where I be if I died. Of course she said I'd be in heaven. I then told her that she, too, would be in heaven if she stayed close to Jesus. So she had nothing to worry about.

Our little exchange brought her peace. She was no longer afraid of what "could" happen. She was only aware of what the truth of our relationship with Jesus and each other meant. That is what I wanted for her. I want her to have peace and joy, not the lies of the enemy. It takes planning to bring peace.

The planning begins with faith in the goodness of God. The foundation of that faith can make all things work together for our good. Knowing God's goodness means that I must spend time in relationship with Him. Like most every relationship, it is not easy. It is hard work and priorities must be made.

It is time to make a plan for peace that will lead to joy.

Lord, Lead me in the paths of peace. Remove the deceit from my heart and keep evil far from me. Thank You for the joy You give ! Thank You for the peace in my heart. Let me share it freely with others!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Proverbs Eleven

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Embarrassing moments turn up when I least expect them. They surprise my puffed up prideful heart and I trip over my inflated ego, landing on the "Look at me" smirk on my face. Oh, yes, when pride infiltrates my heart I can be sure there will be mud on my face soon after.

Last Friday I had gall bladder surgery. All surgeries require some humility. I must admit, I fought this. I don't like to be weak, or even seen as weak. To admit my need for surgery, need for help getting to the bathroom, or to not be able to fend for myself is a struggle for my pride. As I work my way to healing, I am finding the wisdom in humbling myself, allowing myself to be the object of other's concern. It even feels good.

Great and mighty God, You are so good to teach me by experience! You let me fall only when it is good for me to learn the truth by looking up. Thank You for being the wise example of humility. Thank You for picking me up when I do fall! Remind me of my prideful lessons so that I will avoid them in the future!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Proverbs Ten

Proverbs 10: 17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

"This is my choice. I can do what I want as long as I don't hurt anyone." I have heard this excuse and maybe have even used it myself to make bad choices seem okay. Unfortunately it is not true. We do have freedom to choose, but our actions speak loudly to others who are watching and may follow in to sin.

It is especially harmful to the naive and the children who look to us for guidance. We can choose our own path leading to life or to destruction. Our choice can lead them to life or destruction.

It may be a very wise thing to turn around and look to see if anyone is following us. We may find children, friends, neighbors or even strangers watching our ways and deciding their choices by the ones we make. No one walks this world without someone following. For the sake of those who follow, we should step carefully. I have a favorite song that says, "Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful." Good words to live by!

Faithful God, you have asked us to follow Your Son, Jesus. He is a wise Leader because He followed You! I need Your forgiveness for those times when my eyes desire to follow those going the wrong way. I need Your forgiveness for not caring about those who follow me onto the wrong path. Thank You for being my hope and my Good Leader! Light my path with Your wisdom. Help me to hold Your lamp for others to follow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proverbs Nine

Proverbs 9;11 For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.

My husband, Patrick, does not like to celebrate his birthday. I think he feels strange being the center of attention for the simple fact that he has lived for another year. It doesn't stop me from celebrating. I like to celebrate the years we live on this blue sphere! I have coaxed and pleaded with Patrick to join in the party for him! Sometimes it is easier than others. On the other hand, my daughter has a "Week of Erin" to celebrate her life. It is good to live!

Do you know anyone who does not want a long life? Who does not celebrate birthdays that add up? I suppose if we could remove all sorrows and pain there would be a rush to live forever. Funny, that sounds like heaven! It is heaven, and it is forever! Life forever lived with fullness in every way!

Days multiplied and years added come only by the God of Wisdom. It is only those days and years lived without Wisdom that we may want to subtract from our lives. I guess that makes a good argument to start living with Wisdom while we are young.

God of Wisdom, You increase our days and years. You do not take away, but there are times when I want to go a different way from Your path. It is then that I believe the lie of the enemy; You subtract and diminish. How foolish I am to think that! Forgive me, Lord! Thank You for continuing to add to my years by multiplying my days! I want to remember You and give You the praise every day and for all those growing moments!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Proverbs Eight

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Proverbs 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord.

Seeking and finding. I am reminded of playing hide and seek as a child. Looking in every hiding place to find friends who are trying to avoid me. Hmmmm. Is God hiding?

I guess in some ways God is hiding. He is asking us to diligently seek Him. He is in plain sight yet we do not recognize Him immediately. I also think that He knows our need to have adventure. When we believe a treasure exists, we will look for it. He wants to be our treasure. He wants to be our prize!

I am so glad God promises the finding. There is no doubt that He wants to reveal Himself to us. We desire and crave love. Love is our motivation to seek the only One who is love. We love Him by seeking Him daily. In loving Him and seeking Him we find Love and life.

Lord God, You have designed us to love. Life itself is a gift of love from You. Seeking You is hard sometimes. I see the hard things in life and my vision is clouded. I have difficulty finding You in the hard times. forgive me for not looking deeper. Thank You for Your creation where You hide in plain view! Help me to find You and never let me give up the search!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Proverbs Seven

Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye.

I have always loved the phrase "Apple of your eye." I knew that it meant someone who is loved and cherished, but never knew the origins of the phrase till I read this proverb and decided to look it up further.

It seems the phrase is first used in the Hebrew scriptures and is literally translated as "Little Man of the Eye." It is the reflection seen in another persons' pupils. The apple of our eye reflects on what we keep our focus.

The Teacher God and His teachings are worth being the apple of our eye. I find it amazing that those who keep God and His instruction in the center of their vision will reflect God back to others. People will see the truth of God not the world.

Tim Tebow is showing the sports community this principle. He has made it clear to all who look into his eyes, that he is keeping his eyes on the Lord. It is not easy, but it is good and right. He is teaching others that no other person, not even self, can hold the place of the apple of your eye.

God, my Father, You give life and teach me the way to live abundantly! Thank You! You alone should be the apple of my eye. You alone should be the center of my world. You alone should be the vision for my life. You alone should be my delight! Forgive me when I let my eye stray from Your face and Your teaching. Draw me back into Your truth. Be the apple of my eye!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Proverbs Six

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.

In my town of Apopka, FL, we have several street lights that are patrolled by camera. The camera's eye will catch you if you run a red light, and you will receive a ticket with a hefty fine in the mail. It has proved to keep most drivers alert to the changing of the lights. I like to catch a glimpse of the countdown clock in the crosswalk to see if the light is soon to change. It helps me judge my chances of catching a green light.

The knowledge of which lights have cameras, and the tricks I use to judge the safe passage through the intersection are my lamp and light. Without the lamp I might not be alert and without the light I might not judge wisely. If I fail to heed the law and instruction I will be disciplined with a ticket. Life is lived on the road of discipline. My actions will determine my corrections or rewards.

It is my responsibility to guide my car along the road safely. I cannot ignore the commandments nor forget the teaching I have received. I need to plan ahead and keep alert. There is wisdom in the light!

Holy God, You are the giver of the law. You have put the commandments in place for our safety and the way to live a good life. I do mess up sometimes and speed along the road of life being distracted from what I should be doing. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank You for making discipline a part of life. It is a good thing. Though it may be uncomfortable for awhile, I know Your Father's heart is full of love and wisdom. Keep me on the right road, Lord!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Proverbs Five

Proverb 5:21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.

Mothers seem to have an instinct for seeing the path their child is heading down. They look ahead and see all the obstacles and dangers that may cause their child to suffer a fall or injury. When the babies are young, Mama tries to avert danger by removing the obstacles or hazards. As the child grows, however, Mom's cannot always be there to protect.

The Proverb quoted above is a comfort to me as a mom of adult children. I can rest in the knowledge that God, The Father, keeps His eye on the paths my children are walking down. He ponders them (or makes them level as my last blog revealed.) He may not remove the temptations or the trials, but He is always aware and ready to help if they call out to Him.

It is a good thing to know The Heavenly Father is watching! He even watches me for my Mom too.

Father, You are a good Daddy! You keep Your eye focused on the paths of Your children. You watch for dangers and I know Your word warns us to watch our step. You hold out Your hand to steady us over the rough roads. You carry us through when we cannot go in our own strength. We need You! Thank You for being the One we can trust for those we love and for ourselves! Forgive us when we fail to see Your goodness guiding us in the right direction. We love You.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Proverbs Four

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.

The word "Ponder" in this passage could also be translated "Make level." either way it makes a lot of sense.

Our son had to move back into our house for a few moths until he finds a place and/or a roommate. With all of his things here I had to move the babies into one room. The problem was that they were not taking good naps when their beds were together. A new plan had to be made. I moved one of the pack-n-play beds to my room. It now sits right by my side of the bed.

There is only about six inches between the two beds. It is important for me to watch my feet when I pass by because it would be easy to stub my toe or even trip over the various parts of the beds. I need to be sure that my feet are landing on a safe/level place.

I I sometimes sing the little song with my grandchildren about "Be careful little feet where you go....for the Father up above is looking down with love, so be careful little feet where you go. It is a reminder to me as an adult to watch my steps. My steps will lead me to God or away from Him.

It seems to be important to consider the direction my life is going. I must be careful to watch for things that may trip me or cause me to stumble. When surrounded by the world, and all its temptations, I must choose my steps carefully. There is wisdom in pondering the path of my feet.

Father God of light, You are the light for my path. You lift me up when I stumble. You are my strength and my guide. I stumble along the path many times. I want to walk sure, but I often fail to watch for the traps of the enemy. Forgive me, Lord! Thank You for holding my hand and walking close to me always. Teach me Your ways. I need You!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Proverbs Three

Proverbs 3:7-8 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs3:15 She (wisdom) is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare to her.

Wisdom does not begin with myself. I cannot look in the mirror and see wisdom looking back through my eyes. Oh, there are moments when I think I am pretty smart; times when I think I am the wisdom others need in their lives. But I am so wrong!

The wisdom that springs from my lips in those rare times, is the presence and the voice of the Holy Spirit working through me. Wisdom adorns my words like bracelets, earrings, rings, and necklaces adorn me. They are not me but a beautiful adornment that gives a sparkle to my eyes.

God shares wisdom and beauty, healing and refreshment are born in me! The trinkets I desire are dull and lifeless compared to her!

Father God, Jesus Lord, and Spirit of Wisdom and Holiness, You are priceless beauty. I am worth nothing without You. I have no wisdom to voice without You. Thank You for adorning my words with your gems of insight and wisdom. I desire more of You. I desire the diamonds, pearls, sapphires and rubies that You give. Your wisdom is precious to me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Proverbs Two

Proverbs 2:4-5 "If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

I love to read. Books intrigue and inspire me. I own a room full of books of many kinds. When I shop at book stores, I look at titles and the cover picture to get an idea about the book's contents. If I like what I see I may read the jacket or a passage or two, but I will not know what special places that book will take me until I buy it and begin to read.

The Scriptures are full of wonderful insights into living a life in relationship with God and others. Its treasures can never be fully uncovered. I guess that is why I can't stop reading it. I love the thrill of finding the priceless treasure hidden within its pages. The Word longs to be found. He has made Himself known to those who hunt for Him. When I take the time to read and reread the Bible I become rich in knowing God. I would be wise to enjoy the hunt and dig deep whenever I can!

God, my Father, You are the treasure I seek. You are worthy to be sought and yet I I sometimes read Your precious Word carelessly. I sift through the words without digging deep to find the Truth and the amazing revelations that You have hidden. Father, thank You for making this a fun and interesting way to get to know You! Thank You for hiding Yourself within these pages, words and stories so that I can find YOU! I want to know You more!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Proverbs One

"If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you." Proverbs 1:23 ESV

My Grandman, Jacob, likes to pull out all the books from my book shelves. I do not like to replace them over and over, and so, I watch him carefully when he sets his sights on the books. I call his name. I remind him not to pull out all the books. I tell him, "No!" When he turns and comes to me, I reward him with smiles and praises. I will choose a book and read to him. He is happy. Proverbs 1:23 gives me that same picture in relation to me and my heavenly Father.

Hearing His voice is an invitation to turn to Him so that I might receive His Spirit and understand His word. What a joyous gift it is! His voice. His Spirit. Understanding of His Word.

God offers me the choice. He gives and I receive. I receive by a simple action of turning. Turn away from darkness to the light. Turn. It seems simple, but so often I find it difficult. Temptation is strong. I want God's rewards to be stronger!

Father, You discipline Your children. You call out our wrongs and lovingly hold out to us Your gifts. Why do I run away from You? Why do I not turn to You when You call? Forgive me! Break my rebellious heart and teach me obedience. If I turn to You, will You let me hear You read to me and explain the words I want to know? Thank You for speaking out when I am tempted to sin. Thank You for being a good Father. Thank You for making me Your child!