Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Unbelief vs. Belief

Today I thought, "I believe I'll start reading the book of Luke."  This is a great selection at Christmas time - right?

It's a familiar story - one we read often over a lifetime - but I love how we can always learn something new, how God's Word is always alive and active.

Luke begins by stating he was setting out to tell the story of Christ as an eyewitness, as one who knew Him intimately.  He begins to tell the story of the birth of John the Baptist.  Zechariah is ministering in the temple - offering incense - when the angel, Gabriel, appears with a message for him.  He and Elizabeth, who is barren, are well up in years - too old to bear children.  But Gabriel proceeds to tell Zechariah that he's been sent by God to tell him they will have a son - that they are to name him, John, and that God will use him to prepare the way of the Lord.

Zechariah's reponse?  "My wife and I are too old to bear children."   Unbelief.

How can I know this?  I know because Gabriel rebuked him for not believing and struck him dumb - telling him he would unable to speak until it all came to pass.  Zechariah's unbelief did not affect God's will or His plan - it affected Zechariah.

6 months later, Gabriel appeared to a young virgin named Mary - the cousin of Elizabeth.  God sent Gabriel to tell her she was highly favored and would bear a child who would be the Son of God.

Mary's response?  "Be it unto me as you have said."   Belief.

She asked for details, "How can this be - I have known no man."  She was given answers - "The Holy Spirit will overshadow you."

I've never before seen the two responses together - taken them into account, together - seeing the contrast.

How do we respond when God shows us something?  He may not send Gabriel - but He reveals Himself to us, shows us His will, speaks to us through His Word all the time.  Am I listening?  Am I responding in belief or unbelief?

When Mary went to see Elizabeth - she praised God for all He had done for her.  I think I might have felt He was doing it to me.  Mary believed and she was blessed!

Zechariah spent nine months in silence while God revealed His plan visibly to him. When Zechariah wrote, "His name is JOHN", he exercised belief.  He showed God he believed!  His tongue was loosed and he could once again speak - and he praised God.  He was blessed!

O, Father - open my eyes, let me hear You speaking to me through Your Word and help me to believe in obedience and praise!


Saturday, December 7, 2013


You read a lot about the different seasons of life.  There are books galore to instruct, inform and supposedly help one through each one. I have found that I seem to "wake up" one day and realize - hey!  What happened?  How did I get here?

That's how I've felt for the past couple of months.  We live life every day - but we do not realize it is passing and we can never live it again. Suddenly, I find myself in a different "season".  I have grown older.  Jay has retired from full-time pastoring.  We are in a sort of limbo - not really belonging anywhere yet.

In this season of Thanksgiving - I am so thankful for our children.  How God has blessed us! They never fail to encourage, support and attempt to supply any need they perceive.  They put up with us and love us in spite of our flaws.  They remember the good and forget any bad.

And I am MOST thankful for my Savior and my God, who never leaves nor forsakes.  He guides and provides in His perfect timing.  He is worthy of my complete trust - He has never failed me. He uses every season to teach me and conform me more to His image.  I have learned when things are out of my control...He is always in control and He is GOOD.  Thanksgiving and Praise!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Strong Tower

One major description of our God and Savior is our Strong Tower.  I am quite confident that I have no real perception of what a strong tower was to people in Bible time.  I feel pretty sure it was a place where they felt safe and secure; a place where the enemy could not reach them. 
My dear friend, Kellie, makes me a calendar each year.  On each month is a picture of our family members and birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are written on the corresponding day.  She puts much time and effort into creating my calendar – it is a scrapbooking masterpiece, every year!  But one of the most special elements on each page is the scripture she chooses and puts on that month.  Often  I am drawn to that verse and given a new appreciation for my Savior – or it is just what I need to hear from Him at that moment.

July is a new month – and this month’s verse is Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
As always, God’s Word is ever fresh and new.  I never fail to “see” something I’ve never thought of before.
            “The righteous run to it”.  Run is an action word, a verb.  Run means it takes effort.
            Run means it is intentional; it doesn’t just happen because I am one of the righteous.
            His name is my strong tower.  It is where I am safe…but only if I run to Him.  This also
            means I am NOT safe – if I choose to NOT run to Him. 
There are so many promises and truths and principles and precepts in God’s Word.  But I must apply them – act on them.  So many times, I run to a person, someone I think can help me, or soothe me, or comfort me, or tell me what I want to hear.  Yeah, I know what this verse SAYS … but I fail to RUN to Him! 

Okay – let’s think about the word RUN a little more.  What does RUN mean?
·         Haste

·         Urgency

·         Quickly…as fast as you can

·         Priority?  The first action you take…not the last resort?
My younger grandchildren are from 1 to 7 years old.  When they are frightened or upset – they automatically run to their parents.  They don’t stop to consider any other course of action.  I want to run to my Heavenly Father the same way!

I wish I could physically run to my Father…but in my heart and mind…I run to Him with all my being. I am safe there, no matter how the storm rages around me.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

When God Is Near

We are in the midst of tornado season and we live in the age of instant and constant information.  The tragedy in Oklahoma is on T.V. with live footage, 24/7.  It breaks our hearts and boggles our minds.  Trouble always causes mankind to look heavenward, and to consider God. People who never even think about Him, are made to consider Him.  Those who have some knowledge of Him, consider Him. And those who know Him well.... they gather peace and strength from Him.

When you view the devastation, the homes and buildings reduced to piles of wood and rubble, we are forced to realize (again) that we are miniscule and powerless.  We have NO control over the things that come into our lives.  We can build safe rooms, we can plan routes of escape and we still have no guarantee of safety.  How can one stop a tornado?  Impossible.

What we can do, is place our confidence and our trust in God.  He will never fail us - even in the storm...even in tragedy....even when everything in our life is devastated.  He is there.  This morning this was my daily K-Love verse...

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

I notice a couple of things:
  • It is when we are brokenhearted that we feel Him nearest. 
  • He is there to save when we are crushed.
  • We are not immune from trouble - brokenhearted....crushed - He is near to those.
  • He doesn't promise to take away the brokenness or the crushed spirit - but to be walk with us and comfort strengthen us.

Many times people ask, "where was God?"   My answer...He was there, nearby, accessible to anyone who will look to Him, trust Him, lean on Him. 

Tragedy can be the hardest thing to understand.  But I have learned in my 61 ask "why?" doesn't get me anywhere.  There is no why.  Jesus made that very plain when he healed the man who had been lame from birth.  His disciples asked why?  The answer?  "For God's glory."

Why does God let us go through trouble...tragedy...tornadoes?  For His glory.  He is glorified when we feel His presence and have His peace no matter what comes our way. 

Look for Him if you are brokenhearted or crushed....He is very close.

If you want to help those in Oklahoma, you can give to the Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief Teams who are already on their way.  100% of your funds go directly to feeding and helping the victims.  You can give here:    I did!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spirit Friends

This morning my heart is warmed and blessed.  I have been communicating through Facebook with a woman that in all truth I barely know.  I used to work in a retirement community where her father lived.  I met her and of course, interacted with her regarding her father.  I watched her minister to many of the residents and give her time to provide a weekly church service (for lack of a better description).

She was always cheerful and gracious.  She loves the Lord, I love the Lord.  Instant connection.
I lost touch with her eventually.  I left and went to another job.  Her father had to live in a nursing home in his last days.

But in the last while, I found her through Facebook - and another Spirit friend. 

I have several Spirit friends - people God has placed in my life for a short while, usually through ministry or work.  Not people I have gotten to spend a lot of time with or go to church with. I don't live in the same town, or even the same state with these ladies. I don't talk to them everyday. People who it is plain, the Holy Spirit in them reached out to Himself in me.  If you have not experienced, I really don't know how to explain. They add to my life in an amazing way.

I am sorry to say, I have not experienced this with everyone in my own church body.  There are some with whom I can never seem to connect at all - no connection - no matter how hard I try.  Troubling.   But that's another topic.

I love my Spirit friends.  I can shoot them a prayer request - and know they will cover me in prayer.  I can share just about anything.  In fact, just saying hello, discussing problems in the world - warms my soul through and through.

Thank you, Spirit Friends.  Thank You, Holy Spirit.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Well, tomorrow we will complete week 3 of Whole30.  I have to say, it has been an experience - and overall, a positive one. 

You may be saying, what is Whole30?  It is a lifestyle change. It is basically omitting certain food groups from your diet completely. 

We no longer eat any sugar, sweeteners, dairy, grains, legumes, white potatoes or corn.  We read labels like never before and do not purchase anything with chemicals.  

We DO eat meat, fish, eggs and fresh vegetables and fruits.  We eat clarified butter and olive oil and avocados.  We eat almonds and walnuts and macadamias and pecans.  We try to buy organic foods and grass-fed or wild-caught meats and fish.  We do the best we can. 

When we started, I wasn't certain I could succeed.  They make great promises in the book "It Starts with Food."  They also make you aware of how our foods have changed out metabolisms and our hormones - creating many health issues.

I can say - I no longer crave any particular food. When I get hungry, I am hungry for good food.  I can look at sweets with absolutely no desire to eat them.  I have lost weight - and my hubby has lost even more! (naturally)  My blood sugar is normal.  I feel better.  I now can tell when I am hungry and when I am eating because I am bored.

The only "down" side is I also am cooking constantly.  I have to think ahead and plan more than ever.
I do get weary of it at times - there's no "bowl of cereal" or "can of soup" for supper.  If we eat, I have to cook.  I struggle to eat enough vegetables and coming up with new ways to cook things - is a challenge.  We have made our own sausage.  Yesterday, Jayna and I made mayonnaise, that actually looks like mayo!  I've made strawberry vinaigrette.  You cannot purchase clarified have to make it. So,  for me, it is work - but I am hoping it is going to make us healthier.

Eating out is a real challenge - but we have managed when necessary.  We are definitely eating at home more than we did before.

My daughter, Sara, asked me, "Are you going to keep eating like this after 30 days?"  I said, "Probably."  Why would I want to go back to eating things that are harmful to me?

We'll see...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Random Musings

Yesterday, Jay and I began Whole30...thirty days of drastically changing the way we eat.  Hopefully, the outcome will be better health.  It means more preparing, more planning, more cooking! I am kind of a go with the flow kind of girl, so I will also have to change my way of doing things.  Jay will be more dependent on me - no more cans of soup or cereal for supper!

This morning, I woke early (as usual) but just moved to the couch for 2 or 3 hours.  What is it about a couch and a droning tv that produces such wonderful napping? 

Then I decided it was finally time to work on breakfast - we're already weary of scrambled eggs.  So, I thought frittata! I have been scouting recipes and had all necessary ingredients. I made my first attempt at clarifying butter last night - not sure it's perfect but it's more clarified than it was. So there.

It's snowing outside (rare for NE Arkansas), not heavily but a continual light snowfall.  Temps are to rise above freezing, so it won't last long.  I turned up the furnace and went to work in the kitchen (by the way, I have a missing iron skillet).  I am happy to report - the frittata turned out perfectly!  Here it is...

Crunchy edges, lots of good for you veggies - what can I say?  I can already think of ways to make it new each time.  Jay has built-in radar - always appears when food is almost ready.  Sides of avocado and mango - needless to say, we are full!

For over a year, I have been observing, experiencing and learning more about trouble in our life.  I don't have it all "learned" - but this I know, life is full of trouble.  Job said it.  It's in the Bible - that makes it true.  We seem to spend all our energy trying to reverse our trouble, or asking "why".  I'm not saying I am not as guilty as the next one.  And believe me, we are having our share of difficulties now.

Does music "speak" to you?  It does me.  I am SO thankful God created music.  He is musical...
He knows truth can be communicated in song.
There's a song that's been out awhile, Fall Apart by Josh Wilson.  Some of the words are...

         Why in the world did I think I could...only get to know You when things were good?
         When everything just falls in place...the easiest thing is to give You praise.
         Now it all seems upside down... cause my whole word is caving in
         But I feel You now more than I did then....How can I come to the end of me
         And somehow still have all I need...God I want to know You more
        Maybe this is how it starts...I find You when I fall apart.

Another song that speaks to me so strongly is Blessings by Laura Story...

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

Is this how we think?  That our trouble is reminding us we aren't home yet?  That Your goodness has allowed this trouble to come our way...for Your purposes in us? 

I think God had a plan when he placed me in a job in a retirement community for 6+ years.  163 units equaled so many residents and all their families.  They were my sweet, dear friends...and I watched them and their families deal with aging, with heartaches, with difficulties.  I was 20 years younger then, and the thought that that might one day be ME, never entered my mind.  But so many of them, and their struggles come to me lately.  It wasn't always pretty and sweet.  It was often very, very hard.

The moment we come into this world we begin to age and eventually we die.  God in His mercy has made provision for our eternal home - and all we have to do, is accept His Son and His payment for our sin.  God in His Graciousness, has provided His Word and His Spirit to guide, lead, comfort, teach and insure our journey to Him.  He never promised ease, in fact He honestly tells us to expect trouble.  We live in a fallen world.  We are not exempt from anything.  But we Do know our destination as His children.  We DO know He has a plan and purpose for our life.  We DO know He is good, that He is in control.  So, if trouble comes, can I not be assured there is profit in it for me?

I am not home yet.  Home will be wonderful, painfree, no trouble - it will be HEAVEN.

My job now is to trust, to obey, to believe and to demonstrate the love, joy and grace of the Christ who lives within.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Last Wednesday we started early, leaving the house at 6:45 a.m.  First stop, the hospital in Memphis to be with one of our families. Then we started across the state towards Mount Magazine Lodge for a couple of days.  After a bit on the road, Jay started telling me, "There's this huge spot in my eye - I can hardly see."  I told him probably a "floater" and they go away eventually, but when we stopped for lunch - I took over the driving.

As the day progressed, more spots came into his eye. You can imagine how annoying and distracting it was.  Each day brought no change.

On Sunday, one of our dear ladies offered to contact an Ophthalmologist she knows, which she did on Monday morning.  By 10:00 on Monday, Jay was seeing this specialist who decided he needed to see a retina specialist who would be in her office on Wednesday (today).

This morning, we learned his retina had a large tear - and by 10:30, he had undergone laser surgery and it was repaired.

When I consider in a week's time - his problem was diagnosed and repaired - 2 appointments with specialists, when many wait for weeks to get an appointment... Coincidence?  An accident?  You will never convince me.

I am continually in awe of our Heavenly Father, Who loves and care for us - intimately, one-on-one.
He is the God who knows my name - and Jay's.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Only God

The past few days have been difficult ones.  I hate when people do this, but I am forced to do it now - I 'm not at liberty to share why (those closest to me, know).

When hurtful, distressful things come - we run a gamut of emotions, thoughts and plans in our minds. "I'm going to do this!"  "I will say this..."  "I'm never..." 

But I find a Voice within that continues to speak Truth to my heart and my mind.  He faithfully brings His Word to me, softly - He doesn't shout.  I can choose to ignore Him, or I can choose to listen. 

This time, He immediately spoke the verse I needed most, "And let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not."  Oh, I ignored it ... for a little while ... for a day...maybe a day and a half. 

By last night, I had accepted (again) that everyone doesn't like what we do.  I remembered Who I am serving, Who I must obey.  I yielded my will to His will...once again. 

And then this morning, I decided I would read my devotional first...before my daily Bible plan.  I tried to use my new IPad (Thank you, Dear Brother), but couldn't remember the long list of numbers that make up my wireless password. So, I went to get my phone (what did we do before technology?).

I finally got YouVersion open, found Psalms 12 - and the first words are the title, "For the choir director:..."  That's when the dam broke and the tears flowed and I knew again without a shadow of a doubt that my Loving Father knows, He cares.  When I started this journey He said, "I'll be with you." And He is.

Only God...AWE-SOME!!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello, 2013

Hello, 2013,

Can't believe you are already here! 2012 left so quickly, in fact it passed with a blur.  I guess it's part of growing older...I have reached the "time flies" phase of life.

Highlights of 2012:
  • Jay passed the one year mark of his heart bypass surgery. 
  • We have two new "grands" - Sydney Faith and William Cary, Jr. "Will" 
  • Cary started VERGE Church in September.
  • My mom remarried - welcome L.V.
  • My brother, Kevin, and son-in-law, Gerry were ordained to ministry
Many other joys and a few heartaches came to us in 2012...I won't go in to all of those. 

If you had told me we would reach 2013 before the Lord returns, I would not have believed it.  I often look at myself in the mirror and think, "how did I get this old?"  There's something about new years that make one look back, not just on the previous year - but also on one's entire life.

I've started a yearly Bible reading plan on my phone - with You Version.  Reading in Genesis - very timely to read the book of beginnings at the beginning of a new year, don't you agree?  It's very familiar, yet I love how the Lord highlights things in a new way.

I am being challenged by the life of Abraham, the friend of God (God's description of him).  What faith he had!  What courage he displayed.  I am amazed at the trust of Isaac, to allow himself to be bound and placed on an altar, to look up towards his loving father with an upraised knife about to take his life.  How can we begin to imagine such a thing? I would love to have God say of me, "I know her and she will do such and such." 

I am more aware of my responsibility and privilege to invest in the lives of my children, my grandchildren, my brothers and sisters in Christ and the lost around me.  I can see my failures in 2012, and I'm praying for a sensitive ear, discernment and perseverance to fully obey this new year.

Hello, 2013.  I am ready for the challenge by God's grace!