Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wedding Shower Blessings!


                                           The dawn of Saturday, April 11th began 
as a beautiful week-end morning, full of anticipation of the day ahead- the day of our daughter's wedding shower. Rachael planned all the details of her country-themed  celebration - her big day before the most exciting day of her life- her wedding day!
After capturing the morning sky, pictures were sparse after that; alas, I could not keep up with all the food preparations, table decorations, last minute details...so my camera was left forgotten.
                                We prepared assorted  sandwiches, appetizers,salads,
and ice-cold flavored waters. Have you ever had lemon-mint-cucumber iced water? Most refreshing!

Colorful flowers of pink, yellow, blue, mint green, with yellow forsythia blossoms sprouted from
pale green-colored Ball jars to grace all the tables.
By noon our guests began to arrive and soon our home was filled with 30 excited women and children. My camera lost in the shuffle of  laughter, chatter, and greeting guests.

Relax,a word to the wise in the midst of a house full of guests!
Desert table filled with specialty cupcakes and most favored shortbread made by my sister-in-law. One vase of Ball jar flowers captured on engagement pictures table.    D&R initials painted in Rachael's wedding colors.




Our guests left with a small gift of spring flower packets in remembrance of our country wedding shower.


Rachael and I enjoyed making this hat that she will wear to the Kentucky Derby, planned as her bachelorette
party with her wedding attendants.
All the ribbons and bows from shower gifts so beautifully formed into a bouquet, and as tradition goes, to be carried by the bride, Rachael, during the wedding rehearsal at the church- very soon approaching.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Have You Met The Risen Lord?

The hardness of Holy Week is now past; remembering the bitter agony that Jesus suffered for me, for you. The long, silent Saturday remembering His death, the stone closed tomb where our Savior was laid, for me, for you,
 the silence, the long silence that covered the dark night for me, for you...

                                     "Surely He has borne our griefs 
                                       And carried our sorrows;
                                      Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
                                      Smitten by God, and afflicted.
                                      But He was wounded for our transgressions,
                                      He was bruised for our iniquities;
                                      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
                                      And by His stripes we are healed."    Isaiah 53:4,5 

"I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." Jesus
 in John 10:10

"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. 
No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."  Jesus in John 10:17,18

Have you met the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ?
He died for you, my friend. His love will set you free from carried sin burdens; His love is strong enough to bear every weight, every sorrow, every hurt, disappointment, anguish, that lays upon a heavy  heart.
Turn now to the One who came to give you life, and to have it abundantly.
Are you willing to turn from your sins, receive Him by faith, acknowledge Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life? You can start by talking to God in prayer.

"O God, I am a sinner. I'm sorry for my sin. I want to turn from my sin. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son; I believe He died on the cross for my sin and You raised Him to life. I choose to trust Him as my Lord from this day forward, forevermore. Lord, I put my trust in You and surrender my life to You. Please come into my life and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' Name. Amen"

If you prayed this prayer, my friend, please visit  www.godlife.com   or      www.PeaceWithGod.net
And may God bless you; you are in my prayers; I'm here for you,
maureen

Monday, March 30, 2015

Palm Sunday, Holy Week Begins

The Triumphal Entry

"Now when they drew near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples, and He said to them, 'Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat. Loose it and bring it. And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this? say,'The Lord has need of it,' and immediately he will send it here."...
"Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw  their clothes on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their clothes on the road, and others cut down leafy branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then those who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
                                                                      Hosanna in the highest!"     Mark 11: 1-3,7-10

The crowd recognized Jesus' lordship by repeating this messianic psalm (Ps 118:25,26), yet just a few days later, on Friday, the people shouted out other words, "Crucify Him!"
"Then Pilate said to them, 'Why, what evil has He done?' But they cried out all the more, 'Crucify Him!' So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified."

 What would it have been like to be in the crowd of thronging people placing palm branches on the road and touching the robe of One riding on a donkey? Calling out, "Hosanna!"

What would it have been like to to be in the crowd of thronging people, arms raised, yelling, angry shouts of,
"Crucify Him!".

Oh, forgive me, Lord, I see myself in both.
 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Pour Into A Thirsty World

Clean Water- Helping in Jesus' Name
Sponsored by Samaritan's Purse
smiling face used with permission from Samaritan's Purse                                   



  Samaritan's Purse is sponsoring World Water Day, March 16-22 to provide clean water for 5,000 families in Jesus' name.
                    www.samaritanspurse.org/water/pour-into-a-thirsty-world

Think about it, as I have for these past several days. I have asked myself, and tried to imagine how my days would be different without easily accessible water.  How about you? I go to the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the shower every day; yet how often do I thank the Giver for this gift of clean water, which runs so freely in our homes?
O, Lord, help me to use water responsibly as a gift, from You, not to take it for granted as I turn on a faucet, place a tea kettle on the stove, wash clothes, shower, and all the multiple times water is used in my daily activities.

Samaritan's Purse World Water Day has made me more aware of the crucial need for clean water world wide.
"Every day, 6,000 people die from dirty water! An estimated 1.58 million people die each year from diseases caused by unclean water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene habits. The majority of these are children in developing countries."  from Samaritan's Purse

"748 million people don't have access to clean water. Will you help?
 http://bit.ly/1NEqPCx     Please give in Jesus' Name

Think about a time when you were really thirsty without access to clean water. I remember well when I was in Africa, several times we would be out in the villages and precious children would see our water bottles, while I would see their parched lips. Who would not, with joy, give water to one of His thirsty children?






I have never forgotten this young boy's eyes as he held a bottle of water.


                       "Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
                        And the tongue of the dumb sing.
                        For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
                         And streams in the desert..."     Isaiah 35:6

Great Is Your Faithfulness


As I gazed upon His sunrise gift from my window, I lifted up praise for His loving mercies, His faithfulness, His glorious presence among us; to walk this day gift with us, giving strength, wisdom, and loving care to those who call upon the name of the Lord. Oh, to do life with the Creator of the universe!

Thank You, Lord, for daily prayer time, morning and evening, with my prayer partners, lifting up our heart-felt prayer requests before Your Throne. Thank You for hearing and answering our prayers.
Thank You for Prime Minister Netanyahu's victory in Israel
Thank You for family blessings each day
Thank You for a successful surgery for my 90 year old evening prayer partner!
Thank You for a delightful visit with my Chinese friend.





 I first met Christine last year when I was assisting her with English lessons via Skype to China. Our relationship grew stronger with each passing month, and now she is in the States pursuing further graduate education.  Her Spring break days were spent with me and my family.
Such a delightful time we had going to favorite Chinese restaurants!

Blessed to sing with my church choir and have Christine join us attending
Sunday service







An evening spent together preparing for daughter's
 wedding shower coming up soon!











Joy-filled two hour hike at the park with Christine and granddaughter




  


                                         It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
                                              And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
                                              To declare Your lovingkindness  in the morning,
                                              And Your faithfulness every night...
                                                                                      Psalm 92:1,2
 



Saturday, March 14, 2015

"The Morning Prayer Determines The Day"


"The entire day receives order and discipline when it acquires unity. This unity must be sought and found in morning prayer. The morning prayer determines the day."    Dietrich  Bonhoeffer

Help me, Lord, to be an instrument of Your peace, to begin each day in prayer, on my knees, use me as You will, this day, for Your honor and glory.

No one can deny our world is wrought with discord, sadness, unforgiveness, unbelievable tragedies, war, killing, persecutions, accidents, illness, disease, cancer, family strife, natural disasters...
Jesus warned of such times;
"Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us when these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'
And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of  wars and rumors of war. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
                                                                                                         Matthew 24:3-7
This morning my prayers were for the people of the  nation Vanuatu, experiencing a tropical cyclone, category 5, on Friday. Rescue agencies are now underway to assist this devastated island chain in the South Pacific. www.samaritanspurse.org

Every first Friday of the month, I am privileged to pray with Intercessors for America. Please join in prayer.
www.ifapray.org

Logo for Intercessors for America

This month our prayer focus is on Israel and the upcoming election for the office of  Prime Minister, on March 17th.
We prayed for a strong leader for Israel; for peace in this nation, for our sovereign God to oversee this election, if it be His will to grant Benjamin Netanyahu further leadership as Prime Minister, for God's protection over the Jewish people, and for our Nation and churches to support Israel and the Jewish people.

"May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the State of Israel and the United States of America."    from Prime Minister Netanhayu's speech before Congress
                                                                                                    March 3, 2015
"...Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Ephesians 6:10












Thursday, March 5, 2015

Be Strong and Courageous. Do Not Be Afraid...

As seen from my window, one lone bird, quietly perched.
All around a blanket of whiteness covers our earth corner.
Day after day, more whiteness upon whiteness falls heavy, and where to put such mountains of whiteness?
Snow plows, shovels, add layer upon layer of white heaviness to mounting mountains of snow.
Day after day of deep freeze temperatures add to day's distress, ice spikes hanging from swollen roof gutters, ice covered roads, sliding wheels, ice patched paths defy one to stay upright, wind chimes clanging in cadence with howling winds.
Such has been our winter days in our corner of the earth. Yet...these days have been a time of reflection on the goodness of our God, His protection during winter's harshness, His bountiful daily gifts, His Word to strengthen weary souls, His gift of prayer; eagerly waiting for communication between the Potter and the clay. Oh, Father, form me, use me as You will for Your honor and glory.Give me a heart like Yours to feel as You feel for those suffering as followers of the cross in a world that is becoming more hostile to those proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Such suffering surrounds our world. Day upon day, crushing news of evil powers taking more captives; followers of the cross, families grieving deaths of loved ones, such heart- wrenching pain.
The earth groans in anguish, yet, His Word says, "The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit."  Psalm 34:18

The Lord hears, the Lord is near, the Lord is our comfort, the Lord is our strength - in  total trust shall be our strength.
Day after day of winter coldness, my thoughts have been on His strength in my weakness.
Then came this past Sunday morning, another treacherous drive, making our way to our church worship.
I smiled in hearing from the Pastor's message, my own week's heart-cry for His strength.
"We give our strength, which is nothing more than weakness, in exchange for Christ's strength."

                            "Be strong and courageous.
                              Do not be afraid;
                          Do not be discouraged,
                  For the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9


What are you, friend, going through now; illness, disease, heartache, loneliness, pain, depression, sorrow, disappointment?  God knows. He cares and loves you.

                " The weaker we feel, the harder we lean on God- the harder we lean, the stronger we grow."
                                                                                         Joni Earikson Tada

As we drove home from church, on snow covered country roads, high on a hill stands three crosses.
The One who loves you so much that He died upon a cross for you, waits to give you His strength.
This is what Lent is all about- remembering what He did for you and me.
Even in the midst of this world turmoil we can trust our Savior to never leave us.


"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  words of Jesus from John 16:33

"Even so, come,Lord Jesus!"
Maranatha!





Friday, February 20, 2015

Compassion Bloggers in Dominican Republic




Take a moment to click link below and travel to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International Bloggers and feel the love of our God for these people, these precious children, their beautiful land,
and may your heart-strings tighten in love for these children living in poverty.
Is God calling you to open your life to sponsorship of one of His own children?

www.compassion.com/compassionbloggers/dominican-republic-2015.htm 



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday After Ash Wednesday



             "Let the ruins come to life
              In the beauty of Your Name
              Rising up from the ashes
              God forever You reign
                                                               And my soul will find refuge
                                                               In the shadow of Your wings
                                                               I will love You forever
                                                               And forever I'll sing"
                                                                              from Hillsong- Glorious Ruins

I have always loved this season, this 40 day journey into my heart and soul before the glorious day of Christ's Glorious Grace Given for those who would call on His Name, believe He died for our sins, rose from the dead, seek forgiveness for one's sins, and follow after Him.

Weeks before this journey, I pray for God to reveal to me His planned purpose for my changed heart. I pray for endurance to follow through, and not fail, but to focus on His purpose; to be established in the Lord and
His Word.

                  " ... that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."                     Philippians 3:9-11
                                                                           
For the past four years, I have used this treasured, 40 day devotional  to go deeper into the passion and suffering of Jesus. I commend it to you for a rich, soul searching experience.
                                                                              Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin Jr.

I pray you'll walk this journey with me, on the road the Lord is leading you to follow. We are living in such troubled times, each day bringing a new heartache and turbulence swirling round our world- we don't want to be swallowed up in fear, for He has told us not to fear- be anchored by His Word alone, our stronghold!

Lenten Bible reading plans at   blog.youversion.com/2015/02/6-bible-plans-to-help-you-connect
I am using the 40 Day New Testament Challenge

God's richest blessings upon you, friends,
maureen

                                             "He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
                                               His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
                                               His heart is established;
                                               He will not be afraid..."              Psalm 112:7,8

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The only place to be...


                                         ON OUR KNEES IN PRAYER

(source:screen capture from new ISIS video)
Since Sunday, I can't stop thinking of these 21 Christians forced to their knees, knowing they would be executed by beheading by the demonic forces of ISIS. I look at this awful sight and wonder, what were the thoughts of these men as they knelt in front of their executioners? Did they pray for them? Were their weeping hearts bleeding in sorrow and anguish of the moment, yet knowing that as their hearts crushed out its last beat, they would be in the presence of their Lord and Savior?

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" words of Jesus in John 11.

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."  Jesus, from the cross.

"And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.'
And when he had said this, he fell asleep."      Acts 7:59-60

On our knees we must be, seeking You, Lord.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:5,6)

 Christ has overcome, by the blood stained cross, carried by the One who came among us to rescue us from the evil grip of this sin infested world. If we but get on our knees and cry out, "Oh God, help me to be free of this sin that so easily besets me. Forgive me, Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to Your Lordship. Oh God, have mercy on us.

I carry this image of these Christians, and those who died at the hand of evil before them, in my heart, and pray for the families they left behind -left to mourn. I pray the arms of the Lord to wrap His comfort around them, and I pray for all of us bearing the name of "the people of the cross", to be bold in our witness, to stand firm in our commitment to Jesus, to be unshakeable, grounded in His Word , gripped by the power of the Spirit,

and constantly on our knees in prayer.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Contemplating Love and Wonder This Weekend


What has turned your heart toward thoughts of love and wonder this bitter cold week-end?

February is hard; it can be unbelievably cold, like this morning, -3.7 degrees F; it can be long even with just 28 days; snow, snow and more snow, icy roads,  biting, howling wind, and long dark nights.
But in this, too, there are moments of quiet and wonder.

I have begun a new, fun craft during cold winter nights called Zentangle, using an inspirational book,
Zenspirations by Joanne Fink. This is my first drawing  from the patterns she has shared to inspire the art of drawing and creating patterns.

"Find a quiet moment each day to renew your sense of wonder."

A sense of wonder and thankfulness this week...

 for His beautiful morning sunrise to warm the sky with vibrant color, putting a gazer  in awe of His majesty. This gift was like God saying," Look what I have given to you as a love gift for today!"


wonder of soft, falling snow from His storehouse in the clouds, creating an earthen blanket; yet I am reminded
that soon spring will bring a flock of birds ready to begin new life in a little yellow house prepared.

Thankful for safety on roads with daughter, as we traveled to appointments for  her soon-to-be
weddings. Excitement overflowing!

wonder and pleasure of feeding bird friends, and
black squirrels!

My daughter and I
spent snowy Saturday evening working on wedding decorations and ribbon wands of gold, sage, and pale blue and bells to ring in joy for the new couple.
Exciting, busy days ahead in preparation for the special day in May.


The wonder of God's love thrills me everyday.
His words of love pour from His Book of Promises...

...I have loved thee
               with an everlasting love..."
                                        Jeremiah 31:3

I am so blessed to share this love with seekers
seeking a God who loves them as they are, with all
their hurts and sorrows and pain. A Savior who has said,
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you..."
                                        John 14:27
m.love.godlife.com 

Share in the joy and wonder of a Savior who loves you, and died for you that you may have everlasting life.
m.4steps.godlife.com    m.forgiveness.godlife.com
God bless you,
maureen