Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My grace is sufficient for you...2 Corinthians 12:9

" We were under great pressure."   ( 2 Corinthians 1:8)

                              " that Christ's power may rest on me." ( 2 Corinthians 12:9)

"The Lord had to force David, through the discipline of many long  and painful years, to learn of the
almighty power and faithfulness of his God. Through those difficult years, he also grew in his knowledge of faith and godliness, which were indispensable principles for his glorious career as king of Israel.

Nothing but the most dangerous circumstances in which Paul was constantly placed could ever have taught him, and thus the church through him, the full meaning of the great promise of God he learned to claim:
" my grace is sufficient for you" ( 2 Corinthians  12:9)

And nothing but the great trials and dangers we have experienced would ever have led some of us to know Him as we do, to trust Him as we have,  and to draw from Him the great measure of His grace so indispensable during our times of greatest need. 

Difficulties and obstacles are God's challenges to our faith.
When we are confronted with hindrances that block our path of service, we are to recognize them as vessels for faith and then fill them with the fullness and complete sufficiency of Jesus.

As we move forward in faith, simply and fully trusting Him, we may be tested. Sometimes we may have to wait and realize that "perseverance must finish its work" (James 1:4). But ultimately we will surely find "the stone rolled away" (Luke 24:2) and the Lord Himself waiting to bestow a blessing on us for our time of testing."
        A.B. Simpson,   Streams in the Desert, excerpt on November 15 by  L.B. Cowman

Mid-November and I look upon this sweet alyssum  squeezing out its flower between hard sidewalk slabs, reminding me of the power of perseverance in the face of daily trials, heart-wrenching hurts, sorrows, and oh, this world-wide pain.
No answers here, but Paul knew, by the words he penned through the power of the Spirit.

"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure
 that neither death nor life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."   Romans 8:38-39

The 15th of this month for our family marks 22 years since our son's open heart surgery for Tetralogy  of Fallot.          
  On this date in my Streams in the Desert devotional, I read,
  "difficulties and obstacles are God's challenges to our faith."  
I was challenged that day, 22 years ago, remembering every vivid moment of carrying our toddler son, with my knees shaking, and placing him upon the operating table, staying beside him until sleep overcame and comforting him with my words, speaking above the pounding of my heart, trusting the surgeon's hands as I prayed Jesus' hands upon his.
This day, and the 10 days following in Intensive Care, challenged my faith, brought me to a place of surrender, my will for His; my love for Him deepened as I read from His Word those long days of my bedside vigil over my son.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

Obstacles can strengthen us, draw us to a source greater than ourselves, a source that will help us persevere through testing, growing faith strong, able to withstand the trials by day and the fears by night  to a place of  abiding peace with God as He goes with us through the deep valleys of life.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."  Romans 5:1-5

My dear friends, God wants you to have this peace; seek Him while He may be found; His perfect peace in this dark world.                  

            You Come         

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In Deep Sorrow

My deepest sympathy and sorrow for
the people of Paris, France, for the loss
of family members and friends in this horrific tragedy of Friday.

You have been in my thoughts and prayers this entire weekend and will continue to be.  No words can express my heartache for the losses you are bearing.

God be with you, friends

Michael W Smith - Let it Rain

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How Soon They're Gone...

On a recent day, I captured this moment as the sun was bright on the gold colored leaves, pouring into an upstairs dark hallway.
I like this picture- it speaks to me of days gone by. The old lace swag curtains are still in use, and must be carefully hand washed-so fragile. The dried peonies are from my garden as are the lavender sprigs; a touch of spring remembrance. The hurricane lamp,is a treasured memory of its place in my mother-in-law's home. Oh, how soon the years are gone!

Rain gently fell this entire day, no short peaks of sun that always give me a burst of energy to do daily chore or planned activities. Not today though, too dark and dreary.
 I read, almost all day; the book I started this week, but would stop when the words could not be read through my tears- read to the end, and it was dark; the day hours had slipped away.

Book read, house quiet, dark, looking at a wall filled with pictures of children, grandchildren-
where have the years gone, living over memories.

"...a wind rushing by,- a wind she could not stop, -Time going by which she could not stay. Oh, stop the clock hands!"

A quote from the book that has captivated me and held me bound to recall my own time rushing-on years.

Since I have this insatiable love for books about prairie life, the westward forging through the Great Plains, enduring one adversity after another, yet, with fortitude and endless hard work, the pioneers endured; I had to read this book.
                 A Lantern in Her Hand, by Bess Streeter Aldrich, (1881-1954), written from her own parents' experiences and from her own remembrance.
"In this classic story of a pioneer woman, Bess Streeter Aldrich modeled protagonist Abbie Deal on her own mother, who in 1854 had traveled by covered wagon to the Midwest." (book quote)

I  believe the power of a good book lingers on after the last page has been read. A Lantern in Her Hand has inspired me, caused me to think deeply about womanhood, the love of a wife and mother, courage, selflessness, faith, endurance, family and the brevity of life.
So, tonight, as I again look upon the pictures of my family covering my haven room, I am filled with thanksgiving to God for the gift of family and home and all His abundant blessings. May I always have a prayer of thanks on my lips and treasure each moment as the years, like  the hands of a clock turn quickly by.

Friday, November 6, 2015

It's That Time of Year, Get Your Shoebox Ready!

Happiness is receiving a shoebox in Liberia

Shoeboxes received in Philippines   (both photos courtesy of Samaritan's Purse)

                                  Tonight, I'm getting our shoebox ready to send to a precious child
through Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child Program. This year, I packed items for a girl, age 10-14; comb and brush, hairbands, toothpaste and brush, handmade scarf, socks, sparkly tablet, pens, lavender soap and sponge, candy to share with others, a small stuffed animal, and a letter telling her about Jesus' love for her and her family.

                                              Collection Week  is November 16-23

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse since 1993. Over 124 million children in more than 150 countries have received shoebox gifts.
Samaritan's Purse partners with local churches in the countries to distribute the boxes sharing the love of Jesus Christ with God's children of the world.

Would you like to learn how you can be involved, how to pack a box, where to take your box and even know to what country your box has gone? Yes, Samaritan's Purse will let you know by email the destination country where your box was sent. I always choose this option- it's great to know where your special shoebox child lives and to remember this child and family and their country in prayer.

Click the link for further information, and please pray for the success of this year's project.
Thank you, and God bless you and yours


Monday, November 2, 2015

In Deepest Sorrow and Prayer

My heart goes out in deepest sympathy, sorrow, pain, and prayer for all my friends in Russia and the Ukraine who have lost loved ones in the plane crash in Egypt this past weekend.
God knows your deep sorrow and piercing pain, and only He can truly comfort and heal your hearts.
Call out to Him, friends,

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit."  Psalm 34:18

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down 
His life for the sheep."    John 10:10-11

I remain in prayer that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us that we may have eternal life, will comfort you in your deepest needs.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) 

Life and Death by Paul Cardall

Sunday, November 1, 2015

"Search me, O God, and know my heart!" Psalm 139:23

                                                   "What is your true worth?"
This is the title of the newest DVD release from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,
                            My Hope 2015 Simply Sharing Jesus
"Three lives search for true worth as their worlds crumble. Follow their unexpected journeys
as Franklin Graham addresses the real value of the soul."
                                                                       quote from Value of a Soul DVD

Friends, I have viewed this DVD several times already, being moved each time.
                                               Desiring to share with you
Click link to view

Friday, October 30, 2015

Wishing Upon A Star !

Early morning, eyes opened, thoughts of visiting the Grand Canyon upon my mind.
Why is that, you say?
Last night, I was invited to vacation there with family this coming February.
Last thought of the evening brought first thought of the new day.
Oh, how I would love to see this marvelous sight -one of the wonders of God's creation!

My total excitement was peaked as I read two treasured books on my shelf, this morning, packed with exquisite captures of the beauty; this Canyon of 277 miles through the Colorado Plateau descends over a mile into the earth and 18 miles in width.
"God" written all over it!

The Bible says that the evidence of God's existence is seen all around us in the things that He has made.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness
of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly 
perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse."  Romans 1:18-20

I look at the Canyon from a Biblical perspective, using one premise:
the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.

"And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them
fifteen cubits deep. All the flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures  that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing...
Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. 
And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days."  Genesis 7: 20-24

No, I don't have to wish upon a star to see this wonder. If it be God's will for my life, I will see His Grand Canyon one day.

"When I look at your heavens,
the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which You have set in place,
what is man that You are mindful of him..."   Psalm 8:3-4

God loves you, friends, seek Him

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Hope- The Best Birthday Gift Through Compassion Sponsorship

Remember as a young child, when you could hardly wait for your birthday to arrive? Count down- 10 more days and I'll be 8 years old!! Just yesterday, as I listened to Pandora music,Oldies, from my teen years, I heard a song that was my favorite as a young teen, and oh, how I wanted that song on a
45 rpm record. I can still remember opening the present that held my record, and remembering the countless times I played that 45 over and over and over...
Children love birthdays no matter what the age; after all , it's a special day-celebrating one's birth!

Remembering your own birthday? What would make your birthday more special?

 Sponsoring a child with the same birthday as yours would brighten two lives!
What a gift that would be to a child waiting for a sponsor, and then receiving the gift of sponsorship and sharing the same birthday!
Click here:  See a child who shares your birthday

Through Compassion International, sponsored children receive:
*nutritional food
*medical check-ups
*educational assistance
*opportunities to learn about Jesus
*connections to a local church
*Prayerful friend in you. 
                   All this for 38 dollars a month- changing a child's life forever!

"In a world where more than a billion children live on less than 2 dollars a day, child sponsorship is a strategic way to provide children with compassion, resources, and HOPE!"
                                                    Compassion International

Being a sponsor with Compassion is a privilege and joy in my life. Today, I wrote my monthly letter to each of our five sponsored children. Compassion makes letter writing so easy and enjoyable, and what a blessing in return to receive letters from our children.
God bless you, friends, as you consider sponsoring one of His precious children.

Friday, October 23, 2015

A Rainbow of Autumn Color !

 A thousand golden bronze leaves showing off their vibrant color!
 Fridays are always special because of my Skype talk with a delightful Chinese couple.
This morning, they were to be a few minutes late before signing in to Skype. I used the time to capture early morning sun-drenched color.

 We use our time together to increase their conversational English, but now far more important, our journey has taken many steps to become a deep friendship- one that I am so very grateful !

                                                    "A journey of a thousand miles
                                                           starts with one single step."
                                                                       Lao Zi, ancient Chinese philosopher

Xie Xie, Nancy and Yang for a delightful morning chat!  Wo Ai Ni!
 Remembering my own trip to their country not so many years ago, and always close to my heart.

Whether it be friendship or fall beauty, I see the Lord's hand in it all, and give to Him all praise and glory!

My deck herbs are nearing the end of their season. They have done well flavoring many summer dishes and garnishing all my salads.

Crimson maple leaves
take on a lovely lavender color in sunlight!

 Our front yard Dogwood tree
is beginning to display its autumn beauty
"There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant 
about the annual cascade of autumn leaves."
                                             author Joe L. Wheeler

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Delicious Autumn!

Autumn is truly my favorite season of the year. Yes, I know what comes after, but for now, I'm just soaking in the beauty of warm, breezy days, vibrant colors around- perfect for long walks- thinking, praying, contemplating, memorizing,listening, seeing, touching, smelling... got all the senses covered?
Forgot tasting, but we've been doing that too, because autumn brings in one of my favorite smells and taste- that of  homemade grape jam bubbling on the stove, grape pie, and grape juice concentrate, all ready to freeze and enjoy when that dreaded snow does fall.

The last of our garden hot peppers went into jars or freezer bags, ready for winter chili or sandwich toppers. How are your preparations coming?

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were
a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumn!              George Eliot

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Beatitudes

This month my Bible study is in the Gospel of  Matthew chapters 5-7

                                                              The Beatitudes
                  And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when H was seated
                  His disciples came to Him. then He open His mouth and taught them, saying:

                                 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
                                     For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
                                 Blessed are those who mourn,
                                     For they shall be comforted.
                                 Blessed are the meek,
                                     For they shall inherit the earth.
                                 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
                                     For they shall be filled.
                                  Blessed are the merciful,
                                     For they shall obtain mercy.
                                  Blessed are the pure in heart,
                                     For they shall see God.
                                  Blessed are the peacemakers,
                                     For they shall be called sons of God.
                                  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
                                      For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you
falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven,
for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.    Matthew 5:1-12

As I study the Scriptures, memorize verses while walking, I use the teaching from  (chapter 5.)  A wealth of knowledge awaits a listener here, taking me this full month to listen, learn, reflect and change my life.

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount takes up chapters 5 through 7, taught by Jesus as His first  recorded sermon in the Scriptures. Nine times, He begins with "Blessed", which means happiness or happy.

 "The  very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount tells you the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount, and that is that we should know real blessedness, real happiness, real joy, real gladness, genuine divine reward. And then from there on, [Jesus] He goes on to talk  about how it is that that becomes possible, what kind of lifestyle it is that produces this kind of happiness. That becomes the running theme through chapter 5, chapter 6, chapter 7."  from
Apart from knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord, apart from faith in Jesus Christ, this sermon has no meaning.
Again I quote from the transcript; "Once a person knows God through Christ, blessedness becomes available to him or her...that when we talk about happiness, or we talk about blessedness, it is in a biblical context and it is not talking about a superficial attitude based on circumstances, it is talking about an inward attitude based on the very indwelling of the character of God Himself."

Happiness that the world offers is fleeting, it's external. Jesus is talking of internal happiness, a new kind of living, a selfless standard, known only to those who surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives.
 You can know the peace that passes all understanding, (Philippians 4:7) only through a relationship with Christ Jesus.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Memorizing Isaiah 12

banner verses from
Are you memorizing Isaiah 12 with us, friends? We're on week 5 verse 5 and it's a joy-filled verse.
It's not too late to join in anytime. Memorizing and contemplating a verse a week is doable!
Wow! to begin a week  singing praises to the Lord!
 and thanking Him for what He has done gloriously!
and then shouting, let this be made known in all the earth!

Let's walk and memorize this verse today remembering what He has done
in our lives this past week.
For me it was
*last Sunday's brunch with daughter and son-in-law and hearing the excitement in their voices over their new home purchase

* capturing the beauty of my last David
Austin English Garden rose during various times of the day-always a beauty to behold!

*tasting  fall apple crispness dipped in caramel sauce!
(is there any other way to eat apples?)

*Saturday morning 2 hour Skype call with my dear friends in China; our lives touching each other over a distance of
 7,236 miles and a vast ocean!

*Saturday afternoon gathering of church choir at the home
of our director. I brought a recipe for Apple Dessert Pizza with
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting.

*Sunday, the 11th, beautiful morning sunrise and afternoon visit with 91 year old uncle in nursing facility-listening to him reminiscence from 60 years ago

*a week filled with new contacts from around the world seeking to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Blessed to be an online missionary with Global Media Outreach

*and today, remembering so many years ago, a day like today,
filled with sunshine, warmth, and fall beauty around- our wedding anniversary.

So much to:
          " Sing praises to the Lord, for He has done gloriously;
        let this be made known in all the earth."
                                                                     Isaiah 12:5

Readers, I always welcome your comments in section below.
Would love to hear your thoughts on thanking Him for what He has done gloriously
in your life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Memory From My Beach Walking

We only had two nice days on our ocean vacation this years, but I used every minute to walk the beach.
On one such walk, I turned to look back, and  noticed my footprints, and the beautiful shoreline, azure sky and billowy clouds.
My thoughts went to this well-known poem, and for the rest of my walk, I reflected on the times in my own life when the Lord carried me through  my hardest trials.
"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen     Matthew 28:20

Friend, has this reminded you of times from your life, when the Lord carried you through your trials?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

And The Rains Came, and Planned to Stay

Our vacation was short this year; two days of almost constant rain, two days of beautiful warm, sun-soaked,
"this is fantastic weather",but ending on Thursday morning, " I think we better head home, a storm is brewing, possible hurricane."
And I didn't get to finish all the many books I planned on reading! Disappointed yes, but accepting and thankful.
Thankful not that we must leave so soon after arriving, but thankful that we were able to go and had two full days of fun and relaxing in the sun. Maybe, it's a getting older kind of thing that I can accept changes, accept disappointments with more grace than I did years ago. Maybe.. but I don't think so.

I believe the contentment is all about trusting in God for the days of my life. Since yielding my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in 1996, it has been easier to accept life's disappointments.  Yes, this is just a trifle thing, but when the huge trials of life come, and they do and will for all of us; but, as a follower of Jesus, He gives us grace to endure-just when it is needed.

                        "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
                        Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power 
                        of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in
                                          my infirmities,
                                                   in reproaches,
                                                       in needs,
                                                            in persecutions,
                                                                in distresses,  for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, 
                                                                then I am strong."    2 Corinthians 12:9,10

I truly believe the secret to contentment is trusting in the sovereignty of God. His ways are far above our ways. (Isaiah 55:8,9)
One of my favorite verse selections, that I repeated and prayed over and over again when I was going through the most difficult trial so far in my life, in 1994-96, was Proverbs 3:5,6.

                       Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
                       And lean not on your own understanding;
                       In all your ways acknowledge Him,
                       And  He shall direct your paths." 

Through all the years following, He has been my constant source of peace.
                         "You will show me the path of life:
                           In Your presence is fullness of joy;
                          At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."   Psalm 16:11

Wonderful Wednesday!
Walking the beach for hours
Watching the fishing boats
Wading in the water (not far)
Wishing the hours would slow

              Forever thankful for an ocean of memories!