Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday!

Friendship is a wonderful gift. The Bible talks about the value of friendship in the book of Ecclesiastes:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Friendships grow, change, cool and even end. I am thankful to have friends that have known me for what seems like forever and newer friends that know my heart, even if they don't know my life story. I  have friends scattered all over this fine country as well as a few across the world. Although are contact is not daily, they will always be a part of me. You share your joys, fears, fun and tears with your friends, they become a part of who you are as you share your days.

I am thankful that God designed friendship. Can you imagine what life would be like if we had to walk through our days alone? I shudder to think of it. We were designed for relationships. I am thankful for friends that I can call to blow off steam regardless of the time of day.  I am thankful for friends who jot off a text message or send a card just to say hi.  I am thankful for the internet that allows me to keep in touch with my friends who are physically far away, but still near and dear to my heart.

 Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the friends you have brought into my life. Thank you for the friends who have remained through thick, thin and everything in between. Thank you for laughter, tears and great memories. Thank you for the friends you will place in my life, help me be a blessing to them. Please bless all whom I love, place your hand of comfort and peace over my friends who are struggling today. Keep our eyes and hearts open to new opportunities to befriend someone in need. In Jesus name. Amen.

 What are you thankful for this Thankful Thursday?

In His Peace -

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Delays -- Curse or Blessing?

Delays can be frustrating - many of us are not good at waiting. Whether it is cooling your heels at the doctor's office, the line at the grocery store or stuck in traffic we don't much care for the wait.

I read somewhere that you can really tell someone's personality by how they handle delays. We may be sugar and spice and everything nice until someone messes with our finally tuned schedule.  Suddenly sugar and spice turn into claws and fangs and things get ugly very quickly. We are called to shine the light of Jesus into the world. If we are behaving badly through our daily scheduling bumps it might be time for an attitude adjustment.

Do you suppose if we look at delays as opportunities we would behave differently? Now, don't roll your eyes at me! Think about it. Could you use your waiting time for prayer? If you have a smart phone you could use your time in line to read a Bible passage or daily devotional. You could pray for the people around you at the doctor's office, they may be carrying heavy burdens and you could be their prayer warrior. Rather than a total waste of your time, waiting could become precious time spent with God. What if you are stuck standing in line because the person near you needs to hear a kind word or see a smile? You could use that time to be a day brightener. Can you see how a minor shift in attitude can change waiting from a curse to a blessing?

What if a traffic delay is being utilized by God to keep you out of a certain situation? Would you think of your delay differently? Maybe you were meant to miss that flight. Perhaps that long freight train is keeping you from an accident or erratic driver on the other side.This brings to mind the multitude of stories I read after the tragedies of 9/11 of people who experienced delays that particular morning. One woman got a blister walking to work in new shoes and stopped to get bandaids, another one stopped to pick up the donuts for the office, one man left a folder at home and returned to get it. There were many others, but these few stuck with me. These minor inconvenient delays, that were probably frustrating and annoying at the time, literally saved the lives of these individuals. Had they been to work on time they would have been in the Twin Towers when the airplanes struck. Makes me all goosebumpy to think about and certainly puts being delayed into a whole different light.

If you schedule is going awry due to a delay look for ways to turn that into an opportunity to be a blessing or receive a blessing. Your light will shine much brighter as a result!

"You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14)

In His Peace -

Friday, October 22, 2010


Listening is defined as: give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear. pay attention; heed; obey (often fol. by to): Children don't always listen to their parents. wait attentively for a sound (usually fol. by for): to listen for sounds of their return. 
We are all familiar with listening. We listen every day to the radio, the television, as well as our friends and love ones. We have the ability, but do we have the skill? Did you know that listening is a skill? People take courses on effective and active listening skills. Couples will often learn listening and communication skills when going through pre-marital or marital counseling. It is a vital component in our ability to communicate with one another and an often forgotten component in our communication with God. We talk-talk-talk-talk to Him, but never quiet ourselves long enough to listen for His answers. 

There are 332 occurrences of the word "listen" in the NIV Bible. I found it interesting that many of the occurrences of "listen" are connected to the word "understand".  Listen and understand. If we aren't listening we cannot understand, can we? How do we listen and understand God? Read your Bible! He has left us all these wonderful instructions and life lessons and most of us never read it. We are listening to his instruction by reading the instruction manual. We can also listen with our hearts. I believe that God speaks to us. Not necessarily in a booming voice from above or by a burning bush in the desert, but in our hearts. When we are inexplicably driven to do something kind, when we are moved by conviction to change our behaviors, or when we have the need come over us to pray for someone right now - we are hearing God. When we heed to the good things that are available for us to do - we are listening to God. The Holy Spirit is directing us and nudging us to act every day. Unfortunately, we are so busy running full speed ahead through our days that we ignore or don't even feel the nudging and opportunities are lost.

The Bible tells us that we aren't suppose to just read the Bible and let all that information lay stagnant in our brains. "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22). We can't just know it -- we have to live it. We can't live it if we don't know it.

Take some time this weekend to listen, really listen. Listen to your spouse, your children or to a friend in need. Listen to some worship music (one of my favorite pastimes). Of all the listening you need to do, be sure you are listening to the most important voice of all, that of your Father God. 
Heavenly Father, you have placed great value on listening - there is a reason we have one mouth and two ears. Listening must be twice as important as talking! Guide us each and every day to heed the important things in life that you are trying to call to our attention. Lead us to times of quiet where we can study your Word and listen for your voice. Help us to become more effective communicators with you and with each other. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen. 

In His Peace -

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday

As thankful Thursday rolls around again I am sitting in front of a blank computer screen with a blank mind. I have zillions of things to be thankful for, but am having a hard time focusing.

Today I am going to be thankful for Grandmas. Galen's grandma, Lorene Noble, died last night. She was ninety-eight years old. The oldest resident in the nursing home. She left this world very peacefully and we are all very thankful for that blessing.

Grandmas are a wonderful thing, very few people get to experience a great-grandma. I am thankful my children were able to know their great-grandma, who they called grandma-grandma. I never knew any of my grandfathers. I can see now with my children what a special relationship exists with grandpas as well. My Grandma Brown lived too far away for me to know her very well, but it didn't make me love her any less. My Nana I loved dearly and enjoyed spending time with her. She has been gone many, many years, but I still remember her fondly.

Lorene, was the true matriarch of her family. It seemed to me, particularly in my earlier years as a member of this family, that Grandma was the centerpiece of family events. Lorene was feisty and opinionated and you never had to doubt where she stood an an issue. She remained in her own home until she as 92. Lorene enjoyed having people come and visit her and she loved to play cards with her friends. It was sad to watch as she progressed into her older years. She slowly lost the ability to do the things she enjoyed and visits often left her more confused than anything else. 

I am thankful she has been reunited with all the friends and family members who left this earth before her. If you live to be 98 years old the list of folks you have mourned is very long. I remember years ago Lorene wondering why God was keeping her here. She didn't much feel useful to Him anymore. I am thankful that she is healthy in both mind and body, fully restored and no longer frail and confused.

Ninety-Eight years old. Consider the sheer volume of new technology and amazing events in history that happened in her lifetime. The Titanic sunk the year she was born. Air travel and televisions became commonplace.  Computers went from non-existent to room filling behemoths to pocket sized power houses. Man conquered space- unheard of in her youth,  but a space shuttle mission barely garners any press time today. Lorene lived through both World Wars and sixteen different Presidential administrations. The sheer volume of change in our country alone over the past 98 years is mind boggling.

I am thankful for the many years I knew her when she had a clear mind and a desire for conversation. I enjoyed and remembered the stories she shared about some of the items in her home that she cherished. The silver spoon given to her parents at her birth - that had her name spelled incorrectly. The little table with the curvy legs she picked up at a farm sale when they were first married - she loved the table, but felt bad she was gaining something beautiful from a fellow farmer who was losing everything. The two dressers she and Hollis purchased from the Montgomery Ward Catalog in 1937. The swirly green plate given to her by a dear friend when Hollis died. Just stuff to most, but it was stuff that held little tid-bits of who she was.

Although I was only related to her through marrying her grandson, she always treated me with kindness and respect, and I am thankful for that, too. I look forward to hearing more stories from other family members this weekend as we gather to share memories of Lorene.

Grandmas are a good thing. If you have one, be thankful for her and go give her a big hug.

In His Peace -

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Deal or No Deal?

A am not a huge fan of television. I might watch two hours a week, if that. Although the show, Deal or No Deal, has been around for several years, I had never seen and episode until recently. My husband, like most men I suppose, is happiest with the remote control in his hand. He has recently discovered the Game Show Network and has been watching the last half hour of Deal or No Deal after the conclusion of the late evening news.

In case I wasn't the only one who hadn't seen the show I will attempt to summarize.  The show begins with the contestant choosing a case that contains a unknown dollar amount.  The case is chosen from a group of 26 cases (each case held by a beautiful, identically dressed woman), with the monetary amounts inside the cases ranging from a penny to a million dollars. The contestant has opportunities to open more of the 26 cases to try to determine how much money is in the case he or she originally chose. After a few cases have been removed, the contestant is offered a sum of money to stop playing. The amount the "banker" offers each time varies with which amounts are still left on the board to represent the amounts still available in the cases. The contestant has to hedge their bets against what they believe to be in the case. This usually ends up in a nail-biting situation when they try to decide to take what is being offered or continue with what is in their originally chosen case. The worst part is, after they fold and make their deal, they then have to play out the rest of the game to see if they made a good deal or not. Sometimes they come away with more than was in their case and sometimes they don't.

Agonizing decisions are made at every turn, drawn out by the host and commercial breaks to make them even more unbearable. I wonder if each contestant was hooked to a vitals monitor if their blood pressure and stress levels would be off the charts. Frankly, it stresses me out watching it. I don't think I could stand the pressure. Could you?

The contestants on this program are all seeking to change their lives through financial gain. How long they stay in the game is tempered by how desperate for money they are. What if they win and they are still unsatisfied with their lives?? Then what?  

God is the real deal. He has offered to wipe the history of your past mistakes away for you. He has offered you eternal life in heaven. What do you have to do to earn it? Be the best? The smartest? Never make a mistake? Find the cure for cancer? Pick a case and make a nail biting deal? None of those things! The amazing thing is you can't earn it. What happened for you was far more dramatic than anything that happens on Deal or No Deal. 

Jesus Christ, the son of God, fully man and fully God, humbled himself to live on this earth as one of us. He died a horrible, painful, hideous death at the hands of people who were afraid his teachings would change the status quo. In that single, dramatic, dark moment Jesus took the full punishment for all the wrongs you have committed; past, present and future. He did this so that you and I could be found worthy to be called children of God. He died so that we can live. Now this is the deal of a lifetime --  and all you have to do is accept the offer. Your acceptance of God’s gift, your admission that you have made mistakes, your repentance (changing of your mind) of those mistakes, along with your faith in the Lord can bring eternal and abundant life.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

Lord God, thank you for loving me enough to send your one and only Son to die for me. I know I am a have made mistakes and have sinned in your eyes. I understand that Jesus was crucified and raised to life to pay a debt I was unable to pay, in order that I may live with You forever. I want to turn from my way of life and follow Jesus. I invite Jesus into my heart as the Lord of my life. Help me to find safe places to learn about you and worship you. Please lead me to Godly friends to guide me in my faith. Thank you, Father, for giving me new life in the name of Jesus. Amen!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
(Colossians 4:2 NIV)


Thursday is almost over and I am just getting to my thankful blog at 7pm. Thankful Thursdays are good for me because Thursday is my busiest day of the week. Since I am always talking about slowing down to spend some time with God, it forces me to practice what I preach!


 I am thankful for fall. As I gaze upon the picture above with the amazingly colorful foliage reflected upon the clear waters I feel more peaceful than I have all day. In Iowa the fall days tend to be chilly in the mornings and evenings with beautiful clear blue days in between. Today was one of those picture-perfect fall days. A few varieties of trees here have lost their leaves, but some are absolutely glorious. The Amor Maples, Burning Bushes and Sumac are spectacular this week. 


Fall is the time for good soups and hot tea (both I enjoy immensely), crunching in the leaves with your kids and enjoying the last spectacular days before the weather turns cold. 


 What are you thankful for today?


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Working or Spending?

Would you say you feel more comfortable working for God or spending time with God? 

This question was posed on the Facebook page for Sharon Jaynes a few weeks ago. Sharon is a devotional writer for Girlfriends in God. I enjoy her writing immensely. This wasn't part of a devotion, just a question she tossed out. It got me to thinking -- this thinking can be a dangerous pastime!


Do we get so busy doing things for God that we forget to spend time with God? Do we serve in our churches and communities until we have nothing left to give to our families?  Does Satan confuse us into thinking that working for God and having a relationship with God are the same thing? Do good Christian people fall because they fail to spend quality time with their Creator? How is that for a large parcel of questions? I don't have the answers to any of them, but it is something to seriously think about.


We shake our head in wonder at folks in ministry who get caught committing acts that go totally against everything they have been preaching, teaching or doing for years. Did they get so busy doing that they forgot the One they are truly serving? How many warnings did they hear from the Holy Spirit that went unheeded? For every bad choice out there to make, God gives us opportunities to make a good choice - we just have to be willing to see it and take it.  I love this verse from 1 Corinthians 10:13 -  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  


God has provided a way out for ever temptation you may come across. Sometimes the way out is a simple "no". Many of us are horrible at "no" and run ourselves ragged trying to accomplish all the things we said "yes" to! Churches need workers. Communities thrive on volunteers. I will never discourage anyone from serving, BUT I will encourage you to take a good hard look at your schedule. If you find you have no time left for your family or for prayer and Bible study time, it may be time to reassess and refocus. Keep running and Satan may just put out his big, ugly foot to make you trip and fall flat on your face. The good news is when you are down and out you have nothing left to do but cling to the foot of the cross. Make time for Jesus, you won't ever regret it. 

I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. (Jeremiah 24:7 NIV)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28 NIV )

Last year, during the month of November I challenged my Facebook friends to post something they were thankful for every day for the entire month. Most of my friends really enjoyed doing this, but some struggled to come up with something on a daily basis. I think we all get so caught up in living our lives that we neglect to appreciate all the amazing things we have and experience every day.

A couple months ago I came across a blog that had  a Thankful Thursday post and I thought it was a super idea. I wish I would have bookmarked the blog so I could give proper kudos to whoever it was for the idea I am now borrowing. Every Thursday that I can get my act together to write a sentence, I will post a thankful blog. I encourage you to post what blessings come to mind for you in the comments section below.

On this first Walking the Walk Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for my son, Cameron. He broke his arm on Monday and he has been such a trooper. He has not complained even once, not about pain or missing school or trying to manage with one functioning hand. He is happy he gets more time to read.

Along the same line I am very thankful for Dr. Bryce Robison and his staff who got us in right away and took care of Cameron's initial assessments over what should have been their lunch hour. Their kindness and compassion were much appreciated by a scared little boy and his Mom.

As Madame Blueberry said in VeggieTales "A thankful heart is a happy heart".  What tops your thankful list for today?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Did you know that your body is almost 75% water? The majority of us are walking around on the verge of dehydration because we don't drink enough water. Headaches, joint pain, fatigue and dulled thinking skills are all physical signs you need more water. Surprisingly, you may feel one of these symptoms before you actually feel thirsty. I read an article the other day that said the first thing we should do in the morning is drink a full glass of water to rehydrate ourselves. This made sense to me, I would imagine very few of us get up and drink water in the middle of the night. Our bodies need to replenish right away to function properly. 

What about spirit? Do you replenish your spirit on a daily basis? Much like our dehydrated body cells, we need to refuel our spirit to function at our best. What are the symptoms of a dry spirit? Well, if the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), your signal to drink up is when you are feeling anything outside of these attributes. Snap at your spouse? Losing sleep? Feeling down? Is chocolate your main food group? Perhaps these are signs you need to spend some time at the feet of Jesus. 

Are you familiar with the story of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well? Jesus was traveling through Samaria and was sitting at the well having a rest from his journey during the heat of the day. The woman was an outcast in her community. She came to draw water in the middle of the day when all the other women were long gone. The Samaritan woman had been involved with a long string of men, five she had been married to and she was living with man number six. Jesus did not condemn her. He said (and I paraphrase): Come to me, I am the living water. Drink from the well of life that exists in me and you will thirst no more. (Read the full story in John 4 1-26). Jesus knew she was trying to fulfill herself with these men. What she really needed was to complete herself through a relationship with her creator. How many people spend their lives chasing after things that will never fulfill them? This Samaritan woman filled up at the well with the living, refreshing, cleansing water that is Jesus and she was filled to such a state of overflowing joy that she ran through the town spilling the same refreshing water over everyone else. Through the love of Jesus Christ she changed from being an outcast to being an ambassador for Him in one conversation. Imagine what daily communication can do for you!

You cannot share what you don't have. We cannot act out in joy, peace, kindness and gentleness if our wells are dry. Spend time every day at the well. Study your Bible. Spend quiet time in prayer and conversation with your creator. He will sit and listen to you, just as he listened to the Samaritan woman at the well. If you allow it he will fill you to overflowing and you may just find yourself running through the streets proclaiming the love of Christ.

Heavenly and gracious Father, I come to you today parched in mind and spirit. You are the only one who can refresh and renew me. Pour your spirit over me like cool, clear water. Flow to every broken and empty place; fill me up with your Holy Spirit so I can live my life in a way that truly reflects your love. Amen.

In His Peace -