Friday, December 31, 2010


Focus Verse: Isaiah 43:1

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine.

I can think of no better way to start the new year than by remembering exactly what and whose we are. We belong to God. We are his adopted children. He created us. He has plans for us. He has only our best interests at heart.

If we are his, we should seek to make our lives consonant with his thoughts and plans. Therefore we begin the year seeking him - and him alone. As we seek him, everything we need will be added to us.

We need not make resolutions that are abandoned by February. We won't have to try to force ourselves into molds that he didn't design for us. We need simply to seek to be closer to him, not for what he can do for us, but simply to be near him, in his presence. Or more accurately, to be aware of his presence in our lives.

So this year, my goal is to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha. With Brother Lawrence, I will try to practice the presence of God.

Father, God,

Help me to sit at your feet and listen. Keep me still until I know what you would have me do. Help me to instantaneous obedience when I know what that will is.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, April 16, 2010

For Such A Time As This

Focus verses: Esther 2:19-20

Esther is an interesting study. We think of her as a kind of savior of her people because of her position in the palace. But let's look a little further into who she is.

First, she is an orphan, having neither father nor mother. Her guardian is her father's nephew, her cousin, who seems to be substantially older than she. Several times, the book refers to her obedience to Mordecai.

In obedience to Mordecai, she is taken to the palace. In obedience to Mordecai, she says nothing about her background or her people.

She seems to have a submissive spirit because she takes with her to her interview with the king only those things suggested by Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the kings harem. She won the favor of every one who saw her.

The nub of this story, however, is in chapter four. When Esther learns of the plot against her people, she is keenly aware of the price she would have to pay for approaching the king without being summoned.

Mordecai reminds her that her life is forfeit in any case, but that salvation will arise from the Lord for His people. He asks her to consider that she may have been placed in the king's palace for just this purpose.

Esther asks Mordecai to have the people fast and pray for her for three days and nights, and she and her maids will do likewise. Then she will approach the king. We all know the rest of the story. While the king's decree could not be changed, there was another decree that allowed the Jews to defend themselves.

So what does this mean to us? First was Esther's obedient spirit. She obeyed Mordecai without reservation. She didn't know why she was sent to the king's palace. She had no idea whether or why she would be chosen to succeed Vashti.

But God knew. He knows the end before the beginning. Our obedience to Him is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. No matter the trials and tribulations that come to us (and we have Jesus' word that they will come), He is still in charge. That fact give us the confidence to walk through whatever life can hand us.

Father, God,

Keep us ever obedient to You and Your purposes in our lives. Remind us that You know the outcome of every trial before it begins. Help us to rely on You alone.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's In A Name

Focus verses: Ruth 1:6-18

The story is that Naomi and Elimelech went to Moab with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, during a famine in Judah. And the sons took wives named Orpah and Ruth.

Translating the names into their respective meanings we get: "MyDelight and MyGodIsKing went to Moab with their two sons, Sickly and Pining, during a famine in Judah. And the sons took wives named Gazelle and Friendship.

During their stay in Moab, MyGodIsKing died. And later both Sickly and Pining died as well. So MyDelight and Gazelle and Friendship were left as widows.

MyDelight decided to return to Judah, the home of her God. Both Gazelle and Friendship started back with her, but MyDelight told them to return to their homes in Moab. Gazelle did go back home (to her old gods), but Friendship had tasted the world of MyDelight's God and would not leave.

She loved MyDelight and the ways of MyDelight's God. She would not leave MyDelight's side.

When we cultivate a friendship with God, nothing can induce us to leave that friendship. We can leave all that we ever knew to be close to God. We cannot pine for what is behind us. We only go on with God.

Whatever is in our past that is not of God deserves to be left behind without regret, without remembrance.

Father, God,

Help us to go on with You, leaving all else behind. Let us not be pulled back into our old ways and old habits.
In Jesus most precious name.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Dedicate Your Gifts

Focus Verses: I Samuel 1-2:21

Hannah is a model of dedication. She wanted a child desperately. She prayed so fervently that Eli thought she had been drinking. Her emotions were raw and visible.

But the Lord heard her and granted her this son. She nursed him til he was weaned, perhaps the age of two or three, and made good her vow that he would serve the Lord all the days of his life.

Imagine taking your toddler and leaving him in the hands of a man who, if you read on, obviously didn't know how to raise his own sons. Hannah had to be trusting in the faithfulness of God, not the wisdom of Eli, for her son.

So what is most precious to you? What gift can you dedicate completely to the Lord?

There are different kinds of gifts, but all can be put to use in the service of God. If you are brickmaker, you make the best bricks possible. If you are a baker, you bake the finest bread. If you are a janitor, you scrub and clean and chase the dust assiduously.

If your gift is hospitality, or evangelism, or wisdom, you use it gently, graciously, as if the Lord himself were the object of your hospitality.

When you dedicate your gift, the Lord increases it. Look at Hannah. She asked for a son which she gave back to the Lord. Then he gave her five more children, both sons and daughters.

But you don't dedicate your gift hoping to bargain with God for more. You simply dedicate it, and yourself, because that is the right thing to do. Then God is responsible for the outcome. Had Samuel been Hannah's only child, she still would have been satisfied because she had given birth to a great man of God.

Father, God,

Help us to realize that anything we have is yours. Grant us the graciousness to acknowledge that fact and dedicate ourselves and all we have to You.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't Help God With His Plans

Focus verses: Genesis 12:1-7

Abram was seventy-five years old when God told him to leave his homeland. In verse two of this reading He says "I will make of you a great nation." And then again in verse seven he says "To your offspring I will give this land." In these verses, God has twice said Abram would have children.

Abram and Sarai waited. It seemed like they waited forever. Years later, Abram complained to the Lord that he has only Eliezer of Damascus, his steward, as an heir. But the Lord assured Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the sand on the seashore or the stars in the sky. God made a covenant with Abram. See Genesis Chapter 15.

Ten years passed, and Sarai could hear her biological clock ticking. She knew that she was growing too old for bearing children. She decided to take matters into her own hands and sent Abram in to Hagar to conceive a child for her. In a way, Hagar was the original surrogate mother. At least, that was what Sarai intended. But it didn't work that way.

Sarai was jealous of Hagar and mistreated her. Hagar ran away, only to be found of the Lord and told to come back into her servitude. But the Lord also assured her that her son would have many descendants. He told her to name the child "God Hears" - Ishmael. (Genesis 16)

The prophecy concerning Ishmael in verse twelve, however, forecasts an on-going feud between Ishmael's line and Isaac's line. Look at the middle east today. We have the sons of Ishmael and the sons of Isaac in constant conflict.

So let's play a game of "what if." What if Sarai had not become impatient, Hagar had not become pregnant, and Ishmael had never been born. Would the middle east be peaceful today? We'll never know.

Whenever we try to do God's will our own way, it results in a muddle. God can redeem our messes, but it is never as good as what He had planned originally. It all comes back to the arrogance of the intellect. We think we know how to help God out. We don't.

Our function is to believe His word and obey His commands. We are to do a thing only if God says so, not because we think it's the way to do it.

Father, God,

Help us to remember your wisdom is infinite and our minds are puny in comparison. Remind us that You do not need our assistance, only our faith and obedience.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Surviving On Your Feet

Focus verses: Job 1 and Ephesians 6:10-20

Jesus promised that in this world we would have troubles. But He also promised that He had overcome the world. You can see in the Book of Job that being a righteous man is no shield from the tragedies and problems of the world.

Job was a righteous man. In the King James Version, it uses the word "upright." Posturally that means standing on your feet. If you read further, you will notice that he continually thinks about the Lord and makes sacrifice for himself and his family, lest any of them had cursed God in their hearts.

Notice it doesn't say aloud. It says "in their hearts." The thoughts of his children were of concern. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Job had already done all that is in our Ephesians 6 passage. He knew the truth. He was righteous. He lived at peace with his world. He had faith in God.

Much of the source of his anguish was in trying to defend himself against the charge that when evil things happen, the person to whom they happen must have done something against God to have God punish him that way.

We can see that this is a battle against principalities and powers. Job's righteousness had built a natural hedge around himself and all that was his. God allowed Satan to penetrate that hedge because God knew that Job would remain faithful to Him under any circumstances.

If we are to survive the troubles promised us by Jesus Himself, we must cling faithfully to God.
As my Papa would have said "anti-un-dis-irregardless" of anything that goes on in this world. It is the rock of God's word upon which we can safely build. Anything else is quicksand.

Father, God,

Keep us always mindful that You are the safe haven in our world. No matter what the worlds says or does, turn our eyes always toward You and Your Word that we might be secure in our knowledge of Your faithfulness.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Whew!! That's done.

The manuscript for my devotional gift book As Grandma Says is finally off to the publisher, the contract is signed, and all I have to do now is finish the bio, the blurb and provide them publicity pictures.

The book should be available from Harvest House in January of 2011, if all goes well.

We will get back to our weekly posting on Friday of this week, March 20.

Thank you all for your patience and your understanding.

Grace and peace,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Walking And Talking

Focus verses: Genesis 6:9 and 2 Peter 2:5

We've all heard the phrase, if you are going to talk the talk, you'd better be ready to walk the walk. Your walk must match your talk. That's part of the definition of integrity.

We can read through all of the story of the flood and it's aftermath. Nowhere does it say Noah spoke to anyone about God and His plans.

But in Second Peter, the scripture calls Noah "a preacher of righteousness." Implicit in walking with God is the idea of speaking of God. When you have a good friend, you quote that friend in your conversation with others. You share that friend's thoughts (the public ones) with people around you because you found value in those thoughts.

How much more should we who claim Christ be willing to share the thoughts of the Lord with those around us. You don't need to have a church or mission to be a preacher of righteousness.

You preach by example as well as by word. If your daily life reflects your walk with God, you are a preacher. Your words may be simple and few, but you are still preaching. Or you may be loquacious and talking all the time. In which case, your walk should reflect what you are saying.

If we would reflect the light of Christ to a hurting world, we need to keep ourselves close to Him, walking with Him, listening to Him, so that what we do and say exemplifies what He would have us be.

Father, God,

Help us to stay focused on Your will in our lives. Keep us faithful to the task You have set before us. Strengthen us to be people of integrity, reflecting You to all the world around us.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Walking With God

Focus verses: Genesis 5:24 and Genesis 6:9

Enoch and Noah had this in common. They are recorded as having "walked with God." What an epitaph! He walked with God.

But exactly what does that mean? How does one walk with God? Amos says: Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Agreement simply means that both parties are of one mind as to the destination and the route.

If we want to walk with God, we must agree with God. He never changes. So we must change to fit His plans.

Our destination is eternity with Him. Our route has been laid out for us. Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

Study of this Book, the Bible, will lead us to a closer walk with God. Making time to be in His presence alone will give us the strength to lean on Him in the trials of the world. As we grow in His grace and favor, He will lead us gently to our destination, no matter if the scenery around us is sometimes wild and terrifying.

Let us determine to carve out personal time for Him in our daily busy-nesses.

Father, God,

Strengthen our resolve to spend time with You alone. Grant us the favor of Your presence in the midst of the chaos of our lives. Reassure us that You have a plan, no matter what the scenery around us looks like.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Focus verses: Genesis 11:27-13:18

Are we there yet? Every parent who has taken a driving trip with children knows this question. The answer is easier with a stated destination and a road map showing the landmarks along the way. Without that map and those landmarks, the answer is more nebulous.

Abram set out with his father, Terah, to go from Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan. But they didn't go there. They stopped at Haran. Scripture doesn't tell us when they arrived at Haran, but Abram left his father there when he was seventy-five and Terah was a hundred and forty-five years old.

Terah had set out for Canaan, but stopped short. Abram set out for "the land I will show you" and arrived at Canaan. It seems a continuation of his father's journey. We can trace it on a map.

There are other journeys that are harder to trace. The journey of our life has different landmarks and a different path. For some, we begin at birth, travel through youth, make a stop at marriage and parenthood, progress on to old age and finally arrive at the beginning of eternity, otherwise known as death.

The beginning of eternity can occur at any point on this "typical" journey. But our destination is the Kingdom of God. The only map we have is in this book, the Bible. We can only gauge how far we have come and how far we have yet to go by examining ourselves in light of the Word of God.

We are told several times about the Kingdom of God. Studying these landmarks will help us stay on the right path for our destination. The question is not "are we there yet?" Are we closer than we were yesterday?

Father, God,

Shine the light of Your truth on our path. Keep us faithful to the journey, walking closely in the footsteps of Jesus. Help us to grow in grace and righteousness.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Knowledge and Temptation

Focus verses: Genesis 3:1-20

"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and a little is all most of us ever get." I don't know who said it first, but my grandmother quoted it often.

The first sin in the Bible is exactly that. Eve had a little knowledge about what looked good to eat. But she had no first-hand knowledge of the ramifications of eating the fruit that Satan was showing her. She did, however, have the word of God which told her not to eat it.

Strawberries are wonderful! Beautiful to look at, sweet and a little tart on the tongue. Even nutritious. But if you are allergic to them, they are poison in your system.

I cannot think of any sin that doesn't begin exactly as this first sin in the Garden of Eden. Satan sees something that he can make look good to you. Then he sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear.
Shh, God isn't big enough. He isn't always right. Sometimes He has selfish motives.
You can be in charge.
This is how you do it.
He will package the "this is how you do it" part in something that is a natural temptation to you. He gets you to looking at a temptation, thinking about it, obsessing over it and finally yielding to it.

Look at the progression. The first thing he does is ask a question -- one that questions God's commands.
"Did God really say..?"
Then Eve said "Yes, God said..."
At which point Satan has the temerity to call God a liar!
That is the first lie of the father of all lies. When we believe that lie, we are undone.
God is not a man that He should lie.

This week, I'm looking at the things that tempt me most. Pleasures, time-wasters, indulgences. What does God say about the way I pleasure myself and spend my time, energy and money?

It's going to be a difficult week.

Father, God,

Helps us to examine ourselves and the plans You have for our lives. Give us the strength and will to follow Your path rather than our own temptations. Teach us to temper our small knowledge with the knowledge of Your word.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Focus verses: Genesis 2:15-24

Relationships with other people are important. During all of creation, God said "it is good." This is the only instance where He said "it is not good."

Look carefully. Adam was in the Garden of Eden. He had authority over all living creatures. He was to tend the garden. He needed nothing. But he was alone. That was the only thing that was not good.

While the rest of the passage speaks to marriage most obviously, some other inferences can be drawn. Every human being needs companionship.

At one point, I worked in a nursing home. Most of the residents were alone in one way or another. They had lost themselves in dementia, or they had no close family to tend them. Others had physical limitations that didn't allow them to stay in their own homes alone. Those that did the best were people who had family or friends visiting regularly. Or they cultivated relationships with those around them, both staff and residents.

For the others, we tried to encourage friendships among the residents. We planned social events: teas, games, meals, entertainment, and outings -- feeble substitutes for relationships.

This week, I'm taking stock of my relationships. There is, of course, my husband - the primary relationship - and my children/grandchildren. But there are also friends. When you come to my age (past retirement), many of your friends are of similar age with the concomitant health problems and frailties. You never know how long they will be with you.

Reared as an only child, I longed for sisters. During my lifetime God has given me several. Della and Sandy have gone home and left me here to miss them. Delores and Sally and Geni are still with me. They are listed in order of proximity.

I've known Delores for about thirty years. We see each other regularly - generally once a week - and can share anything without fear of rejection. She knows most of my warts and loves me anyway.

Sally and I were in grade school together (much more than thirty years ago). She lives in Texas, so we see each other rarely. But when we can get together, we pick up in the middle of the paragraph. Although our branches extend in different directions, our roots are intertwined, like side by side grape vines with trunks twisted together and tendrils escaping all around.

Geni is a much newer friend. And my largest regret is that I have never hugged her. We met on line when she and her husband were in China. We struck up a conversation and discovered we were sisters at heart. She prays for me and my other friends, family and causes, and I pray for her and hers. We rejoice, share, complain, chat, and love one another. The only thing missing is the hug because I have never met her in person. She lives on the west coast (closer than China but still too far for coffee and conversation).

Three perfect jewels in my life, each a different color, size and shape. One is an emerald, another an opal, and finally a pearl (listed in alphabetical order, not respectively). What a treasure chest!

This week, take stock of the treasures in your relationships. What can you do to enhance them? Can you cultivate new ones?

Father, God,

You placed us all in specific positions in your world, not capriciously, but purposefully. Show us Your purposes in our relationships. Make us sensitive to new ones and help us to cultivate them to Your glory.
In Jesus' most precious name.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Focus verses: Genesis 1:1-3

From nothingness, God created an orderly system. Stars and galaxies and planets move in such an order the scientists can predict with confidence that a solar eclipse will occur on a specific date and at a precise minute within the prescribed hour.

When things are in order, they are predictable. My grandmother used to say "a place for everything and everything in its place."

But my twelve room house is cluttered and cramped because I don't have a specified place for everything, so everything is not in "its place." The worst offender is the space I call my "office." I need to weed through the clutter and dispose of much of it. Then categorize and create a system for the remainder so that I can retrieve what I need at a moment's notice.

When I ask God for knowledge, I've noticed He doesn't shine a floodlight all around me, He seems to use a little flashlight to illuminate one small area at a time. I'm going to use that system for this office. Rather than tackling all of it all at once, I will take one section at a time. There are three two-drawer file cabinets, eight bookcases, two open TV stands which hold paper and supplies, and a multi-compartment computer desk. Most offensive of all are the stacks and piles of paper on every surface. Specific goal for this week is to get all the horizontal surfaces clear - nothing on them that doesn't belong. This will be an ongoing project through the year.

Where is there disorder in your life? What can you clear up and organize? Ask Him for help and let us know how it goes.

Father, God,

Shine the light of Your corrective love on the corners of our lives that we can work to improve. Show us how to create order that we might be more reflective of You in all areas of our lives.
In Jesus' most precious name.

For the Record
My words from the Lord for last week:
Saturday: Be prepared
Sunday: Be hospitable
Monday: Be industrious
Tuesday: Be patient
Wednesday: Be supportive
Thursday: Be faithful
Friday: Be productive

I was amazed that the words were all "be" not "do." I had thought I'd be told to "do" something -- and then I realized, God is I AM, not I DO. If we are to be like Him, we are to be. What we do will flow out of that being.