Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Season of Busyness

Today is the last day of September. So you are thinking, 'Big deal.' Well that means there are only three months left of this year. WOW! And they are always such busy times. With football, band functions, basketball starting, Thanksgiving, shopping, Christmas holidays, concerts, and New Year's Eve, it is amazing we will have time to breathe.

I don't see it as a man-I-am-busy kind of season, I see it as opportunities to spend it with those I like and love (and even some I don't like). I have lots of opportunities to show God's love to others and to help others. I am becoming less of a homebody and more of a on-the-go person. It makes me try and budget my time more wisely, make me plan my days and meals better and hopefully make better decisions in my life. It also makes me a little more stressful. With both kids in so many activities it makes for a careful coordination and cooperation with all of us. So we can do what we want and make sure we spend some quality, family time together.

God puts such seasons in our lives to make us appreciate the times we are slow, the times we spend together as a family, and to let us know that we are not in control. I hope that as we start toward the end of 2009, all of us can reflect on some of the important things of our lives and not on worrying on how to get it all done. If something doesn't get done, then it wasn't meant to be. But that's a whole other devotion!

Psalms 104:19 The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.

UPDATE: Dad is taking the meds that the doctor order him to. Mike talked to him yesterday and said that his voice and breathing are much better and he is eating more! This is wonderful news. Say a prayer of thanks to God for this and that he will have a complete recovery from all of it soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Clear Eyes, Full Heart

The last few mornings, I have woke up and felt like there is some kind of filmy glaze over my eyes. I am sure it is allergies and being outside in the evening so much because of football and other activities. It is a strange sensation not knowing if you are seeing clearly or not. I mentioned it to a co-worker today and she looked at me and said, "Maybe your glasses need cleaned." To which I replied, "Maybe."

Job 9:11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.

But I know that it not my glasses (though they probably do need cleaning). It is my eyes. I can feel them. They feel kind of heavy, and around the edges I seem to see a bit of fuzziness. I could be imagining it too. So do you know where I am going with this? Yep. Do you ever feel the fuzziness around your eyes when it comes to seeing God's plan for you? Of course you do. It is only natural that we as humans only look at the picture in front of us. Some of us have great peripheral vision, but that doesn't mean we always see the big picture around us. God knows where we are going, what we are doing and where we have been. He knows that we all long to see His face and that we sometimes do not know where to turn. Sometimes we take the wrong path. We see things that we think are there, but sooner or later, we know that it isn't like that.
Satan can blind us in so many ways, but we need to keep our eyes in God's Word and on His plan.

1John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

On the show FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, the football team has a saying that I love. "Clear eyes, full heart, can't lose!" Maybe that is what we need. Clear eyes to see God and His plan with, a full heart to show God's love with, and then we can't lose to Satan!

Monday, September 28, 2009

To See God

Last week, I received several messages from Facebook. I have a Facebook page, but lately I have been so busy I have not been on it to update it. One message said, "Chester XXXXXX has added you as a friend on Facebook." Another one said that "Arretta XXXX has sent you a message on Facebook." Okay, that is my parents. My mom's message was something like I have no idea what I am doing on this, but I have added the kids and thought it would be nice to add you too! This is just too funny to me. My parents are starting to catch up with some of the technology of future generations. Even my kids started asking me why grandpa and grandma had sent them messages on Facebook.

As humans we have a need for that contact. We have a need to reach out a touch someone in any way we can. Though it seems impersonal, the computer is becoming the choice of a lot of older people to stay in touch and reconnect with lost friends. In fact, my sister found one of our exchange students email address. Some of you will remember Gisella from Brazil. Dad called her Zeke. I just emailed her, so hopefully I will get an email back and can fill you in on some news from her.

Another form of technology I love is my cell phone. Having my phone with me constantly is crazy, but I can keep in touch with friends and family by calling or texting. Keeping in touch with your family and friends is important, but there sometimes is that lost connection. Whether it be technical difficulties or what, we sometimes panic when we think people are ignoring us. So sometimes, face to face contact is important. That is what church does for us. We have that face to face with our Christian family. We can see their faces, their hurt or their joy. We can hear it in their voices when they lift them up in praise or when they hollar "Amen!" to agree with something that was said.

Psalm 11:7 For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.

Revelation 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

These verses give another dimension to God. Last week I stated that that song about God running to me was something I never thought about. These verses tell us that God will show you his face someday. How beautiful that will be! To look into his eyes and see the love and compassion. To see his nose, cheeks, and his chin. What an awesome sight it will be! I can't wait to see God. To touch him and give him a big hug.

Friday, September 25, 2009

In His Image

My parents went to Louisville last week to the Southern Gospel Convention. They spent 6 nights watching groups perform and hearing lots of music. I always ask my Mom to get me the newest Greater Vision cd. I love that group and the songs they sing. But this time, my mom brought me back like seven cds. Good grief! Three of them are soundtracks. One I absolutely love. Three are really good and one is a big Greater Vision Christmas cd.

Anyway, one of the cds is of the top ten songs of 2009 in Southern Gospel music. I enjoyed all the songs, but one struck me the most. It is called When God Ran by the Kingsmen. The second verse talks about the prodigal son and how he broke his father's heart when he left. Then it talks about the day he returned and how his dad ran to him, put his head to his chest and hugged him because he had returned. The singer says that it was the only time he saw his father run. The chorus talks about how when we return to God, he runs to us, hugs us and holds us close. How he is so happy we are back in his arms. Isn't that the best image of God? That he gets so happy to see us come back that he will run to us?

I never thought of him as really having legs, you know? But that song just made me realize that we are made in his image and that means he has arms, legs, a face and he is capable of so much more than we ever think about with our limited knowledge.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Lord Gets Us Through

I received a wonderful email from a friend. Judy lost her husband and best friend one year ago yesterday. On top of that, this past week, her daughter lost her mother-in-law, so this has been extremely trying for her.

Do we remember those friends who may seem okay, but the anniversary of their loved ones death sneaks up and is on their mind but not ours? Do we seem careless and insensitive? Are we just forgetful? I know I can be. I thank God that he is a caring and wonderful God who orchestrates each moment of our lives if we let him. Here is what happened to Judy yesterday.

As many of you are aware it was one year ago yesterday that I lost my buddy. The coming of that day has been on my mind constantly for the last few weeks....wondering how I was going to get through it. I spent most of the day with Jennifer and her family going to a funeral for her mother-in-law. Of course, Jane was I was with family even was a very emotional day. I was able to do what I do best........ cooking for and nurturing my family. Was this a part of my healing process???? Yes, I think it was. So I made it through yesterday OK and then there was last night I had to get through, as he passed away at 5:15. It is amazing how our Lord works....I wondered all day how am I going to make it when 5:15 comes???? will I be able to stand it????I'll be by myself Lord, how am I going to make it???? etc, etc. At 5:07 my neighbor from 2 doors up knocked on my door, needing my help. Her stepmother had passed away (yes on September 23) and she needed my help in writing the obituary. I looked at her a told her "you know the Lord sent you here." Yes, He gave me a job to do, helping my neighbor! So I pulled David's obituary as a guide .......... and I was able to talk about him and help her at the same time, 5:15 rolled on by...... After she left I was OK. This is how our Lord works.....Thank You Lord! Yes, HE was there with me the whole time, why did I even think I would be alone!
Thanks to all who called, sent cards and prayed for me yesterday. Blessings, Judy

I can't believe that David has been gone a year. He was a funny, sweet man who loved his family, his church and most of all his God.

Thank you Judy, for letting me post this for everyone.

2 Samuel 22:33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

Amos 5:14 Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My mom, Allie and I love to watch Dancing With the Stars. And the last two evenings, we have watched four hours of this show. The first night all the men "stars" danced. The second night, all the women "stars" danced. I think the best performance of both nights has been Kelly Osbourne. Her partner, Louis Van Amstel is one of my favorite pros on the show and he knows how to teach ballroom! He made this young woman, that most of us who don't know her, like her. Kelly's dad and mom, Ozzy and Sharon, were there and Sharon cried after Kelly danced. She was so proud of her young daughter and the skills she has acquired.

Kelly is a bit shy, but she definitely made a good impression on me. What a beautiful Viennese Waltz she did. It was elegant, flowing and very nice to watch. Even my husband agreed! It was nice to see a mom and dad out there rooting for their daughter, no matter if she did good or bad.

I am glad and thankful that God is like that for us. He watches us and roots for us. He lets us know every day that he is proud of us. Even when we are not doing well at our tasks, he still encourages us to keep trying. Thank you, Lord for loving us and talking to us through Your Word, and through others.

Every day that I do this devotion, I am encouraged by each of you. I want to thank you for your support and love of me through this. I hope this is a blessing to each of you. Today, tell your children or spouse, or co-worker, or friend that they are great and encourage them to keep on.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Changing of the Season

Today, at 5:18 PM, Summer is officially over and Autumn takes it's place. Around here it's been hard to distingush between the two as of late. The evenings have been crisp and cool and the days have been warm and even humid. Change is in the air. I am ready to go to an orchard and get some fresh apples, cider, and walk around a pumpkin patch. I have seen people already put out pumpkins and scarecrows as decorations. For us, we like to have a fire in the pit out back most weekend nights. The kids like inviting their friends over to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for smores.

Fall is my second favorite season. When Mike and I were planning our wedding, he agreed that a winter wedding would be fine. When October came around that year, I told him that we may have already been married if he hadn't agreed to December. He was a little upset because had he known that, he would have pushed for an Autumn wedding. But that was almost 19 years ago!

Change in our lives is good. I married a guy who isn't really into changing his routine too much. He likes to make a plan and stick with it. What fun is that? Routines are good and I love to have the kids on a good schedule. But to deviate from that now and again makes life interesting. If we don't change, then how are we to grow? Just like the leaves change on the trees, the weather subtly begins to cool, and the light fades quicker from day to night, we need to change. Change our thinking, our habits, and turn toward things more eternal and not present. God wants us to fix our eyes on the prize of heaven, not the here and now. The world will give you your prize right now if you want. God makes us wait. God wants us to come to make choices about him for ourselves. He wants us to know that even though He will never change, we can change. No matter what your lifestyle is, how much sin and sadness is there, you can change. You can make that choice to change your season from worldy to eternal.

Daniel 2: 19b-23 "Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20 and said:
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.

21 He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.

22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers:
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Trusting Friends

Yesterday afternoon, I took Allie shopping for a Homecoming dress. It was quite the experience. She seemed to know where she wanted to go, and her friend Austin, and Timm went with us. Now, Allie does not have a date to go with, (which is fine with Mom and Dad), but she was in a great mood to try on clothes, which doesn't happen often. She even let the boys pick out a couple of outfits for her to try on.

She had us laughing at some of her descriptions of how some dresses fit. Two of them, she wouldn't even come out of the room because she stated that they were not covering enough of her. But in spite of it all, we had a successful trip and she is now the proud owner of a pretty Homecoming-esque dress. Everyone approved. Well, except Dad. He stated that it was too revealing, but that is his job to say that.

I asked Allie who all are going to the dance and she said she had no idea. She says everyone she asked if they were going were either not going or not sure yet. She is kind of disappointed in her "friends" because they do not seem in to going. Austin is going, but not as her date.

She is pretty excited about getting dressed up and going to this dance. I hope she does it. Her self-confidence is good, but she is wanting to have fun and do more with her friends. To her, friends are very important right now. They are what matters and for her, they are hard to come by. Trust is a big issue with her. Luckily, we all know that God can be trusted and he will bring her and you what is needed. It may not be understood, but God has that plan for you and when it unfolds, you will go, "Oh, now I see."

Psalm 31:14 "But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."

Let us all pray we have the trust that God will bring us through whatever we need.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Family Time

This morning, on my way to work, the gas light came on on my dashboard. I am not surprised by this. I knew I would need gas soon, but not on my way to work. Well, I decided I would stop and get gas. So I pulled in to Ameri-Stop and reached for my wallet. Uh-it's not there! Man! I couldn't get gas! I left my wallet at home.

Let's see, I took it out of my purse to get the kids lunch money. Oh, it's still on the desk. Well, let's pray I have enough gas to get me home & to the closest gas station. Running out of gas isn't the worst thing that can happen. But not getting your tank filled up is. I am not talking about your vehicle's gas tank. I am talking about your soul.

Every week, we know of people who seem to be letting things get in the way of a service. Right now, I am guilty of this. I am the kind of person who has always believed that anytime the church doors are open, I should be there. But I am also learning that with a family, you need to make time for them. This is why I am not as into Sunday evenings or Wednesday Bible Study. I have tried to do my laundry on other days of the week, but Sunday seems to be the best day for us. And with football season, all the Junior High games, except maybe 1 is on Wednesday. Luckily they are early, 5 PM, and I am the type of parent who wants to be there to support my kids in all they do. But the next two Wednesdays are away games. I can not get there before the game is over, so Mike will have to pick up the slack when he can. It's hard, but thank goodness for texting!

So my original point to all this is that you have to find ways to fill your soul-tank. I have choir practice and I have Sunday morning church and Sunday School. I also have my own study of the Word and this devotion. Both help me when I have had a bad day. I know in a few years that I will be back to helping out when I can and going to church on Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings. But for now, justified or not, I am wanting to raise my children to know I love them and support them. They know God and that He is the most important person in their lives. He isn't coming second or last because we pray, we talk about Him, and I try to involve them in as much as they can handle. Allie is going to be helping out with the Children's drama again this year and Timm is going to the Junior High Retreat in a few weeks. They go to Sunday school and help me out with choir and whatever else they can be involved in.

Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Luke 18:17 "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Are you Tough?

Are you tough enough? I heard a joke the other day. 'Chuck Norris doesn't mow his lawn. He goes out and dares it to grow." Now that is tough. Some days I am good and some days I am this scared, sad person who wants someone else to take over. I may put on a good front, but if it wasn't for God, I would never even function properly. My hope rests in him. He helps me be tough enough. He gave me my husband, who gives me a lot of support and strength. I hope I do the same for him.

You can be tough and still be dependent on others. I think I am tough, but I depend on God for a lot of that. I also depend on God for my salvation. I depend on my family for love and support.

Psalm 62:7 "My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge."

So I guess you don't have to be tough enough. You just have to be tough enough to depend on God.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Love Them

I am sad today. One of my favorite teenage crushes has died. Patrick Swayze, the actor who made dancing cool in the nineties, being a bouncer glamourous, and making us believe that love transcends death, has died. He was definitely an actor that I did enjoy watching on the big screen. How will he and the other actors of this year that have died be remembered?
There is quite a bit of controversy around Michael Jackson's death. Farah Fawcett may be remembered 20 years from now as a beautiful pin-up poster. Ted Kennedy will be history books, I am sure. But what about all the brave soldiers who died fighting in the war in Iraq and other countries around this globe? Family, friends and admirers will all miss them. Their names may be honored on a plaque in their hometown or in their family home. But you and I will never remember all of them. Only the people who have touched our lives in some way.
Do you want to remember someone in a special way? Do you want those around you to know how much you care? Tell them every day. This world needs more of us to tell each other that we love them and we care for them. I have a group of friends that I talked to just about every day. I have my family, but these people I make sure to tell every day that I am thinking of them or I care for them. It is now a habit that we all have. It makes me feel better that they know how I feel and that they are as comfortable telling me how they feel.
To each of you that read this, I want you to know that I appreciate you. I love you with the love of the Lord. James 2:8 "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right."
Tell someone today how you really feel. You might be surprised in their reaction, or you might feel closer to them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Happy Labor Day!

Hooray! Today is the last day of summer hours. Honestly, I am happy about that. This day is not getting over fast enough either. For the past week I feel like I have been on edge. I don't know why. I can't sit still and I can't concentrate. I honestly think I miss being with my kids. But that is weird because they are in school and then at band practice and football practice. So they wouldn't be home anyway. I am thankful that tomorrow is a half day and then a long weekend.

Labor Day is here and I am appreciative to my company for giving me Monday off. I will be laboring at home with laundry and such, but as for celebrating Labor Day? Well, tomorrow night is a big Friday Night Lights football game, then two more games Saturday morning. Sunday is church and that evening is a get-together with my parents, family and friends. I hope to get to watch the WEBN Fireworks that are put on down on the Ohio River in Cincinnati. They are always a highlight. We turn up the radio, turn down the tv and watch them. So cool.

What does Labor Day mean to you? For me it means the end of summer. I do try to remember and appreciate God for letting me find a job and the abilities I have to do the job. That is always a good thought.

Psalms 90:17 "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands."

Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pray for the Singer

This coming Sunday, I am singing for special music. The song I am singing is one that I found months ago and couldn't get out of my head. I actually did sing it on a Sunday night in July, twice, in fact. So for the 15 or 20 people that have heard it, I hope you will enjoy it this time.

This song is one I used in a devotion a while back, during Dad's treatments. It is called "God Is Good" and it is sang by the Southern Gospel Group, Legacy Five. It talks about how all through my life God has been good no matter what I have been through. There have been sadness, joy, pain, but no matter what, God has been good.

I have been practicing this song, but I can't get the words in my head. The chorus is easy, but the verses seem to throw me. I think it is because for me, they hit so close to home. This song talks about how with God you can face your greatest fears.

The problem I am having is that when I sing this song, I cry. I hate that. I love a song so much that I have to sing it, but I can't. I have been practicing this song for quite a while and it is never far from my thoughts. That is how much I love this song. I want to do a good job for God and for all of you that will be there to listen to it. I want to get the message across that God is good in my life and that is my testimony. But I don't want the tears that come from the feelings I have lose the translation. There have only been two other songs that I have sang or practiced that have done this to me. The first one, I sang several years ago called "Try Jesus". The other is one I have not sang yet. It is called "Another Soldier Is Coming Home". I is one that I can even talk about.

So pray for me this week as I practice and try to get this song ready for church. Pray that God will give me the strength to sing it, that his love will come through and that each of you will hear the words and appreciate the love for this song I have.

Psalm 13:6 "I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Gift of a Child

Have you ever watched a show called "18 Kids and Counting"? It is a reality show without the made-up drama. The family that is followed is the Duggars from Arkansas. They are a God-fearing, wholesome family who have 18 children. Is that wonderful or crazy? Does it really matter?

People immediately decide to judge the parents because they have had so many children. Why is that? To you and me that may seem like a lot of kids, but to the parents, Jim-Bob and Michelle, they are so happy that God has blessed them with each child. They have lots of love and a firm grounding in the gospel. They believe that each child is a gift and are raising them to be loving, wonderful kids. In fact, their oldest son is now married with a child of his own on the way.

Mike and I love each of our children very much. Even if they don't understand why we do things the way we do. Sometimes they see the here and now and not the bigger picture. Our children are wonderful individuals whom I hope we are instilling a love of God and of others in. That part isn't too hard, but the angst of just being a young adult/teen/pre-teen in this day and age is so scary. I pray everyday for my kids and their friends. I ask God to watch over them and to help them make good decisions.

I also pray for each of you and hope that you feel God's loving hand on you. Remember that God loves you and no matter what He is in control of our life.

Psalm 10:12 Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.