Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolution For Revelation

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

For years, people have asked me the age-old question. "What is your New Year's resolution?" I stop and think; will I treat my body better by eating healthier and adopt an exercise program to go along with it? Making a commitment of that nature involves real dedication. It would be better for me to find something easy, something I will not abandon after the first couple of months. Since I like to write, I could make a vow to write so many hours a week. I know I would be able to stick to that.

If I look at commitment from God's point of view, I realize He takes a vow seriously. What if He did not make good on His promises? This world would be in a heap of trouble. All throughout the Bible God shows His plan for the redemption of man. He does not have second thoughts. If God said it, you can believe it. When the prophets gave a message from God, the people knew it was going to happen. His prophecies are still coming true.

This year my resolution will be to seek God's Word and receive His revelation knowledge. He will help me with my bad habits as I strive to be more like Jesus. When I fall, I can repent. Forgiveness is God's promise to me.

Father, help me to continually seek the revelation knowledge of your Word. Assist me in making the changes in my life that will enable me to serve You better. In Jesus Name

©2009 Marcella Panowicz

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Death

Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting? I Corinthians 15:55 (NIV)

The nurse entered the intensive care waiting room; her face was downcast as she approached, “I’m sorry. She’s gone.” That was at 3:00 a.m., December 26.

The call came on Christmas Eve. Mom had been rushed to the hospital, and I should hurry home. My husband and I quickly packed our luggage and drove five hours through the early Christmas morning. I never saw her conscious.

Every Christmas since, I felt sadness. I tried to act joyful, but with each passing year, the gloom returned. Everyone looked happier than I. One Christmas I heard a radio minister say, “Rejoice that your loved one passed away during this joyous season. At the same time the churches are bursting with strains of "The Messiah" and angels are praising God, their spirit is ascending into heaven."

That message blessed me. Mom loved Jesus and the Christmas season. She decorated everything she could and baked many varieties of cookies.

Today as I bake all the goodies from Mom’s recipes, I thank God I had a loving mother and rejoice that Jesus is our Savior. Because of Jesus, I will see her again.

Dear Jesus, Thank You that death only separates us from our loved ones temporarily. Please renew the right spirit in us and help us to trust You and Your eternal plans. Amen.

©2009 Lois Gosley

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Living Church

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Learning from children happens while teaching them. A fifth grade Sunday school class memorized this verse. After playing a game of memory, they accepted the challenge to reiterate the verse without looking at the words on the board. Four of the class members said it perfectly. Then the teacher asked if anyone else would like to recite the verse.

One of the children, Heather, had acquired brain damage from a serious illness when she was six years old. She continued to be a fellow class member with the children that she has known over the years. Up went her hand so she could say the verse. The other students noticed, and the room became very quiet. “Heather, would you like to say the verse?” asked the teacher.

Heather looked at the board and slowly began to read the words. “F..or……a…bo..rn,” she read, in this manner all the way to the end. The 24 other students in the room became so quiet you could hear a pin drop. When Heather finished reading, all the students loudly clapped their hands for her. On that day, the teacher experienced the living church from the children.

Dear Lord, You teach us Your way; You let us experience Your way; and You lead us to precious You. Amen

© Mary Burkey 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Jesus - Not Santa

Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you: He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10 (NIV)

“Here Comes Santa Claus” is a song symbolizing the fact that a sacred holiday has been twisted into a business venture. Because merchants count on large income from holiday sales, some stores begin displaying Christmas merchandise in October. After all, it is the most lucrative shopping season of the year.

Only when people look away from the commercialization of Christmas, can it become apparent that this is a time like no other. Feelings of good cheer and goodwill abound on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Even among those lacking an understanding of the significance of the celebration, warm wishes and a spirit of the brotherhood of mankind can be observed.

Some repeat the slogan, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” And, He is. Piles of gifts and holiday parties cannot mask the true reason we celebrate. Such a divine purpose surpasses the presumption and arrogance of our meager attempts at human intervention.

The true significance of Christmas is that it is the day set aside to remember that the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World, humbled himself out of love to come among us as a helpless baby. The shadow of the redemptive cross of Calvary falls over a manger.

Manmade commercialization cannot overcome the power of that fact.

Father God, thank You for the immeasurable gift you gave when You sent Your Son to us. Knowing we would torture and kill Him, You sent Him anyway—as a vulnerable infant. What indescribable love. Help us to understand that concept and to drink in the spirit of Your love this Christmas.

© Christena Struben 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Meaning of Love

Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. John 21:15 (KJV)

Christmas words sing in the air revealing an elusive, yet enduring hope in God. Songs of shepherds, angels, wise men and Mary beckon us to discard gold, myrrh and frankincense as values for a good life. Instead the star guides us in discovering other treasures.

Hidden in the meanings of the words are the dreams, thoughts, and concepts of God’s love for us, our love for Him. The carols tell us, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Searching, we learn that Greek had more words to explain what love is than English does. Phileo - brotherly love, eros - physical love, agape - divine, unconditional love.

When Jesus asked Peter, the disciple, “Do you love me?” the first two times, he used agape, but after Peter answered with phileo, Jesus switched his question to phileo. Both knew that Peter, not yet filled with the Holy Spirit, was unable to love unconditionally.

How can we answer Agape? Gratefully, we know that without the Lord’s help, it will always be Phileo, but with His agape love and mercy, we are blessed and become able to answer using “agape.” Because of His agape love, we get past personal feelings of anger, of like or dislike, put the Lord first and obey His commandment to “Love one another.” That's the treasure of Christmas, the reason why our hearts sing. God sent peace, goodwill and love. God sent His Word at Christmas.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for your continuous help in changing from phileo to agape love. Help us to stay changed. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure

Friday, November 27, 2009

Prodigal Dog

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 KJV)

My Labrador retriever, Buddy, escaped his fence recently. He is young and inexperienced. When I discovered him missing, my mind immediately conjured up every scenario possible: had he gone up the street to visit his girlfriend, or was he lying injured somewhere in the woods? Had he been hit by a car? Was he hungry? My mind raced as I drove up and down the road with my husband, looking for him.

After an unsuccessful hunt we pulled into our driveway. Despite the fact that I had just spent an hour searching for him, I immediately looked for Buddy where he always stood waiting for us whenever we arrived home. He wasn’t there. My heart lurched. Where was my friend?

It made me think about how God misses us when we drift from Him. We are His children. How much longing must He feel for our return? He does not grieve because we are lost forever, which is how I perceived Buddy’s situation; however, He does grieve, wanting desperately to fellowship with us.

How relieved I was when the phone rang the next morning. Buddy found his way to a stranger’s house, where he had been fed and sheltered for the night. Although he had been cared for, he was excited to see me. I didn’t berate him for running away—I just threw my arms around his neck and hugged him.

Thank You, Father, for Your mercy. You wait patiently when we wander away, and You welcome us back with open arms, never mentioning our sin.

© 2009 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lion's Den

And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23b (NIV)

I dreamt I was in a deep pit with granite walls. Boulders were stacked at odd angles forming a way to the top where light filtered into the darkness. I saw three lions: one guarding the foot of the rocky ladder, one pacing the floor around me, and another hiding, barely visible in the recesses of the bedrock.

People were standing at the opening to the den looking down at me. I stared back at them in anger, blaming them for throwing me to the lions, sure that I had been falsely accused. As my heart hardened against them, the lion resting on the steps opened his jaws with a growl and shook his head. The one circling me picked up his pace and the other emerged from the shadows, ready to pounce. My flesh quivered and my hair stood on end when I realized I was about to be devoured.

I woke up realizing that, like the lions, my anger could consume me. God calls us to be forgiving. If I were thrown into the lions' den would I be found faultless, trusting totally in God? Or would I be ensnared by my wounded pride?

Dear Lord, bless me with the grace to forgive those who have hurt me. Heal the wounds I have suffered from decades of living in and conforming to the patterns of an unforgiving world. Help me to live obediently and to seek my life in the fullness of Christ. In Jesus' name, I ask it. Amen.

© 2009 Stephanie L. Snead

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mary or Martha?

"Martha, Martha, thou are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:41, 42 (KJV)

For two days I helped my husband mow and trim the grass in preparation for a cookout on Sunday. That morning I purchased what we needed for the cookout. Now I stood at the kitchen sink washing vegetables. Busy? Yes. I knew I would not get a chance to rest until long after our normal bedtime.

Often when I am very busy, I think of Bible stories, reflecting on them. I thought about what Jesus said when Martha complained of having to do all the work while Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to spiritual things.

It suddenly occurred to me that I was being a "Martha." I was working so hard to present a nice house and plentiful food on the Lords' day instead of Saturday. My conscience smarted when I realized that I was constantly busy at something and hadn't attended Sunday services for months. Yet I found time to attend my specialty group on Sunday afternoons after all the worship services were over. My conscience stung me again when I remembered what my mother said. "You should never get too busy to worship Jesus." I think I'll begin going to services again.

Heavenly Father, may I never be too busy to worship You. Keep pricking my conscience when I let worldy things blind me to my need for You in my life. Amen

(c) 2009
E. Bonnie Ryan

Thursday, November 5, 2009


God sets the lonely in families. Psalm 68:6a (NIV)

As a result of the death of a spouse or of divorce, some of us find ourselves alone in the world. We did not expect to be in this situation at this time in our lives, but we are. Sometimes we feel very lonely without the companionship of our life partner.

Psalm 68:6a (NASB) reads, “God makes a home for the lonely.” He cares about our feelings of loneliness and loss no matter what has happened in our lives. He finds unique ways of placing us in “families.” Sometimes, He brings us closer to parents or siblings, or heals our relationships with our children. He may also open up fresh, new relationships with friends, who become like family to us.

This summer I joined some friends for a week-long vacation. We took time away from our regular routines and enjoyed laughing and talking together. We went to places that were new to most of us and did things we had never done before. Our shared activities drew us together, very much like a family on vacation.

Dear Father: Thank You for loving us so much that you make a home for us when we are lonely. Please be with all those who are lonely and sad today.
In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Thursday, October 29, 2009


. . . Put your hope in God, for I will praise Him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

For many moons visiting Brazil was a dream deferred. This year the opportunity came and it was a thrilling notion. What if questions swirled in my head. Is this the right time? I wondered half-heartedly embracing the idea. Then as planning progressed fairly smoothly, from ticket, to passport, to visa, a level of certainty increased. In the meantime prayer, faith, and even destiny were dispelling seeds of doubt. Knowing this dream could come true, fueled my anchored excitement.

One daily reading was pleasantly inspiring as it spoke of how fulfilling dreams and accomplishing goals have their own rewards. I am grateful for every opportunity, every lesson learned, every trial, and every dream realized. Living this life is a work in progress. We strive to make the most of our time and efforts to give back to God by contributing creatively, skills, ideas and time to enhance the lives of others.

Thank You Lord for keeping the possibilities alive. This current journey reminds us, God’s grace shows up when you least expect it. The fog clears and circumstances change. We are humbled by your steadfast grace and mercy. Your love is our light. I travel with a joyous heart beating in gratitude. Wrapping oneself in a robe of hopefulness is comforting. Possibilities are contagious.

Dear Lord, In quiet realization, thankfulness fills me. May patience befriend us all as we hold on, listen for Your love and receive Your grace in our lives.

(c) Evelyn Taylor 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

All Circumstances

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus ” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

While having coffee with a friend, I remembered and talked about these verses from I Thessalonians 5:16-18. "Give thanks in all circumstances" would mean in the difficult circumstances. Is this possible? The knowledge of this verse became very meaningful two weeks later.

As I reupholstered a chair, a tack propelled into my eye and lacerated the cornea. A visiting neighbor drove me to the hospital. While I walked into the hospital the possibility of being blind in one eye worried me. The scripture discussed with my coffee friend came to mind, so I prayed to God with clenched teeth and told Him, “I WILL PRAISE YOU IN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE.”

A noticeable peace came over me. I was admitted to the hospital and was told by a doctor that I had only a fifty percent chance to regain sight in that eye. I pictured myself with a pink, rhinestone studded, eye patch.

In the operation my cornea was repaired with three stitches. The following day the senior doctor of the clinic looked into my eye and said, “Amazing!” The thought, “amazing grace,” rushed through my mind.

During my hospital stay, I had many visitors. Four pastors who administered communion, an LPN who prayed with me every morning and the resident doctor, who performed the operation. He was very pleased with the results.

I praised God in the circumstance and the curtain parted. I saw Him at work, as if I had a front row seat in a theater and God was on stage.

You are an awesome God who gives us your will in Christ Jesus. A-men.

© 2009 Mary Burkey

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Servant for Christ

But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:16

Mom went to be with the Lord a few months ago. As I look at the pile of her clothes on the floor, I start to cry. When we found out she had cancer of the lungs, and it had metastasized to her liver we were shocked. As I stand looking at her belongings, questions come flooding into my mind. How did it happen so fast? She had chest x-rays months before, and they did not find it then.

God took a hold of my thoughts and I recalled how many years ago, Mom was among those of us attending a full gospel church when we gave our hearts to the Lord. It was great going to Bible classes with my family. We dined on the Word of God together.

Life was hard on Mom when Dad died; she missed him a lot. It was a blessing to me knowing that she had the Lord to lean on. She filled the time by joining the VFW where she did a lot of volunteer work. She spent her last days on earth reading stories from the Bible, praying, and talking about God.

The Bible tells me "life is a vapor." I do not know how long I have on this earth; therefore, with the time left, I want to be the best servant for Jesus Christ I can be.

Our belongings will disappear. Our testimony will live forever.

Father, I pray you use me as a living testimony to my children and my children's children. Let Your word fill me to overflowing. Help me to be a disciple. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© Marcella Panowicz 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Last Quarter of the Game

"Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone." Dt.34:7 (NIV)

As football fans know, there are four quarters in a game. Sometimes there is a strong start with scores coming quickly. Other times two teams fight hard throughout the game, but winning goals are not earned until the last quarter.

I consider myself in the final quarter of life. Did I get a good start serving God at the beginning of life’s game? No! Are there things I would like to have done in a better way? You bet!

But the game is not over. After all, Moses was 84 before he first spoke to Pharaoh.

I was, in fact, seeking God’s will in the first three quarters; but there were time constraints and responsibilities to shoulder. Too often I followed “rabbit trails” and did not stay true to my desire to serve God above all else.

My desire is to make the last quarter of life the best it can be for the Lord. I want to answer every urging of the Holy Spirit, explore more ways to serve God, and witness every chance I get. In short, I want to score big in the last quarter by living a triumphant Christian life.

If you are in one of the first three quarters of life, remember that the best games are played by fighting for goals through the entire game. If you are over sixty, I invite you to join me in making the last quarter the best.

Prayer: Father, help us to value the days and years You have given us. May we dedicate all of the time we have here on earth in service to You.

© 2009 Christy Struben

Friday, October 2, 2009

Two Laughs

Abraham was one-hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:5-6 (NAS)

The face of a newborn is the sweetest culmination of expectations. It brings a smile to the face and laughter to the heart. Abraham and Sarah were no different in their joy. What was different was how long it took to have a child. They were past the time of possibility; even past the time of hoping. Yet, Sarah held this child and was filled with happiness. His name was Isaac, which means ‘laughter.’

This was not the first time Sarah laughed. When she overheard, a year earlier, that she would have a child she laughed: not the laugh of happiness but the bitter laugh of doubt. Perhaps her laugh was wrong, but it was honest. When she was young she had heard the prophecy. She waited and waited. She hoped and she prayed. Then she stopped. Her time had passed.

Sarah’s story speaks to us. We too can laugh in two ways. Circumstances make expectation wane in our hearts. The lapse of time darkens our hope. Perhaps, the impossibility of a task overshadows our faith, and we laugh with doubt. We know it’s wrong, but it’s honest.

Here's hope: it’s the last laugh that counts. Sarah’s first laugh did not stop God. Circumstances, the lapse of time and impossibilities simply made the second laugh richer. I don’t advocate losing faith, but you are not the first to feel discouraged. Think of God’s faithfulness and Sarah’s second laugh and faith and hope will return.

Father, thank you for being faithful when our faith wanes. Forgive our laughs of doubt and grow us to the sweet laughter of faith renewed.

© 2009 jshoaff

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Jumping House with a Running Yard

In my Father’s house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NIV)

Recently, my oldest son and his family moved from a cramped upstairs apartment into a spacious renovated house. My son told his young children that they had found a “jumping house” with a “running yard” because they had been restricted from jumping and running in their old apartment. The day they received the keys to their new home, my son opened the front door, and they all had a “jumping party.”

My son and daughter-in-law had worked hard to save money for the down-payment, and searched for several months before they found the house which they believed God had for their family. They prayed as they left the apartment behind and again as they moved into their new home.

When we pray to receive Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. We become new creatures in Christ putting away our old self and surrendering to the Spirit of God. Our new desire to please the Lord replaces our old cravings to pursue selfish pleasures.

Just as my son and his family made special preparations for their move into a new home, God prepares a place for us to live in heaven.

As children of God, we have found our “jumping house” with a “running yard.” We have a home in Christ and He in us.

Dear Father: Thank You for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Thank You for the assurance that Jesus is preparing a place for us to be with You forever. In Jesus Name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, September 18, 2009

This Way

I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 (KJV)

Several times a day I take my two pets out for their constitutions. Taco Bell is eighteen years old and almost blind. Otis is a nine year old pug. Both tend to pull in different directions.

Because of Taco's blindness, I tug gently on his leash. Sometimes one or the other will get the leash caught on a fallen limb and I have to steer around it or disentangle from it. I call to them saying, "This way. This way." They follow my voice and the tug on the leash. For the most part they stay out of potential trouble.

While out walking, I usually remember Jesus' words, "I am the way." Immediately another verse comes to mind. "And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying: 'This is the way. Walk in it you people'" Isaiah 30:21 (NWT)

Just as I try to keep my pets safe and let them choose their way, Jesus lets His children choose their own way of life. He allows us free range to choose a path that suits our needs. He continually calls softly, "This way. This way," and tugs at our conscience, gently guiding us in the paths of righteousness. Would it not be best for us to listen to His voice and walk the way of life and peace?

Prayer: Father Jehovah, may we continue to follow the way of Your Son. May we listen for His promptings when we stray from the path of righteousness. Guard our steps so that we may not falter. Guide us to the path of real life and peace, in the Name of Jesus. Amen

(c) 2009 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, September 11, 2009

This is my body

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." Matt 26:26 (KJV)

I ate a healthy dinner yet within an hour I was craving something more. A little voice inside my head said, "Ice cream is satisfying."

A million greedy fat cells screamed, "Ice cream, ice cream!" I caved in, once again the loser in a tug-of-war with the annoying little voice and it's millions of screaming fats.

According to the doctor's chart, I'm obese. Obese: that's a hard word to swallow. Realizing I could not fight the battle of obesity alone, I began searching the Bible for God's Word on food and eating. Jesus said, "Take, eat; this is my body."

How, Lord? I wondered each day as I read the Bible. I found the answer in Mathew 4:4, But he answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God'"(KJV). I knew I must read the Word each day, chew on it, digest it, incorporate into my body, let the Spirit fill me and let it reign in my unruly flesh.

Why had I not realized this sooner? Had the enemy's voice been conducting a full-out operation to distract, deceive and destroy? Now, I hunger after spiritual food and I am filled. I have lost forty pounds, and although I have more to lose, I now know the way.

Heavenly Father, do not let us hunger after the false comfort provided by unnecessary food. Bless the food on our table to our use and us to your service. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

© 2009 Stephanie L. Snead

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Moment With Destiny

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 6:19 (KJV)

Her name was Destiny. From the very beginning her life was about the struggle to survive. She arrived two months too soon, before her little body could fully develop, most importantly her lungs. Her breathing was so quick and shallow that she required surgery early on. The procedure helped, but for the rest of her brief existence Destiny would be in and out of the hospital, eventually needing oxygen full time.

At one point, we thought she might recover. Destiny seemed healthier and stronger. She became more alert when I sang to her, gazing at me serenely with large brown eyes that twinkled with curiosity. Yet, her breathing never normalized. When the effort to live became too great, Destiny succumbed to the death that so eagerly pursued her since birth.

As I sit here in the sun, staring at the little white box that holds the body of my first grandchild, I wonder about Destiny’s purpose. What lesson was her life meant to impart? Despite the constant battle to stay alive, Destiny rarely complained. She seemed to accept her lot in life and to be happy just being here. Maybe that’s the lesson, to enjoy and accept our lives without regret. Whatever her reason for having lived, Destiny, her sacred mission accomplished, is now in heaven. No more pain or struggling for every breath, happy now in the arms of a loving God. There lies our comfort. Because of a moment with Destiny, the lives of those who knew her are deeper, richer and transformed forever.

Heavenly Father, You comfort us in so many ways. Even when we lose a loved one You are there to ease the hurt and pain, and we thank You.

© 2009 G. Francis Johnson

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be Still and Listen

Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. Jeremiah 8:7 (NIV)

It is morning, and there is a little bit of light starting to fill my room. I can hear my dog signaling; she needs to go outside. As I stand on my porch, I stop to look at the beautiful landscape. Since the temperature dropped through the night, dew has formed on everything. What a wonderful morning!

Bird songs fill the air along with a fresh cool breeze. Everything is renewed and waiting for the sun.

Summer is a great season. All the animals that were born in spring are roaming around. The mothers teach babies how to live in this world. The young are getting bigger every day. The cycle of life continues for all species, even man.

Just as the animals in nature teach their young how to live, God gave me an instruction book, the Bible. Animals have instincts. I have the Holy Spirit in me. When I pay attention to His voice inside of me, I stay out of trouble.

As I continue gazing upon the landscape, I thank God for all He has given and done for me.

Dear Lord, I know you have a lot to teach me through your Word and nature. Help me to be still and listen.

© 2009 Marcella Panowicz

Thursday, August 20, 2009

“The Lord will be a stronghold for the oppressed. A stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee.” Psalms 9:9-10 (NAS)

Leaning On The Everlasting Arms

Kayla, my first grandchild was amazing. She enjoyed watching television, even when the screen only said “signal temporarily lost.” She loved to be swung around, held upside down, and thrown on the couch. She smiled, laughed and giggled at every maneuver. I could have dropped her. Spatial misjudgment on my part could have hit some part of her body on a wall or an arm chair. Because she trusted me completely, she just enjoyed the ride.

Recently, life has thrown me around and I know I am not alone. Unemployment, high prices, relationship malfunctions all make us feel that we are being swung around; not for our pleasure, but for our ruin. Real dangers exist and, being older than a baby, we are keenly aware of them.

There is one correlation that holds true between Kayla’s being swung and our being swung. Kayla was in loving arms. So are we.

Why can’t we trust like Kayla? She never questioned her safety in my arms. We need not question our safety in His arms. As the hymn says:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine leaning on the everlasting arms.
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Father, help us to remember that we are in loving arms. We are safe because you hold us. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 J Shoaff

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dare to Serve

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)

We hear about people going over Niagra Falls in a barrel, engaging in “Evil Knievel” stunts, or kids playing “chicken” on highways at midnight. Daredevils! They risk death for a temporary thrill or sense of power.

The Bible, however, tells us of people who follow the Lord and ignore sensible, plausible methods of action. David announced that he could defeat Goliath. Daniel knew he was safe in the Lion’s den. Elijah called down fire from heaven to ignite a water-soaked sacrifice. Peter walked on water. Paul did not escape from prison after an earthquake. Instead he witnessed to his jailor about the love of Christ.

In modern times we admire people like Corrie Ten Boom who rescued Jews during World War II until she was captured. We remember Jim Elliott who was killed by the Ecuadorian cannibals he sought to evangelize. We think daredevils are foolish, yet we honor those who commit themselves to the Lord in all kinds of impossible situations.

Both through their examples and through His Word, the Lord inspires us to overcome fear. He strengthens us and upholds us. He does not call us to be foolhardy, but He does expect us to be courageous in His name.

Prayer: Lord, Be with us this day and help us dare to serve you by using your strength. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure

Friday, August 7, 2009

Calluses and Christianity

So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 2 Corinthians 4:12 (KJV)

Once my work-worn hands were brand-new, unused to labor. It seems a distant memory now—nearly faded.

Have you ever worked with your hands? At first there is no pain at all—only soreness from doing an unfamiliar task; then an irritating sensation, easily ignored. Irritation progresses to painful blisters, gingerly protected. Pain finally diminishes as rough spots form where the most friction occurred.

This is a natural progression, but there is a spiritual application for each of us. We must ask ourselves: What has caused our calluses? Have we applied our hands to worldly endeavors that mean nothing, numbing our wounded hearts and keeping us from hearing the Spirit’s voice?

The Lord will take our hands in His, if we allow it. When we do, His hands will feel strangely familiar. If we look closely we will see that His hands are covered with calluses, too. He is the Carpenter, and He encourages us to use His tools when we labor, so that we will no longer labor in vain. There may be some pain in the process, but as evidence of our worldly toil is stripped away, it will be replaced by calluses steeped in His compassion for others.

It is only through sacrifice that we truly learn to live in power.

Lord, help us extract ourselves from the worldliness that hardens our hearts, and help our hands to look like Yours as we do Your will.

© 2009, Katherine A. Fuller

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Victim vs Victor

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
Phil. 4:8 (RSV)

Sadness grew as I watched my neighbors’ family work together planting little red impatiens around the front of their home. Their children nearby tried to outdistance each other on their swings. My heart yearned for my family to be able to work and play together instead of arguing and over-drinking. I called a dear friend and shared my anxiety, saying, "Everyone looks happier than me." She responded, "Do not compare your insides with their outsides."

"Think about anything worthy of praise." St. Paul said. Then I realized I was letting my thoughts dwell on what I did not have. That was destructive, and definitely a waste of my time and energy. It caused me to miss all the blessings God had surrounding me. I took a mental survey of our nice home, and our cupboards full of food and repented of my self-pity. With the time I would have spent thinking negative thoughts, I baked our favorite: blueberry muffins. In silence, my family shared the fresh delicious muffins, but I became a victor instead of a victim.

Dear Lord, Giver of Life, and Teacher: Help me to keep my eyes upward and not inward. Help me be thankful in all circumstances for all your blessings. In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen.

© 2009 Lois Gosley

Friday, July 24, 2009

He Rescues and He Saves

For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves. Daniel 6:26 (NIV)

Standing in the checkout line at a department store, a drama between a mother and her young son unfolded before me. The boy, who appeared to be about four years old, left his mother’s side and began fingering a display of ceramic cookie jars in a variety of animal shapes.

“Come back here Donny,” the mother said softly. Donny ignored her and took the top off a cookie jar shaped like a kitten. “Come here,” Donny’s mother said, a bit more firmly. The child put the kitten top down and took the top off a jar with a puppy’s head. “Put that down right now,” the mother shouted. Donny dropped the lid and it broke into several pieces. “Now look what you’ve done,” Mother said. She left the line, grabbed Donny’s hand and led him away from the display.

When we wander from God’s side, He often speaks to us in a soft voice reminding us to return to Him. Because He loves us, His voice may become more insistent. Praise God, He does not give up on His own…even when our behavior causes damage. Eventually, though we wander, He takes those who belong to Him by the hand and leads them to a safer place…if we let Him. Donny’s mother may have been reacting in anger, but our God acts to rescue His children in love.

Lord, thank You that you are a loving God who rescues and saves. Help us to hear and respond to your voice before we do damage to ourselves and others.

© Christy Struben 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009


The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. Proverbs 15: 3 (NIV)

It has been impossible to manicure the lawn with all the rain. My husband nearly wiped out an entire family of rabbits. The mother made a nest in the tall grass in the front yard. One of the babies did die when the mower blade hit its ear. He stopped mowing when he realized what had happened. My heart was sad, and I wanted to give the little bunny a proper burial.

I decided to watch and see if the mother was coming back to take care of her babies. I did not want them to perish from neglect. As a child, my spouse had raised rabbits. "She'll come back tonight to feed them and sit on the nest to keep them warm. She is nearby and watching. Even though their eyes aren't open, they can sense she is near," he said.

I wanted to spy. I hid in my van for a few hours so the mother would not see me. I saw a cat across the street, and I was ready to jump out and scare it away if it came too close. Nothing bad was going to happen as long as I was watching.

Sitting there during that time, I thought about God and me. He is my Father, and He has given me safe refuge in Him. I cannot see Him, yet I know He is watching.

Lord, I thank you for all the wonderful things you have taught me through nature. I thank you for being there, watching.

© Marcella Panowicz 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

How Far Can You Go on Twenty Five Cents Worth of Gasoline?

I was young and now I’m old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalm 37:25 NIV)

In the mid 50’s my sixteen year old cousin David, worked on a farm all summer so that he could buy an old car. I was thirteen, and thrilled when David asked me to go on an adventure with him. What he had in mind was more of an experiment than an adventure. He wanted to see how far we could go in his new/old car on just 25 cents worth of gas.

Surprisingly, we traveled the four mile perimeter around the little town of Worthington, Indiana, for more than an hour before we drifted to a stop.

I think of David and that “adventure” when I pump gas into my tank at $2, $3, and $4 a gallon. Before I work myself into a funk, I remind myself that back in those days David only made a few dollars an hour working on the farm.

More importantly, I remember that although times change, God never changes and always provides for his children.

My heavenly father laid the foundations of the earth. He gives orders to the morning and gives the dawn its place. He will never leave me nor forsake me. All that I’ve needed His hand has provided.

How silly it is for me to let the price of gas rattle me.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you that you are Jehovah Jireh, my provider. Help me to remember that I need not be afraid of economic turmoil. You have promised to supply all of my needs according to Your riches in glory.

© Christy Struben 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

I LIft My Eyes

I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm121:1-2 (NIV)

This weekend the United States is celebrating the day we declared our independence from England. As I lift my eyes towards heaven to watch the fireworks, I need to remember why I have the freedom to worship God. The Bible is the basis of the United States government and laws, “One nation under God”. Yet I find that Americans have lost their way, in part because they do not know our Christian heritage. It seems that some of the freedoms we celebrate are slowly being taken away. But I do know from where my, and our, help comes.

In all of his troubles, King David knew to turn to God. His hope was not in his nation but in the One who created the nations. Whether he was on the throne or a fugitive on the run, he turned to the One who could and did deliver him from all his afflictions. His freedom was his dependence on God. So is ours.

As we spend time with family and friends, we need to spend time thanking God for freedom. And, like David we need to pray for our nation's leaders, and those close to us.

This weekend, when all the activities end and we reflect on our lives, I hope we have a better appreciation of what God sacrificed for us. Like David, may we always have our eyes looking toward the Author of Liberty.

Prayer: Thank you God for keeping us free to worship you. May we always remember that through you we can take comfort in the knowledge that help comes from you.

© 2009 Dawn Sexton

Friday, June 26, 2009

Random Acts of Prayer

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4 NIV)

Performing random acts of kindness is a wonderful practice, doing something nice for someone for no other reason than to brighten their day. Anonymous deeds are the most gratifying. Paying the toll for the person in the car behind you or leaving flowers at a neighbor’s doorstep. But, what if we took this practice even further? What if we committed random acts of prayer by going about our days eagerly seeking out people to pray for? On the way to work, we can pray that each person on the bus has a good day and gets home safely. Walking down the street, we can look into people’s faces and see the need for prayer in their eyes or by their demeanor. We can pray that they find relief from whatever is troubling them. Passing an accident on the highway, we can pray that there are no serious injuries.

What do we get by performing these radical, random acts of wishing peace and goodwill towards others? We get to share the love of God within us, which was not meant to be hoarded and kept to ourselves, but to be offered freely and gladly to everyone. There are few things in life that provide more satisfaction.

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the will and desire to pray for others. May we continue to love others as you have loved us and to share that love freely, without expectation of recognition or reward, knowing that it is your will for us.

© Copyright 2009 G. Francis Johnson

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lest Any Be Hardened by Sin

Exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day; lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 (ASV)

Disease sickens the body in the same way that sin sickens the soul, but Lyme disease has the greatest one-on-one parallel that I know. When first entering a victim’s bloodstream, Lyme bacteria are vulnerable to antibiotics. As the microorganisms remain undetected, though, they develop a drill-like appendage which allows them to move into other body cells. E
ach bacterium also develops the ability to detect the presence of antibiotics and protect itself by becoming an impenetrable, hard-walled cyst. Treatment makes the patient feel better, but the bacilli are still present, ready to reactivate.

Sometimes Lyme disease appears with a bull’s eye rash. Sometimes not. Early recognition ensures eradication. At the same time, delayed recognition makes medical complications inevitable.
It is the same with spiritual sin. Sometimes we immediately know the state of our hearts and sometimes not. The longer sin goes undetected, cysts of sin harden so that opening up to God’s love through confession and repentance becomes almost impossible. In parallel to those with chronic Lyme disease, chronic sin evades the antibiotics of God’s cleansing word, the admonition and forgiveness of friends, or the muted voice of our own consciences.

God calls us to avoid spiritual sickness or, when necessary, to recover quickly, but more importantly, He calls us to exhort others and even ourselves. He does not want his followers to be “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Our job is to help others and ourselves move quickly into the light of His love.

Prayer: Lord, help us recognize the infection of sin and the hardening of our hearts. Help us do our job of exhortation. Amen.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Train

Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Psalm 27:11 (NIV)

The bright moon fills the bedroom with light. A train whistle interrupts the quiet night along with a roaring engine and clicking wheels on the track. It's a freight train; passenger trains are quieter. The clatter gets louder and louder until it sounds as though the train is outside my door. I wonder where it's going. It doesn't take long for the train to pass and the night is silent again.

Life is a fast moving train. God laid out a track for me to follow. The years I spent raising children roared by quickly. Before I knew what happened, I found myself sitting in an empty house. There were many stops along the way. Listening to others caused me to make some bad choices, and I derailed. God was always there to put me back together and set me going in the right direction. Keeping in the Word, shows me which route He wants me to pursue. Living the Word helps me to stay on course.I look back and wonder where did my life go? I want the time I have left to be valuable. As I travel, God will continue to be the conductor, I am the train taking His Word to everyone.

At the end of the line, I want to stand before God and have him say to me. "Well done my good and faithful servant.

"Lord, show me how to make a difference in this world. Help me to become a better disciple for you.

© Marcella Panowicz 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

He Will Give You Rest

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1Peter 5:7 (NIV)

In America, we face so many enormous upheavals in our economic and financial systems that our level of fear is increasing. Some have had their investment portfolios and retirement accounts decimated in recent months. Others will postpone retirement plans for a few more years. Home foreclosures are skyrocketing; the value of many homes has plummeted. Our money is no longer as valuable as it once was, while inflation is setting in with higher prices for essential needs. More and more of us are losing our jobs. When will it end? How should we handle our anxiety and fear?

When we consider the enormity of the challenges facing our families, it seems overwhelming at times. In my anxious moments, I remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 11. He tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened, and He will give us rest. Jesus continues in verses 29 and 30: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Those verses speak to us of the Source of peace in anxious times. Jesus will give us rest from the weary burdens of this life. When we are fearful, we can trust Our Savior to gently care for us.

In Genesis 22:14, I find that Jehovah-Jireh is our provider. God’s provision is always adequate.

Dear Father: Thank You that I can trust You with my fears and know that You will always take care of me. Thank You for giving me rest when life seems overwhelming. In Jesus name, Amen

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, May 29, 2009

Little Miss No Name

“For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. Matt. 25:35, 40 (RSV)

She wears a burlap dress with two patches and she has no shoes. Her eyes, huge and sad, drip a tear on her cheek. Her hand is outstretched asking for something. “Little Miss No Name” was a doll made by Hasbro in 1965. Most parents didn’t want to buy her and few children wanted her as a gift. The line was discontinued, but then the magic started.

A vintage ‘No Name’ doll was in a bag given to a charity organization in 1986. They auctioned her off. The bidder returned her the next year and said, “Auction her again.” The largest donation to date is $84,111 in 1996.

A miserly man in one church received a ‘No Name’ doll in the Christmas grab bag. The tear in her eye brought a tear to his eye. He isn’t a miser anymore.

Past owners blog about how much they did or didn’t like ‘Little Miss No Name.’ Their stories teach us a truth about the real ‘no names’ of this world. We see them, but we react differently. They compel us and repel us.

Jesus called us to look with the eyes and see with the heart regardless of appearance, gender, or age. When we do, the magic begins. ‘No names’ are renamed to ‘brother or sister.’ We are “blessed by the father” and “inherit the kingdom prepared for us.” (vrs. 34)

Lord, when we see with our eyes, open our hearts.

© 2009 Jonita D. Shoaff

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Battle Is the Lord's

Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15 Amplified Bible)

The book of Second Chronicles recounts a story of great faith concerning Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. A large, well equipped force stood prepared to attack the country. Before going into battle, Jehoshaphat called for the entire nation to fast. The men, women and children of Judah gathered to pray with their leader. Asking God for His help, the king ended his prayer by saying, “…we have not might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

Through the prophet, Jahaziel, God directed the army to go forward to the battlefield saying, "Be not afraid or dismayed... for the battle is not yours but God's."

The king sent singers and priests to go before the troops giving thanks to God. Confused by the noise, the enemy soldiers fought among themselves. When the army of Judah arrived they found that the enemy had slaughtered each other.

This Memorial Day weekend, let us be like the people of ancient Judah. Let us pray for the United States Military. Let us remember those who willingly sacrificed much to face the enemies of our country and our Lord. Let us stand together reminding our God of our belief in Him and humbly seek His protection for those presently serving.

Prayer: Father God, remember the many people in America who love You and want to serve You. We thank You for the sacrifice of those who have given much to keep us free. We seek Your mercy on our country and Your protection for our military. Amen

© Christy Struben 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Seeing It All

From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. Psalm 33:13 (NIV)

Saying the words “three ring circus” brings to mind a whirl of activity, a multitude of colors and a jumble of sound all concentrated into a relatively small place. From the minute the ringmaster calls out “Ladies and Gentlemen…,” the activity begins. For two hours clowns bustle from one area to another squeezing into small cars, bumping into contortionists and stealing jugglers’ hula rings. While trapeze artists perform, animals walk backwards, jump through burning hoops and balance balls and themselves on tiny platforms.

After awhile the lights, sounds, and color blur together, so I give up trying to see and remember it all. At one circus, I blinked my eyes and there were twenty elephants standing on the opposite side of the arena. How can anyone miss the entrance of one elephant, let alone twenty?

Even in the everyday world there is too much too see. While driving down the highway, walking through a shopping mall, visiting a horticultural garden or even cleaning the house, I do not see everything. Some details are hidden and some are in plain sight.

Although, I miss seeing everything, God does not. I can trust that He who loves me is all seeing and will watch over my coming and going (Psalm 121:8). He sees it all and will not let my foot slip. If I need to see twenty elephants, He will be sure I do. In the meantime, I can take time to enjoy life, especially circuses.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You for watching over us throughout our daily activities. You never sleep nor slumber as you keep us from all harm. I thank you for keeping our souls safe for eternity. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Lap for Mom

“Behold my mother…” Matthew 12:49 (KJV)

There are many ways to pay homage to our departed loved ones. This fall I honored my mother by doing a lap around the lake near my parents’ home. Mom used to exercise by walking around the lake several times, about a ¼ mile per lap. I remember standing on the sidelines watching her quick, determined steps. Mom moved like someone with a definite destination in mind, even though she was only going in circles. I admired how quickly she sped around the lake. She was in much better shape than I despite being twice my age. I often wondered if Mom noticed the crystal beauty of the lake or the lush greenness of the surrounding trees when she moved so fast. I’m sure she did in her own way.

It was a perfect day to visit the park. The air was brisk, but the warmth of the sun made it comfortable enough to sit and watch the swans, geese and ducks dip in and out of the water. Fishermen sat around the perimeter, children played on nearby swings and some people did laps, like me.

It has been said that every day is Mother’s Day. Even so, it is wonderful that there is a day when people everywhere can celebrate their moms, those who are here and those who have gone before.

Mom, here’s a lap for you. I look forward to seeing you again in heaven.

Dear Lord, thank you that we have a special day dedicated to our mothers. Help us to relish those who are here now, even as we remember and cherish the lives of those who have passed on.

© 2009 G. Francis Johnson

Friday, May 1, 2009


So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, for He hears your grumbling against the Lord…”
Ex.16:6,7b (NASB)

After God delivered the sons of Israel from the Egyptians, they began to grumble about the lack of food and water in the wilderness to which He had led them. They begged to go back to the cruel bondage of their Egyptian taskmasters because they had forgotten that God had taken care of them and would continue to do so. They did not accept that God knew what was best for them.

Do we sometimes grumble against God? Do we beg to return to a situation from which God has delivered us? If we have been freed from the bondage to alcohol or drugs, or to an old relationship that was not healthy for us, why would we ever want to return to that old life? We knew that old situation or relationship was not good for us, but we sometimes complain and want to go back. We may not be completely comfortable with our “new life.” Just as the sons of Israel could not see that God would continue to take care of them, we may not be able to trust that God will take care of us. Could it be that we are not accepting that He knows what is best for us? As our loving Heavenly Father, God provides for and watches over us always.

Dear Father: Thank You for freeing us from our old life. Strengthen us to trust You to take care of us in the new life You have given us. In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Competitive Exercise

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his statue; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7 KJV)

While on the exercise bike at the Health Club, disgusted with my weight gain, I enviously watched the trimmer, more slender members. Would I ever get back in shape, I wondered. I wore my husband’s large tee shirt to hide my full figure.

Later, I talked with a trim, muscular woman. I remarked she looked great, that I wished I could be in such good shape. "I’m working on getting in my bathing suit,” she commented. “Since my baby was born, I have been fighting my ‘baby fat’. “

I realized, as she spoke, that I’m not in competition with each Club member. I’m in competition with myself. Her victory doesn’t mean I am a failure.

As I observe people in church, some folks appear more mature than others. But God does not place a value of each person’s progress compared with others. He does not have a measuring stick to see who has grown more or is doing more. God loves us right where we are, and he loves us too much to leave us there. Only God sees what we need to grow.

Since I’ve given my life to Jesus, I am thankful He loves me where I am and doesn’t give up on me, and through His divine wisdom, I will lose my spiritual baby fat.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for loving me right where I am. Help me to be more like You.

© 2009 Lois Gosley

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chilled Morning

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63: 4 (NIV)

I bathe in the fresh crispness of the morning air,
Letting its coolness soak into my flesh.
I am drenched with the essence of its clean fragrance.
The sunshine tenderly touches my skin.
A cool breeze caresses my cheek.
My spirit stirs inside me.
I lift my hands towards heaven.
My mouth full of praise and my heart full of joy.
Thank you Jesus for these moments of pleasure.

Each day before my feet hit the floor I pray for God’s mercy, love and strength. He is the air I breathe, the sun, the moon, the stars the trees. I see His magnificence through nature as I gaze upon the beauty of His creation. Every time a flower grows, the hand of God touches it.

All the earth cries out in praises every day. The mountains stretch upward seeking Him.
God spoke and brought the ground to pour out life. God’s touch is on everything. His face is right here on earth.

Thank you for your lovingkindness Lord. Give me strength to make it through each day until that time you have set for me to come home to you.

© Copyright 2008 Marcella Panowicz

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Forgiveness Belongs to God

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness though we have rebelled against Him. (Daniel 9:9 KJV)

Corrie Ten Boom is my personal hero. During the German occupation of Holland, the Ten Booms opened their home to Jews hiding from the Nazis. When this act was discovered, the entire family was arrested and sent to concentration camps. Corrie was the only person in her family to survive the experience. She lived until 1983 traveling the world sharing how God’s wonders and miracles had unfolded for her in the face of unimaginable evil.

Many stories of courage and faith in God surround Corrie Ten Boom’s life. In this Easter season, her account of God’s forgiveness comes most clearly to my mind.

Years after the war, Corrie met a member of Hitler’s S. S. forces. He had been a guard in the Ravensbrook camp where her sister, Betsie was killed. The man had apparently found the saving grace of Jesus, and wanted to shake Corrie’s hand after she had spoken to a church group.

At first, Corrie was overcome with angry thoughts. But, she asked the Lord to help her to forgive him. A supernatural love for the man overcame her. She was able to shake the hand of the guard who had a part in so many innocent deaths because she knew that God had forgiven him.

Prayer: Father, this Easter we thank You for the forgiveness You provided to us through the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus. Help us to bring your forgiveness into the world around us.

© Christy Struben 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Time Wise

. . . walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time . . . Ephesians 5:15 (KJV)

Time and I are becoming better acquainted. When my days were determined by a work, school, and family schedule, not a moment was available, or so it seemed. Looking back, there were always blank spaces.

Although time can feel elusive, it never changes. Those little boring blank spaces that can sometimes grow out of control call my attention today. Time is the same but I have changed. What do you do when you think you have nothing to do? Are you the one with the distant stare? Does your mind shift while you are waiting in line at the grocery, MVA, bank, or stuck in traffic? During these moments one can feel as if being held hostage by time, waiting. What can we do as we wait?

Blank spaces of time can be used, we can adjust and refocus. The notion of wise time can be wise waiting--using waiting time as an opportunity to meditate, reflect or pray through our own circumstances or that of others. Therefore, we are creating a sacred space, filling in one blank space at a time, with God at its center.

Dear Holy Spirit, thank You for Your grace and mercy. In the name of Jesus, help us avoid distraction as we fill in our blank spaces wisely, keeping the time You have given us in focus. Amen.

© 2009 Evelyn Taylor

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hiding from God

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” Ps. 139:7 (NIV)

One afternoon while I was busy with two of my grandchildren, I suddenly realized that the third one, my two year old grandson, was missing. I made a quick survey of their small home and discovered that he had quietly, unobtrusively hidden in the hall closet and closed the door. My push against the door met with some resistance because he was sitting on the floor munching away on an open jar of peanuts. I guess he was hungry, but he also did not want anyone to find him in his closet hideaway.

How often do we try to hide from God? We all face challenges in life, such as eating disorders, uncontrolled anger or depression. We may feel like hiding in a closet hoping God will not see our pain and sinfulness.

At times, I feel that if I continue to hide my sins or uncomfortable thoughts from Him maybe He will not notice and will leave me alone. In Psalm 139, David reminds me that no matter where I go or how far I try to run from God, “His right hand will hold me fast.” Ps.139:10b (NIV). Why? Because God is a loving, compassionate Father, who created and knows me, and desires to pursue and to build a relationship with me.

He always knows where we are, and He will never leave nor forsake us. We can trust Him and come out of hiding.

Dear Father: Thank You for reassuring us of Your love and for helping us see that we can openly trust You with painful feelings. In Jesus name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, March 20, 2009

Come Away With Me

And he said to them, Come ye yourselves apart into the desert place, and rest a while (Mark 6:31 KJV).

The theme for the Women’s Retreat was “Come Away With Me.” It was a time of getting away from the pressures of life and renewing my mind, body and soul.

The difficulties of families, jobs and life’s unexpected losses can often bring us to our knees in desperation. Yet we become overwhelmed and don’t take the time to find a quiet time with God.

Jesus saw the need for the apostles to get away with Him and rest. They had just put John the Baptist in a tomb, and they came to Jesus to see what do to next. Jesus understood the pain and confusion that they felt over the death of their friend. He invited them to come away.

My life of juggling a job, my family, church responsibilities and friends takes so much of my energy that I often put my time with Jesus on the back burner. Jesus is calling me to come away with him and find rest.

I need to get away with Jesus daily. I need to start and end my day with Jesus. It is through His presence in my life that I find the strength and will to go on. When I rest in Him, I am ready to face whatever challenges life throws at me.

Prayer: Lord, You delight in my relationship with you. May I always take the time to get away from the pressures of life and find rest in your presence.

© 2009 Dawn M. Sexton

Friday, March 13, 2009

Recognizing One Another

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35 NIV)

While waiting with a friend for his doctor’s appointment at the Veterans Administration Hospital, an older gentleman slowly limped by using a walker. He paused, looked at my friend’s ball cap, and commented on its emblem.

“Marines huh? Sixth division World War II” Then in a louder voice, “Semper Fi.”

My friend, who had been leaning on his cane with his eyes closed, looked up at the older man. “Second Division, Vietnam. Semper Fi,” he said.

The first man moved along after those few words. A generation apart, yet, in that moment a genuine understanding of common experiences, beliefs and pride of country passed between them.

It brought to my mind thoughts of how Christians might be able to recognize one another. Some wear a cross for purposes of fashion rather than a statement of belief. So, that might not work. In ancient times when persecution of believers was the order of the day, the drawing of a simple fish could signal safety to a Christian. That might work sometimes.

The Bible tells us in John 13 that all men can recognize us as Christians by our love for one another. That seems the best method. Not only can we recognize another believer by their show of love, but it is a way to witness to others not yet in the fold.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the author of love. Show us how to love one another so that our love will identify us as your children and witness to others not yet in the circle of Your love.

© 2009 Christy Struben

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Life

And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the LORD, have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish. I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it.” Ezekiel 17:24 (NIV)

The trees are bare and stand forlorn on the earth--their beauty hidden until spring when new buds will sprout. The earth has a blanket of leaves that will fertilize the ground for all the grass and plants. The old leaves become new life. God prunes nature.

When I look out at the bare trees, I see myself. God removes old junk from me, and I stand before Him naked. God prunes me whenever I need it, and with the dead branches removed, new and better growth will bloom.

Through the cross, Jesus made the way to strip the sins from me. Then another season of my life started. God’s words are seeds to my spirit and life to my soul. The seeds will spread, as I become a living testimony for Christ. The pollen from the flowers spreads when bees carry it from flower to flower and tree to tree. New life blooms. I can do the same with the Word of God by taking the good news from person to person. New life will flourish.

Father, strip me and clothe me with your righteousness. Teach me how to be a disciple for you.

© 2008 Marcella Panowicz

Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't Trip Over Something Behind You

“But Jesus said to him, ‘No one, after putting his head to
The plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62 NAS

I nursed, rehearsed and cursed the events leading up to the bitter divorce after 35 years of marriage. The pain of the betrayal ate at my soul. I would wake at night wondering what I could have done differently. I kept tripping over something behind me.

After the trial, I moved to a new town and into a cozy, little townhouse near my daughter. One day at a time, I joined a new Church and built new relationships with new people. I gave my past and my new life to Jesus, and I prayed for guidance each blessed day.

I baby sat, took watercolor classes, and joined a Writers' Group. My life is pretty nice. I don’t look back anymore. In time, I moved to help my daughter and her husband with their second child. I helped her when children were sick, when she needed rest from an all night vigils, and when ear infections ravaged the children.

Then, a person from the past visited making sure to report about my ex’s new car, new furniture, and new girl friend. Grief enveloped my spirit, and I almost tripped over that pot hole, but that arrow bounced off the armor of God. I counted my blessings over and over. I thanked God for my new blessed life, and I resumed my steady walk forward.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the blessings of your armor that keeps me looking forward, not backward. Amen.

© 2009 Lois Gosley

Friday, February 20, 2009

Signs of Spring

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5c (NKJV).

In winter there are signs that spring will come. Some days are warm enough for snow to melt. Sunny days alternate with gray ones. Open patches of ice-covered ponds provide places for ducks to swim and animals to drink. Birds find seeds in the ground’s cold, hard crevasses.

So too, hope appears when winter infiltrates the lives of Christians. Poor health, family dissension, unemployment, car problems, accidents and school troubles cause weariness and concern. Will these problems never end?

There is comfort and guidance in the disciplines of Christian life. Here, God opens minds to new understandings of biblical passages. Peace comes through reading, studying and thinking about His Word. Encouraging comments stand as reminders that believers are not alone. Unexpected counsel coupled with acts of kindness brings joy. Friends, new and old, remind each other to look outward, be alert, and attentive to the needs of others. Prayer brings forth memories of the Lord’s goodness in times past.

I remember His promises, and His words fill my mind. He tells me to have no fear because He is with me, will always be with me, and will never leave nor forsake me. Then I pray Psalm 23:4 (KJV), “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me." Winter will not last. It hardly exists for the Bridegroom is with me, and my thoughts are with Him. The problems of this earth fade, and I sing His praises. “Come Lord Jesus."

Prayer: Blessed Lord, Lead us to see the signs of spring in our lives and praise you for them. Amen.

© 2009 V. Colclasure

Friday, February 13, 2009


How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Rom 10:14 (NIV)

As a child my son was lackadaisical about everything. He ate slowly, he put on his clothes slowly; even his answers were too slow for my satisfaction. I found myself always after him to pick up the pace. Exasperated by his unresponsiveness, I'd constantly say to him, “Son, you’re as slow as molasses.” I said it so often that finally, in his seven-year old frustration, he asked, “Who is Molasses?” After I straightened up and stopped laughing, I realized I had made the assumption that my young son knew molasses is a thick, sweet substance, good for baking, and not a person with an unusual name. I expected him to know something he’d never learned.

There are those who assume that everyone should know who Jesus is, yet millions of people in the world are still asking, "Who is Jesus?" They don't know who He is because they've never been told. They’ve never heard that Jesus is the truth, the life and the only way to salvation. (John 14:6) They will only know if someone lovingly sits down beside them and tells them, just like I did with my son. What an awesome blessing to be the one who does.

Dear Lord, help me to remember to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when I bring someone to Christ. Let them walk away knowing, and being completely clear about, what they must do to be saved.

© Copyright 2009 G. Francis Johnson

Friday, February 6, 2009

What's In a Name

“…I will not forget you. See, I have tattooed your name upon my palm…” Isa. 49:16 (Living Bible)

I grew up in a family of four girls. My mother would invariably call us by one to three incorrect sisters’ names before she hit the right one.

After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, we watched her memory slip away a little at a time. I often hear people lament that when someone suffers from this horrible disease, they no longer remember the names of loved ones. That symptom never troubled us. Perhaps it’s because she had always gotten our names confused. Or, because we always had the feeling she was aware of the fact that she was with someone she knew—someone who loved her. The name really did not matter.

One day, when she was long past remembering names, I was praying with her. She usually listened and said nothing. This day, she spoke up and began to ask God to bless everyone in her family.

“You know I love you Lord. I’ve always loved you,” she said aloud with hands raised towards heaven. She called out the names of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. I listened in awe. I knew this was a ‘God Happening.”

I believe my mother was blessing her family in a way that patriarchs in the Old Testament blessed their families when death approached.

This was an incredible testimony to us. It assured us of her place in the family of God.

She never had a moment of such clarity again.

Prayer: Father, help me to remember that the most important thing about my name is that you have written it on your palm and in the lamb’s book of life.

© 2009 Christy Struben

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Freshly Fallen Snow

Isaiah 1:18a
"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow …” (NIV)

The moonlight shining on the freshly fallen snow sparkles as brilliant diamonds. It lies upon the earth unmarked. The trees are dark shadows standing quietly in the background. Leaving paw prints in the snow, a small animal dashed through the yard.

It won’t be long before the smog and litter take over the luminous snow leaving it gray and dingy. For now, I can enjoy the purity. Just as the freshly fallen snow covers the earth; when I feel the cares of this world polluting me, I pray, asking forgiveness and let God’s Love and Mercy cover me.

When I confess my sins and stand before the Lord, He doesn’t see me as gray and dingy but as a brilliant diamond. Jesus has made the way for me to cleanse myself of unrighteousness. I am renewed by the Word.

Merciful Father, thank you for sending your Son so that my sins would be forgiven. You have blessed me with the gift of salvation.

© Copyright 2008 Marcella Panowicz

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Available to God

“Aaron and Hur held up his (Moses’) hands one on one side, and
the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the going
down of the sun.” Exodus 17:12 (RSV

While deeply saddened over the death of my mother and my husband’s betrayal, I imagined everything was whispering invitations to die. My friend, Bonnie visited and brought a coffee cake. As we had coffee and cake, she read her favorite scripture verses on hope and God’s love.

A few days later, she asked me to go shopping. I really wanted to stay in and feel sorry for myself. Again she encouraged me to read my Bible. We prayed and did scripture searches. Through her prayers and guidance, I started reading my Bible regularly. Slowly my outlook turned from inward to upward. I learned to turn to the Word of God for help, strength and hope. I read about the struggles and victories of the Bible folks and, each time, a little slice of hope gave way to a new vision of hope for the future.

The story about Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ hand to keep the enemy from prevailing impressed me. I thought about my friend and how she had lifted me with God’s Word. I had prevailed. I thanked God for her and prayed to be available for Him.

PRAYER: Our Father, thank you for your servants and thank you that the only ability we need is availability. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

© 2009 L. Gosley

Friday, January 16, 2009


“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”
Phil.3:13 NASB

The beginning of a new year is a time to let go of last year’s hurts, bad memories and failures. The Bible tells me that God forgives me when I confess my sins, so it is time for me to move in the direction of accepting and living in the light of His perfect forgiveness. I need a reminder of how God sees me, regardless of how I have allowed other people to define me. I need to take a fresh, new look at who I am as God’s child with the unique gifts and talents He gives me, and remember that He has a special purpose for my life. I choose to thank God for all that He brings into my life. This includes the positive as well as the negative circumstances and events that He will use to shape me into the woman He intends for me to become.

The story of Jesus’ meeting with Nicodemus in John 3 reminds us that new life in Christ gives us an opportunity to look forward to a new future. The young believer who accepts God’s gift of new life is making a decision to put the old life behind him and reach forward toward new hopes and dreams. Only God knows what this New Year holds, so let us live life to its fullest.

Dear Father: I pray for discernment to see the new opportunities You have for me this year. Grant me the courage to put the past behind me and the strength to step out boldly and embrace life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2009 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Power of a Secret Prayer

But, when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NIV)

When Joshua was born, one kidney did not function. The doctors ordered immediate surgery to save his life. His mother, Nancy, suffered from inexplicable internal bleeding. Jim, the husband and father, spent his time between his family in the hospital and home with an older son. The couple asked their church to pray for them. Many answered that call, not only covering them in prayers but also, springing into other actions. They visited the hospital, brought food to the house, and car-pooled the older son to school as well as to other events.

Every night, after visiting hours, Pastor Howard went to the hospital alone. In the quiet of the nursery, he would hold Joshua, walk him, rock him, and pray over him.

Joshua is four years old now. He tells his mother that he wants to be Pastor Howard when he grows up. He likes to stand on the platform, lean on the pulpit, and pretend to preach. Pastor Howard always has time to stop and talk to Joshua. They have a very special relationship that started after 10 o’clock at night four years ago in a hospital nursery. And, no one knows about it except Pastor Howard, Joshua, the night nurses, and God.

Prayer: Father God, help us to know when it is time for corporate prayer and when it is time to go to you in prayer secretly.

© copyright: Christy Struben 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wonderfully Made

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 (NIV).

My daughter and my two sons were arguing one day and asked, "Who's your favorite child?" I had to think about that and came up with this answer. They are all my favorites because they were wonderfully made, but in different ways.

Christopher is my favorite because he is my first born. He is always willing to help me and others whenever a problem arises.

Cynthia is my favorite because she is my only daughter. She has a truly caring heart and pitches in whenever we serve others and the family.

James is my favorite because he is my baby. He is compassionate, relates to others and gives a listening ear when needed. It is their differences that make them wonderfully made to me.

When we read Psalm 139:13-16, we see that David is praising the Lord for creating him. His family did not think he was special. But, God did. Before David spent one moment on earth, his days were already planned and ordained.

My children were fearfully and wonderfully formed before they were even born. We can all sing praises to God because we are each fearfully and wonderfully made.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in your image. Even before we spent one moment here on earth our days were ordanined by you. Like David, I praise you. Amen.

© Dawn M. Sexton