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