Friday, December 26, 2014


…But do not overlook this fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day 2 Peter 3:8 (ESV).

As humans we are tied to time. What time is that appointment? What’s the date today? How old will I be next year?
Forget the last question.

Christians count years using the birth and death of Jesus as our markers. After every twelve months, we celebrate the beginning of a new year.

It is a custom among many to make some changes when a new year begins. We resolve to act on something we believe to be important. However, we often procrastinate and push the action date forward until the first day of the  new year.

God is eternal. He has no use for a clock, or a calendar or any other equipment that measures time. He has no beginning and no end. He is above time.

Whether we keep postponing a healthier lifestyle, or a closer walk with our Lord, we do not have to wait until the New Year.
Our God is always available to His children.

His compassion is steadfast. He is always there, waiting to commune with us, to direct us, to forgive us and to salve our hurts. He is open twenty four hours a day. Every day of our earth bound years, He hears our resolutions, requests, confessions and pleas then assists us when we ask.

Heavenly Father, time and eternity are in Your hands. What a blessing that You are always here for us. Thank You that Your children are never alone, and Your eternal, timeless goodness is always available.

© Christy Struben 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014


The air is peaceful, cold and still.
The stars twinkle in the night.
The cat slinks in the shadows
While birds twitter in the moonlight. this really Christmas?

People hurry downtown shopping,
Their purchases piling high.
Nervous voices loudly chatter,
Weary as the hours fly by. this really Christmas?

Footsteps treading through the snow,
A deliberate, peaceful walk,
Into church to kneel and worship.
There is no need to talk. really Christmas!

(c) 2014  E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, December 12, 2014


“By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” I Peter 1:3b (RSV).

Sleep evaded me. After tossing all night, scrambling my covers, I gave up trying.  Wearing myself out with nursing, cursing and rehearsing my miseries, I leaped out of bed, angry and totally consumed. I prayed, “Oh Lord. Help! I don’t know how to pray anymore.”
After a terrible argument with her father, my daughter had run away and I couldn’t find her. Their angry words still cut into my heart. She has been gone two days. I’ve called all her friends. No one knew of her whereabouts.

Around 4:00 a.m. I went to my sewing room and sat in the dark, in tears, in an old arm chair.

Sitting quietly in the dark wallowing in sadness, I heard a bird sing. Soon there was a cacophony of bird songs, sounding like hundreds. The sun started to offer a faint light in the sky. Their songs welcomed the dawn. They sang while it was still dark. Their faith in the unseen soothed my troubled spirit. Then it dawned on me­­ it’s Christmas morning. The world was dark with sin before Jesus came.

I prayed and birds sang. We were an odd chorus, but one filled with Living Hope because of Jesus. Tears were behind my eyes all day and prayers for protection never left my lips. My Lord came for the lost.

Around noon, a call came from my neighbor informing me my daughter was at her house.  Thank you, Jesus. You are my Christmas. Because of You, I have Living Hope, not worthless expectations.
Dear Jesus, my Living Hope, my times are in your hands. Amen
©2014  Lois Gosley

Friday, December 5, 2014


I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as  snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16 (NIV).

My 26 year old grandson, Zechariah, approaches acting with a seriously perfectionistic attitude.

On a recent opening night, his mother and I had a hard time watching him moving around on stage in a dinner jacket that was two times too big. We were convinced that a larger actor had traded jackets.

Zechariah chose to ignore the issue. He was shrewd enough to know that the goal was to provide an excellent performance. For that to happen there needed to be peace among cast members so they could act and sing in harmony.

I was reminded of Christ's command to be shrewd yet innocent.

Jesus walked the Earth in guileless innocence yet He held the future in the palm of His hands. He gently answered detractors with a shrewdness that left them speechless.

Our Lord sends us into the world to witness as His disciples with a warning and directions. He warns us to be aware of the evil wolfish attitudes we will encounter. He directs us to be as shrewd as He was when employing the wisdom of scripture.

He is our model.

Our goal--to successfully bring others to salvation in Jesus Christ.

Lord, as we go into the world to witness help us to keep our eyes on the prize by being gentle but knowledgeable...innocent but shrewd and always aware of the goal.

(C) Christy Struben

Friday, November 28, 2014


And the Lord called Samuel again for the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy.  I Samuel 3:8 (RSV)

Growing up in the hills of Pennsylvania, my playground was the woods. My home town sat in a valley, and our house was built into the hillside.

 My favorite place to play, on top of the hill, was a place called Big Rock. From up there I could see all over town. My girl friend and I made peanut butter sandwiches and walked and talked until we reached the top.  We sat on Big Rock, our feet hanging over, and ate our sandwiches. We solved the problems of ten-year-old girls.

 Whenever my mother wanted me, she called from our front porch “LOISELAINNNE” three or four times.  I heard her from the top of Big Rock. Whatever problems we were solving or whatever things we were working on were instantly dropped. I made a mad dash through the woods, down the hill, leaping over large boulders, felled trees and bushes, to get to my mother.

 I knew my mother’s voice, and I knew she had a good reason for calling me. Also, nothing was more important than obeying her call. She knew I would come running.

 Samuel did not know the Lord’s voice. But our Lord called repeatedly until Samuel discovered (through Eli) the Lord was calling him. The Lord knew Samuel was someone he could trust with His message.

 I pray I am never too busy and miss the Lord’s call and He finds me trustworthy to carry His message.  How busy are you?

 Dear Lord, Here I am. Amen

 ©2014 Lois Gosley

Friday, November 21, 2014


They came across the ocean to the wild, unsettled shore
to a new land giving refuge with its widely opened door.
And though many lost possessions, and some lost their lives,
still, they came seeking freedom with their children and their wives.

With fear and tribulations, they left their homes behind
and traveled many months for this new land to find.
And when they tread the shoreline, they knelt in prayer to God,
giving thanks to the Almighty as they stood on freedoms sod.

With guns and hoes and axes, they build their homes anew.
There never was a minute lacking for some chore to do.
With aching backs and muscles, they tilled the virgin earth,
and thanked God for their blessings, the harvest and new birth.

Each day was filled with challenge, with illness, death and pain.
But, work they did with vigor, sorrow, tears and rain.
Friends they made of natives, who taught them nature's plans.
Harvest was the sweeter with the clasp of friendly hands.

A feast they made in gladness for their freedom, joy and health.
They thanked God for the freshness, for their freedom was their wealth.
And so, their first Thanksgiving was a pattern for us all.
Still, two centuries later, we remember it each fall.

These first pilgrim Americans who were stout of limb and heart,
gave up their homes across the sea to make a brand new start.
And we, their heirs to freedom, in honor kneel to pray,
to thank them and God above for this Thanksgiving Day.

(c) 2014 Evelyn B. Ryan

Friday, November 14, 2014


Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it Hebrews 13:1-2 (NIV).

In all the years of participating in the Halloween experience, I have never seen so much candy! It was amazing to see trash bags filled and baskets overflowing with yummy treats!  All the wonderful folks from my church who donated candy and came out to play dress-up on a chilly fall evening were spreading Jesus love. They reached out to thousands of children and parents in costumes of many assorted fantasies and favorite characters. Sure, they were there for the free candy and for the parading of their costumes, but what they received was so much more—a taste of Jesus.

I was standing on the side of an orange Volkswagen van with a sticker that said,” try to look on the bright side.” On the back of the van, I saw a big peace sign. We were definitely doing this Halloween night hippy-style, but our peace and our “bright side” were because of Jesus and not the 1960’s. Nearby, a table was set up with a candle and a Bible. Daily devotionals were distributed throughout the night. Naturally, the table was filled with gobs and gobs of candy. We handed out sweets, scriptural blessings, hope and love. 

We were all in this together—the pirates, the Ninjas and even Thing 1 and Thing 2. I was reminded of how Jesus reached out to everyone in need. And everyone there was in need, including me in my medieval wench costume. 

Lord, mask me in Your love so that when strangers look at me, they see You.  

©2014 Kimberly Clayton

Saturday, November 8, 2014


The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.  Isaiah 40:8 (NIV).

Every year I watch all the beautiful flowers throughout the seasons. They eventually wilt and fall to the ground. Some last for a couple days, while others last for weeks. Yet, eventually they all wither and die.
I did notice that each season has its own flowers. Autumn has my favorite flowers--the mums with all the earthly colors of fall. But these flowers soon wither and die also.
I thank God for artificial mums. I can put them all around my home. There is not a room in my house that does not brighten up with these bouquets. But even these flowers soon wear out and fall to pieces. They do not last forever.
What does last forever is the Word of God. I can count on the Bible to keep me from falling. His Word is good for all seasons. When I take the time to read and study the Bible, I grow stronger. His Word nourishes, sustains and upholds me through even the harshest of times.
God’s Word has been around since the beginning of time. He spoke and the world came into existence. There is power in every syllable. My existence is dependent on each word.
Like the flower I will soon wither and die. Unlike the flower, I will live forever in the presence of God. In heaven I will flourish and never wilt.            
Lord, I seek to learn Your words. Help me to hold them close to my heart and share them with others.

©2014 Dawn Sexton.

Friday, October 31, 2014


Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV).

Candidates for all four hundred and thirty five seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and thirty four of the one-hundred Senate seats are to be voted on this November. United States Citizens are blessed with the job of voting for the best candidates to fill these critical positions.
The Bible contains assistance in making voting decisions.
1.      God expressed anger that His people made important decisions about their leadership without consulting Him. …they set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval… Hosea 8:4. This tells me that before voting, my Lord expects His people to consult Him concerning their choice of leaders.
2.      God instructed His prophet, Samuel, to reject seven of Jesse’s sons before He approved of the youngest son, David. The Lord explained to Samuel that He makes such decisions by looking into the heart. Only God can “read” the heart of a man. Therefore, His choice is best, not what people may see on the surface.

3.      God told His prophet Isaiah that a man named Cyrus would one day free the Jewish people: Isaiah 44:28 through 45:1-14. One hundred and fifty years later Cyrus the Great became king. Although he worshiped idols, he freed the Jewish captives after seventy years of bondage. He allowed them to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple.  

The Lord had plans for His people then and He has plans for His people now. U.S. citizens can be a part of His plan. Use His wisdom and vote.
Lord, You alone know the heart of each candidate. You alone know who will bring peace, prosperity and safety to Your people. Please tell me how to vote.
© Christy Struben 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Jesus said to them, My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working John 5:17 (NIV).

I love working with my hands: crocheting, sewing, writing, and painting pictures with oils. My hands have also been occupied with rough carpentry. Many years ago a goat house, milking shed, milk stand and lounging benches for the goats were part of my handiwork. Another project was a three foot by eight foot extension on the corner of the back porch so wood could be stacked for the winter.

I find the fragrance of fresh cut wood very refreshing. It is satisfying when the finished project emerges from the wooden boards. Today, Jesus and Joseph come to mind. Jesus learned His carpentry skills from His earthly father. I thought of the things He might have made: chairs, tables, wash stands, cradles and ladders. He might even have helped build houses in His village. Perhaps there might be something that Jesus made that is still in use today in some remote part of Jerusalem or Galilee. That would be a wonderful treasure find.

The scriptural quotation above applies to spiritual work that Jesus did, healing the sick, raising the dead, curing the deaf and blind, whether on a week day or the Sabbath. Working with our hands is honorable work, whether it is in carpentry, farm work, digging ditches, or any activity in which you use your hands to accomplish a task. II Thessalonians 3:10 says, if any would not work, neither should he eat. This is a lesson that needs to be taught in every school throughout America, from kindergarten through high school.

Father, bless those who use their gifts for You. May they be successful in whatever way they perform. Amen.

(c) 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, October 17, 2014


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path Psalm 119:105 (KJV).

It’s the end of the day, and I sit holding my Bible – shabby cover that needs the spine taped, rough corners, and ragged edge. Any minute now, I’ll open to find its time-tested gems of wisdom. Others do better at caring for the book itself. What an admirable talent! They use it every day, absorb the messages, and keep the same Bible for fifty years. Mine barely make ten. The old ones are in the house somewhere. Still, it’s a comfortable feeling to have the current one come open to the same pages. Again and again, those old stories provoke and inspire new thoughts.

 Just like unfinished books sitting on the shelves, unresolved problems are sitting in my mind. It’s fitting that a storm is coming. There! Lightning struck through the darkness and I can see the large, granite boulder beside the lane. I need the light. That’s why I will never do what King Jehoiakim did—cut a scroll containing the Lord’s words and throw it into a fire. Afterwards, though, Jeremiah wrote them again. His Word cannot be destroyed.

 At the first of his gospel John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Those enlightening words precede the reassuring and revealed promise—Jesus, the Rock, the Word made flesh, was crucified and rose again. Like lightning coming from the east, we will see Him again.

So with hope, prayer and expectation, I reach for the lamp beside my chair and turn it on.

Lord, may Your word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

© V. Colclasure 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014


…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect Romans 12:2 (NLT).

I am in the autumn of my life—colored by experience. My limbs, like branches, hold a story about change. My leaves are the passing days of deeds and the seasons of forgiveness. By His mercy, I am veiled in brilliant autumn beauty. My harvest abounds in shades of scarlet and robust orange. This is GOOD. 

By His will, I dance to the transforming pulse and the unfolding splendor He creates in me. My Lord pours from me chocolate brown and buttery golden leaves to prune my seasoned soul. As I cascade down my exterior, once made of a hardened life wood, I giggle to the forest floor where puddles form in a kaleidoscope of sifted colors. This is PLEASING.

In this season of purification, the Autumn Artist reveals the near completion of my being. I stand, as a dull and empty wooden frame, half-naked and raw like Jesus on the sacred cross. He frees me from myself, to be born again, when a new season breathes His Spirit upon me. He planted all the days of my life and shaped me into the light of awakening, the light of new joy, the light of the Lord. This is PERFECT.

The Autumn Artist is a reminder of a never-changing God in an ever-changing world. He continues to mold and sanctify me toward glorification. This is HEAVENLY! 

Lord, let change remind us of Your perfect will and transforming Spirit. May we, like the tree,  remain joyfully obedient to the seasons in our lives.
2014© Kimberly Clayton   

Friday, October 3, 2014


He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will catch some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net because of the large number of fish John 21:6 (NIV).

After thirty-eight years working in my career as an elementary school teacher and administrator, it was time to retire. During those working years, the Lord had graciously called me to several opportunities to serve Him in addition to my “day job.”

In school or out, it was always a blessing when my God placed me in circumstances that allowed Him to use me to share and pray with others.

Free of a busy career, my plan was to grasp this opportunity to spend more time working for the Lord. Laying my thoughts and prayers concerning the future before my King, my prayer was, “Dear Lord, most of my daily responsibilities are over. Here I am Lord, use me. Take me anywhere in the world—any country—any continent. Direct me. Just tell me when and where, and I will go.
The answer the Lord impressed on my heart and spirit, was surprising to me. He wanted me to minister to my extended family. This was not the “exotic” answer expected. But this was the place meant for me to “throw in my net.” This is where success and personal satisfaction would come to me.

If we remember to ask the Lord where to throw in our nets, He will tell us. He might even prepare a private fishing hole.

Thank You for the sweet opportunity we each have to witness Your saving grace to others.  And thank You for being able to see that net filling up.
© 2014 Christy Struben

Friday, September 26, 2014


I will give you lasting peace in this place Jeremiah 14:13b (NAS).

The time came when we needed a house with a mother-in-law suite. Mother's failing health required personal care. What a blessing to offer a comfortable home where we could take care of her. She would still have her freedom. She was so excited that she moved in a week ahead of us. Mother called every evening asking when we were coming.

A week later we joined her in our new home. Mother and I visited daily. She was very happy living here. She helped water the flowers in the yard and garden. Mother's porch had a beautiful hanging garden where we enjoyed nature together. It was soothingly peaceful. Mother and I grew closer with passing time and daily expressed our love for one another. I grew to love our home because she loved it.

Mother became very ill during her fourth year with us. We eventually obtained hospice care, so she would not live her remaining time among strangers. My sisters and their families visited often. During her last days, caring for her was a labor of love. In our times together, we discussed our Savior, Jesus and His depth of love for us. Mother shared her dreams of meeting Jesus. In her last dream, she said He smiled at her. She was at peace, knowing she would soon be with Him.

Reflecting back, I realize God made it possible for us to have this house, so I could take care of my mother. I am awed and grateful. There is a heavenly home where peace and love will abound. It will be the best home of all because our Father, and Jesus will be there.

Father, I long for the lasting peace of heaven. Amen.

(c) 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Ephesians 4:28 (KJV).
Falling down a ladder while painting the outside of the house caused me to pull a ham string in the back of my right leg. After a visit to the hospital a brace was put on my leg and I was told to stay off of it.  I have been unable to work for two weeks.

Time off my job should have felt like a vacation. Yet I realized I missed it.

Working and giving of my time serving God, I know my labor is not in vain. In Ephesians 4:28 there is more to working than receiving God’s approval. It is my responsibility to give part of my earnings to those who are in need.

Paul is telling the Ephesians to walk in the ways of the Lord and turn away from the ways of the Gentiles (Ephesians 4:17). He was telling them it was time to put away the corrupt self.

Working is not just a means of survival, obtaining riches or material things, it is also to see that the realization of work is a ministry of our Lord. The motive for work is not for ourselves, but for others.

When the time comes to return to work, I know that it will be with a new purpose. It will be to serve God and to help meet the needs of others.

Lord, I seek to give all that I have to Your service. Help me to meet the needs of others.

©2014 Dawn Sexton.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Many of the Samaritans from the town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony. . . John 4:39 (NIV).

To me, the story of the Samaritan woman at the well is a clear and concise lesson concerning preparation to witness about salvation through belief in Jesus Christ. I had the advantage of hearing sermons and reading books about how to witness. But she had the unrivaled experience of spending quality time alone with Jesus while He walked the earth.

In their time together, He answered her questions and amazed her with knowledge of her sins. She explained her belief that Jews worship in the “wrong place.” He told her that worshiping in spirit and truth is what is most important, not the location.

As if His comments were of no consequence, she told Him that all of the right answers would be revealed when the Messiah comes.

“I am He,” Jesus said.

Suddenly, all He had previously shared with her came into focus. She left her water jug at the well and ran to tell the people in her hometown about the man she now believed to be the Messiah.

Because of her report, many came to sit under the teachings of Jesus. They entreated Him to stay with them for two additional days.

There seems to be a formula here for learning how to witness:
  • First, spend time in His presence,
  • Second, pay attention when He speaks through the Spirit or through scripture,
  • And then, tell others what happened to you personally.
Lord, help me to regularly spend time alone with You, and hold on to Your teachings. Keep me bold like the Samaritan woman in sharing my story in order to bring others to Your saving grace.

© Christy Struben 2014

Friday, September 5, 2014


You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst forth into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands Isaiah 55:12 (NIV).

God awakens me in the morning to the chirping of the chick-a-dee. The dandelion sun beams through the sheerness of my drapes and colors my room with the sweetness of God’s light.
I step outside gather my senses, and embrace each image of God’s awesome creation. The trees are crisp, green, and full of life. They are plentiful and create a silhouette against the robin-egg sky.
As my car putters down a windy back road, I experience the brilliance of His handiwork. The petunias and the begonias radiantly freckle the fertile ground. My soul delights in the bold, the delicate, and the dramatic design of this lush composition. Fresh forms of sculpted shapes reveal His passion for the earth.
A clear vision of God's personality is expressed by the painted strokes of His genius. I see the nature of His being, His wisdom, His love manifested and scattered among the earth. God's splendor, glory, and divine knowledge are revealed by this attention, detail, and purpose for all living things. By exhibiting how much He cares for even the smallest particle of nature, we can be assured how much He cares for us. Hallelujah!
A celebration of life is landscaped in vibrant hue and texture –each second, each minute, each hour—His gift and our joy! A Masterpiece!
Creator of all things, fill me abundantly with the refreshing vigor of Your nature. I am filled with peace and joy when I delight in Your all-inspiring canvas. Amen!
(c) 2014 Kimberly Clayton

Friday, August 29, 2014


Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say Rejoice. Philippians 4:4 (RSV).
Recently folks enjoyed the Fourth of July with fireworks celebrating our country’s independence. I didn’t attend, but was able to hear all the pops, bangs, sizzles and whistles from my home. Thinking about what the celebration meant, and how much people sacrificed for us to enjoy this liberty, I thanked God and celebrated being born in America.

I also celebrate being a child of God, and that Jesus Christ died for me, and my sins are forgiven. I am thankful that no persecution prevents me from worshipping in this free land. At church, a wonderful,warm and caring community prays for me and provides loving Christian fellowship and support. That is worth celebrating.

Getting together with my daughter, her husband, and my grandchildren sends fireworks of love in my heart every time. I celebrate family.
When success comes my way, or when accomplishing something new, it is worth celebrating. Whenever a magnificent sunset or a beautiful flower graces my path, I celebrate God’s creativity.

Praise God for all the trials I’ve endured. They have produced growth and strength enabling me to help others. I celebrate His provisions and for wisdom from above.
In celebration of my life, my writing, my art work, I thank God for His love. Celebrate with me. Let our fireworks of praise reach heaven as we count our blessings.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me through the world’s pops, bangs and whistles that You are the Way, the Truth and Life. No fireworks can out shine You, Lord.  Amen.
©2014 Lois Gosley

Friday, August 22, 2014


...whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God 1 Corinthians 10:31b (NIV).

I had a dream that Barbara arrived in heaven. As she passed Jesus, who was there to greet all those entering heaven, He touched her shoulder and something clicked inside her. Barbara's throat was opened and she had the deep desire to sing. When she opened her mouth, the most beautiful song came out and danced on the air. At last, she could sing again.

When I awakened, I remembered when we were children, and my sister, Barbara, shut herself in our big walk-in closet. She sang at the top of her voice, pretending she was a famous opera star. Sometimes she yodeled, making her voice run up and down the scales. It was nerve-wracking to my older sister, Gene, and I, but nothing we said would make her shut up. She was delighted with her singing.

Barbara sang every chance she could as she grew up. I often sang with her at our yearly family reunions, choosing songs that enabled us to harmonize. When she was ill with Lou Gehrig's disease, I asked her to sing with me in church. She cried and said, "My voice has gone away." She could no longer carry a tune. Instead of singing, we cried together for her loss.

When I dreamed about Barbara getting her voice back, more beautiful than ever, it was a confirmation that she was singing to our Lord. I knew she was doing her best for the glory of God.

Dear Lord, one day let me sing again with Barbara, harmonizing a song for Your glory. Amen.

(c) 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, August 15, 2014


Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 (NIV).

In recent months, I realized that I had been out of touch with two old friends. I wondered what was happening in their lives. I sensed a nudge from the Lord to contact them.  

I left a message on Nellamae’s cell phone. My prayers for her continued, and so did my concern. I questioned, “Where is she, Lord?” Then, her daughter called and told me her mother had gone home to be with the Lord a few days before . . . right when the Lord brought her to my mind.

Although saddened by the loss of my dear friend, I knew she longed to be with her Savior. My question had been answered.

When I finally reached my other friend, Susan, she explained that for the past two years, all her time and energy had been focused on the care of her mother, who had recently passed away. Now, my second question had been answered.

How good the Lord is to answer even minor questions we ask. O Lord, what is man that you care for him . . . Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

(Psalm 144:3a, 4). God knows we want answers to questions in our lives, and He will provide them, even in unexpected ways. His love for us reaches down when we ask, “What happened, Lord?”

Father, thank You for hearing our prayers and for caring so much for us that Your answers to our questions are uniquely designed by You.

© 2014 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, August 8, 2014


“I believe. Help my unbelief” Mark 9:24 (RSV).

Money is tight this month. The rain gutter is in need of repair after the last severe storm. My tire keeps going flat. I had to be rescued twice from the church parking lot. My income arrives once a month. It’s entered into my checkbook, and then the monthly bills gobble it up. Will my funds make it through the month, or will there be month left over at the end of the money?
Doubt challenges my reasoning, dulls my enthusiasm, wipes out my hope and worst of all, steals the most vital ingredient to survival—faith.  Fear and faith cannot live together.
The words in the above verse were spoken by a man with a demoniac son. The father felt his son’s condition was hopeless. After all, the disciples couldn’t drive out the demon. Jesus’ response was, “O faithless generation. . . ” (See Mark 9:17-27).
No way do I want to be a member of the “faithless generation.” I believe the Lord is my provider, and I will make it through this month. Jesus often asked people if they believed He could perform miracles. I need to say “Yes” to God and actively believe–always. My situation today is the arena for a miracle. This should be exciting!
Dear Lord, thank you for providing for me in all areas of my life. I confess that money causes me the greatest anxiety. You have always provided what I need when I needed it. I believe. Help my unbelief. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
©2014 Lois Gosley

Friday, August 1, 2014


And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose Romans 8:28 (NIV).

A woman new to the church Bible study introduced herself with a smile and said, “I’m a fellow Christian visiting Baltimore from the Sunflower State of Kansas.” She asked us to pray for her brother who was in hospice care. I was startled when she mentioned his name.

“Did he write a book about alcoholism?” I asked.
“Yes he did,” she answered. “Did you read it?”
“I taught a college class about addiction for many years. The purpose of the class was to prepare teachers to instruct students about substance abuse. Your brother’s book was on my required reading list.”
“Please write my brother,” she said. “It would cheer him to hear that story.”
In answer to my letter, the man’s wife wrote, “My husband had tears in his eyes when I read your letter to him. He thanked God that you presented to teachers. His hope is they will return to their classrooms and bring the facts concerning substance abuse to many others. What a blessing this was for him to hear, especially at this  difficult time!”
Some may call this co-incidental. The writer, his wife, his sister, the members of this Bible study group and I would call this a “God-incident.” God had called this man to fulfill a specific purpose. Many people were touched as our Lord reached out to this dying man confirming the positive consequences of His obedience to the call.
Heavenly Father, help us to hear Your call on our lives and to fulfill the purpose You have for each of us.
© 2014 Christy Struben

Friday, July 25, 2014


"...we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive" Acts 20:35 b, c (NIV).

"I don't want to take charity from my kids," Mother insisted, her chin stuck out in a proud, stubborn stance

I said,"Mom, the word charity means love. We love you and want to help if you'll let us."My two sisters nodded in agreement.

"Besides that, Mom, to refuse to let us help you now when you need it is depriving us of our blessing. You did without a lot of things while raising us so now it's our pay back time. The Bible says 'it's more blessed to give than to receive.' (Acts 20:35). Do you want to deprive us of a blessing?"

A sheepish, contrite look came over her sweet face. She slowly shook her head and quietly said "no" as she accepted the envelope. Tears of gratitude ran down her face as she hugged each one of us and said, "I've got the best daughters in the world."

"We followed your example, Mom," I continued. "You have now allowed us to receive God's blessings. You encouraged us to pray and rely on God's word. You spent your life helping others through the teaching of God's Holy Spirit. Now you are learning God's truth about the blessings of receiving."

Thank You, Lord, for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the blessing of giving. Amen.

(c) 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Friday, July 18, 2014


And he said to them, Come ye yourselves apart into the desert place, and rest a while.  Mark 6:3 (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 to do 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.

(c) 2009 Dawn M. Sexton

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Astonishing Faith

The centurion replied, “…But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man of authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes," Matthew 8:8-9   (NIV).

At the time of Jesus, the Army of Rome was at the height of its power. The centurion was leader over one hundred troops. He knew the power his commands carried when he gave orders to his men.
Scripture does not tell us if this man had ever seen Jesus in person. Certainly he knew of Jesus and knew there was power in the words of Jesus because he simply asked Him to speak the command to heal.
In my mind’s eye I can picture Jesus walking along a path. People are following Him.  Many others are waiting excitedly hoping for His healing touch.
The statement from the centurion indicates that he understood Jesus to be much more than one claiming to be a healer. Evidently the centurion understood Jesus as a man with the authority to speak a command and the universe will obey. 
When Jesus heard the statement from the centurion, He must have stopped what He was doing. Scripture says He was astonished. “…and (He) said to those following him, I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
The faith of this ancient soldier is a beacon to me. Whatever I ask of Jesus, He is capable of making it happen. The centurion knew this even before the resurrection proved this to be fact.
Lord help me to remember and emulate the unfaltering and sure faith of the Centurion. e wasHe He
© Christy Struben 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

I Pledge Allegiance

Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. Mark 12:17 (NIV)

Recently I toured the living history museum at Fort McHenry, Maryland. The underground dungeons were cold and damp. The first chamber had wrist and ankle shackles embedded in the stone walls where enemy soldiers had been imprisoned. Turning to go, I imagined hearing low moans from the chambers behind me. History was thick here.

Outside of the fort we viewed the cannons located on the star points that shaped the outer walls. Here in the War of 1812, American cannons were aimed at the British ships in the Patapsco River trying to break through to the harbor and invade Baltimore.

A huge American flag flew over Fort McHenry as the cannon fire raged through the night. Francis Scott Key, an American aboard a British ship, watched for the flag through the night. At dawn, the damaged flag still flew, prompting Key, to take his pen and write a poem that later became the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our national anthem.
My trip to Fort McHenry reminded me of the many who have fought to keep America free. I honor them. As U.S. citizens we owe allegiance to those who have sacrificed much to keep this country great. However our first allegiance should be to our God who has blessed us with His salvation.

Thank You Father, that I am free to make my first allegiance to You and to my Savior. Jesus.
© 2014 E. Bonnie Ryan

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Job Well Done

and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1c (NASB)

It had been a long afternoon working with my six-year old grandson on a button-making project for a political campaign. His dad taught him how to work the circle punch device, and he was busily punching out circles for me to put into the button-press machine. It was tiring, tedious work. When the project was completed, my grandson was still alongside me. He did not get bored nor did he run away to play. He persevered until the job was done.

“It is a very good quality to stick with a job no matter what. It’s important to finish well and not give up. I’m so proud of you,” I told him.

His dark blue eyes watched me, as he quietly listened. I sensed it was special to him to hear that I was proud of his work.

Perseverance and endurance are character qualities believers are encouraged to develop. In the book of Hebrews believers are told to persevere, or hold fast our confidence and our full assurance of faith firm until the end (Hebrews 3:6, 14; 10:22-23). Paul reminds us that God is watching, and He will reward those who persevere in doing good (Romans 2:5-7).

We all face situations in life, such as a job or a relationship where we feel like giving up. But quitting isn’t the answer. God tells us to hold on even when it is hard. When easier, selfish choices might be made in life, I want to stand with my hard-working grandson and hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)

Father, strengthen us to run with endurance the race that You set before us.

© 2104 Diane E. Hussey

Friday, June 20, 2014

Accidental Contentment

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.   Philippians 4:11 (NKJV)

The loudness of the impact was horrifying, our cars colliding, the sounds of metals crumbling, glass breaking, air bags exploding.   The sirens of police and ambulance screamed through the air. Although badly shaken, I was thankful that other than our cars, no one was seriously injured.  

The greatest blessing was that although my car was totaled, I walked away relatively unharmed with only a left shoulder sprain. Since I am right handed, I was able to continue to function as usual.

The lesson on contentment began when I had to adjust to life without a car something I had not done in over twenty-five years.  I was now forced to confront challenges that I had previously struggle with constantly: acceptance, humility and patience. I am now need to, ask for, accept rides and utilize public transportation.

While walking, my senses have been awakened to how magnificent and beautiful,God  created the world. The season appeared decently, the snow of the winter, the blooming of the flowers and now longer days and warmth a signal that summer is coming soon.  I became aware of things that I had never noticed when I was driving:  the chirping of birds, squirrels and rabbits scurrying as I approach.  The beauty of the clouds impressed me and even the patterns of rain.  Oh how excellent! 

 What had initially appeared to be a misfortune, ended up becoming a season to understand the meaning of grace, mercy and contentment

Thank you Master Teacher for using a car accident as a lesson to teach me how to be abased or abound   - Amen

© Wanda Currie 2014