December 27, 2014

Matthew - A servant's heart

As the car was being unloaded by hands of many a little voice said “I want to help.”  Finding a task, he began, this little boy, Matthew, one bottle in each hand, handing out water to the homeless.  Walking from the case of water to the people, back and forth, back and forth…until everyone had water.

As the message of the birth of Christ was given, Matthew and his friends played, chasing each other and giggling, a palm frond that had fallen to the ground was the ‘toy’ that provided the entertainment and squeals from the children.  When the message was done and the food came to the table, the little voice again, “I want to help.”

As the assembly line loaded the plates the server’s passed them out to those there that night, Matthew going back and forth still.  A servant’s heart is definitely in Matthew. 

Often times people think that there is nothing they can do, perhaps because of their age or circumstances or past.  Well, take a tip from Matthew and just start helping, a little boy, so small that his two hands could only carry two waters, yet he served that whole group.  He didn't let his size or circumstance stop him, there wasn't a wonder in him of what he could he do he just did. 

A total of about 10 volunteers singing, teaching, going back and forth, what’s so special about Matthew?  All were there to serve, did serve and no doubt have servant’s hearts!   What a blessing they all were!  So why point out Matthew? 

Matthew was one of the homeless that the others had come to serve.  Yet he came not to be served (he took his food with him at the end of the night), but to serve.  

Remind you of anyone? 

 Image result for image of empty manger

October 17, 2014

After Midnight

Eric Clapton sang “After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang out”, translation, “to be uninhibited”.  Now I’m sure what I’m about to describe is not what the song was about but in a way, I did indeed, let it all hang out.

I've hit the place of life where change is happening and ladies I’m sure you’ll understand when I say my sleep pattern has, well, no pattern.  I can go a few nights without good sleep but then I crash and the other night crash I did, you know you’re tired when a sitcom confuses you and you care that it confuses you.  I was in bed, sound asleep, by, not kidding, 630pm!  But just after midnight, WIDE AWAKE! 

I’m not one that can lay in bed awake, my mind goes off into high gear about everything under the sun, the sun itself and everything else out there and usually none of it is positive thinking.  So I head out to the kitchen to busy myself but nothing really holds my attention so I bring out the Bible study homework.

Feeling the pressures and insecurities of single life, I’m wide awake but really tired, does that make sense(?) my mind not quite ready to be awake at now about 12:30am.  Well look there, the homework is about insecurities and past failures, “oh this is gonna be fun”, I think sarcastically, I’m already in a place of stinking thinking let’s just add to it.  (I’m a grumpy tired person, is it showing?)

Now remember I’m in a study of God’s Word, some of these thoughts were prompted by the line of questioning from the study, and it was done to bring me to the truth of the present. So, after midnight, I let it all hang out, uninhibited, pouring my heart out to the Lord about stuff He & I dealt with  long ago, about current stuff and, oh my, future stuff that MIGHT become stuff…anyone?  Just me?   I look to the heavens and think surely at times I drive Him crazy.  But He doesn't stop me.  He just listens. 

The devil likes to bring up all that old stuff and leave us there heavy with it all again, however, God, doesn't leave us.  In allowing it to be brought up and after about 60 minutes in His Word, the Lord spoke, “You are new.  Your past is past and yes it had some rocky roads but there’s no need for regrets and fret because you’re not that one anymore, I made you new.  And there are most likely some rocky roads ahead, but I AM here”.

The lesson in God’s Word was a sweet reminder of how far we've come, Him and I, and I’ll far we’ll go, on into eternity, together.

When I was growing up in central Pennsylvania, surrounded by woods, we had a bony pile.  My friend Sharon and I climbed it.  Trudging over the loose rock and shale, it was hard to get and keep your footing.  We’d laugh, run out of breath, pause and start up again.  And when we got to the top, over the rocks and shale, to the view of the woods, oh the beauty, green in summer, golden in autumn, grey in winter and no matter the color, always stunning.

When I sit and realize the rocks of the past I actually treasure them for they helped me realize the need for a Savior, mine and yours, Jesus.  Yes, the rocks of the past were hard but oh so worth the view in the present and even the future ‘might happens’. 

2:15am and restful sleep came to me, I wouldn't mind another midnight meet sometime; whether green, golden or grey, with God, the view is always spectacular.


October 4, 2014

All I have needed . . .

...thy  hand hath provided.

I woke this morning with something weighing heavy on my mind and I just couldn't shake it.  Is it just me or does that happen to anyone else?  I grabbed my coffee and sat out on the balcony, 445am, rolling this thing over and over and over in my mind until it just frustrated me so.  I walked into the kitchen to refill by cup and on the way back to the balcony I saw the earphones and decided I needed some music.  Dialing through the gospel and spiritual genre there was "Great is Thy Faithfulness".  I stood listening and singing (softly, it was 5am and most neighbors still asleep :-) ).  I came to the line of "All I have needed thy hand hath provided" thinking back over life and the truth of that line - - - and I just teared up and began praising the Lord and dancing to His wonderfulness! 

My question at the beginning of "is it just me", the answer is no.  I cannot imagine that this doesn't happen to each of us at one time or another.  It's what we do with it after that makes the difference, we can let it fester and ruin our day (or longer), we can write out a plan to 'fix' it (but never follow through on the plan), we can push it to the back and hope that it'll just go away (and it will...for a while, but it comes back), or we can hand it off to God and get on with our day (He'll keep it and take care of it by guiding us along the right path).  I've done all of the above options, trust me our days are numbered so don't let it (whatever "it" may be for you) ruin one moment, giving it to God is by far the best choice.

I love the wording of the paraphrase of Matthew 6:33 in the message:

"People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met."

My favorite Paul said it best, (Philippians 4:18 NLT)

18 "At the moment I have all I need—and more!"

Great is Thy faithfulness, mercy and love.


September 30, 2014

Smiles in the oddest places...

I cannot belief that July is now done but as far as months go I’m not sorry to see that one end. It came with some unpleasant unexpecteds. But then, that could happen again this month so instead of looking at those unpleasant unexpected I’m focusing on the pleasant unexpected.

There are times we do something so ordinary, so common that we rarely really even think about what we’re doing; we’re simply doing what is normal for us. Its summer in the Coachella Valley and that means it’s hot, hot, hot. Not a whole lot of hot foods being consumed in my home right now, don’t want to turn that oven on unless I have to; so thankful for counter grills, crock pots and cool foods.

So I get a plate of what a friend of mine used to refer to an “nummins”, a mix of cut fresh veggies, cold chicken or boiled eggs, pickle and some crackers; maybe a little dressing on the side. It is a nice cool, refreshing and relatively healthy plate of nourishment in this summer heat.

I pour a nice glass of wine and sit down to the table and here it comes the pleasant unexpected, as the wheat thin cracker come to my lips, I smile. It is not the cracker my mind’s eye is focused on but two cute little faces that I introduced wheat thins to in the month of July. One soon to turn 5 and one soon to turn 3, I had just met them yet we took to each other rather easily, most likely because their Nana is my sister.

As they headed home and I knew I would be leaving and do not know when I’ll see them again a little voice says “I sure wish we had your crackers at our house”, I promised I’d email her Mom the name of them so she could have them.

Little faces eating, little hands sharing, as I lift the cracker to my lips, in only the way God can do, He somehow made a cracker something so very special. The unexpected pleasantness.

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”


September 7, 2014

You must realize . . .

As I stood yesterday listening to David tell of the triumphs and concerns of the ministry and how he spoke of those they serve, a thought came to mind. 

As the morning progressed, faces coming in that I hadn't seen in too long, boxes being made to receive the blessing for faces we don't all always see, plastic and cardboard and food and fellowship abounding . . . I thought, I hope he realizes...I hope all missionaries and their families realize...

You see ministries often talks of the lives being changed by Christ out in the trenches, if you will.  Yet there's a different demographic being blessed.  The volunteers.  We're not there because we need food to eat, we're there, in part, to help provide that for others.  Yet, God is indeed filling a need in us - those that it seems have no unmet needs. 

Someone once said 'If you've got a pulse, you've got a purpose'.  Volunteering takes us outside of the daily grind, yes, our employment provides for others is some way, and for many, careers are very fulfilling, yet . . .

By giving us the privilege and honor to serve the Lord along side of you, even if for a few hours a month, we find that purpose, that pulse...we find a heart.

You must realize, you two David's, Gary and your families much you bless us...the volunteer.

Thank you for all you do for all you encounter.


August 9, 2014

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A Mother's Love

Yesterday a young lady I work with had a visitor, her 7 month old boy. Oh so sweet, his Mom is one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure to meet so it’s no surprise he’s equally as mild mannered.

Our offices spread out over a couple of miles and since he was only making an appearance with us, I took photo with my phone and sent it out via email to the other offices.

After he was back in the car, headed off to his next adventure, I look again at the picture but this time my focus is not on him but on his Mom. That look on her face, in her eyes, as she looking at him in her arms. There’s a Mother’s love in her eyes. My eyes well up at that love, I’m not a Mom, but I’ve known a Mom’s love.

As I listen to my sisters and friends talk about their kids I see it in their eyes, whether it’s joy at the pleasures or tears at the sorrows, that love shines through their eyes. There is nothing like it. I see it in my nieces as they interact with my great-nieces and I am amazed by it, this unique wonderful love.

Year ago the movie the “Passion of the Cross” made me, for the first time, look at Mary as not the Holy Mother of God, but as Jesus’ Mom. At His birth the angels and shepherds rejoiced and spread the word “And Mary treasured up all these things in her heart”. Later in Jesus’ life, at about 12 years old, they all went to the Feast and Jesus separated from his family. They found him 3 days later in the temple courts sitting and listening and asking questions with the teachers. Luke 2:47 tells us that “Everyone who had heard him was amazed at His understanding and His answers”. And again we’re told, “Mary treasured all these things up in her heart”.

And that is what I see in the eyes of Moms, in this photo that I gaze at, a Mother’s love, moments being treasured away in her heart.

June 28, 2014

Your Shade

Psalm 121:5-6

5 The Lord watches over you— 
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day, 
nor the moon by night.

As I sit out on the balcony and read those words & smile. Just this past week, actually, just last night, I had a shade installed on the balcony. It is summer and here in the desert we do what we can to shield our homes from the heat in an effort to cut electric costs. I was excited to get this shade and so glad it now hung up. Project completed.

When I think of the word shade I get this vision of someone reclining, on a hot summer day, under the shade of a big tree. I looked up the word and part of the definition is ‘sheltered’.

When I read that I thought about it more and realized how the Lord is indeed our Shade. Under the shade of a tree, we find rest, we’re usually relaxed, and we’re usually getting relief from something, sun, rain.

When I sit with my Shade, the world seems less. After I pour out my heart to Him, allow Him to pour His into me, there is rest, relief, a more relaxed me; with renewed strength to weather the weather of life.

The Lord is your Shade so grab the Good Book, recline beneath Him and be renewed.

Matthew 11:28 ~ I will give you rest. 

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 ~ He is just … and will give relief. 

Matthew 6:30-33 ~ What He’s trying to do is to get you to relax. 

All verses from the New International Version with the exception of Matthew 6:30-33 (Msg).

June 17, 2014


It’s a gorgeous morning out this morning; our mornings have been spectacular the last 4-5 days … COOL!  I sit, as I often do, this morning and enjoy time with the Lord and this morning my schedule being a bit more relaxed than normal for a Tuesday I do something I enjoy.  Coffee in hand, I people watch…
©       The couple that checks their mail in the mornings

©       The neighbor that heads off to work before the sun

©       The older gentleman who waits for ARC

©       The young pregnant woman and her baby going on their walk

©       The older couple that simply strolls
Looking at them I would consider them blessed.  Oh, I don’t know even know their names but I’m musing here so muse with me. 

I read an article this week, a man suggesting that Christians stop using the word blessed.  I didn’t agree with the article. It began implying that saying blessed reduces God to some ‘wish-granting fairy’.  But nothing  reduces God, and according to Strong’s the Greek meaning for “blessed” is happy, describes God extending His benefits, His favor, His grace.  Strong’s goes on to say that “This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord's inbirthings of faith.

So what is wrong with saying I’m blessed?  I didn’t get it, I still don’t. 

My eyes drift now to the constructions workers getting on with their day and I think back to the others I have seen this morning.  Each one of them has something from God because everything comes from God.  I look at them and at my own life and think blessed sums it up quite nicely.

About a month ago I was in a car accident and I still would (and did) say that I am (was) blessed as it’s not just a word for when things are going great.  Even in the storms He is extending himself to us, sometimes it’s harder to see but it is indeed there, His Blessing.

I sit here bum knee raised and on ice, the birds chirping, a relaxed morning of time with the Father and a little people watching. 

Yep, I’m going to stick with blessed…I think it sums it up quite nicely.


April 29, 2014

Overwhelmed, no more...

We’ve all been there, whether it’s the to-do list, emotions, hormones, traffic, oversleeping or whatever there are times we just feel overwhelmed. The dictionary defines overwhelmed as “bury or drown beneath a huge mass”.
This morning I woke feeling sort of that way, the weekend was just crowded for me in my mind and I didn’t sleep well and next thing I knew it was Monday...ugh. I hate that feeling and most often, for me, if I really just pause and breath I realize that I am far from ‘buried or drowning beneath’ anything. My go to is almost always the Bible, so I sat and read the daily reading, David telling Solomon the plans for how Solomon is to build the temple for God. All the prep work David had done, what Solomon would need to do…112 tons of gold and 262 tons of refined silver among some of the items David had collected. This was all collected when Solomon was described as “still young and inexperienced”. Tons of gold and silver, talk about overwhelming.
I wondered what scriptures really speak to those who are overwhelmed so I thought I should do a search but you know what I realized. That simply being in The Word of God took away that feeling of being overwhelmed. Just hanging with God for about ½ hour and I felt so much better. So I gathered my coffee cup and herded Jackson into the apartment and headed off to work and there was a peace, a loss of the “ugh” of Monday.
I turn 50 soon, and now I always turn to the Bible…in His letter to us there is everything we need, in Him, there is a peace that indeed passes all understanding.

March 15, 2014

A day with God

Today was one of those Saturday’s that is set aside to be with God and God alone. Aside from a couple messages and a quick trip to the drug store, I have hunkered in and just immersed myself in Him.
It began with one of my favorite books of all times, one that I have read and re-read multiple times, “No Wonder They Call Him the Savior” by Max Lucado. It’s a small book and in my planning of this day I thought I’ll finish it Saturday morning yet the Lord had a different plan. After one short chapter, He got me stuck on two words. "He understands". Those two words grabbed me and have stuck with me and moved around in me most of this day. He understands.
I so love that Jesus came to earth and walked among us because by that we know that He does indeed understand what we go through in life…the saying of goodbyes, the struggles, the temptations, the being misunderstood, the pain…He experienced it all. He understands.
The next portion of the morning moved me to 1 Samuel 1-3, I have this great study tool that Pastor Chuck referred us to “Halley’s Bible Handbook”. So I read the scripture and turn to the section in the Halley’s that go with them and am amazed and get so excited to find that the cities of Samuel were key in others of the Bible lives, Bethel, where Jacob saw the heavenly ladder, Gilgal where the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, Mizpah the gathering place of the tribes during Samuel’s time, Ramah where he was born and buried. An “oral prophet” Samuel the organizer; as I began to read the Halley’s I was a bit confused but I hung in there and by the end of the study I was so thrilled by His word and how I understood something new to me. How it was all clicking.
Next was my normal devotion time and read words so overwhelmingly wonderful: James 1:17-18, “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation, become his prized possession”.
Out of ALL creation, we’re His prized possession. God who created it all! I learned later in the day that there are 80 billion different galaxies, out of all those galaxies, those planets, stars, out of all the animals, plant life, mountains, oceans, WE are his prized possession.
A lovely walk, a little Christian music, hours with the One who understands me, the One who helps me understand, the One that considers me a prized possession.
That’s a day with God.
Amazing. Beautifully amazing.

February 8, 2014

1950 v 2014

First published in 1950, A.W. Tozer wrote:  "The world's artificial pleasures are all but evidence that the human race has to a large extent lost its power to enjoy the simple pleasures of life and is forced to substitute for them false and degrading thrills."

As I read those words I wondered, if he were here today would he be shocked or would his thoughts just be confirmed.

As I sat in my time with the Lord this morning, the sun starting to rise, the power of those words rushed over me.  Thankful for those simple pleasures of life when I realize the beauty of the silence at that time of day.  My walk to and from the kitchen to refresh the coffee I take pause and see the horizon begin to light up.  Jackson jumping up beside me for a back rub and purr and I see the amazing markings on his face. 

No TV, no cell phone, no computer, no music, just God and His creations. 

I think back to growing up in Grassflat, the house I grew up in had a balcony and I loved to sit out there and read in the evening, the neighbor teasing me "Quit trying to fool us into thinking you can read!" :-)  If the phone rang you had to go downstairs to get it.  A large family there was the decision of what we would watch together on TV, we didn't all have a TV, so we actually sat in a room together.  If you couldn't remember the name of the actor you were watching you had the choice of checking the magazine TV Guide or just racking your brain for their name.  I miss the moments when it finally pops into your head and it blurts out and those you're with all go "Ohhhhhh you're right!".  Music had to be tuned in on the radio station and if the static was too bad, no music.  Sometimes just silence or sometimes lovely conversation.

Oh conversation, years ago I was disappointed in the lost art of note writing, getting and giving a hand written note to this day is one of my sweet pleasures (I've got to ween away from emails and begin that again).  Now I miss the art of conversation, seeing a cell phone creep out while with people frankly creeps me out.

As I drove today, heading west on 48th, I looked at the mountains that surrounds us and wondered, how many of the people out for their morning walk are too consumed by their texting, emails and smart phones that they are missing it. 

Missing the true pleasures of life.