Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good and Gracious

by lisa leonard

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

We are in need of a Savior. We are broken and sinful and willful. Thank you heavenly Father for choosing to place your love on me and cover my sins. It's not because I deserve your grace, but because you are good and gracious. I pray you will be glorified in my life. Amen

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Surgery - God's Timing

by Debbi Weeks

Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Anyone else out there in blogland who is constantly amazed at how God does things so very differently than you would expect? Right now I’m flabbergasted at His timing. My head is spinning – let me tell you why:

In May, during my annual routine mammogram, abnormalities were found in both of my breasts. Follow-up mammograms and ultrasounds could not rule anything out, so I had bi-lateral stereotactic biopsies. The left breast came out with flying colors – no problems. The right breast showed no signs of malignancy, but was determined to have abnormal cells (what are abnormal cells anyway and why do I have so many of them?) and something called “Atypical Ductal Hyperplasia” (ADH). The protocol for which is a lumpectomy. My doctor told me I had to see a surgeon in the next two weeks. The surgeon I wanted was already booking into late September, but God miraculously got me in to see him in just two weeks and 1 day! He told me I’d be scheduled for surgery after my insurance approval. I never asked for even a ballpark estimate of when that would be, so I called on Monday (7/28 – one week after my consultation) and was told there were no surgery orders yet. I assumed (you know there’s a problem lurking with the use of that word now don’t you?!) I would get a call back in the next few days and we would set a date. I was hoping it wouldn’t interfere with the rest of my summer plans or any of the fall activities! Tuesday morning we prayed in staff meeting that I would get a date on the calendar (so I could plan the rest of my life!) and a little later in the morning I got a call from the surgeon’s office telling me my surgery was scheduled for Wednesday (that would be today!) less than 24 hours notice! My head is spinning (oh I already told you that, but it still is)!

So when you’re reading this, please pray for me. Please pray that I would learn to adjust my ways and thoughts to the Lord’s.

Father God, I praise You for being our Creator. I praise You that we are each individually fearfully and wonderfully made. I praise You that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts.

I confess that I assume you will do things on my timetable and in the way that I expect. Please forgive me for that arrogance.

Thank You that I am having surgery today – the day you ordained. Thank you for the fine surgeon You have gifted.

Please Lord, be glorified in my life today. Please help me in all things (and this in particular) to see that Your ways and thoughts are far greater than mine.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fill My Cup, Part IV

by Sue Donaldson

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

I agree with that 100%!

Mark, on the other hand, eats to live. It makes for challenging road trips. (We are about to embark on one . . . I may or may not return to this blog site.) Nothing like a good meal to satisfy me to the bones.

Jesus said that He is the bread that we need. (Even better than any we get from the lovely House of Bread in downtown San Luis. Even better than any I can make at home, with or without my bread machine.)

When I look elsewhere for soul-satisfaction, I get into trouble. Even though I know this, I still try to make my own bread and fill my own cup. Isaiah says to stop filling up myself with myself. He said we waste our money on junk food. I don’t think he means we never relax or play or while away an afternoon (if we ever get a chance to do that). In fact, we can be closest to God when at rest.

He just wants us to go to the source every day for our needs. Every day is the key phrase. Sounds like a good prayer: “Give us this day. . .”

That is “dining well.” That brings joy. Our cup is full when we ask Him to fill it. God is a gentleman—He won’t start pouring until we ask.

Listen to Me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to My life-giving, life –nourishing words.” Isaiah 55:2

Doesn’t sound like junk food to me. Nourishing and delightful – from the appetizers to the chocolate fondue. (sigh)


I want to dine on the best. You’ve told me to. Help me not settle for less. It sounds wonderful – I can’t wait to begin – fill me up with all that You are, every day.


Monday, July 28, 2008


by Peggy B.

As you read this, I am in Washington State. Wayne and I have taken a trip to deliver much needed supplies to our daughter Bethany, who just moved in to her first apartment in Seattle. We’ve taken her bed, a table and chairs, some clothes that were hanging out here still, a toaster and other necessities.

Even though they still need us, it is a wonderful joy to see your children growing up and becoming adults! The process of growing is, by nature a struggle, but I sure am enjoying my grown (and mostly grown) kids.

I am reminded of the story of the man who came upon the butterfly struggling to get out of her cocoon. She was pushing and pulling with all of her might, and making very little progress. It looked to him like she was going to die in the process of getting out of her small incubator. He felt so sorry for her that he thought he must give her some help, and with his pocket knife he gently cut away the remaining threads that bound her beautiful wings. He then continued on his way, feeling content that he had done a good thing.

On his way home, however, he passed by the butterfly and found her lying dead on the ground; her wings still folded and creased, much as they had been when he left her. When he mentioned this to a friend who was familiar with butterfly behavior, his friend told him that the struggle to get out of the cocoon was very important for the butterfly. It was the struggle that got the blood flowing into the wings and strengthened them so that the butterfly could eventually spread her beautiful wings and sail into the air. The man realized that by making the butterfly’s life too easy, he had actually taken her life.

Don’t be afraid to let your children struggle with life. It is important for them to learn to work their “growing up” muscles and learn from their mistakes. You rushing in to help them with their problems is not what they need. It is so important for them to make their mistakes at home while they are young and growing where there is a cushion for them to land on and where they can get input from the parents who love and care for them and they can learn. This is God’s plan to give them strong wings so that when they “fly”, they are strong and ready to sail into the life He has planned for them.

It’s exciting to see them begin to soar! It is such a blessing to place them into the hands of the One who loves them most. Besides, He is the One who designed the process and will be working in their lives long after we can!

Jeremiah 29:11

'For I know the plans that I have for you (and your children)*,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

*addition mine

Heavenly Father, I thank you that You know exactly what each of my children needs in their lives! Bless them this day, and give me the courage to be their cheerleader as I stand on the sidelines and watch what You will do.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Less Than Perfect

by Kate Hasson

Yesterday I spoke with my brother on the phone and we had a wonderful conversation. He told me about his life in Arizona and what the Lord had been teaching him recently. Then I got to share a bit of what has been on my mind.

I told him how I was feeling incapable of taking on other tasks that are available to me because I already feel filled with what I’m doing now; being a mommy, a wife, trying to get involved with neighbors, leading a Sunday School class for children, baking meals for others, etc.. And on top of all that I told him how I rarely read the bible, don’t pray as well or as often as I should, nor memorize scripture anymore. How can I take on other tasks when I can’t even keep my own personal life at perfection?

Andy had the wonderful answer that was just what my heart needed to hear. Even though I have heard and read this before, it was just what I needed at the moment. He gently reminded me that my life is not a performance; that God’s Son didn’t come to earth to save people who could “keep it together”, but came to love and redeem and use people who were weak, and faulty, and helpless. In fact, He wants to use the helpless for it just goes to show how great and good He truly is. Andy said that it’s refreshing to see someone who doesn’t have their life in order yet still leans on God; it gives encouragement, fellowship, understanding, and peace.

What joy this brought to my heart again. Praise Him for loving a miserable sinner such as myself. I am forever grateful to be His daughter no matter how badly I may mess up. What a kind and compassionate God. He is so good!

Mark 2:17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."’

Andy – Thanks for the encouragement.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise...

by lisa leonard

Make a joyful noise to the Lord. Psalm 100:1

I love to hear Matty's little voice singing. He knows (most) of the words to Amazing Grace and it is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. David is our little noise maker...banging cupboards, clanging pots, and jingling bells. He loves to make a racket!

We continue to work on having grateful hearts--both teaching our kids to be grateful and reminding ourselves in the process. Making a joyful noise is a natural result of being grateful. Sing loudly, play (or bang) on the piano. Lift up a voice of praise and thanksgiving because God is good and gracious.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Regrets

by Debbi Weeks

“I should’ve . . .” “If I would’ve . . .” “If I could’ve . . .” “If only . . . “ Do you live a life of regret? I want to live without regret, but the final results aren’t up to me. What I’ve found is that a life without regret is really a matter of trusting a sovereign God.

Let me share with you a couple of my favorite verses (do I say that every week?!): Romans 8:28-30 says,

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

God’s sovereignty means that we can live without regrets, because in His infinite knowledge, wisdom and power He uses everything (catch that! EVERYTHING – our sin, our mistakes, our gifts, our talents, our foolishness, our preventable illnesses, our hurts, our pains, our __________ - you can fill in the blank as long is it falls into the category of EVERYTHING or ALL! J) The good thing about all is it means all – not some, not even most, but ALL!

There is great freedom and peace in His sovereignty. We don’t have to figure it all out, we can leave that in the hands of our BIG God. One word of warning - don’t let your freedom and knowledge of God’s sovereignty become an excuse to sin. Romans 6:1-2 says,

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

But know, God’s sovereignty is bigger than our messes! When we’ve trusted our eternity to Him we can trust our earthly life history to Him too. There’s no regret there!

Father God, I praise You for Your sovereignty. I praise You that You can work all of my “things” together for good.

I confess that I sometimes live in regret forgetting that You are so much more and in control of my “things.”

Thank you for this tapestry of my life’s “things” that You are weaving together to be conformed to the image of Your Son.

Please allow me to live without regret, recognizing that in Your sovereignty Your plans will not be thwarted.

*I need to reference Loving God with all your Mind by Elizabeth George again this week. Her chapter on “Thinking the Truth . . . about the Past and the Present” was my springboard for the thoughts I shared today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Gardening, Part I

I don’t know much about gardening. I do know it is a lot of work. Most gardens don’t flourish with neglect.

No, wait. Not completely true. One part works well (very) with studied neglect: the weeds. The longer ignored, the better they grow—deepening their roots, some even sprouting flowers.

I don’t know why. I don’t even plant them. They just appear – like unwelcome relatives (did I say that?)

When and if I finally notice a pesky little weed pushing through, I may even bend down and pull it up. More often than not, I miss it altogether, walk right past, more important things on my mind.

In the meantime, they grow taller and deeper and invite their friends. Finally, instead of a quick fix, bend down, grab-it-and-go kind of fix – I can’t even get the dang thing out with two hands and a-heave-and-a-ho.

In comes my husband with a 13 horsepower roto-tiller that costs money, time and energy. (See Mark disguised as the kitchen-towel bandit – too bad it’s not on video – his arms continued to bounce well into the evening. . .)

Sigh. Why didn’t I pull the weeds when it was easier and cheaper and less effort?

My sins are like weeds. They flourish with neglect. Un-beckoned, they arrive, and overstay their welcome.

Sure, I may feel a conscience prick at first. But, when ignored, sin burrows fast and furious, spreading deep roots, invading unintended territory.

In the end, I have to spend far too much time and energy and horsepower getting rid of my sin and all its collateral damage: people hurt, God ignored, ministry missed—all because I neglected it in the first place.

I could learn a lot from gardening. Pull the weed as soon as I see it. Keep short accounts with God. He is quick to forgive.

Psalm 51:7 – “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

Help me make short work with those weeds that raise their ugly heads, no matter what I do. You are not surprised when I sin. You might wonder why I wait to do nothing about it. Amen.

PS Time to get some lemonade for that frustrated park ranger of mine. At least he likes big machines, if that’s any comfort. Probably not.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Grace, part II

Peggy B.

My husband, Wayne has been challenging me lately about what extending grace to others might look like. When I looked up “grace” in the Bible concordance, I found many references that had to do with blessing other people with God’s grace. So I’ve been thinking lately about how I might show grace to those around me.

I confess I am learning that I don’t naturally do a good job with this grace thing! It seems like I do OK extending God’s grace as long as the people around me do things like I would (I certainly would NEVER …), or like I think they should (can you believe that she said that to her?), but haven’t we been learning that God’s grace comes to us just where we are, just how we are? Doesn’t God just love us to Himself?

Romans 1:7

to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 16:20

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

1 Corinthian 1:3

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthian 16:23

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

So, my Grace thought for today is that I want to extend grace to those around me. I desire for my words to be kind, but more than that, for the attitude inside my heart to be “graceful”. Maybe the checker at the grocery store who ignores me or snaps at me just found out that she has cancer. Maybe the guy who cuts me off in traffic (I certainly would never do that…) is distracted because he has a troubled teenager at home. Do you get the idea?

Lord, thank you so much for showing me that my heart isn’t always gracious. Please let me see your grace to me as I walk through my days, and let me see opportunities to extend that grace to those around me. Amen.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

by Missy Grant

Do you ever find yourself taking the road less traveled? The path is seemingly smooth ahead as many have walked it, yet you take the other path. Robert Frost knew about this...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

Jesus knew about it as well..."As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine--where are they? "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:12-19

I've always been one to take the road less traveled. For me, I think it is an exercise in faith. I want to be the person in the above scripture who turns around and thanks the Lord for His grace and His Mercy. Not the one who keeps walking with the crowd. It is interesting to note the phrase "Go show yourselves to the priests.” In those times one had to appear to the priests in order to be admitted back into society in all its forms. Given a clean record of health, these former lepers could enter back into the society they were cast out. They were in a hurry to re-enter...forgetting the one who had cleansed them. Where are you today? In a hurry to join the crowd or in a hurry to praise and thank the Lord?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Don't Waste Your Vacation

by Kate Hasson

Don’t Waste Your Vacation

When I last heard John Piper speak in person his message dealt with how to not waste your life. He went through a whole slew of ways to not waste your life with specifics such as don’t waste your cancer, don’t waste your money, don’t waste your robbery, etc.

As you read this post I will be on vacation, a wonderful trip we take to the same place every year with my husband’s side of the family. It is a fabulous week of relaxation and enjoyment. But as I write this and the time approaches, my mind has been drifting back to the “Don’t waste your...” encouragement from Piper. So now I’m applying it to our vacation. Just because I’m away from home and out of the normal routine, doesn’t mean that I take a vacation from wholeheartedly following Christ. I want my vacation to be filled with extra time in the word and in prayer, time spent speaking of Christ with my family and even with others I may meet along the way, time spent praising and thanking the Lord, out loud and in song, for His glorious creation. Although it is wonderful to take long naps, and play all day in the sun, it is not as Christ exalting, nor fulfilling as being mindful and praise-filled toward my Lord. I don’t want this vacation to pass without my drawing nearer to Christ.

Yes, I do look forward to getting away from it all, but even more I look forward to meeting Him and sitting at His feet in worship. I Don’t Want to Waste My Vacation. Please pray for me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Use Less Words

by Debbi Weeks

I love all the other devotional bloggers and how they seem to be so succinct in their messages. They get right to the point and get across so much in so few words. I really wish I had that gift! J Today especially I hope to get some tidbit of wisdom across in a few short words since I have chosen to talk about how our words should be minimal!

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” There’s something to be said for short, sweet and to the point! Oh that I would be kept from using many words! I’m famous for making short stories long (what you didn’t want all those details?!) And, it’s in those many words that I can get caught in sin. God make me quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry – help me live out James 1:19!

To that end, I bid you all adieu.

Lord, I praise You for being our Creator and making each of us individuals with different gifts and talents. I praise you that you do hold us all accountable to certain standards because you are holy.

I confess I talk too much and speak too quickly.

Thank you that you haven’t given up on me. Thank you that you challenge me to Christlikeness.

Please guard my lips and keep me from using many words when few would do.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fill My Cup, Part III

by Sue Donaldson

Let me satisfy you.




Anything but Me will waste your time--any well but Mine will dry up--any food but Me will disappear like cotton candy. Oh, and did I mention this? It’s free – for You – not for Me it wasn’t-- but for you, it’s free.


One more thing: you were made to be only satisfied by Me, so come on in and take a seat at My table. It’s one of those gorgeous Harvest ones with room for all who wake up and smell the coffee – two lumps or one?

You’re welcome here—right here, by Me.

Isaiah 55: 2 – “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?”

(Why, indeed?)


Please help me go to Your table and stay there.

Love, Sue

Monday, July 14, 2008

Walking in Grace

by Peggy B.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph. 2:8-9

In my blog on June 30, I talked about God’s grace. Sue Donaldson (who seems to have appointed herself my personal challenger J ) asked me if I might talk more about walking in God’s grace, so here goes!

Pastor Tim has been challenging me lately to think more about God’s grace than I ever have in my whole life. I am so excited about the thought that I don’t have to have a “to do” list to please God, or gain His favor. It’s ALL about God’s grace. (see June 30’s post for more on this).

First, I’ll use this little acronym I learned as a kid to define grace:






Salvation, and everything after that, is given to me at Christ’s expense, not my works. I don’t have to do or be different than I am. I am a child of God, through Christ’s work!

So here’s my “Walking in God’s Grace” thought for today:

When I have one of my inevitable moments when I am feeling insufficient, not measuring up, disappointed in myself for not being “spiritual” enough, I am going to preach myself the gospel yet again… Jesus died, WHILE I was in still in sin, to give me God’s riches (yep, Grace!) I don’t have to measure up, He already does! Then I am going to thank God for His miraculous gift, forgive myself for being a human being, and get on with what He has for me to do. No more indulging in that old pity party (doesn’t Satan just love to get us there?) God’s ready to use me now…how cool is that?

I am reminded of this Hymn that is probably very familiar to you:

“Just as I am without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me.

Because Thy promise I believe,

Oh, Lamb of God I come, I come!”

Lord, I long to see myself through your eyes of grace! Help me to walk daily in your Grace. I thank you that at the cross, it was FINISHED, not just begun. Thank you for taking pleasure in me, just as I am. Amen

Saturday, July 12, 2008

There's Something About That Name

by Kate Hasson

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

There’s just something about that name

Master, Saviour, Jesus

Like the fragrance after the rain

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Let all Heaven and Earth proclaim

Kings and kingdoms

Will all pass away,

But there’s just something about that Name.”

A few nights ago I was uptight about something I can’t even remember now, but as I lay in bed Jesus’ name was the only thing that got me to calm down. I tried to pray but was distracted, I tried to think of how I should have done things better or differently yet felt more anxious, but when all that was left to do was cry to Him, I could say nothing but His name. Not always what he does comforts, but just HE comforts. At times saying His name, Jesus Jesus Jesus, and imagining His presence brings life and peace to my soul. Thank you, Jesus., for who you are.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Simplify, Focus, Execute

by Missy Grant

“Simplify, Focus, Execute.” Those are words spoken by local Parable Group President Steve Potratz. At first hearing you might think that is just a catchy phrase, but when you start to ponder it… realize the applicability to our lives. Do you feel like a little bible reading today? I hope so…

So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days.

And I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting into my mind to do for Jerusalem and there was no animal with me except the animal on which I was riding.

So I went out at night by the Valley Gate in the direction of the Dragon's Well and on to the Refuse Gate, inspecting the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were consumed by fire.

Then I passed on to the Fountain Gate and the King's Pool, but there was no place for my mount to pass.

So I went up at night by the ravine and inspected the wall. Then I entered the Valley Gate again and returned.

The officials did not know where I had gone or what I had done; nor had I as yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials or the rest who did the work.

Then I said to them, "You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach."

I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king's words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, "Let us arise and build." So they put their hands to the good work.

But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard it, they mocked us and despised us and said, "What is this thing you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?"

So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no portion, right or memorial in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:11-20.

Simplify – How complex is your life? Seriously, I’m asking. If you were to sit down and write out all you do in a three day span, what would the chart look like? Those with small children are thinking, “First, I don’t ever get to sit down and second, I don’t have time to make a chart.” Sure you do. Sit on the floor, take the crayon out of your toddler’s mouth and start writing. Do you see from the text above how Nehemiah took inventory? He got on an animal and rode around and through the city (v13). He couldn’t access everything (v14), but kept at it until all had been inspected. Simplifying takes inspection and introspection.

Focus – What jumps out at you from your chart? The enormous amount of tasks and time given to childcare, the amount of time given to friends, the amount of time you do have but didn’t recognize it, or did you not have enough room to write it all out! Women were created to multi-task (I’m sure I can find scripture to support that…!) But our multi-tasking can become epidemic and interfere with the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. In order to focus we must take time of inspection and introspection (aka…time with the Lord in His word and in prayer).

Execute –Verse 17 is the execution order of this chapter…”You see the bad situation we are in…come, let us rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah’s heart was in tune with the Lord’s. First he had a desire to go to Jerusalem and see for himself what was happening. Second, he assessed the physical condition of the wall, but in the final words of Chapter three addresses the spiritual condition as well. And then gives glory where it is due, “God of heaven will give us success…”

Simplify, Focus, Execute…do not be afraid to ask the Lord to do this in your life. Be clay in the potter’s hand. Most of us desire to simplify and focus, but are unwilling to shine the light of the Lord on our lives in areas that need to be inspected and rebuilt. Let the Lord encourage you in His word….

Almighty God, thank you for your word. We praise your ways today O Lord. I confess simplifying, focusing, and execution are painful processes at times. Help me Lord to remove those items which are in the way of the building process of Your grace and Your mercy and Your compassion in my life. May your name be honored today. Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


by lisa leonard


Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise, be thankful unto Him and bless His name. Psalm 100:4

How do we teach our kids to be grateful? This has been on my heart the last few weeks. We are so blessed by material things in this country. We've been talking about having a thankful heart. We've been praying for thankful hearts. We've been practicing saying, "thank you", even when we didn't get exactly what we wanted or things didn't go the way we planned.

I am also praying for my own heart. I want to model gratefulness to my boys and to have a joyful heart before the Lord.

Lord, please take my heart and make it yours. Mold me into who you want me to be. You are my provider and Savior. Make my heart grateful. Amen.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What's Your Mind Set?


by Debbi Weeks

One of my favorite books is written by Elizabeth George and is entitled, Loving God with all Your Mind. It has always had study questions as part of the book, but now there’s a new anniversary edition and a workbook that goes with it. This book has been so powerful in my life that I like to “do” it every year or so – I’ve just recently started it again. What I appreciate most about this book is that it challenges me and gives me practical help in training my mind towards godliness.

Romans 12: 1 and 2 says, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Renewing my mind and having the proper mindset is essential to a healthy and growing spiritual life. Our mindsets are interesting because we have great control over what we set our mind on and it impacts every area of our life.

Lorraine Maksoudian, a mature, godly woman, who has imparted much wisdom in my life, once shared this exercise with me: she told me to look around the room and take in all the colors in the room. Then she told me to close my eyes and open them again, but this time to look for the blue things in the room. All the blue items just “popped” out. I began to see blue everywhere! She said this is what it’s like to have a mind set on something – what I have my mind set on will make it “pop” out.

Check out these exhortations from God’s Word in regards to our mindset:

Colossians 3:1-3

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Romans 8:5-8

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

So what is your mind set on today? Perhaps you can write out one of the verses above and begin to commit it to memory. God’s Word is a wonderful thing to have your mind set on! J

Father God I praise You that You alone are God. Praise You for being always faithful.

I confess that I set my mind on things that distract me from being fully devoted to You.

Thank You for Your faithfulness in my life to grow me up in You.

Please renew my mind and keep me focused on You. Help me to train my thoughts to dwell on the honorable, right, pure and lovely things, and the things that are of good repute, worthy of praise and excellent.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Each One, Teach One

Each One, Teach One
by Sue Donaldson

God’s in the business of passing on the truth. And it works best one-on-one.

As moms, we do it all the time, sometimes without thinking. The younger our kids, the more ready they will listen (believe me) – so start as early as possible! You never know how many others your child will touch.

I remember when Bonnie was in 5th grade and her girlfriends were discussing their “Health and Family Living” class during recess—an awkward conversation at best. Bonnie spoke up in her matter-of-fact tone, “Well, sex is God’s gift after all.” (Whew-- she got that one right. . .)

Paul said, “And the thing you’ve heard from me, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

Here are four generations of teaching:


to Timothy

to faithful men

to others. That’s exciting! And it could start at the breakfast table or with a fishing pole (or, at recess.) And it means I am always in the position of getting the truth and giving the truth. Who is your Paul? Who is your Timothy? We don’t wait until we are giants of the faith to teach another person.


Thanks for what You are teaching me. Someone I talk with today may need to know the same thing – help me get it right. Amen

PS Uncle Steve taught Mary to fish last week. The fishing was good – the catching was awful. . .

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary!
by Peggy B.

34 years ago, at this very moment, I was walking down the aisle of the church I grew up on. I was on my father’s arm, heading toward the man I loved!

Yes, today is Wayne and my 34th anniversary, and we are on our way out to dinner to celebrate. We have done many different levels of celebration, from dinner out to 10 days in Ireland on a bike tour. I love our anniversary. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband.

What today makes me think of also is choices. By God’s grace, I was blessed to marry my best friend and lifelong love! In any relationship, friendships, marriages, parents, children, there are ups and downs. What I’ve learned over the years is that love is not a feeling! Love is an action. On those rare occasions when I don’t feel loving, and yes maybe I don’t even like the guy very much, God’s command is for me to love him.

I have the choice to be selfish, react in anger or be loving. I can choose to speak hurtful words or soft, kind words, even when we are having a “fight”.

Whatever relationships you are in, the choice, by God’s power, is yours to make. It isn’t always the easy choice, when our flesh wants our own way. I want to encourage you, though, that I have found that as the years go by, it has gotten easier and easier.

Well, we’re off to celebrate, so I’m going to sign off for now. But please remember as you go through your tomorrows, it’s all about choice!

Philip. 4:13

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Lord, thank you for your gift of relationships! Thank you for the wonderful man that you have blessed my life with. May I always strive to choose love! Amen

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America

by Kate Hasson

The Fourth of July! Oh how exciting! I tried to explain the importance of this day to my daughter this morning and began to be so proud and glad to be an American. I thought of what Christ said to the Pharisees, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s” and saw how even He confirms that there is an appropriate allegiance we are to pay to our country. How thankful I am to be an American, where I have been granted so many privileges and freedoms. How I have an English bible in my own hands and a church of my choice to attend every Sunday, owning a home and two cars, food on my table three times a day with treats and snacks interspersed, two closets full of clothes for my family, a steady and enjoyable job for my husband, etc...

God certainly has blessed America. But as the saying goes, has “America Blessed God”? I pray today that my heart and all Christians’ hearts across America will be set on blessing the One True God and will be focused not on being blessed by Him but living for His glory alone! There are many things to praise Him for and today is the day to praise Him for our country’s freedom. May we use this freedom to stand for what is Right and True and in whatever circumstance may we never shy away from proclaiming Jesus to the rest of the unsaved in this country. May we use our freedom to do only what is holy. America, lets bless God!

I love the last verse of

“My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”

“Our fathers’ God, to Thee, Author of liberty, to Thee we sing:

Long may our land be bright with freedom’s holy light;

Protect us by They might, Great God , our King! AMEN

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Lord Provides

by Lisa Leonard

Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them." (Matthew 6:26)

The Lord provides for our needs. We can cast our cares on him and TRUST that he will lovingly care for his children. How are you seeing the Lord provide in your life?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This is the day...

by Debbi Weeks

One of my all-time favorite commercials is one that came out a few years ago for Disneyland. The main line of the commercial is given by a young boy, probably about 6 years old, who says in anticipation of going to Disneyland the next day, “We’re too excited to sleep!” He’s just so cute, and then at the end of the commercial his mom and dad are in bed and the mom leans over to the dad and asks, “Are you asleep?” Mutteringly the dad mimics his son (but with much less enthusiasm) and says, “No, I’m too excited to sleep.”

Much like the kid in this commercial, I sometimes find myself “pushing time.” I wish for time to pass and pass quickly. Sometimes it’s to get something over with (like last week in Mexico – “I just wish it was Sunday and I was in my own home, showering alone and sleeping in my own bed”). And, I’m not so far removed from having small ones that I don’t remember pushing time to have them in school – or later to have them drive themselves! Or, sometimes I’ve pushed time to get to something I’m looking forward to (lately it’s been, “I can’t wait until the end of July when Seth gets home and we can be together as a family”). The problem with both is that I end up not enjoying or appreciating the place that I’m in at present.

The truth is that God uses everything. And not just the big things; not just the trips to Disneyland, but even the seemingly unimportant nights before the trip to Disneyland! He uses waiting, He uses suffering, He uses . . . everything! And what is He using it for? Our sanctification - to make us more Christlike. There are lessons that can only be learned in the here and now . . . not in tomorrow or the future. God had lessons for me to learn in Mexico that I can’t learn in the luxury of my own shower!

I’m reminded of the little ditty I’ve heard quoted before, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift. That's why it's called The Present!” I need to bask in the present of today realizing that God is using today to make me into the person He wants me to be.

Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Note that it doesn’t say tomorrow is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad that you have something to look forward to! Rejoice with me in today and be glad that God is faithful to use everything and everyday to shape you into the woman He wants you to be!

Father God, I praise You for you are good; Your lovingkindness is everlasting.

I confess that I sometimes want to “push” time to avoid the tough times where there are lessons I could only learn there or to get on to a place I’d rather be – when I really need to rest in the place You have me today.

Thank You that You have a good plan for each of my days and that You are faithful to sanctify me unto Christlikeness.

Lord, please let me really live in appreciation for the here and now, rejoicing in this day that you have given me.

In Christ’s Name, Amen

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fill My Cup, Lord - Part II

Fill My Cup, Lord - Part II
by Sue Donaldson

Someone said, “Ministry is overflow.”

When our cup is full to the brim with Him, ministry is the overflow.

I thanked Colleen for coming to speak to our ladies. She replied, “Oh, I don’t consider myself a speaker. I’m just so in love with Jesus that I can’t help talking about Him.” Her cup was full. And we got the overflow.

Two things about full cups--

First, we find out what’s inside by what comes out (when it’s bumped.)

It can be an embarrassing awakening. Someone jostles me and out comes Niagara Falls-- but there’s nothing pretty about it. Complaints, whining, “Poor me’s – feel sorry for me, please,” and “Who do you think you are, doing that to me???” My cup is full, but it’s full of me, not Jesus.

If you are not sure what’s in your cup, take note of what spills over next time someone runs into you (intentionally or not.)

Secondly, we don’t need to ask God for a ministry – we just need to ask God to fill our cup on a regular basis. He’ll do the rest. (It’s very fun to watch!)

Hyatt was outside in his front yard when his neighbor happened by. He made the usual polite inquiry, “How are things with you?” Surprisingly, the man replied quite openly: “My baby boy is very sick. We are so worried.” Hyatt asked gently, “Can I pray for you?” The man nodded. Hyatt put his hand on his neighbor’s shoulder and prayed right then and there at the curb.

That’s overflow. God will bring those to us who need to know Him. When our cups are full of Him, we will be ready when He does.

Psalm 90:17 – “May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands.”

I would add: “--yes, establish the work of our cups.”

Lord God,

Fill me with Yourself. May Your favor flow from my life so that others know Who You are. Thanks that You do the work and the filling. Amen.