"Sometimes while I'm talking to God, He'll show me something about myself in such a way that I have to laugh at my own humanity and how funny I must look to Him." - Donna

Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here!
- Robert

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Monday, December 13, 2004

From This Moment

Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.Jude 1:21 niv

I went to two weddings in one weekend. The first ceremony was held in a small, Pentecostal church with under a hundred guests in attendance. The entire bridal party consisted of a matron of honor and two flower girls. The forty-something first-time bride glowed in her traditional white gown with beads, lace, and sequins. Gail walked down the aisle to the music of “From This Moment” sung by a trio of friends and relatives. When the bride brushed the tears from the face of her groom after they said their vows, it seemed as if the entire crowd said, ‘Awww…” in unison.

Before the couple even kissed, I slipped out to go to the second wedding. An hour later I sat in a Catholic church with 300 other guests. Twelve, yes, twelve bridesmaids, three flower girls, and a ring bearer preceded the bride. The young bride, dressed in an understated, elegant gown walked slowly down the long aisle to the traditional Bridal Chorus played by violins. The formal ceremony lasted three times as long as the first one.

Even though the brides and their ceremonies differed in many ways, the love that brought the two couples together was the same. Each bride promised undying love and faithfulness. Each groom pledged to be true and supportive of his bride. I have no doubt as each man stood before God making his vows he would give his life for his bride.

Jesus gave His life for His bride, the Church. He proved His love on the cross. In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul uses the imagery of a bride and groom to describe God’s relationship with the Church. God calls us to a lifetime of growing closer to Him.

A few days before the wedding, I asked Gail, the older of the two brides, if she had made all the preparations for the wedding. “Are you kidding?” she said, laughing. “When he proposed, I was ready.”

On the other hand, the younger bride took an entire year to prepare for her wedding. Are you prepared for Jesus’ return? We want to be prepared for His coming. It doesn’t take a year to prepare to meet Jesus as Savior. When you’re ready to become a Christian, God’s ready to accept you as you are. The Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:13 niv.

Each bride promised to remain faithful to her spouse. Have you remained true to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Many times our eyes wander. We get sidetracked into love affairs with the things of this world. As Gail promised to love her husband ‘from this moment on,’ we make a vow to be true to God, making Him the Lord of our life, not just for the moments of this life, but for all eternity.

Prayer: Dear God, thank You for being my Lord, and for Your boundless and indescribable love. My heart’s desire is to remain true to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

One Hundred Steps

Read an inspirational message, “One Hundred Steps,” at Outside the City Gates’ Voice of Reason on Women with Heart.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

In Sickness and Health

I’m one of the healthiest people I know. I try to maintain a positive outlook on life, and thank God every day for my health.

Recently a nasty bug invaded my body and wreaked havoc on me. After three long days, I feel better and almost back to my old self. No further comment on the ‘old.’

Being sick made me so thankful. Does that sound odd? While I lay in bed, I thought of those who feel sick in body day after day. How many people suffer for months, sometimes years with a sickness? And then I feel badly for three days and complain? Not me. I made the attempt to say very little. Although my family might argue the point, I tried valiantly to suffer in silence knowing this too would pass. Okay, maybe one or two complaints crossed my lips, but I did try!

When we become sick or something bad happens, our faith can be tested. At times, Satan works against us, but we can’t blame every ailment on Satan. While we are on earth, we live in a frail body subject to decay and illness. Corruption entered the world through sin. But we have hope in that while this body perishes, our soul lives forever with the Lord when we’ve made Him Lord of our life.

In Ecclesiastes 3:3, King Solomon wrote there is a time for everything including a time for healing. God can and does heal. He created our bodies to fight off disease and heal wounds. God give us the knowledge to create medicine and traditional cures. At times, He miraculously heals us. Our sickness allows God to show Himself as our Healer.

Why aren’t we all healed while on earth? Healing may come in this life or not until we reach Heaven. I don’t know why some people live with abundant health while others struggle. The reason some Christians fail to receive healing remains a secret, known only to God.

Those of you who struggle, I pray for God’s healing power for your body. I pray those of us who are relatively healthy will remember to thank God for our health and pray for those in need of a miracle.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2 niv)

Whew! I’m praising the Lord that nasty bug has left me alone!

Prayer: God, I thank You for health, and for healing my body. I ask that You touch those today in need of a miracle of healing physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Grant those who are discouraged peace and comfort through the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 69:30

On this blessed day when we stop to thank God for all He's done for us, I want to say thank you. I'm so grateful Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I'm grateful for my family and for all the bountiful blessings the Lord has given to me. The Lord is better to me than anyone else. Oh, wait a minute. So you think that, too, huh?

I posted the first devotional on this website in the latter part of May 2004. I'm thankful the Lord has continued to inspire and gracious to give me words to write. My greatest desire is to praise God and draw closer to Him daily through prayer and studying His Word.

I'd also like to thank YOU. You've been supportive and encouraging. It's a blessing to know the words the Lord inspires have touched your heart or caused you to meditate on God and His mighty ways.

I pray the Lord allows me to continue writing and uses my limited ability to bring honor to our infinite God.

May you have a blessed thanksgiving with your family and friends.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Obsession

Ready to read another column with a touch of humor? Then click here to read "The Obsession" in Sisters in the Lord Magazine. I've had such fun penning these humorous pieces. Hope you smile a time or two!

Just for fun...

If you'd like to read something with a touch of humor, click here to read a piece on Penwomanship called "Thanksgiving - a Day in the Life of 'The Cook'" by yours truly. Something different that might cause you to chuckle. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Spiritual X-Ray

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
Luke 6:45 niv

Several years ago, my son fell on his arm while skating. From the outside, his arm looked fine, but his cries of pain told a different story. When the doctor held the x-ray up to the light, even my untrained eyes could see the jagged edge of his small bone sticking out.

I can still hear my brave little soldier’s cry of “Ow-ow-ouch!” when the doctor needed to ‘set’ the bone back into place. They had ushered this nervous Mom out of the room for the procedure, and when I came back in, I saw my baby’s freckles standing out in stark contrast to his paler than usual complexion. After being fitted with a bright orange cast, he recovered enough to ask when he’d be able to skate again!

From the outside, we cannot see everything happening on the inside of a person’s body. But God can. Not only does he see beyond our skin, He sees our hearts. And God doesn’t see just arteries, vessels, and muscles, but knows the intent and spiritual condition of our hearts.

Jesus told the Pharisees, the hypocritical religious leaders of His day, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts.” (Luke 16:15 niv)

What if God administered a ‘spiritual x-ray’ and held the condition of your heart up to the light so all could see the results? Would you be ashamed? Would the sickness of sin be evident? Just as the doctor set my son’s bone back into place, God wants to ‘set’ our sin-sick "hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1 niv)

God knows what you think, what you feel, and most importantly, if He truly is the Lord of your life.

I’m sorry to say my son fell less than a year later and broke his other arm!

Prayer: Lord, I love You with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Thank You for loving me. Lord, help me to keep my heart set on things above and serving You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Hallelujah, What a Savior

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. - Ephesians 2:8 niv

My husband walked into the family room clutching a yellow receipt. He had just filled my car with gas. “Well, we broke the record with that fill-up.”

“I told you I was driving around on fumes.” I said, grinning. I have a bad habit of being totally oblivious to that tiny light that says, “You’re going to be walking soon!”

When I saw how much it cost to have the car filled, I realized I’m old enough to say, “Remember when you could fill your car up with $10.00 and get change?”

We’ve all heard the saying, “Nothing in this life is free.” I know you’ve been inundated, as I have, with commercials or flyers offering something free. You call the 800 number only to find out you receive something free IF… If – that’s the key word. You have to participate in some way. IF you try a product or buy something else, you’ll get your free gift.

Salvation from God depends on something, too. Romans 10:9-10 says, “IF you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

The gift of salvation is free to you, but it did not come without a price. Jesus paid that price with His blood. He became the perfect sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to the Lord, on our behalf. This is one gift we receive with only one prerequisite. IF we confess Jesus Christ as Lord of our life, and believe in Him, we are saved.

I need to pay more attention to the warning light on my dashboard. Perhaps this message is your warning light. The next time you see one of those flashy commercials advertising free gifts, remember- Jesus offers YOU a free gift- eternal life with Him, and there are no strings attached. He already paid for it! Have you received the gift of Jesus Christ?

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for my salvation and the promise of eternal life in Heaven with You. I’m so grateful for Your amazing grace. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I Can See Clearly Now

Posted by Hello

All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. - I Corinthians 13:12b nlt

Big, sparkly watches are in vogue. While watching the shopping channel recently, I saw the prettiest, most sparkly one yet, and as a bonus, it came with several different colored straps to coordinate with outfits.

When the watch arrived a few days later, I tore open the packaging. It didn’t sparkle like I thought it would, but I liked it anyway. Running late for church, I chose the appropriate strap, donned my new watch, and ran out the door to church.

I sat down in the pew next to Rachel. She’s thirteen and spotted my purchase. “Cool!” she said, and I felt less like an old lady for just a second. The backside of the watch felt clammy, so I took it off and handed to Rachel for inspection. She giggled, and said, “Donna, you forgot to take the plastic wrapping off the back.” We laughed, and then I whispered, “It’s not as sparkly as I wanted, but it’s cute, isn’t it?”

Upon hearing my observation, Rachel dissolved into laughter. “Didn’t you notice you’d left the plastic film on the front, too?” With that, she peeled back the protective piece of film put on to protect the top during delivery. I put my glasses on and watched as she revealed the brightest, shiniest face I’d seen. It did look like the one on television! Without my reading glasses, I’d been clueless. I felt like an old lady again.

When Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, he said, “We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!” (I Corinthians 13:12 msg)

I hate having to wear glasses. I squint, and sometimes feel as if I’m looking through fog. This comes in handy when I’m inspecting for wrinkles, but not so convenient when trying to tell the time.

God’s glory shines so bright we cannot look upon His face. We peer through a mist. For now our understanding is limited. But one day, we will see God clearly. And as the old song goes, “We’ll understand it better by and by.” When we’re in heaven, we’ll know things instantly and our knowledge will be full and complete. We will know God just as He knows us. Won’t it be wonderful when we will be able to see God clearly – face to face! And in heaven- I won’t need glasses. Praise the Lord!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the promise of Heaven, and the anticipation of seeing You face to face. Help me to be faithful to share Your love with others. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My Praise

I wrote this off the cuff a while back, and then looked at it. It came out like three triangles, and I'd like to think it reflects the Trinity. Anyway- I know it reflects my heart. Have a great week, everybody!

My Praise

How marvelous you are, my Lord and Savior!
My mouth speaks praises to You.
I feel the warmth of Your love.
My joy overflows.
I am blessed.

The cost of my salvation has been paid.
Your Spirit sanctifies my spirit.
My eternal home is prepared
Because I’m Your child.
I am waiting.

May my life reflect Your perfect love.
Open my eyes to your purpose.
Help me to see Your will
And strive to fulfill it.
I am yours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Redeeming the Time

I trust in you, O LORD ; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands. - Psalm 31:14-15a niv

The secretary at my church publishes a monthly newsletter detailing church events and news from the congregation. I expressed an interest in writing an article to be included.

My suggestion was met with great enthusiasm. What she didn’t know was that she would be dealing with a procrastinator. Sure, I start putting some notes together at the beginning of the month, but I always intend to get them together ‘later.’ And next thing I know – it’s the end of the month. Does anyone else do this? Am I the only one who thinks if it’s worth doing, it will be done better tomorrow?

In high school and college, I always wrote my reports at the last minute. When I started working my first job, I inevitably clocked in late. The only spots on my record were for lack of punctuality.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve worked towards becoming more punctual, but on a daily basis, I find trivial things I can put off for just one more day. Won’t that laundry still be there tomorrow?

The Bible says in Colossians 4:5 – “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” The American Heritage Dictionary says that to redeem is to “purchase back; to regain possession of by payment of a stipulated price; to repurchase.” It takes effort to redeem time and laziness to waste it. I’ve noticed when I make the effort to give God a portion of time at the start of my day, often the day’s events go much smoother, so that the end result is – I have more time.

As a Christian, I hope you agree that we don’t want to be guilty of procrastinating spiritual activities. We always intend to witness to our neighbor. We always intend to read the Bible more and memorize the scriptures that help us to be that dynamic witness we want to be. When was it we decided to be more faithful in our attendance to the church services? Was that back in January? It is all too easy to turn the alarm clock off and say, “Oh, I can always start going next Sunday.” How often do we say, “Where did the time fly?”

The time is at hand. The time to start reading the Bible is now. The time to witness to your neighbor and pray for your family is now. My prayer is that I will redeem the time as I live each day to its fullest for the Lord.

I’m going to go tackle that laundry now!

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for each day. I pray I will be responsible with the time You grant to me. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

*Originally appeared in WorthFinding Christian Media

Monday, October 11, 2004

Love and Laughter

Posted by Hello

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 niv

We went to a Mark Lowry concert Saturday evening. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I enjoyed the sounds of laughter echoing through the gigantic church auditorium.

Mark started the concert by asking which denominations were represented. From Catholic to Charismatic, almost any church you could think of had a group in attendance. He then proceeded to tell some jokes highlighting the differences between denominations in what I considered a good-natured and harmless fashion.

In the midst of all the laughter, I heard one older woman complaining. She said, “We’ll all need to go to the altar in the morning.”

I couldn’t believe it. Since I’d rather focus on relationship with God than religion, I found the jokes particularly funny. I tend to think Jesus might have found them humorous, too. After all, when He lived on earth, He rebuked the ‘religious’ many times, choosing to establish loving relationships with people.

On a trip to Gatlinburg two years ago, I saw a painting of Jesus. He had his head thrown back in laughter. It’s my favorite way of picturing Jesus. Children were drawn to Jesus. What type of person do children like? Certainly not someone with a sour expression and a judgmental attitude.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” I’d like to think some healing occurred in the Church Saturday night.

I know God has a sense of humor. As Mark says, “I’ve looked in the mirror.” Have you?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the gift of laughter and a merry heart, for all good things come from You alone. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Hope for Help

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. - I Peter 1:3

I did a goofy thing today. How I did it is a mystery. I locked myself in my basement.

After going downstairs to walk on my treadmill, I trudged back up the steps to find the door locked tight. No amount of jiggling worked to dislodge the lock. After knocking on the door for a while, I determined the futility of yelling for help. I was stuck.

How I longed for a phone right then to call someone. As I sat on the steps, I felt so helpless. I had a few sips of my water left, and my puppy, Angel, sat by my side, so I didn’t feel totally alone.

I pondered what it must be like to find yourself in a place from which there is no escape. I had hope that my husband would come home soon, but what if you were in a position where there was no hope?

In the 16th chapter of Luke, Jesus told of a rich man who went to hell, described as a place of torment. “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'”

Jesus wanted everyone to know the real truth about the suffering of Hell. In Matthew 25:30 Jesus described Hell as a place of "outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth." Every description of hell in the Bible tells of a place of suffering, torment, and agony.

These verses emphasize that those who go to hell are without hope. In hell it is too late to call on God, too late to change your life, and too late to repent.

Hell can be avoided if a person repents. The key to our salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. We call on His Name. In the book of Romans, Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

We are saved from hell and saved to go to heaven. Praise the Lord! We have hope. Even though our present bodies will die, our new bodies given to us by Christ, will live forever in heaven. Christians have hope.

My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s for the Ephesians, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."(Ephesians 1:17-18 niv)

Today, after two hours stuck in the basement, my husband arrived home and unlocked the door. All along, I had hope I would be released. I pray that you have hope for eternity!

And I intend to hide a key in the basement some place.

Prayer: Lord, I thank You I have hope because of salvation through faith. I thank You for your love, grace, and mercy. Help me to be witness of Your love.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Are You Fruity?

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4 niv

Have you seen the commercial with the slogan, “What’s in your wallet?” That campaign has been so successful that the credit card has vaulted into one of the most recognized in America, with a 95 percent national awareness among consumers in some surveys.

Are you recognized as a Christian 95% of the time?

Sometimes I think of my Christian life as a basket. I’ve watched a basket weaver on one of the shopping channels. He takes long wooden slats and weaves them together for a beautiful wooden basket. The container of my life is woven together with faith and works. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior by faith.

“…the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:8-9 niv

Jesus told the Pharisees and Sadducees to ‘produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8 niv) I’m not saved by my works, but the fruit of the Spirit will be a natural result of my identification with Christ. Others cannot see your faith. They do see your works.

According to the apostle Paul, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Are these fruits present in your life? Do you carry these fruits as a result of faith and works woven together in your life?

Prayer: Lord, thank you for saving me. I pray my faith will be evident in my life. Help me to be a fruity Christian. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

One Moment In Time

I got quite a scare tonight. I pulled into the church parking lot and saw a young man, Matt, riding his bicycle. He looked as if he had an obstacle course set up, swerving in and out between the cars and vans. I pulled around to pull into an open spot and just as my wheels turned, I heard the sound of a body colliding with a car – my car. It took a second for the thought to register. Matt had tried to get past my car before I turned. He miscalculated the amount of room he needed and ran right into the side of my car.

Thank God for collapsible mirrors. I managed to screech to a stop and give him room to recover. My mirror needed to be put back into place, but Matt didn’t have a scratch on him.

As I took my place on the piano bench a few minutes later, I thought how quickly two lives could have been changed in one moment. What if I’d been driving a bit faster or taken a sharper turn?

A lot can happen in a moment. A friend of mine lost control of her car on the interstate. Before she knew what happened, she crossed the median, cut across three lanes of on-coming traffic and wound up on the other side of the highway. Her car was damaged, but she had no physical injuries. Her mind took quite a beating though. For weeks afterward, she could play the accident over and over in her head, each time thanking God once again for His protection.

The apostle Paul spoke of a moment when a tremendous change will take place.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. I Corinthians 15:52

How fast does an eye twinkle? That’s how fast we’ll be changed. Our corruptible bodies will be made incorruptible, a suitable dwelling for our souls in heaven.

We have this promise because of a decision we make that only takes a moment. “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." How long does it take to acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Savior? Only a moment. But in that short amount of time, you pass from death to life. Your name is written in the book of life, and the angels begin to rejoice. What a moment!

I hope you’ve taken the time to make that decision. Every moment for the rest of your eternal life depends on it.

I’m going to take a few more minutes tonight to thank God for protecting Matt.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul, and reserving my place in Heaven. I praise You! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Coming Home

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:11 niv

A stray puppy followed my husband home today.

I woke up this morning to the words, “We have a situation.”

In my barely coherent state, I heard Don saying something about a dog, a really friendly dog, a sweetheart of a dog. After the third ‘dog,’ I sat up and muttered, “So where is this dog?”

“He’s in the garage.”

The fact that the puppy is a ‘he’ jumped out at me. We have three dogs, all female. “Well, thank God you didn’t let him in the house.”

We went down to the garage, and my heart melted at the sight of this mass of quivering, wagging, excited puppy all wrapped up in short, black fur. This puppy belongs to someone as evidenced by his healthy state, his friendly demeanor, and the tags on his collar. He has a transmitter on, too, so someone went to great expense to keep him in his yard, but I know from experience these transmitters aren’t worth a penny if the batteries die.

Have you ever heard the song “Lord, I’m Coming Home”? It’s frequently sung during an altar call. The first verse says, “I’ve wandered far away from home. Now I’m coming home.”

Jesus referred to us, not as stray dogs but as sheep, who before we are saved through Jesus Christ, are astray from God. Jesus proved His love for mankind when he died on the cross. He came into this world of darkness and evil to rescue people who are lost. Jesus said in Luke 19:10 nkjv, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Jesus said He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep to save them. “Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.”(John 10:15 niv)

He will also seek after those who already know him and have gone astray. If you are not in a right relationship with Jesus Christ, if you do not know him as your Lord and Savior, or if you are a Christian and have gone astray, The Holy Spirit will draw you back into the fold. Jesus is ‘calling you home.’

My husband called the number on the puppy’s tags, and hopefully someone is eager to have him back and will come for him. We do not have room in our house for another dog. I’m so grateful the Lord always has room in His family for one more person.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for Your convicting Spirit Who drew me into Your fold. Thank you for loving and watching over me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

*Update on puppy in 'comments.' - Donna

Monday, September 20, 2004

Immutable God

For I am the LORD, I change not. Malachi 3:6 kjv

Today is my 29th wedding anniversary. I posted a wedding picture a while back, and several people commented that it didn’t look like me at all. A lot has changed in the past almost-three decades. I grew up, and managed to nurture two children to adulthood. My husband and I have changed in many ways, and the world around us has become drastically different than the one on which we stood and made our vows.

I’m thankful that even as the world and people around me change, the Lord does not. He is ever faithful, not subject to whims and changing times. There are many things beyond my control, and at times, I may have difficult adjusting. That’s why the stability of God is so important.

God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Numbers 23:19

God’s love does not waver. His Word will stand forever. His promises are sure.

I talked to a young girl not long ago, and in the course of the conversation, she mentioned a cartoon she liked. I could relate as this was one I watched as a child. She said, “Donna, does it make you feel old when you realize the cartoons that were new when you were a child are on Vault Disney?”

“Vault” Disney? I didn’t even know of such a show! And yes. I did feel old. But only for a moment. Most of the time, I still feel like the young woman in my wedding picture, determined to be the best Christian, wife, mom, and minister for Jesus that I can be. I pray that’s one thing that will never change.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for Your love has saved me, and sustains me. I praise You, and rest assured in Your constancy. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 5

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Luke 12:6 niv

As I write this, I’m so thankful I can walk with relatively little pain.

My penchant for observing the hummingbirds got me into big trouble. We were going to eat, and my husband had already gone to start the car. He opened the door and yelled, “Come see what’s in the garage.”

I ran down the two steps into the garage, and saw a tiny hummingbird fluttering around the ceiling. Since I spend considerable time waiting for them to come to the feeder, I stopped to watch in awe as its wings flapped so fast they blurred, an almost imperceptible hum emanating from its fluttering. Then I remembered their need to eat every few minutes, and since I didn’t know how long this one had been trapped in the garage, I got concerned. I went back up the two steps to reach in and turn out the lights it seemed to be so enamored with.

I turned around, and still focused on the bird, I went down the first step, and you guessed it, totally missed the next one. I landed on the cement floor on both knees. Crack! I cried out in pain, and flipped myself over to start massaging them. I yelled for my husband to go get ice, and began to pray.

Even with knees throbbing, I still managed to get up, go get my feeder, and tried to get the bird to come to it. Instead, he fell. I hobbled over to him, and picked him up. His little body quivered, glistening far more beautiful than I’d ever seen in a photograph.

While I held him, I thought of the verse in Matthew. Jesus said, “Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” (Matthew 10:29 nlt)

God keeps track. He knows when each bird falls. As I thought of this, it occurred to me that He knew about my fall, too. I said another quick prayer for my knees, and, I admit, for this tiny being. The hummingbird took off! I hope he found his way back home and to find nourishment.

My knees are sore, but I’m ambulatory. Thank God! After my ordeal, I took off – to go eat, too.

Prayer: Thank you, God. I rest in the promise You watch over me, and nothing in my life happens without Your knowledge. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Blogging for Jesus

I’d only heard about ‘blogs’ a few short weeks ago. Now I’m participating in two. I’m amazed at the number of people who blog. There is no editing and many times, no planning involved with the posts. It’s fun to get a glimpse into people’s lives.

I’ve used my personal blog to post devotionals. Because I’m using it in a more formal way, I suffer from ‘blog angst.’ Right before I hit the submit button, I think - Is anyone going to read this? Will anyone care to read what I wrote?

I’m constantly making notes, jotting ideas down, making observations. I ask for the Lord’s leading, write up the piece, and then almost chicken out. But God is faithful, and in this new endeavor, I have felt His leading.

One of my goals is to put together a book of devotionals, but I also have a slew of children’s poems I’d like to compile. Oh, and a couple of early chapter books, and I can’t forget the picture book, and …… See what I mean? I also need to be careful I don’t spend hours reading the blogs, too! It’s difficult to balance all my responsibilities. I feel like I got a late start on all this (and no, I’m not telling my age) and always playing ‘catch-up.

My intent is to take one day at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in planning far into the future. After all, if I had a book accepted for publication today, it would be many months, possibly years, before I would see it in print. Instead, I focus on today. I don’t want to presume upon tomorrow.

Jesus said, “He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:33-35 nlt)

I'm seeking the face of God, and want to please Him. I pray that as I write, I’ll glorify and exalt Him. That alone is enough to be looked on as an accomplishment for the Kingdom. What are you doing today that will glorify and show your love for the Lord? Let’s praise the Lord!

Prayer: Lord, I lift Your Name and give You glory. Thank You, for You alone are my provision. My desire is to draw others to You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Test

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Luke 12:34 niv

Recently I finished a college course, and needed to make arrangements for my final exam. I reserved a room at the local library. I took the test in that small, windowless place.

In Genesis 22:3 Abraham set out for a “place in the distance.” This was to be a place to test Abraham’s faith. God told Abraham He wanted his son, Isaac, as an offering – a total sacrifice, fully offered up. For Isaac, this truly could have been a ‘final exam.’

In that same place, God spared Isaac, and provided the sacrifice. The Lord knew Abraham truly feared God and obeyed in spite of the cost. God promised to bless Abraham with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. His descendants would take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through his offspring all nations on earth would be blessed. Why? Because Abraham passed the test!

In the New Testament, Jesus gave a test to an eager, young man who asked, “What good thing must I do to have eternal life?" The man claimed to have kept the entire Law. In an effort to show the condition of the young ruler’s heart, Jesus told him to sell his possessions, and then come and follow Him.

The man loved his possessions more than the desire to follow Jesus. That young man failed his test. He may have been wealthy, but he was spiritually bankrupt, and poor of faith. There is no good thing we can do to have eternal life, except to believe on Jesus Christ as Savior.

Abraham son, Isaac, didn’t die as a sacrifice, but God did give His Son as our sacrifice. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 niv

What’s hindering you from following Jesus Christ? If God were to test your faith and love for Him, would you pass or fail?

Prayer: Lord, I pray nothing comes between You and me. I love You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Thank you for eternal life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Are You Being Bullied?

We are human, but we don't wage war with human plans and methods. We use God's mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil's strongholds. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 nlt

I got almost all the way through school without ever being bullied. Not being the confrontational type, I maintained a low profile when trouble brewed. That changed during my junior year of high school.

As I foraged around in my locker for a book, I saw two girls standing a few feet away. They whispered something to each other, and then one walked over.

“Donna, I thought you ought to know. Someone’s threatened to beat you up.”

“Me? Who in the world would want to do that?”

“Do you know who Brenda Greene* is?”

The name sounded familiar. “Isn’t she the girl who likes Danny*?” I still couldn’t figure out what this had to do with me.

“Uh-huh, that’s her. She thinks you want to steal Danny from her.”

All I could do was shake my head. Where would she get that idea?

I turned around to go to class, and as if on cue, here came Brenda with two of her friends. She gave me a withering look. My pulse quickened when she passed less than a foot away. She towered over me.

For the next week, threatening messages promising future harm made their way to me. For someone as timid as me, this uncharted territory caused me great distress. I took great pains to ignore Danny even though I considered him only a friend. A couple of times, I saw his look of confusion when I rushed by as he called out my name. Didn’t he know his attention might cause me a few lumps to the head?

The other thing I couldn’t fathom was why this Brenda Greene, tall, beautiful, and slender, with short blonde hair and blue eyes, considered me a threat. I’d noticed the eyes when they shot shards of ice my way.

Most of the time, I kept friends with me. Finding safety in numbers seemed the wise thing to do until this thing blew over.

I made a quick trip between classes to the girls’ restroom. When I exited the stall, I came face to face, or should I say, face to chin, with Brenda. She shot me one of her now familiar, yet still fear-inducing looks. I glanced around. We were alone.

I walked stiff-legged over to the sink. I pulled my one hundred, ten-pound frame to my full height, and stared straight ahead.

Brenda stood to my side, never moving a muscle as I washed my hands.

Once I escaped to the hallway, all I could think was, “Thank God!” and then I thought, She’s not so brave without her ‘gang’ around her.

About that time, Brenda swept by. She looked over her shoulder to smirk at me, but the icy glare had dissipated. Maybe she respected me a little. After all, I didn’t dissolve into tears or beg for mercy.

A bully’s main weapon is the ability to instill fear of consequences, real or imagined. I’d never been in a fight before, so I couldn’t imagine the outcome being favorable for me.

Who is the biggest bully in your life? If you are a Christian, the answer is Satan. In 1 Peter 5:8, the word of God cautions us. “Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack.” (cev)

Satan tries to bully Christians into cowering in fear. He wants us to think he can bring devastation into our lives. Even God’s people, who know the voice of God, can often be found cowering in fear at the intimidating roar of Satan.

But there is another Lion. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the only begotten Son of God. With one last statement, as He hung on the cross, He overcame every roar from Satan. “It is finished.”

At that moment all of the power of the adversary was broken, and the power of sin forever crushed and placed under His feet. We have no reason to dissolve into tears or beg for mercy. Victory over Satan begins when we understand that victory has already been won through Jesus Christ!

I found strength in numbers when I felt bullied by Brenda. Find strength by surrounding yourself with other Christians. Go to church. Pray with others. Get into a good Bible study.

Back when Brenda bullied me, I called Danny. “What’s with your girlfriend and all the threats?”

“Well, first of all, she’s not my girlfriend,” Danny said. “And I didn’t know about the threats until today. You really don’t know why she can’t stand you?”

“If I did, would I be calling you? Tell me!”

Danny hesitated – unusual since he was never at a loss for words. He cleared his throat, and then said, “She’s figured out you’re the one I want to be my girlfriend.”

I’d never thought of Danny ‘that way.’ I sat with the phone cradled under my chin, and pondered this new revelation. Shouldn’t I have figured this out? I liked Danny a lot, and didn’t want to ruin our friendship.

“Danny, you know I like you…”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Danny sighed into the phone. “Don’t even finish that.”

“Friends then?”

“I guess. I gotta go.”

Danny must have talked to Brenda, because the messages quit coming, and the intimidation ceased. That week was one of the longest of my life.

Wondering what happened to Danny? He and my ‘tormenter’ ended up getting married!

Prayer: Lord, I praise You! Because You are victorious over sin and death, I have hope. Thank you for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

By Donna J. Shepherd

*Names changed.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I Stand in Awe

Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. – Job 25:2 niv

Recently I attended the Face-to-Face Conference hosted by New Life Ministries. I listened to godly, uplifting teaching, and wisdom given through the power of the Holy Spirit.

The chairman and one of the hosts of New Life Live daily radio program, Stephen Arterburn, spoke on coming face to face with Jesus using the life of Zacchaeus as his inspiration. As an aspiring writer, I sat in awe. Mr. Arterburn is the author of the Every Man’s series of books, which have sold over a million copies, as well as over 40 additional best selling books. I would have loved to talk to him, but his time was limited.

When we broke for the lunch break, I decided to take a shortcut through a side door to my car. Who was coming my way but Stephen? I reached out to shake his hand, and he graciously slowed his step, and I came face to face to with this best selling author I so admire.

Later as I sat listening to him speak, I thought that, as honored as I was to shake his hand, the moment pales in comparison to the time when I will come face to face with Jesus. Oh, the joy of reaching out to touch his nail-scarred hands! And I won’t sit in awe. I’ll stand in awe of the love and sacrifice He made for me. Time won’t be limited either. I’ll have all of eternity to worship my Lord.

Do you stand in awe* when you contemplate the love of God? “Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf!” (Psalm 66:5 niv)

And perhaps, when I get to heaven, I’ll have a conversation or two with Mr. Arterburn, too.

Prayer: O, Lord, my God in Heaven, I so adore and stand in awe in Your presence. May I never exalt anyone above You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

*To listen to an audio clip of the song "I Stand In Awe," click here.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A Whim Before the Wedding

Donna Posted by Hello

Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is s nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah. - Psalm 39:4-5 NIV

With my wedding less than two weeks away, I decided to do something different with my hair. A beauty shop had moved into town, and I’d heard rave reviews of one particular beautician, Carla. I cut a picture out of a magazine of my ideal style, and made my appointment.

When I arrived, I showed Carla my clipping. “Oh, no problem. That will look very pretty on you.”

She spun me around in the chair with my face away from the mirror, whipped out a cape, and wrapped it around my shoulders with a flourish. For the next twenty minutes, we made small talk about my upcoming wedding and current events, with the snip, snip of the scissors keeping an erratic beat.

“All done!” Carla spun me around in the chair and I stared into the mirror.

My hair, once flowing in long layers around my shoulders, now barely came past my chin, which began to quiver.

“You don’t like it?” Carla’s eyes grew wide as she saw my obvious distress.

“It’s fine. I’m sure it’s fine.” I needed to get out of there before I dissolved into a sobbing mess. I paid her, even adding a tip, ran to my car, and bawled all the way home.

I cried on the phone to my fiancĂ©, “My hair is gone. There no time for it to grow back.” In my eyes, I looked nothing like the girl in the picture I’d shown Carla. Once my hair was cut off, it lay in piles on the floor. There would be no putting it back.

Have you ever thought about time like that? Hair grows back, but time, once wasted, is gone. I couldn’t pick the hair up off the floor and add it back, and we cannot re-live yesterday or add days to our lives. Each day is a precious gift from God. Let’s aim to make the most out of every single one.

Once I got over the shock, I decided to make the most of my new look. Regret would only be a waste of time. Two weeks later, I managed to get my hair to look somewhat presentable, and you know what? My veil covered up most of it anyway.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the very breath you give me. I pray I will be faithful with the use of my time each day. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Treats and Trials

Angel Posted by Hello

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – I Peter 1:6-7 NIV

When I go down into my basement to exercise, I take my puppy, Angel, so she can get her workout, too. For the last few weeks, I’ve hidden treats in nooks and crannies. The purpose is two-fold. It keeps her busy while I walk, and keeps me entertained watching her.

I hid a treat on top of a table just out of paw’s reach. Angel pondered the situation and finally decided to jump up to retrieve it. The glossy finish set her legs to scrambling. She gobbled up the treat, and scampered down.

The next day, I wanted to test Angel by setting another treat on the table. When she spotted it and realized she’d have to jump on the table again, she walked over to my treadmill, sat down next to it, and began to bark as if to say, “Go get that for me.”

As I stared into her brown eyes, they seemed to beg me to make her life easier. How many times have I prayed to God, “Lord, can’t you just do that for me?”

Many times God tests us. We develop patience and character when we go through trials He allows us to experience. We learn we can trust God to bring us through. How would we mature as Christians and grow in our faith if the Lord handed us everything we requested or answered every prayer immediately?

”Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4 NIV

Ask God to show you the joy in trials, knowing you will be more mature if you persevere and prove your faith to be genuine.

After a few minutes of barking protest, I took a break and got the treat for Angel. Her test didn’t last long, did it?

Prayer: Lord, I thank You because I know You will bring me through every trial. Help me to consider them pure joy, because I know You are with me every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Final Exam

I'm so blessed to report I came in first this week in the Writing Challenge on Faithwriters. I've had so much fun participating. Here's the link if you'd like to read my winning entry!

Final Exam

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Running the Race

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

I’ve seen several of the Olympic athletes on Christian programs proclaiming their love for God and faith in Jesus Christ. I’m so proud of them, and appreciate their hard work and sacrifice.

Eric Liddell, a missionary to China, ran in the 1924 Olympics. He is quoted as saying,
“I know that God has made me for a purpose; to be a missionary in China. But he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure."
To feel God’s pleasure! What a thought! God made each of us for a purpose. When Eric left China to run in the Olympics, he stepped (or ran) in the will of God. The Lord used his ability to witness to thousands. And did you know the movie “Chariots of Fire” is about Eric? So in that way, he continues to witness to this day.

I desire that the Lord would find pleasure in my life, don’t you? The second verse in Hebrews 12 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. In the coming weeks, athletes will have their eyes on the prize – an Olympic medal. In our Christian walk, we strive for the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. We won’t be awarded medals that soon pass away, but an eternal home in heaven.

You might feel as if you can’t be a witness because you don’t preach or teach. In the body of Christ, all the parts are important. Every Sunday, a gentleman in our church cleans a glass, fills it with ice-cold water, and places it under the pulpit for our pastor. Very few people know he does this, but he is faithful. It is his ministry.

Ask the Lord what He would have you do. Perhaps you wait tables or work on cars and have a difficult time imagining how this could be God’s place for you, but God uses us if we are willing. Ask the Lord to open up opportunities for you to be a witness for Him. When you honor God in all you do, He will honor your obedience with a life that counts for eternity.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for opportunities to be a witness. I pray for endurance to run the race set before me. Thank you for the assurance that when this race is run, I will find rest in Heaven. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Back to School Already?

Got kids? Visit Saplings Magazine to read a back to school poem by Donna in the August Issue called "School Lunch."

Saplings Magazine

You're welcome to leave comments about the poem here. Thanks!

Friday, August 06, 2004


“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

As a little girl, I had nightmares, vivid dreams so disturbing I can remember them to this day. On more than one occasion, I’d climb out of bed and sleepwalk and talk trying my best to rid myself of the images playing in my head.

My mother would hear me bumping and stumbling around in my room and she’d come to my rescue. Usually when she turned on the light, I’d wake up. But a couple of times, I didn’t believe she really stood there. I didn’t recognize her. Only her persistent voice saying, “Donna, it’s me. I’m right here” awakened me and gave me comfort.

Are you stumbling around in life? Do you need to be rescued? Sometimes events cause us to feel as if our life is a bad dream. It’s during those times you may feel as if God isn’t really there.

In Matthew 14, we read how the disciples got into a boat without Jesus who went up on a mountainside to pray. After night fell, Jesus walked on the water out to the boat. Isn’t that amazing? The disciples didn’t recognize Him.

Then Jesus said, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Vs. 27 NIV)

Just like my mom’s presence alleviated my fear and calmed me, Jesus’ presence brought peace and comfort to the anxious disciples

Paul told the believers in Philippi, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

How do you ‘present a request to God’? You cry out to Him. I’m thankful that when I cry out in the midst of the storms of life, God comforts me. Is your life in turmoil? Cry out to God. He brings a peace that transcends all understanding to His children.

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for the promise that when I called upon Your name, You saved me. Thank You for peace and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Intruder from Below

Please visit Julie Bonn Heath's Inspiration Station to read a true story by yours truly in the latest issue.

Inspiration Station

You're welcome to leave comments about the story here. Thanks!


Consistent Care

Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – I Corinthians 15:58b NIV

Last week one of the women who attended our church died unexpectedly. Melinda was twenty-five years old, but had suffered with terrible seizures from birth, which affected her mental capacity. Just two days before her death, she brought me a picture torn out of a coloring book. She had filled the page with scribbles of bright blue, red, and green crayon.

Although she never knew it, Melinda taught me about being consistent. She never missed a church service. I know there were times when she didn’t feel her best, but she persevered. Have there been times I stayed home from church even though I could easily have gone?

Melinda was caring. In the last couple of years, she had acquired a job in a program for people with special needs. Every Thursday night in our midweek service, when the pastor asked for prayer requests, Melinda’s hand shot up and stayed there until he called on her – even if it was ten minutes later! When called upon, she’d request prayer for someone from work. How sensitive am I to the needs of those around me?

Melinda was a Christian. Even though she had a difficult time understanding the sermons, she came forward periodically to have the pastor pray for her. She’d say, “I need Jesus in my heart” every time. And every time, we’d pray with her. She had such a desire to serve God the best way she could. Oh, that the rest of us would be so desirous of a close relationship with Jesus!

At the funeral, the pastor read a short tribute written by Melinda’s sister, Jeanne. “Melinda never let life get her down. Her greatest accomplishment has just been achieved. She is now face to face with the One who died for her.”

A seizure took Melinda’s life on earth, but I have no doubt she lives on in heaven. I’ll keep my work of art by Melinda in my Bible to remind me to be a consistent and caring Christian.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for those You bring into our lives who teach us to be better Christians. I pray I will be faithful in my walk with You. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Omnipresence of God

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. – Psalm 16:11 NIV

My church has had a tent revival for two weeks, which concluded on Sunday. We had blessed and productive services. Blessed because we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and productive because two people accepted Jesus Christ as Savior.

Many people asked why we’d be willing to leave our comfortable sanctuary with air conditioning and padded pews for a tent with hard, wooden chairs and temperatures reaching into the nineties.

It doesn’t matter where you have church. The atmosphere in the tent was much more relaxed than in the sanctuary. People who don’t feel at ease coming to the more formal services inside might attend an outdoor meeting.

A slight breeze cooled us, we could hear the birds chirping, and one night when I walked to my car, I saw a beautiful, reddish-brown deer run by and disappear into the woods behind the church.

If we had decided to have church in the middle of the woods, God would be there. Is there a place you can go that God is not there?

The Psalmist, David, wrote, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10 NIV)

If we call out to Him when we are in trouble, He is there. If we are getting ourselves into trouble, guess what? He is there! The thought that God is everywhere is both comforting and sobering.

We had services in the church building this past Sunday. It was nice to be inside again, and the same God Who met us under the tent met us in the auditorium. His presence comforted, thrilled, and convicted us. We worshiped and gave God glory and praise. Church is a time for renewal and reflection and after two weeks of Spirit-filled services under the tent, I felt revived.

But I must say – this old body finds padded pews much more comfortable.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the comfort of Your presence, and for the assurance that when I call upon Your Name, You are there. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Dust and Discipline

For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life. – Proverbs 6:23
I bought a new vacuum cleaner last week. It has several attachments, settings, and even a new gadget on the side with a duster that spins the dirt out after each use. After sitting in the box for several days, my husband put it together. I ran a few swipes across the floor and marveled at how helpful my new gadgets will be.
Then I set it in the corner of the family room where it has collected dust.
How many people have treadmills, stationary bicycles, and several other fitness machines collecting dust in their basements or garages? It’s delusional to think buying the equipment alone will get you into shape. I know. I’ve done it, too. My sweeper is an efficient machine, but it won’t clean my house by itself.
Do you have a Bible sitting in your house collecting dust? Just like buying health food and then letting it rot won’t make you any healthier, having a Bible to feed your spiritual body won’t help you if you don’t read it.
It takes discipline to keep a clean house or to work at keeping a fit, healthy body. It takes discipline to study the Word of God.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy,  "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (II Timothy 2:15).
The Amplified Bible explains the last phrase as meaning we rightly handle and skillfully teach the Word of Truth. How can we teach something we don’t know?
Let’s dust off our Bibles and study the Word of God.
Since I’ve written about discipline, I realize – I need to use that vacuum cleaner again!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Word. Help me to correctly handle the Word of Truth. I desire to be Your disciple. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Greedy for God Bird Nerd- part 5

(Bird Nerd – Part 5)

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? – Psalm 42:1-2 NIV

Sometimes it’s difficult for me to focus on one thing. I tend to do several things at once.

My husband walked into our family room one day, looked at me, and shook his head. “What are you doing?” he asked. I had the television on with the Picture in Picture feature enabled so I could watch two shows at once, but I had the volume muted. Why? Because I had the radio on to listen to my favorite program. During station breaks, I read the newspaper!

Maybe that’s why my friend suggested I get a hummingbird feeder. When one of the delicate and elusive birds appears, I have to drop everything to watch it before it flits away as quickly as it came.

If we want to commune with God on a deeper level, we must focus on Him. While God won’t fly away and take His presence from us, He does require that we give Him all of our love and devotion. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (NIV)

Even though it’s still hard for me, my goal is to focus on the Lord and all His goodness and enter into His presence. And then I find out, He’s there all the time, just waiting for me to slow down.

Prayer: God, my desire is to commune with You for it is in Your presence, I find joy and peace. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, July 09, 2004

An Audience of One

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. – Proverbs 15:3 NIV

Have your ever felt you don’t accomplish much?

When I read blogs, I find myself drawn to the comments. Several people have told me they enjoy reading the comments almost as much as the original post. At times I have to ask myself if I’m doing this to glorify God or to generate praise for my effort.

In the twelfth chapter of Mark, we read an account of offerings given to the temple. Jesus sat across the way and observed the people as they put their money into the treasury. The rich people gave large amounts. I’m sure they made quite a spectacle of themselves to draw attention to their generosity.

Then here comes a poor widow. She drops in two very small copper coins (Money Museum) only worth a fraction of a penny – hardly worth the effort in the eyes of many. But the eyes of many weren’t watching. She had an audience of One.

Jesus called his disciples to Him to comment, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.” (Vs. 43 NIV Bible Gateway)

Countless people through the ages have read these comments made by Jesus. A widow who thought she’d accomplished so little has been held up as a model of unselfishness and obedience.

God knows our hearts. Just like the widow, all of us are being observed. At the end of the day, what does God say of our efforts? It’s easy to get caught up in the comments and compliments of many, but we live for an audience of One.

Prayer: Lord, my desire is to glorify You alone in everything I do. Thank You, Lord, for keeping watch over me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 4

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. – Matthew 9:37

Did you know that hummingbirds must feed approximately every ten minutes all day? They can consume two thirds of their body weight in a single day. It’s no wonder they seem so greedy when they flutter around the feeder I set up out on my deck.

Every Sunday, two types of people walk through the church doors. The first group comes for a blessing. They are just like the little birds, dipping their beaks into the sweet nectar of the Spirit. “I came to be blessed,” they chirp. They flutter around hungry for a blessing.

The people in the second group come to BE a blessing. These are the ones who walk through the door of the church with the questions, “What would the Lord have me do today? How can I help?”

And isn’t it funny how the Lord works? The people in the second group desire to be a blessing, and because they follow the leading of the Lord, are blessed.

There are times when we are part of the first group. Perhaps we’ve endured a trial or feel we have nothing to give, and there is, of course, nothing wrong with that. The Psalmist wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.” (Psalm 57:1 NIV)

But if we find ourselves being greedy most of the time, perhaps it is time we leave the nest and become more mature Christians.

I desire to be a giver – someone who strives to bless others and work for the Lord, don’t you?

Prayer: Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a part of Your Body. I pray I will be a diligent worker in Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Good Intentions

A friend of ours has been very ill. When my husband, Don, visited Lonnie in the hospital, he noticed Lonnie had lost a lot of weight. This prompted Don to promise him a steak dinner when released from the hospital.

Lonnie spoke up and said, “Well, I hope you come through this time. You know, you promised me a fish dinner a long time ago.”

When Don told me about the exchange, he said, “When Lonnie said that, I vaguely remembered telling him I would, but I’d forgotten all about it.”

How many times has that happened to you? I know I’ve had great intentions, but then didn’t follow through. Many busy moms are reminded they’ve forgotten a promise when they hear a whining, “But, Mom! You promised!”

I’m so thankful I can count on God to keep His promises. The Apostle Paul told the people of Corinth, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (II Corinthians 1:20 NIV)

God promises to SUPPLY our needs. Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

God promises us STRENGTH to overcome. I Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

God promises us SERENITY. Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And the most important promise of all: SALVATION. Romans 10:13 – “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

I do need to watch my tongue, only make promises I can keep, and follow through on my intentions.

And Don and I intend to take Lonnie for his steak dinner.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to Your promises. I praise You for supplying my needs, giving me strength and peace, and most of all, for my salvation. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 3

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. – Ephesians 5:20 AMP

A friend of mine bought a hummingbird feeder. He enjoyed it so much he suggested I set one up, too.

After much deliberation at the hardware store, I bought one with a picture on the box of a half dozen hummingbirds flying around it. Excitedly, I boiled water, added the sugar – measuring it to the last granule. I cooled the mixture, filled the feeder, hung it up, and waited…and waited.

After a few days, the water grew cloudy. Not one bird visited the feeder. “What’s so great about this?” I muttered as I took down the feeder, filled it up with fresh nectar, and hung it up again.

It seemed like a long time, but was, in fact, only a few days later when the first hummingbird showed up.

I held my breath, afraid to move a muscle, and watched when the tiny, iridescent bird that seemed to appear out of nowhere began to dip into the sweet nectar. He then quickly disappeared.

When a beautiful hummingbird graced me with its presence, I had to stop everything to watch it gobble up the liquid I had so carefully prepared. I found myself standing at the patio door several times a day waiting for my next visitor. Soon I had ‘regulars’ I could identify by their markings.

But I wanted more. I wanted them to flock around the feeder like the picture on the box. As if in answer to a whispered prayer, two showed up at once. How precious, I thought – until they began to fight over the feeder!

As I watched them, I realized I could identify with them. I had fallen into the trap of greediness; I had eagerly awaited the arrival of one bird, and then wanted two.

At times, I fight the tendency to be a greedy Christian. I pray and ask for a blessing. God graciously answers, and then I want more. I suspect I’m not the only one. He could send a ‘flock’ of blessings, and we would still be greedy.

How many times has the Lord blessed us, and before we even thank Him, we cry out for more? Are we are like the little birds? Do we look heavenward and cry, “Bless me, bless me”?

There’s nothing wrong with making requests of God. Paul told the Philippians, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

But I’ve been guilty of having a long list of prayer requests. Where is my list of prayer praises? I try to remember to thank God first before I start asking for anything.

And I thank God for the tiny hummingbirds that taught me a lesson about greed.

Prayer: Lord, You are my ruler and have all power over my circumstances. Thank you for the many blessings You’ve provided for me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Grandma’s Special Stove

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV

My niece is remodeling her kitchen. Her four-year-old son, Chase, heard her talking to the contractor about which stove to buy. After the worker left, Chase came running up to Michelle. “Mommy, you have to get one just like Grandma’s!”

Michelle asked him why, to which he replied, “Because everything that comes out of it tastes delicious!”

Chase credited the stove with far too much power. I’m certain Grandma Shirley would think so, too, since she’s the one who created the scrumptious concoctions that went into the oven.

How many times do we fail to give God credit when He uses mankind to accomplish His will? Just as the stove is only a vessel used to cook a meal, we are vessels used by God.

I know of people who’ve traveled hundreds of miles to have a particular man or woman pray for them to be healed. God does use men and women in the healing ministry, but the true Healer is Jesus.

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:16-17 NIV

Chase credited the stove with creating the meals, and at times, we credit man with the healing, instead of the Healer Himself.

We eat out so much these day I have to dust my stove occasionally. I’d really love to have one like Chase imagined.

Prayer: Lord, You alone are good. I praise You for Your goodness, for Your healing power, and for blessings, which come from You alone. I humbly ask You to use me as Your willing vessel. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Peace of God

I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8 NIV

Have you ever been overwhelmed with life’s circumstances? When life gets the better of me, I turn to God for help and I know He’s there to comfort me. He did in the wee hours of one morning in May 1998.

On Sunday, my husband, Don, preached two sermons with characteristic enthusiasm – something akin to an aerobic workout. The day before, he’d jogged, planted roses, and prepared his messages – not bad for a 48-year-old man.

But that night, I found Don still up at one o’clock in the morning sitting in the dark. After much probing, he admitted, “I feel pain in my back and up into my jaw.”

“I’m calling 9-1-1,” I said.

Don protested. “I’ll be fine.”

Our daughter, Leah, walked in about that time. After I explained the situation, she marched in to confront her daddy. “Dad! Your dad died from a heart attack at the age of 49. Do you want to take that chance?”

We convinced him to let me drive him to the emergency room, and I prayed all the way. What if he collapses? Oh, Lord, please help me get him to the hospital!

Within a few hours, filled with tests and bad news, I found myself following an ambulance to a nearby city. A specialist waited to do quintuple by-pass surgery on Don. I filled out what seemed to be enough forms to paper my house, made arrangements for our children, and called work, family, and friends. I found out I could stay in the hospital, so I made my ‘reservation’ for a room.

After his visitors left, Don and I prayed, and I went upstairs to my room. Imagine my dismay when the nurse took me to an abandoned wing of the hospital to a room several doors down the hallway, far enough that no one could hear me if I called. It was nearly two o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. I hadn’t slept since Saturday night.

I fell exhausted into bed, but couldn’t sleep. The enormity of the situation hit me, and I began to sob. I’d never felt so alone. It dawned on me – what if Don didn’t make it through this very serious surgery? What would I do without him? God, help me!

As if a warm blanket enveloped me, the Holy Spirit seemed to cover me, and then expanded to fill the room. I felt the presence of the Lord as I’d never experienced before.

Paul told the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

That morning, I experienced the peace of God. I presented my request to God, and He gave me strength to go on. He is faithful, and I am never alone. He will be there for all those who call on His name.

And Don came through surgery and is back to his ‘aerobic’ preaching!

I praise You, Lord, for Your omnipresence and the peace You bring when I call upon Your Name. Thank You. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Leader and the Lamb

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." - Revelation 7:17 NIV

I’ve been blessed as I’ve watched televised clips this week of the late President Ronald Reagan. In many of the interviews, he witnessed of his faith in God. During his time in the White House, the country went through a tumultuous and changing period. With President Reagan at the helm, he promised Americans “the best is yet to come” – reassuring words from the leader of the free world.

This week, Ronald Reagan’s body has been lying in state on two coasts, and tens of thousands of people have passed by the casket. As I’ve watched the elaborate funeral proceedings for this beloved man, I recall the events surrounding the death of the greatest Leader of all time – Jesus Christ.

After his death on the cross, Jesus’ body was whisked away to be put in a borrowed tomb. The Bible records only two women came to His resting place the third day. What joy they felt when they realized Jesus had risen!

President Reagan may have given the American people hope in the midst of turmoil for a better country, but Jesus gives all people hope and a perfect eternal home.

On earth, President Reagan met with world leaders and dignitaries on a regular basis. I’d like to think upon his arrival in heaven, he’s already met with Jesus – the greatest Leader of all time.

Prayer: Oh, God, thank you for your guidance. Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me in a straight path. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Bird Nerd – Part 2

“and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Ephesians 4:27 NIV

As a newly hatched ‘bird nerd’ (see Bird Nerd), I took advice from my sister-in-law concerning the type birdfeeder to buy. “Donna, get the kind where those pesky squirrels can’t eat all the food.”

We’d already been battling squirrels setting up house in our attic, so the last thing I wanted to do was feed the critters.

I watched my favorite shopping channel and ordered a birdfeeder guaranteed to be ‘squirrel-proof.’ When it arrived, I filled it with food, hung it in the tree by the deck, and watched for my first visitor. Within minutes, one had arrived. Can you guess what it was? Yep. A fat, furry squirrel.

He climbed onto the deck railing. There he sat with his fluffy tail twitching, ready to pounce, trying to determine if he could jump from rail to feeder. He decided he couldn’t reach it. He scampered off, and in a few seconds, I saw him working his way through the branches. Sure enough, he stretched out his body and made a swipe with his forepaw.

The top of the birdfeeder has a smooth, plastic dome over it. When the squirrel touched it, it swung back and forth. He saw he couldn’t get a foothold on the thing, and gave up. It worked!

In Bird Nerd, I likened the birdseed to blessings from God. When I saw the squirrel trying to steal food not meant for him, it reminded me of how the devil tries to steal our blessings. The apostle Peter compared the devil, not to a squirrel, but to a lion, ready to pounce. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8 NIV)

Satan not only wants to steal your blessings, he’s looking to devour your soul. But just like the dome over my feeder kept the thief at bay, God promises protection for His children. In II Thessalonians 3:3 Paul states, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

I’m sure the squirrel has been back. They don’t give up easily. And the devil is the same way. He will continue to attack. But God has promised us if we submit to Him, when we resist the devil, he will flee from us. (I Peter 5:8) Isn’t that a glorious promise?

Now if only I could figure out how to keep the squirrels out of my attic.

Prayer: Lord, You are so good to me. You not only provide for the salvation of my soul, but also protect and bless me in so many ways. I am grateful. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Bird Nerd

“…I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13:5-6 NIV

My friend, Ellen, told me it would happen. I’d bought a hummingbird feeder, seen my first tiny, sparkling bird, and was raving about it. “Just wait, Donna. That’s how it started with Jim and me. Now our grandchildren call us ‘bird nerds.’”

“Oh, I don’t think I’ll go that far,” I assured her.

The next week, I bought a finch feeder.

This year, I broke down and bought a bona fide, squirrel-proof, cutting edge birdfeeder. And am I ever having a grand time! After I caught myself staring out the window for a full half hour today, I concluded – I am officially a bird nerd.

One of the cutest things the birds do is flutter from perch to perch dipping their beaks into the seed. They never realize that all the food comes from the same source.

We flutter around here on earth like hyperactive birds trying to gather all we can for ourselves. Do we stop and think that every blessing comes from God? He is our Source, our Supply. I thought of the verse in James 1:17 that says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

God gives us life and material blessings, but His most important gift is the gift of Salvation. We have eternal life when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV)

Sometimes the birds chase each other off as if the food’s running out. When I fill up the feeder, I can’t help but think how dependent they’ve become on my diligence, and how dependent I am on God for everything – my salvation, my life, my very breath. I praise the Lord for all His provision.

Hmm…what’s next? Maybe a birdbath?

Prayer: Lord, You are so good to me. Thank You for so many blessings, and most of all, for saving me. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 28, 2004

The Thorns of Sin

In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. – Proverbs 22:5 NIV

I’m not the most dedicated gardener. I plant a few pots on my deck and front porch, but I’ve long ago given up the idea of having overflowing beds of spectacular flowers and perfectly groomed roses.

This week I made the annual trip to the nursery. When I got home, I spotted a nice pot I could use behind our garage, but it contained a rose bush I gave up on last year. Angel, my puppy, came running at my cries of “Ouch. Ouch. Let go!” It seems as if every time I got near enough to move the pot, the thorns on the old bush reached out to stick me. I’m sure I looked comical yelling at it.

I wrapped a towel around the bush, covering it so I could pull it out of the pot. Still, no matter how hard I tried to keep from getting stuck, I got punctured at every turn.

Later I realized I had big long scratches all over my skin. When I saw the scratches, it reminded me of how sin affects our lives. Just like I was wounded after my encounter with the thorns, we are wounded and sometimes scarred for life after an encounter with sin.

Solomon said in Proverbs 5:22 (NIV), “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.”

We must stay away from sin, so as not be ensnared. But if even Paul called himself a “wretched man” in the book of Romans, how are we to avoid sin?

Paul goes on to say in the eighth chapter of Romans “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” We depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us to set our minds on what God wants.

On top of that, when we ask for forgiveness, God forgives us, and the atoning blood of Christ covers our sin. Just like I took a towel and covered the offending thorns, Jesus’ blood covers our offenses.

I told my husband about my experience, and he said a week earlier, he’d been mowing the lawn and the same thing happened – except he got the thorny branches stuck in his hair. He thought he’d need to yell for help, but managed to wrench free. He left behind a few gray hairs dangling on the dead branches.

Have you ever felt that way after a bout with sin? Its tentacles can reach farther than the initial sin. Anyone who has suffered with an addiction will tell you that. But “through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2 NIV).

I praise the Lord He not only provides forgiveness, but gives me the power to overcome!

Even if I don’t have a lush garden, my short time gardening taught me a couple of things. Stay away from sin – and prickly rose bushes.

Prayer: Lord, thank You for providing a covering over my sin – the blood of Christ Jesus. I praise You for the Holy Spirit living in me to guide and direct me in Your ways. I pray I will be open to Your leading and direction. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Run of the Mill

”Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” - Hebrews 12:1

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re stuck on one of those hamster wheels? You run and run, and get nowhere. I’ve felt like that lately.

I’ve been making yet another effort to get into shape, and I’m focusing less on appearance this time. I used to aim for a goal weight or a pant size. This time, my goal is to feel better. Period. I’m tired of being tired. Plus I’d like to get to the point where I could jog without passing out.

I set up a treadmill in my basement. It amuses me that I’ve walked what seems like a thousand miles, and I’m still in the same place – in an unfinished basement listening to my old stereo, one with an eight-track player, no less.

Today, as I trudged along, I wondered how many people feel like this could be a metaphor for their lives. I know time marches on even if I’m not going anywhere. The digital timer I watch ever so closely assures me of that.

And I do know I’m walking forward. My sister-in-law had to be picked up off the floor more than once at the gym because she set the treadmill to the wrong speed and ended up going backwards.

So I press on. One day, I’m hoping I’ll be rewarded with a healthier body for my effort.

The writer who spoke to the Hebrews advised them to ‘run with patience’ the race set before them. Paul told the Philippians, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

My prayer is that as I make my way down the path of life, I will fulfill the purpose God has for me, and I won’t feel I’ve labored in vain.

In my walk through this world, I’ll press on, “laying aside every weight.” Now I know the writer of Hebrews referred to things that would hinder our spiritual growth, but oh, how I wish I could lay aside some physical weight as well!

Prayer: Lord, I thank You for Your Word that is a lamp for my path, and for Your promise to make my path straight when I acknowledge You. I desire to follow You all the days of my life. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
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