"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, October 25, 2004

I Can See Clearly Now

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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

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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.
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