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, 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.

Monday, May 17, 2004

The Cicadas Are Coming!

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. – Revelation 22:20


I live in an area where cicadas are about to make an appearance after seventeen years. The male cicada vibrates ribbed plates in a pair of amplifying cavities at the base of his abdomen making the loudest sound of any insect. It can sometimes be heard as far as 440 yards! If we get the large groups of cicadas the experts predict, the noise can be louder than even the noisiest lawnmower.

I spend a lot of time out on my back deck, and I dread the thought of these flying noisemakers darting around my head.

Every night on the news, we have ‘Cicada Watch.’ So far – no bugs. But they are coming. We’ve been assured of that.

Today, I thought about how, when I was a teenager, most of the popular songs in Southern Gospel (which is what I sang then) focused on Jesus’ return to earth. I’m sure I sang “The King Is Coming” a jillion times.

The other night, a guest speaker at our church recounted how when he was a teenager, the church choir got up to sing "The King Is Coming" and, as a surprise, they hid trumpeters in the choir loft. On a signal, they stood and blasted a trumpet call. He said his five-foot tall granny jumped about two feet – certain the Lord had returned!

But now we sing and write about God’s love, God’s goodness, and God’s blessings, but we don’t focus too much on His return. One way I know that’s true of me is my tendency to procrastinate. If I were looking for Jesus’ to appear at any moment, wouldn’t I be working more diligently to bring others to Him? Would my writing be different? Less scattered? Would I let even one opportunity pass without telling my loved ones and friends about Jesus?

My prayer is that I’ll begin each day with a “Jesus Watch.”

Prayer: God, I pray I will be more diligent in my daily life to tell others about Your love, Your Son, Jesus, and the peace you bestow when we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Donna


Update: Well, everyone, I saw my first cicada this morning. I didn't think it looked too intimidating, until we went to Cincinnati today and I heard them en masse. They are quite loud! So the 'cicada watch' has concluded. They are officially here.

But I'll still stay on "Jesus Watch!"
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