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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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!

Donna

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.
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