Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Devotional

Today, Monday October 22nd, I am honored to have my devotional, "Peaceful Slumber" published at http://christiandevotions.us/.  The mission at Christian Devotions states in part "The mission of Christian Devotions is two-fold: First, to provide personal and relatable devotions for those who may not otherwise be exposed to the Word of God. Second, to promote Christian writing and reading."

I invite you to visit the site and check out the many wonderful writers who contribute to this daily devotional site.  I pray you are blessed by what you read, and that you may experience 'peaceful slumber' as you put your trust in the only true Security we have!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on Achievement

Achievement.  A noun.  Definition: something accomplished, especially by superior ability, special effort, great courage, etc. 

Next month, I will receive an award.  The "Mercer County Woman of Achievement" award, given in recognition of my work in the community.  At least, I'm sure that's what the committee who reviewed the nomination thinks they are celebrating.  But even as I write "my work" I know that is not true.  

Once I got over the shock of the news, I began thinking about what it meant to be a "woman of achievement."  What had I done really?  I asked that question, not out of a sense of false humility, but of heartfelt sincerety, and this is what came to mind...

Nothing is achieved apart from God. If the work I oversee in my position as outreach ministry head was not in His will, with His blessing, it would not flourish.  God gave the vision and is faithful to complete the work He started.  All praise and glory and honor go to Him and Him alone.  Proverbs 19:21 says:  “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

Nothing is achieved alone.  I sit under the tutelage of pastors who "get it."  They know the church is not a building that serves as an exclusive club.  It is a body of believers who need to act on the command to love your neighbor as yourself.  And God has surrounded me with a team of people who have a servants' heart. Their passion for people and compassion for their circumstances is evident in all they do.  They share a vision for doing practical acts of service with no strings attached.  We are motivated to serve just to let others see God's love in action. 

God can use anything and anyone to accomplish His purposes.  Two and a half years ago, when God first burdened my heart with the idea of the outreach ministry, I went to my senior pastor. I clearly remember saying to him "I'm not a leader. I'm an encourager. I'll do whatever someone tells me to do, but I don't want to be chief in charge of anything." I had nothing in my arsenal that defined "achievement". No superior ability (or training of any kind), no special effort, and certainly not great courage - I wanted to hide behind someone else who would take the lead. 

Even further back, almost six years now, God not only spared my job but created an unlikely partnership.  I knew I was slated to be part of a down-sizing and was shocked to find my name had been removed from the list in the 11th hour.  Through a series of circumstances too numerous to detail here (although they are all part of a book I'm working on) I began attending my current church, began heading up the outreach ministry there, and found a benefactor for several of our projects in the owner of my company.  When I think back on that down-sizing incident, the words "for such a time as this" jump to mind.  I'm sure the owner had no idea how he and his money would be used by God several years down the road.

So what is my achievement?  My "something accomplished?"  Those words indicate a job finished, and there is still much to be done.  But, if I'm in the process of achieving anything, it is becoming a vessel for God to work through.  I am not "chief in charge of anything."  God is in control.  And when I become a willing vessel, when I "achieve" laying down my pride and getting out of the way, He is free to use my strengths of being an encourager.  I am free to serve Him the way He's gifted me, by "rallying the troops".  Habakkuk 2:1-2 says :  "I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: 'Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.'" 

So on November 8th, I will accept the award with my name on it, but I hope I am given the opportunity to set the record straight.  To share with those in attendance that God is the one to be honored.  That anything accomplished through us and sometimes even in spite of us, is not because of us...it is because of Him and His love for us. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Heart of Thanksgiving - A Repost

I noticed that suddenly, this particular post from a year ago has been getting a lot of attention.  Perhaps people are doing internet searches on thankfulness.  Whatever the reason, I thought on this Thanksgiving day, this post would be a good one to republish.  Acknowledging our thankfulness is a good thing, but once a year is simply not enough. Thankfulness should be a way of life, not just a holiday or occasion. As you contemplate the things you're thankful for today, consider this...

A few weeks ago I led the first monthly women's prayer group of the fall.  As we went around the room voicing our thoughts, concerns and desires, one woman shared a quote she'd just heard that morning.

"What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"  

An eternity of silence followed as the weight of the thought rolled around our in brains.

How would you fare?  Would you wake up in a bed?  With a roof over your head?  Would there be food for breakfast?  Lunch?  Dinner?  Clothes on your back?  A car to drive?  A job to go to? 

Forget the possessions for just a minute...would you have family or be the only one around?  Would you have all your senses - smell, sight, hearing, taste...even touch?  A sound mind?  Body?

One person spoke up..."If we did that, we wouldn't ever have time to get around to anything else."  Bingo.  If we spent more time being thankful for what we do have, we'd have less time to petition God for what we think we need.

Don't get me wrong...things go wrong in a fallen world.  People lose their jobs, their health, their loved ones.  There is sorrow and pain, and we need to intercede for others on a daily basis.  Life is not one big feel good love fest by any means.

But...when we start out with a heart of thanksgiving...with praise on our lips...when we learn to appreciate all that we have, we are better able to look at God and not dwell on the problems. 

Like the saying goes, "Don't tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big your God is."  That's not a trite saying.  It is a powerful truth.  I know.

Right now, my son and I are dealing with several large problems, but our outlooks are completely different.  I don't know how he's come by this way of thinking, but he believes that God is too impersonal to care about the daily needs of two people out of the billions on this planet.  He has actually stated that he "doesn't think we're going to make it through the winter."  Even as we can clearly see the hand of God moving in the situation, my son is overwhelmed by what we appear to lack.

On the other hand, I am completely at peace.  I know I am powerless to deal with the issues at hand and have already given them over to God to deal with.  I am grateful for all I do have, trying not to take any of it for granted. I think on the verses which tell me that caring for me is EXACTLY what my big, yet personal, God does...He saw me formed in my mother's womb, He knows the number of hairs on my head, my name is etched on the palm of His hand, and He died for my sins so that I don't have to live an eternity apart from Him.

Yes, I want to thank God for that last one especially.  Without a grateful, accepting, heart for that sacrifice, it is hard, if not impossible, to be truly grateful for everything else.  

So here's the challenge at the close of this day:  "What if you woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?"  Today is drawing to a close...think about it...make a list...voice your thanksgiving and praise before making your requests.  You might just discover there are far fewer things to ask for than you first thought.