Friday, March 30, 2012

march madness... comes to a close

"... there they crucified Him, along with the criminals - one on His right, the other on His left.  Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing..." Luke 23:33-34

Be honest.  What was the first thing you thought of when you read March madness?  My guess - the hoops and hoopla of NCAA basketball playoffs.   There are four teams left in this fierce battle.  Who will be victorious this year? Shouts of joy, tears of disappointment, talks of disbelief, looks of shock -- emotions run high and in all directions.  Can you imagine the original March madness? 

Close your eyes and picture the madness of Jesus' last week on earth?  There where the shouts of joy... Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Shouts of anger... Crucify Him!  Shouts of agony... My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?  It all led up to the final whisper by our Savior... It is finished.

Are you ready for the Final game?  May you be completely confident in praising the One who is our eternal Victor. Celebrate Easter, knowing He has won and conquered the battle for all forever! May we be diligent and bold in our faith, as well as, pro-active in increasing the numbers of those on His team. 

have a joy-filled Easter!


Thursday, March 29, 2012

a Mighty Word

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested  from all the work of creating that He had done.” Genesis 2:3

Thank You, God, for Your Word and for demonstrating how to live.  Thank You, for resting. 
Praying for a restful Spring Break for all… you deserve it and God desires it for you.

Have a rest-filled day!


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

do you have an imaginary friend?

"...but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."  Proverbs 18:24

Recently, "Edith" sent me an email confessing she thinks of me as an imaginary friend.  Never having had one, i wasn't sure if that was good or bad. Can you imagine, a grown woman with an imaginary friend? I couldn't, until i took the time to ponder what an imaginary friend might offer ...listening to all your deepest secrets and irritations and keeping them totally private, giving you undivided attention and love, and making you feel important and worthy.

With her confession, she uncovered a Truth for me.  I do kind of have an imaginary Friend -- Jesus.  I can not see Him, but i  know and trust He is with me on every step i take.  To Him i can spill out my deepest secrets, my tears, my hopes and my fears.  I can trust Him to understand and hold all my thoughts and words forever. He will listen to me without leaving me but loving me unconditionally.

The Truth is Jesus is no more imaginary than i am - i am real and so is He.  May we  remember what we can't actually see before us can be the most magnificent part of our life.  Jesus is not my imaginary Friend, but my real incredible, indescribable Friend -- and yours too.

have a faith-filled day!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

a Mighty Word and Song

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

Listen, His song is for YOU!

Have a joy-filled day! 


Monday, March 26, 2012

He knows my name, and yours

Jesus, the Good Shepherd...

"He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out." John 10:3

“How come you know my name?”,  Joey asked.  It took all the strength i could muster not to yell…. BECAUSE I HAVE TO SAY IT ALL THE TIME!  YOU REQUIRE A LOT OF MY PERSONAL ATTENTION!

I wonder how many times a day my name rolls off our Father’s lips.  And more importantly, does it roll off in loving frustration or in tender love and pleasure?

Lord, help me to care and treat others with the same love, grace and mercy you so freely pour out on me.  Do i deserve it?  No.  But does that stop you? No.  Soften my heart to those who have broken hearts.  You, Father, know the names of the ones suffering around me. Help me to be more attentive, to hear their cry and to help them out of their brokenness and darkness too.

have a kind-filled day!


Sunday, March 25, 2012

let's see your gift!

"Each one should use whatever gift he/she has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10

What you are is God's gift to you.  What you do with what you are is your gift to God.

have a sharing-filled day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

have you had an eye opener lately?

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7

Personal Eye Opener 1…  Does November 7th, 2011, mean anything to you?  It sure is stuck in my head... literally.  It was the day i grew significantly in gratitude in ALL things, thanks to my God and my brain tumor. 

Personal Eye Opener 2…  "Uhh, what's your  name?", "I've been missing you so much!", "Where's Mrs. Harris?" ( my sweet substitute), "Glad you're back, you treat us all the same".  These comments and others heard when i returned to work, reminded me we have no idea who and how  we affect others. For His sake and others, i now consciously pray be more aware of my words and actions to everyone.

Eye openers... what might appear as bad news, can in truth be good. A fellow BS (brain surgery) friend invited me to go to Columbia for Brain Injury Awareness Day. Unable to attend physically, i was able to send my heart and prayers with her since i am personally more aware and understand the issue better. 

Whatever “bad news” you have received, trust our Father will help you to find the good in it… for your sake and for the sake of others.  Chances are you too have a story to share to bring forth good out of bad.

Have a joy-filled day!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mighty Healing Words

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked...
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him/her who lacks judgment…
The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.”  Proverbs 10:11,13,21

I heard this morning “hurting people say hurting things”.  Oh, how true this is!   It’s no secret we live in a fallen and hurting world.  So, how can we possibly make a positive impact?  By being in control of our lips. 

Lord, I pray for Your help in controlling my thoughts and my tongue.  Your Word is filled with the danger and death our tongues can inflict on others.  Help me to not heap more hurt on those around me, but to be a soothing salve for them.  With You, Father, I know all things are possible.  And, I thank You.

Have a kind-filled day!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

how does your grass grow?

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." 1 Corinthians 3:7

Processing new books in the library, i started chuckling... "Watch Grass Grow".  What a funny title and ridiculous idea. Who in their right mind wants to watch grass grow?  Whether in the dead of winter or the blooming season of spring, it would be a painstakingly lo-o-o-ng task.  Of course, the book was not suggesting how to literally watch grass grow, but learning about the process via visual tell-me facts. 

Come to think about it, there really aren't many things you can actually watch grow.  Most growth occurs gradually, at a rate that the naked eye can't detect.  I believe that is also true in the growth of our relationship with our Father.  Yet, there are times, a major or catastrophic event in our life, might produce a noticeable spurt of growth of faith.  But like the grass, our faith needs the right nourishment and guidance to continue.  With the practice of attending church, Bible study, praying, and being with other believers, a watering and feeding of the soul is possible.  May we remember that even with all the right ingredients, preparation and time given to our growth or the growth of others, only God has the power to bring forth genuine change and growth in Him.  So let's plant the seeds, sprinkle with water and trust the LORD with His "Son"shine and Holy Spirit to grow us and others closer to Him.

have a trust-filled day!


Monday, March 19, 2012

march madness... it has begun!

He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.  ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:12-13

The madness, the surprises, the shocks, the celebrations... it has begun.  March Madness in college basketball is living up to its name in breathtaking, vivid colors. Teams are fiercely competing to keep their colors on the court for the next round. Yet, top contenders have already been shredded to bits; and they’ve packed up, returned home defeated by lesser teams refusing to act as losers.  As the madness continues, there is no doubt more surprises are waiting to unfold... you might say, it's a clearing of benches of the want-a-be's and the real thing.

Overturned benches, surprises and madness are as old as 2,000 years.  Jesus overturned the benches of the ranks in the temple during His final Passover.  Deceivers, exploiters, robbers getting in the way of people coming to see and worship His  Father in the temple.  It angered Him immensely. It made Him fighting mad.  He cleared out the pretenders for the real worshipers.

Father, sometimes I feel like one of the deceivers, putting up roadblocks and detours to others searching for You.  At those times, may I feel Jesus stomping my toes and clearing out my heart and soul. I pray not to be found as a pretender for God, but the real thing in showing His love, grace and goodness to all in my path.

Have a true-filled day!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

a Mighty Word

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

When you look to luck for living, you are a temporary winner or loser.
When you look to God for living, you are a winner for eternity.
May God's Love, and not luck, always be the motivating force in our thoughts, choices, and actions.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, today. 
Happy Thanks-be-to-God Day, everyday!


Friday, March 16, 2012

book it!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23

Book it! is not referring to a vacation (although that does sound nice) but to a great book for Christian teachers.  Recently I shared with you the pending release of  "Christian Teachers in Public Schools: 13 Essentials for the Classroom" by Dalene Parker -- a book geared to confidently equip Christian teachers in public schools.  It's now available and is an incredible source of strength and encouragement for Christian teachers in schools on how their faith is essential in the classroom.  Dalene has captured the elements on how to stay true to who you are in Christ while teaching with the heart of Jesus.  One of the many truths she shares is the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Students taught in this environment are blessed abundantly for the rest of their lives.

For your own copy or for a teacher's gift, contact your local bookstore.  In my area the book is available at Christian Supply in Spartanburg and Poor Richard's Booksellers in Easley, South Carolina.  If your local bookstore does not have it, suggest it to them.  It is also available on Amazon.

On a personal note, Dalene graciously requested to include one of my Salt Shakers devotions at the end of each chapter.  She gifted me with another step in fulfilling a promise I made to my Mother before she went "home".  Thank you, Dalene.  And thank you, Father --  I kneel in constant amazement and awe of your faithfulness, goodness and love.

have a bless-filled day!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

a Mighty Word

"Teach me Your way, LORD, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name."  Psalm 86:11

I will always be in need of the Teacher for guidance, strength and peace.  And He will always be there for me... and you.

Thank you, Jesus!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a real pain in the mouth

" My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." James 1:9

It was the most painful mouth ulcer ever -- not because of its size but its location.  Centered on the inside of my lower lip, it was precisely where my teeth touched my bottom lip when eating or talking.  A weight loss strategy i didn't like and a conversation reduction plan i liked even less.  But right now, listening is easier than talking and staying peaceful better than fussing.

It's amazing how pain can deliver a sweeter life... and even obedience.  Forced to be a quiet, calm and acute listener transformed more of the "I"s in my thoughts to  more "you"s.  There is greater time and attention in the stillness to focus on the cries and needs of those around  me.  How good our Father is to not let anything go to waste.  Obedience to Him, whether willingly on our part or brought about by other means, is always right, good and fruitful.  What do you say?  Think about it...

have a quiet-filled day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a Mighty Word

Jesus said...
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Loving and serving Him first, helps us to love and serve others better.

have a love-filled day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

the true original... Godlicious

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

According to our Book Fair sales, Pinkalicious continues to be a very popular children's book.  And because of it's success, more  'licious tales were written, including Purplicious, Goldilicious and Silverlicious. The spin offs are cute additions, but the first 'licious book is still the best.  It's hard to beat an original.

The Bible, is the original Word of God.  Since its creation, many books have been written about the Bible, as well as, interpretations of it.  Although they might be good and add some understanding, they pale in comparison.  The Bible is the living, active Word of God which meets us every time wherever we are in our life, regarding whatever situations we are facing.  It never grows old, is never outdated, and is never wrong.   You might say it is the true original 'licious book... the Godlicious Book -- the delightful, wonderful Book of God. Pick it up today.  It is always a best seller and a lifesaver!
 have a Truth-filled day!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

a Mighty Word

"My soul find rest in God alone..." Psalm 62:1

Today i am resting in the One who loves me best.  How about you?

have a peace-filled day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

7 miles to empty...

"'Because he loves Me,' says the LORD, 'I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.'" Psalm 91:14-15

Whether it was from the concern in my mind or lack of fuel in my tank, my ride felt choppy and bubbly.  My car's dashboard beeping and flashing "7 miles to empty", played a major role in my sweaty anxiety.  I had never relied on the tank accuracy to that level before, since computers can be faulty at any time. Could i trust it to be right, or was i going to find myself on the side of the road waiting and waving a white flag?  

My car hasn't been the only thing running on fumes... so am i.  With four days and one night of Book Fair complete, i am feeling a BIG time fizzle on this last day.  Yet there is a major difference in calculating the amount of trust on low fuel levels between me and my car.   Unlike my car, i know Who i can trust and rely on for refueling and refreshment without hesitation or worry.  And even if i get caught completely drained and hung out to dry, all i have to do is call out to Him, and He will answer... and that's a guarantee, every time.

Counting the minutes?  Yes, i am.  Thanking my God?  Absolutely!

have a joy-filled day!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

a Mighty Word

"At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place." Luke 4:42

Even Jesus knew the meaning and value of having commas in His life... a time to rest and be alone with our Father.  It stands to reason if true for Him, it is even more true for us.

love in Him,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

is a comma needed?

Jesus said...
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Just what is a comma?  According to the dictionary, it is a break; a punctuation mark that represents a slight pause.  According to the Word, it is a break in life; a pause in an ever turning and hectic world filled with obligations, schedules and activities; a time of rest.  With Book Fair in full swing at school, i don't have time to pause, but if i don't, i will not make it to the end of the week.  A moment of rest with Him can provide the fuel needed to keep going, especially during hard times. 

Are you running full speed ahead?  Do you need a comma in your life now?  Be aware, sometimes God interjects a comma in our life to slow us down and to refocus and rest in Him.  I think you will agree a break is better than a breakdown.  And one more interesting observation.  Have you noticed when you use commas in sentences, the sentences extend for a greater length before you reach the end?  Do you think that can be true regarding life too?  Listen, Jesus calls us to Him to get needed REST... period.

have a rest-filled day!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

a Mighty Word

Jesus said...
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

The ones that are the hardest to love are usually the ones who need it the most. 
And no one knows that better than Jesus.  How do I know? Because Jesus loves me, this I know.

Thank you, Jesus!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

the panic pick

"Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the LORD is your life..." Deuteronomy 30:19-20

Striving to keep all the books in her basket, Mrs. For-sure brought a stack of panic picks to the checkout counter.  Closing the library for a week to host Book Fair was going to create a last minute panic for students on Wednesday -- the deadline for reaching reading goals at school.   In an effort to curtail failure with her students, Mrs. For-sure checked out numerous books covering all reading levels and genre.  She was prepared to ensure success for her unprepared students with an array of panic picks.

Have you ever been caught unprepared during a season in your life?  At times we see things unfolding and can even foresee the unfavorable or unwanted outcome.  Yet against better judgment, we postpone action and make quick, last minute decisions providing lame or empty results.  Panic picks... poor decisions in relationships, revenge, alienation, drugs, alcohol, excessive spending, mouthiness, etc.  I've had my share of panic picks, and none of them ever offered the relieve or comfort i needed.

Lord, When those tough and uncertain times arrive at my front door, help me to remember there is only one panic pick for me -- one that provides the strength, wisdom and comfort needed.  Father, You are my One and Only Panic Pick... all the time.   Picking You gives me life.

have a peace-filled day!

a Mighty Word

"Be strong and courageous... Be strong and courageous... Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do  not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:6,7,9

GRASP and CLAIM the power of His Words.  With Him we can face and prevail whatever comes our way... He is always with us.  Thank you, God!

Friday, March 2, 2012

take them a meal!

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

Do you know of someone who has been sick, had surgery, or other ailment and could benefit from a little help in the kitchen?  While recuperating I had a wonderful friend organize meals for my family through an incredible website--  It's so user friendly and helpful for the giver and receiver.  From my personal experience, I needed to modify the site name to " take them a meal and then walk Veneal!"  There is nothing better than meals prepared by the loving hands of others.

Make a note of the website for future use.  And if you forget, just email me... I will never forget it or the ones who used it to serve me.

have a taste-filled day!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

how it your willpower?

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger... Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32

Over 200 delicious looking cookies needed to be handled, and I managed to do it without eating a single one. Chocolate chip, iced, sugar and sprinkle cookies aplenty got moved from the hall to the library.  What willpower, right?  Considering they were fat free, calorie free and -- made of paper, anyone could have resisted eating them.  

My willpower concerning other areas of my life could stand some strengthening. Our Father gives us clear direction on how to treat others in our life.  When I am rested, healthy and everything is going smoothly, being kind and forgiving is as easy as not eating paper cookies.  But on the days I am tired, unexpected changes occur or difficult situations arise, I can find myself in the mood to chew nails and spit them out in the path around me.

Lord, move me or remove me from others when my willpower to control my tongue breaks loose or anger seeps out.  Help me to remember I am always a witness for You, whether I am in the mood to be or not.  Fill me with Your Will and Power...  I want to always be a witness of Your love and grace. 

have a power-filled day!