Monday, July 24, 2017

One for all

"For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!" Romans 5:10
Thank You, Father.  Whether enemy or friend, You came to save all.  You sent One for all; and, i pray for all to belong to One.

What a love... What a Father... His Grace is beyond understanding.

we are ALL loved and chosen by God, 
may we live like we BElieve it, 
veneal

Friday, July 21, 2017

in the heat of the day...

"Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness  you have done wonderful things... You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat." Isaiah 25:1, 4
Today will be the hottest day of the year so far.  Can we safely survive the scorching heat?  Yes, by taking cover under our Protector.

Thank You, Father, no matter what our condition is, our state of being, or our circumstances we are in Your loving, caring, capable Hands. And You are enough.  Thank You.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!
veneal

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

is this possible?

"You make 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

Every time when passing a particular street sign, i've had to chuckle. Why would anyone name a street, Jolly Cemetery?  Of all the oxymorons, this one surely ranks high in the strange category.
Wouldn't you agree a routine visit to a cemetery is normally far from jolly?  It is usually accompanied by silence, tears, hurt, fear and maybe anger. But this sign has caused me to reconsider. Maybe i've been looking at it from the wrong side. It's not what happens on the way to the cemetery, but what happens after it. 

Father, how are things looking up in heaven?  With no more pain, no more sadness, no more loneliness, no more tears, i'm thinking life Above is jolly for all there. Singing, dancing and praising You all the day long... what could possibly be sweeter? The best is yet to come.  Thank You!

Jolly Cemetery... i am liking the name of this street more and more.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may be live like we believe it!  
veneal

Sunday, July 16, 2017

against the current

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Don't you love a good lazy river?  It's so relaxing... no work, no resistance, no sweat. Just  an easy, breezy ride. 

But, have you ever tried going against the current? I joined an exercise class one morning thinking, "fun!"; Ha! I could barely move afterwards.  Walking against the current was a struggle, but then running and exercising were practically impossible. Drifting is mindless fun, but flip around and you are facing a constant battle.  So, why do it? Because the future rewards outweigh the immediate ones.

As a child of God, we are plunged daily into temptations of becoming a lazy-believer. The world taunts us constantly in putting our wants and desires first. The easiest decision is to just go with the flow and to fall prey to worldly ways. We can expect immediate delight, but, oh, how much more will be gained by taking a more difficult path.

Father, help me possess the strength and boldness to go against the ways of the day. I don't want to get caught in the swirling currents and miss all Your treasures, blessings and joys.  What glimmers and shines momentarily don't begin to touch what You have in store for us.  

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Friday, July 14, 2017

spread the News

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you, (your name), will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Act 1:8

It started out as one, but quickly exploded into a yard of mushrooms.
It what I'm hoping for this summer... a mushrooming on the telling of God. Share with others how you are seeing and witnessing God's presence in the ordinary day.

So, what's up with you?  Do tell.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may be live like we believe it,
veneal

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

feeling clingy

"cling to You; Your right hand upholds me." Psalm 63:8

Placing a bird feeder next to our new plant, our suspicions were confirmed.  The plant contained a runner. In no time the vine wrapped securely around the pole, sprouting leaves and blooms along the way. With the support needed, the plant is now flourishing beautifully.

Father, as believers may we run and cling tightly to Your Mighty Arms and Ways. Supported, strengthen and guided by Your Love, we also can flourish allowing others to see and witness Your awesome glory.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Saturday, July 8, 2017

i challenge you...

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

People often ask me how i come up with devotions.  And i promise you, it's easier than you think.  All during the day whatever i am doing, seeing or thinking i'm trying to imagine it through God's eyes.

So, this summer i challenge you to do the same.  Look for God around you in just the ordinary moments.  Sometimes it's very direct, and sometimes it requires more thought.

Here's one i spotted the other day, reminding me of one of the most cherished verses of a believer.


Here's your sign... God is forever around us watching; we just need to keep our eyes open for Him too.

I look forward to you sharing with me your signs of Him! 
Stop. Look. Listen. He is there.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Friday, July 7, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ believe

"Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever." Psalm 136:2

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we BELIEVE it,
veneal

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

let freedom ring!

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1

May the bells of freedom be heard everywhere today!

For the many who dedicated their life and even died for my freedom, I humbly give thanks. Did i do anything to deserve such a sacrifice? Not at all; it was completely their desire to save and serve others.

Sacrifice...
God, You started it all with the sacrifice of Your Son on the cross.  You determined me worthy of saving, even before I spoke Your name.  Such a love I cannot fathom. Grace beyond measure. Mercy deeper than the universe.  I celebrate freedom and peace in You. Thank You.

And to the many selfless public servants and soldiers who have and still fight to protect my life and my homeland, I salute.

I am thankful to be a child of God, and I am thankful to be an American. Long live the free and the brave. May His Peace reign in my heart always.

we are loved and chosen by God,

may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Thursday, June 29, 2017

you first

"Make every effort to live in peace with all and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." Hebrews 12:1

In order for difficult people to change....
sometimes we have to change first.

A change in...
attitude
action
behavior
expectations
thought
plans
heart

With prayer and a willing heart, God will guide us in all our ways.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Monday, June 26, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ fulfill

"The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; Your love, O LORD, endures forever -- do not abandon the works of Your Hands." Psalm 138:8
In between a rock and a hard place?  Don't worry.  God can and will bring beauty out of this time.  Keep your eyes on Him and watch His Son shine and bloom through your hard, difficult and seemingly impossible places.

What God has planned for us cannot be crushed, smothered or yanked away. He is faithful, and His promises true.  BElieve.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Friday, June 23, 2017

show me

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."  Psalm 139:23-24

Having a weak moment, Bella made a dirty decision.  Left on her own in the backyard, she had some short-lived fun mudding in the wet dirt.  Her white hair prevented Bella from hiding the evidence; even her face revealed the fact she knew she had been bad.  Unable to remove the dried-on dirt, she could only wait for "the talk" and for me to clean her up.  

Sometimes our wrong actions, decisions, or weaknesses are obvious and the pending consequence comes quickly.
Sometimes we willingly make the wrong choice, thinking we can conceal it. And sometimes we innocently go astray.  Whatever the case, we just need to ask God to expose all our wrongdoings and help clean us up.

Thank You, Father, for the washing of Your Word and the pouring of the Holy Spirit into our lives. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

we are loved and chosen by God.
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ surrounded

"... the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the person who trusts in Him." Psalm 32:10

As the clouds surround the earth, so God's love surround us... completely and endlessly forever and ever.

Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Monday, June 19, 2017

would you stop?

"'...and, Love your neighbor as yourself.'
'And who is my neighbor?'...
'Which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?'
The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.'"
Luke 10:27,29,37

Picture this.  A kind 81 year-old man who uses a cane due to permanent injury from a broken ankle and moves about cautiously because of numerous health issues and whose heart functions at only 40% is stranded on the side of a road... who will stop and help?  My daddy can tell you.

Taking a customer's car to his tire store for a minor repair, it cut off.  He coasted to the side of the two-lane road, pulling off as much as he could.  The narrow shoulder sloped down, causing him to shuffle out on the passenger side. With no house in sight and discovering his cell phone MIA, he commenced to flag down a car.  As a lifelong residence in the small community, local business owner for 50 years and stranded on a road traveled primarily by locals, he trusted help was just around the corner. He motioned for a car to stop... then another... and then another. Fifty minutes and 50 cars later, no one stopped.  Some waved back, but no one stopped. Tired and uneasy, he didn't reach out to the passing motorcycle. It went by, but unlike the others, he came back and stayed with him until help arrived. Finally, a good Samaritan riding, not on a white horse but on a roaring motorcycle, unexpected help from the least expected.
The daughter in me wants to fuss about all who kept going. But instead i'm going to focus on thanking God for a cloudy morning and for an unlikely, unknown hero in a helmet. Just when we might be on the verge of giving up, God is still up to something.

Anyone can do what's expected, but doing what's unexpected, that's the Hand of God at its finest.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

coming up daisies

"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

As many of you know, when a loved one lives many hours away, the last day of a visit with them stings your eyes and heart.  I had spent a wonderful week in Alexandria, Virginia, with my daughter and "son". With my departure hours away i wondered, how could i possibly leave with a real smile on my face? Then God showed me.
Next to the backdoor of their townhouse were beautiful daisies, planted by the complex... yet, i prefer to think planted by God.  Daisies are my favorite flowers and had been my mother's too. Seeing them restored my JOY.  I remembered even though i was leaving, i could trust Anna and Chas were still in good hands.  Our heavenly Father, along with my Mother at His side, would continue to watch over them.  

Thank You, Father.  I am so thankful for Your written Word and Holy Spirit for guidance, peace and truth.  But oh! it's extra sweet to receive visual reminders of truth from You too.

...for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal


Extra prayers this morning for all affected by the horrible events in London and Alexandria.  God, the daisies are still coming up. I am resting and trusting You.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ Rock

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2

He is MY God and My Rock, but He is big enough for all of us.

Thank You, Father!

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Thursday, June 8, 2017

be there in a jellyfish

"The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:11

A friend coming over to walk sent me a text.  "Running  a few minutes late -- be there in a jellyfish."  Hmmm... what did that mean? I hadn't heard that phrase before.  Would it be a lot longer, would her arrival be when i least expected it, was there a deep mystery concerning her questionable arrival time?  

To clarify, i texted back.  Then it became as crystal clear as running water. I had misread the message. "Running  a few minutes late -- be there in a jiffyish."  It wasn't an exact time, but i had a much better idea of when to expect her.

Sometimes we don't know exactly what to expect from a person and can become confused with their words or actions. But with God we never have to wonder, guess or doubt what His intentions are.  He is always with us, for us and about our needs.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

money to burn

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things... and be thankful." Colossians 3:2, 15

"Did you know your brother has money to burn?"
After i recovered from the initial surprise, i got the rest of the story.  After setting a chunk of cash on the glass-topped stove for his wife's beach trip, they went to bed. During the night, a strange smell woke him.  Getting up, he found the money burning on the stove.  Sleep walking, his wife had turned the stove on and returned to bed. Thankfully, he found the fire before the fire found them.

Retelling the episode to me he chuckled and was just glad the house didn't catch fire. I liked his main concern.... life saved, not money lost. I don't know if my thankfulness would have exceeded my disappointment as quickly. How easy it is to take for granted the true blessings in life, instead of maintaining a heart of gratitude.

Father, may i remember and appreciate the blessings you have poured into my life, even in the midst of disappointment or disaster.   A spirit of thankfulness is still always possible.  

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,
veneal

Monday, June 5, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ REST

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.Jeremiah 31:25
    


Days off can't do it.  Vacation can't do it.  Holidays can't do it.


Only You, Father, can truly do this, only You.  Thank You, Father!

we are loved and chosen by God, 
veneal

Thursday, June 1, 2017

watch what you eat

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

IF i had somehow forgotten, i was reminded recently... life is not simple.  If we aren't mindful and indulge in what the world slaps on our plate, we are in grave danger of a harden heart.  Selfishness erases self-control, lies remove faithfulness, greed corrodes kindness, pride destroys goodness, fear overtakes peace, anger destroys love, doubt robs joy.
When you aren't sure what to choose, remember it's hard to go wrong with Fruit.  It's sweet, satisfying and super good for our soul... and others.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ music

"My heart is steadfast, O God, I will sing and make music with all by soul." Psalm 108:1

Thank You, Father, for this day!  Whatever happens, it will be good because of You.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, May 26, 2017

farewell, until...

since you are in my heart…  

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11


Although, i might not know your face,  i feel know your heart.  Through the year(s), we have shared much with each other… joy, hurts, frustration, disappointments, laughter, pain, anger, confusion, restlessness, sickness and more.  Hopefully, during this time you have experienced with me the constant presence of God; have witnessed how He can and does get us through hardships and trials; and have experienced how He uses absolutely e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g for His good and His glory. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

do you hear bells?

As final bells ring for this school year, i join Paul in his prayer for you, my sisters and brothers in Christ...

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ... you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:3-6

The week started out at a snail's pace, with Friday appearing so far, far away. But with the slew of special events and programs on tap, it soon felt more like a visit to the zoo, exciting but WiLd. And now, we are rounding the last turn to wrap up the year. Are you ready?  Together we will make it. 

Thank You, Father, for Your unconditional love.  A love manifested in so many ways, including the blessing of living and working with others. This family of believers you've surrounded me with have guided, encouraged and strengthened me in my faith and walk. How thankful i am to know You cover my needs in so many splendid ways. I love how i see You in so many faces!

we are loved and chosen by God,
 
may we live like we believe it,
veneal 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

mug shot

"For I can do everything through Christ, who give me strength." Philippians 4:13

Yes, we can... Yes, we can... Yes, we can!
Thank You, Father!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

do you know where your children are?

"When can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?... 
If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You..." Psalm 139:7,11,12

Skimming the library area, wide-eyed and dazed, Mrs. Reddy pleaded, "Do you know where my children are??"

Discussing plans for the day outside the darken workroom, Mrs. B and i had to giggle. We knew the answer. On the other side of the door, inside the darken room, Mrs. Reddy's class sat, quietly watching a DVD.  When we shared this with her, relief flooded her face.  Her twilight moment vanished, and her confidence was restored.
Final days are full of unbridled energy and excitement.  It's enough to make any teacher lose their senses... and maybe even their class.

Father, i am so thankful that no matter what wild path i take or crazy notion enters my head, You know.  You know my whereabouts, my heart and my needs.  Thank You for never letting me escape from Your grasp.   We belong to You not just for a season, but forever and ever.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal


In wake of the terror and evil at the Manchester Arena in London last night, prayers to the family and friends for comfort and healing.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

successful year?

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

The end of the school year is close.  How do you measure the success of your year...  by scores, grades, test results?
No matter what your numbers, i pray you see the success of your year through God's eyes.  May the success of your year be counted by the hugs, smiles and thankful hearts of those called yours this year.  The love and understanding from you has produced the sweetest results of all.

you are loved and chosen by God,
veneal 

Friday, May 19, 2017

the Real Thing

"O LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are mighty, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds You." Psalm 89:8

Ahh!  The Real Thing, He's right here...
and He's in you, and in you and in you.  As believers we contain and carry the Real Thing with us wherever we go.  May we refresh and quench the thirst of others for love, kindness, joy and understanding by letting the joy of our Father bubble over and onto them... He's the Real Thing.  

Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, May 18, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ potter

"Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand." Isaiah 64:8
Mold me and make me as You desire,
Then fill me, Father, with Your Holy Spirit and fire.

Created in love by Your Hands we shall be,
And children of Light for others to see.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

subs needed...

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5

"Hey, Ms. Shall, it's great seeing you. Do you have a grandchild here in school?"
"No, I'm subbing for Mrs. J."
"For who??"
"Mrs J."
"Really?? Mrs. J.??  I didn't know they got subs for the principal."

After we picked ourselves up off the floor from laughing, we hugged.  She was not subbing for the principal but for a classroom assistant, still big shoes to fill in the eyes of God and others.   
It was a sweet reminder, all are the hands and feet of Jesus.  Anyone whose path crosses a child has the opportunity to bring confidence, encouragement and guidance to them. No matter what our position/duty on earth is, our position/duty in Christ is the same for all... love one another.

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers unto His harvest field. Go!

Jesus is in need of some more subs to spread His glory.  He is counting on us to keep loving and help grow the field.  

we are all loved and chosen by God to be His Hands and Feet,
veneal

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ together

"...God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."  Hebrews 11:40

What's better than an ice cream cone?

An ice cream cone topped with mouth-watering ice cream!  Together, it's an awesome combination.

Whatever we are doing in life, we need to include God. Together, we are an awesome combination.  


we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, May 15, 2017

fingerprints everywhere!

"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory in the heavens...When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers..." Psalm 8:1,3

The fingerprints of God, we are surrounded by them...
Whether in nature or in His children, God has created a world of beauty with a tremendous divine purpose. God's love for us is as plain to see as a fingerprint on a clean window.  May our love for others be as obvious as His.

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, May 12, 2017

celebrating you...

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you..." Isaiah 66:13
Whether through blood or through your heart, you provide continuous love, smiles and comfort to many children. 

Celebrating you this Mother's Day for your devotion and commitment in making a difference in the lives of all under your care.  Happy Mother's Day!  You are the best!!

we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, May 11, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ testing

"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Testing -- it's the word of the final month before school is out. And aren't you thankful for it?
Don't despair, teachers, you will survive and shine. Through testing, in and out of school, our faith grows as God provides us with the needed strength, guidance and peace.  When we slip down to the end of our rope, we find Him there.  Be thankful for the testing, it's our chance to experience the All Mighty Power of our Father.  

Believe, and let Him be the Answer to all our tests.

we are loved and chosen by God, 
veneal