Wednesday, November 30

Struggling for Words


They do not come easy for me.

Penning several monthly columns, devotionals for other sites, and my own blog posts is definitely very frustrating. With a couple of learning disabilities, I struggle to craft the right words, but I do it in obedience for, to this, the Lord has called me.

Besides writing, talking is made more difficult because the greedy fingers of fibromyalgia grab at my brain, snatching out words, even the simplest ones, and leaving behind gaps in my memory. Completing a sentence is sometimes impossible.

But do I wrestle to craft those words that will jump off the end of my tongue as much as I wrestle over my writing?
Do I think before those words leap out? Usually...but sometimes, I don’t and I get into trouble.

Should I be concerned about finding the right words to say? Jesus says I should, “On the day of judgment men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak…Your words now reflect your fate then: either you will be justified by them or you will be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36 Amp, Matt. 12:37 TLB)

Wow! That is truly hard to comprehend, isn’t it?
If we are required to answer for our speech, then we need to be cautious of what exits our mouths, for, as Jesus said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45b TLB)

The English biblical commentator and Presbyterian minister Matthew Henry wrote, “The heart is the root, the language is the fruit.” We cannot have the sweet nectar of a fruitful, positive confession if the root system of our hearts maintains sour or rotten thoughts. A change in the root system will produce a change in the fruit of speech.

Consequently, “A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth…and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].” (Prov. 18:20a NKJV, Prov. 18:20b Amp)

Solomon warns us, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23 Masoretic Text) Another version says, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” (Prov. 4:23 NCV) And will jump off the end of your tongue!

Some say, “I don’t see that my words matter that much.”
Well, our words do matter. If our tongues speak from the abundance of our hearts, and if Jesus and Scripture say our words are critical, then, our words really have extraordinary power and effect, embodying life and death, just as Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21a NKJV)

The Message version puts it this way, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” So, who in their right mind would choose death over life, poison over fruit? We do!

The words we speak can set our lives on fire for harm or for good.
Our words can bring others to tears or lift their spirits. Our words can even change the atmosphere around us.

Therefore, Paul urges us, “Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27a KJV) This means we are to behave and speak as a citizen of the Kingdom and worthily reflect on the Gospel.

Knowing the consequences of his thoughts and words, David prayed, “Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” (Ps. 141:3 NLT) Therefore, “we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5b GNT)

My prayer is this:
Lord, in my word struggle, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14 NLT)

What about you? Do you struggle to carefully craft those words, taking captive those thoughts, before they roll off the end of your tongue?

***A portion of the above is taken from my upcoming book Ready or Not...Here I Come!

Today's post is part of...


Sunday, November 27

Christmas Wrapping

I am happy to bring you another cyber friend today, the author of the site called Blue Cotton Memory. Enjoy...

Unconditional Love = Gives up What One Cherishes Most With a Generosity of Spirit Shown Over 2,000 Years Ago

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV

This Christmas season, are you willing to love your neighbor enough to give what you cherish most?

What I Cherish:

My Husband
My 5 sons
My motherhoodness
My individuality
My freedom
My Family
My books
My grandmother’s tea-cup
My Christmas Oysters
A card sent when one of my sons was born quoting Dickens, “It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us.”
My marble Chess Set given on my birthday from my sons

But maybe the most important possession I have, would be my Faith in My Father who gave me Salvation, which made me a Daughter of The King (the guy who created the universe), who healed my heart, who saved my son’s life, who has angels encamped about me protecting me, who showed me that He made me - and that I am to Him what the Mona Lisa was to Da Vinci (and that goes for every one of you, too), and that when I cannot find my life plan, He let’s me know He’s got the Plan so I don’t have to worry, and showed me that my heart’s love capacity is not limited to just my household, or those easy to love, and that it’s going to be o.k. when I do not love perfectly as long as I am trying to love unconditionally - all of which would never have been possible if He had not given the world His son!

Is there anyone you love so much, that you would send your children away from your protection so they could save another’s life?

Is Our Father Not Totally Amazing in His Love for Us?

God’s love humbles me when I really try to wrap my mind around it,
and since I cannot successfully wrap my mind around it,
He graciously wraps His love around me!

*I hope you’ll visit Maryleigh’s wonderful site Blue Cotton Memory. You’ll be glad you did!


Wednesday, November 23

Happy Thanks-living!

"I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord." (Ps. 69:30-31a Amp)

I realize that not everyone will have a happy Thanksgiving, but I pray that each of you will experience the presence of the Lord in your life. May praise and thanksgiving fill and overflow your hearts! May you always experience Thanks-living!


Sunday, November 20

The Blessing of the Thorns

Maybe you've read this story before, maybe not. It is a wonderful reminder to be thankful. Enjoy!

Sandra felt as low as the heels on her shoes as she pushed against a November gust and opened the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week, she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then, her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called to say she could not come.

What was worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

She has no idea what I’m feeling. “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered aloud. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

“Good afternoon, can I help you?”

“I....I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra, “for Thanksgiving.”

“Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?” asked the shop clerk. “I’m convinced that flowers tell stories. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”

Sandra regretted her outburst and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”

The door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi, Barbara...let me get your order.” She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses.

Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped...there were no flowers.

“Want this in a box?” asked the clerk.

Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers? She waited for laughter but neither woman laughed.

“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said, as she gently tapped her chest. She thanked the clerk and left.

“Uhh...” stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, flowers!”

“Right. I cut off the flowers. That’s the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet.”

“Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that?” exclaimed Sandra.

“Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery.”

“That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk, “and for the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.”

“So, what did you do?” asked Sandra.

“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the “flowers” of life, but it took “thorns” to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

“Hey, Phil!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

“Are those for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?”

“No...I’m glad you asked,” Phil replied. “Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from “thorny” times and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific problem and give thanks to Him for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life.” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too...fresh.”

“Well, my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I'll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I'll have them ready in a minute.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?” asked Sandra.

“Nothing.” said the clerk. “Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” She smiled and handed a card to Sandra.

“I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you’d like to read it first.”

Sandra took the card and read, “Dear God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant. ~George Matheson”

Jenny said, “Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra,” handing her the special. “I look forward to knowing each other better.”

Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door, and walked toward hope.

Praise Him for the roses; thank Him for the thorns. God bless all of you. Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.

*the author of this piece is unknown

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Thursday, November 17

Praying for Our Children -That They May Know Him

Today, I bring you another sweet cyber-friend, Stephanie Shott. As Stephanie wrote to me, “Lately I’ve been talking to moms who need this more than ever! The enemy is working overtime to defeat God’s children by trying to take ground in our children’s lives and I just want to encourage the hearts of each mom who has a prodigal and the one who don’t to pray for their kids like crazy.”

Please leave her some comment love...

“I have no greater joy than to hear that
my children are walking in the truth.”
3 John 4 NIV

I remember when we were on the mission field and we were struggling with some issues in our family. I looked at my husband and said, “I will not win a nation and lose my own son!”

No matter how successful I am in life, if my children do not walk with God, I will feel like I failed in the most important role I’ve ever been given...the role of a mother.

I realize that our job is to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; that we are to live out loud for Jesus in front of them and that we are to equip them in the Word. I also realize they are responsible to God for the choices they make once they become adults.

But just because the clock of life ticks past the magic age of 18 and our children become adults, we never stop being their mothers...and so we never stop praying.

Whether your little bundle of joy still resides in your womb or lives in his or her own home, you are still a mom... and we all know - there ain’t no love like a momma’s love!

That means, no one will pray for your kids like you will! No one will love your kids like you will! No one will bombard heaven for your kids like you will!

And while we do a lot of things for our children, there is nothing greater work than the that of prayer; there is no greater way to spend your time as a mother than on your knees in intercession for your kids.

As Oswald Chambers once said, “Prayer is the greater work!”

But as you pray, be specific. Cover them well in prayer. Seek God’s face for their future. Pray protection over them. Ask God to guard their hearts. Ask God to rebuke the enemy and to shield your children from every fiery dart he tries to send their way.

There’s so much to pray for. So many needs our children have. But the greatest and most important prayer we can pray is for the salvation of their souls.

So, here are a few verses we can cling to in prayer...claim by faith...and trust to come to pass. Here are some verses that we can pray knowing we are praying according to God’s will:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:14

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” Acts 16:31

“And He said to them, ‘Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you”? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’” Luke 11:5-10

There are a host of other verses you can pray for your children...but hopefully, these will get you started.

Go back over those precious verses, sweet friend. Look at how many times it talks about the will of God. When we pray God’s Word back to Him in accordance to His will, we know He hears us - we know He is working behind the scenes of our children’s lives to bring about their salvation.

Hold on to heaven with all you’ve got and bombard the throne of God for the salvation of your children. Whether they’re a newborn babe or an adult, you’re still their mom and no one is going to pray for them like you are! Absolutely no one!

If your child is saved, you are surely blessed! You have the joy of watching your children walk in the truth. Pray for those who don’t have that same joy. Pray for their children. Join them in prayer as one mother praying on behalf of another!

Join hands and hearts for the salvation of the next generation and let’s see what God will do when we do our greatest work...on our knees!

Are you praying for your child? Are you praying for someone else’s child? Would you like to add some verses for mothers to cling to and claim as they pray for their children’s salvation?

If you’d like to list your child’s name in the comment section, I’d be honored to pray for them. No one will ever pray for your children like you. But no one will ever understand the prayer of a mother’s heart like another mother!

Let’s pray for our children – let’s keep knocking until the door opens – let’s keep trusting God to part the Red Sea of their lives and my He give us the privilege of seeing the salvation of the Lord in their lives!

~Please visit Stephanie’s wonderful site.


Sunday, November 13

The Shoes

This is one of my favorites and has become a Thanksgiving tradition. I hope you enjoy it! ~~

The dark, gray skies overhead threatened an early snow. Rushing shoppers, all bundled up to ward off the cold, crowded the sidewalks, lost in their to-do list for Thanksgiving.

Oblivious to their surroundings, no one noticed a small, shivering boy standing in front of the shoe store, his nose pressed against the window, barely dressed and only flip-flops on his dirty feet.

However, one man did see him and stopped, dead still in his tracks, causing others to bump into him. He didn’t notice the bumps and grumblings, but he did notice the small boy because he had a son about the same age.

Thinking how he would feel if this were his son standing there, barely clothed, the man quietly slid next to the boy, the man stood there for a moment, and then said, “They have some nice shoes here, don’t they?”

“Yeah,” came the soft reply.

“Which ones do you like?”

“That pair over there…the cool running ones.”

“Oh, I’ll bet you could run fast in those.”

“Yes sir. I sure could. Like the wind!”

“You know, I have a little boy just about your age.”

“Oh, yeah? I’ll bet he has shoes like that.”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, he does. But I have an idea.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“How ‘bout I take you into the store and buy you that pair of shoes?”

The boy stood there motionless. After a few moments, with tears in his eyes, he looked up at the man. “You want to buy me shoes?”

“I sure do. Your feet must be freezing and I’d love to buy them for you.”

The boy couldn’t speak another word.

The man took the boy by the hand and walked into the store. Finding the manager, the man described the pair of shoes and asked the manager to please get a pair in the boy’s size, along with some socks. Then, he said he and the boy would be in the restroom and would he please bring the shoes and socks in there.

The manager gathered the shoes and socks and, upon entering the men’s restroom, found the man on his knees washing the young boy’s feet.

“Can’t stick dirty feet into clean, new socks and shoes, now can we?”

The young boy just stared at the man as he lovingly washed away all the accumulated street-dirt and gently dried his feet.

Feeling he was intruding on a very special moment, the manager quietly placed the shoes and socks on the floor without saying a word and backed out of the restroom.

After placing the socks and shoes on the boy’s feet, the man stood up, and with hands on his hips, said, “Okay. Let’s see how they look. Walk around.”

The little boy couldn’t move. He stared down at his feet that felt glued to the floor. He looked up, tears now streaming down his little face, and said, “Mister, are you Jesus?”

The boy’s words took the man’s breath away. So overcome with emotion, the man could barely speak. Finally, he muttered, “No, son, I’m not. But I know Him very well. And this is a gift from Him.”

“This is the greatest Thanksgiving ever. Would you tell Jesus thank you for me?”

“Well, let’s go for a walk and I’ll tell you how you can do that yourself.”


Wednesday, November 9

The Other Side of the Cloud

The Pillar of Cloud.

Billowing majestically, it moved forward...and the Israelites advanced.

Pulsing with power, it hovered...and they pitched their tents and waited.

The Cloud...always in front of the people. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Ex. 13:21-22 NIV)

The Angel of God. Giving divine guidance by day and fiery heat and light by night.

But the horses’ hoof beats pounded. The chariots rattled. And the marching soldiers’ footfall droned. The enemy closed in on them, in pursuit of their lives.

Israel shook in their sandals. They cried out to the Lord.

Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Ex. 14:12-14 NKJV)

“Raise your rod, Moses,” God said. “Stretch out your hand over the sea. Divide it that Israel may walk through it on dry ground.”

“Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them...coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.” (Ex. 14:19a, 20 NIV, emphasis mine)

The Living Bible says, “It gave darkness to the Egyptians but light to the people of Israel!” (Ex. 14:20b) Darkness to the enemy; light to the people.

The Lord stood between His children and their enemy. He had their backs! And this enemy at the rear was history. God had a plan for their future and a path all mapped out for them to move forward.

God does the same for us. Sometimes, He performs His handiwork behind us, in the background. So, what is behind us? Our past? Depleted circumstances? Old way of thinking? Attempts of the enemy?

The Lord stands between us and whatever attempts to come against us, protecting us. He has our backs! Our enemy is history. God has a plan for our future and a path all mapped out for us to move forward.

No matter what is behind you, God has drowned it in the dark depths of the sea of forgiveness, if you have given it to Him. Don’t let worry go to the shed and pull out the ol’ fishing pole!

Whatever is on the other side of the cloud, the Lord stands ready to fight for you. Stand still and see what He will accomplish for you.

Let God’s pillar of cloud be darkness to what is behind you and a glory light to what is in front of you.

This post is part of Internet Café's Wordfilled Wednesday...


Sunday, November 6

When the Winds Blow, Which Way Do You Lean?

Have you ever seen a Divi Divi tree? That’s one in the photo. It is almost a national symbol on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.

As an evergreen, the Divi Divi trees have inconspicuous but fragrant blossoms. The trees’ pods, wood, and leaves have several uses. Though slow growing, they are capable of growing to 50 feet tall but will almost always be bent at a 45 degree angle due to the constant-blowing trade winds.

Because of this, the trees bend and point to the west, as the winds blow from the east. In Aruba, lost tourists are told to use the trees as a compass.

Some say the Divi Divis are bent over because of leaning into the wind; others say they are bent over because of leaning away from the wind. Either way, the trees have adapted to the winds and grow in spite of them. Their twisted Medusa-like trunks and roots will grow in rich clay soil as well as the sand.

I love these trees! I love how God speaks to us through nature. Maybe we should consider growing like the Divi Divis.

When the winds of adversity blow, do we bend because of the blasting currents, or do we lean along with the challenges? If we lean with the trials, we will never be blown over as long as we are rooted solidly in the Lord. We will still have our fragrant blossoms and always point the way to our Savior, being a compass for others to find their way.

Though we will have the winds of temptation, loss, distress, or others beating against us, we can adapt, persevere, and survive, no matter what the situation.

“Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the LORD to show His greatness.” (Isa. 61:3 New Century Version)


Thursday, November 3

Shepherded with Love

Today, I have another special cyber-friend for you...Lisa Buffaloe. I hope you’re enjoying these articles from my special online friends. I enjoy bringing them to you. Here’s Lisa...

In Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg (, the second session records a current-day shepherdess and the relationship with one of her ill sheep—summoning a vet, administering medicine, concern, and compassion. The love and devotion of the shepherdess brought tears to my eyes as I pictured God’s tender care as The Great Shepherd.

I think of friends who battled devastating diseases—the e-mails and quiet conversations discussing the horrors of illness, the agony at the thought of leaving their young children motherless, and yet the awestruck amazement that in their darkest moments they felt the presence of God.

We are all like sheep. Some walk close to the Shepherd and hang on His every word. Others roam the pasture not quite sure where they fit in the fold. Many stay outside God’s care, not truly believing He is trustworthy or He will somehow keep them from experiencing all they desire. And within all of them is a hunger to be known and loved.

Whether you choose to be in God’s fold, there are wolves in the world, storms will come, rivers are swift, and fires sweep over the open range. For those who follow God, The Great Shepherd will guide through any dark valley. No wolf can snatch you from His care.

God will gather you in His arms and hold you close to His heart. He will keep your head afloat when you pass through raging rivers. In the fires He will shield you from the flames. And when death comes, He’ll guide you home, where you will be forever safe in His presence.

(Psalm 23:4, Isaiah 43:2, Isaiah 40:11, John 10:27-29)

Please visit Lisa’s site