We’d agreed to meet at our local Community Center, which is a lovely place.
While sitting, waiting for our daughter, I was looking at this wisteria.
“I’ve always wanted one and never been able to.have one”
The thought was tinged in envy and I was shocked by my own selfishness.
Covetousness not only ignores the blessings God has given me, but it’s also unloving, because it doesn’t rejoice in the blessings God has bestowed upon others.
“Lord, forgive me! That was wrong. I’m so thankful for my blessings. Thank You for this beautiful plant which is here for so many to enjoy, including me.”
I went on to thank God for moving us here and then began to pray for our community and the people who work at the center.
It was an opportunity to both turn from my sin and lift up others.
Romans 12:9 NKJV — Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
I knew my envy was not love, and I wanted to cut that off as quickly as possible.
As I sat praying, my attitude was completely refreshed.
Gratitude and joy had come along with love, filling my heart with a new perspective.
Now when I see a wisteria I’ll have the sweet reminder to love without hypocrisy.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for giving us such practical instruction. Thank You for showing us, through Your example what love without hypocrisy is. Thank You for living a life free from sin and granting us forgiveness for ours through Your sacrifice. Lord Jesus, please help me to love as You do. Teach me how to abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Lord, please teach me how to put Your Word into practice and how to live giving no place to the flesh. Lord, thank You for Your blessings. Thank You for Your incredible love, mercy, and grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for this lesson through a flowering plant. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
We hadn’t been seated very long when I noticed her.
She was standing with a large shopping cart which contained groceries and three little children.
Her dress ballooned out in front of her, for she was great with child.
She’d obviously been very busy that morning.
Her hairdo showed signs of being pulled one way and then another, possibly even tousled by the wind.
Fatigue, even discomfort, out-lined her movements.
Yet, she wore a soft smile.
I motioned to our daughter.
She nodded, rubbing her own baby bump and replying, “Yes, I noticed her. Poor thing she looks worn out.”
We continued to monitor the grandbabies eating their lunch.
The pregnant mother moved her cart farther from the bustle of people, all trying to leave with their groceries, closer to the food area.
My heart was concerned, there wasn’t a table available for her to sit.
I began to pray for her and then I felt I was to look at her again.
When I did, I noticed she was carefully scanning the people in line to order as well as those who had retrieved their food and were filling their drinks.
About the same time, my daughter leaned across the table and asked, “Do you think she’d be offended if I went over and asked her if she would like some help?”
My heart swelled up with joy.
Our adult daughter, so filled with compassion for another lady, was willing to offer her help.
She could have simply shrugged her shoulders and thought, “I have enough of my own to deal with,” but instead she was willing to try to bless someone else who looked in need.
I smiled and replied that I was pretty certain she was looking for someone.
We both looked back at her in time to see a lady, old enough to be the other woman’s mother, carrying food and drinks on a tray.
Before long a table opened up and they were seated.
I smiled warmly at our daughter.
She’s smiled back and we gave each other a fist bump across the table.
Because we realized they were us; an expectant mother with her three small children and Grammy getting lunch.
Compassion for others is a fruit of God’s love using trials or difficult circumstances to help us look beyond ourselves and relate to others.
It’s one of the many ways God works things together for good.
Colossians 3:12 NIV — Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:13 NIV — Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
For the love of God is such that when we accept it, and then begin to understand the depth and truth of it, we see the privilege of sharing it, and we never know when an opportunity to act upon our compassion for another will present itself.
Therefore, let us recognize the wonders of God’s love and live in humility and joyful servanthood to the One who made us.
For there is so much blessing in sharing the gifts we have received from Jesus Christ.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for this young lady and her family. Thank You for placing me in that circumstance. Lord, I lift up that young woman. Please help her as she gets closer to delivery. Please encourage her and walk her through all that she has before her. Lord, thank You for the gift of children and the blessings they bring. I lift up those three little ones and humbly request that they come to know You at an early age. Lord, that You would help each one and that they would be taught Your Word. Lord, I lift up the other lady, whom I assume is the Grammy, but whether she is or isn’t I ask that you bless her. Continue to guide her as she helps and serves others. Lord, thank You for our family, each of our children and their spouses. Thank You for each of our grandchildren and the blessings they are. Lord, thank You for using life to teach me to love. Thank You for loving me first. I love You, Lord. Amen.
The grandchildren got to come over today, which was definitely the highlight of the day.
Sadly, it was prompted by our oldest daughter calling me to ask if I could meet her in town and switch vehicles bringing the children home with me.
Their dog was having what looked like severe health issues.
Our daughter is due in September, so I could only imagine how she was coping with everything.
“Honey, pray about it, I know you need to get the dog in right away, but you might want to pack a bag for the children as I’m watching them tomorrow morning.”
She agreed, thanked me, and hung up.
I met her in town at the vet’s office.
The smell inside their Suburban was really something since their poor dog was sick.
But the veterinary couldn’t have the dog come inside Incase she had something contagious.
I joined the family in the vehicle so my daughter could get her dog out and take it over to the “doggy lawn”.
We have a shortage of veterinarians just now, but when they were able to get the dog tested it came back negative.
Which was good, but meant several more hours of waiting, because it wasn’t an emergency.
We decided to take the children to go eat.
It was a bit of an effort to find shade, but we made sure to leave all the windows down before heading inside to get some food.
There was no possible way we were going to eat inside the Suburban.
My voice had been a struggle, but it left completely when we went inside, which meant our daughter had to do everything involving talking.
So, when we reached the place to order she chose the self ordering kiosk.
She pointed at the pictures and said to Faye, “Hotdog or pizza?”
Faye smiled, “Hotdog!”
She pointed again at each picture and said to Bubba, “Hotdog or pizza?”
He looked confused.
It was busy, so she thought he couldn’t hear her.
Getting him closer she repeated the question.
She moved him closer again and repeated the question, still unchanged response.
“Honey, Mommy needs to order. What do you want, hot-dog or pizza.” She spoke very clearly and slowly trying to be sure he understood.
His face lit up and he pointed, “That one!”
The pictures were next to each other and she couldn’t tell which he was pointing at.
“Honey, Mommy can’t tell, which one do you want. Please use your words. Hotdog or pizza?”
Still smiling broadly he pointed even more enthusiasticly, “Thatone!”
“Honey, Mommy doesn’t understand. Tell me with your words which one do you want, hotdog or pizza?”
He was really excited now and nearly jumped when he responded, “Ice cream!“
An older couple seated nearby stifled their mirth at his response.
My daughter and I exchanged glances helping each other not encourage his behavior by laughing.
She shook her head and announced, “We’re all going to get hot dogs.”
Obviously, Bubba wasn’t too impressed with this, but he eventually ate some of it.
The remainder of the day was pretty hectic, but thankfully the dog has medicine now, and the whole family stayed over.
There’s nothing like little morning cuddles with the grandkids.
After helping them pack up and head off, I recalled our moment in the order line.
I had to wonder how often I respond that way.
Do I approach the Lord’s options with a choice of my own?
Do I stall answering my husband when I don’t like the choices?
Do I want things my own way at the expense of others?
I pray not.
Yet, I know it’s wise to humble myself and ask the Lord, for He alone can read my heart’s motivations.
Thus, I’m praying for wisdom and direction, that I might walk with integrity, submitting to the Lord in all things and being teachable both from the Word and through the wise counsel of others.
Ephesians 5:17-21 NKJV — Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the reminder yesterday and the continued moments of which I have opportunity to learn. Lord, please continue to search my heart and show me anything which does not honor You or is a place where I have indulged my flesh. Lord, I do not want to encourage my sinful nature in anyway, but rather I want to be fed by Your Word and grow in my relationship with You. Lord, please help me to put on You and Your ways daily. Please help me to make no provision for the flesh at all. Help me to see when I’m being hurtful, disobedient, selfish, prideful, and taking on authority You never gave me. Lord, help me not to be puffed up, but instead to be gentle, kind, and loving, serving and submitting to Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Shhh! Don’t tell him, but this is part of our grandson’s 3rd birthday gift.
He loves tractors and gets so excited when he’s allowed to sit on my husband’s riding lawnmower, when it’s parked (without the keys) in the barn.
His enthusiasm was great when they were over on Friday and our field was being cut for hay.
Although, I can appreciate tractors as useful, I have never found them as entertaining.
If anything, I was terrified of tractors as a youth.
The Tractor Safety Class our parents enrolled us in didn’t help my fears.
The videos of tractor accidents was enough to give me nightmares.
But I kept trying to get over it and learn about how to be safe while operating a tractor.
Our class was nearing it’s conclusion when we found out the passing test was a field day.
It wasn’t until we’d been dropped off by our parents that my younger sister and I realized we were in trouble.
We’d been sitting in a classroom for weeks listening to lectures or watching videos, but never done anything with an actual tractor.
Our father hadn’t allowed us any time on the tractor or even around it, because he wanted us to pass our safety class first.
Now we were facing a school parking lot which had been turned into a tractor handling field test.
There was a tractor which had to be driven through an obstacle course.
There was a tractor hooked to a round bailer which had to be backed up a slant into a coned off area which was supposed to replicate a shed.
There was a tractor which had to be hitched and then driven forward and then unhitched from a piece of machinery.
There was…well, you get the idea.
I felt like crying.
After we were signed in and told to join the first line we looked around hoping to ask for help from someone and realized we didn’t know a single person there.
Our instructor hadn’t come either.
Whispering about our predicament to each other, we were surprised to hear a voice behind us.
“Hey, are you new? I never saw you in my class before.”
He looked to be about my sister’s age (11).
We explained where we from and that we had been in a different class, but were new to the area.
Upon his friendly inquiry we also related our extreme distress over the circumstance we were in.
“You mean you’ve never driven a tractor before?”
We shook our heads.
He smiled kindly and quickly responded, “Well! Let me in front of you. You don’t mind do you? I’ll tell you all you need to know and then you can watch me and just do as I do. Don’t worry, you’ll both pass, no problem.”
I immediately stepped aside and let him in front of me, no one cared, because we were the last three in line.
He began quickly telling us everything he knew about the tractor we were going to handle first.
“You know about the correct side to get on a tractor–“
We shook our heads.
“Boy, they didn’t teach you anything about using a tractor in your class? No matter, always approach the tractor on…”
He spent the entire test teaching us and then being the example.
We all passed the test.
Since I was 13, I knew I couldn’t hug him, but I sure felt like it.
I knew we’d both have failed miserably if he’d not taken the time and effort to help.
This moment in my middle school years has been repeated many times, but in a far greater way.
Jesus stepped in and took the time and effort to help me not fail a far more important test.
Through His sacrifice and His life I have been cleansed from unrighteousness and given the instruction on how to walk with integrity through each day.
Every morning, when I wake, He’s ready and waiting to share with me His instructions for my day, encourage me as I face individual problems or circumstances, and supply all I need.
And it’s a never ending thing.
Matthew 28:20 NKJV — “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for that boy, so many years ago. Thank You for how You helped us through him. Lord, I know You are my greatest help and the One who supplies all my needs. I know You provide for me in ways I could never anticipate and You use things in my life I never expect You to. Lord, thank You. It’s incredible how You work all things together for good for those called according to Your purposes. Please continue to teach, direct, guide, and instruct me in Your Word that I might not sin against You. I want to honor You in all my actions, attitudes, and words. I want my life to be a reflection of Your Word and bring glory to Your name. Thank You! Amen.
I remember when I went to my father’s clothes closet and took it out.
I’d asked Mom if I could have it, because he was wearing it in the last picture I had of him.
It’s remained in my possession since then.
Today, our son was preparing to work.
He’s going to be outside on a hill dealing with brush and I asked him if he didn’t have anything better than a sweatshirt.
He went to look again, and let me know that his best option was a flannel.
I knew it would be too hot for either, that he needed long sleeves to protect him.
We didn’t have time to drive 45 minutes away to buy something.
I stopped and prayed.
Your father’s shirt.
I wanted to argue that it might get damaged, but I knew better.
“It’s what Dad would want,” I told myself.
I went and got it.
In a moment our son came back out looking surprised.
“Mom, how big was Grandpa? It fits perfectly.”
Surprised and glad, he showed me how nicely it fit.
I walked over to him and replied, “Well, he was a little taller than you are right now, but you’re still growing. Yes, otherwise, I’d say you’re very close to his size.”
As I watched him prepare for work I suddenly realized what a special moment this was.
Our son is on the verge of manhood and he’s heading out to work wearing my father’s shirt.
I know he’d be so proud of his grandson.
And that blesses me.
Proverbs 17:6 KJV — Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for today. Thank You for this moment which I cherish. Thank You for our son and how You are growing him into the man of God You created him to be. Lord, thank You for the privilege of raising him and the blessings he is to me every day. Lord, thank You that You reminded me of that shirt. Thank You that our son has something he can share with the grandfather he never knew. Thank You for Your amazing blessings. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your promises. Lord, thank You for Your Word which gives us hope and a future. Lord, how I long for You to cause praise and righteousness to spring forth before all nations. I accept for that to happen means I need to be praising You and choosing to follow after You in all things. I know that it is through the good You work through Your people that those who have yet to know You will see our good works and glorify God. Lord, I thank You that You choose to use people to reach other people, just as the corn seed grows corn, so let the seeds of our lives bring a future crop of others whose lives are also seeds of faith, hope, righteous, and truth. Lord, please continue to save the lost and share Your gift of salvation throughout our broken world. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Material possessions have always been very important to me.
As a child my biggest fear was our house catching fire, because I was afraid I’d not be able to get all my special stuffed animals and dolls out the window in time.
With adulthood and marriage I began to learn that stuff is not treasure.
Although, I had a desire for stuff, especially when planning for the birth of our baby, but it was of secondary importance to my husband and our daughter.
They were my precious treasures.
Matthew 6:21 KJV — For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
As God blessed us with more children possessions dropped farther and farther away from my heart.
Within those years of babies, I began to realize another treasure I had, one I’d previously taken for granted: my Bible.
As a young wife and mother I realized my desperate need for God’s daily instruction.
With my time in the Word of God, I realized a truth which is completely counter to mankind’s natural tendencies towards their treasure.
Treasure is meant to be shared.
Each of our children are priceless gifts to us, but God never intended us to horde them
Instead, we were to train them, love them, encourage them, and prepare them to be sent out to be a blessing and treasure to others as well as us.
The same is true for the Word of God.
It’s meant to be shared.
Thus, as each day passes and my husband, our family, and God’s Word become dearer to me than ever, I find myself surprised by how God has multiplied my treasures as I share them.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You gave us the most amazing treasure, Yourself! Thank You that we can have peace and security here on Each because our souls were purchased at such a a high price. Thank You for Your blessings. Thank You so much for my husband, thank You for our children, our sons-in-law, and our grandchildren. Thank You for Your daily gifts of life. Thank You for every good gift. Please continue to teach me how to share my precious treasures. Lord Jesus, You are my greatest treasure of all. Thank You! I love You. Amen.
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for walking me forward each day and teaching me through Your Word. Lord, thank You for how You encourage me through Your promises and equip me for my day. Lord, thank You for sustaining me and teaching me how to love, how to forgive, and how to humble myself before You. Lord, You alone know what is best and how You created each and every one of us. Please, teach those who are called by Your name to be honorable, loving, forgiving, and honest. Teach us how to speak the truth in love. Teach us how to walk in Your ways and apply Your Word to our lives. Lord, please, defend the innocent and the helpless. Crush the schemes of the wicked. Bring to light the truth. Let the snares of the enemy be uncovered. Do not allow the abuse, the cheating, nor the lies continue. Please put a stop to those who prey upon the weak, the helpless, the ignorant, and the young. Lord, bring about a restoration of honor, integrity, truth, righteousness, and gratitude for only through You can we be saved. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
I feel ridiculous even admitting this, but I had a moment of fear.
Due to my struggles with asthma, my husband requested I send a note to the doctor and request an appointment.
They called and scheduled an appointment for next week.
After I hung up, it hit: fear.
Well, to be completely honest, I’ve under gone many different medical treatments in my life and I’m weary of trying anything more.
Which is really dumb, because all of it has been to help me overcome different health issues.
And since my flesh had dug in it’s heals, in rebellion, fear crept through, which then sideswiped my thoughts with, “What if they make you run more tests?” “What if you have to return to taking______?” “What if—
That’s where I stopped it.
I realized the damage I had allowed and opened my Bible app.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:3-4 KJV
“Thank You, Jesus!”
I sighed and texted my husband about my appointment.
Then, I surrendered myself to the Lord, asked His forgiveness, and found encouragement.
It doesn’t matter what happens at the doctor’s appointment, because God is with me and will see me through whatever comes.
And I want to encourage you, dear reader, that the same is true for you.
If you will place your trust in Jesus Christ, surrender to His lordship, and rest in His promises, He will comfort, guide, and direct you and you’ll find fear will lose it’s hold.
It doesn’t matter what the enemy uses to try and make us afraid, what matters is whether or not we walk in the lies of Satan or the truth of Christ Jesus.
Commit thy way unto the LORD; Trust also in him; And he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, And thy judgment as the noonday. Psalm 37:5-6 KJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth and the ways You walk us through the tricks of the enemy. Thank You for showing me where my flesh has rebelled and thank You for bringing me to repentance. Lord, my life is not my own, it belongs to You and was purchased at such a high price. No matter what, I want to live it with integrity and honor You continually, praising You for these opportunities each day. Thank You so much for Your love. You are awesome and I worship You, Jesus. Amen.
She was big on personality, although packaged relatively small for American standards.
Dad always attributed it to her lineage, stating, “It’s the Greek.”
Grandma’s father was from Greece and although we have a cherished picture of him and Great Grandma, Grandma didn’t know him.
He was a doctor and died from the disease he was treating his patients for, leaving behind three young boys and a baby daughter.
Yet, I don’t ever remember Grandma referring to her loss or commenting on life being “unfair”.
If anything, she seemed to see it as her duty to remain as upbeat as possible when the family was visiting.
Her laugh was frequent.
Her voice could be gentle with love or pitched with correction.
It seemed her dog, our Aunt’s dog, was always misbehaving whenever we came to see her, and thus the voice of correction.
Not that she’d refrain from correcting people, I recall her doing both with equal energy.
Sometimes she worried and fretted, but she always had a smile ready for me whenever I was around her.
Her wrinkled hands would clasp mine and she’d put her face up to kiss my cheek.
No one would have guessed, by her words or actions, that I’m not her granddaughter.
She never treated me as “just the gal married to her grandson”, but instead embraced me as family.
One of my most cherished memories was her deep compassion on the loss of my father.
She and Grandpa had met both my parents first at our wedding and then at Thanksgiving.
My father was killed in an accident the following October, and the next time I saw Grandma and Grandpa, she pulled me aside and spoke with me.
She related how shocked and saddened she and Grandpa were when they heard.
She gave me a big hug and her voice showed me how truly she felt my loss.
There are many other moments I cherish.
The most recent one was the last time I saw Grandma.
My husband’s sisters had organized a date and time for us to meet up near Grandma’s house and after some group pictures in the park we went out to eat.
It was very special.
My husband’s oldest sister had driven all the way from another state just to be there.
Among the party was our oldest daughter and her family.
Watching Grandma’s eyes light up as she looked on her great great grandchildren was truly priceless.
She was too weak to hold them, but there were many pictures taken that day, including Grandma surrounded by the youngest members of the family, her great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, ages from about 5 to under a year old.
I’m so glad we have that memory, for Grandma passed away yesterday afternoon.
We’d heard that morning she was in the ICU and the prayer request was for my husband’s parents to be able to make it down in time to see her once more.
We praised God when we heard that they were with Grandma to the last.
Grief is never easy, whether the loved one was young or old doesn’t change the loss.
Romans 14:7 NKJV — For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
Yet, I’m so thankful to God for His understanding, His compassion, and His promises.
Jesus, Himself suffered grief, and He came to preserve us from an even greater suffering; separation from God for eternity in Hell.
John 11:33-35 NKJV — Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept.
What unmeasurable comfort there is when we know this world is not all there is.
What joy and expectation there is when the confidence of a home in Heaven awaits those who call on the Lord Jesus.
Romans 10:9 KJV — That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation which brings us hope and comfort even during loss. Lord, thank You that You alone are worthy of all honor, all glory, all praise. It is in You we find hope and through Your sacrificial gift we find eternity. Thank You! I love that grief is risen by hope of a future together with You. Lord, thank You for all Your love. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for our family. I love You. Amen.