Tuesday, July 28, 2009

California to visit family......

My Dad still has dial up, so I won't be posting anything until I either 1.) Visit the public library, 2.) Visit a friend with faster service. The hamsters are having to run way too fast on this little wheel....

Highlights so far, taking Tyler dog to the beauty salon to get groomed. He had an unfortunate incident with a skunk awhile back, and 6 baths later, he still smelled of skunk. He was extremely nervous going in, but when he came out 5 hours later, he was beautiful and very proud of himself, they even gave him a brand new multicolored bandana.

I got to attend my parents 62nd High School reunion on Saturday afternoon. I was the belle of the ball and got to draw names for prizes, and as luck would have it I drew both Mom and Dad's names! My Mom won a beautiful king-sized afgan, made by the woman who was sitting at our table. Mom's cousin Ivan set up his professional karaoke machine and he, my Mom, and a retired minister sang, and we had a 20 song session of name that tune! My Mom used to sing at weddings and talent shows all through high school and beyond and she sounded great! After most of the people went home, we hung back and Mom and I sang together, it was a very special time and I am so glad I made the trip!

Today was niece Lauryn's first day of school so we were all nervous for her, new school and all, but she got up and headed out just like a trooper and said to Daddy, "Go away," after she got there so that was a good sign. She has been in special class but this will be her first long school day. A landmark day for her and we will all go and pick her up. Her Auntie got her a "Manny" doll for her first day prize.

I will post more when I get back with pictures...........

Friday, July 24, 2009

Flowers along the path

This was written by my Mom awhile back and I thought it was insightful....

Flowers on my path

Whenever I am walking I see many little or big wildflowers along the path. I think of them as people before receiving Christ.

The small ones you can hardly see. They have been stepped on and forgotten. I recognize them as them as the abused homeless. They are so insignificant in our society that people hardly notice them.

We walk on them, we don’t pick them; they just grow and survive. If you do pick them and put them under a magnifying glass they are very beautiful and you can see all the creativity God has given them.

I can’t help but compare them to people without Jesus. We are all like those little wildflowers along the path until He puts us under His magnifying light of grace.

By Vera Cook

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ongoing prayer for Kate

Please continue to pray for little Kate McRae and her courageous family. She starts a very aggressive form of chemo today. Our hearts go out to her and all sick children. We pray for their healing from our Great Physician....see latest you tube video of Kate here

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Church Reflections....

During the past year or two I have grieving the loss of my church home. The church I went to is still there, still full, but with two less people in it. I guess you could say it changed direction and I decided I didn't want to be swept away in its current. It's all good....they all seem to be happy with the changes, but I just didn't want to go in the direction they were going. Suffice it to say that each time I have gone back after the "change" I felt like I had just been given a slick presentation and pushed out the door with a side-ways handshake. It always left me a little dazed.

So the other day I was getting ready to go to the church close by my home. I have been going there among other places off and on since Christmas. Honestly, I wasn't very excited about going. I catch myself "comparing." Once you have had that ideal "relationship" you can only go down from there.

Once again, God pulled me up short as He has many times before. It happened while I was in the bathroom getting ready; He seems to speak to me more in the bathroom; either that or I just listen better there. He said to my heart, "Just be obedient and go, did I promise that you would be excited every time?" Immediately the joy of the truth flooded in. Okay, I get it Lord!

I had to remember once again that it's not all about the music, teaching, friends, and all the rest of what I think I need in a church. (Just when did it become all that anyway??) It's about serving God and serving others! Logically I know this, but I obviously needed to relearn the lesson. Inwardly, I was missing that church "experience." The warmth, the fellowship, the presence of the Lord, and He was saying, I'm still right here! "Just be obedient and go."

"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." Matt. 6:33

What a wonderful privilege we have to be able to worship God in spirit and truth and have the freedom to do so. How dare I be so flippant and choosy about where I go as long as I get solid Biblical teaching! I am thinking about the persecuted church all over the world right now; some of them giving their very lives for the church.

A wise Pastor friend said in one of his messages not long ago, "We are the church, and we need to be the church to somebody else. We spend so much time trying to get people into the church when maybe we should be going to them. " (Thank you Will)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mr. Rogers and God

"I like you just the way you are." Mr Rogers

We all remember him saying that from his long running, much lampooned children's program. Those of us with kids in the house for any length of time, that is. We saw a saccarin sweet, soft spoken guy, easy to poke fun at with his sweater and sneakers and wierd characters. But kids loved him. When he said that he loved them just the way they were, they believed him. Kids have a sixth sense about knowing who is genuine and who is not.

We all want someone to love us just as we are, but so much of our lives is spent trying to prove our worth to get that love.

"If I were a better wife, he wouldn't have left"

"If I were a better daughter, I wouldn't feel so guilty"

"If I were a better employee, they would keep me"

But God loves us exactly as we are. There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more or less. What a radical idea! Not only do I not have to clean myself up for Him to love me, there is nothing I can do to make myself presentable enough anyway. But there is One who makes intercession for us even now. I pray that you rest in His love today and His provision for your salvation! There is a little song that my niece Lauryn sings along with my Mom and it says, "God loves me, God loves me, in my Bible book it says that God loves me! Put your name in place of "me" and believe it!

We miss you Fred Rogers!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


In the desert we dream of this kind of rain. Last evening on the drive home from work I saw raindrops on my windshield and said a prayer of thankfulness and hoped for more. When I looked through my moonroof I saw blue sky! Where is it coming from?? This is not the first time I had experienced this, so I was not surprized. I went home with great expectation of a rainstorm to go along with the dust that had just pummled my car down the freeway.

Home....Lightening all around, it is black toward the east, it's coming! We turned out all the lights, the cats were happy in the dark, but wandered from room to room wondering what was going on. We waited, and waited. I threatened to go out and do a raindance. Lightening all around, and the storm seems to have stalled. Exhausted I fall asleep on my bedroom floor watching lightening.

I give up and go to bed. Not long after I hear it! Falling, hitting the roof, the windows, the street. THANK YOU GOD. Rain in the desert is like rain no where else, it is so desperately needed, longed for. I drifted off to sleep thanking God for the miracle.

Isaiah 44:2-4

2 This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

Happy Birthday Dad! I am so glad you were born, Love Me

Friday, July 17, 2009

Good morning!

This morning I awakened at 4 since it was a work day. I awoke with the usual disgruntled feeling of being robbed; robbed of the sweet peaceful blackness of sleep which at that particular hour always seems to be in its deepest and purest form. I was not excited to get up. At that split second I heard the theme music from the Dr. Phil show, then the voiceover exclaiming,“I want you to be excited about your life!” Must be the last thing I remember hearing on TV last night. The truth is, sometimes life is not that exciting, it just “is.” And despite what movies and advertising would have us believe, that is okay! We learn great lessons in the “okay” parts of life. In fact, I tend to learn much more in monotony and adversity than I ever do when things are going well. But here is the great secret of the Christian life.....No matter what the circumstance, there is always a reason to go on.

Nothing in this life or the next can destroy us when we belong to Him. He colors everything with the richness of His glory. He makes the joys more joyous and provides a backdrop of hope in every sorrow because He sorrows with us!
He is behind every ordinary moment, every sigh, breath, and belly laugh. He is behind, the hope of dawn’s restoration after a dark night. That is why we can have hope in every circumstance! How else could David say, “Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief,” then in the very same Psalm a few lines down,“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”

It’s not wishful thinking, it’s not blind faith, it’s not positive thinking…it is faith based on knowledge. It is why we can still have absurd peace in the midst of sadness.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:7,8

I still wanted to be sleeping, but God gave me this sunrise on the way to work and I had to smile.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What if....

What if God created a vast and perfect universe, filled with beauty unimaginable, created to last forever, filled with every kind of creature, flying, crawling, running, swimming, all in harmony, none harming the other, co-existing together having no fear because as yet there was no reason to fear.
What if God created two people, also designed to live forever with Him, in this unimaginably perfect place.

Walking with God, talking to God, loving God and each other.
Imagine: perfect peace, perfect harmony, perfect union.

No death, no destruction, no violence, no worry, no tears, no sadness.

And what if those two people decided that perfection wasn’t good enough, and that it wasn’t fair for God to withhold even one thing from them; so they did the one thing God had told them not to do…. the only thing He had told them not to do.

They thought they knew better than God, they thought God was misleading them, they thought wrong.

In an instant, everything they had ever known, gone forever. But wait……..

What if God loved them enough to come back to a ruined and sin cursed earth, willing to offer up His own life as a ransom to buy us back.
What if, with one decision we could decide to have paradise restored forever.

He did, and we can!

Names of God

Here is a partial list of the names of God. Printing out a hard copy of these and just meditating on the powerful attributes of our God seems to help make our circumstances seem not quite so overwhelming....That is my prayer for you today.

ELOHIM: God “Creator, Mighty and Strong” (Genesis 17:7; Jeremiah 31:33) – The plural form of Eloah, which is accommodating of the doctrine of the Trinity. From the Bible’s first sentence, the superlative nature of God’s power is evident as God (Elohim) speaks the world into existence (Genesis 1:1).

EL SHADDAI: “God Almighty,” “The Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 132:2,5) – Speaks to God’s ultimate power over all.

ADONAI: “Lord” (Genesis 15:2; Judges 6:15) – Used in place of YHWH, which was thought by the Jews to be too sacred to be uttered by sinful men. In the Old Testament, YHWH is more often used in God’s dealings with His people, while Adonai is used more when He deals with the Gentiles.

YHWH / YAHWEH / JEHOVAH: “LORD” (Deuteronomy 6:4; Daniel 9:14) – Strictly speaking, the only proper name for God. Translated in English Bibles “LORD” (all capitals) to distinguish it from Adonai “Lord.” The revelation of the name is first given to Moses “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14). This name specifies an immediacy, a presence. Yahweh is present, accessible, near to those who call on Him for deliverance (Psalm 107:13), forgiveness (Psalm 25:11) and guidance (Psalm 31:3).

YAHWEH-JIREH: "The Lord will Provide" (Genesis 22:14) – The name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac.

YAHWEH-RAPHA: "The Lord Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26) – “I am Jehovah who heals you” both in body and soul. In body, by preserving from diseases, and by curing them when afflicted with them and in soul, by pardoning their iniquities.

YAHWEH-NISSI: "The Lord Our Banner" (Exodus 17:15), where banner is understood to be a rallying place. This name commemorates the desert victory over the Amalekites in Exodus 17.

YAHWEH-SHALOM: "The Lord Our Peace" (Judges 6:24) – The name given by Gideon to the altar he built after the Angel of the Lord assured him he would not die as he thought he would after seeing Him.

YAHWEH-TSIDKENU: "The Lord Our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16) – As with YHWH-M’Kaddesh, it is God alone who provides righteousness to man, ultimately in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us “that we might become the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

YAHWEH-ROHI: "The Lord Our Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1) – After David pondered his relationship as a shepherd to his sheep, he realized that was exactly the relationship God had with him, and so he declares “Yahweh-Rohi is my Shepherd. I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

YAHWEH-SABAOTH: "The Lord of Hosts" (Isaiah 1:24; Psalm 46:7) – “Hosts” means hordes, both of angels and of men. He is Lord of the host of heaven, and of the inhabitants of the earth, of Jews and Gentiles, of rich and poor, master and slave. The name is expressive of the majesty, power, and authority of God and shows that he is able to accomplish what he determines to do.

EL ELYON: “Most High" (Deuteronomy 26:19) – Derived from the Hebrew root for “go up” or “ascend,” so the implication is of that which is the very highest. El Elyon denotes exaltation and speaks of absolute right to lordship.

EL ROI: "God of Seeing" (Genesis 16:13) – The name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14), when she met the Angel of the Lord and realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all.

EL-OLAM: "Everlasting God" (Psalm 90:1-3) – God’s nature is without beginning or end, free from all constraints of time and contains within Himself the very cause of time itself. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”

EL-GIBHOR: “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6) – The name describing the Messiah, Christ Jesus, in this prophetic portion of Isaiah. As a powerful and mighty warrior, the Messiah, the Mighty God, will accomplish the destruction of God’s enemies and rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heart to heart prayer

Some days my prayer sessions with God go something like this, I open with praise. Thanking God for who He is and all the things He continues to do in my life. Then I go through my list of "people" that I am praying for; sometimes that leads to looking up a certain verse of Scripture, which leads me into, "now where is that verse anyway?" Sometimes I have no words at all, just sit in the silence and know that He is near.

Sometimes it turns into something like bargaining with God, sometimes my prayers edge dangerously into manipulation territory, sometimes I sound like a whining child. Sometimes, He surprizes me with something I never expected! But always He is there. Always, He hears me, and always He loves hearing from me.

Today, I just handed Him my wadded up tangled mind, "Here you take it!" My thoughts were scrambled today, and I felt unfocused. Finally I just told Him all that was on my mind. I sensed Him saying, "I already know all this, but it will make you feel better to share it, so just climb off your prayer pedestal and talk to me."

So I did....After that I reflected on a study I had awhile back, that impacted me greatly.(Thank you Lucy for answering Gods call to lead it) It was on the names of God. The Holy Spirit reminded me of how He has been all those names to me at different times in my life, and I cried as I remembered.

YAHWEH-RAPHA: "The Lord Who Heals" (Exodus 15:26) After the death of my husband, and dear sister in law....and the morning long ago when I woke up and knew that God had healed my anorexia.

EL ROI: "God of Seeing" (Genesis 16:13) – The name ascribed to God by Hagar, alone and desperate in the wilderness after being driven out by Sarah (Genesis 16:1-14), when she met the Angel of the Lord and realized she had seen God Himself in a theophany. She realized that El Roi saw her in her distress and testified that He is a God who lives and sees all. How many times I have felt alone, and have been comforted by the "God who sees"

YAHWEH-JIREH: "The Lord will Provide" (Genesis 22:14) – The name memorialized by Abraham when God provided the ram to be sacrificed in place of Isaac. I reflect on all the years God has so wonderfully provided for my needs by giving me good jobs, and without a college degree!

I left my prayer closet with a very thankful heart and a renewed sense of God's power today. I will post the full list of the names of God tomorrow!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From whence cometh my help.....

Psalm 121

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel(OR ME) shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

What a message of hope for us today!

I can never gaze at the mountains without thinking of this verse, for some reason I would have put the word "mountain" in place of hills, but God knew best. Maybe in the Hebrew or Aramaic language it meant something more like mountain. This particular mountain is in my favorite place, Yosemite National Park. I climbed to the top many years ago with my Dad, cousins, and some family friends. I will never forget it. At a particular point you have to grab steel cables pounded into the granite. My cousin tied herself with rope onto her crazy husband, which we thought was a huge risk! She made it to the top in red slickery keds! I will never forget that day...

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Home. We are all striving for it. We look forward to the weekend so we can go home. Maybe we're still saving up to buy that first home. Those of us in the twilight of our lives sometimes find themselves wanting to go back in time to that “other” place called home that we had long ago when times were simpler. For some, home represents somewhere they never want to return. For others, home is recalled with such fondness that they find themselves returning there again and again to a place in the past; drawing comfort from old memories, happier times. One thing we all seem to have in common is that each of us has a definitive answer for what home should be. With a little variation I bet we would all come up with just about the same thing: The place where love is, the place of refuge, safety, peace; where we are loved unconditionally and find the strength to handle all the stresses and pressures of life “on the outside.”

I believe we are all a bit homesick, all at different stages of longing. There is a central truth hidden deep within us placed there by God Himself. Within our souls there is a feeling that something is missing. Things in our present home (earth) are not right. There is a sense of displacement that no amount of money can buy. Trying to recapture what was lost so long ago, we build and buy and plan but there is no escaping that we are homesick for heaven.

BUT there is good news; because of what Jesus did, the gates are once again thrown wide open.....Open to that home we lost so long ago. And all we have to do is accept the invitation! In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. " John 3:3 And further, He confirms that Heaven is a very real place. "There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" John 14:2 He also said when He was on earth that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

The apostle Paul had his focus on eternity. "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:14) He kept his eyes on the prize. As an athlete training for a marathon, he knew that every little thing we do here on earth makes a difference for all eternity. Every thought, word, deed and action has an effect that reaches all the way to the throne of heaven. Knowing that radically changes how we live; it colors our very perspective,and it brings the kingdom of heaven down to earth, just as Jesus said! HE came to give us not only life, but abundant life here and now and eternal life in heaven! Now that is good news....

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Rev. 21

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bring on the monsoons!

Here in Arizona, we have what we call "monsoons." People in other countries laugh at us for giving them that name; they are unlike the hurricane causing, flood producing, storms in the tropics that destroy whole villages, but for us here in the oppressive heat of the desert, the summer rain is something we desperately need. We welcome the flashing lightning and the rain that spills onto the parched ground. We all breathe a sigh of relief that at least we can skip a day of watering.

Sometimes it seems like our life is like phase after phase of waiting. Waiting for one phase in life to be over and another to begin. Waiting for a wayward child to come back, waiting for the weekend, waiting for a new job, waiting to get well. Maybe you are caring for an elderly parent and it is taking it's toll, maybe you thought you were done raising children and now you find yourself raising a grandchild. But take heart and take hope! As believers we can take comfort even in the times of waiting. For God is right in the middle of the waiting. He is a God of here and now, and He is here for you. Jesus said, "Now is the accepted time of salvation." I am so glad that God is a God of action!

Psalm 46:1 (KJV) ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble “.

God is here, right in the middle of your circumstance. He never slumbers nor sleeps!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prayer for the Wild Things, by Bev Dolittle

There are 34 animals brilliantly camouflaged in this painting......

"He gives animals their food and feeds the young ravens when they call." Psalm 147:9

"Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up, And makes his nest on high?"
Job 39:26,27

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New every morning....

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him." Lamentations 3:22-24

Ongoing prayer for Kate......(see info under right side bar, under "Websites" Kate's Story....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Let Freedom Ring!

Andy is a news correspondent who served in the Army National Guard, here are his thoughts….I thought it was appropriate as we celebrate our Independence Day today.

How I Found Patriotism, by Andy Ryan

What it took for me to find patriotism was a war thousands of miles from home -- Iraq.
What I found in Iraq were people cherishing the things I had taken for granted: a farmer rejoicing that his village was liberated and he could now drive his produce to market; the little boys and girls giggling during school recess yet eager and anxious to return to the classroom to absorb knowledge; and medical personnel thankful for the opportunity to set up a clinic so they could care for the ill and less fortunate.

Just about every Iraqi I spoke with asked me about America and what it was like. When I told them about magnificent things in the U.S., they always turned the conversation. They were fascinated and awestruck by the mere ability to freely travel and enjoy such places. In the Diyala province, I met a teenage soccer phenomenon who entertained us with his skills every time we visited his home. During a few discussions, I learned that his teammates had been gathered up and executed. All he wanted was an opportunity to freely play the game he loved without the treat of death lingering nearby. Needless to say, I returned home a changed person.
As a political science major, I always loved what our forefathers created; but as a citizen, I never fully appreciated the freedoms that I am allowed from living in this country. The things I experienced in Iraq helped me become a patriot -- someone who loves and cherishes their country not only because of what it stands for, but for what it allows me and others to do.

It has been a year since my return from Iraq, but I still look afar to remember what I have at home and why I love this country. Amazing things have happened in other regions of the world this past month: Iranians protested what they found to be unjust and Iraqis rejoiced at the idea of being able to stand up, defend and call their country a sovereign nation. These are principles that were once unfathomable to our colonial ancestors over 230 years ago; and today, living without these principles is unfathomable to many U.S. citizens.
So on July 4th, I am going to stop by a park and watch people walking, talking and freely enjoying the beauty around them. And although I cannot sing, I will be humming an appropriate song,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Prayer for Kate....

Please pray for little Kate McRae, as well as her family today. She is a 5 yr old girl who will be going into surgery for a brain tumor at 9:00 this morning. I have included the website in the side bar at right under "websites" where you can see her story.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for Kate and her courageous family.

“...pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16