God is Faithful, Always

“O Lord God of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Lord?   Your faithfulness also surrounds You.”     Psalm 89:8

 

            To say I feel a little overwhelmed would be a major understatement. But not necessarily for the reasons you may think, considering the events of the past week.

First, I’m overwhelmed at the Greatness and Goodness of our God. In the words of King David, who am I Lord that you would be so gracious to me? God took what could have been a tragic event and showed us His love and His protection over Larry’s life. When he fell and shattered the T9 vertebra, it shattered on three sides but the fourth side stayed intact, protecting his spine.

Second thing, the peace. Throughout Larry’s hospital stay, during the surgery and recovery, we both had a sense of peace and we know it was from all the prayers being offered on our behalf. Overwhelming peace.

And third thing, the love.  Not only the love of God covering us, the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Phone calls, text messages, hospital visits and gifts, each one reminds us that it is the overwhelming love of Christ through believers that bind us together so we never walk through difficult times alone.

Larry and I still face some uncertainties, decisions that we’ll have to make that will affect our future. When the doctor tells a contractor that he can no longer climb ladders or lift heavy objects, that’s not what he wants to hear. But we know our God is faithful and He has our future in His hands. As our pastor said this morning, it’s not about how big our faith is, but it is about how big our God is.

“I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25

 

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Dee

 

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Macy, the Sweet Pittie

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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In the course of my life I’ve had many dogs, but there were only a few that were truly special. The first one was Herbie, a yellow collie that walked me to the bus stop every morning and met me at the bus every afternoon when I was in first grade. The second one was Cubby, a white border collie mix that I had when I was in high school. I just knew he was the only soul on earth that really understood my teen-age girl angst. The last one was Macy.
Macy was a shelter dog, we adopted her from the Plano Animal Shelter in 2011. She was a Red Nose Pitt Bull mix and one of a group of dogs that had been there too long because no one would adopt a Pitt Bull mix. But when we explained to the girl at the shelter that we needed a dog that would be good with young children as well as other family dogs, she said “I have just the right dog.” It was love at first sight. She looked at us and her eyes seemed to say “I choose you.”
Macy was the right dog for us. Our grandchildren loved her and she loved them. She liked going on walks but she was also content laying on the floor beside me in front of the fireplace. She kept our house safe from squirrel attack and let me know when it was dinner time. When Lucy, our daughter’s dog, would come over, they would play until they were too tired to keep going. When Deuce, our son’s dog, came to live with us he was just a puppy. But Macy accepted him and even when she started getting sick she would still occasionally play chase or tug of war with him. She brought much joy and unconditional love to our entire famimacy_dee-001_sizedly.
I thank God for Macy and for sending us to the Animal Shelter at just the right time to find her. I thank God for all the love He showed us through Macy.
The Bible doesn’t say much about animals in heaven (except Jesus will return riding a white horse!) so I have no proof I will see Herbie, Cubby or Macy again. But in my heart of hearts, I hope that right after I greet all my family and friends who get to heaven before me, that I will be greeted by a bunch of dogs!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

Happy Birthday, USA!

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

American Flags

Every year in the small town where I grew up, Richland Springs TX, they celebrate America’s Independence on the 1st Saturday of July. While my parents were alive, we would go visit them over the week-end and be there for the celebration, but I’ve rarely gone since they died. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt a tug back to my roots and to the place I came from. So this year I decided I would go.
The day started off with a parade and while it may not have been as big as you would see in a larger town, for a community of 455 residents, it was wonderful. A color-guard on horseback started it off followed by more flags and a float with the local veterans. There were pick-ups pulling trailers, all decorated in red, white and blue and lots of sparkle. There were 4-wheelers, dune-buggies, and motorcycles. There were kids in funny hats and dogs in sunglasses. There were antique tractors and brand new semi-s, and of course the VFD fire trucks. And candy- lots of candy thrown to folks watching the parade. The Richland Springs Coyote high school football team (who won the state 6-man championship for the 7th time last fall) and the high school cheerleaders as well as the middle school football team and cheerleaders had floats. The First Baptist Church had their van in the parade inviting kids to their Vacation Bible School in a couple of weeks. Everyone was there celebrating their freedoms and their victories.
Throughout the day, there were competitions for horseshoes, washers, and this year for the first time, a 2-man pig-sacking completion. There were bounce houses and a water slide for the kids.
The day wrapped up with a fireworks show. The Star Spangled Banner was sung over the loud speaker, then BOOM, the spectacular display of bursting colors began. It was a show that could put many larger towns to shame, lasting over an hour, it was amazing.
As I sat there watching the beautiful display, I could only think about the fact that even as many things we see wrong in our hation, there are still a lot of things that are right. And all those things right with our nation, can be seen right there in my small farm community hometown of Richland Springs, Texas, USA.
Yes, we have people trying to destroy our nation, from the outside and even within our own government, but we still have men and women willing to fight defending her.
Yes, there are too many people just wanting a hand-out and for the government to give them everything free, but there are still hard working men and women, taking pride in their labors, working hard to support and provide for their families.
Yes, we have too many young people with no sense of responsibility or goals beyond pursuit of their own pleasure, but we still have many young people with goals and dreams, who believe in competing to win.
Yes, there are too many people, places and institutions who exclude God and godly beliefs, but there are still more who love God and who are willing to share the love of Jesus Christ with the nation. Let us who do know the Lord continue to pray for this nation, pray for our leaders, and for the upcoming elections that we may continue to live quiet and peaceful lives serving the Lord.
Happy Birthday, USA! And may your next 240 years be even greater!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

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Color-guard

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My Uncle Robert Lewis, 2nd from left, fought in WWII

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Do You “Have a Dream”?

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” Acts 2:17

Do you have a dream for your life? I’m not talking about just a general dream or idea of what you’d like to do with your life or how you’d like to live. I’m talking about a God-given, God-inspired dream? Something so big that only God could bring it about?

We all get ideas and have dreams of doing something – a career, a family, success in life, financial security. But how can we tell if the dream we have is something from God or just our own imagination or desires? There are “good ideas” and there are “God Ideas”. We want to pursue the God Ideas.

To understand what God’s dream is for us, first we need to believe that He has a dream or a plan for us individually. Then we need to set ourselves apart to learn what it is. Habakkuk 2:1 says “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” Put yourself in a position to hear from God. Does He speak to you while you’re sitting alone in your house reading your Bible, or maybe while you’re listening to music? Where ever you need to be, get quiet before Him and ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your heart.

The Scripture goes on to say in verses 2 and 3 “Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.'”

Write out what you think God is saying, whatever the dream or idea is, write it out in detail and look at it. Pray over it, submitting yourself and your plans to God’s will.

Question it.

  • Is this something that will bring glory to God or only something that you want for yourself? 
  • Will it enlarge the Kingdom of God, will it bless or encourage other believers or is it something that will only benefit you? 
  • Is this something that will cause you to grow in your walk with Christ or pull you away from Him?
  • Does what you have written about it have a Scriptural basis, is it Biblically sound or does some part of it go against God’s Word?

As you continue to pray and seek God’s will, He will reveal to you either Yes or No, whether it is for Now or for Later.

When Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr wrote his now famous “I Have a Dream Speech”, was he only thinking about himself, or was he thinking about other people, the multitudes suffering from injustice? He was a minister of the gospel, and had the heart of a pastor. His concern was for others and for the generations to come else he would not have risked so much for the dream God had planted in his heart for equality for all people.

Rev. King risked all to follow the dream God gave him. And ultimately it cost him his life. But he was obedient and today we can see the fruits of his labor. Our society still needs improvement, the world will never be entirely just and righteous until Jesus returns to reign on the earth. But we have come a long way from where we were in 1963 when Rev. King gave his speech towards the day when men and women, boys and girls are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Do you have a vision or dream for your future or your life? God does and He wants to reveal it to you. Jeremiah 33:3 says ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

A Strong Foundation of Faith

“For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness’ …Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.” Romans 4:3, 16 (NKJV)

Abraham, called the Father of Faith, shows us how to build a foundation of faith. It starts with hearing God. God spoke to Abram (Abraham as he was called later), Abram heard and obeyed.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.” (Genesis 12:1-4)

God told Abraham to leave the place where he was and go to a place that He would show him. Years before God had lead Abram’s father, Terah, to leave Ur the land of the Chaldees (in modern day Iraq) to go to Canaan, but he only made it as far as Haran (Turkey) and settled there and there he died. God spoke to Abram and he heard and he obeyed.

The first thing we have to do if we’re to have a strong foundation of faith is to hear God and then obey. How do we hear God? By taking in His written word, by reading and meditating on what is given to us through the Scriptures. Once we have it in our hearts, then we have to be obedient to it. It’s not enough just to read it or hear it preached; we have to apply it by being obedient, doing what we hear God telling us to do.

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” (Hebrews 11:8, 9)

If we desire to live a life for God, we have to learn to be obedient to Him and be fully surrendered to His will. It requires faith to be fully surrendered to God. When we doubt, or lack faith in God and His Word, it hard to give up our plans and desires to surrender to His. It requires spending time in the Scriptures to come to the place where we can genuinely say “Not my will, but Yours be done.”
But when we know the Word, we can also know that God’s plans for our lives are far better than anything we can imagine. He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Seek Him with you whole heart, through His written word, and you will find Him. Dwell on that Word and your faith in it will grow. Then you will have a strong foundation of faith that can stand against any circumstance that life on this planet gives.
Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Sadie and Bethany

“Therefore…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

In these strange times where the national news is dominated with stories of terrorists threats of violence and even their beheading of Christians; fears of a deadly virus spreading, and other unsettling news, it is refreshing to see on television young women doing what they do in the grace and beauty of their Christian lives and witnesses.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Sadie Robertson and Bethany Hamilton are doing just that in what could be considered an unusual way. They are each competing in a national network television show and are earning the admiration and respect of millions of viewers as well as their fellow competitors and/or judges.
Sadie, the 17 year old daughter and granddaughter from TV’s reality show “Duck Dynasty”, is competing on “Dancing With the Stars”. From the very outset, Sadie made it clear to her partner, pro dancer Mark Ballas that she is a Christian and that she would not compromise her morality while dancing on the show. Not only that but that her dad would have a say in approving her costumes. And to Mark’s and the producers of the show’s credit, they’ve honored that request.
Week after week Sadie has amazed the judges and the audience with her performance. Last Monday it was her turn to do the Rumba, a dance usually noted for its raunchiness and sexuality. But Sadie and Mark proved that it doesn’t have to be that way in order to score high marks. Their performance was chaste and beautiful. As one judge said, it told the story of falling in love. They scored 35 out of a possible 40, in 3rd place out of nine remaining contestants. I can’t wait to see what she does this week!
Over on another network and on a different night, Bethany Hamilton (“Soul Surfer”) and her husband Adam Dirks are participating on “The Amazing Race”. Week after week Bethany completely amazes us with the way she meets every challenge with dignity and grace, completing challenges that are hard even for teams without any physical limitations, and she and Adam treat each other with such respect as they work together as a team. This last week, Bethany chose to do the Road Block challenge (a task that only one member of the team has to do without any help from their partner.) She had to remove the hair from 3 animal skins, load them on a bicycle and then deliver them to a tanner in order to get their next clue. And did I mention, this was in the middle of a Moroccan market?! She completed it, without complaining or making excuses, and at the end of the night Bethany and Adam finished second.
Will Sadie dance to the finals and compete for the mirrored ball trophy? Will Bethany and Adam race to the finish for one million dollars? Only time will tell. But whether they only compete one more time, or until the finish, Sadie and Bethany are already winners. They have shown the world what a Christian can look like – letting their lights shine, living their faith out loud and in public. And in a world full of crazies, terrorists and other bad news, how refreshing is that!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

“Come With Me”

“Come to me, all of you who are tired and are carrying heavy loads. I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIRV)

I was recently asked by a friend to write a short Bible study lesson on love. That was her only directive – just write a short study on love. Wow, that a huge subject. As I prayed about what to write, God kept bringing me back to the directive He had given me years ago when I first started writing. “Tell my daughters how much I love them.”

You may wonder, doesn’t everyone know God loves everybody? Probably, in their head if they ever been in or near a church. Most people can quote some version or form of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world”, but in their hearts they may wonder if or how He loves them personally, individually. Even Christians who have a real relationship with God can have periods of doubt, they may wonder about God’s love for them.

This week in our ladies Bible study at church, a lady shared that she was coming out of a period of darkness, she’d been through some struggles with her faith. As I listened to her, I thought about how I’d been through my own periods of darkness and struggle. I knew right then that that was the reason God had led me to write about God’s love for us.

In 1981 Del Shannon recorded a song originally written and recorded in 1959 by Phil Phillips called “Sea of Love”.

Come with me my love
To the sea
The sea of love
I want to tell you
How much I love you

When I hear that song or read those words, I think of Jesus and what He said in Matthew 11. “Come to me, all you who are tired…” Yes, there was a time when I was very tired, and not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.

In 2001, about a year after my mother had graduated to heaven, I went through a deep depression. I was angry at God for taking my mother and not preparing me for her leaving. I felt that some of the people in my life had not given me the comfort and support I thought I needed. I was fighting with my sister over care for our dad. Some individuals at church, instead of reaching out to me, judged me because I wasn’t acting right in their opinion. So I dropped out of church for a period and stopped reading my Bible. From there I continued to spiral downward. My husband and I began having problems in our marriage. Sins I’d not struggled with for decades began tempting me. I don’t know what would have happened had God not loved me enough to pull me back. But He did and He did it in through a secular magazine of all things! But since I’d stopped reading my Bible, listening to Christian music, or going to church I hadn’t left Him a lot of options. I opened a Woman’s Day magazine I’d bought that day on a whim and saw these words:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message


As I read those words, it seemed as if Jesus were sitting right there beside me, speaking directly to me. “Are you tired and worn out?” He asked. Yes, I was very tired and worn out from my hurts, doubts and fears. “Are you burned out on religion?” Yes, I was totally burned out and let down by church members. “Come to Me, not the church, not other people. Just come to Me.” Jesus gently and loving wooed me. There was no condemnation in His words, just love. Tenderly and lovingly God reached out to me when I was at the lowest point in my life.

I’ve learned about the “unforced rhythms of grace”, I’ve recovered my life. I’m leaning how “to live freely and lightly”. I run to Jesus every day to hear Him tell me how much He loves me. Good circumstances or bad, I rest in His love.

Jesus calls you to come with Him, come to the sea of His great love and let Him tell you how much He loves you. Wherever you are in your life, He calls “Come to Me. Come learn about my grace. Come with Me and learn how to live. Come receive My love. Come with Me, I want to tell you how much I love you.”

Jesus loves you, my friend!

Peace and blessings in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Dee

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)
Copyright © 1996, 1998 by Biblica

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson