Friday, August 29, 2008



As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.


Even though I don't get much time to do it, I love to sew. I enjoy watching material being sewn into a creation. This particular baby blanket is for Bradley, born to Kerri, a young lady I have known since she was born. A baby boy -- Oh good, I picked material for a certain sex, not material to make a generic blanket.

The material is selected. The middle section is sewn together and, like always, some seams are not quite straight. Much to the dismay of my teacher of home economics (that is what we called it in the dark ages); I did not rip those seams out. The borders are added. The hem is sewn. The blanket was stitched with love and prayers. The blanket is complete. Ready to keep a Bradley warm on a cold winter's night.

As I put the pieces together to make the blanket, I thought about the future of the baby. How Bradley's life was going to be made up of many different pieces and designs. And how those pieces would be woven together with threads anchored by family and friends. How sometimes, like my seams, those threads would not be straight. And how you backstitch when you sew, sometimes Bradley would go back and forth until he finds the way forward again. The baby blanket is surrounded by a border. The hem on that border is stitched from beginning to end with one continuous thread. That border is like the love of Jesus in this child's life. Jesus love encircles each person and his love, like the thread, is always there - from beginning to end.


Have you ever created something? Maybe not a blanket. Maybe a garden. Or a scrapbook. Or a special cake or meal. Something you put together. Something you watched as the parts/ingredients/seeds changed into a new creation.

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Creator, How amazing it is when projects come together. When what I start with is laid before me. Then organized. Then worked on. Then completed. Is that how you felt as you made the earth? Putting trees here and frogs there. A lake on top of a mountain and a cactus in the dessert. Working until it all fit together. As I create - no matter if it is a blanket, a garden, woodworking or supper - let me create with joy and wonder. Let me thank you for my ability to imagine, to create and let me always remember to lift up in prayer the persons who will receive or enjoy my creation. Amen

Friday, August 22, 2008



Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.


I was looking ahead to our Sunday School class material for August 31. It is on the Prayerful Community. Prayer. Sometimes praying is easy and sometimes it is hard to find just the right words. Prayer takes many forms and, at a class on prayer, an instructor had various names for them.

Most people start with the Santa Prayer. Dear God, Give me this. Give me that. I want. I need. Amen.

Then they move onto the Slot Machine Prayer. Dear God, I pray before we eat. (yes) I go to church. (yes) I read the Bible everyday. (yes) That is three in a row so I get what I pray for. Amen

Next, we try the Help Prayer. Dear God, I know I do not pray as often as I should, but I do need some help so if you could see your way clear to help me I won't bother you again. Amen.

If that doesn't work, try the Let's Make a Deal Prayer. Dear God, If you will give me this one little request to make all A's even though I haven't studied; I promise I will study every night for the rest of my college years. Amen.

Many of us try out the ole Holier than Thou Prayer. Okay God, I am doing more at church than anyone else is and I read the Bible everyday. I am working on two devotionals and teaching my children the Books of the Bible (In book order and alphabetically). Knowing all this, I just know you will put my prayer request above those people that go to that upstart church down the road. Amen

When you finally figure it out, you pray the From the Heart Prayer. My Dear Heavenly Father, What a day. The birds sang. I heard children laughing. Thank you for beautiful sounds. I also knew you were with me when I went to the doctor. I do not know how I would get through my struggles without you there. Thank you. Amen

The point I am making is that it takes time to develop a relationship with God. Not on God's end -- on our end. But while that relationship is developing, do not worry about making a mistake when you pray. God just wants you to talk to him. He wants to hear the words of your heart.


So -- which type of prayer do you use? Do you find it easy to pray? Do you find it easy to pray aloud? If others are listening?

(If you have any hints/helps for people who have trouble praying, leave a comment. I still do not feel comfortable praying aloud, so do not feel like you are the only one.)

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Hello God, Seems as if I have all sorts of words in my head. Then someone says 'pray' and it seems as if all the words leave me. They hide. I know you will listen no matter how I pray. Keep me from the temptation of waiting until I find just the right words. Let me just begin -- Hello God, Have I told you … Amen

Friday, August 15, 2008


TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: John 4:7, 10, 13-14 (Please look up the missing verses)

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"
10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
13-14 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."


As I sat waiting for our grandson to wake up, I had a talk with God. I pointed out that the yard was getting very dry. That the leaves on the trees were beginning to droop. That the corn and beans, in the fields, were showing signs of drought. I explained all of this. Of course, God loves our conversations. He was probably laughing as he replied, "And you think I don't know this?"

I would hate to be God. This person wants rain. That person is planning a picnic and does not. This person loves the sounds of birds and that person just wishes they would chirp somewhere other than outside their bedroom window. One person wants it to be 90 degrees in the shade and others are saying, "Can you cool it off down here?"

God looks down and sees the person that always has a complaint. Of course, to balance that person out, there is the one who is always cheerful and sees the glass as, not half full, but all the way full. I'm not sure which God finds more annoying. Again, I would not want to be God. I don't like to be around people who always complain, but there are times I want to poke a hole in the bottom of that glass of the eternal optimistic.

Let's get back to the rain. It finally did rain, but a week later. The rain came with the wind and the lightning. Like all rain, it fell when it fell. I could not control the rain.

One kind of water we do not have to wait on. One kind of water is always available. Living Water. It is there. Just waiting for us.


Are you ready to drink of the Living Water?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Giver of Living Water, Thank you for water. Water that falls on this earth and gives it a drink. Water that quenches my earthly thirst. But, oh, how I thirst for a drink of the water you offer. Just as you told the Samaritan woman, "you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." My Dear Jesus, I do know who you are and I do ask for a drink of your water. …… Amen

Friday, August 08, 2008



"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"


The Searchers Sunday School class uses the Cokesbury study. Sunday the 27th we had an amazing class - and it had nothing to do with the fact that I was teaching. The lesson was on Jesus, as the Messiah, and asked the question, "Who do you say I am?"

Know all those pictures the children's Sunday School teachers use? I pulled them out and had them spread all over our table. We talked briefly and then everyone picked two pictures. Two pictures that "spoke" to them. That is when the discussions really started!

We heard: This picture shows Jesus is accessible. This one shows Jesus at peace. This one shows Jesus in anguish and stressed. Look how Jesus includes everyone - men, women, children, no matter the age or color of skin. This picture shows Jesus praying. This one shows him listening to God. Here he is a child learning and here he is teaching children. Oh, in this one he has outstretched hands. Look at the smile. The eyes - look at the eyes. You can see the compassion.

Around and around the table the worship and praise continued: Here he is a young boy. Jesus was human. He felt everything we feel and he knows how we feel. There was the picture of Jesus in the temple, learning from the priests and then teaching the priests. Is there a picture of Jesus as the shepherd? You know, the one where he has the sheep over his shoulder.

Can you tell I am still excited about this particular Sunday? In that room, each of us was blessed by the conversation. I do not know about the rest of the class, but I will never forget the way Jesus was described because those descriptions told His story.

The question, "Who do you say I am?" was spoken to the disciples. They needed to know who Jesus truly was. It was going to be their job to tell others.

That question is asked of each of us. We are the disciples now. It is our job to tell others.

How do you answer? ----- "Who do you say I am?"


What is your favorite picture of Jesus? Why?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


"You are Christ, the Son of the living God." Oh, my Lord, I do believe this. I believe this from the top of my head to the end of my toes. I feel your Holy Spirit confirming this. The Spirit that fills every cell in my body. The Spirit that opens my ears to hear you and my eyes to see you. When I look to your word, I do see your compassion, your love. I picture you at peace when you are speaking with the Father. I picture you as a teacher, as you reach out to the young and old. Jesus, when I see you I picture you … Amen

Friday, August 01, 2008



Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:


At a Sunday School party, another lady and I swapped "getting parts" stories. For those readers that have a farming background, you are already smiling. For those of you who do not have a farming background, going after parts is not as easy as it sounds. First, the person needing the part is in less than an agreeable mood because having to get parts means that something is broken down. Having a piece of equipment sitting idle is not good during the farming season. Hence the disagreeable mood. Second, no matter how much information you are given, Murphy's Law kicks in and I can guarantee that 99.9% of the time you will be missing information. Take the time --

To be honest I do not remember if it was a tractor or a combine that decided to take the day off, but my husband sent me after a part. Just one. Simple except that we lived in Michigan and the part he needed was in Indiana, a short drive of two hours. One way. I called a friend to ride along, put our daughter in what would not qualify as a car seat today and off we went. In my possession was all the information I would need. Bill promised everything was written down. He promised!

We arrived at the parts store. I handed the parts man the information. There was all the information he needed. I was confident we would quickly be on the road home. Yes, all the information he needed was there. On that little slip of paper. Bill promised.

The parts man looked at me and, without even a hint of a smile, said, "Is this for the right or left side." Yes, he was serious. I was missing some important information.

I can laugh about this now. And it does make a good story, but at the time, it was not funny. The part was taken home because I could call Bill and get the information I needed.

Life often has missing information. Things we do not understand. Times we need help. For life questions, we can turn to God's word. Look in the scriptures. Read. Learn. Pray. Wait. God will give you the answer. He has the missing information.


Have you ever been sent after a part, a tool or whatever (for the men this could be a needle for the sewing machine or a certain type of flour) and when you got there you either did not have all the information you needed or they were out of that particular item? What did you do? Where did you turn for help?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Oh Lord, Sometimes there seems to be more questions than answers. Sometimes, I think I know exactly what I want and then wham; things just get all mixed up. It is as if I do not have all the information I need to make decisions. But when that happens, I know I can always calm myself down. Lift my questions to you and I know you will provide direction. As I travel through this life, give me the information I need to … Amen