Friday, January 30, 2009



Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.


By now, I hope you have seen the movie Fireproof. This was in the theaters last fall and released for sale January 27. If I wrote about this before, sorry. Fireproof is a movie about a troubled marriage. A marriage where the husband and the wife have to learn to love. To respect. To believe. To trust. If you have not seen this movie, WATCH IT. (How is that for being bossy?)

This is a film for anyone that is thinking of getting married. Anyone who is having trouble in their marriage. Anyone who has a happy marriage. Actually, the lessons this movie offers are good for each of us. Who doesn't need to learn more about respect? Trust? Love?

A song from this movie is Slow Fade. It is by Casting Crowns and is a lesson for life. Slow Fade tells how our downfall never comes quickly. It starts slowly. A look. A word. A touch. Each a simple, single act. Nothing to fear there. Just as the first drink is harmless. The first lie is small. The first -- Well, the first time is usually innocent.

When we did a study of David, we saw David have a thought. Not a good thought about Bathsheba. Now, that thought wasn't all innocent, but it could have stopped there. BUT David did a slow fade. He went from thought to the next step. And the next. And the next.

The movie Fireproof portrays a couple working on a troubled marriage. Each wanting to be forgiven for things that went from slow fade to big problems. David turned to God to be forgiven for his actions that went from slow fade to big problems. As I watched a video of Slow Fade, I realized how easy it is to get on the wrong path. All it takes is the next word. The next drink.

The Good News here -- Through God you have the courage to NOT take the next step. God has His hand ready to take yours and lead you back to the right path.


Are you ready to allow God to lead you on the right path? Do you recognize areas of "slow fade" in your life?


Each person is strong and weak in different parts of their life. My prayer would be different from yours. This week ask God to give you strength when you need courage.

Have a blessed week!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Shack

TODAYS SCRIPTURE: Revelation 1:8

"I am…


I love to read. I am not big on history. Or books where "girl sees boy and hates him instantly." You know immediately that they will fall in love and all will be right with the world. Sometimes I read books that jump off the library shelf and sometimes books that are recommended. Let me tell you about one of those recommended books.

My friend, Sharon, asked me, "Have you read The Shack?" I answered her, "No. I have not heard about it."

I happened to be in Joy Christian Bookstore and there it was. The Shack. I bought it, laid it aside and now wish I had read it immediately. WOW! (

Is this an easy book to read? Yes and no. The novel is about (from the back cover): "Mackenzie Allen Philip's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. ----- In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!"

Eugene Peterson -- "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress did for his. It's that good!"

Michael W. Smith, recording artist -- "The Shack is the most absorbing work of fiction I've read in many years. My wife and I laughed, cried and repented of our own lack of faith along the way. The Shack will leave you craving for the presence of God."

Everyone has different types of books and specific authors they like to read. BUT -- If you are willing to allow a work of fiction to increase your faith, please read The Shack. I read this book quickly. I wanted to find out how it ended. I now plan to read this book slowly. Taking time to absorb every word.

Did you think I used a short scripture today? Or that maybe it didn’t all print? Actually, "I am" is all I intended to use. A quote from The Shack: God speaking: "I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving. I am a being verb."

God is a verb! God is alive. God is dynamic. God is ever active. God is alive, dynamic and ever active in our lives. TODAY.


What books have you read that helped you? Please use the comments to let us know.

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


To the great I AM, I AM. Not I was or I will be, but I AM. O Lord, that makes me want to shout with joy. I AM. That means You ARE here for me now. You ARE helping me understand when times are tough. You ARE hearing my prayers. You ARE caring. Right now. Right where I am. Right here. As I say this prayer, You ARE active in my life. To the great I am, … Amen

Friday, January 16, 2009



Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.


I had hoped to put a link to a painting so you could see it, but of all the paintings Susan Ring ( has posted, Going Home From Culver is not one of them. You are going to have to use your imagination. I would tell you to close your eyes, but then it would be hard to read, so keep those peepers open.

Picture yourself standing on a small country road. One with no center stripe and no white lines along the side to guide you. Then notice the grass growing to the edge of the road. Like a border. Now add trees. Trees that cover the road like a canopy. Can you picture this? Add a small bush with blue flowers to your right. And ahead of you -- that is what is so great about the spot where you are standing.

Ahead of you, the road is unending. The sun is shining because the tree canopy ends. It is as if you are going out of a dark tunnel and heading into a warm inviting light. Now, close your eyes for a minute and see if you can place yourself in this picture.

Could you feel it? When I look at this picture, it is as if I am looking at hope. At peace. At comfort. When I look at this picture, I know that Jesus will be sitting, just up the road a bit, waiting for me. I can picture him, relaxing, as if he had all the time in the world. Waiting just for me. Waiting, with a drink of water and a piece of bread. Waiting to take my hand and say, "I knew you would be coming down this road. May I walk with you? I have so much to share with you."


Have you ever been on a road like this? Where you felt an instant feeling of calm? Peace? As if, you were not alone. As if wonders waited, you if you just stayed on this particular road.

Please finish this prayer in your own words --


My Dear Jesus, I know you are waiting for me. Patiently waiting for me while I work through all of my questions. My doubts. My fears. Sometimes I do feel like I am in a tunnel. When I am in that place, let me always keep my eyes open so I can see the light. The peace. The hope. The comfort you offer. Jesus, right now I want to tell you about ........ Amen

Friday, January 09, 2009

If this does not post correctly, I apologize. For some reason, many people are having trouble with spacing, font size and funny labeling under the list of blogs when they post. I tried what they suggested and hope this works. Guess I will see when I hit the post button. Have a blessed day, Mary



3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

8:5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

8:7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?


I am late in writing this. Why? Yesterday I ran out of time. I do believe there were a few hours missing, but Bill assured me that Thursday had 24 hours as normal. Or maybe my, "I can get this done today" was an unrealistic expectation. I did accomplish my main goal, but that meant I had to put off writing my blog until this morning. Usually I have an idea of what I want to write, but today I am not sure what to share.

Time: Remember I told you I was going to give the message at church? Sunday was the day. Even though I am always nervous, I had a ball. The power point presentation worked and no one fell asleep. That is always a good sign.

Time: December 31st was our "almost retired" day. That was the day Bill retired from managing farms. That meant I would soon be relieved of my duties of preparing farm reports. This week I prepared them for the last time and, as I write this, Bill is putting them in the mail. I said almost retired because Bill is going to continue to do farm real estate sales and farm real estate appraisals. I have a feeling he also has some other ideas about filling up his time.

Time: Bill has been a bit lost the last few days. Trying to figure out this new time thing. I can see that I will also be wondering around a bit. The things that have taken so much of our time for over 30 years will now be taking up someone else's time. Someone else can pay those bills. Have the responsibility of making decisions that affect others financial resources. Someone else can write letters and prepare those farm reports. Someone else can answer the phone at 11:00 at night and on Sunday afternoon. But what will we do with the time we now have?

We included a letter with our final farm report. Bill thanked our management clients and than said, I could add the closing. I would like to share with you a bit of that letter.

"During the last 33 years, Bill and I have experienced the highs and lows of life. We have watched markets rise to levels old timers would never have believed and then fall to levels that devastated dreams. We have managed properties that have been under Halderman's care for generations and added new properties as owners needed our services. Reports were once prepared on a typewriter and now I would hate to do away with my computer. We have moved from "just a phone" to telephone, answering machine, cell phones and email. We have had the joy of working with tenants who did their best for you. We will not miss dealing with the Farm Service Agency and the government's obsession with needless paperwork.

Personally, during this time, we have each experienced the death of our mothers. The deaths of owners, tenants and other Halderman employees. Joyfully, we watched our children grow from ages 9, little Bill, and 4, Terri. They now have families of their own and we have six grandchildren. We have been fortunate to travel. We have been fortunate to share our lives with each of you. Retirement has been described as many things but I would like to quote two. Our son called it Endless Possibilities. A farm owner called it opening a door to a new life."

I do know: We are very grateful to have had work. We are very grateful to have had clients from Florida to Michigan. From California to Connecticut. Over the years, these clients trusted us with their farming investment. They trusted Bill.

Time: As I read over this, I realized that time is so many things. When we think back over 33 years, it seems to be filled with work. What I realize is that, although our lives revolved around work, work allowed us to support our family and educate our children. Work allowed us to travel and see so much of God's creation. Work - because Bill and I were a team - allowed us to spend time together.

Time: What will we do with our ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES? What will we do with the DOOR THAT IS OPENING TO A NEW LIFE? I am not sure.

I did not know where this was going or that it would be this long, but I know where it is ending. It is ending, with Bill and me opening that door. And what possibilities are on the other side? Only God knows.


Do you have a job? Are you retired? How do you fill your time?

Today I ask you to pray this prayer for us. To offer this as a blessing. Thank you!!!


Dear Heavenly Father, Bill and Mary stand before the door ready to walk through and begin a new phase of their lives. Please allow them to be wise in their decisions. To trust and obey your commands. Let them leap with joy at the endless possibilities you have prepared for them. Amen

Friday, January 02, 2009



Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. Psalm 139:4

"Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:8


As so often happens, I think I have an idea of what I want to write and then WHAM something pops into my little brain and this blog takes a completely new direction. That is what happened yesterday - January 1, 2009.

You see, for the last, I am not sure how many years; I have worked a New Year's Day consignment sale. This involves local farmers bringing in items to sell. Tractors. Combines. Trucks. Snowmobiles. Cars. One year, some children brought a litter of puppies to sell. You name it. We sell it. Big items and small. So far, we have never sold any wives or children, although knowing farm wives I am sure a few have considered selling their husbands when they came back from the auction with an unexpected purchase of yet another tractor.

The cashiers arrive at 7:00 AM. We set up and from that time, until we leave it is non-stop. We register bidders. We file bid tickets. We check people out. We count the cash. We add the clerk sheets. We add the checks. We put it all together, balance and go home. It is one very hectic, busy day. And usually, very cold.

As I said, it is non-stop. It is hard to find time to leave the cashier trailer to take care of the call of nature when that morning coffee decides it has been in your system long enough. And even though you are thirsty, you dare not drink too much for fear of having to make another nature call. I will say this - the line of men, dressed in winter coveralls, hats and gloves, waiting at the port-a-pot are always very generous and allow the female members of the sale crew to step in line.

Did I tell you how busy we are? One of the problems with being that busy is finding time to eat lunch. As I was pulling on my long johns, three pairs of socks, turtleneck, sweatshirt and jeans, as an afterthought, said, "I wish I had gotten some turkey and made a sandwich." I then got in the truck and, because the sale is just down the road and parking is at a premium, Bill took me and dropped me off.

GUESS WHAT -- Bill returned with a turkey sandwich, chips and some sweets for my lunch. Even though I had not directed my comment about the sandwich to him, he had heard me. He realized my need and took care of it. What an amazing feeling I had when Bill handed that sack lunch in the window to me. The kindness of his consideration washed over me.

GUESS WHAT -- Our God knows what we need before we even ask Him. Isn't that great? We don't have to verbalize. We don't even have to think it. God knows!


What act of kindness has someone given you? What need does God find in you?


Today, use your words to thank God for all the blessing you have received without asking. Offer thanks for all the gentle, considerate acts of kindness you received in 2008. Ask God to be with you in this New Year. Ask God to use you to show acts of kindness to others. Then humbly say Amen.