Friday, November 25, 2011


November 27 is the first Sunday in Advent. When I looked up Advent, it was explained this way: A time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. A shorter answer was coming. So, Advent is expecting, waiting and preparation for something to come.

SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 1: parts of 1 - 17

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Jesse the father of King David, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.


Now, I don’t know about you, but when I tell a story, I start with, “Let me tell you about…” or “Have you heard?” or “A long, long time ago…” No, Matthew starts with, “A record of the genealogy…” Doesn’t that just grab you and make you want to read more? How many people do you know that say, “Let me introduce, Susie. She is the daughter of, the grand-daughter of, the great-granddaughter of --?”

Okay, I will admit I am not big on genealogy so I would, most likely, just skip this part. Or should I? Is it important? Does it matter what Jesus’ family tree looks like?

Actually it does and Matthew realized that. If Matthew was going to write a book for me, he would have started, “Mary, let me tell you about this man I knew. His name is Jesus.” But Matthew wasn’t writing to me, his readers would have been Jews. Matthew wanted them to realize that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures. Matthew knew his audience.

The Jews had been expecting a Messiah. They had waited a very long time: Fourteen generations + fourteen generations + fourteen generations. They were expecting and they were waiting, but something happened.

Romans 1:16 and 10:12-13 - I am not ashamed of the gospel (proclamation of the redemption preached by Jesus), because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile - the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Matthew tried to give his Jewish readers the facts. He tried to help them make the connection from Abraham to Jesus. Somehow, the Jews missed that Jesus is the Messiah. The Son of God. They missed that their wait was over.


Have you missed Jesus?

LET US PRAY (Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.)

Lord of All, Christmas is coming and it is coming like a freight train at full speed. I feel like -- Advent: Expecting? Waiting? Preparation? Lord, I do not want to be so busy that I miss Christmas. Lord, I do not want to miss you! As I prepare to celebrate Your birth, let me not forget that Abraham was the father of Isaac, Jesse the father of King David, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. .… Amen

Friday, November 18, 2011


Thanksgiving is almost here so, of course, this will be on giving thanks.


I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High. Psalm 7:17

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18


We are told to give thanks to the Lord. We are told to enter his gates with thanksgiving. We are told to give thanks in all circumstances. Give thanks - oh, this could be fun!


Lord, thank you for ice cream. Don’t know how ice cream was first thought of. Guess I could Google that, but I just want to thank you for ice cream. I especially like vanilla because it has such possibilities. Vanilla is good on pie and cake. It is good with root beer poured over it. It is good with chocolate, caramel and marshmallow crème on top. Yes, Lord, thank you for ice cream.

Lord, thank you for mud. There is just nothing like squishing my toes in mud after a nice summer rain. And it makes the neatest sound when I pull my feet out. Yup, mud deserves to be on the list. Thank you.

Lord, thank you for knee high nylons. What a pleasure to put those on, under slacks, instead of fighting with a pair of panty hose. And, if my skirt is long enough and I watch how I cross my legs, those knee highs will work just fine. Bless you for giving someone a creative mind and that mind coming up with knee highs.

Lord, I so enjoy magnets. Have you gazed upon my refrigerator and freezer? Or the door in our office? Or the file cabinet behind me? Magnets! The pictures of our grandchildren are on the office door. (What a treat that is to see them watching me work. Do you have my picture sticking around somewhere?) My file cabinet has business cards, a cow, a cross, two angels, a scripture (Do I get brownie points for the angels, cross and scripture?), notes and a calendar. The magnets on the refrigerator reflect where we have traveled or give me good advice. Thank you for magnets.

Lord, when I enter your gates with thanksgiving, I am absolutely going to say thank you for toothpicks. You just have no idea what it is like to have a tiny, tiny seed caught between your teeth. And that seed is always stuck where my tongue cannot get to it! What a relief when a tooth pick is handy! Thank you that someone looked at a sliver of wood and thought, “Wonder if that would get that seed out of my back tooth?”

Lord Most High, I am thankful for family, friends, home. But Lord, I thank you for all the little joys you place in my everyday life: Ice Cream, Mud, Knee High Nylons, Magnets and Toothpicks. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and Amen.


Relax. Take a deep breath. Smile. Now: WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?


Friday, November 11, 2011


(Brief background: At the time dad was drafted, he had a wife, a son and a daughter. I am the ‘I-am-home-from-the-war’ baby and a few years later another daughter joined the family. November 11, 2010 blog was also about these letters and how my hubby’s name was in them.)


They had always been there in mom and dad’s closet, but we never looked at them. And dad never talked about the war. Dad died in 1972, mom died in 1998 and the letters just sat there - unread until the fall of 2010.

As I began to open and copy the letters, a strange thing happened. I received a glimpse into an enlisted man’s life and I found a man I never knew.

Dad was in basic training in Camp Wheeler, Georgia. Dad, prior to service, was a mechanic, truck driver and had bad feet. Guess where the army placed him. Yup, in the infantry. His letters told about walking. And walking. And walking. And very, very sore feet.

Dad tried to explain what basic training was like and told about new friends, skunks in their barracks and KP duty. When dad arrived in Germany, his letters contained fewer details, because he could not give specific information. Dad did tell about meeting children, being lucky enough to have a heating stove and having his buddies shot. Dad mainly asked about mom, Kenny and Jean. Dad’s letters used the word love. And that is the dad I never knew.

Worlds and worlds of love, dearest, love you millions and love written big and bold were in each letter. And yet, I have no memory of ever hearing my father tell me that he loved me. I always thought that was a generalization thing until I read these letters. He knew how to write that word! What happened between putting that word on letter after letter after letter and speaking it when he came home?

I have always wanted to hear my dad tell me that he loved me. In a way, the reading of these letters has accomplished that. How? Not sure. I just know that somewhere between unfolding the first letter and now, I found a dad I never knew. A dad that did love his family whether he could say it out loud or not. Somewhere, while putting a letter back into its envelope, I heard my father say, “And I love you too.”

Today, as I think about these letters, I want to thank and honor all VETERANS and THEIR FAMILIES.


He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles. And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said. 2 CHRONICLES 32:6 - 8

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. PSALM 144:1

What a world this would be if the word war was never heard again! What a world this would be if no son or daughter, no husband or father, no wife or mother, no sister, brother or friend was ever sent to battle again!

Until that happens, let us honor those that serve and appreciate the families that support them.

LET US PRAY (Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.)

Lord, today I offer prayers of thanksgiving for the men and women who are willing to defend and protect our freedoms and our country. I pray you give them strength, courage, safety and Your power as they face evil around the world. Lord, I ask that you give comfort to the families as they maintain a home. Lord, never let me take for granted the freedoms I have or ever forget those that protect and defend me. Amen

Friday, November 04, 2011


Last week this blog was a prayer for our farmers and the fall harvest. Bill works each spring and fall for a farm family. In the spring he prepares the ground and in the fall he hauls grain from the combine to the trucks.



While doing this, Bill has to be close to the combine and he must keep pace with the combine so the grain cart is under the auger.


Then he makes his way across the field to the trucks. Sometimes he has to go around obstacles – tile holes, rocks – and he always has to be careful that the auger, on the grain cart, does not hit a power line. Yes, he has to watch where he is going as he approaches the truck.


Bill has to be under the auger of the combine or the grain would end up on the ground. When he unloads into the truck, he has to be sure the grain auger is over the truck. Grain on the ground is of no value.


Then he heads back into the field for the next load.


SCRIPTURE: Parts of EPHESIANS 5:8-10, 15-20

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord. Be very careful then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity. Understand what the Lord’s will is. Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Our lives with God are like Bill hauling grain.

Bill has to go to the combine to receive grain. We have to go to God to receive the Spirit that will guide us.

Bill has to stay close to the combine or the grain will spill to the ground and be of no value. We have to stay close to God to learn what pleases Him and to learn His will for our lives. If we are not close to God, His words are just words on a page and will have no value in our lives.

Bill must have an empty grain cart so it can receive the grain. We have to empty ourselves so God can fill us.

Bill must travel away from the combine, watching out for obstacles, and unload the grain. We travel through life, watching out for obstacles, and unload/share the Word of God with others.

And when the grain cart is empty, Bill takes it back to the combine to be refilled. When we are empty, because we have encountered numerous obstacles or have given of ourselves to help others, we must go back to God to be refilled.

There is one big difference between our lives with God and Bill hauling grain. When the combine finishes the very last row, it is put away and it just sits there. It is of no use. There is no reason to take the grain cart near it. It is empty.

The difference? You can ALWAYS go to God. He is never empty. He is not put away, sitting around being useless. GOD IS! And God is always willing to fill you up!


Are you close to God? Are you trying to get past obstacles? Do you feel like you are empty? Do you know where to go to get filled again?

LET US PRAY (Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.)

God, have you ever thought of yourself as a combine? The amazing thing is that your hopper is never empty. My wonderful God, let me always stay close to you so I can be filled. Let me always please you and know your will. And when I feel empty, let me have the wisdom to return and be filled. Amen