Category Archives: Devotional

Ain’t a That Good News

Happily may I walk.
May it be beautiful before me.
May it be beautiful behind me.
May it be beautiful below me.
May it be beautiful above me.
May it be beautiful all around me.
In beauty it is finished.”
~ Navajo Night Chant

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

1 Chronicles 16:8 NIV  

I check social media about three times a day.  I also check my email as often, if not more often as I have a friend who will not/does not text.  Of late, I have noticed that folks that are members of groups that have been harassed, targeted, singled out, are posting notices of hate crimes.  I don’t know, but I do believe that this practice doesn’t wipe out the hate, it spreads it.  

So often, when a crime is committed, it is reported in a news cycle every 20 minutes all day long, but good news is a blip on the radar.  Yes, it is important to know when our brothers and sisters are being targeted, but it is also important to love.  To praise the name of the one who holds all the tomorrows, to plunge the haters into the light, to lift the targets in prayer.  I do not see enough focus on that.  

I am not denying that news shouldn’t be reported, but the whole story should be available and the good news should be included. Praise the Living God for His faithfulness in every storm.  When we report the news, let it be worthy of the one we serve. When we hear the bad news, let us pray.

Because of Him,

Linda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6Ikw3Hb-4E

Ain’t a That Good News – Moses Hogan Singers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l6O4d8QtgE

 Stellenbosch University Choir 

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Kirby

“One of the great joys of life is creativity. Information goes in, gets shuffled about, and comes out in new and interesting ways.” 

                      ~ Peter McWilliams
 
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a]
                     ~ Colossians 1:9
 
He was a small dog.  Eight and a half pounds when we got him at age 10.  He was an unfamiliar breed other than hearing that one of my students wanted one and that he was from Africa. A Coton’ du Tulear?  A royal dog of Madagascar?  Well Madagascar must be wild and unruly…this cute little dog barked and barked when we first saw him in his owner’s home.  We were told not to look at him, not to put our hands down near him or he would bite…we were given so many “nots” we wondered why they even had him.  He was cute as all get out, but unapproachable.  When we heard that the family was willing to give him away, I, for one was not interested.  Yappy, snappy, unhappy little creature…NO.
And then we heard about the alternative plan for his life.  We thought at 10 we might be able to give him a new home.
 
Our daughter wooed him for a week, visiting with him, taking him for walks on the beach near his home, and finally bringing him to ours.  He was unused to the small amount of traffic in our suburban neighborhood, willing to threaten biting even the cutest and bravest of children.  He bit several family members.  I think he tried to bite all of us, and succeeded with some.  We were told he did not like men and he tried to prove that, but I thought he just didn’t like anyone but our daughter.  He was attacked early on by a neighbor’s unleashed surly, aging pit bull. We did not think he would live.  We were heartbroken at the thought of losing him.  Other neighbors joined in our prayers for him. He rallied and made a full recovery.
 
Over the last six years, we grew to love him, talk to him, take him for walks, take him into our hearts, not just our home.  Stubborn, tenacious, opinionated our friend called him.  She was so right.
But he also was a good listener, a selective snuggler, and he took his time trusting each one of us.  But he loved us too.  And he was indeed a good companion.  Especially during NCIS marathons where he especially enjoyed the character named Ziva.
 
When the dark growths began to appear on his sides, he bit them off, licked them clean and kept going.  But this last year, something appeared on his ear that he could not get to, a growth the size of a designer potato.  He finally smashed it against something in his effort to self-clean and it became infected.  The doctor, in his assessment of the tumor managed to have it come off in his hand. He called it “cowboy surgery.” Our little soldier came home with a war bandage and began trying to get it off, even with the “cone of shame.” Three attempts were made to stay the re-growth of this thing, but to no avail. No freezing, crystalizing worked. The last proposal was to remove the part of his ear that the tumor insisted on inhabiting.  We had a tearful family pow-wow and decided that he would never stand for the imbalance of the ear, and that it was not going away. At 16 years old, watching him spend so much time trying to remove a bandage that was really just protecting the ever tenacious tumor from his teeth, grew to be too much.  We made the decision to put him down.
 
Again our daughter guided him to his new home with love and skill beyond imagining.  My future son-in-law stood by her side and we all cried and surrounded him with loving words.  And he passed.  The attendant placed him in one of his favorite blankets and in the casket that my husband fashioned. Our daughter suggested a funeral procession.  We went to the water he loved so much, drove him past the village cemetery where family members were put to rest, to our own home.  We had a short memorial service, saying what was in our hearts to say, tearfully watering the grave and then each shoveling dirt into his earthly resting place.  And then we had a good cry together.
We gave him a service that spoke of our love and feelings for this little opinionated doggie and laid him to rest.
 
Our Lord has done so much more for us, preparing a place, even before we were born.  We did our level best to honor the Lord in our life with this little curmudgeonly dog who listened to our joys, our sorrows, our fears without judgement. 
Just as our Lord has done for you.
Because of Him,
Linda

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Praise you in the storm

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats. 
 
                                                                   ~Voltaire
 
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
                                                                  ~ Psalm 103:13-14
    We had an emergency at school once.  We had to evacuate the classrooms and sit in the halls.  At that point it was the 90’s, and portable video games had not really caught on.  So each class sat with their teacher in the hallway until the emergency passed.  As the school librarian, I was instructed to float, in case a teacher needed relief, or there was a child that needed to be brought to the nurse.
     I noticed many things that day, but the thing that stood out in my mind was a second grade class that was entranced by their teacher.  What started out as a group of whiny, scared students turned into a group engaged in playing games, telling jokes, singing in the hallway.  The teacher was steeped in the art of dealing with disaster, calming kids, road trips, crowd control.
     That day I saw a new side of her.  To the faculty she was often gruff, caustic, reclusive, but that day, she became a heroine of mine.  The kids weathered the storm and went home in a much better state that so many.
     This Orlando storm is beyond tragic, it was an act born of confusion, denial and out right hatred.  I still work in an elementary school.  This week’s heroine was our school secretary whose husband made rainbow ribbon support pins for the staff with simply one word hand printed on each one: Orlando.
     It is a “touch stone” for prayer, a beacon of support, a message for those who may not understand the whys, but they understand sadness.
     Though it is against human nature to go to praise in the time of storm, lifting the victims, the shooter, the families of all to the Lord in song and prayer certainly fits this emergency.
Lord, help us to bring our joys, our sorrows, our disasters, our heart’s cry to you as we praise you in this storm.
 
Praise You in the Storm
Because of Him,
Linda

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You, oh special flower.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
      ~ Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat
 
 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
    ~ Proverbs 23:24
 
And the Father Will Dance
 
Today, I celebrate you.  Your small acts of worship, your unspoken prayers, your gestures of kindness big and small, the choices you made for good, the restraint you showed in a very hard situation.
 
Listen to this anthem, which is so beautifully articulated, and let his love wash over you.
 
Today, the Father is dancing over you, His special garden.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Sonneto XVII

I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.

  ~ Harper Lee

 
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
~ Ephesians 3:17-19
 
     Pablo Neruda wrote a beautiful sonnet. Yesterday, I heard it as my husband speaking to me. This morning, I heard it as if it were spoken by God. I wonder how you will hear it.
     The love between this mother and daughter is beautiful, but even more beautiful is the love God has for us. I would speak this to my daughters as well.  There is love so hard to express in all of us that Neruda finds and expresses with such passion!
 
Sonneto XVII by Pablo Neruda
“Carries the light of those flowers within itself.” -my favorite line!
 
Today, carry the light. Feel the passion of God’s love…for you.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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Meeting in the Air

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. 

                                                                                             
                                                       ~ Robert J. McCracken
 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

                                                    ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_RjMIg2vPs

Meeting in the Air

     It was a simple, small little church just off campus in Plymouth, New Hampshire.  I was seeking.  A church that made me feel included, a church that welcomed me just the way I was.  Walking through the town, and then through the wooded area leading to the church, I was a little put off, a little afraid.  The warmth of the congregation was so welcoming, I could see what my friend was talking about.  It was the church of movie families like the Spencers (Spencer’s Mountain, Henry Fonda, Maureen O’Hara.)

      I heard this little song and was captivated by the visual it presented in my mind’s eye.  Meeting Jesus along with all the other believers in the entire world: past and present.  To be caught up in the air!  It helped to quell the laughter at the unfamiliar and embrace the peace I found there.  The funny part was, the pastor was from Long Island!

      I invite you to listen to the Youtube video I have included, and let your soul drink it the truth of it.  Freedom indeed.

     Because of Him,

     Linda

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What Garlic is to Salad

What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art. 
                                                           ~ Augustus Saint‑Gaudens
 
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
                                                            ~ James 3:17-18
 
     Garlic adds a pungent accent to foods around the world.  It is used in warm and cold dishes, and there are several different varieties.  Folks mostly have two opinions about it, “There is too much!”, and “There can never be too much!”  
     No matter what your opinion, the best use of garlic is to enhance the flavors of the food it inhabits.  Just like us.  We should be enhancing the body of Christ, bringing out the fruit of the spirit.  Definitely not our role to overwhelm the body, rather to bring out its best, and have other cloves bring out our best. 
     The scripture is right to say that it is hard work to get along with each other.  It certainly is work to be kind, considerate, treating others with dignity and honor.  In the long run, however, it is the work that makes our light shine even brighter, and perhaps makes us look a little insane to the outer world.
    Enjoy the flavors of this salad we’re in!  The hand that mixes us, does it with wisdom.
 
Because of Him,
Linda

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