Friday, November 30, 2012

Daily Wisdom

Jesus, who died for thy sins, is worthy to receive power, and riches,
And wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. We can
Never ascribe too much to Jesus. But He is worthy also to be believed,
In preference to Satan, unbelief, the world, or appearances; to be
Trusted with all, for all, before all; to be loved more than any other,
In opposition to any that would rival Him; be followed, wherever He
May lead us, through evil report or good report; to be preferred to
Ease, pleasure, wealth, health, to anything and everything. Jesus is
Worthy to be our example, our confidant, our king, and our all. He is
Worthy of all He requires, all we can give, all His people have done for
Him or suffered in His cause.

~James Smith, in Daily Remembrances~
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daily Wisdom

Prayer should be free, spontaneous, vital fellowship between the created person and the personal Creator, in which life should touch life.
The more that prayer becomes the untrammeled, free, and natural expression of the desires of our hearts, the more real it becomes.

~Ole Kristian O. Hallesby~
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Daily Wisdom

Constantly choosing to be busy may be an unconscious attempt to have
Value before the Lord. To deepen requires exactly the opposite! We must
Slow down, choosing to spend blocks of time with God in private. We need
To let go of the value we place on service, availability and busyness
And take up the value God places on quietness, trust and peace (rest).
We need to be aware of being too needed in any work; we are not! God
Calls us not foremost to "accomplish," but to a deep relationship with
Himself. A deep friendship with us as persons is what He desires most.

~Dr. Stanford~
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Choose to Have a Great Marriage

I'll be honest. This past week has been a rough marriage week. We've been bickering about every little thing; there have been a lot of outside stresses that we haven't handled as well as we could have; we haven't spent much time alone, etc. What occurred to me in a brief moment of clarity this week was that the difference between me now and me a few years ago is that I care about our marriage now. I know that sounds harsh, but a few years ago, I completely took my marriage for granted. I subconsciously thought that no matter how I treated my husband, he would never leave me. Ha!  I have since realized the ignorance of my subconscious mind!  A person can only tolerate so much, and about 5 years ago, we both had reached our limit. We have worked so hard on our marriage the past few years. We have talked more, prayed more, shared more, laughed more, and cried more than we ever have together! We have learned the hard way that it's better to get our feelings out in the open no matter what the consequences, than to keep them inside and make each other miserable.  We work daily on making the other person happy.  We have changed more as individuals and as a couple than we ever have!
So, Sunday as I was driving into church, I put my ipod on the itrip and was flipping through songs. The song The Blessing by John Waller came on. The words to the song stopped me in my tracks.

"This day You set life,
You set death right before us.
This day.
Every blessing and curse is a choice now,
And we will choose to be a blessing for life."

All of a sudden this light bulb went on. Not that I haven't heard stuff like this before, but in an instant it struck me. I can choose to do and say things that destroy my marriage, or I can choose to say and do things that build up my marriage and make it GREAT. This past week, I have been doing and saying things that have been destructive to my marriage. I was CHOOSING to be that way! Maybe not consciously, but I was still doing it nevertheless. When I got to church I told my husband that I was going to choose to do and say things to make our marriage GREAT. I wasn't going to be negative about things that have come up this past week. I was going to do what I could to live in peace with him this week and make our lives happier! I CHOOSE TO HAVE A GREAT MARRIAGE! Will you?

Lisa Powell

Monday, November 26, 2012

Keep Your Fork

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible. Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

 “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply.

“This is very important,” the woman continued, “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked.

“Well to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor.

The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, “Keep your fork.” It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming … like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.’”

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She knew that something better was coming.

At the funeral, people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question: “What’s with the fork?” and over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you, oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Submitted by Norma Klaus

Monday, November 19, 2012

God's Paper Chain

 In our house, when there is some event we are looking forward to, we make a paper chain. You know, the strips of construction paper that you make links out of and join them together. For every day that passes, you tear off one of the links, counting down to an important event or date. This week in homeschool with my girls, we made a paper chain to count down the days we have left until Christmas.  After we had made the chain and hung it up above our school desks, I was cleaning up our supplies. A thought occurred to me as I looked at the chain in great anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Does God have a paper chain?" I mean, not literally, I suppose. I guess what was going through my mind was "Is God counting down the days until we are all together again?"  Because truly He is the only One who knows when exactly that day will be.   "Does God look forward to being with me as much as I am looking forward to being with Him?"   We've been talking about Heaven in church the past couple of weeks, and it has me thinking a lot about it lately. What will it be like? What will we look like? Will we get to do our favorite things? Will we get to enjoy our favorite foods (without the calories)? I picture Jesus standing there waiting for me, seeing His face for the first time, thanking Him and praising Him for saving my life.  I think about all of my friends and loved ones that are there waiting for me.  I think about the baby that I lost, waiting for his Mommy to come hold him for the first time.  There is a lot of uncertainty of course, but one thing is for sure.  I'm gonna be there!  I have been saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and I will be there!

I know that God does not have an actual paper chain, like we do at our house. But I do know one thing: Only God knows when we will be together. Only God knows how many days we have on Earth. Recently, a friend of our family was killed in a car accident. 58 years old. Fortunately, she knew and loved God and walked with Him daily. She knew that morning when she got up that if anything happened to her, she would go to be with Jesus. I pray that we all come to live in that certainty. Every beat of our heart, every breath in our lungs is given to us by Jesus.  He alone knows when our last heartbeat and breath will be, and He alone knows the exact moment He will return to Earth to gather all who believe in Him as our Savior to enter into Heaven with Him. So if the last link on God's paper chain for our lives is torn off today, are you ready? 

 Lisa Powell

Daily Wisdom

Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive
greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple
graces as especial favours. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no
gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given
by the most high God.
~Thomas a Kempis~

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Prayer

This Thanksgiving, we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing on our families, our friends, our feasts of food and faith. We lift up Troy and travel and Truth and trucks headed for hurricane relief. As the days draw shorter, we pray for longer patience, thinner waists, wider smiles, higher incomes, and lower gas prices. Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home, and the tunes of the nine o’clock Praise Band, and the melodies of the hand bell choir, and the voices of the chancel choir. Let’s give thanks for new babies, new potatoes, new shoes, and Good News; for post offices, post-it notes, Army posts, and post-op progress; for Black Friday, the Red Cross, the Green Hornet, and Blue Nun. In the shadow of Veteran’s Day, we pause to pray for soldiers and sailors, colonels and corporals, commanders and our Commander-in-Chief. Oh Lord Our God, when we in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made, we offer thanks for our EMTs, our PTOs, our DVDs, our MRIs, and our OB-GYNs. What would we do without diapers, deodorant, dentures and donuts, or strollers, straighteners, string cheese, and stretch pants, or white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and hot chocolate? Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, to include email, iPhones, t-bones, and J. Crewe; L.L. Bean, u-turns, Z. Z. Top, and you tube. All of us creatures here below are grateful for grandchildren, grand pianos, the Grand Canyon, and grand slams. We praise Him above for Christmas cards, the Cards, and Cardinal Glennon, for the Rams, honey hams, and Sam’s. For Starbucks, eight-point bucks, and birthday bucks, we praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We double down that praise for our homes, our heat, our hand-held games, and our hoops; for microwaves, micro-financing, microscopes and Microsoft. Hallelujah for lap tops, Swiffer mops, Corn Pops, and small town cops; for food drives, faithful husbands and wives, and rich and full lives. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, for dentists and doctors, and teachers and techies, and pastors and pilots; for four score and seven years ago, ten little monkeys, and tea for two. This is my Father’s world, O le me ne’er forget, the battle is not done, ‘til earth and Heaven be one. We bow in humble gratitude for Your sovereignty, Your sacrifice, and the gift of Salvation through You. In the precious name of Jesus, the people said, Amen! 
Sue Busler 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dannette's Devotional: God's Love

For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,

will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38

Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:2


Nike is the most affectionate cat I’ve known.  She sits on our laps and purrs whenever we give her the opportunity.  Her greatest desire is to be close to us.  Too often my hectic life limits my time for her.  On my busiest days, the only attention she is guaranteed are those few minutes in the morning and evening when I stuff a pill down her throat and quickly fill her plate with cat food. 
Recently, Nike jumped on my lap and snuggled close when I finally settled down after several busy days.  As I petted her silky fur and felt her contented purring, I marvelled: “I don’t deserve the love you give me, Nike.”
In that moment, I felt an overwhelming reminder of God’s love.  Too often, I get so caught up in my demanding job and overloaded schedule that I don’t spend enough time with God.  Yet, His love for me never ceases.  He loves me much more than I will ever deserve.  Nothing can separate me from His amazing, enduring love.

As we go through our busy days, let us make time for God and marvel at His amazing, enduring love for us. 

Dannette McKellar

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad

November 13th—it’s my Dad’s birthday today.  How I wish I had a few hours to spend with him and learn who he really was.  He’s been in heaven for many years now.  When I was younger, he was my hero.  I could run to his lap and get a hug.  He was not an openly affectionate man; that was just his personality.  But, he took care of all six of us on one income.  He travelled all the time in his job.  I never appreciated how hard it was for him to be away from home.
Dad’s father and mother escaped from Estonia before Russia invaded it.  They landed near Boston, Massachusetts.  Dad grew up in a home with stone and mud floors—I’ve only located one picture of him by his house.  His mother died in a barn fire when he was only three.  Later, the woman who moved in as a house keeper married my grandfather, but apparently from what I have been able to put together, it was a marriage of convenience at that time. 
My Dad was proud to have been accepted into Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He started out to be an engineer.  He was gifted in drawing and designing.  WWII broke out, and he became an officer candidate in what was then the Armed Air Force.  He served in military intelligence.  Mom and Dad met at a Lawrence Welk dance at the Arragon Hotel in Chicago.  It must have been instant love.  They married while he was in training in Iowa, on an icy day in February 1943.  It was the day he got his Lieutenant’s wings.  (I always thought it was funny later that he could not remember his anniversary date.) 
Dad stayed in the Air Force through the Korean Conflict. He retired as a Captain.  Later, he became an inspector and insurance writer for a building casualty insurance company out of Boston.  He rose to the top of his ranks in civilian life, too.  Company meetings were always held in the New England area, and as children, he incorporated our vacations with his drives up there. 
Dad grew the biggest tomato plants in the neighborhood.  It always amazed me.  Strawberries lined our fences.  When he retired, his yard was mowed twice a week.  The white fence was always in repair and painted.  He joined the Golden Kiwanis group and among other civic jobs, helped Santa write letters back to young children.
Dad & Mom had three sons and one daughter.  Out of that grew three granddaughters and four grandsons.  He got to know we all married and started out great lives. 
If you take one thing from this, please ask your Dad what his dreams were.  Spend time just talking.  And know that as important our Dads are in our lives, when they raise families in Christ, they are giving us the ultimate in Fathers.  

Happy Birthday, Dad.
Love,   Carol

Carol Pigg

Monday, November 12, 2012

Daily Wisdom

Christian faith-the faith that counts - is that which depends on God - no matter what circumstances are like. This is faith in God, Himself - faith in God's character - faith in God's integrity.
                ~Richard C. Halverson~

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Daily Wisdom

In the mountains the rushing streams make their own river bed along
which they flow; but in the plains men have to work hard to make canals,
in order that the water may flow along them. It is just the same with
those who live upon the heights with God. The Holy Spirit streams
through them freely, while those who give little time to prayer and
communion with God have to find their way with much labor and effort.
                  ~Sadhu Sundar Singh~

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Eat, Read, Pray: Ann VosKamp's One Thousand Gifts Final

For the final discussion over Ann VosKamp's One Thousand Gifts, a Friendly Final Exam over the entirety of the book will be distributed in order to be completed with a partner.  

Friendly Final Exam
Ann VosKamp's One Thousand Gifts

  1. What was the title of the book you were supposed to have read?

  1. Who is the author of the above book?

  1. Why were you asked to record your thanksgivings in a journal?

  1. Define eucharisteo.

  1. Give an example of ugly/beautiful.

  1. List the names of the other people in the room.

  1. Humility comes from the Latin root humus- the kind of earth that grows ____________ crops.

  1. . . . God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the ______________ of joy begins in the _______________ of thanksgiving.”

  1. Only _____________ can kill joy.”

  1. I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, ___________ was __________.”

  1. Enter into his gates with ____________________ , and into his courts with _______________: be ________________ unto him, and _____________ his name.” (Psalm 100:4 KJV)

Extra Credit: What was thanksgiving #362?

While working on the "exam,"  members may snack on "Nests Filled with Eggs," which are simply peanut butter chews scooped into cupcake tins and then shaped into nests.  Once cool, fill the nests with eggs, candy-coated almonds.

For the intentional activity of joy, make use of your local prayer labyrinth if possible.  Walking the circular path while giving thanks at each stone will not only nourish the soul, but also burn those extra calories from the "Nests Filled with Eggs" snack.

Courtney Winkler

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Julie's Joy

A month ago I attended a ladies event where Susan Lawrence was the speaker and she spoke on Joy, I was thrilled. Here are a few words I captured in my notes from her presentation.
How often do you allow one or more of these things to steal your Joy?
  • Your past
  • Negative self-talk
  • Doubt
  • Uncertainty
  • Pressure from others
  • Measuring up to faith
  • Habits everyday
  • To do lists
  • Addictions (these are things you crave like Starbucks, too much exercise, your special sports team) anything that pulls you away from your relationship with God.
Earlier this year I was not experiencing joy because I was allowing the above mentioned plus other stuff to creep into my thoughts and yes, it was stealing my joy, I was actually feeling nothing. I had fooled myself thinking after 30 plus years of being a Christian, I would not have to work at it, that it would just come naturally, but I was wrong, wrong, so wrong. Joy is intentional just like following Christ, I had to work at it, keep it in front of me, be intentional about it, I needed the Holy Spirit to guide me, I had forgotten all of this because I wanted it to come naturally. Luckily before I got too deep into this self-destruction, I was lead to a book written by Kay Warren called “Choose Joy” Because Happiness isn’t enough. I loved this book, an easy read, so insightful. Kay is so transparent, she knows what it is like to lose your Joy, yes even Kay Warren, Rick Warren’s wife. A few months after reading the book, I was lead to the ladies retreat where Susan Lawrence was the speaker and she was talking about “Joy.” I was thrilled, God answers prayers.
Susan mentioned the difference between Joy & Happiness. Happiness is short term, it's temporary, it's fleeting, it depends upon your circumstances. Joy is more consistent, it is given to us by God, God wants us to be filled with Joy. I know many of these things aren’t new to many of you, they really weren’t new to me either, but I needed to be reminded to be “intentional,” I needed a Jesus stirring in my heart.
I love to hear the word Joy, it makes me smile and puts an extra beat into my heart and my step.
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again “rejoice.”
Julie Ford

Monday, November 5, 2012

Whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

Hi!  I'm Courtney, and I'm a bakaholic. . .  The problem lies in the fact that I also like to devour baked goods which can result in extreme tensions between the button on my jeans and my belly.  Since I'd rather keep the peace between the two, I try and find recipes which my squirts and hub would like, but I could pass on willingly.  So, (my apologies to pumpkin pie purists) a pumpkin spiced something or other would fulfill my need to bake, but would not consume my every craving.

Step 1:  Enlist the skills of my ever faithful sous chef and her special mixing eyeglasses.


Step 2:  Drop the batter onto the parchment lined cookie sheets.  Is that fancy, or what?

Step 3:  Take them out of the oven when baking is complete.  Smells yummy, but again, the pumpkin spice deters me from licking the bowl.

Step 4:  Make creamy frosting.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), this was lick worthy for me.

Step 5: Enjoy, or surprise someone with a nice treat.

Step 6:  Make a run to Aldi, and purchase your own Whoopie Pie Mix in order to stock up.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Life in Parts Book Club

Waiting in the dentist's office for my name to be called, I decided to flip through Dr. Oller's reading materials.  Usually I reach for a magazine since the wait time is next-to-nothing if any at all, but this time a work of fiction titled A Life in Parts written by Vicki Bennington and Daniel Brannan caught my eye.  Flipping to the back cover, a picture of a striking woman intrigued me especially after I read her legs and portions of her hands had been amputated.  My vision, corrected with contacts, still made me question what I was seeing so I pulled the book closer to my face.  What I saw was a beautiful, joyous woman with no trace of any suffering, scarring, or self-pity.  Soon my name was called, so I begged Monica, my dental hygienist and fellow author groupie, if I might be able to borrow this book.
A quick-read, the fact that this work of non-fiction revolved around the life of a local Midwesterner made it even more engaging.  Abruptly faced with toxic shock syndrome after a freak occurrence in her home,  Loretta Goebel faces life as an amputee.  A wife, mother of two, devoted friend, and volunteer, A Life in Parts relives Goebel's journey to a new normalcy with fierce determination and continued faith despite the obstacles and eventual losses which accrue along the way. 
For a book club's convenience, study questions have been included in the back of A Life in Parts for discussion.  Since the ideal of familial traditions and gatherings proves motivating for Goebel throughout her healing, a meal filled with comfort food- chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn- which greeted her at her arrival home from the hospital would be appropriate for the menu.

Courtney Winkler