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Your Love Never Fails

11 Nov

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6

Our little granddaughter loves life!   She loves to sing.  She loves to perform.  I believe in her little 3 year-old heart that she loves Jesus.  You put all of that together and you get Lillie in a variety of entertaining conversations, situations and performances!

 

This past summer’s VBS filled Lillie to over-flowing with songs, scriptures, hand motions and excitement!  Just last week when Lillie and Cole were going to the doctor for their annual flu shot, she reminded her big brother about being “strong and courageous, do not be terrified!”  Lillie’s simple trust in Jesus and the scripture that she repeats over and over and over has begun to set a firm foundation of real faith and Relationship for this little girl.

 

Another favorite and very repetitive past time for Lillie is to sing.  If there are hand motions to the song, then she’s all about it!  And if it’s a song that she has learned from a Disney movie, she choreographs the song herself and literally puts on a show that must be watched by all!  She’s so fun!

 

My birthday was last month.  It was a fun time, filled with lots of birthday greetings and fuss (love the fuss!) great food, and a trip to Indianapolis to celebrate with family.  One of the best gifts, however, was not wrapped or even presented to me as part of my special day.  It was a video sent to Mimi, during my workday, of Lillie riding her scooter … singing a very repetitive song with hand motions.  Little does this energetic preschooler know that she has a ministry of sharing God’s Love to those around her … the neighbors, her momma, her Mimi, and now you.  Does she realize the true meaning of the message she sings?  She slurs right over the first ‘never’, but with each and every repetitive phrase, the truth of God’s love that NEVER fails, never gives up and never runs out is being embedded into this tender and impressionable young soul.  Just knowing that is a gift!!

 

We all have things in our life that fail us, that give up and even run out on us…  Appliances, patience, computers, energy, vehicles, jobs, health, money, … and  people. In the midst of a fallen world, our God is Faithful.  Won’t you join me in being reminded of this truth?  Click here https://youtu.be/cZvrBOyWq08  to watch the video of this precious little missionary who continually reminds her world that God’s Love never fails, It never gives up and It never runs out on us!

Until next time!
Debbie

 

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains

On and on and on and on It goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

In death, in life I’m confident and covered
by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid
There’s nothing that can separate
my heart from Your great love

refresh

21 Jul

A big tall glass of ice water or a pitcher of freshly squeezed lemonade…a popsicle or an ice cream cone with sprinkles. How about an afternoon in the swimming pool or a few days at the beach? It’s mid July and it’s that time of year when we want to feel refreshed.

 

Then there’s the long days of having to be mature and responsible. Work. Even though we may enjoy what we do to earn our living, it is still an obligation of our time and our energy. By the time Friday rolls around, I am ready to be refreshed. I always look forward to the occasional weekend that I get to spend with my grandkids … their very presence and their love always refreshes my spirit! When they are not around, simple activities such as cleaning my house, going to yard sales, and riding the motorcycle with my husband … these also refresh me.

 

One morning a few months ago, God threw the word ‘refresh’ out to me. I was expecting it. Or at least I was waiting on Him to give me something. And there it was. A simple word and concept. Within moments, as I sat down for my quiet time with Jesus, there was the word again … refresh … written in black and white in one of my devotional books. I smiled as I knew that God was confirming His direction, His idea, His plans and His desires. I quickly turned to the back of my Bible and looked up this most interesting word and found several scriptures that fit perfectly. A perfect fit for a new mission and a new ministry. Many years ago, God called me to be a missionary. His definition of missionary has been unique and most creative for me, and is still very real today. That morning back in January, He had already been nudging me, ever so slightly, about starting another group for ladies…something similar to what I did before with the Munchy Monday/Tasty Tuesday ladies from Higher Ground, but different. The difference being that was then and this is now … and the word refresh.

 

refresh 2

is a group of ladies who get together, once a month … for encouragement, inspiration, and refreshment. Our lives are busy, often full of circumstances and events that sap our energy and try to steal our joy, so we make a priority to refresh our souls with good company, tasty treats, and most importantly, Jesus.

 

IMG_2853 Five ladies met in my home on March 17th…a neighbor, two new friends from church, and a gal that also works for York County, and me. I shared God’s idea of ‘refresh’ that evening and expressed my heart’s desire to open my home to whoever would like to come for just one evening a month for a time to simply be refreshed. In April we were refreshed with Spring Cleaning as we read scriptures about being a sweet aroma of Christ and hiding the Word of God in our hearts in order to keep our way pure…and then my favorite,

Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be washed away,
that times of REFRESHING may come from the Lord.
Acts 3:19

 

The months of May and June took us to the basics of being refreshed in the Word and in Prayer. Our time together each month combines a delicious evening meal with relaxing around the table, chatting about the everyday, followed with an emphasis of the word refresh, scripture, and prayer. Ladies share concerns and prayer needs, sometimes in tears driven by the fears and disappointments of life. Just a couple nights ago during our July meeting, we read passages from the Bible and excerpts from devotional books that encouraged us to “refresh our wardrobe”.

“Seek My face at the beginning of your day.
This practice enables you to “put Me on” and
“wear Me” throughout the day. Most people put
on clothes soon after rising from bed. Similarly,
the sooner you “put Me on” by communicating with Me,
the better prepared you are for whatever comes your way.”

imagesATKVFZSX

“To ‘wear Me’ is essentially to have My mind:
to think My thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit to
control your thinking; be transformed by this
renewal within you. Thus you are well-equipped to face
whatever people and situations bring your way.
Clothing your mind in Me is your best preparation for each day.
This discipline brings Joy and Peace to you and those around you.”

So, chosen by God for this new life of Love,
dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place,
quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
And regardless of what else you put on, wear Love.
It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without it.
Colossians 3:12-14 The Message

Jesus is Love.
Regardless of what else you put on, wear Jesus.
He is your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without Him!

God promised me that if I would be willing to invite a few friends and even neighbors that I do not know, He would provide the rest. There is never a lack of inspiration for the study, there is plenty of energy to welcome the ladies into a clean home, and I’m blessed with a supportive husband who is witnessing first hand how God is connecting neighbors, co-workers and mere acquaintances from church and uniting hearts with a common purpose of being refreshed in Jesus.

 

I plan to create a refresh group on Facebook — a place for ladies to share encouraging words and scriptures throughout the month. I daydream about going away for a weekend retreat, or evening hosting it right here in my own home, (send the hubby to Baltimore for a few days) allowing us time to briefly study an entire book or a DVD series, or even invite a special speaker. As God has already been providing, all ideas and dreams are His and all will fall into place as He desires.

 

There are many of my friends and family from all over the country who have been covering this new ministry in prayer each month … words cannot express my heart, knowing that we are being lifted up to Jesus in prayer support!

 

I will soon begin to prepare for August’s meeting, anxious to switch from Tuesday to Thursday night, which will allow a few other ladies to attend who have prior commitments earlier in the week. If you are local to York, PA, won’t you join us? If it’s your first time, there is no need to bring anything along except yourself and a desire to be refreshed. If you are not local, won’t you join us in prayer support?  And most importantly, won’t you all join us in finding ways to refresh ourselves in Jesus?

 

I do wish, ladies,
that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord,
refresh my heart in Christ.
Philemon 1:20

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

Red Sea, Gall Bladder & a Hurricane

9 Nov

You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

 

The offer to buy a companion ticket expired Aug 30.  In true form, my daughter and I made our decision that final day, purchasing two airline tickets to Indianapolis for the end of October.  Excited to introduce our new little one to extended family and friends, we were making it a ladies’ weekend away, since 6 month old Lillianne can fly free until she’s two years old.

Flying to Indy!

My mother did some strategizing of her own as she scheduled her foot surgery for nearly a month before our anticipated arrival.  Once Mom got settled following the procedure, all was well as she adjusted to hobbling around the house with her left foot encased in the boot.  After a couple weeks, I did begin to take notice that Mom sounded really tired and she often mentioned that there was discomfort in her abdomen that would come and go. Then just a week before our flight, it became very apparent that Mom was in a great deal of pain.  So those whose watch she is on, on a regular basis, took her to several doctor appointments and tests, coming to the conclusion that it was likely her gall bladder giving her fits, and that surgery was a great probability.  As Kim and I did our final packing for the trip, we switched clothing around for hospital and home instead of friends and family, restaurants, and church.

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine was going through difficult days when a Pastor friend called her out of the blue and asked what was going on.  God laid my friend on her heart, and she knew she needed to call and find out how she should be praying.  We were completely in awe of God’s hand in her life at that exact time, so we named that a “Parting of the Red Sea Moment”… a moment when only God could literally move the sea, or move someone to make a phone call, or to coordinate a much-needed surgery with a pre-scheduled visit.  My oldest brother, Jay, was on vacation all week … a week set aside to cut firewood for the upcoming winter … placed in the books at the Martinsville Post Office back in December 2011.  Tim’s sister, Amy, was cleared 2 weeks prior to have Friday off from work in order to spend the day with us girls and have lunch with her mom. Instead, she was able to sit with us at the hospital during my mom’s surgery, bringing us lunch, Mountain Dew, and lots of laughs!!  God was dishing out Red Sea Moments left and right!!

Mimi Wells with 4 of her 7 great grandkids
A’yden, Leyton, Jaxon, and Lillianne

What a privilege it was for me to be caregiver for those few days we were in town.  Before settling down to bed each night, Mom and I would pull up my Facebook on my  iPhone and read all of the sweet comments from dear friends and family … from 20 different states and 2 countries!!  It was like opening a mailbox full of get well cards, knowing that they had been thinking about her and praying for her!    Each day was a new day, gaining more strength, reclaiming her lost appetite, looking more rested, and feeling better.  Family times were extra special, as babies Lillianne, Jaxon, and Leyton (all second cousins, within 4 months in age) were introduced to one another, mommas and daddies compared stories, and Great Grandma (Mimi Wells) had several photo shoots with the children.

The first night we were at my Mom’s, my husband called and briefly mentioned something about a big storm coming up the east coastline … wanted to know if I had been listening to the weather.  I laughed at his silly question, thinking back over the extremely eventful day.  With surgery scheduled the following day, there was no thought about a storm and very little time to watch TV.  Sometime on Saturday, the realization hit us that our return flight into Baltimore could very possibly be cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.  We literally spent 2 hours on hold that night with the airline, waiting to ask questions about cancellations, refunds, and rescheduling.  If we made the decision to not fly, then it would cost us.  If we waited on the airline to cancel the flight, then we could rebook at no cost.  We decided to trust the airline … if they choose to fly, then we would be along for the ride. So, on the way to the airport, we received the recorded message that our flight into Baltimore was cancelled.  Knowing that our hubbies were back east, weathering the storm alone (Troy had Cole’s assistance!), we were disappointed but yet relieved to not be sharing the same air space as the hurricane.

The first unexpected day was pretty much a wash, literally, as we were glued to the Weather Channel, watching the reports of flooding, fire, wind, power outages, and extreme devastation.  Having friends and family in the path of the storm was unsettling, knowing that our own homes could be damaged or be without power for days.  But as the hours passed, so did the winds and rain.  Grateful reports from home came in that there was no loss of electricity and that all was ok.  The brunt of the damage was closer to the shore … our beloved New Jersey beaches, the gorgeous homes and communities where we visit each summer ~ much of it flooded and destroyed.

Our last day with Mimi Wells was a productive one as we were determined to turn off the Weather Channel and work on some projects that we had already started for her.  By the day’s end, we were all packed again, ready and hoping for an early morning flight back home.

I often write about my personal relationship with God … how He and I have a special vocabulary, and He literally speaks to me through His Word.  A couple of days before our scheduled flight to Indy, my morning devotions had me reading in Lamentations 3 …

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.

 

Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.

 

They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him.”

 

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:19-26

 

Those 2 days before our trip, I knew right then and there that it was Mom’s gall bladder … and that my God was telling me that He had it all under control.

A few days later, before getting out of bed the morning of Mom’s surgery, I snuggled up next to her, and I prayed for her.  I asked God to guide the doctors and nurses as they tended to her that day, and thanked Him for parting the Red Sea so I could be there with her.  Just minutes later as I was having my devotions, Our Daily Bread had me reading in Joshua 2.  My heart began to soar as I read verse 10, knowing that once again, my personal and loving God was shouting to me “I LOVE YOU DEBBIE!!”

We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea
for you when you came out of Egypt, …
…for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below
.
Joshua 2:10 & 11

Four days later and wondering if it was really safe to be flying home, my devotions were in Psalm 32.  Verse 7 jumped out at me …

 You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah

With confidence, I shared the verse with Kim and reassured her that despite the storm and the unsettled weather still along the east coast, God was safely going to take us back home.  Thank you, Father, for loving us so!

That Wednesday was an uneventful day … Lillie travels like a pro, taking everything in stride … flirting and smiling at anyone who looks her way.  Once landed in Baltimore, her eyes sparkled even brighter as her big brother held her hand all the way home.

Since we’ve been back home, Mom has gotten the pin out of her toe and is slowing making progress in getting out and walking without the protective boot.  Her small incisions from the gall bladder surgery are healing and she is regaining strength and hopefully putting some meat back on her frail little body.  I’m so looking forward to spending more time with her over the Christmas holiday … every moment with my momma is a precious moment!

Our hearts are still hurting for those still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Tim’s youngest sister and her family live on Long Island, just 4 blocks away from having lost everything.  Their everyday routines have been disrupted as the simple things like gas, groceries, and errands are no longer simple.  Our pastor friends, Del and Patsy Bieber in Tom’s River, New Jersey report that Samaritan’s Purse has set up headquarters in their parking lot, and that their church is very involved in the care of people in their area.

As we all think back over the events of the last few weeks, including the election just a few days ago, won’t you join me in continuing to pray for people everywhere whose very existence has been ravaged by the storms of life?  God wants to wrap His arms of Love, Mercy, and Hope around each of us … not just in His Red Sea Moments, but all the time.

Until next time,
Debbie

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

** The header photo was taken at Avon-by-the Sea, New Jersey … August 5, 2012.

HOPE

9 Feb

For You have been my HOPE, O Sovereign LORD,
my Confidence since my youth.
Psalm 71:5

  

Through tears of discouragement, shocking disbelief, and a broken heart, I listened as my friend poured out her heart to me.  A pot of mixed emotions began to stir inside of me as I weighed the injustice against a soul who has overcome so much, victorious only by the grace and mercies of God.  Knowing the fragility of her mind and spirit, I spoke very little, praying all the while that God Himself would speak through me when it was time.  When the word ‘hopeless’ made its way into the focus of our time together, I felt the Nudge … and I began to pour out my heart.  After several sentences and a couple paragraphs later, I presented a challenge to my dear friend.  Realizing that there are times when one’s heart hurts too much to even utter a prayer, I encouraged her to sit down with her Bible and do a search on HOPE.  I know that God will speak to her heart through scripture, and she will once again know that He not only offers and provides hope, He is her Hope. 


At least there is HOPE for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
Job 14:7-9

 

Show me Your ways, O LORD,
teach me Your paths;
guide me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are God my Savior,
and my HOPE is in You all day long.
Psalm 25:4-5

 

Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in You.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my HOPE is in You.
Psalm 25:20-21

 

Be strong and take heart,
all You who HOPE in the LORD.
Psalm 31:24

 

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him,
on those whose HOPE is in His unfailing love,
to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in HOPE for the LORD; He is our Help and our Shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our HOPE in You.
Psalm 33:18-22

 

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and  my God.
Psalm 42:5-6

 

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my HOPE comes from Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation;
He is my Fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty Rock, my Refuge.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our Refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8

 

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness,
O God our Savior, the HOPE of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
Who formed the mountains by Your power,
having armed Yourself with strength,
Who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
Psalm 65:5-7

 

O Israel, put your HOPE in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with Him is full redemption.
Psalm 130:7

 

The LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their HOPE in His unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11

 

Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD.
There is surely a future HOPE for you,
and your HOPE will not be cut off.
Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.
Proverbs 23:17-19

 

And we rejoice in the HOPE of the glory of God. 
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
 perseverance, character; and character, HOPE.
And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His
love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
Romans 5:3-5

 

 For even Christ did not please Himself but, as it is written:
“The insults of those who insult you have fallen on Me.”
  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us,
so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have HOPE.
Romans 15:3-4

 

May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with HOPE
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal
encouragement and good HOPE,
encourage your hearts and strengthen
you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  
Hebrews 6:19

 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action;
be self-controlled; set your HOPE fully on the grace
to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
 As obedient children, do not conform to the
evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
 But just as He who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do;
 for it is written: “Be Holy, because I am Holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16

 

On my way to work yesterday morning, I spotted this couple as they walked down their driveway and out to the edge of the road  ~  a young father, holding the hand of his little boy.  Off in the distance, I saw the yellow school bus rounding the corner, coming toward the waiting pair.  I noticed that the young lad turned to look at his approaching ride, then quickly lifted his eyes to meet his father’s.  As I drove by in that brief moment, I saw a glance of hope, assurance, and love.  Even in the event of the usual, one little boy gathered confidence and courage to face another day from his strong, trusting, and loving relationship with his father.  How about us?  In the usual or in the depths of great disappointment and pain, do we seek out the One relationship that provides peace, assurance, and hope for our day? 

 Won’t you join me … and the little boy down the street, as we look to our Father for Hope?

Until next time,
Debbie

For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of my Valentine’s Day decor  –  February 2012

A – Z

4 Nov

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; 
worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Does it seem like your calendar has the hiccups, and every little bit another page turns?  Here it is already the first week of November!  Didn’t my family just get back from the shore a few short weeks ago?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I returned from my birthday visit to Indiana?  I find it quite crazy to realize the mad rush that life gets into as the holidays approach, so I am determined to do things a little differently this year. 

For the next several days between now and Thanksgiving, I’m adding an exciting twist to my mornings.  Last Friday, I took the letter A and listed as many words as I could that described the attributes of God.  I found the concordance in the back of my Bible to be a great resource, providing wonderful words along with the corresponding scriptures – sort of like feasting on homemade guacamole and having fresh tortilla chips to eat with it!  It seems that with each day and my quest with a different letter, my acceptance of words has broadened.  You know how two friends share a vocabulary of special words?  Well, there are some that are just special between God and me.  After checking the back of my Bible, I then find myself combing through the hymnal that I keep in my special spot of quiet time.  A few words are usually added, but more exciting is the memory jog that takes place as I read titles of songs that have formed this very heart that loves Jesus.   I enjoy much of today’s contemporary Christian music, but when I hear a hymn, the very foundation of my soul catches its breath as the melody, the words, and the message still ring true through the ages of life.  The unexpected addition to the music portion of my holiday devotional journey has even surprised me, as today I even sat down at my piano and played several songs that I haven’t even thought of for several years, let alone sit down and play. 

 I don’t expect anyone else to do what I’m doing, but I would like to throw out a challenge to not allow the next two months of busyness and activity to steal an opportunity to on-purpose turn your focus on your relationship with God.  As I read over my freshly written list each morning, I do so in intimate conversation with my Lord…prayer, songs, tears, and even some laughter.  God and I have a history, and these words and more tell part of our story. 

Abba, Abide, Absolute, Above, Active, Adore, Air, ALL, Always, Arms, Aroma, Assurance, …

Balm, Banner, Beautiful, Believe, Belong, Beloved, Blessing, Bread, Breath, Broken, Builder, …

Calling, Cherish, Cling, Comfort, Companion, Compels, Complete, Constant, Consumes, …

Dance, Daughter, Dedicate, Defender, Delight, Deliverer, Demands, Depend, Desire, Draw, …

Effort, Emmanuel, Encourage, Endurance, Engraved, Everything, Expectation, Express, …

Face, Faithful, Father, Favor, Feet, Fit, Fix, Forever, Forgiven, Forsake, Fortress, Fragrance, …

Gap, Gentle, Gift, Giver, Glad, Glory, Grace, Gratitude, Great, Groanings, Guard, Guide, …

Haunt, Healthy, Heart, Hedge, Helper, Hide, Highway, Hold, Holiness, Hope, Hover, Hunger, Hymn, …

Won’t you join me in the next several weeks, as the 2011 calendar turns its last pages, to finish out the year with a renewed eagerness to be thankful?  … Ever alert to God’s constant presence in our lives, and to then be responsive to Him and His eternal love for each of us. 

Until next time,
Debbie

For my friends who subscribe to Morsels of Mercy and automatically get a copy sent to your email, check out the blog on my website to see additional photos of my family         https://morselsofmercy.wordpress.com

**  Blog photo of fall decorations in my home … October 2011

Hot Flashes

14 Apr

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name…
Psalm 103:1

  

Back in the day, I remember sitting on the bleachers during soccer, softball, and baseball games to cheer our two kids and their team mates on to victory.  We sat there through all kinds of weather.  The earlier games of the season would require that we brought blankets to wrap up in to stay warm, but as the weeks progressed, the temperatures would rise, and before we knew it, it felt like summer.  The sun was hot and sometimes accompanied by a welcomed breeze.  As a young mother in her early 30s, I made the most of those days by having plenty of suntan lotion, cold water, and sunflower seeds.  Little did I know then, that undoubtedly somewhere on the bleachers was some kid’s grandma watching the game.  I can now only imagine the conversation that took place between that grandma and the younger mom … the mom complaining about how hot it was outside in the sun, and the grandma quickly replying that she has NO idea about hot! 

This may seem too personal for some of you, and it probably is.  But you know?  It’s my blog, it’s my hot flashes, and I simply want to share how God shared a morsel of mercy with me yesterday in His attempt to help me through my own ‘personal summer’.  After yet another miserable night of kicking covers off one minute, then waking up an hour or so later because I’m cold from laying there all sweaty and wet with no covers on … so I grab the covers again and snuggle up in their warmth to once again an hour later wake in a new puddle …  (I know some of you have no idea, but there are others of you who KNOW what I’m talking about!)  I feel exhausted!   Not only does this happen at night, but at any given moment during the day.  As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, it’s spring.  One day it’s rainy and in the 40’s and the next day it’s sunny and nearly 85 degrees.  I try to dress according to the weather forecast for that day  …  a light sweater with jeans and a spring scarf to accessorize the outfit.  Something triggers the moment and the radiating heat starts to boil from within.  I’m sure my face is red, my mascara is running, and I wish I could jump into a cold swimming pool.  But I’m sitting at a desk at work, it’s raining outside, and it’s only 45 degrees.  Help! 

Now, these friendly bouts with the internal radiator began a couple years ago while working with my girls at Higher Ground.  All of a sudden I would exclaim about how hot it was in the kitchen … they would all look at one another and with big grins, they would shake their heads and inform me that they were all very comfortable … it was me.  Sigh!  Really?  Seriously?  Every woman hears other OLDER women talk about such things, but there’s always that security of knowing you’re not there yet … in fact, you’re not even close to being there yet.  I know I even thought that it probably wouldn’t even happen to me!   HA!   Well, here I am. 

During my devotional time yesterday morning, not feeling rested from my long night of tossing and turning, God met me.  My daily reading of the book of Psalm took me to chapter 103.  As I began to read out loud one of my favorite passages, God began to speak.  I have always taken scripture very personal, and I believe that is how God once again extended a new morsel of mercy to me in the midst of my current plight.

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name…

 

Inmost being, huh?  I can tell you all about my inmost being!  It radiates and power surges with untold amounts of heat!  Sigh …  Praise the Lord, huh?  Sigh …  ok.   I can do that.   ALL my inmost being?   Ok.    Sigh …    God just encouraged me to praise Him when I lie awake during the wee hours of the morning, uncomfortable with the flashing reminders that I am only getting older. 

 

Praise the LORD, O my soul,and forget not all his benefits—

  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

 who redeems your life from the pit

 and crowns you with love and compassion,

 

I could go on and on about these verses and what they mean to me, but right now, my heart is set on quoting this passage when those moments hit me  ~  day or night  ~  to Praise the Lord from my inmost being for ALL His benefits!  Forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, and compassion!

 

who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 

Woo Hoo!!  As I read that next verse, I began to cry as I realized that my personal God met me just when I desperately needed Him to.   YOUTH is RENEWED when HE satisfies my desires with good things!!   Praise the Lord, O my soul!

Won’t you join me today as I praise the Lord with my inmost being?  Yours may not be radiating with hot flashes due to your aging body, but let’s praise the Lord together and forget not ALL His benefits!!  Praise His Holy Name!

Until next time,
Debbie

Spring!

8 Apr

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

 

Just yesterday I was sporting a cute little pair of heels that I picked up for a bargain last summer at a yard sale.  Today I feel like cuddling up my toes with a thick pair of comfy socks and slipping them into my boots as I go off to work on this raw and rainy morning.  It’s spring.  Last week it snowed 3 inches.  Four days later we were out on the motorcycle enjoying 80̊  and a sunny day!  It’s spring! 

 Ever notice how noisy spring is?  All of sudden there are birds everywhere … and they are loud!  Even busy little Cole has noticed their vocal existence    ~   “chirp chirp!”   We live just outside of York, PA where a Harley Davidson plant is located.  The roads are Harley silent around here for only about 4 months out of the year.  Guys (and gals) and their motorcycles are loud!   It’s spring!   I’ve heard two chainsaws already in the past month and even a lawnmower!  Thunderstorms have caused little dogs to shiver and hide, while the music of a steady rain sings lullabies to those needing to get out of bed.  Shouts of activity and sport fill the air near the fields where baseball, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee are being played. There are the giggles of little kids, finally able to be outside at the park to play, while moms stand around and catch up with their friends  …  or in our case, a little 2-year old constantly going up and down the slides hollering out “RyRy!” as his Uncle Ryan is watching via Skype and an iPhone.  Spring is noisy!

 As scripture tells us, there is a time and season for all things.  This morning, a dear and precious friend passed away.  Mary Jane had been ill for many years, but she is now dancing in the presence of Jesus and the angels.  Mary Jane has reached her eternal Spring where Life will be full of newness, expectation and satisfaction all at the same time, and freedom.  Freedom, for where the Spirit is there is Freedom.  

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die…
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance…
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

 

 Newborn babies cry, toddlers chatter, birds sing, rain falls, and our world embraces life to the fullest!  After a long cold winter, won’t you join me in celebrating a noisy and exciting spring … each day, ALWAYS filled to the brim with the mercies of God!

 

Until next time,
Debbie

Snow

19 Jan

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude
in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:15-17

 

The white fluffy stuff has quite the romantic and cozy deceptive charm about it. A bowl of popcorn, mugs of hot chocolate, a favorite person, and a roaring fire in the fireplace…all the while the landscape outside is being transformed from a dreary and bleak site into a white winter wonderland. Along with the glistening beauty and the snowy glow comes the hush…the hush of freshly fallen snow.

The above description is what I call the billboard version of snow or the glossy magazine cover version that truly doesn’t depict reality. Oh, not to be mislead … to a degree it is all true ~ insert the scenario of your choice and add in the bright white hush. But there’s far more to the story of snow than the Hallmark movies would like for us to believe.

South central PA, where we now call home, has been on the outside edge of some of the largest snowstorms of the season for the east coast. Some of our neighbors just an hour or so away have had to dig themselves out of deep accumulations and deal with extreme conditions due to the blizzards that have come their way. Our families and friends we have most recently left behind in Indiana continue to be harassed nearly every 4 or 5 days with a new batch of precipitation, whether it be snow, ice, or rain. Tim is certainly counting his blessings this winter since someone else has the privilege and challenge of constantly plowing the roads and keeping the sidewalks clear of snow at Higher Ground. And once again, the immediate weather forecast is for another bout of snow to soon hit those we love … and it is still January.

Cole sledding in the snow

Our first round of snow at our house in PA took place while we were in Indiana for Christmas. Upon our return, the roads were dry, our driveway was mostly all clear, and the grass was already poking through the melting mess. Then last week, we were gifted with an overnight blanket of the fluff that measured right at 4” on our back deck. The highlight was a few days later when our 22 month-old grandson and his dog brought their parents up for an evening of playing in the snow. Since our house is built into the side of a hill, the side yard was a perfect spot for a little boy to enjoy his first and many more fun times in his sled. What fun we all had in the snow as we looked at it not only through the eyes of a toddler, but through the protective and loving eyes of his parents and the heart-warming eyes of his grandparents.

Two nights ago, more snow fell, along with a crunchy coating of ice. Tim was prepared and parked his work truck at the top of our driveway/hill, making for a guaranteed exit the following morning for work. For me, I was quite proud of myself for getting out our beast of a snow blower and actually getting it to start on the first try. As it crawled along the driveway, it quickly became bogged down with the heaviness of the ice and refused to cooperate with me to clear the way. Reluctantly, I took it back to the garage and instead grabbed the shovel. Grrr! As the morning wore off into early afternoon, I slowly made progress, one shovel of heavy snow/ice at a time. I was reminded of the hours I use to spend at Higher Ground behind a vacuum cleaner or cleaning the many windows of the dining hall … and how I passed the drudgery of that time away by praying. I immediately began to bombard Heaven for the many people in my life who I love … who need Jesus in one way or another. Before I knew it, the driveway was cleared, I had my exercise, and my heart had reached out and touched the portals of Heaven on behalf of many of you.

I know that snow is far more than a picture on a Christmas card, but I can’t help but live my life in such a way that in all things, I give thanks.

Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Remember when we were little kids and how exciting it was to sit beside the radio to listen in hopes to hear our school named on that long list of those that were cancelled for the day? How fun was it to bundle up in multi-layers of clothing and snow suits to the point where we could barely move … and head for ‘dead man’s hill’ (that’s what it was called in the woods near our house) and to spend hours sledding, making snow people, and having snowball fights?

Won’t you join me today and throughout the remainder of this winter, to give thanks in all circumstances ~ for the memories, for the fun times with today’s little people, and for unexpected opportunities to spend time in prayer for others. Spring is coming … but let’s make the most of what is before us today.

Until next time,
Debbie

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
Isaiah 1:18

“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My mouth:
It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:9-11

Ornaments

29 Nov

 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

After the busyness of the past several days of precious family time, I find myself, in the quietness of my thoughts and the sacredness of the holidays, wondering where Thanksgiving is suppose to end and Christmas is suppose to start.  Can we honestly celebrate one without the other?   How fitting that both special days are so close on the calendar!!

Our daughter and her little family spent much of this past week with us in our home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  With a 20 month-old toddler around, we laughed a lot, were entertained by the simplest gestures and words, and watched a few episodes of Dora the Explorer.  Turkey Day itself was shared with a total of 23 around the dinner table at ‘Park Place’ … the home of  Tim’s oldest sister.  This is becoming quite a holiday tradition as the individual Van Hook kids have married and had kids, and their kids are now getting married and having kids…and we can all gather at Aunt Debbie’s house to visit.   What a blessing this year as four baby boys were born into the family since last Thanksgiving!

Once family all went home, I rearranged the living room furniture in order to make room for our Christmas tree.  My thoughts and prayers were going out to several friends who are struggling with life.  My mom’s best friend suffered a heart attack during the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  The medical staff at the hospital in Greenwood was able to save Nellie’s life with an immediate surgery and procedure … A big thank you goes out to those who work on special days when most of us have time off!  Another friend in Albuquerque lost everything in an apartment fire last week.  A dear friend in Cincinnati is leaning hard on Jesus since her husband’s cancer has returned.  Another precious friend is going through the holidays for the first time without her father, who passed away in August.  It seems that everywhere we look, life is full.  It is full of joy and it is full of sorrow.  Even through the sorrow, we can still have joy as we have SO much to be grateful for! 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great mercies we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26

 

With the tradition of Karen Carpenter, 4 Him, and Amy Grant filling our home with songs of the season, my heart was still celebrating Thanksgiving as I opened boxes packed full of 30 years of life.  Inside were memories all wrapped up in garland, lights, holiday tins, a musical moose, stuffed Christmas veggies, gingerbread houses made of clay, and ornaments.  Ornaments that tell stories about people, places, events, and times.

As I hung each ornament on the tree, my heart was overwhelmed by God’s love and His mercies, for they ARE new every morning and every year.  Testimonies to His faithfulness hang all over my Christmas tree!  Homemade treasures made out construction paper and paper doilies, complete with school photos, represent sweet blessings all grown up now.  Friendships old and new, special places like Kauai and Venice, and many ‘1st’ ornaments, for the various locations we have called home.  An attitude of prayer filled my living room as I gently placed each memento on the branches, thanking God for the people who came to mind, and seeking Him on their behalf … wherever they are, whatever they are doing this Christmas season, and for their part in my life  ~ sometime between 1980 and 2010.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

I look forward to this special prayer service next year.  My own personal Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration.  I know that my home would never be displayed in a trendy home décor magazine, but that’s ok.  The simple decorations and the tree, complete with icicles and unique ornaments never to be found in a boutique shop, adorn a most sacred chapel of worship. 

Won’t you join me in continuing to give thanks for His blessings as we enter into this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior?

Until next time,
Debbie

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 118:28-29

 

 

 

 

My Identity List

19 Nov

 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

 

As I was thumbing through my Bible the other day to find the scripture that went along with my devotional reading, I began to take notice of all the different items that I have tucked inside the pages throughout.  There are torn portions of various church bulletins that I have jotted down notes on, pages from Our Daily Bread that are memorials to a special day, specific bookmarks that represent an event, and a cough drop wrapper that even years later still serves as a reminder to pray.  Among the many other treasures are three scratch papers overflowing with what I call my Identity List. 

Several years ago in a desperate cry for help, God began to flood my rough and rugged pathway with a steady stream of Light.  This Light allowed me to take one step at a time, secure of His presence in my life.  In my world of extreme uncertainty and heartache, I found Strength, Protection, Hope, Peace, … I found Jesus. 

I started to make notes of scriptures that became my Identity List …

Jesus is my Strength and my Shield
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Psalm 28:7

 

Jesus is my Trust
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.
Psalm 40:4

 

Jesus is my Refuge and my Strength … and Help
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

 

Jesus is my Strength and my Song … and my Salvation
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Exodus 15:2

 

Jesus is my Lamp
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29

 

Jesus is my Maker and my Husband
For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name.
Isaiah 54:5

 

Jesus is my Glue
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
 Colossians 1:17

 

Jesus is my Confidence
For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
Proverbs 3:26

 

Jesus is my Light
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 
I John 1:5

 

Jesus is my Anchor
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19

 

 

This is just a small sampling of close to 75 scribbled hand written notes and scriptures that claim my identity with Jesus.  When circumstances of life toss me around and I feel alone, helpless, and weak, I often open up my Bible to find these scraps of paper for a reminder of my Real Identity. 

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

 

Won’t you join me in taking Jesus off the note paper and truly allowing Him to be our Identity?

Until next time,
Debbie