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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

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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

 

 

 

Family Camp

24 Jun

God said. “Take off your sandals,
for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” 
The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.
 I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers,
and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down
to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up
out of that land into a good and spacious land,
a land flowing with milk and honey.” 
Exodus 3:5-8

 

It was an interesting and very enjoyable week … one that started with busy clean-up, preparation, and set-up.  Just two days before families and friends began to cross the bridge which welcomed them onto the property, flood waters quickly rose that Saturday morning and not only covered the bridge, but temporarily transformed our small creek into a 30 foot-wide raging river.  When guests drove onto the grounds on the first day of Family Camp, they were greeted by the huge fallen trees that had traveled, clustered in piles, and came to rest near the banks of our receded swollen stream.  There was a lot of excited chatter and questions that first evening regarding the recent flash flood.  It set the stage for an unusual concern the second night of camp when severe thunderstorm and flash flood warnings were posted.  Following some blinding rain, heavy winds, and bright lightning, the storm passed, and we enjoyed good weather the remainder of the week.

Family Camp is the modern-day term for what we always called Camp Meeting … a revival of sorts, complete with evangelists, special singers, and the church.  Except this revival is held in one location with large enough facilities so that many churches can attend.  Another special aspect of Family Camp is that a lot of people come and stay for the entire week.  They rent lodge rooms, an area in one of the dorms, or an entire cabin for several families.  We also have those that stay in their RVs … filling the camping area with the sounds of children, the smells of campfires, and the taste of homemade ice cream.  What a fun place Family Camp is!

For me personally, I had several highlights this year.  I LOVE people and I so enjoy our Nazarene district church folk!  Some of them I get to see often, while others I only see once or twice a year.  I was able to spend some time with my friend Linda and her two grandchildren, and I joined in the fun of swimming in the pool with them on Friday afternoon.  Being with these kids made my heart ache even more for my own grandson!  Maybe someday Cole can come and stay the week of Family Camp with his Grami and Gramps!  There were those who helped Tim run the technical side of Family Camp, so they made up the techno table at each meal.  Great huge bouquets of grateful flowers go out to these friends for your faithful help and concern.  Friends and more friends warmed my heart throughout the week, and I am eternally grateful for the privilege of getting to know so many precious and special people.  People asked about my grandbaby and of course, Grami had pictures!  We chatted about health issues, family members, motorcycles, and Morsels of Mercy.  The church services were special, having two former District Superintendents in attendance and behind the pulpit on various occasions.  The Collingsworth Family ended the week-long celebration on Sunday evening with a concert … and then as quickly as everyone arrived, they all left. 

Family Camp  …Camp Meeting  (whichever you prefer to call it)  is only a memory now for 2010.  The hundreds of chairs in the Graves Family Life Center have been stacked and put away.  The meals were cleaned up and new menus planned.  Windows had handprints smeared on them and more spiders and bugs had settled on the ledges outside.  Monday morning was a busy time of clean-up, preparation, and set-up … but this time for the next batch of guests arriving by noon and ready to have their summer visit to Higher Ground.   

The real reason for Family Camp is spiritual renewal.  There were sessions of Bible study, morning and evening services, complete with music, preaching, and prayer.  We sang a song that first morning service that went like this …

This Is Holy Ground
We’re Standing On Holy Ground
For The Lord Is Present And Where He Is, Is Holy

I have to admit that as I sat there singing this chorus, tears spilled down my face as the Lord spoke to my own heart.  There are days the ground on which I stand does not seem very holy to me.  Remember the spiders and bugs?  I found myself kneeling at an altar of prayer that morning, recommitting my everything to Him so that I could know that I stood on Holy Ground no matter where I was. 

Wherever you are at any given moment of the day or night, is the ground where you are standing Holy?  It is Holy simply because the Lord is present and where He is, it is Holy.  Is He present in your life?  Join me today in making sure that we are indeed standing on Holy Ground.

Until next time,
Debbie