Tag Archives: Scriptures

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

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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

 

 

 

Hold My Hand

10 Nov

 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

 

Recently I decided to sit down with a book that’s new to my shelf called “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On”  by Stormie Omartian.  Family Christian had it on their $5 rack a few months ago, and I quickly snatched up this book at a bargain price!  As usual, she had me from the get go and I began to absorb like a sponge the truths and the extremely helpful words I was reading.

“Life is a walk.  Each day we take steps. 
Our tomorrow is determined by the steps we take today.”

 

This made me think of our little grandson, Cole.  He has been walking now for several months, but as he began to toddle around, he not only needed to hold on to someone’s hand, he wanted to.  Inside of him, there was a fear of getting hurt, and he knew that as long as he had his momma’s hand, she wouldn’t let him fall.  As those chubby legs began to gain strength to support and steady his active body, he became less and less needy of the help and attention from the hovering adults…or so he thought.  His will and inner drive to become independent gave him courage and a boldness with every step to be able to go it alone.  But then those same adults, who were then hesitantly standing back to watch, began to clap and cheer … causing the little guy to smile, get all excited, and topple over on his nose.  This whole process repeated itself over and over many times until it became less and less of a big deal to the big people, allowing the little person to stumble, bump, and make progress until he began chasing the dog through the house, giggling the whole way!

Although he’s been walking now for quite some time … and yes, even running through the house chasing the dog, there are times that Cole still needs to hold someone’s hand.  Most of the time, he doesn’t think so, but for his own safety and the sanity of his mother, he needs to.  We were in the Indianapolis airport a  few weeks ago and had stopped at Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix for the momma.  With so much to see in every direction, Cole was not too happy with the concept of needing to hold anyone’s hand.  He is learning, however, that there are still times that when the verbal boundaries are not heeded, then his little hand will quickly be grasped again by the hovering adult.  He still needs direction and a steady guide…and will yet for several years to come.  You and I both know that there is an order of progression that takes place … of letting go of the hand.  God planned it that way.  As his young life gains momentum and picks up speed of its own, eventually the hands will release… and instead, the ones belonging to the adults will forever remain in a posture of prayer.

Stormie continues on in chapter 1 talking about our walk with God being very different than that of a child with his parents.  He wants us to reach up and take His hand, but He doesn’t want us to ever let go.  In fact, His desire is that we become more and more dependent upon Him for every step we take.  The only way we will ever make it through the valleys, around the dangerous curves, and over the looming mountains that seem to block our way is to hold tight to His guiding hand. 

November 4 in Holiness and High Country says it this way …

“As long as life lasts, He gives the blessings of sunshine and rain
even to those who reject Him. 
Our Lord asks us to be like God in the liberality of our love. 
Can I love a man who curses me?  Can I sincerely pray for God to give His blessing to one
who has wronged me?  Can I forgive – and keep on forgiving, and loving? 

It is a difficult spiritual achievement that Jesus sets before us. 
But it is a blessed possibility that He opens up to us. 
Christian perfection is high country, but living at this level comes more from
God’s grace than from my achievement.  If it seems an impossibly lofty height,
He reaches out a hand and says, “Let Me lead you to it.”

 

More times than not, I find that life is difficult and doesn’t happen like I anticipated or dreamed it would.  I need Jesus to take me into the unknown areas where I have no idea of what is ahead.  I need Him to guide me and hold me steady!

You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:5-10

 

Some pathways are dark, the steps are uneven, and fear will often grip the heart and sometimes even paralyze any movement from taking place.  It is then that I need Jesus to take hold of my hand and to reassure me of His guidance, His love, and His help. 

 

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

  

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

The journey we are all on has its ups and downs.  My little grandson Cole is quickly learning that as he continues to grow and steady himself over the rocky pathways of life.  My prayer for this little guy is that even before he will let go of his mom and dad’s hands, he will follow the example and also reach up to the hand of Jesus, depending on Him to guide and lead Him throughout the rest of his life and into eternity.  Won’t you also join me in taking hold of the hand of Jesus?

Till next time,
Debbie

Tractor

27 Oct

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose
mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee.
Isaiah 26:3 

 

The tractor that pulled the wagon to the pumpkin patch

Not quite sure how it happened, but our little grandson loves tractors.  Perhaps it was the John Deere tractor book that sat among all the other children’s books…a tractor tire at each corner so it could roll around on the shelf.  Maybe it was because his Grandpa Arndt took him for rides around their property on their lawn mower tractor, or … just because.  For whatever reason, Cole loves tractors.

Cole really enjoys anything that has wheels, moves, and makes noise.  He becomes quite animated with the various sounds that vehicles make and he is pretty good at differentiating between them all.  Our home sits along a very busy road and he will always respond when he hears something loud that goes down the street.  His eyes will get big, he’ll sort of gasp with excitement, and then make the appropriate noise that matches what he heard. His favorites are motorcycles, loud trucks or cars, and fire trucks.  He loves to stand at the window in our bedroom that faces the busy road and watch the traffic as it comes and goes.  Excited bounces up and down, gasps of delight, motor noises from his cute little lips, and fingers constantly pointing … all the while saying CAR, TRACTOR  ~  with an occasional ‘HOOO  HOOO’ when he thinks he sees a dog over at the neighbor’s house. 

Cole's favorite toy tractor at Grami's house

Cole has a lot of toys and he plays with a great variety of things.  He loves music, so if a particular toy will sing for him, he’ll twist the knob, push the handle, or pull the string that is required to hear the melody.  He has monkeys, tools, balls, and other little kid toys, but if you were to set it all out on display and let him go pick his favorite, it would be a tractor.  He has his tractors at his house and he has his tractors at Grami’s house.  Both grandpas have yard tractors, and he always gets to take rides with them … I wonder why it seems that he loves THESE guys so??  

Cole enjoys a lot of things, but he most certainly has one focus.  A tractor brings a smile all the way from Cole’s heart.  I’ve thought a lot about this during the past several weeks we have been able to get to know the personality of this little guy and to enjoy his antics.  What is my focus?   What is yours?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 
Colossians 3:2

 

Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.
 For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

 

Life is busy for all of us.  There’s always work to be done, bills to be paid, places to go, and things to do.   But dare we get so caught up in the duties that demand our attention that we fail to truly focus on why we are able to even take our next breath.  God our Creator desires the TRACTOR in our life to be Him.  He loves us.  In the midst of our busyness, may we fix our eyes, our thoughts, and our hearts on Jesus.  Just like Cole, may Jesus be our last thought as we fall asleep and be our first thought when we awake. 

 

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
 and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men,
 so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:2-3

 

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling,
fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.
Hebrews 3:1

 

My prayer is that as this little 19 month old boy continues to grow up and learn more and more about tractors, ABCs, and life, that we as grandparents will partner with this young family in teaching Cole about the love of Jesus. 

 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
 tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home
and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates,
 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD
 swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Deuteronomy  11:18-21

 

Won’t you join me in allowing the TRACTOR of our lives to be Jesus?

Till next time,
Debbie

My Shepherd

19 Oct

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart.
Isaiah 40:11

 

Have you ever had one of those nights when you wake up after being asleep for only a couple of hours?  I have on occasion, but most recently just a few nights ago.  After turning over and fluffing up my pillow, I found myself wide awake.  I slipped out of bed and walked across the hall to the bathroom.  Once back in bed, the heaviness and warmth of the recently added electric blanket weighed down on me, so I got up again and made my way to the kitchen to get some cold water.  The coolness of the liquid felt good, but only for a brief moment.  I crawled back in bed.  I closed my eyes and tried to settle my mind, but instead, thoughts began to race through my head, wrecking havoc to my heart.  Have you ever been there?  I know that sometimes the Lord wakes me up during the wee hours of the morning and I feel an urgency to pray for someone or a particular situation, but I have also learned from experience that Satan can wake me up as well.  Instead of being able to pray my way out the dark pit I felt myself slipping into, I laid there wrestling with the enemy.  After three hours of restless stirrings, my weary mind and exhausted spirit began to search the archives of scripture that I have set to memory.  The only passage that I could clearly remember was the 23rd Psalm…King James Version, of course.  That is how I memorized it as a young child.  Now in the light of day, I am convinced even more so of the importance of teaching our children scripture at a young age.  Psalm 23 somehow penetrated its way through the blackness of my night … do you think it was because it had been engraved on my heart for so many years?

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

I love this!  I claim ownership right here!  He is MY Shepherd!  What more do I need?   Nothing … just Jesus!!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:

I laid there and slowly began to relax as I envisioned being led into a wide open and spacious meadow full of the richness of Jesus … to lie down and be refreshed and restored by Jesus, MY Shepherd.


he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
 for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

Even though some of those paths may be through valleys full of shadows and long nights, I still know that I can trust MY Shepherd that those paths lead me to righteousness … for His name’s sake … It’s not about me, but it’s all for Him!!

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Evil, with all its demons of fear, doubt, bitterness, and all those dark night-time darts that the enemy threw at me tried its best to consume me, but I reached out for MY Shepherd, for He promises that He is with me … His very heart comforts me.


Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

A victorious and overwhelming banquet … for MY Shepherd Jesus and me!


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

My heart began to soar as I came to this verse … my key verse for Morsels of Mercy … a promise to me from the heart of MY Shepherd!!  These precious words also brought to mind a very special song from my days back in Albuquerque in Pastor Gregg’s choir.  Sweet Aroma of Praise …


and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 

“Forever” began for me just a little over 50 years ago now!   I’m so grateful that I don’t have to wait till I die to dwell in the house of the Lord forever … I can be there now! 

It was the words of this ancient Psalm that finally broke through the tight grip of darkness, and I rested for the remaining few hours of the morning in the sweet presence of MY Shepherd.  It is there that I long to stay.  Where His mercies and His compassions are new every morning … He is my portion, my hope, and I seek Him and wait for Him. 

Won’t you join me?

Till next time,
Debbie

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:22-26

 

Love Notes

16 Sep

The angel went to her and said,
“Greetings, you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:28

 

Just this morning, on a paper towel tucked away in his lunch box, I wrote a few words of affection to my husband.  During the recent visit to our daughter and son-in-law’s home, I caught a glimpse of a note lying on a dresser in their bedroom.  It was from him to her, no doubt written in the wee hours of a morning before he went to work … for her to find as she woke a few hours later to the giggles and sweetness of their toddler.  Earlier today, I slipped a couple cards into the mail, with sentiments of love and prayer for friends. 

Two weeks ago this evening, Tim and I pulled down into the driveway of our new home.  Life had already set an incredible pace of busyness several weeks previous, including packing, work, more packing, and more work.  Once the big white truck was unloaded and returned, that pace continued for a few days in order for our household to function while our kids came to help us get settled.  Boxes were emptied, their contents placed throughout, allowing the house to quickly become our home.  What joy it was to cut open the protective tape from the sides of each box and to randomly come across a love note written somewhere on the box!   The gift givers were my precious friends from Higher Ground with whom I’ve worked side by side in the kitchen now for about a year. 

“Is the salad bar finished yet?    Love ya, Chrissy”

 

“Don’t worry  –  Be happy!     Love, Pat”

 

“Are you there yet?  Gonna miss you!  Don’t be too persnickety!
Ha! Ha!   Joy”

 

“Debbie, do you miss me yet?    I promise to come visit you! 
I wuv you so much!  Love Courtney”

 

“Hi   Miss you already    BP”

 

“- Tim and Deb –
Do you know that you are blessed and highly favored? 
Have a great day!
Love, Pat”

 

“   😮     I love you   BP”

 

 

“I’ll fly away!”

 

As the girls were using the products from these boxes, instead of their usual routine of breaking down the boxes for easy disposal, they took them to the back, often with a marker and a message.  How delightful it has been during these days of unpacking to reach into a box and find a simple greeting  …  a love note. 

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting
and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
 thoroughly equipped for every good work.
I Tim 3:16

 

Throughout the New Testament, the various authors of the Bible penned letters which became God’s personal love notes to us.  Scriptures offer direction, love, correction, accountability, encouragement, and friendship.  With God’s Word as our only true example of love, will you join me as I desire to stay alert to the nudgings from the Holy Spirit … and to give notes of love that will express support, prayer, encouragement, accountability and friendship?

I have several more boxes to unpack  …  and I do so with great anticipation of more love notes!

Till next time,
Debbie

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts,
known and read by everybody.
You show that you are a letter from Christ,
result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:2-3