Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fire, Wind and Rain

Our beautiful island of Maui has experienced its share of natural phenomena this last week. A fire broke out on the slopes of Haleakala Mountain at Polipoli Park and burned for four solid days before it was finally contained. There was about 1200 acres destroyed by the uncontrollable fire. We could smell the smoke from the fire at our house as the wind blew it in our direction. We could see the flames from our back porch in the dark night hours. Our hearts were sad as that area was a favorite hiking place of our family. Now it will take years to replenish the burned out trees that were destroyed and bring the area back to the place it was before the fire.

If that were not enough, two days ago came very strong winds from a northern weather pattern that has brought winds ranging from 20 to 50 miles per hour to all the islands of Hawaii. At our house, we are surrounded by large trees and for two days an amazing amount of branches and shredded leaves have fallen to the ground. Our banana patch has lost several trees, along with several bunches of bananas that came tumbling to the ground. Our lychee tree was so lush and full with leaves prior to the wind and is now very sparse having lost several large branches and tons of leaves. Our avocado tree has lost every blossom, as has the very large mango tree of our neighbors that spread its branches over into our property. The small flowers and herbs in my garden are dangling their pretty heads to the ground and look very wind beaten. The winds are continuing to buffet us and are not expected to dwindle until sometime tomorrow. The sound is disconcerting and leaves me a little on the edge!

Tomorrow in the forecast we are to receive two days of heavy rain. The island actually could use a little rain as things are getting pretty brown, but heavy rains could cause some damage in the higher elevations of the island, especially in Hana.

As I contemplated all the weather-related annoyances of this past week, I was encouraged as I looked out our front window this afternoon and saw a rainbow, very wide and bright. The rainbow reminded me of God's promise that there would never be another flood that would destroy the earth. A rainbow always seems to bring a sense of hope that all is well. It reminds me that all the power we have experienced through the fire, wind and probably the rain that is coming is all under God's sovereign control. He is the Master of the wind, rain and fire, and they obey His bidding. So when I feel nervous or on edge by the sound of the wind or the rain, I will remind myself that God who loves me is in control!

A little prayer wouldn't hurt either---so pray for us!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Don't Waste Your Life

I just finished reading John Piper's book entitled "Don't Waste Your Life." On the back cover he wrote this synopsis of his book and I thought it worthy of sharing with you:

"John Piper writes, I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider this story from the February 1998 Readers Digest: A couple 'took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells....' Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: 'Look, Lord, See my shells." That is a tragedy.
God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of HIM in every part of our lives. Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, spending their lives on trivial diversions, living for comfort and pleasure, and perhaps trying to avoid sin. I will warn you not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing. I challenge you to live and die boasting in the cross of Christ and making the glory of God your singular passion. If you believe that to live is Christ and to die is gain, learn to live for Christ, and don't waste your life!"

I don't know about you, but this was truly a convicting book for me. I had to ask myself if my sole purpose in life was to live for Christ and Him alone. There are many many ways to demonstrate that Christ is first in my life, and there are so many ways that the world pulls at you to stray from those priorities. What we believe and how strongly we believe it will come forth through our actions and our deeds. I pray that I might search inwardly for the true priorities of my heart, and then act to place Christ first in all of them. How about you?

Christ wants our firstfruits---not our leftovers!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

God's Grace

In our Sunday School class at our church, we have been studying the grace of God, His unmerited favor, grace that we don't deserve, but he bestows upon us so freely and abundantly. It was by God's grace that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:8-9)
We are justified by His grace (Romans 3:24) If we could do anything to merit God's grace, then grace would no longer be grace--it would be works which cannot save us. However, because of His grace, we want to do good works to show our love and appreciation to God for His continual grace extended to us. It's not a set of rules we have to follow, it's Christ's love that overflows from our hearts that prompts us to extend that same grace to others.

By God's grace we are also bestowed with a gift from God uniquely given to us for His purpose to build up and edify others.
I Peter 4, Peter reminds us of the ways we can offer our gifts to show that we love God and His people.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and power forever and ever. Amen." (I Peter 4:8-11)

The phrase "faithfully administering God's grace in its varioius forms" speaks of grace being in different forms. God provides illuminating grace for every seeker, justifying grace for all believers, strengthening grace for the weak, growing grace for the young Christian, comforting grace for the bereaved, living grace for our daily walk, and dying grace for the end of our journey. No matter what we face today, or tomorrow, the grace of God will perfectly conform to each specially shaped sorrow and trial. There's a plaque that says: "God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you."

We are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord. I believe we can only grow in our grace bestowed to others when we ourselves have grown to realize what a great gift of grace that was given to us individually through Christ. God's grace prompted God's gift given to us of His Only Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, through faith. Can we do any less than thank God for His grace and for His unspeakable gift, and in turn, be gracious to others!

"Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love!" (Eph. 6:24)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lessons in Life

This was sent to me by a friend today---I thought it was worthwhile sharing it with you.


Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Pay off your credit cards every month.

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to

Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the

If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be
in it.

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy
lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In
five years, will this matter?"

Forgive everyone for everything.

What other people think of you is none of your

Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your
friends and family will. Stay in touch.

Believe in miracles.

God loves you because of who God is, not because of
anything you did or didn't do.

If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone
else's, we'd grab ours back.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. That's why
we call it The Present.

Enjoy today!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Strength, Part 2

I wanted to expand on the subject of strength that I started yesterday in my blog. As Christians, we are not powerless. We are overcomers, because of the strength of Christ that is in us. We do not obtain power to overcome our problems by mustering up our own strength. All of us have probably tried to do many things in our own way without God's help and have failed. It is only by the power of Christ that is within us as we surrender our wills to His will that allows His supernatural strength to become active and overcome great obstacles that stand in our way of success.

God has always been there for His people to overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable. Moses recognized it was only by the power of God that allowed him to lead his people out of Egypt toward the Promised Land. Joshua reminded the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land that they were to "be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." God's promises are as true today for us as they were for the Israelites. He will never leave us or forsake us.

Colossians 1:11-12 says: "Being strengthed with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

God is comitted to empower us with His glorious might until we are called into his kingdom. By the same power that He raised Christ from the dead, and by the same power that God bestowed on the disciples to testify after Christ was resurrected, He will bestow on us to live a victorious Christian life as we by faith trust Him to do so. Why would we go through our lives determined to do it our own way when we can have supernatural power to live life God's way???

"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


As women, what does the term "strength" convey to you? Do we think of men with big bulging muscles able to lift huge weights without batting an eye? Do we think of strength as power that only certain people can attain because of their status in society?

I just read a cute quote in Readers Digest by Judith Viorst:

"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands--and then eat just one of the pieces."

I'd say that was strength indeed for all chocolate lovers!

There's a song that has a line that says "strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow."

Websters Dictionary defines strength in five different ways:

1) state, property, or quality of being strong; i.e. muscular strength is the ability of the muscles to generate force.
2) power to resist attack; i.e. impregnability
3) power to resist strain or stress; durability
4) ability to maintain a moral or intellectual position firmly.
5) A source of power or force

Today let's ponder the last two definitions of strength. I think as Christian women God has given us particular ability to stand firm in our moral and intellectual choices today, BECAUSE of the SOURCE of the power we have within us! Christ in us, the hope of glory. Christ is our strength giver! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
It is only through Him that we have strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow! It is because of His promises that we as women can stand against attack and resist strain or stress, because we know the ONE who goes before us in every pathway of life and lights the way for us. Where we are weak, HE remains strong. In our weakness, Christ can work the most good as we depend on Him and lean on Him for everything. He will not fail us, as He has promised to be our All in All!
We are to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." And God also created us as women to be helpers to our mates so that they also can be strong in the Lord and can achieve their very best. It is through our prayers and our support that we can make such a difference in our husbands' lives and allow them to be strong for us, both morally and intellectually. If we recognize God's design and claim God as our source of power and strength, we can be a mighty force in our homes, in our families, and in the world today.

Claim God's strength and be strong today!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dick!

Today is my husband's 64th birthday---I always tease him and tell him he's catching up to me! Birthdays are blessings from the Lord. As we grow older, each birthday seems more precious as we realize God has allowed us another year to be with our family and friends, and another year to serve Him.

God's word promises long life to those that keep his word and honor Him. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many and years will be added to your life." (Prov. 9:11

"My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity." (Prov. 3:1-2).

"But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm." (Prov. 1:33)

God's Word gives us His wisdom, and His wisdom prolongs our life. His word gives us peace and joy and relieves stress. We are to be different than those that do not know the Lord. As you contemplate the fact that you are still living and breathing, contemplate as well the purpose for why you are still here. God made you for a unique purpose only you can fulfill. He created you with your special gift that He wants you to use for His glory and for His pleasure. I pray you have discovered that purpose and are joyfully living it out for Christ's sake.

I'm so thankful for my husband and for the safety and security I have felt in our 44 years of marriage. I pray God will allow us many more years together, and that many more birthdays will be celebrated. Most of all, I pray our lives will be used for God's honor and glory for the years we do have left.

Thankful for Dick,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Continue On

I have a poem framed that has hung in my house for several years. In rereading it this morning, I thought maybe all you mothers out there who are feeling tired, frustrated and worn down from motherhood might be encouraged by it.

Continue On

A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life.
She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother.
She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband
and children would make a difference.

At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did
seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated.
"Is it worth it?" she often wondered. "Is there something better
that I should be doing with my life?"

It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard
the still small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart.
"You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be.
Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye. But I notice.
Most of what you give is done without remuneration.
But I am your reward.

Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support.
Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful
than you will ever know.
I bless him through your service and honor him through your love.
Your children are precious to Me. Even more precious than they are to you.
I have entrusted them to your care to raise for me.
What you invest in them is an offering to Me.

You may never be in the public spotlight. But your obedience shines as
a bright light before Me. Continue on. Rememember you are my servant.
Do all to please Me."

Author: Roy Lessin

Motherhood is the greatest position we could possibly hold and it has greater rewards than we can ever imagine. We must trust God to watch over our children and give us wisdom each day to know what God desires for them and encourage them to be all that God wants them to be. Just a small word of encouragement to our children goes so far in making them feel special, both in your eyes and in God's eyes. An unkind word goes even farther to destroy how they feel about themselves and God. Remember---you can be the bright light that allows them to see Christ in a way that they want to trust and obey Him. I pray for all mothers everywhere that they are encouraged to continue on!!!

I love being a mother (and a grandmother)!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

What a Privilege to Pray

Today has been a day of learning of many reasons to pray---a friend just lost her dad last evening, two friends who just returned home from serious hospital stays, and one who was taken to the hospital on Oahu for a sudden serious ailment that is affecting her heart. What a privilege it is for us who know the Lord to go to the very throne of grace and ask the Lord to intervene on behalf of these dear friends. We have direct access to the Father who loves his children and wants to bless them with His grace and mercy. He is the Great Physician and the God of all comfort. He can with a touch heal if He so desires, and He can comfort those that need His comfort and peace at a time when they are helpless and unable to pray for themselves. He uses us as His children to be vessels of grace and mercy and comfort to those that He has placed in our path. Let us be faithful to be prayer warriors on behalf of sisters and brothers who need extra support and love and compassion. We may need the same support from them some day.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be known to God, and the peace of God which passes all understanding, will keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus."

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need."

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Prayerfully lift up those in your sphere of life that need God's grace and mercy, His comfort and compassion!

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Golden Rule

Some of you got up this morning dreading to go to work because you anticipate experiencing a hard time from a fellow co-worker, or you expect the boss to demand something from you that you don't feel capable of doing. Maybe you're a college student struggling with a difficult class or teacher, or a teacher struggling with a difficult student and you got up this morning dreading to face another day of struggle. Maybe you're a parent that doesn't know how to talk to your teenager anymore, or you're a teenager who thinks their parents don't understand them anymore. All of us face situations with other human beings wherein we struggle with communication and understanding as a normal pattern.

The Golden Rule is as applicable today as it was when God gave it to us in his word: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule is God's rule. Today spread a heaping helping of kindness wherever you go. Treat others that God places in your path with the same respect and kindness that you would like to receive from them. Make forgiveness a cornerstone of your dealings with others; be generous with your time and your possessions. When you do, you'll discover that the more kindness you give away to others, the more you'll receive in return. Give a smile to the grocery clerk, to the bank teller, to the bus driver, to the receptionist---to whomever you might run into at any given moment. See what a smile might do to change the person's whole outlook on their day. You can become a shining example to all you meet. By the way, people are watching you, and they are learning from you. What is your attitude teaching others as you go into your normal day today?

"Love covers a multitude of sins." (I Peter 4:8) "Therefore, if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him water; for in doing so, you shall heap coals of kindness on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:20-21)

God wants us to change our attitudes, and our attitudes then can possibly change others!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Will there be seasons in heaven?

My son popped a question at me while we were in Idaho---will we experience seasons in heaven? Here are the thoughts of Randy Alcorn who is the author of "Heaven."

Beginning of selected quotes from "Heaven":
"Some people have never thought about Heaven's weather because they don't think of heaven as a real place, certainly not on the New Earth. Or they assume the New Earth will have bright sunshine, no clouds, no rain...forever.

"Is rain a bad thing? No, it's good. We'll see trees bearing fruit on the New Earth. Will they be rained on? Presumably. Will rain turn to snow in higher elevations? Of course. Just as resurrected people will still have eyes, ears, and feet, a resurrected earth will have rain, snow, and wind.

"When we live on the New Earth, could we go hiking in a snowstorm without fear of trauma or death? Could we jump off a cliff into a river three hundred feet below? Could we stand in an open field in flashing lightning and roaring thunder and experience the exhilaration of God's powerful hand? Must the New Earth be tamed, stripped of high peaks, deserts, waterfalls, and thunderstorms because these sometimes caused pain and death in this world? Nature, including variations in climate, will be a source of joy and pleasure, not destruction. If we stand amazed now at the wonders of God's great creation, we'll be even more amazed at the greater wonders of that greater creation.

Will there be still be seasons on the New Earth? Why wouldn't there be? Some people argue that because fall and winter are about dying, we won't experience them in Heaven, because there will be no death there. I'm not convinced that seasons and their distinctive beauties are the result of the Fall. God is depicted as the seasons' Creator, and we're not told they didn't predate the Fall. The "no more death" of Revelation 21 applies to living creatures, people and animals, but not necessarily to all vegetation. Even if it does, God can certainly create a cycle of seasonable beauty apart from death." End of quotes.

After spending five days in freezing cold weather and seeing the magnificent beauty of the earth around us covered in snow with the green of pines scattered throughout the landscape, it's a nice thought that we could experience the same beauty in heaven only without getting cold, without fear of freezing to death, without getting tired, without the pain of the cold. I'm not sure if there will be seasons in heaven, but to allow my mind to think of the possibility is absolutely grand. My favorite season of the year is the autumn with all of its magnificent colors displayed like a painting done by God's own hand. But autumn is about things beginning to die so that new life can be possible in the spring. Seasons are God's design---if He chooses to show us seasons in heaven, we will be able to enjoy them at their very best without the effects of sin that is upon the earth today. We will be able to fully appreciate the seasons in the way God meant them to be before the Fall.

It's good to contemplate the possibilities of God's promises to us in His Word. Thank you, Rich, for the question----have you thought the question through? I'm glad that Randy Alcorn thought about it and gave us his thoughts. I'll need to explore it more. Do you have any thoughts on the question?

Loving the weather in Hawaii!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Our Idaho Snow Vacation

We are back from one of the most memorable vacations we've had in a long time. We flew to Honolulu to meet up with Rich (our son) and Emily, Bryan (12) and Bradley (8) last Thursday evening, January 11. When we left Honolulu to head toward snow country, the temperatures were in the high 70s. When we landed in Boise, Idaho the next morning, it was 23 degrees. Snow was everywhere and these thin-blooded Hawaiians felt the cold to our bones. The first thing we did was drive to a friend's store outside Boise to borrow warm snowsuits for the boys and to Walmart and Target stores to buy warm coats, boots, etc. for the rest of us. Then off to McCall, Idaho, which is two hours away up in the mountains to our final destination. It never got warmer than 9 degrees the whole time we were there.

We arrived at our beautiful lodging, a three-bedroom condo with all the amenities, including a gorgeous stone fireplace that we loved to hover around to stay warm. We arrived after dark on Friday evening, but the boys were so excited to see snow that they begged to go outside and play in it. So we dressed them from head to toe in their snowsuits and sent them outside. It was such a great experience to hear their laughter and giggles as they threw snowballs at each other and lay down in it to make snow angels, etc. for at least an hour.

The first day (Saturday) we took them to a wonderful place to go snow tubing, called The Activity Barn. A farmer who has a very large ranch in the summer months turns his big grazing fields into a wonderful long snow tubing run. He rigged up a cable that automatically pulls you up a long hill in your inner tube and then lets you loose at the top to fly down the hill at fast speeds. The kids loved it and spent two hours up and down the hill---in minus 2 degree weather!!!! Nana and Papa stayed inside around a pot-bellied stove talking to the owners most of the time!

The second day (Sunday) we took them to Brundage Ski Resort and signed them up for two ski lessons---one in the morning and one in the afternoon. By the end of the second lesson, Rich, Bry and Brad were skiing on their own and loving it! They consider this activity their most enjoyable of the trip!

The third day (Monday) Rich, Em, Bry and Brad, and Dick got up very early to meet at the snowmobile rental place with Dick's good friend, Gordon who lives in Boise and joined them for the day. They had 3 snowmobiles between the six of them, suited up in very warm clothes, as it was minus 9 degrees that morning!!! As for me, I stayed behind in the condo, and enjoyed about six hours of luxurious time reading and relaxing in front of a warm fireplace (saying lots of prayers for my crew that braved the bitter cold weather that morning)! They came in about 3:00 in the afternoon, excited about the day and had lots to tell me. I love the fact that Rich is so good at taking lots of pictures on his digital camera, so I was able to experience a lot of what they did through the pictures and tales they had to tell. If you would like to experience all the vacation through Rich's pictures, please check out his blog---just click on Rich's Blog at the top of my blog page.

Tuesday morning we rose out of our warm beds at 5:00 am to make the two hour trip to Boise to catch our plane back to the Islands. Upon arriving at the airport, we learned that it was a bad day for flying with lots of bad weather occurring in the Northwest. We had to reroute all of our flights to go through Seattle instead of Portland, but at the end of it, we got back to Maui at almost the same time as originally planned and the kids arrived in Oahu about 4 hours later than originally planned, but I praise God that the trip was very successful with tons of memories, all of us safe and sound back in our homes, and only a sniffle or two that we caught on our way back on the plane yesterday. God kept us safe, warm and healthy! What an answer to my prayers! We went to the snow in the coldest week of the year, but God saw us through it by His grace and mercy!

It's good to be back home---and hopefully things will fall back into a normal routine for us, but we will recall so many wonderful aspects of our trip to Idaho! Mostly I will remember the giggles and laughter from the boys as they saw snow for the first time in their lives and enjoyed each activity with such glee and expectation! Again, check out Rich's blogs for pictures---they are great!

Glad to be back home in warm Hawaii!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Walk in Light

My last blog was "walk in love", and in my morning's devotion today, I noticed clearly that we are also to "walk in light." In I John 1:5-7: "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all....if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from every sin."

Have you ever thought about light being a protection for you? When you find yourself walking in a dark place, such as a dark alley, you feel a sense of unease, but when you walk where there are lots of street lights, you feel safer. When you get up at night to find your way to the bathroom, without light you may stumble against a chair, or walk into the side of a door. A little nightlight lights your way enough to find your way safely.

In the Bible, John the Baptist's message to the world was that "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world." And in John 3:19, the Bible tells us that because the light was coming into the world, man would not accept the light as they loved darkness because it hid their deeds of evil. Jesus' light exposes the darkness in man's soul, and His light also leads us and guides us to eternal life. We are to live as "children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth" and and by the light we are to " find out what pleases the Lord." (Eph. 5:8-10) How do we do that? By reading God's word, that is "a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." As long as we stay on the path of light, we will not stray into the darkness and fall. Allow the Light of Christ radiate from you so that others might know that Christ shines in your life in such a way that they may want what you have. The only Bible others may ever see is what they read by watching your life! "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 4:16)

Shine brightly for the Lord!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Walk in Love

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love." II John, vs. 6

I contemplated the phrase "walk in love" in my devotions this morning, along with the Apostle Paul's Damascus Road experience. Prior to his venturing on his journey to Damascus, he was totally committed to destroying all Christians "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples." That is a far cry from walking in love. He was blinded by the true letter of the law, his legalistic upbringing and education, and following what he felt at the time was right by the standards in which he was raised. I think it is interesting that God chose "blinding" him with the presence of Christ to awaken Paul to the truth of His Son. When Paul's eyes were opened to God's love, he then was able to exhibit such love beyond measure toward his Christian brothers and sisters. He was also filled with such a love for Israel that he voiced these words: "For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel." God caused a complete 180 in Paul's goals, commitments, and desires----he allowed Paul to see God's love for him through Christ, and God's desires for Paul to surrender his all for the cause of Christ.

Does God desire any less for us? If we've had a true conversion experience, his desire is that we love one another in such a way to cause others to want Christ in their lives. He wants us to walk in love in obedience to his commands, and his greatest command is "Love one another, as I have loved you." He wants our eyes opened to the degree that it changes the way we interact with those around us, even the unlovely, even our enemies. Check your attitudes! Are they attitudes of love? Love is what covers a multitude of sins, love is what will conquer the enemy.

Asking God to fill me with more love this year!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thunder of His Power

For the past three or four days on Maui, we have experienced winds that have blown and blown and blown. Sometimes the winds bring rain, and even an occasional flash of lightning which is rare for Hawaii. It is January, and this is somewhat normal for this time of year. We are heading for Idaho in about 5 days and they are getting lots of snow and freezing temperatures. Denver has been socked in with snow for a couple of weeks. However, in New York, they have summer-like conditions where the temperatures are in their 70s, people are jogging in shorts and the flowers are beginning to come up and bloom. In conversation with people on the telephone, the question is inevitably: "What is happening to our weather patterns?" It is not "normal." It plants some questions in our minds about global warming, and anxious thoughts about what might come next.

This morning as I read my devotions I was amazed at God's sovereign control---even over the weather! He has power over the changing patterns of all the weather. Listen to these verses:

"He made the earth by his power, he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the winds from his storehouses." Jeremiah 51:15-16

Did you realize he stores up the wind??? He makes the clouds to rise??? He orders the lightning to come??? WOW!

"He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing. He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He covers the face of the full moon, spreading his clouds over it. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness. The pillars of the heavens quake, aghast at his rebuke. By his power he churned up the sea; by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces. By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent. And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?" Job 26:7-14

By the word of His mouth, the earth quakes. By his breath, the skies clear. The sea churns by his power!!! WOW!

"God understands the way to it (wisdom) and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, "The fear of the Lord---that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding." Job 28:23-28

By God's wisdom, He controls the weather---he established it! He made a decree for the rain and the thunderstorm to follow according to his perfect wisdom!!! God understands what is happening with the strange weather patterns we are experiencing---he ordered it that way by the thunder of his power! What an awesome truth proclaimed in God's Word!
His power is limitless---how humbling to know that He loves us and by His power he keeps us safe and secure in His arms!
Nothing can separate us from his love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord---nothing!

Praise to our awesome God!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Snow Vacation

We will be leaving to go to McCall, Idaho, with my son and his family next week---going into snow country! My two grandsons have never seen snow in their 12 and 8 years of life---ever! They are so excited! My son hasn't been in snow for almost 15 years, and my daughter-in-law has only been in snow once in her life. Right now, Idaho is experiencing lots of snow----and COLD weather! We are praying that next week the snow will lessen and the temperatures rise a little---otherwise, these Hawaiians may be huddled around the fireplace the whole 5 days we are there! :)

Whenever I anticipate any kind of travel, I get a little anxious. I'm getting better at trusting the Lord for safety each time I board a plane, but I have to truly pray and commit it to the Lord before peace comes to my heart. This trip is no different!
I was reading Psalm 139:9-10 today: "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." Traveling over 5 hours of ocean, this verse brings peace to my heart.
Then Proverbs 3:23-26: "Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence.." God's promises are so faithful! I can trust Him to keep me in His righteous right hand and uphold me through any circumstance, even in a plane, even in snow, even in unfamiliar surroundings. HE is my security, my refuge, my protection.

I always am blessed so much by the prayers of my fellow Christian prayer warriors. Please pray for us, first for safety, then for health that we might all stay well and enjoy the time we have as a family to share in another one of God's marvelous wonders---snow!

Thanking you in advance,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Heritage

I have thanked God many times for my Christian ancestry over the years. My sister has delved into our geneology and has gotten back in one branch of the family almost to the late 1700s, and throughout those years, God had placed an ancestor with a strong Christian witness that blessed us through those years. There is a small little log church in West Virginia that was started by my great-great-great grandfather who donated the land to be used for only church services. It had a loft to watch for Indian raids while the services were being held. My grandfather was well-known throughout the area in which I grew up in West Virginia for being the best and most liked preacher in the area. I was 2 when he passed away, but his children blessed my life so much. I had an aunt who took me to Sunday School and church every Sunday, and another aunt who was a missionary in faraway places. She would come home for a visit to see her family and gather all the children around her to tell Bible stories. My own father did not come to know the Lord until after I was married, but when he did accept Christ, he then became a lay pastor for many of the small churches in our area and was well loved and respected by so many. I have felt that God placed these people into my past so that I could be guaranteed a future of my own with the Lord.

In God's Word, He tells us we have a far greater heritage. In Psalm 119:111, the psalmist tells us: "Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart." Without God's Word passed down through the many many ages, where would we be? God's word is a lamp unto our feet, our hope is in his word and his promises, his word is our delight, our guide. "How sweet are your promises to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth." (vs. 103) Our ancestors believed in the word so strongly that they passed down the word throughout the ages to us who believe today. God's Word is the only thing that will last forever in heaven. God's Words will not pass away.

Let's make a greater concerted effort to remain in God's Word this year---His Word will bring life-changing thoughts and actions that will revolutionize our lives--make us different in our attitudes, will transform our minds to be more Christ-liike.
"The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and atittudes of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

Read the Word---there will be many blessings in it for you in 2007!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Christmas Decorations Came Down Today

Whew! What a job to take down, pack and stow away all the Christmas decorations in and outside the house. The house always looks a little drab and lonely after all the colorful decorations and lights are stuffed in a box. But I must say, it feels good to have the house back in order again. If anyone knows me well, I'm a person who needs to be orderly and organized or I feel antsy and uneasy. That comes from my Mom! She taught me that "Cleanliness is next to godliness." And I guess I believed her!

God also is a God of order. Just contemplate the universe---His creation was minutely detailed and orderly far beyond our limited knowledge. Our bodies are intricately designed and everything works in a definite order acccording to the purpose for which God made it. God directed his disciples to make sure the church is run in an orderly manner. And God directed husbands to make sure their families are kept in order or he could not serve as a leader in the church (I Timothy 3:4--"He must manage his family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect." He directed women to be orderly in their care of their household giving us the Proverbs 31 woman as our example---"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

I'm thankful that I can trust God to be orderly in His dealings with me. This coming new year I can place my life in His hands and know that "all things will work together for good to those that love the Lord." He will always work within His character, and will never lie to me, or fail to fulfill His promises in His Word. How good to be able to trust His Sovereignty in my life and the universe. He will always fulfill His purposes in a fitting and orderly manner in accordance with His perfect will. Nothing that happens will go beyond His knowledge and His permission.

Have a wonderful 2007!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Fresh New Start

2006 is past! 2007 is here, and with each new year we are given a new fresh start. It's a time when we renew our resolutions for the upcoming year, a time to change patterns that we are not happy with, a time to make a new beginning! There's a verse in Philippians 3 that I think is important for us to remember, however. In order to make a fresh start, we need to forget the past! We all had moments in 2006 or in earlier years that we regret---we wish somehow those moments would not have occurred---we think of them with sorrow, disdain, or discouragement if we ponder them for any length of time. Philippians 3:13-14 admonishes us that we need to forget those things that are behind us. There is nothing we can do about them. We cannot take them back, we cannot change the circumstances, they happened! But we can certainly change our attitudes about them. We have two choices: we can mull and mull them over and over in our minds and go deeper and deeper in regret, remorse and pain and end up in a pit of mire that will be hard to climb out from; OR, we can apply Philippians 3:13, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it (God's goals). But one thing I do: Forgetting those things that are behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

We need to forget the past mistakes we made and strive from this day forward to press on toward the goal that God has set before us. God remembers our sins no more----why should we hold tightly to the sins that so easily beset us? We need to look forward with hope, courage and determination to a future that God promises us. Put our mistakes behind us---God has forgiven them---we need to forgive ourselves and move forward! We need to forgive others who have harmed us or hurt us in the past and move to the place where we can stop blaming and start living with a changed heart and purpose! There is no good thing that can happen by holding on to the past and refusing to move past that particular hurt. God has a goal for us---to live our lives abundantly, filled with energy, purpose, and joy through His Holy Spirit. He cannot move us, if we refuse to put behind us those sins that keep cropping up over and over again through our refusal to let them go. Unforgiveness will ultimately lead to a root of bitterness around our heart that will squeeze the very life out of us and leave us a miserable, sad human being.

I end with Colossians 3:12-13:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you."

May your new year begin with a fresh new attitude and determination to live for God's goals and purposes for your life!