Monday, June 28, 2010

One Year Anniversary

It's official. The month of June marks my one year blogging anniversary. To be honest, I've enjoyed every minute: the friends I've made, the lessons I've learned, and yes, even the pressure to post regularly. It's given me a creative outlet and the inspiration to dream big. And I've been encouraged so much by each and every one of you who have stopped by. I've been humbled by those who have offered up prayers on behalf of me and my family and been privileged to pray for many of you.

From the first entry I posted a year ago, to today's post, blogging has opened up the world of writing to me in a way that I couldn't have imagined. There's so much to gain from the friendships established with other writers, beyond the obvious camaraderie. Valuable information about every genre imaginable. Tips for those times when the words just aren't flowing. Links to classes that will further writing skills. Insight about agents and publishing houses. And it's been remarkable to find numerous 'kindred spirits,' (to borrow a term from Anne of Green Gables), out there in the vast domain of the blogosphere.

Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to take a couple of on-line classes. They were offered by WIES Workshops and taught by Jeanette Hanscome. I was challenged to know my audience, write about what I know, and research possible publishers for my article/devotional. Good stuff! I found it to be a big step from writing my article to sending it to a publisher for consideration. An article was published, a devotional was rejected. All part of this game of writing. I've learned the importance of building an on-line presence through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I've also learned the importance of utilizing my time wisely and not allowing these networks to take priority over my writing. Balance is key!

The bottom line? Writing is hard work. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But the rewards are well worth the effort. Whether you're just looking for a creative outlet, or desire to be a published author, blogging can be a valuable tool to get you to your destination!

As I look forward to another year of blogging, my desire is to write devotionals that point others to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;" (Hebrews 12:2a; KJV).

It's your turn: What keeps you blogging? If you don't blog, how do you choose what blogs to read? I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Kind of Legacy?

Ever wondered how your life is impacting others? Although I may not see it on a daily basis, the life I live does influence those around me. The good and the bad in my life, does have an affect. What kind of legacy am I leaving?

The book of 1 Kings is filled with countless examples of leaders whose actions had a lasting impact not only on the people of the day, but on future generations as well. Take a look at Omri, one of the kings of Israel. His life is summarized in nineteen painful words: "But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him" (1 Kings 16:25; KJV). Basically, he followed in the footsteps of one of Israel's previous kings, who led the nation into idolatry. "For he (Omri) walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities" (1 Kings 16:26). Omri chose to imitate the example that had been set before him in the life of Jeroboam. The idolatry he instituted in Israel was a stronghold that kept its grip on the nation, long after Jeroboam died.

Omri's son, Ahab, is a more familiar character in scripture. Unfortunately, he didn't chose to turn the tide of evil either. Instead, he continued in the footsteps of his father. "And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him...And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him" (1 Kings 16: 30, 33). Not a legacy I'd want to pass on!

Fortunately we also have examples of those who passed on a godly heritage. Consider the prophet, Elijah. He prophesied to King Ahab of a drought that would plague the land due to the wickedness of he and his ancestors. Elijah confronted the king, "...I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim" (1 Kings 18:18). Elijah was a servant of the Lord, who wasn't afraid to confront sin, and who desired to point others to the one true God. Look at his heart's cry as he prayed, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again" (1 Kings 18:37).

In spite of a poor legacy left by his father, when Asa became king of Judah, he chose to follow in the footsteps of one of his ancestors: King David. 1 Kings 15:11 records, "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father." A good reminder that our legacy continues to speak, long after we're gone.

No matter what your position is in life, each of us has an influence on others. What kind of legacy are you leaving? Are you influencing those around you for good? Consider your actions today, and leave a legacy that points others to the Lord Jesus Christ!

**I have the express privilege of guest posting over at Dr. Richard Mabry's blog, Random Jottings. Please stop by and enjoy his site. He is the author of Code Blue and Medical Error, inspirational medical mysteries.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Panic Or Peace?

Today is her birthday. She's four years old. We've had the pleasure of raising her from the tender age of six weeks old. She's our Golden Retriever, Precious. We couldn't comprehend all the fun that was in store for us, when we brought her home. And yes, she certainly has lived up to her name!

This past weekend, we decided to take her out on the boat for a little pre-birthday celebration. The sky was bright blue and the air was thick with humidity - the perfect day to enjoy Lake Lanier. She sat at full attention, eagerly taking in the sights and smells of her new surroundings. She was ready for an adventure. And what could be better than sharing the adventure with her 'people'?

After cruising around the lake for awhile, we dropped anchor in a cove, sheltered from the traffic of the main channel. With a heat index topping one hundred degrees, the lake offered cool refreshment. Even Precious seemed eager to put on her float coat, the equivalent of our life vests, and clamber onto the inflated tube. The tube provides a great platform for lounging and later, rolling off into the water when the heat gets too intense. Precious had the lounging part down pat.

With my husband, daughter, and I, lazily floating around the tube, coaxing her to jump in, Precious edged closer and closer to the water. Although she clearly wanted to join us, she was unsure of herself. This was new territory for her and she wasn't convinced that she should leave her comfort zone. After several unsuccessful attempts to get her to jump in, my husband finally lifted her into the water.

Panic overtook her. Precious dog-paddled furiously to get back to the tube. Legs thrashing wildly, she didn't realize that the float coat was providing the buoyancy needed to keep her head above the water. She refused to relax. In a desperate attempt to reach safety, she literally wrapped her front paws around my husband's arm and refused to let go. He reached the rear deck of the boat and carefully lifted her back to solid ground.

Sometimes my Heavenly Father coaxes me to leave my 'comfort zone. ' Maybe it's moving to a different location, starting a new job, or developing a new friendship. Whatever the case may be, it's unfamiliar territory to me, and may even prove uncomfortable. I see how the Lord has blessed others in similar circumstances, but I'm too comfortable with my familiar routine to step out in obedience to His call.

He continues to beckon until I can no longer refuse. I step out of my comfort zone to unfamiliarity. The choice is mine: panic or peace. The Lord is my divine 'life jacket' - providing safety and guiding me every step of the way. His word offers reassurance, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27; KJV). His presence, a lifeline, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:20b).

When you're challenged to leave your comfort zone, step out in confidence knowing that your Father's presence and peace are there to accompany you on a journey that is sure to increase your faith, and draw you closer to Him!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

At a loss. For words, that is. Ever been there? Some refer to it as 'writer's block.' I prefer to think of it as an obstacle in my path that may require some creativity to overcome, but something that can be tackled, nonetheless. Reminds me of the 'road closed' sign we saw the other day.

We were cutting it a bit close for our daughter, Riley's, senior piano recital. As we approached our destination, we saw it. The sign that stood like a sentinel warning us that exactly one and a half miles up the street, the road was closed to through traffic. We would only be allowed to pass through if we were residents along that stretch of the road, which obviously wasn't the case. How would we reach our destination? We weren't familiar with an alternate route. Fortunately for us, the construction was farther down the road than we needed to travel. We made our turn off the main road and arrived in plenty of time to enjoy Riley's performance. No obstacles.

Most of the time, obstacles prove themselves to be far more of a challenge. I'm thinking of two crafty cousins who love to sneak up on me when I least expect it. They enjoy nothing more than erecting blockades to prevent me from moving forward. Formal introductions aside, meet Fear and his relative, Discouragement. These two love nothing more than to play off one another's antics and cause havoc in my day. No matter the task for the day, when I begin acknowledging Fear's raspy whispers, doubts flow into my mind. Am I really up to the challenge of writing a devotional? There are so many talented writers out there, why would an agent choose to represent my work? I'm already behind on my work in progress, it's probably too late to make my deadline...You get the idea.

Depending on Fear's success, Discouragement wastes no time in adding his two cents worth. Regardless of his words, his objective is to deprive me of hope. Zap my confidence. These close cousins, working in tandem, create a pretty effective duo. But the blockades they erect can be tackled and overcome. God's word to the rescue!

I'm invited to believe the words of God penned by the apostle Paul , "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13; KJV). I can choose to think on the truth and dismiss the lies. I'll never know if I'm able to write a devotional series unless I try. If it's the Lord's will, I'll find the right agent to represent my work, in God's timing. I can't let the failures of yesterday shape my today. Through Christ, I can choose the right attitude for each task He's called me to do.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for who You are. Help me to see obstacles from your perspective - as challenges that can help me grow in my walk with You. Allow me to feast on Your word today, so I can effectively combat the 'road blocks' I encounter. Thank You for the truth of Your word. Amen

What do you do when you encounter an 'obstacle' on your daily path? How does it affect your productivity for the day? How do you overcome the challenges you face? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Daily Need

The hanging baskets were beautiful. Each basket spilled over with an abundance of petunias. I had hung them where they would be visible even when we were inside the house. They added such a 'homey' touch and provided the pop of color I was looking for.

After a couple of weeks, I noticed that they weren't quite as perky as they had been originally. I found my watering can and gave each plant what I thought was a thorough soaking. I rechecked their tags to be sure I had hung them where they could get the appropriate amount of sunshine. Hmmmmm...everything seemed to check out. They were supposed to be able to tolerate the amount of sunlight they were receiving and I'd watered them several times. But in spite of doing everything I could think of, they continued to look droopy.

I decided to put aside the watering can in favor of the hose. Maybe, just maybe, the plants needed more water than I was giving them. I watered them until the soil was saturated and began running out of the cocoa mat planters. Within hours, each plant had improved dramatically. Although they weren't back to their original splendor, it was clear to see that with the appropriate daily watering, the plants would once again be thriving!

What a perfect object lesson! It was impossible to miss the connection between what my plants needed in order to thrive physically, and what I need in order to thrive spiritually. Both require daily provision. A constant connection to the source that allows each to grow strong and healthy. In the case of my plants, I hadn't been watering them every day. They are large plants and required much more water than my little watering can could hold. In my case, I need to hear from God daily in order to keep my feet on the right path. Reading and studying the Bible to glean what He has for me each day. Applying what He shows me that I might be a faithful 'doer' of His word. A believer who is growing. One who brings my Savior honor and glory and consistently points others to Him.

The prayer of the apostle Paul for the Ephesian believers provides the right focus, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledege, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:16-19; KJV).

To be strengthened by His Spirit, rooted and grounded in His love, and filled with all the fulness of God! Realize that Christ is the Source who is able to meet your needs and turn to Him daily for true health and growth!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Hallway: Accurate Examples - Part 2

I can imagine myself walking down the long hallway. A spotlight shines brightly on each picture, highlighting the portrait in each ornate frame. These are true heroes. No, not athletes, musicians, or scientists. Heroes of faith as described by God in the book of Hebrews. Men and women whose lives are noteworthy. Servants of the Lord. Their lives beckon me to take a closer look.

As I peer at the nameplate on one of the picture frames, recognition brings a smile to my face. This is Abraham. One of the patriarchs. Known as the father of the nation of Israel. When I think of Abraham, I think of his spirit of obedience. He was called by God to leave his country and to go to an unidentified land. By faith, he willingly obeyed, although he didn't know where the Lord would lead him. He chose to believe the promise of God, "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:2-3; KJV).

Years later, Abraham is continuing to walk the path of obedience. He cannot fathom God's instructions to sacrifice his promised son, Isaac, yet once again, he willingly obeys. His great faith in God's ability to raise his son from the dead if necessary is seen in his parting words to his servants, "Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you" (Genesis 22:5b). In a miraculous series of events, Abraham prepares to slay his son, when he hears from heaven, "Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (Genesis 22:12). Wow! Abraham is one hero of the faith whose life provides the perfect example of a believer with an excellent spirit. He chose obedience to God's will rather than rebellion. A great example to follow.

Down the hall and to the right, I notice one of my favorite men of the Bible: Joseph. He begins life as his father's favorite. This doesn't sit too well with his other half-brothers. Add to the mix Joseph's dream that he will one day rule over his brothers and they will bow down to him, and you have a recipe for disaster! The brothers' jealousy eventually lead them to sell Joseph to a band of passing merchantmen.

Miles away in Egypt, Joseph becomes Potiphar's servant. But the Lord is still with him. Beyond that, Potiphar, "...saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand" (Genesis 39:3). Potiphar's wife also noticed Joseph. And boy, was he handsome. When he refused to commit adultery with her, Joseph found himself in prison. He had every right to be upset. After all, he was unjustly accused. He had done the right thing, and look where it had gotten him! But through it all, no complaints are recorded. Joseph trusted God. Apparently God had a plan even in this situation.

Years later, Joseph is elevated to second in command in the land of Egypt. Because of a grievous famine throughout the land, people from far and near are coming to buy grain from Joseph who was wise enough to store up food during previous years of plenty. You guessed it! Joseph's brothers come to town in search of food, and find themselves bowing before him in order to make their request. Seems kind of like a scene I remember from a dream! Anyway, the bottom line is that Joseph forgives his brothers for what they did to him. Think about it! He was in a position to make their lives miserable, but instead, he chose to forgive. Let Joseph's words soak into your soul, "...Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Genesis 50:19-20). What an example of faith! Faith in the goodness of God in spite of the circumstances! How I desire to have such a testimony!

As I finish my tour down the long hallway, I notice that not much press is given to the lady in today's final portrait. Her name is Rahab. The book of Hebrews refers to her as a harlot (Hebrews 11:31). Not the kind of person you'd expect to see in the hall of faith, is she? Obviously not one who could be linked with purity...or is she? Following her encounter with the living God, this woman's life was radically changed. She displayed faith in Him by hiding His servants, the two Israelite spies, and was saved from the destruction of Jericho as a result. We come across her name once again linked with that of Boaz. This former prostitute raised a son that any mother would love for her daughter to marry. A tender-hearted man, full of compassion, wise in business, upright and respected. A man devoted to God. We find that Rahab has been redeemed from her life of sin and is placed in the lineage of Christ. Purified. The perfect example of purity.

Three portraits. Three heroes. Three characteristics: spirit, faith, and purity. Things to weave into the tapestry of our lives as believers. Our goal? To point others to our wonderful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Monday, June 7, 2010

An Accurate Example - Part 1

I dug the spiral-bound book out of my backpack. Although the church kid’s AWANA program had finished up along with the school year, I wanted to get back to my Bible verse memorization. No, I’m no longer a student in the program, but I do help as a leader, filling in where I’m needed.

The book fell open to section 4.2. The verse to memorize was 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (KJV). Committing it to memory was pretty easy, but living up to it, another story. A mere twenty-six words. Words put together in the form of a sentence. Words that challenged me to live out what I profess to believe.

What does it look like to be an example of a believer, one who has trusted Christ as personal Savior? The apostle Paul gives us a pretty clear picture. As a believer, my words, behavior, love, feelings/emotions, faith, and purity should be modeled after what is found in God’s word. At first glance, I saw just six categories. What I saw after serious contemplation, was much different. Six areas that need to be surrendered to the Lord and bathed in constant prayer.

Words. Something to be used with extreme caution. Once uttered, they cannot be recalled. Wisdom and restraint are key. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). According to another of Paul’s prison epistles, our speech is to be, “…always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). When it comes to correction, I’m to speak “the truth in love…” and not with a critical spirit (Ephesians 4:15). Wow, lots of work to be done here!

Conversation. More widely defined as my behavior, or the way I live. Does the way I live point to a loving, Heavenly Father? My earnest desire, is for the answer to that question to be a resounding, ‘YES!’ I’m relieved that I don’t have to do it on my own. In whatever circumstance He calls me to, God offers to equip me with exactly what I need. Paul once again gives us the perfect example in the book of Philippians, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Charity. Better known in today’s language, as love. Does the love I have for the Lord Jesus Christ show itself in my love for others? Do I care enough about others that I desire to share Jesus Christ with them? As a believer, I’ve been guilty of surrounding myself exclusively with other Christians and virtually forgetting the Great Commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Words, conversation and charity. Three areas of my life that should point others to Jesus Christ. As I surrender my will to God, and focus on loving Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, I become a vessel that He can use to point others to Him. Through His power, I become an example of the believer!

How about you? Are you an accurate example of the ‘believer’? Join me Thursday when we’ll take a look at three more areas that characterize the Christian!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Big Lesson - Tiny Insect

They appeared on our deck last year in record numbers. More than a nuisance, if not dealt with, they would eventually cause pretty severe damage. Carpenter ants. They seemed to be on a mission. A relatively straight line of them emerged from the far side of the deck and traveled to the downspout closest to the screen room, before disappearing from sight. Where were they going? We needed to find their nest before they turned our house into a feast.

While making a call from our screen room the next day, I noticed one of the pesky ants crawling by the door latch. As I sat and observed for a few minutes, ant after ant marched up out of the thin strip of wood that formed the seal between the doorframe and the door. So that was it! That's where they were coming from! Sure enough, after I snapped my phone shut and investigated further, I saw where the ants had begun making their nest. A quick trip to the garage for some ant killer and the insects were a thing of the past; their home thoroughly doused with pesticide. It felt good knowing that our house was no longer a smorgasbord for these 6-legged creatures.

As I celebrated my victory that day, I was glad I had eradicated a pesky invader. I wasn't in the mood to consider the wisdom of the ant. Yes, you read that correctly. Ants are wise. Such a tiny insect, yet in the book of Proverbs, Solomon points out its wisdom. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest" (6:6-8; KJV).

A lesson in diligence is just waiting to be learned if I observe the ant. Science backs up scripture when it reveals that ants live in highly organized colonies, each ant responsible for a specific job. Some ants are responsible for cultivation of food sources, others engage in warfare, while others function strictly as workers. These ants don't have a boss, yet they carry out their individual jobs without fail. Talk about self-motivation! No need to call in the motivational speakers, these guys don't rely on cheerleaders to get them pumped up. They know a job needs to be done - so they do it!

When food is available, they gather it! No use holding meetings and strategizing about better ways to collect and store the food. Instead of talking about it, they work and accomplish their purpose. What about me? I have a choice to make each day. Will I be productive or give in to the temptation to procrastinate? If I tiptoe after 'Procrastination,' what will be the outcome? Solomon's answer stands in stark contrast to the outcome of the diligent. "How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man" (Proverbs 6:9-11).

Put plainly, when I give in to laziness and allow myself to be drawn away from my responsibilities, I'll come up poor and empty. 'Laziness' tries to convince me that I should put off today, what can be done tomorrow. It whispers in my ear that I don't need to spend time in God's word today, because I read an extra chapter yesterday. It convinces me that I don't really need to keep track of my spending because budgets are way too restrictive anyway. When I follow after 'Laziness' I end up discouraged and frustrated. In spite of its allurement, 'Laziness' is not a good friend! Refuse to hang out at procrastinate gate!

Wow, what a big lesson from such a tiny insect! Each one of us has the opportunity to choose our course for this day. Two words that begin with the same three letters, but have very different outcomes. Procrastination or productivity? Which will you choose today? Look to the ant, and be wise!

Do you struggle with procrastination? What helps you to overcome this hurdle? I'd love to hear your tips for staying on track!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ever Faithful

The day dawned bright and sunny. In spite of Accuweather's prediction for potentially severe thunderstorms, not even a cloud dotted the morning sky. Each of the previous weekdays held the possibility of rain, but by Friday, not even a single drop had moistened the ground in our neck of the woods. As we completed final preparations for the party, we were hopeful that the rain would hold off for one more day!

Our daughter, Riley's graduation get-together was planned for Friday evening from six to nine in the evening. The hourly forecast was calling for a thunderstorm to roll in right in the middle of our celebration. If the gathering would have been an indoor event, there wouldn't have been a reason to give it a second thought. But, you guessed it! We had set up tables, chairs, and decorations outside to accommodate the sixty-something guests who had RSVP'd.

With tables festively decorated, candles and tiki torches lit, and six dozen balloons floating lazily in the afternoon breeze, we began noticing dark clouds that seemed to materialize from nowhere...their billowing forms creeping across the sky hinting at the weather to come. As I made the final trip out to pick up the sheet cake and ice, I silently prayed that the Lord would hold back the predicted rain. I glanced toward Sawnee Mountain, one of the few places untouched, as yet, by the sinister clouds. I was reminded of the words penned by King David, "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help; My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth" (Psalms 121:1-2; KJV). No matter what happened with the weather, I knew God was in control.

Back at home, last minute food preparations were coming together, when my husband, Steve, poked his head in the back door to let me know that the first drops of rain had begun to fall. I began tossing a plan 'B' together, as we continued to pray that the Creator of the universe would hold back the rain. I remembered another time the Lord had been called on during a storm - unlike our storm, the one mentioned in the Bible was life-threatening.

Christ had asked the disciples to row across the Sea of Galilee, to reach another city. The story picks up, "But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy" (Luke 8:23). These weren't cowardly men. Remember that the disciples were seasoned fishermen who had endured several storms on this very lake. Yet this storm left them terrified! How could Jesus sleep through this? They wasted no time waking him and relaying their concern, "Master, master, we perish" (Luke 8:24a). In full control, the Lord "arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith: And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him" (Luke 8:24b-25).

To know the One who is in charge of it all! If the winds and water were obedient to Him, I was confident that He could stop the raindrops even now as they made their way from sky to earth. We continued to pray. As we made several trips in and out of the house, transporting food to buffet tables, we were keenly aware that the drips of rain had stopped. Thunder rumbled in the distance as the first guests arrived, but we decided to continue with our original plan of an outdoor celebration.

Throughout the evening, guests commented on the torrential downpours they had driven through as they made their way to our house. The thunderstorms were all around us, yet aside from those few drops of rain as we set up the buffet tables, no more rain dampened our party. The Lord answered our prayer and held back the rain! Our God is so gracious!

It's amazing to see God at work. What a testimony of His love for you and me. He is worthy of all of our praise. "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever, To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever" (Psalms 136:1-4). Even in the small things, He is ever faithful! Praise His wonderful name, today!