Quote for the Day: Psalm 63:8, "My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me."

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power

As a lot of Christians, I frequently feel very inadequate and ineffective in my prayer life.  Other times I feel like my prayers really are touching the heart of God.  But, we don't go by feelings, praise the Lord!  We know by faith that God hears our prayers.  We know by faith God answers our prayers, whether we like the answer or not. Whether it is yes, no, or wait. We know by faith His ways are perfect and His timing also.  How wonderful that what we think is the right answer, "Our Heavenly Father knows best", and if we ask for His best, He is faithful to give it to us.

The problem is, we don't always ask.  James 4:2 reads, "You have not, because you ask not". Our pride wants to cry out, "But I pray every day!"  Deep inside our hearts though, we know we want and need to pray more effectively.  We know, our lives and the lives of others could be better, if only we would pray.  We know our transformationn to the likeness of Christ only comes through prayer.  Yet, we are stumped to know how to do better.

I was reading R.A.Torrey's book this morning, The Power of Prayer and the Prayer of Power. If you can, try to find a copy of it. It is powerfully thought provoking. It was reprinted in 1971, from the original writing in 1924 - another classic.  He said, "...prayer will promote our personal piety, our individual holiness, our individual growth into the likeness of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as nothing else but the study of the Word of God; and these two things, prayer and study of the Word of God, always go hand-in-hand, for there is no  true prayer without study of the Word of God, and there is no true study of the Word of God without prayer".

Oh, how I long to be more like Christ. My heart cries out, "Lord teach me to pray as I ought!"  I know I cannot conform myself to the image of God, only the Lord can transform my life.  However, I can pray more for that transformation. 

Psalm 139:23,24 is a prayer for today. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting".

God is faithful to answer that prayer.

Blessings today my sisters in Christ!


Friday, January 27, 2012


Thank you for coming to WFH blog.  I have decided to take the weekend off to be with my family on Saturday and the Lord's Day on Sunday.  So, I will be back on Monday!

Have a blessed weekend and may you be refreshed on Sunday!

Love, Pat

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 10

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

This is the last day on our 10 Days of Proverbs 31.  What a journey!

Opening our arms to the poor and extending our hands to the needy, doesn’t necessarily mean having them live with us.  There are so many other ways to help.  This was a unique mission from the Lord and I would not recommend anyone do it unless they know, without a shadow of a doubt that it is from the Lord.  You will know.  If you are married, the Lord will speak to both of you.  I have a friend who’s husband would not even think about it so it would not be something the Lord would ask her to do. 

So, before engaging in any activity to help the poor that involves your household, please know it is the Lord.  There were times if we didn’t know the Lord had sent them we would not have done as well.  It was His grace and mercy that saw everyone through this journey. 

Thank you for commenting and encouraging along the way.  I pray it has been inspiring in what the Lord is calling you to do to open your arms to the poor and extend your hands to the needy.  And, not to fear, for the Lord is our provider.  Praise the Lord.

In summary,

I’ve learned that everything I was a little nervous about worked out and God provided.

I’ve learned that God has a plan that is far beyond what mine is.

I’ve learned that He wants to expand the borders of our tents to bless us.

I’ve learned to trust God when I am in need. (Not to fear for her household.) 

I’ve learned that God’s love toward us is bigger than His hate for the sin we commit. 

I’ve learned to relax about things I used to get upset over. 

I’ve learned that God’s ways are much higher than mine.

I’ve learned that I have absolutely no control over anything. That God sits on the Throne and knows so much better than I do.

And soooo much more!   

Blessings,   Pat

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 9

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

Like I said yesterday, things were a little difficult during the last week. This was Christmas week.  So much to do and so little time to do it in.  We had to finish Christmas for my family, get ready for the wedding, and figure out where in the world Rob, Beth and Robbie were going to go on Christmas Eve, because that is when my family was coming in and the house would be full. Then, because they weren’t talking much we didn’t know what they wanted to do after the wedding. 

Every day, we turned it all over to the Lord to figure out because it was all too big for us.  This was the only way to maintain our peace.  Every day they had a situation that consumed us. Everything evolved around their situation.  There was absolutely no time for anyone else.  Satan tried to cause chaos every day because that is how they had learned to live their lives.  Always trying to figure out how to survive. We refused to get caught up in that and were constantly saying, let’s pray.

We tried to focus on the wedding. The whole family went out and helped Rob find a suit and shoes, etc.  And some shoes and essentials for Beth’s outfit.  A week before she and Rob were out and found a red and white gown that she loved at Salvation army.clip_image002 I was a little disappointed she didn’t have a brand new dress but she was excited so I didn’t let on.

It was Christmas Day. My family was here and insisted on coming and being helpful at the wedding. My daughter and son-in-law, two granddaughters and two grandsons were all there.  How special it was for them to be present at this Blessing. 

The sanctuary was already decorated.  Someone in the church made her bouquet, a relative made her veil, and another woman made her a beautiful wedding cake. One of the hairdressers at church colored and cut her hair.  Someone else put her hair up the day of the wedding.  She was a beautiful bride and just glowing.  

A friend of theirs had given them a Santa outfit for the baby and they insisted he wear that. So here is daddy feeding Robbie just before the ceremony.  They also insisted Robbie be part of the wedding until they said their vows and wanted him baptized during the ceremony. (In our church it is more of a dedication.) They do love him. 
 clip_image002[4]   clip_image002[6]
The ceremony was right after the church service on Christmas Day.  A lot of the congregation stayed for it. Following the ceremony was of course pictures and the reception right in our Fellowship Hall. More blessings for the couple.  It was a very sweet time. 
(I’m sorry I have not shown their faces, but this is a privacy issue.)

After the cake and presents, they went to their family’s house and we went home to be with our family. That night they were given a gift of two nights at the new Holiday Inn. Praise God for His wonderful provision.  He is so faithful.

We didn’t hear from them for two days (not that we expected to). Then they called and wondered if they could make it to North Carolina if they left  that day.  We felt they at least needed to be on their way.  So they packed up the car with as much as they could, including Herman, their dog. We said a tearful goodbye and off they went.  I did break down and sobbed.  I don’t know whether it was saying goodbye to little Robbie that was breaking my heart or the relief of the stress of it all.  I’m still sorting it through all of it.

They spent the night at a hotel along the way and finally made their destination to Rob’s dads house.  He would not let them stay there, however, his grandmother has Alzheimer's and he said they could stay there if they would take care of her.  So, Beth is being paid to take care of her needs while being able to live there.  A win-win situation. Rob felt he could get a job when the tourist season started.  We pray! 

We did find out they are now having cook-outs like a family should and it seems they are being restored.  Praise God!!!!!!

That is the end of the story, at least for their stay with us. Thank you for letting me share it with you. It is funny how writing about something has such a healing affect.  Tomorrow I will recap a few things about Proverbs 31:20-21.  

Blessings and love in Christ,  Pat

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 8

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

Today, this has been difficult to write because I don’t want to dwell on the negative.  I know the Lord put them in our lives and I am still trying to sort through all the things that didn’t go so well.  But, here again, we don’t always hear about the things that don’t go so well.  So, I hope this is not a downer. It really wasn’t because the Lord was in control. 

So far, Beth and Rob had time to rest, visit friends and family, get a new car, and plan for their wedding.  The thing we just couldn’t get into play was a job for Rob.  When they first came Rob said he was employed at a fast food place, but they didn’t have him on the schedule until the second week they were here.  So I didn’t push him to look for another job until the third week and he still didn’t have any hours at the restaurant. 

Things just weren’t coming together for a job for Rob.  He wanted to go to school, yet, he has this family he loves and needs to support.  They started sharing how they really wanted to go back to North Carolina to be around his dad and sisters.  That seemed odd to me  since they had not gotten any help from them at all.  However, he felt the job opportunities would be better down there.  We weren’t sure whether that would be a good idea or not because of the past abuse.

Rob seemed to think his dad had changed and was employed and wanted to try to restore that relationship. He called his dad several times and it just didn’t seem as though his dad wanted anything to do with them. That was heartbreaking for Rob.  Beth’s father was in Midland, but wasn’t helpful. 

I really struggled with their relatives and how could they allow their own flesh and blood to be out on the streets.  Beth’s mother was diagnosed with terrible psychological problems which made this very difficult for Beth.  She loved her step-father, but he said he was not in position to help. Rob and his siblings were taken from his father when they were little and put in a foster home.  His mother had just taken off and his father was mean.

To see Rob and Beth continually try to get the love from their parents was gut-wrenching. I have heard people say that no matter what some parents did, the children always tried to gain their love and approval.  So many times without any response from their parents.  That is so hard to watch. 

Their loyalty to them at times just didn’t make sense at all.  My husband had set up a certain time to have a pre-marital counseling session with them and her step-dad called and said he wanted them to come out so he could see the baby.  They just took off without saying anything.  Now these people rejected them, never gave them financial help of any kind and still they ran to their call.  How sad. 
This is what was getting difficult during the last week.  They were so broken from their childhoods that they just didn’t know what was appropriate at times and what wasn’t.  They just lived on the edge of emotions, not rationale. 

Then there was the feeling that we just didn’t know the whole story.  Or, when we suggested they do something, they would go off and talk and do something entirely differently.  And not tell us. 
All we could do was pray and love…and hold baby Robbie as much as we could. 

The story ends tomorrow, Day 9,  then we will wrap up the Proverbs on Day 10.

Blessings and much love in Christ,    Pat

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 7

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.
I can’t tell this story without telling the story about our home. It is part of the miracle. We just bought our first house in September 2011. We have always lived in parsonages until we came to this church. The church had gotten out of the parsonage business when the last pastor bought his own home and retired. So, we had to find a place to rent when we got here almost four years ago. It was in the country, and I’m a city girl, so I struggled being out away from everything for those years. I made it work, and was grateful for shelter, and made the place a nice home, however, I was always feeling a little down. Nothing seemed settled for some reason.

We had thought about moving, but in our denomination, pastors are reassigned too often to think about it. Besides that, we just didn’t think we could afford to own a home of our own. The church has always taken very good care of us, but it is not a business. It is a group of people giving to the Lord to make the church run. We are servants of the Lord, and though, the Lord does want us to prosper, He is not pleased with materialistic attitudes in His children. And we are not materialistic. We would give it all up, and have, if the Lord asked us to.

Why is it so surprising when the Lord works things out?

We decided to dream a bit and look at houses. We look around anyway, though we weren’t sure if anything would come of it. The houses the realtor took us to, that were within our pre-approved budgeted amount, were run down or not in a good location, etc. Something major was wrong with every house or it just didn’t feel good. After a while, it just got too depressing to keep looking, so I told the realtor that I had to take a break from it all.

She called the next day and said, “I’m not going to let you get away with that. I have a couple more houses for you to look at today that just came on the market”. I didn’t want to let her down so I met her. She took me to a street with a cul-de-sac, which I had always wanted to live on. There was park at the end of the circle, three houses from us. We turned into the drive way and the house looked very well kept. We walked inside the front door and I looked in the kitchen and said, “This is it!!!! I have to call Dave and have him meet us here!”. She said, “Don’t you want to see the rest of the house?” I said I knew this was the one. However, we did look at the rest of the house and it was just as wonderful as the kitchen. There were lots and lots of windows.

She talked me into looking at the other house she had in mind. Hesitantly, we drove to the house, took one look at the outside and I knew it was not it. She said she would go inside by herself, just to double check that it was not a good one. She came out and said, “Nope! Let’s call Dave and go back to the house”.

Dave fell in love with it too. And when we found out that it was even less than some of the other houses we looked at we knew it was a gift from the Lord. Now at this point we still didn’t know how the finances were going to work out, but believed the Lord would show us what to do. He did and we moved in, like I said earlier, in September 2011 into our very own house.

We were overjoyed. It was move-in ready. A little painting, cleaning carpets and we were in. We still look around and can’t believe how God has blessed us.

We dedicated the house to the Lord and said He could use it for His glory and however He wanted to. Well, as you can see, November He started using it and we give Him the glory. At one point all four bedrooms were full. Praise the Lord we had the bedrooms to fill.

The street we now live on is like living in the 50s where neighbors actually meet each other and when we moved in most of the neighbors brought homemade bread, cookies, flowers, and different welcome gifts the first week we were here. How unusual was that?!

Of course, it didn’t take long for the neighbors to know about Rob and Beth and Robbie. One night the couple and their baby across the street came over one night with baby items their child had outgrown recently. Then the next day the woman down the street brought other items for the baby. It just seemed like everyone who had come in contact with this couple and their situation got involved somehow. The Lord, again was blessing this family.

To break up the story a bit, I thought I would show you some pictures of precious Robbie.
Allie feeding Rileyme holding Riley in chairme holding Riley closeupme, jeannie and bella with Riley
(top left: my grandaughter holding Robbie, top right and bottom left: me holding Robbie, bottom right: my daughter and grandaughter and me again, holding Robbie.  The day after Christmas.

This story continues on Day 8. Just three more days and the story will conclude.  Thank you for hanging in there!
Love,  Pat

Monday, January 23, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 6

(So sorry.  I was out of town and got thrown off somehow. If you didn’t read Day 5 you can either scroll down or go to the past articles and pick it up. Again, sorry about that.)

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

When Jeannie (my daughter and the author of 2betterthanone blog) asked me , out of the list she had, what Proverbs  I wanted to do, I thought I would find something to write about verses 20-21. However, I wasn’t really wanting to write about the journey we had been on with this homeless couple.  It was still a little too fresh emotionally. As much as I saw the hand of the Lord working every day, there were some struggles during that time. I didn’t want to talk about the struggle, but I know there are those out there who struggle with the details of these kinds of things also. Most of the time you hear about the blessings, but the realness of the struggles don’t always get mentioned. And yet, that is where the real grown is going on.  So, I humbly share some of those ups and downs. 

The Blessing…continued from Day 5  

The second week they were with us, we had a young girl come to stay with us, who we had been ministering to who was trying to break her addiction to drugs. She had been in several facilities to “withdraw”, but she walked away before she got better. She kept going home and her parents needed a break.  So we said she could stay with us for a couple of weeks. 

I have never dealt with someone who was addicted to alcohol or drugs, so I didn’t know what to do except love her. She is a very sweet girl and we do love her. She accepted Christ when she was little, and was baptized a couple of years ago and deep inside, she really does want to stop using. But, she has been using for so long she is having a very difficult time quitting.  Part of her wants to, but more of her doesn’t. Satan is really beating her up. 

At first things were going well, then the normal emotional roller coaster with the temptations for her came in to play.  Needless to say, over the last couple of days, things didn’t go well and she decided to leave. That was a huge heartbreaker. I cried and prayed on and off for days. We still love her and pray for her constantly because we see so much good in her and her personal struggle.  But that was a biggy.
Then, I have to admit, money was tight and in the back of my mind I was wondering where the money would come from to care for everyone’s physical needs: food, gas, baby items, etc. Fixing dinner for six, when you've been used to cooking for three.  But, it was so obvious the Lord had put these people in our lives, I couldn’t second guess whether they should be there or not.

We were on a very tight budget if we were going to have any kind of Christmas for my kids and grandchildren when they came. There were going to be eighteen people here for Christmas Day. I had saved just enough to get gifts and food for the holidays.

I didn't know what was going to happen. But, compared to what this couple was going through, that seemed shallow to think about such things. Besides, isn’t this what Christmas is suppose to be about? I believe when the Lord asks us to do something I believe He supplies what we need to complete the task.

I've heard someone say, "God doesn't always call the equipped. But, He equips those He calls".  Praise the Lord.

So, I prayed, "Lord, I trust you to work everything out and provide. You have never let us down yet. I have to believe you put them here for a reason, and you will provide. Your Word says you will supply every need and Your Word never returns void. In the Name of Jesus. Amen."

One of the blessings, was, our family knew things were tight, but noone else did.  My sixteen-year old step daughter said one day out of the blue, "Pat, I really don't want any presents this year".  I looked at her and said, "Why?".   She said, "Because I want the money you would spend on me to go to Rob and Beth and Robbie".  My heart sank and soared. (How can that happen?)

"Well, honey" I said "I can't Not get you presents. You will have presents".  She said, "Then just a small one". 

God was changing the heart of my stepdaughter because of her love for them.  She kept telling her dad, "Don't be in a hurry to have them leave, okay?".   She really fell in love with them. We weren't in a hurry for them to leave, however, they needed to stand on their own two feet and we had a short window to help them with that.  Christmas was coming on us fast and so was their wedding and company, etc.

This story continues on Day 7

Blessings, Pat

Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics for your daily reading.
Hope you are inspired!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 5

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

The Lord never ceases to amaze me.  I stand in wonder of His love and mercy.  Ephesians 3:20-21 reads, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen”. He certainly did for this couple. 

The Blessing…continued from Day 4

Rob and Beth were up most of the night watching TV and sleeping very late every morning. As soon as they got up, they asked if I would hold baby Robbie while they went out and smoked a cigarette. (They shared a cigarette in the morning, the afternoon and a couple at night.) I didn’t say anything about their smoking at all because I didn’t feel the Lord wanted to touch that yet. Sometimes we can get so uppity in our convictions at times it can sound legalistic and turn people off. If they had tried to smoke in the house or around the baby I would have said something, but they never did.  I just wanted to love them where they were at the moment.  The Lord would deal with all that stuff in His time. 

Holding Robbie in the morning was the highlight of their stay with us. I usually was having my quiet time with the Lord when they got up, so I had my praise music already playing.  I prayed over him, pleading the Blood of Jesus over him and claiming him for the Kingdom of God. I talked to him about Jesus and it was always heart-melting to have him look straight in my eyes when I said the name of Jesus.

One morning, I was singing to him, along with the CD by Selah. The song was “Be Thou My Vision”. I had him laying down on my lap so we could see each other’s faces. As I was singing to him I started to tear up. He looked at me straight in the eyes and he started tearing up and his little lower lip pouted like he was going to cry. At that moment, I knew his little spirit connected. I lifted him up and hugged and rocked him. It was such a special moment. I will never forget the look on his little face. That child has been covered with prayer. Not just by me, but by so many at church. They fell in love with him too. They went to church with us on Sundays. The church fell in love with them.

The second week, their old car broke down beyond repair. They started getting stressed. “How would they get around. I need a car to go to a job”. So, Rob found one on Craig’s list that was right around the corner from where we lived. He went to look at it and we had a couple of men in the church who knew cars take a look at it.  It was in good running condition.

The big question was, of course, “Where is the money going to come from?”. We certainly didn’t have it, nor did we think that they shouldn’t work for it. However, as Dave (my husband and the pastor of the church) was telling the congregation about the problem, a man stood up and said, “I feel we need to take up a collection to pay off the car. Immediately, one woman in her late 70s spoke up and said, “I pledge $500 and challenge someone to match it”. There was a couple who matched it immediately. Then they took up a collection and it totaled $1700.00. That paid for the car and then some.

We do not have a wealthy church. And, in more than twenty years of ministry, my husband has never seen anything like it. There was such an anointing in the church that morning it was palpable. Wow! To God be the Glory!  I talked to the woman who first pledged $500 and she said she felt the Lord heavy all over her and knew she had to be obedient.

When we got home after the service, I called my daughter who lives in another state to share what the Lord had done.  She said,”When we come for Christmas, we ought to throw them a Christmas Day wedding. Then they would get right with the Lord in their relationship”. Both Rob and Beth believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior, but, they still hadn’t committed to marriage. They loved each other and wanted to marry, but money was a big problem. “I think that is a great idea!” I said. 

She took the idea to her church and asked them to pray about whether they felt led to contribute to the wedding. She told them if they didn’t think the Lord wanted them to, that she wouldn’t be upset at all.  She really wanted it to be the Lord to tell them what, if anything, to give.  They would get back to her after prayer.

They got back to her with a $500 commitment to give to the couple for their wedding.  She was stunned. Another blessing.. Why would a church, hundreds of miles away, not knowing this couple, contribute that much money to help put a wedding together? If that isn’t the Lord, I don’t know what is. So, we started planning a Christmas Day wedding. My husband would perform the ceremony.
They needed to get marriage license, birth certificates, clothes, rings, etc. Nothing fancy, but nice. Rob formally asked Beth to marry him, and she said yes. Beth was so excited she couldn’t stop smiling. I hadn’t seen her smile that way since they got here. She was gitty.

God continually showed them how much He loved them.

This story continues on Day 6 with some of my personal struggles during their stay.

Blessings, Pat

Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics for your daily reading.
Hope you are inspired!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21–Day 4

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

Remember the definition of the word “extend” , from yesterday, “to stretch out; draw out to the full length”?  Remember about the Lord wanting to stretch the borders of our tents and some times it is unexpected? Well, He pushed my borders almost to the breaking point!  But God…

The Blessing…continued from Day 3 (Scroll down to Day 2 to begin story)

Rob and Beth slept until about eleven o’clock the next morning.  She said the baby kept her up most of the night. He slept with her because that is where he was used to being, but she couldn’t sleep for fear of rolling over on him.

That morning the baby was cranky and tense. They were a little edgy also. Not knowing what they were going to do – no job, no money, no home, cold outside and a baby they loved so dearly. 

I knew I had family coming in Christmas Eve, but until then, we felt they needed the time to just stay with us and rest and regroup and find what the Lord wanted to do.  So, we told them they could stay with us until Christmas Eve.  That would be almost a month to get their health back, feel a little more stable, get a job, place to live and most of all loved. 

So they settled in.  The next day, they brought the rest of their things, from the place they had been staying.  They had more clothes, a bassinette that had been in storage somewhere, and…unfortunately, among their things there was Herman, a three-year old Australian Shepherd. She thought the dog could stay at their friends house, but they said no.  So, they had him in the car with them. 

Now, this is when the Lord and I had a talk! This was a bit too much stretching for me.  I like animals, (please don’t hate me),but from a distance.  If I see one hurt or australian-shepherd-240ds090310[1]mistreated, I will step in. However, I hate to admit it to anyone, but I am a little phobic when it comes to animal hair, etc.  I don’t like that I am that way, but, I am. So, this was almost a deal breaker.  Again, but God…

She was very apologetic when she came in to tell me.  I smiled at her but my stomach was turning and the temptation to be anxious was at the door.  The only thing I said after she told me was, “Oh, honey, I can’t have a dog in the house.”  I prayed really quickly to know what to do. She felt he could stay in the garage since he had a lot of hair. “Oh, Lord, now a dog?” I just had to chuckle after the initial shock of it all. Well, Praise the Lord!!!

My family couldn’t believe this, but, I was the one who put a heater out in the garage and made a comfortable bed and made sure they took him out and fed him. I felt so guilty about not letting him in our house.  On days, they were too wrapped up in their problems to remember they had him.  Fortunately on the days they got up and just left, our sixteen year old took him for walks and fed him.

I have to admit I have never seen a dog so well behaved. He was quiet, obedient to sit, stay, or come. Never complained.  They had trained him well.

Everything they owned was in the bedroom they were staying in.  We emptied the dresser and closet so they could put their things away. We put the bassinet up beside the bed so the baby wouldn’t have to sleep with her any longer.  Maybe she could get some rest.

After a few days, we noticed the baby was not crying as much and he was happier.  He was calmer and it seemed he felt more secure.  They felt at home enough to get up in the middle of the night and get something to eat if they were hungry.  That made me feel good.   

Read more of the story on Day 5.
(The names in this story have been changed to protect the couple’s privacy.)
Blessings,   Pat

Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics for your daily reading.
Hope you are inspired!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Proverbs 31:20-21 -Day 3

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

I looked up the word “extend” and the definition was to: “stretch out; draw out to the full length”. The Lord wants to stretch the borders of our tents and some times it is unexpected. 

The Blessing…continued from Day 2 

     Rob and Beth started relaxing after a little while.  The baby needed a diaper change and fed, so they tended to that.  Babies have a way of breaking the ice.  They asked me if I wanted to hold him.  I was hoping they would.  He was so precious. 

Riley1     I took them upstairs to the bedroom where they would be sleeping.  The first thing Beth did was sit on the side of the bed.  She said they hadn’t slept in a bed for a very long time.  Rob asked if we minded if he took a shower? “Of course not”, I said.  When Rob was done with his shower, she decided she wanted one too.  Oh, how we take beds, clean sheets and showers for granted. 

     Baby Robbie had fallen asleep in my arms. When they had freshened up, my husband had returned home.  We all sat in the living room and talked about how they ended up at the church, what their situation was and their families.  I don’t want to go into the details of their families, except to say they were dysfunctional and abusive. My first thought was, “how in the world had they not gotten into drugs or crime or something awful?”.  When I asked them that question, they said they had seen enough of it and didn’t want to go down that road.  And especially now, they didn’t want little Robbie to experience what they had. 

     It was getting late, so we told them to go upstairs and rest, then we would meet the next morning and figure something out. Beth took the baby and they went upstairs and closed the door.  I heard the TV go on so I knew they were feeling comfortable. 

     For some reason, though they were total strangers, I had peace and was not anxious a bit for them to be sleeping right across the hall from us. There was such a presence of the Lord that night.  My husband laughed and said, “I know it is the Lord because this just isn’t something you do”.  The Lord had given us such peace.  After we prayed for guidance and wisdom, we slept all through the night.  
Psalm 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Read more of the story in Day 4 of Proverbs 31.
In His Care, Pat

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Proverbs 31:20–21 - Day 2

Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

The Blessing
     The end of this past November, on a very cold winter night, a young couple with a two-month old baby showed up at our small country church.  It just so happened a Bible study group was there having fellowship.  This group meets only every other week, so if they had come the week before or week after no one would have been at the church and the doors would have been locked and lights out. The Lord knew.
     The young mother, Beth, had shown up with her baby, little Robbie, a month earlier during the day asking for help with gas for her car.  I had met her at that time.  So, when the couple, Beth and Rob, returned, she told Bev (one of the leaders of the Bible study) she had met me before. 
     Bev called me at home and told me the couple did not have a place to stay after this night.  She put Beth on the phone.  I told her to to meet me and the pastor (my husband) the next morning, with Rob, the father of the baby, so we could consider what their options were.   Hanging up I thought that was it for the night. When my husband got home I would tell him about the meeting in the morning.
     It wasn’t a half-hour later, when the phone rang again. Bev said they were back to the church and the young mom, Beth, was crying.  The place where they were going to spend that night had closed up and said they couldn’t stay there.  She was devastated and scared. They couldn’t spend the night in the car with a tiny baby.
     Not thinking, I just told the leaders of the Bible study, Bev and John, to bring them to our home for the night, then we would figure something out in the morning.  I called my husband and said, “We are having company tonight honey”.  He asked who, and I shared with him what had happened.  He was stunned, but okay with it.
     Now, my husband would have done something like this before he met me.  But I have hesitated opening our home to strangers.  Tonight though, God had other plans.
     The young couple and their baby arrived later that night, escorted by John and Bev. I had never met the young man, Rob, before, but he seemed nice and respectful. He was very gentle and protective of the precious baby boy.  I hugged them and welcomed them.  The Bible study leaders stayed for a minute, making sure everything was okay.  When they left, I showed Rob and Beth where to put their things then we all sat down for a visit and waited for my husband to come home.  They sat there like they were in shock and afraid to move.  After a while I watched them relax a bit.
     Rob was twenty-three years old, and Beth was twenty-one. Baby Robbie was two-months old.  A tiny little thing but well cared for considering where they had been. 
The place they had been staying was a house where nine other people were living.  They slept on the floor. The house was flea infested with four dogs in the house.  It was not clean, although the couple said they tried to clean it the best they could.  The people there just decided there were too many people living there and put these people out in the cold at night.  It seemed so cold-hearted, but God turned it into a blessing…for all of us.

Read more of the story in Day 3 of Proverbs 31.

In His Care,  Pat

Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics for your daily reading.
Hope you are inspired!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Proverbs 31:20–Day 1

Married or single, Proverbs 31:10-31 is for all of us.  Proverbs 31:10-31 describes what a good woman can be.  Remember, she had to have this character before “he found her”. 

My verse to develop over ten days is Proverbs 31:20 - 21, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet”.

Let’s break down the verse.  .“She opens her arms and extends her hands…”
First she has to be willing to be available. If her heart is so focused on herself and/or her family, she won’t be available.  

Then she has to be ready to be used. She needs to have the mindset to give even if it is out of her own need.  Being ready doesn’t always mean we have an abundance to give.  

Deuteronomy 15:7,8 says, “If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.”

Sometimes out of our fear in not meeting our own needs, we do become tight-fisted with our money.  

Proverbs 11:24
One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

Read the story in 1 Kings 17:7-24. This woman was obedient to the Lord and gave out of her need. Then the Lord supplied her need with abundance.  In Day 2, I'm going to share a real-life story about a journey of our own.

You cannot out-give God.              Pat
 Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics for your daily reading.
Hope you are inspired!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

10 Days of Proverbs 31

Starting January 18 our blog and many others will be doing a series on the different aspects of Proverbs 31. Every day for 10 days each of the following blogs will share on their particular verse. 

This idea originated at: http://2betterthan1but3wow.blogspot.com/. (Click the 10 days button on the right and it will take you back to the original site.)

This series might dispel some of the perceptions of perfection we have about this woman and translate it into this era. Here is a list of the bloggers and their topics.
Hope you are inspired!!

Near to the Heart of God

A.W. Tozer writes in a classic book about a "Praying Plumber". Tom Haire was a man with little formal education, yet when they prayed together, Tozer said, "when his hand clasped my hand with that of a distinguished churchman and theologian, he poured out his heart in prolonged intercession. . . . Tom had not learned to pray in any school of human tutoring, but we had been listening to a man converse with God who knew from the Spirit's tutoring the concerns of the Father's heart and the vocabulary of the heavenlies".
Tozer's book continued with a description of this man. "Tom Haire is a rare compound of deep, tender, devotion, amazing good sense and a delightful sense of humor. There is about him absolutely nothing of the tension found in so many persons who seek to live the spiritual life".
He says, "Too many of God's people are straining for faith and holding on hard trying to exercise it. This will never do at all. The flesh cannot believe no matter how hard it tries, and we only wear ourselves out with our human efforts. True faith is the gift of God to an obedient soul and comes of itself without effort. The source of faith is Christ in us. It is a fruit of the Spirit”.
“Tom is completely free in the Spirit and will not allow himself to be brought under bondage to the rudiments of the world nor the consciences of other people”.
"He will not allow himself to get righteously upset about anything. "I lie near to the heart of God," he says, "and I fear nothing in the world".
“That he lies near to God's heart is more than a passing notion to Tom. It is all very real and practical. "God opens His heart," he says, "and takes us in. In God all things are beneath our feet. All power is given to us and we share God's almightiness." He has no confidence at all in mankind, but believes that God must be all in all. Not even our loftiest human desires or holiest prayers are acceptable to God. "The river flows from beneath the throne, " he explains, "and its source is not of this world. So the source of our prayers must be Christ Himself hidden in our hearts."
“Wherever there is a strain in the life we may be sure the flesh is operating. The Holy Spirit gives fruitful burdens but never brings strain”.
Things like worry and anxiety are of the flesh. It says we are not trusting God. Mind you, we will be tempted every day to go down that road, but must resist worry and anxiety and claim our trust in the Lord…in ALL things.
I can't add any thing to what Tozer wrote about Tom Haire. As I ponder what he wrote, I am convicted and challenged to stop striving so hard, and live resting "near to the heart of God".

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Are Your Plans Working Out?

Do you ever wonder why your plans just don't work out at times?  I did too, but I think I'm beginning to learn not to be so disappointed when they don't pan out like I planned.  Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps".  That sort of sums it up doesn't it. 

Three years ago, when my husband and I were transferred to the church we now serve, we didn't know what to expect.  We went from a city church of a thousand members to a one hundred fifty member church - in the country.  Someone said during the introductory meeting with the staff-parish people, that I looked like a deer seeing headlights.  They were so kind and welcoming though, I don't remember feeling anything but acceptance.

After the first service my husband preached, we stood at the back and greeted everyone.  I kept seeing two women letting people in front of them at the end of the line.  I wondered why they wanted to be the last ones to greet us.  When they reached us, they hugged us and welcomed us, then pulled me off to the side to talk.  They said they had been hungry for a women's group and Bible study and hoped that I would help. They said they were meeting the next day and invited me to be there to talk about some possibilities they had been discussing. My response was, "Give me a few weeks to get settled in and then I'll be ready to dig in".  They said they were going to meet anyway if that was okay.  I said," absolutely". 

That night the Lord woke me up and said, "I want you to go to that meeting".  I've learned to listen to him even when I don't want to.  So, I called them and told them I'd be there.  It was a lovely meeting with the two of them, Joann and Roberta.  We prayed and instantly felt a bond in the Lord.  To this day we still feel that bond.  From that meeting the Women's Fellowship Ministry was born.

The first thing the Lord did was bring a dream alive Joann had been praying about. She wanted women to come together and work with their hands while sharing their hearts.  We now have a group called Hands of Hope, who meet once a week in what we call The Fellowship House.  They crochet, knit and create things to give to those in need, whether it is hats, scarves, lap quilts, or prayer shawls. And they share their prayer concerns and pray.  They have been meeting for three years now.

The other thing we started was a newsletter. It includes invitations to the churches events if anyone is interested.  We started sending it to 200 women in the community and now to 700.  We don't know these women and they don't attend our church.  We just wanted to encourage women in their walk with the Lord and share His Word.    We never put any pressure to belong to our church.

We also started having one major Bible study a year that goes for ten or eleven weeks, with homework.  We look forward to this one big study in the fall to get together.  Through the year they attend their Sunday School classes where they study on a regular basis.

So, that is how Women's Fellowship Ministries and this blog started. I came to this church with other plans, but God's plans included bringing women together, the newsletter and a Bible Study.  All three of these things have lasted three years.  We have tried other things, but nothing happened.  We know these are of God because they have lasted. 

You just never know what the Lord is orchestrating.  Planning ourselves is important. Psalm 20:4 says, "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed". The Amplified version reads, "May He grant you according to your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans".

God wants us to plan, however, we need to include God in the planning and ask Him to interrupt the plans if it is not of Him or if He wants to do things differently.  

In His Hands,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Every Generation

My daughter, son-in-law, and my four grandchildren came to visit this Christmas and stayed for five days.  The kids are 18, 16, 7 and 5.  It was wonderful to be with them.  All the stress just drained from the month's activities when they arrived.  What is it about family that comforts us so?

The night before the morning they were going to leave, my husband invited a friend from church over for dinner and to help him hook up some speakers in his "man cave".

After dinner the men went downstairs and fiddled around with speakers and recording devices.  At one point the living room floor vibrated from the speakers.  (What is it with men and speakers and remotes?) 

My daughter (Jeannie) and eighteen year old grandaughter (Allie)  have beautiful voices and the friend suggested he get a recording so I could hear their voices anytime I wanted to.  The girls were very shy about it and almost refused to do it.  So, I was feeling silly and said, "Come on, we will all do it!" - totally planning on being mute the whole time they were singing.

But the Lord had something else in mind.  A blessing I could not have arranged if I had tried.  By the end of the evening, my daughter, granddaughter and myself, had recorded a song together.  Three generations.  It was incredible.  We only had three practice times through the song I had never heard before. But, Allie really liked the song.  Amazingly, we all came in on the same note, ended on the same note. And blended beautifully. Of course, it is a very elementary recording, but it was a gift to us.

I lost my singing voice after my chemotherapy last year and had just been able to sing a whole song at church a few weeks ago. I have never felt confident to sing to anyone but the Lord, but even that was difficult for a year.

 Only the Lord knew a deep desire of mine was to be able to sing with them, but why would I ever have an opportunity?  They live so far away it never would have happened except for the Lord orchestrating it.  What a gift.

In the early 80s, when my children were young, I fell in love with a song Debbie Boone sang called, To Every GenerationIt kept going over and over in my mind yesterday, but I couldn't remember the words. So, I looked it up on the internet.

God has indeed been faithful to three generations and I praise Him for that so much.  In spite of all my mistakes, and there were a lot of them, he heard my prayer to cover my mistakes with His love and care and precious Blood.  And, that they would know Him personally and want to serve Him with all their hearts.  He has been faithful and IS faithful.

The last phrase of the song (highlighted in yellow) is, I believe, every mother's prayer for her children.  I hope the song warms your heart.

 Here are the words:.(You can find it by going to "Google search" and typing: To Every Generation YouTube by Debbie Boone).

From the  dawning  of the world and its wonders before the mountains reached the sky
From everlasting to everlasting you were there through all of time
All my fathers heard your call through the ages
They made the choice to follow you

You were faithful to the faithful they found your promise to be true
You have been a shelter lord
To every generation, to every generation
Sanctuary from the storm

To every generation, to every gteneration, Lord
I was born into your arms oh my Father

There’s still a refuge there for me
From my first breath drawn from your breath you’ve been my security

You have been a shelter Lord
To every generation

A sanctuary from the storm
To every generation Lord

My years go by before your eyes like days rushing to the night
Time will still every dream I feel, give my hope a place to hide

All the days, all my life
Let my children know your mercy in the morning and find your greatness as they grow

May your glory be their glory may your heart become their home
You will be a shelter Lord, to every generation to every generation

Sanctuary from the storm now and forever.

This is my immediate family. Christmas 2010.  My husband, stepdaughters in the front middle. My son and his family on your left and my daughters family on the right. I'm in the back middle surrounded by love. I am blessed!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year Resolutions

Every year, before January 1st, like thousands of others, I have taken time out to list some goals I really wanted to reach in the coming new year. Whether any of them were reached or not, only the Lord knows.  I lost the list a few weeks into the month and forgot what was written.  Life just took over. 

Nothing that happened over the last two years was any where near what I wanted or thought would happen.  Many reading this probably feel the same way. So this year, I decided to surrender all my plans to the Lord.  

Isaiah 55:9 says, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts". 

Smith Wigglesworth, one of my favorite classic Christian writers, wrote, "God has a plan beyond anything we have ever known.  He has a plan for every individual life, and if we have any other plan in view, we miss the grandest plan of all".

He continued, "There is a way that God establishes.  In our human planning, we may experience blessings of a kind, but we also undergo trials, hardships, and barrenness that God would have kept from us if we had followed His way.  I realize through the anointing of the Holy Spirit that there is a freshness, a glow, a security in God where you can know that God is with you all the time.  There is a place to reach where all that God has for us can flow through us to a needy world all the time".

I want to reach that place in God.  To know that God can use me and flow through me is so important.  But the cry of my heart is to know Him more fully and deeply. That is my prayer for myself this year and for those I know and love.

In His hands,

Ref: Smith Wigglesworth Devotional, Whitaker House, 1999.